General Mage Tree In War Within: Suggestions Thread

Hello all! This post is dedicated to providing feedback and suggestions about Mage’s general talent tree in War Within.

This tree got better after several reworks, but still has some issues - lack of anti-ranged tools, pathing issues, not competitive enough talents, unaddressed bugs etc. These will be written in separate sections with suggestions and possible solutions provided, but if Blizzard would have better solutions or ideas, they could implement them instead.

Unlike other posts, this one will have 3 subsections - PVE, PVP and general, since some issues overlap or affect both PVE and PVP scenarios.

General issues and suggestions
  1. Lack of anti-ranged or just ranged tools for a ranged class
    Mage has an unaddressed design issue where it is positioned as a ranged class that should stay away from enemies and blast them from afar. At the same time, most of its general crowd control or utility tools are close to melee range - Blast Wave, Dragon’s Breath, Cone of Cold, Frost Nova and even Mass Polymorph all have almost melee range. That creates a design contradiction that in order to use them offensively, Mage himself has to close the gap with enemy and behave in opposite manner to its kiting / staying at range based design and this design contradiction could be addressed.
  1. Increase range of Dragon’s Breath and Cone of Cold to 15-20 yards - that both helps address the mentioned issue and makes their actual range more in line with their animation, especially for Cone of Cold, where animation can be deceptive. It also brings their area more in line with standard AoE abilities (which have 8-10 yds radius = 16-20 yds diameter area, which is comparable or even larger).
  2. Turn Mass Polymorph into 30 yds ranged ability, reduce its base cooldown to 45 seconds (to match Ring of Frost’s cooldown) and make it a choice node with Supernova from Arcane tree. This would make Mass Polymorph more competitive (it would get a niche of reliable ranged AoE CC that does not necessary need other CC cover like Ring of Frost does, but still can be counterplayed by interrupting / disrupting it) and would also give people who still don’t want to take it, but want to path through its node an alternative to take and an anti-ranged tool that Mages currently lack. It also would help Supernova to become more competitive too, since it would compete with other CC / utility in general tree instead of with throughput nodes in Arcane tree.
  1. Tree pathing issues
    General tree has several tree pathing issues that could be looked at. Biggest contenders here are 3rd row talents and talents starting from Frigid Winds that lead to Ice Cold.
    3rd row contains talents with different talent point cost and niche applications, so often people can just prefer to take the cheaper middle 1 point talent to progress down the tree even if they don’t actually need it. That could be improved to allow people take the talents they would prefer without worrying about reducing number of talent points in further parts of tree in one of two ways:
    Option 1 - reduce all talents in 3rd row to 1 point investment and if needed tune their value to compensate. Winter’s Protection could be 1 point investment for 45-60s CD reduction (which is actually in line with other specs, for example Paladin’s Improved Blessing of Protection provides similar 1 min CD reduction for 1 point invested), Tempest Barrier could provide 5-6% value for 1 point (so that it is more valuable for point invested, but its maximum power is similar), Incantation of Swiftness could have 50-80% value for 1 point (since it is applied to a 2 or even 5 min CD, that would make its point value comparable to Temporal Velocity, which buffs 2 abilities that are usable more frequently, but for less bonus value and duration) and Arcane Warding could have 3-4% value for 1 point (since it affects magic damage only and for comparison other classes have talents that provide 5% or more total health for similar 1 point invested, like Warlock’s Demonic Fortitude).
    Option 2 - keep them as 2 point investments, but if needed buff them and create paths from them to 5th row talents below them. That would allow to progress down the tree through them with similar cost to middle path and would also create some thematic tree paths, like Ice Block related path of Winter’s Protection into Cryo Freeze and defensive path of Arcane Warding into Diverted Energy.
    As for Frigid Winds to Ice Cold path - it contains too niche talents and they provide little to no actual choice. Here is why and what could be done:
    Frigid Winds - a talent that boosts snares, which have low value against ranged enemies and no value against CC immune enemies like bosses. As a niche talent, it should be an optional talent and not required to unlock some talents in 9th and 10th row.
    Suggestion: Make Frigid Winds into a 1 point investment (which would better match its total value) and replace Improved Frost Nova with it. As for its node in 8th row, it could contain a generally useful talent that would be fitting for all game modes. For example, it could be a modified Accumulative Shielding - 2 point investment talent that would reduce CD of Mage’s Barrier and Mass Barrier by X% per point invested (without current barrier present condition, which is unreliable). Such talent would both have value in all game modes and give Mages a choice in 8th row between survivability boost (Accumulative Shielding), mobility boost (Temporal Velocity) and mobility frequency (Flow of Time), allowing them to pick the preferred option(s). As for Accumulative Shielding current node, it could be replaced with some other survivability boost.
    Ice Ward and Freezing Cold - two talents that provide additional root effect with different nuances and conditions. Since root effects apply diminishing returns to each other anyway, these two make much more sense as just a choice node. As for freed node, it could contain a talent or choice node that would help with non-melee enemies - that would allow Mages that progress Ice Cold branch to pick between anti-melee options and anti-ranged option(s). Such option could be for example Sharp Mind, which could allow Counterspell to be used while casting without breaking the cast and provide some benefit for the Mage if cast was successfully interrupted by Counterspell. Such talent would fit the anti-ranged niche and be helpful for heavy casting reliant specs like Arcane to become more reliable at interrupting without potentially harming their damage output.
    Even with such changes, these talents would remain niche and conditional, so Ice Cold could also get other pathing options to it, for example from Time Manipulation. That would allow people to take it even if they don’t need additional CC options or get no value from them, for example against bosses.

