I think my first D&D character was a magic-user. I never really got into playing the “guy with a big sword” the way a lot of my friends did. For me, it was always about playing the smart guy. The guy who understands the universe so well that he can bend it to his whim.
Wizards in 4E D&D did not appeal to me as much. They seemed too focused on blasting things. Fireball chucking wizards were always my least favorite type. My wizards were masters of the utility spell. I relished the ability to tip the scale of a battle with a single well-placed Grease spell. To me, battlefield control was what a wizard was all about.
Well, battlefield control is back with a vengeance in Arcane Power. First, it introduces two new wizards builds: The illusionist and the summoner. This barely matters though, since wizard builds are mostly flavor text anyway. What does matter is the spell selection that Arcane Power opens up.
The illusion spells offer a wide variety of ways to control or lock down your opponents. In other words, to put “control” back into this controller! My favorite illusion spell is probably “Visions of Avarice”. This spell allows the wizard to create illusionary treasure on a square as a zone. Once per turn, this zone will attempt to draw enemies towards it, making a Intelligence vs Will attack. The zone costs a mere minor action to sustain, so it can be used to tie up enemies for quite awhile.
The summoning spells are pretty interesting as well. The majority of them are daily powers, but they summon up an allied creature, which will last until the end of the encounter. These creatures can be useful to shape the battlefield environment by engaging other creatures, providing flanking opportunities, and generally getting in the way of your opponents.
These new battlefield control spells, especially when combined with liberal ritual use, really help bring back the old school feel of the wizard. I will be the first to admit that a high level 4E wizard is no where near as powerful as his high level 3E counterpart. That is probably a good thing though.
Oh, did I mention that familiars are back as well? Not to mention a ton of new options for the other arcane classes? If you love playing the masters of the arcane, then this book is for you!