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These mages are very weak at low levels, but improve rapidly and become devastatingly powerful once they've attained high levels in their combat spells. Sorcerers are best played in glass cannon, style, requiring fast reflexes and constant movement, and are peerless in their killing speed in the Hell levels in Diablo.

Sorcerers are a bit more balanced in Hellfire, at least in the Crypt levels, where monsters are found in wider varieties, and plenty of them are immune to both Fire and Lightning.

Voice Actor: Michael Gough

Inherent Skill


Sorcerers can recharge the charges on a staff, though the maximum number of charges will always decrease a few points, usually 1-5 charges. For example, a staff with 20 charges would go from 0/20 to 18 or 16 max charges. Since the drop is percent-based, items with higher charges tend to take a larger loss. and a staff of plenty may drop from say, 0/70 to 52/52 when recharged.

Unlike durability (Hidden Shrines in Diablo plus oils in Hellfire) there is no way to raise the maximum charges on a staff, so this skill should never be used on a staff you are using long term. However, if you find a staff of Fireball or Guardian or some other useful spell, and just want to have some fun with it and cast a lot of spells without using any mana, knock yourself out.

Staves with charges are also extremely useful for low level Sorcerers who can not afford the mana potion cost, or can even enable skills (they work at level 1) that the Sorc has not yet read a book to learn.

The formula for determining the recharge, from Jarulf's Guide:

  1. if current charges is equal to max charges or max charges is equal to 0, exit
  2. x = Rnd[clvl/qlvl(book)] + 1
  3. decrease MaxChrg by 1
  4. add x to CurChrg
  5. if CurChrg < MaxChrg, goto 3.
  6. CurChrg = MaxChrg

Stats and Attributes

A collection of useful stats and figures for the Sorcerer. Refer to the Diablo Characters page to see these figures, and others, in tables for easy comparison between the six character classes of Diablo and Hellfire.

Start Values Max Values
Max Values (Equipped) *
Diablo / Hellfire **
Life: 30
Mana: 70
Strength: 15
Magic: 35
Dexterity: 15
Vitality: 20
Life: 138
Mana: 596
Strength: 45
Magic: 250
Dexterity: 85
Vitality: 80
Life: 618 / 618
Mana: 1196 / 1216
Strength: 220 / 280
Magic: 425 / 485
Dexterity: 250 / 310
Vitality: 245 / 305
Armor Class: 405
To/Hit: 350 / 390

Per Level Up: ***

  • Life: + 1
  • Mana: + 2
  • Per Attribute Point:
    • 1 Vitality = 1 life
    • 1 Magic = 2 mana
  • * Not all maximum values can be achieved at once. Each value is only attainable by devoting all of your equipment to that particular attribute or statistic.
  • ** Hellfire maximum values are higher for the Rogue, Warrior, and Sorcerer since new uniques added in Hellfire make possible much higher attribute levels. The values for mana and life do not include the unique jewelry that transfers life to mana, or vice versa.
  • *** No life or mana increases are granted at level 50.

Sorcerer Tactics

Sorcerers are all about casting spells. They can equip weapons, and aren't that bad melee, with a fast sword and high defense, but it's never their strength. They have low damage, low to/hit, and very low hit points. What they do have is a ton of magic and mana, and the ability to cast spells very quickly. Use that to your advantage.

Getting Started

A low level Sorcerer is wise to stick most or all of his points into magic, raising his mana and ability to read books as quickly as possible. Once he gets to Mana Shield, his low hit points are no longer an issue. Use the low level spells liberally, and learn to aim your projectiles; just like shooting a bow, firebolt and holy bolt and other such spells are far more accurate when fired in straight lines. Start to use your four hotkeys early on and adjust your spellcasting according to what the immediate targets are. Similar to warriors who often use maces rather than swords against skeletons, casting holy bolt on undead will almost always be more effective than casting firebolt.

Lightning is the first powerful spell for most Sorcerers, though Holy Bolt can be quite useful for Undead enemies since its damage scales up very quickly, and it can stun enemy targets. Lightning's listed damage isn't that impressive, but each bolt hits multiple times, and since it passes through monsters, a single Lightning Bolt can hit multiple enemies. Fire Wall can be obtained fairly early as well, and it boasts huge damage and can also be used as a sort of barrier, since monsters will not walk into it if they are not fire immune. Cast one Fire Wall, and then cast a second one a space back, when monsters line up just behind the wall.

