Did wizards get nerfed?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Jader7777 wrote:

All magic in general was limited a fair amount. I like some of the changes but others I'm no so thrilled about. One thing I do like is that the really really terrible effects that were basically save or die still exist, but only as critical failures.

Another thing I feel that casters always forget to factor into their casting is their Focus Spells. These are always cast at the highest slot and come back with a 10 minute refocus. Basically casters now have their big feature/trump card ability available to them every single combat encounter.

Wizards have always been a very technical class with a lot of their 'over powered problems' coming from particular players. While martial characters have definitely been improved I still can see the invisible, flying wizard fireballing things with broken impunity.

Focus spells aren't great for wizards, especially the level 1 focus spells based on school, they aren't a 'big feature/trump card' at all. They are ok but take force bolt is only 1d4+1 damage per 2 levels, hardly an amazing trump card.

As for buff spells they have been heavily neutered lasting rounds or minutes now for the most part and most of them can be available as a potion and many on regular magic items so easily accessible by martials. I wouldn't say they are very technical anymore, exceptionally limited feat selection and most spells being 2 actions make their play style a no brainer, cast and move or cast and skill check. Their tactical options other than what spells they might prepare at the start of the day are limited.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If “rawr! Max damage! All time!” Is your character concept, then your character is probably not a wizard. That is an unwinnable argument. Wizards, regardless of school focus are a thinking player’s character.

PF2 is a very tactical game where factors much too diverse and complex to rationalize in a theoretical context happen almost every encounter. The wizard is a great class for players that want to focus on anticipating what those complexities will be and taking advantage of that preparedness, or else having the flexibility to escape when you anticipated incorrectly.

Unlike in PF1, the wizard is no longer able to win before ever stepping out onto the battlefield. There is a lot more to PF2 than coming up with a set action routine and just doing that each round, at least there is for wizards. If that sounds fun to you, consider playing a wizard, but know that it is going to take a lot of in game trial and air to dial in the spell combinations and team tactics to make it work best for you.

If that kind of experimentation sounds frustrating or boring to you, the wizard is probably not the right character for you.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Cyouni gave a great example of balanced damage output... If you still think that's not enough, then I'm out. For me is fine, and Wizard is my preferred class.
If you want more damage on each spell, more than one of the greatest damage dealers of the game, and still retaining your ability to turn invisible, give haste, fly, and other incredible things, then I'm out of answers/


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So I ran a published final encounter last night with a five person party against a level+1 boss with 6 level-3 minions. This party is 3 melee martials, a melee war priest, and a Draconic sorcerer with no AoE spells yet. The battle featured particular terrain that not only created choke points but required climbing down a rope to join the fray.

Everyone but the sorcerer was knocked into single digits, and two of the PCs got knocked out. Most of that damage came from the boss's spells and ranged attacks, but the minions were a big part of why. They clogged up the terrain too much for the PCs to reach the boss, which was all they wanted to do. The barbarian asked if he could Sudden Charge the boss yet like 4 times.

Once they managed to clear the minions and focus fire, the boss died in a round. But the fight was extremely difficult due to lack of minion sweeping.

Incidentally, the sorcerer has still contributed a lot with single target blasts, having taken down a ton of enemies. Hero points also really help her to land those key spells. She just picks her moment for them.


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If the topic is Wizard generally, why is so much of the conversation focused on DPR? It's never been my impression that a Wizard (or any caster) is built to output consistent DPR on the level of a dedicated melee for an entire adventuring day. That's why classes like the Warlock and Kineticist were created, to essentially reflavor a "ranged striker" into a more limited caster without having to balance that against the other options that a spell list provides. Wizards and other full casters seem to me to be there to solve specific problems with calculated efficiency, which means they're largely there to support their more general party members with the versatility that they can bring.

If the Wizard is the sum of its spells that day, then having all fireballs is one way to do it, I suppose. Assuming fifth level or whatever, if your third level slots are entirely dedicated to solving the specific problem of too many critters on the battlefield, which usually happens maybe once a day, in my experience, that's a pretty limited Wizard. If you have one fireball prepared then you can solve the critter problem when you get to it and fill the rest of your slots with things like invisibility sphere or slow or wall of wind or a even a heightened flaming sphere to act as a sort of basic attack for a while.

If the argument is that Wizards should be able to keep up with martial DPR all day, then I think you get into territory where the class needs to sacrifice some versatility to keep up with classes that are designed for all-day damage pressure. This isn't, in my opinion, because a Wizard shouldn't be able to do good damage, but that when the Wizard does damage it should be doing so in a way that smartly obliterates the obstacle. Or I guess if you're higher level you can afford more slots to blast. But that's not because DPR is the martial's territory, more so that invisibility and water breathing et al. are not the martial's territory and that has to be kept in mind to some degree.

Right now, the Wizard lacks options that make all-day blasting a balanced and reliable pathway. I don't think that particular point means Wizards are nerfed, because in previous editions Wizards have never been good at reliable all-day blasting. I'd say with how cantrips work right now, actually, Wizards are in the best spot they've ever been in for that. I will say I think that casters need more ways to reliably land spell attacks, whether it be a limited metamagic option or more "spell combos" like true strike or more ways to mitigate whiffing on a spell slot, rather than necessarily making spell attacks themselves stronger.

At any rate, I think Wizards have a ton of cool options, but they weren't built to launch fireballs all day and never have been (at least as early as just having the CRB available). I think they'll scale handsomely as more spell options are introduced and as more metamagic abilities and feats come out for them.


Having focus spells on par with what other casters get would go a LONG way! Even with lower damage and reliability, being able to just "get it back" after the fight helps a ton.
Just look at Storm Druid one, really good and usable every single fight! Bard has focus cantrips that are some of the best spells in the game. Think the class would be way better if all the focus spells were good. There's some decent ones depending on build (Hand of the Apprentice and Conjuration stuff), but others stick out as really pathetic.

Is the arcane spell list as good as the lower HP, proficiencies and quality of focus spells they pay for it? Everyone getting legendary proficiency here.


