FEEDBACK: Mage Class Changes

Probably not the best place to post this, but I decided to try something different this time around and picked up Arcane Mage. I’m normally a melee guy, but for the sake of testing I figured this would be a good change of pace.

That said, I don’t know what I’m doing. Damn near EVERYTHING kills me in Revendreth (sp?). I can’t last more than one encounter and get smashed by quest mobs consistently. I’ve racked up so many deaths, it’s pretty funny at this point. Not sure what I’m supposed to be doing to survive. If I Frost Nova things to freeze them in place, they break out and charge me. Which kinda defeats the purpose of getting away. I try to pop Prismatic Barrier whenever it’s up so I can at least have some sort of defense, but that goes away so fast.

Reading through this thread, folks are saying things are “easy”, so I’m guessing I’m doing something wrong. Any pointers, or is there something I should be doing to keep from getting smashed all of the time?



Real quick (cuz yeah there are better places):

Frost nova is broken by damage, so it is best used by Arcane as a means to get more distance out of a blink away.

As Arcane you basically (yes, fellow Arcanites I am simplifying here) you want to first remember you want range. Get range, and rely heavily on Arcane Blast with missiles on clearcasting procs. Keep distance.

Using Slow is kind of mixed. I don’t recall the name but while learning feel free to select the talent that makes missiles slow them as well. Arcane isn’t terribly good at AoE in my experience so I play a more sniper-like style as arcane. Try to pick off mobs 1 by one or in pairs - or at least try to not pull a pack until you’re more experienced. Oh and I prefer to not pop barrier on CD, but pop it when I’m about to get meleed by something that still has a good health pool and I can’t nova+blink+slow away.

Finally, while learning feel free to polymorph a mob and attack the other one or two. Polymorph won’t pull the others and it reduces the target count to give you some breathing room.


We want to make Ignite spread something the player has agency over, and first experimented with the past system of making Fire Blast spread it. However, because of the importance of using Fire Blast for Hot Streak very frequently, we’ve seen feedback that this creates a lot of tension and still makes it difficult to control when you and don’t want Ignite to spread.

In the next alpha build, we’re going to try letting Phoenix Flames fill this role, as a baseline spell for Fire Mages. This gives Phoenix Flames a unique function and identity as a core spell, as well as allowing for more choice over when to spread Ignite. If we continue with the change, we’ll look into a new talent to replace Phoenix Flames in upcoming builds.


The move of the spread mechanic from FB to PF is a step in the right direction, and appreciated. However as it stands now, it is very difficult to generate a large enough ignite to make spreading feel worth it (powerful).

To assist in in the ignite generation, would it be possible to take Phoenix Flames, and either take it off the GCD, or put it on a reduced GCD? Trying to chain pyros within the combust window using flames is impossible (GCD triggers on both the instant pyro, and the PF cast devouring 2+ seconds PER pyro striking the target in the combust window) This feels… real bad.

A side effect of this is locking the mage into taking meteor again just to get the extra large-ish hit on the ignite stack. The other two talents will again go unused.

Please keep playing fire internally, I would love for this to be my go to spec on day one as a 15 year fire mage.

Thanks, and we will keep testing!


Repost from EU forums on behalf of Malon: (

A little background: I’ve played a Mage since Classic, been writing guides about the class on Wowhead since MoP and am a moderator over at Altered Time, the Mage Discord server.

Here I’ll begin by going over some of the class-wide changes and my thoughts on it, then move on to my notes and a wishlist for each spec. This post is extremely long, but that’s because I am passionate about both this class and the game. I’ve added a TLDR summary to each section for easier reading.

Class-wide changes/additions


  • Alter Time is not an adequate replacement for Displacement for Arcane
  • Mirror Image should be a utility cooldown, not a DPS one
  • The loss of Shimmer’s second charge should be compensated with a lower cooldown
  • Focus Magic overlaps with the role of Incanter’s Flow and is only suitable for Frost.

Alter Time

Great to have it back; I am, perhaps, in the minority as I always preferred the WoD version (a simple mobility/survivability spell) over the MoP one (a damage cooldown). However, taking Displacement away from Arcane to give Alter Time back to all specs, at the same time as Shimmer is reduced to one charge, is a significant hit to Mage mobility, and Arcane’s in particular. The spell should really be tweaked for that spec, at least, to refund Blink/Shimmer’s cooldown - they are the masters of time and space, after all.

Mirror Image

As glad as I am to see the spell return to the base kit (it was never a competitive choice against the other options), MI on the alpha is not an interesting button to press; it’s simply ‘Do a bit more passive damage for 40 seconds’. By the end of Mists - the last time the spell was a baseline ability, rather than a talent - Mages were using this as a threat-drop or tool to help with soloing content, but it wasn’t a regular part of a damage rotation; if the spell remains as-is (uninteractive, simply casting Fireball/Frostbolt/Arcane Blast), this may be the route Blizzard should pursue for it.

Fire/Frost Ward

Simply a case of the unpruning going too far, these are not iconic abilities and I fail to see why they’re making a return. A tuned (for example raid-wide) version of Dampen and/or Amplify Magic would be much more welcome.


It certainly needed a nerf; the spell has been a must-pick for all specs since day one of Legion. However, dropping it to one charge while retaining the five-second increased cooldown on Blink is just…bad, to the point where picking the talent on the alpha genuinely feels like you’re choosing to downgrade Blink. Considering the insane mobility of other specs, especially melee classes, as well as Blink’s ongoing bugginess (failing at terrain changes like slopes, stairs and doorways), we will feel this in both PvE and PvP.

Focus Magic

This spell fills too similar a niche to Incanter’s Flow, favouring a flat damage curve. That immediately makes it near-useless for Arcane and Fire, both of which are cooldown-based and simply won’t sacrifice Rune of Power to take a minor crit buff (which Fire doesn’t care about, anyway). Frost, of course, takes Incanter’s Flow and it’s hard to see Focus Magic out-performing that unless the numbers are dramatically tweaked. This is the same problem Mirror Image had, except it encroached on Rune’s territory instead of Incanter’s.

To differentiate it, the Mirror Image/Focus Magic talent spot should be significantly different to ‘short cooldown burst spell’ or ‘passive damage increase’, such as a burst spell with a long cooldown.



