Diablo® III

Some observations about the Wizard

80 Blood Elf Paladin
0
So I've been reading some of the posts here, and I feel there's a lot of misconceptions concerning how the Wizard will play out. Tl;dr at the bottom.

Some quick background: played a LOT of D2 (at least 8 level 75+ chars that I can remember offhand and 2 with best possible gear) and WoW, so I have a lot of experience as to how Blizzard balances their games and abilities.

First, there seems to be a lot of confusion over how the wizard plays solo. Everyone has a chance to play with someone else, as we all experienced with the templar. On a personal level, I feel the templar is the perfect merc for the wizard, as he's more of a tank than a damage dealer, which complements the wizard well. The templar will definitely die to packs of strong enemies (like champions) if not assisted quickly, but he should be able to solo single mobs that come after you or tank groups for a short period of time as long as you maintain his gear. With this in mind, high AoE dps could be considered a form of crowd control as it would allow your templar to take the agro while you burn mobs down before he dies. Playing a sorceress in D2, this held true even in hell, as I could allow the act 2 hero to run in and blizzard on top of him while using glacial spike/frozen orb. As long as my dps was high, he wouldn't die. I plan on using both blizzard and comet to keep up high AoE damage on him.

Second, there are a lot of assumptions being floated around based on the beta. To rate the effectiveness of a spell based on part of one act in normal is a dangerous mistake to make, as most people who played D2 through hell can attest. I don't know how many times I had to scrap a toon because a spell I thought was awesome in normal turned out to be too underpowered in hell. Until we actually know how hard inferno will be, all we have is speculation. Speculation is okay, as long as everyone takes it with a grain of salt.

Third, a fair number of people have been comparing straight spell dps and picking winners based on that. Ray of frost is a perfect example; in paper, ray of frost will outperform all other spells at sustained single-target dps. The problem with this (which fortunately other posters usually address) is that twofold. First the spell is being examined in a vacuum. Comparing two similar spells without accounting for other spells and effects is flawed logic. The burden of channeling RoF is that it either hinders your ability to rotate other spells in, or hinders the dps of the spell itself. Like everything, it's situational, but the more you rotate in other spells, the less overall damage you're getting from ray of frost. The second problem is that RoF's high dps assumes that you don't need to be mobile. When playing with other people (or using the templar merc), it's reasonable to assume that you will get a decent amount of time to channel the spell. However, I'm sure there will be encounters where the wizard must remain mobile for a large portion of the fight, during which RoF will become next to useless. This is not to say that ray of frost is a bad spell; I will be running with it most of the time and we don't really have other options for a single target AP dump. It's just dangerous to look at dps to assume spell superiority.

Lastly, cooldown reduction is far less straightforward than many people make it out to be. Frost nova is a great example: if you only need one frost nova per encounter, and don't have anymore than one encounter requiring frost nova every 12 seconds, a cooldown reduction is 100% useless. However, if either of those conditions is not true, a cooldown reduction can be far more effective than 30%, or whatever cooldown reduction is used. This will require testing: how often are you hitting a spell button shortly before the cooldown is finished? Does cooldown reduction significantly change this? Is there a way to modify your playstyle to not require a cooldown reduction? Cooldown reduction in D3 really seems to take a lot of potential power away from spells, and I personally believe should be avoided when possible.

In regards to evocation vs. critical mass, I expect (based on how Blizzard has balanced such things in the past) that critical mass will result in a larger reduction in cooldowns, at the cost of consistency. There will most likely be an ICD, as to not have one would make this ability scale very well with gear and force many wizards who wish to optimize their dps to stack crit. It IS possible that it does not have an ICD, as it is obtained at level 50, but I wouldn't hold out much hope.

In keeping with my own standard, this is mostly speculation, albeit informed speculation. I welcome comments and criticism.

