Why does Wizards of the Coast hate Wizards?

tetrasodium

Explorer
@Leatherhead − good point

The most popular choice of subclass for a Wizard character is:
• Spellsinger 14%
• War Magic 14%
• Evocation 13%
• [probably Divination circa 12% because Portent for combat]

This suggests that the golden majority of Wizard players are frustrated with the Wizard class, and seeking options elsewhere.

The main dissatisfaction with the Wizard class for Wizard players, appears to be, the lack of combat survivability and the lack of damage dealing.
I disagree on the bolded bit. I think that players who go into wizard know that they will be squishies, compared to 3.5 wizards they are downright hardy. The damage dealing isn't really the prime problem though IMO. If you look at any wizard guide going back to 3.5 you will see terms like Batman/god, controller, summoner, blaster, & maybe a few others. The Wizard was never really top notch at blaster (sorc beat them handsdown & had a better toolbox). Summoner was always a divine caster wearing the crown. Controller fits many classes situationally & can be ignored. The God wizard was like batman & has two or three prime duties in the group, allowing everyone around them to be even more awesome, making opponents less awesome against the wizard's allies, and having the tool the party needs now (or at least "after we rest so i can change my prepped spells") in their toolbox.

Say what you will about the pros & cons of concentration, it unquestionably removes much of the wizard's ability to act as a force multiplier & make the party awesome unless you are a sorc with twin spell. That leaves the flexibility of having a spellbook and ritual spells. The scorlock could pretty much rival a wizard's capability of having everything in their back pocket if we can wait for tomorrow without needing to rest & reprep spells; but scorlock does it without needing to really sacrifice much, without needing to sink amounts of money that make equipping an all strength based heavy armor party look modest into scribing spells while gaining a bunch of multiplicative power bumps... with these new abilities sorcerer & warlock both gain the ability to have the spell tomorrow and don't need to invest the gdp of nations into a spellbook.

Finally you have the wizard's ability to ritually cast spells scribed in their spellbook without needing to have them prepared... This is great and all, but there are a total of nine ritual spells level 4-9 & only 6 of them are on the wizard list but tome pact warlock could already have all nine. Moon druid faces a similar problem as a wizard who thought ritual casting was important with cr3+ beasts being either too big for much use or mistyped as monstrosities.

Wizards used to get bonus feats, but now not only are they not feats at all... they are almost all warlock invocations & warlocks get them exactly like wizards got bonus feats.

In short, the UA completes the cycle of giving scorlock the "meat & potatoes" of the wizard class & wizards never really got a new bone to support their table as the legs were slowly given to scorlock.

edit: There is also the role of skills & sidelining of int as a meaningful stat while elevating charisma
 
I disagree on the bolded bit. I think that players who go into wizard know that they will be squishies, compared to 3.5 wizards they are downright hardy. The damage dealing isn't really the prime problem though IMO. If you look at any wizard guide going back to 3.5 you will see terms like Batman/god, controller, summoner, blaster, & maybe a few others. The Wizard was never really top notch at blaster (sorc beat them handsdown & had a better toolbox). Summoner was always a divine caster wearing the crown. Controller fits many classes situationally & can be ignored. The God wizard was like batman & has two or three prime duties in the group, allowing everyone around them to be even more awesome, making opponents less awesome against the wizard's allies, and having the tool the party needs now (or at least "after we rest so i can change my prepped spells") in their toolbox.

Say what you will about the pros & cons of concentration, it unquestionably removes much of the wizard's ability to act as a force multiplier & make the party awesome unless you are a sorc with twin spell. That leaves the flexibility of having a spellbook and ritual spells. The scorlock could pretty much rival a wizard's capability of having everything in their back pocket if we can wait for tomorrow without needing to rest & reprep spells; but scorlock does it without needing to really sacrifice much, without needing to sink amounts of money that make equipping an all strength based heavy armor party look modest into scribing spells while gaining a bunch of multiplicative power bumps... with these new abilities sorcerer & warlock both gain the ability to have the spell tomorrow and don't need to invest the gdp of nations into a spellbook.

