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Review of the Wizard class, spells, talents and status effects

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Apologies to PrimeJunta and anyone else wanting to make a Wizard thread today, but I spent a few hours typing this before I got distracted by DoT spells. So I'm going to make my own thread. People are probably sick of Wizard chat but I've been going over their spells and talents and would like to post some comments. I'll start by saying that I don't think the class is particularly weak, but it is a bit one dimensional and some of it's spells are not very compelling. I'll go through each spell from levels 1-4 and post some suggestions and remarks.


First I'd like to make some suggestions regarding status effects. I think the status effects that are in the game could be made a bit more impactful and distinct from each other, many of the effects are purely statistical which contrasts sharply with the IE games.


My suggestions:


  • Blinded – mostly fine but I think it should be more useful against ranged enemies, make it also reduce the targets attack and cast range to something very short.

  • Terrified – currently just a slightly better version of frightened I suggest to implement something that actually makes enemies run from you as the fear effect did in the IE games. With appropriately short durations I don't think this would be overpowered, though I understand if it would be difficult to implement and might cause problems with the engagement system. (Although you could say the same about the confusion effect that did make it in the game.)

  • Frightened – change to “-15 Melee Accuracy, -15 Ranged Accuracy, -15 Will, -15 Concentration”. This is a modest buff to make it more distinct from effects like daze and I also feel the will and concentration effects are logical for frightened.

  • Sickened – too similar to the weakened effect, I suggest to just remove it and replace sickened effects with either weakened or dazed as balance dictates.

  • Weakened – change to “-4 Might, -4 Constitution, -2 Move Speed, -20 Fortitude.” Removed the penalty to Will as this overlaps with frightened but emphasised the physical effects a bit more.


Some general issues with wizards spells:


  • A lot of wizard spells are quite awkward to use. You spend a lot of time trying to hit moving targets with short range spells with small AoEs, and there are a lot of melee range spells in general. I'm going to recommend that a lot of spells have improved cast range, more useful AoE or be made into target-able spells with an AoE around the target.

  • I'm going to suggest a few buff spells be made usable on allies. I realise this does not fit the theme of a Wizard but I don't see that this has to be needlessly strict.

  • I find the endurance draining line of spells problematic, I don't believe they contribute much to the Wizards survivability (compared to say disabling or nuking whatever is trying to kill you.) Also relying on these spells as a gish type Wizard does not seem viable because of the Wizards low health multiplier, you will simply run out of health in one or two fights if your Wizard is taking damage. I'm going to suggest that these spells allow the Wizard to increase their endurance above the maximum (as Vampiric Touch did) and also that any endurance lost from the temporary buffer above the max does not contribute to health lost.

  • I'm very much a fan of the defensive combat buff style of the AD&D infinity engine games, in which the Wizard has very strong but temporary “panic button” like spells. I don't believe these spells were particularly overpowered in concept (at least not the lower level ones like Mirror Image and Stoneskin) and they were mechanically interesting. The defensive self buffs in PoE are mostly underwhelming and don't feel worth using compared to their offensive spells.

  • I don't understand how DoT spells work, the descriptions need to be clearer both in the spell info window and the combat log. Is resolve supposed to buff the duration, is might supposed to buff the damage, is DT supposed to be applied at each instance or only to the total. Are grazes and crits supposed to have altered damage or altered duration or both. Is there a standard damage "tick" time. What happens when the duration is not a multiple of this tick. Many DoTs seem buggy right now and have weird damage accounting. Please make the description clearly state something like “Deals N instances of X damage over T seconds” or “Deals X damage every T seconds for N instances”. Damage instances in the log should also state the effect of DT.



Many wizard talents are pretty bad right now. In particular:


  • Arcane assault. This is rubbish to be honest. I'm not a fan of low impact per encounter talents in general but I'm sure you can do better than this. Daze effect overlaps with the Priest interdiction talent, but in a much smaller AoE and does poor damage. Replace it with something more interesting, like a talent that summons a tin of beans or I don't know.

  • Grimoire slam. Wasn't this supposed to knock the target back? Seems crap right now.

  • Arcane Veil. Could just be buffed a bit. For a per rest talent it's not that attractive. VFX are bit obtrusive.