Once a Sorcerer gets Fireball his progress becomes exponentially faster, since the spell does far higher damage than anything else of a comparable level, and the splash damage allows it to damage multiple monsters at once, if they are tightly-packed. Chain Lightning has a similar effect, once its been raised several levels and the number of bolts is beginning to grow impressive.

Melee Combat

Sorcerers may engage in some melee early in the game when spells and mana are scarce, but it's not something they spend much time at. When melee combat is useful is in the very late game, when triple immune monsters are encountered. These should be hit with a stone curse, and then beaten to rubble. A good old KSoH (King's Sword of Haste) is quite effective for that purpose, though the easier to find and deceptively powerful Civerb's Cudgel works even better, on stoned Demons. Which both Soul Burners and Advocates are. Using a Golem on those levels is a wise choice, since at high levels the stone men do as much (or more) damage as the Sorcerer himself. Typical behavior on level 16 is to teleport through the quadrants of the level, luring all of the Blood Knights out to be incinerated by Fireballs. With them cleared out, Sorcerers can head in with a golem, their best melee weapon, and Stone Curse at the ready, to deal with the triple immune Advocates. (Or just use Apocalypse, if it's available.)

Sorcerers aren't much good melee against non-stone cursed enemies, since even with a haste sword, a Sorcerer swings slowly and has a very slow hit recovery animation. Sorcerers can cast several spells in the time it takes to swing a sword one time, and unless the target is immune, a spell is almost always a better solution. Hitting things with pointy objects is for the stupid, slower, lesser characters.

Bow Strategy

Sorcerers are not well suited to using bows. They fire very slowly, they have terrible damage and to/hit, and they have spells for ranged attacks.

Battle vs. Artillery

The core debate about Sorcerer play style is Artillery vs. Battle.

Battle Mages

Battle mage gear for a triple-immune level.

Battle Mages play almost the same way as Arty mages, but they wear heavy plate armor and use one handed weapons and shields. This means their +spell equipment is generally limited to a Dreamflange, and perhaps a Thinking Cap, if they choose that instead of a Royal Circlet, giving them, at most, +3 to all spells. They might use a KSoH or Civerb's Cudgel instead of a Dreamflange, especially on levels with triple immune monsters.

The play differences come from the equipment. Battle mages can take hits and let monsters get very close to them, since they can block some attacks, and other attacks will miss, especially if they have high AC on their armor and shield. This lets them play much more aggressively, blasting spells at point blank range, in situations no Arty Mage would dare risk. However, they will often need to cast more spells thanks to their lower spell level, and they likely have less mana and must therefore drink more potions.

Arty Mages

Artillery mages generally eschew heavy plate armor and shields, and prefer to go with Naj's Light Plate and AA staves (Arch Angel's = +2 to spell levels). Those items give them +3 to spells, and if they go with a Thinking Cap as well, they're at the maximum +5 to skills and capable of devastating any non-fireproof enemy with their massive level 20 Fireballs. Other equipment usually focuses on very high mana, turning these characters into the prototypical "glass cannons."

Arty mages are capable of dealing enormous damage very quickly, but with their negligible Armor Class and lack of a shield, anything that gets near them will hit them. They can be stun locked very easily, and death is always possible from a couple of fast hitting enemies. They are also weak against triple immunes, since staffs do poor melee damage.

Naked Mages

A subset of the artillery mages are naked mages. In a concession to how overpowered the character is in Diablo, players looking for a greater challenge started playing mages without wearing any equipment at all. There's nothing that says such a mage must play in artillery style, but it's foolish and inefficient not to, since without any armor on, every monster that gets off a swing will land a hit. Naked mages pick up items and sell them in town, since they need gold to buy potions, and they might mule items to other characters as well, but they don't use anything they find.

Naked mages never equip any items; some players make an allowance for "reading glasses", items equipped solely to increase the magic to allow books to be read, but purists frown upon this practice. There is one exception; it's convenient to equip some sort of weapon simply to keep the sorcerer from picking up and equipping every item you click on. One trick to this is to put on a ring or amulet that raises your strength enough to equip a weapon you could not otherwise use. Then when you remove the jewelry the weapon will stay in your equipment slot; unusable, but preventing you from picking anything else up.