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Cyder wrote:
Cyouni wrote:


So let's give a quick example.

An evocation wizard hitting targets with a fireball. Assuming level 6 enemy, averages a Ref save of +14. Wizard level 6 has DC of 10+6 level+4 Int+2 trained for 22, enemy passes on 8+, crits on 18+. Fireball for 6d6 averages 21 damage, averaging 13.65/enemy after saves.

Barbarian has 6 level+4 Int+4 expert+1 weapon for +15 to hit. Average AC of a level 6 enemy is 23. Barb hits on 8+, crits on 18+. Let's assume a d12 weapon for best sampling, giving 2d12+8 damage with dragon rage, average 21 damage. After hits/misses, first swing is...

Except Barbarian has access to swipe which will increase his hit chance, if we are assuming great conditions for the wizard being able to hit 3 foes without hitting an ally we should factor in 2 foes in melee for the barbarian.

We should also look at other feats like cleave (reaction but wizards get nothing like it) or Dragon's rage breath (can do that every hour rather than just 4 times per day for the same damage with a better chance of not hitting allies in the aoe and the same save DC as fireball for the barb at that level).

Wizard can toss 4 fireballs a day, lucky if they can toss more than 1 per combat given allies will likely get caught in the AoE.

I don't think its fair to add every possible feat that ups the Wizards 4 use per day ability while ignoring all the feats Barbs have that can do similar.

I'm already cutting the melee person a break by assuming they never need to worry about getting hit. Assuming they will always have Swipe targets is an extra level past that.

And no, that wizard is not remotely near optimized for damage. That's actually a near 100% vanilla wizard with evocation as a school, being compared to literally the best possible damage a barbarian can output, ignoring the fact that ranged is always lower damage than melee, and being picked at the worst possible spot in the wizard's lifetime. (Spell Blending, Widen Spell, Reach Spell, and Familiar for more focus points come to mind immediately as options I haven't listed for the wizard.)


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Obviously wizard have been nerfed just compair spells for example the best 3rd area control spell in 1e in my opinion was stinking cloud (creates an sustained cloud that nauseates (equivalent to stun 3 in this edition) all creatures in it for 1d4 rounds.

The best 2e area control spell Imo is fear at level 3 which gives a —2 penalty to attacks, AC and saves to 5 enemies for 1 round. Its not bad mathematically subtracting 10‰ from 5 monsters attack rolls and adding 10‰ to your allies attacks against those 5 monsters is mathematically significant but its not Summoning a cloud of sulphurous air that makes up to a dozen enemies spend their turn retching and groaning.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I agree that nauseated was an incredibly powerful condition and stinking cloud was a great spell in PF1. But it does allow you to take a move action, which lets you get out of the cloud.

And the big limiting factor was that the spell only worked on a failed save, so it was pretty much worthless against an enemy with a high fort save or if you didn't maximize your conjuration save DCs.

Stinking cloud is nearly on par as a phenomenal action waster in PF2. The sickened condition is exactly annoying enough that most creatures will want to try to get rid of it, which means spending an action that might not accomplish anything, especially since it applies to the check to remove it.

Stinking cloud in PF2 gives this condition out on a successful save, which is absolutely brutal because it means you have in the 75% (against extremely powerful bosses) to 95% chance of sticking a condition on each creature in the area that they have to waste actions to remove. Plus they have to move out of the cloud, meaning that, on a successful save, most creatures have lost two actions this round.

That is why, even though it doesn't look like much more, the failed save effect is extra brutal with that slowed condition. It can easily mean sacrificing an entire turn.

Slow gets a lot of love, but the PF2 stinking cloud is wonderful for how it forces the enemy to have to make bad choices and if you or your allies are good at moving or restraining enemies, it is great battlefield control that lasts a minute without concentration.


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Stinking cloud is an exceptional example of how a wizard can diversify their spell slots to make sure that they have strong options against many different kinds of foes. It is a spell that is very effective against boss monsters and weaker mooks because it eats up action economy.

It is also cool because (if your GM interprets it this way, as I do when I GM), it can be combined powerfully with the first level spell air bubble to allow a martial ally to move into the cloud and fight a creature in an environment that gets increasingly difficult to fight in. Yes the martial has to deal with concealment, but if you can grapple or trip your likely sickened foe, there is a good chance they end up having to spend a second round in the cloud, and be more likely to fail the save the second time around.

The air bubble trick is awesome because it can be used as the wizards reaction. The wizard could even cast the spell, move into the cloud and use the reaction on themselves. If they move into the cloud but out of the reach of the enemy, the enemy might be in a position where they want to try to attack the squishy wizard but would have to waste an action to move and then one or more to attack, leaving themselves in the cloud the following round as well.


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Wind Chime wrote:
The best 2e area control spell Imo is fear at level 3 which gives a —2 penalty to attacks, AC and saves to 5 enemies for 1 round.

It's actually better than that -- they'll not only get a -2 penalty for 1 round, they'll also get a -1 penalty the next round (since the frightened condition only decreases by 1 per round).

(And, of course, that's ignoring abilities like remorseless lash or shatter defenses which your allies can use to extend the duration of frightened effects.)


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Cyouni wrote:
Cyder wrote:
Cyouni wrote:


So let's give a quick example.

An evocation wizard hitting targets with a fireball. Assuming level 6 enemy, averages a Ref save of +14. Wizard level 6 has DC of 10+6 level+4 Int+2 trained for 22, enemy passes on 8+, crits on 18+. Fireball for 6d6 averages 21 damage, averaging 13.65/enemy after saves.

Barbarian has 6 level+4 Int+4 expert+1 weapon for +15 to hit. Average AC of a level 6 enemy is 23. Barb hits on 8+, crits on 18+. Let's assume a d12 weapon for best sampling, giving 2d12+8 damage with dragon rage, average 21 damage. After hits/misses, first swing is...

Except Barbarian has access to swipe which will increase his hit chance, if we are assuming great conditions for the wizard being able to hit 3 foes without hitting an ally we should factor in 2 foes in melee for the barbarian.

