Neverwinter Control Wizard Beta Impression and Guide
For the second beta weekend of Neverwinter, a polishing version of this D&D game did grasp all fans again with brand-new updates. The unique foundry system was open to business. An updated tutorial with fully voice acted. New level cap and new zones for players to enjoy and explore are also including in the update. Besides, the Control Wizard is available in this beta too, which fans of Neverwinter have been longing for.
(Screenshot from ~Vampiro-Alhazred)
Mage / wizard class has long existence in the D&D game, acting as a fragile but powerful role alongside with a party. Whether single controller or crowd controller, wizard is able to ease the burden of its comrade-in-arms. Being a nuker or a supporter, a skillful wizard knows when and how to be a nice partner. A team without wizard could be cornered easily while fighting against the foes. Apparently, there is no reason not to try a wizard in MMOs, especially this special one in Neverwinter.
How was a Control Wizard made in Neverwinter?
Control Wizards harness powerful arcane energies to restrict, crush and debilitate their foes. Wielding a magical orb, they are capable of unleashing torrents of damage alongside and adventuring party, and use ice and force to manipulate the movements of unwitting creatures.
As the description above, it seems that the Control Wizards are overwhelming in the battlefield, aren't they?
Actually, the majority of players in the second beta chose Control Wizard as their first character and you can see a multitude of Gandolfs running, jumping and teleporting like Naruto. Speaking of the Neverwinter style wizards, players obviously have different opinions. Some of them complained about the squishy wizard with short-time control skills could not really be a controller, while the others did enjoy the Control Wizard, like "I fight 20 orcs at the same time and it is just fine".
Some key points in the description shed a little light about a real Control Wizard gameplay in Neverwinter and as usual, in this article, I will share some of my beta experience with you about them.
Wielding a Magical Orb with Victory Gesture
It is entertained to see Control Wizards standing still and posing with the universal victory gesture. With a nifty magical orb floating around its right hand, the Wizard conveys a "don't mess with me" aura.
When Control Wizards attack, the magical power will be unleashed from the shiny orb, flying towards the foes and dealing torrents of damage. And at this time, the idling pose will be changed, introducing a brand-new ninja pose. To cast the Daily Power like Ice Storm, a few seconds will be needed to a set of physical actions like hand seals in Naruto. Some marks would be blinking in the air, and then the mighty ice power will deal massive damage to all nearby enemies. This kind of action design in Neverwinter is really addictive. You will never feel old about it. Every time you cast the formidable skill, you can feel a sense of accomplishment.
Basically, the mechanism of Control Wizard is depending on the stacks Arcane Mastery and Chill. The bonus of each encounter powers will interactive with these two kinds of stacks, requiring a wise arrangement of combo for an intelligent Wizard. You can check the list of the encounter powers on next page to get more details about all the skills of Control Wizard.
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Force Power and Restriction
The first restrict skill will be earned early at level 5, the Entangling Force. The designer must get inspired from the Darth Vader force choke. It can stun your target and pull them into the air, choking them for a short period. The stacks of Arcane Mastery will increase the floating duration. It's a useful single-target power to impede the pace of opponent for several seconds. Besides, it's reasonable to use it to solo the dungeon boss with henchmen. Use Entangling Force to restrict the boss, so you got few seconds to free your hand, dealing with the henchman instead. Keep in mind that the restriction skills are not only controlling, but breaking boss' channeling skills.
Speaking of encountering a bunch of foes in the wild and dungeon, low level Control Wizard could not fully benefit from their restriction skills. For me, I preferred to left-click, attacking the foes one on one with my magic missiles, instead of controlling them. It is simply because beating them down is more efficient.
Here comes the Repel when it comes to crowd-control. To keep away from dangerous enemies, Repel is able to push your targets in front of you far away, leaving times for you to cool down the encounter skills and replenish stamina to teleport. With leveling up,
Ice Power and Debilitation
Differ from restricting powers, debilitating powers focus on generating debuff to enemies. Skill like Ray of Frost, channeling a freezing beam of frost at your opponent, it results to freeze the target. This At-will power (list of At-will power) is continuously adding Chill stacks, benefiting the following encounter powers.
Actually, the in-game effect of this skill is an attention-grabber, especially freezing the giant foe when it's approaching. However, I find it useless to solo the map. Your first element skill Magic Missile is able to put foes down quickly enough. The tiny damage and short freezing time (i.e. like about 1-2 seconds) of Ray of Frost could not change the tide of the struggling in battle.
At level 7, Conduit of Ice would be another support skill for Wizard, summoning an icy storm, dealing a small amount of damage to the target and reducing damage to enemies around the target. It is, still, another decent but not that great skill to reduce the damage you would take.
Back then, it's really tough for a solo Wizard. Only by leveling to a higher level, can the Control Wizards unleash the restricted power to be a crowd-controller and the miserable story will be history soon. At level 17, a practical debilitating Icy Terrain is lighting in your slot. By freezing the ground around you, it will briefly immobilize enemies in the area, adding Chill to them continuously and at the end, freeze them. I take it as the AOE version of Ray of Frost, which is drastically enhance the disabling ability of Control Wizard.
