Hello all! This topic is a compilation of suggestions for addressing remaining undertuned / underused talents and issues, as well as improvements for all 3 Mage specs. If there are other classes / specs that need attention more, this could be done in later patches up to War Within. Most of these suggestions are independent, so you could implement the ones you would like or your own solutions to mentioned issues.
- Talents in 3rd row are presented as a choice to path down the tree, but their different talent point cost often promotes taking the cheapest one (Remove Curse / Spellsteal) to preserve points for 2nd part of tree, even if player does not need them. That could be improved a bit to create several paths with similar talent point cost and let people choose more freely.
Suggestion: Create paths from all 2 point nodes in 3rd row to according 5th row node beneath them. That would allow people to path through them to 2nd part of tree with similar talent point to taking 1 point talent and a 4th row talent and would also create several themed path branches, for example Ice Block related talents path of Winter’s Protection into Cryo Freeze or defensive path of Arcane Warding into Diverted Energy.
- Mirror Images upgrade node is both undertuned and does not even work in PVE, since enemies attack images themselves instead of the Mage. That leads to this upgrade node being underutilized.
- Make the effect(s) trigger when Mirror Images are destroyed for any reason.
- Buff healing from Reabsorption. Currently, it as a 2 min CD provides less healing over time than Displacement provides instantly.
- Replace Reduplication with effect that increases number of images created by X. This will give both PVE and PVP players a choice between some healing for them and having longer distraction for powerful enemy in PVE / longer damage reduction + snare effect in PVP and should make the node being used more and both upgrade options competitive.
- Shifting Power does not affect trinkets, so it can often desynchronize Mage’s CDs and trinkets and reduce their synergy. That could be improved.
Suggestion: Make Shifting Power additionally affect cooldowns of trinkets as well.
- Mass Polymorph shares niche with Ring of Frost (AoE long duration breakable CC), but is just inferior - it is melee range, has target type limitations and heals affected enemies without the PVP talent taken. It could use some boost to become more competitive. Even then, many people would not want to take it, but still might want to path through its node. That can be solved via making Mass Polymorph a choice node with some other CC / utility talent (example suggested below).
- Reduce its CD to 45 seconds and either reduce its cast time or increase range to 30 yards. That would make it more reliable as an AoE CC that does not need cover from other CC (unlike Ring of Frost) and would give it its own niche that can make it picked more.
- Make Mass Polymorph a choice node with Supernova (moved to general tree from Arcane tree). That would solve multiple issues - allow players to path through this node with options to pick, make Supernova compete with other CC / utility in general tree instead of with throughput nodes in Arcane tree (so it would be picked more) and help with Mage’s severe lack of anti-ranged tools.
- Alter Time can be controversial - it is very good against classes that don’t have a dispel and quite bad against classes that have it, since if removed it does not provide any value from both Alter Time itself and Master of Time CD reset. Alongside having most other defensives being (mass) dispellable, that makes Mages too vulnerable to dispel classes and could be addressed, however with a trade-off.
Suggestion: Make Master of Time a choice node with Stable Alteration - a talent that reduces duration of Alter Time by X seconds, but makes it undispellable. That would give Mages an option to make Alter Time more reliable against dispel classes, but also would make it less powerful against non-dispel classes and mutually exclusive with Master of Time as a trade-off. It also is a choice node, so people who would prefer longer duration with dispel risk can still take Master of Time instead.
- Mass Slow is rarely picked for multiple reasons. Firstly, Frost and Arcane Mages already have access to AoE snare effects and Fire Mages have access to Cone of Cold and Blast Wave if they are needed. Secondly, its area of effect is too low to make it reliable, especially in PVP, where enemies prefer not to stack. All of that can be improved.
- Increase area of effect of Mass Slow to 8+ yards (which is the standard minimum for most AoE abilities).
- Make Mass Slow a choice node with Greater Slow - upgrade talent for Slow that would make it additionally reduce damage done or cast / attack speed of affected enemy (like it did in earlier expansions). That would allow players that don’t need another AoE slow, but could use a debuff against dangerous enemy to have such an option.
