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Gazzlam
05-02-2011, 11:22 AM
So, the guide doesn't seem particularly clear on this... and after listening to people in-game in in the forums, it's become decidedly less clear!

So, I've just hit level 7, and whilst my build was working quite well up to now, I'm starting to run into my usual Wizard problem of dying a lot more than everyone else. A bit embarrassing when the lvl5 rogue picks up my Stone and saves my skin.

I'm not really looking at making my character hardier, I'll just play around that, and HP or CON boost items will help me out there.

I was looking at using my free feat change, and someone suggested that SF is a better way to go than Spell Penetration. I can see the argument.

Someone said that PM Wizards last a lot longer, and reading the feats/enhancement descriptions, I can see that (barely).

Archmage looks more to my playing style as I can free up those MM/CM etc spell slots, and throw buffs and AoE spells in instead. And keep the Spell like Abilities for some regular damage.

I've hear that PM Wizards can only be healed my Negative Energy... Is this true? or only when in Zombie, Lich, etc form?

Has anyone played about with both of these branches of Wizard? And what are your thoughts, please?

tihocan
05-02-2011, 11:40 AM
It's only when they are in undead form that PMs can only be healed through negative energy.
The main boost of PM is self-heal & high insta-kill DC. The main boost of AM is high DC on a chosen school and some extra cheap spells.

bladepro
05-02-2011, 11:40 AM
It makes a difference as to which race you are playing. Because a WF can self repair IMHO it makes for sense for them to go AM as you can't repair yourself in Form. But Fleshies on the other had PM allows you to self heal with negative energy with in vampire, zombie, wraith, lich form (can get heals when not in form). Spell focus is better than spell pen as very few mobs have high spell pen figures but they do have high saves vs spells. Now that said neither AM or PM is wrong for any toon, my opinion is based on max effectiveness of the PRE. I currently have a lvl 20 WF wiz Am and a lvl 14 drow wiz PM and i like both but they do play very differently and because it is fairly easy to qualify for either PRE reseting your enhancements can allow you to try both.

donfilibuster
05-02-2011, 11:47 AM
If you want to try out both or be able to switch you may need to plan your feats in advance.
Even for a single PrE of your choice it is recommended to plan your feats.

This is because greater focus is a general feat, not a metamagic feat, thus you need it by lv 12.
Archmage requires mental thougness while palemaster forms require thoughness except wraith that require mental toughness.

ReaperAlexEU
05-02-2011, 12:21 PM
i'd say there its more a sign that you still have some learning to do. for example my pale master didnt take the prestige until lvl12 (no zombie form before this update) and he was quite robust at lvl7. but hey, thats what being a newbie is all about!

the beauty with a caster is you only need 2 stats, the casting stat and CON. many newbies fall into the trap of taking lots of DEX for defences. its not a bad idea as such, the game just doesnt really work that way which newbies have no way of knowing when they make a character. defences mostly boil down to lots of buffs, tons of hit points and trying not to annoy the monsters. i bet thats the crux of your problem.

so, easy fix, the buffs. i like expeditious retreat so i can always keep my speed up even when haste runs out at a bad time. i like jump so i can vault over monsters and obstacles in a bid to stay out of arms reach. i like nightshield to make me immune to magic missile and to boost my saving throws. i like blur to give me a 20% chance to avoid melee or ranged attacks. i like haste to help the melee's kill faster and to help me keep out of trouble. i like rage to help the melees kill faster and to give me more hit points and a better fort saving throw. i like stoneskin to absorb a nice chunk of damage from hits to do get me, though being a dwarf i often skip it and spend the plat on ale instead, its not a cheap spell!

