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#21 Logix

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 01:17 AM

I guess the main problem is that the mastery is very mathy and most players don't understand yet its impact on how to play the spec optimally. The main thing to understand about the mastery is that in between mana cooldowns you will want to use cycles in order of increasing mps in consecutive order, starting with low dps/mps and increaseing to high dps/mps the closer you are to mana cooldown. Choosing at what dps/mps level to start and when to switch between cycles and how to react to rng will be the major thing that will distinguish an average mage from one taking the spec to its full potential. For more details on the math behind this you can check http://elitistjerks....p5/#post1626750 and some previous posts by Roywyn and Muphrid.

I do not, necessarily, agree. I believe you might be selling people's understanding of mana adept short, as well as misunderstanding what the real issue people have with it is.
Needless to say, the points you raised were already addressed in the very same thread you linked. Let me recap some of them here:

1. The core idea of mana management through Mana Adept and rotation management (and through extension, the idea of altering DPM cycles) is reliant on the fact that there do, in fact, exist a selection of reliable DPM cycles to choose from. I.e. there is no point in stating "mana management and dynamic play will occur by selecting different cycles" when the actual choice of reliable cycles is almost non-existent.

2. As shown by me in post #430 of that thread (page 18, second paragraph), there are multiple fundamental flaws in basing the entirety of Arcane's mana management gameplay around a proc (especially since, there are no other tools to use for management).

The first problem is that, contrary to your assertion, it is actually harder to distinguish between a mage who played poorly and one who just got unlucky. (as shown in my post).
Secondly, the entire concept of the core gameplay of a "mana control" spec being based around a proc (hence "chance") seems to go contrary to the basic idea of what "control" means (as well as being slightly absurd altogether). It is like saying, "Frost mages specialize in freezing things" but then having the entirety of the "freezing" gameplay only happen through the frostbite talent (and take away everything else).
Furthermore, RNG as a "core" mechanic of a spec is really not acceptable. It may seem 'fun' or 'neat' when studied in a bubble, but as many a fire mage of early WoTLk can attest to, having the entirety of your performance be determined by RNG just makes for a frustrating experience. After all, telling a mage that he's S.O.L because he didn't save up enough mana because the RNG-gods didn't smile on him isn't exactly the most robust system or design for a spec to have.

3. And probably most importantly, many people do not have a problem with the core idea of mana management or even mana adept as an idea per say, but instead, they have a problem with the fact that a spec that is 'supposed' to be about mana management doesn't really have many tools to manage that mana with. I would go further and assert that even if, somehow, arcane rotations were fixed to give us a large (and diverse) toolbox of rotations to choose from, that should just be one of the ways Arcane manages mana and interacts with its mastery.

This entire idea is encapsulated in a very simple yet potent statement made by Pasture in that same thread:

Well the dynamic element of the Arcane is supposed to come from its mastery, ie maintaining high levels of mana for as long as possible. That in itself is management enough without adding lots of tricks and complications throughout the tree. The main problem with this is that Arcane doesn't really have anything new to manage with.


The basic idea is, that you cannot base a spec around a core idea, but not provide a diverse set of tools and gameplay options to interact with that idea. Fire has numerous talents, abilities and combos that play with its DoTs, that effect its DoTs and that alter/extend the usability of its DoTs. Ditto for frost and freezing. That is the real issue people have with arcane.


So no, I do not think that the reason people are having trouble with Arcane is because they don't understand the mastery. In fact, very early on, many mages intuitively reached the very same conclusions about altering DPM cycles that Roywn and Muphrid did later in that thread (remember, you do not need to build an optimal theory model to be able to 'understand' something, even if just on an intuitive level, which, for Mana Adpet's case, is more than enough).

And all this is without even going into the issues people have had with the fact that Mana Adpet will inherently be a grande sized pita to actually balance right. An idea which alone makes people weary of mana adept right now. The lack of any real changes to Arcane in numerous beta patches does very little to alleviate this weariness.

#22 Uglybugger

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 02:06 AM

1. The core idea of mana management through Mana Adept and rotation management (and through extension, the idea of altering DPM cycles) is reliant on the fact that there do, in fact, exist a selection of reliable DPM cycles to choose from. I.e. there is no point in stating "mana management and dynamic play will occur by selecting different cycles" when the actual choice of reliable cycles is almost non-existent.