  • Invulnerability spell heuristics. Pretty redundant in 392 with the cast point buffs.


Some suggestions for new talents:


  • Metamagic, talents that amplify either the Might bonus to damage, the Resolve bonus to duration or the Intellect bonus to AoE when casting a spell. At either a cost of using a spell slot at one level higher than normal or just something with limited uses per day.

  • Grimoire Interference. Make a will attack on an enemy Wizard to force their grimoire into cooldown, disabling spell casting for the normal duration.

  • Grimoire Imprint. Make this be a talent instead of a spell. It's a cool concept, probably not that useful in practice currently. As a talent it could work on spells of any level. Have the stolen spell added to your grimoire for a limited duration where it can be cast as you like consuming spell slots as normal. My suggestions would also be to make the stolen spell default to the last one the enemy wizard has cast, this would make it less random. Could also implement the interference idea above for this talent instead, forcing the enemy wizard's grimoire to go on cooldown when stealing a spell.

  • Charged Blast. Make it so every time the Wizard casts a spell his wand becomes charged dealing bonus damage and bonus interrupt chance with the next attack only.

  • Cheat Death. Once per day when the Wizard is knocked out he casts himself into a magical safe haven dealing damage to those around him. He reappears 5 seconds later in a prone state at 25% endurance.

  • Malevolent Recoil – Effects an AoE with malevolent energy for a medium duration, anyone casting a spell inside the AoE suffers damage proportional to the level of the spell, that also has a chance to interrupt.

  • Arcane Assault – Knocks enemies in the AoE back from the centre and blinds them for a short duration.

  • Disarm - Self-explanatory. Expelliarmus!



Individual spell review:


1st Level spells

  • Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights – Seems a bit mediocre, I think the AoE could be more useful, perhaps making it a conical spell would be cool, it would remind people of the beloved Colour Spray spell from D&D.

  • Chill Fog – Seems ok, haven't used it that much. VFX difficult to see in grassy areas.

  • Concelhaut's Parasitic Staff – Strange spell. As I said I think spells that drain endurance are problematic for the wizard. My suggestion: instead of draining endurance make it so that each attack with the staff procs a fortitude attack that can drain a point of might from the target which stacks for the duration of the spell. This would give the wizard an incentive to go into melee as they would be powering up their spells for later. To balance this the duration of the spell should be reduced a bit and it could also be made a level 2 spell.

  • Eldritch Aim – Useful spell. I think buffing up their wand arm and giving people the punches is not exactly what IE fans wanted to be doing with their wizards but I'll admit it's effective enough.

  • Ghost Blades – OK spell, hobbled is good effect for the wizard in general as it reduces reflex. The AoE could be more useful though, it's not that easy to hit targets as they run towards you and actually benefit from the MS slow before getting engaged. Perhaps make the AoE a column.

  • Kalakoth's Sunless Grasp – Possibly nerfed a bit too much in this version. Not using it much anymore. Could apply a weakened effect instead since there are many ways of debuffing accuracy already.

  • Slicken – Seems a bit good. Could reduce the accuracy of the prone effect but add a secondary effect that reduces MS. Also bugged just now.

  • Fan of Flames – Decent spell, probably my most commonly used level 1 spell.

  • Jolting Touch – Seems strictly weaker than fan of flames in most cases, I'm not sure if the jump effect is working just now. I think the wizard has too many short range spells at this level so I recommend increasing the cast range and possibly renaming it to just “Jolt”.

  • Minoletta's Minor Missiles – Missile spells zzzzzZzzzzzz...

  • Fleet Feet – Description implies it can target allies and I think this should be the case. Not that useful in any case, my suggestion would be to make it so the buff also suppresses hobbled and stuck effects for the duration. This is stepping on the priests toes a bit, but not that much since it is a single target and very short duration spell.

  • Thrust of Tattered Veils – Very situational.

  • Wizard's Double – Possibly the worst spell in the game. I realise the AD&D equivalent Reflected Image was also not going to bring home any prizes but we don't need to copy AD&D in having useless trap spells. My suggestion is just to remove this spell, there is no need to have a “line” of image spells.

  • Spirit Shield – DT bonus seems to stack with armour in 392. Am I missing something or this is extremely OP? It makes spells like Bulwark Against The Elements and Ironskin redundant and has a very long duration. Should be nerfed. I would like them to emphasise the “Spirit” aspect of the spell in some way, perhaps give a bonus against draining or paralysing attacks or something like that.