Tl;dr:
Wizard should almost always have a tank during actual play.
Very little known about effectiveness of spells in inferno.
Can't compare spells with different mechanics in a vacuum.
Cooldown reduction: situational, not generalized.
Edited by akcrono#1954 on 5/9/2012 5:00 AM PDT
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80 Blood Elf Paladin
0
Another thing to mention should be AP pool vs AP regen. Based on D2 experience as well as the D3 beta, I believe that increasing your AP pool is superior to AP regen for most encounters, the reason being that most encounters are spaced out enough to allow for significant AP regen. Being able to dump a larger pool of AP into damage should make standard encounters easier, and I found that the time between encounters in the Beta was enough that I was back to (or close to) full AP by the next pack of mobs. This is not to say that AP regen is not important; it will be key for named encounters and boss battles. But the difference in 40-60 ap starting the battle could frequently be the difference between 6 dead mobs and 5-6 mobs at 10-20% health. This would make a higher AP pool vastly superior, even with a slightly longer downtime between pulls.

Most packs are spaced out and single units should be handled by friends/merc with signature spam.
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Oh man... Well, okay, let's begin:

I agree with a few things you say, but disagree with many others, I will illustrate. But first of all, one question: Have you played the D3 beta? I think it's important to know this part.

First:

The Templar merc, sure, it may look like the D2 act 2 merc to you, but it has very little to do with him. It can hardly tank, and that is because most mobs simply ignore him and go straight to you. So do not consider him a tank, and get a merc based on their abilities. The Templar is a healer, not a tank. The Enchantress has many more possibilities of holding the mobs away from you than the Templar does.

Second, one thing is experience, which no one denies, another is number crunching, which is what many people are doing and what they base their assumptions on. It's called theory crafting for a reason, and putting it away because you don't want to run it yourself is a bit aggressive (in my opinion, of course). Saying the experience in the beta is simple speculation and has no effects on the real game is... mind numbing at the very least.

Third, while I mostly agree here, you also have to think about how RoF works. The Wiz channeled spells do not have a starting AP and then channeling AP component. It costs the same the first cast as maintaining it. Then, you have to REALIZE that RoF (and Disentegrate) work by ticks, they're not doing damage the whole time you're casting, rather once every tick while channeling. What does this mean? It means that the first tick (runes aside) does the SAME damage at the SAME AP cost than the second, third, or fourth tick. Basically, you can cast once, hit, and keep running like you would with a non-channeling spell. It is the same exact thing in damage terms and AP cost. The difference here is that you may continue to cast without clicking again, staying in place.

Fourth, here I agree and disagree at the same time. For the disagree part, I will appeal to your D2 experience (as null as it may be in regards to a new game). When playing solo on Hell games or leveling your characters through Hell or Nightmare, did you not have pretty lengthy fights even with normal monsters? Considering the information that HAS BEEN confirmed about the difficulty the designers have put for the game, I would say most encounters in higher difficulties will not be about 12 seconds of fight. And bosses will take much longer (just take a look at the beta and the first mini-boss, that alone takes minutes).

For this same reason, all those builds that put AP pool over AP regeneration are doomed to me, especially those saying they are for Inferno, because they assume they will be rolling through content in a few seconds and won't need to regen during that battle. Throw your Blizzard, Meteor and Max damage Electrocute and be done. Sorry, I think these builds are going to have trouble not just progressing, but surviving at all.
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Here you confirm my first question, sorry I hadn't seen this second post yet. Anyhow, I answered it before hand it seems.

Another thing to mention should be AP pool vs AP regen. Based on D2 experience as well as the D3 beta, I believe that increasing your AP pool is superior to AP regen for most encounters, the reason being that most encounters are spaced out enough to allow for significant AP regen. Being able to dump a larger pool of AP into damage should make standard encounters easier, and I found that the time between encounters in the Beta was enough that I was back to (or close to) full AP by the next pack of mobs. This is not to say that AP regen is not important; it will be key for named encounters and boss battles. But the difference in 40-60 ap starting the battle could frequently be the difference between 6 dead mobs and 5-6 mobs at 10-20% health. This would make a higher AP pool vastly superior, even with a slightly longer downtime between pulls.

