Int is useful to literally everything a wizard does. The only possible reason to not want to raise your Int before anything else is if your Con is an odd number.
For a wizard to raise a stat other than Int, or perhaps Con is a weird choice - probably more weird than the Barbarian choosing to raise his Int. The game doesn't give you many choices to raise Int because it expects you to take all of them.
I am following the game's expectations. I'm putting points into Int when it expects me to and not munchkining to get more. The game expects wizards to realise that the best thing they can do under any circumstance is to raise their Int so gives limited opportunities for this. And I'm taking them not making them. You seem to think, for whatever reason, that when the game gives me an offer of something good I must turn it down occasionally. Next you'll be telling fighters "You shouldn't be taking weapon specialisation and a magic weapon of the same type. You aren't moderating. You're only following the feat and advancement path laid out by the game, not doing something else."
Agreed 100%. When the game gives you the choice to raise a stat on your PC, and everything that your PC does is pegged to INT, how can the typical choice be anything
but raising INT?
Of course you're pushing the envelope. +4 DC in 5 levels. Virtually every choice that could have been made to improve your Intelligence was made.
Huh? That DC increased by 4 over 5 levels doesn't show that Neonchameleon was pushing the envelope. It shows that the rules are badly designed.
Suppose that saving throws worked like AD&D, for example, but everything else about 3E was held constant. Then exactly the same choice could be made - raising INT when permitted to, boosting it with an INT item, etc - for exactly the same reason: everything that a wizard does is pegged to INT. But the game wouldn't break, because saving throw DCs aren't pegged to a stat bonus. My higher INT gives me a few more languages I can learn, and a better range of known spells. But my spells themselves don't get any stronger.
For 3E to work as it is currently written - that is, with spell-casting stats granting "to hit" bonuses (via DC increase) in the same way as DEX and STR, then the game needs a concept of "Natural Fortitude Bonus", "Natural Reflex Bonus" and "Natural Will Bonus" to do the same defence-balancing work as is done by Natural Armour Bonuses.
In fact, the need is actually greater: because generally hitting a creature's AC only depletes its hit points, and it has plenty more where they came from! Whereas when a creature fails a saving throw (which is the functional equivalent of a caster hitting its Fort, Ref or Will) then often its hit points are simply bypassed. Furthermore, spells grant effective bonuses to hit (ie the level component of a DC) quicker than fighters and thieves get bonuses from their weapons (at 3rd level, the fighter probably has +1 from a magic weapon, whereas the caster has a +2 from a 2nd level spell; at 20th level the fighter probably has +5 or maybe +6 from a magic weapon, whereas the caster has +9 from a 9th level spell).
4e's changes to the basic mechanics in these respects aren't arbitrary - they're fundamental to establishing mathematical balance in the game, given that spellcasters are going to be granted "to hit" bonuses from their stats.
And it's interesting to see how D&Dnext is handling this: spells are just stat vs stat, with wizards and warlocks getting a +1 or +2 bonus from level; weapons and magical attacks are stat vs stat (or AC in place of DEX for heavy armour), with a modest bonus to DEX from armour and a modest bonus to hit from class. To me, it looks very close to 4e except that the level-scaling is mostly stripped out, and for some spells the die-rolling convention reverts to the pre-4e tradition of the defender rather than the attacker rolling the die.
I think it's noteworthy that D&Dnext is not
reverting to the AD&D approach of caster stats not mattering to magical attacks. But nor is it going with an unmodified 3E approach; rather, it is going with the 4e solution to the 3E approach.
The only respect in which D&Dnext sticks to the 3E approach without adopting a 4e modification is in its choice of stats for defences against spellls: in the playtest rules to date, saves are mostly either on DEX or WIS, with a few CON ones as well. This is the 3E Fort/Ref/Will categorisation, although without the distinctive class bonuses to defences (and it has its origins in AD&D, with the DEX AC bonus also contributing to dodge-style saves, the WIS bonus contributing to willpower-style saves, and CON of 19+ granting a bonus to saves against poison). This means that a class feature for clerics and rogues (and some fighters) is their superior saving throws, although that is not immediately transparent in the class descriptions. Whereas 4e, with its two-stats per defence approach, tends to make defences against non-weapon attacks more even across classes (there are a few STR/CON, DEX/INT and CHA/WIS builds, but not that many and I don't think there is any class that mandates
such a pairing).
like all use-limited abilities, there's a pretty strong tendency for people to save them in case of emergencies. If you've only got one or two wild shapes or the like a day, in practice that's more like zero on most days.
Are you talking here about NPCs? - in which case I'm not sure that matters too [MENTION=27160]Balesir[/MENTION]'s point, as the gameworld model will probably break down even if each druid turns into a useful animal only once a month.
But if you're talking about PCs, then you are putting forward a very different playstyle from the one I am used to. My players are from "the best defence is a good offence" school: you don't save powers for emergencies that may never come, but rather deploy them so that your PCs can reshape the world so that it will not offer up too many emergencies!
And for what it's worth, the capacity of shapechange to break the game is not confined to D&D - I've experienced the same thing in Rolemaster. And you don't need to trawl through books to find viable forms: birds make climbing and jumping mostly redundant; mice make stealth mostly redundant; bears make men-at-arms mostly redundant; and if you can change into non-animal forms, wyverns and drakes can make whole PCs mostly redundant!