  2nd Level spells


  • Bewildering Spectacle – Seems decent. A bit short duration maybe. Could also be made a conical effect as I suggested for Dazzling lights.

  • Bulwark Against The Elements – I think this spell is bugged, the Burn DT applies but all the others are listed as suppressed. Doesn't seem that useful in any case, elemental damage often comes in big bursts so 10 DT is not that much although if it stacks with armour it won't be awful. My suggestion would be to increase the DT to 20 but make the total damage absorbed limited to some value, as in the resist energy line of spells in 3e. Also a candidate to be made targetable on allies.

  • Combusting Wounds – Not sure about this spell, description needs a bit of clarification. Any thoughts?

  • Curse Of Blackened Sight – Seems decent.

  • Fetid Caress – Good spell, the level 2 spell I use the most. Sickened effect could just be removed or replaced with Daze.

  • Merciless Gaze – Seems good, although I feel like the game doesn't really need more things that increase critical hit chance.

  • Miasma Of Dull Mindness – This is actually a very strong spell. I wonder if it will get nerfed since it was possibly designed before they changed the attribute system. Now perception and intellect are much more impactful, and the effect stacks with direct deflection and accuracy debuffs.

  • Ray of Fire – Seems better in this version. Is quite weak against high DT but I suppose that's ok. Also I think the cast range could be improved.

  • Concelhaut's Corrosive Siphon – See my comments on DoT spell descriptions and endurance draining spells.

  • Rolling Flame – Rebound physics seem all over the place. Could be fun when fixed. I think column AoE's should all be projected slightly forward of the caster so you can more easily avoid hitting allies standing adjacent to you.

  • Infuse With Vital Essence – Similar to the siphon line of spells they could change this so endurance lost from the buffer does not cause health loss.

  • Mirrored Image – Seems rubbish. Last time I tested this the deflection bonus decreased even on misses which doesn't seem logical, although actually I don't think it matters very much since misses are so rare in this game. My suggestion is just to make it work like the AD&D version, really it wasn't even that OP, limit it to 4 images and even make it a level 3 spell if necessary. Right now a “panic button” spell that allows you to completely avoid damage for a short duration would be quite welcome. A deflection bonus by itself does not really allow the wizard to survive on the front line and in any case I don't believe the bonus stacks with arcane veil so it feels redundant. If this is impossible then an alternative suggestion would be to make it so that the deflection bonus does not disappear on misses and also make it so the spell converts 100% of enemy grazes into misses, this at least would be more logical. Currently the “images” make you more likely to be grazed, but grazes still damage the caster.

  • Necrotic Lance – See comments on DoT spells. Please improve the cast range. Kind of a boring spell, perhaps the corrosive aspect could be emphasised a bit with some kind of DT reduction over time?

  • Binding Web – Decent. Good old web fireball cheese.


3rd Level spells

  • Ardous Delay of Motion – AoE could be made more useful, it's hard to hit enemies as they run towards you. Could make just make the AoE larger or make it a targeted spell that effects an AoE around the target. Could use a small buff of some kind, I don't use it much.

  • Concelhaut's Draining Touch – Endurance drain amount seems very low. Bit crap in general.

  • Expose Vulnerabilities – Seems ok.

  • Deleterious Alacrity of Motion – Endurance drain seems kind of pointless and could be removed.

  • Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage – Will be a lot better if the terrified effect is changed as I suggested, otherwise seems very weak.

  • Minoletta's Bounding Missiles – zzzzzzZZZZZZZzzz...

  • Noxious Burst If the sickened effect is replaced by the altered weakened effect as I suggested this will be a good spell.

  • Fireball – Standard but decent.

  • Crackling Bolt – I feel like fireball is the more useful AoE type, especially if you have high intellect. Could adjust the damage values to compensate. Rebound effect is random as hell.

  • Llengrath's Displaced Image – If level 2 mirror image is buffed this could be removed.

  • Arcane Dampener – I haven't found this useful in the beta, but I suppose it's dependent on encounter design.

