In true mage fashion, mere days after being handed a massive pile of steaming buff, I’m back here complaining up a storm.
QQ, as some might say.
Yes. Yes it is.
QQ moar, some might say.
To them, I say: Very well.
So Frostfire Bolt was fun. Unreasonably huge crits, easy to play, and took the other specs DPS and rap… royally thrashed them. Fireball was a little behind, but basically the same. Frost sucked, and so did arcane.
Arcane gets buffed so much it spewed sticky juices all over the wall. Fireball gets better, too, as TTW becomes a far more powerful talent. Who cares about Fireball, though? Have you seen the new spell animation? Blech.
Anyway, point is… where’s the love for frost? So far, this poor neglected tree has been depressingly low in it’s damage potential.
Sure, it’s devastating in Heroics and solo play, but toss it into a raid with proper boss fights, and the poor thing falls apart.
My opinion is that the problem is two fold.
First, frost is designed, or at least idealized, as a utility tree. It still suffers from the whole utility stigma that was so present in TBC.
The most popular thing brought up in arguments and debates about frost, on both sides, is the tree’s high survivability. Frost shouldn’t be buffed because it has high survivability… frost is an awesome tree because it has high survivability…
Let’s be honest here. The only type of survivability that matters is the survivability of the tank. Everything else is superfluous.
Sure, there might be gear check type stuff like “An AoE deals 8000 damage, therefore everyone must have over 8k health” or the ubiquitos [enter element here] resist fight.
But a frost mage can use Ice Barrier! If a fight requires 15k hitpoints, a frost mage can afford to go in with 12k, as the shield can make up the difference!
Holy hell you’re right! This means priests and paladins are intentionally designed to be less effective healers than shamans and druids!
And hey, toss druids in there, too. They can turn into bears, which boosts their HP. Therefore they can survive more, and because of that survivability, their effective healing should be lower.
See how ludicrous that is?
To be blunt, the survivability of a DPS class in a raid is completely irrelevant. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again.
A DPS class is there to do damage. Anything else is inconsequential.
The other “utility” part of the equation is that of being a mana battery via the oh so awesome Water Elemental. That little guy is the only thing that provides an unrestricted raid wide mana restore buff.
The two closest to it is Judgement of Wisdom, requiring the target to be attacked, and, of course, Replenishment, which is limited to ten people.
Again, though, the same counter argument. Are Ret Pallies designed to do less damage than other DPS by sheer merit of Replenishment?
Buffing the Elemental’s mana restore isn’t the answer either. Making it equal or better than Replenishment would render the thing hopelessly overpowered.
Replenishment, as it is now, requires a class to do something DPS wise, an ability combo, a crit, something. WE requires a button to be pushed. Replenishment is a buff, which can be dispelled, and only applies to ten people at a time. WE simply exists, though it can be killed, and applies to forty people.
Of course, the mechanic could simply be changed to Replenishment outright and be done with it. But that… actually that’s a pretty good idea.
By the way, this is a good time to mention this…
Where the hell is the AoE damage reduction for mage pets? Warlocks have it, hunters have it, death knights have it…
King of AoE, my ass. More like King of Getting Killed by AoE.
I digress. Where was I?
Succinctly put, utility just doesn’t pertain to DPS. Moving on.
Frost needs to deal more damage in raids without becoming ineffaby powerful in PvP scenarios.
There are all the obvious band-aid solutions.
Buff Glyph of Frostbolt, for instance. No sane PvP frost mage would use that, as such it’s only relevant in a raiding environment.
Buff the damage the Water Elemental can deal. This is more of a gap closer than a real solution, as it would be a little extreme to suddenly boost the Elemental’s DPS by 500. Something small would be a lot less impactful, while still being a buff and a step in the right direction.
The impact on PvP would likely be small. Elementals are dealt with extremely quickly in PvP; any extra DPS added here would be nearly unnoticeable.
Playing with this idea, it’s also possible to steal some ideas from the Demonology or Beastmaster tree, allowing the frost mage and the elemental to play off each other a little more.
A boost to spellpower when the elemental is active, a large-ish buff when the elemental crits, a passive DPS boost along the lines of Focused Fire, all of these can be done without impacting PvP.
The key is that none of these can be powerful enough to be game changing in an arena. A 10% boost to damage while the elemental is active, for instance, is game changing, whereas a 3% boost is not.
Maybe a mechanic change, where using the Elemental’s ranged root causes Fingers of Frost to immediately proc for the mage.
Superfluous to the point of uselessness in PvP, it gives the raiding frost mage a mutated form of Combustion.
While we’re borrowing ideas from the other mage trees, how about a mana dump?
Frost mages are currently suffering from Infinite Mana Syndrome.
The very end of BC, when Replenishment was introduced, saw BM hunters in a position where it was nearly impossible for them to spend mana, no matter how hard they tried. Doubly so if JoW was active on the current DPS target.
Arcane is the poster child of mana throttling and mana dumps. It excels at those two concepts to the point that when “mana dump” is mentioned, an arcane mage is the first thing that comes to mind.
Fire based specs also have mana dumps, though to a lesser extent.
Look at it this way. Picture mana as water. Arcane can dump mana like dumping water out of an inverted bucket. Fire can dump mana like stabbing a decently sized hole in the bottom of a bucket.
Frost can dump mana like using ice cubes to displace the water in a bucket enough to knock some of it out.
Stupid similes and metaphors aside, frost doesn’t have a mana dump, and it should.
Deep Freeze seems the obvious candidate.
Tune in tomorrow to hear the chilling conclusion.