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  1. #1

    Default Why do wizards feel so weak?

    I looked up a build for a wizard and decided to run with a pale trapper build someone made. I got it to lvl 5, and also started a barbarian...

    I was shocked to see that my barbarian had a lot more hp did a lot more damage (30ish normal dmg 80ish crits) and could do everything my mage could except better.

    Is it because I took a level of rogue initially? My wizard spells do like 25ish damage, takes time to cast and is pretty slow, my buffs are nice but still i'm confused at how it's balanced if melee classes seem to have better survivability and damage.

    Do wizards scale amazingly into late game or something? Or am I doing something wrong?

  2. #2
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenebris-Niatellim View Post
    Do wizards scale amazingly into late game or something?
    Yes. Most spells scale up in power with caster level; so the Acid Arrow you cast at wiz lvl 4 is a lot weaker than the one you cast at lvl 10. You also get more powerful spells, more SPs to fuel your spells, and as a Pale Master you'll gain instakills like Finger of Death.

    Melees scale up in power too, of course, but it's not as steep of a power curve. As in PnP D&D, you basically have to endure low-lvl gimpiness to get to the sweet, sweet caster-y goodness at higher lvls.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    Yes. Most spells scale up in power with caster level; so the Acid Arrow you cast at wiz lvl 4 is a lot weaker than the one you cast at lvl 10. You also get more powerful spells, more SPs to fuel your spells, and as a Pale Master you'll gain instakills like Finger of Death.

    Melees scale up in power too, of course, but it's not as steep of a power curve. As in PnP D&D, you basically have to endure low-lvl gimpiness to get to the sweet, sweet caster-y goodness at higher lvls.
    thanks for the assurance, I got this close to re-rolling my wizard because it was so disappointing, I guess I'll keep at it!

    Also as a sidenote what weapons should I be using? and spells? I took enhancements in ice and acid so should I be using those spells etc?

  4. #4
    Community Member AbyssalMage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenebris-Niatellim View Post
    thanks for the assurance, I got this close to re-rolling my wizard because it was so disappointing, I guess I'll keep at it!

    Also as a sidenote what weapons should I be using? and spells? I took enhancements in ice and acid so should I be using those spells etc?
    At your level, a 2HW + Masters Touch = Lots of dead things. If you wanna play like a caster and not an angry wizard you will want two (2) wands with Acid/Cold focus/lore.

    My PM is Ice/Acid/Lit spec'ed so your are fine.

    Asking about spell line up is like asking people what their favorite food/movie/sport/ect... is, it will vary.

    My preference (and only my preference)...
    Level 1 (4); Master's Touch, Acid Spray (or sonic blast, Niac's), Expeditious Retreat, Jump
    Level 2 (3); Web, Acid Arrow, Blur (Knock, Bull's Strength)

    If grouping:
    Level 1 Replace: Acid Spray --> Charm
    Level 2 Replace: Blur ---> Otto's (Only if healer is struggling to keep people alive. i.e. After you shrine)

    Web and Charm (and Otto's) become your CC spells for large groups of mobs or if you notice the healer has a hard time keeping up with someone's red bar (they are extra squishy). I do not use electric loop as people tend to swing like crazy breaking "daze" effects and sleep and other spells are not reliable (for my preference).
    Also note that I run around with a healing mercenary because it is cheaper than healing potions.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by AbyssalMage View Post
    At your level, a 2HW + Masters Touch = Lots of dead things. If you wanna play like a caster and not an angry wizard you will want two (2) wands with Acid/Cold focus/lore.

    My PM is Ice/Acid/Lit spec'ed so your are fine.

    Asking about spell line up is like asking people what their favorite food/movie/sport/ect... is, it will vary.

