Euripedes: Hey Ghostcrawler, we mages haven’t heard anything from you guys in a while. What’s up, man? Back in beta, it was all mages all the time.
Ghostcrawler: Ahh… you know, it’s all these Paladins and Warlocks. It’s… well, you know.
Euripedes: I hear ya, man. Those guys aren’t happy no matter what ya do fer ’em. Still, though, that’s no excuse. C’mon, man, I gave ya biscuits in AV!
Ghostcrawler: Alright alright… how ’bout some stuff about arcane mages? We got some damn good stuff ready to roll out, which should get it back into PvE and tone it down a little in PvP. Alsowenerfedblizzard.
Euripedes: Hey, sounds good. Wait… what was that last part?
Note: All bloggers are good friends with the developers of WoW. ALL of us. If a blogger tells you he/she isn’t, they’re lying through their keyboard.
So if you missed it, there’s finally some mage news on the horizon. Lo and behold, it’s exactly what we thought it was. Arcane gets the fixes we all were waiting for, and Blizzard gets nerfed. Who didn’t see that one coming?
The quick version:
Evocation cooldown reduced to 4 minutes, and Arcane Flows now reduces the cooldown of Evocate by 1 / 2 minutes.
A great mana restoration ability just got a lot better. Fantastic for deep arcane mages.
Arcane Blast has been overhauled. Will now increase the damage of your next Arcane spell by 30%. However using Arcane Blast itself does not consume the charge, but instead increases the mana of your next Arcane Blast, up to a maximum of 3 stacks.
Awesome news for arcane mages. A return to how it worked in TBC, mostly, whilst still using ABarr and neatly making arcane extremely overpowered for PvP.
Torment the Weak now works for Arcane Blast and does bonus damage to targets afflicted by any kind of slowing effect (e.g. Thunder Clap).
Very large buff to damage for anyone who has this, and a very strong consideration for any who don’t.
Elemental Precision renamed Precision, and now works on all spells.
Meaning arcane mages can get 6% hit from talents.
Improved Blizzard’s snaring effect reduced to 20/40/50%
The long version:
The Arcane tree has finally be overhauled. It was a long time coming, and here it is. Arcane mages REJOICE, for you now play identical to a leveling rogue.
The mechanics are dreadfully simple, and function almost exactly like combo points.
The Arcane Blast buff (it’s now officially considered a buff) still stacks to three, just like before. Each time you stack it, the mana cost of Arcane Blast goes up by 200%. Just like it does now.
The new thing it does is increase the damage dealt by the next arcane spell by 15% per stack. When you cast a new, damage dealing arcane spell, the buff is consumed. Obviously, Arcane Blast does not consume the buff, but it does benefit from the extra damage.
What this means is that an arcane mage can use ABlast to charge up an extremely powerful ABarr, or AM. Yes, Arcane Missiles benefits from this too. Combine three stacks of ABlast with Missile Barrage, and you have yourself the ultimate pew pew.
And, of course, PoM + ABlast just became sickeningly powerful.
This gives you a situation where you can rotate ABlast and ABarr entirely of your own volition. You can use ABlast once, then ABarr, or use it twice, or thrice, or even four times (to get off one ABlast that benefits from te 45% damage increase) and then use ABarr… or even straight up spam ABlast if you really, really want to.
In other words, it’s just like how ABlast used to be, except now it doesn’t need to rely on any non-arcane spells. This should bring arcane into a strong raiding spec for mages.
And will likely render it illiterately powerful for PvP.
Bust out a calculator, it’s time for some simple math.
Arcane Blast deals 912 to 1058 damage, with an 80.43% coefficient (this is with Arcane Empowerment).
Arcane Barrage deals 936 to 1144 damage, with an 85.71% coefficient.
I’m going to bust out a mage here. In blue PvP gear and as an arcane spec, he’s sporting exactly 1500 spellpower.
Thus, Arcane Blast gains 1206 of that spellpower, and Arcane Barrage gains 1285 of that spellpower.
This means, with the following ranks of the Arcane Blast buff, they will hit for the following:
0 stacks – ABlast deals 2118 – 2264 damage, ABarr deals 2221 – 2429 damage.
1 stack – ABlast deals 2435 – 2603 damage, ABarr deals 2554 – 2793 damage.
2 stacks – ABlast deals 2753 – 2943 damage, ABarr deals 2887 – 3157 damage.
