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Cataclysm Mage Changes

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In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we’ll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you’ll get an early look at what's in store for the mage class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.

New Mage Spells

Flame Orb (available at level 81): Inspired by Prince Taldaram’s abilities in Ahn'kahet and Icecrown Citadel, this spell allows the mage to cast a flaming orb that travels in front in a straight line, sending beams that cause fire damage to passing targets. Once it’s cast, the mage is free to begin casting other spells as the Flame Orb travels. While the spell will be useful to any spec, Fire mages will have talents that improve it, possibly causing the Flame Orb to explode when it reaches its destination.

Time Warp (level 83): Grants a passive Haste effect much like Bloodlust or Heroism to party or raid members. It also temporarily increases the mage's own movement speed. Time Warp will be exclusive with Bloodlust and Heroism, meaning you can’t benefit from both if you’ve got the Exhaustion debuff, though the movement-speed increase will still work even when under the effects of Exhaustion.

Wall of Fog (level 85): Creates a line of frost in front of the mage, 30 yards from end to end. Enemies who cross the line are snared and take damage. The mana cost will be designed to make Wall of Fog efficient against groups, not individuals. This spell is intended to give mages a way to help control the battlefield, whether the mage is damaging incoming enemies (Blizzard can be channeled on top of Wall of Fog) or protecting a flag in a Battleground. 10-second duration. 30-second cooldown.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to introducing new spells, we're planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you're familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

* Arcane Missiles is being redesigned to become a proc-based spell. Whenever the mage does damage with any spell, there is a chance for Arcane Missiles to become available, similar to how the warrior’s Overpower works. The damage and mana cost of this spell will be reworked to make it very desirable to use when available. This change should make gameplay more dynamic for the mage, particularly at low levels.

* We are planning to remove spells that don't have a clear purpose. Amplify Magic, Dampen Magic, Fire Ward, and Frost Ward are being removed from the game, and we may remove more.

* The ability to conjure food and water will not become available until higher levels (likely around level 40), as we're making changes to ensure mages generally won’t run out of mana at lower levels. Once mages learn how to conjure food and water, the conjured item will restore both health and mana.

* Scorch will provide a damage bonus to the mage's fire spells. Our goal is for Scorch to be part of the mage's rotation and a useful damage-dealing ability, even if someone else is supplying the group with the spell Critical Strike debuff. Scorch will provide the mage with more specific benefits, which can also be improved through talents.

New Talents and Talent Changes

* Arcane Focus will now return mana for each spell that fails to hit your target, including Arcane Missiles that fail to launch. We want Arcane mages to have several talents that play off of how much mana the character has and give the player enough tools to manage mana.

* The talent Playing with Fire will reduce the cooldown of Blast Wave when hit by a melee attack, instead of its current effect.

* Pyromaniac will grant Haste when three or more targets are getting damaged by the effects of your damage-over-time (DoT) fire spells.

* The Burnout talent will allow mages to cast spells using health when they run out of mana.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Arcane

* Spell damage

* Spell Haste

* Mana Adept

Mana Adept: Arcane will deal damage based how much mana the mage has. For example, Arcane mages will do much more damage at 100% mana than at 50% mana. If they begin to get low on mana, they will likely want to use an ability or mechanic to bring their mana up to increase their damage.

Fire

* Spell damage

* Spell Crit

* Ignite

Ignite: All direct-damage fire spells will add a damage-over-time (DoT) component when cast. The flavor will be similar to how Fireball works; however, the DoT component will be much stronger.

Frost

* Spell damage

* Spell Crit damage

* Deathfrost

Deathfrost: Casting Frostbolt places a buff on the mage that increases the damage for all frost, fire, and arcane spells. The only damage spell that won't be affected by this buff is Frostbolt.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

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First impression of mage changes: Wow.

Flame Orb: An interesting AOE spell, hopefully fire talents can bolster the explosion to pack quite a punch. The 'moves in a straight line' aspect might be a serious issue, as mages know that it's very frustrating having Flamestrike and Blizzard be targetted and mobs easily moved out of their damage radius.

Overall Flame Orbspell has great potential and we'll need to see it used in action to make a more thorough conclusion. Will it proc ignite? Will an explosion (if fire grants one) be controllable, or does it simply explode after X seconds or having done Y damage? I'm picturing a scenario like Vile Spirits: Aim your flame orb at them, then make it blow up right on them.

