D&D 5E What is REALLY wrong with the Wizard? (+)

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
First, THIS IS A (+) THREAD. Please do not post something like "Everything LOL".
Justify your reasons (hopefully more than just "I don't like them."), or please don't bother posting. Thanks! :)


Common issues I see complaints about are (in no particular order):

Poor players who feel Wizards should be gods.
I've never experienced this, personally, but I know others have. IMO this is really more about the player than the class, but for anyone whose experienced this and wishes to share their story, I'd be interested to hear about it how you feel the issue is the class and not the player.

Stealing the spotlight from other PCs/players.
I've seen this, but not because the PC was a "wizard" but more so because a player wants to have the spotlight. They make a character which tries to be the best at everything, instead of letting other PCs have their moments to shine.

Being able to overcome just about all challenges.
With many spells Wizards are able to overcome exploration or social challenges in ways other classes just can't. Now, this really isn't exclusive to Wizard, but is more of an issue with spells in general and Arcane spells in particular. Although there are some divine and primal spells, the majority of them are arcane, so naturally seen as the larger issue.

For myself, I've seen some spells do this, but for casters they need to know or have the spell prepared--and I have seen often enough a player lament not having a spell which would make things easy to overcome. I just don't see this in actual play, so I would love to hear actual examples and not just white-room/theory-crafting.

Too large of a spell list.
Now, this one I agree with, but probably not for the same reason others might. IMO probably half the spells are useless and/or pointless--or just outright silly. 90% of the spells I see are almost always the same ones. I just don't think we need so many.

Too many spells in the spellbook.
I agree with this in the idea that wizards gain TWO spells per spell level to add to their spellbook. I think one would be better, and acquiring more would be through finding scrolls or spellbooks, research or downtime activity, etc. with rely more on DM fiat. Alternatively, allow two but re-instate a system for actually learning a spell, so that wizards don't necessarily always learn the spells the player wants--at least not on first try.

Cantrips are an issue.
I see different thoughts on this:
1) Combat cantrips make wizards boring pew pew all the time. Magic is less magical. (Along with this, but perhaps a separate issue, even utility-type cantrips can make magic feel less magical).
2) The opposite view: being able to pew pew is more magical than firing a crossbow when running out of spell slots.
3) Cantrips such as light and dancing lights make environmental factors such as darkness a non-issue.

Spells are too powerful.
Not a common complaint, of course, but one I agree with. Arcane spells especially seem to outstrip the relative power compared to other spells, and certainly compared to what non-casters can even attempt.

The class is boring. (@Zardnaar)
With the inclusion of Sorcerers and Warlocks as arcane casters, with more enticing features like metamagic and invocations, not to mention more interesting subclasses, the wizard seems boring by comparison.

Player Expectations. (@James Gasik)
So that's the problem with the Wizard; the expectations of the players, who want the class to be able to produce magical effects, large and small, both at will and in limited amounts, and solve all problems, from combat to setting up a campsite, with magic, while at the same time, wanting non-magical classes to be unable to do likewise.

So, I sort of get this one. But IME it isn't so much about "wanting non-magical classes to be unable to do likewise" as it is about keeping the game grounded. Also, IME spellcasting-players rarely care as much about the more mundane tasks, such as setting up a campsite. :)

Hardly anyone plays Wizards anymore. (@Ruin Explorer)
The other issue is that hardly anyone plays Wizards anymore. So a lot of examples would be 2E and the like (checked to ensure they could still happen in 3E versions of the game). This is caused mainly by the class being boring AND not giving people a "pop culture" Wizard. The D&D Wizard isn't Harry Potter, isn't a video game wizard, isn't Sparrowhawk, and so on. The 5E D&D Wizard is a weird nerd who knows a ton of spells and INT-based skills, and that's it.
This isn't something I've experienced personally as Wizard as a class is played about as much as any other class in my games (or ones I play in). However, I certainly understand how people joining D&D and wanting to play a pop culture Wizard would be disappointed.