Most packs are spaced out and single units should be handled by friends/merc with signature spam.


Here you confirm my first question, sorry I hadn't seen this second post yet. Anyhow, I answered it before hand it seems.

This would make a higher AP pool vastly superior, even with a slightly longer downtime between pulls.


How does this make it superior? If anything, that sounds like going slower and being inferior...

Personally I want both, as much AP pool as I can manage with as high AP rep as I can get, depending on the build (my builds with meteor go high on both, I find it highly desirable).
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First, thank you for the response. I always appreciate constructive feedback.

Oh man... Well, okay, let's begin:
The Templar merc, sure, it may look like the D2 act 2 merc to you, but it has very little to do with him. It can hardly tank, and that is because most mobs simply ignore him and go straight to you. So do not consider him a tank, and get a merc based on their abilities. The Templar is a healer, not a tank. The Enchantress has many more possibilities of holding the mobs away from you than the Templar does.

I consider him a tank based on the experience I had with him and his abilities, which I plan on setting up as follows:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/follower#1000
and could potential change depending on how useful those abilities actually are.

Playing the beta, I found the templar to be an acceptable tank for what I plan on doing. If I hung back a bit, he would run forward and mobs would ignore me instead of him as long as I didn't attack. I plan on letting him tank long enough to clump up mobs, then letting go a couple comet casts and a blizzard. By the time I gained threat (which would admittedly happen fairly quickly), they mobs are already snared and will have (or will soon be) hit by 2 comets and a blizzard. I'd still have the AP to cast another blizzard in front of the group, further increasing the time they're snared. In D2, I found the biggest problem with groups of enemies was that they were often too spread out when I encountered them to properly AoE right off the bat. Using the merc to gain initial threat usually solved this problem.
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Second, one thing is experience, which no one denies, another is number crunching, which is what many people are doing and what they base their assumptions on. It's called theory crafting for a reason, and putting it away because you don't want to run it yourself is a bit aggressive (in my opinion, of course). Saying the experience in the beta is simple speculation and has no effects on the real game is... mind numbing at the very least.

I was actually careful to say that I wasn't putting it away all together. My point was that I've seen a lot of posts where people have not learned from the past, either due to lack of experience or forgetfulness. What we have seen in the beta is roughly the first 3rd of act 1 in D2, during which almost everything was viable. I was saying that it's highly likely that our experiences in the beta will not be applicable in inferno, to the point where I would consider what we learned more speculation than fact.

Third, while I mostly agree here, you also have to think about how RoF works. The Wiz channeled spells do not have a starting AP and then channeling AP component. It costs the same the first cast as maintaining it. Then, you have to REALIZE that RoF (and Disentegrate) work by ticks, they're not doing damage the whole time you're casting, rather once every tick while channeling. What does this mean? It means that the first tick (runes aside) does the SAME damage at the SAME AP cost than the second, third, or fourth tick. Basically, you can cast once, hit, and keep running like you would with a non-channeling spell. It is the same exact thing in damage terms and AP cost. The difference here is that you may continue to cast without clicking again, staying in place.

I didn't have closed beta access, so my limited beta time was used to try out all the different classes. I don't remember it too clearly (and if I'm wrong, thank you for pointing it out), but I don't remember the damage component of FoR being easily spammable (the snare component was). I'm not sure Blizzard has implemented (or will keep) the stutter stepping you're describing, and thanks to latency, may not actually be possible, at least in terms of full DPS.

Fourth, here I agree and disagree at the same time. For the disagree part, I will appeal to your D2 experience (as null as it may be in regards to a new game). When playing solo on Hell games or leveling your characters through Hell or Nightmare, did you not have pretty lengthy fights even with normal monsters? Considering the information that HAS BEEN confirmed about the difficulty the designers have put for the game, I would say most encounters in higher difficulties will not be about 12 seconds of fight. And bosses will take much longer (just take a look at the beta and the first mini-boss, that alone takes minutes).

