Completing the suite, here’s our mega article evaluating the Diablo 3 Wizard skill changes datamined from a leaked pre-alpha version of Reaper of Souls. As with the others, bear in mind that the class changes are a work in progress and many tweaks and revisions are certain between now and release.
The wizard is the class I had the most anticipation for pre-D3, and yet have played the least, so I was very curious to look over these changes. And they’re pretty good, at least on a skill by skill basis. Arcane Orb is totally redone and one rune returns D2’s Frozen Orb. Wave of Force has basically turned into Nova, with no cooldown and most of the defensive properties changed. Magic Missile has one random rune to recreate D2’s Glacial Spike. There are many other skills changes, hardly any nerfs (and we all knew perma-Archon was on the chopping block), and a bunch of new passives and big changes to existing passives as well.
You can take in all the Wizardy goodness via the forum thread, or click through to read it all in this news post. Hit up forum threads with similar treatments for the other classes as well, if you missed them the last two days:
- Barbarian RoS datamined skill changes.
- Demon Hunter RoS datamined skill changes.
- Monk RoS datamined skill changes.
- Witch Doctor RoS datamined skill changes.
- Wizard RoS datamined skill changes.
Wizard Passive Skill Changes
Previously this skill filled 30 Arcane Power per health globe. This change seems a much more interesting mechanic; a Wizard could use a high cost skill in bursts that would otherwise be impossible due to resource cost.
When you suffer more than 15% of your Life in a single hit, the cooldowns on Mirror Image, Slow Time, and Teleport are reset.
When you use Mirror Image, Slow Time, or Teleport, your movement speed is increased by 30% for 3 seconds. (The second part about boosted movement speed is new for RoS.)
Totally redone skill to the point it might as well have a new name. The old version increased duration of Armor skills by 120 seconds and added health regen of 620 per second. This new version seems designed to create some different play options. Of zero use during a dangerous battle, but provides a nice buffer for the beginning of a fight. Perhaps well suited for a Wizard who likes to throw themselves into the midst of enemies, as it will blunt damage at the start, before the Wizard’s attacks and debuffs can create a control zone?
Previously this passive had an 8% chance to Stun the target, so the odds have been slightly improved, and it’s been made predictable. Since most lighting spells hit multiple enemies, this should be a powerful ability if used cleverly.
New Wizard Passive Skills
Dealing Arcane damage, grants you a shield that absorbs 826 damage for second.
This is the renamed Temporal Flux. That passive caused enemies to be slowed 60% for 3 second when damaged by Arcane. The new one joins a lot of other “temporarl shield” type Wizard abilities.
Slightly OT, but remember when Blizzard included the names of prominent fansite people in their games as shout outs and thank yous to the community? Like… as mercenaries? Come RoS I will no longer even be able to pretend they named a lame Wizard Passive after me. 🙁 At least my fellow Iron Wolf, Scorch, has a new rune effect in Arcane Orb to carry on the pretense.
Standing still for 2 seconds increases the following attributes:
* Armor: 20%
* All Resistances: 20%
* Damage: 10%
The tooltip doesn’t say how long the buffs last, but they’re pretty good bonuses. Presumably the 2 second timer would tick while you were casting spells, so it’s not a tough one to trigger.
You deal 20% additional damage to enemies within 15 yards.
Where was this when the CM/lock down build was still functional, will say every Wizard in RoS.
Damaging enemies with Arcane, Cold, Fire or Lightning will cause them to take 5% more damage from all sources for 5 seconds. Each different damage type applies a stack, stacking up to 4 times. Elemental damage from weapons contributes to Elemental Exposure.
I should applaud this one, since it’s almost exactly like what I asked for in the New RoS Wizard Skills thread, while remembering how much I enjoyed the tri-tree Wizard builds from D2X (before synergies ended their viability). I can’t see it really working in D3 though, not with just six skill slots. Mostly this’ll be used by players who have 2 different elements on their main skills, plus a third element on their weapon.
Wizard Active Skill Changes
- Conflagration: Missiles pierce through enemies and cause them to burn for 30% weapon damage as Fire over 3 seconds. (Formerly Penetrating Blast, which granted a piercing effect.)