next easy fix, aggro management. i know its tempting to lob a fireball at a pack of mobs just for the giggle factor, but try to resist. instead lob a web or some other crowd control, give the melees half a chance to engage in combat then start killing things. aggro is quite simple, the first player the monsters become aware of get initial aggro. initial aggro isnt very strong and is easy to break. the first player to hurt the monsters gets solid aggro. the only way to break solid aggro is to be the one doing the most damage. this is why spells like fireball land you in a lot of trouble as even if the melee's do start hitting things chances are they wont have managed to hurt every mob in the fight enough to have applied more damage than your fireball will do to the ones they are not focused on. you could focus on direct damage spells like the rays, and pick a target the melee's are actively hitting. if the mobs are squishy enough and you can kill them with one big spell then its not really an issue, spell point management however might be. firewall on the other hand should still be a great way to make your spell points kill lots of stuff. but you will get aggro, so be prepared to either run circles round the mobs leaving them in your firewall and trying to forever run at you (haste and swooosh), or keep jumping over their heads while in the firewall (haste and jump and boing).

the harder fix, character build. while there is a lot you can learn in terms of play style you may still be limited by your build. if you dont have a ton of CON and the toughness feat (the hit point one) then you might want to compare your build to the ones tihocan has posted. he really should add it to his forum sig #poke poke#. its linked in one of the stickies up top but here it is for convenience:

http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=232660

as with any character you will want a decent CON score and as many HP items as you can find. its still early days for you yet item wise but you will want CON items, false life and fortification items (unless you go pale master, then its not so important on the fort).

pale masters are great, but when you shift into undead form only you can heal your self (some healers can, but they are few and far between, better to assume its just you). kinda scary at first but if you get it right its very liberating. i'm not sure what it would be like going down that route at lvl7 as i waited till lvl12 for my dwarf (18 CON on a caster, dorfs are great :) ). still, at least you can get negative energy burst and the full death aura, but they will be fighting for a spot with firewall and ice storm. at lvl6 you'd only have access to the minor death aura, now that would be scary!

well i hope some of that helped, and feel free to ask more questions or fill us in on more details about your situation.

Solmage
05-02-2011, 01:19 PM
My experience/opinion, as someone who plays all sorts of casters, sorcerers and wizards, warforged and drow, palemaster and WF AM, post U9:

Archmage:

+ Warforged Reconstruct: Cheap self healing, fast.
+ Extra mana if you don't invest in the SLAs.
+ extra hitpoints as a warforged IF you spend a lot of extra points and invest in toughness
- The most powerful SLAs are nerfed (*)
- no self healing unless warforged, and WF can't have the highest DCs in game. Every point does help!
- No Heavy Fort when drinking Yugoloth Pots to gain +2 extra stacking int, (at best 75% fort as a warforged, 50% everyone else) means another hit to DCs or become very vulnerable to sudden death by crit
- Requires a feat of limited usefulness (mental toughness)
- Action-point intensive to fullfill the pre-reqs means less APs for actually useful stuff: Damage, Spell Pen and Mana stuff.

(*) (such as hypnotism and magic missiles, and even arcane blast, leaving web as the only reasonable SLA to bother with. But might as well just ignore them all and use mass hold and dancing ball, and benefit from the extra mana)

Palemaster:
+ Extra hps, and extra extra HPs in Lich mode
+ Self Healing
+ Higher or Equal DCs to Archmage without sacrificing anything (**)
+ Gain a free damage booster: Negative Energy spells, making Necrotic Bolt very powerful
+ Unlike the AM, the Palemaster PrE boosts the damage of it's own free abilities (necro ray and necro blast and necro touch) without spending more points
+ No points wasted in silly pre-reqs, so more points available for good, useful enhancements.
- Needs to waste 2 level 4 slots for self healing: Death Aura, and Necrotic Blast
- Necrotic Blast self healing is expensive when compared to reconstruct since it must be maximized, and will likely also be empowered, if you're in the middle of blasting.
- Can't be healed by the cleric when in self healing/high DC mode unless he/she/it swaps out spells, just for you. Never mind by the Favoured Soul...

(**) If you go warforged for self healing, you're on equal DC (+0) on your archmage specialty vs the palemaster provided it's not necro, you're at -1 on that one if specializing necro, -2 otherwise. You are at a flat -1 to all other schools you don't specialize in. This is provided you can stomach the lack of heavy fortification, otherwise subtract another -1 to all the results.

