In this thread, please post your feedback on the revamped Mage talent tree, once you’ve had a chance to test Mages in the Alpha.
In this thread, please post your feedback on the revamped Mage talent tree, once you’ve had a chance to test Mages in the Alpha.
EDIT: Found that the Fire Blast learned from the Fire tree is a separate spell to the base Fire Blast. I’d change the talent to replace and move the base Fire Blast to prevent this confusion.
Issue: Fire Blast is not castable while casting another spell. This has been tested with Fireball, Pyroblast, Flamestrike, Frostbolt, and Conjure Refreshment.
This was tested with the Fire Blast talent selected in the Fire tree.
Unfortunately the spec’s rotation and feel can’t really be tested properly until this has been fixed.
That being said, I am very interested in the option to try a pyro build going into Tempered Flames, Sun King’s Blessing and Pyroclasm when we have enough talent points. Good to see different playstyles being tried for Fire.
im no mage expert but this is fun. i like the amount of passives in arcane vs other trees because it feels like i can build a weird playstyle that i like vs having to rebuild the core kit i lost in SL (looking at my main spriest)
also really like having both supernova (to knock up) and blast wave (to knock back), it looks funny. will play the other specs more later but i really like the variety of playstyles in the arcane tree tbh
i think the flurry change is really nice. previously that was a spell that never got touched unless you had a brain freeze proc, but changing it to having charges and brain freeze resetting a charge/increasing damage makes the frost rotation a little more reliable and less dependent on procs.
Major cd being 1.5m cooldown is much better than relying on borrowed power to reduce it down to that level to line it up touch/rune’s 45 sec cd
Touch being instant and off the gcd is a good change to offset the addition of arcane surge cast, dont want a repeat of pre-SL with there being 4 casts to set up burst
It feels off that after popping Arcane Surge I can’t immediately use a 4 charge Arcane Blast.
I enjoyed the SL kyrian spark/arcane harmony playstyle, glad its back.
Supernova position in the tree is confusing, it has a central location, but I feel a knock-up is a niche utility, a worse disruption effect than dragon’s breath. Would rather see Arcane Orb/Evocation there.
Mana Gem felt pretty irrelevant in SL and dont see that changing, it only has 3 charges and gives back less mana than it costs to cast missiles once.
After always locking in the Overpowered talent getting Arcane Power to 60% increased damage; it feels bad going down to 35% increased damage, lower than AP’s base 40%.
Arcane’s tree has one glaring issue in that most nodes are additional affects of either barrage or missiles, not sure if there is anything that could or should be done about it. Its really a byproduct of Arcane having few damagin abilities.
The fire blast that is learned from the fire tree is separate from the baseline, they are two different entries in the spell book for some reason.
Arcane Surge is really cool in concept, but the effect doesn’t feel big enough. I want to obliterate my enemies with a massive energy beam, DBZ style. >>
Just finished an initial look at all the mage stuff. There is a LOT to go over… gotta start wrapping my head around it. I kinda want this pyroblast-casting build to work, it’s interesting. The new Winter’s Chill is a BIG upgrade, as well as having shatter available in the core tree - just big cool meteor combo potential there. It looks like arcane could be moving away from the burn-conserve cycle stuff which is really intriguing.
One thing that really stood out negatively is the rune of power/incanter’s flow choice in the middle of the core tree. It’s a huge pickup that really can’t be skipped, kind of exerts a gravity on the whole tree that can’t be missed. I’m also… kind of over rune of power in general. I want to gather my thoughts on that first, I like some things about it, but I think because it is such a potent combo enhancer it exerts a kind of gravity on playstyles that stifles overall innovation.
Edit: Someone mentioned this but arcane, and the class as a whole, could really use access to a few more core damage spells. Not crazy cooldown things but basics like flamestrike, arcane blast, etc. Feels like there is not a lot to work with for arcane in particular.
Since it looks like Mass polymorph can be cast without a target will it be usable to blink in and guarantee it lands?
