FEEDBACK: Mage Class Changes

I have a few issues with some of the changes going forward, it seems that with Mirror Image becoming baseline again, (which I love by the way), that they integrated Focus Magic. It doesn’t seems like it will be a talent used by either Arcane or Fire, since they both thrive off of RoP. Might be a good talent for Frost since at the end of the day, IF isn’t super impactful and Frost generally doesn’t like RoP.

Also, along with pretty much every other mage in existence i would bet, the nerf to shimmer is a little unnecessary as the only spec that has a decent answer to the nerf is Frost which has Ice Floes, if the shimmer nerf stays maybe develop or buff a talent for the other 2 specs that will help them out? Not just for PvE, but for PvP, mages are just gonna get trained on even worse with the nerfed mobility.

Otherwise I am pretty happy with changes to Frost and Fire

For Arcane…while I am not pleased with the removal of displacement because it was mega-fun, I’m not as confused by it as I am the nerf to Arcane Power…The amount of time it is active is being kept at only 10 seconds, it is STILL on the GCD, and the CD time is now 3 minutes and not a minute and a half? Arcane does pretty mediocre damage outside of Arcane Power windows. Was this intended, or is blizzard just nerfing it for no reason?

Would like to see a post from them stating why?

23 Likes

Just finished leveling up to 53 through Bastion. The first level went rather smooth after that I started to get into a little trouble. When there were multiple mobs I occasionally died. I have mained a mage since classic, I generally stick to frost for survivability in soloing. I would consider myself to be about average skill level.
My favorite change to the frost mage is the return of Mirror Image, it is just fun and saved me a few times having them take the hits instead of me.
My least favorite change was the nerf to Shimmer. As I said I play frost for survivability and the ability to just dodge things without breaking cast Is a life saver not just in PVP but also in high mobility boss fights. I would really like to see this restored.
I am a bit puzzled by the utility of Radiant Spark it sounds great in theory but lacks the big boom I expected it to produce. I agree with the person who said maybe if it was instant cast with no Global cooldown it would be beneficial as is.
Frost/Fire ward I did not see much benefit from these in the content I ran but depending on the future fights perhaps they will come in handy.
Fire Blast seemed kind of out of place and not particularly useful
Arcane Explosion- So glad to have that back just wish it did a little more damage. I loved the days back in south shore when you could run up and down the beach taking out hordes of murlocs with arcane explosion. I would so enjoy being able to do that again.
Overall, I kind of feel the mage could use a little more damage output. I feel the tradeoff for running around in cloth is the ability to hit hard and fast.

9 Likes

I do have a few suggestions for our class as a whole that I would like to see what other members of our class think about it.

Frost: If Shimmer is going to stay nerfed to 1 charge, then one of it’s abilities should be baked in to regular blink, maybe the ability to cast while casting would be phenomenal, it would not feel as bad losing our bet in that row since legion. If not, then its CD should be reduced to 10 seconds.

Both Ebon Bolt should be baked in, and Splitting Ice should be baked in. The extra on demand brain freeze proc from Ebon Bolt would feel reslly good when pair with Frozen Touch, sometimes sitting there casting frostbolt 19 times, isn’t exactly fun. Splitting Ice is too integral, especially when it used to be a glyph and we always had it. It would make up for some of Frost’s weakness, plus gives us some other fun talents to choose from.

Fire: I feel the same way about shimmer. But please Blizzard PLEASE just make Flame On the way that it originally was in Legion and bake it in, and bake in Phoenix Flames. Give us new cleave talents. Remove the ignite spread from fireblast, and put it back on flamestrike like it was in Cataclysm. Kindling could be moved up to the Alexstrasza row, and make Blaster Master a 100 tier talent to compete with pyroclasm and meteor. Bring back the cinder talent from legion and put it in the new Kindling row.

Arcane: Same shimmer feels… Bake in Charged up, please, it’s too good and it lines up with Rune of Power. For the love of all that is the schools of magic, REVERT ARCANE POWER CD NERF. It feels bad to have a 10 second duration ability on a 3 minute CD, even if we get a small duration increase to it in later levels. The rest of the talents feel somewhat okay in my opinion, doing those 2 things would bring the spec some more love.