Time Warp: Mages get hero. People joked about how we should get hero, but did anyone seriously expect it to come true? I do hope it gets some more personal utility aside from just increasing movement speed. However encounters in cataclysm might value high burst movement periods much more than now. Overall though, nobody is going to complain that getting hero was bad.

Wall of Fog: Interesting potential for PVP, but i'd like to see them elaborate and/or explore the PVE uses for it. How much damage the spell is intended to do: Is it intended to be a powerful PVE move as well, similar to how Deep Freeze was redesigned to be? You'd imagine they would have to divide damage up over all targets hit by the wall, if that were to be the case.

Other changes of note:

- Arcane missiles becomming proc based sounds good. Hopefully will open up dynamic rotations for other specs as well. Will fire/frost mages want to cast AM procs as well? What talents will improve the power of the AM procs, will they only be available to certain specs?

- "Scorch will provide a damage bonus to the mage's fire spells" has great potential. Will the benefits it provides vary on a per spell, or per spec basis? Or will having scorch up simply give a generic +x% damage for y seconds type implementation.

- Arcane Focus sounds impressive. " including Arcane Missiles that fail to launch". Does this mean if you cancel AM early, perhaps due to having to move out of the fire, you are refunded some of your mana?

- Burnout has amazing thematic synergy with the fire tree. Fire is a volatile risk taker. Having the talent let you use your own health when OOM (much to healers dismay I suspect) fits the tree perfectly. There will be no such thing as a "OOM fire mage who cant cast", as long as they have a healer around watching over them.

I play a mage because I like fiddling with cool magic spells. Thats why so many people are drawn to mages in MMORPG's. We want to have cool, flashy spells that have impact. My first impression of the Cata Preview is, it moves in that direction. Away from the Spellsteal, Mirror image direction. They had their place, and a good niche, but these make a more powerful impression.

Overall very happy with the proposed changes . Now we need to learn more about the spells in practice to provide feedback. Initially I thought Shamans (specifically Resto) had the best preview. Dave I say it, but I think the mage one tops that.

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- Arcane missiles becomming proc based sounds good. Hopefully will open up dynamic rotations for other specs as well. Will fire/frost mages want to cast AM procs as well?

One thing seems clear. There is a synergy between the 3rd frost mastery (deathfrost) and the new AM on proc change. Even if no other of his talents boost AM damage, a frost mage may still get enough benefit out of deathfrost to want to cast AM. Very interesting.

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I sort of confused as to why you'd think Time Warp would need more utility, it's movement speed if practically perfect since if' you're lusted and have to move you lose less dps, not sure what else you'd expect of it. (Blink utility aside)

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I agree. Many of the class changes imply that we'll be moving more during Cataclysm (Spirit walkers grace, gushing wounds, healing rain) - and anything that lets you cast while moving, or move faster - may be of more value. Thinking about the movement utility of Time Warp in a WOTLK context (Festergut, rotface, blood-queen etc.) might not be fair or accurate. Essentially, it's up to encounter designers to let the utility of the spell shine. However i'm sure most would take heroism with or without any sort of utility bonus.

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Flame Orb sounds very interesting, but it opens a lot of questions that I hope Blizzard will answer, possibly in Q & A. Will the Flame Orb be controllable, or follow a random AI path, or a straight line? Will it be a flavor spell, or be a significant part of a fire mage's arsenal?

If Fire and Frost Ward are being removed, this means that Incanter's Absorption will also undergo major changes.

- Arcane missiles becomming proc based sounds good. Hopefully will open up dynamic rotations for other specs as well. Will fire/frost mages want to cast AM procs as well? What talents will improve the power of the AM procs, will they only be available to certain specs?

I believe that Arcane Missiles will be strong enough to be worth casting as Fire and Frost, but talents in the Arcane tree will buff it significantly more than for Fire or Frost.

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If Fire and Frost Ward are being removed, this means that Incanter's Absorption will also undergo major changes.

GC already stated that IA is a candidate to be MIA when cataclysm arrives. He also posted that TtW is another talent that we'll probably have to say good bye with patch 4.0.

Besides liking the idea of getting Heroism (or bloodlust) I still dont get the "granting a speed bonus" part, as a mage you learn that to dps, you have to stay in the same spot and cast, no movement. What does this mean? Are we suppossed to dps while moving? Will instant spells become good enough to get a spot in our rotations?

The other thing I have my doubts is the Arcane adept mastery, without some cooldowns adjustments and probably mana gems scaling with your total mana, it seems arcane dps will be highly variable. Aligning Hero/Lust/Timewarp, Pots, AP, IV and Evocation seems to be the new cooldown macro.

