How does the Diablo 4 Sorcerer compare to the Diablo 3 Wizard?
The spellcaster archetype has always existed in the Diablo series, but there are a few more differences between Diablo 4 Sorcerers and Diablo 3 Wizards than just the name. So let’s investigate just how different it feels to play the Sorcerer — which we last saw in Diablo 2 — if you’re used to playing a Diablo 3 Wizard. How familiar will it feel? Will you be able to adapt to the new style?
The most obvious difference is that Sorcerer is an elementalist class, focusing on Fire, Frost, and Lightning skills. The Wizard used the elements as well, but had more of a penchant for the Arcane. Signature abilities for the Wizard included galaxy-like Arcane Orbs and Disintegrate beams of raw magical power. The Wizard felt like a superhero, manipulating the very fabric of the universe to do their bidding. The Sorcerer feels more like a “classic” spellcaster.
This is reflected in gameplay: The Sorcerer is more synergistic in skill selection. Your skills feed off one another through their secondary effects. One of your Frost spells might chill enemies, while another might make enemies vulnerable if you hit them while they’re chilled. Choosing the right abilities that play off one another feels more intricate than simply picking skills that have the same “elemental flavor,” as was often the case with the Wizard.
Which brings another difference to mind: the Wizard toolkit included several different elements for the same spells. You could cast your big spell as Fire, or use a rune to change it to Arcane. With the Sorcerer, your spells won’t be altered that drastically, so you’re picking your elemental type not based just on your preference, but rather, on what kind of gameplay you want to have.
Some differences come from the game itself, not just the class
Combat in Diablo 4 is more deliberate than it was in Diablo 3 — in that sense, Diablo 4 feels like a continuation of Diablo 2. There are fewer enemies on the screen at any time, and each spell you cast spends more mana, so you’re going to be pressing fewer buttons before you run out of resources — which means that each button press is more relevant, and needs to be considered more carefully.
This has implications for every class, of course, but the Sorcerer in particular feels more resource-starved than the other classes do, so you really need to think about your positioning and whether your skills are hitting or not. The Wizard in Diablo 3 had a much easier time just hitting things in general.
But the payoff for that is higher as well. For me, personally, combat with a Sorcerer in Diablo 4 feels more satisfying. Your skills work in tandem with each other, and you’re always thinking about what you’re doing — decision-making is constant. Playing a Wizard in Diablo 3 feels more like an arcade game: You press buttons and you destroy everything in your path, without as much thought. There’s a time and a place for that kind of satisfaction as well, of course; but it can feel like fast food while the deliberate, harmonized spellcasting of the Sorcerer is more like a hearty meal.
In the end of the day, the differences between the Wizard and the Sorcerer aren’t dire, and you’re probably going to adapt to the new style really quickly. And the most important part is: it’s still really, really fun.
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