  • Only the Kyrian Covenant works well in all content for all specs
  • Radiant Spark has issues with multiple projectile spells and travel times
  • Mirrors of Torment is unusable in PvE, but Venthyr have the best Signature ability (a teleport)
  • Deathborne is powerful for Arcane but loses out for Fire and Frost
  • Shifting Power is immobile, provides little cooldown reduction and needs to be cast too frequently, taking away from the class rotation.

Note that all of the below said with the realisation that we haven’t seen the legendary items, Soulbinds, etc., but weaknesses need picking up early on and I don’t believe that using one system to fix the flaws of another is healthy.

This may be grass-is-always-greener syndrome, but Mages really seem to have been given the short end of the stick when it comes to Covenants, with low damage, awkward or flat-out pointless abilities. Preach said it best, in his video about the Night Fae: “Poor Mages - every time we get to them, I feel bad.” Let me explain:

Radiant Spark (Kyrian)

This is a flat damage increase, and is probably the one most players will end up taking as it just works in all situations (which makes it unfortunate that the Kyrian Signature Ability is by far the weakest compared to the shields, movement speed increases and teleports of the other Covenants). The low cooldown is great and the damage increase is of course useful. The issue comes with spells that are treated as separate hits: things like Flurry and Arcane Missiles consume multiple stacks, and spells with different travel times (Ice Lance travels faster than Glacial Spike; Fire Blast is instant and hits before Pyroblast) also interfere with the debuff. That makes it awkward to play ‘correctly’ and line up your biggest damage spell with the fourth stack.

Mirrors of Torment (Venthyr)

This spell will almost never get its full value in PvE, as NPCs rarely cast frequently enough to consume all three stacks, plus you generally want to be interrupting their spells anyway. The cast speed slow effect, while useful, makes proccing the root + silence at the end even less likely. In addition it appears to just simply not work on most PvE bosses, and in PvP begs to be dispelled.

Deathborne (Necrolord)

Another contender for the default option, this ability has the advantage of having a use in cleave situations, although the cooldown is much longer than Radiant Spark. In addition, Fireball and Frostbolt don’t deal a huge amount of damage anyway, so the Necrolord Covenant will be less attractive for these specs than it is for Arcane - which, again, pushes all Mages towards Kyrian.

Shifting Power (Night Fae)

Aesthetically this is by far the best-looking Covenant ability, but that’s where the attraction ends. Being forced into melee range is traditionally unhealthy for casters (we’re treated as valid targets for ranged mechanics no matter where we stand), and standing still for six seconds while the spell channels is even worse. Coupled with the fact that it only ticks every 1.5 seconds (so four instances of damage/cooldown reduction), and the cost of interrupting the spell becomes even worse. On top of all that, it’s only three seconds of CDR with each tick, so just 12 seconds per full channel. With a 45-second base cooldown, that is a LOT of channelling to make Shifting Power worthwhile.




  • Arcane has between nine and 15 seconds of set-up time before dealing damage; cooldowns should be removed/taken off the global cooldown/combined to address this
  • The spec lacks cleave, but Touch of the Magi could fill this niche with appropriate tuning
  • Mobility is a big issue and Arcane needs an adequate replacement for Displacement, which Alter Time is not.

Arcane’s burn/conserve rotation has seen some changes going into Shadowlands, specifically with the doubling of Arcane Power’s cooldown and the addition of Touch of the Magi as a new base spell. This means one big burn every three minutes, and smaller burn phases every 45 seconds. It also reduces the power of the Overpowered talent, which is welcome. However, the spec still has the glaring weaknesses that have prevented it from being mainstream throughout BfA.


The biggest issue with Arcane on the alpha is its set-up time. The spec has always been slow to start, with the need to build four Arcane Charges before it can enter the burn phase - the Charged Up talent addresses this and is a must-pick in most raiding environments. However, even with Charged Up there are now fully six global cooldowns - nine seconds - of doing nothing except casting buffs before starting to deal damage, or around 15 seconds without Charged Up. That is: Charged Up/Arcane Blast x 4; Mirror Image; Covenant ability (if Kyrian or Necrolord); Touch of the Magi; Rune of Power; and Arcane Power. The last four of those are also only active for a short time, so some - maybe most - of the duration will be wasted while casting additional buffs.

Moving Mirror Image to be a utility cooldown instead of a DPS one, taking some spells off the global cooldown (Touch of the Magi and/or Arcane Power would be the top picks) or combining some (like Charged Up and Touch of the Magi, which have similar cooldowns of 40/45 seconds) would go some way towards alleviating this problem - but is at best a sticking plaster.

I can’t stress enough how bad it feels to play with all of these buffs and cooldowns on the alpha. The spec drags behind others, and most mobs are half dead by the time you can actually start doing damage.


Of the three Mage specs, Arcane has always held the crown for the highest theoretical single target damage (movement is a limiter, but that’s a later discussion). However, where it really falls down is in its cleave damage, meaning passive damage executed as part of the single target rotation. Because very few fights these days are pure single target, cleave is an important feature for every damage spec. Frost has Splitting Ice and Frozen Orb, while Fire spreads Ignite (passively for now, every time it hits Phoenix Flames in Shadowlands). The only cleave damage Arcane has is Arcane Barrage, and while it hits hard the need to cast it with four Arcane Charges massively limits the number it is possible to cast, even using Arcane Orb. Consuming your Charges in this way is also hugely disruptive to your single target rotation.

Touch of the Magi could be a fantastic way to give Arcane cleave potential using the spec’s strong single target burst, but the tuning is currently well off.

The issue is that the splash damage from Touch is far, far lower than the damage the main target takes, and falls even further with more targets (the formula is ‘100% damage divided by [square root of mob count]’, so 57% splash damage to three (total) targets, 50% to four targets, 44% to five targets, etc. This was confirmed with testing). It’s far from a reliable or high-damage cleave tool, especially considering its limitations in needing to be cast on a mob that will live for the full eight seconds to get the maximum benefit; although that might also be a hindrance if the pack needs to die quickly. Still, we’ll accept that as a limitation of the spell as it’s currently designed for now.

But…what if we don’t accept it? Let’s look at a possible redesign of Touch: still a debuff cast manually on a mob, but instead it acts more like Prophecy of Fear ( from WoD, exploding for damage each time the Mage hits the target. This design gives Arcane some on-demand ranged AoE and cleave, without needing to worry about the target or other mobs dying before the effect activates.