Another extremely beneficial encounter ability is, definitely, the Steal Time, coming at level 20. As a time-controlling power, it slows and stuns targets, along with a bunch of buffs for allies. It's a power should be slotted in the slot in a party.
The other two high-level decent encounter powers are Shield and Shard of the Endless Avalanche, learned at level 45 and 50 respectively. Shield enables Control Wizard to absorb a large amount of damage and pushing enemies away from you. However, it will be removed if got over damaged or unleash the pushing power. Shard of the Endless Avalanche is pretty much the ultimate encounter abilities at the date of launch of Neverwinter. It is summoning a boulder from the eternal avalanche, knocking enemies down and stacking Arcane Mastery. Both of them are, at this stage, not available yet and I'm looking forward to try them in the battlefield soon, hopefully, in the third beta weekend.
Torrents of Damage
When it comes to torrents, a channeling power will emerge in your mind. With his mysterious ability to combine the power of ice and force, Control Wizard is able to deal continuous increasing damage to the target. Like the other three classes, Control Wizard has its own innate power, Chilling Presence and Orb of Imposition, unlocking at level 10 and 20, respectively.
The Chilling Presence is increasing the damage you deal by 2% each stack of Chill on your target. Immediately, Ray of Frost is popping out in my mind. A simple combo like Ray of Frost > Magic Missile can make full use of this inherent power at an early gameplay. And Orb of Imposition will drastically increase the duration of control powers by 10%, which make your crowd-control more efficient.
Like the discussion about dodging in Trickster Rogue, Teleport is just a new name for dodging in Control Wizard style. If timed correctly, it can fully avoid the incoming damage and teleport you out of the way to like 18 feet away in any direction. In addition, the Rogue can only shift to 8 feet away, so the 10 feet is a balance bonus for fragile Control Wizard.
As a ranged class, it is the norm to keep you away from target, so teleporting become increasing pivotal for Control Wizard. While casting any skill, the character cannot move. Instead, only by standing still, are you able to attack and control the enemies. When they are almost touching you, a nice teleport will give you a few seconds to cast next ability, put one of the foes down without taking any damage. Control Wizard can teleport continuously three times and the stamina need a little time to replenish. Using teleporting at a right time could make a difference between life and death.
After experiencing Control Wizard in this beta for dozens of hours, I figure out designing a reasonable combo for Wizard is far more complicated. The methodology is simply: to stack Chill and Arcane Mastery alternatively to maximum the damage, and at the same time, control the target and keep it / them in distance.
- Single-target Combo
It's pretty easy to confront the single target for a Control Wizard. Actually, you don't really need a combo to make it right easily. Unfortunately, it rarely happens.
Chill Strike > Ray of Frost (reach 6 stacks) > Magic Missile > Entangling Force > Teleport > Ray of Enfeeblement
Ray of Enfeeblement is learned at level 13 so your combo can be slightly changed before it like:
Chill Strike > Ray of Frost (reach 6 stacks) > Magic Missile > Entangling Force > Teleport > Magic Missile
Chill Strike can push light-weighted unite back, but this is useless. The light-weighted unite is easily dead hit by Magic Missile and the boss is always a robust monster and this tiny bonus never works. Still, it's a nice initial skill with decent damage and adding a stack of Chill. Ray of Frost will freeze your target soon with 5 more stacks. Now your Magic Missile damage will be maximized after that. By stacking Arcane Mastery with missiles and the boss is approaching. It is the right time to chock it in the air with Entangling Force. Teleport away and then finish him with Ray of Enfeeblement or Magic Missile.
- Crowd-target Combo
Crowd-control abilities cannot be effective until level 20, unlocking more encounter skills and better yet, the Orb of Imposition. Before this stage, choose high damage skills to put foes down is an intelligent and practical way, especially when solo the area and dungeon.
Before level 15:
Chill Strike > Conduit of Ice > Entangling Force > Magic Missile > Repel > Magic Missile > Ice Storm
Level 15 to level 17:
Chilling Cloud > Conduit of Ice > Entangling Force > Repel > Magic Missile > Ice Storm
After level 17 (Solo):
Chilling Cloud > Conduit of Ice > Icy Terrain > Repel > Magic Missile > Ice Storm
Before level 15, I'm aiming at damaging rather than controlling. Once the Chilling Cloud is learned, crowd control begins. Chilling Cloud to add Chill to the foes and Conduit of Ice can be benefited. Cast Entangling Force to another target and then Repel all the targets in front of you to keep away from them. Keep using Magic Missile to finish them before they are hurting you. Once your Daily Power is available, Ice Storm will help you to clear the battle quickly.
Level 17 would be a big change for Wizard growing up to a Control Wizard. The opponents will be freeze soon after Chilling Cloud, Conduit of Ice and following Icy Terrain. Repel them all and cast Magic Missile to finish them. At this time, the damages of missiles got maximized.
After level 17 (Party):
Chilling Cloud > Conduit of Ice > Steal Time > Chilling Cloud > Icy Terrain > Magic Missile > Ice Storm
Don't use repel in party play. It will disturb the combo of allies and decrease the DPS. Steal time, as mentioned before, tremendously enhances your team damage and movement speed.