Ion's Thoughts on Permanent Water Elemental Removal

Water Elemental is a little different in that it’s not totally gone, just summoned now as part of using Icy Veins as opposed to a standalone pet. The standalone pet summon had a very low pick rate to begin with, and thinking through interactions - is this a class we’re trying to shoehorn into being a pet class, as opposed to just a pure ranged caster? Most players prefer to be the pure ranged caster, as we could see from the talent selection. Water Elemental is there as part of the original Warcraft III-era fantasy of what a Mage in Azeroth can bring to bear, and I think moving it to Icy Veins keeps it as part of that fantasy, makes it more impactful when it’s around, but crystalizes Mage as not a pet class in line with how players have largely been playing it.

I think the biggest flaw in this take, a take that I’ve seen a thousand players echo is this part:

Most players prefer to be the pure ranged caster, as we could see from the talent selection.

No one took the talent because it was purposefully under tuned by the developers. They had the ability to just make the WE Waterbolt do 10x more damage so it could be a viable choice and compete with lonely winter, but they never ever did so. They just left it to rot, looked at the data, and created a negative feedback loop of “The talent is bad->No one is picking it, so therefore it should be removed because no one likes it.”

It annoys me to no end that the choice to play with or without the pet is gone because of a situation that was entirely developer-created.


Mage has never been a pure pet class. There’s warlock and hunter for that.

Even if LW and WE were even LW would be taken because of how terrible pet interaction is on fights.

Take the Sire fight. The mirror movement was really cool…

Unless you played demo or BM


Just to dive into a bit of talent point selection and class history, our Water Elemental before DF used to apply Winters Chill. The DF talent system took that away from Water Elemental thusly dooming it.

Our Water Elemental was last used as a viable raid talent all the way through BFA for single target encounters. Lonely Winter was used as the M+ talent. Glacial Spike being viable made the WE work, because the WE applying Winter’s Chill buffed GS damage

In SL GS became too weak without our Azerite Armor Buff and was not playable, therefore our Water Elemental lost its whole purpose. Frost mages entire damage damage rotation was buffed best by Lonely Winter.

Basically our Water Elemental fate was tied to Glacial Spike and being able to apply Winters Chill, and early DF killed both.

If permanent pet does more damage than LW - all your abilities hit like wet noodle, and since you are not a pet class - you don’t even have any synergy with it, no skills, no talents, no interactions.

If it’s equal - then no one just picks it, cause pet management sucks

It’s much better as big cooldown, like shaman elementals.


Blizzard hates pets plain and simple. The AI is trash, so many pet bugs, etc. They hate it and every time they need to spend dev time on fixing permanent pet bugs they hate it more.

Any time they get to remove a permanent pet they are going to take it, and they will package it with marketing speak and loaded data to convince people they are doing it for a reason other than saving them dev time.

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It shoulda been an optional sidegrade talent instead of just removing it. They keep forgetting a thing called options.


WE was a garbage talent, and Frost is not a pet class.

As as poster above mentioned, as an optional talent there’s no way to make it competitive because we either have zero interaction with it, and/or our other spells must be nerfed to compensate for the WE. It would literally become something that just sits there and passively deals 30% of our damage, and in some cases that’s as much as other players…

Players also need to take into considering the times that WE was even used. Frost didn’t use it in Vanilla, it was a CD in TBC, no one played Frost in Wrath/Cata, it got overshadowed as the top pick in Legion and no one took it in BfA, SL or DF for PvE (and no one cares about PvP). So realistically it was used for two-thirds of MoP, WoD, and part of Legion. Barely 2 expansions. This “iconic” ability has barely been used in the history of WoW, and what happened in the RTS is 100% irrelevant.

It was an option, and no one took it. Functionally its only purpose was for PvP and RP. They could add it back into PvP if they wanted as a talent, and for RP people have the option to use a pet or need to chang up their RP.

The pet is gone, most players are happy with the choice. We don’t need more threads on this.