I’ve played an arcane mage for a really long time and am pretty familiar with the playstyle. After playing around with it for a bit it certainly feels like an arcane mage.
I’m not going to go into little details and rather will head to just one really big item of feedback I’ve felt strongly about for a very long time:
Arcane needs a big overhaul still IMO
With the rise of importance of Arcane Barrage during Shadowlands via the Radiant Spark/Harmony playstyle, which seems to be carrying over into Dragonflight, it has highlighted the frustrating nature of Barrage’s cleave when the hitbox of the primary target is large. It’s super frustrating when you barrage a large boss that have adds right next to them, but it doesn’t hit because barrage cleaves from the center of the hitbox. With entire builds relying on great execution of a barrage setup, this needs to be addressed. While playing Evoker, and using their “Leaping Flames” talent, I instantly thought “Wow, why can’t barrage behave like that”.
With thoughts of Greater Invisibility being available for every spec, its makes me wonder why Cauterize isn’t being considered for the same treatment. As it stands, Fire has long been a safer pick in high keys and raids for their extra defensive, and now that is being further solidified. Perhaps explore putting Cauterize in the main mage tree.
In regards to Incantation of Swiftness, with Invisibility and Greater Invisibility being separated into two different talents (and thus, spells), it makes no sense that Incantation of Swiftness give a lower movement speed for Arcane.
While I assume its a bug, Orb Barrage currently uses Arcane Orbs base cooldown when it procs and Orb is off cooldown, and when its on cooldown, Orb Barrage’s proc places Arcane Orbs cooldown back to 20 seconds.
I don’t think Time Anomaly is a good addition to the mage tree. It feels like a worse vision of perfection in every way. Right now you can get a finger of frost when you already have 2 already or a fireblast charge when nothing is happening which are both completely wasted.
Icy veins and combust don’t seem to extend an ongoing one either.
While it might sound nice on paper, I really don’t think it it’s nice unless it procs in a predictable way and/or order.
The arcane tree is definitely lacking. As others have said, it’s a lack of damaging spells, most of it just augments AB and AM. Plus spells that have always been a core part of arcane are VERY deep in the tree, like Evocation.
I really hate that Rune of Power/Incanter’s Flow persists as a choice on the core tree. This has ALWAYS been a false choice because Rune has always been mathematically better.
Finally, damage is TERRIBLE. I was questing through the zone with a Dracthyr who was easily doing 2-3 times the damage I was with no cast times to worry about. Often they would 100 to 0 a mob before I could get the cast off on my first spell. Even worse, was even though they were destroying me in damage, somehow my spells carried more threat, I was pulling threat on all the rare spawns we fought regardless of them doing 70% of the damage to kill them.
One off note but yeah Cauterize feels way too good for any tough content. Honestly I would consider just axing the ability entirely, I never felt that having a cheat death is particularly mage-like, and fire especially never felt like a survivability oriented tree. It could go in the core tree as well but it’s definitely a gimme pick either way.
See if you wanted to go crazy with it, you could make Ice Block and Cauterize a choice node and that would legit be tough. Probably a situational flip depending on whether there are important debuffs to clear in the encounter or not. It’s that good.
Shimmer’s in an absolutely brutal spot on the class tree, and I’d also argue the Tomes (4% crit/4% Haste) are also quite rough. Shimmer being where it is makes it very burdensome to take, which is highly unfortunate considering Mages have enjoyed the incredible QoL of Shimmer for a little over half a decade by this point. It gets to the point where you’re losing out on possible direct DPS increases if you end up taking it because of how heavy an investment it is. You have to take a hit-or-miss passive like Shatter (it sucks for non-Frost specs) or a frequently-mediocre button in Cone of Cold to take a niche button like Spellsteal or an extremely niche, borderline-unviable button like Slow to take the RoP/IF choice node (spoiler alert: this node is not a choice because Rune of Power blows everything completely out of the water) to take a 2-point passive node (and there’s only one choice between the two) to take Shimmer when that ability has almost entirely outclassed Blink for several years now.
