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Is the wizard underpowered?

Discussion in 'Wizard' started by mysticc, Sep 2, 2012. | Replies: 232 | Views: 26844

  1. mysticc

    mysticc IncGamers Member

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    I have tried all of the classes in inferno except for witch doctor. My general sense is that the wizard is the least powerful. Now, i know the critical mass build might be the exception to the rule, but let's ignore that build for a second. I don't think there is a single build using fundamental wizard gear that works well like the Monk, Barbarian or even a Demon Hunter have.

    With a monk, you can get geared pretty cheaply and complete inferno. You'll have a rough ride with desecrator's and jailer/frozen, but you can clear/farm inferno with small gold investment. All you need is dex, vit, @res and a chosen resist gear. You'll need a modest 700-800 dps Fist weapon with 350-400 life on hit. It won't be amazingly fast at times (although probably 50x faster than a kiting wizard with the same gear investment). You honestly don't need crit gear because monk's attacks/abilities enhance his DPS greatly, so 20k dps feels like it's much, much more in general - and on top of this, you get great armor, resists and dodge. All of this is within reach for little gold spent on the AH. I would say the Monk is very efficient inferno clearer for little gold spent (1-5 million). To be honest, he's the easiest character I've tried so far. There's so much talk about how awesome Barbarians are on the youtubes... and the monk is hardly ever discussed. I think it's quite good compared to other classes with modest wealth, although I can't speak for it's ceiling.

    For a barb, the situation is similar. You have even more flexibility in terms of damage and defense specs. You have lots of free healing abilities, and with a LoH weapon, you can do pretty well. The only problem I've found with the Barb is that he does less damage unless you have Wrath of the Berserker on. Otherwise, I find him a bit slow and underwhelming. Of couse, this all changes with expensive crit gear, but let's ignore that for now. Clearly due to his enhanced survivability, you can take basic gear and get him through inferno without much trouble as well. Crit gear merely enhances the character- it is not a starting point. He's probably second easiest character I've tried - because melee characters in D2 are actually good now, and I think are superior to ranged for low-to-medium budgets. Imagine that. It's the opposite to D2.

    A demon hunter is a bit of an odd ball. I'd argue that you DO need some crit gear for her to be good. She is one of the most effective farmers in act 1 though with a cluster arrow build (but I guess trail of cinders has that beat now), and it's pretty easy to get her doing crazy amounts of dps - more than the monk or barbarian. You can get a lot of dex gear with essential stats that should get you through inferno with some patience. I will admit, one-shots are annoying and I got frustrated, but if you're really good at kiting off-screen against fast enemies as I see some people do on YouTube, it can be done efficiently without a lot of gold investment. At least you have the tools - shadow power, caltrops, vault, and smoke screen - to deal with cheesey mob affixes. My only real problem with Demon Hunter is that her natural defenses are abysmal, and are inferior to every other character by the looks of it.

    The wizard doesn't seem to have any build or item configuration that makes her reasonably powerful beyond the critical mass build, which costs a fortune to assemble (10-100 million). I cannot find a build/item configuration within 1-5 million that makes her playable and as efficient as other character classes like the Monk. Even act 2 is still hard - dying is a real threat with decent gear (wtf?) against many variations of elite packs. If you're patient, you probably won't die, but she's SO much slower than Monk or Barb. She doesn't nuke as fast as the Demon Hunter either, so I am having a hard time understanding why this class exists in the game.

    Fast enemies with cheesey affixes (jailer, walls, frozen, etc.) are annoying. Despite how good duplicates and teleport are for anti-CC, they don't match up to the abilities that other classes have. They are not in the same league in terms of level of power and usefulness. You constantly have to have clutch teleports because of the dumb 16 second cool-down. "Click too close to a wall or chest and you're character doesn't move? Well too bad! That's 16 seconds of punishment for you!" I also don't find that illusionist works like the description says either.

    I don't understand why the Wizard requires Critical Mass to make her anti-CC abilities like Teleport useful.

