My question is quite simple: what should I choose for my level 60 wizard to survive and pursue the game better in inferno, defense or dps ?

I can imagine that a tank wizard may not be a wise choice, but what about some defense instead of a 100% damage oriented character ? If so, where to do so ? In Armor ? Skills ? ..

I ask that because I'm currently playing a full damage oriented wizard, often in public parties, and even if still in Act1, sometimes unique monsters appear and that's just impossible for anyone in the party to survive, and after 10 minutes of try, one by one, we disconnect and reload a new game with hope that there won't be any unique like that this time.

  • This is a bit off-topic, but I find the game is only bearable at 60 if you have friends to consistently play with. Especially in Act 1, you'll encounter a lot of clueless players in pubs.
    – KOVIKO
    Jul 10, 2012 at 19:25
  • Thanks you for the comment. I think it's not that off-topic. It may be a good explanation for the difficulty.Though I still hope some more skill/equipment-related answers may exist.
    – user978548
    Jul 10, 2012 at 19:32
  • For a question like this, it really should include your current dps & armor/resists for better suggestions
    – Alok
    Jul 10, 2012 at 19:39
  • You'r right :) I'll do so when I can. From what I remeber I've ~25K dps with enchanted weapon (no idea for the armor. but I'm using energy armor with the 35% life rune. Does that still matter ?)
    – user978548
    Jul 10, 2012 at 19:44
  • 1
    If you're looking for skill/equipment related answers, you should look here for stat info, and here for solo build information.
    – Frank
    Jul 10, 2012 at 19:55

3 Answers 3


This is a subjective answer, but the question itself is probably fairly subjective-ish to some degree of meassurability (I jest to make a point).

This answer is slightly less off-topic than Koviko's comment and I will try to expand upon what he said in it and merge it with your question to provide you some additional guidance.

Your choice of "role" is exactly that. How you play, whether mostly solo, mostly with a group of friends, or mostly in public games will make a huge difference in what will work best for you.

In addition to that, how well you are geared compared to the content you are in will also make a difference in the number of options that are viable to you.

Those subjective qualifications stated... let me give some guidance.

Rule of Thumb:

1) Thou shalt not play in content where you are killed by one hit. It will most likely not be fun. If you find that your are unable to survive even one hit, you will not be able to enjoy the game because you will spend more time waiting to revive than you will have alive. I am not trying to break rule #2 by saying "Thou Shalt Not...", but to most people I know, the game is more enjoyable when you are staying alive the majority of the time.

The easiest fix (early on) to improve upon your survivability once hitting level 60 is to start looking for gear with All Resist on it. Armor is not really optional to get, it will come on all your gear. Resists are optional and have the same effect as armor when they are equal (and much greater effect when they are lower). Do not forsake all damage for survivability, but strive to achieve a balance that brings you the greatest enjoyment between survival and large pretty white & yellow numbers.

Rule of Thumb:

2) Thou shall neither tell another player how to play nor let them tell you how to play.

By this I mean that you should figure out what it is that you enjoy doing most (what skill is your favorite? Use it, find things that synergize with it). Do not assume that the barbarian will leap on top of you and stun the monsters off of you 2 times. Similarly, do not expect a monk to run over and heal you.

The game will be best enjoyed if you do what you want and let others do what they want. That said, if you play with certain people regularly, it is easy to develop strategies that as a team will make you stronger. (example: rotating Crowd Control type skills in a particular order so that you are not using them at the same time)

Rule of Thumb:

3) Generally speaking, with other players in the game you should focus more on damage, but if you play by yourself you will have to focus more on survivability.

That is not saying you may not build for damage when you solo. In point of fact, the skill Archon make wizards very capable of dealing damage quick enough to kill many rare and elite monster packs (before the wizard gets killed).

However, if you play by yourself, you will also need to take into account the effects and bonuses your hirelings will provide.

Do what you enjoy most!

  • +1 esp. for the part of not assuming team mates' intervention to stay alive (or should I say three thumbs up!)
    – Alok
    Jul 10, 2012 at 20:33
  • rule number 1 doesn't quite apply to glass cannons though, I have no problem at all with my DH in act 3 even though most things 1 shot me if I'm out of discipline :P
    – l I
    Jul 12, 2012 at 3:33

You need both - dps to kill before enrage, and defense to survive 1 hit KO (so it becomes 3 hit KO using Force Armor)

Related: Best farming place to get ready for Inferno

You haven't mentioned if you can handle Inferno Act 1 in a single player game; if not then you need to work on that first. Also, there are various tough affix combinations that are best avoided or parked elsewhere, don't aim for killing every single elite pack you come across. Learning what to avoid, and problematic combos that need special care (e.g. using Diamond Skin when nuking Reflect Damage mobs) is important.

In public parties; as @Koviko commented the skills of other players are a big factor - you can't realistically fight 4x hp mobs if team mates are not doing their share, unless you are really overgeared.

Suggestions on what defense to aim for as a wizard:

  • Enough hp/res to avoid 1 hits through Force Armor (basically if the monster does more than 2x of your max hp, it won't trigger FA)
  • Energy Armor runed with Force Armor: Will boost your armor 65% and also give great damage mitigation. Use this unless you lose < 35% of your life on a hit.
  • Defensive skills like Teleport or Mirror Image: Teleport won't break CC but is more useful overall imho. I'm using it with Fracture (2 images), not convinced the images are needed though they have been useful on occasion.
  • Consider removing Glass Cannon if you have that, as you need more effective hp for force armor if you're using it.
  • Attacks that slow by default; since as Blizzard or arcane damage with Temporal Flux passive.
  • Movement speed on boots: yes I consider this 'defense' as well as offense; it helps with positioning, evasion and dodging.

Also consider not using Diamond Skin: more controversial than the above, but DS promotes riskier behavior as you rely on it for a fallback, and its not that useful in Inferno. I read this suggestion elsewhere and tried it, and has definitely worked well for me, another advantage is that it frees up a precious skill slot. Do remember that no DS -> you need another way to handle Reflect Damage, such as high LoH or life regen (I recommend both with a focus on regen, so your hp constantly refills in & out of battle).


For Act 1, all you really need is damage and mobility. 20k+ health with Force Armor will generally prevent you from being 1-shot.

Life on hit is somewhat critical against Reflects Damage.

Other than that, I generally agree with everything @Alok said.

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