Finally you have the wizard's ability to ritually cast spells scribed in their spellbook without needing to have them prepared... This is great and all, but there are a total of nine ritual spells level 4-9 & only 6 of them are on the wizard list but tome pact warlock could already have all nine. Moon druid faces a similar problem as a wizard who thought ritual casting was important with cr3+ beasts being either too big for much use or mistyped as monstrosities.

Wizards used to get bonus feats, but now not only are they not feats at all... they are almost all warlock invocations & warlocks get them exactly like wizards got bonus feats.

In short, the UA completes the cycle of giving scorlock the "meat & potatoes" of the wizard class & wizards never really got a new bone to support their table as the legs were slowly given to scorlock.

edit: There is also the role of skills & sidelining of int as a meaningful stat while elevating charisma
Do you think lore mastery wizard overcomes some of the problems?

I think even if it does its a sad day when only one version of a class is even relevant.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
The suffering of the poor wizards is a bit over-stated, imo. ;)

I'll happily jump on the magic is over-rated or mundane options are under-rated band wagons but that's typically at lower levels (there are still powerful spells, and spell DC's scale upwards), and every time spells are added to the arcane lists that's wizard love because of the spell mechanics involved.

Though I'm also a Treat Monk follower so he makes compelling arguments for the other options and non-damaging/combat spells.
It doesn't take following Treant Monk for that, lol. It becomes evident playing. I think that's just playing to the strengths of the class. ;)

So yeah, I think Wizards have it pretty good. Leave room for other classes to be the skill experts or tool masters.
I agree. It's okay to have things wizards don't excel at to the extent of other classes and that is case in more than one area. It's not actually the case with arcana, however.

Most characters don't even have the option to take arcana in the first place. It's on the bard, druid, sorcerer, warlock, and wizard proficiency lists. Knowledge clerics can add it (with expertise) and it can be picked up with the sage background.

The argument that wizards aren't the best at arcana isn't actually valid. Being better requires expertise so we're looking at a bard (thematically correct), knowledge cleric (thematically correct), or a sage having taking expertise in an aspect of the sage (thematically correct). Even then it's barely an advantage unless INT also has a significant investment. To even match the wizard requires the proficiency and the INT investment, which doesn't sync up in other classes.

It is possible to sneak arcana into a rogue, invest in a bit of INT, and add expertise but then we can look at the real world analogy of a physician who goes to medical school and then isn't specifically skilled or trained as an EMT. Meanwhile, a person can become an EMT without going to medical school. The analogy works really well because wizards don't even have arcana training unless they add the skill. Adding any relationship between wizards and the skill is just the concept of how a person sees his or her character and is covered in taking the skill. They just see a game mechanic that can make the numbers bigger and want to own that too even if the justification argued doesn't actually match up. ;)
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
It doesn't take following Treant Monk for that
Sure, he was just one of the first to really lead the way back in 3.5 days to the wizard as a primary controller/buffer/debuffer instead of dominate the field with more direct applications of spells, so I credit him. shrug

The analogy works really well because
See, I don't think that analogy works well at all. If Arana were divided up in to sub-sections the way real-world medicine is? Sure.

But in the non-granular mechanics of D&D, to use your medical professionals with the D&D rules for skills, it would be that the EMT who ONLY studied emergency/first-response medicine is as good at ALL medicine as a doctor who went to medical school.

A Rogue with Expertise Arcana and an Int of 12 knows as much about wizarding and all matters arcane other than actual spell casting, than an actual Wizard with a standard array 16 Int and regular proficiency. They basically have the same level of ability at this skill all the way to 12th. Then at 13th the rogue is better the rest of the way. That assumes Wizard maxes their Int by 8th and the rogue doesn't touch their 12 Int.

Same holds true for a knowledge cleric with their Domain ability.

It's just weird.
 

tetrasodium

Explorer
Do you think lore mastery wizard overcomes some of the problems?