    My preference (and only my preference)...
    Level 1 (4); Master's Touch, Acid Spray (or sonic blast, Niac's), Expeditious Retreat, Jump
    Level 2 (3); Web, Acid Arrow, Blur (Knock, Bull's Strength)

    If grouping:
    Level 1 Replace: Acid Spray --> Charm
    Level 2 Replace: Blur ---> Otto's (Only if healer is struggling to keep people alive. i.e. After you shrine)

    Web and Charm (and Otto's) become your CC spells for large groups of mobs or if you notice the healer has a hard time keeping up with someone's red bar (they are extra squishy). I do not use electric loop as people tend to swing like crazy breaking "daze" effects and sleep and other spells are not reliable (for my preference).
    Also note that I run around with a healing mercenary because it is cheaper than healing potions.
    I see, although I do have a question, why use Otto? I've heard good things about it but when I used it it seems to only target 1 person? And is it normal if im using masters touce (and a chaotic 2hander) if im hitting 10-20ish damage?

  6. #6
    Community Member PsychoBlonde's Avatar
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    I have found (over multiple lives) that the best layout to do on a low-level wizard is generally a fire/acid split--these are your most effective spells in the bang for buck category early on. The first-level ones aren't much, but 2nd, 3rd, and 4th has some serious power to it. I usually do something like this:

    1st level: utility spells (Master's Touch, Feather Fall, Expeditious Retreat, Detect Secret Doors, Shield, Jump are your best ones)
    2nd level: Scorch is THE best 2nd level damage spell for taking out groups of enemies. (Last I checked the only place you can get scrolls for it is on the AH.) Acid arrow is good for taking down big bosses--it does a lot of damage but the damage is spread out over several ticks. Also good at this level: blur, heroism, glitterdust (blinds enemies which means sneak attack for you). Web is also a very valuable spell.
    3rd level: Fireball and Acid Blast are no-brainers. Get tons of wands of fireball and alternate casting one/wanding one--your big one will take mobs down to almost dead and the follow-up from your wand will take them out. This prevents you from wasting SP unnecessarily which is *always* the biggest problem on a wizard. Haste, Rage and Displacement are also extremely valable.
    4th level: Firewall and Acid Rain--these two spells cast in conjunction will allow you to gather up whole hordes of enemies and dispatch them all with minimal sp expenditure. Stoneskin is your major 4th level defensive spell, and you should keep Dimension Door loaded as much as you can.

    Level 5 is the Dot level with Niac's Cold Bite and Eledar's Electric Surge, which is why that's a good time to look into switching from an Acid/Fire spec into a Cold/electricity one. You don't have to do so immediately, though--very few mobs are immune to Acid.

    Level 6 is when you should start switching away from damage as your primary offense and switching toward CC/insta-kill. Symbol of Persuasion, Mass Suggestion, Circle of Death all give you options to the expensive damage methods. Charm enemies and let them kill each other while you use Tenser's Transformation to take out the few remaining with a couple of melee hits or a well-placed Circle of Death. Disintegrate helps with foes who are largely immune to other damage types.

    Once you get past level 6 spells you want to focus (and re-spec if necessarily) on instant-kills and CC with damage only as cleanup (and never forget you can wade in and whack stuff with a weapon if there's only one or two left). The secret to playing a wizard is to NEVER use a mass spell except ON a MASS of enemies, and ALWAYS use the spells that do the most for the least. Single-target damage spells are your absolute worst options. Even single-target kills can be too expensive, so it's best to either make the enemies fight each other whenever you possibly can.
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  7. #7
    Community Member PsychoBlonde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenebris-Niatellim View Post
    I see, although I do have a question, why use Otto? I've heard good things about it but when I used it it seems to only target 1 person? And is it normal if im using masters touce (and a chaotic 2hander) if im hitting 10-20ish damage?
    Otto's Irresistable dance is indeed single-target but it also has NO saving throw, making it a very reliable takeout for a single highly dangerous enemy. Spell resistance does apply, however.

    If you haven't invested heavily in strength yes, you're not going to be doing gobs of melee damage, but 10-20 is acceptable for the level you're at. With rogue levels you can also get sneak attack damage on most foes, plus there are a wide variety of options for buffing yourself with spells.