2. As shown by me in post #430 of that thread (page 18, second paragraph), there are multiple fundamental flaws in basing the entirety of Arcane's mana management gameplay around a proc (especially since, there are no other tools to use for management).

These two points reflect my own feelings.

Having a rotation that is reliant on RNG to cast one of its primary spells does not appeal to me. That's why I liked the auto-AM activating version of Arcane Barrage so much; it gave me a choice. Even if Arcane Missiles keeps it's relatively high 40% proc rate, I'll still run into frustrating instances of bad luck where I'll cast four or five spells before I am able to cast AM again.

RNG is like playing whack-a-mole blindfolded. Sure, you'll eventually hit one, but it's not because you're skilled. I can't take pride in that, and I find it more frustrating than enjoyable.

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 04:07 AM

I had an insight earlier today.. Arcane is like playing a Cataclysm Resto Shammy with Healing Wave being a proc and no Greater/Lesser Healing Wave. I mean, you can heal pretty well with Chain Heal spam. Under certain conditions it might best to spam Chain Heal. You even have a cooldown instant that you want to throw into your rotation. But, if you want the big numbers or more efficiency, you have to plan your rotation around Healing Wave procs. If you want to conserve mana, your only choices are to stop casting or throw in more Riptides. I guess the analogy works somewhat.

So I was thinking, maybe we can borrow a little from the Resto Shammy design to make Arcane more interesting. Arcane definitely needs something other than Arcane Barrage to cast on a consistent basis. So add a spell, borrow a spell, or make proc-only Arcane Missiles go away. I personally, think making Arcane Missiles usable anytime is the best answer. I would then borrow the Tidal Waves and the Riptide buffing Chain Heal mechanics from Resto. It could look something like:

Arcane Waves - Arcane Missiles is now usable anytime. In addition, when you cast Arcane Missiles or Arcane Barrage, you gain the Arcane Waves effect, which reduces the [mana cost or cast time] of your Arcane Blast spell by x% and increases the damage of your [Insert whatever spell Arcane is going to end up using for aoe] spell by Y%. 2 charges.

Arcane Barrage - Launches bolts of arcane energy at the enemy target, causing X Arcane damage. Also, your next Arcane Missiles cast within 15 sec will have it's damage increased by Y%.

It gives you semi-dynamic rotations with extreme mana efficiency if you go for mana cost reduction in Arcane Waves. And, as much as I hate copying everything Resto has. Healing Rains might be a good starting point for an Arcane AoE:

Portal Storm - 2 sec cast - 10 sec cooldown - Calls forth a Portal Storm to blanket the area targeted by the Mage, Dealing X to Y damage to enemies in the area every 2 sec for 10 sec. [Potential Secondary Effect - Off-school AoE damage boost - Our single target spells to deal AoE damage when cast on targets in the area - When you cast Arcane Explosion a Mirror image of you appears in the Portal Storm and explodes as well]

Anyways, just some of my inane ramblings.

#24 Skallewag

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:26 AM

I think you´re forgetting why they changed it to a proc in the first place. I really agree that it can be annoying when something just refuses to proc. But the problem with AM castable at will is that it´s very hard to balance. I´d rather have a good proc and run the risk of bad luck streaks than have a bad nuke I never touch. Also with the new barrage it will be somewhat castable at will. Im thinking of it as a DPS version of swiftmend that can also proc and everyone loves swiftmend right?
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#25 Venthos

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:45 AM

Two ideas for possible talents:

Spellsurge- Arcane Barrage and Arcane missiles have a 50/100% chance for your next Fireball to apply Arcane Blast. (Alternatively: Gives your Fireball a 25/50% chance to apply Arcane Blast)

Aether Flux- Arcane Blast has a 25/50% chance for your next Frostbolt to refresh the timer on your Arcane Blast applications and restore 1% mana per stack. (Alternatively: Gives your Frostbolt a 50/100% chance to refresh the timer on your Arcane Blast applications and restore 5/10% of the base cost)

Also with the new barrage it will be somewhat castable at will.