If you can stomach non-existent reliable self healing (drow, human), or can stick to heal scroll only self healing (half-elf only w/cleric dilettante, at the expense of even more action points wasted) then add +1 to the above numbers.

(Disclaimer: Assumes best possible setups. Chances are neither character will initially have access to Yugo pots, f.ex, since Amrath quests on elite are no joke to beginners. Still, it should help by providing a long-term view of how the classes compare. Also, it's entirely possible I made a mistake somewhere, I'm after all at work having lunch :))

Delt
05-02-2011, 01:47 PM
Non-WarForged, new player, no question PM will lead to a smoother levelling experience. Also, Spell Pen is largely useless for the initial 3/4's of the game, so go ahead and swap it...but maybe save the freebie if you can (cheap at your level).

Silverwren
05-02-2011, 03:19 PM
So, the guide doesn't seem particularly clear on this...

Guide? What guide? There's a guide? Wish I could find a guide since a Wizard isn't the easiest class to run.

Good posts though. Very informative. I think I might make my wizard a Pale Master..............if I can figure out how, heh heh!

Gazzlam
05-03-2011, 02:55 AM
Thanks for all replies so far (though some expected contradictions, and acronym research!).

Ok, so I'll give you a quick dump of my stats (these are what shows up in the character sheet, so with enhancements, etc).

I'm sure you guys will be happy working on this level, I'm amazed by how quickly you can forecast a characters progress from this stuff.

Human:
STR 14 HP 95
DEX 8 SP 471
CON 18 AC 14
INT 22 Fortitude +6
WIS 8 Reflex +1
CHA 8 Will +4

BAB +3
SR 0
Fort 0%

I'm not going to list EVERY feat here, but the usual have been taken:
Extend, Heroic Durability (did I choose that...?), Mental Toughness, Spell penetration (will be switching for SF)

I made a judgement call to take the Dragonmarks of Passage, since I use Exp. Retreat all the time, and DD has come in useful... and given my inclination to dying, teleport will be great! I know it limits my feats, but I'm really making the most out of them (exp Extended Exp. Retreat).

So if there is anything that jumps out as REALLY bad, let me know.

Worthwhile points: I don't want to go Warforged... I like my pretty human female. I use Bulls Strength and Masters touch for low DC fighting and when I run out of Spell Points.

If needs be, I will reroll again (again, again), though I'd REALLY like to avoid. I have Vet. Characters so It's not TOO big a waste.

I'll wait for a couple more answers before I do anything... I've been put off playing a bit since I feel like the runt of the litter in a group a lot of the time, so I can wait another day.

Looking forward to your analyses. Thanks in advance.

Bluenoser
05-03-2011, 03:53 AM
Human:
STR 14 HP 95
DEX 8 SP 471
CON 18 AC 14
INT 22 Fortitude +6
WIS 8 Reflex +1
CHA 8 Will +4

Extend, Heroic Durability (did I choose that...?), Mental Toughness, Spell penetration (will be switching for SF)


Those look good, although it would be helpful if you could post the "raw" stats, without enhancements or gear. For example, 14 *base* Str is unnecessary on a wizard, and the points would be much better spent in Int, particularly if you're thinking pale master - all of their best spells require you to penetrate spell resistance and/or saving throws, and the higher the Int the better. But, if that's really base 10 Str with a +3 item and a +1 guild airship buff, then that's fine. The standard approach for a wiz is to max out Int and put Con at 16 (18 if dwarf or WF) at level 1, and put every stat increase (every 4 lvls) into Int.

On the feats:
Heroic Durability is automatic.
Extend is very nice at lower levels (especially for haste and blur), and is something you could swap out later; Maximize is a must, period. A maxed fireball at lvl 7 = win. Just remember to turn it off, or you'll run out of SP fast!
SF: whatever is required for your PRE (necro for Pale Master, for example)
Toughness (the HP one) is pretty much required for any character in DDO - make sure to take the accompanying enhancements.
Mental toughness is good for an SP-starved wizard, and is required for the Pale Master Wraith form which you get at lvl 12 (you could take it at level 12, in fact, along with GSF: Necro).
I often take Insightful Reflexes at level 9 for my wizards, to help survive spell attacks in particular.
You should also take Heighten sometime after level 8, and this is even more important after the latest update: some lower-level insta-death spells (Circle of Death, for example) have been redone to be much more useful, and when Heightened can now be used at higher levels to supplement spells like Finger of Death. (Basically, Heighten is a spell-point intensive way of making lower-level spells as hard to resist as your highest-level spells.)