    Make sure you max out ranks in Use Magic Device. It may not seem useful now but it will be later.
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  8. #8

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    My pale trappers typically spec for fire and cold and use scorching ray & frost lance almost exclusively through level 7. They are single target ray spells that do solid damage, 1- or 2-shotting whatever you target. At level 8 I add in firewall and ice storm, which can clear out entire rooms with a single casting, using the rays to mop up any stragglers.

    There are a few quests where there are simply too many mobs to single target. The one that immediately comes to mind is that catacombs quest that says extreme challenge, where each room has like 20 mobs and there's like 10 room per shrine. For those situations I use web + scorch, but it's super slow and tedious. I hate the painfully low damage of the low level aoe spells like scorch, acid blast, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by PsychoBlonde View Post
    Otto's Irresistable dance is indeed single-target but it also has NO saving throw, making it a very reliable takeout for a single highly dangerous enemy. Spell resistance does apply, however.
    Otto's Irresistable Dance is a level 8 spell that a pale trapper won't get until like level 15 or 17 or something. The OP is likely talking about Otto's Resistable Dance, which does have a saving throw.

  9. #9

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    Just a small specific question, (btw thanks for everyone who is answering these questions it helps a lot ^_^), I multi-classed at lvl 1 as rogue and will do so at lvl 9 for evasion, that's all well and good but I mostly did it because there was a pre-exisiting build someone made that seemed to be viable. But a major question I had was, doesn't multiclassing severely setback your caster levels? In my case in the long run it would be 2 caster levels, so wouldn't my caster level always be 2 levels below optimal level for that level?

    I.E normal caster level at lvl 5 would be 5, but with a rogue splash it would be 4, so my damage would be subpar, and it would never get better as it will always be one caster level subpar, and later on two caster level subpar (lvl 9 rogue)

    Does evasion and the rogue skills really justify the loss of 2 caster levels? I'm not entirely sure about the full reasoning of multiclassing since I don't have firm grasp of the game mechanics.

  10. #10
    Community Member PsychoBlonde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenebris-Niatellim View Post
    Does evasion and the rogue skills really justify the loss of 2 caster levels? I'm not entirely sure about the full reasoning of multiclassing since I don't have firm grasp of the game mechanics.
    Caster level is not the bugaboo that it appears. Most caster-level-based effects top out--for instance, fireball tops out at 10d6 base damage. So, even if your caster level is 23, it's still only going to do 10d6 base damage.

    Whether the exchange is "worth it" or not depends on your personal preferences and playstyle. Most casters have a lot of issues with dying in traps so evasion can be extremely valuable for them. In addition, wizards up to level 20 do not predominately rely on damage for their effectiveness and caster level doesn't have any effect WHATSOEVER on your spell DC's (that's the number that enemies have to roll to save against your spells). The DC is 10+spell level+int modifier+any item/feat/enhancement bonuses. No caster level at all. Epic wizards that spec for damage use the Shiradi destiny for its procs and those are also unaffected by caster level. The spells you'd be using to get the shiradi procs (magic missile/chain missiles/force missiles/ice storm largely) all top out well before 20th level so you won't be getting ANY additional damage from taking wizard levels 19 and 20. The only thing you really miss out on is the capstone (which is nice, don't get me wrong), but it's up to you whether that's AS nice as evasion/trap skills.

    Caster level DOES affect spell penetration, but the loss of a point or two is not going to break you--one wizard past life gets you +2 spell penetration and that's two levels there. Most of your spell penetration success is going to depend on feats, enhancements, and epic destiny. Two more caster levels will be unnoticeable.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenebris-Niatellim View Post
    I mostly did it because there was a pre-exisiting build someone made
    That was me.

    Caster level only affects spell penetration and the duration of buffs. (Haste, displacement, etc...) The buff duration is largely moot, and the spell penetration can be made up for in other ways. As a quick example that isn't necessary to get (but is quite nice), a single wizard past life gives you +2 spell penetration. As far as damage spells go, virtually all of them have a hard cap limiting the maximum damage they can do, and the hard cap is easily reached on a splash build.