Of all the Mage specs, Arcane loses the most DPS from movement as all of its damage (barring the non-spammable Arcane Barrage) comes from hard-casts. Live Shimmer, with Displacement, partly counteracts this weakness over long distances, although micro-movement (moving out of a void zone, for example) is still painful. There’s a reason all the top Mage logs on Shad’har - the only pure single target fight in Ny’alotha - are Fire, not Arcane.

The nerfing of Shimmer to one charge and the (long overdue) reversion of Clearcasting to stack increases the viability of the Slipstream talent, which is welcome. However, this leaves Arcane with the opposite issue: long-range movement. Alter Time is not a valid replacement for Displacement; in fact, it feels like the other specs are gaining something while Arcane is losing power. Lowering Alter Time’s cooldown for Arcane, having it refund Blink’s cooldown, or both, would be very welcome - again, masters of time and space.



  • Arcane needs a reliable ranged AoE ability to both remain safe in raids and avoid dropping mechanics on melee players.

There’s little to be said here; Arcane has always been forced into melee range to AoE; another element that has limited the spec in raids. While Blizzard, Frozen Orb and Flamestrike can be cast safely from range, Arcane needs to position to avoid melee mechanics while also being a valid target for ranged mechanics, which often means they are simply not allowed near the melee pile.

The addition of Touch of the Magi again goes some way towards addressing this, and gaining mana from Arcane Barrage (a Shadowlands levelling perk) is a great bonus; but for years Arcane has been punished for trying to AoE, and that doesn’t appear to be set to change in Shadowlands. If nothing else, the return of the larger range on Arcane Explosion that was present in Legion would be welcome.



  • The new Enlightened talent emphasises remaining at high mana levels, which impacts talent choice in the rest of the tree.
  • Dead talents like Mana Shield, Supernova and Nether Tempest remain.

Amplification’s change to fire two additional missiles, and Clearcasting stacking three times instead of once, will really increase the power of Arcane Missiles. Whether it will be enough to take away from Rule of Threes - a major conserve tool - remains to be seen. The new Enlightened talent makes conserving at high mana even more important, so it’s unlikely at current tuning.

Mana Shield’s buff is nice but the talent will still rarely be used in competitive PvE. Movement is just too important for the talent to compete with Slipstream or Shimmer.

On our 45 tier, Arcane is locked into Rune of Power. As mentioned above, Focus Magic and Incanter’s Flow do not fit Arcane’s burn-conserve playstyle; especially now that Touch of the Magi encourages a burn every 45 seconds - the exact same as Rune of Power’s cooldown.

Resonance remains a great AoE talent while Charged Up is the go-to for a single target, and Supernova is still underpowered. The latter has some utility in Mythic+ but is rarely, if ever, worth the opportunity cost of missing one of the other options on this row.

The 75 tier has little impact on PvE, but all three talents are usable in different situations.

The 90 tier has a new problem. In BfA, in common with the 60 tier, it forced a(nother) choice between single-target (Touch of the Magi) and AoE (Reverberate), with Nether Tempest as the trailing third option. Thankfully Enlightened, replacing Touch of the Magi, increases all damage done, so while Reverberate might be stronger in AoE, Arcane Mages won’t feel like they have a dead talent if called on to attack multiple targets. The issue is that, because Enlightened is strong and fits all situations, other more niche talents will just not be chosen. It also encourages playing at high (above 70%) mana unless burning, which plays poorly with ⅓ of Temporal Anomaly’s effects and any level 15 talent except Rule of Threes.

At the 100 tier, the increase to Arcane Power’s cooldown has nerfed Overpowered, which was really necessary; it was always the best choice. With that we may see more choice in this tier, which is very welcome. However, as mentioned above, with Enlightened (currently looking like the go-to choice) we want to remain above 70% mana. This means that any Evocation procs from Temporal Anomaly are going to be mostly wasted. Lowering the mana threshold on Enlightened would go some way towards addressing this, and also make Rule of Threes less important. That is a minor issue, though, and I welcome having some actual choice on these talents again.


  • Significant reduction in set-up time/global cooldowns
  • Touch of the Magi to more clearly fulfil the cleave role that damage specs need for viability in the current PvE end-game. As well as a damage buff, acting like the Prophecy of Fear trinket from Warlords of Draenor - which Arcane Missiles had a unique interaction with - would be one way of addressing this.
  • Alter Time to have an Arcane-specific component.
  • Some form of reliable ranged AoE. Touch of the Magi could fulfil this role with the above redesign.



Of course Fire in Shadowlands is going to feel very different to how it does at the end of BfA, where rental power has increased output to silly levels. The spec currently flows well but, much like Arcane, is designed around high peaks and low troughs. A single fluffed Combustion can be the difference between success and failure. Having lost much of that rental power (Memory of Lucid Dreams, Hyperthread Wristwraps, etc), this would be a good time to increase Fire’s damage at a base level.



  • Fire has no effective burst AoE against low health enemies.
  • Manual Ignite spread was tried and failed in Warlords of Draenor; limiting it to eight targets is enough.

AoE has, ironically, been a problem for Fire for several expansions. There are no easily spammable spells like Blizzard + Frozen Orb, or Arcane Explosion + Barrage. Rather, Fire’s AoE ability comes from spreading a big Ignite, but that requires having a single large target to build and spread the Ignite from; it only looks good now because we have the tools to create burst windows to build that massive Ignite. Without that, Fire doesn’t have the tools to cope in its base kit, and this is very obvious in low-keystone-level dungeons or when facing many small mobs.

Another issue, which Blizzard addressed while I was writing this post (thanks!), was in using Fireblast to spread Ignite. That functionality is now on Phoenix Flames, which is an excellent change. However, the spell should be changed so it does not interact with Hot Streak/Heating Up , otherwise we’ll face the same issue (using it during Combustion, rather than for spreading Ignite) that we did with Fireblast. An adjustment to its travel speed/spreading Ignite on cast rather than impact/being off the global cooldown would also be welcome. As it is, we lose a minimum of two Ignite ticks before Phoenix Flames hits and spreads the DoT.

In addition, manual Ignite spread enabled what came to be called ‘tick compression’ in WoD (see here ). How will this be avoided in Shadowlands?



  • Fireblast is too important to the rotation to give up Flame On.
  • Flame Patch still encourages hard-casting Flamestrike; perhaps it should only apply to those cast using Hot Streak.
  • Conflagration is almost irrelevant.
  • Kindling desynchs Combustion from other abilities, which plays against Fire’s cooldown-stacking playstyle.