36 Likes

Just a quick pop in with some feedback on the fire mage i agree with above statements that at the very least Flame on should be baked into the fire mage not only is it just the best dps output talent but more importantly than that its key to the flow of fire less standing around with no charges hoping to get 2 fireballs in a row to crit instead of just one feels better. On that side i don’t necessarily agree that pheonix flames should be baked in even if i would prefer it to be so. I do however suggest that on that same talent row in the place of flame on you place the blaster master azerite trait as this is what kept me playing fire through most of BFA this gives players a choice to play fire mage in a more simular fashion to BFA fire mage or Legion fire mage.

1 Like

Most of my time playing SL has been as frost and there are a few things I’ve seen that definitely need to be fixed/changed with the Winter’s Chill procs.

First, the water elemental eats WC procs, and as such makes everything besides lonely winter a dead talent no matter what if this interaction is intended.

Second is that Mirror Images also consume WC stacks, and as such will most likely not be used as it would result in a large net loss of DPS.

Third, Frozen Orb currently consumes stacks of Winter’s chill and would force it to be relegated to AOE only, or to be used when you have no icicles.

Other suggestions are to remove Icy-Veins from the GCD or to extend its duration by 2 seconds to compensate. This has a lot to do with how bad it feels to hit a button and watch 2 seconds of your buff go away with you unable to capitalize on it.

Something else I suggest is to reduce the cooldown on shimmer to be the same as blink. This provides a great way to balance out the loss of two charges while keeping the talent competitive with icy-flows making the trade off more of removing roots/snares by blinking, or ability to cast while blinking.

5 Likes

Good evening, and thank you for the oppurtunity to test in alpha! Not sure why a 38 year old casual was picked, but yeah, Good form!

Arcane mage is and has been my go to since Wrath, and for every expansion since. The gameplay here is similar enough to previous versions so as to not warrant much from me as of yet in regards to “my class is broken GG”, as I have leveled the bastion zone and ran tower multiple times (ps 200% to timewarp and everyone dies, much doc brown love haha good job) and I have a few ideas and suggestions to compliment the changes to the class.

If clearcasting can stack, the “old missles proc” display that counted the stacks would be nice. If maybe only show half the proc rune for each stack, or have them grow in size i.e. fire mage heating up proc.

The spec feels slow, but I think that it is supposed to because of the gear and the leveling process. It always has had this clunky 1-2 button rotation, but the mana management part is what makes it feel good to play. WIthout the use of addons it would be nice if a screen effect or something akin to it were in place for mana management, since mana is such a vaulable resource for mages. For example have the mana bar spark or something when it is low and pulse when it is optimal? IDK

Also “Touch of the Magi” feels terrible and like a waste of time. I personally would like to see presence of mind affect this as well as arcane blast. If im not mistaken, PoM used to interact with ALL spells, and that would add a bit more into it.

I like the idea of popping all the CDS and exploding everything like we used to in the old days, but honestly, I am one of the rare few who like to keep a steady flow of cooldowns available, so the GCD is actually fun for me. I get the larger scheme of things will probably use legendaries to give us all these crazy power ups, so, cheers to you so far. The ONLY spell i would look at to be off the GCD would be the aforementioned PoM, but only if it interacts with more than one spell.

The unpruning didnt effect me much at all. I like the flavors of what we have now, because in the back of my mind, the fantasy of knowing a simple frost or fire spell is nice.

I am sure I will develop more input later, but thought I would add my thoughts now while I have a second before leveing through Revendreth.

Again, thank you for the oppurtunity, and Cheers!

8 Likes

The Good

  • Mirror Image back baseline - Felt really terrible for such an iconic mage function to be a talent that was never used because it couldn’t compete with the other talents on it’s tier. Nice to have a secondary dps cooldown now as well.
  • Arcane Explosion and Frostbolt back for all specs - AE gives a nice AOE option when soloing and things get too close, and Frostbolt gives all mages back the ability to kite.
  • Touch of the Magi baseline - It’s great for Arcane to finally have an on demand option for ranged AOE, and being activated makes it more effective than the talent version was.
  • Mana gem back - Anything that allows you to extend burn phase for arcane is welcome

The Bad

  • Shimmer nerf - This is now a pointless talent. The only benefit is to cast it while casting other things now…and to do that you gain 5 secs of cooldown and lose ability to escape roots/stuns? 1 positive with 2 negatives is a bad talent.
  • Rune of Power remains too powerful in it’s row - I love seeing Focus Magic back as an option, but it’s an option that will never be taken because it has to compete against RoP.
  • Fire Blast as the DoT spreader - I LOVE the idea of giving control to when you spread your DoTs, but Fire Blast does not work for that. Fire Blast is the most important spell in the fire rotation since it is the one that gives you control over the Hot Streak mechanic. Flamestrike would work better for this, since casting an AOE spell to spread your DoTs makes more sense.
  • Talent changes underwhelming - The “correct” build looks like it’s going to be identical this expansion for each spec. It doesn’t matter how fun or interesting a talent might be, if one is just mathematically superior in all situations, nothing else will be played.
  • Touch of the Magi has a cast time - While I love having on demand ranged AOE, the need of a cast time for the activation spell makes it feel horrible