I think even if it does its a sad day when only one version of a class is even relevant.
Not really. I'll break down what it gives
  • Lore Master@2: You get expertise in Arcana, History, Nature, & Religion. All of those skills are int based sure, but it's still blocked from being meaningful by "Skills: Choose two skills from Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion" on the wizard itself. Compare that to 3.5 where you had 2+int skill points and the folloing class skills: Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Knowledge arcana, Knowledge arcana & engineering, Knowledge dungeoneering, knowledge geography, knowledge history, knowledge local, knowledge nsture, knowledge nature, knowledge nobility & royalty, knowledge psionics, knowledge religion, knowledge the planes, profession, spellcraft. Those were all condensed into a couple skills (mostly arcana/history/nature) & ent from there being too many for anyone to feasibly keep up so the wizard always kinda knew at least a little of that knowledge no matter their roll but nowit's so easy to learn one of those condensed skills that it's more a matter of who rolls higher.
  • Spell secretsA @2: At will elemental substitution... Damage types used to be absurdly important in prior editions, now it's almost entirely "you don't want to deal nonmagic damage or use lightning against an iron golem". In the past it would have been stupid powerful, but in 5e it's barely a step from being a ribbon.
  • SpellSecretsB@2: You can change a spell from using one saving throw to using a different saving throw. This is huge and allows you to do things like make an int charisma targeting web or a strength save feeblemind... but being locked behind a single archtype rather than tacked onto the core class but restricted to wizard spells it's meaningless to wizards as a whole
  • slchemical casting @6: It lets you do some interesting metamagicish things with spells by expending extra spell slots, while certainly interesting & useful for a certain kind of build, I think it's more of one archtype's gimmick than a replacement leg for the wizard table mentioned earlier.
  • Prodigious memory @10: Basically it says 1/long rest the lore wizard can swap one "maybe I'll need this" c list prepped spell with " of crap I need this instead". Wotc's own statistics show most games fizzle out by or shortly after level 10 so even within the archtype itself it's of dubious & limited value if it has any at all.
  • Master of magic @14: Useful & if this were a feat that only wizards could take it wouldn't even get hate because it's so nice.... but as an unlock for one archtype at level 14 it's even more irrelevant to that wizard table.
So... no it doesn't really overcome anything because it either fails to understand the problem & is hobbled by how 5e works (ie with skills & lore master) or because it's limited to one archtype at a level that makes it pointless even to that archtype
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I'd like to see more spells with the Ritual tag, but that's about the only thing I'd change about the Wizard.
That and I wish they had the Artificer's "Right Cantrip for the Job" ability in some shape if not exactly that. I think having flexible cantrips would be fine and appropriate for the Wizard class.
 
That and I wish they had the Artificer's "Right Cantrip for the Job" ability in some shape if not exactly that. I think having flexible cantrips would be fine and appropriate for the Wizard class.
An elegant way to handle this could be that wizards have access to all Wizard cantrips, but make them choose X of them to be able to cast each day (where X is a number between 3 and 6, or maybe equal to their Int modifier, or their proficiency bonus, or whatever.)

I'm not familiar with the Artificer, so maybe that's how they do it already?
 