    You do not need specialized gear on a demon hunter to make smoke screen or vault effective.
    You do not need specialized gear on a monk to make serenity effective.
    You do not need specialized gear to a barb make wrath of the berserker or leap effective.
    You do not need specialized gear on a Witch doctor to make spirit walk effective.

    So why is it that I need to rely on crit gear to make teleport viable? And of ALL the classes, it makes sense that Wizard should be one of the best in this regard - not the worst.

    Because teleport doesn't actually stun enemies or give me 300% armor like leap does... and actually costs resources to use... and the wizard doesn't have 30% damage reduction like the barb/monk does... it's cooldown should be 3-5 seconds - not 16.

    Also, fixing the environmental glitches would make Teleport more useful. The barb can actually get to hard-to-reach areas more easily - especially hopping stairs and stuff in act 3 - whereas the Wizard's teleport is simply wasted when there's a small environmental obstacle is in front of path you wish to teleport to, and so the character doesn't move at all. This is really lame, as Leap is far easier to control in a pinch. Teleport was easier to use in D2 as well.

    The wizard's damage doesn't match up to a monk at all either - and her on-screen DPS is much higher compared to my monk. My particular wizard does 36k dps on the character screen, but all of the signature spells do far less damage compared Thunderclap or Crippling Wave with just 20-22k dps. The monk just does more damage (especially with sweeping winds), is tankier and attacks constantly without moving (most of the time), so he's generally far more efficient compared to the wizard.

    A barb with Frenzy is also doing much more damage than my signature abilities as well. If Blizzard wants to make a ranged class that can't tank worth ****, shouldn't that class be doing MORE damage than the melee class? Isn't there supposed to be some kind of a trade off? Why does my character do less damage, and is easier to kill? Is playing a wizard supposed to be "Inferno-squared"?

    Another problem with the Wizard is that her damage against elite packs is abysmal. Even killing those small stinging swarms at the start of act 2 requires 5-6 normal attacks from my signature spell, whereas my barb or monk can kill them in 1 or 2 hits. Why is that the case? Single-target damage on a Wizard is just crap, and Inferno is tuned so that your character MUST do well against single targets. AoE is drastically down-played in Inferno, which is where the wizard is supposed to excel, but can't.

    Archon seems like it would be the correct answer to dealing with elite packs, but it's actually a determent to the Wizard as it locks out her skill set, so Wrath of the Berserker is far superior. I'd love to be able to use my regular skills while Archon is active, like mirror images, teleport, etc.

    With Wrath of the Berserker, you can keep it up by doing critical hits - you don't have to kill anything to keep it active like with Archon. The defensive bonuses are better than Archon too and you get CC immunity and faster walking speed on top of it. What the hell? Why is every passive and skill on the Barbarian the same or better compared to the Wizard? Do a one-to-one comparison and you'll see this is the case easily.

    While it's easier to get the Wizard's resists to a high level, armor is another story altogether. She seems a bit more survivable compared to a demon hunter with similar gear, but her damage it much worse, and damage is far more important in this game.

    A big problem with D3 is that ranged characters cannot avoid damage. In fact, they take about as much damage as the melee classes do from the really nasty stuff. Despite this, melee classes get 30% more damage reduction. This is why the Barb and Monk are simply easier to play compared to the Demon Hunter and Wizard in my opinion. Honestly, given the mob dynamics, the 30% damage reduction should be standard for every character class. I don't see how the Wizard doesn't take damage against phasing, fast enemies, teleporting enemies, and a slew of other types.

    The best build I can find for the wizard is blizzard/hydra variants, which is the type of build I've ran with her since launch. Nothing else works for me. I'm sure the critical mass build would work, but I don't have the gear for it, nor the ability to get the gear. I just think for the item costs of standard equipment, the wizard is underpowered compared to other characters. She dies far more easily, she has worse anti-CC abilities, and she does less damage. She's underpowered. If making balance adjustments to the Wizard would make Critical Mass even more overpowered, then they should buff her general damage and anti-CC abilities and nerf Critical Mass a bit. A character should NOT have to rely on crits for her abilities to be useful/viable!