The importance of Fireblast exacerbates the disparity in our level 60 talent tier; as it stands, no-one would consider taking anything except Flame On, although I’ll admit that we haven’t seen Phoenix Flames’ replacement yet (please god not Cinderstorm). Likewise, Rune of Power is the only competitive option in high-end PvE with the existing peak-and-trough style of play.

Further down the tree, the level 90 tier is built around AoE and, with tuning, could work; but at current levels the choice has almost no impact on a single-target encounter. Currently the damage increase from Conflagration is absolutely minimal on a single target: taking another option, even if you never cast Flamestrike/Living Bomb in a fight, is less than a 2% DPS loss. The talent needs some love.

Living Bomb could be a tool to handle Fire’s weak AoE when it can’t spread Ignite, but at current levels of tuning (without the high Mastery we have at the end of BfA) it’s not worth casting on an average-sized (4-5) pack of mobs, and until late 8.3 everyone has taken Flame Patch for dungeons. At the moment, though, Living Bomb has actually been nerfed going into Shadowlands (it deals reduced damage to secondary targets), while Flame Patch has not.

Flame Patch is a problematic talent, in that it encourages what I would consider degenerate gameplay; namely, ignoring your entire rotation to hard-cast Flamestrike against anything more than two mobs in a dungeon setting. Ideally the talent should only encourage you to spend your Hot Streaks on Flamestrike, so a simple fix would be to make it only apply to instant-cast Flamestrikes - perhaps with a small buff to compensate.

At the very end of the tree, the level 100 tier currently looks pretty balanced. Both Pyroclasm and Kindling have been buffed to compete with Meteor and that is appreciated (whether the hassle of playing Pyroclasm will be worth it in a real-world setting is a different story). That said, Kindling still has two issues: first, that it lowers the cooldown of Combustion but nothing else, which makes stacking cooldowns like Covenant abilities difficult (again, the current peak-and-trough playstyle means desynching cooldowns is not desirable); and second, that it works with all of our rotational abilities - even Phoenix Flames - except Scorch, which makes it play against Searing Touch.


  • New/different ability to spread Ignite, removing some of the rotational weight from Fireblast - FIXED WHILE WRITING THIS POST, PRAISE THE LORD
  • Flamepatch to not encourage hard-casting Flamestrike - this is not simply a BfA issue, but something seen in Legion as well.
  • Smoothing rotation by moving damage out of the burst window




  • Flurry and Winter’s Chill have issues with travel time and do not allow the Shatter combo to work effectively at either maximum or minimum ranges.
  • Fingers of Frost is still ‘munched’ (useless) with a Brain Freeze proc.
  • Frost is still stuck spamming Frostbolt without procs, and may once again drop Ice Lance from the rotation at high Mastery levels; a proposed redesign addresses both of these issues and is linked below.
  • Frozen Orb remains buggy when used in melee range.

Frost has had few changes going into Shadowlands; mechanically, the spec plays well and has a tool for most situations. Its major issue in BfA has been the degenerate gameplay of the No Ice Lance build (which will not be a thing in Shadowlands) and the range issue of the Winter’s Chill debuff.

In BfA, Brain Freeze makes Flurry apply Winter’s Chill: a very short buff allowing the next spell to act as if the target were frozen. The most common way to consume Brain Freeze is to cast a Frostbolt/Glacial Spike/Ebonbolt (Spell #1) and queue an instant Flurry immediately afterwards, followed by an Ice Lance; because of Flurry’s travel time, and the fact that it hits three times, this enables Spell #1, as well as the Ice Lance, to benefit from Winter’s Chill (‘the Shatter combo’). However, because of spell travel times standing in melee range means that - in the situation above - Spell #1 will not benefit from Winter’s Chill, as it hits before Flurry.

Winter’s Chill has had a slight redesign in Shadowlands: it now lasts six seconds and affects the next two spells to hit, enabling the double Ice Lance gameplay that first appeared in Legion. However, the melee range issue is still present, and the combo now has the same issue at maximum range - especially on large bosses like Stormwall Blockade, Immerseus and Lord Marrowgar. In these situations the third projectile from Flurry may hit before Spell #1, causing that spell to consume a stack of Winter’s Chill.

The Shatter combo is a massive part of Frost’s damage, and the inability to stand at either maximum or minimum range will have a serious impact on the spec’s DPS on fights where standing elsewhere is impossible. There have been many suggestions to change how the combo operates, most recently and -comprehensively from Norrinir and other Mages of Altered Time: . While these are significant changes, they address some core weaknesses of Frost by providing bad luck protection, future-proofing against No Ice Lance returning at high Mastery levels and emphasising the Shatter combo.

A related issue with Frost’s procs is that Brain Freeze renders Fingers of Frost - both of which interact with Ice Lance - useless and results in munching the FoF proc (because the target is already considered Frozen due to Winter’s Chill). The above proposed redesign handles this by changing Flurry to an instant-cast spell with two charges that always applies Winter’s Chill, and making Brain Freeze refund part of a Flurry; this gives players the choice of when and how to use Flurry.

Aside from the Winter’s Chill issues, Frost - although a little boring and suffering from severe repetitiveness when it fails to get procs - is otherwise well prepared for most of the challenges it faces and puts on a respectable showing in all content. An honourable mention should go to Icy Veins, though, which is both a fairly weak cooldown and doesn’t interact with the spec at all (Frost gets no additional procs or power from adding haste than ‘more casts in this time span’). The changes suggested by Norrinir et al., above, adds Flurry interaction to the spell.

Finally, a quality of life issue: when enemies are in melee range, Frozen Orb tends to either slow down too late (after having passed through most of the enemies) or not slow at all. Combined with the unreliability of the Flurry-powered Shatter combo in melee range, this makes Frost very frustrating to play whenever the player is forced into melee range. One potential solution is to use the targeting reticule to place Orb, as with the Concentrated Coldness PvP talent.


Little to say here. The Frozen Orb/Blizzard interaction works and Frost performs well in sustained AoE. Adding Frozen Orb to its Mastery is a way to keep that stat relevant when attacking groups of enemies, and is very welcome.

However, if Frost is meant to excel at two-target cleave - a stated design intent during the BfA beta - it needs some sort of two-target capability in its base kit. Currently, this comes through the Splitting Ice talent.



