LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAIIIIIINNNN

Cataclysm is coming, and I can’t bloody wait!  Lots of new proposed spells and changes!  As a frost mage, I am ECSTATIC.  Heeeeere we go!

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.

YES!  I totally would have loved the Flame Wreath Effect, but thinking about it more, this spell is more mobile than the one I suggested initially.  Depending on how much this spell costs and how it’s cast, mages can run around and do a bunch of crazy instant aoe fire spells such as blast wave, dragon’s breath, and living bomb.  Combine that with the spell below, and you’ve got yourself one ridiculously hilarious glass cannon in the new rated BG’s.

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.

Heroism.  Bloodlust.  Whatever you call it, we have it.  And if this goes live, we’re going to be VERY sexy.  Mages are master manipulators of the Elements, Space, and with the arrival of Cataclysm, Time itself.  It fits the flavour of what mages can do so perfectly, I’m glad we’ve been given yet another buff.  After an expansion of nothing but strudels, portals, strudels, intellect, strudels, Focus Magic circlejerks, and more strudels, we’re actually giving a valuable raidwide haste effect.  Shammies, I still love you for your totems, don’t think your job will be in jeopardy if this spell makes it to the release.

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.

I think…I need to start PvP’ing more.  I never really got into Arena-based PvP or duelling, but battlegrounds were a nice exception to the rule of allowing myself to be abused by other more vastly skilled players.  But this.  THIS.  Sounds freaking AWESOME.  Think of a frost trap except in a giant line similar to the glacial blast spell that the Servants of the Throne in Icecrown Citadel can do…except it freaking SNARES on top of the damage it does.  Holy crap, imagine doing this in Alterac Valey at the bridge leading to the Alliance towers?  NOBODY WILL GET THROUGH.

Cast one or two of these, plus the flame orbs from a fire-specced mage, and LOL GOODLUCK BREAKING THROUGH.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

  • 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.

Most notably, Arcane missiles will proc upon cast of ANY spell, including Frost spells.  This adds yet another reactive spell to the Frost Mage arsenal, which makes our already reactive spell priority list even more reactive.  Missile Barrage will probably decrease the channel time as usual, but it makes for an interesting damage boost for Fire and Frost.  A very welcome change.

  • 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.

I believe this picture is in order:

Damplify Magic and Frostfire Wards, you will be missed.  Well, not really.  I had no idea what the hell to do with you guys.  Ice Barrier > Wards, ANY DAY.  And goodbye Incanter’s Absorption.  It is officially useless, as Mana shield as it stands now does not fit well with the mechanics of Arcane DPS in the upcoming expansion.  More details later on.

  • 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.

I originally proposed conjured strudels at lower levels, but this fix is even BETTER than what I had expected.  So much for drinking all the time after battles.  The downtime for a mage is ridiculous when leveling in ways other than AoE grinding.  When it comes to the leveling process, this is the mage’s number 1 concern, and it is being addressed for Cataclysm.  I salute you, Blizzard!

  • 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.

When I’m in a raid with another Fire Mage (which is like, never.  Curse you, arcane!), they usually thank me for being the scorchbot.  But no longer.  Scorch at endgame was a ridiculous waste of a global cooldown just for a debuff.  The damage it did was pitiful, and the extra crit was a necessary increase to raid dps.  But with the added fire damage component, much as it was in Burning Crusade, Scorch will hopefully once again be a valuable spell in the Pyromancer’s arsenal.

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.

I really like this mechanic a lot, as Arcane was always about mana management and throttling spells to control the balance between dps and mana consumption.  I imagine that Evocation will be reworked in the arcane talent tree so that it will be used more often.  I couldn’t think of any mechanic to enable the increased damage, but this one is actually very creative.  Another home run for the dev team.

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.

As I had previously hoped, DoT’s will play a prominent roll in the Fire Tree.  Juggling DoTs in PvE may cause Fire to be more like Affliction or Shadow, but with more nuking and more chaotic AoE capabilities.  The flavour of fire is well-represented here.

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.

It seems that the devs have decided that Frost is treading away from the binary nuke spell, encouraging the player to branch out into other trees for spells.  I am very welcoming of this change, as it was only a matter of time before Frost would be able to shed its spammy reputation.  With the current iteration of spells and mechanics predicted to be incorporated into the Cataclysm spell roation, Deathfrost will apply to Arcane Missiles, Deep Freeze, Frostfire Bolt, and possibly Ice Lance.

Without any further indication of plans for the Frost talent tree, we cannot tell if Ice Lance will become viable in the rotation again, and if it will be usable in shatter combos in Cataclysm.  If they do, this mastery talent will make it much more powerful.  What’s even more amazing is that the difficulty of casting frostbolt in PvP may make this mastery talent easier to play with in regards to balancing PvE and PvP.  A Deathfrost-enabled Ice Lance may do a lot more damage in PvE, but will be more difficult to pull of in PvP.

I can only hope that more changes will come to improve what we are set to have in the coming expansion.  As a Frost Mage, I am very happy to see the changes to my tree, and I’m happy to see a more clear-cut identity in the other two trees as well.  I’m so happy, in fact, that I am absolutely nerdgasming at reading these changes.  See /v/ godhand comic below.

What do you think?  Are you as excited as I am for these changes?

22 thoughts on “LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAIIIIIINNNN

  1. Seems to me that Fire is going to be the go-to spec for Cataclysm, if this preview is anything to go by.

    I’m concerned about my beloved beloved arcane. We’ve been AB AB AB AB AM! for quite some time now, but with AM as an on proc ability, what will be left in the standard rotation? AB AB AB… ? I hope AM procs often. Very often. But arcane could really use another good frequent use spell. AB AB AM! AB AB AB AB AM! isn’t really that exciting either.