    It seems like the demon hunter plays a lot more like how the sorceress did in Diablo 2 - a mobile glass cannon that does a lot of big damage. Beyond teleport - wormhole, she's not very mobile at all. And she's really not very good at doing burst damage as kiting builds are the only path to victory. Kiting in general - to me - seems like a sure sign of being underpowered. Why bother kiting when you can be a monk or barb and just tank stuff and not die?

    The main issue that I see is that crit gear - especially items where you get Arcane power when doing critical hits - seem like the starting point for a wizard. The entry-level requirements for a wizard are too high. She needs a build that can be comparable with basic gear like the other classes have.

    What makes this even worse is that the Wizard was my first character. I missed out on the Replenish Life builds that beat inferno because I was working so much. After that, there wasn't an build/gear set that would work as well as the other classes had for the amount of gold I had. I think the wizard is a bad starting character, and this is honestly something I wish Blizzard fixed with Diablo 3. I think it's unhealthy for a game of this kind to push people into certain classes/builds to get off to a good start. That's what it was like in Diablo 2, and frankly, that was boring to roll a sorceress every single ladder.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  2. Speedster

    Speedster IncGamers Member

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    I agree with your post. The wizard doesn't do enough damage. Arcane hydra is nicely buffed in the recent patch, but as you say it's a very slow way to kill. Even meteor, which takes a while to cast, isn't all that damaging for the planning and effort required.

    The big issue, from my experience (300 hrs of wizard time) is that unlike in D2 there really aren't many ways to increase your arcane power pool, which leads to short melee sessions and then hasty retreats -- not all that heroic.

    I'm at about 37K dps now, about 50K life - crit 26.5/191.
  3. mysticc

    mysticc IncGamers Member

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    Your stats are similar to mine - a bit better.

    I agree with the damage issue. I added more to my post to describe the real crux of the issue with the damage problem.
  4. Dogbert

    Dogbert IncGamers Member

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    Mysticc you are 100% correct in your analysis. What a coincidence. I was talking to an ingame friend yesterday monk vs wizard. About this very issue. How much more effort i have to put in to kill monsters as a wizard than a monk.

    You said it so well: Why bother kiting when you can be a monk or barb and just tank stuff and not die?

    I have a much easier time killing stuff with my monk than my wizard. My wizard does over 40k damage unbuffed. has 900 resist all and 30k hp.
    My monk does 25k damage, 500 resist all and has 37k hp AND YET IT'S A MILLION TIMES EASIER AND FASTER FARMING WITH MY MONK.

    What the hell seriously..
    Wizard needs an overhaul or something it's getting ridiculous.

    The wizard however is great in a group. When a tank can tie up the monsters and the wizard can just nuke them to oblivion. But when it comes to solo play the wizard is so freaking weak. This was solved in d2 when mercs could actually tank monsters so you didn't have to spend 99% of the time kiting like a madman.

    And i thought i was alone having this feeling.. Thank god there are others sharing the same view.
  5. Deced

    Deced IncGamers Member

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    People have been doing budget build clears and comfortably clearing all of Inferno "in a day or two" on all jobs since before 1.0.3. The game's since went through two separate Inferno nerfs, and gear you could get for say 500k back then is many magnitudes inferior to gear you can get now for that same total budget.

    The idea you *need* critical mass to comfortably beat Inferno on entry level gear is absurd.

    You say stuff like "A demon hunter is a bit of an odd ball. I'd argue that you DO need some crit gear for her to be good.", and then argue let's ignore Critical Mass for Wizard. That's ridiculous. You can't pick and choose to make some biased point.

    Your entire argument seems to be "I wanna tank like a barb or a monk on entry level wizard gear, and if I can't, it means the entire job sucks". A Wizard's not a barb or a monk, and it was never meant to be. And it doesn't need to be. It's already the best tank in the game at high end gear level, which conceptually is silly regardless of how much I enjoy it.
  6. Dogbert

    Dogbert IncGamers Member

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    Deced do you even play the game? Did you even read his post? Are you playing the same game as the rest of us?
    No one is talking about beating inferno or critical mass nor is it the point of the thread.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  7. mysticc

    mysticc IncGamers Member

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    So? That has nothing to do with the balance between classes. That just means the gear for ALL classes is more accessible. However, good crit gear is still very expensive.

