I have been a fan of the PM longer then I think most people know. I was on the PM bandwagon from day one. Before live even, lets say Lam day one. You can go back and check the tapes, but I back on DDocast I described Lich form (back when it was a clicky) as god-mode.
But back when epics were a hold-fest I took on of my wizards and reset him to be an Enchantment AM and it was fun. Not the most amazing build I ever had but fun. Then we had the change to Mass hold monster vs SR and later the change to allow removal spells in epics and I no longer have an AMs.
But I think that might be wrong, at least during the heroic levels. Or I should say pre Lich form….
My break down of PMs:
Undead Forms, are really just a way of saying I will take care of myself until Lich form when being undead becomes more then a self healing perk. Sure each one has an upside and a down side beyond use Sp to get HP. But you don’t see many level 20+s running around in Vamp or Zombie form do you? Before I leave forms I want to rank them from best to worse real fast. Lich, wrath (almost a tie with Lich), zombie, vamp. Some of you might have seen that coming, but others maybe not. But wrath form is really under loved atm, if you have the feats and the points take them both and think about what form would be best for a given quest. I will bet a lot of the time 2 less dcs will be over powered by 25% incorp and +20 to move silently and balance, if your looking at shorting the time in quest. Also getting wrath at 12 vs 18 is huge bonus.
Pets, they have a time and place. But I have a hard time finding points to spend on them. However, the thrill of summing a normal skeleton in a quest with mob skeletons and watching your party members try to kill it is amazingly fun times. Otherwise they are mostly for times when you can perch them and have them range things with out getting hurt while you afk.
Necro Stuff, to me other then the self-healing in form the best part of the PM is Nerco attacks. I use them more then any other attack spell. They are like 4-6 on my quick bar and often I just cycle them when I am in damage mode. More then once I have had to leave form so I could be fleshly healed by a party member while I cleared the room with these attacks.
AMs on the other hand have the ability to be extremely flexible as there is not a clear set path you have to take. You can just run up the line netting you more Sp at each AM tear.
Quick aside: Speaking of those tears there are 5 tears of AMs (every 3 lvls after 6) vs 3 for the other PRE. Mening that you get those tears much faster with splashes then the other PREs. Example, with the PM if I do 18/2 at level 18 (16/2) I still only have PM 2 but with AM I could have 4 tears of the PRE.
Arcane Booms, The AM only gets 2 low costs spam attacks Blot/Blast. They use sp vs hp for their cost but with out the aura doing the constant healing you wouldn’t want to be burning hps anyway. I think the Pms might have it a little better in the cheap spam attack department but I think the AMs being force damage are good too. Hell some PRE’s have run on water as a tear 2 power, force blots are a huge step up.
The Meat of the AM PRE, spell like abilities. Some Schools are better then others at different levels. But over all I think they are mostly good but not worth going too deep into. Do you really need a Pk or a DD SLA at level 15? Not really. That said some of the schools really have some good ones depending on play style.
What am I going to do? Think I am going to try leveling up as an AM. Last time I leveled up a PM I skipped to 16 and while I found 1-9 to be fairly easy as normal. Trying to use the forms just as the mobs really started in on the light damaging spells in a 3-4 party group keeping an elite streak running to be crazy. Opps here is 400+ points of light damage, Splat!
Will I switch back to PM post lich form? Most likely. Also I think I will do evocation focus while leveling with a plan to play a little more aggressive. But keep in mind I have all the toys and all the perks of completionest so I can handle my healing with out having to use my SP.
If this was my first arcane/wizard I would say be a PM. But I would warn you that you don’t always want to be form.
In any case I am sure I will talk about how things are playing as we relevel and into the post 20 endgame, so things might change or not but either way I will let you know.
Once I discovered level 7 on my first ever wizard, I decided to go the AM route to get more SP. I leveled one up to 20 on Khyber and had a lot of fun with it but soloing epics was still tough. I then switched to Cannith and leveled another up to 20. Then about a year ago I read a little more about PM’s. Self-healing? Hmm…lemme do a lesser reincarnation here and give it a shot. Oh my. Needless to say my soloing of epics improved even before the change to the current epic system. I do NOT take zombie form though, I rely on hires to heal me until level 12. Once I hit level 12 I never have to buy one again, and with Epic Destinies my SP can go WAY over 3,000 so I am good with that 🙂
When talking about killing power PMs are uncontested unfortunately you need to be at least level 12 wizard for Wraith form, better yet at 18.
AMs on the other hand have nice perks every couple levels, but by end game they feel like a sub-par PM sometimes. Yes, skill matters, but the tools available matter too and this is where they come slightly short.
Light spells are extremely dangerous for a PM though and if you can’t insta kill the clerics you can be in a world of pain if you are not paying attention. Even then, there are quests where I simply stay out of form on elite, since a simple ray can toast you.
In the end I like them both, but at this point I prefer the PM human or drow if you have the past lives or elf for a first lifer.