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Cataclysm Mage Changes


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#41 Korey

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:32 PM

I, like others, am a bit wary of the Mana Adept mastery. If a mage had only his own personal mana cooldowns to work with, I could see it encouraging a more dynamic (i.e., mana managing) playstyle, but external mana sources complicate matters. Innervate has already been mentioned, but on top of that, will Arcane mages clamor to be grouped with Resto shamans for Mana Tide? Will they ask priests to Hymn of Hope during a high-burn cycle? Then again, if healer mana is going to be a very carefully managed resource, then healers may have to save those cooldowns for their own use in any fight of consequence.

From the Arcane Focus description:

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

The intent behind Mana Adapt (Arcane mastery) is that Arcane currently has a pretty fun mana management game going, at least at relatively high level. We thought it would be fun to extend that concept even further to where Arcane mages that use the mechanics to keep their mana high would do higher dps. I find many of the predictions that Arcane is doomed in PvE based on the very limited information you have at the moment to be quite premature.

So yea, until we know what these tools and talents are, I'm cautiously optimistic. I don't think we'll have to be overly reliant on innervate.

Edit: Ghostcrawler made a followup post elaborating on some things here. So I guess Time Warp really is a hero/bloodlust and not passive like it says.

#42 andastra

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:43 PM

It seems to me that they gave us some of the things they would add to fire's rotation but not arcane's rotation. GC stated that flame orb will be balanced for single target damage so that may be added to the rotation. They want fire mages to use scorch again and they might balance arcane missiles to still be attractive to fire and frost mages at higher levels. That's potentially 6 spells for fire while arcane is still stuck at 2. Mana management should give arcane something to do but I think arcane still needs 1-2 spells in the rotation.

#43 Vontre

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 08:39 PM

The most likely implication of mana adept is that maximum mana efficiency will be the most viable option at all times. Think of it this way: every time you cast a spell, your dps permanently decreases for the next 2 minutes at minimum. Imagining they want to tune it to be somewhat noticeable, this is going to put enormous pressure on mana conservation as a strategy. Casting anything while on the move may become a dps loss. Burn rotations will simply cease to exist until the very tail end of an encounter, or in the most dire of circumstances. But ramping up damage to deal with add waves will probably not be viable, as this would decrease your damage for the next wave. The frontload you would need to do to counteract 2 minutes of 1% less damage would have to be absolutely massive.

I've considered this concept before in my random game design scribblings and always wrote it off as a bad idea. Right now there is a delicate counterbalance between efficiency and burn that makes for an interesting playstyle. Unless the effect of mana adept is very minor I just don't see things staying that way.
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#44 Rugz

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 09:12 PM

I'm not sure about you guys, but when going into a fight as arcane I don't blow my cooldowns right at the start, I ramp up a 4 stack of AB and a Missile Barrage before popping AP, IV and such. As Vontre said, depending on how steep the damage falloff, burn cycles for arcane might become a thing of the past, but even so, in the cooldown phase at the very start you'll already be 15% of the way into your mana pool just to get your 4 stack and proc situation.

Since it is listed as a mastery I'd assume that the bonus granted for high mana pools becomes larger the more points you put into arcane, increasing the DPS swing from draining your mana pool. So perhaps this is a way of forcing the bloat out of the arcane tree. The more points you put in, the more your max DPS rotation suffers as a result.

#45 Crazydam

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 09:29 PM

I would imagine its gonna look: do few casts then presence of mind and arcane blast when at four stack of arcane blast, blow couldowns and then mana gem to get back at 100% mana & do missiles with barrage

And by the way, I blow my couldowns when I got missiles under barrage and then blow all couldowns (blow them before I cast missiles), before what I did images and Presence of mind with four stack of arcane blast debuff.

