Ah, Morphling, how I miss you so. By coming to Wrath of the Lich King as the Mage spell Mirror Image in Beta Testing, you have done quite well for yourself. I don’t need to tell you that it is awesome. Chances are, you’ve already read Christian Belt’s opinion on it, and Tuna’s, and Aurdon’s, and…what? Krizzly hasn’t put his Frosty Perspective on this? OK fine. I want to put in my 2c on this.
Yes, this spell is quite awesome. As the 3 authors have pointed out, the possibilities with this spell is just disgustingly good. At first, some have speculated that this spell would merely be some sort of diversion-type spell used for PvP purposes, but it would seem that the effects of it have gone beyond the expectations of the mage community. Perhaps it’s because they aren’t used to seeing their class get buffed so dramatically, or because they’ve been QQ’ing since the class was spanked with the nerf bat in Burning Crusade, or simply because they’ve never specced 41 points for a Water Elemental, which essentially does the same thing. Although technically, while Mirror Image functions more like a Druid’s Treants, they’re simply there to deal more damage.
Let me touch on that last point. These mage clones are simply Treants that do ranged damage instead of melee. It’s a wonderful balancing idea that Blizzard concocted, finally completing the duality of melee/ranged combat. The game needed a spell that complemented Force of Nature with respect to design, and the mage class was a perfect fit.
Regardless of how much balancing the Dev team will implement to this spell (according to Belt’s analysis, the damage capabilities are simply too high), the general idea is quite amazing, and should remain in the mage’s arsenal when the expansion arrives. If anything, they will simply tweak the numbers to match the 41-point Balance talent, and make Mirror Image more analogous to it. Sometime down the road (or even right now), some will probably say that this spell further homogenizes the classes by marking this similarity with Balance druids, but in my humble opinion, the analog that it provides helps define and distinguish those two classes with regards to flavor AND functionality.
But where does this spell put us Frost mages within the context of our own class? In my opinion, Summon Water Elemental as a spell defines the Cryomancer in more ways than what Dragon’s Breath or Slow could ever do for their respective schools. When I first fell in love with this talent tree, the addition of Squirtle to my repertoire was something that made me feel much a litle bit more like a hunter or a warlock, but the impermanence was something that kept me longing for him.
Consider that clones can be summoned every 3 minutes, just like an elemental. As a Frost mage, that camaraderie between man and um, well…puddle of water, will be in jeopardy. There will be hardly any room in the cryomancer’s life for his beloved blob. It just feels so cramped. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m not ready to shove aside my How will this dynamic fare in the future? Only time will tell.
So when Wrath comes along, I’ll definitely give Mirror Image a shot, implementing it into my spell rotation in dungeon and raid situations; but for now, I shall continue to religiously summon my dear old Water Elemental every 3 minutes. And even though he will only be there for me for 45 seconds at a time, each and every one of them shall be well spent.
Unless, of course, my mirror images can summon water elementals of their own…