Diablo III Beta: Wizard

Well, this is it! In less then a week Diablo III will hit store shelves, and the minions of hell will be unleashed upon the world of Sanctuary once again! We’ll be there on opening night. Will you?

As you’re most likely aware, there are 5 playable classes. We’ve already told you about the Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, and Monk. Now for the final selection, and inadvertently my class of choice, the Wizard. I say inadvertent because from day one I wanted to play as the Barbarian. Not because I loved them in Diablo II, in fact I hated them more then any other class in Diablo II, but mainly because I always played as the sorceress and wizard in the previous games. I saw the Barbarian as a step out of my comfort zone, and it didn’t hurt that his attacks looked incredibly bad ass! It wasn’t until my last play through of the Beta that I realized that the Wizard is the class most suitable for me.

The Wizard is a ranged caster, with a focus on doing a lot of damage in very quick bursts. Their spells use Arcane Energy, a fast regenerating resource limited to 100 points. Energy consumption is generally based on the spells damage rating, and AOE. Spells that hit more area for a lot of damage use the most energy, while those that hit one enemy at a time take less. One really cool feature for the Wizard is the inclusion of “Signature Spells.” Spells that you would never see a Wizard without, like Magic Missile and Shock Pulse, are called Signature Spells, and increase in usefulness primarily because they consume 0 Arcane Energy. The Signature Spells allow the Wizard to still be useful while waiting for their Arcane Energy to regenerate, which doesn’t take long at all. As a result the Wizard is able to deal a consistent stream of damage without focusing too much on resource management, unlike the Witch Doctor and Demon Hunter.

Since this is a Wizard in the traditional sense you can expect to take high levels of damage from enemies due to low health pools, and lower defense armors. To counter this the Wizard is given a few defensive spells. By the end of the beta the Wizard will have obtained 2 defensive spells, varying in usefulness. The first received is Frost Nova, a spell that freezes all enemies around you within a short distance. This is a great spell as it allows you to get out of sticky situations, and since the enemies are frozen in place it gives you an opportunity to deal maximum damage without worrying about someone sneaking up behind you! The next defensive spell is Diamond Skin. This one is a little less useful in the beta since it’s the first act and fairly easy… Diamond Skin surrounds the Wizard in diamonds, and for 6 seconds all damage done to the Wizard is absorbed by the spell. There were really only 1 or 2 instances that this spell would have been useful in the beta, but since it practically negates damage I could see it becoming incredibly potent in later acts and difficulties.

Damaging spells are all over the place with this class! The Wizard starts with Magic Missile, which shoots a magic bolt at the enemies. Then gets Ray of Frost, which fires an ice beam directly in front of the Wizard that continuously damages enemies so long as the right mouse button is held, or until you run out of Arcane Energy. Next you have my favorite Signature Spell, Shock Pulse, which releases 3 sparks from the Wizards hands that travel in different directions. Not great at the start, but when you get the first rune you’ll fall in love with it! Next is Arcane Orb, which fires a slow moving orb of energy that explodes, damaging all within a radius. It’s one of the coolest looking abilities I’ve ever seen in Diablo. And last is Wave of Force, which does heavy damage to those around the Wizard. very useful when used after freezing a large number of enemies with Frost Nova.

The Wizard is a force to be reckoned with, and can easily hold it’s ground against the rest of the classes in Diablo III. It’s obviously my favorite class, but tell us which is your favorite in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out the new Diablo III animated short, Wrath, by Titmouse. We’ll see you on Battle.net next week! Good luck, you’re going to need it.

is not a boss.

You can Email Eric or follow Eric on Twitter @EricSweeten or Facebook

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