I was musing about what to do next with my Wizard. The current state of the end game is very... interesting. I'm going to present something more as a theory-build than anything else. This isn't something I'm likely considering at the moment -- but I think it fuels some interesting discussion.
For performance in EE, the clear best choice is to focus on damage, preferably no-save damage, and it's widely acknowledged that the smoothest EE runs are when arcanes are Shiradi-based casters focusing on MM, CM, and the like. Not that it can't be done with other builds, but it's smoothest when people accept that DC's are hard, and no-save damage is considerably more consistent. (There are other threads to debate whether Shiradi-nuking is the current "best choice" for endgame EE -- here, I'm going to take it as a given.)
Which leaves me with the following assessment of "what's important for optimizing your wizard build".
DCs: Unimportant. Sure, you *can* focus on DCs that are effective in Normal/Hard content, but that's a WAWG. Shiradi casters can solo Normal/Hard just as trivally without effective DCs, so I'd assess high DC casting (vs. Shiradi damage-casting) as "worse in EE, and with no marginal benefit over Shiradi casting in EN/EH". Heck, most people are looking at Shiradi-based CC as superior to other options.
Spell Pen: See DC's.
Spell Points: Meh. Of some use, but if you're a true power gamer, this is more a question of "when do I want to start chugging potions". High spell point totals are for those who don't play heavily; for folks routinely running EE, your spell casting power is bounded by your wealth, not your spell point pool. To boot, the most effective casting right now is generally from Archmage SLAs, which can be chained for a long time on the SP equivalent of pennies on the dollar. Also SLAs can be continued indefinitely out of Echoes of Power.
Important spells: Honestly, not much past level 12 anymore for the Shiradi caster. Here's what I'd list as important for a current "optimized" end-game wizard, given the above:
- Tier III Archmage SLAs
- Cloudkill for concealment
- Quickened/Maximized Reconstruct if WF
Any other spells in levels 7-9 are too expensive, have a DC or Spell Pen check, or both.
Stepping back, this evaluation is pretty much the opposite of what we've been doing building Wizards to date. Well, if these aren't important, than what is?
Hit Points: Critical! Stuff hits *hard*. There's not a threshold anymore for "_____ is enough hit points for a Wizard". Things hit hard enough that more is always better.
Saves: Pretty darn important -- and you need to get these values pretty high, to boot.
Other survivability: Anything you can add here helps. More dodge, more PRR, incorporeal miss chance.
Here's the thing -- Wizard levels 13-20 are only improving the stuff that doesn't provide much extra value for a Shiradi caster, and aren't great at all for all of the survivability criteria that *are* important now. The clear solution: other class levels *besides* wizard probably make you more effective in your caster role than wizard levels!
Once we've got "everything we need" from a caster perspective at level 12 Archmage, why not fill out the remaining levels with a good survivability package? Defender of Siberys 6/Monk 2 has a lot to like, providing gobs of saving throw help, a lot of hit point help, and situationally either a good chunk of PRR (through using a shield and being in DoS stance) or some Dodge help (by remaining centered for the Monk 4%, +1% if ocean stance).
What about our feat requirements? With no desire to care about DC's or Spell Pen, our must-have feat list isn't very long:
- Maximize, Quicken, Empower, Extend (Extend is debatable)
- SF/GSF: Evocation, Mental Toughness (for Archmage III)
Plenty of room for extra feats to increase survivability. The 10 PRR bonus Defender of Siberys gets for using a shield seems better, percentage-wise, than the dodge bonus that staying certered would give, so let's start with that, and pile on the PRR with Shield Mastery/Improved Shield Mastery! Epic Toughness would be nice to fit as well; let's see if we can reasonably get the CON pre-req. Since we don't care much about INT beyond being able to cast level 6 spells, it shouldn't be too hard. We've still got room for two more feats from Monk bonus levels, so let's round out our survivability package with Lightning Reflexes, Dodge, and Bulwark of Defense.
What do our starting stats look like? We care most about CON and CHA for hit points and saves. DEX and WIS would be secondary for saves, and INT only needs to get to 16 with equipment. I'm going to start with a Warforged template, as I think it's tough to argue against Quickened Reconstruct as a survivability measure.
CON 18 <- Can get to Epic Toughness pre-req with Tomes
INT 12 <- Can get to disjuncted casting safety with Tomes
Level-ups are debateable, but I think they go in Charisma. +3 to all saving throws, which are still on a old-fashioned d20, is probably a bigger swing than +75 hit points.
