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Frost Cataclysm Discussion [4.0 thread]


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#1 Zeldyrr

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 05:49 PM

Welcome to the consolidated thread on the Frost Mage spec for Cata. This initial post will try to summarize the current state and common concerns. I am not going to make a list of definitive links to wowhead or other sources for talents, spells, and so on--one can assume that an EJ reader is sophisticated enough to find those things on their own. Instead I will concentrate on what is changed and what outstanding issues remain. The first post will list changes, the first reply will focus on potential concerns. From there it is open to discussion to all would-be frost mages.

Signature Abilities

Mages get two signature abilities for specializing in the frost tree.

Summon Water Elemental: Summon a Water Elemental to fight for the caster.

Frost Specialization : Increases the damage of your Frost spells by 25%.

One of the big changes in Cata is that pet scaling is suppose to be fixed, meaning that pets scale as equally as possible with buffs and don’t double dip. For the most part this is implemented. Current scaling on the water elemental in the beta has been reported as follows.

  • Health and Mana: 50%
  • Armor: 0%
  • Spell Power: 40% but this may be academic. Waterbolt may get 1/3 of the mage’s spell power and the spell power of the elemental itself is ignored.
  • Hit, Crit, Haste: 100%
  • Mastery: 0% but Ghostcrawler is indicated that mastery will “scale” as pure damage for trees where sharing the actual mastery would be complicated / illogical.
  • Cit damage: 200%.
Other than scaling the elemental has changed significantly in other ways. It is now a permanent pet without any glyphs and retains the ability to cast Freeze. Furthermore, casting Freeze in a raiding environment is now part of the basic rotation because of this talent:

Improved Freeze : Gives your Water Elemental's Freeze spell a 100% chance to grant 2 charges of Fingers of Frost.

Mastery

The frost mastery is termed Frostburn.

Frostburn : All your spells deal 20% increased damage against Frozen targets. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 2.5%.

It should be noted that Frostburn has been changed from previous beta builds. It is no longer a debuff applied by frostbolt. It is a straight-up damage multiplier to frozen targets. As expected In this case, targets are considered frozen for the standard list of affected spells when Fingers of Frost is active.

New Spells

Mages get three new spells at levels 81, 83, and 85. Frost is in the enviable position that it is able to take full advantage of all three of the new spells (when the appropriate talent points are chosen.)

Flame Orb [Level 81] : Launches a Flame Orb forward from the Mage's position, dealing 228 Fire damage every second to the closest enemy target for 15 secs.

A Tier 6 talent turns Flame Orb into Frostfire Orb. This had a number of repercussions. One, Frostfire Orb (FFO) benefits from the Frost Specialization, so damage increases by 25%. Two, the orb attack chills and the snare is very strong. Three, this chill can proc Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze. Four, the cooldown on FFO is reset by the Cold Snap talent. All in all, FFO is a useful spell with good synergy with other frost talents. It becomes a "regular" part of the raiding rotation (see below).

Ring of Frost [Level 83] : Summons a Ring of Frost, taking 3 sec to coalesce. Enemies entering the fully-formed ring will become frozen for 10 sec. Lasts 12 sec. 10 yd radius.

This spell has changed repeatedly during the course of the beta but has ended up in as a pretty unique and effective utility spell. The targets frozen by the ring are indeed considered frozen for talents such as Shatter and Deep Freeze and the freeze effect breaks on damage much like all such effects. The ring will reapply the freeze if the target crosses the ring a second time, but the pulse between freezes is slow enough that this shouldn't be considered overpowered. The spell has obvious uses in PvP and while soloing. PvE uses are probably less frequent but the spell has the potential to be very effective in the right situations in 5-man and raiding environments as well.

Timestop [Level 85] : Warp the flow of time, increasing melee, ranged, and spell casting speed by 30% for all party and raid members. Lasts 40 sec. Allies receiving this effect will become unstuck in time, and be unable to benefit from Bloodlust, Heroism, or Time Warp again for 10 min.