#46 Magictricks

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 09:40 PM

scorch: Fire's pve playstyle is dynamic enough without having to weave scorches into it. But I suspect scorch will be the bread and butter spell for keeping the new pyromaniac talent running.

arcane focus: the description might as well be in Greek.

playing with fire: damned cool. That talent might single handedly make fire viable in pvp, depending on how it is implemented. And its a clever design.

burnout: It fits with how Blizzard thinks fire mages want to play, and how fire mages say they want to play, but whether it has the slighest bit of use depends on how often fire mages are going to run out of mana. My hunch is that burnout is just Blizzard washing their hands of fire mage mana in pve. If they don't run out of mana, fine. If they do, they can always spec burnout and draw down on healer mana instead.


With only a 4 second dot I dont believe Ignite will be the way to keep Pyromaniac running I do however see multi LB's as being the weapon of choice in this situation.

Also scorch looks to be some kind of empowerment to each spell, like if you scorch then apply LB it'll have 1 more tick and the final explosion will do 10% more.
Scorch then then pyroblast might at 20% crit .

Alteast this is how i'm reading it.

#47 Vontre

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 09:41 PM

We have no reason to assume that the arcane cycle will stay the same.
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#48 Skurel

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 10:51 PM

The most likely implication of mana adept is that maximum mana efficiency will be the most viable option at all times. Think of it this way: every time you cast a spell, your dps permanently decreases for the next 2 minutes at minimum. Imagining they want to tune it to be somewhat noticeable, this is going to put enormous pressure on mana conservation as a strategy. Casting anything while on the move may become a dps loss. Burn rotations will simply cease to exist until the very tail end of an encounter, or in the most dire of circumstances. But ramping up damage to deal with add waves will probably not be viable, as this would decrease your damage for the next wave. The frontload you would need to do to counteract 2 minutes of 1% less damage would have to be absolutely massive.

I've considered this concept before in my random game design scribblings and always wrote it off as a bad idea. Right now there is a delicate counterbalance between efficiency and burn that makes for an interesting playstyle. Unless the effect of mana adept is very minor I just don't see things staying that way.


Using the current tools we have the pressure gauge mechanic of Mana Adept would be like a sprinter trying to win a marathon. You'd be well ahead out of the gates but be far behind towards the end. 2 minutes is a long time to recover any drop off of damage output. I'm guessing they'll shrink down the time frame for mana recovery and giving us more tools to conserve mana. Honestly, I think a dramatic damage difference with Mana Adept would be easiest to balance if mana consumption and recovery are also dramatic. If mana consumption and recovery is gradual then the problems of frontloaded damage make it unattractive or boring for long fights. With mana values frequently changing between high and low values the damage will seem erratic but will allow for a consistent output over longer periods of time.

#49 gaerthe

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 11:15 PM

We have no reason to assume that the arcane cycle will stay the same.


Based on the intent of Mana Adept, and the wording of "tools to manage mana" I expect a deep arcane talent (perhaps Arcane Flows) reducing the CD on evocation to zero. This would allow us to trade off burst and sustained DPS as needed.

#50 Vontre

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 12:04 AM

Edit: Actually ignore all that.
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#51 angelamaria

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 04:04 AM

I'm a bit on the fence regarding the mage changes, arcane in particular. Currently you start really watching your pool when you get to around 50%, and time your oom accordingly to boss phases/evo/mana gem charge. Depending on implementation really, we might have 50% as the new zero, and/or want to blow cooldowns at max mana (I can see much more aggressive Invis use; max damage and all cooldowns at fight start means aggro without MI/Invis at end). I'm hoping the changes won't mean cooldown use/benefit for arcane is less of a strength; on-demand burst is one of the most fun things about playing arcane spec (it feels a lot more nuke-y than the other specs).

I'm not entirely sure about not casting when on the run, except if it's just to delay mana loss; I'd read that they didn't want healers to be standing around doing nothing to regain mana (OO5SR) so I assumed the same for other casters. So unless our instant casts are bad dpm-wise (like ABarr is now, although I suppose we can't rule out other instant casts from other schools) we'll likely still want to be doing something.