I cannot believe they removed the Water Elemental pet. Yeah for all you Mythic+285 players it was worthless. But for some who just quests and does solo content it was important for three reasons.

  1. It did damage while ice blocked
  2. It could draw aggro to start a fight giving you a little time to ramp up
  3. It did a distant frost nova, allow you to get in a few early hits.

Going to stop playing my Frost mage after 10 years.


Yeah I think this just highlights what we’ve known all along which is that these devs look at their internal data in a vacuum and when a certain talent is almost universally taken they think they’ve done their job and wash their hands of it. It’s the only reason RoP stuck around for as long as it did until we finally gave them hell about it these past several months and they finally understood it was despised but taken because there was no real alternative.

Bottom line is that everyone over at Blizzard is incredibly out of touch with the playerbase and work on everything in their own little bubbles and echo chambers. Where they constantly validate one another while at the same time insulating themselves from us, their end consumer. This is never going to change until there is a massive shift of culture at the company that comes from the top down. My only hope of that happening is if the Microsoft merger finally goes through and the new overlords clean house.


Blizzard read the forums, since you never asked Frost Mages…we WANT the Water Elemental! Look at the stats of how many of us take the nerf and still use it anyway!

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According to Wowpedia the last time they did a balance change or any sort of maintenance to the WE was way back in 2014.


  • Water Jet’s damage has been increased by 20%.
  • Waterbolt’s damage has been increased by 20%.

That’s why this Ion opinion doesn’t sit well with me. They literally never cared to take care of the talent, and then looked at the data and thought “No one’s using it. I wonder why?” as it sat there rusting, decaying, and staying untouched and uncared for.

Finally a rework comes along with a chance to finally address the talent and it just nuked it out of existence. Completely unfairly. If it got a proper rework I bet my lifesavings that usage would have skyrocketed as people would be curious to actually try the talent out again and experiment with it. Instead it stayed neglected for 9 YEARS. It doesn’t sit well with me at all.

It never stood a chance because they didn’t want it to stand a chance. And then they took it out back and pulled an Ol’ Yeller on it because of a problem they were responsible for.

Wait… actually they did update it back in 2018 to-

(2018-07-17): Model updated.

-continue to neglect it mechanically.


As a mage player who has been playing frost mage for years I agree that the Water Elemental was cool, fun, and added to the lore. However, I also agree that mage is not designed to be a (Pet Class). Their are warlocks and hunters solely for that purpose. This is what sets the mage class apart from other specs. Also I hate pets because the AI can sometimes be rough or will aggro for no reason. I love turning stuff into sheep as I walk passed laughing! Having it pop when icy veins is active is honestly the way it should be, just like the shaman with its hefty cooldown. I am happy with the way the class is now.


And why do you believe YOUR preferred playstyle should be the only one? That’s why this stance holds no water. You’re claiming everyone should play your way, that the class HAS to be the way YOU want it, while I and many others want CHOICE back. This new talent does not clash with the permanent pet and many clever ideas have been submitted that allow for the old perma pet to coexist with the new style of Icy Veins.

Generic statements like “it isn’t a pet class” are so arbitrary that they aren’t helping either. It’s had a perma pet for 73.68% of it’s life. It’s been a pet class more than it hasn’t and its disgusting to have this change thrusted upon everyone.


Possibly, but how many people did you see ask for it to be buffed?

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It’s impossible to tell because 2014 forums are long gone.

I only have memories of the original “please make the water elemental permanent” thread.

There were people asking for changes like adding more synergy between the mage and the elemental. That’s why they invented “Water Jet.” The old Water Jet would “dampen” the enemy and then the mage would hit the enemy with Frostbolt to generate FoF charges. They also added “Frostbolt heals your elemental when you target your elemental and cast frostbolt” due to that discussion as it added even more synergy.

The blue responding in that thread was responsive and interested in our ideas and I really wish we could dredge those forums up and find some of the promises and quotes that were said back then from the developer, but its lost to time.