Yes, mages get heroism. There has been a lot of whining on the forums on both sides about Time Warp. Other classes thing isn't fair that mages get it. Mages complain that the spell is just a repeat of what shamans can do (and special hunter pets) and that we were robbed of a new, unique level 85 ability. Both of these arguments are rather weak.

The fact remains that 10-man raiding, if it doesn't eclipse 25-man raiding in popularity, will still be much more common and much more important in Cataclysm. It is not reasonable to build 10-man raids and always have a shaman present. With 10-man content tuned to be as challenging as 25-man content, it isn't acceptable to have groups without access to heroism. Mages won the lottery of which other class gets to bring heroism to the party.

It should be noted that having heroism also will affect arena teams (RMP gets heroism), 5-man dungeons (good for those achievements that require burst), and soloing. That last area should not be discounted--having heroism available should allow a mage to solo some pulls while questing that would otherwise require the help of a group.

Talents

Frost talents (as with all trees in Cata) have changed dramatically. The talent calculator can be found at wowhead or mmo-champion. Each talent will not be linked and discussed in detail, but notable changes and new talents are as follows.

Fingers of Frost : FoF now procs with a single charge but the proc rate has been increased to 20%. This is almost universally seen as an improvement. It makes the rotation feel more like real shatter combos, removes many instances of double instants in a rotation which felt awkward and procs happen quite frequently. The last point is important in that one of the complaints about frost in LK was that you could go forever without a proc.

Frostfire Orb : With one point, this talent changes the new Flame Orb spell and turns it into a Frostfire Orb. This allows the Frost Specialization of +25% damage to take effect. This is a big enough boost to make it a required talent and to make Frostfire Orb part of the “rotation”, being cast whenever the 1 min cooldown is up. The second point adds a chill effect to FFO and this chill effect can proc both Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze. This can represent a significant (4%+) increase in damage assuming one can react to all the FoF/BF charges. Both points in this talent are now therefore required of any serious raiding build.

Brain Freeze : The notable change here is that instant cast FFBs under Brain Freeze now benefit from Fingers of Frost.

Piercing Chill : This is a new talent that has an interesting cleave-like mechanic associated with it. The basic effect is that frostbolt crits spread the chill effect to two nearby targets. But what seems a soloing / pvp utility talent has raiding implications because these chill effects can proc Brain Freeze and/or Fingers of Frost. So in “cleave” situations where there a few adds near the primary target, damage on the primary target is increased due to the increased number of procs. This is a unique and interesting form of cleave damage; damage goes up but only on the primary target--the adds are there to boost damage but are not themselves damaged.

Enduring Winter : This talent now combines the effects of two live talents. It provides a 10% reduction in mana costs to all spells and it adds a replenishment effect to frostbolt. This is a frost mages raid utility talent combined with a selfish benefit. It should be noted that the first point provides the full replenishment effect--the other two points are the selfish bonus only. If the additional mana reduction is not needed or the overall build picks up efficiency talents from the other trees, then Enduring Winter is probably a 1-point talent. There was discussion of frost mages getting 5% crit debuff raid utility but Ghostcrawler has recently indicated that such possible changes are currently not planned.

Raiding Talent Builds

An issue (or an advantage, depending on your point of view) frost currently has with raiding talent builds is that there seem to be very few logical choices for the discretionary points that all specs are suppose to have in Cata. The starting point for almost all builds is represented by the following partial spec.

23-point Base Spec

We are two points shy of getting to the next tier. One could make some arguments for other talents, but two points in Piercing Chill seems like the most obvious choice. This gives frost mages extra damage on boss fights with adds close to the boss. Once the next tier is unlocked, two points into Frostfire Orb. There are now three points to choose and these are about the only free points in a frost build. Logical choices would be Permafrost (for pet healing and the healing debuff), Enduring Winter (for more mana efficiency and Replenishment uptime), and perhaps Reactive Barrier (for survivability and to help out healer mana). After those three points, the remaining talents fall into place:

Complete Frost Raiding Spec

Ignite is simply too much of a damage improvement to pass up so that locks in most of the remaining points. The build as listed above probably runs with mage armor. If molten armor is to be used, then some of those three points in frost must be put in Enduring Winter and perhaps a point or two moved from Netherwind Presence to Clearcasting. Simulations are showing mana to be really tight without mage armor. So yes, 6-8 points in mana regen / efficiency talents may be required with molten armor.