Not really. I'll break down what it gives
  • Lore Master@2: You get expertise in Arcana, History, Nature, & Religion. All of those skills are int based sure, but it's still blocked from being meaningful by "Skills: Choose two skills from Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion" on the wizard itself. Compare that to 3.5 where you had 2+int skill points and the folloing class skills: Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Knowledge arcana, Knowledge arcana & engineering, Knowledge dungeoneering, knowledge geography, knowledge history, knowledge local, knowledge nsture, knowledge nature, knowledge nobility & royalty, knowledge psionics, knowledge religion, knowledge the planes, profession, spellcraft. Those were all condensed into a couple skills (mostly arcana/history/nature) & ent from there being too many for anyone to feasibly keep up so the wizard always kinda knew at least a little of that knowledge no matter their roll but nowit's so easy to learn one of those condensed skills that it's more a matter of who rolls higher.
  • Spell secretsA @2: At will elemental substitution... Damage types used to be absurdly important in prior editions, now it's almost entirely "you don't want to deal nonmagic damage or use lightning against an iron golem". In the past it would have been stupid powerful, but in 5e it's barely a step from being a ribbon.
  • SpellSecretsB@2: You can change a spell from using one saving throw to using a different saving throw. This is huge and allows you to do things like make an int charisma targeting web or a strength save feeblemind... but being locked behind a single archtype rather than tacked onto the core class but restricted to wizard spells it's meaningless to wizards as a whole
  • slchemical casting @6: It lets you do some interesting metamagicish things with spells by expending extra spell slots, while certainly interesting & useful for a certain kind of build, I think it's more of one archtype's gimmick than a replacement leg for the wizard table mentioned earlier.
  • Prodigious memory @10: Basically it says 1/long rest the lore wizard can swap one "maybe I'll need this" c list prepped spell with " of crap I need this instead". Wotc's own statistics show most games fizzle out by or shortly after level 10 so even within the archtype itself it's of dubious & limited value if it has any at all.
  • Master of magic @14: Useful & if this were a feat that only wizards could take it wouldn't even get hate because it's so nice.... but as an unlock for one archtype at level 14 it's even more irrelevant to that wizard table.
So... no it doesn't really overcome anything because it either fails to understand the problem & is hobbled by how 5e works (ie with skills & lore master) or because it's limited to one archtype at a level that makes it pointless even to that archtype
"Spell secretsA @2: At will elemental substitution... Damage types used to be absurdly important in prior editions, now it's almost entirely "you don't want to deal nonmagic damage or use lightning against an iron golem". In the past it would have been stupid powerful, but in 5e it's barely a step from being a ribbon."
Could you explain how this is barely a step from a ribnon? I mean...arent there a lot of things with weaknesses this would hit?
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
It is noted in a D&DBeyond video interview with WotC: The rogue and wizard had little because they didn't need anything. They didn't put in content for the sake of putting in content.... they just added where they saw an opportunity to make a meaningful improvement that addressed specific widespread player concerns.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
See, I don't think that analogy works well at all. If Arana were divided up in to sub-sections the way real-world medicine is? Sure.

But in the non-granular mechanics of D&D, to use your medical professionals with the D&D rules for skills, it would be that the EMT who ONLY studied emergency/first-response medicine is as good at ALL medicine as a doctor who went to medical school.

A Rogue with Expertise Arcana and an Int of 12 knows as much about wizarding and all matters arcane other than actual spell casting, than an actual Wizard with a standard array 16 Int and regular proficiency. They basically have the same level of ability at this skill all the way to 12th. Then at 13th the rogue is better the rest of the way. That assumes Wizard maxes their Int by 8th and the rogue doesn't touch their 12 Int.

Same holds true for a knowledge cleric with their Domain ability.

It's just weird.
The problem with that argument is that the rogue class doesn't actually give proficiency in arcana in the first place. A rogue has to go out of his or her way to add it somehow, and it's not that arcana is not broken down into categories -- arcane magic is broken down. Arcana is just one aspect information that's not even a part of the core class. I can make a wizard who is not proficient in arcana at all, uses just his INT bonus (for a reasonable bonus still) and cast 9th level spells.

To be clear, my in my analogy one is spell casting and one is arcana. They are different things in 5e like those two example are different things in real life. ;)

That rogue who has expertise in arcana is just an Indiana Jones trope (expert knowledge) and it doesn't give him access to bard, warlock, sorcerer, or wizard spell casting. Those two mechanics are independent of each other. The connection you are making is concept fluff, and done by taking proficiency in arcana by the wizard.

In the extremes for the rogue example it's +13 for the rogue and +11 for the wizard in the end, and +5 for either in the beginning. The gap isn't significant enough for the extra investment to consider wizards having some kind of disadvantage here.
 
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tetrasodium

Explorer
It is noted in a D&DBeyond video interview with WotC: The rogue and wizard had little because they didn't need anything. They didn't put in content for the sake of putting in content.... they just added where they saw an opportunity to make a meaningful improvement that addressed specific widespread player concerns.
It's 2 fold & has to do with changes betweeen 3.5 & 5e. Back in 3.5 you had gold bags full of weapons to get past DR (damage resistance) because a LOT of creatures would reduce your damage by X points (sometimes double digit X even!) if it wasn't a particular damage type. The same was true for monsters that were vulnerable to a given damage type (double damage iirc). In 5e there are very few monsters that are resistant or vulnerable to a given damage type other than "nonmagical piercing slashing or bludgeoning" & DR is not really a thing at all. If you have a magic weapon, are a level 6monk/moon druid, or are casting a spell then your attacks count as magical for purposes of being able to overcome resistance/immune to ononmagic p/b/s.

