Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So bright, I gotta wear shades

"Needless to say, I was a little despondent about the meltdown." - Chris Knight, Real Genius

During the preview weekend, I decided to play a Bright Wizard. A bright wizard is a DPS focused caster class and also a pyro. I took him up to Rank 10 before the weekend was over. Yea I know, only Rank 10... I had some other things to do. Anything I say below only applies to Rank 10 and below.

This first thing I did on my bright Wizard was the first starter quest, so I could get enough coin to afford a ride over to Ekrund. I have done almost all of my playing in the T1 Dwarf area, so the rest of the world will be new when the game launches.

When I arrived in Ekrund, I immediately queued up for the scenario. My first scenario went very well even though I was Rank 2. I only had a few abilities to use: Ignite, Fireball, Sear and Meltdown. Bright Wizards have a combustion mechanic which enhances their power but also has side effects.

Combustion is basically a meter that fills up as you use skills. As it goes up your critical hit chance goes up as does the damage each critical hit does. The side effect is the chance that the attack could cause damage to the caster goes up as well. When that combustion meter is full, there is a 50% chance the next spell will cause an explosion.

Back to the scenario. I was pretty surprised at the amount of damage I was doing. Of course, I was coming from my Engineer which may have helped. I was just hammering people, even with my basic skills. What I would eventually learn, is this was due to the team at the time, not some crazy 'skillz' on my part or an overpowered class.

Bright Wizards are very fragile, it feels like it only takes a couple hits from a Black Orc before we are down. Over the next few ranks I did get some defensive help in the form of: Shield Of Aqshy (I see Shield Of Squishy for some reason) and Smoke Screen (yea Spy Hunter!).

Smoke Screen was especially effective. It is a detaunt (what a novel idea!) that will reduce the damage a target does against you. it really shines when you have a teammate. I can recall a time in Open World RvR that I was with an engineer and we came across a Black Orc. Of course, he went right after me, so I cast Smoke Screen and just started to run around. The Orc kept on me as the Engineer chipped away at his HP. We eventually won without me losing too much HP. It should be noted Bright Wizards usually have to stand still to cast spells (other than DoTs) at this Rank.

The next really fun skill I got was Fiery Blast. Area of Effect fireball + explosion. You can't really go wrong with that. It is not nearly as powerful as it looks though. The last skill I obtained before the weekend came to a close was Fire Cage. An AoE root can save a casters life, so it is nice to have and looks pretty cool too.

There has been a lot of talk about the Bright Wizard being too powerful. At this Rank I do not believe that to be true. It is true they can cause some high damage. They do have the following drawbacks:

  • Must stand still for most skills
  • Cast time for most skills
  • Causes damage to themselves often
  • Very squishy
I ended up killing myself a number of times due to the combustion/explosion mechanic. If a healer is paying attention to you, they are not paying attention to someone else. I mentioned before that my first scenario's went very well. A number of others did not, even when we had 3+ Bright Wizards. Once melee get to us, we go down very quickly, so a balanced team is a must.


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