Feedback: Mages

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.

Thank you.

16 Likes

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.

3 Likes

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

12 Likes

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.

24 Likes

Arcane Feedback:
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.

15 Likes

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.

4 Likes

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.

18 Likes

Since it looks like Mass polymorph can be cast without a target will it be usable to blink in and guarantee it lands?

2 Likes

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:

  • Rework arcane so that it is fun to play and competitive with other specs without blowing through the entire mana pool every 20 seconds please! Managing the entire mana pool dozens of times in a boss fight is out of hand annoying. Being stuck in a drawn out PvP encounter and constantly losing because there are never enough resources left after a minute or so is no fun. Being constantly interrupted in the process because everything is cast time based is awful as well.

Arcane needs a big overhaul still IMO

44 Likes

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.

28 Likes

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.

24 Likes

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.

46 Likes

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.

4 Likes

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.

53 Likes

Plus 1 to Shimmer being in a terrible spot. Its an amazing QOL pick but likely not justifiable in the current position.

23 Likes

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. :smiley: 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. :smiley:

13 Likes

Arcane Mage Talent Feedback

Initial Thoughts

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.

Class Tree

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.

Row 1:

  • Ice Block
  • Cone of Cold - tldr: Replace with Frost Nova
    • Cone of Cold is a prime example of “I will never use this.” Even if I had to use it it would feel off as an Arcane Mage (I’ve stated before that as an Arcane Mage I dislike non-arcane spells for thematic purposes), but unlike Frost Nova this spell is hardly useful.
    • Cone of Cold also leads to Slow, which is strictly better in a number of cases.
    • Arcane currently has access to Chrono Shift (which is great - I love this talent), which in a lot of cases does the same thing as Cone of Cold.
    • I think it makes a lot of sense to move this into the Frost tree where it has some synergy with Blizzard, and replace it with Frost Nova, an actually useful but still situational spell.
    • Frost Nova is still something we would drop in a lot of fights, especially in raids, so it doesn’t need to be baseline AND it will feel much better to spend a point when we do want it.
  • Shatter - tldr: Move to an optional side node, or even better, move to the Frost tree.
    • I… don’t know why this is here. Again, it’s not useless - in fact it’s quite a bit of throughput… if your Frost Nova lasts until you get to deal damage.
    • The problem is a lot of Arcane’s hard hitting spells that I would like to Shatter with are very slow. In a dungeon this is going to get broken before my Arcane Barrage can travel to the frozen enemies. It might get broken before I even make it out of my GCD.
    • Shatter can definitely be useful in the open world, but when I have to pick between Shatter and Cone of Cold to get to Rune of Power that definitely feels like a waste of talent points.
    • What happens if a Frost Mage takes Improved Shatter, but not Shatter? I feel like this talent should just replace Improved Shatter on the Frost tree (and grant both benefits if need be).
  • Invisibility
    • My only concern with Invisibility is that it co-exists with Greater Invisibility on the same class tree, but I will talk more about this on Greater Invisibility.

Row 2:

  • Rigid Ice - tldr: Place after Frost Nova
    • This definitely has a place on the class tree, and further reinforces my suggestion on replacing Cone of Cold with Frost Nova. This would become a natural optional follow up to Frost Nova.
  • Winter’s Protection
  • Remove Curse - tldr: Rearrange to make optional
    • Remove Curse is a great niche choice for when you need to deal with a curse. We all expected in the class tree. But why is it blocking the path to Rune of Power?
  • Grounding Surge - tldr: Put Counterspell on the class tree
    • I’ve noticed Mage has Counterspell baseline, unlike a majority of other talent trees we have seen so far. And by that I mean only Rogue has Kick baseline - which kind of makes sense for Rogue.
    • I think Counterspell could easily replace some of the less impactful nodes on the class tree for Mages, and Grounding Surge is a decent follow up for it.
    • 2 points to reduce the cooldown of counterspell also feels like a filler.
  • Incantation of Swiftness - tldr: Standardize for every spec
    • Right now this talent is reduced effectiveness for Arcane, which makes little sense if both Invisibility and Greater Invisibility are on the class tree. I’m assuming this will change.

