In the words of Thrull, "Wizards are what all Mages should have been." Wizards are mystically stronger than Mages, but physically weaker. They get more mana and their spells are more effective, but they also get lower hp gains and are, at best, unimpressive in melee combat. They can also learn some very rare spells by researching them from obscure spellbooks. These spells are not listed on their skill lists. Like all Prestige Classes, they retain the original class's Prime Requisite, in this case, Intelligence. Wizards cannot become Sorcerors. They disdain what they see as the Sorceror's crutch-like dependence on the Dark Powers. Wizard trainers can sometimes be found researching lost tomes in musty libraries.
Wizards in General
Wizards bear a number of similarities to their root class - Mages - in their skill sets and spellcasting-oriented mode of playing. As their help file indicates, Wizards receive higher average mana gains and lower hit point gains than Mages or Stormlords. They can also learn the flash spell through a Hero-level spell book designed for the purpose, but will experience greater spell lag as a result of the spell being innate to the Sorcerer class. They also lose access to the majority of psionic spells available to Mages and Stormlords - notably fortitudes and the Bio Empathy skill - and their hlist (the list of their learnable spells/skills at hero) is considerably more specialized and streamlined than the comprehensive package available to Mages.
At the Lord tier, Wizards are a great asset to any group except those planning a gear run that is primarily or exclusively anti-magic (such as the Zarradyn's Gauntlets run in Arcadia, or parts of the Bodice run in Noctopia). Their high-impact area spell - which they share with Mages - combined with their high mana pools (averaging 27,000 at the time of morph with a ceiling of approx. 32.000-33,000 based on the race) and specialty spells (such as Wall Of Thorns and Barkskin) make them ideal for gear runs involving multiple enemies, particularly of the large variety. However, from the standpoint of tanking, they are of no use to any group due to their relatively low HP pools and most crucially the absence of the rescue skill. Also due to these limitations, Wizards are more likely to die from painful area spells or sudden swarms, which can make their ability to lead groups more challenging. Mages, by contrast, are considerably sturdier, and can rescue weaker groupmates during emergencies. Moreover, unlike all other classes, a Mage's shield will never fail to discharge if hit by an opponent, which is a considerable asset at the Hero tier.
Overall, Wizards are a medium-difficulty class that offer an easier alternative to Sorcerers - who cannot cast the sanctuary spell on themselves, cast a meaningful area-attack spell, heal themselves (or others), or benefit from the protection evil spell - while retaining a cachet of firepower for the Hero, Lord, and Legend tiers.
The wizard trainer, Threnadir, mentions rather clearly that wisdom is an important factor of becoming a wizard.
Races need at least a base of 19 wisdom to become a wizard. Races with sufficient wisdom: Ents, Gnomes, Deep Gnomes, Centaurs, Tuataurs, Griffons and High Elves. With the Rebirth command, any race can now play this class provided they were already wizards with a remort race prior to rebirth. Alternatively, one can also remort to any creatable race at Lord level 25 without being a remort race to begin with (as would be required with the rebirth option).
There is also a quest involved to become a wizard (See: Book Of Exorcism)
If your Wisdom is too low, Threnadir will say 'You lack the wisdom. You will never be a Wizard. *tsk tsk*' If Threnadir says 'You would make a poor Wizard with such paltry arcane might.', you might need more mana. Wearing mana gear will help out. 507 mana appeared to be enough on one occasion.
To actually become a wizard, you need to be at Threnadir and use the Prestige command.
Wizards at Hero Tier
The usual rules of training stats apply: WIS first, then INT and CON. DEX is of value in improving your AC, whereas STR is of marginal use.
Wizards get to practice a repertoire of spells very similar to mages (disintegrate, acid rain, mystical barrier, charge shield, ward, amplify). However, wizards do have access to acumen, and (much less importantly) Timewarp, which can be used as a poor man's ablution.
Flash and Rune can be learned from spellbooks at hero tier, and this selection of (special) spells can be further expanded at lord tier. Although out-of-class for wizards, Flash is one of their trademark spells, and helps greatly when battling large rooms using area spells.
Notable hero skills and spells that wizards do not receive are psionic spells not exclusive to psi/mnd/bci (fortitudes, iron skin, etc.) as well as: sneak, move hidden, heighten senses, trip, parry, enhanced damage, rescue, time skip, bash, bashdoor, dodge*, third attack*, track, keyfinder.
* Wizards get these at lord tier, though by that time it's likely not relevant any more.
See mages. Identical applies to wizards for both worship and devotion.
Of note is that Flash if out-of-class for wizards, and thus it's lag is twice as long as it is for Sorcerers. For it to be practical and useful against large rooms, it should also be fast. Atheist lag is 10 ticks, Shizaga decreases the lag to 8 ticks, and Quixoltan will increase the lag to 11 ticks (nearly 3 rounds) so its usability will suffer. For this reason it's common to have an alias that turns on quicken, casts flash, and turns off quicken. However, some races (tuataurs, dragons, ents, etc.) have more hp and racial armor, and thus have less need for flash – and they can afford the increased lag if they flash at all.
Soloing: While difficult at first due to small HP gains, wizards are at their heart, solo creatures. Since wizards get shield block, having a charged shield is quite handy. Unlike mages, stormlords and sorcerers, wizards do not get dodge or parry, thus making a charged shield even more important.
These are some of the popular areas for wizard solo play, with the harder areas being both more difficult, as well as more rewarding.
- Low Hero: Shadow Keep, Tortuga Cay. These areas are simple, mobs are relatively easy, and can be brought down quickly using Surge.
- Hero: Necromancer's Tower, Ruined Lair 3 Of 5, Akrikto's Farm. The first two teach the new wizard how to use area spells, while the last one is similar to Tortuga Cay, however teaches the wizard independence.
- Super Hero: Exploration Outpost, Sun God Altar. Both of these require self-spelling, but offer 5-20+ mob rooms to take on at once, thus allowing for rapid leveling.
Tanking: The lack of rescue is the primary reason that makes wizards solo creatures. Wizards will need at least one large hitter/healer who can act as a back up tank to rescue groupies.
Hitting: Wizards, unlike mages, do not make even reasonable hitters (lack of third attack until Lord, and enhanced damage). Thus, wizard's melee capabilities are virtually nonexistent.
Healing: Wizards heal as well as any other character that can brandish. They do have access to Heal spell to be used in emergencies, but it is out-of-class, thus it will heal less HP than a healing class (like cleric) and the lag will be considerable as well.
Wizards at Lord Tier
Wizards are the tops, bar none, for area damage at lord. With their large mana base and the spellbook 'Ether Link' (used to decrease spell costs in crowded rooms), they can deal a huge amount of damage when dealing with multiple foes, which regularly happens in gear rooms.
Unfortunately, this is balanced out by their damage and mana endurance against single mobs, where Psionicists, and Sorcerers will all out-damage and out-last a wizard.
Unlike mages, wizards can not chaos channel their maelstroms, but they do have much larger mana pools to offset that.
Not having sneak can be annoying at Lord, but there are several good options for equipment to provide this (adding a demonic lapis lazuli to a silver chestplate for example). Also some races have the racial sneak ability.
Wizard Remort Options
Racial remort only. HiE, Tuataurs, DSD and Sprites are all solid choices, as they're excellent casters with above-average mana pools. Note that some of these races require you to be a wizard (using a creatable race) before remorting. Dragons are another good choice, but requires QP unless one remorts an existing Tuataur wizard. Note that due to low hp, sprites are a more difficult choice to play for Wizard.