Cataclysm Class Change Wishlist: Mage

In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the WoW development team will be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board.  In this post, I wish to provide you with a look at some changes that I would like to see for the mage class, including some new spells, abilities, talents, and a prediction of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.

New Mage Spells

Conjure Strudel (now available at level 4): The food and water system for mages is ridiculously clunky during the leveling process.  With the dev team looking to make the leveling process smoother and more engaging playstyle-wise in the new expansion, this will be one of the first spells to be modified.  Conjure food and drink will be removed completely.

Summon/Tame Familiar (level 81): Mages will be able to tame critters, giving them a small damage boost if they are in the same zone native to the familiar.  They will take the slot of non-combat pets.  A polymorph minor glyph will allow mage polymorph spells to turn enemies into the form of their familiars.

Unleash Companion (level 83): causes their current non-combat pet to enlarge, enrage, and become a combat pet temporarily, allowing them to do a large amount of damage for a short period of time.  If they are killed, they will have to be resummoned.  This does not necessarily apply to familiars, but ANY non-combat pet.

Spellsplice (level 85): when a mage uses spells from different schools, casting spellsplice will cast a nuke that will combine the two spells into one.  Imagine the channeled multiple strikes ability of Arcane Missiles combined with the snare of frostbolt; or the stacking effect of Arcane Blast with the DoT component of Fireball.  Spellsplice is the continued trend of mixing magic schools that have been introduced in other classes (ie, locks and shadow priests) that have been present already with Frostfire Bolt.

Teleport and Portal spells for the new racial capital cities.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

DoTs from Fire spells will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).

Fire should care more about DoT-based damage and should revolve around the execute mechanic.  That isn’t to say that Fire Mages should be warlocks *shudder* but rather have the DoT components of their spells to matter more.  Molten Fury will be more friendly to DoT components on top of their initial spell damage components.

Similarly, Fire should be a bit more offensively defensive in PvP.  See Flame Wreath below!

Mana should be a bigger consideration in Frost as it is in Arcane and to a lesser extent Fire.  Arcane Blast allowed mages to throttle their DPS based on their mana situation, while Hot Streak allowed Fire Mages to opt out of costly Pyroblasts if they were low on mana.  Frost needs a Mana Dump.

Frost should center a bit more around long-term cooldown management than Fire and Arcane, since its individual talents and spells all involve cooldowns (Ice Block, Icy Veins, Ice Barrier, Cold Snap, Deep Freeze).

Arcane Explosion should be the Arcane Mage’s aoe spell of choice, instead of blizzard or flamestrike.

Amplify Magic should be castable on enemies as a magic-based debuff.  It will provide a minor spell damage bonus, but is overwritten by stronger effects such as Earth and Moon/Ebon Plaguebringer/Curse of the Elements.

New Talents and Talent Changes

Torment the Weak moved to Frost Tree, and only applicable to movement reduction effects instead of attack speed reduction effects.

Arcane Bomb – Cooldown ability that allows the Arcanist to automatically and repeatedly cast arcane explosion repeatedly for a short duration while he casts other spells such as blizzard or flame strike.

Empowered Arcane Explosion – Further increases the damage of arcane explosion.  Relatively deep arcane talent.

Sheer Cold – Gives your snare effects other than blizzard a chance to reduce the channel time of blizzard by a significant amount.  Frost’s AoE answer to Missile Barrage.

Flame Wreath – Surrounds the Fire mage with a giant wreath of fire, causing any movement by enemy players or NPCs within the range of the spell to take a large amount of damage to those inside.  The Mage must remain within the wreath for the effect to last.

Talents should make mages of their respective schools care more about their corresponding armor spells.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree bonuses

Arcane
Spell Damage
Spell Haste
Arcane Direct Damage

Fire
Spell Damage
Spell Crit
Afterburn

Frost
Spell Damage
Spell Critical Damage
Arctic Explorer

Arcane Direct Damage – Damage caused by Arcane direct-damage spells increased.