- Glacial Spike: Cast out a shard of ice that explodes on impact, causing enemies within 5 yards to take 88% weapon damage as Cold and be frozen for 1 second. Enemies cannot be frozen by Glacial Spike more than once every 5 seconds. (Formerly Attunement, which gained the Wizard 4 AP per target hit.)
Nice random skill rune there, bringing back another popular Diablo 2 skill, Glacial Spike. Though nerfed a bit with the 5s cooldown (warm up?) between uses.
- Flame Blades: Each enemy hit increases the damage of your Fire spells by 1% for 5 seconds. (Formerly called Deep Cuts which added 45% weapon damage over 3 seconds.)
- Ice Blades: Chilled enemies have a 10% chance to be Frozen and Frozen enemies have a 10% increased chance to be critically hit by Spectral Blade. (Previously Impactful Blades, and it slowed enemies by 80% for 1 second.)
- Barrier Blades: With each cast, gain a protective shield for 1 second that absorbs 826 damage. (Previously Healing Blades, and it healed 5% of damage done. Like all the other skills with Life Steal, it’s getting gutted in RoS.)
A lot of substantial tweaks to the rune effects, but nothing to the base skill’s function. I liked using this one in the early days of D3, and it was awesome in the D3 beta, but it’s way down the list on most used Wizard skills, and even then the most popular is Healing Blades for the life steal… which is gone in RoS. Thus I don’t see enough improvements or changes here that this one is likely to be much-used in RoS… barring other changes to gear or Wizard build options.
Ray of Frost (ray-of-frost)
Project a beam of frozen ice that blasts enemies within 5 yards of the first enemy hit for 280% weapon damage as Cold and Slows their movement by 60% for 4 seconds. (Added the 5 yard radius effect, allowing for more enemies to be affected.)
Cost: 16 Arcane Power
- Snow Blast: Enemies hit by Ray of Frost take 30% increased damage from Cold for 4 seconds. (Formerly increased damage up to 364% when focused on the same target for 1.5s.)
- Sleet Storm: Create a swirling storm around you that grows up to a 22 yard radius, dealing 364% weapon damage as Cold to all enemies caught within it. (Added the 22y description.)
Arcane Orb (db)
Hurl an orb of pure energy that explodes on contact, dealing 200% weapon damage as Arcane to all enemies within 15 yards. (Previously 10 yards.)
Cost: 30 Arcane Power (Previously 35 cost.)
- Obliteration: Increase the speed of the orb and its damage to 260% weapon damage as Arcane, but reduce the area of effect to 8 yards. (Previously there was no change to projectile speed or radius of explosion.)
- Spark: Lob an electrified orb over enemies that zaps them for 200% weapon damage as Lightning and increases the damage of the next Lightning spell you cast by 1% for every enemy hit. (Previously Arcane Nova. The “lob” movement (presumably it moves like a grenade, like the WD’s Firebomb) and increased Lightning spell damage is all new.)
- Scorch: Launch a burning orb that leaves behind a trail of Fire, dealing 100% weapon damage as Fire to enemies it pierces through and 150% weapon damage as Fire when it explodes. The wall of Fire left behind deals 300% weapon damage as Fire over 5 seconds. (Previously Tap the Source, which reduced cost to 20 AP.)
- Frozen Orb: Create an orb of frozen death that shreds an area with ice bolts, dealing up to 100% weapon damage as Cold to enemies it pierces through and up to 150% weapon damage as Cold when it bursts. (Previously Celestial Orb, which added a piercing effect.)
Awesome changes to most of these rune effects as well, and yes, that’s Frozen Orb, one of the most popular Diablo 2 Sorceress skills, returning. The lob movement arc on Spark should be interesting as well. The Witch Doctor has several skills that let him throw a projectile over the front row of enemies, so it’s nice to see the Wizard getting that option as well. This is helpful to target bosses or Treasure Goblins behind trash mobs, and can be very useful when dealing with Waller elites as well.
- Cascade: Enemies hit by Arcane Torrent have a 30% chance to fire a new missile at a nearby enemy dealing 285% weapon damage as Fire.
