4E Wizard Weak

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As I've been perusing my Player's Handbook... I can only think that the wizard just doesn't have the same kick it use to. They have done an excellent job at making the other classes into playable classes, but the wizard seems to have lost its edge. Maybe that's a good thing, but for someone who loved the 3.5 Edition wizard, I am having a hard time looking for ways to buff up my wizard. Granted I havent taken a really close look at the paragon tier... maybe the wizard is boosted up there. Anyone agree with me on this?
I am not one of the luckies wth my book.
ALTHOUGH I HAVE BEEN AXIOUSLY CHECKING THE STOOP 3 TIMES A DAY ALL WEEK!

Anyway, if the 4e wizards seems too weak give it extra power slots spaced over several levels.

1-5 (2) bonus at will

5-10 (2) bonus encounter

10-15 (1) bonus daily

15-20 (1) bonus daily

My reasoning for the spacing of the goods is an attempt at balance with the other classes.
From what I have read of the designer's notes, this is the way they wanted to do it. Basically enhance some of the other classes, nerf some of the remaining. Wizards get the nerf because they were overpowered in the scheme of things. I for one will be trying to create new spells and effects using the other abilities as a rubric to add some versatility that may or may not be lacking at this time. I unfortunately will have to wait probably till x-mas before I have a good idea on how the Wizard differs. I always liked counting on the Wiz to bail the group out of one of my traps, now I will have to hope for group unity to do that.
The wizard isn't weak. It's more in check with the other classes now, but it's certainly not weak. Its main strength is this: martial classes can do the improbable, but wizards can do the impossible.
Wizards are still the most versatile class out there, and versatility, imo, is where the real power is.

-Swift
Wizards seriously kick butt. It's still possible for a Wizard to dish out a boat load of Damage as a Battle Mage. Check out Closing Spell and you'll see what I mean. If you go for Archmage and Take Closing Spell as an Encounter power then recharge it with a Ring of Wizardry and Archmage Spell Shape you can kick out three burst spells that deal 8D10+whatever in a single encounter, plus you get to pick the Energy type.

That's some serious mojo.
Wizards get free Ritual use, and double the amount of Daily and Utility spells that other classes get.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

This is not the proper subforum for this thread.
I don't have access to any of the 4th ed classes, so I'm not sure how strong the wizard class is or is not, but IMO if he is weaker or the same power level as 3.5 then his is seriously weak. IMO 3.5 striped the wizard badly.
I have placed this in my signature so that I don't have to repeat myself over and over again. I don't have any friends that play magic. I have to travel a long way to go to a store to play, which is the only time I get to play. The store is a Standard tournament game, so I don't get to play with casual decks. I don't like magic online as I don't have internet at my house, and have little time to play at work. I also don't like the idea of spending money on nothing as the cards are nothing but data. It is like renting information. When I have built a deck, the best I can do is to solitaire the deck, which does not give an accurate account of the deck only a general idea.
no familiar, no summoning spells.
he might be strong and versatile, but hes not the wizard i know.
no familiar, no summoning spells.
he might be strong and versatile, but hes not the wizard i know.

Those will come back.
I don't have access to any of the 4th ed classes, so I'm not sure how strong the wizard class is or is not, but IMO if he is weaker or the same power level as 3.5 then his is seriously weak. IMO 3.5 striped the wizard badly.

Uh, what?

The Wizard was the most flexible and dangerous class even in 3.5.

So far, from what I've seen, the Wizard puts out less damage and doesn't have the same breadth of utility spells that he did in 3.5, but he's got more reliable damage and is more in tune with the other classes.
no familiar, no summoning spells.
he might be strong and versatile, but hes not the wizard i know.

Well, you can give a 4e wizard a familiar, it'as not a big deal - it is just not the uber animal it was in 3.5 but just a "normal" specimen, which might be more intelligent, well it may even talk, but it just has the normal stats otherwise.

3.5 wizard familiars where just too tough (or to weak depends on what you wanted to do with them).

And the wizards in my group seldom used summon spells.

But otherwise the wizards is still a wizard. A lot of his spells became rituals, but this is more or less like these spells should have worked from the beginning. Anybody can try to do it, he can just mess it up if he hasn't the skill (remember Army of Darkness?) :D

Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

Not to mention wizards will be able to use any ritual that they get their hot littlle hands on, including the ones that used to be divine spells. Now wizards can raise the dead and not have to worry about that awful undead smell that wizards of previous editions had to suffer through. :P
While I don't mind familiars one way or the other, summoning spells better not make a comeback. Casters in 3.5 not only had their own prodigious abilities, but the abilities of anything and everything they could summon. IMO, summoning was one of the biggest game-breaking mechanics of 3.X.
Did the OP confuse weakness with balance? Or did they prefer the hard to manage uber wizard of 3.5? Don't fret i am sure Arcane Power will help creep up the power level just a tad. ;)
Well, you can give a 4e wizard a familiar, it'as not a big deal - it is just not the uber animal it was in 3.5 but just a "normal" specimen, which might be more intelligent, well it may even talk, but it just has the normal stats otherwise.