Row 3:

  • Mirror Image
  • Slow - tldr: Move somewhere where it will be truly optional
    • Slow and Spell Steal (alongside Remove Curse) are both on the path to Rune of Power / Incanter’s Flow (which is basically mandatory), yet both of these are situational spells.
    • It makes sense that Slow is on the talent tree, but there are more universal spells to incentivise taking that could be placed here, such as Mirror Image, Alter Time, Shimmer / Ice Floes, or even Counter Spell.
    • I feel that a lot of these unnatural-feeling paths were created to fill out the rest of the tree and give players a reason to take other paths, but I think this is a symptom of a greater issue.
  • Spell Steal - tldr: Move somewhere where it will be truly optional
    • See Slow
  • Alter Time

Row 4:

  • Reabsorption / Reduplication - tldr: Replace Reabsorption with a non-image-dissipation related effect.
    • I think there is a lot of potential here, but a few things are off.
    • Firstly, I compare this to the Shaman’s Astral Bulwark / Plane’s Traveler, and well… it’s not great.
    • Now, I’m sure numbers will be adjusted, but even then either of these talents only do something if you are being directly targeted, which is very situational to say the least.
    • I think keeping Reduplication (maybe with better numbers?) focused on Mirror Image dissipation, and replacing Reabsorption with something that interacts with a different aspect of Mirror Images would be amazing.
  • Cryo-Freeze
  • Rune of Power / Incanter’s Flow - tldr: Modify the path to this node.
    • It’s great that this is in a central position for the tree, as every Mage will want this.
    • The path to this node, as discussed above, should be looked at
  • Tempest Barrier
  • Blast Wave / Mass Polymorph
    • Blast Wave is one of those rare Fire spells that could be universally useful, and Mass Polymorph is really cool
    • The placement of this node feels a little off, but I think this is a symptom of general disorganization in the Mage class tree.

Row 5:

  • Tome of Rhonin
  • Improved Frost Nova
    • I think this is another one of those talents that would benefit from Frost Nova being on the talent tree to give it a more natural slot.
  • Arcane Warding
    • The number is obviously off, but assuming it is 3%, it is just a strictly worse version of the Shaman Elemental Warding talent. Then again they are very different classes so overall this node is boring but fine.
  • Tome of Antonidas

Row 6:

  • Ice Nova - tldr: Remove.
    • As Mage, we can have Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Ring of Frost, and Ice Nova.
    • We can also take Blast Wave and Dragon’s Breath, Slow, and Chrono Shift on top of that.
    • This is a lot of crowd control, but also feels very redundant.
    • Especially in the case of Ice Nova, this is a very short root with a damage component that’s lose-lose: If it’s worth using for damage, then suddenly my Arcane Mage rotation includes Ice Nova which is terribly out of place, and if not, well this is a GCD for a 2 second root on top of all the other immobilizing options that do similar things - a lot of which we are very likely to take.
  • Accumulative Shielding - tldr: Rework as a different buff to Barrier.
    • I think putting more defensive power into the barriers that stimulate some thought is great.
    • It is significantly less great when it comes at the cost of more GCDs on a spell that already has a fairly low cooldown.
  • Ice Floes / Shimmer
    • I am a big fan of this not leading to any other nodes that I might want so that it’s not just a choice between Ice Floes and Shimmer, but also between them and Blink. Blink has its merits with the shorter cooldown and stun-break.
    • This talent could be a little too deep into the tree, given that it used to be something Mages had access to very early in the game previously, especially given that Shimmer have trade offs with Blink
  • Temporal Velocity - tldr: Buff numbers.
    • My complaint about this talent is mostly a numbers thing. 5% movement speed after blinking for 2 seconds is virtually non-existent.
  • Master of Time - tldr: Move to Arcane tree.
    • Cold Snap and Cauterize are on the Frost and Fire spec trees respectively. Greater Invisibility and this nerfed version of Master of Time are on the class tree, which leaves Arcane with strictly fewer defensive options than its counterparts.
    • Mastery of time as a concept seems like it should be more of an Arcane Mage thing thematically.

Row 7:

  • Frigid Winds - tldr: Move somewhere where it will be truly optional and reduce points
    • At its current state, this talent reminds me of the Survival Hunter talent that gave 1yd range on melee spells per point. Will you notice the difference between 50% and 53% on Slow?
    • This is a 3 point node that blocks the path to Shifting Power, with weak numbers and a situational effect.
    • I think improving our crowd control abilities with talents is more interesting than gaining even more crowd control, but Frigid Winds makes more sense as an optional node higher up the tree with fewer points.
  • Flow of Time - Reduce the number of points to invest in the node.
    • While it’s good to have this talent, 0.5 seconds per point invested in the node feels pretty bad. In comparison, the current ilvl 278 Flow of Time conduit gives a 4.4 second cooldown reduction on Blink.
    • Compare this to Go With The Flow.
  • Diverted Energy
    • This is another one of our conduits that is both nerfed quite a bit from Shadowlands, and it takes 3 points.
    • While it’s not necessarily bad and more universally useful than Frigid Winds, on Row 7 I would hope for something more interesting or impactful.