    You do probably need it to be comparable or better. Without it, the wizard is underpowered mathematically, especially compared to barbarian and monk. Just do a skill by skill... or passive by passive analysis... and you'll see it. Do a comparative analysis with effective health with similar cost in gear, and you'll see it too.

    Here's a fantastic post on this:
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6369406887

    The difference is that Demon Hunter has sharpshooter, which gives her first series of attacks 100% crit. Crit damage gear without crit chance is much cheaper than gear that has both, which means it's a fair point. Crit chance is also more expensive than crit damage too on pieces of gear other than a weapon. I wasn't trying to have my cake and eat it too. I guess you don't play a DH to know this?

    No, it doesn't mean that at all. I don't see why the wizard should run around like an idiot, do less damage, and have worse anti-CC abilities while having BETTER standard gear (int, vit, @res, etc.) than the other class builds. It is simply not efficient to kite for 5-10 minutes to kill something when the Monk can beat it in 30 seconds and have higher survivability for the same amount of gold investment. That to me is a design problem.


  8. psyadam

    psyadam IncGamers Member

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    I always thought Wizards were more meant for magic find and farming rather than pvp or tanking.

    edit: I don't disagree with the original poster's opinion, but I just thought I'd add the above. I don't think Blizzard did a good job with making the Wizard have any advantage, like having better farming ability or magic / gold find gear.
  9. Dogbert

    Dogbert IncGamers Member

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    4. War cry (impunity) vs force armor.
    War cry has no penalty, generates resource, buffs party, provides more resist than prismatic, and can be used with other shouts. Force armor buffs the wizard only (i.e. no co-op benefit), costs resource, has an additional resource penalty, and can't be used with other armors.

    Never thought about this. It would be nice if prismatic armour could buff the party like war cry.
  10. mysticc

    mysticc IncGamers Member

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    Yeah, he makes comparisons across all of the skills and passives, and he has a point.

    Now, I don't think making all of the skills/passives match the barbarian is the answer. It is true - for a large part of the combat, wizards take less damage. I don't think they take less damage against elites though - it's very easy to take a hit or two and be reduced to 50% health. Then what do you do? The only option with the build I'm currently running is get the **** out of there with teleport.

    Here's what they could to fix the wizard

    1) Reduce cool down of teleport to at least 6 seconds. Wormhole still works like it does.

    2) Mirror images should have the same treatment applied to them as Witch Doctor pets did. If we are supposed to have a -30% damage reduction penalty compared to the monk or barbarian, then you have to give wizards an alternative way to soak up hits. The mirror images are perhaps the only way to do that without being gear dependent (diamond skin is somewhat gear dependent). Finally, we have some form of tanking ability like the other classes have that works in way that is consistent with the class's theme. Also, you should always appear behind the mirror images - not in front. That basically defeats the whole point.

    3) Buff damage bonus on Glass Cannon to improve damage of everything. This is probably the easiest way to deal with the damage problem. Now in addition to 15% extra damage, it adds 3% critical hit chance and 30% critical hit damage. That is the "Cannon" part. Makes sense, and this actually justifies the resists/armor penalty we have to take in comparison to the Weapon Master passive, which is just a pure bonus with no drawbacks at all.

    4) Remove arcane power penalty on Energy Armor. This is seriously the stupidest thing considering mantras and shouts have no penalty at all and have even better bonuses. Now only lasts 60 seconds instead of 120 to compensate for arcane power savings.

    5) Templar now does %-based healing - heals should be around 45-70% of total life pool. As the wizard is one of the few classes who can't heal at all, the game punishes the player far too severely when you get hit in Inferno, and there's not really anything the Wizard can do about it other than teleport or pot - two abilities which have very long cool-downs.

    One could argue that is what health globes are for, but if all we can do is kite, then we are always going to kite away from the health globes, not towards them. We are kiting because we suck so much. If we go after the ****ing health globe, we'll probably die. So that doesn't work. I think the pot system in D3 was designed for barbs and monks, as they are always close to the health globes.

