Friday, July 27, 2012

Defeating Diablo, Normal Mode (Wizard)

After playing around with the Barbarian (to Nightmare Mode level 45) I decided to toy with some of the ranged classes.  Although Demon Hunter is very popular, I decided to pick the Wizard.  I'm not sure why -- maybe I just liked his looks.

The Wizard leveled a lot faster than I figured he would.  My basic tactics were "gear up Templar, let HIM run in, and blast things from a distance."  I picked gear for overall DPS, figuring that the Wizard's job is to stay out of the way of things while someone else dies.  It worked quite well and he actually made it all the way up to Diablo (last boss) without dying -- even the icy battlefield didn't give him any trouble.  By the time he was level 30, I figured it was time to move onto the "let's get into Heaven and smush up the forces of evil."  The Barbarian (my first character) had trouble with the icy battlefields and I didn't get to heaven until she was level 34.

So what could go wrong with a Wizard character -- right?

As Han Solo said, "Don't get cocky, kid."  Once you're in the Heavens area, DPS isn't everything.  I had to change all my talents out, and change gear to add vitality (which I'd been ignoring.)  My eventual gear by the time I reached Diablo (and after a number of trips to the Auction House to find affordable things) wasn't that impressive -- Armor was 1088 and Damage 2as 586.17 -- so not very high, actually.

I ended up reworking my entire skills bar, using Frost Nova (ice snap -- because just slowing Diablo does NOT really work), hydra (Arcane -- which kept zapping him even if my clones and I were caged), ice armor (Chiling Aura -- which froze him), Mirror Image (simulacrum -- cast just as I run away, so he goes after them), Magic Missle (charged blast -- wasn't much help), Ray of Frost (snow blast -- which did slow and damage lots) and Evocation, Astral Blast, and Blur for the passive skills.  Armor was 1088 and Damage 2as 586.17 -- so not very high, actually.

I finally soloed Diablo down after 5 tries -- tactics involved freezing him solid, tossing out the hydra, RUNNING AWAY, and bringing out the clones.  Set up ice armor so that if he hits me, he freezes.  Wash, rinse, run to health well, drink health potion, repeat.  Frost Nova (ice snap), hydra (Arcane), ice armor (Chilling Aura),Mirror Image (simulacrum), Magic Missile (charged blast), Ray of Frost (snow blast) and Evocation, Astral Blast, and Blur for the passive skills. 

Possibly because of the lack of gear, the Templar wasn't quite as effective on the mobs when I got to the heaven level.  I switched him out for the Scoundrel (since Tyriael finally showed up to play tank) and got through that part with little trouble.  The Enchantress would probably do just as well as far as crowd control and damage go, but frankly her conversation is dull.  I may use her more in Nightmare mode.

Once you're familiar with all the acts, you have a better handle on which follower will be more help in any particular situation.  DO, however, keep them all at top gear (based on drops) throughout the game.  It was a pain to run around and try and regear the Enchantress and Scoundrel (I'd ignored them.)

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