This thread is our consolidated resource for Cataclysm Fire Mages. It will be updated over time. Many generous members of the EJ Mage community lend their time, knowledge and skills to make it possible to present this information to you.
- Talent Calculator: Cataclysm Talent Calculator: Mage
- Mage Resources: http://elitistjerks....mage_resources/
- Fire Mage: Level 80 vs 85 Comparison: Damage Dealing - Forums - World of Warcraft
- Mage Simulators: http://elitistjerks....rs_formulators/
- Combustion Helper: CombustionHelper - Addons - Curse A great mod which helps you manage and track Fire Dots, Procs, and Combustion.
This link will assist you greatly in choosing gear for your Fire mage: Gearing your Fire Mage
This link uses the current values of each Combat Rating for a Level 85 Fire Mage to calculate an overall Item Score. This score can be used to quickly compare items. These stat values are current as of the latest Simulationcraft results, but may be subject to tweaks / improvements in future. Notice that some items on the list have Spirit. Although this is useless for Mages, it's included in case you have no other non-spirit equivalent gear to wear.
For a greater understanding of Combat Ratings, and why items such as Crit are valued so highly by Fire mages, read the rest of this post.
The EJ mage forum has one central resource for all information pertaining to: Combat Ratings, Gems, Enchants, Raidbuffs, Consumables, Arcanums, Profession Bonuses, Racial Bonuses. Visit the thread below for discussion and analysis on all this and more:
Flame Orb is a new Cataclysm Mage Fire spell. All mages learn Flame Orb at level 81. The Tooltip reads, "Launches a Flame Orb forward from the Mage's position, dealing X Fire damage every second to the closest enemy target for 15 secs. 1 minute cooldown, 40 yard range."
Flame Orb has a high spell coefficient, which makes it a powerful 1 minute cooldown.
Flame Orb does not AOE as it travels, instead it attacks the single closest target. At the end of its travel path, it can be talented to explode via Fire Power. The Flame Orb spell is more accurately described as a single target DPS cooldown which can provide a single AOE pulse at the end of its duration.
When cast, Flame Orb travels directly forward 40 yards then dissappears if no target was in range to attack. Although the Flame Orb travels forward very fast initially, it slows down greatly when it begins attacking an in-range target. The Flame Orb takes roughly 5 seconds to travel 40 yards. If cast with an object in the way, such as a wall, Flame Orb will exist for the same 5 second duration, but will still dissappear if no target was in range to attack.
The 15 second duration timer for Flame Orb begins when it starts doing damage. If your Flame Orb takes 3 seconds to move to a location close enough to begin attacking an enemy target, it will still attack for a full 15 second duration. It will not subtract the initial travel time from the spell duration (15sec duration - 3sec travel time) and only attack for 12 seconds.
Flame Orb crits trigger ignite.
Flashburn|New Fire Mage mastery. Increases the damage done by all your periodic fire damage effects by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases periodic damage done by an additional 2.5%.
Fire Specialization|Special bonus all Fire Mages receive. Increases the damage of your Fire spells by 25%
Flame Orb|New Fire spell all mages learn at level 81. Discussed in more detail above.
Spirit|Now a healer stat only. No longer provides Mages with Mana regeneration in Combat.
Mastery|New Cataclysm stat found on high level gear. Fire Mage mastery is called Flashburn.
Molten Armor|No longer scales with Spirit. Crit bonus reduced to 3%. Glyph of Molten Armor provides an additional 2% crit.
Mage Armor|Now regenerates 3% of maximum mana per 5 seconds. Glyph of Mage Armor boosts this by an additional 20%.
Hot Streak|Has been split into two talents: Hot Streak and Improved Hot Streak. This is discussed in detail in the Additional Talent Notes section.
Impact|Allows Fire Blast to spread all DOT's on your current target to nearby enemies.
Firestarter|Scorch can now be cast while moving via the Firestarter talent. Note that Molten Armor must be used for this talent to take effect.
Critical Mass|Given a selfish benefit. The Pyroblast spell can now also apply the Critical Strike debuff.