Glyphs

Discussion of Glyphs at the moment is sketchy as it is unclear how complete the current set of glyphs is. However initial calculations show that frost mages will use the following three primary glyphs.

Glyph of Molten Armor : Your Molten Armor grants an additional 2% critical strike rating.

Glyph of Frostbolt : Increases the critical strike chance of your Frostbolt spell by 5%.

Glyph of Ice Lance : Increases the damage of your Ice Lance spell by 5%.

Lhivera did some work and tentatively determined that if crit rates rise above ~33% then the Glyph of Molten Armor is replaced by the Glyph of Frostfire. If you run with Mage armor instead of Molten, then obviously the Glyph of Frostfire replaces the Glyph of Molten Armor.

Glyph of Frostfire : Your Frostfire Bolt now deals 10% additional damage over 9 sec, but no longer reduces the victim's movement speed.

Tier 11 Set Bonuses

The initial set bonuses for Tier 11 have been released. From past experience, Blizzard rarely changes these during the beta process unless there is an obvious and egregious problem with them. The set bonuses for all classes seem to fit the "effective but not inspired" mold, which is what one might expect for the initial tier.

  • 2P Bonus : Increases the critical strike chance of Arcane Missiles, Ice Lance, and Pyroblast by 5%. / Instant
  • 4P Bonus : Reduces the cast time of Arcane Blast, Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, and Frostbolt by 10%. / Instant
There is the very minor concern that a +5% bonus on crit could push Ice Lance crits above 33.33%, which would be wasted (since Ice Lance is always cast when Shatter would be active and has x3 crit chance). Given crit levels initially at level 85, this is unlikely to be a problem.

Similarly haste levels are unlikely to be high enough that the 10% reduction in cast time pushes Frostbolt down to GCD levels--though this could be more problematic with Early Frost.

Rotation

Perhaps the biggest news for frost in Cata is that there is an actual rotation to use in raiding and that there are enough levers to adjust that it is to be expected that frost damage should be raid-worthy without being overpowered in pvp. This is a huge change for frost. The current theorycrafted rotation can be expressed as a priority list. You are monitoring various procs and cooldowns and make your decisions based on the following rules.

  • Frostfire Orb, if cooldown is up.
  • Deep Freeze, if cooldown is up and Fingers of Frost is active.
  • Frostfire Bolt, if Brain Freeze is active and Fingers of Frost is active.
  • Ice Lance if Finger of Frost is active.
  • Freeze, if cooldown is up, Deep Freeze cooldown is up, and Finger of Frost is not active.
  • Frostbolt.
This may seem more complicated than it actually is. The basic rule is that you spam frostbolt and interrupt that spam for FFB on BF procs and for DF/IL when FoF procs. It is best to save BF-FFBs for a FoF proc. One can force FoF to proc twice with Freeze and should do so whenever you have DF active to take maximum advantage.

External Links of Interest

EJ Cataclysm Mage Resource Thread

#2 Zeldyrr

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 05:51 PM

There are a number of outstanding issues and concerns for frost mages. What is perhaps most remarkable is that most of these could be classified as “fine tuning” or “minor concerns”. This is a welcome change from previous expansions where the concerns were more along the lines of “frost is going to be 25% behind in raids”. I will add to this list as questions come up.

No Choice in Off-tree Talents. There are two damage boosting talents available to frost mages in the other two trees--Netherwind Presence in tier 1 arcane and Ignite in tier 2 fire (for FFB crits). Unfortunately one can (almost) get both of these. This locks frost mages in the a 2/8/31 or 3/7/31 build where the only real choice in off-tree talents is whether to max NP or Ignite. This totally goes against Ghostcrawler’s stated goal that raid specs could be described as “take these talents and then you have your choice of these 7-10 utility talents”.

(As an additional note, there aren't enough free points in the frost tree itself, when working towards a raiding build, to give us these "free utility points" either.)