The Others

  • Fire/Frost Ward - Maybe too much unpruning here? Granted I haven’t seen much use for them at this point in available content.
  • Fire Blast doesn’t seem to have a purpose outside of fire - The new starting zone tells players to use Fire Blast when an enemy gets close to you, so maybe add something along those lines. Increased damage if the target is in melee range or perhaps a mage’s execute? It just needs some role of use for Frost/Arcane to ever consider it.

EDIT:
Left out my thoughts on the covenant abilities since I feel feedback on them is intrinsically linked to the class feedback. Starting with the two implemented ones;

  • Kyrian - Ability feels awkward to cast in most rotations so far. Also, text does not match function of spell. It stacks/falls off from any damage ticks, but the spell text says explicitly that it ends after 4 spells.
  • Venthyr - Clearly a PvP spell as the effects of the spell (Rooting/Silencing/Slowing) don’t work on bosses giving minimal use in PvE content.
  • Night Fae - Not too sure about a channeled AOE spell that you have to move into melee range to cast. I can see the cooldown reduction component being extremely useful for Arcane spec to shorten conserve phase of rotation. However, I have a feeling that the cooldown reduction for fire/frost won’t be effective enough to warrant stopping their rotation completely to channel this ability. Arcane, at least, has a natural lull in their DPS time with the conserve phase.
  • Necrolord - Good in all situations for all specs in every form of content. Since it increases your spell damage it buffs every spell in your rotation. This appears to be the clear “best option.”
28 Likes

Arcane mage enthusiast here, from deep arcane/frost in vanilla, through lightning capacitor mage in BC, every expansion all the way through stubborn “I’m not switching to fire even though its better in every way” BFA. With that out of the way, I’ve just finished Revendreth, played around with all the spell upgrades that we didn’t get via Bastion’s level caps, and here’s where I’m at:

-Alter time was great to have back, obviously not MoP-style offensive cooldown, but the utility/defensive fun really shined in the later parts of Revendreth where the mobs were getting a bit on the over-tuned side. Felt nice to go into a bigger pull, pop it, and have the 10 sec window expire right when it was getting dicey. That being said, the spatial portion of it I only used specifically once (Dropping down to the final mirror in the final quest and then popping back up to save the long walk back up).

This directly leads into the biggest loss, not having Displacement just straight up sucks. The skill was fun, if it was blinking out and in on Kala’s axe in Kings’ rest, or blinking from a warr, displacing back after getting charged, and then blinking away again after they waste a leap. Or doing a world quest and seeing a couple items to click but in different directions. The removal kept coming up time and time again while questing. With alter time being baseline for all specs, the removal of displacement feels like an actual prune to arcane. Very rarely do I see a scenario where alter time will being used for a specific spatial scenario over keeping it for the health regain. If you’re worried about arcane being too mobile, adding an extra ~15 seconds on displacement would be fine. I’m not sure if cross posting is allowed but this reddit thread puts it a lot more eloquently than I: https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/g2h0gy/please_dont_prune_arcane_a_defence_of_displacement/

-Cooldowns. I understand that with the addition of Touch and Images being baseline, you want to spread out a little bit of Arcane’s power rather than lumping it all with… Arcane Power. So sure, double the cooldown. Sucks having a 15 second buff on a 3 min cooldown, but I understand. But man, the set up? Mirror images, touch of the magi, arcane power. Not even including Rune of Power, Charged up, Radiant spark/whatever other covenant. All on the GCD, all before you can start doing real damage. Something has to give here. Arcane power for sure doesn’t need it IMO. RoP/Charged up? Sure they have other talent options, maybe their GCD and how clunky it is with other cooldowns might encourage you to choose other talents. But something in all that mess needs to be addressed. AP for sure, maybe images?