    I just get so annoyed when my teleport is on cooldown, the mirror images aren't doing ****, and I am trapped in a wall taking massive damage from teleport and fast enemies. I just yell at monitor, "What the ****?!" There's literally nothing the player can do - it's an auto-death.

    You could argue that this change removes the element of skill when playing the class, but my counter-argument is that the Monk and Barb require very little skill, especially when it comes to their healing abilities. Why the disparity for? Since the Templar generally sucks in everyone's eyes, and most classes won't use him even with the heal buff, it would give the Wizard the healing to compensate without taking the Wizard out of character.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  11. psyadam

    psyadam IncGamers Member

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  12. mysticc

    mysticc IncGamers Member

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    I don't expect a majority of people on there to understand, except for the one I linked to. Most people who have good gear just want to say "L2P" or some such drivel.


  13. mysticc

    mysticc IncGamers Member

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    I just think, ultimately, that good generalized gear should produce good results.

    In diablo 2, let's ignore Faster Cast Rate or Increase Attack Speed for a bit - because I think D2 handled that pretty poorly by having different frame breakpoints. In D2, you could equip any good gear, and you're character would be good. If you had a blizzard sorc, Death's Fathom might be best in slot, but you could still be effective if you had an Occy, Tal Orb, Wizard Spike or even an Eschuatas.

    While there were items that "enabled" a build, you could generally use whatever items with the build you had in mind. The build was always in your control, and it was actually kind of rare where you couldn't progress or your build didn't work at all if you didn't have the best items. I guess an exception to this is weapons to some extent, because good weapons were much rarer to drop when compared to d3, but nothing is perfect.

    With Wizards in D3, it's not like that anymore. Basically, you need specialized crit gear to take advantage of a specialized crit build to do well and/or better than other classes. Without that crit gear, you are under-performing against most/all other classes by a huge margin - easily 200% worse or more. You could have the very best non-crit gear in the game, and you will still be underpowered compared to other classes using cheaper gear. This, to me, sounds like a big problem.

    Other classes don't have this problem. While using crit gear makes their classes better, there is always an alternative non-crit build that actually works. The barb and monk are especially popular not because everyone has sick crit gear - but because you make one without crit gear and start farming. This isn't the case with the Wizard.

    Blizzard seriously needs to look at this. The above recommendations I gave above would probably solve the issue, but I am a bit unsettled about how I'm achieving it because my solutions don't really promote build diversity - they just give non-critical mass wizards an alternative, and it's going to be the same alternative across the board. I guess that's inferno for you.
  14. Delvin

    Delvin IncGamers Member

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    No.. Wizard is not underpowered. It's likely the most resilient ranged class in fact and still does good damage. Diamond skin absorbs multiple hits and is up constantly. If needed you can spec for Mirror Image/Teleport to avoid enemies more effectively. That *is* enough to do almost all elites (phasebeasts are still hard) even without awesome gear, I assure you. Sure barbs might have a better resistance buff but that's a ridiculous comparison, barbs take a LOT more damage by design. You don't absolutely need Life-On-Hit gear to play a wizard, but it's pretty much mandatory for melee classes.

    //beat inferno as a wizard pre-1.0.3 without any "cheap" tactics (with no crit gear btw) and think it would've been harder/more gear dependant back then with any other class
  15. psyadam

    psyadam IncGamers Member

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    mysticc, some people (on the official forums) are agreeing that the wizard are underpowered and making the same types of arguments as you spelled out.
  16. mysticc

    mysticc IncGamers Member

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    One of those is my response :)


  17. mysticc

    mysticc IncGamers Member

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    Whether's it's good enough or not in your opinion is sort of irrelevant. Mathematically, it is worse. Do we not want to have classes that are relatively balanced? In the wizard's case, it's very uneven.

    I wouldn't call the wizard resilient. If it can't turn invulnerable for a brief time like 3 other classes can, how resilient can it really be?

    It does not do "good damage". It's damage is passable. It is more than a barb, but less than a monk with similar gear. The demon hunter is far out-classing it too - even if you're not going for cluster arrows. The wizard is in the middle when it comes to damage, and she's second worse when it comes to defense.