Overall, I like the changes, however I'm hoping to see a more indepth Q&A about this changes or at least opinions from Beta testers once it starts.

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Overall it seems pretty good. Two things puzzles me, however.

Flame Orb. Another obvious spell to compare it to is the frozen orb in Diablo 2. My main issue with this spell that it is another fire AoE spell like blast wave, flamestrike, living bomb, dragon's breath. I'm having a hard time seeing the niche for all those similar spells in the same tree. At the same time arcane have 1 close combat AoE spell - to me it would have made more sense giving us Arcane Orb instead.

Looking at other classes they appears to have looked at low level viability for each spec. With the change to arcane missiles where does that take the arcane spec until you get arcane blast? I thought that spec already were gimped enough already for leveling.

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Overall it seems pretty good. Two things puzzles me, however.

Flame Orb. Another obvious spell to compare it to is the frozen orb in Diablo 2. My main issue with this spell that it is another fire AoE spell like blast wave, flamestrike, living bomb, dragon's breath. I'm having a hard time seeing the niche for all those similar spells in the same tree. At the same time arcane have 1 close combat AoE spell - to me it would have made more sense giving us Arcane Orb instead.

Looking at other classes they appears to have looked at low level viability for each spec. With the change to arcane missiles where does that take the arcane spec until you get arcane blast? I thought that spec already were gimped enough already for leveling.

Don't we get all our spells in cataclysm at level 1 now and they scale with level rather getting new ranks and spells at higher levels?

Or are some spells still restricted until you reach a certain level?

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Time Warp (level 83): Grants a passive Haste effect much like Bloodlust or Heroism to party or raid members. It also temporarily increases the mage's own movement speed. Time Warp will be exclusive with Bloodlust and Heroism, meaning you can’t benefit from both if you’ve got the Exhaustion debuff, though the movement-speed increase will still work even when under the effects of Exhaustion.

This is something I missed on my first few scans of the mage preview. Is this a typo? Because it doesn't fit in with the utility part of the spell. If not, then it looks like TW isn't like hero at all; it's just a permanent haste buff.

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I think the entire direction of a mage is heading in a good direction for when Cata comes out. I feel like they are trying to balance all the trees as opposed to have one talent spec being the focal point of the month.

I do have a few concerns however, and the approach to the mastery talents make me wonder how arcane will be handled in the long run.

"Mana Adept: Arcane will deal damage based how much mana the mage has. For example, Arcane mages will do much more damage at 100% mana than at 50% mana. If they begin to get low on mana, they will likely want to use an ability or mechanic to bring their mana up to increase their damage."

I dont know if this is much improvement for the tree. They do say that Arcane will have different talents in the tree that will help mana management, however it feels as they are almost restricting the tree by having the source of its damage be around mana usage and control, as opposed to CD's for most of the source damage as it is now.

From my perspective, fire now has more reliable and stronger DoTs and AoE's (making it much stronger for DPS then now and thats not even including the haste proc bonus), frost now has damage branched into every spec and thus makes it great for PvP and PvE, however Arcane, unless the tree is balanced between mana regeneration and the damage corresponding perfectly, seems to have been capped a little.

I dont know if this is because they want the mage trees to be similar but in different ways or because arcane wasnt scaling correct to the other adjustments, but arcane seems to have a bit of a handy cap going into this. It probably will be blowing all your CD's is bad because Im sure at one point it would be better to gain more mana back for higher DPS when you blow the remaining CD's, which will cause a close DPS loss.

Im not sure if I like the idea of arcane damage being controlled so much by the amount of mana you have.

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With the removal of some of our core spells, and spells that I use quite often, Fire and Frost Ward removal really irks me. Are warlocks keeping Shadow Ward? That'll be a kick in the balls if so, they wouldn't leave something like that to be an oversight right?

The new spells all seem weak and unimpressive to what every other class has gotten.

But the changes to previous spells looks fun, especially AM. But now that Arcane Missiles is now a proc based spell, what are they going to change Arcane Blast and Arcane Barrage to work like now? The scorch change is long overdue. The changes to what could be considered core fire talents (biggest impacts), being completely changed make me cringe as to what else they are changing in fire.