StoneGiant
05-03-2011, 04:17 AM
Thanks for all replies so far (though some expected contradictions, and acronym research!).

Ok, so I'll give you a quick dump of my stats (these are what shows up in the character sheet, so with enhancements, etc).

I'm sure you guys will be happy working on this level, I'm amazed by how quickly you can forecast a characters progress from this stuff.

Human:
STR 14 HP 95
DEX 8 SP 471
CON 18 AC 14
INT 22 Fortitude +6
WIS 8 Reflex +1
CHA 8 Will +4

BAB +3
SR 0
Fort 0%

I'm not going to list EVERY feat here, but the usual have been taken:
Extend, Heroic Durability (did I choose that...?), Mental Toughness, Spell penetration (will be switching for SF)

I made a judgement call to take the Dragonmarks of Passage, since I use Exp. Retreat all the time, and DD has come in useful... and given my inclination to dying, teleport will be great! I know it limits my feats, but I'm really making the most out of them (exp Extended Exp. Retreat).

So if there is anything that jumps out as REALLY bad, let me know.

Worthwhile points: I don't want to go Warforged... I like my pretty human female. I use Bulls Strength and Masters touch for low DC fighting and when I run out of Spell Points.

If needs be, I will reroll again (again, again), though I'd REALLY like to avoid. I have Vet. Characters so It's not TOO big a waste.

I'll wait for a couple more answers before I do anything... I've been put off playing a bit since I feel like the runt of the litter in a group a lot of the time, so I can wait another day.

Looking forward to your analyses. Thanks in advance.



First thing I'd recommend, is to swap out your dragonmark feats for spell focus: necromancy, then greater spell focus: necromancy. There's a 3 day timer on feat swaps, but the dragonshards at low lv required to feat swap are inexpensive. Do this as early as you can. As a wizard, you get both Expeditious Retreat and Dimension Door as spells you can memorize, and Teleport at lv 9 and you can scroll cast Teleport at lv 7 with 85% success rate.

With spell focus: necromancy, you can take the first tier for Pale Master. You can also take zombie form and memorize death aura (lv 4 spell) and negative energy burst (lv 4 spell) for self healing while in zombie form. This will help your survivability alot, however, in undead form, be wary of enemy casters that cast light dmg (such as searing light, wight priests like to cast this), as you will take double dmg from them. In an undead form as a pale master, with your aura self-healing, you are generally pretty durable.

Your stats seem decent from what you listed. You want Intelligence as high as possible, Con base of 14-18, and the rest in Strength. You will end up with over 400 hit points easily, so you have some wiggle room.

Human palemasters are very durable and fun to play (other than in vampire form when searing light hits you). That won't come till lv 12 though, and even then, you can skip vampire form and take wraith form if you want. From what you listed, a couple feat swaps and you should be fine. If for any reason you have trouble switching to Pale Master in the next few days, buy some healing potions and let the melees in the party get initial aggro to avoid taking as much dmg. Hope this helps and that you dont get discouraged, wizards can be confusing to play at first but once mastered they are one of the funnest classes to play. Feel free to shoot me any questions you have.

Barbarius - loot - Cannith

firea
05-03-2011, 04:33 AM
u can take toughness early as well as mental toughness gives u a big boost at ur level no matter what u choose
my stats at lv9 for pm( with all those boosts and buffs)
str 14
dex 12
con 20
int 26 ( lower at zombie form)
wis 8
char 8
pms got more hp with those forms and all
if u get racial toughness even more
max con and int
for archmage...
never played one b4 but u get more sp and greater dc
no self healing though unless wf:(

human i suggest palemaster mine is quite good i use up sp quickly though

Gazzlam
05-03-2011, 05:06 AM
Another series of great posts.

