When I first started googling things for Wizard 101, I stumbled onto the Friendly Necromancer. This site is whimsical, well-written, and covers pretty much everything. I had been meaning to add it to my useful links, so I just did.
His latest post is great, about running a character that is basically naked (starting wizard robes with no buffs, starting wand, starting deck). He's in Dragonspyre right now. What is hilarious is... how the heck does he do it? A diviner is a great choice to try it, because you will need to be able to put out enough damage, but with a starter deck, you only have so many blasts in you. You can build up for one enemy, but what if there are three? Does your tiny deck have the ability to keep up? Hmm. I guess you could do it if you learned reshuffle (or keep a supply of them as treasure cards). I guess you can do this, after all. But I'll tell ya, gear sure does help, doesn't it! Also, pets that spritely :P
So let's hear it for Angus, playing Wiz101 in nightmare mode! Now I want to try this :P