Arcane Barrage proccing Missiles 100% and not consuming stacks has been reverted a build or so ago. It now has the same chance to proc Missiles as any other damaging spell, and consumes stacks again.

#26 Logix

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 06:30 AM

I think you´re forgetting why they changed it to a proc in the first place. I really agree that it can be annoying when something just refuses to proc. But the problem with AM castable at will is that it´s very hard to balance. I´d rather have a good proc and run the risk of bad luck streaks than have a bad nuke I never touch. Also with the new barrage it will be somewhat castable at will. Im thinking of it as a DPS version of swiftmend that can also proc and everyone loves swiftmend right?


Oh no, I definitely remember why they changed it to a proc. However, that doesn't mean they accomplished their goal.
And how is AM a nuke you never want to touch? AM (even un-MBAMed) served as the default, go to method to clear an AB stack pretty much throughout the course of WoTLk. If nothing else, we touched AM a hell of a lot.

Even so, that is only part of the story. Procs as a core mechanic are ok if there are enough of them which are varied enough that each proc produces some unique and interesting gameplay. But basing the entire gameplay of an spec around a single proc with a single effect (especially one whose chance to proc you cannot influence in any way) is just bad and boring design. I really don't know of a simpler way to put it. That being said, I most definitely believe that procs are not the only way to create good gameplay, which is why I am hesitant to just look for solutions to arcane's problems by introducing tons of procs.

To explain with an example, take a look at frost (I know I pick on frost and fire specs a lot but I think it is valid since they are close to home). Frost has procs, but it's procs 'work' since they are so many of them that there is pretty much always something proccing (hence giving you something to react to at all times, even if those things are different). Plus, these procs are supported by talents that allow you to improve your chance to proc them. Furthermore, these procs in frost are not the only gameplay to the spec, they are just a part of a much more complete package.

A spec whose only gameplay is a single proc is a boring spec to play. This is not something new, in fact, it is the exact reason why the general consensus is that Arcane is a boring spec to play right now on live, as well as a boring spec to play in beta.

Overall though, I think most of us have already concluded on these things. This thread, to some extent, is an effort to solve the "Arcane is boring" problem, amongst other things.

#27 Tyrian

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:21 AM

Im thinking of it as a DPS version of swiftmend that can also proc and everyone loves swiftmend right?


Swiftmend is one small part of the Druid toolset. The difference between that and Arcane is, Druids have a bunch of other cool healing tools in their toolset which add depth. People like Swiftmend because it's a fun spell - but also because it's one tool of many which a Resto Druid can choose how and when to use.

If The Resto Druid healbox consisted only of Rejuvination, Swiftmend and Healing Touch - people wouldn't like Swiftmend so much. They'd complain that Swiftmend is a very frustrating mechanic, as it's the only way to get heals off on targets between two extremes (Slow small Rejuv heals VS Slow big Healing Touch heals). Comments would include how boring it is to use this proc religiously on cooldown with little choice. The sentiment would be, "Why can't I have other fun tools to manage my healing? Too much of my gameplay depends on mindless use of this proc, that's boring!"

The latter is akin to Arcane mages currently. Missile Barrage by itself can be fun, but having the entirety of Arcane based around one proc that affects this one spell, is a little excessive. If Arcane had several other compelling Mechanics and means to DPS (Dynamic rotations, different spells to use, ability to modify existing spells etc) Missile Barrage probably wouldn't be such a big deal. But because the rest of the spec is quite bland, it just further exacerbates the problem.

Imagine if Missile Barrage was actually a utility proc.

When it procced, it modified the next spell you cast. Arcane Missiles gets the current speed increase, Arcane Barrage gets the ability to hit multiple targets, Arcane Explosion grants you X% of the damage dealt back as mana, Flamestrike/Blizzard got a +25 damage bonus (to compensate for having no specialisation), Arcane Blast got the ability to stack to a 5th stack, which was extremely mana unsustainable but great dps (Only a Missile Barraged Arcane Blast could push the stack to 5, not spammable or refreshable to 5 via normal AB cast means). Suddenly the Missile Barrage proc appears - and we've got a pretty interesting choice, "What should I do with it?". AOE? Use it for Mana Regen? Shift up gears into the (5) stack rotation? A Hasted AM? Currently the answer is: Use it for the only thing you can, Arcane Missiles.