Row 8:

  • Ice Ward / Ring of Frost
    • While it’s great that these are on the class tree, blocking a capstone talent with a choice between a root and a root seems incorrect.
    • Once again, we are seeing symptoms of a lack of less situational talents that might benefit every mage spec, which truly is a challenge with designing a mage class tree.
  • Greater Invisibility - tldr: Should replace invisibility and be moved accordingly.
    • As briefly mentioned before, there are a few issues with Greater Invisibility being here.
    • Historically, this has been Arcane Mage’s unique defensive, on par with Cold Snap and Cauterize. I’m not opposed to it being on the class tree for that reason alone however, I think it is a cool option to give the other two specs.
    • This doesn’t replace Invisibility, it benefits from Incantation of Swiftness even though it doesn’t say so, and it puts Invisibility on a 2 minute cooldown. I think moving this talent elsewhere and making it replace Invisibility once again is for the best.
  • Dragon’s Breath
    • Now this is a good talent. It is an excellent crowd control tool that all specs can benefit from, and it’s another one of those rare universally useful Fire spells. It’s still situational as it won’t work on bosses, so it’s placement could use some work.

Row 9:

  • Shifting Power
    • I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of this spell, but I understand that there are many that like it, and I think it makes sense as a capstone talent.
  • Time Anomaly - tldr: Gread direction, “small” rework
    • Now this… this is something to behold. I think this is very close to being a fun and interesting optional capstone for all specs, and I love the liberal use of creativity to turn it into a class talent.
    • Similar to Master of Time, I think this much time themed power on the class tree feels wrong, but this could be easily rethemed as “Inner Power” or something that sounds better.
    • The common complaint about this talent is that it’s unpredictable, often giving you buffs you can’t make good use of. That obviously feels bad, and at first glance I thought the designer had already thought of and fixed this issue. Then I saw that pesky comma.
    • This talent should grant Arcane Surge AND clearcasting. Combustion AND the Fire Blast to make use of that Combustion.
    • In fact, I think the Time Warp component should be removed entirely, focusing this talent on a single effect: You randomly gain your spec cooldown and a charge of an ability/proc that helps you make use of it.
  • Meteor - tldr: Remove
    • I know people are theorycrafting a Radiant Spark plus Meteor burst combo for Arcane, but I absolutely hate that Meteor is on the class tree.
    • This reads: Does big damage in AoE. Just like a lot of Arcane spells you have that do that exact same thing - it just does bigger damage. Not only is it boring, it’s also incredibly out of place. Why is an Arcane Mage calling down fiery meteors?

Something New

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.

  • Frost Nova
    • This is a more natural talent point for the class tree than Cone of Cold
    • I think it is okay to remove a baseline ability just to make choices feel more meaningful. I would rather lose a baseline ability and re-pick it as a talent than pick a talent I know I won’t benefit from.
  • Displacement
    • Displacement is an old fan favorite, and I think it could be more fitting as an option in a Shimmer / Displacement choice node.
    • This doesn’t mean Ice Floes should be removed, it can be placed as a standalone node in the tree.
  • Foresight (2)
    • Instead of the Arcane Mage tree, I think Foresight should be placed in the class tree for the benefit of every spec. Bonus points if the ability doesn’t count jumping as movement for those combusting Fire Mages.
    • As opposed to many of the multi-point nodes on the class tree, I would gladly commit an extra point into Foresight if it reduced the duration required to stand still. 10 seconds is quite long.
    • More on this later, but the Arcane tree currently has us pick between damage and QoL that we’ve grown used to, making the tree just feel bad in general. Moving Foresight out of the Arcane tree helps remedy this issue.
    • This talent also synergizes decently well with Shifting Power, so it could help fill out the deeper left side of the tree where I suggested other talents be moved elsewhere.
  • Spell Cannon (2)
    • As a counterpart to Foresight, we can introduce a modified version of Flame Cannon, the Fire Mage PvP talent to the class tree. This would increase the range of all spells by a small amount after standing still for a set amount.
  • Improved Dragon’s Breath
    • I have suggested before that Dragon’s Breath should pick a dragon based on your spec. I think building on this, an Improved Dragon’s Breath talent can grant some spec specific utility when using it, similar to the Fire Mage talent from Shadowlands that makes it always critically strike and count towards Hot Streak.
    • For Arcane, this could grant Clearcasting or Arcane Charges, restore mana, or something else.
  • Sorcerer’s Tempo
    • This would be a combination of Arcane Tempo, Fire Mind, and a new Frost Mage equivalent based around consuming Brain Freeze / Fingers of Frost.
  • Concentration (Expanded Potential)
    • Frost: Frostbolt has a chance to cause next Brain Freeze to not be consumed
    • Fire: Fireball has a chance to cause next Hot Streak not be consumed
    • Arcane: Arcane Blast has a chance to cause next Clearcasting to not be consumed
  • Temporal Warp
    • This is… suboptimal. Temporal Warp has its problems, but I would still take a (greatly nerfed) version of this over having to spend points on 3% increased slows or 0.5 second reduced Blink cooldown.
    • The redundancy of this with Time Anomaly is also reduced by the alterations to Time Anomaly that I’ve suggested.
  • Presence of Mind
    • Causes next 2 Fireball/Frostbolt/Arcane Blasts to be instant cast
    • This could be too strong with Fire Mages.
  • Improved Barrier
    • Arcane: Improved Prismatic Barrier
    • Fire: Improved Blazing Barrier
    • Frost: Improved Ice Barrier
  • Greater Mirror Image?
    • Turning defensive cooldowns into offensive abilities is generally problematic, which is why this one has a question mark.
    • Given the variety of defensive options available to Mage and the Earthquake Earth Elemental legendary from Shadowlands, I think this could work. At least it’s significantly less likely for Mirror Images to dissipate compared to an Earth Elemental taunting enemies to its own death.
  • Deathborne?
  • Improved Deathborne?
    • Reduces the duration and cooldown of Deathborne
    • Alternatively, this could be reactivated to cancel Deathborne and reduce its cooldown based on duration used.
  • Cold Snap?
    • This would have to be placed carefully, but given that Cold Snap is somewhat of a niche defensive I think it’s a decent addition to the class tree.
  • Cauterize?
    • Cauterize is very strong, but we have seen more cheat death talents available in the last three rows of the class tree - especially with the new Death Knight cheat death, so I’m leaning towards this is fine.
    • We do need to make sure it is not possible to take Cauterize, Greater Invisibility, and Cold Snap.
  • More Stat Nodes?
    • Very boring but still feels better than spells I will never use in certain fights