    Mirror Image/Teleport is not enough. If they don't attack your mirror images, and your teleport is on cool down, then you're ****ed. Sometimes I don't know if people are playing the same game as I am. Sometimes you run into fast/teleporter/waller on the same pack, and what the hell do you do during the 16 second cool down period on your teleport? You think illusionist is going to help? LOL.

    In fact, how do you do anything against horde/fast monsters? It's impossible to kite them, and the Wizard's damage sucks so much she can't possibly kill them before she dies. This is the same problem we had with fast/invulnerable minions, but even after Blizzard got rid of that mob affix, it's still hard as is.

    The thing that really gets me though is that it's impossible for the wizard to "out gear" this, unlike the monk or barbarian. Yes, there are bad affixes for the monk for example, but once you out-gear the content, no champion/elite pack matters anymore. This is not so with the wizard. Act 2 is not terribly hard, but some packs are so brutal, you will die every time - even if you have over 1000 @ res and 6000 armor. I don't even want to discuss the end of act 3 and act 4.

    As for barbs taking damage: If barbs had no facility to heal as well as they do with Rend/Revenge/Charge, then I'd agree with you. It would make sense that even with the 30% extra damage reduction, things would be fair due to the number of hits they take.

    But honestly, have you ever actually played a Barbarian? It's easy mode compared to a Wizard. You have so much ability to heal yourself, that the combined rate of healing with the damage reduction and naturally higher armor/resists makes you 25x harder to kill compared to a wizard.

    Like I said above, if the Templar wasn't such a piece of crap, maybe the Wizard would be a lot more playable. Any 1 or 2 hits has the Wizard in real danger mode, while the Barbarian happily gets hit hundreds of times and it doesn't even matter. 1 point of his vitality is worth 5 or 10 times that of a Wizard's vitality, and he can keep healing like crazy on top of this. I think 25x is underestimating his survivability compared to the Wizard actually.


  18. NBarnes

    NBarnes IncGamers Member

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    Oh, Goddess, no. I recently spent 1.5 mil upgrading my wizard's gear and took her for a spin farming A1. The difference between her and my monk was... I could cry, really. I've been playing mages and sorceresses since forever, and the wizard is just such a brutal step down from those, I could cry.

    As I said in another wizard thread here, I really think Hydra is keeping wizards down. Having so much of the class' power tied up in one brain-dead-to-use spell means that the rest of the class has to be terrible to keep it under control.



  19. deya

    deya IncGamers Member

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    I play CM Wizard and I kill packs about 10 times faster than my friend who has one of the best gears on EU on his Monk.

    Archon with decent gear stomps even harder.

    It seems to me that people think that kite builds doesn't need defensive approach in their gearing. Wrong, dead wrong. Regardless of the class you are playing Diablo 3 with, you need to build some AR and Vita to survive some blows - otherwise it will get boring and fast. Wizard is in a very smooth spot due to Force Armor/Prismatic Armor and she can survive so much better than DH and WD (the classes you should compare her to, not Barb or Monk anyway). WD got some nice buffs but for me, Wizard is still the 2nd best softcore class after Barb (Hi2u Run Like the Wind).

    For HC, I think WD or Monk would be a lot safer choise (Monk due to natural sturdiness and WD due to Spirit Vessel).

    Nothing wrong with Wizard.
  20. Dogbert

    Dogbert IncGamers Member

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    Yes diamond skin is up constantly. Sure thing. It has a 15 second cooldown same as teleport so stop with the non sense.
    No one cares if you beat inferno in 1.0.3 when a monk can do it twice as fast, twice as safe.

    Yes but we need hydra because it's the only skill that can do damage while kiting. Without hydra it would be even worse i think.

    And you don't even get what the point of this thread is. Read the op's first post. It's right there but all you talk about is your cm wizard which is so irrelevant i could care less.

    If a monk with worse all around stats, worse gear and half damage compared to a wizard still performs better. MAYBE there is a problem somewhere MAYBE.

    Yes nothing wrong with wizard move along people.



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