Wizards – Who are you Calling Overpowered?

overpowered wizard

Everything popular is wrong?

Patch 2.0 and the now live Reaper of Souls has brought a rapid influx of players rolling out or dusting off their wizard’s. If you listen carefully enough, you can hear the cries of “Nerf!” and “Buff!” and “Overpowered!” emanating from the Official Battle.net forums. Part of it was due to the fan service Blizzard gave us by recreating some old D2 favorite Sorceress skills (DiabloWikiFrozen Orb, DiabloWikiGlacial Spike). But we are past the honeymooning period here. So why are we the new white bread? Let’s discuss.

We saw a little of this, though not to the level of the Barbarian, throughout most of vanilla Diablo 3. Critical Mass wizard’s were incredibly popular and came in two flavors, Perma-Archon and Wicked Wind.

It feels bigger than that now. I see us everywhere. In public games, sure, but every single person I run with has made it a point to get their wizard to 70 in the first month of release. So why are we so popular? What gives? I think diversity is key. Especially in a game of repetition.

We have a lot of great spenders, and lots of rune variations that are viable and helpful. Not to mention gearing choices. You see a lot of fire wizards these days (1, 2), but I believe that is due to the accessibility of fire gear. There is more of it and it is more common (if we are to give any precedence to the “Drop rates”). But arcane is as powerful, if not better, at mid-high torment levels. And cold and lightning have some really powerful builds, mid-torment farming comfortably. Most other classes are lucky to have a second element type that can pull its weight.

So are Wizards Overpowered?

miirroball wand of wohWhat exactly constitutes overpowered? There are several classes that are quicker at clearing Torment VI. And I would argue that wizards require far more specific legendaries to be able to be efficient at that difficulty. We need more than high dps and EHP, we need at least a few of those wonderful orange-text affixes. We do get a great benefit from the passive bonus to All Resistance from Intelligence. But by the same token so do Witch Doctors. Barbarians and Crusaders even get passive damage reduction on top of benefiting from the armor bonus from their strength stat. I view “overpowered” as game-breaking, and I don’t see our class as that. Wizard’s just have options. Depending on your gear set-up, you can really have some fun with swapping out skills. If you want to run cold, Frozen Orb and Ray of Frost are great options. Ice armor is relevant again, and Frost Nova is a must for most builds on Torment VI.

If lightning is your thing, you have Wave of Force, Lightning Bind Meteors, and quite the selection on builders. And fire and arcane overshadow both of those elements significantly in playstyle types. Fire is missing better options for a ranged spender other than Meteor, but the power of Magic Missile/Conflagrate keeps most of my whining to a hush. Whether you want to play ranged, or melee, or somewhere in between with your caster, there are plenty of options for you.

Are they Balanced?

Again, how do you decide? Balanced against what? If it’s the game then I would say yes. But with the new Torment slider the game is as balanced as you want it to be. Unless of course we are choosing some middle-ground for argument’s sake, so let’s say Torment III.

At that difficulty we have a ton of efficient and fun options. Just pick an element and go, using your drops as a guide. At that level I believe we are above the competition, but I feel like that is what is intended for all classes, and not necessarily broken. If the other classes had the build variety of the wizard, I feel like the game would be in a near perfect place.

vyr's fantastic finery

Vyr’s Fantastic Finery

Compared to other classes, we do great at mid-torment levels, at or close to the front of the pack. But once you get to the higher torments we drop off a bit. We still have a couple of options, but even our best options don’t have the clearing speed of some of the upper echelon Barbarian and Witch Doctor builds going around right now. As soon as I get a big head and feel good about where my gear is, I get into a game with a Demon Hunter and spend the session chasing them down. It puts my ego in check really quickly.

Patch 2.0.5 (patch notes) went live this week and may shift things around a bit. Archon can now be runed to be any element, which is great for anyone running anything but arcane that wanted to put Archon on their bar. But arcane wizard’s that were using the Pure Power rune and don’t have Vyr’s 6-piece bonus yet will suffer. Teleport saw some tweaks as well, most notably to the popular Wormhole rune. We’ll see in the coming weeks if there is a waning in our population because of it, but I would doubt it. If anything, there are now more viable builds at higher difficulties now that your cold, fire, and lightning damage can affect archon.