I'm basically left at a loss for what to think about these changes. I like the idea of giving mages an option to claim a raid spot with Time Warp, but I feel that our damage will still be to low in the grand scheme of things. Wall of Fog, don't think my opinion is safe for these boards yet. I like the masteries, and they might have actually gotten this form of Ignite to not be bugged! Frost viable for PvE once again? But Mana Adept, why must arcane be the gimmick spec for mages. Maybe right now there isn't enough up front information about all the changes a mage will be getting, but I get the feel that mages got the short stick when it comes to new spells. Overall it's just a feeling of "here's some changes mages desperately needed, but here's some nerfs on the side." And if what I think the change to scorch is, all that change is doing is offsetting the 3 major changes to the fire talents.

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Don't we get all our spells in cataclysm at level 1 now and they scale with level rather getting new ranks and spells at higher levels?

Or are some spells still restricted until you reach a certain level?

World of Warcraft (en) Forums -> Cataclysm - Stat Changes

The second post in that thread, about two thirds of the way down states:

Spell Ranks - Spell ranks will cease to exist. All spells will have one rank and will scale appropriately with level. The levels at which you can learn certain spells are being changed in order to fill in some of the gaps, and we will be introducing some new spells to learn along the way as well.

Which implies that you will still learn new spells at appropriate levels but once you do you don't have to keep going back to learn the new ranks. Imagine a new player's experience otherwise - 20 (guess) spells to choose from to kill your first Kobold?!

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I like the new ideas for arcane mages. It'll be neat to see mana as a pressure gauge rather than just a resource we avoid running out of. Very cool, IMO. I imagine that the arcane tree will be filled with all sorts of tools to keep the pressure gauge high and maintenance of mana will be very important to keeping your damage from suffering. We'll still want to spend as much time casting damage spells as we can but it will be interesting to see how the additional burden of mana management plays out.

It's really hard to do any real speculation about where mage DPS will be sitting and how each specialization will compare to each other without knowing the talents and values for spells. The changes sound rather ambitious and all we really know are how we expect spells to behave. Fireball will still be a fireball but we have no idea what the implications to what buttons we push really are until we get more info.

I also wonder if Wall of Fog will have LoS implications similar to the rogue smoke bomb. It's pretty cool as is for pvp content.

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"Mana Adept: Arcane will deal damage based how much mana the mage has. For example, Arcane mages will do much more damage at 100% mana than at 50% mana. If they begin to get low on mana, they will likely want to use an ability or mechanic to bring their mana up to increase their damage."

This is by far the most problimatic of the proposed changes. Now granted we don't have the numbers for the boost or for how fast you can deplete/regen mana as arcane but I forsee this mastery being a constant balance nightmare for the developers. If the swing is as big as they imply ( and I interpret the comment it as somewere in the vacinity of a 20-25% damage swing) then arcane mages will have a number of problems that will just get worse as you stack mastery.

1: they will have amazing short term burst and a pair of arcane mages may be able to blow away a designated victum in arena play even with the massivly inflated stam levels promised.

2: Long fights where you mana inevitably drains away will just flat out suck as your damage falls off horribly as the fight progresses, conversely they will be too good in short fights.

3: mana burn effects will totally suck beyond all belief. They could remove them from all further design but that is unreasonably limiting thier design pallete as well as making fights like Gen Vezex flat out undoable.

4: Any design where not casting at max speed as a dps is inherently wrong. The whole point of dps gameplay is to always be doing somthing. If the mana regen is balanced for a haste value of say 15% boost it will make haste potentially a dps loss to get as you burn out your mana faster than you can regen it and suffer massive fall off in damage.

5: Mages with pet druids could easily have a 25% advantage over a mage without one.

The concept of relating mana management to dps is a good one but at the risk of being a back seat designer I think they have got the design back to front and ramping up damage as mana depleates would be a far more player friendly implimentation of this ability.

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Mana-scaled DPS with Arcane is going to open up some dynamic rotations for sure. All CDs and the 100% mana opener is gonna feel good coming into Cata raids and PvP especially. Mana gems and Evo I can see being used much more aggressively. I'm also interested in seeing what kind of rotation we'll see with these changes in beta--basically MBAM has been replaced by AM, only proccable by any spell. I'd venture to say AB4ABarr0234AM?

Also with Fire Ward and Frost Ward out of the picture, I'd agree that IA really has no place.

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I'll be curious to see what they have in store for arcane mages now that AM is merely a chance to proc type spell, which would then mean that ABAM's would be a chance of a chance to proc (assuming ABAM remains the same)? I think the arcane mastery, Mana Adept, sounds very interesting I wonder if they plan on giving us more tools to recover mana in that case? They had already spoke of Arcane Focus, though I'm not quite sure what their intent is on this talent is considering mages generally go for hit cap which would essentially make the spell useless.

