Wizard spell flexibility - unbalanced?

56 posts / 0 new
Last post
I was looking in this forum to find some wizard builds, but was surprised to find that most discussions (at least the popular ones) was about how bad the wizard was in 4th Edition compared to other classes.

That got me thinking about a house rule I used in 3rd/3.5 Edition. As the Wizard has a bigger selection of spells to use in his or her spellbook, he or she should be at an advantage compared to other classes. However, from my experience most of my players just prepared the same spells every day (as they had no way of knowing what was going to be needed). Usually this meant some attack spells, and the other utility spells never got used. Which was boring and made the class more dull - not the reservoire of strange powers that you envision the wizard to have.

House Rule: The wizard can at the time of casting his spell select from all the available spells at that level he or she has in his or her spellbook (no need to prepare just some of them at each extended rest). The number of spells he or she can cast from a specific level does not change.

Question is then - Would this upset the balance of the Wizard as a class in 4th Edition (I did not feel it did in 3rd Edition), or would it make the Wizard a more interesting choice (more power options) and therefore a more competetive choice compared to the other classes?
How would you rule utiliity spells? Some are encounter while others are daily. If you used Shield in the first encounter would you then be able to use Expeitious Retreat the following encounter?
I guess once you use an encounter utility you will only be able to use THAT encounter utility and not the daily of the same level.

I think this house rule will indeed help the wizards and not really unbalance the game.

Expanded Spellbook would be a nice feat to pick then. Right now it's a very bad choice.
While I don't disagree that something would be a benefit (see also the arguments about the utility of expanded spellbook- generally how bad it is), you should be aware that what you're proposing is an expanded version of a paragon level feat; Improved Tome of Readiness.
I don't have my books on me at the moment, but is it stated anywhere how long it takes to ready your spells after an extended rest? In 3.x you could leave empty slots to fill later, but at the expense of 15 minutes of prep time. It made the wizard more versatile, without giving them a combat advantage.

-RW
How would you rule utiliity spells? Some are encounter while others are daily. If you used Shield in the first encounter would you then be able to use Expeitious Retreat the following encounter?

No, you only have one Utility Spell. If you have used Shield (encounter) you could still reuse it the next encounter, but you would not be allowed to use Expeditious Retreat (daily) as you have already "used" your utility power.
However, when you do that initial choice if you want to use Shield (encounter) or Expeditious Retreat (daily) in the first encounter. You can select from both, take the one that is most valuable for you in this encounter, rather than to have to make that choice in the morning after an extended rest when you have no clue about what they day will bring you
While I don't disagree that something would be a benefit (see also the arguments about the utility of expanded spellbook- generally how bad it is), you should be aware that what you're proposing is an expanded version of a paragon level feat; Improved Tome of Readiness.

The Expanded Spellbook feat would then become quite powerful, it would increase the number of spells you could choose from with 50% (2 to 3 in early levels).
Improved Tome of Readiness is going along the same direction, but please note that it only allow you ONE more power to choose from. What I am proposing is that you have access to ALL you spells in the Spellbook (daily and utility spells)
I don't have my books on me at the moment, but is it stated anywhere how long it takes to ready your spells after an extended rest? In 3.x you could leave empty slots to fill later, but at the expense of 15 minutes of prep time. It made the wizard more versatile, without giving them a combat advantage.

-RW

Won't help you much once you run into an encounter with an angry demon. Don't think he will allow you to spend 15 minutes to actually start to fill your empty spell slots. If I was a player, I would much rather fill my slots with attack spells so I stand prepared if I run into a demon, rather than leave them empty to allow me some room of freedome, hoping my DM will give me 15 minutes of heads up before every encounter (seldom happens - does it?)

But back to the original question. Would this adjustment unbalance the game and make the Wizard to powerful? Or would it only make him more versatile and flexible and a more interesting choice for the players?
Make it a feat. It would be a good utility feat, but not really imbalanced.
The Expanded Spellbook feat would then become quite powerful, it would increase the number of spells you could choose from with 50% (2 to 3 in early levels).
Improved Tome of Readiness is going along the same direction, but please note that it only allow you ONE more power to choose from. What I am proposing is that you have access to ALL you spells in the Spellbook (daily and utility spells)

That's what I'm saying.

Your question was whether it would be unbalanced to grant a wizard unfettered access to all their spells.
WRT ITR I'm presenting the information that;
1) a Paragon feat which requires a specific stat spread and implement mastery grants the ability to trade out ONE of their spells.
2) Your suggestion is much more powerful, and feat-free at Heroic.

I draw the conclusion that this house rule would immediately make a paragon feat obsolete by granting a more powerful ability for free.
Whether that's unbalanced depends on how weak or strong you find the wizard as written.

WRT ES;
While you increase the number of spells you can choose already- the guarantee of being able to use the *right*one* makes it a much more powerful tool. Often wizards are reduced to memorizing the same set of "generally useful" spells- making a basic spellbook (let alone a larger spellbook) only moderately useful. The ability to switch out on the fly changes that fundamentally- which seems to be the point.