Frostfire Bolt|Can now be used as an alternative to Fireball as the Primary nuke for the Fire rotation. You must use Glyph of Frostfire when doing this. The base spell no longer leaves a DOT on the target, but Glyph of Frostfire will modify the spell to leave a +3% additional damage over 12 seconds DOT (stacks 3 times)
Living Bomb|Living Bomb can only be applied to 3 targets. The explosion from Living Bomb will only hit 3 targets. Living Bomb can be refreshed before the timer expires, but doing so will cause the current Living Bomb to be removed with no explosion. When using Impact with Living Bomb when 4 or more targets are close, Living Bomb will be removed from your current target completely (with no explosion) and spread to another 3.
Fireball|No longer has a DOT component at all.
Pyroblast|Has a 3.5 second base cast time. Spell is now only available to Fire Mages.
Pyroblast!|Notice the "!" at the end. Pyroblast! is a different version of the spell with the same name. Hot Streak and Improved Hot Streak allow you to cast Pyroblast! It's instant cast and has 0 base mana cost.
Blast Wave|Is now a targettable, range casted AOE. No longer knocks back, instead snares targets for a short duration. Can be improved via the Improved Flamestrike talent to provide an additional, free Flamestrike when cast on 2 targets.
Mage Ward|Now absorbs Fire, Frost and Arcane Damage.
Flamestrike|Radius increased to 8 yards. (Same as Blizzard). Can be talented to be instant cast via Improved Flamestrike
Focus Magic|No longer available to Fire Mages.
Torment the Weak|Bonus now applies to Arcane spells only.
Mana Shield|Absorbs damage at the expense of mana on a 1:1 ratio. Has a 12 second cooldown on use.
Arcane Brilliance|Increases mana by a specific amount. Also gives +6% spellpower to all targets.
Time Warp|Mage version of the Heroism spell. Learnt at level 85.
Ring of Frost|New Frost spell learnt at level 83. Deals no damage, but offers excellent crowd control and Area of effect denial. Check the Frost Spec thread for more information.
1|Master of Elements|Recommended. Fire uses extra mana and efficiency to cast more Fireballs. More Fireballs is more DPS.
1|Burning Soul| Highly Recommended. There are too many Cataclysm fights where pushback is an issue. This is not a talent you want to skip.
1|Improved Fire Blast| Optional. Impact can only be spread via Fire Blast, which has a base 30 yard range. Other Fire spells have a 40 yard range. Whether you feel more range is needed for Impact, to being it closer in line to the range on other Fire spells, is subjective. Some players will skip this talent completely, others will put a single point in.
2|Ignite|Essential. Cornerstone talent of the Fire tree.
2|Blazing Speed|Skip. PvP talent.
2|Impact|Highly recommended. Impact (DOT spreading) is a strength of the Fire tree.
3|Cauterize|Highly Recommended. This talent can be extremely useful for DPS and survival, especially during Heroic and Progression content. Read the section below for more details.
3|Blastwave| Highly Recommended. Blastwave is only ~1k mana at 85. Very cheap, and coupled with Improved Flamestrike, provides good DPS for a single GCD.
3|Hot Streak|Essential. Cornerstone talent of the Fire tree.
3|Improved Scorch| Essential. You need to weave many Scorches in your rotation alongside Fireball. This talent will save you mana each time you cast Scorch, mana you can then use to cast more Fireballs when needed.
4|Molten Shields|Skip. PvP talent. (Note: The Molten Shields talent will still proc the Blazing Speed effect, even if you have no points in the actual "Blazing Speed" talent)
4|Combustion|Essential. Fires 2 minute cooldown. For more details regarding how Combustion actually works, read the section below.
4|Improved Hot Streak|Essential. Cornerstone talent of the Fire tree.
4|Firestarter| Highly Recommended. Many fights require lots of movement. This talent lets you DPS on the run, and the mobility it gives is a strength of the Fire tree.
5|Improved Flamestrike|Highly Recommended. An Instant Flamestrike is great for AOE. Having Blastwave also give a free Flamestrike is another bonus.
5|Dragon's Breath| Essential. You need this talent to reach Living Bomb
5|Molten Fury| Essential.
