I won't go into what wizards will be like at high level. The kind of analysis the op did is very speculative, does not consider many features, and needs to be confirmed by playtesting. I ran a session for a group of 3 level 1 characters yesterday, a paladin, a cleric (with the ranger multiclass feat) and a wizards.
The wizard did fine. His round by round dammage was just fine. The paladin was doing 1d8+4 with a longsword, the Wizard was doing 2d4+4 with magic missile, and hitting just as much as paladin did. He got a chance to knock down a bunch of minions with his burning hands, and used acid arrow to good effect (well, it would have been a better effect if he had rolled better, but i digress). He also stopped a runner with his Ray of Frost, allowing the other characters to bring it down with ranged attacks. I will admit that those results are just from one session, and at first level, but my hands on experience is that wizards will do fine.
Aug 17, 2007
I'm a little confused about your math here - all of it seems a bit off, or possibly ignoring how these numbers compare to other classes.
Here are my own comparisons, looking at level 26. I'm assuming, in the numbers below, that characters have +7 modifiers from their primary stats, +5 from any secondary stats, +6 implements or weapons, or +4 if the weapon wouldn't be their primary weapon. I'm assuming they have weapon focus in primary weapons but not secondary weapons, or the energy feats for primary energy types but not less common energy types. I'm assuming Wizards and Warlocks have Bracers of +6 damage with Ranged Basic Attacks. I'm ignoring Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies.
At Will Powers
At level 26, a wizard's at-will Magic Missile will be doing 29 damage on average, hitting most enemies on a 13. A cleric's lance of faith - which has 1/4 the range - will be doing 25 damage on average, and also hitting most enemies on a 13. A warlock's Eldritch Blast will be doing 40 damage on average, hitting most enemies on a 13. A rogue's sly flourish will be doing 52 damage (30 without combat advantage) and hits most enemies on a 13 (or an 11 with combat advantage.)
The wizard is clearly more damage than the cleric, less than the strikers.
He also has the only at-will area effect, which will do 23 damage on average, but can hit multiple targets. If he hits two, he's suddenly doing about as much as the rogue - if he hits three, he is doing significantly more (at, as you mention, the cost of spreading that damage out.)
So, his at-wills seem reasonable.
Area Effect Encounter Powers
At level 26, his best area-effect encounter ability is probably Acid Storm, which does an average of 40 damage - to all enemies in an Area Burst 4, which is a very sizable area. It hits most enemies on a 14, though it still will deal 10 to those it misses. (Also, its very presence has a variety of tactical uses for controlling the battlefield for a round.)
The cleric, at that level, has his own area-effect encounter ability, which is Healing Torch. It hits an Area Burst 5 for around 28 damage, does no damage if its misses, but hits on an 11, and heals and buffs allies in the area either way. Less damage, less control of the field, more healing and buffing - seems a reasonable trade.
The warlock, meanwhile, has Spiteful Darts, which is a Close Blast 5 - a smaller area, and requires him getting up close. It hits most enemies on a 13, does 33 damage on average, (plus 10 to any he has cursed.) and pushes the enemy back.
The rogue has Steel Entrapment, which is a Close Blast 5, hits enemies on an 11, does 24 damage on average (plus 22 extra to one target if he can get combat advantage), and immobilizes the enemies for a round. A stronger status effect than the wizard, surprisingly - but to less enemies, for less damage, from up close rather than at range. Seems a reasonable trade-off. (And, in fact, seems comparable to the lower-level Wizard power "Crushing Titan's Fist.)
Area Effect Daily Powers
Let's look at area effect dailies. Elemental Maw is a Burst 4 - but let's treat it as a Burst 2 to see what it can do in full. All enemies hit (on a 13) will be taking 37 damage, but those within that Burst 2 area will be hit and dragged into the vortez, taking another 26 damage, teleporting them to a square of your choosing and leaving them prone and dazed for a round.
Necrotic Web, meanwhile, is a Burst 3 that hits on a 13. Those hit will end up taking 53 damage (30 when hit, 23 at the start of their next turn), and suffer from immobilization until they save. Those missed will only take the 23 - but have to deal with the difficult terrain, and will become immobilized if they can't get out in time. The entire area remains, continuing to deal damage, provide difficult terrain, and immobilize any creatures who end their move in it.
And finally we have Prismatic Spray, which is a Close Burst 5 that, assuming all three parts hit, does 50 damage, slows, stuns and leaves ongoing fire damage until they save. Even if only one of those components hit, it is going to be bad news for the enemy.
Our cleric, meanwhile, has Sacred Word - Close Burst 5, hits on a 14, does 35 damage and stuns enemies for a round. (Half damage on a miss.) Certainly solid - but lower damage, and a slightly stronger effect that the wizards spells... though without the additional benefit of ongoing effects or battlefield control via the new terrain.
Warlock doesn't have many area effect dailies - at level 15, he can get Tendrils of Thuban, which is a burst 1 that hits on a 14, does 38 damage (plus 10 to cursed enemies), and deals ongoing immobilization, and can be sustained as a minor action to attack again (for 22 damage and ongoing immobilization.) Effective, but Burst 1 is pretty limited in size.
A Rogue's only area effect daily seems to be Blinding Barrage, back at level 1. Close Blast 3, hits on a 13, does 20 damage (plus 22 against one enemy if the rogue has combat advantage), and blinds them for a round.