    In terms of leveling, the rogue levels do delay the higher power spells; for example you get firewall at 8 instead of 7. I've now run 3 full lives on that build (2 on my wizard, 1 on my cleric) and the spell delay has never bothered me. Sure, firewall would be nice for nreco1 but meh, it's by no means required.

    Does evasion and the rogue skills really justify the loss of 2 caster levels? I'm not entirely sure about the full reasoning of multiclassing since I don't have firm grasp of the game mechanics.
    I really like the rogue splash because there is tremendous synergy between wizard and rogue. Plus I really like evasion. It's not particularly necessary, though.

    If you want a pure wizard that's by no means a bad option. You could probably do pretty much the exact same build in terms of feats and enhancements, dumping the skill points in whatever you like. The only core difference is that you'd get one additional feat at level 20, and the no-brainer choice for that feat would be empower.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenebris-Niatellim View Post
    I.E normal caster level at lvl 5 would be 5, but with a rogue splash it would be 4, so my damage would be subpar, and it would never get better as it will always be one caster level subpar, and later on two caster level subpar (lvl 9 rogue)
    There are only a few spells that grant additional damage every caster level. Most stop at caster level 5 or 10 or 12 or 15. But yes, this would be a small disadvantage for a multiclass wizard. But what's more important is your DC rating. Many spells require a failed saving roll (like will, reflex, fortitude, strength, aso) to either do full damage or do what they should like a CC spell. The higher your DCs are, the lesser mobs will succeed a saving roll against your spells. The DC isn't affected by your caster level, only by your spell level (which would be 9 and you get it at caster level 17). See how DC is calculated here: http://ddowiki.com/page/Difficulty_class

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenebris-Niatellim View Post
    Does evasion and the rogue skills really justify the loss of 2 caster levels? I'm not entirely sure about the full reasoning of multiclassing since I don't have firm grasp of the game mechanics.
    I play a pure Wizard and another one with the 2 Rogue splash. Evasion is pretty good, because it doesn't only affect Elemental Trap damage, it also affects saving rolls on hostile AoE spells like Fireball. If you take the feat Insightful Reflexes your Int modifier will be used to roll reflex savings instead of your Dex modifier. With the two rogue levels you also get more points for Use magic device and finally you can disable traps. With both +xx items for Search and Disable Device you'll be able to find and disable traps like a rogue/artificer, which is great because it gives you more XP and you prevent the party from taking damage. Trap damage is a secure severe source for lethal damage, especially on Elite difficulty (HE and EE) if you can't jump over it or avoid it in another way.

    With my pure Wizard I only have the option to buff myself with Resist Energy and Protection from Energy and Stoneskin and Jump (which all reduces my SP pool) to pass through traps, and when the trap does force damage and hits me I have no chance anyway. That and the high damage that traps do on Elite difficulty is the reason why I solo quests on Hard only (just a few on Elite, mostly the few without traps or where I can easily jump over them or avoid them step by step).

    Two days ago I soloed the Quest "Spies in the house" on Elite difficulty with the splashed Wizard (Wiz 10/ Rog 2) and it was fun. No traps harmed me or my hireling (except the one f***ing electrical floor). With my pure Wizard (14) I would have died several times I'm pretty sure. Both characters are firstlifers, no past lifes, no +Tomes, no other benefits a character which already was Level 20 would have. Though both make a lot of fun, but with the pure Wizard I prefer questing in a team/group.
    Last edited by Lanhelin; 08-07-2013 at 10:55 AM.