We should also look at other feats like cleave (reaction but wizards get nothing like it) or Dragon's rage breath (can do that every hour rather than just 4 times per day for the same damage with a better chance of not hitting allies in the aoe and the same save DC as fireball for the barb at that level).

Wizard can toss 4 fireballs a day, lucky if they can toss more than 1 per combat given allies will likely get caught in the AoE.

I don't think its fair to add every possible feat that ups the Wizards 4 use per day ability while ignoring all the feats Barbs have that can do similar.

I'm already cutting the melee person a break by assuming they never need to worry about getting hit. Assuming they will always have Swipe targets is an extra level past that.

And no, that wizard is not remotely near optimized for damage. That's actually a near 100% vanilla wizard with evocation as a school, being compared to literally the best possible damage a barbarian can output, ignoring the fact that ranged is always lower damage than melee, and being picked at the worst possible spot in the wizard's lifetime. (Spell Blending, Widen Spell, Reach...

Assuming 3 viable targets for a wizard is somehow more reasonable than a barb being in melee with 2? Not in my experience. Landing an aoe on 3 targets in more than the opening round is extremely unlikely unless your GM likes running monsters poorly.

As to being hit barbs still gave better AC for the most part, temp HP, more baseline HP than wizards and in mt experience less likely to be target by wizards with ranged attacks. Its why melee get more HP and armour yet its an argument consistently ignored.

You made the dpr argument, maximised the wizards advantages ignore their weaknesses and compared to a worst case scenario for barbarian. Wizard was maximised with the focus regen brought into your example not much else can be do e to improve wizard damage through build which again is part of the problem.

Barb with Dragons Breath can replicate the same damage as a wizards fireball once per hour with the same DC as a wizard and equal damage potential.

Liberty's Edge

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Cyder wrote:
Barb with Dragons Breath can replicate the same damage as a wizards fireball once per hour with the same DC as a wizard and equal damage potential.

This is not correct. Well, technically it's true very specifically at levels 6, 12, and 14.

You have neither at levels 1 to 4, only fireball at level 5, and at every odd level, maxed out fireballs do an extra d6 of damage, while at 7 to 10 and 15 to 20, the Wizard's Proficiency is a level higher and thus the Saves are +2 higher.

The extra d6 is a small matter, the extra Save DC is very much not. And at levels 9+, the Wizard can grab Cone of Cold, which does more damage universally on top of the better Save DC.

So, really, this is true precisely at level 6, and at no other time.

Now, Dragon Breath remains a great Feat, but saying it's on par with fireball is not especially accurate.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
And no, that wizard is not remotely near optimized for damage. That's actually a near 100% vanilla wizard with evocation as a school, being compared to literally the best possible damage a barbarian can output

While I don't disagree with your conclusion, this in and of itself is kind of a meaningless statement, as there's very little the Wizard can actually do to 'optimize for damage' in the first place. Most optimizations don't actually improve direct output or are general optimizations any spellcaster is going to go for. There's no "I'm sacrificing my ability to debuff to do maximum damage" choice here.

That might be part of the problem, honestly. There's very little a player can do to specialize themselves and as a result a blaster wizard's output is necessarily kept in check to compensate for the versatility of spells that they may have absolutely no interest in casting, but could hypothetically cast with no downside if the mood struck them. The class has no opportunity costs for doing whatever the hell it wants within the spellcasting framework and so everything the Wizard does has to be balanced around that universal access.

Everyone is a Universalist, even if one of your character options tries to pretend otherwise.

You mention ranged always doing lower damage than melee. That's a cost and benefit of specialization. By focusing on melee combat, you get extra damage at the cost of safety and reliability. Imagine, instead, a world where every weapon, attack or ability you pick up up can hit enemies from 200 feet away with the same benefits as if you were adjacent. That dichotomy goes away entirely and suddenly Ranged and Melee no longer have any meaning or difference between them because that opportunity cost no longer exists. In such a world, it wouldn't make sense for 'melee' specialists to do more damage, because there isn't actually any specialization or cost.

That's basically how the PF2 Wizard operates. You can't be an excellent blaster, because the next day with no downside and relatively light investment you can be a debuffer or a buffer or a summoner or a utility specialist instead.

I feel like almost every issue (barring a few things that feel like math errors discussed earlier) we talk about keeps coming back to this idea. The PF2 Wizard sucks. It's underdesigned and it shows. Mathematically? It's pretty functional if you play it the right way, but 'the right way' is the problem, because in so many other aspects of the game Paizo has gone out of their way to diminish the importance of finding 'the right way', while the Wizard almost demands it. Have a concept that deviates from the 'correct' wizard? Sucks to be you.

You can argue that it sucked to build a Wizard around a theme in 3.5 and PF1 too and that's absolutely true, but PF2 was supposed to do better and in this instance, it falls short.

Of course, I say 'wizard' but a lot of this applies generally to spellcasters, although I think it's pretty clear that some casters (Bards, Druids) have not only clearer themes but stronger underlying infrastructure in their class to support those themes and it really shows.


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I have come to realize the entire problem.

What was the one type of spell that consistently caused problems in PF1? thats right SoS/SoD spells both of which functioned as debuffs, they rarely dealt damage instead afflicting some type of condition. Spells that were limited by the strict DC cap which was very difficult to raise. PF2 buffed DCs which means debuff spells which means they became entirely more useable, with little need for any support thank to the effect on success rule.

Meanwhile, PF1 low level damage spells even with their caster level increases, needed many feats and abilities to stay relevant (fireball without at least maximized is wont do much at high levels). But PF2 removed all of it, leaving only "increased damage slightly with higher spell slot spent".

In other words, damage spells even if they are "equivalent" mathematically feel actively bad/unfun, compared to the battle changing nature of debuff spells. Then the fact that the opposition school penalty was outright removed, means that Wizards are balanced as universalists: Which necessitates weaker abilities to balance out access to all the spells. And the fact there are no items to increase damage spell values further makes it harder to focus on it to properly improve them; Which is probably caused by all caster being legendary and so having few ways to increase damage spells without also boosting the monster that is boosted debuff spells.