The Class Tree Capstones, or "Why Three-Point Talents Usually Feel TERRIBLE:"
Similarly, the Mage tree capstones (Meteor, Time Anomaly, and Shifting Power) are all each locked behind an additional four Talent points, including those infamous three-point nodes that, as proven by Shadow’s current tree and especially the old Survival tree, are almost universally disliked by the community due to how restrictive they feel when they’re mandatory. There are entire classes that forego three-point Talent nodes (Shaman, Evoker with one exception for Preservation), many of the most acclaimed spec trees (Enhancement, Elemental, Frost DK) forego them completely as well, and many of the overhauls we’ve seen to various class and/or spec trees have generally opted to drastically minimize the number of three-point nodes across the board and/or put them relatively early in the trees rather than later in the trees where the interesting choices tend to be made (think BM Hunter outside of the Dire Beast-centric bottom-left side).
The DK Class tree and the Assassination Rogue tree make the same mistakes (albeit to lesser degrees) that the Mage Class tree is currently making by putting 3-point Talent nodes very late in the trees, often as prerequisites for the choices that usually do matter. In DKs’ case, the incredibly powerful and beloved Abomination Limb is locked behind Improved Death Strike, which Unholy and Frost actively hate having to invest into since it offers nothing compared to Icy Talons and Unholy Bond (the latter of which is extraordinarily powerful to the point of being mostly mandatory). Many critics of the DK class tree cite Improved Death Strike as the biggest problem, besides Gorefiend’s Grasp still being Blood-only, with the tree by a massive margin. Removing this requirement would singlehandedly fix almost every issue with said class tree.
Similarly, Assassination Rogues have to take 3-point nodes to unlock their capstones, and these feel needlessly restrictive as well because just freeing up a Talent point or two would allow for some incredibly cool and unique build options. That said, the Assassination tree is still very solid after its most recent rework.
So with Time Anomaly/Shifting Power/Meteor, this problem reared its ugly head once more and is probably one of the things I personally dislike the most about the Mage tree. I want to open up cool, flexible builds, but these 3-point Talent nodes so late in the tree just feel like a reason to have to burn a bunch of Talent points on something people don’t like so folks don’t start playing around with interactions they do. That probably isn’t the design intent each time this problem arises, but it sure feels like it every time I see one of these pesky 3-point nodes somewhere in a class or spec tree.
Plus 1 to Shimmer being in a terrible spot. Its an amazing QOL pick but likely not justifiable in the current position.
Ok I’m gonna dive on Arcane a little more because it seems in the most need of help. Firstly I don’t want to say there’s nothing there - some of the combo stuff with radiant spark or harmony is insane (in a good way). Arcane explosion is a fun spell to cast some of the time. But the core fundamentals are just not paced as well as frost or fire.
Firstly, some specific issues with the new trees:
Orb Barrage is pretty wonky. At first I thought it meant 15 arcane missile hits to get an orb. That sounds alright. Turns out it’s 15 arcane missile casts. There’s stuff like this in the fire and frost tree too - getting a frozen orb, or a combustion proc for instance. But Arcane Orb is a poor fit for this design. I kind of want to say Arcane Orb is just not a good spell in general anyway, but to the actual talent: Orb doesn’t really have good value on its own, it’s more of a combo thing. So that means meticulously tracking that buff and making sure you are down to zero arcane charges before it procs. And also making sure you are lined up to 3 or more targets. AND CRUCIALLY, making sure you are not facing in a way where your orb would pull a bunch of extra adds! Orb is a very dangerous spell to use in dungeon, where its aoe would have the most value, so having it come out on a proc is a very dangerous thing. Because of this and the difficulty of getting decent value out of it I would almost rather have nothing than take this talent. Needs a total rethink.