Afterburn – DoT damage from Fire spells increased.

Arctic Explorer – Cooldown on spells reduced.

These are my predictions and my wishlist for the upcoming Cataclysm expansion.  What do you think?  Do you agree, disagree, or have other types of spells desired from your spec? Lemme know!

6 thoughts on “Cataclysm Class Change Wishlist: Mage

  1. i definitely agree with the thought of frost getting some sort of mana dump, ideally on cooldown so that it won’t replace frostbolt for high-mana situations… of course, the danger is that adding a big burst damage attack to frost would become overpowered in pvp. still, it seems like there is room for something in there. buffing arcane explosion for arcane mages is also a great idea.

    i think i’d handle torment the weak differently, though. i kind of like it as an arcane ability, but i’d tie it directly into slow. i’d move TTW deeper in the tree, and slow lower. level 40ish, i’d say. maybe arcane power would take slow’s old spot. reason being is that arcane needs more stuff at lower levels. 40 is when frost mages get ice barrier, so that seems about right for slow, and deep enough that it won’t be a mandatory pvp talent as it could be if it was level 20ish. then, i’d reform the way Arcane Missiles consumes mana. Rather than 100% mama cost on cast, i’d have it cost, say 40% on cast, and 12% per missile. this would make it far more attractive at lower levels when you might not get all the missiles to fire, and have only minor changes at high level.

    while at high levels i feel like i’ve found a home as a frost mage at 80, i always had an affinity for arcane back when i started playing the game and was determined to level arcane. didn’t last too long. giving them slow at a more reasonable level, plus altering the mana-hog nature of AM would go a long way to making the spec viable while leveling, instead of “don’t even bother before level 65” as it is now. i think arcane is in a great spot in terms of mechanics at 80, but it is severely lacking at low-level.

    • I was thinking of what you said about leveling as arcane, and I strongly agree. All three specs should be viable while leveling. In my mind, I was thinking something very basic like Arcane Bolt. A less powerful version of arcane blast, it boosts the damage of your next spell, but only stacks once. It would be the analog to Arcane Blast as Primal strike and Claw are to Stormstrike and Mangle for shammies and druids respectively.

  2. My responses:

    Conjure Strudel (now available at level 4): 100% agree. In fact, they should just change the food to “Restores 100% of your life and mana over 30 seconds” so that Mages don’t have to have multiple types of food available at each level. Who CARES if that means a low level mage can make food that restores level 85 HP / MP.

    Summon/Tame Familiar (level 81): LOVE it. Not sure it really fits in with WarCraft lore, but LOVE IT.

    Unleash Companion (level 83): Not a fan. Mages are all about using their own abilites to rend their foes. Empowering another creature just doesn’t feel the same.

    Spellsplice (level 85): Could be really hard to balance. An interesting idea, though.

    I pretty much 100% agree with your Changes to Abilities and Mechanics.

    New Talents and Talent Changes
    Torment the Weak: I hate this talent in WotLK. HATE it. And I hate it because it just isn’t optional – it’s required. So any change that would make TTW only needed by one spec and OPTIONAL for the other specs is a good change.

    Arcane Bomb: Sorta like Immolation Aura and Starfall? Meh. If it is a talent only available to Arcane it will only be useful while Arcane is top-dog. If it is an ability available to all specs then it doesn’t make Arcane Explosion unique to the Arcane tree.

    Empowered Arcane Explosion – I’d rather see it give AE a secondary effect. Reduces cast time for all targets it hits? Drains mana from all targets it hits?

    Sheer Cold – Except Missile Barrage is single-target while Blizzard is AoE? I’m not sure this would accomplish what we would want it it.

    Flame Wreath – An awesome ability that deserves to be implemented again.