Slightly more moderated approaches might be;
1) allow available spells (at-will, encounter, or unused daily) to be traded out for spells of equal or lower level at the end of any short rest.
1a) You may want to subnote that dailies cannot be substituted for encounter spells which have been used that day, though that may just be an obnoxious amount of bookkeeping.
2) Require a feat and standard (or other non-free) action to trade out an available spell for another spell of equal or lower level.
3) Require a move action and an Arcana Check (DC 20 + replacement spell's level) to perform the substitution. On a failure the spell is expended as if it had been cast.
4) Requiring a feat, a standard action, and a check to do this might not be inappropriate (the worst parts of 2 & 3). It is a powerful ability.

All of these house rules bring your house-rule's power-level in at a place where ITR remains viable, and thus remains at least somewhat within the framework established by core rules.
Won't help you much once you run into an encounter with an angry demon. Don't think he will allow you to spend 15 minutes to actually start to fill your empty spell slots. If I was a player, I would much rather fill my slots with attack spells so I stand prepared if I run into a demon, rather than leave them empty to allow me some room of freedome, hoping my DM will give me 15 minutes of heads up before every encounter (seldom happens - does it?)

I wasn't thinking of it as a combat advantage, just a versatility option, for people who have time to go into combat, knowing what their opponent might bring to the table.

-RW
House Rule: The wizard can at the time of casting his spell select from all the available spells at that level he or she has in his or her spellbook (no need to prepare just some of them at each extended rest). The number of spells he or she can cast from a specific level does not change.

Maybe I'm misreading things, or maybe I didn't understand 3.5....but wouldn't that make the 3.5 Wizard a 3.5 Sorcerer? I always thought that was the big difference between the two? Actually, I think it would make the Wizard considerably stronger than the Sorcerer as the Wizard had a wider range of spells to choose from each day.

Anyway, as for your idea with 4.0...I think it would be unfair to allow the Wizard to do that with whatever powers they wanted but not allow other classes to do it. I mean, every class has powers now, would you suddenly consider it reasonable if the Fighter found a good shield and decided they were going to start using Tide of Iron instead of that one that does strength mod damage, even on a miss?

Personally, allowing characters to just pop whatever powers they want when they want defeats the purpose of picking them in the first place, and would really make every character of each class a lot more similar.
House Rule: The wizard can at the time of casting his spell select from all the available spells at that level he or she has in his or her spellbook (no need to prepare just some of them at each extended rest). The number of spells he or she can cast from a specific level does not change.

I allowed this for the Eladrin player at the MM2 Game Day, if only to allow the new player to have some fun/flexibitly (and cause I knew from pre-reading that being stuck with blast/bursts and the rest of the party being melee would not be fun). At the lower level (5th) it was not too bad, but I could see it being overpowered at higher levels, easy.

~reads the discussed paragon tier feat in Compendium for reference, as it's not in PHB 1 or 2~

Ok, that's why I haven't heard of it yet, don't own any of the "_______ Power" books and don't plan to.* Ok, having read up on it, here's my take;

If you ARE NOT going to get and use the "_______ Power" books in your game, there is no feat to make useless with this house rule. If you have and are using PHB 2, it serves to bring the Wizard more in line with the power of the base Invoker or Druid in it's controller role, by virtue of flexibility with its controller powers.

If you ARE going to get and use "_______ Power" books, then you've made a player's feat choice for him, in effect, and also given it to him for free, while other players still have a feat tax to get the same comparable power. This is the path that could lead to angry players.

So, in short, weather or not the house rule is a bad call is in part a matter of what books you have and are allowing in your game.

Anyway, as for your idea with 4.0...I think it would be unfair to allow the Wizard to do that with whatever powers they wanted but not allow other classes to do it. I mean, every class has powers now, would you suddenly consider it reasonable if the Fighter found a good shield and decided they were going to start using Tide of Iron instead of that one that does strength mod damage, even on a miss?

He can do that now. It's called "retraining." What he doesn't do is have more powers of a given level than he can use at a given level, that is strictly a Wizard ability.

* I traditionally have very few books for any edition of D&D, both due to my budget (wife, kids, food, house take priority) and the budget of my players (who have similar concerns). As such, usually my 'legal' rule books for any RPG are the 'Core' books, a setting (if not included in core), and that's it. 4e is the first time I got a PHB 2 and added to the legal list, only cause it was that awesome. But yes, I also run a lot of different games too.
...
~reads the discussed paragon tier feat in Compendium for reference, as it's not in PHB 1 or 2~

...I traditionally have very few books for any edition of D&D, both due to my budget (wife, kids, food, house take priority) and the budget of my players (who have similar concerns). As such, usually my 'legal' rule books for any RPG are the 'Core' books, a setting (if not included in core), and that's it...

