Are you bored of your Wizard? Are you frustrated with dying to not having enough room to kite? Are you stuck in Act 1 Inferno? Are you afraid that you need many tens of millions to get decent gear?
I have been playing Diablo 3 casually since a few days after release. In WoW, I used to play a Mage. Since the EU beta. Until I quit. So, I chose to try a Wizard in Diablo 3, and as I expected, I liked it. I am currently in the beginning of act 2 Inferno.
[Note: if you are in Inferno act 3/4, and doing well, this post is probably not for you.]
Normal and Nightmare mode were pretty easy, especially since one of my friends (hi pzt!) gave me a legendary wand, when I reached level 40. This wand doubled my DPS. Hell was already harder, but still doable. Act 4 really took me some time, and this is where I used the AH for the first time to get some items to make life easier.
After I reached level 60 and killed Diablo on Hell difficulty, I started working on Inferno. This was not easy, and most of the elite packs would just kill me. Especially packs with Vortex (dragging you towards them), Fast (running faster than you) and Waller (creates walls to stop you from running) were extremely hard for my squishy Wizard.
So, I read a bit about how others were handling this, and read about the Blizzard/Venom Hydra kite build. As I was already using Venom Hydra, and kiting much, I changed a few skills and started kiting more and better.
However, since I had only about 22k DPS and 25k health, with almost no defensive stats, there were 2 problems. One, if I didn’t have room to kite, I would simply die; and two, it took ages (and a lot of space) to kill elite packs.
I persisted, and managed to clear act 1, with a lot of trouble (and a lot of dying). This was before 1.0.3, so dying was still cheap.
Act 2. The mobs here have significantly more health, and deal more damage, and what I found out was that in most cases, it would take me so long to kill an elite pack, that they would enrage and kill me.
Maybe the AH could help out here? After all, I had just sold a 1200 dps crossbow with crappy stats for 3 million, so I had about 4 million to work with. Let’s see… ah, right, big upgrades cost 5+ million per gear slot.
This is where I got annoyed and frustrated. To get away from my Wizard for a while, I leveled up a Demon Hunter together with a friend’s Barbarian. We both twinked our alts heavily and blasted through normal and nightmare, easily getting the “act 4 within 1 hour” achievement. This gave me a lot of fun!
When I went back to my Wizard, I quickly got annoyed again, and almost didn’t play the game (I mostly just AH’ed) for several weeks.
Then, browsing the Diablo forums, I found Antarin’s melee wizard thread. At first, I thought “yeah, I could do that too with 100m worth of gear”. Since I had about 4 million at the time, I almost disregarded the melee wizard idea completely. But then I thought “you know what? This 100m gear set is for act 3/4. I’ll just try it with worse gear for act 1!”.
So, how does Antarin’s build work? In short, you (ab)use the passive skill Critical Mass to be able to cast Diamond Skin, Frost Nova and Explosive Blast much more often than their regular cooldowns would allow. This both protects you and gives you more crits, that in turn reduce your cooldowns, that allows you to cast these spells more, which gives you more crits, …
I went to the AH, and replaced some of my gear with pieces with extra +Crit Chance, +Life on Hit, and +All Resistance. All in all, I spent about 1 million gold (which is not very much). I used to have a 790 dps wand, and downgraded that to 590, just so I could have almost 800 Life on Hit. Here is my current gear:
Note the shield! I didn’t even realise that it’s possible for a Wizard to use a shield. As a result, my stats have improved for this style of play, but are still far from ideal:
These are unbuffed stats. Energy Armor with the Prismatic Armor rune increases my defenses by another 40%.
As you can see, this gear and these stats are by no means very good. Especially 16k DPS sounds extremely low.
The melee spec I decided to take is a bit different from Antarin’s spec, as I need a bit more healing to survive. I added Spectral Blade with the Healing Blades rune.
I decided to try Act 1 Inferno with this gear and spec, and I was surprised by how well it worked! About half the elite packs are easy now, and the other half are medium to very difficult. Packs with Invulnerable Minions are very annoying, but by pulling more trash mobs on them, you can kill them anyway. I can now easily clear Act 1, and I’m enjoying this style much more than “kite if you have room, die if you don’t”.
I haven’t tried Act 2 yet; I think I will need a bit better gear for that, but I’m not sure yet. I’ll try that soon.
If you’re bored of your kiting Wizard, give this spec a try! Spend a few hundred thousand on gear (or a few million for Act 2) and hopefully you can have (more) fun (again).