The second part is because in 5e spells can be upcast to get greater effect. In 3.5 you couldn't cast a third level spell like fireball from a 5th level slot to get extra dice, you cast a 5th level spell like acid cloud or something (I'm not bothrring to look for 5th level3.5 spells & just using an example. Often that other leveled spell was a different save, worked differently (ie instant vrs DoT), used a different save if any, had a different area (ie burst/wall/cone/line). All of this combined with the DR is why it would have been gosdly back in 3.5 where it was reasonable to burn a feat just to do that. In 5e it's only slightly more meaningful than declaring the color ofthe paint on the shield you just purchased from a rural blacksmith who specializes in horse shoes & nails
 
It's 2 fold & has to do with changes betweeen 3.5 & 5e. Back in 3.5 you had gold bags full of weapons to get past DR (damage resistance) because a LOT of creatures would reduce your damage by X points (sometimes double digit X even!) if it wasn't a particular damage type. The same was true for monsters that were vulnerable to a given damage type (double damage iirc). In 5e there are very few monsters that are resistant or vulnerable to a given damage type other than "nonmagical piercing slashing or bludgeoning" & DR is not really a thing at all. If you have a magic weapon, are a level 6monk/moon druid, or are casting a spell then your attacks count as magical for purposes of being able to overcome resistance/immune to ononmagic p/b/s.

The second part is because in 5e spells can be upcast to get greater effect. In 3.5 you couldn't cast a third level spell like fireball from a 5th level slot to get extra dice, you cast a 5th level spell like acid cloud or something (I'm not bothrring to look for 5th level3.5 spells & just using an example. Often that other leveled spell was a different save, worked differently (ie instant vrs DoT), used a different save if any, had a different area (ie burst/wall/cone/line). All of this combined with the DR is why it would have been gosdly back in 3.5 where it was reasonable to burn a feat just to do that. In 5e it's only slightly more meaningful than declaring the color ofthe paint on the shield you just purchased from a rural blacksmith who specializes in horse shoes & nails
Thankyou. This answered my question i think.
 

tetrasodium

Explorer
The problem with that argument is that the rogue class doesn't actually give proficiency in arcana in the first place. A rogue has to go out of his or her way to add it somehow, and it's not that arcana is not broken down into categories -- arcane magic is broken down. Arcana is just one aspect information that's not even a part of the core class. I can make a wizard who is not proficient in arcana at all, uses just his INT bonus (for a reasonable bonus still) and cast 9th level spells.

To be clear, my in my analogy one is spell casting and one is arcana. They are different things in 5e like those two example are different things in real life. ;)

That rogue who has expertise in arcana is just an Indiana Jones trope (expert knowledge) and it doesn't give him access to bard, warlock, sorcerer, or wizard spell casting. Those two mechanics are independent of each other. The connection you are making is concept fluff, and done by taking proficiency in arcana by the wizard.

In the extremes for the rogue example it's +13 for the rogue and +11 for the wizard in the end, and +5 for either in the beginning. The gap isn't significant enough for the extra investment to consider wizards having some kind of disadvantage here.
I covered the knowledge skill condensation earlier. dozen(s) of skills were condensed into a couple knowledge skills. It wasn't that the wizard used to be better & now it doesn't really do more than still be pretty decent. It used to be that not even a wizard could fully keep up with all of the knowledge skills & it was too much for anyone else to even bother with instead of their own skills other than the occasional 1-2 knowledge skills relevant to their class (which the wizard still probably knew better because they were probably important ones like knowledge religion in an undead heavy campaign.