Clearcast fishing in order to prepare for a big combo is still just not much fun, and I’m not sure if it’s going away or not at this point. Too inconsistent and holding cooldowns for too long creates an itchy sort of feeling - having to wait for THREE charges to max burst out is just too much. Yeah there’s some dynamic choice involved here, but in a way that does not feel fun to me. Having Arcane Surge or TOM give you 3 stacks immediately would be a big improvement to overall flow and fun factor. Although really I kinda think clearcast should only affect mana consumption and there should be some other way of getting buffed missiles.
On to the spec fundamentals: for single target, the base rotation is just very unfun. I mean the basic 4xAB->AB that it seems like they want you to do, just feels REALLY bad. And the spec has always kinda lived in this space where you just try to manage out as much conserve cycle as you can by aggressively spending, which isn’t always possible. Pushing those 4 super slow arcane blasts, only to get no payoff because you have to dump your ramp into a barrage to reset, just feels awful. It’s far too slow, for no payoff - that much setup doesn’t ever feel worth it unless you are dumping your whole mana bar into Arcane Blast. The cycles actually feel much worse than they did in TBC when the spell launched, and do relatively much less damage. The conserve cycle is also in that awkward middle where it is neither particularly good at doing damage nor particularly good at getting mana back. It would actually feel better to have Evocate off cooldown and do literally zero damage while regenerating, because it’s a more focused and intentional action that is strongly effective at a single goal.
This doesn’t mean the spec is necessarily unplayable or unfun but, in terms of the talent setup, any build that kinda revolves around making the core rotation better is just a complete non-starter. There is no sustain oriented arcane build that is actually fun to play, it is all huge burst and then do very little until your cooldowns come back.
On the AOE side things are a little better, because Arcane Explosion is just a fun spell to cast. However there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The AOE side needs a little more of something to do. Arcane Explosion is sort of the perfect spell in terms of mobility, cast time, etc. It has no weaknesses in its utility, and is also kind of your only real AOE spell, so it’s always the right answer. Bringing in something like FLAMESTRIKE for instance, into the core tree, which did better damage but had a cast time, would be a game changer. I only bring up Flamestrike because we used to have it and it’s surely easier than designing a new arcane-themed spell, but I certainly wouldn’t say no to some new arcane themed spells.
As a bandaid I do think both these things could be improved by reducing the number of arcane charges to 3, because the problem is the same in both places - it takes too long to build up arcane charges. And I’d rather see the core rotation flow a little better than have more cooldown spells like Orb and TOM that instantly give you charges.
Orb I think also needs an overhaul. It should just feel more immediately impactful for its position in the tree and its cooldown. Maaaaybe it could combine with supernova and knock enemies up as it passes? I don’t know.
Overall, I’m fairly disappointed with the talent trees I’ve seen. That is not to say there aren’t cool ideas, but it seems to me that a lot of them are lacking in direction or cohesion. After spending some time going through the talent trees and testing some abilities on alpha - and keep in mind we are unable to reach max level to test a complete build right now - here is how I would summarize how I feel about the trees: To me, it looks like Arcane Mage has lost a bunch of the tools it had baseline in Shadowlands, while gaining a lot of tools it doesn’t necessarily want.
Before I go in depth about most of the nodes here, here’s an overview of my thoughts on the class tree. I will also be doing a similar review of the Arcane Spec Tree, but while I’m working on that I thought it beneficial to post the class tree review and gather feedback around it. The feedback around this class tree is written from the perspective of an Arcane Mage.
In contrast to the other class trees, the Mage class tree is a bit of a mess. A lot of the trees we have seen were locally divided into their relevant specs or core themes, whereas there is a bit of everything everywhere on the Mage talent tree. Mirror Images follows Ice Block, Dragon’s Breath and Meteor are aligned with Invisibility and Alter Time, and then there’s the Shifting Power on the other end by itself.
I think this was somewhat expected for Mages, given a lot of their utility is in Arcane spells, with Frost offering some CC. And then there is Fire… When I was theorycrafting Mage talent trees I found myself dealing with the same issue - there are not a lot of spells from a Fire Mage’s kit that the other two specs would benefit from, and two thirds of the nodes are Arcane. This naturally makes creating distinctions based on spec difficult.