  • Kalakoth's Minor Blights – Can't seem to cast this in this version? I remember thinking the AoE effect was not that useful since there are few situations where you can hit multiple enemies with an auto-attack without also hitting allies. Haven't really tried it though. 


4th Level spells


  • Minor Arcane Reflection – Something else that depends on encounter design.

  • Minor Grimoire Imprint – See comments above in the talents bit.

  • Dimensional Shift – Cool concept. Seems to be bugged, the swap effect is not happening in 392. I think it should be usable on enemies as well as allies. Suicidal enemy spell casters could then swap in the players back line. Could be pretty fun.

  • Confusion – Seems a weaker version of the level 2 spell. Should be removed?

  • Essential Phantom – Still not working. One suggestion, possibly not completely original, would be to make it so that while the phantom is summoned the caster has a new ability which he can use to instantly jump to the phantoms location, destroying the phantom in the process and dealing lightning damage to anything in a line between them.

  • Fire Shield – Could be useful if the Wizards defensive abilities are buffed but not great just now.

  • Ironskin – Just make it like the AD&D version. Really, it will actually be fine. You can limit the number of skins to 8 or something. Just give it a go for one version of the beta. You have the power in yourself. The sky will not fall, BG2 fans will be happy.

  • Wall of Flame – Pretty useful right now, but partly because the AI just stands in it even if attacking from range which it probably shouldn't do. I think it would be cool if you had to pass a will check to pass through the fire, but I'm not sure how to implement that.

Edited by GordonHalfman
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Good post.

I second the status effect suggestions. Status effects in this game appear to have been an afterthought, or only there because "the IE games had them". Instead of making them strong like they were in the IE games, they were just mostly all turned into debuffs and assigned semi-random combat stats to debuff.

The endurance draining spells are useless. I agree. I also do not use Wizard self-buffs because it just seems like a waste of a daily spell slot, when you could cast another Fireball instead and actually contribute something to the encounter. If an enemy attacks you, regardless of whether you've pre-buffed yourself, you're going to take damage anyway, and also if they are attacking you, it's likely that your other party members are down, so it's better to just reload.

DoTs are insanely overpowered/bugged and always have been. They aren't quite as nasty as v278, but still very, very strong.


I disagree about Arcane Assault. It's a great Talent. It's 2 per encounter (very useful), it's Foe-only AoE (very useful) and it does moderate damage. You'll always be able to cast them, and it's still better than making an auto attack with a Wand. But I do agree about the others. I don't pick them when I make my own Wizard.


Jolting Touch used to be the best level 1 Wizard spell in v333, but the cast range was nerfed to hell and changed to be more like Shocking Grasp. I no longer use it. I think it should be changed back to being a ranged spell.


I try to stay away from cone spells because you can't cast them on the ground like in other games, you have to cast them directly from the Wizard's feet which is really annoying.


Noxious Burst used to be better than Fireball, but it was nerfed in v392, and has now been relegated to "probably wouldn't cast unless I knew the enemy was weak to corrode".


A lot of the Wizard spells suffer from pre-nerfing, where a good D&D spell has been taken and then had something about it severely hampered before even being tested in the game. Whether it be cast range, AoE size or whatever. I would never choose 90% of the Wizard spells just because of that.

In Pillars of Eternity, the role of the Wizard in combat appears to be dishing out AoE damage as fast as possible, maybe with an AoE debuff or two in between. I pretty much ignore everything else as it just reduces your combat efficacy. Any action spent not dealing AoE damage to the enemy in combat is wasted actions IMO (unless you're being charged head on by a bunch of beetles or whatever).


I also think implements need a faster hit frame on their animation, it's like way too long.

Edited by Sensuki
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  • Eldritch Aim – Useful spell. I think buffing up their wand arm and giving people the punches is not exactly what IE fans wanted to be doing with their wizards but I'll admit it's effective enough.


Spells also use accuracy and can miss, grazes, hit and crit like weapon attacks, so it's not all about buffing the wand arm.

Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.

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Oo, good post. I'm 90% in agreement, too. 


Status effects -- yes, good analysis. Nothing to add.


General issues -- I don't find wizard spells awkward. I simply don't use them on (fast) moving targets, except if it's at the start of the engagement and they're moving in a straight line towards the party which is in a chokepoint. Instead, I open with an area debuff (Slicken, Entangle etc.), which slows them down or stops them altogether, or wait for the melee to stabilize, i.e. for the front lines to engage. I would prefer they keep them as they are.