    I have one real suggestion for spell changes:

    Portals: Instead of having 1/2 a dozen Portal and Teleport spells, Blizzard should replace them with an ability called “Portal” (or “Arcane Portal”). Once opened, the portal is right-clicked and provides a list of possible destinations. With the new “auto-training” spells we have in Cataclysm, the Portal spell will be updated with new cities as the Mage levels up. Teleports could use the same system, except the portal created then would be usable only by the casting Mage.

    • Spellsplice is just my answer to blizzard’s trend of dual-schooling spells for caster classes. Should the mage be locked out, this spell would be reactionary and allow them to switch over with minimal penalty. A reactionary spell at best, probably not so attractive as a level 85 spell.

      I secretly intended torment the weak to be a tool for frost mages to help with AoE grinding. Depending on the damage bonus (should be lowered, which I failed to mention), it will probably make the frostbolt glyph obsolete. Should be a deep frost talent to fit with the flavour doing damage to chilled targets. In fact, I meant to say chilled targets instead of slowed ones >.<

      The portal idea is a great one, since that sort of interface is already implemented with the engineer's wormhole ability. However, how are mages going to play portal roulette with their raid now?

  3. I have to say that I disagree with you on the spellsplice thing. It would basically make mages immune to spell locking mechanics, which would make us an incredibly imbalanced class (such as a rogue) in pvp.

    I agree that TtW shouldn’t be a mandatory talent, but you have to consider that removing it is removing 12% of a mages dps, which would need to be compensated for.

    An AoE mana drain would also be incredibly OP and never happen.

    Arcane Bomb = that would mean getting in to melee range with a high dps aura going while doing more dps? It would most likely always pull aggro, which is bad news. so I wouldn’t want that.

    Flame Wreath – see my response to arcane bomb

    The options for portals would be good.

    food filling 100% over 30 seconds is good, but i do think it would be pretty bullshit to have a level 4 making food viable for a raid.

    I would like to see frost get some rotation as well as arcane, using 2-3 spells + cooldowns is really fucking boring for me. maybe if frostbolt worked like arcane blast but didn’t buff itself, so that you would have to cast fb + ffb or something to keep from spamming fb for long.

    I’d also like to see arcane get some spells that are damage spells, right now it has missiles barrage blast and explosion, its pretty boring. maybe an arcane detonation or something, it uses your stacks of arcane blast and shoots them at a target which does high single target dps and does decent aoe damage as well.

    fire is good as it is IMO, it is somewhat DoTed but not enough like a lock to make it basically the same class. I would like to see it have something to do more damage though, because right now its damage is pretty weak compared to arcane. Also, I would like to see living bomb work somewhat like curse of agony, in that it starts with less damage and then finishes with a big BOOM.

    I want to see frost as a viable raiding spec because it would be nice to have the CC without sacrificing about half your dps.

    I think fire needs another way to manage mana, because the full evocation cooldown is really long so for extended length fights fire can really struggle for dps.

    • I think the devs want all caster classes to be immune to school locking, which is why they’ve given dual-school spells to pretty much every caster class during their class previews (ele shaman, moonkin, warlock, shadowpriest)

      I didn’t necessarily mean that they would make level 80 strudels right away, but rather scalable strudels that refilled based on level, since that’s how spells are going to work anyway in the new expansion. Blizzard is even planning to do away with food for the first 40 levels anyway, which to some may be actually rather OP, especially with regards to AoE grinding from level 30-40.

      Flame Wreath was meant to be more of a pvp spell, but as it turns out, they made a spell that was more catered to bg’s, since they’re moving towards that side of pvp instead of arenas.

      Frost doesn’t sacrifice half of its dps to have the CC talents. It has a certain number of free talent points that can either be put into CC via frostbite, or survivability via Ice Barrier and its cooldown-reducing talents. You can’t have both, mind you, but there’s enough there that will allow a frost mage to spec as such without gimping its damage by half. Removing the frostbolt glyph alone is only a 5% DPS, which is hardly 50. I think you’re exaggerating in that regard.

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