This is a quick shout out and farewell to my soon-to-be former guild on winterhoof, Exiled Legion. Due to circumstances in this server combined with the slump of summer recruiting, the highest ranked members have decided to pack it up and transfer to another server. For the time being, I have decided to not go with them, and to go even further, have backed off from raiding for the time being so that I can focus a bit more on Cataclysm, while maintaining a good balance with my real life priorities as well. I wish them the best of luck, and hope their server transfer goes well at the end of the month.
If I do decide to get back into raiding, I hope my next guild will be as accepting of my preference of the frost spec as my current one. If it comes down to server transfering, I might even consider going to an RP realm instead of joining up with the rest of my old guild. A fresh start with new opportunities. However, I don’t expect to see this sort of thing to happen until the new expansion. That said, let’s continue on to the beta coverage, shall we?
Back to Beta
In recent patches, the dungeonfinder has been finally been implemented. For the sake of widening the pool of available spelunkers to run with, it would seem that I am currently able to group up with people on both the European and Korean servers. I imagine that the same would hold true for other overseas servers (except possibly China, since they were late enough in getting Wrath, let alone the Cataclysm Beta), but I suspect that for communication reasons, we won’t be seeing this sort of implementation in the live servers anytime soon. That said, I’ve spent the bulk of my recent beta experience in dungeons, both at the 80+ level as well as the lowbie level. Despite some rather annoying bugs (being unable to make a table inside cataclysm dungeons being one of them), my dungeon experience has been very positive as a whole.
I hit up a serpentshrine wailing caverns run as my first run on the worgen mage, who had recently added to his collection another two pieces of heirloom gear, bringing the total to seven (head, shoulders, chest, back, weapon, two trinkets) and a total experience bonus of 40%. The new experience bonus is nothing short of insane. From level 19, one single dungeon run brought my character to 20 and a bit into 21 WITHOUT the aid of rested experience. Dungeons will be a very attractive (if not already so) leveling option for those who can queue quickly (tanks and healers).
Not only does heirloom gear make the leveling process much faster, but it also makes the creature killing process ridiculously quick as well. In this particular run, everyone had at the minimum the headgear and cape provided for free from an NPC in stormwind. When I say that things died fast, they died fast. Bosses went down as fast as one would expect from normal mobs, and normal mobs went down so quickly, I had no time to squeeze in Arcane Missiles; a frostbolt or two and a fire blast tacked on to the end was enough to kill it with the help of others. In theory, if it weren’t for things dying so quickly, I can imagine how the new abilities would result in a reasonably engaging spell rotation for mages at lower level dungeons. Frostbolt as filler, with arcane missiles whenever it procs, and Fire Blast to finish off the mob. However, given the speed in which these mobs die, arcane missiles launch too slowly to be of any use, except maybe on bosses.
One thing I was very excited about, however, was the utility of RandomPetName. Having previously been unable to use the Water Elemental in these dungeons, going through these dungeons are a lot more fun, and provide ample opportunities to take advantage of Freeze. In lowbie dungeons, where mobs often flee, Freeze helps keep them in place without worrying about fleeing to other mobs and aggroing more than desired. Except for perhaps cunning pets, RandomPetName feels like a unique pet compared to the others at this level, as he serves more than being a DoT element in the party. At the low twenties, you will be able to spec into Permafrost, which will allow you to heal your pet, allowing him to be a situational offtank against normal adds, or even weak melee-class elites such as the cloaked adds during the Van Cleef encounter (which, by the way, has gone through a very awesome stylistic change to match the new expansion).
Overall, the early access to the dynamism of the Water Elemental adds a very enjoyable element to the dungeon crawling experience.
When it comes to new dungeons, it is pointless to comment on difficulty, since they are constantly tuned with each patch. One day will see a wipefest on the first boss, while another will see a complete faceroll session. Regardless, it would seem that the core mechanics and abilities of the mobs remain, which are open for opinion. TotT, so far, is already my favourite dungeon of the two that is available to my character so far (stonecore has a high ilvl requirement which I will comment on later). I am not going to spoil the mechanics of the fights either, but I
The playstyle of Frost Mages at the 80+ level is, in short:
this, pretty much. I am having WAY too much fun with the new rotation.
Due to the nature of talents and whatnot, here’s what the spell priority generally looks like.
1) Water Elemental Freeze if Fingers of Frost is not up.
2) Deep Freeze if Fingers of Frost is up.
3) Frostfire Bolt if Brain Freeze is up.
4) Ice Lance if Fingers of Frost is up.
5) Frostbolt until you proc Brain Freeze or Fingers of Frost
This proposed spell rotation is very engaging, as it involves pet management, mid-length (longer than 9 seconds, shorter than a minute) cooldown management, and TWO different procs that happen to proc fairly often. If Frost was the poster child of boring spell rotations all the way up to Wrath, it will no longer be the case. Not only will you be fairly mobile with two instant-cast spells, but you also have a pet spell that can be cast independent from your global cooldown. Say goodbye to waiting forever for FoF to proc so you can cast Deep Freeze, as you can force a FoF with Pet Freeze. Not that you would have to anyway, the proc rate has doubled at the cost of providing one charge per proc instead of two (the maximum amount of charges remains at two, which is also a good thing).
The boss fights so far have been a mix of straightforward tank and spanks with stuff you shouldn’t stand in, and giant clusterfucks that I have yet to master due to the limited time spent in these encounters. There is one fight where a viable strategy is to kite a mob away from the tank to remove a debuff aura from him. With the ridiculously large number of slows and snares at my disposal, this fight is easily my favourite so far.
Frost is the New Frost
From the looks of it, it would seem that the playstyle shift is here to stay. If anything were to change from here on out, it would be to fix unwanted bugs and exploits without fundamentally altering the proposed playstyle. One issue in particular that is being discussed in the beta forums is the issue of ghost charges providing a noticeable DPS advantage to those with ideal internet providers. This issue is probably going to be fixed, but those discussing possible changes agree that the solution to exploitation of ghost charges should not alter the current rotation. If this issue is resolved by the time cataclysm comes out, I cannot be anything less than HOTDAMN excited about Frost in the new expansion. Let’s just hope the damage is there as well.