- Increase base range of Slow to 40 yds to match most other ranged snare abilities (Frost Shock, Concussive Shot and so on). Its base range was set to 35 yds because of range improvement glyph / Torment the Weak PVP talent, but all of these were already removed.
- Improved Frost Nova is not needed much in PVE (where its root is usually broken long before its 6 seconds duration expires, let alone 8 seconds) and in PVP roots usually have 6 seconds duration cap already. All of that makes the talent not needed and underutilized.
Suggestion: Move its effect to baseline Frost Nova (like it was pre-Dragonflight) and replace with Frigid Winds as a 1 point talent with 10% value. Such repositioning is suggested because Frigid Winds is badly fitting for an unskippable 2 point talent to access some other talents beneath it - it has no value at all against CC immune targets (elites and bosses) and its effect even against CC affected targets is questionable, especially on some Mythic+ affixes. Such change would make both this node in 7th row and Frigid Winds itself more competitive with other talents in general tree.
- Rigid Ice has similar issues to Improved Frost Nova - it is not needed much, since in both PVE and PVP roots are usually broken from single big hit. It also affects only Frost Nova, so even Frost Mages have little use for it with their shatters, as it does not affect most of their roots.
Suggestion: Make it affect all Frost based roots and either increase its damage threshold bonus or make it extend grace period of roots not breaking to damage (that currently lasts for about 0.5 seconds). That could make the node more competitive, especially for Frost Mages, who could use this talent to get shatters from Frost / Ice Nova in group content, where damage from allies can often break their root early.
- Since Frigid Winds was suggested above to replace Improved Frost Nova and become a 1 point investment, it needs a replacement in 8th row. That should be a generally useful talent that both PVE and PVP players can make use of (unlike Frigid Winds, which provide no value against elites / bosses and other immune to CC enemies).
Suggestion: Replace Frigid Winds (moved to Improved Frost Nova) with redesigned Accumulative Shielding - a talent that simply reduces cooldown of specialization Barrier and Mass Barrier by X% per point invested. That would remove the flaw of Accumulative Shielding of having too low value if barrier is broken quickly, would be a generally useful talent like mentioned above and would allow Mages to pick in 8th row between survivability frequency & boost (Accumulative Shielding), mobility frequency (Flow of Time) and mobility boost (Temporal Velocity) and let them take the preferred option(s) to access 9th row talents.
- Since Accumulative Shielding was suggested above to be redesigned (to address its flaws) and moved to 8th row, its node could use a replacement. That could be a talent that matches slippery and strategic playstyle of Mage and provides a decent survivability boost if played correctly.
Suggestion: Put Prismatic Cloak (using Blink / Shimmer provides a short duration damage reduction) to this position. This talent is fitting - it requires timely usage for decent value and matches mentioned playstyle. Its value can also be easily tuned (via adjusting its duration or damage reduction value) if needed for balance.
- Ice Ward and Freezing Cold share the niche of being “another root to utilize” and put each other on diminishing returns, so are rarely picked together. They make much more sense as a choice node, where one option additionally gives player a passive snare, but is badly compatible with Coldest Snap and second options just gives an additional root charge without much gains and drawbacks.
- Freed node of Freezing Cold is suggested to be filled with either a generally useful talent (so that both PVE and PVP players can pick it to access Ice Cold) or an anti-ranged CC tool (since Mages lack such tools and to not overlap it with suggested Freezing Cold choice node).
Suggestion: A possible option could be something like Quick Mind - a talent that allows Counterspell to be used while casting without disrupting the cast and provides some positive effect for Mage on successfully interrupting a spell. This talent fits the CC theme of left branch, is generally useful for both PVE and PVP players and would be optional to access 10th row, so that people that would not want to pick it can skip it and pick one of the alternatives. Other possible option is a talent that makes Counterspell apply short duration silence on application, like it did in earlier expansions. Effects like these could even become a choice node to provide more options to pick from and be the analogue of suggested “anti-melee” choice node between Freezing Cold and Ice Ward.
- Ice Cold has interesting effect, but is being too expensive to take in instanced PVE. The reason is simple - prerequisite talents are currently all CC based and bosses / elites are immune to CC, so these talents have little to no value against them and Ice Cold pretty much has equivalent of 4 talent points cost for raiders. That can be easily solved.
