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Diablo 3

1-60 Wizard Leveling Guide

So you've chosen to play the Wizard, master of the elements and arcanics. You may seem weak and frail to the untrained eye, but lo and behold you are a powerful torrent of magical destruction. Massive fireballs come wizzing by your head but you simply feign interest and destroy the one who cast it. You bend the very fabric of space and time to your will making your enemies crawl. You are, the Wizard.

The Wizard is an extremely rewarding class to play. Playing a wizard will hone your ability to micro manage and avoid damage at all cost while raining chaos upon your foes.

The lords of hell are no match for your power.

If you're up the the challenge. Come play!

- Spell Types -

The wizard utilizes 4 different schools of magic. These schools are as follows:

Fire - These spells are meant to wreak havoc on your foes
Frost - These spells are meant to snare your enemies
Arcane - These spells are meant to slow your enemies
Lightning - These spells are meant to paralyze your enemies

- Creating Builds -

I'm not going to go into detail about every single spell and its benefits, rather, I will try to show you how to make your build shine.

Now when you're building your skills it's beneficial for you to rely on synergy. What is synergy you might ask? Well, you can't just simply throw together all of your hardest nukes and expect to win at the game. Employing that kind of strategy will likely end up with a dead Wizard. And a dead DPS is no DPS. Instead, a synergistic build may be in order.

Here are a couple of examples of effective use of synergy.

I have used every single one of these builds and I can tell you that they work wonderfully in the situations I designed them for.

Keep in mind that you are still required to gear your toon. I will not advocate "cheesing" the game. Learn how to play. Also keep in mind all 4 of these example builds involve the same basic theory. Create a debuff with your hydra to either give you a better chance of kiting or help you do more damage. I do not expect the fire and frost builds to do well without gear but the arcane build is amazing for solo play. As for lightning... just try it! I am trying to demonstrate synergy, not give you cheese builds.

- Builds that Demonstrate Build Synergy -

Fire Build

DisintegrateIf you like a challenge and want to just utterly destroy things, this build is for you! Keep in mind this build requires a high amount of gear to be successful and a very hard hitting 2h weapon will make this build sing! This build is simple. Cast Disintegrate for a hard hitting nuke and Meteors / Firebolts for massive fire damage while keeping your armor spells active. Not really much else to say other than you will just destroy everything. This is a very effective nuke build for farming. If you really want a challenge, try playing Hell / Inferno with it... you will die though! This build is nothing short of amazing for co-op play and I would highly recommend it if you have someone to "tank" for you.

Frost Build

Blizzard SpellFor example, this frost build is tuned to slow enemies to a crawl while nuking with a reduced Ray of Frost and using Blizzard / Frost Hydra to debuff mobs with Cold Blooded. This effect is further enhanced by Magic Weapon / Force Weapon. This build is a powerful nuke that works well in multiplayer situations giving it an effective slow as well. Melee classes will be overjoyed by your ability to slow enemy attack speed giving them a higher chance to survive. Works quite well in solo as well!

Arcane Build

Arcane OrbThis is a very easy build to play solo. This build is designed to slow your enemies down to a crawl giving you plenty of kiting ability and a hard nuke. This build really shines with a slow hard hitting 2h weapon as your Arcane Orb is a hard hitting nuke. Of the 3 example builds, this is the one build that is viable without much gear. You can expect to easily solo Hell or higher content with this build. The effect is simple, your hydra slows the enemies to 30% while you cast Blizzard to slow them even more. Blizzard will pretty much act as a DoT spell while you nuke them with Arcane Orbs. I recommend placing 2 or so blizzards in a row and kite the enemies through them. This build also does not utilize a signature spell. However, you won't need one when you utilize Astral Presence and Familiar / Arcanot. You don't need much DPS to play this build either. 3k DPS will get you through hell.

Lightning Build

Wizard Lightning BuildOut of all the builds I have created this one is by far my favorite! This build is based around speed! The purpose is to try and take a single hit while Diamond Skin is active then use Wave of Force to throw the enemies around. You will now be buffed with immense speed from your Storm Armor. Summon a Lightning Hydra in your kite path and throw out some Living Lightnings and Electrocute when you gain some distance. Everything will literally just die on their way to you. Rinse and repeat when all cooldowns are up. I would recommend use a shield and fast hitting wand / dagger for this build as you'll want to be able to cast as fast as possible! Have fun, Speedy Gonzales! This is extremely effective in Act II

- Notes on Difficulty and Things to Keep in Mind -

Now that you see what I mean by synergy it's time to talk about the game and its difficulty.

Diablo 3 is difficult (at least past normal difficulty). It's meant to be. You're not meant to just waltz through it and be able to complete inferno in a day. In fact, it makes me sad to see so many players with this zerg mentality. Think of the game as dungeon tiers. You can't expect to proceed to the next tier wearing gear that you got 2 tiers ago? So why do you expect to do that with Inferno?