-Speaking of talent choices. With Arcane Power being 3min, Overpowered doesn’t seem as “mandatory”, which IMO is great. I actually love Time Anomaly. Especially with how fun Amplification is in SL compared to BFA. Popping a clearcast missile with amplification, oh boy it FEELS great. And it makes me less worried, since Rule of Threes has also been sorta “mandatory”… will the extra burst of mana from Time Anomaly be nice to offset losing RoT to be able to choose Amp? Either way, it makes you feel excited getting a clearcast proc rather than a meh proc you get that doesn’t feel impactful. Especially having 2 stacks of clearcast with Amp and presence of mind up to follow up 3 instant blasts into a Touch. Feels great. And its kinda weird how having the extra blast charge on PoM makes Touch of the Magi feel less clunky but more of an opportunity to take advantage of.

Speaking of Arcane Missiles being impactful, Enlightened including everything is nice, thank you for not just having it be Equipoise. One thing though, it was mentioned in the initial class blog that Arcane’s mastery was going to impact everything too, but as yet Missiles isn’t interacting with mastery yet. Hopefully that’s still coming! Also, Arcane Barrage is only giving 1% mana back per charge, not the stated 2%, any clarification of which is intended? 'Cuz that also impacts consideration of Rule of Threes.

I know I’ve rambled on a bit, but closing out, there was some lil tidbits in recent developer interviews about legendaries and winks and nudges about maybe some effects from legion coming back… well… all I’m saying is Mantle of the First Kirin Tor :wink:

31 Likes

Arcane

Problems
Ramp up time & Setup: Arcane Blastx4/Charged Up + Mirror Image + Rune of Power + Arcane Power + Touch of the Magi + Covenant ability + Presence of Mind + Trinkets + Evocation after you’ve burned your mana is too much setup and time spent not actually doing damage.

As others have said the Shimmer nerf and Displacement removal feels bad.

Arcane Power on a 3 min cooldown feels strange, especially when I can get 8 sec duration procs from Time Anomaly randomly.

Ranged AoE: Having Arcane Explosion as our main source of AoE, while Frost and Fire have ranged AoE + Arcane Explosion feels bad. AoEing a group of mobs with Arcane Explosion without the mobility of prenerf Shimmer and Displacement feels worse.

Suggestions
For the list of abilities used for setup, taking some off the GCD and making others instant would help.
For Evocation, I would like to see it changed into an instant cast buff or have a shorter duration with higher mana regeneration.

Arcane Power needs to do more if its going to stay on a 3 min cooldown. Start with baking Overpowered into it, maybe have it give 4 Arcane Charges, Evocation over its duration, or have increased Clearcasting chance.

A new baseline spell for Arcane that channels arcane orbs at the target location that explode putting a short duration Slow on targets hit and generates Arcane Charges.

Additional Thoughts
Amplification feels really nice.

Enlightened is great, so much so that I’d like to see it baselined.

I also like the Mana regen on Arcane Barrage. I’d like to see more mana regen like this, possibly add a % mana return to Clearcasting procs, so we’re not as reliant on Evocation.

Focus Magic as a talent seems odd, since I cant cast it on myself it feels useless while solo.

With Mastery buffing all spells, it may be nice to give Arcane Missiles some kind of interaction with Arcane Charges for more variety in our rotation.

32 Likes

Fire

Primary Issue: Talents feel too similar from BFA

Lv 15 Row

Firestarter: Still feels way too niche that it won’t get used much. The value on it is just significantly worse than Searing Touch. It’s the same issue we ran into with BFA.

Pyromaniac: Kinda the same situation as Firestarter, the random element from it just doesn’t add much to the table when you can have a reliable execute from Scorch. Random elements are never fun when paired with 2 reliable options.

Searing Touch: Still feels very strong compared to other options in this row. Having an execute is just a huge value overall. Unless there’s encounters where a boss is above 91% for a prolonged period of time like Ashvane.

Lv 30 Row

Incanter’s Flow: Still feels very lackluster compared to Rune of Power. The primary issue is that Fire and Arcane benefits so much from burst that having 40% during it is just so much better. It’s still optimal for Frost, but only because Frost doesn’t have the same burst window as Fire/Arcane.

Focus Magic: It’s nice to see the return of Focus Magic, but I think this is a poor row to have it in. The value behind Incanter’s Flow(Frost) and Rune of Power(Fire/Arcane) is just massive compared to 5% crit for someone else and even if the buff had 100% uptime for the Mage the value just isn’t there compared to the others. I think this would do much better in the first row and moving Searing Touch here(and figuring out something else for Arcane/Frost).

Rune of Power: Still the same bursty spell that heavily benefits Combustion and Arcane Power.

