Diablo® III

Nightmare, Hell +, Tips for SOLO wizards!

Posts: 60
Hey everybody, about a day after the game came out I posted a quick guide detailing my experiences in normal and what abilities I thought were good, usable, or otherwise to help people out that may be struggling with the game. Since then I have clawed my way to lvl 58 (act 3 Hell), doing the entire thing solo. Here are my tips for what skills to use and which to avoid. PS: My gear is far from stellar. At 58 I am still using over half blues (any gear with + huge chunk int i basically wear) as well as several "required level 35" items, basically garbage. You really don't need very good loot to get around!

Before I show my rationale for what moves to use, you have to understand the way a higher lvl fight goes for a wizard: over 90% of the fights are basically a rush of easily killed aoeable monsters coming at you, which you can dispatch with whatever AOE moves you have on hand. After dispatching this main zerg, there are usually either a few stragglers left behind or a few gimmicky mobs who avoided your wrath and are causing trouble (usually ranged) for you to clean up. If you cannot kill simple packs like this, you are not going to solo anything. This is the easy trash of the game, just get through this and keep going.

The main problem are when ANY champion or rare packs come: These beasts are usually 3-6 in a pack (or 1 main guy and minions), sport ridiculous modifiers, and cannot be exploded with AOE. you have to KITE LIKE CRAZY, backtracking several hundred yards or in large circles (and particularly around corners) to get these packs to seperate enough to take out 1 minion at a time. You simply cannot AOE down these packs, as most sport over 60k hp per mob (thats without "extra health") and can flatten you a lot faster than vice versa. Your main strategy here is to flee like hell, and when you see a good opportunity (minion vortex is down, they wont run to you before u can cast and run) unload as much arcane power as you can, then flee again. This is the strategy you will use in virtually all difficult D3 encounters, even the bosses (works great on diablo).

Primary Skills:

Which primary skill you use is borderline irrelevant. They all deal mediocre damage, and you are very unlikely to have enough time to do more than use it as a quick ranged auto attack every once in a while in between fleeing like crazy.

Notable:
Electrocute : This is likely the best of the best primaries for most encounters. If you are looking for speed most of the time, nothing works greater than this + the 6 chained rune to help out your main AOE spell. However, in most cases your main AOE will wipe out such a signifant chunk of mobs that the chain lightning rune will do nothing for yoy, not to mention how useless that rune is once you are down to a few rare / champion mobs. As a result, my favorite rune to use here is surge of power, as it will allow you to get back enough AP to use your main AOEs and nukes again as fast as possible.

Arcane Missile: If you can GUARANTEE you will not need aoe to any degree on a fight, swap out for arcane missile, which will of course deal more damage to single target mobs. In fact, this spell is how to kill most of the act bosses in between rounds of dodging whatever fireball they are throwing. The viable options for runes are either charged arcane missile, or the one that makes it return 4 AP per cast. The 4 ap will let you spam your harder hitting moves more, but if you are using this you are likely in a 1v1 fight where you are dodging too much to let your AP bottom out all the time. I prefer charged missile. All other variations of the runes are weak AOE substitues for electrocute.

Hard to use: Spell blade,Shock pulse. Low range, unable to "click on mobs" means you will miss pot shots if you are fleeing from champions, inadvisable to use.

Main AOE damage: (right click):

There are 2 main AP dumps you can use, disintegrate or arcane orb. If you are dealing with a huge aoe pack of mobs, disintegrate will very likely deal more damage than arcane orb. HOWEVER, the entire time you use this you STAND STILL and let the mobs get close to you. On several champion packs, boss fights, or etc, this is simply unacceptable and will get you killed. My main skill swaps during my time soloing have been swapping this skill around depending on how hard I need to run during a fight.

Example: fighting versus FAST VORTEX WALL minions, dont use disintegrate. you will channel it for 3 seconds and then get your face caved in. Instead, fire all your aps worth of arcane orb and run like hell!

Alternatively, if you find yourself against mobs that are not that fast and not as dangerous (but plentiful) disintegrate will clear them out faster than any other move if you can stand safely for 5 sec.

For disintegrate, Chaos Nexus is hands down the best rune. If you are using disintegrate, you are likely able to stand near mobs safely, and this will increase the damage of the spell by a shocking amount.