Without more information, though, the idea that arcane mastery grants haste and Mana Adept seem to be a bit at odds, since the more haste you have the faster you run oom; unless they're changing it so that haste not only affects spell casting speed but mana regen speed as well. I know I read something awhile back (may only be a rumor; I haven't delved into the other classes' previews) about haste affecting rage generation, although likely that might just be a "nice side effect" of just hitting mobs more and getting rage out of hitting mobs instead of just taking damage.

It certainly means a bit of a mentality switch for arcane, from "must be oom right at end of fight" to "must be above x% mana at all times". To me, it makes the "nuke boss he's almost dead!!" feeling not as heightened for arcane, because you're not supposed to go for an all-out, give-it-all-[mana]-you-got experience now.

Dare I say, Fire's Burnout kind of feels nice for that feeling, if it was in arcane's tree instead. "The boss is almost dead, I need to go all out nuking even at the cost of my health because he's almooooost dead--and now he is!" adds a desperate kind of flavor to a boss fight. Although I doubt it would be a good decision to add that to arcane playstyle: arcane mages would just start looking at their health bars as mana pool extensions and play around that. (As a healer being slightly annoyed at locks using up health to top up mana (at the expense of MY mana), I wouldn't be too happy about that.)

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#52 semata

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 03:28 AM

I have difficulty imagining that Mana Adept will be fun in practice. There was a sense at the start of WotLK that Arcane feels heavily dependent on raid support in the form of mana regen to function. Mana Adept looks to be just that; for the mastery to be attractive, the bonus has to be so large that any time we raid without replenishment/wisdom (not unlikely for 10s) or even innervate we will feel penalised. Even casting spells makes us feel penalised - I can't conceive of a scenario where watching your damage output steadily decline is fun. On the other hand, if Arcane is given an efficiency rotation that trivialises mana concerns, then that defeats the purpose of the mastery bonus. The choices seem to be either boring or frustrating.

The philosophy behind it is interesting, but it seem like it something that would be nightmarish to design.

About the changes to Arcane Missile, I wonder if Blizzard has given any thought at all to low level mages speccing into Arcane? If the changes to Arcane Focus is any guide it seems that Arcane will become even more of a utility tree that all mage specs sub into than now.

Without more information, though, the idea that arcane mastery grants haste and Mana Adept seem to be a bit at odds, since the more haste you have the faster you run oom; unless they're changing it so that haste not only affects spell casting speed but mana regen speed as well.


If we get spammable evocation, which we probably would given blue comments, haste would have bearing on our mana regen too.

#53 Vontre

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 03:41 AM

I've finished a basic spreadsheet of rotations in a generalized format. If tuned correctly what it comes down to is starting with an efficiency rotation and switching to a burn rotation at some midpoint. Assuming a linear decrease in damage, that is. So fairly straightforward 2-cycle dynamic. This doesn't really account for timers, which will likely not change much.
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#54 Oomjin

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 10:34 AM

Just a quick note on the subject of Mana Adept (from Eyonix):

The third bonus will be the most interesting, as it will provide an effect completely unique to that tree -- meaning there will be 30 different bonuses of this nature in the game. This third bonus is the one that will benefit from the Mastery rating found on high-level (level 80 to 85) gear.


Given that the mastery system as a whole is so new, is it reasonable to assume there will be the option of not stacking it beyond the small bonus from wearing appropriate armour?

Worst case, if Mana Adept is a poor DPS increase or simply not something all arcane mages enjoy, I should hope that non-Mastery Rating gear is available for most slots. To keep the gearing decisions meaningful in this case, dropping Mastery Rating for additional haste/crit/hit should be a viable tradeoff.

Not as interesting as getting a competitive mastery, but I guess some specs will simply get the short end of the stick in this regard. I'm actually hopeful about the concept of choosing whether or not to stack Mastery Rating, so I hope this is a meaningful choice.

#55 Scathur

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 01:01 PM

Well as much as I hate to say this, it might become a more standard practice to use PoM on creating a mana gem from now on.