One of the more satisfying aspects of playing Arcane in TBC was knowing you had to end a fight with zero mana - and manipulating your play to achieve this. It was a lot of fun to manage your mana carefully for a given length encounter, then as the end approaches - blow that out of the window and spam the rest away, timed perfectly to hit 0 as the boss dies.

Any mana you had left, was viewed as wasted DPS. It would be nice to bring this back in some form. You could call it "Arcane's Execute" if you will. Even if Arcane had a special ability to get a 5th stack and cast Arcane Blasts for a ridiculous cost (10k mana?), I think many would enjoy the last-few-second burn of spamming away your mana for a sizeable DPS reward - and go out with a bang so to speak. Mana Adept should be rewarding mages (in its current form) for keeping Mana High, but that doesn't mean we can't also have a mechanic that basically says, at the end of a fight "To hell with that!" - and let you spam it out the window with Execution style mechanics. That's fun! It could be quite interesting that "Mana Management" will involve a balancing act between Mana Adapt (Keep Mana High) and Execution ABlast type spams (Unload all your mana before you exit combat). The Cataclysm numbers for spells are not finalised, so it's hard to see whether ABspam is going to be this effective, or whether you're just better off sticking with the current rotation involving Mbarrage instead.

Anyway, some of this could help towards killing a bunch of birds with one stone: More decisions, more depth, an added burn cycle, a means for ranged Arcane AOE. The point is, we don't necessarily need to add complex new spells and mechanics to do it, we can just play around with existing ones. A Missile Barrage proc can still a core part of the Arcane tree, it just doesn't have to be the bland proc it is now - limited to Arcane Missiles.

#28 Skallewag

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 03:36 PM

Well phrased like that I definetley haveto agree, the idea of changing the proc to react diferently to several spells was very good. Having AM as a spell or a proc still only results in it being one single thing and won´t add loads of "fun" either way. But a proc like the one you describe would be awesome. Besides adding depth to the playstyle it still feels doable before launch. It´s a little late to be expecting completely new spells or anything requiering lots of new graphics and the like. But procs to make several spells behave diferently is another matter.

With the new power auras feature procs will be less annoying for a lot of people to keep track of, perhaps something like having all three effects you described as separate procs that all come up and if you like you can use all three of them before the timer runs out and then the trick is knowing when you actually benifit from mixing aoe into your rotation at all. Having several procs like a hand of cards and being able to save them a few secconds even if you use one might be interesting and make for very versatile gameplay in gauntlet type events.
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#29 Pasture

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:43 PM

The way I see it the mastery alone dictates the mana management. Even without any extra tools, just using the different rotations and evocation/gem there's plenty of mana management to do just because of the mastery.

It's not an issue of whether there will be mana management. Obviously there will - the mastery dictates some degree of mana management, as does the Arcane Blast stack mechanic. The key questions for me are:

1. Is it fun?

Not really. On live, it can be. Fishing for Missile Barrage procs and skirting on the edge of your mana pool while waiting for Mana Gem and Evocation to be back up can be fun. It was even more fun when we truly had a 'burn' cycle when you could just eat through your mana and convert it into damage. Burning through your mana and turning it into big numbers on your screen is exciting - it's fun, especially when Arcane truly had a burn spam under cooldowns.

As it stands Mana Adept really pulls away from all of this. You're rewarded for staying at a nice, high, safe level of mana, which in turn might mean adopting a lower cycle. There's obviously mana management there, but is it as fun as a burn cycle, or fishing for Missile Barrage procs. Not for me at least. It feels like a safe, plodding, methodical method of dpsing, which for me just isn't fun. Fun things like fishing and burning are ruled out because your damage is actually going down as you do so.


2. Is it easy to understand?

Again, not really. On live you can see if you're running your mana low. You know to stop fishing for procs. You know you can't afford a burn cycle (or couldn't when burning was legitimate). It's quite easy to understand. The punishment for getting it wrong can be big, but getting there is fun anyway.