Frostburn too bursty? The current implementation of the Frostburn mastery works quite well to set up an interesting raiding rotation. There has been some concern that it makes frost too bursty, which could complicate pvp balancing. The counter argument is that health pools will be much larger in Cata relative to damage so burst damage that doesn’t result an unhealable gib is not a concern.

Water elemental mana issues. With Freeze being part of the main rotation and used on every cooldown, there exists the possibility that a permanent water elemental could run out of mana. Initial indications that this will not be an issue but it something to watch.

Piercing Chill cleave mechanic intended? The increased number of FoF and BF procs from PC spreading is interesting. There hasn’t been confirmation from a blue poster that the effect is intended.

AOE Rotation boring. While this is true for many specs, the frost AOE rotation is nothing but spamming blizzard over and over again. Additionally, the flavor of blizzard has been greatly reduced in Cata. Blizzard no longer benefits from fingers of frost, there is no more frostbite, and the (talented) snare of blizzard is down to 40%. An uninteresting AOE "rotation" is probably not important. However, compared to fire, which has spreading DOTs and many more AOE spell choices, frost does appear to be lacking in this department.

Lack of Water Elemental abilities. Frost mages gain the water elemental at level 10 but other than Waterbolt and Freeze, there isn't much interaction between the player and the pet. Some have suggested the elemental have some sort of defensive or healing cooldown such as turning into an ice block or turtling like a hunter pet. Having some sort of AOE attack could also help with the overall AOE rotation--frost mages are certainly free to send a pet command while chain-channeling blizzard.

Only ranged DPS with < 40 yard range. Ghostcrawler has said he likes "X is the only class to..." but being the only class to have less than a 40 yard range seems like a pretty big "only". Time will tell if frost spells are adjusted as they have been for all other specs.

#3 Elimbras

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 09:48 PM

No Choice in Off-tree Talents. There are two damage boosting talents available to frost mages in the other two trees--Netherwind Presence in tier 1 arcane and Ignite in tier 2 fire (for FFB crits). Unfortunately one can (almost) get both of these. This locks frost mages in the a 2/8/31 or 3/7/31 build where the only real choice in off-tree talents is whether to max NP or Ignite. This totally goes against Ghostcrawler’s stated goal that raid specs could be described as “take these talents and then you have your choice of these 7-10 utility talents”.


I'm not really sure they see it as a problem or contradiction, as long as you have flexibility / free points in your main tree. If there is not 31 dps-increasing points in frost, then their statement still holds.

By the way, there are other specs that have a near no-choice for off-tree talents. Just picking a few obvious examples in mind.
- Disc. priest, for PvE, have 10 near-mandatory points in holy (inspiration, divine fury, empowered healing and improved healing). Some could be of interest, but currently, these points seems really really better (bigger and cheaper heals, faster cast-time for goto heal, and physical damage reduction on your target). I must say that disc tree seems not really polished.
- Resto druids will take 10 points in Balance. First tier is obvious (skip the dps talent), and second tier will be 3+2. I expect the 3 will be for mana reduction, at least early in expansion.
- Resto chamans will be (I guess) in 3/7/31, picking the crit in elem, better shields and elementary weapons, plus runspeed in tier 2, in enhance. They might want totem range, though.
- Assa rogues will be in 31/3/7, taking hit in combat, better stealth, energy restore on finishers and reduced cds in subtlety, unless the fight really requires improved recuperate, improved sprint or improved kick.

#4 Skallewag

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 05:53 AM

I thought the same when first reading the 7-10 free points part too. With the new system your main tree is the choise you really care about since that sets most of your flavour as a mage. However there isn´t a lot of flexibility in how to spen 31 points in frost either. Go play a bit with the trees and you´ll see. Not that this is a make or break problem with the frost tree. I mean this issue is a mere pebble compared to if frost will be raid viable or not. Frost providing a good raidspec would be really awesome.

But you can´t ignore that a bit of utility is fun and therefor the choise of utility. If we compare to fire you haveto pick up some utility to get to the end of the tree and thats more fun to work with. Frost isn´t bad, but as long as there are areas for improvement they are worth discussing and a bit of choise purely for flavour without impacting your raid performance is one of those things.
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#5 Zeldyrr

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:48 AM

I will roll some of this information into the top posts, but the latest beta build offers a few minor changes with respect to frost mages.

