I find this post to be rather coincidental to things happening in real life. I’ve made the decision to move out of my family’s house, after having found a temporary job to hold me out until I can get in the proper physical shape to further my career aspirations. Going out into the world, solo. The nerd in me can’t help but make connections between this real-life (hopefully) coming of age and the coming of age implications on your character as he or she begins his epic quest through the world of Azeroth and beyond. In Cataclysm, the soloing frost mage has a wide variety of tools at his or her arsenal, allowing for a very safe, and somewhat tactical soloing experience.
The Lone Wolf
I’m in a bit of a bind with my Worgen mage, Krizzlywolf. He’s stuck in the low 20’s, eager to keep questing in the New Old World, but the lack of implementation of the revised Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep have kept me tethered to that level range in hopes that they will be made available in the next beta patch. That aside, my initial impression of questing as a lowbie was definitely positive. It is very safe to say that having a legitimately permanent Water Elemental at level 10 completely changes the landscape of Frost soloing. Kiting is easier than ever. Squirtle acts as both a DoT and a ranged Frost Nova, allowing you to freeze them in place after the initial frostbolt pull. With an adequate amount of intellect on your gear (quest greens will even suffice), you will have enough spellpower to kill stuff quickly before having to use your actual Frost Nova.
If there are any hunters that read my blog, I’m sure many of them have had many an experience while questing where they sent a pet in to aggro all the mobs in a particular area, allowing you to sneak by and grab a quest item unharmed, and slipping away into the night while the pet takes one for the team. RandomPetName has its own way of getting the same job done. Instead of running in and pissing the living bejezus out of every murloc, defias, and gnoll around, it does so from a distance, shooting an annoying bolt at the central mob. Every non-caster the rushes toward RPN, leaving the floor wide open for you to sneak in. Before the melee mobs get a chance to attack, you use your pet’s freeze to stop them at a short distance away from Squirtle. You can cast Freeze during the cast time of looting quest objectives, since the ability is your pet’s spell and not your own. Once the objective is complete, you blink away and instantly resummon your water elemental if it dies.
Curtain of FUUUUUUU-
My gnome mage, on the other hand, is at the current level cap set at 83. Questing was fun, involving, and overall a solid experience. A bit of the same gimmicky yet fun quests that were implemented in the previous expansion, but also a lot of juicy lore, especially in Hyjal. Vashj’ir on the other hand, was slightly frustrating, due to swimming mechanics and the inability to use ground targetting to properly use RNP’s freeze on mobs that are suspended either high above the ground, or away from a wall (you can aim the target circle at the wall close to a mob to freeze it in place; it’s quite hilarious).
At 83, He’s come to learn Curtain of Frost, as well as ability to AoE on several mobs at once. While the damage output of Blizzard has been lowered considerably (my combat logs read ~500 non-crit damage per tick in approximately 277-ish ilvl gear), you have a wide variety of slows and freezes to ensure that the mobs stay frozen where they are. Here’s the old version of the aoe sequence.
1.) Ice Barrier, mount up.
2.) Gather mobs, Ice Barrier is destroyed, rooting them in place
3.) Blink away, Blizzard repeatedly until they come close
4.) Frost Nova, repeat 3 and 4 until dead.
With Frostfire Orb, Curtain of Frost, and a myriad of new yet awesome talents, you have some great damage and kiting options to add on top of blizzard.
1.) Ice Barrier, wait for cooldown, target one of the mobs.
2.) Mount up, gather mobs, Ice Barrier is destroyed, rooting them in place.
3.) Blink away, cast either of Curtain of Frost/Frostfire Orb in front of the mobs.
4.) Blizzardspam until they draw close. Use any of Frost Nova/Cone of Cold/Pet Freeze/Shattered Barrier to keep them in place.
5.) repeat steps 3 and 4, replacing one spell with the other, depending on cooldowns. By then, mobs should have died.
Reactive Barrier is currently bugged such that it will not trigger if you are in the middle of a global cooldown. If it works as intended, you can use it alongside Icy Veins to spam knockback-free blizzard while the mobs are in melee range until barrier is activated automatically, and Shattered Barrier roots them in place afterward. The process is a little longer than what it was in BC and Wrath, but nonetheless, it is still faster than the amount of time spent killing all the mobs individually. AoE grinding still lives, albeit at higher levels!
Leveling is Almost Unfair
Right from level 10, leveling as a Frost mage seems almost unfair.
Almost. Maybe once you get to the mid-20’s, you get cone of cold, and the talent option to give it a freeze component (your third nova), it will be unfair.
Almost. Or maybe when you reach level 28, and you get Ice Lance, which is affected by Fingers of Frost, talents that you get at subsequent levels after acquiring said spell, it will be be unfair.
Almost. Or maybe when you reach level 56, and you get Frostfire Bolt, and you’re already at the appropriate level to talent into Brain Freeze, which is affected by, and triggers, Fingers of Frost, it will be unfair.
Almost. Or maybe when you reach level 59, and you get to choose through talents whether or not Ice Barrier triggers your fourth nova upon breaking, or having a free Ice Barrier, or having both at level 63, it will be unfair.
Almost. Or maybe when you reach level 69, and you get Deep Freeze, which is now castable on demand thanks to Water Elemental Freeze, which triggers Fingers of Frost, allowing you to Ice Lance the first FoF charge, deep freezing the second charge, and spamming Ice Lance until Deep Freeze wears off, or when the mob is dead and you have taken zero damage. Maybe then it will be unfair.
Almost. Maybe I just love Frost too much to care.