Mana Adept on the other hand is anything but easy to understand. In game, how do I know what level of mana I should be riding with to maximise my damage? I'm not going to be able to translate that actually I've just dropped 3% dps because I've dipped below optimum mana. I'm not going to be able to understand whether I should be dropping to a lower cycle rather than fishing for a proc. None of it is clear. It will necessitate the use of spreasheets, graphs and the other methods you theory-crafters love to play with in order to find out our optimum cycle. Not only does that take the mana management out of your hands (you need to follow best practice mana management to eek out top dps) but I think it takes the fun out of figuring it out yourself.

Personally, I like the idea someone mentioned of being able to take it to a 5th Arcane Blast stack (and perhaps only having it apply to Arcane Blast to prevent it becoming a longer rotation rather than a burn). It would give Arcane a burn option back as well as bringing back the theme of mana = damage, which is infinitely more fun than mana conservation = damage. The problem is, it just doesn't play nice with Mana Adept.

Mana Adept is definitely one of the more interesting mastery bonuses to theorise over, but that doesn't make it more interesting or fun in practice. Arcane would be better served with a mastery that added +% damage to each Arcane Blast stack, so at one stack you might do 5% extra damage, but at four stacks you'd be pushing 20% extra damage. It's unimaginative but it would perhaps bring us closer to a burn cycle for cooldowns / fight completion. For me it's more one theme than the current mastery, which feels likes it's the exact opposite of our old theme of burning mana equals damage.

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:54 PM

The latter is akin to Arcane mages currently. Missile Barrage by itself can be fun, but having the entirety of Arcane based around one proc that affects this one spell, is a little excessive. If Arcane had several other compelling Mechanics and means to DPS (Dynamic rotations, different spells to use, ability to modify existing spells etc) Missile Barrage probably wouldn't be such a big deal. But because the rest of the spec is quite bland, it just further exacerbates the problem.

Imagine if Missile Barrage was actually a utility proc.

When it procced, it modified the next spell you cast. Arcane Missiles gets the current speed increase, Arcane Barrage gets the ability to hit multiple targets, Arcane Explosion grants you X% of the damage dealt back as mana, Flamestrike/Blizzard got a +25 damage bonus (to compensate for having no specialisation), Arcane Blast got the ability to stack to a 5th stack, which was extremely mana unsustainable but great dps (Only a Missile Barraged Arcane Blast could push the stack to 5, not spammable or refreshable to 5 via normal AB cast means). Suddenly the Missile Barrage proc appears - and we've got a pretty interesting choice, "What should I do with it?". AOE? Use it for Mana Regen? Shift up gears into the (5) stack rotation? A Hasted AM? Currently the answer is: Use it for the only thing you can, Arcane Missiles.

Well whatever the proc gets changed to it should not be consumed by Arcane Blast. I mean you're already going to be at least .5s into the next AB cast before you realize it's proc'd. So you'll have to cancel cast to avoid using the proc in most cases.

I'm glad you guys liked my healer analogy.

#31 Skallewag

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:42 PM

Yes the good old AB spam I had back in BT was really something. I have trouble seeing however how mana adept in any form close to the currrent would supply any balancing like the old burn cycle. Some people have posted ideas of having mana adept increase damage the lower your mana goes to aproach what arcane used to be like. The problem with this is that it would turn your manabar into a big obstacle. Starting way below your top dps would mean arcane terrible at bursting. Well unless raids started waiting or mages to drain their pool to a certain percent before starting fights but the logistics of something like that would just be painfull.

In short I believe mana adept is the right way around atm, but the tools to make it fun seem to be lacking. Perhaps adding some talent similar to improved scorch would help. If there was a free spell that dealt decent damage arcane could gravitate more towards a playstye revolving around pouring mana into costy burst at the oportune moment and using more free filler spells when it isn´t the oportune moment. But I guess wishing for a brand new spell at this point is just dreaming, not to mention that that big burn spell isnt really there either. A channeled arcane beam of some sort would be fun though. (No not like AM, that fires volleys. I´m talking about a proper beam. Or possibly more like laser blasts that make the sound the moonraker laser in goldeneye did.) Yes, a free channeled spell a bit like drain soul but with a more arcane feel offcourse and then a big thick ray blast costing a lot to mix into the rotations. You hearing this santa?
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#32 Pasture

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 10:42 PM

I have trouble seeing however how mana adept in any form close to the currrent would supply any balancing like the old burn cycle.

