Does TotM really need a cooldown?

Why does this spell need a cooldown? It really isn’t anything special outside of other cooldowns. It just seems like unnecessary cooldown where you sit around for 45 seconds waiting for 6 seconds of fun. Would letting us use magi whenever we want put us over the top?

It instantly generates 4 Arcane Charges, so requires some CD to keep charge generation / spending mechanic as a thing. Though, its damage soak without the conduit is kinda low, so without charge generation it might have needed a more powerful effect or lower CD.

I think it should be kept as CD, but receive the Cloudburst Totem treatment - popping the ability again while it is active instantly explodes it. This would solve most issues with this ability in raid, Mythic+ and even PVP - if the enemy is about to die, you can manually detonate it to provide at least some value.

It’s a 25% DPS increase for 8 seconds.
Yes, it needs a cooldown. Besides, it should be lining up with your burn phase.

Otherwise your standard Arcane rotation only does 80% damage, and assumes you maintain the totm debuff to get back to your 100% value (80% * 1.25). Having to wait 8 seconds to “get back” 25% of your damage is a huge cost.

Arcane Power is a 30% DPS increase for 10 seconds. It has an even longer cooldown that most people wouldn’t balk at.

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Given the power increase it absolutely needs a cooldown in its current form.

My question would be whether it needs to exist at all. Between AP, TotM and RoP it really feels like Arcane has too much of its kit pushed into those 45/90s cooldown windows. Yes, having a short cd allows for a mini-burst outside of AP but from a gameplay perspective I’m not too sure how much people really like that.

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I see it as a neat competitor for RoP, but even RoP provides more benefit.

That said, as @Visal points at when talking about the ability to “re-activate”, it would be a nice feature that if the “stored” damage exceeds the target current HP that it pops immediately rather than skimping the remaining damage… Would be even cooler if killing this way procced the AoE component twice. Would close the gap to RoP too, and finally see a contender…

It is also a good suggestion, but it can be tricky for PVP, where people usually have stacked Versatility that reduces damage taken. For example, you might want to stack lots of damage into ToTM explosion and use it to execute the enemy. If your suggestion is implemented, when enemy reaches “kill threshold”, ToTM explodes, but gets reduced by Versatility and target survives and uses a heal / defensive ability where it could be counterplayed and executed by manual ToTM burst if did not pay enough attention.
Moreover, auto ToTM burst can even ruin Kyrian burst rotation there if ToTM explodes earlier than your stacked Arcane Barrage hits.

As a result, I think possibility to detonate ToTM manually is better. It has some skill involved and player can totally control when he wants to pop it, so can avoid breaking CC with it or popping it too early as the mentioned above situation shows.

So, versatility generally affects the original spell which adds damage but not the repeat spell. This is how most similar abilities work (e.g., fistweaver legendary for Monk doesn’t double dip from versatility).

That means 3 AB for 1000 on a zero versatility target would store 3*.25*1000= 3*250= 750 damage. If the target has 3600 HP, the third cast would bring them to 600 which is less than the stored 750, resulting in an instant pop of the damage.

On a twenty versatility target though (10% damage reduction), those 3 ABs are hitting for 900 damage. The effect still stores 25% of the damage, or 3*.25*900= 675. Versatility already reduced this amount. If the target had 600 HP, this total amount would pop for the 675 damage – as this amount was already mitigated by versatility and should not be a second time; however, using the same 3600 HP example, the target HP after the third cast would be 900. The ability would not yet trigger since the current HP is over the threshold.

To that end, however, let’s say either target was at 600 HP when the third cast lands and the stored damage would exceed current HP. But, let’s also say they received an absorb shield for 1500 after the second cast. The third hit would come in, leaving the shield at 500 or 600, depending on versatility. The effect would burst, effectively destroying the shield, but leaving the unit alive, with a little less health.

In this case, the absorb should eat the TotM instant trigger, giving a second to react to the sudden burst of damage and allowing some form of counterplay, rather than being a pure execute. This also may create some situations where you would want to be ready for a quick follow-up Fire Blast or Arcane Barrage to really build on the skill level of the Mage in a PvP setting.

Manually triggering is not a bad idea, but I feel there are too many buttons already, and in virtually no other circumstance than the target would die before the damage goes off would I want to trigger early – I want every extra point of damage. It may enable more “trick” plays, but would likely be a frustration more often than a benefit.

Instead of triggering twice if it kills the target, it may be better to have an effect that cleaves the effect at half duration (like Living Bomb) if the damage kills the target. This would allow that stored Arcane Barrage to hit all of the nearby targets for the 25% bonus, and let a follow-up Arcane Explosion see better AoE throughput (which the spec is kind of reliant on covenant powers to achieve otherwise). Call it an Unstable Anomaly, so the effect doesn’t chain indefinitely during swarm AoE.

Adding one more button for Arcane DPS rotation is not something that bad - it already consists of mostly 3 buttons (Arcane Blast / Arcane Missiles / Arcane Barrage) + CDs.

In addition to mentioned above situation, there are actually more situations where you would want to control your ToTM pop instead of it auto-exploding:

  • Lets say in PVP there is an enemy affected by ToTM and polymorphed enemy healer near it. You would want to detonate ToTM only when it is definitely lethal to the target, because its burst would break Polymorph and healer will insta-top the target if it survives.
  • In PVE, let’s say main ToTM target is close to dying, but as a Kyrian you have not launched the Arcane Barrage yet. You might want to delay the pop until Arcane Barrage hits, as ToTM would soak its damage and blast it to nearby enemies and even enhance it by 10% (2 set tier bonus) for all targets that will be hit by Arcane Barrage (as damage to them is a percentage of damage done to main target).