First thing I'll say is to Stonegiant:

But I REALLY don't want to drop my Dragonmarks :-(
I use them so often, It'd not only be a waste of spell points, It'd be a waste of slots, unless I used them of Scrolls, and to be honest, I've never seen an Exp retreat, DD, or teleport scroll anywhere thus far.

To: Bluenoser: I maxed INT straight away, it was 18 at creation, +1 at level 4, Wiz INT 1 & 2 were taken asap, and I've got +1 from a trinket.

My STR was 14 at creation, CON was 16, INT as I said was 18. The reason my STR was higher than usual is because (from previous post) melee was always an option when on low SP - I just kitted myself with Shield, Bull's Strength, and a Longsword +2 and I was pretty darn good! Also works well with Muckbane and oozes.

I also do have racial toughness, (and Human Improved Recovery 1 & 2 - Since I'm constantly being healed - it only made sense)

PM seems to be a fun way to go.... and I'm highly tempted... I'm also thinking that there may be a lot of them about, and since I like to be different, I may go AM.

Oh, I'm so torn!

Well, first thing is first - I'm going to go and see Fred, and get SF.

Thanks for the advice so far, and I'll check back for more messages tomorrow, and I'll update as I go on.

Gazzlam
05-03-2011, 06:11 AM
Just took SF: Necro..... guess that's that decision made...

firea
05-03-2011, 06:33 AM
ur choice i would say swap out dragonmarks though but if u want to move fast i would guess u can keep it. what server u on? i can quest with u

-Zephyr-
05-03-2011, 06:48 AM
If you REALLY want to be gimped, take dragonmarks.
Wizards look like they are getting a lot of feats, but building a proper wizard requires ALL those feats, if not *more* than what we already get.
The best advice I can give you is to follow a build someone else more experienced did. Even if you are 7. Rerolling is fine, and is the easiest fix, especially at low level, you'll be back lvl 7 shortly... Not like you were lvl 15 or so. Look at the spellcasters or the custom builds sections of the forums ;)

Dragonmarks are a huge waste of feats, except *maybe* for fighters or some non-feat intensive builds (some bards, pure healbot clerics...). The spells you mentionned are useful, but : exp retreat is useless when you keep haste on. Not to mention you'll easily have enough lvl 1 slots for it. Ddoor is situationally useful, doesn't appear on scrolls but... You'll want it as a spell for times you need to cast it more than 3x/rest. Teleport spell is nice, but you can buy unlimited scrolls at vendors.

Palemaster is a nice choice for unexperienced players. But please, by all means, don't run away when you aggro mobs. Don't think you are invincible because of your aura. Those are stereotypes applying to pale masters (maybe less since they got buffed again, but still), if you do that the whole party will insta-hate you and your questing will not be fun.

ReaperAlexEU
05-03-2011, 07:10 AM
sounds like your stats are fine :)

about the feats though, here's the list i have, i don't think i'd be able to drop 2 (your human gets a free feats my dwarf doesnt) of them to make room for the handy dragon marks. having said that i have expit retreat loaded and also teleport. its only DD that gets swapped in and out on a regular basis, so you wont loose that much utility in the long run.

1: toughness, extend
3: mental toughness
5: maximise
6: empower
9: spell pen
10: spell focus: necro
12: grt spell focus: necro
15*2: grt spell pen, heighten
18: spell foc: enchant
20: quicken

other mages will be similar and would also struggle to cut some out of their list.

edit: as StoneGiant points out, new pale masters should take spell focus: necromancy at or before lvl6. my list is ordered that way as the zombie form didnt exist when i levelled up making.

tihocan
05-03-2011, 09:30 AM
Drop those dragonmarks! :p

StoneGiant
05-03-2011, 10:22 AM
[QUOTE=Gazzlam;3766833]Another series of great posts.