It's not too late to scrap Mana Adept in fairness. Had the promised various other talents and skills that tied into mana been implemented it might have been more difficult, but as it stands, Mana Adept could be scrapped and replaced with minimal disruption for Arcane. There is nothing in Arcane that props up, or works with this mastery that wasn't already present before it existed - it's easily replaced with something entirely different.

#33 Shaewyn

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 11:51 PM

While I would love to see an arcane proc or talent that mixes up the rotation (multi-target barrage would be quite interesting), I'm not particularly optimistic that any drastic changes will happen before Cataclysm is released.

To the end of providing at least some management of mana (and the ability to even influence the "mana adept" mastery), I think there is a lot of balancing of mana costs and damages that needs to be done. In particular, Arcane needs a burn cycle - on live, it doesn't really have one. As Logix pointed out above, there really isn't a selection of reliable cycles. On live, short of just AB Spam, the highest DPS cycle is sustainable indefinitely, once you include the Mana regen buffs, Evocation and Mana Gems.

Arcane needs at least the following cycles for Mana management to be meaningful:
1) A main cycle. Should be sustainable for a minimum of 10-15 minutes once regen buffs/Evocation/Mana gems are included.
2) A "regen" cycle. Should allow you to regen mana. I see this a doing less dps at 100% of the mana adept bonus than the main cycle at, say, 50% of the bonus.
3) A "burn" cycle. Definitely not sustainable - even with Regen buffs and Mana gem this should make you go OOM in less than 2 minutes (the evocation cooldown). It also needs to do enough damage so you want to use it as often as possible - it needs to do more damage at 50% of of the mana adept buff than then main cycle does at 100% of the buff, for example.

Currently, Arcane has a regen cycle - ABx1, AM. It also has a main cycle. It has at least 3 cycles in between the two. It doesn't have a "burn" cycle - AB Spam uses tons of mana, but does only a little bit more damage.

My suggestion to help modify the cycles would be to change Arcane Blast. Make the initial damage lower, but increase the damage buff and mana cost. Stacking the AB debuff to 4 would give you a nice fat chunk of damage when you cast AB/MBAM, but would make you go OOM quickly.

Obviously, the exact numbers would be subject to tweaking and balancing.

#34 Logix

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 01:52 AM

Currently, Arcane has a regen cycle - ABx1, AM. It also has a main cycle. It has at least 3 cycles in between the two. It doesn't have a "burn" cycle - AB Spam uses tons of mana, but does only a little bit more damage.

This is no longer accurate in Cataclysm.

As I showed in this thread (post #420), there is no reliable cycle that will exist below ABx2 (and that was with the 100% chance to proc MBAM on a ABr, without that, even the ABx2 cycle will no longer be reliable).

Since AM is now a proc, and ABr is now a 5 sec cooldown, you, in fact, can only use ABx3ABr and ABx4ABr as your only two reliable cycles (given even a modicum of haste).

I stress the phrase reliable cycles since that is the entire point of having a tool. As I stated later on in that same thread, the entire idea behind "mana management", imho, should revolve around using the right tools at the right times.

The mage should be busy worrying about which tool to use at what time and for what purpose, and not be busy worrying about getting his tools to even work in the first place.

This is why basing cycles off of the uncertainty born out of an AM proc just wont work in my mind. What's the point of controlling your mana or altering your cycles when you are still a slave to the RNG-gods? Whats worse is that unlike the RNG of fire (hot streak), Arcane mages don't even have any method to alter the RNG of MBAM. I.e. its not like you can gear or glyph in a certain way to increase your chance to proc MBAM (not that I am advocating doing this, just pointing out that not only is RNG for Arcane mana mangement or cycle management bad, in my mind, but RNG which you can't even influence just makes it worse).

Currently, Arcane mages have just 2 reliable cycles (both of whose existence scales negatively with haste). Which is the reason I mentioned in my previous post in this thread that its all well and good saying "mana management will be born from altering cycles to play with Mana Adept" but that idea comes crashing down when you realize that you don't really have a choice of reliable cycles to alter in the first place.