I've always allowed stuff only after review. Even if I have a book, only the core was "assumed legal." It's even easier with 4th ed, ironically for exactly the reason you just stumbled into. One subscription to DDI in the group and my players can all ask for whatever they want from the compendium, rather than having to hunt it up in one of a dozen or more books.

If you ARE NOT going to get and use the "_______ Power" books in your game, there is no feat to make useless with this house rule. If you have and are using PHB 2, it serves to bring the Wizard more in line with the power of the base Invoker or Druid in it's controller role, by virtue of flexibility with its controller powers.

If you ARE going to get and use "_______ Power" books, then you've made a player's feat choice for him, in effect, and also given it to him for free, while other players still have a feat tax to get the same comparable power. This is the path that could lead to angry players.

So, in short, weather or not the house rule is a bad call is in part a matter of what books you have and are allowing in your game.

it feels like you have that flipped. If you are allowing the power books, then you've "simply" let one class have a free (powered up) feat early. While if you aren't allowing power books, you're granting feats for which the equivalents are otherwise disallowed (in addition to powering it up and giving early)...

But that's my feeling.
He can do that now. It's called "retraining." What he doesn't do is have more powers of a given level than he can use at a given level, that is strictly a Wizard ability.

Yes, I'm aware he can do that now, but he can't typically decide to do it on the fly. Perhaps my example was a bad one as I've only played a level 1 fighter so far. My general point was that, since everyone has powers it would be unfair to limit that versatility to just the Wizard. I mean, there is no reason why any other class shouldn't be allowed to pick a power on the fly if the Wizard was allowed to. At that point, there is no point to choosing powers in the first place if you're always going to have all options available to you until you need a specific one for the day and then you're locked in to it. For a day.

But whatever, that's just my opinion.
Yes, I'm aware he can do that now, but he can't typically decide to do it on the fly. Perhaps my example was a bad one as I've only played a level 1 fighter so far. My general point was that, since everyone has powers it would be unfair to limit that versatility to just the Wizard. I mean, there is no reason why any other class shouldn't be allowed to pick a power on the fly if the Wizard was allowed to. At that point, there is no point to choosing powers in the first place if you're always going to have all options available to you until you need a specific one for the day and then you're locked in to it. For a day.

But whatever, that's just my opinion.

I do not see that other characters would have that option as they do not have a spellbook to store more spells than that they can use during the day. The other characters use all the powers they have got.
Reading in this forum it seems that many are disappointed with the 4th Edition wizard, the reason I guess is that it can't dash out a lot of damage to a single opponent (as in previous versions). The wizard is good at dealing small damage to many opponents, which might not be fun when you meet those cool solo mosters in the end of the adventure.
With my change the wizard would become more versatile, always with a power to use for the individual moment. Traditionally my wizards never used much of their spellbook capabilities as they always remebered the same attach spells, you could then question the use of the spellbook as well as the spellbook flavour of the wizard
That's what I'm saying.

Your question was whether it would be unbalanced to grant a wizard unfettered access to all their spells.
WRT ITR I'm presenting the information that;
1) a Paragon feat which requires a specific stat spread and implement mastery grants the ability to trade out ONE of their spells.
2) Your suggestion is much more powerful, and feat-free at Heroic.

I draw the conclusion that this house rule would immediately make a paragon feat obsolete by granting a more powerful ability for free.
Whether that's unbalanced depends on how weak or strong you find the wizard as written.

WRT ES;
While you increase the number of spells you can choose already- the guarantee of being able to use the *right*one* makes it a much more powerful tool. Often wizards are reduced to memorizing the same set of "generally useful" spells- making a basic spellbook (let alone a larger spellbook) only moderately useful. The ability to switch out on the fly changes that fundamentally- which seems to be the point.


Slightly more moderated approaches might be;
1) allow available spells (at-will, encounter, or unused daily) to be traded out for spells of equal or lower level at the end of any short rest.
1a) You may want to subnote that dailies cannot be substituted for encounter spells which have been used that day, though that may just be an obnoxious amount of bookkeeping.
2) Require a feat and standard (or other non-free) action to trade out an available spell for another spell of equal or lower level.
3) Require a move action and an Arcana Check (DC 20 + replacement spell's level) to perform the substitution. On a failure the spell is expended as if it had been cast.
4) Requiring a feat, a standard action, and a check to do this might not be inappropriate (the worst parts of 2 & 3). It is a powerful ability.

All of these house rules bring your house-rule's power-level in at a place where ITR remains viable, and thus remains at least somewhat within the framework established by core rules.

I like these additions to describe how the transfer is done. As for the paragon feat I would probably change that and allow the wizard to instead remember one daily power he has already spent after a short rest. But maybe that is too powerful as well?
Wizards are all but useless against solos. What I think would be nice would be allowing a Tomebound Wizard to use Tome of Readiness and the Improved version to trade out a spell of equal or higher level, of the same type (encounter, utility, attack) as often as you want. Obviously you get more choices with Expanded Spellbook, but it makes sense for a Wizard bound to his books to be able to flip to find the right spell. (Maybe add in the stipulation that it costs a minor action to do the action of flipping.) Then it's all class feature/feats/burned action-based, and so isn't just a freebie. That would make the Readiness and Spellbook powers worthwhile, I think.