Suggestion: Make Ice Cold accessible from Time Manipulation. That would provide another and less CC based path for raiders and other instanced PVE players to access Ice Cold. If you want to give more path options and keep tree symmetry, you could make Mass Barrier choice node accessible from Accumulative Shielding current spot as well.
- Temporal Warp is usually picked, but still has an annoying and unaddressed issue - if party wants to hold the Time Warp for specific bosses / phases, Mage often can’t benefit from it. That makes this talent heavily reliant on party’s strategy and just annoying. The solution is easy - make Temporal Warp a separate active ability, so that Mage can use it when he / she needs without potentially disrupting the party’s performance.
- Time Anomaly is not competitive enough in PVE and Temporal Warp is not even usable in instanced PVP. That pretty much turns their choice node into single talent choice in both modes and removes the meaning of choice node altogether. That could be addressed.
- Make Temporal Warp usable in instanced PVP (as you did for Lay on Hands, Army of the Dead and even Time Warp in rated battlegrounds earlier), but reduce its value and / or duration with PVP modifiers to keep its power in line. This would allow PVP players to pick between 2 options instead of being locked into Time Anomaly like currently.
- Buff Time Anomaly to make it more competitive with Temporal Warp. For example, Time Anomaly procs could provide both either spec major CD or Time Warp and the spec’s burst damage spell charge like Fire Blast. That would make its effect more predictable and easier to utilize effectively.
- Tempest Barrier and Diverted Energy have massive PVP nerfs. Since Mage’s survivability is much lower than in Shadowlands and these nerfs make both these talents have too low value for 2 point cost in PVP, consider reducing or removing these nerfs.
Fire Mage talents
- Blazing Barrier is strictly inferior to barriers of both other specs - its damage output is low (lower than even Shaman’s Lightning Shield, which is permanently active) and trigger condition is niche. It could use a boost to bring it more in line with Ice and Prismatic Barriers.
Suggestion: Buff its damage and make it additionally reduce physical damage taken while active by the same amount Prismatic Barrier reduces magical damage. That would both bring Blazing Barrier in line with 2 others and provide a unique niche for its secondary effect.
- Scorch is used mainly in conjunction with Searing Touch and as an execute ability, since its base damage is too low. Since talents should be usable on their own and not require their upgrade, that should not be the case.
Suggestion: Buff its base damage and accordingly reduce / remove damage bonus from Searing Touch to compensate. That would make Scorch more usable on its own and keep its execute power with Searing Touch on similar level.
- Tempered Flames is not competitive enough with normal build. It is much easier to play, so should not be ahead, but should be close enough to regular build to see some play. Its values could use a boost.
- Pyromaniac is not reliable enough and has a competitor in choice node. Both are also undertuned, so their node is not utilized much lately. Both could use a boost, but Pyromaniac needs a bigger buff than Inflame.
- Firefall is sometimes picked, but its positioning and design is awkward. For single-target builds, they need to pick AoE talents Living Bomb and Convection to access it. For AoE builds, it does not provide much value since both its generation and usage is tied to single-target abilities (Fireball and Pyroblast). All of that could be addressed.
- Swap positions of Firefall and Conflagration. That would make Firefall unlocked from generally useful talent Feel the Burn and decently accessible for both ST and AoE builds.
- Make it both generate Meteors and trigger them from Flamestrike as well to make it more compatible with AoE builds.
- Controlled Destruction provides too low value for 2 point investment (less than Surging Blaze for 1 point invested), so is underplayed and could use a boost.
- Flame Accelerant is not picked much in PVE, mainly because Fireball is frequently used there, so it provides too low value. A possible and easy solution could be to just make it trigger every X seconds in Restoration Shaman’s Tidebringer manner and if needed adjust the period value to compensate.
- Hyperthermia is not reliable enough and does not provide enough value, so it is underplayed. Consider turning it into an active ability with X seconds CD - that would address most of its RNG issues and could make it more competitive, especially alongside suggested above Controlled Destruction buff.