Your other point though does make sense, i.e. the delta between the "burn" rotation and the "regular" rotation should be significant enough to be clearly noticeable (which, as you correctly pointed out, is not really the case right now). While a valid point, I do feel that it is a little further along in the discussion from where we are right now. Right now we are still trying to figure out the basics. Numerical balancing of cycles (and through extension, producing the payoffs like you mentioned) will come later imho, when Blizzard starts its "numbers balancing pass" on the classes.

#35 Shaewyn

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 02:59 AM

Apologies - I should have specified that Arcane has a regen cycle on live. You are absolutely correct that this cycle does not exist in beta as AM itself is the proc, not MBAM, and AB-ABarr doesn't work because of ABarr's cooldown.

I do think that the basics of the arcane rotation/talent tree need to be rethought. Having a proc that is required, and not just desired, can break a rotation. Can you imagine if fireball could only be cast after a scorch crit? It would break the fire rotation entirely. My fear is that, like WotLK, we might not get that arcane redesign until patch 4.1. In the interim, what can we do to adapt arcane to have meaningful rotation choices?

As for what to do with AM... What if AM didn't consume the AB stacks? Or, what if AM itself added to the AB stack? That way you would be expecting to use ABarr to drop the AB stack, and AM would be a desired addition that didn't break the rotation if it didn't proc. (would depend on ABarr cooldown)

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 03:56 AM

I can't comment easily on too many of these specific issues because the talent trees you have access to are fairly out of date compared to the ones we're working with.

However, at the stage we're at, it is very helpful to discuss builds like this -- what are the talents you have to give up but don't want to, which are the talents you don't want to get but have to, and so on. (source)

Maybe some hope for Arcane? Although he wasn't directly referring to mages. I thought maybe we should give it another build or two before we totally freak out.

But, then he gave some potential insight on the Arcane rotation via Ret pallies:

It seems to me you are saying there are these abilities that sometimes grant you a charge of Holy Power, but that in order to get Holy Power as fast as possible you need to get lucky several times, so therefore the abilities should just always give you Holy Power.

The rotation is designed around 3 Crusader Strikes. Sometimes it takes fewer than that and you get to use Templar's Verdict sooner. You're not balanced around a maximum efficiency that is dependent on the stars randomly aligning. You're balanced around average efficiency that corresponds to the averages generated by the appropriate random numbers.

I think there is some tension between Exorcism potentially generating Holy Power such that you're not sure what to do when you have 3 charges -- use the Templar's Verdict and potentially waste the Exorcism Holy Power, or use the Exorcism and delay the next Templar's Verdict -- but that seems like an isolated problem (and perhaps not even a major one) and not a reason to make Holy Power generation more consistent. Consistency is what we're trying to downplay in the Ret rotation because it doesn't allow great players to outperform merely good ones.(source)

Well.... damn.

#37 Ellyh

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 06:31 AM

Aikiwoce I wouldn't get too concerned about what he is saying for ret pallies as the whole context of the pally discussion is around there being free GCD's in the rotation. Given that context what he is saying takes on a whole new meaning and I would be very reluctant to compare Ret goals to Arcane given the different philosophies between melee and caster design shown by that thread.

On a totally different note however I finally realised what had been concerning me most about AM becomming a proc, especially for lower mana rotations.

It is the interaction between the proc and latency. Specifically the fact that when chopping a rotation short for mana consumption you must decide your breaker spell in advance. However Missile barrage procs on cast completion so for a short, low haste rotation of AB AB <Breaker> you need to decide during the second AB cast if you want to hit Arcane Missiles or Arcane Barrage. This isn't a problem on live because you can just mash Arcane missiles and if you get a lucky proc well groovy you go faster. However with Arcane Missiles only activating on a proc you can't do this safely without either writing a complex macro, risking clipping your Missile barrage or loosing 1/2 a second or more each rotation waiting to determine if you can Missile barrage or Arcane Barrage.

