Classes

Diablo III Wizard Class Guide

By Byron Mudry -
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Wizards are spellcasters who focus their efforts on the destructive side of the arcane arts. They use their knowledge to manipulate all manner of elemental forces including fire, lightning, ice, and arcane.

While most Wizards focus on abilities that deal damage at distance, there are those brave wizards that get in close and mix it up with melee range offensive abilities. Wizards are one of the higher DPS dealing classes in the game, but can also be one of the most fragile.

Diablo III – Wizard Resources

In Diablo III the Wizard class uses a resource called Arcane Power. This resource is used to power most of the Wizards abilities. There are a few abilities that function as signature spells that do not cost any Arcane Power, giving you the ability to keep being active even when out of Arcane Power, and some that function only based on a cooldown timer. In addition there are a few several different abilities that help regenerate Arcane power as it hits the enemy.

The abilities that can help regenerate arcane power include:

  • Shock Pulse with the Power Affinity rune
  • Electrocute with the Surge of Power rune
  • Spectral Blade with the Siphoning Blade rune
  • Arcane Torrent with the Power Stone rune

In addition to abilities that regenerate Arcane Power the Wizard also has access to abilities that reduce the base cost of other abilities.

Diablo III – Wizard Appearance

As with all Diablo III classes there is a strong theme to the armour that you will find for the class and an overall progression in the appearance.

 

For the Wizard that progression is fairly dynamic. Early on wizards look fairly shabby in bits of cloth or quilted armor that offers little protection. As a wizard levels up they start collecting armor that looks like it offers a little more protection. Finally once they are at max level they gather pieces that truly reflect their power and influence over the world.

Diablo III – Wizard Abilities

The Wizard class has 6 different skill types just like the other Diablo III classes.  They are:

Primary Skills – These skills are your basic skills and also count as "signature" skills, making them free to cast. While not as threatening as many other abilities Wizards rely on these skills to fill gaps in their attack while waiting on mana or cooldowns of other more powerful abilities.

Secondary Skills – These are more powerful attacks that form your basic rotation, but these almost all cost arcane power. They include ray of frost, arcane orb, arcane torrent, and disintegrate.

Defensive Skills – These skills help keep you alive or to help you escape. They include frost nova, diamond skin, slow time, and teleport.

Force – These are many of your biggest and most damaging abilities. They summon massive amounts of elemental to deal death to your opponents. The skills here include wave of force, energy twister, hydra, meteor, and blizzard.

Conjuration – These abilities summon armour or allies to your aid. There are three different armour types that can be used to protect yourself or strengthen your attacks. There are also skills to summon allies in the form of a familiar or a magic weapon.

Mastery – These are various high damage long cool down abilities. They are some of your best abilities but due to their long cooldowns are not used often. They include explosive blast, mirror image, archon, and black hole.

Detailed ability listings can be found in the Diablo III Skill Calculator.

Diablo III – Wizard Stat Priority

When gearing up any character in Diablo III there are multiple different paths that you can take.  For the Wizard those choices are basically aiming for maximum damage output or maximum survivability. 

Max Damage

Weapon Damage > Intellect > Crit Chance > Crit Damage* > Attack Speed

* Crit Damage is best kept in a ratio with Crit Chance.  For every 1% point of Crit Chance you gain you should look to add about 10% Crit Damage.  This is relatively easy to get through a gemmed weapon.

Max Survivability

Armour = Resistances* > Vitality = Intellect

* Resistances are just as good as armour, but you need to make sure they are valid.  +Resist All is pretty much the same as armour, but stacking just a single resist needs to be considered as far less valuable.

Balancing The Two

While the above are the ideal paths for max damage or survivability, as a matter of necessity you will really need to balance the two different directions.  After all killing everything quickly but dying to a single hit is not very useful, just as being able to live forever but taking 5 minutes to kill a single normal enemy monster is not useful.  Therefore keep both in mind and balance between them to best suit your style of play.

Diablo III – Wizard Only Stats

There are several stats that only a Wizard can use on their gear. They are:

  • Max Arcane Power - This boosts your maximum arcane power.
  • Arcane Power on Crit - This helps regenerate arcane power any time you critically hit an enemy.
  • Wizard Skill Bonuses - These boost several Wizard skills by a percentage amount. Most are between a 10 and 20%. It is important to note that they are not calculated into your damage rating and therefore gear may appear to have lower damage output, but if it is an ability you use all the time, it may actually be an upgrade.

Diablo III –  Wizard Leveling Build

While levelling the main aim with any class is to kill enemies fast so that you can keep moving and earning more experience.  From levels 1-20 can be done by grabbing pretty much any skills you like as you get them.  However by level 30 and if you are playing higher than normal difficulty you will probably want to switch to something that allows you to stay alive while killing enemies quickly.

A solid leveling build that provides some escapes, defence, and still puts out good damage is:

  • Primary - Shock Pulse / Fire Bolts
  • Secondary - Disintegrate / Convergence
  • Action Bar 1 – Frost Nova / Shatter
  • Action Bar 2 – Diamond Skin / Crystal Shell
  • Action Bar 3 – Ice Armor / Chilling Aura
  • Action Bar 4 – Familiar / Sparkflint
  • Passive Skills – Glass Cannon, Blur, Prodigy

You can find more details on the individual skills here: Diablo III - Wizard Leveling Build.

Diablo III – Wizard Max Level Build

There are several great max level builds available that Wizards can use.  Some focus on all out damage while other focus on survivability and kiting enemies.  Even when looking at straight damage builds there are different options, such as close in melee range attacks, more long range control type attacks, or hybrid builds.

While there are builds that can put out more straight damage, a build I really like is a frost / electrical offensive build. It offers equal amounts control and damage, and while it has not real escapes, if played correctly by keeping enemies at a distance, you should not need them. The basic build looks like this:

  • Primary – Electrocute / Surge of Power
  • Secondary – Arcane Orb / Frozen Orb
  • Action Bar 1 – Black Hole / Absolute Zero
  • Action Bar 2 – Magic Weapon / Force Weapon
  • Action Bar 3 – Energy Armor / Pinpoint Barrier
  • Action Bar 4 – Familiar / Sparkflint
  • Passive Skills – Cold Blooded, Dominance, Prodigy, Arcane Dynamo

You can find more details on the individual skills here: Diablo III - Wizard Level 70 Build.

Essentially with this build you use Electrocute to generate arcane power quickly, and then release arcane orbs at your enemy. When there are large groups you use black hole to suck them all in close and boost your cold damage, and then hit them with arcane orbs. A key thing to watch to maximize your damage output is your arcane dynamo charges. You should wait for it to hit 5 before using your black hole to suck enemies in or your arcane orbs to damage enemies. By doing this you can deal far more damage than if you just spam your arcane orbs when you have mana and with electrocute it takes almost no time to get 5 charges.

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About The Author

Byron "Messiah" Mudry
Byron has been writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years, and currently has a not-so-secret love affair with Hearthstone and Diablo III.

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