  • No glaring issues on live, many talents saw play in BfA thanks to the support of different Azerite traits. Without support from Soulbinds/legendaries etc, talents like Rune of Power, Thermal Void and Ray of Frost will not be used.

As with other Nova talents (Supernova/Blastwave), Ice Nova is underwhelming compared to other talents in its row, which provide much higher damage over the course of a fight. It is useful for bursting or trapping an enemy in PvP, but has little-to-no use in end-game PvE. It needs a significant buff to compete with Bone Chilling or Lonely Winter.

Nerfing Shimmer makes Ice Floes much more attractive on the 30 tier (although Frost already handles movement reasonably well thanks to its procs), but Glacial Insulation suffers from the same problem as Ice Nova: it is near-useless in PvE. If it is the ‘I’m not moving’ talent, it should do more than increase armour, as the vast majority of incoming PvE damage is not physical.

Rune of Power doesn’t line up with any of Frost’s other cooldowns and the spec has a flatter damage profile than Fire or Arcane, so it is forced into Incanter’s Flow. Focus Magic may actually have some viability here, but I’m not a fan of creating a class-wide talent for a single spec.

There are no outstanding issues with the 60 tier; all of these talents have their place. Frozen Touch could be rewritten to make it more obvious that the increase is multiplicative rather than additive. Likewise with the 75 tier and 90 tiers; each of these talents has a place, although at high Mastery levels Comet Storm falls off compared to Splitting Ice, even on a single target.

At 100, Thermal Void has fallen far from its glory days of 100% uptime in Nighthold, but found some relevance again with Orb Build in BfA. Hopefully the talent will continue to see support, perhaps through a legendary item increasing Fingers of Frost generation, in Shadowlands. Ray of Frost is simply not that interesting, simply a button you press on cooldown, while Glacial Spike actually interacts with Mastery and changes your rotation; it is difficult to beat its power for a mainstream build.


  • Fix the Shatter combo and its interaction with Flurry travel time/Winter’s Chill to work at all ranges.
  • Icy Veins to interact with spec mechanics, rather than simply being ‘Do what you always do, but faster’.
  • Perhaps a long-shot, but take lessons from the efforts of high-level theorycrafters to redesign the way Frost works. This would protect against dry streaks of no procs (bad luck protection), future-proof the spec against dropping Ice Lance and make Icy Veins work with the spec: .


Thank you for all of your continued feedback on Mage changes in Shadowlands. Below, you’ll find the latest changes in the Alpha, which includes reverting Shimmer to 2 charges, further talent tuning, and the removal of the short lived Frost and Fire Ward.

There has a been a lot of great discussion in this thread and we hope to see it continue!


  • Shimmer charge count increased to 2.
  • Shimmer cooldown Increased to 25 seconds (was 20 seconds).
    • Developers’ notes: After listening to feedback and more playtesting, we are returning both charges of Shimmer at a slightly higher cooldown cost. Our goal with the change was to bring more it inline with the other talents on the row, but in doing so, Shimmer lost a lot of its identity. If the other talents on the tier continue to underperform, we’ll look at ways we can enhance them to be more attractive options while up against Shimmer.
  • Focus Magic now also grants the caster 1% Intellect, stacking up to 8 times when their Focus Magic target critically strikes.
    • Developers’ notes: We’d like for Focus Magic to reward the caster a bit more for taking an ally friendly talent.
  • Frost and Fire Ward removed from all specs.
    • Developers’ notes: Compared to some of the other abilities, these two landed a little flat and overlapped a bit too much with each of the Barriers.

Fire Specialization

  • Alexstrasza’s Fury now also makes your next Pyroblast or Flamestrike deal 35% increased damage.
    • Developers’ notes: We’re looking to make this more competitive with the Flame On and the future Phoenix Flames replacement.

I can honestly live with that Shimmer Change and I really like that Focus Magic change as well!
The Alexstraza’s Fury could be cool as well. Looking forward to seeing some jank combinations between that, pyroclasm and rune next time I login.

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Wanted to get a ton of time in with the changes before making any comments and have so;

  1. Shimmer - Giving it back two charges jumps the power level up so that it’s the default choice again. The other choices are going to need some pumping up to complete.
  • Ice Flows is probably good enough.
  • Slipstream is close, just a bit worse due to being limited by spells being cast.
  • The shield talents make no sense on a tier with movement abilities, I realize that they are both being considered forms of mitigation, but movement is always going to be valued higher in a largely stationary class.
  • Blast Wave makes no sense at all as it’s not a form of mitigation at all
  1. Focus Magic - Nice to see changes being made, but it doesn’t go far enough at all. Rune of Power is just too strong. Being able to choose when you get your buff will always be above random procs for specs that have a “burn” phase (both fire and arcane). The current iteration might see value for frost.
  2. Phoenix Flames - Getting this back baseline is nice, and using it for spreading works a tad bit better.
  3. Alexstrasza’s Fury - I like the idea here but this is once again a talent being too powerful due to a burst phase in a spec. Flame On’s strength comes from it’s ability to allow you to build a larger ignite through a pyro chain during combustion. Plus, having to be in melee range to take advantage of Alex Fury, greatly reduces the times it could be used. I see some possible function in PvP and Mythic+ but I don’t know that either use case would be worth it over the pure power that comes from more Fire Blasts.

I figured it was just something being added later, but with transition to beta coming next week, it seems like a glaring omission.

Where are the teleport/portal spells for Oribos?


So after making my 6th mage on Alpha to look at all the pretty cosmetic changes, I have one mechanic question.

Arcane Power - Why was the cooldown extended to 3min up from 90sec? Given how poorly Arcane performed over all (raids, M+) in BFA, what was the reasoning behind this?

The pocket burst lining up with 90sec on use trinkets, and making heavier use of rune of power was the only engaging cooldown mechanic offered to the spec.

Is there a power creep issue we are not aware of? Is there a legendary that will lower the cooldown back to 90sec? (please don’t do that). Right now on Alpha Arcane feels okay to play so long as you only engage 1 to 3 mobs (thanks polymorph) but to raise it beyond that with an AP useage for AOE or single target deletion, 3min seems needlessly punishing and a jarring un-fun change.

Anyone else looked at this or heard a why?


Arcane mage raider here.

Been doing a good chunk of testing on alpha, including clearing all 4 leveling zones, the intro experience, and fiddling with end game stuff (Venthyr Covenant + Maw + Torghast).

