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Wizard - personal thoughts

The wizard is one of the brand new character classes designed for ‘Diablo 3’, and despite all appearances is not a simple copy of the mage and sorceress from the previous installments. After spending some time with her, any ‘Diablo 2’ veteran will realize that what we have here is a mix of both the sorceress and druid, the Twister and Cyclone Armor being the most obvious druid borrowings in the forms of the Energy Twister and Diamond Skin respectively.

The new class has a significantly different energy management system, instead of Mana it uses Arcane Power, which has a low maximum level of 100 units, increased by items only, and a very fast regeneration rate, as opposed to the Mana high level cap and slow regeneration. This makes the high end spells like Blizzard or Hydra drain as much as 50% of our supply, making ‘Diablo 2’-style spell grinding in PvP result in a quick loss.

That’s why our wizard possesses a group of abilities called ‘Signature Spells’ or ‘Primary Spells’, which don’t cost a single Arcane point. I anticipate that the candidates for player favorites in PvP are: Magic Missile, holding the highest damage score in this group and Electrocute , which instantly connects with the target. Either one of these is sure to be the basis of any build, lest our wizard become easy prey in both PvM and PvP, when they run out of Arcane points.

Aside from those, Blizzard neatly arranged five more skill categories for us to choose from:

1. Secondary Spells – more powerful than Signature Spells, with a small Arcane cost.
2. Defensive Spells – abilities that allow the wizard to avoid taking damage and surprise their enemies. Their common feature is the cooldown effect, extending the time between each cast.
3. Force Spells – a group of the most powerful and costly spells at our disposal, the wizard will be able to use them 2 – 4 times, depending on their gear, before Arcane points run out.
4. Conjuration Spells – buff and armor spells.
5. Mastery – It’s hard to describe this spell group and I have a distinct impression that it was put together a bit hastily e.g. Mirror Image could easily fit the ‘Defensive’ category, Archon could go with ‘Conjuration’ and . Explosive Blast with ‘Force’; the only thing they have in common is the cooldown period.

We can of course invest points in more than one skill of a given category, but in most cases it wouldn’t make much sense e.g. why would we invest in more than one arcane armor, when we can have only one of them active at any given moment?

In the ‘Secondary’ set the skills are fairly balanced, making each of them a good candidate for the player favorite, though I personally would go for the Ray of Frost, with its high DPS and the ability to slow your opponent down, a useful feature to have in any PvP match, although it does require good reflexes to be used efficiently. The other three I found to be less effective, with Disintegrate, being the fire based variant of the aforementioned skill minus the slowdown and the Arcane Orb not very cost-effective, despite the largest damage in this category and long range, since it can be dodged fairly easily.

The ‘Defensive’ set contains the widely beloved Teleport skill, although it is nerfed down by a 16 sec. cooldown. Luckily for all you relocation junkies out there, the runes for the ability contain the ‘Wormhole’ skill, giving you exactly 1 second before the cooldown kicks in, effectively allowing to cast the spell repeatedly with no penalty aside from Arcane Point cost. Another interesting ability is the Slow Time, creating an orb that slows every opponent and every projectile inside it.

Now onto the most destructive spells in the wizards arsenal i.e. ‘Force Spells’. The most notable is the sorceress classic – the Hydra. If cast correctly it gives you some time to focus on using other skills, while it fires away on our adversary. The Energy Twister is another superb ability with extremely high damage for such a low Arcane cost; the teleport + twister combo is sure to wreak havoc across any battlefield. On the other extreme we have the disappointing Blizzard with its ‘WoW’-ish animation, low damage, and lack of any cumulative effect from repeated casts.

The ‘Conjuration Spells’ group gives us three types of arcane armor, a Familiar summon, and weapon damage buff. My choice was the good ol’ Energy Armor, though in a slightly different form. In ‘Diablo 3’ it lowers your max Arcane Point Level by 20, giving you a 65% boost to your armor, and as we all know the armor score works just like damage soak in ‘Diablo 2’, so the more armor you have, the less damage you take.

The last thing to left is to choose one ability from the ‘Mastery’ set. I think the only thing here worth mentioning PvP-wise is the Archon ability, greatly enhancing the wizard’s resistance and armor, the drawback being the two minute cooldown. The rest i.e. Mirror Image, with the clones being to distinguishable from the PC and Explosive Blast, which takes too long to cast in a quick paced arena match, will be of limited or no use at all for an Effective PvP build.

In conclusion, the wizard may become a dominating character class on the arenas, combining defensive abilities with a wide array of high damage-dealing spells; but will it be so? Only time will tell. See you on the arena!

Loled 2012-05-08 21:48