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I think the real problem is that people don't like the fact that the way to buff the accuracy and damage of spells is through debuffing, rather than through feat selection or item bonuses.

Tactical play is the way to make spells hit harder and more effectively. Figuring out how to work with your party as a team to apply status and circumstantial penalties to your enemies is the way you can get the extra boost to your spell casting.

People are also really underestimating how much a scoundrel rogue is a massive boost to a blaster caster. By level 2, In one turn, the rogue can distracting feint and Intimidate for a -2 circumstance penalty to reflex saves and and additional -1 to -2 status penalty from the frightened condition. The scoundrel can start with an 18 in CHA and be expert in both deception and intimidation by level 3. And each of these debuffs is only one action. It is the support class for caster-centric parties.

Silver Crusade

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Unicore wrote:


People are also really underestimating how much a scoundrel rogue is a massive boost to a blaster caster. By level 2, In one turn, the rogue can distracting feint and Intimidate for a -2 circumstance penalty to reflex saves and and additional -1 to -2 status penalty from the frightened condition. The scoundrel can start with an 18 in CHA and be expert in both deception and intimidation by level 3. And each of these debuffs is only one action. It is the support class for caster-centric parties.

But most groups do NOT have a scoundrel rogue. I've yet to see a single one in PFS play.

If that is what is required to make a blaster caster effective then there IS a problem.

Fortunately, I don't think it's as bad as people are saying for a different reason. I think that PF2 wants your caster to be a generalist or, at least, to have something else to contribute except for spells. And if you go that way your caster will be fine and fun.

I think pure specialist casters are basically a thing of the past. Just like CODzilla is a thing of the past. Build a different caster that IS supported.

For me, one of the bigger issues his that things like multiclass champion or human (both for armor proficiencies) are SO attractive that they seem almost essential. Not all spellcasters should be wandering around in armor :-).


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

You want each individual class or build to be "effective" (whatever that means) independently of anyone else in the party? Why?


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pauljathome wrote:


But most groups do NOT have a scoundrel rogue. I've yet to see a single one in PFS play.

If that is what is required to make a blaster caster effective then there IS a problem.

No one is saying it is required. I was just pointing out that it is possible to make a party with very powerful casting abilities. If casters also picked up an additional 1 to 3 item bonus points, a team like this would be devastatingly effective.

But can't martial's do this to enemy ACs as well. Yes of course, but spells do much nastier things, even the ones that target AC often gain much more powerful critical effects than regular attack rolls.

I don't think the general game balance is centered around needing all of the debuffs for effective casting, but before crying doom and gloom on the wizard, try talking to your party about having someone spend one action a round to help debuff for the caster, as casters often do for the rest of their parties, and see if everyone can have more fun.

pauljathome wrote:


For me, one of the bigger issues his that things like multiclass champion or human (both for armor proficiencies) are SO attractive that they seem almost essential. Not all spellcasters should be wandering around in armor :-).

That is funny, because in my play experience, casters have just given up on strength and are incredibly functional focusing on Casting attribute, Dex, and then Wisdom. That is 5 casters in two different parties of 4 characters each and none of them have MC'd into champion.


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Armor is nice, but I think the price of entry is too high for most casters to bother with. Non-Sorcerer, Non-Cleric spellcasters don't have a lot of room for the Cha necessary for champion MCD and buying armor with general feats eventually depreciates at higher levels (to the point where the wizard in light armor has less AC than the unarmored wizard). Even if those levels are pretty far away I've seen that disincentivize a few people from ever bothering.

Dex/Con/Wis/Casting Stat lines up really neatly with 4 stat bumps per level, too.


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Other classes or build are independent and definetly dont require help from a specific class/effect/tactic to be effective, but they want others to make them better then they were. Blasting specialized casters require a buffer or debuffer to be in the party, otherwise they aren't viable or fun for extend periods of time.

Also I dont see the problem with specialization that must be avoided. The entire concept is something that humans have being doing for centuries and infact reinforces the idea that you need a team of people. A person spends their time trying to either become a master of their art, or broadthening their knowledge. It was the reason why Wizard had opposition schools take 2 spell slots to cast. It represented things your character simply wasnt interested in learning or getting better at those things, even if they might know a bit about it. Its also why Sin Mages (the ultimate specialist wizard) were not able to cast those spells period.

Aka specialized wizards (specially blasters) are more dependent on other people being able to cover for their faults (lack of utility, diverse damage, staying power, etc). Hardwiring it into the system, just makes it worse for people playing that.

Silver Crusade

Unicore wrote:


That is funny, because in my play experience, casters have just given up on strength and are incredibly functional focusing on Casting attribute, Dex, and then Wisdom. That is 5 casters in two different parties of 4 characters each and none of them have MC'd into champion.

The two aren't mutually exclusive. My gnome cleric with Str 8 proudly wears his medium armor :-). The penalties for insufficient strength are tolerable.

Most of my experience is with PFS. I'm seeing LOTS of medium to heavy armor spell casters there. I'm not sure if they generally have the Str or are just living with the penalties.


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Cyder wrote:
Assuming 3 viable targets for a wizard is somehow more reasonable than a barb being in melee with 2? Not in my experience. Landing an aoe on 3 targets in more than the opening round is extremely unlikely unless your GM likes running monsters poorly.

Two in melee with barbarian, sure.

But that is not the requirement to use Sweep. Two enemies in melee with barbarian and adjacent to each other is the requirement, and that is easily prevented by the GM, unless you want to start spending actions on moving enemies around. Or if your GM is running them as less tactically proficient I suppose.

The only reasons I can see to have melee enemies keep themselves adjacent are:
1) They have an ability that benefits from that adjacency
2) There's too many of them to space themselves out and attack their target(s)

But in case 2, all the barbarian needs to do is step away 5 to 10 feet with their 3rd action, and the delaying Wizard can toss a fireball 15 feet in the air and catch 3 or more enemies in a 20 foot by 20 foot square.

We're only at level 3 at the moment, but I can't see a 500 foot range, 20 foot radius burst (44 squares on the ground, scalable to 4 squares on the ground with a 20 foot high air burst) being less flexible than a melee range and adjacent to each other targeting restriction.