Summary

Rework:

  • Reabsorption
    • Make this not scale with mirror images dissipating
  • Accumulative Shielding
    • A different buff to Barrier that doesn’t cost more GCDs would be better
  • Time Anomaly
    • Make it only grant:
      • Frost: Icy Veins AND Brain Freeze
      • Fire: Combustion AND 1 Fire Blast charge
      • Arcane: Arcane Surge AND 1 clearcasting proc

Delete (5 Points Freed):

  • Shatter
  • Cone of Cold
  • Ice Nova
  • Master of Time or Greater Invisibility
  • Meteor

Reduce Points and Buff Numbers (9 Points Freed):

  • Winter’s Protection
  • Rigid Ice
  • Grounding Surge
  • Cryo-Freeze
  • Tempest Barrier
  • Improved Frost Nova
  • Frigid Winds
  • Flow of Time
  • Diverted Energy

Move:

  • Slow
    • Shouldn’t block RoP/IF
  • Spellsteal
    • Shouldn’t block RoP/IF
  • Frigid Winds
    • Shouldn’t block a capstone
  • Ice Ward / Ring of Frost
    • Shouldn’t block a capstone
  • Greater Invisibility
    • Should replace Invisibility and be placed so it follows Invisibility on the tree

Add (Non-exhaustive Ideas):

  • Frost Nova
    • Replace Cone of Cold
  • Displacement
  • Foresight (2)
    • After standing still for X/Y seconds, cast while moving for Z seconds
  • Spell Cannon (2)
    • After standing still for X/Y seconds, gain bonus range for Z seconds
  • Improved Dragon’s Breath
    • Frost: Grants Icicles / Fingers of Frost / Brain Freeze
    • Fire: Always crits and contributes to Hot Streak
    • Arcane: Grants Clearcasting / Arcane Charges / Mana
  • Concentration
    • Frost: Frostbolt has a chance to cause next Brain Freeze to not be consumed
    • Fire: Fireball has a chance to cause next Hot Streak not be consumed
    • Arcane: Arcane Blast has a chance to cause next Clearcasting to not be consumed
  • Presence of Mind
    • Causes next 2 Fireball/Frostbolt/Arcane Blasts to be instant cast
  • Improved Barrier
    • Arcane: Improved Prismatic Barrier
    • Fire: Improved Blazing Barrier
    • Frost: Improved Ice Barrier
  • Cold Snap
  • Cauterize
  • Greater Mirror Image
    • Mirror Images cast spells from your spec for slightly more damage.
  • Deathborne + Improved Deathborne
    • Improved Deathborne would reduce duration and cooldown
43 Likes

I will try to have the Arcane Talent Tree half of this done by tonight or tomorrow morning.

4 Likes

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.

6 Likes

Took me less than 5 minutes to figure out how to quite literally overkill people by almost 3 times their health:

I think you miss the mark with Arcane by a long shot here.
(This is with ilvl 180 gear, which is ~24k health)

1 Like