Today, I’m going to complain endlessly about frost. This has nothing to do with my hatred of winter and the fact that it just snowed up here. Nothing at all.
First things first. Fingers of Frost. Blizzard (or Ghostcrawler, if you will) has stated on numerous occasions that the intention was to give frost mages the ability to use “shatter” in a raid environment, in a similar to fashion to how it’s used in PvP.
So far, FoF has failed utterly at this. As it works now, providing charges of shatter, it only succeeds in being a flat increase to DPS, requiring no input whatsoever from the mage. Really, the only active participation is making sure you don’t cast a fireball while FoF is up.
In the early stages of raiding, it used to be viable to use an ice lance for the second charge. The inability for ice lance to further proc FoF was offset by the fact that it was instant. However, ice lance does not scale, and so at about 1700 spell damage, was no longer worth the GCD it spent.
And now, with ice lance not proccing brain freeze, it isn’t even useful for entry level raiding.
FoF used to have an identical timer to what Deep Freeze has now. If FoF procced, you had five seconds to use it, or it was gone. No charges.
This way, the mage had to “beat the clock”, as it were, by casting frostbolt twice, then hitting ice lance to get a quick shatter in at the end. The issue with it, though, was that it didn’t give the mage enough time to react properly to it, similar to the old MSD. By the time it procced, it was already nearly gone.
Now this is just me thinking quietly via text, but it occurs to me that if the old, rapid timer thing wasn’t quite working, and the new charge thing isn’t quite working, then maybe it needs to function as a hybrid of the two.
Timer wise forces you to use it right away, or else, and charge based gives you the freedom to use it whenever. So here’s a thought.
FoF will only last for three seconds. However, the three second timer does not start counting down until a frost spell successfully casts.
It would be better if this part of the buff did not have a timer to it, so that using it would be at the discretion of the mage. If it really needs one, I would consider fifteen seconds before expiration of this part a bare minimum.
As a practical example. Chain casting frostbolt, you cast one and start casting another. By the time the first frostbolt hits, and procs FoF, you are already partway through casting the next frostbolt. The three second timer would not start counting down until that second frostbolt actually completed its cast.
If you interrupt frostbolt, FoF stays there, patiently awaiting a frost spell to successfully cast before the 3 second timer is activated.
Back to casting. Frostbolt successfully casts, gaining the extra 50% to shatter, and now you have three seconds with which to continue benefiting from it. In other words, just long enough for another frostbolt and an ice lance. (4 seconds might be necessary, to compensate for lag.)
This allows the same functionality of the buff for both raiding and PvP, but changes the flavour of it significantly. In raiding, it allows for a proper shatter combo, and it changes it somewhat in PvP. The freedom to decide when and where to use it would remain, with the stipulation that when you do use it, you need to use it NOW.
This brings us into the next issue. That is, frost currently doesn’t have a spell worth the GCD it would take to take advantage of the timer. The choice is, essentially, between a frostbolt that does not benefit from shatter, and an instant that does. Mathematically, a non-shatter frostbolt trumps any shattered instant a deep frost build would have access to.
The solution to this is much, much harder. In order for this whole thing to work, frost needs to have an instant that is worth GCD it takes to cast it, or have an instant that does not trigger the GCD. Thus, the choice is between buffing an existing spell, or inventing a new one.
Having ice lance scale so that it is worth using would render it overpowered in PvP. Having deep freeze deal damage (that is, enough damage) would have the same issue.
Taking ice lance off the GCD and adding a cooldown to it (possibly similar to what arcane barrage has) would work from a raiding perspective, but crocodilehyenadragonhawk knows what that would do to PvP.
As a reiteration, the goal here is to make frost less boring in a raid environment. It’s not an issue of making it better, some mages have always raided as frost and will continue to do so regardless; it’s an issue of making it more fun for those who already raid as frost.
Fire is the poster man of a raiding spec that is blisteringly fun to play. As a fire mage, you’d work with no less than four spells at any given time. That is, scorch, fireball, pyroblast, and living bomb. Throw in AoE spell rotations and fireblast as needed.
Frost, comparatively, has a mere two spells it rotates, and it’s AoE is limited entirely to one spell. Even arcane, a tree renowned for being in peak form when it spammed one spell for as long as possible, rotates at least three spells in a modern raid environment.
“But the pet!” I hear you cry. What an excellent segue into the next major issue with frost.
The water elemental is about as fragile as a Kleenex dipped in liquid nitrogen. Touch it too hard and bits of it go everywhere.
Warlocks have complained about the same thing for ages. Now, this isn’t to say I’d like to see a water elemental being able to tank Naxx-10 or something; that would be insane on so many levels.
What I’d like to see (and I’m sure many others) is the ability of the water elemental to survive random boss AoE’s hurled his way. If you run into a boss that casts an arcane explosion analogue spell at the whole raid every twenty seconds, that bugger is going to kill your little guy and there is nothing you can do about.
At least warlocks can heal their pets, however stupid it may be.
Pets dying under concentrated fire power is fine, pets getting demolished by things that aren’t preventable or even directed at them in the first place is just silly. The AoE damage reduction that all hunters enjoyed for their pets is something that should be made base line for all pets in the game.
Improved Water Elemental. On top of what it already does, add a 25/50/75% AoE damage reduction. There. Fixed. WE survivability in raids fixed. Having this be default for the pet would be even better.
While I’m at it, would it kill you to give us a pet pane? It’d be awesome to know how stuff actually effects the elemental without massive amounts of TDTs or lurking in EJ for hours. And hey, how about finally getting our hit rating to affect the pet, too? (Yes, it still doesn’t work.)
Moving on. Oh, you that I was done? HAH!
Glyph of Frostbolt. Hoo boy. The main nuke glyph is an absolute necessity for raiders. No fire mage would raid without glyph of fireball; no frost mage would raid without glyph of frostbolt.
Glyphs of this style have both a positive side and a negative side. Glyph of fireball, for instance, removes the DoT effect. Losing the DoT effect from fireball is about as inconsequential as you can get. It had nearly no effect in raids other than using up a debuff slot, and its use in PvP was only for the purpose of putting a DoT on a target that could stealth. And hey, look, I spy a DoT spell in the fire tree.
Glyph of frostbolt is an absolute must for raiding, and the downside is that it cripples you in PvP. Not a little cripple, I’m talking full on quadriplegic here. It would be like severing all of your limbs, then competing in a 100 yard dash.
Sure, you might give Captain Metric Ton a run for his money, but he’s still going to beat you, even if he just falls over and lets gravity roll him along.
A solution to this is likely already in the works.
If you’re going to swap between raiding and PvP as a frost mage, you’re already going to need to change specs and gear sets, swapping out a single glyph isn’t going to make any further impact.
Blizzard did mentioned (albeit flippantly) that the whole dual-spec thing would include swapping of glyphs. Which, of course, makes sense considering how useful, say, Glyph of Healing Touch is to a bear druid.
Holy wall of text, batman!