In the old system a wizard got 2+int mod skill points/level , a rogue got 6+int mod(?), a fighter & I think pretty much everyone else got 2+int mod skill points. The rogue was too busy putting those skill points in skills like, hide, move quietly, spot, listen, disable device, acrobatics(used to be wayyy more useful), detect traps, etc & didn't have room to waste on heavy knowledge skill investment... nor did it bother beyond feat/PrC prereq requirements because the wizard would handle that. Int no longer gives bonus skill points or proficiencies so skill monkey/knowledge guy was basically removed from wizard
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
The second part is because in 5e spells can be upcast to get greater effect. In 3.5 you couldn't cast a third level spell like fireball from a 5th level slot to get extra dice,
No, you just cast it with a third-level slot and it autoscales with your level.
 

tetrasodium

Explorer
No, you just cast it with a third-level slot and it autoscales with your level.
your right, I messed up on that point but the rest about dr/saves/area/etc still applies it meant your 5th evel slots were acid cloud or whatever & couldn't be fireball unless you had prepped it with a +3 metamagic
 
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Krachek

Adventurer
So read the most recent Unearthed Arcana....Major flavor/Mechanical bonuses for Sorcerer, followed by Bard and Warlock.....and next to nothing for the Wizard...unless you are a Diviner (& even then not much gain).

-Any flavor/enhancement to the Spellbook....nope.
-Any Expertise like enhancement to the Arcana or Investigation skill.....nope....that Arcane Trickster with Expertise Arcana is a better scholar than Wizard,
(and has a better True Strike alternative with Aim now)
-Automatic Tool Prof in Calligrapahy...nope


WOTC needs more love for Barbarians and Wizards in 5e
I was asking why Dm seem to hesitate to push live their home brew.
you answer it.

you adjust a rule to help character of player A,
player B: why do you hate me?
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
I covered the knowledge skill condensation earlier. dozen(s) of skills were condensed into a couple knowledge skills. It wasn't that the wizard used to be better & now it doesn't really do more than still be pretty decent. It used to be that not even a wizard could fully keep up with all of the knowledge skills & it was too much for anyone else to even bother with instead of their own skills other than the occasional 1-2 knowledge skills relevant to their class (which the wizard still probably knew better because they were probably important ones like knowledge religion in an undead heavy campaign.

In the old system a wizard got 2+int mod skill points/level , a rogue got 6+int mod(?), a fighter & I think pretty much everyone else got 2+int mod skill points. The rogue was too busy putting those skill points in skills like, hide, move quietly, spot, listen, disable device, acrobatics(used to be wayyy more useful), detect traps, etc & didn't have room to waste on heavy knowledge skill investment... nor did it bother beyond feat/PrC prereq requirements because the wizard would handle that. Int no longer gives bonus skill points or proficiencies so skill monkey/knowledge guy was basically removed from wizard
In 3.5...

There weren't "dozens" of knowledge skills condensed into a couple of knowledge skills. There were 10 knowledge skills. Rogues got 8 skill points, bards and rangers 6 skill points, druids and monks 4 skill points, and most classes got 2 skill points. Everyone got INT bonus and the INT gap between rogues and wizards didn't typically exceed the 6 point gap between rogues and wizards.

The difference then wasn't just the points, it was the cross-class cost when bards and wizards were the only 2 classes that had all knowledge skills as class skills and there were a lot of skills in which to invest. The difference now is the removal of niche protection. A wizard can take proficiency in "rogue" skills now just as much as a rogue can take proficiency in "wizard" skills now.

Wizards are still at or near the top end of arcana use. INT checks cover that, and wizards are better off in general given the number of INT proficiencies that exist. INT is a significant part of knowledge checks in general while proficiency and expertise are specific.

I don't see an issue with the Indiana Jones trope of where a rogue has a none to little advantage over a wizard in knowledge.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Not implausible - there is so much spellcasting to go around in 5e...
...which fighter and barbarian sub-classes would rise to Tier 3? Something outside the PH, surely? The Totem Barbarian and BM are at best Tier 4, the EK would be a pretty marginal Tier 3 candidate.
Nope. The majority of PHB options are Tier 3 or above. You overestimate the power of Spellcasting.
 

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