Arcane Torrent’s damage turns into Fire. (Formerly it was only enemies killed, and 100% chance of the proc.)
- Intensify: Enemies hit by Disintegrate take 30% increased damage from Arcane for 4 seconds. (Formerly damage increased over time to a maximum of 286%.)
- Crystal Shell: Increase the maximum amount of damage absorbed to 0 damage. (Formerly 21707 damage.)
- Diamond Shards: When Diamond Skin fades, diamond shards explode in all directions dealing 210% weapon damage as Arcane to nearby enemies. (Formerly Physical damage.)
Obviously a work in progress, with the damage figures listed at 0 in the datamined info. Perhaps some % of damage reduction is being planned?
Slow Time (db)
Invoke a bubble of warped time and space for 8 seconds, reducing enemy attack speed by 20% and movement speed by 60%. This bubble also slows the speed of enemy projectiles by 90%. (No change to base skill function.)
Cooldown: 15 seconds.
- Point of No Return: Enemies that enter or leave the Slow Time area are stunned for 2 seconds. (Formerly called Miasma, with a 3 second duiration.)
- Time and Space: Slow Time is now cast at your target location up to 60 yards away. (Formerly called Perpetuity, which reduced cooldown time.)
Being able to cast this to a location could be an intersting wrinkle. Stick it on top of bosses and watch their projectiles stand still? Not that there are any ranged attacking bosses of any real note in Diablo 3… at least not yet.
- Calamity: Cast a short range Wave of Force upon arrival, dealing 265% weapon damage as Arcane to all nearby enemies. and stunning them for 1.5 seconds. (Damage type changed from Physical to Arcane, with the stun effect added as well.)
Wave of Force (db)
Discharge a wave of pure energy that deals 200150% weapon damage as PhysicalArcane to nearby enemies. (Previously 200% weapon damage, plus it repelled projectiles and knocked back enemies, then slowed then by 60%.).
Cost: 25 Arcane Power
(Previously there was a 12s cooldown. It’s been removed entirely.)
- Impactful Wave: Wave of Force repels projectiles, knocks back nearby enemies and Slows them by 60% for 3 seconds. Wave of Force gains 6 second cooldown. (Previously Forceful Wave, which increased damage to 260% and reduced the knockback.)
- Electric Feel: Enemies hit by Wave of Force take 20% increased damage from Lightning for 4 seconds. (Previously Exploding Wave, which gave enemies a 40% chance to cause a smaller that deals 100% weapon damage and knockback.)
- Heat Wave: Increase the damage to 195% weapon damage as Fire. (Previously Teleporting Wave, which blinked enemies to a random location.)
- Debilitating Force: Enemies hit deal 10% reduced damage for 3 seconds. (Previously Impactful Wave which increased the knockback and added a stun effect.)
A total revision of this skill and all the rune effects. Gone are almost all of the defensive properties, and this is now basically a fully-offensive skill that does big damage like a Nova, without cooldown or other limits on use other than resource cost. I liked the Nova skill quite a bit in Diablo 2, so I’m definitely curious to check this one out.
- Gale Force: Enemies hit by Energy Twister take 30% increased damage from Fire for 6 seconds. (Previously boosted damage to 468% as Arcane.)
- Storm Chaser: Each cast of Energy Twister grants you a Lightning Charge. You can store up to 3 Lightning Charges at a time. Casting a Signature spell releases all Lightning Charges as a bolt of Lightning that deals 75% weapon damage as Lightning per Lightning Charge. Energy Twister’s damage turns into Lightning. (Previously stacked Wind charges and unleashed a giant Energy Twister of Arcane damage.)
- Mistral Breeze: Reduce the casting cost of Energy Twister to 10 Arcane Power. Energy Twister’s damage turns into Cold. (Formerly 20 AP and no cold damage.)
Not much change in function, but the varied elemental types should add some wrinkles, now that RoS is trying to make different damage types impactful.
Summon a multi-headed Hydra for 15 seconds that attacks enemies with bolts of fire dealing 28% weapon damage as Fire. Only one Hydra may be active at a time. (No change to base skill.)