In the last home campaign session I was in, we were level 3 (Fighter /w Wizard dedication, Cleric /w Champion dedication, Champion, Bard) ambushing a patrol of 6 Orc warriors outside in a forest. Totally fireball formation at the start, and then continued to have a front line that a fireball would have fit into perfectly. As it was, the Bard cast Illusionary Object (2nd level), also a 20 foot burst spell, putting half the Orcs under the illusion of a stone dome. Which ate up a bunch of enemy actions trying to disbelieve it. Although that is assuming we read "can't ignore an illusion without successfully disbelieving" and "feels right to the touch" correctly.

In 2 more levels, the Cleric of Sarenrae will be tossing fireballs instead of burning hands. Coupled with Illusionary Object "Wall of Stone" choke points, that should be a pretty good combo in the level 5 to 6 range I think against enemy groups.


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Squiggit wrote:

That might be part of the problem, honestly. There's very little a player can do to specialize themselves and as a result a blaster wizard's output is necessarily kept in check to compensate for the versatility of spells that they may have absolutely no interest in casting, but could hypothetically cast with no downside if the mood struck them. The class has no opportunity costs for doing whatever the hell it wants within the spellcasting framework and so everything the Wizard does has to be balanced around that universal access.

I believe that's called "the difference between playing a wizard and a sorcerer".

The complaint is really "I want to play a wizard that can cast as well as a sorcerer in its specialized niche, but also be able to swap to any other role when I feel like it". The wizard is the embodiment of flexibility, and thus has to pay the price of "can't be quite as good as the sorcerer in its one specialty".


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
The complaint is really "I want to play a wizard that can cast as well as a sorcerer in its specialized niche, but also be able to swap to any other role when I feel like it"

I mean if you want to puts words in peoples mouth sure, but the complaint has more been like "I want to play a specialist wizard and actually feel like a specialist."

Not even sure it's accurate to categorize it as a Wizard vs Sorcerer problem necessarily either. Sorcerers also suffer from having underdeveloped class features and while their kit forces them to specialize a bit more, most of the points about diversifying your kit and having a broad base of spell effects to draw on apply just as much to the Sorcerer as the Wizard.


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Sorcerers at least get some abilities/feats to shore up the problem, Wizards dont even have that.

And no one has asked for wizards who could specialize and still be able to switch roles. The general statement has been specialized wizards suck unless all you do is debuff, buff, or utility; With people saying "if you want to blast you should just be a generalist".


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Squiggit wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
The complaint is really "I want to play a wizard that can cast as well as a sorcerer in its specialized niche, but also be able to swap to any other role when I feel like it"

I mean if you want to puts words in peoples mouth sure, but the complaint has more been like "I want to play a specialist wizard and actually feel like a specialist."

Not even sure it's accurate to categorize it as a Wizard vs Sorcerer problem necessarily either. Sorcerers also suffer from having underdeveloped class features and while their kit forces them to specialize a bit more, most of the points about diversifying your kit and having a broad base of spell effects to draw on apply just as much to the Sorcerer as the Wizard.

Bloodlines offer more powerfully specialized effects towards that. Elemental offers Toss and Blast as focus spells, and the blood magic offers even more damage. Draconic offers a little less pure blasting, but still offers dragon breath. Diabolic/Undead are on weaker spell lists, but they do have at least one damaging focus spell and damaging blood magic.

And the important fact is that the additional damage comes only from bloodline spells or focus spells.

Imagine giving that to wizard, but for all evocation spells. Then they're just a more diverse sorcerer, but they can also swap out spells for versatility. Primal offers less spell versatility than arcane, but you need that for the highest damage sorcerer.


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I think the evoker is still good at blasting, they just need to have a wide range of blast spells and be ready to spend some actions setting up their spells/ getting support from their party. The trick is that you can't really be a "fire wizard" and just want to memorize fire spells, because the spells of PF2 have much more nuance than "this spell is the same as that spell, but with a different damage type." That means that if you want to be able to target different saves, have some viable spell action economy, you can't just go through the spell list and pick everything with the word fire in it.

Eventually, you will get overwhelming energy so you will be able to choose the best spell to cast, even if the enemy has resistance to it. On AoE spells that will add up to lots of extra damage very quickly, and it works on your fourth level focus spell as well.

An evoker can be very good at both single target and AoE damaging spells and still have a couple of weird aces up their sleeve like an illusion spell or conjuration spell. The key is mixing it up and taking advantage of your more subtle feat choices and not dismissing the value of your focus spells, because most of them are worth using in every combat and some are worth using almost every other 10 minutes, all day long.

One problem I do see with the wizard is that, now that they do not get a free feat at level 1, a lot of wizards hit level 2, look at the level 2 feats and don't see their value, so they make the mistake of MCing to get armor and start down a path of undervaluing the feat chains that open up if you stick with wizard feats, as well as sinking attribute points into STR. This is a huge mistake for a blaster because a front line wizard is not a blaster but an abjurer. The advantage of blasting is staying way the abyss away from the things that are trying to kill you.

For example: If you are a non-human evoker with spell blending because you want to spend level 1 blasting with as many cantrips as possible, and eventually want to be able to maximize your number of highest level spells for blasting, spending your level 2 feat on widen spell is a really hard sell, because you probably are not going to be using it much for several levels. If you are in a campaign where you know you will have more down time around level 5, you can skip it for now to retrain into it later but you might be equally underwhelmed by the idea of taking reach spell, and there is a good chance that you are hesitant about getting a familiar because you hear about everyone's familiars being slaughtered by evil GMs.

But an evoker should not take the bait and multi-class. You want that 2nd level feat going toward widen spell because by the time you get fireball, there will be many times where and extra 5 feet of area will allow you to hit an additional enemy or two and that massively ups your damage output, for the cost of an action that you might not have anything particularly more exciting than hitting another enemy with your beefiest spells.

Level 4 - Linked focus is going to be very good to you as you continue to level up and spam your focus spells for your third action, and you will eventually be draining your bonded item more than once a day, making this feat even better.