You never know they might actually make it possible for the mage to PoM an evocation, thus restoring 60% of your mana instantly. This meaning you could start at the 100% mark for full damage, using CDs straight away, burst down to 40% and pop PoM Evo to be back at 100% dmg.

Could also possibly introduce a glyph to reduce Evocates Cooldown by an Extra 15secs. With a shorter CD on Evocate you can vary the burst so:

Burst (CDs) > PoM Evo > Maintain Mana (gems? Innervate?) > Burst

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#56 Aastarius

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 01:17 PM

Maybe the "Mana Adept" concept will in essence simply be the Arcane version of fires "Molten Fury", but in reverse, i.e. it's all upfront loading in an encounter.

Gonna be a bugger to get that balanced though.

#57 Tedronai

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 02:30 PM

After soaking it in for a bit, here's my impressions:

Flame Orb: I'm thinking it will work just like Taldaran's orb where it will follow your target in a "straight line", doing the beam damage from OK to anyone along its path. The talent improved version will cause it to explode like in ICC. Pretty cool, I think. It should have a niche in the ranged fire aoe arsenal somewhere between loading up Living Bombs and dropping Flame Strikes.

Time Warp: Is this a Bloodust/Heroism clone? The passive part did sort of make me wonder. Either way, if it is, really cool. The movement speed is nice, but I agree with some others that it'll cause some problems ... especially for mages that decide to pop TW to get out of the fire before they're Sated/Exhuasted...will have a lot of other angry raiders when it happens. I'd rather just have a straight up BL clone and couple the movement speed with something else....like Mirror Image.

Wall of Fog: When I first read this, I saw "Mages are getting Hunter Traps", but then I saw the duration: 10 sec :\. I'd much prefer if it lasted longer like a trap. I can see this spell having some niche encounter usefulness like adds spawning from a particular spot (like Dreamwalker or Saurfang). I like the idea of though and sort of wish we had more of these types of spells.

Arcane Missiles - an interesting change. Assuming it's a base proc on any spells, I'm really hoping they add in some talent spec flavor to make it worth pushing for any spec. Missile Barrage, I'd assume will work how it does now (faster cost, no mana cost), but on any arcane missiles that are cast.

Removing the wards and amp/dampen - I was hoping we'd get a reworking. The wards is kind of annoying, but I'm hoping it's because they're going to make mana shield better, which would make the wards redundant.

Scorch - Definitely about time. I wonder if the damage buff will be a part of the spell itself or something we'll have to talent into.

Arcane Focus - Getting mana back for spells that fail to hit....I'm not sure I like that idea. They state it as being a tool to help manage mana, but how will that be helpful when we're hit capped? Will it work on damage immune mobs? And the idea of cancelling missiles to regain mana also seems very clunky. It just seems odd to build a mana management tool that's only useful when your dps suffers (ie spell misses, interrupting arcane missiles). Seems more like a failsafe to compensate lower dps than it is an actual mana management tool.

Playing With Fire - glad to see it changed, even if it's just a litle bit of PvP flavor.

Pryomaniac - Interestin change. Again will depend on the numbers and logistics. On multi target fights, this will definitely encourage fast target switching to keep the haste buff rolling.

Burnout - Very interesting. How useful it is will largely depend on how much hp is taken when casting a spell. This will at least give fire mages the ability to keep casting should they go oom while waiting for evo or mana gem to come back off cooldown. Will it keep its 50% crit damage bonus aspect?

Mana Adept - Another interesting mechanic. I can see this scaling horribly at first, then better as the expansion goes on where mana pools increase while spell costs stay the same. How well this works will also depend on what mana management tools they have in store for us. If it's just Arcane Focus, Evo, and Mana gems, then we might be screwed. Also, this seems like a problematic balancing design. If they balance around having a lower % of mana, then we'll become over powered if/when we find ways to stay topped off. If they balance around being close to 100% mana, then we'll suffer if we don't have the tools to regularly fill back up.