That's probably for the best.
Yeah... While I wouldn't say that Wizards are weak now, they're definitely not the options-for-everything-if-I-prepared-well guys anymore. While that makes the game more balanced, I have a feeling it'll also take the fun out of it for a number of folks who previously played Wizards - not so much because now they can't be more powerful than everyone, but because the extreme versatility + preparation aspect isn't nearly as prevalent anymore.

Wizards seriously kick butt. It's still possible for a Wizard to dish out a boat load of Damage as a Battle Mage. Check out Closing Spell and you'll see what I mean. If you go for Archmage and Take Closing Spell as an Encounter power then recharge it with a Ring of Wizardry and Archmage Spell Shape you can kick out three burst spells that deal 8D10+whatever in a single encounter, plus you get to pick the Energy type.

That's some serious mojo.

That's just 44 average damage a shot... and from what I recall, some of the monsters you'll be fighting have around 1000 HP by then. It'll hurt a bit, but it's not something I'd expect to see make a huge difference.

Not to mention wizards will be able to use any ritual that they get their hot littlle hands on, including the ones that used to be divine spells. Now wizards can raise the dead and not have to worry about that awful undead smell that wizards of previous editions had to suffer through. :P

In part 'cause there're no undead-creating rituals published yet. :P
Many 'middle-ground' monsters have several hundred HP.

The key to the relative strength & weakness of the classes is the extent to which they address key features.
Essentially every class needs some kind of reliable stun, reliable damage mitigation versus the kind of damage they output, positioning features and an at least semi-reliable escape mechanism. At least limited AoE is good to include but not essential.

I don't want to write up a full review of each class, suffice to say that if you take the time to read through the classes (when you get your books) and look for the presence of each of those key features you'll find some have them in spades (quite reasonably) but those that lack them are at a significant disadvantage.

The Mage class as is seems to half toggle between being 'the' AoE class and the occasional control feature.

Further, they lack defensive and positioning options - not such a big deal in the rather static fights of 2e & 3e but I'm confident it'll be felt strongly in the much more dynamic battlegrounds of 4e.

Other classes like the Warlord, Paladin and Priest help make up for these with their own team-based movement features and I can see how the developers may feel that group-based combat that relies on companion classes to fill in the blanks is a suitable method of balance - I'd strongly disagree though, you simply can't rely that any given companion class will be present in an encounter or even an entire adventure.

On a side note, the way I read it - any class can take the Ritual Casting feat.
Not necessarily a bad thing in itself, particularly as the classes are balanced (mostly) about other features.
Short Answer: Not weak.
Long Answer: Wizard is balanced, and still has potential to become very powerful, even echoing the power and flexibility it had in 3.5E.

Short Answer Expanded:
To test game mechanics, i have been running the KoS encounters, controlling both the PreGens & Monsters. The Wizard's ability to hose minions is very powerful. In fights w/out minions, the AoE damage component is very effective, as are things like Sleep & Ray of Frost. Although the improved initiative feat given to the PreGen character isn't often considered optimal, i have found it really helps to "maintain control". Having the option to go first, or hold off to see how your teammates roll is very effective when deciding the right time to use a daily or encounter power.

Long Answer Expanded:
If any class is going to gain greater power per new core book released, its the Wizard. The things once part of the Wizard's repertoire that are now marked for the Psi or Shadow power sources may be in the Wizard's arsenal again. Perhaps more than any other power source, Arcane can justify almost any ability. Psi & Shadow may get the abilities at an earlier level, but there is no reason why Wizards couldn't use Arcane to mimic those abilities. Even if not part of published game design, a truly enterprising Wizard can design his own spells using abilities from other power sources as an inspiration. Wizards (and Clerics) may be the most "nerfed" of the classes in 4E compared to 3.5E, but they well situated to expand their portfolio of abilities.

Its really too soon to cry under or over powered on any class. It will take at least a few months in the wild to really decipher the flaws of the system.
I wouldn't be that surprised to see a few "save or dies" return in Arcane Power. But they wouldn't be the 3e-cheese effects. They'd work more like the powers some of the monsters have (Beholders, Bodaks, Orcus). Either death after two or three failed saving throws, or reduction to 0 hit points, which means you're not screwed just yet.