- Unleashed Inferno is a decent concept, but is still undertuned compared to Sun King’s Blessing, so is not played much. It could use a boost and provide its bonus to Flamestrike as well to make it more compatible with AoE situations.
- Deep Impact provides too low value for single-target situations and is directly harmful for AoE situations, so is not played much and could use improvements.
- Buff its damage bonus.
- Make it a choice node with talent that would boost Meteor for AoE situations. There are many options - from reducing CD and increasing its radius without splitting damage to making a second Meteor drop after an additional delay at same location dealing X% of its damage.
- Blazing Barrier still has its PVP nerf inherited from Shadowlands. Since Fire Mage is much less tanky now, especially with Glass Cannon taken, this nerf is no longer needed and could be reverted.
- Greater Pyroblast’s cast time is outdated - it does less damage than many similar abities of other classes that have shorter cast time or additional benefits. That makes it underplayed and could be looked at.
Suggestion: Reduce its cast time to 3.5-4 seconds.
- After nerfs to Glass Cannon, it might no longer justify such high penalty to health, especially since Flamecannon was nerfed and Blazing Barrier is nerfed in PVP on top of that.
Suggestion: Reduce its health penalty to 10%.
Frost Mage talents
- Snowstorm is both not powerful enough and badly compatible with Coldest Snap, making it underutilized. It could use a decent buff or total redesign.
Suggestion: Buff its values and add an additional effect - if Coldest Snap is taken, Cone of Cold simply does X% increased damage and does not generate and interact with any stacks for that (so it can be used effectively when you need the CD reset without necessity to wait for stacks). That would make them more compatible and Snowstorm more competitive in general.
- Subzero does not provide any value against CC immune targets and even against CC affected targets its value is too low for 2 point cost, so it is underutilized and could use improvements.
- Buff its value. If old values of 10 / 20% are too much, they could be something like 8 / 15%.
- Make it also provide additional reduced value against enemies that are semi-frozen, like from Winter’s Chill and Fingers of Frost. That would make the talent more generally useful and competitive.
- Deep Shatter provides too low value for 2 point investment, making it not utilized much.
Suggestion: Reduce it to 1 point investment with current 25% value. That would make it more competitive and its pathing cost more in line with Comet Storm path.
- After nerfs to Icicles, Splintering Cold provides too low value for 2 point investment as well. It is still taken to access Splitting Ice, but could become more competitive on its own.
Suggestion: Reduce it to 1 point investment with 25-30% chance value.
- Fractured Frost and Cold Front are undertuned and would promote no-Ice Lance playstyle that you wanted to avoid if were just buffed. They need a redesign instead.
Suggestion: Replace Fractured Frost with Iceborne - ice themed and tweaked version of Deathborne with lower duration and CD and cleave effect extended to Flurry (to provide shatter capabilities for affected Frostbolts). That would achieve several goals - return playstyle that many Frost Mages liked in Shadowlands (but with less duration and CD to make it both more accessible in PVE and less oppressive in PVP), keep the talent tree branch 3 target cleave themed (but would not promote entirely no-Ice Lance playstyle since Iceborne is a CD with limited uptime) and would make the talents located there more competitive. The 10th row talent below it could be an upgrade talent to Iceborne.
- Splintering Ray is undertuned for AoE situations, so is not picked much and could use a boost. Increasing its value and / or target cap could be helpful.
- Splitting Ice breaks breakable CC near the main target. As you addressed similar issue for Shamans with Primordial Wave, please consider addressing Splitting Ice as well.
- Glacial Assault has a PVP nerf, but it might be no longer needed, as it can make Glacial Assault undertuned for PVP situations compared to other 3rd part of tree talents that don’t have such nerfs. Consider reducing or removing it.
- Ice Form is easily dispellable and Frostbolt’s value is not as high in PVP as it was, so it is underutilized and could use a boost. For example, you could make it affect all Frost damage, but reduce bonus value to compensate and make it undispellable, but remove stun immunity to compensate. That could make it more competitive as a short CD and short duration burst CD.
- Icy Feet has niche effect and is triggered by only some of Frost’s roots, making it underutilized. It could use a boost.