Level 6 is a toughy because it feels like a weak choice, but if you are a blaster, you want spell penetration because the last thing you want to be dealing with is enemies with extra bonuses to their saves on top of their energy resistances.

Level 8 is brutal because you want 2 feats here, you will want 2 feats at 10th level but you get a dead level at 12 and honestly I am not which of advanced school spell or bond conservation I'd pick first.

Level 10 you want overwhelming energy, but I'd step back to 8 and pick up the other feat I skipped and then take overwhelming energy at 12.

Level 14 gives you another 2 feats that you want both of: Bonded focus and Superior bond but you can go back and pick up the other one at 16.

Level 18 - This is when you can get murderous with your usage of True strike on heightened spell attack roll spells and get your true strike back with a 10 minute rest. It is the best evoker feat in the whole list, and separates the high level evoker from the sorcerer as the best blaster.

level 20 - you take metamagic mastery and can widen and overwhelming energy your 2 action AoEs at the same time.

This is a build built for a blasting evoker that will continue to make you feel more and more specialized as you advance. Eventually we will get more wizard feats that will expand options, but very few of these feel like throw away feats as is.

The stumbling block is sticking with it to level 6, and talking to your party about the fact that you see your character as a striker with a lot of added utility and that you don't want to be relegated to a support/debuffer role. If they balk at the idea of spending an action or two every other round helping you debuff enemies with intimidation, tripping, or grappling and moving to make clear lines for you to fire down, then you can discuss ways that you are willing to spend one or two actions every other round casting the occasional buff spell that will benefit them as well, and it can be a give and take relationship. This is probably less effective than having one primary striker and one primary support character, but if no one wants to be a dedicated support character, they don't get to be the dedicated striker just because they are a martial.


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I think the other thing about Evocation wizards that is missed is that they're the only wizard with a 1-action damage focus spell. If we exclude Hand of the Apprentice, the only damaging wizard focus spell.


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Cyouni wrote:
I think the other thing about Evocation wizards that is missed is that they're the only wizard with a 1-action damage focus spell. If we exclude Hand of the Apprentice, the only damaging wizard focus spell.

And it never misses, always dealing its damage short of high force resistance/immunity.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, it's definitely something.

Although I have to say, as far as focus spells go 'what if we just gave them magic missile again without the action scaling' feels pretty uninspired.


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Its definetly uninspired compared to other (mostly non wizard) focus spells.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Litterally 200+ posts in this thread:

Wizards don't have enough single action spells.
Wizards spells are too inaccurate.

PF2: Hey look, here is a single action spell that cannot miss that is literally as good as regular as the single action version of a 1st level spell, only it will scale with the caster for free, AND an evoker will be able to cast nearly every battle!

Response: How boring.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Unicore wrote:


Response: How boring.

Wizards being underdesigned and boring has been one of the chief complaints throughout this thread. I've been saying that pretty consistently throughout this discussion recently, too.

So, yeah, when someone points out a particularly boring, underdesigned class option, I'm going to comment on that.

Not sure what the mock surprise is for.


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I didn't mean to be so snarky in my response. My appologies.

I think the point that you are proving though is that the more exciting the spell's outcome, the more likely that it requires math that has a fair chance of failure to balance out around the same math as a power that has as few variables as possible.

The blaster evoker's purpose is to do damage. The swinginess of cantrips is deliberately low because things casters can do frequently need to be in a fairly steady range. What would be the difference between an evoker and a storm order druid if both got high damage single action focus spells that used a spell roll?

I think the Evoker is designed around being a more regular damage dealer than the storm order druid, but with less big swings possible.


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Squiggit wrote:


So, yeah, when someone points out a particularly boring, underdesigned class option, I'm going to comment on that.

I think there is a lot more nuance in the class powers than "underdesigned"

What would be a "fun" Force Missile, keeping up with the same concept, 1d6per level? 1d12? (like the Storm Druid)?
I'm not been sarcastic or anything, I'm trying to figure it out when the power goes from Boring to Good


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I think there are parts of the wizard that were a little undercooked in the CRB (I'm really, really looking forward to school-specific feat options) but I like force bolt a lot. It may seem dull, but an auto-hit force damage 1-action focus spell has a lot of interesting implications within the framework of 2E.


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TSRodriguez wrote:
Squiggit wrote:


So, yeah, when someone points out a particularly boring, underdesigned class option, I'm going to comment on that.

I think there is a lot more nuance in the class powers than "underdesigned"

What would be a "fun" Force Missile, keeping up with the same concept, 1d6per level? 1d12? (like the Storm Druid)?
I'm not been sarcastic or anything, I'm trying to figure it out when the power goes from Boring to Good

Squiggit was clear that they think the damage numbers are balanced, just that the ability itself is unexciting.

Would it be better if there was more engaging language describing what happens when you cast force bolt?

Or is the idea of automatic damage itself too limiting?

I think it is entirely possible that the wizard will get more focus powers to choose from, it is just unlikely that they will do anything more powerful than any of the current ones, so nothing that challenges the DPR of 3.5 per action per round (per every 2 levels). You can have abilities that roll a D12 or more, but their odds of hitting will be shifted down so much that I think people will be up in arms over it anyway.

I think it is fair to point out that clerics get a lot more flexibility in their focus spells (or even if they pick them up at all) than wizards, but there are a lot of casters that don't have any flexibility in it until higher levels when they can choose to spend feats to pick more up. That seems like it could be a path wizards go to getting more options too.


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Cyouni wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

That might be part of the problem, honestly. There's very little a player can do to specialize themselves and as a result a blaster wizard's output is necessarily kept in check to compensate for the versatility of spells that they may have absolutely no interest in casting, but could hypothetically cast with no downside if the mood struck them. The class has no opportunity costs for doing whatever the hell it wants within the spellcasting framework and so everything the Wizard does has to be balanced around that universal access.

I believe that's called "the difference between playing a wizard and a sorcerer".