Aside from bosses, my encounters even in hell were rather quick. Grouping up mobs for AoE was likely a large contributor for that. Of course, this may not hold true. In this case, scrutiny of real-world results becomes even more important. Do fights that last longer than 9 seconds need a second frost nova? Are necessary cooldowns always close to being finished when they are needed? Cooldown reduction will give you nothing if you need frost nova every 6 seconds; at that point the gameplay or strategy needs to be adjusted.

For this same reason, all those builds that put AP pool over AP regeneration are doomed to me, especially those saying they are for Inferno, because they assume they will be rolling through content in a few seconds and won't need to regen during that battle. Throw your Blizzard, Meteor and Max damage Electrocute and be done. Sorry, I think these builds are going to have trouble not just progressing, but surviving at all.


It's actually the opposite; I'm assuming that the content will require so much damage to kill that it will require a vastly expanded AP pool to burn down and we can't rely on our AP to regen during battle. I wasn't saying AP regen is not valuable (I actually glyph my signature for it), but that most situations should favor a larger AP pool. I probably should have posted my build, but I didn't have room in my OP:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#UZYlOk!XWT!YbaZbY
This is dependent on the mechanics of frozen solid: whether or not it's affected by frost nova's shatter rune, and whether the chance on proc is 20% per cast or 20% per tick. If neither is true, I will likely drop frost nova for one of the other defensives or archon. Not sure how I'd re-rune blizzard, but probably stark winter.

I agreed with you that this will have a harder time with bosses, but we don't now how boss fights are going to pan out.
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This would make a higher AP pool vastly superior, even with a slightly longer downtime between pulls.


How does this make it superior? If anything, that sounds like going slower and being inferior...

Personally I want both, as much AP pool as I can manage with as high AP rep as I can get, depending on the build (my builds with meteor go high on both, I find it highly desirable).


Having 6 mobs dead instead of at 10-20% health makes this much faster, as I can pick up loot, move on to the next area, explore, etc. If you didn't have that extra AP to lob another nuke, you'd have to burn those remaining mobs down, and do it with little AP. By the time you've mopped up (if you actually did mop up) I'd have finished looting and be on my way to the next room, regenning AP all the while.

Now, if you want to ask me what proof I have that the AP difference is going to actually kill these mobs, that's a fair point. But if AoE'ing groups down is viable at all, this is the approach to take (IMO).

I'm not completely sold on electrocute; it's probably inferior for most boss battles compared to magic missile. It's more for proccing arcane dynamo.
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didn't have closed beta access, so my limited beta time was used to try out all the different classes. I don't remember it too clearly (and if I'm wrong, thank you for pointing it out), but I don't remember the damage component of FoR being easily spammable (the snare component was). I'm not sure Blizzard has implemented (or will keep) the stutter stepping you're describing, and thanks to latency, may not actually be possible, at least in terms of full DPS.


Just to comment on the stutter stepping. You can actually attack faster while stutter stepping than you can just standing and casting. This actually creates a slight buff for cast spells while leaving channeled spells unaffected.

Blizzard stated in a blue post this was intentional design. And is meant to make combat feel more responsive. This could change in the future (like all things Blizzard) but is intentional design.

Here is a link to the post talking about stutter stepping, including a Quote from Bashiok and a video!:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4796049590#1

With regards to AP regeneration vs. MAX AP. This is somewhat a moot point. You can get +MAX AP on gear but cannot get any sort of regeneration other than +AP on Crit from gear. So you have to look at is as from what is the least you can have, which is 80. Vs what the MAX is without gear, 140. 60 AP is a large difference, but as soon as you burn through your AP pool the Regen becomes your most important stat.

