Frost spell rotations are a bit more “tricky” this time around.
It’s not to say that Frost is a difficult raiding spec; while cooldown management is of utmost importance, the actual spell-casting part of Frost raiding is more demanding than before.
Brain Freeze, when procced, will give you a buff that makes your next fireball an instant cast. This buff only lasts for a limited amount of time, so you need to keep an eye on your buff timer to make sure you can throw a Fireball in your rotation.
The fireball will take up a global cooldown as normal, but because of the instant cast, you can cast it on the move. In fights that require mobility, you may want to reconsider when you want to throw your fireball. Time spent moving without casting any sort of spell will be a hamper to your DPS. This ability is a godsend for mage mobility, so use it wisely.
Fingers of Frost
When FoF procs, your next two spells will treat the target as if it were frozen. All of a sudden, Shatter becomes useful to all facets (PvP, group PvE, solo PvE) of a Frost mage’s gameplay.
In PvP, Shatter was used for Shatter combos, in which an Ice Lance was cast right at the end of a Frostbolt cast, causing both spells to hit the target at approximately the same time. Due to latency, both spells would be affected by shatter, despite the intended mechanic of having the frozen effect break upon the first instance of damage.
For PvE raiding, this is the same case, since the target is considered frozen for both spells. But simply due to the fact that FoF will apply to TWO spells cast, you will want to cast two frostbolts and then Ice Lance. For reasons stated in the previous paragraph, you can have all 3 spells crit before the buff wears off. This is the ideal rotation during FoF for maximum DPS.
Due to the nature of your spell rotation, by the time you get the buff, you’re already in the middle of casting another Frostbolt. At the end of that cast, it will count as the first spell of the buff. So if you notice your buff too late, you may mistake your second affected spell as your first, and waste a GCD on Ice Lance, thinking it would be affected by FoF.
Likewise, if you have both the Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze buff at the same time, it is possible to get your Fireball to crit if it is cast within the first two spells of the FoF proc, but it will use up a spell. However, since Ice Lance does more damage anyways, it is unwise to do so. Thus, if you have both buffs up, you want to make sure that you get the Fbolt-Fbolt-ILance off first before casting your fireball.
With FoF and BF as the new additions to a Frost mage’s arsenal, it is possible to have a spell that you can cast instantly while on the move, and still keep your DPS reasonably up while on the run. However, since both abilities are proc-based, passive abilities, it requires you to remain on your toes and to pay attention to your buff status.
That isn’t to say that you HAVE to wait for the proc to occur before you move. Your main priority is to move if you have to, otherwise you will belly up and die. The point I’m trying to make is that if you do have to move, or anticipate a time when you have to move, awareness of these two procs will help you keep your DPS up.
For example, in Nightbane, if Scorched Earth is up, you need to move out of it, regardless of whether or not you have a proc. However, as you move, if you notice that you have a proc up, you can cast an Ice Lance or Fireball depending on what your proc is, and do some damage while on the run.
Likewise, in Netherspite, if you are required to step into the blue beam after someone else, you can start anticipating your proc several seconds ahead of the moment when you are required to actually step in. If you manage to get that proc, it won’t hurt to step in a tad early so you don’t waste time moving.
Fully talented, Water Elemental lasts a VERY LONG time. Because of the talent point restrictions at 70, it is difficult to put points into both Improved WE and Arcane Meditation. But even in the absence of Arcane Meditation, having a Squirtle around for essentially 50% of the time to help regenerate my mana is something of absolute beauty. This, combined with Acane Meds at 80, as well as emphasis in Spirit, as well as having both Student of the Mind and Focus Magic available in tiers leading up to the talent, Frost mages seem to look really good when it comes to both their DPM and DPS.
I’m not exactly sure if the removal of ghost hit was taken into effect this patch, or if it will go away during Lich King. Any feedback on this would definitely be appreciated.
I noticed that my Spell Power has gone down due to the nerf to items that used to increase specific school damage. Right now I’m using 3/3 Frozen Shadoweave as well as the Frost Damage off-hand, so my Frost Damage went down about 40-50 points due to the nerfs. However, with the new talents in place, the increase in overall DPS seems to make up for it and then some.
All in all, raiding as Frost feels “more of the same,” but due to increased synergy with Shatter, the word “more” in that phrase ends up being emphasized quite substantially. Quite exciting indeed.