Set Bonuses

  • Item - Mage T11 2P Bonus - Increases the critical strike chance of Arcane Missiles, Ice Lance, and Pyroblast by 5%. / Instant
  • Item - Mage T11 4P Bonus - Reduces the cast time of Arcane Blast, Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, and Frostbolt by 10%. / Instant

Talent / Spell Changes
  • Flame Orb no longer has a cast time.
  • Curtain of Frost now lasts 12 sec, 10 yards radius.
  • Ice Shards - now lasts 2 sec, up from 1.5 sec.

Source: MMO Champion.

The set bonuses are decent, if somewhat unimaginative. A minor concern is that the bonus is slightly weaker for frost. A bonus of 5% crit is less beneficial to ice lance which will only be cast when FoF is up and crit chances already tripled.

Instacast Frostfire Orb is interesting. No word yet on how the coefficient has been changed.

Curtain of Frost has become a ring. This definitely more useful from a battlefield control standpoint. From a raiding perspective, there still seems to be little data to suggest this spell will be all that useful.

The Ice Shards change, although seemingly an very minor increase in duration, helps significantly with Blizzard kiting. Now the chill should last long enough that it doesn't fall off between Blizzard tics.

The last thing to note is a hint of coming changes for Frost. Both Fire and Arcane had their talent trees adjusted and there are now two Tier 6 talents; frost still only has one Tier 6 talents. It's a safe bet that minor adjustments to the talent tree for frost are still planned. Additionally, shadow priests had the range of a number of spells increased to 40 yards. Frost is the only ranged DPS spec that still has less than a 40 yard range on primary spells.

#6 willem11

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 08:54 AM

The set bonuses are decent, if somewhat unimaginative. A minor concern is that the bonus is slightly weaker for frost. A bonus of 5% crit is less beneficial to ice lance which will only be cast when FoF is up and crit chances already tripled.


Unless the 5% crit from the setbonus will get tripled aswell.

#7 Zaldinar

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:59 AM

Unless the 5% crit from the setbonus will get tripled aswell.


I think the concern is that if that 5% pushes you over 33.33% crit rate it will be wasted unless you actively shed some crit.
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#8 Lhivera

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:41 PM

Orb coefficient is unchanged at 200%.

It also looks pretty awesome now.
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#9 Diab0lic

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:49 PM

It seems by far the funniest specc to play with, the real question is: does it seems viable to raid with (damage wise I mean)?

I know we dont have all the data and the numbers are constantly changing, but still I saw a movie of a mage testing the specc on a dummie ( couldnt check the Deep Freeze damage) but still it looked nice. Frost Mage dummy test (lvl 83) here goes the link for those that havent seen it.

Anyway it would be good to have some feedback or the possible theorycraft from some beta testers... it just scares me that the specc damage gets balanced arround pvp.

#10 Lucrece

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 10:42 PM

I don't have extensive data either, but from mere eyeballing at the PTR's my frost spec felt definitely stronger on the damage department than Fire.

The only thing that felt weak was Ice Lance's average damage compared to my druid's moonfire or Fire's scorch.

Frost is now deliciously bursty, though. But that's not very different from many other specs. My elemental shaman still outbursts frost significantly. 23k fulmination crits at 9 lightning shield charges and constant lava surge resets.


A complaint I have is the lack of meaningful armors for damage purposes.

By far my biggest annoyance, though, is that FFB is still WEAK. I want it to be an option for my main nuke, and letting it proc brain freeze and returning its DoT portion might make it competitive with frost bolt.

Basically, I'm annoyed that the spiffy WotLK newly added spell only gets used as a proc in the frost tree and no other spec even uses it. Why it's a fire spell I will never understand as the FFB spec is dead and FFB gets overshadowed so bad by Fireball in Fire spec.

#11 Skallewag

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 06:05 AM

I know what you mean, but the spell was designed around having lots of points to spend in your off tree and if I had to chose between FFB being a viable main nuke or the new talent tree system I wouldn´t think about it for a seccond. Still its sad to se the spell be only a proc for frost. They should have considered to remove it along with mage wards and make it purely a talent in the frost tree.

