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.