The New Storm/Fire Paradigm:

An Analysis

 

Wizard 101 has gone through a number of changes through its ten year tenure. From a simple tale of trying to save the world from a love crazed madman to an epic showdown between primordial Titans, we have certainly come quite a long way. However, the changes aren’t limited to the story but also to school design and direction. This article will examine what I believe to be the new Storm/Fire Paradigm and how Kingsisle is shaping the two classes going forward.

The Old Paradigm

Ask any old school Wizard101 player what the damage schools are and you will likely get 2 answers: Fire and Storm. Ask them the difference between the two schools and the knowledgeable wizard would happily list off their characteristics. Storm is the school that deals more damage, they have higher damage boost and stronger base damage spells. Fire is the second most damaging school, they have the second highest attack but have higher base accuracy, base health and their damage over time offers higher base damage than even storm spells. This was the paradigm until Polaris, when a sudden shift occurred.

The New Paradigm

Starting in Polaris, players noticed an unusual occurrence. The end world boss gear offered more damage to the Fire school than the Storm school. Many assumed it was a glitch or one time occurrence. However, Kingsisle confirmed this change was intended and has moved forward with this trend ever since. In compensation Storm would receive more resist on their gear. Check out this piece of Paradox Gear to see this new trend in action.

In addition to changes in stat priorities between the 2 schools, Polaris bought another major change: The Revamp of the Critical and Block system in Wizard 101. Under the old system, critical and block were interdependent. The higher your critical rating, the more likely you were to critical and to get past an opponent’s block and vice versa.

Under the new system, critical and block became completely independent. Whereas, under the old system if you had 50% critical and your opponent had 50% block you could never land a critical on them. Under the new system your critical will land 50% of the time it triggers under the same conditions. In addition to these functional changes, critical and block were also given a decay. As you level up- the same amount of critical/block rating will award less percent of each.

Along with this decay came a revamp of stats on gear and wands. Now instead of receiving critical AND block (such as with Terror Hoard Pack wands), most wands were given either critical or block but not significant amounts of both. In addition, mob and boss critical and block were realigned to fit in this new system. In effect these changes mean a wizard can specialize in either critical OR block but cannot easily achieve high levels of both. (This is a stark departure from the “Perfection Era”- which I will be discussing in another article)

What the New Paradigm Accomplishes

The changes in damage priority, critical/block and mob and monster design have resulted in a unique differentiation amongst the two offensive schools. These changes are pushing Fire into becoming the preferred boss killer. Storm on the other hand is becoming the preferred crowd control class. What this means is that Fire is becoming the class best built to deal with the big baddies while Storm is the best equipped to deal with multiple smaller enemies. Whether this is an intentional design decision by KI or an unforeseen consequence of multiple changes is unknown. However, the evidence supporting this assertion is quite literally everywhere.

Evidence

When teaming up for a boss, the major consideration when choosing a hitter is who has the highest damage. With Fire getting more damage than Storm, it is more likely for them to be chosen as hitter.
Incindiate added to the game, making DoTs (Fire’s specialty) some of the best burst damage options in the game in Team scenarios.
Introduction of bosses that are more effectively completed via trap stack (another fire specialty) such as Corporal Tennisyn.
Introduction of bosses that remove feints but are open to school specific traps (such as Omen) leading people to utilize the next best trap: backdraft.
Introduction bosses with damage cap bubbles (such as the Storm Titan) which shuts down one shot strategies completely and leads to DoTs being the preferred hit.
Storm’s focus on critical is more effective on mobs which tend to have lower block and less effective on bosses which tend to have higher block.
Compare and Contrast recent spell design for AoEs (great crowd control) and Single target hits (great on bosses):

  • Glowbugs is stronger than Raging Bull with a better disruptive effect (Better crowd control goes to Storm)
  • Fire from Above has the same dpp as Rusalka’s Wrath with a much better buff effect (Better boss hit and set up goes to Fire)

Why the Change?

