I'm a big fan of the wizard class, even if mostly in theory. My only stint with 4E wizards was a fire-themed tiefling summoner in a short-lived Scales of War campaign. I enjoyed the fact that I could specialize in a specific energy without gimping myself in case we ran into one of a million fire-themed baddies, but I also liked being able to be a wizard all day without also serving as the naptime indicator. Win-win for all.
This first half of Wizard Essentials mainly condenses basic class information from Player's Handbook and Arcane Power, allowing a new or initiate wizard player to have the basics all in one spot (and I suppose to also help pimp AP in case you didnt already own it).
- It starts with class features, going into brief detail on the individual cantrips (such as non-combat uses).
- Implements just talks about each implement and power selection to go with. There's also a table of race/implement match ups at the end.
- Ability scores doesnt tell you anything that a cursory examination of the actual implement sections wouldnt, but I guess its nifty to have it all in one place.
There are nine feats, with four heroic and five paragon. There's no particular theme here: Far Spell extends ranged and area bursts, Immolate the Masses grants temp hp when you drop minions, Lightning Transport lets you teleport when you kill something with a lightning spell, etc.
I particularly like Bitter Cold and Acid Splash as benchmarks for making feats that play up to energy specialization. The former adds a kicker effects if you hit while the latter deals a minor amount of damage if you miss. I'm a fan of thematic characters, and whenever I make a wizard I tend to stick with an energy type (like fire).
Frankly, I think that there should also be a feat that deals damage if you miss with a fire effect. :-P
There's also an assortment of new spells, including another at-will attack (in case you thought that the current nine just werent cutting it). Many of them require that you are using a specific implement, which I like since it plays up the fact that wizards really care about what sort of tool they are using (like fighters). In fact, why not make spells that get extra benefits if you are using a specific implement? I think my fav is tome of transposition, which lets you use another daily of equal level or lower thats in your spellbook and use it if you miss.
It wraps up with a paragon path specifically for tome users. You get bonuses to rituals, can daze enemies with action points and crits, and the level 20 daily sucks the critter into your book so they can sit out for a bit.
So, good for everyone. If you dont know about wizards, its a crash course on wizardry along with some new shit. If you already know what they are all about, then...new shit. Enjoy.