The complaint is really "I want to play a wizard that can cast as well as a sorcerer in its specialized niche, but also be able to swap to any other role when I feel like it". The wizard is the embodiment of flexibility, and thus has to pay the price of "can't be quite as good as the sorcerer in its one specialty".

It's also an issue in player expectation of what a class 'means'. If this were OD&D, and the only option for using Magic was being a Magic-User, then yeah, that one class with access to arcane magic should allow you to build every possible archetype for Magic User you'd like.

But it's 2020, and we have several different Magic-User classes now, and each should have a reason to exist. If one class does what you want for a Magic User but it doesn't have the name you associate with (IE. A sorcerer is mechanically closer, but you want to call yourself a Wizard), then you just call yourself something different. Unlike Earthdawn, the class on your character sheet isn't the name you call yourself in game.

When the argument for allowing a class to super-specialize at one thing while remaining able to super-specialize at other things is "But *I* won't abuse that!"... that's fine for a homebrew or an agreement with your GM. But it's not something that should be in the Core Book.


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I agree tou shouldnt be able to super specialize in multiple things. That would be totally broken.

But being able to take feats/items to boost one specific type or school of spells does not mean being able to super specialize.

Also, Wizard and Sorcerer have completely different mechanics and lore so just calling yourself something different doesnt exactly work. * * *

*************

* * * At least in PF1, Arcanist made many people wonder why Wizard was even a class. Your casting was more flexible, and the class had in many ways much better and diverse ability.

Which makes me fear it will never be ported over. Wizard is so bland right now in my opinion that any true meaningfull Arcanist would become strictly superior. Even if Arcanist makes so much sense as a full PF2 class thanks to all the Arcanist Exploits and fun archetypes.


What's meant by "boost" though?

Higher DC, proficiency, or other numbers? Then it's basically required for any character (and also makes a wizard significantly more effective than any other caster). It's also boring.
It can't be anything like the evocation wizard's initial or advanced focus spell, because apparently that's boring.
Blood magic, but for a school? Again, that basically completely invalidates sorcerer.
School-specific feats? Probably too specific for CRB, though it's something I'd hope to see in APG.


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I said boost, because we cant agree with anything concrete besides +1/+2 to attack roll from an item to fix the attack roll issue, and even that is not completely agreed with.

As for "Blood magic but for a school" is how PF1 handled things. Each school used to give some passive ability at level 1 that gave a benefit when casting spells of that school (most if not all of the abilities scaled with level). Illusion spells got longer duration, evocation got better damage, etc.

Also in case people dont know. In PF1 Sorcerers and Wizards both used to have a level 1 passive that gave a thematic boost that usually scaled with level. PF2 changed this probably due to the introduction of the Wizard's thesis (which sounded awesome in the previews, but is honestly kind of meh in practice).

*******************
Personally, if wizards really are the masters of manipulating spells, than things like the Amplification feats (gave a decent bonus effect at a small penalty when using the relevant elemental spell). Things like being able to prepare spells with at least a metamagic without increasing action cost without needing to wait 10+ levels (previously all prepared casters could do it at level 1). School specific or at least feats that interact with the school system (Before there were feats to improve specific schools).

Many of the Wizard Discoveries would make great feats. Ex Creative Destruction improves Evocation by giving the wizard temp HP: Meanwhile, Defensive Feedback allowed, improved Abjuration spells by letting them do damage when they prevent damage.

Then there are the many archetype that provide interesting abilities. Ex Chronomancers and Shadowcasters. While Thassilonian Specialist double downs on the idea of being specialized, to the point the wizard becomes a lot less capable outside their main school.

Heck I didnt even go too much into feats, subschools, items, or prestige classes each of which provides different things for the wizard to do. For example the Familiar thesis would be x10 better for the wizard and familiar if it basically gave you the benefit of the School Familiar archetype even if it didnt give any extra familiar points. Items that let you manipulate spells and spell slots. Spellbooks with special rituals when you prepare the listed spells. Etc.

Wizard is not a boring class for lack of potential.


At the risk of self-promotion, would something like this homebrew project take Wizards in the right direction? I realize a set of level 10 feats doesn't fix a class, but when supplemented with class archetypes and lower-level options it might.

Personally, I believe Wizard does not need to be reworked to reach its potential, it simply needs more options.


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it Doesn’t seem especially fair to compare the the PF2 core rule book wizard to the the full PF1 wizard with the benefit of splat books like ultimate magic. I think a fair bit of new material is going to be coming the wizards way within the next couple years.

I just don’t think it is going to be a lot of math boosting specialization stuff because that is the really boring stuff to spend feats on.

But I am also confused by a lot of your analysis. What metamagic was a first level wizard using at level 1 in PF1? Were a lot of people boosting cantrips with it? Because in PF2 wizards get access to two excellent metamagic feats at level 1, that can be used with all their spells, and without taking up space in their spells per day.

I agree that familiars right now are a bit of a trap option because there isn’t an official way to keep them alive and they are pretty vulnerable when used to scout, especially at low levels. Added to the fact that there is no spell or ritual that lets you get yours back in less than a week, it is a costly lesson to learn that you familiar is best used as a spell battery that you need to talk to your GM about how to keep out of combat. All the rest of the theses get exponentially bettter for the wizard as the wizard levels up, which is a mainstay of the wizard build: in no previous version of the wizard did you feel like you were living you wizard fantasy before level 5, unless you wizard fantasy was to feel like a nearly useless character plinking away with a crossbow 90% of the day, and owning an encounter the 1 or 2 times a day your incredibly specialized build got your big save or suck spell off.

A little bland for a couple of levels until your feat choices start having enough spells to interact with, and functional cantrips is a vastly improved situation. As is more high level balance with the rest of the party so as to not be the only character of significance by level 11.


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what wizard is good at?

Prepared caster is weaker than spontaneous and wizard has the worst version. All the preparations win all the spells on the list the wizard has to buy. the wizard list is much longer but at the end even spending money the wizard will end with much less knowns spells than adruid or cleric.

this by spending money that could be used to purchase wands, would increase the actual power and flexibility.