Burst Damage vs Damage over Time

Of course only KI knows the reason for the changes in their entirety. However, I believe with the evidence we have been given, we can draw some fairly safe conclusions. Prior to the changes, Storm was the undisputed top choice for hitter in PvE. Wizard 101 PvE tends to favor burst damage and AoE attacks and as such the Storm school dominated. The Fire school, while home to a large number of AoEs (Scald, Fire Dragon, Rain of Fire etc) was home to only one burst damage AoE (Meteor Strike) for almost 100 levels. The Storm school on the other hand was gifted with Tempest, Storm Lord and Sirens (all burst damage AoEs). Burst damage hits are advantageous in most PvE scenarios for a number of reasons. They receive the full damage of an enchant up front and also make better use of the most powerful and universally accessible trap in the game (feint).

Let’s compare burst damage AoE Storm Lord to DoT AoE Fire Dragon.

Storm Lord: 690 base damage to all (690 upfront damage )

Fire Dragon: 440+351 damage over 3 rounds to all : 791 base damage to all (440 Upfront damage)

Hmm, looking at that it, Fire Dragon does have a 101 points higher total damage. However, Storm Lord deals a total of 250 more upfront damage.


Now lets look at what happens when we enchant the spell with Epic

Storm Lord: 690 + 300 (Epic enchant) = 990 base damage to all (990 upfront damage)

Fire Dragon: 440 + 251 damage over 3 rounds + 300 (Epic enchant) = 590+501 damage over 3 rounds = 1091 Total base damage to all (590 upfront damage).

The overall damage difference between the damage each spell deals has remained unchanged. However, the upfront damage advantage that Storm Lord has over Fire Dragon jumped from 250 to 400.

In other words: adding an enchant to both these spells had no overall impact to their total power but does have a noticeable impact on the damage these spells dish out initially.


Now lets see what happens with Feint and Epic enchants.

Storm Lord: 990 epic enchanted damage + 70% feint = 1683 Total damage (1683 upfront damage)

Fire Dragon: 590+501 over 3 rounds epic enchanted damage + 70% feint= 1003+501 damage over three rounds= 1504 Total damage (1003 upfront damage).

Wow! In the case of Epic and Feint, Storm Lord exceeds Fire Dragon‘s total damage by 179 and it’s upfront damage advantage jumps from 250 to 680.  This difference in damage between burst damage hits and DoT hits when buffing was one of the primary reasons Storm has been regarded as the best hitter.

The Darkmoor Advantage

This reason has actually been confirmed by KI developer Mattnetic who was gracious enough to provide it on social media. During the Darkmoor expansion, Storm’s damage potential was greatly improved. Storm’s Darkmoor set had by far the best offensive stats. On top of that Storm was given it’s now iconic spell- Glowbug Squall. This spell is the strongest pip for pip AoE in the current game. Coupled with Storm’s superior damage and critical and there was no reason in PvE to ever use another hitter other than Storm. This created the situation illustrated here:

Since that time KI has tried to improve other school offensive stats relative to Storm’s. There have been several dungeons such as the Ultra Dungeons and Corporal Tennisyn that offer better than Darkmoor gear to all schools…except Storm. Most schools have also gained a massive buff in damage with all schools able to reach 100%+ damage with base spell damage that is closer to that of Storm’s. For a clear example of this check the difference in Damage between Triton and Helephant and then between Scion of Fire and Scion of Storm.

Damage Difference: 170 damage

Damage Difference: 75 damage

Damage Difference when doubled: 150 damage

Let’s also take a look at damage on Fire and Storm’s DM robe vs Tennisyn robe

 

Damage: Increased 2%

 

Damage: Decreased 2%

As can clearly be seen here, KI is trying to increase other school’s offensive prowess relative to Storm in an attempt to bring school damage potentials closer. Hence the realignment of stats and the advent of Fire as the highest damage boost school. What will be the long term effects of this change on PvP and PvE? Only time will tell.