In fact, I've been working on a homebrew 4e draft of Wail of the Banshee modeled around such monsters' "save or dies." Obviously, it's a Wizard Daily 29.
Playing KotS, wizard was the key player. Blowing up waves of 'binions' made a huge difference in the outcome.
The thing about previous editions version of Wizards was that they were specifically balanced to be really vulnerable, easy to kill, and have absolutely no power at level 1 to make up their godly powers and versatility at higher levels.

The problem with that it makes wizards a lot less fun at level 1, but trivializes the skills and abilities of almost everyone else at higher levels.

4th Edition totally redesigned the Wizard Power scheme. You no longer are the vulnerable and weak cripple that the party takes along out of mercy until you finally hatch and make the rest of them worthless. You pull your weight at the beginning, and are closer to being balanced at the end (but still with cool tricks).

This is the way I see it:

Pros of 4th:
  • Wizards are no longer likely to die from a single normal hit from a level 1 monster.
  • Wizards can cast way more spells at level 1 (and the lowest levels) than they could in previous versions. (No more, "Ok, I cast my 1 spell... that's it for me today)
  • A Level 1 wizard is much more fun, overall (because of the previous 2 pros)
  • Wizards still have access to a lot of spells, as Rituals, even though they take longer to cast.
  • Wizards still have access to choose from more Daily Powers than any other class, which can be expanded even further by a feat.
  • Other classes have lots of fun powers at lower levels and higher levels now as well.


Cons of 4th:
  • Wizards don't have the huge number of tricks up their sleeves at higher levels.
i think people will go "uhhhh...." when they see that the spell fireball does 3d6 damage, and it never improves.

Lost a little bit of kick I'd say
You can still lock someone in a box of ice while being grappled by Edvards and stuck in a life draining web while on fire. In a single turn.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
i think people will go "uhhhh...." when they see that the spell fireball does 3d6 damage, and it never improves.

Lost a little bit of kick I'd say

Strange, I swap mine out for a bigger boomkin when it becomes obsolete. Don't you?
I don't have access to any of the 4th ed classes, so I'm not sure how strong the wizard class is or is not, but IMO if he is weaker or the same power level as 3.5 then his is seriously weak. IMO 3.5 striped the wizard badly.

don't take this badly but if you think wizards are weak, you don't know how to play a wizard.

as a DM, i have challenged my group, my wizard against them.

i made a big mess involving a lot of PC pieces flying everywhere.

we were all lvl 15 and the group was 5 persons strong. my wizard butchered them real bad.
My concern is not that wizards can't blow things up. They could before and they can now.

If you enjoyed almost any other aspect of playing a wizard, however, it's gone. My impression is that the designers wanted every character to be limited as much as possible to powers that can work in the video game version.
My concern is not that wizards can't blow things up. They could before and they can now.

If you enjoyed almost any other aspect of playing a wizard, however, it's gone. My impression is that the designers wanted every character to be limited as much as possible to powers that can work in the video game version.

I don't think it's that as much as how powers are for combat and rituals are for out of combat. The 4e Wizard has to be balanced and playable at all levels. Putting what 3.5 considered utility spells in as powers would have made them very weak. That said, I think rituals are more than going to make up for the loss in flexibility, more so as new rituals are added.
I don't think it's that as much as how powers are for combat and rituals are for out of combat. The 4e Wizard has to be balanced and playable at all levels. Putting what 3.5 considered utility spells in as powers would have made them very weak. That said, I think rituals are more than going to make up for the loss in flexibility, more so as new rituals are added.

Thanks for the answer, mongo. That is obviously what the designers had in mind. I just feel they went too far.

I prefer having the option of a mage who is FAR more subtle than is even possible here. I had characters and NPCs in v3.5 who specialized and listed evocation spells as one of their prohibited schools. Now, almost all spells are elemental, force, or necrotic attacks. Protections, conjurations, illusions, transmutations, enchantments - gone almost entirely. Time consuming and expensive rituals with powers far diminished from previous versions don't make up for that in any way to me.