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I’m not sure what you’re saying. Water elemental has been a choice talent for years now, even after 2014. How many people were asking for Water elemental to be buffed from 2014-2023?

The pet has documented uses in recent history. There’s a cheese strategy that was popular in the Mage Tower back in Legion for example. And people knew about using Pet Freeze to extend the shatter window for spells like comet storm. And people knew it could be used to cheese a specific part of one of those hidden quests back in Legion, and it acted as a fourth Mirror Image to help you beat powerful outdoor elites.

It wasn’t 100% useless so no one really felt the need to whine. It was like “Oh, it has a use here!” and then people would use it.

Even then, not every player “needs” things to feel viable to use them. We were just happy to use the pet in niche scenarios where it was useful.

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Ok, but how many people used it for that?

Yes, you’re correct, it has two uses one for a cheese strat for the mage tower and one for a hidden quest in legion. If that’s the extent of its use and if people weren’t really clamoring for it to have more uses, what does that tell us about the community perception of it?

The burden of reason isn’t on me. It’s on everyone who insists that choice should be removed. There’s no conflict between the perma pet and the existing rework.

  1. “But the current rework summons a temporary pet! A perma-pet conflicts with that!”
    Yes, and every pet class currently can summon multiple pets no problem. Death Knight, Hunter, Warlock etc all summon temporary undead, beasts and demons. A permanent Water Elemental can fight alongside the temporary one without issue. I have also proposed a rework idea where Icy Veins will instead empower your perma pet instead of summoning a second one. There’s a dozen ways around this concern.

  2. “But mages don’t “feel” like a pet class!”
    “Feeling” something is arbitrary and is not a sound argument. The fact is that mages have been a perma pet class for 73.68% of their existence. From my perspective they’re more pet class than not. But again, this is all arbitrary feelings. Not the best stance.

  3. “But it was a bad talent!”
    That was entirely Blizz’s doing. It was a close choice DPS-wise up until they stopped buffing/adjusting the talent in 2014, which was the last year they updated the Water Elemental’s damage according to its patch history. Obviously no one is going to use a talent that hasn’t had balance updates in 9 years. It’s not bad because it’s design is flawed, it’s bad because it stopped recieving support.

  4. “But the majority of players didn’t use it!”
    They shouldn’t binarily remove character customization options just because the majority of players don’t use them. Should Dwarves be removed just because only 4% of players play them? Should Laundromats be bulldozed down in the US because only 15% of the nation lacks Washer/Dryers? Should ramps be removed from a building just because only a single employee is handicapped? No! The world the doesn’t need to only cater to the majority. There’s room for all kinds of people, and playstyles and luxuries to coexist. We don’t need to eradicate conveniences and choices just because “the higher percentage” doesn’t want or need those things.

The perma-pet’s existence doesn’t impact your existence or playstyle. You can happily continue playing with the new reworked pet if they add Summon Water Elemental back into the talent tree. I am only demanding that they give us the choice to choose how we want to play. It’s one thing to get rid of a talent that’s been around for an expansion or two, but this talent has been part of the kit for a vast majority of Frost’s existence. I cannot stand to see a signature talent like that suddenly removed after so long. Especially since I remember being right there in the very thread where the Water Elemental was first conceptualized as a permanent pet.

You can feel free to quote a single cherry-picked part of these arguments and then tear it to shreds while ignoring 90% of everything else that was written down. I don’t care if you choose to do that. Just know that I want everyone, even the little guys, to be able to play this game how they want. And I don’t see a good reason to fight against that goal.

So please go ahead and tell me:

Why does it have to be removed? Why is it so important to you to eradicate player choice and playstyle customization, when a perma-pet’s existence in no way conflicts with the current Frost rework?


Except the choice has already been removed. You’re the one that’s asking for it to be brought back so all the burdens are on you.

The reality is this talent was never picked and in the rare cases it was picked it was for something incredibly niche. Moreover, no one cared that it was never picked.

If something’s only reason for existing is “why not” then you have a weak argument my friend.