I think we wizards are in a great place right now. There are still some things I would like to see tweaked but where we are this close to launch is pretty ideal, even factoring in how many people are playing a wizard these days. Being the popular kid can be lame, but there is an upside to being the white bread. Lots of enthusiasm. The more people playing the class, the more we can flesh out what is wrong and right with the wizard these days. We have always had a very active community with a good amount of veteran players and streamers actively theorycrafting what works and what doesn’t. I don’t see more people getting involved as a bad thing.

What do you think? Have you leveled a wizard this expansion? Do we deserve that nerf-bat? Or do wizards just have more fun?

Tagged As: | Categories: *Featured, Diabloii.Net Articles, Wizard


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  1. Well for me Wiz is OP. But I might be influenced because I play Wiz and Monk primarily and many people complain about Monk being underpowered. I don’t really know about other classes… But comparing those two (Wiz and Monk), the Wiz can do equally well as the monk with less than a tenth of time invested.

    • That could just as easily mean the Monk is underpowered…..which it is.

    • The monk needs a serious look, that’s for sure, so that doesn’t help. There are strict difference in the classes though. Wizard’s are a glass cannonish type class, monks were not created with that in their design. So naturally through gear progression, wizard’s get high dps fast and start to slow down at the mid-torment levels. Its getting the mitigation balanced just right that plateau’s us usually. I find that the problem, if any, would be with gear, not the class. The monk needs work on the class and gear, so naturally the two classes are miles apart from each other.

      • Hmm, You say glass cannon, as in they deal a LOT of damage but they break (die) easily. I think this is wrong (not being condescending at all, just being blunt).

        Here’s Why: The witch doctor class is totally imbalanced IMO, my boyfriend (look up his profile if you want his name is substance) has a witchdoctor with a pet build that 1-shots elites on T5 and can 2 shot the bosses, but doesn’t die because his pets are doing all the work, also with the hexing pants, it’s totally over-powered.

        Next reason: He also has a barbarian, who are a lot harder to kill than wizards. He had to rebuild his barb several times because he was probably one of the first people to get a shard of hate (came from a chest I opened the first time we ever played act 5 together when the game launched) and dual wield it with a Thunderfury, so he built his barb as a whirlwind lightning barb.
        Then they nerfed the shard, and he was really upset but rebuilt his barb to fire, which he felt was too much of a squishy build. Anyway now he is playing, clearing torment 6 really fast on his Barbarian (with a new-found weapon-throw lightning build. He has a crusader, which I used his account and I found that the crusader 2-shots elites as well.

        Okay so he has had the crusader for about 50 hours and it 2-shots elites on T6. I have 580 hours on my wizard give or take a little, and I have had to rebuild for fire because the arcane build is no longer as powerful as it was. My gear is pretty spot on (I have a trifecta Magefist) and I’m just missing a fire amulet, maybe a better rolled mirror-ball and a Wand of Woh would be amazing. I plod along through T5, it’s ridiculous. (MY profile is Morphious#1878)

        So yeah, I think if Wizards really are a glass cannon, then the CANNON part should be doing more damage. (I’ve seen his crusader critical hit for 64 million, and that’s pretty normal)

        • You make a fair point for sure, and I feel like that is the side of the wizard class a lot of people don’t see. I think the class early on has the glass cannon advantage, but with higher torments and gear the classes scale very differently. The items in the game right now guarantee that.

          I actually outlined in my post that at the higher torments we are being out-performed. I’m sure there will be plenty more balancing and nerfing and tweaking in the future though.

  2. The Wizard team WHO maded the firebird set, had a totalt bain fart.

    Compared to Jade or Earth set is lack, elite and rift boss dps. WHO in the would would make the last set bonus of firebird to be based on kills? When the thoghest challenge are boss and elites?

    They will revamp firebird set in 2.1.0 but gsus that long time.

    • It probably isn’t as far off as you would think. I would imagine within the next two months.

      The set is atrocious though. The two piece is 500 int. Really? I can get 500 int on literally ANY other piece of gear. And the proc’s are odd. It definitely needs looked at, but I’m confident they will iron it out.

      Don’t forget any changes will be retroactive too, so hang on to your pieces!