I really feel like Wizard was ultra-nerfed in answer to its ultimate awesomeness in previous editions. Not necessarily as "revenge" but as an effort to prevent it from happening again.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
Reading in this forum it seems that many are disappointed with the 4th Edition wizard, the reason I guess is that it can't dash out a lot of damage to a single opponent (as in previous versions). The wizard is good at dealing small damage to many opponents, which might not be fun when you meet those cool solo mosters in the end of the adventure.
With my change the wizard would become more versatile, always with a power to use for the individual moment. Traditionally my wizards never used much of their spellbook capabilities as they always remebered the same attach spells, you could then question the use of the spellbook as well as the spellbook flavour of the wizard

The thing is that wizards are fine as is and plenty versatile, especially with mnemonic staffs and now that arcane power and PHB2 are out which allow for mid day power switching if you want it. They already have the ability to orblock at paragon, have great dailies, and are great debuffers. They can also switch out their utilities and dailies if they want to each day if they want some variety.

If you are really concerned about solos (and solos do not have to be by themselves when you meet them) there are decent to very good wizard spells that target individual creatures or that even give you a to hit bonus when you only target individual creatures with them.
I like these additions to describe how the transfer is done. As for the paragon feat I would probably change that and allow the wizard to instead remember one daily power he has already spent after a short rest. But maybe that is too powerful as well?

That essentially gives the wizard a (flexibly chosen) daily power as an encounter power- a less flexible version is an ability of the archmage epic destiny... That is probably too powerful.

Wizards are all but useless against solos.

Sure, but that's not their job. An example drawn from play last night, the party rampages through rooms of minions, and everyone except the wizard kills 1-3 minions per room (depending on how spread out the minions started out), the wizard annihilated somewhere over 75 minions- by himself, with (repeated application of) an at-will power (enlarged scorching burst: ftw). I'm fairly sure one hit got him something north of 20-25 crawling claws (and the rest of the party) in one burst.

If you want to "do solos" play a striker- it's not what the wizard is for. there are 2 arcane strikers already. Back to the "real play" example; after rooms and rooms of scorching burst madness, they stumble into a necromancer who's blasting them from the edge of sight while his minions continue to pile into the room with the party. The controller kept up minion management while the striker (backed up by the defender) charge the necromancer and beat him like a ragdoll.

Different roles- different focuses. Controller for masses, striker for solos.
The Wizard is not (and should never be) a striker.

The wizard really hadn't gotten to shine until now, because the fights had been in big open areas and generally against a couple tough guys with a few minions. Most of the party seemed to be getting tired of the "blast and burn" show the night had been when a real threat showed up- and they took it's lunch money.

I think it was the first game in a while where everyone was actually pretty happy with their contribution.

What I think would be nice would be allowing a Tomebound Wizard to use Tome of Readiness and the Improved version to trade out a spell of equal or higher level, of the same type (encounter, utility, attack) as often as you want.

I think making it an at-will thing, without some sort of break like a significant action cost, feat cost, and/or risk of just losing the spell, would be broken.

Obviously you get more choices with Expanded Spellbook, but it makes sense for a Wizard bound to his books to be able to flip to find the right spell. (Maybe add in the stipulation that it costs a minor action to do the action of flipping.) Then it's all class feature/feats/burned action-based, and so isn't just a freebie. That would make the Readiness and Spellbook powers worthwhile, I think.

I agree that it makes Expanded Spellbook better... (and that ES could use the bump)
The readiness powers are worthwhile- and giving stuff for free actually makes them weaker in comparison to other wizards. I suppose that's why you're suggesting buffing those- but I'm not sure you really appreciate how much extra power you're giving.

I really feel like Wizard was ultra-nerfed in answer to its ultimate awesomeness in previous editions. Not necessarily as "revenge" but as an effort to prevent it from happening again.

*coughs*
a) wizards were only ultra-powerful at ultra-level. then they were only powerful briefly. 4e wizards are much more powerful at level 1 than their 3e counterparts.
b) high level 4e wizards can still get absurd power through rituals, add in the arcane ritualist feat for extra ritual-abuse excitement.
c) I'm still bitter that clerics were better spellcasters in addition to being secondary tanks.

If you are really concerned about solos (and solos do not have to be by themselves when you meet them) there are decent to very good wizard spells that target individual creatures or that even give you a to hit bonus when you only target individual creatures with them.

And this.
Wizards are all but useless against solos.

Yeah, because stun locking the solo is just worthless. Trapping the Solo at the edge of a Stinking Cloud zone is worthless. Using Icy Rays to keep him in place / deny him attacks is worthless (perhaps even to keep hmi in you zone). Using Web of other immobilize to ground a flying solo is worthless.