  13. #13
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EllisDee37 View Post
    Caster level only affects spell penetration and the duration of buffs.
    Caster level very much affects your DPS, since almost all DPS spells scale w/CL. Eventually it becomes a non-issue, since most (all?) DPS spells cap out, but a first-timer is certainly going to notice a difference while leveling.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    Caster level very much affects your DPS, since almost all DPS spells scale w/CL. Eventually it becomes a non-issue, since most (all?) DPS spells cap out, but a first-timer is certainly going to notice a difference while leveling.
    My experience is that scorching ray and frost lance scale up well with the delay from the rogue levels. Just as I start to thnk "gee I wouldn't mind another ray/lance" the next level grants another ray/lance. For firewall I've never felt lacking due to being a level back. Except, of course, for the aforementioned lack of firewall for necro1. heh.

  15. #15
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Scorching Ray & Ice Lance are special cases, though, since they scale up once every 4 lvls and cap at CL:11; most DPS spells scale every 1 or 2 CLs and the better ones don't cap until at least CL:15 (e.g., firewall). With good Spellpower gear the difference in CL may seem negligible to a vet, but how often does a newbie have good gear?

    Which reminds me, OP, don't forget to gear up! The Ornamented Dagger and Cunning Trinket from Crystal Cove are both worthwhile; I would definitely craft those before the Cove closes on the 11th. There's also some good caster gear from the Cannith challenges; specifically the bracers, cloak, tunic, and/or boots, depending on which element(s) you want to specialize in which aren't covered by the Ornamented Dagger.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    Scorching Ray & Ice Lance are special cases, though
    As stated, those are my primary spells while leveling. Add in either firewall or ice storm and that's pretty much all I need.

    *grumble* *grumble* stupid blackbones *grumble* *grumble*

  17. #17
    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    As everyone is pointing out, feels weak now will change as you continue to increase in levels. It is a trade-off and a good one. Don't worry about it, your time to shine is fast approaching.

    I still remember the first time I was in a group and the mage was the one who led the kill count. I still hate arcanes.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    Scorching Ray & Ice Lance are special cases, though, since they scale up once every 4 lvls and cap at CL:11; most DPS spells scale every 1 or 2 CLs and the better ones don't cap until at least CL:15 (e.g., firewall). With good Spellpower gear the difference in CL may seem negligible to a vet, but how often does a newbie have good gear?

    Which reminds me, OP, don't forget to gear up! The Ornamented Dagger and Cunning Trinket from Crystal Cove are both worthwhile; I would definitely craft those before the Cove closes on the 11th. There's also some good caster gear from the Cannith challenges; specifically the bracers, cloak, tunic, and/or boots, depending on which element(s) you want to specialize in which aren't covered by the Ornamented Dagger.
    How do you do cannith challenges? Also to people recommending spells why wouldn't you take fox cunning? Does int not boost spell damage? What does int do then?

  19. #19
    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenebris-Niatellim View Post
    Also to people recommending spells why wouldn't you take fox cunning?
    The spell is a +4 enhancement boost to INT. Most gear is also an enhancement boost. Once you have +4 or higher gear the spell is worthless. Since access to +4 and higher gear comes fairly early in a character's development you are already past the point where you need the INT boost for anything.

    Bottom line is that all stat boosting spells are a waste of spell slots (Fox's, Owl's, Bull's, etc.). Buy potions if you need the boosts early or to overcome temporary restrictions. Use restorations to fix stat drains (also available in potions unless you are drained to the point of being unable to do anything). Save the spell slot for something useful.

  20. #20
    Community Member PsychoBlonde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    Scorching Ray & Ice Lance are special cases, though, since they scale up once every 4 lvls and cap at CL:11; most DPS spells scale every 1 or 2 CLs and the better ones don't cap until at least CL:15 (e.g., firewall). With good Spellpower gear the difference in CL may seem negligible to a vet, but how often does a newbie have good gear?
    You do realize that firewall gets +1 damage--not dice, +1 damage--per caster level? Yeah, that's such a huge screaming deal.

    The real problem with using spells to buff your casting stat is that the spell goes away when you rest so you miss out on the bonus sp you get from having a higher int. Now, this isn't a LOT of sp, but wizards are always tight on SP so it's universally better to have an item (which is very easy to get) than to cast a spell.
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