    • I find this humorous for a number of reasons. First of all, you still have Vyr’s set and Tal Rasha’s set, both of which are amazing in high torments. That is 2 great Torment 6 sets. Witch Doctor also has two great sets for higher torment. Zunimassa and Jade Harvestors. But please don’t forget how incredibly horrible Helltooth is. Helltooth’s set is WORSE than Firebird’s in many many ways. I just don’t understand why call out the WD and Barb when the Wiz also has two great sets just like the other 2 and 1 bad set just like the other 2.

      • I didn’t touch on the set’s too much. That said, Tal’s is a good set, but I wouldn’t say great. There is real debate in the class as to what would be more optimal. all of the +%fire damage or the Tal’s set. It is not universally BiS. And Vyr’s, while having a very great 4 set bonus, the 2 set is pretty meh. 500 int isn’t much of a bonus. I can roll more than that on literally any piece. Not to mention it is only a set to use IF you happen to run Archon, which plenty of wizard’s do not, and aren’t looking to. I’m definitely a part of that group, after running Archon for most of Vanilla. I’m not in a hurry to build either set, currently. The crafted set’s and my drops have given me more of what I am looking for. And that kinda stinks because aesthetically I would love to be hunting full Tal’s set.

        All that said, they aren’t terrible and definitely not a priority to fix over some of the other sets and I’m on board with that. There are definitely some other sets, Helltooth included, that need a look fast.

        I also wasn’t really calling out Barb’s and WD’s at all, merely pointing out the silliness of calling the wizard’s overpowered when other classes are outperforming us at the higher torments. I don’t at all believe that we need a buff or that the others should necessarily be nerfed because of that alone, I was only pointing it out. I also wasn’t comparing sets at all, I was focusing more on the class itself. The sets are a whole other discussion altogether.

        TBH, I am glad WD’s are where they are. Makes my guild runs fun 😀 These pet builds make my farming a breeze.

  3. Every single Wizard used Critical Mass. Even the odd balls like me who hated WW and Archon. I used Meteor Shower, but I still needed Critical Mass for Teleport, Bubble, Frost Nova, or Diamond Skin. It was a no-brainer. There wasn’t anything even close to as useful for anything that had a single cooldown spell.

    In related news, Grave Injustice’s days might be numbered.

    • Yeah, it was a necessary passive and I’m glad it was removed. It opened up our class to what it is now, and it feels like I’m actually playing a caster. It’s great.

      What is Grave Injustice? Do tell.

      • Grave Injustice knocks seconds off of cooldown when stuff dies nearby, for Witch Doctors. When they put CDR in the same pool as sockets, CC, CD, IAS, main stat, etc., it became even better than it was in Vanilla, and it was already awesome in Vanilla. Oh, and they increased the base range on it (after they nerfed the Pick Up Radius on all the gear).

  4. Having played all the classes they are all mostly even, sure some have more build options than others, but overall they are pretty on-par. The main difference is really in the gear that you find, people seem to forget that with the new game it’s more of a ‘your gear defines your builds’.

    The main reason the sorc seems so powerful is that they don’t need much gear to get to the point where you feel you are strong. My first char to 70 was my sorc, and I killed malthael on t1 with practically no gear. Hitting 1m dps was easy, as was surviving on t1-3, even 4 to an extent. Try to do that with another class and you run into issues. Once you have your gear out it’s fine, but starting off you need more things to get to the point that wizards hit early.

    All the classes mostly end up in the same place now, especially with the crusader overhauls they keep doing. Monk may be a little more limited but they are also due for a change in 2.1.

    • The gear situation is something I would really like to touch on at some point as well. But since you brought it up:

      If you are speaking in terms of pure DPS, i would tend to agree. But factoring in EHP and your character as a whole I wouldn’t. Wizard’s are a glass cannon class, along with demon hunters. So we naturally reach higher dps levels faster at the expense of mitigation and hp. On the other side of that coin, because of our high dps numbers, and the ability to fire and forget a lot of our spells, a lot of skill more micro-managing and skill is involved. That’s why I play caster’s in ARPG’s, you can be as good as you can micro-manage. And even with high DPS and little mitigation, I could clear early torment levels just by using my fire and forget spells and dodging incoming damage.

      So in essence, you are completely correct, but I think that is the way it supposed to be. If a Crusader or Barb or Monk could hit our DPS levels the way that we do, and still have the amount of EHP they have, why would anyone play the glass cannon? We would be irrelevant. It’s a risk/reward relationship I feel like.

