Magic Missile


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Magic Missile in action.

Magic Missile is a Primary Wizard skill unlocked at Level 1, invoking a bolt of arcane magic thrown against an opponent.

Magic Missile is a basic projectile attack that costs nothing to use and deals decent damage. Higher level spells do more interesting and powerful effects, but MM can be a useful component of any Wizard build.


The Magic Missile is a bolt-type spell much like the classical Firebolt but using Arcane energies instead of Elemental (like Fire).

Skill Rune Effects[edit]

Refer to the Magic Missile rune effects article for thorough descriptions of all five rune effects in this skill, including screenshots, videos, strategy tips, and other related information.

Name Level Description
Magic Missile

Signature spell
1 This is a Signature spell. Signature spells are free to cast.

Launch a missile of magic energy, dealing 230% weapon damage as Arcane.

Charged Blast
1 Increase the damage of Magic Missile to 325% weapon damage as Arcane.
1 Fire 3 missiles that each deal 80% weapon damage as Arcane.
1 The missile pierces through enemies and causes them to burn for 130% weapon damage as Fire over 3 seconds.

Burn damage stacks up to 3 times and any Fire damage taken from your other spells refresh all stacks to their maximum duration.

Glacial Spike
1 Cast out a shard of ice that explodes on impact, causing enemies within 4.5 yards to take 175% weapon damage as Cold and be Frozen for 1 second.

Enemies cannot be Frozen by Glacial Spike more than once every 5 seconds.

1 Missiles track the nearest enemy. Missile damage is increased to 285% weapon damage as Arcane.

Skill Design[edit]

Magic Missile impact on Zombie.

Magic Missile is basically a Firebolt that deals Arcane Damage. In early levels, Magic Missile might be the Wizard's bread and butter. Using this skill fires a small purple projectile that moves across the screen in a straight line and at a fairly fast pace, and it can be cast repeatedly without any cooldown or resource cost.

When an enemy dies at the hands of an Arcane spell, a purple glow is left on the corpses.

This was the default ranged spell at BlizzCon 2008, but with Arcane Orb and Electrocute available right from the start in 2009, Magic Missile was hardly touched. It didn't seem to have changed in function since 2008.


A video of Magic Missile can be seen below, courtesy of the DiabloInc You Tube channel.


The following Wizard passives provide a benefit to Magic Missile, runed or not:

Name Level Description
Glass Cannon

1 Increase all damage done by 15%, but decrease Armor and resistances by 10%.

1 When you cast a Signature spell, you gain 5 Arcane Power.

The following skills are Signature spells:
Magic Missile
Shock Pulse
Spectral Blade

Temporal Flux

1 Enemies that take Arcane damage are slowed by 80% for 2 seconds.
Arcane Dynamo

1 When you cast a Signature spell, you gain a Flash of Insight. After 5 Flashes of Insight, your next non-Signature spell deals 60% additional damage.

The following skills are Signature spells:
Magic Missile
Shock Pulse
Spectral Blade


Double missiles.
Quadruple missiles.

Magic Missile first appeared at BlizzCon 2008 when the Wizard debuted, where it did 7-13 arcane damage at level 1. By BlizzCon 2009, it had been nerfed slightly, doing less damage and costing a little less mana (later changed to Arcane Power). This skill was on the Arcane Skill Tree until skill trees were disbanded.

At BlizzCon 2010, Magic Missile was one of the Wizard's starting skills, and a very useful one, according to Flux:[1]

The level five MMs were quite powerful, capable of killing almost any normal monster with a single shot. The casting rate wasn’t that fast though, which was good and bad. Good because you could cast MMs forever, since they weren’t fast or expensive enough to deplete your Arcane Power. Bad because I wanted to kill faster. Faster!

Skill tiers were removed for the July 2011 Press Event, allowing skills to unlock steadily from levels 1 to 30. Consequently, all skill levels were adjusted and Magic Missile became a level 1 skill.


The Diablo III Beta started in September 2011, and while it ran, all of the skills continued to undergo extensive iteration. Skill changes varied from changing the levels the skills are unlocked, to changes in resource cost, damage, and even function. A few skills were removed altogether, and a few new ones were added. Also, the entire skill system received an overhaul with the Beta Patch 13 update in February 2012, with physical runes replaced by rune effects that automatically unlock at various levels for the different skills.

Magic Missile remained at level 1 when the beta started. Flux tried it out again, and reported on it:[2]

Naturally, the base version of Magic Missile isn’t all that powerful. It’s great for single targets, and has nice range and quite respectable damage, but with just a single projectile per cast the Wizard can not keep up with fast spawning enemies, and MM isn’t much good for bosses either. I’m not just estimating about that either, since I actually put it to the test. MM was fine for 95% of the beta areas, including the lower levels of the Cathedral, but when I got boss packs, or set event areas of summoners, there were too many fish for my skillets, and I got overrun and had to retreat or use other skills.

With the Beta Patch 8 of December 2011, all signature spells became free to cast at any level. With the Patch 13 changes, Magic Missile was classified as a Primary skill (but remained at level 1).

Previous Versions[edit]

See the Wizard skill archive for more details on previous versions of Magic Missile and other Wizard skills.
Or see Magic Missile (BlizzCon 2008) for the original version of this skill.

In Other Games[edit]

Magic Missile is much like Diablo II's Sorceress skill Fire Bolt, only doing Arcane damage instead of Fire damage.


In Diablo III, Blizzard seems to have gone back to games like Dungeons & Dragons for inspiration. A spell called Magic Missile is a staple low-to-mid level magic bolt in the traditional pen & paper RPG. The Magic Missile also increases number of missiles, as does the original. Wikipedia describes D&D Magic Missile like this.[1]

A bolt of pure energy from the caster's fingertips, which in most editions of the game never misses its target unless prevented by magical means. The number of bolts one can cast increases with practice.


Magic Missile can be seen in action on video here:

You can find pictures in the Diablo III screenshot and picture gallery:

Related Articles[edit]

  • Improved Magic Missile is a retired skill whose only purpose was to increase the efficiency of Magic Missile. Skill runes made it unnecessary.


  1. D&D Arcane Spells — Wikipedia

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