Lv 35 Row

Flame On: Such a good talent since Fire Blast isn’t on the GCD and helps so much to creating Hot Streaks.

Alexstrasza’s Fury: I really loved when I saw this making a comeback from Legion moving into BFA. I’m just really sad that it has no use. It’s a very weak talent because it doesn’t have use.

Phoenix Flames: Same as Alexstrasza’s Fury, I was really happy to see this making a return. I’m just really sad that there’s still no value for it compared to Flame On.

Lv 45 Row

Flame Patch: It’s still a really good M+ talent for Fort weeks, otherwise not very good.

Conflagration: Being passive adds a lot of value to this because you’re trying to pump out Pyroblasts. Using the GCD on Living Bomb is frequntly not worthwile.

Living Bomb: This is still very niche. It’s used sometimes, but not really often enough I feel.

Lv 50 Row

Kindling: Even after the buff, it still feels kinda weird to use. I’m not sure if it’s better overall or not, but it just feels weird compared to the other options.

Pyroclasm: Feels better after the buff in terms of damage. The primary issue with Pyroclasm is the long cast time on Pyroblast and not regularly being able to stand still for 3.5+ seconds(especially in more recent encounter designs).

Meteor: Meteor still feels so good being Instant. It’s not best single target on paper, but it’s still best single target in practice without huge unreasonable amounts of Haste.

7 Likes

I might be weird here but I might enjoy using ROP if it somehow didn’t stack with the other cooldowns. Planning out when you can stay in one place 10 seconds is significantly challenging and interesting on its own; slamming everything you’ve got into a single burst window that’s disastrous if you mess up is just too much stress. Plus managing all the GCDs is annoying!

Anyway, settling on Arcane is my main spec, but I really do not like Touch of the Magi. It feels like it’s just designed to be combo’d around a huge burst window and doesn’t actually do all that much if you try to use it any other way. I’d honestly be happier with just a flat damage bomb that hits hard on a cooldown. Arcane is lacking in effective AOE options and this more seems to just be a weird cleave spell and yet another thing to slot into the almighty burst window. I’d rather have Flamestrike or Blizzard 100%, although I’ve said that before. :smiley:

8 Likes

FIRE : I found that, the new change to fireblast being your “spread aoe” button, entirely ruins the spec. It either needs to go back to previous way of spreading dots, or we need a new baseline ability that just spreads our dots. Having to save a fireblast in my BURST ROTATION during combustion is basically the death knell of the spec to me. Make phoenix flames baseline and have it be the spreading button(possible fix?).

FROST : Frost looks to be frickin awesome in SL. However there is a bug ( i hope its a bug) with how the new brain freeze works. I LOVE THE IDEA, its a good fix, however all my spells are activating the stacks…like ele water bolt…or frozen orb ticks…basically rendering brain freeze proc and stacks useless. Needs fixing ASAP.

Arcane : Arcane still blasts single target like a beast. I don’t play arcane at all but it seems like its well put together, no bugs that i could immediately find.

8 Likes

Another addition now that I have done much more playing, including other classes…
Mage damage is horrendously low.

While I know that balancing typically comes towards the end, it still needs to be called out. During my initial playthroughs of content, I just assumed it was the typical feeling of less power that comes with worse gear at the start of an expansion. After having played many other classes on the alpha, it’s readily apparent that’s not the only problem. I was having a nearly identical time-to-kill mobs with healing specs (like Disc) as I was for mage. It was even more clear in running Torghast being scaled up to max level, where gear disparities from leveling have been scaled out.

The entire fantasy of mage is the “glass cannon.” An immobile, quick to die, spec that outputs ridiculous amounts of damage. Damage is it’s only purpose as it doesn’t bring any additional utility that can’t be gained elsewhere. As of right now, the immobile and quick to die parts still remain,…but there is barely a tickle of damage output relative to other classes.

The only time that damage output feels significant relative to other classes is during those times when all DPS cooldowns have been activated. It’s a huge problem for a purely DPS class to only have relevant DPS output with a cooldown active.

7 Likes

Arcane:

I still find the ramp up for Arcane to still feel ponderously slow. It is not a good feel for an enemy to fall before you can even get your set up sequence done.

Charged Up: This talent feels SO vital that it becomes a non-choice usually. As such, it feels like it should honestly be a baseline spell. Perhaps Arcane Empowerment could be moved from the PVP talents to take its place?

Touch of the Magi: A proposal I would make for this is give this spell a slight tweak where it is instant cast while you have four arcane charges.