I just want to talk briefly about covenant abilities and how they feel as a part of the arcane rotation and as a big extra button.

Kyrian - Radiant Spark - It just lacks oomph and felt annoying to use. I recognize that it’s probably a numbers bump, but I just did not enjoy pressing it. It’s annoying the way that Arcane Missiles works with it, and felt clunky to use in the rotation, especially in the opener.

Venthyr - Mirrors of Torment - Way too niche for PVE encounters based on caster mobs. Just like in leveling, there were only some mobs that this was semi-useful for. To me, this is by far the worst covenant ability for PVE mages, which is a shame because I love the Venthyr covenant

Necrolords - Deathborne - This is the only covenant ability that truly felt great to press. The visual is cool, and cleave on arcane blast is amazing. A couple complaints - would feel much better as a shorter cd that buffs Spell power a bit more and has a less powerful but more constant cleave effect. Arcane really suffers on cleave pve fights and I’d rather have more consistent good cleave than 1-2 moments in an encounter of AMAZING cleave.

Nightfae - Channeling spell - It surprised me that I actually enjoyed using this spell during Ardenweald leveling. Unfortunately, channeling for 6 seconds so often in a raid fight in melee range still feels very clunky. I enjoy how it makes cd’s more dynamic and unpredictable. If it channeled an aoe onto your target, it would be much more palatable.

To me, as arcane, the kyrian and the necrolord abilities seem to have the most general potential for being strong. The necrolord really shines when it’s a cleave fight, but without that niche in an encounter, it starts to look a lot worse.

I agree whole heartedly with what alot of arcane people are saying in this thread.
-Ramp up is way too long
-AP being 3 minute cd feels real bad
-Displacement was cool and its removal sucks
-Most of the unpruning is pretty worthless for arcane with the exception of Mirror Images (bring back displacement)
-I like Alter Time as another defensive cd, but in practice it feels like a pretty big dps loss in its casting.


Please please please give us Phoenix Reborn passive from Legion. The 30 second CD of Phoenix Flames feels awful with it being the only way to spread ignite and I don’t think adding extra charges is the correct change. Phoenix Reborn is desperately needed in my opinion. Why it feels awful? Because it feels great using some charges during Combustion and not just ONLY using it when I want to spread Ignite. I want to be able to do both, spread when I choose and if there’s no harm in using Phoenix Flames during Combustion then I will. If your goal is to have this ability only for spreading ignite and nothing else then do so, but I’d prefer being able to used this as fuel during Combustion AND being able to spread my Ignite more rapidly when I choose. While not be limited to always saving them just for spreading ignite. Phoenix Reborn has great scaling capability, more targets with ignite, the quicker Phoenix Flames will reset. Consider it please. Even just saving Phoenix Flames for ignite spreads only still feels like too long of a CD. I don’t want to be punished because I decided to use 1 or 2 Phoenix Flames during Combustion for Hot Streak generation. I believe the main goal was to make ignite controllable and thank you for that, it was very much needed but at the same time you’ve added great gameplay with Phoenix Flames being baseline again, let’s up the usage of the ability and not hinder us by having 3 charges on a long 30 second cooldown.

Thank you for adding back Phoenix Flames baseline in the first place, it deserved this and I’ve missed it.

Phoenix Reborn: Targets affected by your Ignite have a chance to erupt in flame, taking (12.5% of Spell power) additional Fire damage and reducing the remaining cooldown on Phoenix’s Flame by 10 sec.

Just tie the CD reduction of Phoenix Reborn into conflagration maybe, conflag is a terrible boring talent. Why is conflagration terrible? Because it’s something you put on for a 1% dps increase on 1-2 targets and forget about. I feel like I need to explain why things are terrible so I’m not just a complainer and giving reasons as to why I’m saying what I say.


Agreeing here that between RoP, Arcane Power, Magi, Covenant ability, and Mirror images there’s a lot of waste in the first burn phase. That’s not even including charged up (which has to be cast after the encounter starts or it resets, so it can’t be pre-cast) That’s a whopping SIX GCD’s (not including a trinket) before even casting the first damaging spell.

The next issue with arcane is that all of these new abilities don’t line up with each other on CD. After the first burn phase, Arcane becomes a spec where you just use whatever two abilities are close in CD to each other to maximize raid DPS, which isn’t an engaging gameplay.

The BiS legendary ability is also overly obvious for ST raiding (Temporal Warp) and I feel that with these choices already laid out, the “cookie cutter choices” they were trying to avoid are already there.

My advice: Line up abilities with CD’s that match and remove some abilities from the GCD. Losing CD buff time due to casting 6x buffs at the start of a fight feels horrible.


Flameshock here - the mage with a name and spec identity crisis! I just got on the beta and did my first run with theater of pain as arcane. I had to use a premade character template since I couldn’t find where to copy my boy over. Here are my thoughts so far:

Arcane’s damage feels pretty okay overall. It’s hard to tell but numbers’ tuning comes at the end but we’re not in a terrible spot.

Amplification feels REALLY good with the missile procs and echos legion’s machine gun style.

Arcane familiar still doesn’t exactly feel like it has a place yet. I don’t have any ideas or suggestions with this talent.

Mana shield is still kind of weird and doesn’t exactly fit with the row or tree (feels more like a pvp talent). Would like to see either displacement added here, or maybe when you blink you spawn a mirror image that absorbs the next spell cast at you?

Slipstream and shimmer are competitive but I’ve always leaned towards slipstream. Top props on this choice.

The third row is…interesting. I’m not sure whether focus magic would work if a mage is running time anomaly or not but it’s potential. It still feels a bit too much like IF but there is word that it’s getting worked on. Rune is always just rune. Love it or hate it it’s here to stay.

I’m a personal fan of supernova but it just doesn’t do enough damage (again number’s tuning) nor does it feel right in this row. This row really feels like it’s having an identity crisis with what it wants to do.

I’d like to see charged up maybe baked into touch of the magi since the cooldowns are the same.

Resonance maybe feels like it should be on the 6th row since that feels more like an AoE row? I’m not complaining about the idea of having reverberate AND resonance but that feels like our AoE row.

The 5th row is entirely okay. I haven’t tried the buffed ring but I do take it on live. Double frost nova is just kind of meh. I do feel like supernova would be awesome here for the utility because then you have 1-5 target slow, 25 sec cooldown knockup, and 10 sec perma-root. The double nova again feels like a pvp talent. I do think the idea of trading frost nova for a knockup is an interesting one for M+ especially wink wink nudge nudge.