For arcane orb, you have several options I cant decide between: Obliterate, Tap the Source, and Celestial Orb are all very good. I would play around with the 3 and decide which you prefer. I think all in all Celestial Orb is far and away the best for hitting 6 super high HP champions chasing you, as with the other 2 it will likely crash into the front minion and will not deal as impressive damage as you'd hoped. Agaim, this is only for champion/unqiue fights, as in a normal AOE scenario it doesnt matter what rune you use you will destroy the whole pack spamming any arcane orb.

AVOID: blizzard, Meteor. Have not been able to use these effectively at all. Champions and elties RUN FAST, and will dodge meteors left and right. Blizzard is a nice snare until you realize that they just left the root with as much hp as they entered it with, and you now have a slightly slower mob bearing down on you with only electrocute to DPS it. If you want a cheap powerful snare, blizzard can be used as one of your 4 bonus skills, but I never have myself and would advice against it.

Defensive Spells:

Diamond Skin: Since aquiring this spell at level 10 or w/e, I have NEVER EVER EVER unbound it from my skillbar. Simply amazing. every 15 seconds you get an amazing divine shield that will prevent any collossal attack from killing you or from a pack of champions that just vortexed you from destroying you. Use this every single time the CD is up, simply amazing (especially with Force armor.. more on that later). One very powerful combo is to use this with disintegrate to tank mobs for the 4-5 seconds you need to completely wipe out an entire pack of them, then simply kiting the rest around another 10 seconds before you get your CD back and can do it again. WIth force armor you will be able to eat 6 extra attacks while you unload your AP into enemies.

Teleport: Teleport is insane for getting out of the myriad situations in which you will find yourself getting 1 shot as a wizard: any time you get vorterxed, jailed, rooted, blinked on, caught in aoe, it doesnt matter, Teleport will get you out of there. Along with diamond skin I would not trade this spell from my bar for anything unless you can guarantee me nothing is going to run anywhere near me during any part of the fight. If you can somehow persuade yourself that you are so good at running you will never be caught in a bad situation then swap this off your skill bar by all means, but remember the skill every time you get gang banged by some elites thereafter. Before Hell, when non-boss fights (even champions) were still pretty much "burn them down before they get close" I could justify not taking TP, but for the elites in hell that you HAVE to kite theres no getting around not using this.

For runes Worm Hole will give you 2 more chances at TP if you mess up the first time (or let you TP past a pack and then away from them), or if you are in very tight corridors Fracture will actually decieve champion mobs away from you giving you a second to get away.

Energy Armor:

Energy armor after you get force rune is always on, never take it off. This skill is PERFECT for avoiding getting 1 shot by the elite champions after they vortex you. Combine this with illusionist passive and every unique boss becomes a total joke to escape from,especially if Diamond armor is off cd as well.

Last slot: HYDRA.
In the first difficulties, when everything dies instantly and you are always moving forward through a stage, hydra blows. It can get maybe 1 or 2 shots off before youve already finished the pack off anyway. In fights where 90% of the time you are running from a very aggresive pack of high hp mosnters, the Hydra is going to go to town on them for you while you do all the leg work of kiting them. Great spell, deals more damage than it seems (3 heads fire), and if you can guarantee a mob is going to stick around an area a while (such as on a boss) this skill is absolutely amazing for killing things offscreen.
Rune for Arcane for fights with even minor aoe, lightning hydra for primarily 1v1 fights.

Passives:

Temporal Flux is amazing. As you can see from above, you will be using arcane orb or disintegrate, neither of which slow normally. With this passive you will be able to dish out the DPS as well as keeping all enemies away from you during your kiting spree. It even works on the Arcane Hydra (really really cool for kiting around elites in a circle).

Glass Cannon: After I resigned myself to the fact that I will be getting 1-3 shot by anything from hell difficulty on, this was a clear choice in my arsenal. With force armor, it doesnt matter how much +% damage you have, the monster could hit for 5000000000, you will only take 35% of your life in dmg. But, considering ANY swing from ANYTHING will take you down 35%, this passive is basically "15% free damage".