  2. Time Anomaly
    Temporal Warp is being removed in The War Within, but Time Anomaly can be a problematic node too. It is very unreliable as it has both RNG when it procs and RNG what it procs and it is the only throughput capstone talent left, making it pretty much mandatory. Consider just removing it too and replacing with some utility or defensive node. If for some reason it should stay, it could be improved, for example always proc a Time Warp / major CD for several seconds and a charge of Fire Blast / Fingers of Frost / Clearcasting instead of either to make it more predictable and reliable.

  3. Undertuned / underused talents
    Mage general tree has several talents that aren’t picked much (if at all) and they could be looked at. Aside from mentioned above these include:
    Reduplication / Reabsorption - their value is too low for PVP and they usually don’t even trigger in PVE, since enemies there usually attack images instead of the Mage himself. Both could be improved.
    Suggestion: Make them trigger when Mirror Images are destroyed for any reason, buff healing from Reabsorption and change Reduplication to summon X additional images instead. That would allow Mages to pick between additional healing and longer uptime of distraction in PVE / damage reduction in PVP and make both options decently competitive.
    Mass Slow - its radius is too low to be reliable, especially in PVP, where enemies prefer not to stack. It is also not needed much by Frost and Arcane Mages, who have access to ranged AoE snares already. It could both use a boost to radius and an alternative upgrade that could be picked by specs that don’t need another AoE snare.
    Suggestion: Increase radius of Mass Slow to 8 yards (which is about standard radius for AoE spells) and make it a choice node with Greater Slow, which could add damage reduction or attack / cast speed reduction to Slow’s effect (similar to what it had in earlier expansions).
    Improved Frost Nova - provides too low value in PVE, where roots are frequently broken before even 6 seconds expire, let alone 8 and should not even work in PVP, where there is a 6 seconds duration cap for most roots. As such, it could be just integrated into base Frost Nova (like it was pre-talent trees) and replaced by other talent, like suggested above Frigid Winds.
    Rigid Ice - usually does not make much difference to justify spending a talent point on it, especially after its PVP nerf - freeze roots get quickly broken by damage or shattered with and without this talent. Could use a boost to make it more useful and impactful.
    Suggestion: Make it affect all freeze roots and additionally extend freeze roots grace period (when roots are not broken by any amount of damage) by X second(s). That would keep it niche, but sometimes useful, for example for situations where allies break Frost Mage’s roots by damage before he / she can shatter them, like Mythic+ and mass PVP.
    Mass Invisibility - while has its uses, it is quite niche and has to compete with generally useful Mass Barrier. To make it more viable, it should just become a separate talent or a choice node with other niche talent, for example with Ice Cold.

