Obviously weapon damage is extremely important, but in terms of survivability and mods (regen, for example) it is very tempting to go with a one-hand weapon plus shield. In normal difficulty, when I first got the game, I was using a wand and offhand globes or books, but that changed as I tried to increase dps.
Has anyone done this in Hell/Inferno? Or is the common wisdom that it is better to kill things fast and just teleport and control the crowds?
Specific situations circumvent force armor pretty effectively, these are the only situations where you really want to put on a shield. You won't gain much running around with a shield equipped all the time, but since block can apply to almost any type of damage you gain a LOT of survivability by putting on a high-block shield for certain champ packs. Specifically champ packs that hit fast or do lots of dot damage, or have some kind of rapid-fire damage pattern that's hard to avoid.
I put a shield on any time I get a combo like this:
- Anything with reflect (try it for AT LEAST this one, makes it laughably easy!)
- Chains desecrate or molten + any cc
- Mortar on any pack with good mobility (if they have bad mobility or are ranged it's easy to sidestep)
- Teleport or vortex with electrify or chains
- Certain base mob types with medium/fast ranged attacks that are hard to avoid. skeleton archers, soul lashers, quill fiends.
What you want for these situations is a shield with high block %, +int +vit +resist. Since each block can completely nullify 1 damage component, and shields come with an insanely high armor value, putting on this kind of shield will give you about 50% DR in the above situations. And, int shields are cheap.
50% more DR is night and day for unavoidable damage
I think the traditional wisdom has been that the damage is so high anyway that you either dodge the attack or it splatters you, but zakaluka makes some interesting points. I'll have to throw on a shield next time I run into a "reflects damage" group and see how it goes.
I played all of act 4 with a shield. Very useful to make stuff like charges and rakanoth not 1-shot you (which they were doing with my gear level at the time without a shield). Really, the dps requirements are very low if you can stay alive, so a more defensive build is perfectly viable.
I'd personally have more fun with a 40-50k dps wizard that can survive soul lasher packs without staying out of line of sight until they're dead (maybe in 1.0.3), than with a 100k dps glass cannon that dies to everything. YMMV.
I'm in the minority and play a defensive Wizard. I run a shield full time. The shield is by far the most powerful defensive piece of gear you can use in the game; it can have double the armor of the next highest slot piece, all resist which to my knowledge can't spawn on sources, and a unique defensive ability in block. I find it far more entertaining to be able to tank groups of monsters while blowing them up than to play glass cannon style. If your playstyle is the latter, I suppose shield is relatively pointless. To each his own.
A hardcore(and ex-softcore) wizard here, you can definitely notice the difference even in Hell/Inferno. Anecdotes aside, here's some theorycrafting.
Suppose we have a 1000 HP character with 3000 armour, 400 res without a shield and 4000 armour 400 res with one. The shield blocks full damage, 20% chance to block.
EHP, as you know, is HP*(1+armour/3000)*(1+res/300)/(1-chance to block) assuming shield blocks full damage
Without a shield, we have (1+3000/3000)*(1+400/300) = 4667 EHP
With a shield, (1+4000/3000)*(1+400/300)/0.8 = 6805 EHP
So, we gained nearly 46% more EHP with a shield, which means we last that much longer in a fight. Great right? If only they wouldn't 1 hit KO us! But something interesting: suppose the shield has +8% to block and we have a ring with +12% chance to block (there's a unique ring that does just that, but it's 11%) for a total of 40% chance to block. Now our EHP becomes... 9073, or nearly double compared to our shieldless character!
This shows you that as long as you have great gear that actually lets you tank, a shield can make your character much more durable, especially with +chance to block. This is by no means impossible, as my softcore wizard with terrible gear was able to tank A2 monsters other than elites without a shield. A few notes though. First, the better your gear becomes, the less you gain (relatively) from your shield's armour. Full white ilvl 63 set has 3045 armour and the best shield has 1219, but with +armour affixes, the shield becomes relatively less important, perhaps 20% or so of your total armour. Second, you need like 12k armour 1.2k res to reduce the heaviest hitting attacks in the game to near 5k. Theoretically possible but you're never going to see that kind of gear. Still, if you're not a glass cannon, you should probably use a shield.
P.S. in 1.0.3 farming A1/A2 becomes worthwhile, most enemies in A1/A2 don't hit all that hard.
I have been considering a shield, as I found one with 50 res all and decent life(no Int, so it's probably worthless, but Kormac likes it). I have a decent source, which would be hard to give up. I keep reading about Act 1 Inferno being a cakewalk, I don't find that to be true at all. I ran into a pack of molten, shielding, vortex, jailer that really killed me. I could use a better weapon, more damage always helps. At least 1.0.3 won't kill me as I am not stacking IAS. I just think I would lose alot of dmg going with a shield, and it's hard to make it up elsewhere. If I make it to Act 2 before the nerf, I guess I will see what tough times really are!!!
There is something I don't get then.... Zakaluka says that "each block can completely nullify 1 damage component" and Kaki says "the shield blocks full damage" - then what is the blockvalue on the shield good for?
As far as I can see a shield with 15% block chance and 1280-1800 blockvalue has as 15% chance to block that blockvalue each attack. Meaning that an incomming attach of 10k damage if blocked is reduced by the shields blockvalue but not completly negated.