Mark of Aluneth: Having Arcane Explosion made universal is not so good feeling when other specs kept their AoE exclusive. One idea that occurred to me is to bring back an iteration of Mark of Aluneth. It was a pretty unique spell too from its casting animation to the mix of an DoT and AoE.

Displacement: Where did it go? there is still a PVP talent referencing it so… yeah. The ability to be really slippery always felt like an incredibly arcane mage thing, and sort of helped offset how slow their ramp up time tends to be.

Bonus points if Displacement became baked INTO blink so that one spell became the other during the displacement window. I am always happy to save a button spot, particularly with all the unpruning.

Shimmer: I am ok with this spell getting nerfed, as it is in trade for Alter Time. Not having two charges makes it feel a lot less mandatory.

Alter Time: It feels like Arcane Mages should have a reduced cooldown on this of say 45 seconds? Messing with time is like their thing. they literally have a talent named Time Anomaly and a pvp talent named Temporal Shield.

Time Anomaly: Speaking of, just as an idea, it would be really cool if Time Anomaly had a chance to spit out Mirror Images of you for 10 seconds. Just plays into that “mucking about with time for fun and profit and SUDDENLY THERE ARE FOUR OF ME FOR A MOMENT” vibe.

31 Likes

I like your take on Arcane being (proto-) time mages in a sense. Something I’ve been mulling over for arcane would be to get a version of the Anima power in Torghast for upgraded mirror images. As-is the damage boost would probably be too much for non-Tower, but I’d imagine that could be tweaked. Tying it in with Time would be some quality flavor for it though.

I think that would also fit in with the overall theme of mages having access to other schools, but being better at the one they spec into. Perhaps for Arcane we’d get “Temporal Clones” instead of Mirror Images. Think: the future/past you quests in Dragonblight w/Chromie. You are pulling other temporal “aspects” of yourself in rather than making mindless copies - like your suggestion for Time Anomaly but with a bit more. Unless it was terrible, I would totally take that talent just for the sheer fun of it.

Another flavor/lore-ish idea connecting arcane mages more to time is that we still have that slipper dragon aspect Nozdormu floating about some-when - and not a part of the ones empowering the HoA in BfA. Perhaps he is starting to work w/arcane mages in preparation for something coming. But I’m digressing. Mostly: yes please on more time flavor/effects to arcane.

And for some fun in the tower: mechagnome arcane mage, pop racial and intelligent mirror images - when you have a mob pack. Total. Frozen. Carnage.

5 Likes

Going to add some more thoughts here on Arcane (and mage in general a bit) at a more mechanical level.

Mage pays a price for movement.

I’m OK with that, generally, as it makes sense. However, IMO the price is too high and the 8.x shimmer shows it. One thing I’ve kept in mind over many years of game design is that if you have a spell, power, or ability that is a must have for pretty much everyone - you have something broken. Either the capability is broken or something in the class/base is broken.

In this case, it isn’t that shimmer was broken but that the core class mechanics are. We all take shimmer because we basically have to. Why do we have to? Because the encounters force us to. Every few GCDs you have to move because Blizzard loves to “put stuff on the ground to kill you” (you can see this even in Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3) as their means of making encounters “more difficult”. This automatically, and unavoidably, adds a tremendous cost to any class that takes a penalty for movement.

To account for that either you need less forced movement, or the movement penalty needs to be lower. Displacement/Shimmer being mandatory exposed that problem and somewhat accounted for it by reducing the cost of it. But it also exposes the other part of the problem - especially for arcane.

This is where arcane’s additional penalty comes in: the ramp up. Arcane pays a heavy price for its DPS in the sheer number of non-damage (or low-damage) GCDs needed to get into stride. On its own that may be a reasonable price to pay. However, what we have is a combination of the two and this gets to be too high as a result.

With arcane you have to spend several GCDs to get to do decent to good damage. Now add into that the need to move every 2-3 or so and you can see the penalties stack up. For a mage, especially an Arcane one, movement is functionally a longer GCD; the longer you need to move, the longer that GCD is.

This needs to be taken into account to make Arcane a better, as in more fun but still effective, class. Consider what we can do while moving: Arcane Barrage and maybe a supernova. The former means going back through the build up - thus paying the GCD price again, and the latter is on a longer CD and has little damage/effect. So neither of these are a reasonable expectation - especially the former.