Illusionist: This passive, + force armor to guarantee not getting 1 shot, is the secret for killing any bosses or exceptionally tough champions. with this teleport is ALWAYS up, and you always have a way to run away if things get dicey. I only use this for when I KNOW a hard enemy is ahead (so mostly bosses), but if you are having trouble surviving I would consider using this all the time until you learn to position yourself better.

If not using illusionist, There are several passives which all basically increase your dps in indirect ways. for levels 1-54 I mostly used Astral Presence for more DPS, but have been playing with arcane dynamo since I got it. This doesnt really matter, experiment with diffierent ones.

For large packs of low dmg monsters: Swap glass cannon for blur, as if a monster hits you for <35% GC hurts you and blur protects you. If the mob hits harder than 35%, blur does nothing for you.

All other moves are too situtional/ have too high a CD to really help you out: Any move that does anything "around you in an area" (force pulse, frost nova, etc) is garbage, as if you are surrounded youre either dead or teleporting away with no time to do anything else. All your other moves dont need you to be within melee range to use them, dont gimp yourself by getting 1 and then insisting on using it. Sure Frost nova will root the elite champions for a few seconds while you run, but teleport would do the exact same thing in that situation.
The take home message here is really(TLDR): Force Armor, Diamond Skin, Teleport will keep you alive FAR LONGER than the other options., especially when rocking illusionist.

if anyone has any questions for me please feel free to ask!
Edited by xGooDxDaYX#1192 on 5/18/2012 1:02 PM PDT
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Posts: 60
If I didnt mention a spell here, it also doesnt neccesarily mean that the spell is useless. Magic Weapon is a very good spell for giving you a ridiculous amount of damage, and I used it instead of a hydra for a very very long time, but at some point found that Hydra just benefited my kiting playstyle more. However, if you find a fight with mobs moving too quick to make use of hydra, or perhaps you absolutely hate using diamond skin, magic armor is a great 4th spell. It just doesnt stop you getting killed in any way.
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Posts: 318
Great effort, thanks for posting :)
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Posts: 41
Very good read. Thanks.
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Wall of text instantly kills holy.
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Posts: 318
Thoughts on diamond skin runes?

I was using prism during nightmare but I'm thinking of changing it now that I'm in hell to crystal shell.
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To Holy - perhaps you need more adderall then.

Thanks for sharing your experience, OP
Edited by Jal#1898 on 5/18/2012 12:50 PM PDT
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Posts: 60
Thoughts on diamond skin runes?

I was using prism during nightmare but I'm thinking of changing it now that I'm in hell to crystal shell.


Forgot to mention them but yeah Prism and Crystal Shell are the 2 best, 95% of the time I have been using the Shell but experimented with Prism when I used tap the Source. 13 Energy Arcane Orbs were a blast, but you spam so many that its almost like you are casting disintegrate (because you have to stand still to empty your bar). I have found that crystal shell just lets me take more risks (such as pumping a few more ticks of disintegrate in) and avoid catastrophic failures (getting caught really hard) whereas with Prism I would almost have to start using the shell offensively, something I am loathe to do as its so good to have it off cd and waiting for the right moment.
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Posts: 50
question, im 32 just started NM. all through avt 4 normal and right now i use disintegrate primary (rarely run out of mana with diamond skin prism) on bosses i uses ray of frost with snow blast.

what are you doing during boss fights? hydra + kite, then orb any chance you got? mainly thinking of single target damage. for elites/champion packs: drop hydra, start dis nex till they get close, nova, teleport, dis nex until one is left then DS RoF burn, tp or nova and repeat.

i dont see electrocute in their if you almost never use it.
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Posts: 318
Ok thanks :)
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Posts: 60
question, im 32 just started NM. all through avt 4 normal and right now i use disintegrate primary (rarely run out of mana with diamond skin prism) on bosses i uses ray of frost with snow blast.

what are you doing during boss fights? hydra + kite, then orb any chance you got? mainly thinking of single target damage. for elites/champion packs: drop hydra, start dis nex till they get close, nova, teleport, dis nex until one is left then DS RoF burn, tp or nova and repeat.

i dont see electrocute in their if you almost never use it.