Cost: 15 Arcane Power
- Blazing Hydra: Summon a Blazing Hydra that leaves a pool of fire, dealing 18% weapon damage per second as Fire to enemies who remain in the pool. (Formerly Venom, which summoned a poison spitting Hydra that could leave DoT pools of acid.)
Not much of a change on the skill itself, which is odd as often as Hydra has come up in conversation with the developers. Those references were all in regards to items making more Hydras appear, though.
Summon an immense Meteor that plummets from the sky, crashing into enemies for 260% weapon damage as Fire. The ground it hits is scorched with molten fire that deals 60% weapon damage as Fire over 3 seconds. (Unchanged.)
Cost: 40 Arcane Power (Formerly 50 AP.)
- Pulsar: Summon a Pulsar that deals 1820% weapon damage as Fire on impact. The Pulsar also taunts and damages nearby enemies for 490% weapon damage as Fire every second for 6 seconds. Adds a 24 second cooldown. (Formerly Molten Impact, which increased damage to 390% and molten damage to 90% over 3 seconds.)
- Comet: Summon a Comet that deals 312% weapon damage as Cold. and has a 20% chance to freeze enemies for 1 second upon impact. The impact site is covered in a freezing mist that deals 72% weapon damage as Cold and Slows enemy movement by 60% over 3 seconds. (Added the 20% chance to freeze target.)
- Star Pact: Reduce the cost of Meteor to 30 Arcane Power. Meteor’s damage turns into Arcane. (Formerly 35 cost.)
- Lightning Bind: If the initial impact causes a Critical Hit, the electrified Meteor duration is increased to 8 seconds. and enemies are rooted for 3 seconds. Meteor’s damage turns into Lightning. (Formerly Liquefy, which had the same effect but was fire damage.)
Call down shards of ice to pelt an area of 12 yard radius, dealing 510% weapon damage as Cold to all enemies in the area over 6 seconds. Multiple casts in the same area do not stack. (The 12y radius comment is new, but not a change, just a wording clarification.)
Cost: 40 Arcane Power
- Stark Winter: Increase the area of effect of Blizzard to a 22 yard radius. (Formerly no yard figure was given, but this new value sounds about the same as the undocumented size was previously.)
Ice Armor (db)
Surround yourself in a barrier of ice that reduces damage from melee attacks by 12%. Melee attackers are either Chilled or Frozen for 2 seconds. Lasts 4 minutes. (Previously 120 second duration.)
- Frozen Storm: A whirling storm of ice builds around you dealing 10% weapon damage as Cold every second. (Previously 30% damage, but only for 3 seconds, which incentivized “flashing” the skill repeatedly.)
- Deflection: When you perform an attack, gain a protective shield for 1 second that absorbs 826 damage. (Formerly Blood Magic, which let attacks recover 1.5% life steal.)
- Vigoron: This rune is scheduled to be redesigned. It currently does nothing. (That’s the actual text in the game code. Formerly this rune causes 620 life regen per second.)
Energy Armor (db)
Focus your energies, increasing your Armor by 35% but decreasing your maximum Arcane Power by 20. Lasts 4 minutes. Only one Armor may be active at a time. (Formerly 120s duration.)
Cost: 25 Arcane Power
- No changes to functions of the rune effects.
Explosive Blast (db)
Gather an infusion of energy around you that explodes after 1.5 seconds for 225% weapon damage as Arcane to all enemies within 12 yards. (Formerly physical damage.)
Cost: 20 Arcane Power
Cooldown: 6 seconds
- Short Fuse: Immediately release the energy of Explosive Blast for 225% weapon damage as Fire. (Formerly Physical.)
- Time Bomb: Explosive Blast detonates from the point it was originally cast after 2.5 seconds for 315% weapon damage as Arcane. (Formerly physical damage.)
More elemental damage shifts and varieties.
Mirror Image (db)
Summon 2 illusionary duplicates of yourself that last for 7 seconds and have 25% of your Life. Spells cast by your Mirror Images will deal 40% of the damage of your own spells. (Previously Mirror Image’s spells did zero damage.)