      I do really hope they look at the gear situation though, and obviously they plan to add more in the future patches. I love the fact that fire is a viable build for wizard’s, as it almost never has been, but the scale is tipped a bit far in the elements favor in my opinion.

    • So true.

      My main is a WD and was in pretty shape when RoS came out. However, I had to pull myself through bit by bit with 100k DPS upgrades over 1million sheet DPS mark. Then when I decided to give my wizard a go, she was over 1million sheet DPS so easily with %90 of her gear still rares that I was shocked. It took me two months to get there with my WD and I am still below that if I take down my passive Pierce the Veil.

      • Yes, exactly. But once you get those taskers and round out some other slots, your pets are blasting through T6. It will take me a while to get my gear to that point. Or luck!

        It all seems to balance out differently in the end. I’ll trade you some dps for some of those pets though 😀 Love those fetishes!

  5. The last time i was in a game with a Wiz i almost died.
    They can just fill the screen with magic going everywhere! 1 sec i was fighting the Elite pack, the next my life was melting down into a red screen, I just couldn’t see all the Arcane beams i was in the middle of.

    IMO its not the amount of damage they can do, it’s that the seem to be able to do it non-stop.

  6. Anyone that argues that the wizards aren’t OP must be playing the game with their eye’s shut, on drugs and with such a low IQ you should never have been given a drivers license.

    • I don’t think insulting someone’s intelligence is a good enough counter argument. Just dig a bit deeper.

    • My Wizard took 250 hours of post expansion play to become T6 capable.

      My Crusader had to get 3 items: Jekangbord, Gyrfalcon’s Foote, Harrington’s Waistcoat.

      Add on a royal ring and 3 blackthorne’s pieces with Ice Climbers, and the Crusader cruises through T6 about 10x faster than the Wizard … with about 1/10th the time investment.

      So which is OP? (The correct answer is neither).

      • You haven’t heard? Blackthorne’s are useless… /sarcasm

      • Take off Jekangbord and Gyrfalcon’s Foote – is your Crusader anything special now? You can’t really compare a class based on lucky class-specific drops (of which the Crusader has more than anyone).

  7. Wizards can quickly regenerate arcane power without good gear while other classes can’t, giving casuals the impression wizards are OP.

  8. was going great but after 131 hrs, just slain by UNKNOWN !!!

  9. So if not overpowered, he is that much more fun than other classes?

    • Yes.

      I’m biased because I primarily play a wizard, but I also have a 70 of each other class, and I think the Wizard shines in its ability to do reasonably well with MANY different builds.

      You’re not going to do T4,5,6 with every build, but you can do T1 with a bit of decent gear and almost any reasonable wizard build that you can come up with. This allows a player to play what they WANT and have fun playing while still doing torment. I think that’s where the wizard shines, and it makes sense given that it was the first class given attention with the thorough elemental re-design.

      That being said, at higher torments you’re limited to a small number of builds that work well with specific legendaries, which is fairly similar to the other classes. I think Wizard’s build pigeon-holes are simply later in the difficulty line than other classes.

  10. I’ve had next to no experience with the Wiz post-2.0 so I’d be curious to know from those that think they’re OP – what exactly do you think needs to be nerfed?

    • Unfortunately, nothing really. The people who think wizard’s are OP haven’t reached upper Torment levels where Pet/Jade doctors, Earthquake Barbs and Shield blasting crusaders are MUCH stronger.

      Easy test – ask someone who thinks Wizard’s are OP what the best specs are. If they do not answer Woh/Conflag and Arcane/Archon you can safely ignore them.

  11. A.) Why not stop complaining about the Monk and instead consider it a challenge to master. What, all player types have to be easy to master now?

    B.) My Wizard was pretty much capped off before RoS, and was boring me to the AH… I had to (well, it just happened) quickly adjust armor wise. It’s a heck of a lot more fun to be able to slowly adjust attributes and armor to chisel out the “perfect” Wiz than waiting for another 1 Int on a Wand drop before the expansion.

    C.) I’m not magically running Torment 3 even with my current 60-80 hours of RoS play on my Wizard. But second the Crusader kick ass… I don’t even have much legendary gear on mine and he almost outranks my Wiz (after maybe 20 hours play period).