    And I’m hoping they change AB so that each successive cast isn’t more expensive with the Mana Adept mastery. You want to keep your mana high as possible to maximize your damage, but in order to power up your primary nuke it costs progressively more mana? So what do you do? Are you supposed to cast Arcane Blast less frequently? What are you supposed to cast instead that’s cheaper? I don’t want to charge into things casting Arcane Explosion like I used to do in Uldaman. :P I’m confused. Maybe there’s something that I’m not thinking of here?

    Lastly, I don’t understand what they mean by Arcane Focus returning Mana for spells that don’t hit. Are we talking about pre-hit-cap? Are we talking about spell school immunity? I base the way I play on the assumption that my spells are going to hit, all the time. Barring something very unforeseen. So I’m not sure how this will be functional…

    I do think the three new spells sound really super awesome though. I particuarly like Flame Orb. I am not upset about conjuring a firey sphere of flameyness and casting it at my enemies. Nope, not at all.

  2. Being an arcane mage at heart I’m not quite as excited as you are. Maybe it’s just that I don’t understand the Mana Adept mechanism correctly but to me it sounds like a contradiction. Like Rhii says.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if fire once again (or possibly frost – good for you) will be the cookie-cutter spec for raiding and arcanes will be frowned upon. Sigh. Well… I’ll probably be back on the topic with a post of my own. Quick work you did there Krizz!

  3. Hey! You over there! Frost mage! Hands off mah arcane missles!

    Yeah. This smells suspiciously like death to arcane. My first reaction here is …. Oooooh, Life Grip! Moar Bubbles! Must level teh priest!

    • if they can get this mana damage scaling mechanic to work, it could possibly mean arcane is still on top. All these changes do not have numbers attached to them, so one cannot tell for sure.

  4. I think my thoughts are largely the same. I’m excited about Flame Orb and Wall of Fog, but I’m less convinced by Time Warp. I think that with Heroism, you’re going to struggle to pop both that and Time Warp in the same fight because of the Exhaustion debuff. It might mean you can alternate between them in 10-mans, but I’m not seeing the usefullness in 25-man raiding.

    I think that Amplify/Dampen are a shame to lose, but it kinda shows that fights are rarely pure physical or pure magical fights any more. I think if they were party-wide buffs that you could flick on or off easily instead of just being individual 10min ones, they could have added a great new dynamic to fights. Fire/frost ward are going to impact the usefulness of Incanter’s Absorption as well, pushing it out of usefulness.

    Ignite I like, and Deathfrost might bring our much unloved Frostfire Bolt back into play. I think that emelemtal specs might be workable once again. I agree with Larisa though that Mana Adept feels a bit weak, especially for raiding situations. I think it’ll push the arcane mage back into PVP where you do high burst damage with a full mana pull but increasingly suck as the fight progresses. Kinda the opposite of fire.

    MS Paint comics rock, btw :)

  5. “OH MY GOD I’M DOING THE MOTHERFUCKING TIME WARP AGAIN! JESUS CHRIST!”

    Bahahahahahahahahahaha!

    That said, the frost wall biznez is what excites me the most. That’s totally BAD ASS.

    Time warp is good, but I don’t find it “exciting”, per se.

    And yeah, looks like I might need to re-examine some firey fireness.

    Getting rid of those useless spells… I like it. I have them on my cast bars, although I’m not sure why. I suppose I used fire ward and frost ward in their respective VoA fights. Not totally useless. Maybe just replace it with a “damage ward” that isn’t ice barrier?

    The frostydeathbolt spell that doesn’t work with frostbolt might make those Arcane Missle procs hella sexy.

    • depending on how much damage arcane missiles actually do (devs says they’re going to do a significantly more amount of damage), it will be a very attractive spell to weave in between frostbolts and frostfire bolts.

  6. I think that Mana Adept is what is tripping most people up in the preview. I understand where they are going with things but we’ll have to see more of the trees and understand what the expected rotation is for Arcane now (since Missile Barrage is probably gone) to get a firm grasp on how this will play out.

    Also to quote Pike,

    I’m re-rolling a mage just for the footer comic.

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  8. i’m just beyond giggly. i feel like i’ve been given a giant THANK YOU from blizzard for staying true to fire all this time. ^_^

  9. Well I am most certainly looking forward to this and hope that all make it to live realm.

    I mostly pvp with my mage now so interesting times ahead for us frosty’s.

  10. The time warp song and macro is going to drive everyone crazy from the time Cat drops through the end of WoW. It took a long time to sink in, but wow what a huge freaking buff for Mages and I completely missed it.

    Mana Adept is going to require a lot of balancing and a lot of trust that Blizz will give it a fair shake. As an Arcane Mage, I burn through mana way faster than either of my counterparts (and have 2min Evocation for just that reason) and spend a good chunk of my raiding life below 50% mana. Arcane is going to need a lot of “mana management tools” to keep the damage rolling, especially in those “boss just hit 30%, burn him down.. BLOODLUST!” situations. The last thing arcane needs is the stigma of “great DPS, but can’t finish the boss”.

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  13. If the wall of fog and the fireball with laser spells don’t do very much damage (or are nerfed in 4.1) the mages wont’t be very happy, especially if you have a Shaman in your raid. In that case, mages got nothing in Cataclysm. Don’t be so quick to drink the Kool Aid.

    • Heroism/Bloodlust, in any shape or form, is amazing to have, regardless of whether or not there are Shaman in your raid. It’s a huge step design-wise, and Mages ought to be grateful that the spell was given to them instead of the other classes.

  14. U are the biggest fucking scrub I’ve ever seen fucking 12 year old mages. Con gratz mages got another buff. On behalf of Hex the light of dawm learn to fucking play a real class… Maybe one day you’ll down patchwork faggot

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