Samius made a point that PM is better for end game (as wis) and that’s the understanding I have as well. AM is a master of a few cheap spells and also CC, while PM of course have the benefit of survivability and insta-death.
Especially since it generally takes less damage, can self-heal through UMD and have a wicked ability to use insta-death abilities. One of the reason why they changed wail to what it is today.
For me the choice of AM is simple; self-healing through re-construct, CC when needed and lots of points on impulse. My idea is to do spell mastery on magic missile, web or Otto’s, Displacement or haste, arcane blast or Phantasmal killer (leaning heavily towards this one) and finally hold monster.
I currently use a fair amount of CC as sorc, like web or discoball and it’s really useful. My idea is of course to do the same with the AM – like web and hold Monster and then possibly arcane blast just to slap whatever is held with a nice little AOE. Although that can be done real easily with an acid rain. I use that with my sorc as well.
Truth be told my sorc is a real piece of work DPS wise. When I run with guildies I usually run with someone who has a good PM but I still outkill and out DPS him. While I can’t survive as well as he does, due to the fact that he takes reduced incoming damage and can self-heal (I can self-heal through using heal scrolls, but can’t reduce damage quite as much) I use a combination of web and such to make sure I don’t take too much damage. And for ranged opponents I use earth grab, web and a fair amount of long distant DPS spells when my finger of death fails.
However my acid energy burst along side with acid dragon breath are both enough to take care of incoming hordes, followed by wail if needed but most likely acid blast.
Playing an AM will be different in many ways – I’m already halfway there with another wis of mine so I know the basics. But I won’t be swimming in SP and I won’t be DPSing quite like my sorc. But then the end goal is to make my sorc better.
Right now there’s an issue with spell pen that I hope I can solve with more wis and Favored Soul spell pen. Then it’s on to TRing as cleric for more conjuration. All of the different TR’s will eventually make my sorcs weak spots stronger – slightly better DC, much better spell pen and more DC on things like web (conjuration) and eventually evocation. Nothing will change much DPS wise.
Short of adding a fully unlocked twilight with the perma psionic bonus of the planar combo, I’m currently sporting as much spell power as I possibly can with the spell selection I use for my sorc. It’s going to be impossible to make that sharper.
But I still have some ways to make the rest come together. And that’s what TRing will do. Add some additional HP, more DC, slightly more stat points (like completionist feat), much more spell pen and UMD and stronger summons.
And it will be interesting to see if that truly translates to a gradual or radical differense compared to the already awesome sorc I currently have.