Single Target Encounter Powers
The Wizard has Thunderclap - single target, range 20, hits on a 14, deals 26 damage and stuns the enemy for 1 round.
The Cleric has Astral Blades of Death - single target, range 10, hits on a 13 and does 37 damage.
The Warlock has Dark Transport, which is range 10, hits on an 11, and does 35 damage (45 to a Cursed target), and allows some positioning effects. He also has Thorns of Venom, which hits on a 14, does 29 damage (39 to a cursed target), and immobilizes them and reduces their AC and Reflex for a round.
The Rogue has Knave's Gambit, which does 34 damage (56 with combat advantage), and on a miss, forces them to take a swing at a nearby ally.
Single Target Daily Powers
The Wizard has Maze, which hits on an 11, deals 35 damage, and traps them in a maze, which it will likely take them 2-4 rounds to escape. (They have to make Int checks against his Will Defense, and gain a +5 bonus each time they fail.)
The Cleric has Seal of Binding, which hits on an 11, deals 29 damage and stuns the target for a round, also rendering them immune to taking other damage. Each round (as long as the cleric is not bloodied), the cleric can sustain it with a standard action, dealing 24 damage and maintaining the effect.
The Warlock has Tartarean Tomb, which hits on a 13, deals 40 damage (51 to a cursed target), and ongoing Entombment (which immobilizes them, but also prevents them from attacking or being attacked.) On a miss, it deals half damage.
The Rogue has Ghost on the Wind, which hits on an 8, deals 43 damage (65 with combat advantage), and grants the rogue effects including combat advantage against the target on the following round.
So what do we see here? The rogue does the most damage, but doesn't take the enemy out of a fight. The other three all have very similar effects, each with different advantages and disadvantages - the Warlock's ends on a save, which some enemies will have bonuses against, and even for others has a 50/50 chance of ending after a round. The Wizard's has its own mechanic for trapping enemies, and will almost certainly trap them for 1 round, but is also guaranteed to let them escape after 3 or 4, while an ongoing save could go on indefinitely with the right luck. The Cleric can sustain his for quite some time, but has to damage himself and remove himself from the fight in order to do so.
The Wizard doesn't seem to outclass the others, but also doesn't seem to be overshadowed by them, either. Admittedly, I only looked at one level - but looking through the list of powers, nothing indicates any of these factors will greatly change at lower levels.
His damage is usually (but not always) higher than the Cleric but lower than the Strikers. His area effects definitely come out ahead damage-wise. They usually inflict status effects while also creating terrain hazards on the field, which can easily be taken advantage of by tactical players. He often has more range than most others. His single target damage is low, but often inflicts status effects when others do not.
The only problem with the wizard, as I can see it, is that he starts with less armor and has less hp than all other classes, and doesn't really gain much to compensate for it. (Aside, perhaps, from his range, his versatility, and his rituals - all of which are nice, but harder to directly measure than his lowered durability.)
But that alone is certainly not enough to make the wizard in any way unplayable, nor relegated to the backseat in the way that 3.0 Bards were.
You've made a decent argument for why the basic cleric class features are better than the basic wizard class features. Largely, they are - the cleric is simply more survivable than the wizard... though this is balanced, in many ways, by the fact that the cleric needs to be up in the front line, and the wizard does not.
But then you went on to throw out some unsupported numbers and statements and claimed the cleric is better at powers too, which seems completely wrong.
The cleric just isn't as good as the wizard at dealing damage and debuffing enemies. It has a few specific powers that stand out - Astral Storm being the big one - but most of its powers fall behind the wizard's. More importantly, it only has a few of those spells that are area effect or debuffers, while the wizard's list is filled with them. The cleric makes up for this with its ability to heal and enhance allies on a regular basis.
You could make the argument that the cleric might be a better class than the wizard... but that is likely more due to healing being more important than controlling, even in this edition. Claiming the cleric is a better blaster and controller than the wizard, on the other hand, just seems inaccurate.
Jun 17, 2003
1. I excluded Minions because minions are their own special category with monsters that don't play the same and don't require the same tactics. I did include Elites and Solos because they largely do.
2. I pretty convincingly showed that doing damage over an area is a bad option for anyone (not just the wizard). The problem is that Wotc has it in their head that Area Effect DPR damage is the end-all/be-all of controlling.
3. Most status effects imposed by the wizard spells suck. In the first place as I showed mathematically, they don't last long enough (less than a round). In the second place, they don't do enough to take the enemies out of combat (immobilization and slow don't hinder the combat ability of most high level monsters all that much).
As for those that say they've played it, here's my retort: Have you played the wizard beyond fifth level?
As I showed in my article, wizards are actually fine for the first three levels of the game or so. Then padded sumo kicks in.
As for magical impliments and items, no I did not include them, but they are easy enough to factor in. Simply add 1 to the damage for levels 1-5, 2 for levels 6-10, 3 for levels 11-15, 4 for levels 16-20, 5 for levels 21-25, and 6 for levels 26-30. It doesn't change the to-hit (it's assumned that you are getting these items), and the damage add is minor enough that it doesn't change the overall analysis either (and they don't help with status effects for the most part either).
The point is that if the wizard is going to have the worst class features of all the classes (and I've pointed out pretty conclusively that he does), then his powers need to be significantly better in his own speciality. They aren't. That's a problem.
I don't have to show that the cleric is a better controller than the wizard to show the wizard sucks. All I have to show is that the cleric can come close....and I have (and just how many encounters do you think you'll have in a day anyway)?