The description of the wish spell reads:

The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly Components. The spell simply takes effect.

(There are other specific uses listed as well, but they aren’t relative to my question.)

So if I’m reading this right, the basic use of wish is to give you another spell slot of level 1–8? That isn’t as powerful as I expected. Or does it maybe have extra benefits when using it to duplicate one of these spells (e.g. the effects of the spell are permanent for certain spells, such as darkvision or enlarge/reduce)?

There are some other benefits that aren't as obvious.

First of all, you gain access to many spells that are either not known/prepared or appear on other class spell lists.

Possibly more potent, however, is the removal of expensive material components and long casting times. Some spell like resurrection, simulacrum, or temple of the gods have much more powerful effects without their material components and casting times. You simply have to speak their effect into existence.

The basic use of Wish is flexibility: It can duplicate any spell of 8th level or lower.

You don't need to have it prepared and it doesn't even need to be in your class's spell list!

  • And you don't need any somatic or material components, either, regardless of the cost of the material components. – Pilchard123 Oct 19 at 8:56

No, a wish spell does not just give you another spell slot but it can

As quoted, the part of the wish spell that duplicates spells reads (emphasis mine):

The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect.

This means that the wish spell has some useful advantages:

  • You can use any spell, so also spells you don't know, haven't prepared, are not on your spell list, etc.
  • You do not have to meet time requirements, meaning ritual spells can be done in an action.
  • You do not have a range limit.
  • You do not have to have costly material components, especially ones that would normally be consumed. Heroes' feast for free, anyone?

But there is a way to get extra spell slots from wish as the rest of the text is:

Alternatively, you can create one of the following effects of your choice:

  • [list of nice relatively simple effects]

You might be able to achieve something beyond the scope of the above examples. State your wish to the GM as precisely as possible. The GM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance; the greater the wish, the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong. This spell might simply fail, the effect you desire might only be partly achieved, or you might suffer some unforeseen consequence as a result of how you worded the wish. For example, wishing that a villain were dead might propel you forward in time to a period when that villain is no longer alive, effectively removing you from the game. Similarly, wishing for a legendary magic item or artifact might instantly transport you to the presence of the item's current owner.

This means you can wish to get a number of extra permanent spell slots. You DM will probably limit that number/lvl but you can ask.

You will also suffer some side effects for any wish that doesn't just duplicate a lower-level spell:

The stress of casting this spell to produce any effect other than duplicating another spell weakens you. After enduring that stress,

  • each time you cast a spell until you finish a long rest, you take 1d10 necrotic damage per level of that spell. This damage can't be reduced or prevented in any way.

  • In addition, your Strength drops to 3, if it isn't 3 or lower already, for 2d4 days. For each of those days that you spend resting and doing nothing more than light activity, your remaining recovery time decreases by 2 days.

  • Finally, there is a 33 percent chance that you are unable to cast wish ever again if you suffer this stress.

  • 1
    My rule of thumb for Wish's power is: "Remember, it's only a 9th level spell". Wouldn't having the ability to cast, say, two extra 8th level spells be considered more powerful than a 9th level spell? – Shawn V. Wilson Oct 16 at 17:52
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    You wish your enemy were dead? OK! they are now a lich. – Luke Oct 16 at 20:48
  • You are misunderstanding what OP means. They aren't asking if Wish can be used to grant additional spell slots. – Captain Man Oct 16 at 21:26
  • @CaptainMan I believe if you read the question that is exactly what the OP is asking... could you clarify – rpgstar Oct 17 at 0:08
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    The question is whether that's all the spell actually does in practice. It's pretty clearly not about wanting to do that. – mattdm Oct 17 at 8:59

In a way, it gives you most spells

Wish can grant you the immediate use of any 8th level or lower spell. Rather than giving you a fixed slot, it gives you most spells from most spell lists, able to being cast without the material or preparation costs, a huge boon for more expensive spells.

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