Ally buffs -- Yep, I agree. That would add a lot of tactical flexibility to the wizard without much effort. Single-target ally buff would not overlap with Priest much.


Defensive self-buffs -- again, I agree. Arcane Veil is a notable exception as it's instantaneous and very strong, and it's not even a spell.


DoT -- yep, exactly. 


Current talents -- agree about all except Arcane Veil. I use it to get out of trouble if I get targeted, and it buys me the time to do that. I don't need it all that often actually.


New talents -- good ideas all of these. Especially Expelliarmus...


Spell review -- haha cool, we used these pretty differently.


Level 1: I like Dazzling Lights and Chill Fog. Eldritch Aim is super-useful for buffing AoE spells which also rely on Accuracy. I like Ghost Blades as it is, I find it much better than Fan of Flames due to the debuff it applies. Where's mah Sleep though?


Level 2: Curse of Blackened Sight is excellent. I find Web entirely redundant because of Slicken (which needs a nerf). 


Level 3: Arduous Delay of Motion is IMO underpowered. There are area debuffs that are just about as effective at lower levels (Slicken, Web), not to mention the druid's arsenal. 


Level 4: Essential Phantom did work for me. It is very weak for a L4 spell though IMO. Wall of Flame rules and not just because of the AI; there are scads of spells to nail the foes in place to keep it that way. I had two wizards in one playthrough and casting two Wall of Flames were a bit of a Win button in many fights.



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In Pillars of Eternity, the role of the Wizard in combat appears to be dishing out AoE damage as fast as possible, maybe with an AoE debuff or two in between. I pretty much ignore everything else as it just reduces your combat efficacy. Any action spent not dealing AoE damage to the enemy in combat is wasted actions IMO (unless you're being charged head on by a bunch of beetles or whatever).


I'd rate area debuff as more important than AoE damage, actually. Moreso because AoE damage is HEAVILY influenced by those debuffs.


Put another way, I find Slicken and Web much more useful than Fan of Flames or Fireball... most of the time.

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Other classes can apply debuffs. Wizards have a couple of good ones, but you don't cast more than one in an encounter. Best practice appears to be to use one AoE debuff, followed by AoE damage.


Arcane Assault and even auto-attacks with Blast are AoE damage, so it's not strictly related to Fireball.

Edited by Sensuki
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I wonder how are spell damage, duration and other effects shown in descriptions. If it is not already I would like for all numbers to be total value but have an additional info something like this "(base value +/- total modifier)" with these numbers not being % values but already calculated from all sources.

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My mistake re Eldritch Aim. I was sure it said the bonus was only for melee and ranged accuracy. Perhaps it was like that in the last version? Anyway yeah it's a very good spell now.


Also I'm probably underrating Arcane Assault, I don't actually find it bad necessarily just a bit boring, although I'm not a fan of per encounter abilities in general.


Agreed that a sleep spell would be very nice to have, especially one where enemies wake up when damaged, I like this kind of mechanic from other games. I remember KOTC had a thing where enemies could go and wake up their allies which was pretty cool. I wonder if there's actually any scope for much in the way of new spells and talents before release though, my talent suggestions were mostly for fun but I hope they can add one or two new things.


Also something I forgot to mention, I think the Bonus Spell talents are underwhelming. A simple change would be to merge them so there are three talents for levels 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6. I still don't know if I would take them but it's a small buff.


Also I had another thought re Alacrity of Motion. As I said I find the stamina loss not very relevant, perhaps the "Deleterious" aspect could be more emphasized by making it amplify incoming damage instead? The spell would still be usable since the Wizard is not taking damage in many fights, but the risk could be kind of interesting, I also thought if this was done they could make the spell cast-able on Allies since it would be an element of risk in putting it on your fighter. Perhaps it would be too strong on ranged allies though.

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Also something I forgot to mention, I think the Bonus Spell talents are underwhelming. A simple change would be to merge them so there are three talents for levels 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6. I still don't know if I would take them but it's a small buff.

I would make it [1-2-3] and [4-5-6]. I would also make [1-2-3] a prereq for [4-5-6].

Edited by Shevek
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