This leads me to my main concern about the class tree. As an Arcane Mage in Shadowlands, I look at this and think there is nothing on here that I don’t have right now and also want. That isn’t to say the talents here aren’t useful to an Arcane Mage, they’re just awkward or thematically out of place.
Given that Mage is a triple DPS class, it is difficult to avoid leaning heavily into throughput options in the class tree, which can create tendencies to just pick as much throughput (both offensive and defensive) as possible and ignore everything else. This is obviously not an ideal level of choice. It’s only further exacerbated by the fact that the throughput options for one Mage spec often don’t make sense for another, due to a lack of common damaging spells.
Rogue could be a natural comparison for one of the more liked class trees for Mage as another triple DPS class, but unlike Mage, Rogue gets to benefit from general throughput terms like “Poison, Finishing Moves, Combo Points, Energy Cost.” These mean more damage for all Rogues, but what do you do for Mage? You can’t give Fire Mages a proc of Brain Freeze, or give Frost Mages increased mana regeneration. After Rune of Power / Incanter’s Flow which just grants spell damage, there really isn’t too much that’s both interesting and works for everyone. The current class tree seems to struggle a lot with this problem.
Furthermore, as mentioned, throughput options - especially very clear cut ones - lend themselves to a “pick whatever is best” pattern, and heavily restrict competing utility. I think solving this requires a very intentional structuring of the talent tree and good use of the required points to advance.
I think what this will end up meaning on a good class tree for us is we make our way to the throughput options that work best with our build, and then pick from the most relevant utility options for the content we plan to do, plus some preference especially when it comes to mobility. By especially leaning towards defensive options early in the tree and offensive throughput locked behind higher point requirements, I think the Rogue tree does a pretty decent job of balancing this.
Although not a triple DPS class, the Death Knight class tree also does this fairly well, with meaningful choices spread in between throughput options.
Below are more specific comments on most of the nodes in the talent tree, with concerns about meaningful choice, thematic clash, and how impactful spending each talent point feels.
I suggested we remove or reduce the points of several nodes, which means we need new things to invest our talent points in. Here are some ideas that I think would fit the class tree well, and provide more interesting alternatives. Instead of going crazy, I tried to keep these close to what we have seen in the Mage toolkit in these talent trees or in previous expansions.
I will try to have the Arcane Talent Tree half of this done by tonight or tomorrow morning.
Fire and frost have a lot of broken, not working or poorly working stuff that makes it hard to give effective feedback on the whole. My feedback here is to point out things that are interfering with play/testing, and some more minor tree issues.
First off I LOVE Tempered Flames and am going to be focused on a build making this sort of thing work for a bit. It’s very old school, just having a way stronger base cast and less cooldown craziness.
Alexstrazsa’s Fury isn’t working correctly. This might be because I do not currently have Dragon’s Breath talented. But I am seeing phoenix flames not crit on the dummy.
Second, FireMind is appearing in the “important buffs” section and has the same icon as hot streak. Since we can’t mod/filter this stuff yet, it’s making it really hard to play the class (I have the centered spell indicators turned off, I hate them).
For tree design, is is very weird that Tempered Flames leads directly to capstone abilities that improve combustion. Perhaps intentional to avoid capstones with this build, but thought I’d point it out.
The capstones for fire in general are very unappealing. Kindling and Fiery Rush are simple enough. Sun King’s Blessing, and Fire Frenzy, feel extremely similar. I also feel like qualifications on their use are pretty punishing, especially in dungeons. These are big effects that take a while to build up, and if you complete the build up at the wrong time, you might not get much out of them. At least one of these should change so they are not so similar. Fire Frenzy feels like it would be easier to use at least.
Quick Edit: Improved Flame Strike leading to Conflagration is weird. I either want to use Flamestrike in aoe situations or Fireball cleaving. I wouldn’t want both, they kind of push against each other.