For any mages who have not seen the latest info on where our class is heading in Cataclysm (perhaps you’ve had your nose in a book in Karazhan’s library or deep in the bowls of Scholomance researching), here is what we have to look forward to and my thoughts on such changes. (Source)
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we’ll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you’ll get an early look at what’s in store for the mage class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.
New Mage Spells
Flame Orb (available at level 81): Inspired by Prince Taldaram’s abilities in Ahn’kahet and Icecrown Citadel, this spell allows the mage to cast a flaming orb that travels in front in a straight line, sending beams that cause fire damage to passing targets. Once it’s cast, the mage is free to begin casting other spells as the Flame Orb travels. While the spell will be useful to any spec, Fire mages will have talents that improve it, possibly causing the Flame Orb to explode when it reaches its destination.
Time Warp (level 83): Grants a passive Haste effect much like Bloodlust or Heroism to party or raid members. It also temporarily increases the mage’s own movement speed. Time Warp will be exclusive with Bloodlust and Heroism, meaning you can’t benefit from both if you’ve got the Exhaustion debuff, though the movement-speed increase will still work even when under the effects of Exhaustion.
Wall of Fog (level 85): Creates a line of frost in front of the mage, 30 yards from end to end. Enemies who cross the line are snared and take damage. The mana cost will be designed to make Wall of Fog efficient against groups, not individuals. This spell is intended to give mages a way to help control the battlefield, whether the mage is damaging incoming enemies (Blizzard can be channeled on top of Wall of Fog) or protecting a flag in a Battleground. 10-second duration. 30-second cooldown.
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
In addition to introducing new spells, we’re planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you’re familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.
- Arcane Missiles is being redesigned to become a proc-based spell. Whenever the mage does damage with any spell, there is a chance for Arcane Missiles to become available, similar to how the warrior’s Overpower works. The damage and mana cost of this spell will be reworked to make it very desirable to use when available. This change should make gameplay more dynamic for the mage, particularly at low levels.
- We are planning to remove spells that don’t have a clear purpose. Amplify Magic, Dampen Magic, Fire Ward, and Frost Ward are being removed from the game, and we may remove more.
- The ability to conjure food and water will not become available until higher levels (likely around level 40), as we’re making changes to ensure mages generally won’t run out of mana at lower levels. Once mages learn how to conjure food and water, the conjured item will restore both health and mana.
- Scorch will provide a damage bonus to the mage’s fire spells. Our goal is for Scorch to be part of the mage’s rotation and a useful damage-dealing ability, even if someone else is supplying the group with the spell Critical Strike debuff. Scorch will provide the mage with more specific benefits, which can also be improved through talents.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- Arcane Focus will now return mana for each spell that fails to hit your target, including Arcane Missiles that fail to launch. We want Arcane mages to have several talents that play off of how much mana the character has and give the player enough tools to manage mana.
- The talent Playing with Fire will reduce the cooldown of Blast Wave when hit by a melee attack, instead of its current effect.
- Pyromaniac will grant Haste when three or more targets are getting damaged by the effects of your damage-over-time (DoT) fire spells.
- The Burnout talent will allow mages to cast spells using health when they run out of mana.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Spell Crit damage
Mana Adept: Arcane will deal damage based how much mana the mage has. For example, Arcane mages will do much more damage at 100% mana than at 50% mana. If they begin to get low on mana, they will likely want to use an ability or mechanic to bring their mana up to increase their damage.
Ignite: All direct-damage fire spells will add a damage-over-time (DoT) component when cast. The flavor will be similar to how Fireball works; however, the DoT component will be much stronger.
Deathfrost: Casting Frostbolt places a buff on the mage that increases the damage for all frost, fire, and arcane spells. The only damage spell that won’t be affected by this buff is Frostbolt.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.
LOLWUT? I know there was a bit of a shakeup with several other classes but a few of these changes I’m not so sure about. I almost had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. Lets start at the top and work our way down shall we?
Flame Orb (available at level 81): Inspired by Prince Taldaram’s abilities in Ahn’kahet and Icecrown Citadel. O’RLY? You don’t mean inspired by Frozen Orb as was released by Blizzard in Diablo 2 almost 10 years ago!!! Besides not giving proper credit to their own spell’s origins, I’m having trouble seeing how this will be that affective until its explained a bit more. I hope its not a targeted spell. The part about fire talents helping it explode when it reaches its destination worries me. What does “destination” mean. For maximum effectiveness you want the orb to travel past your target. That way it pew pews on its approach and after its center has passed. I’m not sure if Blizzard realizes this or not but Mages don’t generally aim for the guy in back not being tanked. Usually we target the closest tanked mob and as long as the tank is doing there job, there should be no mobs between you and the tank. They could give us a targeting reticule like [Blizzard] or [Flamestrike] but I would think that’d feel a bit awkward trying to fire past your target knowing the orb would eventually reach its final destination. For this to work I would hope they treat it like [Cone of Cold] and its a “fire and forget” spell.
Time Warp (level 83): Grants a passive Haste effect much like Bloodlust or Heroism. OK how about EXACTLY like Bloodlust or Heroism? Aside from the obvious move speed boost to the Mage of course. I guess they are attempting to stomp out the phrase “Bring the player and not the class….oh yeah and make sure you have a shaman cause lust is too good not to bring.” So I guess this is on a 5 min CD with 10 min [Sated] debuff. I’ll be happy if this gives like a 30% move speed to the Mage for a full 40 seconds (which is the [Bloodlust] duration). Blink + TW = Flag Cap machine.