In addition to this, the changes and additions to boss mechanics are an attempt to promote school diversity. Thanks to damage caps, feint removals and trap preference- Storm isn’t automatically the best choice for hitter anymore. Viable DoTs on Myth and Ice(King Artotious and Snow Angel) mean that they are competitive choices for hitter in the final boss. Super hard hits on the Storm Titan have made death into the most preferred school when attempting said boss. This is a far cry from the usual “we need a life, we need a storm” pleas typically heard outside more conventional dungeons. It will certainly be interesting to see if KI continues this trend of diversification moving forward and the new ways in which different schools will be utilized.

Let us know what you think about the new Storm/Fire Paradigm in the comments below!

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Eric Stormbringer

A Wizard101 player since 2009, Eric has always enjoyed PvP at the level cap. Known for his contributions to Storm PvP, Eric is nonetheless knowledgeable about all max level schools, tactics and gameplay styles. Eric loves analyzing the nitty gritty of spell and game mechanics, particularly as they apply to 1v1 PvP and can often be found offering feedback and suggestions on a variety of platforms.

11 COMMENTS

  • who cares about this (profanity omitted)? why would i read this
    waste of my time

    • You don’t have to read it. If the article doesn’t interest you, you can find all different types of content either here or the internet at large!

  • I was pleasantly surprised when I recently got to the Storm titan and the first thing I heard was: ‘ yay we got Death’. That has NEVER happened before. Second thing I also noticed was quit a big boost to my damage stats and also was pleasantly surprised. I love my death wizard so quite happy with changes, particulary after the whole critical stats revamping in Polaris which left me with realy low critical for a very long time.

  • It would explain the hole in Olde town

  • I have heard rumors that KI could release a new farming dungeon. The only thing I can’t figure is when. Its either the spring, summer, or fall updates.

  • Interesting analysis, perhaps you can shed some light on where myth went wrong. Most people you run into around the spiral will deem myth useless, unless they actually play one.

    At some point we just became mediocre, would be nice to at least be considered average. I think Ice may even have more damage than Myth at this point.

    I mean myth is the middle school of the spirits, much like fire is the middle school of the elements, yet all the attention goes to fire.

  • It’s interesting how KI shortens the gap between offensive difference across all the schools, but do you think it’s unfair how they keep the defensive gap the same (besides resistance because Waterworks)? Looking at those two factors alone, it might seem that Ice or Life would be a superior school.

    • I’ve always felt that the health gaps between schools shouldn’t be as large as they have been recently. It might have to do with trying to make the defensive schools more popular but i don’t know.

  • The comparison between the Darkmoor robe and Tenni’syn’s robe for Storm left such a horrid taste in my mouth. Almost every single stat gets nerfed, and for only 1% more Resist, 6 more Critical, and 241 more Health? I get that Storm needed to be nerfed in terms of damage output, but what was so hard about just keeping those stats the same after 25 levels?
    In a perfect world, both the Power Pip Chance and Storm Damage on Tenni’syn’s robe would be buffed by 2%, and the accuracy would be increased SIGNIFICANTLY. Maybe to +18%? On that note, Fire’s robe should be buffed as well… maybe to +13%.

  • There used to be a very sharp tradeoff between utility of schools in PvE and utility of schools in 1v1 PvP. For example, Storm and Life (the schools most needed in dungeons… though there were definitely ones where Death’s control utilities could be a VERY close third) had a history of being the “designated loser schools” in PvP for a very long time. By contrast, the precise utilities that made Myth the most useful in PvP (pre-Celestia) made it a tough slog for most of PvP except for a very few specific situational bosses (e.g. the Defense Pox).

    With this in mind, it seems that Storm is losing one of its very few advantages over Fire in PvP (where DoTs are better thought of as “unshieldable”). As one of the best players in 1v1 Storm PvP (with very off the wall strategies), how do you think those changes will affect Storm in the PvP setting? (Or Fire for that matter; I don’t think Fire’s ever been below #3 at any level.)

    • It really depends on how KI designs spells from now on imo. If nothing changes then this is a straight nerf for Storm in PvP. However, if KI decides that Storm’s lowered damage warrants some utilities then these changes could end up being a buff to the school. Judging from recent twitter conversation there is hope that this is the direction KI will take. Time will tell.

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