Currently

AB - AB - AM casts fine
AB - mbarproc AB Cast Mbar works fine
AB - AB - mbarproc - Cast mbar works fine

Under the new cata model

AB - AB - AM won't work so you must hit Arcane barrage
AB mbarproc AB Caste Mbar works fine
AB - AB - mbarproc ...

What do you cast, given that many many raider will have bad latency of 200+ms one way they must assume that they won't proc and cast Arcane Barrage possibly wasting a MBar proc or they must mash the AM button, hope they get lucky and if not wait 1/2 a second to determine if you should instead cast Arcane Barrage.

This is a moderate dps loss in the first case and a potentially crippling one in the second as you basically are slowing down your roatation by about 15% and not casting continuously is a massive dps loss for any caster.

This makes it even harder for players (especially those on 200+ms connections) to show skill.

Basically the change to AM as a proc is causing all sorts of trouble all over the place.

#38 Kiretsu

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 01:14 PM

Another thing that should at least be mentioned is the fact that as it stands the arcane masteries don't really work together as they are currently structured, spell haste and mana adept just don't seem like they will play well together. There is an inherent trade off to haste value in that you do more damage but burn through mana quicker, which is fine currently. In WotLK this works because our final goal is to burn as hard as needed at all mana levels to maximize damage output without completely running dry. Once our damage starts scaling based on our mana level we are much more likely to concern ourselves with dpm issues as well dps. Once this starts to happen the haste and spell crit/spell power relative values will start to shift, likely lowering the relative value of haste. Unless there is some very gentle scaling with mana adept it is quite possible that haste will not even be a good stat for arcane mages to stack. There have been a lot of comments about how our current selection of spells and talents don't currently work together well with mana adept, but it should just be pointed out that even the other arcane masteries don't either.

It is an interesting idea, but I am not sure it wouldn't be easier to just replace the mana adept mastery entirely or at least completely revamp the functionality. Even if they can tweak the numbers of our damage spells and mana regen, revamp the talents, and get the arcane tool set working together such that mana adept is both interesting and fun you will still run into the situation where an arcane mage with a pocket druid will be flat out superior to one without said innervates. At that point would we be overpowered with a druid or underpowered without one? We ran into this situation before with disc priests and arcane mages and Blizzard seemed to want to try and avoid this in the future.

#39 Light4

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 02:20 PM

Arcane Resource Sytem?

A suggestion for burn/manareg cycles would be to use a similar resource system like the moonkins do. Arcane Blast could stack something called Arcane Instability, which increased the damage and mana cost of arcane spells by xx% and reduces damage(?) and mana cost of non-arcane spells by yy%. Casting an Off-school spell would allow regeneration of mana but also reduce the amount of Arcane Instability. This would somehow remove burst, because damage builds up slower - on the other hand, we still have AP&Managem.

Do we need ranged AoE?

I tend to say yes. Fire AoE looks pretty fun to me and I am think of something along the line of ABar changing the Fire Orb into something like an Arcane cluster bomb, causing Arcane Explosion on all target in the vicinity (similar to the Ick/Krick ability)

#40 thebitterfig

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 03:30 PM

I had a different thought on Arcane's minor AoE problem. One of the major concerns with Arcane Explosion is that it puts you in melee range which dramatically lowers personal safety. I say add a talent that gives AE a stacking survivability buff when you cast it. "ArcaneTalentname, two points: Reduces all damage taken by 1(2)% for 5 seconds after casting Arcane Explosion. Stacks 5 times. Additionally, the mana cost of your Arcane Explosion is reduced by 10(20)%"

We already have a model for a caster who prefers to be in melee range for AoE in the Demo Lock, and hopefully the survival benefit would be enough so that we can do so safely. Not every spec has to work in the same way, and if the damage can be balanced with AE spam and the safety issues can be addressed, I don't see any reason why Arcane NEEDS ranged AoE, or needs ranged AoE that is as good as the other specs. If we have to cast Blizzard for 25% less AoE damage on the one fight out the entire expansion which requires AoE but requires max range too, then we'll take the hit, so long as we can be fine with Arcane Explosion spam for the rest of our AoE needs, in terms of damage, mana consumption, safety, and such. I think I'd probably be happier being different with our AoE than simply getting "spellfrost" damage on our blizzard to allow us to crib off Frost mages...




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