Wall of Fog (level 85): Creates a line of frost in front of the mage, 30 yards from end to end. Lawl of Fog. Got it. So a mage casts this and you simply wait 10 seconds and then proceed to kick his teeth in anyway. Or simply charge/blink/shapeshift/trinket/deathgrip around it if you get snared. Frankly I’d rather see this set as a wall of Ice that you CANNOT pass and is channeled at the cost of 5% mana/sec. A mage would be able to keep all enemies at bay for a max of 20 seconds but would have 0 mana afterwards and the could run around the wall if it was that important to them. Perhaps counter spell could stop it but think of the fun you could have with choke points and this.
[Arcane Missiles] is going to turn into something more like [Missile Barrage]. You cast frost and fire spells and wait for your proc to fire off Arcane Missiles now. I guess thats OK but I’m kinda sad to see this go. It’s been one of the staple spells of the arcane tree for 5 years now.
We are planning to remove spells that don’t have a clear purpose. Amplify Magic, Dampen Magic, Fire Ward, and Frost Ward are being removed from the game, and we may remove more. Very poor wording here. They had a clear purpose in the tool tip, they just weren’t used that much outside of PvP. I wonder what more they may remove? Perhaps combine [Frost Armor] with [Ice Armor]? The latter is simply a continuation of the former with the addition of frost resistance. I don’t think there was a need to spin off a new spell name instead of Frost Armor rank 4.
The ability to conjure food and water will not become available until higher levels. Well as long as they can balance the leveling Mage’s ability to keep adequate mana reserves. I suppose they give you [Conjure Mana Gem] at level 28 but if they rely on that as a crutch where you need to pop one every fight I’ll be disappointed. They’d also have to prorate the 3 charages per gem back to rank one. Right now the 3 charges isn’t added until rank 5 which is a level 68 spell. I’m glad they are making it conjure refreshment though, finally we can stop with the unnecessary spells and conjure ”muffin mugs” for everyone!
Scorch will provide a damage bonus to the mage’s fire spells. I can’t quite remember back to before this change was made (before patch 3.0.9 I think) but didn’t scorch used to do this? I thought it provided a stacking debuff to fire damage but then they exchanged it for increase spell crit for everyone. Sounds like a buff to me. Should have done this awhile ago.
Arcane Focus will now return mana for each spell that fails to hit your target. Well I’m confused by this? Doesn’t this only benefit those who aren’t spell hit capped? As things are now, Arcane specs are the least +spell hit intensive because of their talent tree. This talent feels out of place.
The talent Playing with Fire will reduce the cooldown of Blast Wave when hit by a melee attack, instead of its current effect. Well unless it “resets” the CD I’m not thrilled. The old talent allows you to get an increase to all spell damage while also increasing all spell dmg taken. It was a cool double edge sword for those who specced this way but the danger was negated by those who were skilled enough to avoid the incoming damage. This new change requires you to be hit before you get the benefit. News flash Blizzard…Mages don’t like being hit.
Pyromaniac will grant Haste when three or more targets are getting damaged by the effects of your damage-over-time (DoT) fire spells. I like it…not much to say here. With the Fire mastery ability of Ignite I’d think this would be easy to proc with a single Flamestrike.
The Burnout talent will allow mages to cast spells using health when they run out of mana. Well its nice in a pinch but hopefully by the time you run out of mana, you’ve already killed your target. I can see this as being mana drain PvP focused. A healer could keep you topped off and it kinda works like the Paladin [Spiritual Attunement] however in a PvP situation the mana drain should be focused on the healer first anyway so…yeah. I’m not sure what situation this would be awesome in.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses – Every tree gets a bonus to spell damage as the primary (so basialy Blizzard is removing +spell dmg from items and replacing with +mastery which….adds….+spell dmg….brilliant) The secondary bonuses make sense. Arcane gets haste, Fire gets increase to spell crit chance, and Frost gets increase to spell crit damage. The third bonus are what I think need review.
Mana Adept - this kinda reminds me of the DK Blood talent [Blood Gorged]. But again this seems to be counterintuitive as to what the Mage does…spend mana to do damage. Gone are the day’s of Arcane Blast spam. I hope they get the balance right on this so Mages typically stay close to 3/4 mana while raiding. I don’t wanna drink between every pull and constantly be popping mana gems along with using evocation every time its up. I was willing to bet some gold on they’d go with “Brilliance Aura” which would also play off of your current mana pool. The formula would like like Mana Regen % = (100 – current mana %)*X where X could range anywhere from 1 to whatever depending on your mastery. The lower your mana levels the quicker they’d regen but it’d slow as you get close to topping off. If balanced properly you can still reach 0 mana but you wouldn’t stay there for long.
Ignite: I would assume this would remove the current talent of Ignite. It sounds kinda complicated but sounds like an overall buff to me. Now instead of your Ignite dot being applied to only crits it will apply to all fire damage. Wouldn’t it be sweet if they brought back the Rolling Ignite bug?
Deathfrost: Sounds like a [Arcane Blast] buff to me. Hopefully this stacks a few times so you don’t have to weave a non frostbolt spell in every other cast.
Well thats my opinions thus far on the preview….we haven’t seen any FAQs on these yet which may answer some questions and change some opinions posted here. I know this is far from complete and just a preview…perhaps I’ll have the time to punch in with what skills I think would have been cooler then these . Until then I leave you with this entire post summed up into a video clip. This is the first thing that went through my head when reading these changes.