For those that are looking for a way to quickly and socially blast through the early levels, group play is probably the fastest and most enjoyable way to play Diablo 3. The first early levels go by quickly but here are a few ways to optimize your build and provide amazing damage as a wizard in group play.
The wizard’s iconic role is an AOE damage dealer and this build focuses largely on that. This guide assumes that you have either a Monk or Barbarian (preferably both) to tank the mobs allowing you to focus your role as a group damage dealer.
Levels 1 – 10
The first ten levels as a wizard you really play themselves. Your level 1 starting spell Magic Missile to be a bread and butter signature all the way through the first levels. It’s easier to target single mobs with than Shock Pulse, it gives you a range advantage and you don’t get the another alternative until 11. Combine that with the Charged Blast Rune and you have a decent signature spell to use when out of arcane power.
The second big breakthrough comes at level 5 when you obtain Arcane Orb. This spell is ideal for your right click slot and allows you do great damage toward small packs and even works as a fairly strong, but expensive, single target nuke.
You also obtain Frost Nova which I found superior over Diamond Skin through the early levels in group play because it allows you to completely control mob packs combined with spells like Cyclone Strike. I assigned this and later Ray of Frost to my open skills. Ray of Frost becomes a much better option to use on large life mob like bosses or uniques.
At this point I found Power Hungry to be a better passive option because in group play I rarely took direct hits from melee mobs.
Levels 10 – 20
I continued to use Arcane Missile until level 15 when Electrocute became an option. This wasn’t done because I necessarily think the later is a better move, but because it was much easier to target the fast and frantic mobs of Act 2.
Arcane Orb is still a huge component of your group AOE damage. Combined with a high damage two hander it allows for some amazing AOE DPS that can decimate mob packs. At this point you obtain the Obliteration rune which adds flat damage to an already awesome spell.
The other amazing rune option is Shatter for Frost Nova. If you’re following my suggestion to AOE tightly packed groups of mobs via a tank, this rune becomes insanely powerful during the early levels of the game. With high enough DPS groups this kept most mob packs perpetually frozen.
Prodigy is an interesting passive at this level but is only viable if you decide to return back to Arcane Missile. It isn’t worth using because Electrocute doesn’t work properly with it to return Arcane Power. Hopefully once the bug is fixed Electrocute and prodigy will be a much better combination, best stick with Glass Cannon which does more damage anyway.
Levels 20 – 30
Here is where you have an interesting choice to make. Disintegrate is an amazing high damage move but generally is better with slower but higher damage two handers. This is especially true once given the option to rune it with Convergence. It isn’t, however, necessarily better than Arcane Orb. I would suggest you experiment with both spells to see which you prefer and place it as your Arcane Dump.
Once you have room Magic Weapon becomes an amazingly attractive spell to have. What is important about the ability is that it adds % damage to your weapon which in turns determines the damage your spells do. Since it adds it directly to your weapon and is calculated before your damage modifiers like intelligence are calculated, it can make a significant impact to your overall damage potential.
Other spells that have a home on your spell bar would include Diamond Skin with Prism. This option allows for both a defensive spell in Oh Crap situations and an offensive spell that allows more spamming of your main arcane utilizing spell.
Group play via the wizard is an amazingly smart idea. It allows you to focus on maximum damage and faster clears which results in better experience.
If using arcane orb try not to waste the arcane on single target mobs, especially if they are trash mobs. Always try to aim your arcane orb so you are hitting the center of the pack to maximize its AOE potential.
If you choose the option to use Disintegrate, the real trick is in sweeping for maximum damage. For the same reasons it is best to use a large two handed weapon with Disintegrate, it’s also smart to try to sweep over as many enemies as possible.
Save your defensive cool downs for unique packs, there is nothing worse than blowing your frost nova on a Leaping Sandsquirmer in Act 2 to run into a big pack of Mortar enchanted mobs.
Also make sure to pick your groups wisely. Barbarians and Monks are your best friend and be sure to communicate well with your team. Most of all enjoy the added benefit of more drops and faster clear times.