Making it a min nuke for frost is well... why quite frankly? Then you´re just making frostbolt more or less useless besides as a snare.

One thing Iv´e been kinda hoping for is an added talent that adds a dot over 10-20 sec. But that´s for fire to make single target rotation a bit less about just spamming FB so it doesn´t belong in the frost thread.
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#12 Lucrece

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 03:56 PM

Well, I would turn Frostbolt into our equivalent of scorch. Vileroze has a wonderful suggestion over at arena junkies.

Cata Mage Suggestion - FrB and FFB - Arena Junkies Forums

We took a hard hit by losing rank 1 frostbolt in PvP.

I'd really like to see it become our main nuke and frostbolt be given another niche like Vileroze suggested.

It would also serve to make mages less susceptible to being shut down when interrupted/counterspelled. A big problem with mages is that we have no damage while being CC, so our pressure stops completely when we're getting trained-- whereas classes with DoT's still continue to apply pressure.

So if we're not going to receive DoT's or a mechanic that allows us to pressure while CC'd, we need to see the susceptibility to interrupt/silence effects be less drastic on the mage.

Plus, I just like the damn graphics of the spell and want to use it more =O.

#13 Skallewag

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 04:43 PM

Now thats a really nice idea. I´d love to see a change like that. However they should push FFB down quite a few levels with a change like this so frosties wont be stuck with a scorch type spell till lv 80. Should be no problem though, that would once more make it exiting to learn FFB. Also it would make sense to use FFB to solve both frosts and fires problem that its a wee bit boring to spam one spell to much. Hybrid specs are gone but FFB still merges the two schools a bit for an interesting rotation.
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#14 Zeldyrr

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 06:03 PM

While I respect peoples desires to keep the old FFB spec alive, I am more than a little puzzled at suggestions that would kill frost specs as they are known today--on live or in beta. From the three basic mage trees it is obvious there are three main specs: arcane, fire, and frost. FFB was a 4th, experimental spec that Ghostcrawler has admitted having a soft spot for. From a mechanics standpoint, however, it is difficult to keep FFB spec alive without it stomping on other specs. Some points to think about:
  • Frost spec is shaping up to be anything but boring. Between 30% FoF procs, 15% BF procs, and forced FoF procs with Freeze, roughly half your casts aren't frostbolts. Additionally the rotation is very dynamic and you have to react to the various procs/cooldown. Calling for FFB spam because FB spam is "boring" seems to be a subjective desire without any data to back it up.
  • It is difficult for a tree to support two different builds that both support the same role. With feral druids it is possible because the kitty and bear builds support DPS and tanking roles, respectively. If the frost tree were to support frostbolt and FFB builds, the challenge is that both these support the DPS role. At any particular gear level, one of them would be mathematically better than the other and everyone would switch to it. That's not a the stable game design that GC and company are looking for.
  • Previous attempts in the beta have led to this exact problem. The initial implementation of the Frostfire Orb talent boosted FFB damage so much it made it so the three mage specs were: Arcane, Fire, and Frostfire. While that may seem ideal to some, it was clearly not something the designers were either comfortable with or shooting for.
Personally I think we are in a good place. The basic rotation of frost is looking good. FFB is definitely part of the rotation--and a significant part at that--and available as a heavy snare. That hardly relegates the spell to the dusty closet of spells mages never cast.

#15 Skallewag

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:26 PM

Well, I see your standpoint but after reading the post for this change I can´t agree completely. Frost does like you say have a fun and involving rotation. The suggested change however wasn´t to try and balance Frostbolt and FFB as equals. That will always end up with one being better and the other being pointless. The idea was to make frostbolt a shorter nuke, with a role like scorch. A fast snare instead of the rank 1 bolt we will be loosing in cata.