Suggestion: Make it trigger from any Frost based roots and also provide root immunity in addition to snares protection. If needed, tweak its internal cooldown to compensate.
- Concentrated Coolness is a decent PVP talent, but it could see a lot of use in PVE as well, especially since Frozen Orb can have pathing issues and initially stops if it hits a random aggroed enemy before reaching the main pack. Please consider moving Concentrated Coolness to Frost talent tree or even baking its positioning into baseline Frozen Orb or Everlasting Frost.
Arcane Mage talents
- Clearcasting Arcane Missiles are not competitive enough with Arcane Blast as a dps option outside of 4 set bonus trigger, leading to cancelling them early (when GCD expires) sometimes being a dps increase. They (or Arcane Missiles in general) could use a boost or channel time of Clearcast Arcane Missiles could be reduced to 1.5 sec - it would match the GCD and remove necessity to cancel them early. If required for balance, you could reduce damage bonus of tier set with 4 items to compensate.
- Arcane is notorious for its large amount of CD stacking and ramp-up, making its potential often wasted if enemy or enemy pack dies quickly. That could use several improvements.
- Consider turning Radiant Spark into a passive upgrade to Touch of the Magi with similar to current effect applied. They are used together anyway and such change would reduce both number of CDs for stacking and ramp-up time by 1 CD / GCD.
- Allow Touch of the Magi to be detonated early via pressing ability input while it is active in a similar manner to Cloudburst Totem. That would allow Arcane Mages to get value from it even if enemy is close to dying and Touch of the Magi still has several seconds of duration left.
- Improved Arcane Missiles and Crackling Energy serve mostly as “point dumps” and can prevent Arcane Mages from taking utility nodes. Since during past rework the stated goal was to allow some utility choices, the goal was not achieved enough and they could be looked at.
Suggestion: Reduce one or both to 1 point nodes with current 20% value or 10% value compensated by boost to their baseline damage. That would give Arcane Mages 1-2 freed points to spend elsewhere, most likely on utility since most impactful dps nodes are in 3rd part of tree with 10 fixed talent points to spend on.
- Arcane Surge lost a lot of value during tuning and loses even more after the season 2 tier set replacement. It could use a boost.
Suggestion: Reduce its cast time to 1.5-2 seconds. That would additionally make it easier to use in both PVE and PVP.
- Presence of Mind is weaker than analogues of other classes (for example Warrior of Elune, which has more charges and also increases resource generation) and its CD starts when all charges are expended, making it desynchronized a bit with other CDs. It is still picked, but could be improved.
Suggestion: Increase it to 3 charges, make it have 30s duration and start CD on its usage. That would both address the issues and slightly help with Arcane’s mobility issues.
- Rule of Threes is not competitive with Arcane Familiar and can be even harmful, since it can negate Clearcasting proc for affected spell, so is not played much. It could use improvements.
Suggestion: Make it refund mana cost instead of nullifying it (to make it compatible with Clearcasting) and additionally increase damage of affected spell by X% (to be more competitive with Arcane Familiar’s damage output).
- Foresight both competes with throughput talents and has risky condition to trigger, so is not played much and could use some improvements.
Suggestion: Make it provide 2.5 seconds of casting while moving (to cover all Arcane’s casted spells including non-Clearcast Arcane Missiles and Arcane Surge) after standing still for 5 seconds and maybe additionally provide some bonus that helps throughput while it is active (damage boost / mana regen increase etc). That would make it more usable and competitive.
- Nether Tempest is mandatory to progress down the tree. That is not good, since it is mostly an AoE ability, but is required to be taken to access generally useful talents. That could be addressed.
Suggestion: Move Nether Tempest one row up, make it accessible from Arcane Surge, connected to Arcing Cleave and Improved Prismatic Barrier nodes and Touch of the Magi accessible from both Arcing Cleave and Improved Prismatic Barrier instead. That would still keep Nether Tempest easily accessible if needed (from generally picked Arcane Surge), but optional and not required to progress down the tree.
- Improved Prismatic Barrier is rarely picked, since it competes with throughput nodes. Since additionally Arcane Mage is the only Mage spec that needs to spend a talent point to unlock full effect of its specialization shield, it could be just moved to baseline effect of Prismatic Barrier and replaced by other utility talent.