  12. Normally, I try not to become so flustered with posts involving Wizards.
    1) Wizard class has been nerfed so many time I have lost count. Over and over “tweaking” is done to bring our class back in line with everyone else’s expectations.
    2) It has taken me 2 months(since release) of 60hours+ a week to find a Wand of Woh. Yes it is powerful, but requires really good gear on Hardcore to make it viable. T3-4 is very challenging for me personally.
    3) We do have some great abilities to escape- but without countless hours of farming there is nothing damage wise we do that feels OP by any means. I can hit for 40-50 Mil on a physical barb I hardly ever play. But with my Wiz, I have had to work relentlessly to ever get close to that.
    4) Vyrs set. They finally fixed the bonus. Great!! But do people even realize how much DPS you give up just to run a CDR build? Tons. It might seem OP, but play it and you will know what I mean.

    The common theme here is: You have to dedicate serious time and effort to make a Wiz competitive in HC. I really can’t speak to SC. If I did not worry about dying, then sure CD’s don’t matter and you can build as much DPS as you need without worrying about toughness to a degree.

    Here is my challenge to anyone claiming Wiz is OP; Make a HC Wizard and get them able to do solo T3+. Let me know how long it takes. Even with the week long Loot buff. If you can do it in less than 3 weeks, no matter how long you play, I will buy you a cookie of your choice. =)

    • Wow thank god there are other intelligent life-forms on this thread. I was beginning to lose hope. (Read the reply I posted up the top)

  13. If it were up to me, I’d nerf the hell out of both Magic Weapon and Sparkflint, not because they’er OP (though MW is way more powerful than similar bonuses for other classes) but because it sucks that these two super-boring passives are pretty much the most popular Wiz skills. The class would be way more fun for everyone if those two skills needed to be replaced with any actual active skills.

    • Huh?….
      Magic Weapon and Companion are not what you think, please give them a closer look.
      In fact, depending on the rune that you pick, they can morph into very different things, either in the direction of more DPS (not that much, but to some noticeable degree) or providing the Wizard with some added survivability at the cost of DPS. These two skills are most of what the Wizard has as a “general purpose” buff.

      In conclusion, they are indispensable, because they are so flexible and serve so many roles. By no means are they overpowered… just useful.

      • MW provides a free, permanent and passive 20% damage boost to everything at all times. Nobody else gets anything else remotely this powerful. The DH, for example, has Marked For Death which can do this to ONE enemy for 30 secs at a cost of 3 Disc. Or the popular Monk rune The Flesh Is Weak which provides 20% to one monster for 9 secs for 40 Spirit. All such skill buffs for the other classes are limited in some way but the Wiz can get a free and permanent 30% boost to everything always.

        Unsurprisingly, these two “skills” – which are actually passives – are by far the two most popular Wiz skills. How boring that so many Wiz’s are putting two skills in their belts that don’t require them ever pressing a button! As to being “flexible”, both skills are overwhelmingly just used for the very powerful and very boring DPS boost:


  14. Okay, I’ll grant you Overawe. 🙂 It’s not even about it being too powerful a buff – it’s that it’s extremely lame that by far the two most popular Wizard skills are just passive buffs (with the 3rd most popular also being the passive Energy Armor). If having half your skill bar be totally passive buffs is the most popular way to play the class, something is off in the class’ balance or design if that’s the case IMO. If you go to that same site you’ll see that Overawe is in a much better place balance-wise – it’s popular but not nearly as widespread. Whatever they need to do to get it to a point where more people put ACTIVE skills on their Active Skill bar would be a boon to the class’ fun quotient.

  15. It’s really hard to tell now because you have targeted loot, so massive amounts of luck work into any equation. If we didn’t have targeted loot then my Crusader would have felt overpowered while leveling because I would have lots of gear for him. As it stands, the easiest to level is whoever finds the best weapon. At 70? Wizard has some very, very, very easy T2 and under modes, like run by mobs, they all die kind of easy, while other classes probably have to work a bit harder. I took a Sorc on T1 all the way from 1 to 70 on my way to Malthiel with no trouble, my Demon Hunter doing the same thing had to drop to Expert to beat him so I bailed because I want a guaranteed chance at Torment gear. Anyway, it took a while of grinding in Rifts to get my DH the gear she needed to beat Malthiel. The Wizard really just needed decent gear, self found, and a weapon over 1800 dps.

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