  4. Remaining bugs
    Several talents from general tree still have bugs and potential oversights that might need fixing:
    Frigid Winds - does not affect Flamestrike and Chrono Shift snares.
    Shifting Power - does not reset cooldown of Mass Invisibility (neither initial nor PVP talented).
    Time Anomaly - does not summon Water Elemental for procced Icy Veins (might be intended though).
    Displacement - its healing is not affected by Versatility (might be intended though).

PVE specific issue(s) and suggestions

Mages can have issues in open world PVE when fighting strong enemies that cannon be crowd controlled and / or deal ranged damage. Mage’s kiting and control tools don’t work against them much and Mage does not have access to much self-sustain or tanky pets that other classes have, so is disadvantaged compared to them. That could be addressed.
Suggestion: A solution for that issue that would affect only it without affecting other game modes much could be buffing health of Mirror Images - they would become a longer distraction for strong enemy, giving Mage time to burst him down or recharge some of their defensives. At the same time, it would not affect Mages much in neither instanced PVE (where images are not attacked much) nor PVP (where enemies can distinguish and attack the actual Mage and that would cause images to dissipate regardless of their health).
Additionally, Mirror Images is a bit underwhelming defensive CD (for a 2 minute CD) in general, so could use a small boost, for example drop enemy’s target like it did in earlier expansions.

PVP specific issue(s) and suggestions
  1. Susceptibility to dispels
    Biggest issue with Mages in PVP is their susceptibility to dispel classes, who can remove most of their defensives with a spammable ability and sometimes even their Ice Block. At the same time, some of their defensives can be very strong against non-dispel classes, so addressing dispel issue might require some trade-off involved. There is a solution for that.
    Suggestion: Make Master of Time into choice node with Stable Alteration, which would make Alter Time undispellable, but reduce its duration by X seconds to compensate. That could be a decent compromise - Mages would have an option to get a bit of dispel protection, but same option would require sacrificing CD reduction from alternative upgrade and some of its duration as a trade-off.

  2. PVP modifiers
    Some of general tree talents have PVP modifiers inherited from earlier seasons or even expansions that can be too big or no longer needed - PVP nerfs to Tempest Barrier, Diverted Energy, Dragon’s Breath duration and so on. These could be looked at and considered whether they are still needed or needed in such extent.

This is the list of suggestions. You can add your own if you would want to and thank you for reading!


If mages/Arcane Mages only get one thing, I’d love for it to be the removal of Temporal Warp. Even over all of the great suggestions. And then redistribute that power either into their base damage or their CDs.
I can live with all the other things (it’d be great if a lot of those changes you suggested for Arcane were made), but not being tuned around a 5m CD that you have little control over, and then being allowed to actually value Haste sounds incredible.


Yes, double Warp is an issue for balancing in both PVE and PVP.
PVE - even if Temporal Warp would become a separate button and usable without disrupting the party’s plans, Mage’s tuning would still be based upon possibility of stacking insane amount of Haste every 5 minutes, and as a result many spells would deal mediocre to low damage just to account for that and prevent too overpowered burst when these Haste boost(s) are active. That also means that these spells often would not be impactful enough on their own (and many of them already are) and can even affect abilities of hero specializations, as they can benefit from double lust too.
PVP (rated) - it is not even usable there, but values for baseline spells are still tuned with it in mind. That leads to either some Mage spells being too weak in PVP with no actual justification there or bandaid fixes with huge PVP increase modifiers for some spells like Frostbolt and Living Bomb, but even these bandaids often do not work well enough (as for example Living Bomb is not taken much in PVP even with its boost).