Suggestion: Merge effect of Improved Prismatic Barrier into baseline Prismatic Barrier and replace with a talent that allows to cast Arcane Explosion at a selected enemy target at range, dealing damage both to target and other enemies in radius. That would both address the issue of Arcane Mage as a squishy ranged dps being forced into melee range to use his main AoE ability and make this talent node more competitive, but optional (as it can be skipped). If just making Arcane Explosion ranged would not be enough to make the talent competitive, it could also provide slight throughput increase, like increased critical strike chance or damage bonus for Arcane Explosion.
- Supernova was suggested to be moved to general tree in general talents section, so its node needs a replacement. Possible option is Arcane Singularity - black hole type ability that pulls enemies in selected area to its center and an analogue of targetless Gorefiend’s Grasp. While it is still utility, it helps throughput as well, since grouped up enemies can be more effectively blasted by Arcane Orb and Arcane Barrage, so Arcane Mages could actually consider picking this node instead of one of throughput nodes and this talent could be competitive with them. It also replaces Supernova as Arcane only utility tool, so Arcane still has a unique niche.
- Conjure Mana Gem is picked, but its limited number of charges can lead to necessity to reconjure it right in combat. Please consider increasing number of its charges to 5 to address that.
- Arcane Harmony is not competitive currently, mainly because Clearcasting Arcane Missiles are not strong enough and it is gated behind niche Concentration. All of that could be addressed.
- Buff damage of Clearcast Arcane Missiles (or Arcane Missiles in general) like suggested above. If needed for balance, reduce damage bonus of tier’s 4 set bonus to compensate.
- Swap positions of Arcane Harmony and Concentration to make more generally useful Arcane Harmony accessible first and let people pick Concentration only if they want or need it.
- Consider making current Arcane 4 item set bonus into a talent in Arcane tree in next expansion. It is enjoyed by a decent amount of Arcane Mages and could stay for more than one season. Some Mages still might not like it though, so this talent could be optional and a choice node with other competitive talent.
- Cascading Power does not provide much value, so is not utilized much. Please consider making it additionally increase damage bonus of Mana Gem by X% to make it more competitive.
- Arcane Barrage received several nerfs, so 60% nerf to Arcane Bombardment in PVP might be no longer warranted and could be reduced.
- Radiant Spark is easily dispellable, making it much less valuable in PVP than it should be.
Suggestion: Since its bonus is much lower than in Shadowlands, consider just making it undispellable. If you don’t want that, consider adding dispel protection mechanism to it like you did for Frost Bomb.
- Harmonic Echo breaks breakable CC near the target. Similar issues were addressed for several other classes, so please consider addressing it as well.
- Master of Escape’s value is limited, so it is not picked much. It could use a boost to make it more competitive for PVP talent slot.
Suggestion: Reduce its cooldown reduction to 30 seconds, but make it also remove X damage over time effects from Mage when Greater Invisibility is used, like it did in earlier expansions. That would give this talent a niche of true escape tool matching talent’s name (since without this effect its invisibility is usually immediately broken by damage over time effects that most classes can apply) and turn it into a tool against damage over time specs and comps instead of removed Dampened Magic.
- Kleptomania has a niche, but is easily disruptable and locks Arcane Mages from their dispel for 20 seconds, so is not utilized much. A possible improvement could be making it not replace Spellsteal and be a separate ability - that would keep Kleptomania itself counterable, but less punishing, so more competitive with other PVP talents. If needed for balance, its cooldown could be tweaked to compensate.
Bugs and strange interactions
- Mass Invisibility (both normal and PVP talented) is not reset by Shifting Power.
- Icy Veins procced by Time Anomaly does not summon Water Elemental. Could be intentional, but should be stated in tooltip to prevent confusion.
- Chrono Shift’s snare is not affected by Frigid Winds.
- Healing from Displacement is not affected by Versatility. If intentional, that could be stated somewhere.
That is the list of issues and underused / undertuned / improvable talents and suggestions for them. You can also add your feedback and suggestions in the comments. Thank you for reading!