The 6th row feels pretty well done and competitive. I can definitely see where all of these would come into play.

The last row overpowed is obviously solid. Time anomaly is a personal favorite that catches the ebb and flow of arcane nicely with the wild magic and feels like it has potential with arcane power at a 3 minute cooldown to be a great talent.

Arcane orb is my concern because as many mages before me have pointed out it just doesn’t fit this row. If you’d want to move this up to supernova’s position as an AoE type ability or put this into the row with reverberation and nether tempest it would fit much better there in my humblest of opinions.

Touch of the magi damage feels solid and I definitely would enjoy this added into our rotation. Other mages have pointed out the interaction of splashing damage per hit like Mannoroth’s trinket in legion which I love this idea because that just made me feel amazing running around going pew pew while seeing wild pulses of magic firing from the target and would give us a solid cooldown cleave button. If not baseline perhaps make that part of a talent revolving around the ability so it could be better for M+ but the full damage at the end could be a raiding version?

I’m still adjusting without weakauras and my elvui setup so I can’t say much about the mana flow but it did feel pretty good. I liked the startup and I feel we’re in an okay spot. A few tweaks here or there and I think arcane will be in a solid spot for shadowlands. I’ll be back in the next few days with another post this is Flameshock - out!

Edit - arcane missile proc feels about the same as in BFA. I’m not sure if this is intended or not. With missiles stacking a random proc per spellcast instead of per mana spent may help or give an increased chance per mana spent to help nudge this in the right direction. Heck even a talent added in to increase our chance for missiles to proc may give the choice between a blast heavy build and a missile heavy build (though I do believe it SHOULD be baseline I’m trying to be as unbiased as possible)


I spent the past two days going through all 8 dungeons as a necrolord arcane mage. Here is further feedback from that experience.

Thoughts on Ramp Up
As widely agreed on in this thread, Arcane’s ramp up time is too large. In action, it feels annoying to wait so long to damage the mobs. You feel powerful when you do, but by the time you get the opening 9 second ramp up done, you have very little time to cast spells with all the buffs available (I counted 4 arcane blasts > Presence of Mind > 2 more arcane blasts). Here’s a video I made comparing the openers of Arcane of Shadowlands beta versus BFA Live:

A ramp up like this also feels quite punishing when it gets screwed up for whatever reason. Like if you have to move away from your ROP or are unable to cast due to a RNG mechanic after you’ve spent 6 GCD’s ramping up, it feels very bad to screw up and even more unfriendly to movement. Combine that with even lessened mobility due to displacement removal and arcane is even more punishing than before.

Thoughts on Deathborne (Necrolord Mage ability) in dungeons
The spell feels badass to use, especially on cleave pulls/bosses. The 3 minute cd is hard to swallow. I get 20 seconds where I can combine AP and Deathborne to feel like a cleaving God of death, and then I spend 2 minutes and 40 seconds wishing I had them back again. Deathborne also feels a bit lackluster to use on mobs/bosses that are single target only. I know it’s a 10% spell power buff, but the cleave is so powerful and enjoyable to use that it feels like a waste to use it without the cleave potential. I’d offer the idea that either reverting AP back to 1 minute 30 seconds, or having a tweaked Deathborne as a 1 min. 30 cd would help Arcane feel more consistently exciting as Necrolord. My suggestion to a tweaked Deathborne would be 15% spell power + All damaging spells cleave for 50% damage (as opposed to 100% damage that’s live) to make up for the reduced cd.

In dungeons I never pressed this except in massive emergencies. Its channel is just too long and the lost dps because of channeling feels bad in practice. It’s a powerful defensive, especially when used with a corpse (which feels a little niche in its usefulness, particularly in raiding), but my instant defensives just feel a lot more palatable to use, and even then, they use up a GCD, which is annoying. I’d recommend a significant reduction for the channel on this spell. Maybe 1 second channel. The only time this feels really good to use is in niche transition moments where there’s nothing to dps because of positioning or RP such as the second anguish drop in N’zoth. These moments are too few in PVE to make a spell like this feel good to use, and the answer to this problem isn’t to design more moments like that.

Touch of the Magi
I love including this spell in the rotation. I don’t love that it adds to the ramp up discussed earlier, but I think it helps Arcane in cleave situations feel less useless.

Mismatching Buffs
I do like that the buffs have timers that don’t all coincide with each other. The ramp up at the beginning is because they all coincide, which wouldn’t happen again in a raid fight until 6 minutes into the fight (if played perfectly). That means that Arcane becomes a little more dynamic in that you play two buffs together in unexpected combinations like ROP + TotM + PoM, or Mirror Images + TotM. I liked the dynamic of it better than retail’s current version of waiting for RoP + AP + On use trinket to align to do massive damage, and then do mediocre damage until it happens again.


Participated a bit in raid testing today. A big piece of feedback I’d like to leave:
Arcane Power isn’t resetting with raid boss wipe, but Necrolord Covenant ability is (also a 3 minute cd). Since AP is now 3 minutes, that’s a pretty long time to wait for a cd (bad memories of waiting for Combustion during N’zoth M wipes), and it seems like it’d reset automatically. Same for Mirror Images too. All the other arcane cd’s are under two minutes, so they’re less of a problem.


Fire as a whole on single target feels largely the same as it did in BFA, with phoenix flames filling in the gaps left behind by lucid and hyperthread wristwraps. Was the addition of phoenix flames spreading ignite an intentional change to have ignite spread be selective? What is your vision for Fire aoe/cleave between phoenix flame windows? In BFA, Fire was a strong sustained cleave class while doing just the single target rotation. In Shadowlands, it has lost that niche.

Since phoenix flames is the only way we can spread ignite we run into a few issues outside of single target. In instances with short duration cleave phoenix flames is sufficient enough to spread ignite. When you factor in M+ and raid fights with sustained cleave, Fire is lacking in extended ignite cleave given the longer recharge time tied to phoenix flames.

The other issue is that currently ignite aoe/cleave with either phoenix flames or flamestrike is being replaced by arcane explosion with or without combustion depending on number of targets.

Deathborne currently has limited to no synergy with Fire’s main source of damage, pyroblast and ignite. The 10% spell damage buff is useful while combustion is active, but the main aspect of fireball cleaving to 2 additional targets has no purpose until combustion is over.