So, here's a rough-out of what this might look like:
Code:Character Plan by DDO Character Planner Version 03.16.01 DDO Character Planner Home Page Iron Shiradi Level 25 Lawful Good Warforged Male (6 Paladin \ 2 Monk \ 12 Wizard \ 5 Epic) Hit Points: 516 Spell Points: 1074 BAB: 13\13\18\23 Fortitude: 31 Reflex: 27 Will: 28 Starting Ending Abilities Base Stats Base Stats (36 Point) (Level 1) (Level 25) Strength 8 12 Dexterity 14 18 Constitution 18 22 Intelligence 12 16 Wisdom 12 16 Charisma 14 24 Tomes Used +1 Tome of Strength used at level 3 +1 Tome of Dexterity used at level 3 +1 Tome of Constitution used at level 3 +1 Tome of Intelligence used at level 3 +1 Tome of Wisdom used at level 3 +1 Tome of Charisma used at level 3 +2 Tome of Strength used at level 7 +2 Tome of Dexterity used at level 7 +2 Tome of Constitution used at level 7 +2 Tome of Intelligence used at level 7 +2 Tome of Wisdom used at level 7 +2 Tome of Charisma used at level 7 +3 Tome of Strength used at level 11 +3 Tome of Dexterity used at level 11 +3 Tome of Constitution used at level 11 +3 Tome of Intelligence used at level 11 +3 Tome of Wisdom used at level 11 +3 Tome of Charisma used at level 11 +4 Tome of Strength used at level 15 +4 Tome of Dexterity used at level 15 +4 Tome of Constitution used at level 15 +4 Tome of Intelligence used at level 15 +4 Tome of Wisdom used at level 15 +4 Tome of Charisma used at level 15 Level 1 (Monk) Feat: (Selected) Lightning Reflexes Feat: (Past Life) Past Life: Barbarian Feat: (Past Life) Past Life: Barbarian Feat: (Monk Bonus) Toughness Level 2 (Wizard) Feat: (Wizard Bonus) Maximize Spell Level 3 (Wizard) Feat: (Selected) Spell Focus: Evocation Level 4 (Wizard) Level 5 (Wizard) Level 6 (Wizard) Feat: (Wizard Bonus) Extend Spell Feat: (Selected) Mental Toughness Level 7 (Wizard) Level 8 (Wizard) Level 9 (Wizard) Feat: (Selected) Empower Spell Level 10 (Wizard) Level 11 (Wizard) Feat: (Wizard Bonus) Quicken Spell Level 12 (Wizard) Feat: (Selected) Greater Spell Focus: Evocation Level 13 (Wizard) Level 14 (Paladin) Level 15 (Monk) Feat: (Monk Bonus) Dodge Feat: (Selected) Shield Mastery Level 16 (Paladin) Level 17 (Paladin) Level 18 (Paladin) Feat: (Selected) Improved Shield Mastery Level 19 (Paladin) Level 20 (Paladin) Level 21 (Paladin) Feat: (Selected) Epic Toughness Level 22 (Paladin) Level 23 (Paladin) Level 24 (Paladin) Feat: (Selected) Bulwark of Defense Level 25 (Paladin) Enhancement: Paladin Armor Class Boost I Enhancement: Paladin Courage of Good I Enhancement: Paladin Bulwark of Good I Enhancement: Paladin Focus of Good I Enhancement: Paladin Resistance of Good I Enhancement: Paladin Defender of Siberys I Enhancement: Racial Toughness I Enhancement: Racial Toughness II Enhancement: Racial Toughness III Enhancement: Improved Concentration I Enhancement: Improved Concentration II Enhancement: Improved Concentration III Enhancement: Kinetic Spellcasting I Enhancement: Kinetic Spellcasting II Enhancement: Kinetic Spellcasting III Enhancement: Kinetic Spellcasting IV Enhancement: Deadly Kinetics I Enhancement: Deadly Kinetics II Enhancement: Deadly Kinetics III Enhancement: Frost Manipulation I Enhancement: Frost Manipulation II Enhancement: Frost Manipulation III Enhancement: Storm Manipulation I Enhancement: Storm Manipulation II Enhancement: Force Manipulation I Enhancement: Force Manipulation II Enhancement: Force Manipulation III Enhancement: Force Manipulation IV Enhancement: Force Manipulation V Enhancement: Force Manipulation VI Enhancement: Repair Manipulation I Enhancement: Repair Manipulation II Enhancement: Repair Manipulation III Enhancement: Repair Manipulation IV Enhancement: Repair Manipulation V Enhancement: Repair Manipulation VI Enhancement: Wizard Energy of the Scholar I Enhancement: Wizard Energy of the Scholar II Enhancement: Wizard Energy of the Scholar III Enhancement: Paladin Charisma I Enhancement: Paladin Charisma II Enhancement: Wizard Intelligence I Enhancement: Wizard Intelligence II Enhancement: Paladin Toughness I Enhancement: Paladin Toughness II Enhancement: Warforged Constitution I Enhancement: Warforged Constitution II Enhancement: Warforged Inscribed Armor I Enhancement: Wizard Archmage I Enhancement: Wizard Archmage II Enhancement: Wizard Archmage III Enhancement: Archmage Spell Mastery I: Evocation Enhancement: Evocation I - Magic Missile Enhancement: Evocation II - Gust of Wind Enhancement: Evocation III - Chain Missiles
OK, some numbers checks:
DEX: 14 base +4tm +8ench +2in +2ship = 30
CON: 18 base +4tm +8ench +1ex +3in +2rage +2enh +2ship = 40
WIS: 12 base +4tm +8ench +2in +2ship = 28
CHA: 14 base +4tm +8ench +1ex +3in +2enh +6lvl +2ship = 40
50 Epic levels
20 barb pl
50 tough enh
20 toughness item
27 toughness feat
50 epic toughness
831 out of stance
942 in stance
15/15/15 Divine Grace
2/2/2 brace for impact
12/9/13 class levels
0/2/0 Lightning Reflexes
10 Imp. Shield Mastery
15 Legendary Shield Mastery twist
OK, I'm going to an extreme here for emphasis, but the fact of the matter is, the spellcasting performance of this guy is likely to be pretty similar to a pure-classes Shiradi Archmage. There are a few enhancements on the force line that I missed out on, but the drop is really, really marginal.
So, the question is, which wizard do you want the most with you in EE? The CC guy or Pale Master who's got a 50% success rate on their DC's? The pure-classed Archmage Shiradi who's got a bigger spell point pool? Or this guy, who has saves right around 60 the 60 range, evasion, 900+ hit points, 75 PRR, and has about the same damage output as the pure-classed Shiradi...and can always dip into their pots if they run out of spell points? Discussion/flaming starts below ----v