As such, I think it is preferrable to get Temporal Warp (and Time Anomaly too since it is double RNG that is hard to rely upon) just removed and replaced with other performance talent and / or compensated by boosts to base damage of some spells.

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Personally, I wish they would move Shifting Power to an optional node because I rarely have time to cast it. I’m usually at a long range from the enemy, and standing still to channel is usually a death sentence. I know it reduces cooldowns, but it’s awkward to use.

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Agree on loathing the Temporal Warp/Time Anomaly node. Being balanced around a capstone we can’t even decide to use unilaterally (or in PvP) is bad design. Would far prefer a utility option here, with damage upped overall to compensate. Something as simple as a Wormhole talent that instantly teleports you to a friendly player in the same zone would be fun to play around with, with niche uses in PvP, M+, and raid, without giving us too much group utility or damage. (Follows right from the Blink talents anyway.)

Really hoping they kill Temporal Warp/Time Anomaly as well. Not only does it cause a lot of friction and balance issues due to group play, it massively devalues Haste as well. Not to mention, if it’s a separate button, Arcane and Fire would just macro to Time Warp anyway.

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Since Displacement and Mirror Images are likely to be referenced by one of the hero trees, they could use some improvements for both accessibility and value.
Displacement - could be moved to a more reachable position, since many PVE builds skip it / Flow of Time entirely.
Mirror Images - could use a boost to make both them and their hero talent nodes more competitive. For example, they could have more health (PVE boost) and drop enemy target when cast / have small delay to start dissipating from damage taken by the Mage (PVP boost).

Not being able to get to Ice Cold without pathing through three completely useless PvE talents for Fire/Arcane is so frustrating - just add the connection from Time Manipulation already.

Would really like to see Mirror Images get some love - at this juncture I’d much just prefer a 20% DR button and to just kill the fantasy if they’re not going to do anything with it. The crappy pathing that can butt pull in M+, images keeping you in combat so you can’t try to eat in PvP, etc can just cause more harm then the spell is worth. Alternatively just give a choice between three “white mages” that spam heal you or three beefed up “battle mages” that can tank for you in solo situations.

Yes, I agree Ice Cold should have more paths to it, since all of its current prerequisite nodes are very niche and can have literally zero value in some situations, for example against bosses. More options to access it could improve that.

Improving Mirror Images or making them a choice node between different image variations or with other new defensive could be nice too. They currently feel underwhelming for a 2 min CD (both base and upgrades), at least in some situations.

Ice Cold makes more sense being a choice node with Ice Block tbh.


Remove Shifting Power, really annoying to have to use this. Really interrupts the vibe of being a mage.


Maybe not remove it entirely but rework it to where it only interacts with Arcane Orb so that it’s only used in AoE scenarios. Having it be a mandatory on cooldown use every minute is not only awkward but also disruptive to the entire gameplay loop and adds to an already bloated rotation.

Yeah, that’s my main gripe with SP. While it’s great for Fire, it’s still something you just hit on cooldown. Barring maybe holding it for a few seconds if you can get value out of the AoE by doing so, the only skill/strategy around it (in PvE at least) is just remembering to use it.

