Completing the suite, here’s our mega article evaluating the Diablo 3 Wizard skill changes datamined from a leaked pre-alpha version of Reaper of Souls. As with the others, bear in mind that the class changes are a work in progress and many tweaks and revisions are certain between now and release.
The wizard is the class I had the most anticipation for pre-D3, and yet have played the least, so I was very curious to look over these changes. And they’re pretty good, at least on a skill by skill basis. Arcane Orb is totally redone and one rune returns D2’s Frozen Orb. Wave of Force has basically turned into Nova, with no cooldown and most of the defensive properties changed. Magic Missile has one random rune to recreate D2’s Glacial Spike. There are many other skills changes, hardly any nerfs (and we all knew perma-Archon was on the chopping block), and a bunch of new passives and big changes to existing passives as well.
You can take in all the Wizardy goodness via the forum thread, or click through to read it all in this news post. Hit up forum threads with similar treatments for the other classes as well, if you missed them the last two days:
Previously this skill filled 30 Arcane Power per health globe. This change seems a much more interesting mechanic; a Wizard could use a high cost skill in bursts that would otherwise be impossible due to resource cost.
When you suffer more than 15% of your Life in a single hit, the cooldowns on Mirror Image, Slow Time, and Teleport are reset.
When you use Mirror Image, Slow Time, or Teleport, your movement speed is increased by 30% for 3 seconds. (The second part about boosted movement speed is new for RoS.)
Totally redone skill to the point it might as well have a new name. The old version increased duration of Armor skills by 120 seconds and added health regen of 620 per second. This new version seems designed to create some different play options. Of zero use during a dangerous battle, but provides a nice buffer for the beginning of a fight. Perhaps well suited for a Wizard who likes to throw themselves into the midst of enemies, as it will blunt damage at the start, before the Wizard’s attacks and debuffs can create a control zone?
Previously this passive had an 8% chance to Stun the target, so the odds have been slightly improved, and it’s been made predictable. Since most lighting spells hit multiple enemies, this should be a powerful ability if used cleverly.
Dealing Arcane damage, grants you a shield that absorbs 826 damage for second.
This is the renamed Temporal Flux. That passive caused enemies to be slowed 60% for 3 second when damaged by Arcane. The new one joins a lot of other “temporarl shield” type Wizard abilities.
Slightly OT, but remember when Blizzard included the names of prominent fansite people in their games as shout outs and thank yous to the community? Like… as mercenaries? Come RoS I will no longer even be able to pretend they named a lame Wizard Passive after me. At least my fellow Iron Wolf, Scorch, has a new rune effect in Arcane Orb to carry on the pretense.
Standing still for 2 seconds increases the following attributes:
* Armor: 20%
* All Resistances: 20%
* Damage: 10%
The tooltip doesn’t say how long the buffs last, but they’re pretty good bonuses. Presumably the 2 second timer would tick while you were casting spells, so it’s not a tough one to trigger.
You deal 20% additional damage to enemies within 15 yards.
Where was this when the CM/lock down build was still functional, will say every Wizard in RoS.
Damaging enemies with Arcane, Cold, Fire or Lightning will cause them to take 5% more damage from all sources for 5 seconds. Each different damage type applies a stack, stacking up to 4 times. Elemental damage from weapons contributes to Elemental Exposure.
I should applaud this one, since it’s almost exactly like what I asked for in the New RoS Wizard Skills thread, while remembering how much I enjoyed the tri-tree Wizard builds from D2X (before synergies ended their viability). I can’t see it really working in D3 though, not with just six skill slots. Mostly this’ll be used by players who have 2 different elements on their main skills, plus a third element on their weapon.
Nice random skill rune there, bringing back another popular Diablo 2 skill, Glacial Spike. Though nerfed a bit with the 5s cooldown (warm up?) between uses.