In truth, wizards are far from worthless against a solo. A good wizard can control a single foe as well as a group of foes. Sure, the "all AoE damage all the time" wizard is going to be using at-wills against a solo, but even then, Illusory Assault giving the Solo -2 to hit stacks quite well with the defender's mark. We have successfully cycled a solo against our two defenders forcing the solo to spread out his damage against the party instead of dropping the fighter in two rounds.

My wizard never felt worthless against a Solo and in fact along with our Charisma Paladin were some of the more valuable characters in the party against a Solo because we prevented and/or undid what ever the Solo did to the party. Coupled with a Tome of Readiness and a Mnemonic Staff, being able to swap out a multi-foe power for one that will severely impaired the single solo is very powerful.
Proud member of The Knights of WTF: ‎"All hail the Knights of WTF!!! Armed with only the Armor of Reason and the Sword of Mechanical Understanding we march!!"
Hm...are you sure the wizard is weak and needs any more power?

The orbizard is a terror, and has even gotten an AE "I win" nuke in AP...the others may not be as powerful, but still hold their own. A wizard often wins an encounter by the use of a daily or two, especially in heroic tier. Aside from the other powers he has a lot of at-wills, which have all a following (i.e. there is no consent, that one sucks...even the debate about Storm Pillar seems now to be about how the power can be too good).
If you look for damage, he is not a striker, but can still deal out a lot, especially with sustainable powers.

I don't think a wizard needs anything else at the moment, especially if the player knows what he is doing.

Vatras

 

I have never had any trouble with my Wizard. I think what people are disappointed at is the fact that Wizards don't dish out loads of damage. Thats not what the wizard was designed to do. If you want full out damage power then play a Sorcerer, but he will have to sit there and pick off each and every minion while a Wizard can step up and Thunderwave a group of them. If you want more damage I would house rule that a Wizard adds his Wisdom Modifier to all damage just like a Sorcerer adds Str or Dex.
I was looking in this forum to find some wizard builds, but was surprised to find that most discussions (at least the popular ones) was about how bad the wizard was in 4th Edition compared to other classes.

There's your problem right there. You came here first and took people's word for it instead of trying it for yourself to understand how powerful wizards can be.

I don't know what "popular" threads you read, but most of the members whose opinions I actually respect here tend to agree that wizards are both powerful and flexible. They do not need help in either department.

Please actually play the game with a wizard in your party before trying to fix it. But do keep in mind that power does not equate to raw damage where a controller is concerned.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
Wizards are without a doubt on the upper half of the power-ladder of the classes, and it's far and away the most popular controller. You have at least two different ways to break the game using perma-locks (OoI or Cunning/Earthroot/&c.), and even if you skip on these overpowered monstrosities, you can do very impressive damage using area spells, zones, and forced movement, or construct one of several different but functioning styles of Wizard builds (such as Illusionists and Summoners).

Your dailies are quite simply the best in the game, and properly tweaked, you can make Blaster Wizards that can match Sorcerers on raw damage output.

You can get absolutely humongous areas for your spells using Enlarge Spell and/or Arcane Admixture/Resounding Thunder.

While your HP is kinda bad, your defences range from good for the average wizard to very good for Staff Wizards, and you have outstanding survival utilities such as Shield or the beyond-awesome Wizard's Escape.

Really, there's very little not to like about the Wizard when it comes to the power level or the flexibility.
So what I see consistently over the course of a number of threads currently discussing the wizard is that he can be overpowered, if you purposely build him that way. Big deal. It's pretty hard to argue against an optimized character of any class. Of course it's going to be overpowered if you're making an effort to build him as hardcore as possible, rather than with a role-play perspective.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
A: "Wizards are bad"

B: "How do you mean?"

A: "Well, my Wizard is bad."

B: "Did you try to make him good?"

A: "No. What does that have to do with it?"
A: "Wizards are bad"

B: "How do you mean?"

A: "Well, my Wizard is bad."

B: "Did you try to make him good?"

A: "No. What does that have to do with it?"

So don't even make him competent, even though every character is supposed to be significant in every party in 4e, without going the full optimization route?

Yeah, that's a great argument. Now stop trolling me.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
All characters are as good as you make them. All characters can be made at least good (I'm not talking unbalanced broken, I'm talking generally good). If your character isn't good, it's because you didn't make him good. If you wanted him good, why didn't you make him good?

(Playing a Paladin or a Fey or Dark Warlock is legit excuse. They can't all be winners. ;) )
All characters are as good as you make them. All characters can be made at least good (I'm not talking unbalanced broken, I'm talking generally good). If your character isn't good, it's because you didn't make him good. If you wanted him good, why didn't you make him good?

(Playing a Paladin or a Fey or Dark Warlock is legit excuse. They can't all be winners. ;) )

This will be my last response on this line of the argument because I don't see any reason to contine to have to freend myself rather than my position.