Mirrors of Torment in a PvE setting doesn’t really have much of a place. Most casts need to be stopped or prevented putting you and your raid/party in an awful situation. Since one of the covenant specific conduits provides a potential 30% damage buff when all 3 mirrors are consumed, you are forced to allow dangerous casts to go off for the benefit of one. Is this ability meant to be a pvp-centric covenant? If not what is its place in a raid or M+ setting?

Radiant Spark is fairly lackluster with the current fire rotation. Given the nature of building and spending hot streak procs, portions of the radiant spark damage buff is being used on low damaging abilities and in part less effective on Fire.

Night Fae
Shifting Power is in a unique spot, since fire blast can still be used during its channel. However the overall cooldown reduction gained from the ability is not impactful enough to make a big difference.


I’ll probably have more feedback later but the first and most notable issue that I’m having is the long ramp up time for arcane. There are just too many GCDs when it comes to setting up a full CD rotation.


I have been playing primarily Arcane Mage since Nighthold and I feel like I have a solid grasp of the identity of the spec and enjoy it immensely. I have always understood the glass cannon gameplay and it is definitely one of the things I enjoy the most about Arcane. Shadowlands has obviously taken further steps to tweak the feel of that gameplay and while I really have enjoyed my time on beta thus far, there is feedback that I would like to provide on the components that I do not like.

1. Covenant Equity
There is a decision I have to make as a Mage to invest in one spec or be able to multi-spec, however that decision has never felt so meaningful as it does in Shadowlands currently, I will focus on the covenant abilities since I believe soulbinds are still being implemented fully.

Necrolord is a no-brainer decision for Arcane, it shores up the largest weakness the spec has had since Legion began, low target count and ranged cleave. It’s actually a complete joy of a button to press and because of it’s cooldown syncing with AP it feels like a true moment of power.

The same cannot be said for the other covenants, Kyrian simply does not play well for Arcane, it comes up too frequently in the rotation and at inopportune times for Arcane to leverage. Adjustments in play-style for Radiant Spark are awkward and do not mesh well with how the spec is played normally, this makes it sometimes not even desirable to use Radiant Spark from moment to moment.

Mirrors of Torment sounds so cool on paper and the animation looks great as well, however there is one major problem, it’s simply too situational, whereas the alternative 3 abilities are always something you want to use, the Venthyr covenant ability is something you’ll be saving for uninterruptible casters, perhaps even losing casts of this ability in a raid or dungeon due to how fight timings or pulls are aligned. While this spell has the benefit of being uniquely interesting for Mages in PvP situations, in PvE it is too situational to merit considering over Necrolord in many situations. And as we have seen with Fire and Arcane this tier, if you can do comparable ST damage and get free cleave, you’ll end up being the choice 99% of players want to migrate towards.

Night Fae
Yet again, Shifting Power is a beautiful graphic and has an interesting premise for how it’s implemented. The problems arise when you weigh the potential cost of the spell being in your arsenal. This means a six second channel time (reduced by haste) and an AOE radius of only 15 yards, this latter point is perhaps less an issue for Arcane Mages in dungeon content where you’re locked into melee for AOE damage.

2. The Setup
Charged Up, Mirror Image, Skeleton, Rune of Power, Arcane Power, Touch of the Magi
I will spend the least amount of time lamenting why the setup for Arcane is a problem because I feel like this has been echoed enough, both on these forums as well as within the community. I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed playing Arcane on the raid testing bosses this past week, despite the setup, I feel like Skeleton, Touch of the Magi and Arcane Power’s cooldown work very well together to shore up some of Arcane’s weakness while also providing more flexibility in how we use our burst. However, 9 seconds of casts and GCDs are simply too many to remain viable in the competitive world of raiding or M+. During testing AP was not resetting on boss combat reset, I assume this is a bug, however I also noticed Skeleton was being cancelled on combat start, meaning I could not precast it to offset some of Arcane’s setup to precasts.

Assuming those 2 issues are addressed as I hope they will be, there is another major barrier to the setup feeling acceptable to play in competitive environments, specifically Charged Up and AP. Both of these GCDs need to be reconsidered in what they add specifically to the Arcane gameplay. CU specifically has no counterplay, the animation is trivial (and observable even without the GCD) and CU represents a massive barrier in the Arcane setup being offloaded onto precasts. Without CU’s GCD, you could cast everything precombat except TotM (again, assuming the skeleton doesn’t purge on raid combat in the future). AP on the other hand does have a counterplay and is a powerful cooldown, however it does not add anything outside of just being a GCD in the setup; you don’t necessarily feel AP anymore, especially when it’s being sandwiched between RoP and TotM. This is a GCD that could be cut without anyone caring, but I would propose a different idea to alleviate this as well, what if after the huge setup of Charged Up, Mirror Image, Skeleton, Rune of Power, Arcane Power, Touch of the Magi, you were rewarded by Arcane Power giving you the ability to cast while moving or making AB an instant cast spell. Preferably some action, almost any action, would be taken here to address the opener as it is simply too punishing as it stands right now. With how it is now, the glass cannon feels like it’s rolling down a hill.

3. Displacement
This spell is unique and is a major factor in why I changed to playing a Mage in Nighthold. It sets up moments of glory and allows for a lot of high octane gameplay. I currently run the Arcane Dream, a discord for Arcane Mage discussion, and I can say without a doubt that the removal of this spell is most likely the thing that bothers the most people and has the greatest negative feedback associated. This is even so despite the addition of Altered Time, which, while similar, is simply no replacement for Displacement.

I cannot say much more for Displacement, it’s a big feels bad exchange for Altered Time and I would argue that, if anything, it should be converted into a talent to compete with Shimmer and Slipstream.

I will likely continue playing my Mage in Shadowlands Beta and probably when the game goes retail as well. My primary goal is to see Shadowlands be revered the way Legion was, and ultimately this effort must start with gameplay. Shadowlands has made a few bold changes for Arcane and some of them I welcome with open arms. But I would also like some focus to be put on the above concerns.

Thanks for reading!


Can I assume that being unable to get Heating Up and Hotstreak from landing simultaneous crits is a bug/oversight? Because this feels completely terrible to munch a proc because you land 2 spells at about the same time. Can happen with any ability, fireblast when another spell lands, fireball/pyro together, doesn’t matter. 2 crits = heating up only. Please fix :slight_smile: