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- Summons and Other Wizard Powers
As I said before during my post about what we know of the summoning wizard build (ie: virtually nothing), people were already up in arms on the Wizards forums doing their best to run around in circular arguments complaining about the surface that they've been given permission to merely scratch. Well, they can also look at it.
The point is that as with all preview material, there are a handful of individuals that tout themselves as experts despite not having any name in the gaming industry and in all honesty prefer to spend there time erecting mountains where a mole hill used to be.
Case in point, some of them are clamoring that a summoned creature is essentially a shitty defender, and why bother playing a shitty defender if you can just play a real one? Well I dont hear them complaining about flaming sphere, and although I already pointed out the obvious before I'm more than happy to do so again.
Both summon fire warrior and flaming sphere are level 1 daily attacks. Both of them are keyed off of Intelligence, so its fair to assume that both wizards will have the same bonus to attack and damage. Likewise they both have the Fire keyword so we can ignore minor details like tieflings with Hellfire Blood and the whole Astral Fire business.
Now, when you conjure up a flaming sphere it gets to make a freebie attack that deals 2d6 damage against one adjacent target. After that it just sits there eating up a square of real-estate, gobbling up one of your minor actions in the process, and generally pissing off anyone that gets too close, friend and foe alike. Granted this is automatic damage, but since it goes both ways how useful it is depends on numerous battlefield conditions such as who has the best forced movement abilities, how many monsters there are, etc etc.
If you want to move it, you have to spend a move action yourself to do it, and if you want it to actually make a real attack, then you have to use your standard action. Compound this with the mandatory minor action to get it to stick around, you can basically spend your entire turn playing as a Medium sized orb of fire that gets to roll around and play Marble Madness. With fire.
Summon fire warrior on the other hand charges you a minor action to enter the fray and a standard action fee on a per-attack basis. Its much more cost efficient to summon but wont do anything without the proper provocation. The upside is that you can drop him into play anywhere you want within 10 squares, so if people are doing their job you could get an easy flanking bonus before the actual attack. Hell, you could just drop him in a flanking spot for your rogue and then use your standard action to do something else.
Unlike a flaming sphere, he wont be burning people that happen to start their turn too close, which is probably just as good as it is bad, but he can make opportunity attacks without penalizing your own action economy. In a way this can help maintain control of the battlefield, which is what the wizard is all about. I DM a lot and it pisses me off when I have to choose between going after a guy that I cant hit or going after a softy and doling out a few free shots for my efforts.
You can think what you want, but I dont see a probblem with this. You cant actually expect the damage output to be on par with a daily or encounter attack; since you can use it every damned round that would kind of defeat the point. No, like any nice at-will attack it needs to fall within the realm of at-will. Otherwise it would be too good and people would still be bitching about it.
As it stands you get a new spin on the controller concept. You might not use it every round but since its only a minor action to move you can at least move it about and get some mileage out of those actions while still tossing out magic missiles or what-have-you.
Frankly my only complaint is that he doesnt got resist fire so I'm loathe to drop a scorching burst on him just like the rest of my similarly combustible companions.
I'm actually kidding, I typically use it on them anyway and let the warlord sort it out, and since in Adrian's game the warlord is also myself then they'll shut up if they know whats good for them.