Your focus with this game should not be "How much damage can I pump out?" and rather "How can I avoid damage and survive?" I see so many people talking about their massive DPS and I look at them with an inquisitive look on my face. How can a player that is dead do any DPS? They can't.

A dead DPS, is no DPS...

With that in mind, here are a few tips to make you a better player.

#1 If you die on normal packs, it's your fault.

Simple enough. Don't assume that since the content is hard that the game is broken. You're broken as a player. Cry about how hard the game is all you want but you won't appreciate it until you can master it. If you die it's because you did something wrong that allowed you to die. You either didn't play defensively, got careless, or just didn't have the right build for the situation. You're only going to stack Nephalem Valor bonuses if you stay alive.

#2 Bosses are easy, champions are not.

The bread and butter of the Nephalem Valor system is the fact that bosses are pointless for gear. Cry all you want about it, but I personally don't think you should just kill Diablo 23092834098 times to get the gear you want. Diablo is easy. Hell, every boss is easy (except maybe Belial because he can be cheap) Once you've learned how to kill a boss you don't have to relearn anything. The game is static and dull. Once you can overcome a Vampiric | Shielding | Molten | Mortar pack then you have finally mastered your class. If you can't get it the first time don't fret. It's not meant to be easy.

#3 Stop trying to max your DPS in favor of maxing your health...

A dead DPS doesn't do DPS. However, one who lives will surely win the encounter. If you see a piece of gear that has + Vitality on it that will net you 2k HP but lowers your DPS by 50... take it. Who cares if you do 50 less DPS. That's 2,000 more damage you can take. Better chance of survival = more champions killed in a row = better loot. Plain and simple. It's like running around out in the open with a grenade launcher wearing nothing but what you came into the world with. A single bullet will take you out even though you have the capability to level an entire building.

#4 Learn how to kite

Kiting is the act of keeping distance between you and your enemies. Try to always keep a gap between you and what you're killing. If enemies get too close use a defensive ability to get away. Just because you have Diamond Skin doesn't mean you can take 2982739487234 damage.

#5 Stay out of the fire

It burns... kinda goes with tip #1. If you die to something because you're standing in it it's your fault. Learn how to move away. Learn when an enemy is going to strike and when you should get the hell out of their path. Don't stand in pools of acid... Don't get hit by fireballs..
 

- Spell Types -

The first act of the game is basically to teach you how to play. Try out different combinations of spells and see which playstyle fits you best. Your spells can be categorized the following way.

Nukes

These spells are designed to do damage and not really much of anything else. These spells include Magic Missile, Disintegrate, Arcane Orb ect. The whole goal with a nuke spell is to inflict damage. Doing damage to enemies is the only effective way of killing them after all!

Snares / Slows

These spells are meant to slow your enemy down giving you time to gain distance or in other words "kite". These include such spells as Blizzard, Ray of Frost, Frost Nova, Slow Time ect. Using these spells defensively will allow you to avoid taking damage which is the heart of the Wizard class.

Defenses

You are in effect a very powerful piece of paper. If you're not careful you can be torn to shreds. You are given spells to increase your defensive power. These include such spells as Diamond Skin, Ice / Storm / Energy Armors, Teleport, Wave of Force, Mirror Images ect. These spells are designed to give you a fighting chance in the event that you are actually hit by something. Do not forget to include these as they are very important to living.

Buffs and Debuffs

These usually show up in the form of runes and Passive Skills. These include such spells as Magic Weapon, Certain Hydras in combination with Passive Skills, Passive Skills such as Cold Blooded, Conflagration, and Temporal Flux. Using an Arcane Hydra with Temporal Flux will give you a free 30% slow to enemies for little AP cost and will effectively keep up debuff when you're unable to cast your arcane nukes.

Situational Nukes

These spells require special situations to really shine. For example the Archon requires droves of low HP mobs to increase its duration but can be very powerful if used correctly. Energy Twister can take out huge waves of mobs in small corridors. These spells shouldn't really be in your "jack of all trades" build but are fun to use nonetheless.

Notes on Hydras

I think hydra is a must for every wizard in inferno, you will kite a lot and hydra will do constant damage to the mobs.

Only two of the hydras are really recommendable, I have to admit, the hydra rune is the only thing I sometimes switch. Arcane is great for kiting (with temporal flux of course) but the venom hydra is really incredibly insane and actually overpowered in my opinion.

Venom Hydra is fantastic when you get the opportunity to cheese mobs into standing in the venom pool, which includes many bosses, and the occasional slow and/or trapped elite pack. It does not scale at all with crit from what I have been reading (though it does scale well with attack speed). Even in optimal situations, its effectiveness can depend on your particular setup.