This is where the encounter people and the class people need to coordinate better. If I have to move every few seconds because fire bad, and I have to spend longer than that building up, and I lose significant DPS while moving, I’m not having a good time. It is like RNG on top of RNG on top of RNG - moderation is needed. Especially when encounters have “move around for many GCDs” baked into them.

If we stick to the Arcane being a form of chronomancy, it would make sense that some of Arcane’s features involve getting around that using some form of temporal interaction. Shimmer taking blink off of the GCD and usable while casting demonstrates this problem and why we needed it and have such a problem with it going away it “solved” (to some extent) that confluence of problems.

Now the good thing about Arcane Blast is that the buildup isn’t per-target but on the caster. This is especially good for trash/solo adventures. The bad thing is that it takes 3-4 casts to really kick in and that you have to stand still to cast it. I’m pretty much OK with that, really. I have no problem with the increase in mana cost either. In fact, this may be why I love having mana gem back. Using a mana gem is something I can do while moving. It doesn’t do damage but delays needing to use Evocation which lets me DPS more.

Arcane Missiles, however, is a bit of an issue. I think a good change to it would be to leave it channeled, but not have movement break it. You have to stand still to start the missiles, but having to move wouldn’t cut it short. If we didn’t have to move so much then perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad.

Now for blink. First lets acknowledge that blink is basically broken. We’ve all had it happen: blink to get away and find you “blinked forward” approximately one step. WoW isn’t the only place Blizz has this problem (exactly the same one in D3), but it is a problem. Two charges on blink felt to me like “yeah we know it doesn’t work a lot of the time so lets give you another chance for it to fail to account for it”.

So how can we make that better - short of fixing the base problem there? Check distance blinked and refund the charge/reset cooldown if you blink less than X distance. With that we can then let blink be what it should be - making movement less crippling for arcane mages. Make it being off GCD core. not necessarily at low levels perhaps - maybe one of the “level rewards” is a passive in the arcane leveling progression along the lines of “Blink becomes Spatio-Temporal Warp, removing it from the GCD and doesn’t interrupt casting”. The sample name here applies a time based theme for flavor.

While that doesn’t address prep-time, it can help significantly with the GCD+Move penalty stack. A “more intelligent” Mirror Image version like I mentioned in my previous response could soften the movement penalty a bit more - you could use it to time some DPS maintenance around move-heavy phases and/or use them at will if you know you don’t need to.

On that note, here is an idea I just had for “Temporal Clones”: A talent line for arcanes that lets you select the spec for them. More of an alternate timeline idea where you pull in “clones” that specced into Frost or Fire to give you some added functionality, such as Frost clones throwing frostbolt for 1-2 targets and blizzard if >2. That could temporarily (eheh) give some AoE capability to arcane. Selecting an alternate arcane timeline for arcane would require a bit of thought.

Hmm, perhaps your arcane alternates’ Arcane Blast count as being cast by you in terms of ramping up. For example during movement you might throw the barrage, dropping your blast stack and pop clones which then cast blast giving you three stacks back. That might be interesting.

Anyway, this post is plenty long already and my stomach is demanding some breakfast, so I’ll close it here and think some more on that last bit while making and eating breakfast. :wink:

23 Likes

So, just watched Preach’s interview, and while I know it was just being used as an example;
Do not take away mirror images again! Also, please do not take away it’s damage component, that just turns it into the racial ability of Mechagnomes. Plus, the most fun Anima powers in Torghast are related to Mirror Images.

Current starting button rotation for Arcane in alpha;
Mirror Images, Charged Up, Rune of Power, Arcane Power, Covenant Ability, Touch of the Magi, Presence of Mind - begin rotation.

2-ish of those spells have a cast time, making it ~10 seconds of prep time just to start DPS.

So, the arcane ramp up issue is a major problem, but the actual issues lie elswhere;

  • Touch of the Magi - This spell is unfocused in it’s purpose. It’s AOE/cleave and single target dps cooldown all in one. The easiest solution is to remove the main target damage component so that it only serves a purpose and is worth a button press in AOE/cleave situations.
  • Rune of Power - As mentioned several times in this thread, this talent is too good and is essentially required of Arcane. This could be fixed with tuning, or replacing the talent.
  • Charged Up - Due to the built in ramp up of the spec with arcane charges, this talent essentially becomes required as well. The best fix here is to make this baseline for the spec and give a new talent. Especially since it doesn’t fit the theme of the talent tier on which it resides, the other 2 are AOE based talents.

EDIT: Left covenant ability out of opening rotation, so added that in and added to pre-cast time to start DPS rotation. Your chosen covenant will change whether this is needed…but it’s best to consider worst case scenarios.