I'm sure there are more, those are just the ones I can think of at the moment. I'll update this list when people add things I didn't think of.

Again, I am really interested in actual experiences in real game play if you have an issue. This is not meant to be a "Wizard-bashing" thread, but more of an attempt to identify actual problems instead of theoretical or white-room.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
Big problem is regardless of the power level it might be boring?

Barely seeing them in play in 5E relative to Sorcerer/Warlock.

Or Clerics and even Druids.

I know the theorycraft on them but just not seeing them in play enough. Last one in my group was rolled up in 2019 before that it was 2015 iirc. Oh there was a Bladesinger in there somewhere as well very briefly.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
That isn't one I have really heard much of, if any, but it is an interesting view so I'll update the OP. :)

There's a few OP spells espicially at higher level other classes get a few of them though.

They're theoretically better with rituals etc but the few wizard players I've seen don't go down that route and it's kinda mother may I dependent on DM selling them extra spells and providing the go to do it with.
 

Scribe

Legend
Too flexible. Fix? You pick your spells, and sleep on it. Thats it until you go to sleep on it again. No trading slots around.
Cantrips for Damage. Fix? Get out those Crossbows and Slings.
Spell List for overcoming to many different things. Fix? Manage the spell list, and simply outlaw/remove/restrict various spells.

That would probably correct a huge swath of the complaints...except for from the Wizard players. :ROFLMAO:

This returns Wizards to a potent force, that requires preparation and study, instead of just godlike beings waiting to throw off the yoke of mortal concerns, and lets the 'on demand consistent damage' go to the Martials, or Warlocks.
 


In overall class design, the wizard is not problematic: it is a fairly well-designed class. The issue that I have found is that spells are very versatile and powerful, and Wizards are Best at Spells.
Wizards get brought up as the main example in martial vs caster discussions because they are the best and most archetypal casters. They exemplify "a caster" in the same way that Fighters exemplify "a martial".

With spellbook-based Ritual casting, and Arcane Recovery on top of standard known spell and slot progression, Wizards generally have the most spells available to solve a situation and get to cast more spells than other classes. In most of the games that I play in, where mysteries and problem-solving are more prevalent than combat, the Wizard is the most capable of solving those problems.

A player can deliberately downplay their class abilities to not shine more than the rest of the party in a lot of situations, but this is the player compensating for the class, and not a feature of the class design itself.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
There's a few OP spells espicially at higher level other classes get a few of them though.

They're theoretically better with rituals etc but the few wizard players I've seen don't go down that route and it's kinda mother may I dependent on DM selling them extra spells and providing the go to do it with.
FWIW when I play a wizard, especially at lower levels, probably half of my spellbook is rituals because of their superior ritual feature.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
FWIW when I play a wizard, especially at lower levels, probably half of my spellbook is rituals because of their superior ritual feature.

Yeah it's anecdotal but I suspect a lot of wizard players don't know or realize they can buy more rituals. And they need gold and DM buy in to aquire more outside the 2 spells/level.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
In overall class design, the wizard is not problematic: it is a fairly well-designed class. The issue that I have found is that spells are very versatile and powerful, and Wizards are Best at Spells.
Wizards get brought up as the main example in martial vs caster discussions because they are the best and most archetypal casters. They exemplify "a caster" in the same way that Fighters exemplify "a martial".

With spellbook-based Ritual casting, and Arcane Recovery on top of standard known spell and slot progression, Wizards generally have the most spells available to solve a situation and get to cast more spells than other classes. In most of the games that I play in, where mysteries and problem-solving are more prevalent than combat, the Wizard is the most capable of solving those problems.

A player can deliberately downplay their class abilities to not shine more than the rest of the party in a lot of situations, but this is the player compensating for the class, and not a feature of the class design itself.
Everything after your first sentence is...a denial of said first sentence. Arcane Recovery + being able to acquire extra spells + the best and most diverse Ritual Casting options = significant excess of power with reduced restrictions. That's pretty much definitionally a problematic design.
 

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