The feactures of the wizards are simply weaker. the Hp, the Ac, the proficiencies, the number of skill. Everything usually is the worst version was in the game.

The spells on the arcane list are no stronger than those on the other lists as in other versions. I would say they are even weaker.

Feats are weaker. And boring. No, a single action magic missile is not a trump card, it is not superpowered. It is absolutely meh and this is the goooooood one.

wizards only have spells and their spells aren't that great.

It is not flexible because you need to play in a very pre-defined way to be able to be viable in the main matches of the games.

It is a plastered class. That can only walk in a well-defined way.

You can debuff, u can buff and u can try something fail and debuff. GREAT. Hah and u can kill weak lower level mobs.

Silver Crusade

Unicore wrote:

in no previous version of the wizard did you feel like you were living you wizard fantasy before level 5, unless you wizard fantasy was to feel like a nearly useless character plinking away with a crossbow 90% of the day, and owning an encounter the 1 or 2 times a day your incredibly specialized build got your big save or suck spell off.

Uh, if that describes your level 3 or 4 wizard in PF1 then you definitely weren't optimizing it very well. It also explains why you're a bit of an outlier in your opinions of PF2 wizards.


I've been watching this thread for quite a while and while I personally am happy with where casters are right now, I do hear the issues people have and honestly? I see a niche for a class like kineticist. The class as a whole could follow a design path like Monk, being a martial with unique Strikes that compete with other martial's weapon attacks (in this case, elemental blasts), alongside a lot of utility feats and focus spells. Making blasts into strikes instead of the more obvious cantrips (or cantrips, but as a single action with the attack trait) would mean accuracy and damage output runs parallel to martials and they get to make use of the action economy as a martial would. You could even have a handwrap-like invested item that applies runes to elemental blasts.

It gets even closer to what people want if it has good multiclassing potential. You could easily play a pyromancy specialist evocation wizard by multiclassing into kineticist for the blasts.

Silver Crusade

1d6 Fall Damage wrote:
I've been watching this thread for quite a while and while I personally am happy with where casters are right now, I do hear the issues people have and honestly? I see a niche for a class like kineticist.

The difficulty would be to keep this balanced with the archer while still making it feel different


pauljathome wrote:
1d6 Fall Damage wrote:
I've been watching this thread for quite a while and while I personally am happy with where casters are right now, I do hear the issues people have and honestly? I see a niche for a class like kineticist.
The difficulty would be to keep this balanced with the archer while still making it feel different

You know, I was discussing this idea on discord and someone said the same thing, almost the same wording. You're correct, but my theory is if they can make Zen Archer balanced and feel different in the APG, then making this feel different should be possible as well. If they can do it with other martials, I don't see why not here.


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I very much loved playing a wizard in PF1, but even at level 3 and 4 you had one, maybe two meaty encounters a day in you, and otherwise were a hiding away in the back. I only ever played a diviner to high level play, but I have experience with the abjurer, illusionist and conjurer to level 4 or 5. I never even considered playing a PF1 blaster as a wizard because it was so underwhelming and the sorcerer always felt like the much better build for using a fair number of spells. The fey blooded sorcerer putting the lock down on the compulsion Save or Suck spells, for example.

Scrolls became the essential thing for low level wizard buffs and with the exception of your opposition school, most wizards used those from all over the wizard spell list.

I also don't believe I am that much of an outlier to opinion on the PF2 wizard. At this point this thread has reached a place where there are probably only a handful of people still following it, and most of those are folks feeling the most put out by the current design.

The wizard has a very long tradition of being the class that is all about spell selection. They have never been gimmicky about class features or relying on anything other than their spells. PF2 upholds that tradition by giving class feats that interact with spell usage in much more interesting ways than just giving +1s to specific groups of spells. Wizard class feats are about how you will be chaining together your spells and manipulating them to do interesting things.

The abjurer has an amazing 1st level focus power for staying up close to the rest of the melee centric party and can be the master of counterspelling, dispelling and making the party untouchable by magic and energy damage. Its not sexy, but in many campaigns against scheming foes, it will be an incredibly powerful build, but probably not a very sexy option.

The conjurer is getting a lot of hate in PF2, but mostly because it was such an overpowered build in PF1 as far as flooding the battlefield with summoned creatures. But now summoning is completed on your turn so you don't have to worry about getting interrupted and if the boss wastes 1 or 2 actions attacking the creature you just summoned before you get to boost it, you have still traded 1 turn for wasting as many actions as most other spells are going to accomplish against a higher level foe. Summons are much better than familiars, and in many cases animal companions, if your plan is to place creatures in potential harm's way and soak up damage.

The diviner actually took the biggest nerf in terms of how powerful their spells and class abilities were in PF1, but I will be the first person to say it was necessary because getting half your class level to initiative was broken in the extreme, diviner's touch was a huge bonus that stacked well with almost everything because it was a rare bonus type and higher level scrying powers was how the wizard was the god class. The PF2 version is much less powerful but still a character I'd really like to get to play as soon as I can find a party where there isn't already a sorcerer and a wizard or druid.

Enchanter and Illusionist both play pretty similarly to me, and require spending a lot of their skill feats and class feats on making their magic happen discretely. Illusions are actually usable without have to sit down with your GM and write a treaty on how NPCs can be expected to react to different kinds of spells, and the key to the enchanter seems to be taking advantage of minions and underlings with incredibly overpowered effects that will never happen on higher level foes.

The necromancer as horderer of undead is not currently playable as a character, but probably will be in the APG with the restriction that it will require a lot of uncommon or possibly even rare spells and rituals to be what it used to be. The creepy damage dealer is still pretty viable though.

We already have gone over the evoker in great length, and I really am not familiar enough with the PF1 or PF2 transmuter to offer much analysis, but I think a lot of hate towards PF2 casters generally is the fact that the transmutation staple spells that just make everyone better are mostly gone, like the attribute boosting spells. In all honesty, I think good riddance because they take the tactical element of spell casting out of play when there are just certain spells that every character wants cast upon them at all times until they get the right magical items and then those spells are useless. (magic weapon is still in this category, and that is a shame, as far as I am concerned).

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