Cooldown: 15 seconds
- Mirror Mimics: Spells cast by your Mirror Images will deal 40% of the damage of your own spells. (Previously 10% of weapon damage.)
- Mocking Demise: When a Mirror Image is destroyed, it explodes, dealing 45% weapon damage as Arcane with a 50% chance to Stun for 2 seconds. (Previously the damage type was Physical.)
Another skill where a rune effect was “baked in” to the normal function. Now all forms of this skill create duplicates that can deal real damage, which was previously only possible with Mirror Mimmics, and even that was only 10% of weapon damage, and thus largely irrelevant and unused.
Transform into a being of pure arcane energy for 15 seconds. While in Archon form, your normal abilities are replaced by powerful Archon abilities, and your Armor and resistances are increased by 40%. Each enemy killed while in Archon form increases your damage by 3% for the remaining duration of Archon. (Formerly each kill added 1 second to the duration.)
Cost: 25 Arcane Power
Cooldown: 120 seconds
- Rune effects are unchanged in function.
Blizzard had long said that they wanted to limit the duration of Wrath of the Berserker and Archon. Many fans figured they’d just put a cap on the maximum increased duration, but clearly that wasn’t good enough for the devs. So now neither skill can be extended in duration at all. Not one bit.
New Wizard Skill
Conjure a Black Hole at the target location that draws enemies to it and deals 208% weapon damage as Arcane over 2 seconds to all enemies within 20 yards.
Cost: 20 Arcane Power
Cooldown: 8 seconds
- Supermassive: Increases the Black Hole radius to 20 yards and damage to 208% weapon damage as Lightning over 2 seconds
- Event Horizon: The Black Hole also absorbs enemy projectiles and enemy objects within 15 yards.
- Not Yet Implemented: Fire Damage effect.
- Spellsteal: Enemies hit by Black Hole deal 10% reduced damage for 3 seconds. Each enemy hit by Black Hole grants you 1% increased damage for 3 seconds.
- Absolute Zero: Each enemy you hit grants 2% increased damage for the next Cold spell you cast. Black Hole’s damage turns into Cold.
I like the idea of the skill function, but then I like pretty much all skills that draw enemies to a location, either on your character or otherwise. It just seems so disrespectful to their scaly little monster bodies.
As for the name, I’ve got to be honest… After this whole article, the astronomy terms for Wizard skills are getting pretty tedious. Also, they’re totally anachronistic within the Diablo 3 milieu. Ancients knew about meteors (Tyrael type and otherwise) and comets and such, but Black Holes weren’t understood until the 1930s and the term wasn’t coined until the 1960s. I hold identical objections to other modern terms of astronomy such as Supermassive and Pulsar and Event Horizon. Ancients naturally associated celestial phenomena with gods, so it would make more sense for these spell names to go along those lines. “Fire from the Heavens” and such.
I have played the least Wizard of any class since it doesn’t work the way I want it to work. Not that the game should be designed to my specifications, but we’ve all got our own preferences and there’s only so much time in the day to play video games. I played a ton of mage classes in D1 and D2, since I loved the fast moving, constantly-casting, varied-attacking spell design of the character. Wizard was my fave class pre-D3 and the one I most anticipated playing… and the fact that I don’t play it is entirely due to the way the class works. No spammable Teleport, no incentive to vary damage types (since monsters have no resistances) and the six skill cap and necessity of defensive skills limits Wizard attack spell options.
From what I can tell from the planned Wizard changes.. my basic objection to the class play style is not addressed. However… there are a lot of other cool changes and I like the idea of some of the skill redesigns. The new Arcane Orb and Wave of Force looks awesome, and I enjoy the returning D2 skills as well. Certainly more toys at the class’ disposal.
So what do you guys think? Those of you who are like me and not playing much Wizard… do these planned changes make you more interested in the class?
And what do those of you who are Wizards now, think? The Archon-only build is going to be gone, and I assumed that the CM build would be nerfed away as well, but if so it’s not obvious from the relevant skill descriptions. There’s no listed change at all to Critical Mass, which is where I thought they’d attack it. Assuming that CM perma-freeze is not going to work either in RoS… are there new or changed skills that give you an excite?