Ignite - Will this be replacing our current ignite talent except work on all direct damage (including non crits)? Does the direct damage stipulation exclude aoe spells or just dots?

Deathfrost - I see this as their way to mix up frost's rotation. And the spell you use to take advantage of Deathfrost would depend on which procs are up....AM up? use that. FoF and Deep Freeze off cooldown? use that. Just FoF? Maybe Ice Lance...FFB for brain freeze or even just the default spell to use with no other procs up.

One last thing...will Living Bomb be innately affected by haste and crit? I'm assuming the latter, but will the former, if it applies to LB, just fit in additional ticks before the explosion?

#58 Vand1

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 03:41 PM

The whole thing about haste simply increasing the number of times a DoT (or a HoT) ticks has me wondering whether that means you'll need a very significant amount of haste to receive any benefit at all (enough to fit an extra tick into the same time span)? If that's the way it will work, another consequence is that haste will be full of "sweet spots," points where you get one more tick...one point less and you get no benefit from all that haste (at least for the spell in question), and anything over it giving no additional benefit (for that spell).

#59 Doroteasenjk

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 03:54 PM

I have recovered from some of my initial shock and disgust -- mages become more like warlocks as warlocks become more like mages, to their mutual distaste.

Flame Orb has to be high damage/long CD to be worth including in any rotation. I couldn't see it being used in anything other than a fire rotation, although Deathfrost might encourage its use.

Time Warp Again -- Assuming that Blizzard actually made a typo about the passive Haste effect, and that the raid gets a 30% boost to melee, ranged and spell cast speed, then its nice to have this tool in the shamage's arsenal. If it's a 30% movement speed buff for the mage, it tends to say something about the kinds of fights in Cataclysm. I know that my DPS drops disproportionately when I have to move, so I may not have as much to contribute for DPS to my guild in the future.

Mana Adept -- I cannot grasp how this will work. 10% more damage with a full tank? 3%? 1.4%? Note that Evocation reduces our damage per second by 2-3% on a stand and nuke fight. This combined with the movement speed thing suggests that fights in Cataclysm will be bursty, fight for a few seconds followed by running, regen when you can affairs. Again, I don't hold out much hope of me surviving the cut in Cataclysm.

Arcane Focus -- this is a goofy change, for several reasons, better articulated elsewhere.

PvP focus: more spells and talents for PvP. yay. I tend to dislike PvP with a passion, doing it only when required for certain achievements -- it feels like cleaning out the P-trap in the bathroom, something necessary but distasteful. Playing With Fire is only useful for Fire specs that have Blast Wave and you get hit by melee -- since this does not happen in raids, at least where the mage survives ...

Pyromaniac -- hmm. You have 8 casts of LB before you have to start reapplying it. After the 3rd one, or perhaps the 4th, you get some haste, allowing you to apply 8.2 casts before you have to start reapplying it. Again, primarily for PvP and clearing trash.

Wall of Fog -- personally, I see lots of dead mages trying to use this in instance and raid encounters. Maybe it would work on murlocs ...

The good: mage food-water scales and isn't introduced until it makes a difference. It makes more sense than today's confused mangle of refreshments. Similarly, no spell ranks. However, these are quality-of-life things that aren't specific to the mage.

While I am no longer shocked and disgusted, I can say, sincerely, that I am underwhelmed and saddened.

#60 dyelynn

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 04:40 PM

The one thing I see repeated in this thread over and over, and Vontre mentioned it as well, everyone seems to think the arcane rotation is going to remain the same. Mana Adept has been analyzed pretty well thus far, with the information we've received, but there's one aspect I don't think I've read about yet. Everyone thus far seems to assume that AM will be available for you to clear your AB stacks. That is no longer a definite. We may have to use Abarr to clear stacks, or switch to a different school long enough for stacks to fall off. Unless there is another arcane spell inserted for us to take advantage of the damage boost afforded by AB, or the arcane tree has a very good boost to AM proc chance, our main nuke has lost a lot of it's appeal.




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