3 stacks – ABlast deals 3071 – 3282 damage, ABarr deals 3220 – 3522 damage.
Not so bad. It starts getting a little ridiculous though. Consider, arcane mages crit for 175% of the spells damage.
Let’s go with a three stack of ABarr to show you where this gets ugly…
An ABarr cast with three stacks of ABlast will deal 3220 – 3522. If that crits, it will deal 5635 – 6163 damage. That’s a hefty increase.
So now let’s backtrack, and say this mage casts ABlast twice, then PoM ABlast’s to get the full three stack, then pops Arcane Power and uses a trinket. Let’s say the trinket is a mere 185 spellpower.
The mage now has a spellpower value 1685, of which the ABarr gets 1444 of that. This means ABarr will hit anywhere from 2380 – 2588 damage.
With three stacks of the ABlast buff and Arcane Power active, ABarr will hit for 175% (or 1.00 + 0.45 + 0.3) of it’s normal damage.
ABarr, then, will hit for 4165 – 4528 damage, and crit for 7288 – 7924 damage.
Y’all catch on yet?
Maybe the mage won’t use PoM on that last ABlast. Maybe he will save it, and follow up his incredibly powerful ABarr with a Pyro (that can easily crit in the five digit area). Imagine being on the receiving end of that.
And hey, I still haven’t factored in the 12% damage boost from Torment the Weak yet.
This change attempts to solve the mobility issue for PvP arcane mages. It’s an issue in that it isn’t an issue.
A major part of why arcane mages are so powerful in PvP is due to the fact that they don’t need to stop to cast anything. They can use instant spells 100% of the time, and so it is very hard, if not impossible, to counter an arcane mage’s burst damage.
By adding in an effect to ABlast like this, it gets the mage to rely on stuff with a cast time. Thus, the arcane mage isn’t an eternally elusive ranged fighter, it actually needs to stop and cast stuff to get to it’s more damaging spells.
This allows the mage’s opponents a chance to properly come up with a counter. Either by locking out the mages arcane school, or at least preparing for some serious butt hurt of the mage gets off several spells in a row.
If the enemy knows the mage is winding up into a huge spell, intelligent players can plan accordingly. In other words, taken actions proactively against the mage rather than being forced entirely into reactive actions.
Note that ABlast remains at a 2.5 second cast time, thus giving it the same cast time as frostbolt.
With this change, arcane and frost would, strategically speaking, be fairly similar. The frost mage needs to set up for massive burst damage, via the classic shatter combo we all know and love. Arcane now acts nearly the same way, requiring set up in order to unleash a massive amount of burst.
At it’s core, this means that alert players will have an element of predictability when facing arcane mages now. Add in the fact that the ABlast buff can be dispelled, and now arcane mages can be effectively countered.
This isn’t a bad thing. This is a fantastic thing. Before, arcane was bursty as hell, and many cried OP.
Again, it all comes down to warning. Fighting a frost mage, when you see the elemental suddenly appear, and the mage is casting frostbolt at someone, you know there’s going to be pain. If somebody is hit with Deep Freeze, you know a shatter is incoming.
With an arcane mage, there is no such warning. The brief flight time of a Pyroblast is all the warning anyone ever got.
Now, if an arcane mage unleashes hell upon thee, it’s your own damn fault for letting him get to three stacks in the first place.
ABlast has a 2.5 second cast time. This puts it in the same boat as frost, as far as main nukes go. This, I think, is getting a little risky. Arcane doesn’t have dual Ice Block, it doesn’t have Ice Barrier. Forcing the mage to remain stationary for the same length of time as a spec with superior defenses is worrisome.
To be blunt, without adequate defenses, a 2.5 second cast time is too long. ABlast should be around the two second cast time mark. 1.5 seconds is too fast, 2.5 seconds is too long. Bring it down to 2 seconds, adjust the coefficient accordingly, buff Arcane Empowerment a little if need be for raiding.
Another possibility is that ABarr might have to be nerfed. This, too, is worrisome. ABarr could easily become the most overpowered ability ever seen in PvP since Sleep, and yet if it’s nerfed at all, arcane loses a ton of it’s PvE viability.
Of course, an easy solution is to beef up what ABlast is capable of. See two paragraphs ago.
This is all likely to be conjecture, though. Rest assured, when the PTR’s go live, yours truly will be giving arcane some very serious time to figure out what’s what.