A lot of substantial tweaks to the rune effects, but nothing to the base skill’s function. I liked using this one in the early days of D3, and it was awesome in the D3 beta, but it’s way down the list on most used Wizard skills, and even then the most popular is Healing Blades for the life steal… which is gone in RoS. Thus I don’t see enough improvements or changes here that this one is likely to be much-used in RoS… barring other changes to gear or Wizard build options.
Ray of Frost (ray-of-frost)
Project a beam of frozen ice that blasts enemies within 5 yards of the first enemy hit for 280% weapon damage as Cold and Slows their movement by 60% for 4 seconds. (Added the 5 yard radius effect, allowing for more enemies to be affected.)
Cost: 16 Arcane Power
Arcane Orb (db)
Hurl an orb of pure energy that explodes on contact, dealing 200% weapon damage as Arcane to all enemies within 15 yards. (Previously 10 yards.)
Cost: 30 Arcane Power (Previously 35 cost.)
Awesome changes to most of these rune effects as well, and yes, that’s Frozen Orb, one of the most popular Diablo 2 Sorceress skills, returning. The lob movement arc on Spark should be interesting as well. The Witch Doctor has several skills that let him throw a projectile over the front row of enemies, so it’s nice to see the Wizard getting that option as well. This is helpful to target bosses or Treasure Goblins behind trash mobs, and can be very useful when dealing with Waller elites as well.
Obviously a work in progress, with the damage figures listed at 0 in the datamined info. Perhaps some % of damage reduction is being planned?
Slow Time (db)
Invoke a bubble of warped time and space for 8 seconds, reducing enemy attack speed by 20% and movement speed by 60%. This bubble also slows the speed of enemy projectiles by 90%. (No change to base skill function.)
Cooldown: 15 seconds.
Being able to cast this to a location could be an intersting wrinkle. Stick it on top of bosses and watch their projectiles stand still? Not that there are any ranged attacking bosses of any real note in Diablo 3… at least not yet.
Wave of Force (db)
Discharge a wave of pure energy that deals 200150% weapon damage as PhysicalArcane to nearby enemies. (Previously 200% weapon damage, plus it repelled projectiles and knocked back enemies, then slowed then by 60%.).
Cost: 25 Arcane Power
(Previously there was a 12s cooldown. It’s been removed entirely.)
A total revision of this skill and all the rune effects. Gone are almost all of the defensive properties, and this is now basically a fully-offensive skill that does big damage like a Nova, without cooldown or other limits on use other than resource cost. I liked the Nova skill quite a bit in Diablo 2, so I’m definitely curious to check this one out.
Not much change in function, but the varied elemental types should add some wrinkles, now that RoS is trying to make different damage types impactful.
Summon a multi-headed Hydra for 15 seconds that attacks enemies with bolts of fire dealing 28% weapon damage as Fire. Only one Hydra may be active at a time. (No change to base skill.)
Cost: 15 Arcane Power
Not much of a change on the skill itself, which is odd as often as Hydra has come up in conversation with the developers. Those references were all in regards to items making more Hydras appear, though.
Summon an immense Meteor that plummets from the sky, crashing into enemies for 260% weapon damage as Fire. The ground it hits is scorched with molten fire that deals 60% weapon damage as Fire over 3 seconds. (Unchanged.)
Cost: 40 Arcane Power (Formerly 50 AP.)
Call down shards of ice to pelt an area of 12 yard radius, dealing 510% weapon damage as Cold to all enemies in the area over 6 seconds. Multiple casts in the same area do not stack. (The 12y radius comment is new, but not a change, just a wording clarification.)
Cost: 40 Arcane Power
Ice Armor (db)
Surround yourself in a barrier of ice that reduces damage from melee attacks by 12%. Melee attackers are either Chilled or Frozen for 2 seconds. Lasts 4 minutes. (Previously 120 second duration.)