I'm willing to see how the game plays, but the response given (in pretty much all threads, not just here) that there will be more $35 books coming out later that might improve identified problems and weaknesses isn't of much comfort.
from page 160 of the PHB

Sleep Wizard Attack 1
You exert your will against your foes, seeking to overwhelm them
with a tide of magical weariness.
Daily - Arcane, Implement, Sleep
Standard Action Area burst 2 within 20 squares
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Intelligence vs. Will
Hit: The target is slowed (save ends). If the target fails its
first saving throw against this power, the target becomes
unconscious (save ends).
Miss: The target is slowed (save ends).


this lvl 1 spell single handedly makes wiz's not suck
I just have two complaints (so far):
  • I don't like "per encounter" or "per session" stuff (other than the DM awarding XP).
  • Arcane magic is not sufficiently arcane. (Divine magic is not sufficiently divine either, but we aren't discussing divine casters here.)

These two problems apply to any edition of D&D.
Weak compared to 3.5? Obviously. It's all relative. Power-wise, full casters owned in 3.5, especially when you consider all the new spells that kept coming out in books, and epic play where multiple quickened spells per round were clearly overpowered.

4e is about everyone having a role and being effective, and that meant "nerfing" straight casters who we all know had a tremendous advantage in the 3.x rulesset.

Just going to take some getting use to if you played casters a lot in 3.5. I'm sure as more 4e sourcebooks are released, caster players will have more options - but the days of huge gaps in power between full casters and other classes fortunately seem over.
LEONINE ROAR : Amp Up Your D&D Game : Visit my D&D blog :: FASTER COMBAT : Crush Your Combat Grind
I loved the Dragonlance novels. Look at someone like Raistlin who would have a library containing thousands of spells. He can only memorize X many daily, but each time he memorizes spells he has a HUGE selection.

I don't see this as being possible in 4e. Sure there are rituals, and that helps a lot, but it doesn't seem to have the same feel.
Wizards just aren't wizards anymore. They are more like sorcerers + ritual casting. I never liked sorcerers in 3.5 and damn if I wanna play one in 4E desguised as a wizard. I get 2 utility and daily spells per ability to cast then and I can't ever learn more?!? WTF...the whole point of a wizard was you LEARN spells. I don't care about rituals, if you can't learn spells, there is no point in being a wizard. I don't care what power they are, they can be top teir for all I care, my wizard is gone. I gave 4th ed a shot, they killed my wizard so I'm done until the next edition.
Quick question... Has anybody actually PLAYED a 4e wizard at first level? I did. She kicked tail.

The addition of a boatload of hit points made me a happy li'l eladrin, much less nervous about getting close to cast those close burst attacks. The fact that I had spells to cast in the second, third encounters of the day was very nice. The daily powers still bring in the feeling that you need to reserve your big guns and not blow them on the first kobold that crosses your path, and the encounter powers are good for a one-shot push in each encounter.

My wizard kept up with the fighters through the entire run, which is the first time I can say that about a first level wizard.

So, what's bothering you about it? You've still got spell choices, yes, fewer than you used to get... but the bulk of what you used to get is now over in the Rituals, which you can use, just gotta find 'em or buy 'em. And, no limit on casting them, as long as you've got the components on hand... and even those are a lot easier to track. I'm NOT going to miss the listing of "6 100 gp pearls, 24 pinches of bat guano, 14 feathers" ad nauseum.

Try it. See how you like it in play.
So, what's bothering you about it?

Ya, 1st level mages have more to contribute in the way of spells. And that's nice.

Mages are no longer the same archetype though.

IE: You can no longer emulate Raistlin Majere from the novels (or whoever your favourite spellcaster may have been).

I liked the spell components.
You know what, I don't care if the wizard is stronger mechanically. They are not D&D wizards anymore. They are sorcerers and I didn't care for the sorcerer very much.

The wizards I want to play and grew up playing and love to play is no longer an option in 4e. Mechanics be damned, I don't have my wizard anymore. And no amount of suger coating the fluff is gonna fix this. I don't care if I can run around with the fighter at level 1 and have 30 hp. I could care less if they got a power at 1st level that said you win. It's not about power.
It's not about power.

I understand what you mean,

but on the humourous side, that's ironic. The mage pre 4ed was very much about power
Yeah well if given a choice between the older wizards and a new one with a 1 win power, I'l still take the older wizards thank you very much.

I have a fairly brutal build for a 4e wizard along with the cold line of feats for testing out this weekend...but it just doesn't look very fun to me. It's so limiting. Like a sorcerer...only worse.

I have been in games that houserules sorcerers to get d6 hp, did not suffer from ASF, prof in all simple and one martial or exotic, prof in light and medium armor, prof with light shield, extra meta feats per wizard, 2 extra spells known per spell level, special sorcerer only spells and no delayed progression and I would STILL pick the wizard over the sorcerer. Yes the DM REALLY like sorcerers. I just don't like that feel...at ALL.
> Cold Napalm

I think you may have misunderstood my joke.