I build my characters based on my concept for the role playing of the character. I'm willing to sacrifice some power for my concepts but not so much that I'm left standing at the edge of the battle map firing off all of my dailies in a vain attempt to do something to the BBEG, while everyone else frontlines him and smacks out his teeth. Supposedly that is antithesis to 4e.

Maybe I wouldn't feel justified in my feelings had I not played the wizard on D&D day as well and still felt the same. That was a pergen so you can't pin the blame for that build on me.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
I build my characters based on my concept for the role playing of the character. I'm willing to sacrifice some power for my concepts but not so much that I'm left standing at the edge of the battle map firing off all of my dailies in a vain attempt to do something to the BBEG, while everyone else frontlines him and smacks out his teeth. Supposedly that is antithesis to 4e.

I can't really comment on this, since I'm not sure what your concept is, or what decisions you made to accomplish this design. Clearly you did sacrifice a rather large amount of power to accomplish your character concept.

Maybe I wouldn't feel justified in my feelings had I not played the wizard on D&D day as well and still felt the same. That was a pergen so you can't pin the blame for that build on me.

No, that can be blamed on whoever designed the pre-gen (and many of the pre-gens are very poor). It can't really be blamed on the rules, though, as it's (possibly barring a specific conceptual idea you may have for the character) very easy to make a decent Wizard (and only slightly harder to make a good or great one).
Well my group played last night and in our first battle we fought an elite Tomb Spider. It was a surprisingly difficult battle for us, and at first our wizard was having difficulties contributing. But he was still able to stay at a safe distance from the Tomb Spider and use Magic Missle to attack. The Tomb Spider was spraying out webs over the battle field that create difficult terrain and if it hit Immoblized characters until a save was made. Then I had the Wizard switch over to the Icy At Will power, so that when he hit he could slow down the Tomb Spider for us. That helped the party a great deal. Since the Tomb Spider could shift and move without restriction through the webs, we needed someone to slow him down a bit in order to let the melee characters catch it and beat it to a pulp.

In this battle, the wizard only did a little damage, but helped out a great deal by slowing down the Tomb Spider for the other characters.

This weekend I am going to test out a Wizard (3rd level) in another group so I will let people know how that goes. Currently I am planning a Fire and Ice wizard and testing out Arcane Fire which makes targets hit by one of my fire powers Vulnerable 5 to cold. At 4th level I plan to get Enlarge spell to spam it with Scorching Burst and make lots of enemies vulnerable to cold. Then between me and other party members having cold based powers, hopefully we can use them to great effect.
Wizards are without a doubt on the upper half of the power-ladder of the classes, and it's far and away the most popular controller. You have at least two different ways to break the game using perma-locks (OoI or Cunning/Earthroot/&c.), and even if you skip on these overpowered monstrosities, you can do very impressive damage using area spells, zones, and forced movement, or construct one of several different but functioning styles of Wizard builds (such as Illusionists and Summoners).

Your dailies are quite simply the best in the game, and properly tweaked, you can make Blaster Wizards that can match Sorcerers on raw damage output.

You can get absolutely humongous areas for your spells using Enlarge Spell and/or Arcane Admixture/Resounding Thunder.

While your HP is kinda bad, your defences range from good for the average wizard to very good for Staff Wizards, and you have outstanding survival utilities such as Shield or the beyond-awesome Wizard's Escape.

Really, there's very little not to like about the Wizard when it comes to the power level or the flexibility.

I was looking around in these threads to try to find a good blaster wizard build, but did not manage to find one, in order to compare it. In the other foras you find plenty of 1-30th level builds for different roles, but in this controller fora when I sorted on views and replies the top ones was just complaning about the wizard, therefore my statement about "people" seeming to be more disappointed with the wizard class.
This weekend I am going to test out a Wizard (3rd level) in another group so I will let people know how that goes. Currently I am planning a Fire and Ice wizard and testing out Arcane Fire which makes targets hit by one of my fire powers Vulnerable 5 to cold. At 4th level I plan to get Enlarge spell to spam it with Scorching Burst and make lots of enemies vulnerable to cold. Then between me and other party members having cold based powers, hopefully we can use them to great effect.

There is a problem with this, which I noticed when considering the same feat.

The feat only makes the target vulnerable to the first *arcane attack power you use against it before the end of your next turn*. So it would not help any cold powers your allies have.

So for instance, the Dragonbron Paladin in my group could breath his cold dragonbreath on them and it would do nothing since its not arcane, and seemingly, needs to come from the wizard anyway.

ARCANE FIRE
Prerequisite: Int 13, any arcane class
Benefit: When you hit a target with an arcane fire
power, that target gains vulnerable 5 cold against the first arcane attack power you use against it before the
end of your next turn.