Energy Armor (db)
Focus your energies, increasing your Armor by 35% but decreasing your maximum Arcane Power by 20. Lasts 4 minutes. Only one Armor may be active at a time. (Formerly 120s duration.)
Cost: 25 Arcane Power
Explosive Blast (db)
Gather an infusion of energy around you that explodes after 1.5 seconds for 225% weapon damage as Arcane to all enemies within 12 yards. (Formerly physical damage.)
Cost: 20 Arcane Power
Cooldown: 6 seconds
More elemental damage shifts and varieties.
Mirror Image (db)
Summon 2 illusionary duplicates of yourself that last for 7 seconds and have 25% of your Life. Spells cast by your Mirror Images will deal 40% of the damage of your own spells. (Previously Mirror Image’s spells did zero damage.)
Cooldown: 15 seconds
Another skill where a rune effect was “baked in” to the normal function. Now all forms of this skill create duplicates that can deal real damage, which was previously only possible with Mirror Mimmics, and even that was only 10% of weapon damage, and thus largely irrelevant and unused.
Transform into a being of pure arcane energy for 15 seconds. While in Archon form, your normal abilities are replaced by powerful Archon abilities, and your Armor and resistances are increased by 40%. Each enemy killed while in Archon form increases your damage by 3% for the remaining duration of Archon. (Formerly each kill added 1 second to the duration.)
Cost: 25 Arcane Power
Cooldown: 120 seconds
Blizzard had long said that they wanted to limit the duration of Wrath of the Berserker and Archon. Many fans figured they’d just put a cap on the maximum increased duration, but clearly that wasn’t good enough for the devs. So now neither skill can be extended in duration at all. Not one bit.
Conjure a Black Hole at the target location that draws enemies to it and deals 208% weapon damage as Arcane over 2 seconds to all enemies within 20 yards.
Cost: 20 Arcane Power
Cooldown: 8 seconds
I like the idea of the skill function, but then I like pretty much all skills that draw enemies to a location, either on your character or otherwise. It just seems so disrespectful to their scaly little monster bodies.
As for the name, I’ve got to be honest… After this whole article, the astronomy terms for Wizard skills are getting pretty tedious. Also, they’re totally anachronistic within the Diablo 3 milieu. Ancients knew about meteors (Tyrael type and otherwise) and comets and such, but Black Holes weren’t understood until the 1930s and the term wasn’t coined until the 1960s. I hold identical objections to other modern terms of astronomy such as Supermassive and Pulsar and Event Horizon. Ancients naturally associated celestial phenomena with gods, so it would make more sense for these spell names to go along those lines. “Fire from the Heavens” and such.
I have played the least Wizard of any class since it doesn’t work the way I want it to work. Not that the game should be designed to my specifications, but we’ve all got our own preferences and there’s only so much time in the day to play video games. I played a ton of mage classes in D1 and D2, since I loved the fast moving, constantly-casting, varied-attacking spell design of the character. Wizard was my fave class pre-D3 and the one I most anticipated playing… and the fact that I don’t play it is entirely due to the way the class works. No spammable Teleport, no incentive to vary damage types (since monsters have no resistances) and the six skill cap and necessity of defensive skills limits Wizard attack spell options.
From what I can tell from the planned Wizard changes.. my basic objection to the class play style is not addressed. However… there are a lot of other cool changes and I like the idea of some of the skill redesigns. The new Arcane Orb and Wave of Force looks awesome, and I enjoy the returning D2 skills as well. Certainly more toys at the class’ disposal.
So what do you guys think? Those of you who are like me and not playing much Wizard… do these planned changes make you more interested in the class?
And what do those of you who are Wizards now, think? The Archon-only build is going to be gone, and I assumed that the CM build would be nerfed away as well, but if so it’s not obvious from the relevant skill descriptions. There’s no listed change at all to Critical Mass, which is where I thought they’d attack it. Assuming that CM perma-freeze is not going to work either in RoS… are there new or changed skills that give you an excite?