We all know that the paladin preview is still a week away (revealing April 16). Taking that into consideration, I thought I would go through the mage preview. Why? Tarinae is and always has been my main, but as I mention across the site, I have a Level 80 Arcane Mage who is quickly becoming my first choice for DPS and taking my first alt space. I love my hunter and she pulled spectacular Beast Mastery DPS last night, but I am falling for the mage thing right now. The post will be behind a cut for people who don’t care about mages and sift through the home page for the paladin-goodness.
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.
For anyone who has ever been inside Old Kingdom, the fire orb is pretty great. Similar to any other cast-and-move-on AOE, this will provide a constant damage to an area as it moves while the mage continues with the rotation. This is a new and needed AOE change for mages. Blizzard is great and massive output but requires a channeling period. Arcane Blast occurs only once and does not linger. Flamestrike is the only AOE/DOT spell that they mages have and I believe the change to be positive for them.
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.
Mages get Bloodlust, say wha?
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.
There are some questions on whether or not this will be PVE viable and mana efficient for the effects that it produces. From what I gather, the effects of this will be similar to a hunter’s Frost Trap except the targets will take damage.
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.
As this stands, this removes a massive component in the Arcane Mage rotation. Unless you’re moving, you are casting Arcane Missile with a missile barrage proc. Perhaps you are only relying on a different type of proc to occur, but they haven’t included another spell to take the place of missiles; this implies we will only have 2.
- 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.
Finally! I use the wards occasionally but the magic spells…worthless imo.
- 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.
As a leveling mage, this is something that gets really annoying. You get food & water at different levels, by the time you learn a new level of water (i.e. Level 15), you use it for a level then it is outdated and you can buy better. Furthermore, as soon as you learn a new rank, you make 2 at a time. Making 2 at a time to get a stack for yourself is bad enough, imagine supplying a full 5 man with water AND food. I would gladly wait to Level 40 if it made my life easier. I am really excited about this change. My mage is 80 right now, but I have toyed between Warlock/Mage worgen so I might benefit from it yet.
- 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.
I’m not fire but I am thinking at some point in Cataclysm, I probably will be. Especially with the list of Mastery Talents to come later.
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.
Did someone say “Life Tap” because I am pretty sure they did.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Arcane: Spell damage/Spell Haste/Mana Adept
Fire: Spell damage/Spell Crit/Ignite
Frost: Spell damage/Spell Crit damage/Deathfrost
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.
We cast a spell…we use mana…our damage output suffers? Using mana & mana restore mechanics is inevitable but this seems like a punishment for people who aren’t skilled in that yet. I am great at it on my paladin (for now) but timing the right Evocation or using my Mana Sapphires, I’m still working on that. I taunt the oom boss all the time it seems. As much as I love Arcane right now, the mastery talent alone would have me switch to Fire. You can argue that it isn’t a punishment for running out of mana, rather it is a bonus for NOT running oom, but bonus or not, you’re still not getting the full capactiy of your spell damage as if you were at 100% mana; and after that first cast, you won’t be.
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.
I am super fond of this mastery talent. You are constantly casting this school of magic as a fire mage and constantly recieveing a DOT component from it. There is no punishment, there is no cooldown, there is nothing but positive from this. The only thing not stated here is whether or not this DOT (like other DOTs in Cataclysm) will be effected by haste and crit.
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.
At the moment, the current frost mage rotation is Frostbolt > Frostbolt > Frostbolt > Frostbolt > Oh Fireball! Procced /cast Fireball > Frostbolt (you see where this is going?). When you get a damage buff to every spell but the one you’re casting, you don’t really get anything exciting from it. If a mage has incorporated something else into the rotation (or a new rotation is plausible in Cataclysm -highly likely) this could be great for specs that center with Frostfire Bolt or something of the like. I doubt an arcane spell would find its way into the rotation though.
Overall, this is highlighting a pretty positive gain in my opinion. If I get to go into Cataclysm trying a new spec that I have never done, I am all for it. I will learn the rotation, learn the mechanics, and it will be a brand new game in more ways than the obvious. I have been frost and I am arcane so the changes to Fire make it finally appealing to me. I also think that leveling mages will get a lot out of the changes. There are no new spells for them persay, but they won’t dump money into spell wastes or spend wasted time on conjuring outdated food/water. I have been thinking long and hard about what worgen I will play, and when I level with someone else, a mage is excellent fun and I will be running with a bear. These changes may take away the want to play a warlock. I can see why warlocks and mages hate each other (we even have their life tap now).
On a side note, aside from the dispelling mechanics, I think Shaman have the most interesting preview.
Now that all the class previews are out but one…I have only one thing to say: Come on April 16!