I was looking around in these threads to try to find a good blaster wizard build, but did not manage to find one, in order to compare it. In the other foras you find plenty of 1-30th level builds for different roles, but in this controller fora when I sorted on views and replies the top ones was just complaning about the wizard, therefore my statement about "people" seeming to be more disappointed with the wizard class.

I think the problem is that for the Wizard to be very powerful, people assume an all or nothing devotion to the Orbizard and especially Stunlocking enemies over and over with the same couple spells like some kind of one-trick pony.

To me this kind of narrow minded theme to a wizard is pretty much the exact opposite of what their strengths always were. Versatility and being johnny on the spot, having the right tool to save the day in numerous situations. It's a very boring playstyle that just lets a stacking combination of numbers do all the work for you in a fight. It isn't challenging or tactically interesting to pick out the toughest creature and watch him fail saves. And sure you can continue to do other things, but since your whole build, feats, items, etc are dedicated to making the stunlock hold, you are pretty limited in other areas that could have been much more thoroughly fleshed out if those other options were not considered so inferior or less useful.

Even with the stun locking, that Wizard build doesn't come into its own until paragon. But it is very dependent on certain magic items, which are not always available, depending on what kind of magic level your campaign or DM is setting for.

When you go away from the save penalty Wizard, I think the Wizard can still be a good contributer to a group and even powerful at times, but it takes a lot more work and is in general, much tougher and challenging to do than many other classes, who can pick a pretty straight forward build and be very effective all the time. It relies on having a smart and cooperative group and also a DM that throws out the right kind of encounters. For instance, my DM is not fond of minions and has also been pretty spare on using lots of terrain effects. Therefore, the supposed awesomeness of something like Thunderwave is extremely rare and circumstantial for me, and I can't really start making creatures lives miserable on the battlefield until my character gains enough zones and effects of his own making to put down and punish the enemies with.

I would gladly give up the cheese of stunlocking (which I probably won't go for anyway) or have limits set on it, in order to have other Wizard builds, like blasters, summoners, illusionists, or whatever else, beefed up in strength to provide more choice and versatility in the class.

I mean sure its fun to put the big dragon to sleep and whale away on him, the first time. But when its the same thing over and over with all the big baddies you face, I don't think that is very fun or interesting for the rest of the party, and especially the DM.

This whole conundrum goes back to the first post about flexibility. The stunlock build seems like a direct response or haven of escape from the limited flexibility that 4th edition has somewhat imposed vs past Wizard iterations. Because the Wizard no longer has enough tools or flexibility to pull whatever he needs out of his hat, the desire was to build a Wizard that didn't need flexibility, that just had one super powerful tool, that could be used in any situation to win the day without the need for much strategy or combating an encounter with just the right solution.
When you go away from the save penalty Wizard, I think the Wizard can still be a good contributer to a group and even powerful at times, but it takes a lot more work and is in general, much tougher and challenging to do than many other classes, who can pick a pretty straight forward build and be very effective all the time. It relies on having a smart and cooperative group and also a DM that throws out the right kind of encounters. For instance, my DM is not fond of minions and has also been pretty spare on using lots of terrain effects. Therefore, the supposed awesomeness of something like Thunderwave is extremely rare and circumstantial for me, and I can't really start making creatures lives miserable on the battlefield until my character gains enough zones and effects of his own making to put down and punish the enemies with.

I would gladly give up the cheese of stunlocking (which I probably won't go for anyway) or have limits set on it, in order to have other Wizard builds, like blasters, summoners, illusionists, or whatever else, beefed up in strength to provide more choice and versatility in the class.

I have played my gnome illusionist for 10 levels now and think that stunlocking is cheese that should be errated out of the game somehow, I am not going for that build when I hit paragon in the next few days, although I will have tough saves with an orb penalty of 4 at level 14+ and spell focus, but no more than that.

I found that my wizard (who has the equivalent of an unoptomized 17 point buy since we rolled for stats for this campaign) has been very effective at his job: Moving enemies, debuffing, creating zones and areas enemies try, but fail, to avoid, etc. I have found the key to effectiveness is picking effects over damage every time. Damage is great when it happens, but you can help your allies do their jobs and prevent enemies doing theirs in so many other ways (dazing, teleporting/pushing, dominating, immobilizing etc).

The other day my DM said he thought my wizard was carrying the party in a lot of ways. Not that the other characters were not doing their jobs, but that in most battles I was messing with his plans more than everyone else and he had to put a lot more effort into dealing with what my character was going to throw at him each week than he did with anyone else.

There may be good blaster builds out there, but unless you have a second controller in the group I think you are better off going for a non-blaster build.
The other day my DM said he thought my wizard was carrying the party in a lot of ways. Not that the other characters were not doing their jobs, but that in most battles I was messing with his plans more than everyone else and he had to put a lot more effort into dealing with what my character was going to throw at him each week than he did with anyone else.

There may be good blaster builds out there, but unless you have a second controller in the group I think you are better off going for a non-blaster build.