Beyond Naked Mages

The most fanatical players go for this variant. BNMs use equipment, but only equipment with negative stats. Plenty of items in Diablo and Hellfire have -stats, lowering attributes, mana, hit points, etc, and these are what BNMs use. Whether your character must equip every such item found, or just one or two, varies depending on how purist a rule set you follow. In any event, the end result of using cursed equipment is lower mana, since there are no mods in Diablo or Hellfire that change casting speed, lower spell levels, etc, so all a BNM is doing to himself is lowering his attributes, mana, and hit points.

Higher Level Tactics

A high level Sorcerer will have maxed out his Fireball skill, and is willing to deploy appropriate magics on a hair trigger. Sorcerers have very high mana and very little patience, and are known to teleport more than they walk. They also know that overkill with spell use is safer and actually mana-cheaper than being stingy with the spells and taking hits because of it, so they tend to spam their Fireballs and Chain Lightning until they're quite sure monsters are dead. Expert Sorcerers dart through the Hell levels, teleporting from room to room, hugging the walls to optimize the performance of their Chain Lightning, making daring teleporting runs through large areas to draw all the monsters into killing zones, playing never more than an inch or two out of reach of the enemies, and drinking blue pots like water.

There's an amazing speed and fluidity and precision to play at that level, where players measure their success and skill by how quickly they can clear levels.

Hellfire changed nothing about Sorcerer performance in the Hell levels. The Hive is quite easy as well, but the Crypt is a very different kettle of fish. Nothing in Diablo is Immune to Fire/Lightning and resistant to Magic, and since Fireball and Chain Lightning are by far the most effective killing spells, and none of the magic-based spells were very effective (Flash lists quite high damage, but it's bugged and does much less in actuality.), most Sorcerers never deviated from those spells. In Hellfire's Crypt, numerous monsters are immune to Fire and Lightning, while vulnerable to Magic. These beasts can simply be treated like triple immunes and Stoned and clubbed to rubble, but this is not the most efficient or speedy way to clear the levels. Blood Star, Bone Spirit, and Flash are effective magic type spells, but the fact that only 4 hotkeys are allowed makes it hard to keep a full assortment of attack spells at the ready, along with Teleport, Stone Curse, and perhaps Golem. On the whole, the Crypt is much more of a challenge to a Mage than any of the levels in Hell.

Run in, teleport around to attract the Blood Knights, then pop over a wall and wait for the Blood Knights to come around the corner as the Advocates' Fireballs crash harmless into the barrier.

Sorcerer Lore

Sorcerer concept art.

Sorcerers are mysterious mages from distant Eastern lands. Apprentices to their craft, they've come to test their might and seek out rare books of arcane knowledge in the demon-infested crypts beneath Tristram.

Although practitioners of the mystic arts are scarce within the often superstitious and religious lands of the West, many magi have made the pilgrimage from the Far East to see for themselves what horrors lie beneath the ruined Cathedral of Khanduras. The veiled Brotherhood of the Vizjerei, one of the eldest and most dominant mage-clans of the East, has sent many of its acolytes to observe the dark events unfolding in Khanduras first hand.
The Vizjerei, known for their brightly colored Turinash, or spirit-robes, have taken a keen interest in both gathering knowledge of demons and seeing them slain. The Vizjerei elders hope that their acolytes will learn the secrets of the dark evil that they sense growing in the West and can destroy it. The possibility of discovering long-lost tomes of magical knowledge within the confines of the labyrinth has also captured the interest of many wandering Sorcerers.
Most magic in Khanduras is in the form of enchanted items and elixirs. The Eastern Sorcerers have developed a greater understanding of spellcasting than the other classes, and while a Vizjerei neonate knows only the simplest of spells to start, he can expect to rapidly grow in power as he discovers new incantations. All Sorcerers possess the ability to recharge spell staves by drawing power from their surroundings and channeling them through the staff.

The Sorcerer was replaced by the Sorceress as a playable character in Diablo II, though the Iron Wolf mercenaries of Act Three were clearly modeled after Diablo I's Sorcerer. The game lore went on to say that the Sorcerer character from Diablo became the Summoner, the boss monster found in the Arcane Sanctuary in Act Two.