Saturday, 12 December 2015

You Should Probably Avoid Playing Wizard

First of all, I love playing as a Wizard. I've been playing Wizard since before 2.0. I like the class' background lore and their personality of a young and powerful sorcerer who may be too proud of their own skills. I also love it because she is voiced by Azula. Although the class has been fun, I feel like this class has been left out over the years since Reaper of Souls was first announced. Problems with other classes have mostly been fixed while Wizard's have mostly been unchanged. Developers are spending way too much time adding more Monk legendaries.

The class has a lot of problems that the developers need to address to make the Wizard great again. I am not going to assume that other classes don't have problems themselves. Most of these problems are really causing the Wizard to go against it's supposed "play style"

The Wizard skills have erratic skill mechanics that other classes simply don't have. While DH can just pew pew at stuff or Monks, Barbs, Crusaders just smash everything in their way, Wizards have to deal with more complex mechanisms. We have problems like:
  • Random pathing (Shock Pulse, Energy Twister, Death Blossom). Shock pulse is obviously made to be a close range skill but what is the point if Spectral Blade already exists to fill this niche? If you want to hit a ranged enemy, Magic Missile and Electrocute can fill those gaps. The only good rune it has is Piercing Orb which deals considerably more damage in a defined path. Energy Twister and Death Blossom have tempting damage potential but if they don't hit enemies, they're not really so useful at all. Energy Twister is already expensive to cast by itself and ticks a few before it leaves the target. The only way to make it useful is to use Ranslor's Folly. DH can just fire Multishot and hit everything in a cone, and WD can hit everything in a well-defined Area. Wizards can do this too, with the Blizzard spell but the area it covers is way too small but costs way too much and it doesn't even hit as hard. I am aware that ETs shine against large groups on enemies in tight quarters but it is pretty much useless against bosses and RGs.
  • Delayed casts (Meteor, Explosive Blast) which most of the time causes most of them to miss or your party has already killed the monsters you're trying to hit. Imagine having to stack all the way to 100% Arcane Power only for the monster to move out of the position and waste your nuke. Explosive Blasts should just explode on cast and that's it, you're already risking yourself by staying in melee-range, you should be compensated for it.
  • Unused and overnerfed runes: Examples include all Hydras except Mammoth. This is a matter of balance. I've read a blog post about different runes serving different purposes and Mammoth Hydra is best used in tight corridors but it is doing way more damage than other Hydra runes. Shock Pulse - Living Lightning must be the Wizard's single-most unused skill in the history of Reaper of Souls. In the crazy days of Critical Mass, this skill shined the brightest for being the skill used to proc the now-removed passive skill. In the age of where monster CC immunity exists, it deals a really underwhelming damage and really low range unsuitable to fit in with any build. Frozen Orb is another overnerfed skill rune which now has a really low range and has problems with Delsere because it puts the Wizard at risk being near the monsters. Arcane Orb - Sorch might be good but people are avoiding using it because the fire trails is bugged and for some reason the developers don't want to fix it. You can't also control where it explodes so there's that. Black Hole - Absolute Zero and Spellsteal overlap each other. Except Spellsteal is better because it adds a debuff an enemy. The only reason to use Absolute Zero at all is because you have a lot of bonus damage to Cold skills.
  • Teleport's cooldown is way too long. Monk's Dashing Strike has 2 charges and achieves the exact same thing with an added bonus which damages enemies along the way for all runes. DH's vault uses a secondary resource you can spam travel fast. Witch Doctor has a movement skill that makes them invincible for a few seconds to allow them to reposition. The only way to make Teleport even worth it is use Aether Walker or Cosmic Strand or The Oculus which causes you to trade off a lot of damage in favor of more build enabling legendaries.
  • Mirror Images. I think the developers behind this is that they're supposed to be decoys to taunt enemies so you can put yourself in a better position. The way they behave right now is that they're the first to run away from enemies before you do.
  • Having "Passive" skills on the Action Bar. Monks have Mantras, Crusaders have Laws, Barbs have Shouts. Wizards have 3 types of Mage Armors, Familiar and Magic Weapon. Mantras, Laws and Shouts are buffs that allow more lively playstyle by having active and passive skills. Many Wizard builds use 1-2 of these "Passive" skills that you have to tap once every now and then. I do not understand Blizzard's philosophy behind these skills. These skills need redesigns the most. The cost of activating Energy Armor (-20 to total Arcane Power) is way too much punishment which doesn't even directly reduce damage compared to the melee classes default 30% damage reduction.
  • Channeling spells are getting really nice buffs in the coming patch. They got a lot of supporting legendaries and they are certainly more powerful than ever before. However, channeling is channeling. You have to stand to deal damage. You have to soak a lot damage and god knows how much you can take it even with the Channeling shoulders. Not everyone likes this playstyle. The amount of power creep in damage may make it a mandatory playstyle and kill off the traditional kiting builds and knowing Blizzard, this resulting imbalance will probably be ignored for another patch. I fear that during PTR testing, the new channeling buffs are only widely acclaimed because people are seeing bigger numbers but turn out incredibly difficult play.
  • Wizard sets are weird. It's all about starting with nothing then having to manually ramp up damage. Archon, Tals and Firebird's are all about this. Why can't we have a straight damage buff like Unhallowed Essence? Even 2-pieces of Hellooth does 1500% weapon damage per second just for hitting with a spell. Then WDs get straight up 900% increased damage for applying a DoT. Most other sets are, cast a specified spell and get a straight up damage multiplier for X seconds.
  • Vyr's is probably the worst. The 6-piece set by itself cannot stand on its own. The Chantodo's set is mandatory for any build using Vyr's. Half the time you're being useless (stacking Chantodo), and half the time you're overpowered. Damage scales extremely well against groups but falls short against single target. Archon overrides your keybindings which means you are effectively playing 2 different characters.
  • Tal Rasha's also got a buff in 2.4. We get more damage but the playstyle is still the same. It still retains the same active playstyle but you have to juggle between using 4 different skills to trigger meteors. The chunk of the damage are probably not coming from your own spells but from your meteors which also have problems themselves (see above). The 2-piece buffs your Resists which you already have so much from stacking intelligence. It doesn't buff your resist against Physical (most incoming damage) and Poison (most of the RGs' elements). Overall, Tal Rasha has been you-one-shot-or-you-get-one-shotted kind of builds since its major change 2.2 and shines really well in groups.
  • Firebird's is OK in the PTR and clears fast but who knows what we are getting for in the Live servers in the end. Its playstyle remains the same DoT application and wait for things to die.
  • Delesere's is probably going to be alright but it is highly limiting your build options because of the mandatory listed skills.
  • Wizard passives are underpowered. Note how the top players are more likely to use an immunity amulet or Tals neck over an HF amulet. That's because mos of the Wizard's passives aren't all that worth it. Glass Cannon is another strong punishing skill just like Energy Armor.