So for bosses, champion packs, monsters that summon vast armies, or ANY situation where you get attacked by two packs at once... AP regen is vastly superior to MAX AP. Max is as you said a burst stat. As you said you can wait between packs to regen AP. This is true but over time that waiting time adds up. Basically you lose throughput. AP regen can also be extrapolated into how much extra damage it provides to you. I have calculated all of this.

You can view it here:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4427663538?page=1#1
Edited by ßeta#1100 on 5/9/2012 12:25 PM PDT
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85 Draenei Warrior
6480
I plan on playing very aggressively and in the monsters face a lot of the times, which will be viable just depends on your skills / playstyle and skillzz
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Bashiok does say that stutter stepping, as in cancelling attack animations by moving is intentional, but also says in the same post that it will work differently in release than it does in beta.

I really hope that stutter stepping isn't required to get the most attack speed out of your character because it will get tedious.

I suspect it will end up working like marines in sc2. It won't actually increase your dps, but will be a valuable kiting tool. We should be able to move to cancel a casting animation to kite more effectively, but the game client needs to recognize this is being done and not allow you to begin a new animation until the proper interval of time has passed.
Edited by BlackMage#1110 on 5/9/2012 3:37 PM PDT
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05/09/2012 03:33 PMPosted by MilesOBrien
Bashiok does say that stutter stepping, as in cancelling attack animations by moving is intentional, but also says in the same post that it will work differently in release than it does in beta.


He never said it will work differently come release. He said that it could change. We really don't know.

@Jolts: the link used to contain the "blue" from the quote. When you edit posts that you quoted a blizzard employee on they lose the "blue" for some reason. Also, when using the search function the thread may have been in the beta feedback forums. Which are now unavailable. (I'm getting the 404 error on the forums when I click on the posts)

Thanks for the +1 for Regen
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05/10/2012 10:55 PMPosted by ßeta
@Jolts: the link used to contain the "blue" from the quote. When you edit posts that you quoted a blizzard employee on they lose the "blue" for some reason.


For very good reason.

I think the people making builds right now are wasting their time, putting it bluntly. Especially people making Hardcore Inferno builds, when nobody here even as the slightest clue what Death Blossom even looks like, or the enemy types, etc. Not even mentioning that we acquire skills and runes slowly over 60 LEVELS.

If all the "critique my build" threads on the Wizard forums were replaced with "discuss this spell" threads we would be much better Wizards upon release day.

I for one find threads like that immensely useful. I never considered that Disintegrate would be superior in boss fights like Skeleton King because the beam penetrates and damages any adds in the way, while runed Ray of Frost though having higher damage and slow would suck because the charge-up would be constantly interrupted by mobs getting in the way.

More spell threads, less build threads, IMHO. :)
Edited by Varin#1482 on 5/10/2012 11:57 PM PDT
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what I meant by edit. Was not edit as in changing the quote. But edit, as in, merely pressing the edit button. Sorry of the lack of clarity. But I still agree with you about it being for good reason.

I understand your frustration with the build threads. I find them useful for thinking of possible synergies or combinations I had not thought of myself. I have run into this a few times. Many of the different build threads go into discussions about the spells used and can get into the in-depth discussion you refer to. But it is difficult to find exactly what you may be looking for in that context.

If you want some spell discussion threads feel free to make some I agree with you they would probably benefit the community.
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Bashiok does say that stutter stepping, as in cancelling attack animations by moving is intentional, but also says in the same post that it will work differently in release than it does in beta.


He never said it will work differently come release. He said that it could change. We really don't know.



" It's likely you'll see changes within some future beta push that reflect more what we're testing now internally, but of course it's possible that won't be the final implementation either."

Above is Bashiok's quote.

Bashiok's quote says that the beta implementation of stutter step is OLD, thus different from what they were currently testing. From the quote above it's extremely likely that stutter step at release will be different from what we experienced in the beta. Granted, it's possible that it will work exactly how it did in beta, but I think it's a fairly safe assumption that it will be different; how different? That's anyone's guess.
Edited by BlackMage#1110 on 5/11/2012 11:38 AM PDT
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