From nightmare on, you will find the act bosses will start to 1-2 shot you with most moves and you will largely spend your time running around and timing teleport/diamond skin. your DAMAGE on boss fights doesnt really matter, because the boss only has like 5 moves that they will repeat over and over that you have to learn to survive or you will die. If you can survive, you can kill him with Arcane Missiles alone, if you cant, you cant deal so much damage that you avoid the hard part of the fight.

For a long long time I tried to use Frost Ray on boss fights, as it was clearly the best way to pump damage into them, but I found it was much safer to always be running around, so Arcane Orb definitely became my main spell. Basically hydra up, always keep about a screens distance from the boss, and fire the arcane orbs. After, if you feel adventorous, get a bit closer and shoot an arcane missile or 2, then run like hell as they cast whatever move they were planning to cast. Most times you will not even have time to Arcane missile if you want to avoid all damage. As such, you really dont even NEED 2 damage spells on a boss (not counting hydra, who is actually doing all the work of killing the boss), and could swap in magic armor and arcane missile over arcane orb. (arcane missile deals 143% dmg, orb deals 228% if you RUNE, but you only get to cast 2-3 at a time, the single target dps difference between this and arcane missiles is actually not very large)

The one exception for this was Belial, who I found I needed disintegrate on to mop up adds in phase 1 and 2. After that is over, you can actually swap Ray of Frost in instead of Disintegrate between phase 2 and 3, but be sure you can dodge all his moves consistently before you root yourself in place during a meteor shower ...

Azmodan also always threatens me with adds, but I have never actually seen him summon anything except for some building that dies in 2 hits and has never been an issue.

Diablo is single target all the way, as he tag teams with shadow you in p2, and this fight is actually just about avoiding all of diablos attacks over and over.
Edited by xGooDxDaYX#1192 on 5/18/2012 1:19 PM PDT
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Posts: 426
this is what I was thinking for hell too. currently on nightmare but agree.
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85 Orc Hunter
1565
Posts: 11
Were you able to try out Galvanzing Ward? Or is the extended duration for energy amour useless?
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Posts: 60
05/18/2012 01:19 PMPosted by Bulmer
Were you able to try out Galvanzing Ward? Or is the extended duration for energy amour useless?


I actually tried galvanizing ward out a LOT, hoping that the healing from it + my templar (my companion has always been templar with all left hand side skills maxxed on his char sheet) would somehow help me out. In normal and nightmare, where the DMG you take is not so extreme, the healing helped me a bit, but pretty quickly around Act 2 nightmare I realized this passive wasnt doing anything to really keep me alive.

The extra duration on armor is 100% worthless, as your armor spells have no CD and you have plenty of time during any fight where you are offscreen from a mob and can spare 35 AP to refresh it. However, just be careful to REAPPLY IT every 120 seconds, as I have died several times after it wore off, I didnt notice, and got 1 shot by something I should have survived easily. So unless you have alzheimers Id pass on this passive.
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http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#UlYXQg!YTV!bZcaZZ

this is my build in hell mode clearing most of the acts with Barb, DH and a Monk.

so basically blizzard to help team freeze enemies, spam electrocute to get the 5 stacks from then passive and blizzard again.

Then while enemies are freeze, teleport in diamond form, nova, drop time shield, walk out of there and repeat.
Edited by Xachery#1948 on 5/18/2012 1:33 PM PDT
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So basically all I'm gathering about the Wizard in Hell and Beyond is if you don't have a full group to pre-occupy enemies while you dish it out you have to center your build around running like a scared little girl in a dark alley. Level 53 Wizard LF 2 Barbs and 2 monks for Hell pst.
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Posts: 50
thanks for the tips man. i see your point about staying still and eating damage with RoF or orb and kite.
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thanks for the tips Jim, good read
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100 Human Rogue
11320
Posts: 12,301
Ray of frost with snowfall seems to put out a ton of single target DPS with a relatively low AP cost. Have you tried using this for boss fights?
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Posts: 102
While this was a great post, I'm sort of disappointed that it also tends to prove earlier blue posts wrong about certain skills dominating higher difficulties rather than others. They were always promising a diverse array of builds that could be viable at the level cap, but if these reports are accurate it sounds like Wizards are going to be funneled into using a narrow range of skills once they reach higher difficulties.
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