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Preferred (but totally won’t happen) arcane changes:

  • Remove Radiant Spark (Trim the bloat)
  • Remove Shifting Power (Not “magey” at all and having yet another “spell” with a lengthy cast time does not help arcane’s turret issues)
  • Remove Temporal Warp (Since Blizz developers refuse to give it a separate button, it’s usefulness is often limited)
  • Replace Arcane Surge with Arcane Power OR drastically reduce the cast time (AP was instant, why is AS like a 2.5s cast?)
  • Remove Nether Tempest OR dramatically increase its damage and stop using it solely to buff a talent (talents should buff spells, not the other way around)
  • Either make Supernova do something besides a weak knock up or remove it (It’s sucked since Legion)
  • Make Arcane Explosion actually hurt (Our main aoe spell should actually do something besides tickle; if ret can have insanity like Wake of Ashes and Divine Storm, this isn’t a huge ask)
  • Increase the proc chance on Orb from using Arcane Barrage (10-20% would be fine)
  • Remove the aoe cap from Arcane Barrage OR at the very least, increase it from 5 to 8
  • Stop removing our spells and reintroducing them as talents and put actual talents in that alter gameplay in a meaningful and positive way (I realize this is not unique to arcane, but it seems like we feel it much more)
  • Add some sort of cleave talent that makes us viable on 2 target boss fights (Not saying we need to be Spriests or Affliction Locks, but not sucking on cleave fights would be nice for once)

Even 1/3 of these would go a long way to making the spec flow much more smoothly, but instead it seems we’re getting purple icicles… :roll_eyes:

This one never made sense to me either. It’s fine if they want to give it a cast time because it deals damage now but the damage has to justify the long cast time and it definitely doesn’t right now.

I started using it for the first time after they gave it proper arcane visuals and I don’t hate it but if it stays it needs to be reworked to not be consumed by each tick of AM because it feels terrible to overcap CC procs because you have to spam AB to efficiently consume the RS charges. Also its cooldown needs to just be 45 to match TotM, there is absolutely no reason leave it at 30 because it’s always synced with TotM.

Something definitely needs to be done for NT, it’s absolutely terrible in its current state. I would love to see it redesigned completely as an arcane tornado that follows targets around like Fury of Elune.

Absolutely! I never understood why they picked that proverbial hill to die on and have consistently continued to be pigheaded about it. If they want to give us yet another cooldown then just give us another cooldown (but really don’t, we don’t need any more cooldowns stacking). This weird arrangement where you can’t use it when you want to because it will screw up your group just needs to go.

My issue with Shifting Power is that it desyncs cooldowns with trinkets. Other than that I don’t really mind it.

Maybe Shifting Power could just become a choice node with some passive dps increase node too. This way people who want to have its CD reset can keep playing it and people that don’t like it or want to have CDs aligned with trinkets can play the alternative.

Supernova either could be buffed or just brought into general tree as a utility node / choice node with other talent (for example Mass Polymorph), since all Mage specs severely lack anti-ranged (and just ranged) tools in general and it still can be used as a pseudo-interrupt in both PVE and PVP even in current form.

And don’t forget that Arcane has a separate thread :slightly_smiling_face:

What about making Supernova a choice node with Blast Wave (where Blast Wave gets the extra knockback baked in, no longer requiring 2 points)?

I’m mostly curious if there are use cases where the small knockback from blast wave is more desired than the “knock up” from supernova or the larger knockback from having Volatile Detonation.

Otherwise I don’t see this having a real place in the general tree (or at all, for that matter). Blast wave is already basically doing the same thing as Supernova. I feel like Blizzard isn’t going to want all mages to be able to take Blast Wave and Supernova (and Dragon’s Breath) without making a bigger sacrifice.

Interrupt without repositioning can have its value, especially if mob you want to disrupt is in the middle of pack and using even small knockback version Blast Wave can spread this pack.

As for potential choices, I think that Blizzard can actually allow having both Blast Wave and Supernova, since they are pretty much utility nodes for different specs that earlier were a choice node, but since in Dragonflight Blizzard allowed to have 2 or even 3 previous choices simultaneously, same can be applied here. If it is a choice node with another CC / utility talent, you don’t get it for free either - you sacriifice other option and still a talent point as well.

Well, but if Supernova would be a choice with Blast Wave, that wouldn’t be a concern. Supernova basically is a better non-upgraded Blast Wave for interrupting packs.