Monday, May 18, 2009

Player’s Handbook 2 – Invoker analysis

Continuing series of comparing classes from PHB1 and PHB2 by looking at all the class features and low-level powers. This time I’m looking at the Invoker. I’ll compare a Wis/Con invoker with an Int/Con wizard. I prefer comparing the staff wizard as the power of the orb implement varies wildly with level and the wand has unclear rules.

Hit points, healing surges, skills, and usefulness of stats is equal.

The invoker would appear to have much better armor. But when the wizard buys the leather armor feat, he ends up with equal or better AC and more mobility. So the wizard is better. We’ll say the invoker counters with his better non-AC defense bonuses.

The wizard’s free rituals are probably better than the invoker’s free stuff, but this is small stuff.

The wizard has his staff power, a very strong defensive power. Comparing this with the Covenant of Manifestation is tricky. The invoker’s bonus damage has a high upside if you get a lot of targets, and it is more consistent with the mission of a controller. But you can’t use it very often at low levels, and the fixed bonus damage will be less relevant at high levels. I’m not sure which one is better.

Wizard has those silly cantrips and the spellbook. I generally don’t find these useful, but in some campaigns they will be useful. I like the invoker’s Channel Divinity much better since it really does something, even though Armor of Wrath isn’t all that powerful.

Comparing at-will powers, Vanguard’s Lightning is a little better than Scorching Burst. The others seem OK on both sides. The encounter and utility powers are varied, but comparable I suppose.

When it comes to dailies, the invoker’s powers are pleasant and useful, but rather underwhelming for a controller class. The wizard, on the other hand, has some awesome conjurations. Here I see a substantial wizard advantage.

So the comparison seems to be typical for PHB2 vs. PHB1. The invoker has better class features, but when you look at who has the abnormally strong dailies, the wizard catches up. Overall, I don’t know who is better, the invoker seems to have a better balanced design. I’d say the wizard is better if he takes his best superpowers, some of them are ridiculously strong.

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