Actually it was more the prospect of a frost scorch that changed my mind rather than having a different graphic on the main nuke.
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#16 Lucrece

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:00 AM

While I respect peoples desires to keep the old FFB spec alive, I am more than a little puzzled at suggestions that would kill frost specs as they are known today--on live or in beta. From the three basic mage trees it is obvious there are three main specs: arcane, fire, and frost. FFB was a 4th, experimental spec that Ghostcrawler has admitted having a soft spot for. From a mechanics standpoint, however, it is difficult to keep FFB spec alive without it stomping on other specs. Some points to think about:

  • Frost spec is shaping up to be anything but boring. Between 30% FoF procs, 15% BF procs, and forced FoF procs with Freeze, roughly half your casts aren't frostbolts. Additionally the rotation is very dynamic and you have to react to the various procs/cooldown. Calling for FFB spam because FB spam is "boring" seems to be a subjective desire without any data to back it up.
  • It is difficult for a tree to support two different builds that both support the same role. With feral druids it is possible because the kitty and bear builds support DPS and tanking roles, respectively. If the frost tree were to support frostbolt and FFB builds, the challenge is that both these support the DPS role. At any particular gear level, one of them would be mathematically better than the other and everyone would switch to it. That's not a the stable game design that GC and company are looking for.
  • Previous attempts in the beta have led to this exact problem. The initial implementation of the Frostfire Orb talent boosted FFB damage so much it made it so the three mage specs were: Arcane, Fire, and Frostfire. While that may seem ideal to some, it was clearly not something the designers were either comfortable with or shooting for.
Personally I think we are in a good place. The basic rotation of frost is looking good. FFB is definitely part of the rotation--and a significant part at that--and available as a heavy snare. That hardly relegates the spell to the dusty closet of spells mages never cast.



-Frostfire Bolt would do what simply Frost Bolt does now, and Frost Bolt would be given a good niche as the intermediate nuke to be used on short movement. So I don't get how you're taking this change as a turnback to boring.

- It's also not stable that Arcane has ruled until late ICC so uniformly, or how fire ruled before it. There will always be an optimal setup. The change would not put FB against FFB-- it would make FFB take the place of FB and FB becomes your under pressure nuke when you're short on time and can't afford the longer cast. They've done it with Fireball and Scorch, so I don't see the problem here.

-There have been no serious attempts at making FFB a nuke that functions like FB. It would make zero difference besides the fact that it's a different spell graphic and the change would merely have good ramifications for the spec's performance in PvP. It doesn't have to affect the PvE aspect at all.

#17 Zeldyrr

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:29 AM

The change would not put FB against FFB-- it would make FFB take the place of FB and FB becomes your under pressure nuke when you're short on time and can't afford the longer cast. They've done it with Fireball and Scorch, so I don't see the problem here.


I think you are splitting hairs here. Yes, fire has fireball and scorch, but scorch just isn't part of the raiding rotation. The suggestion still comes down to making FFB the main nuke of frost. The fact that I don't like that for thematic reasons is irrelevant. I think we can all agree it is highly unlikely that Blizzard will make a spell from the fire tree the main nuke for frost mages.

#18 Lhivera

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:43 AM

We actually put a great deal of effort and feedback on the beta forums into encouraging changes to make sure FFB did not replace Frostbolt as our primary nuke. Frostbolt serving as the primary nuke not only helps reinforce the fact that we're first and foremost Frost casters, not elemental casters, but also helps provide a significant difference in the way the spec feels by providing a very fast-casting primary nuke.

FFB now serves two niches for Frost: it packs a hell of a punch when cast on Brain Freeze with FoF up, and it provides a whopping 70% snare (if fully talented), with the tradeoff of requiring a longer cast time. When soloing, it essentially serves the same roll for Frost as Pyroblast does for Fire: it's a strong opener (heavy snare, higher first-hit damage), and a very powerful proc.
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#19 Tyrian

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 06:37 PM

It's interesting to note that this thread hasn't really got the attention it deserves. The Frost spec has largely been forgotten by many mages over the years. It simply was never viable outside of gimmick resistance instances/encounters (BWL, MC, Illidan), Fights relying on its superior snare control (Freya +3) - or special gimmick fights (Vezax Hardmode). Eventually, especially for those who don't PVP, Frost itself just dropped out of the common mage vocabulary when discussing concepts such as "Raid Viable" or "Competitive" or even "fun".