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I like the new ideas for arcane mages. It'll be neat to see mana as a pressure gauge rather than just a resource we avoid running out of. Very cool, IMO. I imagine that the arcane tree will be filled with all sorts of tools to keep the pressure gauge high and maintenance of mana will be very important to keeping your damage from suffering. We'll still want to spend as much time casting damage spells as we can but it will be interesting to see how the additional burden of mana management plays out.

This. Although I think arcane is fine where it's at right now, I loved the throttling playstyle a couple of patches back where arcane mages had to manage 3 separate rotations and shift up and down depending on their mana, compared to the 1.25 rotations we use now. More decision making (especially when mana gems gave you spellpower). I would love to see dynamic rotations make a return.

I think we need more context to see how this mastery will play out.

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In order for the pressure gauge to work well I think the tank will have be small. Right now arcane loves having a big mana pool because it delays the need for evocation. If the tank is too big then any attempts to refill it may seem too long. Either in time or in CDs, making bad decisions very damaging to output for the rest of the encounter. Now the tank can be numerically large, just like other specs will have. But the spells may be very expensive and the returns to mana very large, making the tank seem smaller and other mana sources will seem to be small bonuses rather than large ones. I expect haste to play a large part in the talents for mana regen as you get more haste in the mastery bonus. Making you run out of gas faster without compensation for refilling would be bad design and I'm sure they'd avoid that.

I imagine they would want the swing between low and high mana to be significant otherwise you won't really feel the difference. If it's 5-10% from 100% to 50% mana then it won't really be too noticeable and make the mastery bonus feel lackluster in comparison to other specs. Honestly we need to see what the numbers will be.

*edit* Another thought on the granularity of the mana pool. Ghostcrawler has stated for several of the class changes that he doesn't want certain gameplay decisions/events to not hamstring dps as much as it can for a few specs now. Making a mistake on mana management in arcane will likely cause one to stumble but not fall flat on their face in the DPS footrace. With a small granularity I'd imagine we'd want to keep hovering around 80-90% mana and any drops below that would cause you to lag irrecoverably behind. With a larger granularity you get more of a feel for your pressure gauge actually doing something and it allows you to recover from a little mistake. Can you imagine missing an evocate if it stays the same as it is now? Sure, you picked a bad time to evo and had to cut it short, but you were punished as if you just jumped in a lake of lava.

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Mana gems and Evo I can see being used much more aggressively.

Well as much as I hate to say this, it might become a more standard practice to use PoM on creating a mana gem from now on. But as for when to use Evocation for a maximum dps gain, it will all depend upon the damage boost difference for mana levels. It could also be that with all the stat changes going on that our mana pools are inflated to a proper level now(40k?) so we can have a little less disparity when it comes to trying to manage evocation to maximize dps.

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I expect haste to play a large part in the talents for mana regen as you get more haste in the mastery bonus. Making you run out of gas faster without compensation for refilling would be bad design and I'm sure they'd avoid that.

Im sure we will see a talent in the arcane tree being X amount of mana return for X haste, seeing as how the mastery alone grants more haste, and now fire spec and frost spec have haste bonuses, one being IV and the other being Pyromaniac. The "haste" direction has a few different openings in all trees now and it seems to be what blizz is focusing on as the main point in arcane.

And if this were the case, where mana regeneration was controlled by haste for arcane, then the arcane tree would truly be a haste dependent spec for the pure reason that if you have more haste you would pull higher DPS because your mana pool will constantly be regenerated. And as side effect because of your mana regeneration rate you DPS over a longer fight would be substantial higher, unlike how arcane drops with CD's on now. Basically meaning, the bigger and better gear with haste you have, the higher DPS you do because of high mana regeneration.

The rotation then wouldnt be so hard. It would simply be adjusting to your mana regeneration in adjacent to DPM, then your gear would determine not only how much damage you do from a SP and Int basis, but also your mana bar being as close to 100% as possible though haste.

If this were the approach to the arcane tree that blizz had intended, I would love that. Having my gear with int, crit, gems, and haste, with haste being the big part of the gear, determine how much DPS I will pull..... I can get used to that most definitely.

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They mentioned all dots benefiting from haste, will LB be a part of the change. No anouncements about TtW. Is Ignite going to be fixed once and for all, both the munchng part and somehow dealing with lost ignite due to targets death; not to mention Ignite being partially resisted.

Time Warp sounds cool but in practise it's somewhat of a faulty design, the choise to use heroism isn't yours it's the raid's, it's used when the raid benefits the most from it not when you need to move quicker from place to place (blink?).

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Very pleased with some of the new changes. A new fire aoe sounds situational at best which brings little in the way of substantial single target dps. Scorch fixes and ignite changes sound amazing overall for fire. Changes to burnout sound gimicky to me. Are they planning on making fire as mana intensive as arcane to the point where this talent is viable? Will they move it up so other specs can access the utility? This also sounds much more like a lock playstyle ability. With am procs, fb and scorch i see a much more interesting fire playstyle as well as a dps come back.

Deathfrost sounds amazing. Weaving frostblt with am procs, brain freeze procs and ice lance just sounds like fun for pve. Very proc heavy spec using all three classes of spells (ironically). I could see this actually working as a pick up that frost needed as well as being useful for pvp. The fog sounds like amazing utility and an added bonus for mage pvp. Seems to me catyclysm that movement and burst are going to play a much bigger role in raiding. Perhaps they plan on bringing cc back.

My biggest complaint is arcane. No additional spells and a terrible sounding mastery just seem tedious. Mana management seems like a chore rather then a bonus. Sure it challenge mages to be more aggressive with mana cooldowns but it seems to me id spend more time worrying about keeping my mana topped off rather then efficiently using the mana i have to produce the closest possible balance between balls to the walls and simple mana saving spam. This pretty much takes away arcanes most interesting aspect. I hope im wrong but it doesn't look good for arcane where im standing.

BLOODLUST hehe im stoked.

Having given it a second thought the arcane mastery acts very similar to rage mechanic in catclysm. More rage/mana bigger hits. Using an optimal dmp rotation at first only switching when 3 ab spam exceeds damage from optimal dpm rotation at a whatever percent mana that happens to be. Again this brings up the problem of either arcane gets a huge utility overhaul or current mana regen abilities need to change to be more balanced or more frequent. currently id ab abarr over and over pop cds etc and only switch to ab x3 rotation at low mana if im reading mechanic right. sounds backwards to me

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I feel that the mana adept changes can imply that arcane mages will use arcane spells until we've spent X per cent of our mana, then possibly change to a fire rotation.

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The main issue I see with Mana Adept is it will be very difficult to design it so it feels like a bonus instead of a penalty. That is: So that the max damage bonus doesn't feel like what our "normal" damage should be and the damage we're doing with lower amounts of mana a reduced amount. At what level of mana pool will we be "balanced"? Will we be forced to have over 50% mana at all times or risk falling below other classes and specs? Or will, say, 20-80% mana do the same damage as everyone else, 80%+ more, and 20%- less? It will be a very difficult sweet spot for Blizzard to hit. The wider the "normal damage" midrange, the easier to balance, but the more lackluster the mastery would feel since it's rarely in play, and the narrower the midrange, the more difficult to balance (and the more likely "normal" needs to be weighted nearer a full mana pool to avoid arcane being overpowered in shorter fights, bringing us back to it feeling like a penalty rather than a bonus).

I'm glad our masteries didn't turn out as boring as the warlock ones; I feared something like theirs with just increased damage by x% to the proper school. But arcane's in particular will be a tough thing to balance properly. I eagerly await the initial values from beta and where they end up over time.

Other stuff:

I wanted to note briefly that Ignite now applies an extra DoT on all fire spell attacks, not just crits (a distinction I didn't notice until my second read, so I thought I'd point it out in case I'm not alone in that). That'll result in a reduced crit scaling factor for the spec compared to the old Ignite mechanic. Conversely, frost's crit scaling factor will grow in relation to its mastery.

Also, Time Warp has one significant flaw the way it's written currently. In fights where you use heroism early, I'm still going to want a shaman to pop it so I can save the movement speed cooldown for myself, and in fights where you must save heroism for a certain phase or frenzy, I'll be unable to use the cooldown for the movement speed without ruining the timing of the haste for the rest of the raid. This will potentially be an even worse issue in PvP, where a nearby mage in your battleground with blink on cooldown popping Time Warp to get away from an enemy melee will put you on Exhaustion at a time when you may not be able to utilize the haste portion of the buff effectively (and then can't benefit from that portion of the buff until 10 minutes later or after a death and respawn). The only solutions for this I can think of are either that increased movement speed become a part of the heroism buff from all sources (and tied directly to it), or the two effects are decoupled and made two separate abilities for the mage.

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