THANK you.I poked my head into mabination and couldn't help reading on this thread. If you guys think I have credibility of experience with this skill listen up.
Hailstorm is great. If you max your crit and int skills and boosts it can be one of the best skills in the game. It's a great soloing skill as long as you take the time to put yourself in a winning situation. Just like all magic you can't bum rush into a room and start casting. You have to know the strengths and weaknesses of the skill and work accordingly.
If you add in a +6 Hailstorm combo card you can do some impressive damage. Fireball doesn't have time to launch that many for a combo card. Icespear takes longer to set-up in elite missions (unless you want to spam cast it, which works most of the time too). I never liked thunder...so I'll leave that one out. Magic is situational and being flexible with which one you want to use is important.
Also guy claiming 30k fireball damage is either lying or has a friend with full ice set a r6 staff and a combo card that lets him get into that last card slot quickly.
The real reason you guys are having this discussion is play style. Most rangers and melee players play the game very differently than mages/alchemists. Sometimes they work well together but when a ranger tries to use hailstorm in the same play style they are used to it doesn't work as well as they hoped.
My final mage set was only 2 pieces short so I can attest that the damage on most tara Hardmode mobs was about 3k non crit. Elites somewhere around 2400-2600 I think. Tail was around 2700 and 2200.
Again magic is situational in its use. Each has a strength and weakness. Hailstorm is highly useful and effective.