First thing I'll say is to Stonegiant:

But I REALLY don't want to drop my Dragonmarks :-(
I use them so often, It'd not only be a waste of spell points, It'd be a waste of slots, unless I used them of Scrolls, and to be honest, I've never seen an Exp retreat, DD, or teleport scroll anywhere thus far.

Expeditious Retreat will cost you 20 mana per shrine when extended, which should last you 14 minutes at lv 7. You get plenty of lv 1 slots. Ddoor is nice to have but on a palemaster I often drop it in certain quests in favor of another spell, such as crushing despair or ice storm. Its nice to have Ddoor but rarely necessary. When you know the quests better, you will know better when to swap it in and out. Teleport scrolls can be bought at the portable hole, and I think also in the Twelve arcane vendor. Since you like Ddoor so much, you can easily swap out Wall of Fire for Ice Storm and vice versa depending on what quest you are running (with the shortening of Wall of Fire, Ice Storm is almost as good now and better in some quests). Also at lv 7, with only 2 spell slots, you can skip memorizing Negative Energy Burst until lv 8 as long as you have Death Aura going, you wont usually need a big burst of healing also unless you tend to aggro full rooms of monsters yourself (which is a whole different problem).

ReaperAlex's feat list is solid, although I recommend you take spell focus: necromancy by lv 6 now as zombie form allows you to self heal at lv 7 (6 if you use lesser death aura). As a human you get an extra feat and its your choice, can take greater spell focus: enchantment or spell focus: conjuration or spell focus: transmutation, lots of options there. I find Insightful Reflexes to only be worth it if you have evasion, which you don't have or need with your build. With those feats, you can also switch your enhancements to take the Archmage prestige line at some point if you want to get a taste for it, although your survivability will suffer when you do.

As far as being different, there are alot of spells in the Wizard's spellbook, allowing for alot of customization. You can choose to specialize in a number of different elemental forms of damage. There are also alot of different debuff spells that got a boost in Update 9. And I've met alot of wizards in DDO, and they all played differently, even with the same stats and feats. You will develop your own style, experiment and have fun.

Barbarius - loot - Cannith

ReaperAlexEU
05-03-2011, 11:06 AM
yup, forgot to mention about taking the spell focus necromancy earlier, i've tweaked my post to clear that up.

before zombie form existed palemasters couldnt self heal until lvl12 when they got access to wraith and lich form (lich rocks, its a shame you'll have to wait till lvl18 now for it, but its worth the wait!). so i optimised my feats to improve my general casting abilities first and then take palemaster I and II at lvl12. if i were to start again i'd definitely want to take zombie form early on as i drank a ton of healing pots due my reckless play style (i believe that healers cant heal stupid, so i pay for my own stupidity with my own healing bill ;) )

it does sound like you just need more time behind the keyboard though. more time practising agro management and more time practising dodging the monsters. yes you can swap those dragon marks out, and they will make your spells better when you do, but you have a decent CON score and the toughness feat with enhancements. so survivability is probably just down to play style now. i dont know what your gaming background is, but any FPS skills you may have will help out in that respect. if you've only played point and click games previously then you will be on a steep learning curve. you'll never be immortal though, luck can still gang up against you so dont worry about the odd death here and there.

jojje_b
05-03-2011, 12:08 PM
lots of people have already pointed this out, and i know the dragonmark feats are AWESOME early in the game because they save you a ton of spellpoints, but conserving spellpoints become less of an issue later in the game and the higher level you are the more expensive swapping feats out will become (except for that first free swap you already spent). so i STRONGLY recommend swapping those feats out now, because even if you will have more issues with spellpoints right now i can guarantee you that you will want to get rid of them later on, and it gets really expensive as you level up.
after playing for 2 years ive been able to collect enough siberys dragonshards to swap one feat out at level 20... thats how expensive it is.

also if you take both mental toughness and greater spell focus: necromancy you can easily swap between archmage and pale master every 3 days with a simple enchantment reset and find which one fits you best. although since you are not a warforge i suspect you will find pale master the best choice and if so mental toughness is a wasted feat