14 Likes

Howdy folks.

Before I start, I want to state that I am happy with most of the changes, especially in Frost and Arcane. I am excited to see where further development goes, especially with Frost, which has the most build variety and possibilities in my opinion.

FIRE

Not much to say here as there has not been a lot of change with this spec’s playstyle, priorities, or talent choices. Mirror Image being baseline is a fun new cd to have, especially as it lines up with Combustion, but I feel most mages coming from BFA looking to play fire in Shadowlands are going to be disappointed by the sudden drop in power as they lose Font, Lucid and Hyper-Thread bracers. Baseline phoenix flames in my opinion would be the best fix in easing the general populace into Shadowlands as it would smooth out combustion periods, give them an extra cleave tool and would be a better candidate for Ignite spreader then Fire blast would be (I press Fire blast well over 100 times in the course of a 10 minute fight or sim, I feel moving the ignite spreading mechanic to an ability I’m encouraged to hit every time I get a crit makes the change fairly redundant and only gives me a marginal increase of control over how I use my ignites. Some other players have suggested moving it to Flamestrike instead, which wouldn’t be bad either.)

ARCANE

I can see just by skimming this thread that most people have already given their feedback and are most excited for Arcane, so I will keep it brief and try to echo my own personal opinions and experience with the spec. Firstly, I feel the set up phase for every Arcane Power is far too long and far too prone to interrupting effects that just ruins the experience for the Arcane Mage. Currently, the only major change I think would be needed to fix this would be removing the cast time on Touch of the Magi. You have already limited its ability to be spammed by putting it on a 45 second cd, the cast time is just redundant at this point. Other then that, I feel Arcane will still hit its checkmarks of being a powerful single target burst spec that’ll greatly rewards players juggling their resources, CDs, positioning and mechanics properly.

FROST

I really enjoy the changes to Winter’s Chill. Not only does it give the Frost Mage an additional Ice Lance to shatter (effectively making Double Ice Lance the norm and not an unintended gameplay mechanic.) as well as opening up design space for other effects, like a return of Frozen Veins in some capacity or a talent or Torghast upgrade that makes Blizzard consume Winter’s Chill targets, but cause it to shatter in a similar vein to Ice Lance or to gain some additional effect, like reducing Frozen Orb’s CD by 2.5s per crit instead of .5s.

That said, I would ask that a fuller explanation of the effect be printed into the spell book to clear up confusion on how it works. When I initially logged in and started playing with it, I was noticing that charges were being taken by passive damage spells like Icicles and the Water Elemental’s waterbolt. While looking through the spell book, I had no way of knowing if this was intentional or an bug since the actual listing for Winter’s Chill is just a footnote in Brain Freeze’s description (Later builds would show this to be unintended, but you get the idea.)

GENERAL CHANGES

Shimmer

To beat the dead horse in the room, I did feel that Shimmer was overturned, but I feel its current state is way too under tuned, especially in Fire and Arcane as they have no movement related alternatives. In fact, Arcane saw a nerf to its movement with Displacement being removed and turned into an ability that every mage gets at level 58. I am not going to sit here and tell you that Shimmer was balanced among the other options in that talent row because it wasn’t. It was the clear choice for Fire, the superior choice for Frost and a contender for Arcane. I agree that changes need to be made to the talent, but I feel that nerfing it this hard is just going to make mages less effective in fights that require players to move long distances or short distances in rapid succession. I think a good middle ground would be to keep the effects the same but reduce the CD to 12 seconds instead. Any talent taken should feel like a buff and right now, Shimmer feels like a nerf to take.

Focus Magic

The talent is far too weak in its current state to see play. 5% crit can’t really compete with a 40% damage buff from Rune or the 5-20% static buff from Incanters. A change to the effect might be a flat damage buff that stacks up to 5-10 stacks without resetting duration could be a change to consider over a flat numbers change, especially when paired with heavy dot classes like Shadow Priests or when paired with classes that guarantee crit strikes like Fury Warrior or another Fire Mage. (I.E. Give mages a choice that changes based on raid composition or on fight style. Its a talent already designed for group play so swapping it to play into that style could be a fun and interesting topic to explore.) I understand that the point of the talent is to invoke the spirit of the original talent, but I feel the original would be far too weak to make an impact against both Rune of Power and Incanter’s Flow.

13 Likes

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?

-EDarkness

2 Likes

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.

2 Likes