6|Pyromaniac| Recommended, but this talent is highly situational. Read the section below for more details
6|Critical Mass|Highly Recommended. Crit is what makes the Fire tree function, and is an important raid debuff to bring. Buffing Living Bomb and Flame Orb is also a strong bonus.
7|Living Bomb|Essential. Cornerstone talent of the Fire tree.
1|Piercing Ice|Highly Recommended. The strongest subspec talent. Fire mages always want more crit.
1|Netherwind Presence|Recommended. Not as strong as Piercing Ice for subspec, but it's the next best candidate for leftover subspec talent points
1|Arcane Concentration|First point Optional. Second and third point skip. This talent is a minor DPS upgrade. The DPS value of the first point of Arcane Concentration is much higher than the other two, check the Additional Talent Notes section for more detail.
1|Improved Counterspell|Skip from standard builds. Using Counterspell as a spellock interrupt is sufficient for Raids. However, if you're terrible with catching interrupts, and you're doing a fight where interrupts are crucial - you could consider temporarily speccing into this talent as a crutch to assist you.
Prime|Glyph of Pyroblast|Recommended. Pyroblast comprises a large portion of your total damage output
Prime|Glyph of Molten Armor|Recommended. Fire mages always want more crit. This provides +2% on all your spells
Prime|Glyph of Fireball|Recommended. Fireball comprises a large portion of your total damage output
Prime|Glyph of Frostfire|Recommended - only if you use Frostfire Bolt as main nuke. If so, this replaces Glyph of Fireball
Prime|Glyph of Living Bomb|Not recommended. Living Bomb is not as strong as the other Prime Glyphs. Living Bomb comprises a smaller portion of your damage output compared to Fireball or Pyroblast, yet this Glyph only adds +3% damage to that (Compared to Fireball and Pyroblasts' Glyphs giving their respective spells +5% Crit)
Prime|Glyph of Mage Armor|Not recommended. You'll be using Molten Armor, rendering this Glyph useless.
Major|Glyph of Blink|Recommended. Blink is an amazing spell. This glyph makes it even better.
Major|Glyph of Evocation|Recommended. You'll always prefer to cast Evocation for mana, even if you're full health at the time. However, this Glyph gives you a powerful self heal for times where you might desperately need it
Major|Glyph of Polymorph|Recommended. Great Glyph to ensure that when you want to Polymorph something, it won't be broken immediately by careless players.
Minor|Glyph of Conjuring|Recommended. This also reduces the cost of conjuring Mana Gems. For any Cataclysm fights over 6 minutes, where you'll need to resummon a Mana Gem, this seemingly innocent minor Glyph will save you a chunk of mana.
Minor|Glyph of Arcane Brilliance.|Recommended. The is recommended because people will frequently die on new fights in Cataclysm. After receiving a Combat Res, you may need to rebuff them with Arcane Brilliance. This Glyph will save you a chunk of mana.
Misc||All other Glyphs not listed here are too situational to mention. Pick and choose from them as necessary.
The value of combat ratings for a Fire Mage is, in descending order:
1|Intellect|The strongest stat by far.
2|Hit|You need 17% hit (1742 rating) for Tier 11 boss mobs. Aim to your cap hit as soon as possible. This is more difficult to do in early Cataclysm content compared to what you may remember from WOTLK. You may need to consider: Hit enchants, Gems with hit, Reforging items for more hit.
3|Crit|Crit is strong because the Fire spec is built around it. Hot Streak relies on crits. Flashburn is more effective when spells crit (They leave an Ignite, which Flashburn can amplify). Crit rates boost the amount of mana restored by Master of Elements, which in turn allows for more Fireballs to be cast. Combustion is a more powerful (and more easily used) cooldown when spells crit often. Crit is the heart of the Fire spec, so it should be no surprise it's such a strong combat rating.
4|Mastery|Mastery and Haste are both considerably weaker than Crit. Mastery is slightly better than haste.
5|Haste|Mastery and Haste are both considerably weaker than Crit.
Fire Mages can cast either Fireball or Frostfire Bolt as primary nuke in their rotation. The DPS difference is trivial, but Fireball is superior by a very small margin: Less than 1%. Why's the difference so small?
- Fireball and Frostfire Bolt cost the same amount of mana
- Fireball and (Glyphed) Frostfire bolt do the same amount of damage
The only other notable difference stems from Glyph of Fireball and Glyph of Frostfire. Glyph of Frostfire Bolt adds a 3% damage DOT (stacks 3 times) whereas Glyph of Fireball adds 5% crit. The periodic damage of Glyphed Frostfire Bolt can crit, which will leave an Ignite for additional damage.
For Tier 11 levels of gear and combat ratings, the 5% crit from Fireball's Glyph is very slightly superior to the extra damage DOT from Frostfire Bolt's Glyph. There's no other difference, aside from aesthetics. Therefore we can sum up the primary nuke debate by saying:
Fireball as primary nuke is better, but only very slightly. The difference is small enough such that you could even opt to cast the spell you find most pleasing visually.
Here's a good starting build for a Level 85 Fire Mage: Standard Level 85 Fire Build: 3 / 35 / 3
- No points in Improved Fire Blast were taken. This means you'll need to be within 30 yards to use Impact, which is the base Fire Blast range. Whether players deem this range to be unacceptably low for AOE fights is highly subjective. If you take one point from Netherwind Presence to place into Improved Fire Blast, you'll suffer a minor (~1%) DPS loss. Alternatively, you could drop points from Cauterize instead. But before you consider dropping Cauterize, make sure you're mindful of just how useful / powerful that talent can be.
- Molten Shields and Blazing Speed are skipped completely. These are PvP talents that will find very limited use in raiding.
- Cauterize is included. During new Heroic and Progression content, this talent will prove extremely useful. Cauterize is not only passive, but on a 1 minute cooldown. Remember that Cauterize can also be aggressively used for DPS, even if situationally, in addition to its survival benefits.
- Pyromaniac is included, but be mindful that it's still very situational. You could drop Pyromaniac and spend the points instead in Arcane Concentration - resulting in a very minor (~1%) DPS gain for single target fights, but a large DPS loss for fights with AOE potential. An example of this type of situational build is Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft. It's ideally suited for "Patchwerk style" fights, which are the minority of encounters. You may see mages using this build occasionally for single target fights, but for any fight with AOE, those mages will respec back to the standard build listed above.
- Hot Streak VS Improved Hot Streak: What's the difference?
How does Tier 3 Hot Streak work? The non-mathy answer: It 'smooths' Hot Streak out, by making sure it's not too rare at low levels of crit, but isn't too common at high levels of crit. The bonus from T3 Hot Streak scales inversely with your crit. For example, if you have a low 10% crit chance, "Hot Streak" may have a 60% chance to proc on a single crit. But if you have a high 45% crit chance, "Hot Streak" may have a 0% chance to proc on a single crit.
As your Crit rate increases (Via upgrades, raid buffs etc) this bonus from Tier 3 Hot Streak is reduced, and eventually hits 0 when you reach a threshold Crit rate. This is a hidden mechanic, neither the game nor talent pane tells you "Hot Streak" scales dynamically like this.
Although the T3 Hot Streak bonus scales down with increasing crit, the chance of a T4 Hot Streak scales upward with increasing crit. The two talents complement each other, working together to "smooth" Hot Streak out for all levels of crit. For more information regarding Hot Streak, click the spoiler tag below:
- Pyroblast VS Pyroblast! - What's the difference?
Pyroblast! (With the "!" at the end) is another version of the spell with the same name. Pyroblast! is what you cast when under the effects of the the Hot Streak or Improved Hot Streak talents. Pyroblast! has a 0 mana base cost and is instant cast. Two important points to note:
1: Because Pyroblast! has a 0 mana base cost, it gives no mana back via Master of Elements.
2: Pyroblast! does not consume Clearcasting (via Arcane Concentration)
If you attempt to hard cast the 3.5 second version of this spell, you're casting "Pyroblast" instead.
Pyromaniac is a highly situational talent. It's very good for encounters where you have 3+ mobs present, and completely useless on encounters with 1 or 2 mobs only. Therefore, Pyromaniac can prove subjective when assessing whether it should be included in a standard talent build.
This is why you'll sometimes see builds or players suggesting Pyromaniac be skipped from the standard talent build. Those are builds which essentially say the talent is too situational for standard consideration. However, for any fight where Pyromaniac can be applied, those builds will need to respec: The Pyromaniac talent is very strong when 3 mobs are present for any meaningful period of time.
Cauterize can be extremely useful. The first use is obvious: It can save you from Death, like Guardian Angel. A one minute cooldown is very short for this type of effect, and useful during difficult heroic and raid progression encounters. Being passive makes it even more powerful.
The other, perhaps surprising use of Cauterize, is for DPS. You can use the talent aggressively for a surprisingly large DPS gain. Three examples of where this is possible are Algalon, Festergut and Sapphiron. All of these fights have 'Big Bomb' type mechanics which will instantly kill you, unless you perform various mechanics (Enter Black Holes on Algalon, get Spores on Festergut, LOS behind Tombs on Sapphiron). However you can use Cauterize to ignore all of these mechanics completely. On Festergut, there are 2 Pungent Blights, and you could Iceblock one and use Cauterize for the other. On Algalon, there are several Big Bangs and you can ignore them all and just let Cauterize save you while you continue to DPS. Even fights such as Sapphiron (Back in Naxx) you can ignore every Frost Bomb and let Cauterize handle your survival, and continue to happily DPS while everyone can't - because they must perform survival mechanics dictated by the encounter. On Kel'thuzad, don't bother moving from Void Fissures - let Cauterize handle it. You'll still want to use Mage Ward and/or a Healthstone to help survive afterwards, as Cauterize will take you to low levels of health as you burn.
- Improved Scorch
Scorch is a part of Fire's rotation at 85. You could be forgiven for thinking this talent is optional due to its placement in the tree, but it's actually required for raids. Every time you cast Scorch, this talent saves you spending any mana to cast it. That 's mana which can be used to cast Fireball instead.
- Arcane Concentration
Arcane Concentration can be considered a minor DPS subspec talent for Fire mages. Any talent that improves Fire's mana efficiency, such as Arcane Concentration, will allow Fire Mages to tweak their Scorch VS Fireball casting ratio in favour of more Fireballs. Fireball is higher DPS than Scorch, so the more you cast the higher your DPS will be.
Furthermore, the DPS value for each point of Arcane Concentration is not equal. The first point can improve DPS by up to ~1%, whereas the second and third are much lower. The first point of Arcane Concentration is of comparable DPS value to Netherwind Presence for subpsec points, the second and third though are not.
Impact and Improved Fire Blast
Impact spreads DOTs with their current remaining duration. If you have 1 second left on your Ignite and Impact Fire Blast spread it, all affected targets will also receive an ignite with 1 second left.
Most Fire Spells in Cataclysm have a 40 yard base range, except Fire Blast, which is 30 yards
Impact relies on Fire Blast to spread DOTs
- You need to be mindful of what range you deem is acceptable for Impact usage. If you place 0/1/2 points in Improved Fire Blast, you'll need to be within 30/35/40 yards to take advantage of Impact. Both points in Improved Fire Blast are required if you wish to bring Impact use range in line with other Fire spells.
- You'll notice that some talent builds will place any of 0, 1 or both points in Improved Fire Blast. When talking about range talents: what players deem necessary will be very subjective.
- Combustion - How does it work?
The tooltip states, "Instantly deals X to Y Fire damage and creates a new periodic fire effect on the target, lasting 10 sec and dealing the same damage per time as all your existing periodic fire effects".
Combustion sums up the individual DPS of all your existing DOTs on a target, creates a new debuff with that value, and has the new debuff tick every second for a 10 second total duration. Remember that the wording in DOT tooltips, or what a DOT ticks for, is not necessarily its DPS value. If a given DOT does "1500 damage every 3 seconds" or "5000 damage over 10 seconds" - they still both tick for value: 500 DPS. This DPS value is what Combustion combines when consolidating DOTs, and to calculate the new consolidated DOT's value. Example below:
Combustion example. If you have:
- Ignite ticking for 500 dps
- Pyroblast ticking for 200 dps
- Living Bomb ticking for 300 dps
= Combustion would create a new DOT which ticks for 1000 dps over a 10 second period, for 10 000 total damage.
- Combustionhelper is a small mod that makes it easier to manage Fire Dots and Combustion. Getting a strong Combustion is very important to Fire mage DPS. You can download this mod here: CombustionHelper - Addons - Curse
- Combustion can be spread via Impact. Combustion consolidates DOT's from: Pyroblast, Ignite, Living Bomb, Glyphed Frostfire Bolt. The damage-over-time portion of Flamestrike does not leave a debuff on affected targets, therefore it does not interact with Combustion. The upfront damage of Flamestrike however, can (as it can Crit and leave an ignite).
- When should you use Combustion? Use it when Living Bomb and Ignite are on your target at the very least. The ideal Combustion however will have Living Bomb, Pyroblast (Dot), Frostfire Bolt DOT (If FFB is your primary nuke) and a big Ignite from Pyroblast. However, at level 85 with lower crit ratings, it's much more difficult than level 80 to get this ideal scenario to occur. Sometimes it just won't happen for a long time, and you might not have the luxory of being able to wait.
With this in mind: Latest findings suggest it's always worth waiting to cast Combustion - until Living Bomb and Ignite are on your target at the very least. Avoid using Combustion only with Living Bomb, even if it means you cast fewer Combustions over the course of the fight. Ignite and Pyroblast DOTs are what make Combustion worth casting, even if you need to wait a while after each 2 minute cooldown to do so.
Fire Mages in Cataclysm need to manage their mana very carefully. Gone are the level 80 days where mana was irrelevant. Attempting to cast chain cast Fireballs will result in you running OOM around ~3-4 minutes into an encounter. You can't do this anymore.
The new technique Fire mages employ is Scorch Weaving, whilst using Molten Armor, in conjunction with the Improved Scorch talent. Scorch is free to cast, and cast frequently in rotation alongside Fireball. Think of Fireball as a high damage, yet unsustainable nuke. Scorch is the lower damage, yet infinetely sustainable nuke. If you get the balance right - you'll make your mana last a long time and avoid going OOM - and still be able to deliver competitve DPS. If you get the balance wrong, by casting too many Fireballs, you'll go OOM and need to cast excessive Scorches afterwards while you regain mana, reducing DPS.
There are two other ways you can attempt to approach mana at 85. Neither of these are optimal from a DPS standpoint, but we'll note them here for the sake of thoroughness:
1 - Don't use Fireball at all. Only cast Scorch in rotation. Despite sounding like a ridiculous thing to do, it could actually provide up to ~90% of the DPS your normal Fireball/Scorch rotation would ordinarily deliver. Surprised at how strong it is? The big reason is Hot Streak: Scorch is a fast casting spell, and casting it more often means you get many more opportunities for Hot Streak Procs. Those Pyroblasts are big DPS. Ultimately, attempting this style of play will be a DPS loss, even if not quite as big as you might initially suspect.
2 - Use Mage Armor. Using Mage Armor makes mana largely trivial again. However it comes with two key problems. Firstly, you lose DPS mobility. Firestarter allows Scorch to be cast while moving, when Molten Armor is active. There are many Cataclysm encounters where you need to move, and move often. Using Mage Armor will prevent you from DPS'ing effectively during these periods. Second: It's lower DPS. Simulations show that using Molten Armor (With Scorch Weaving) is simply put, the better thing to do. You can attempt to use Mage Armor instead, but you're putting yourself at a disadvantage.
This section is intended to discuss current issues Mages have, regarding the state of Cataclysm Fire.
- Casting Frequent -1.5sec Spells in Rotation: Fire weaves Scorch into its rotation, a lot. Scorch is a fast casting spell and has a GCD locking feel when spammed. Casting Scorch this often makes Mages question whether the resulting button-mashing gameplay is detrimental to the overall spec. Wasn't this sort of GCD-spamming gameplay what Blizzard wanted to steer away from for Cataclysm?
- Luck: Fun VS Frustration. Fire mages absolutely love Crit. However, getting crits equates to getting lucky. A little luck here and there is fun, it gets you excited when that Hot Streak pops up, and you love the high MoE returns from your constant crits. But there's an ominous balance between loving crit, and relying on crit so badly that it's what makes the tree not only functional - but fun to play. Well, Combat ratings have been substantially reduced at lvl 85. You just won't be critting that much anymore. This has several major repercussions for Fire as outlined below:
- Master of Elements: MoE is much less effective at level 85, due to lower crit rates. Should the talent be buffed, or given a Fire only improvement talent (deeper in the tree) that makes it more powerful to Fire mages?
- Hot Streak: Is become a much rarer occurance. Rare enough such that Critical Mass can start falling off your targets, unless you Scorch Refresh it.
- Fun Factor: Although "Fun" is subjective, many mages will agree that Hot Streak Pyroblasts are a hallmark fun element in the Fire tree. Given that Hot Streaks will be much rarer at 85, we'll need to be mindful whether the playstyle will become too boring in their relative rarity. Tier 3 Hot Streak was designed to help combat this, but whether it does enough remains to be seen.
- Combustion: Getting a strong Ignite (via Crits) is needed for an optimal Combustion. But with lower ratings, this is more difficult to pull off (Takes more time, requires more luck). Combustion has a 2 minute cooldown: But are you prepared to wait a considerable amount of time after that to actually use it, because you want to get a worthwhile Ignite up first? Do you consider that interesting or frustrating design? Having a big Ignite isn't "Icing on the cake" for Combustion, it's the whole damn cake!
- Living Bomb has several issues, outlined below:
- Refreshing LB on a target will remove the current LB without an explosion. If you clip your LB reapplication, even if by only by a split second, you lose the explosion completely. Very frustrating.
- Living Bomb Target Cap. LB was given a cap of 3 targets during Beta. This was due to how ridiculously OP Impact could be when used with an uncapped LB. However, the cap now causes frustration when Living Bomb interacts with Impact, as outlined in the next point. Simply increasing the Living Bomb cap to 4 or 5 would alleviate this from occuring in most realistic circumstances. This is because pulls with 4-5 mobs are common, but 6 and above aren't. Having the Cap set at three just seems a little too low, when 4-5 would make much more practical sense.
- Living Bomb + Impact Interaction. Awkward and very frustrating. If you have 4 mobs, with LB on one, using Impact will result in Living Bomb being spread to the other 3 targets - and Living Bomb will actually get removed completely from your primary target. This occurs whether you wanted it to happen or not. Furthermore, there is no explosion when it's removed.
- Ignite Muching. Ignite has been plagued with bugs for a long time. That hasn't changed, but in Catalysm DOT's are more important than ever to the Fire tree. Even our new mastery is directly tied to them. Anything involving Ignite munching is a more pressure issue than ever
- Improved Scorch. Is Scorch Weaving really intended to be the way Fire manages mana? We have to do it, but did the designers really want Scorch to have such a big role for Fire mages?
- Pyromaniac. Thematically, this is a great talent on paper. The problem is: Pyromaniac swings on a huge pendulum, alternating between extremely powerful and literally useless. Pyromaniac is excellent when it's up (3 targets present) and useless if you isn't. How is Blizzard going to balance this talent?
- Mana Management. Fire needs to make extensive use of Scorch Weaving to survive. Without it, Fire struggles to go the distance on longer fights, even with smart Gem/Evocation/Pot usage. Many mages feel that this extent of mana management should be an "Arcane thing to do" - and not be such a strong part of the Fire mage playstyle.
- Number of Fire AOE Talents. Fire has a few AOE orientated talents. These range between mildly to very situational. Improved Flamestrike, Blastwave, Pyromaniac, Impact. There's concern these AOE talents take up too many points in the Fire tree. If AOE is getting pushed somewhat into a niche role in Cataclysm, we simply don't AOE as much, why have so many Fire talent points dedicated to improving it?
- Combustion: Combustion can deliver impressive damage over the 10 second duration, with proper planning, time and a little luck. Mages are concerned because getting the essential Combustion DOT's up not only takes time (GCD's) but also a little luck (Ignite). Combustion isn't as easily used at level 85 as a cooldown, compared to level 80. Some players feel this reflects poor design - and would prefer Combustion to be a more traditional burst damage cooldown.