I would agree with you in general that the controller effects are where its at over damage, even without a total stunlock save penalty. A few points are always good.

I only hit level 5 with my Wizard so I am just now beginning to see the options for a lot of nice combo effects I can lay down, and more versatility to help the group in different ways.

As far as the Wizard's overall usefulness, I think no one else appreciates the value of controller effects more than the DM. Because we are the main class that borks up his plans. Even though the rogue next to me can already dish out 50 damage in one hit to a creature, that might kill stuff fast, but it doesn't really interfere with the DM's tactics or plans on the field nearly so much as denying enemies movement or actions.
There is a problem with this, which I noticed when considering the same feat.

The feat only makes the target vulnerable to the first *arcane attack power you use against it before the end of your next turn*. So it would not help any cold powers your allies have.

So for instance, the Dragonbron Paladin in my group could breath his cold dragonbreath on them and it would do nothing since its not arcane, and seemingly, needs to come from the wizard anyway.

Thanks for the catch Switchback. Still I may consider it, just to have some different kind of flava. And eventually I can get Wintertouched as well. And then at Paragon, maybe Lasting Frost.
I was looking around in these threads to try to find a good blaster wizard build, but did not manage to find one, in order to compare it. In the other foras you find plenty of 1-30th level builds for different roles, but in this controller fora when I sorted on views and replies the top ones was just complaning about the wizard, therefore my statement about "people" seeming to be more disappointed with the wizard class.

If you are going with a blaster build off the top of my head I would make a genesai (fire) wand wizard and take the elemental empowerment feat that lets you add your strength to damage. Maybe a point buy of 14 10 14 16 13 8. And then pump str and Int. You would not necessarily make a good bloodmage, but spellstorm would be a good paragon path. Other feats: destructive wizardry, genesai fire affinity, dual implement spellcaster, implement mastery (wand), maybe elemental echo, but probably enlarge spell or leather armor instead. For first 10 levels powers: at will scorching burst and ray or frost; encounter: empowering lightning, icy rays, lightning bolt; daily flaming sphere/freezing cloud, acid mire/bigby's icy grasp, ice storm/wall of fire. Not my preferred choice and I am sure it could be improved on some, but it would still be pretty useful and you would do a good bit of damage.

When you go away from the save penalty Wizard, I think the Wizard can still be a good contributer to a group and even powerful at times, but it takes a lot more work and is in general, much tougher and challenging to do than many other classes, who can pick a pretty straight forward build and be very effective all the time. It relies on having a smart and cooperative group and also a DM that throws out the right kind of encounters. For instance, my DM is not fond of minions and has also been pretty spare on using lots of terrain effects. Therefore, the supposed awesomeness of something like Thunderwave is extremely rare and circumstantial for me, and I can't really start making creatures lives miserable on the battlefield until my character gains enough zones and effects of his own making to put down and punish the enemies with.

I would gladly give up the cheese of stunlocking (which I probably won't go for anyway) or have limits set on it, in order to have other Wizard builds, like blasters, summoners, illusionists, or whatever else, beefed up in strength to provide more choice and versatility in the class.

This is exactly where I'm coming from. In order to have a potent wizard, there's a certain way you have to build him. In order to have an effective character of another class, you simply need to build it.

And even if you build a very good character, you're still very dependent on your DM building encounters that allow you to shine a bit.

Personally, I don't use an orb at all. I'm a Tomebound wizard. My only real "gotcha" ability is my ability to switch out Fireburst or Thunderlance for Lightning Bolt (which is more just for "fun" anyway, since Lightning Bolt isn't as powerful as either of them) and switching out Lightning Serpent for Visions of Ruin. The daily switch involved taking a feat to do though. I guess another neat ability is being a Spellstorm Mage, I get that shot once per day to grab back a spell I've burned already, but that's all I really get from my PP.

Last week our DM put us up against a hard dragon. I burned through every single encounter and daily, and even used up my Storm Spell to get back my use of Visions of Ruin (which I may not have even been allowed to do, since it was my Improved Tomebound spell) which I finally got to do some damage with by putting the VoR around him (though I didn't hit) and then spending my Action Point to cast Rolling Thunder (which also missed) to push it one square, thereby triggering the Effect of VoR (since he was already occupying all of the squares under VoR.) I guess it was kind of nice that I at least got to use my Extra Damage Action to add 7 to my damage.

But that was it. In a battle that lasted more than an hour and a half, I did damage one time, and that was only because it allowed damage for a miss (and I probably didn't even use everything right.) He admitted that the dragon was overpowered for our party, but everyone else was hitting and doing damage.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
I have actually used this houserule in my own game, in part due to the wizard player being new to the game, in part due to the wizard player being really stubborn about not wanting to have to pick at the beginning of the day, and in part due to the wizard player being my wife.

Anyway, the point is that it doesn't unbalance the game, since it doesn't give any strict power to the character and relatively few of the daily powers are situational beyond damage types.
Sign In to post comments