Arcane Hydra scales well with crit and crit bonus damage, and is vastly superior in many situations for inferno simply because mobs move way too fast to stand in venom pools. This is most of what I'd consider the "real world" of Diablo. And that is totally not even taking into account the optional passive for a very mediocre 30% slow (Once you have a decent amount of HP, the heal from the Templar is garbage, and the Scoundrel applies a 60% slow in addition to boatloads more dps).

- Leveling from 1 to 60 -

When playing Diablo you should keep in mind that certain difficulties are meant for certain levels. Here are the approximate levels for the types of content.

Normal - Beginning to High 20's Early 30's
Nightmare - High 20's Early 30's to High 40's Early 50's
Hell - Early 50's to 60
Inferno - 60

- Normal Mode -

This is the part of the game where you try on the outfit before you buy it. Pretty much any playstyle will work here. Try every spell you get. See what it does. If you haven't already turn on advanced tooltips and read what each spell does. Try them all on for size! If you can't figure out how to beat Normal maybe the Wizard isn't quite for you.

- Nightmare Mode -

Here's where the real game begins! By now you should be in your 30s and have at least some understanding of how spells work. So without further ado here are some builds to try out.

Mage Tank Build

Arcane OrbThis may seem like a wacky build at first but I assure you that it works for everything except bosses! The main goal of the build is to rotate cooldowns between Diamond Skin and Frost Nova. Spam your Spectral Blade and cast a lot of Arcane Orbs. This will work for almost anything except fire chains. As always move out of fire and plague so you don't get killed. Stack lots of vitality and use your Energy Armor and Force Weapon to pump lots of damage to kill mobs before they kill you!
 


Electrical Beams of Death Build

DisintegrateThis build gives you a lot of survivability with a hard nuke. Use your Electrocute on large packs of mobs with low health and use disintegrate on the enemies that have considerably much more health. Freeze and kite the mobs away. Cast Arcane Hydra for more AoE nukes on the run and throw in some electrocutes every once and a while. Frost nova will allow you to keep the mobs stationary long enough to nuke them. Diamond Skin will allow you to take hits you know are imminent and give you a little more survivability.

Feel free to play around with more builds but remember that nightmare isn't as easy as normal and you can't just push buttons and win. Take this time to think about your build as a whole instead of just individual spells.

- Hell Mode -

Hell is considerably harder than Nightmare so you will have to start thinking about the aforementioned synergistic builds. During the beginning of act 1 use the build you had when you killed Diablo until you reach level 50. It shouldn't take long. I was well into the 50's before I started hell.

Arcane Snaresman Build

Blizzard SpellThis build seems to be the best jack of all trades for hell. The concept behind this build is to Summon a Hydra to debuff enemies with slow, cast Blizzard to slow them even further, then nuke with Arcane Orbs. Be sure to bring along a templar specced with life regen and AP regen as he will be invaluable in your conquest. Gear for Vitality / Intellect usually a 3:2 ratio of Intellect to Vitality and you will be able to kill almost anything. I haven't had a single issue with this build yet.

The Flash Build

Wizard Lightning BuildThis build is really helpful in act 2 when there are tons of fast enemies that you can't quite control. Summon a Hydra, throw a Living Lightning behind you, use wave of force when anything comes close and just kite like your life depends on it. Stack lots of Vitality and equip a shield with a fast MH weapon. The less damage you can take the better. While this build doesn't have quite a high damage output it is pretty easy to get away from fast enemies.

- Inferno Mode -

This guide isn't yet meant for inferno as it is a level 60 mode already. More to come in this section later.

For more in-depth guides for Wizards I would check out the Diablo 3 Gold Secrets By Peng Joon guide.

 

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General Guides:
Diablo 3 Basic Monster List
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Templar, Scoundrel, and Enchantress FAQ
List of Legendary Items in Diablo 3
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Bosses
Belial Class Guide

Farming
Easy Diablo 3 Treasure - Farming Secrets
Gold & Gear Gathering Tips for Level 60s

Hardcore
Why Should I Create a Hardcore Character?
Fastest Way to Level Hardcore Characters
Class Guides:
Barbarian
Barbarian Tank Guide for Hell/Inferno
Barbarian Strategy Guide for Inferno
Barbarian Hardcore Guide for Normal Difficulty

Monk
Monk Tanking Tips for Hell Difficulty
Monk Inferno Guide - Life Leech Build
Monk - Inferno Guide

Witch Doctor
Witch Doctor Solo Strategy for Inferno
Hardcore Witch Doctor Tips for High Levels

Demon Hunter
Good Demon Hunter Build for Hell/Inferno

Wizard
1-60 Wizard Leveling Guide
How Weapon Items Affect DPS for a Wizard
 

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