With that said, many mages will be pleasantly surprised when sampling Cataclysm Frost. If your memory of Frost from TBC and WOTLK is nothing more than 'mindless Frostbolt spam', you'll find Cataclysm Frost to be refreshingly interactive, exciting - and fun! Procs come at you every other spell, and you'll need to be on your toes to use them. More Frost spells have a compelling role in the rotation, and Chills and Freezes are concepts heavily supported by the talents - just like how Dots and Burning is done for Fire.

It seems like a strange oversight that Ignite is going to be required for Frost mages, due to Frostfire Bolt being cast on Brain Freeze Procs (especially when Fingers of Frost + Shatter are accounted for). That's 8 skill points into the fire tree to support this spell, which itself is only a proc in the Frost tree. As Lhivera mentioned, FFB serves to fill some great niches - but one unfortunate niche is how much it limits subspec choice, via its benefits from Ignite. One that gets ironed out, the FFB spell really will have solidified its exciting niche within the Frost tree.

As has been mentioned elsewhere, the Frostfire Orb talent is very interesting. The first point is for PVE, granting Frostfire Orb the ability to benefit from Frost Specialisation. The second point does nothing except add 10% to FFB's snare. FFB packs quite a snare fully talented (70%) but it still seems a little.. strange, that the 1st and 2nd point function so differently like this. Is the second point of Frostfire Orb only intended to be +10% to FFB, and not do anything to affect its namesake talent? It almost seems the talent is missing part of the tooltip which should read, '... and increases the damage of your Frostfire Orb by a further X / Y %".

There has been some talk of the range of Frost spells. It seems a little odd that all Frost spells have 35 yards, whereas Ice Lance can be talented to 40 yards. Ice Lance can be used on Water Elemental Freeze targets at 40 yards. Frostfire bolts cast at 40 yards could grant FoF and allow you to Ice Lance, but enemies are likely to already be at 35 yards by then anyway. All other actions will draw you to 35 yards. Frostbolt is a hard hitting snare, but that doesn't form the lion's share of your rotation. If that aspect of the talent is solely intended to be a way to Freeze+Ice Lance at 40 yards, it serves its purpose. But if giving Ice Lance a longer range is meant to offer more compelling uses, they don't seem to be there. The talent itself (even with the Blizzard snare) is questionable.

The Cata graphical aura overlay (For FoF) needs to visually offer a way to distinguish between 1 or 2 FoF charges present. Simply make it thicker or thinner. FoF procs are coming so often (even after Piercing Chill gets fixed) that the UI can be a little frustrating at times here.

It's a little dissappointing to AOE (as Frost) after experimenting with AOE (as Fire). The Blizzard spell has been largely rendered a thematically toothless tiger now. It packs a mediocre 50% snare, and has lost Frostbite (and thus Shatter interaction). A fully talented Blizzard (in TBC / WOTLK) was a mean powerhouse, and that sentiment has being eroded by Cataclysm.

However we should put the "Frost AOE is boring" comments into perspective: Fire does a damn good job of making AOE interactive and fun. Other specs, even other classes, would be a little envious of all Fire spells and mechanics which work together beautifully to make AOE more exciting and interactive than "Stand here and cast AOE spell X". Frost's AOE playstyle pales in comparison to Fire, as does Arcane and probably other classes too. What's one way to spice up Frost AOE to be more comparable to Fire? How about if Ice Lance and FFB (Via Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze) were castable while channeling Blizzard? Or Ice Lance, after casting a Blizzard, could hit X/Y additional targets for a small period? That would be a little more interactive, and intuitive than simply wathing your Blizzard accumulate FoF charges but unable to use them. Anything to make AOE something more than "Stand here and cast X".

Some of these are Icing on the cake issues. The spec is no doubt in good shape, but there's room for improvemnt. It's indeed quite ironic that arguably the most pressing problem currently for Frost, is actually a talent in the Fire tree.

#20 Lhivera

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 08:09 PM

The second point of Frostfire Orb also adds a snare (40%) to Frostfire Orb itself.
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