Why should I roll wizard over witch doctor? I am an avid fan of both classes, but feel the wizard is lacking in key gameplay and stylistic elements that would have sealed the deal.
A few friendly pros and cons.
The wizard has a capped resource pool (Ignore that it can be increased, as this is irrelevant). Because of this, "nuking" to me does not have the same feel as a scaling mana pool.
For all practical purposes, the wizard is the most defenseless of the five classes. Of course, this can be highly offset by choosing defensive skills/runes. Looking at the wizard as so, I must choose defensive abilities with little to no offensive firepower (diamond skin, teleport, ice armor, energy armor, etc). While these skills are incredible defensive tools, choosing them as opposed to having a varied offensive build really annoys me. What made the sorc appealing to me is that I could passively have defensive abilities last 120 seconds while retaining all of my offensive firepower.
A single hydra? Really? I loved hydras in d2 and, while I may be nitpicking, having hydras changed to a single beast is the same as drastically changing an ability like whirlwind.
- Wizzard gameplay is faster. While the witch doctor also has a lot of AoE and nukes, most of them have a limited AoE/range (Zombie Charger) or a DoT component.
- A lot of nuking customization. You can give your spells stunning, damage amplifying, slowing etc components, depending on your passives (AND use the runes for something else), your armor and magic weapon spells, also improve your spells in special ways (like launching a arc lightning on crit, with any other spell).
- The Witch doctor mostly relies on his pets to cover his fragility. While this is correct, pets appear to die very fast (1-2 attacks of the skeleton king). Afterwards (and pets have a high cooldown), you are in the very same position as the wizzard, BUT without his mobility, frost nova, diamond skin, armors, slow time, mirror image and other low cooldown, high defense skills.
- Style matters a lot. I love the visuals of the female wizzard. That red robe that was shown off in the arena demo is awesome. I prefere the sound and visual of disintegrate over pixel-ugly spiders poping out a jar. And the wizzard doesn't have parkinsons. Im not saying that the WD sucks . It's proly my third char to go. But you should pick a char you feel comfortable playing.
- I prefere having a limited arcane power pool, that is however easily managed and controlled. Wizzard spells and actions feel very very planned. You know exactly how much damage you can dish out, before runing empty and how long it takes for you to cast another high damage spells. Also I prefere the fast regenration, over a big pool slow one
You will note that all the points above are preference based. Each of the poitns aove represents something, like "Voodoo vibe VS Arcane Arts", you shoudl count the preferences on each side and just pick the class, since all classes are sorta cool
I am a wizard "believer" and I been trying to nail down why exactly that is, for the sake of this thread. Here's what I think.
I like the wizard's style, both male and female. Even the starfish hats...
Male wizard has my favorite PC voice acting.
The character's brash, impatient, volatile personality is reflected in the skills, which I think is cool.
Skills feel more elegant than the WD's vermin, zombies, and spirits.
The wizard will play very fast, which I like. The skills are immediate.
Wiz is versatile in that there are skills for every conceivable situation. A good wizard player will always be casting something if there are enemies on the screen. None of this "wait til I close the gap" or "wait for the big nuke spam when they get closer." The quick regen of AP also promotes this constant action play style.
Wizard seems more fluid and in the moment, rather unlike the WD who is more calculating and preemptive. I like the spontaneous play style.
Skills I'm looking forward to using:
Archon - No other class has a skill like this
Disintegrate, Ray of Frost - Love the instant, pinpoint, unlimited range attacks
Awesome post, kar. I would agree that overall, wizard has a higher potential of flashiness. The moves are prettier and you're right, the wizards have a "cooler" look.
Perhaps its my disposition that makes me lean towards WD. Necromancer was my first roll in Diablo 2 and for the same reasons I loved necro I love the WD. Old, brainy, witty, a bit decrepit but nonetheless a fierce battlefield ally. Time will tell.
I really don't like that at level 60 will you finally have a solid idea of exactly what you want in your builds. This seems to be that levels 1-59 are irrational imitations of what gameplay at 60 will feel like, once you've locked down all the skills and runes.
I find the Wizard's arrogance quite entertaining. She's basically a spoiled child genius of great privilege who has never had to work that hard for anything. She is superior to everyone around her and she knows it. The male Wizard has the same attitude and I think the voice artist does an even better job of conveying the way he looks down his nose at everyone. (I don't know why the male wizard got so much hate for being a skinny pretty-boy - I can't see him as anything else given the backstory.)
On the offensive/defensive thing, all classes have some skills that are pure damage, some that are pure survival, but many skills that combine the two. Take the Wizard armors for instance - you can see these as defensive, but many armor/rune combos do significant damage to enemy attackers or buff your attacks, so you are giving yourself other ways to dish out the hurt. Even Diamond Skin can be used as a weapon. Conversely a lot of attack spells can be given a defensive effect, such as slowing or stunning. It's easy to think of the Wizard as an AoE nuke spammer like the D2 Sorceress, and from a Sorc perspective, it looks like a weakness that she constantly runs out of Arcane Power. (For what it's worth, I don't think WDs will be able to mindlessly spam their most expensive spells either.) But in reality, the playing style is very different. In D2, thanks to the synergy/mastery system you had to throw practically everything into your main AoE nuke, so any deviation from it (except one-point wonders) came at a direct cost in firepower. A typical Wizard is going have let's say four different attack spells to choose from at any moment and will switch between them according to the tactical situation rather than having her hand forced by monster immunities. That's not as diverse as six different attacks, sure, but I don't think it will feel one-dimensional. Also, her options are far more diverse than the typical D2 Sorceress when it comes to survival: basically every Sorc had Teleport, nearly every Sorc had one of the three cold armors as a one-point wonder, and the only interesting choice was whether or not to use Energy Shield. Now it's up to you to decide whether you want a shield, teleporting, freezing, knockback, or whatever else to keep you alive. I don't see how this choice is a bad thing for the player.
The wizard is fast and flashy, and I guess I just like the archetype. Casting elemental spells is a simple thing that I really enjoy about Diablo games. As a necro, I almost always played bone necro, because summons were too slow and boring for me. The Witch Doctor has poison, fire, and spirit/undead "elements", but damage over time attacks just don't have as much appeal to me as what Bowzer said. I like to theorize about the game as I do about everything, but in the end I just want to bash things with lightning. Or some other attack type.
On another note, I do like having a low number for my resource as it makes it easier to do arithmetic.