I hate to use the word gimmicky to describe a particular raid encounter.
Frankly, any encounter that isn’t a straight up tank and spank is a gimmicky fight, thanks to all the… well, gimmicks. Even Patchwerk is, technically, a gimmicky fight thanks to the Hateful Strikes.
But I really can’t come up with a better word for the encounters in Ulduar. Gimmicky is just… so… fitting.
There are fights with constant movement. Fights with deadly AoEs that you then need to take advantage of to win the encounter. Fights with a bajillion adds. Fights where the raid has to split up. And multiple combinations thereof.
And this is before people start messing with hard modes.
It’s hard not to think of the repercussions all these gimmicks will have on preferred specs for the future of mage raiding.
Evocation. Even when stacked with Icy Veins, it still takes many seconds to cast, depending on how much haste you have. Could be anywhere from 5-6 seconds, maybe four if you stack it with Bloodlust/Heroism too.
In any case, it’s still a relatively long time.
My concern is that with the fight mechanics present in Ulduar, there won’t be an opportunity to use Evocate properly. Though not quite as important for fire or frost style specs, a missed or partial Evocate for arcane mages can be downright terrifying.
For instance, my first time in VoA, I mistimed an Evocate and got hit with Stomp after only two ticks. My mana, at that point, was basically totally screwed and I spent the last 30 seconds of the fight standing around cleaning my ear with a pen lid.
So what’s going to happen for fights like, say, Hodir, where constant movement is required? Is there going to be enough standstill time to get the full benefit from Evocate? What happens when hard mode is turned on and even more movement is required?
It may become necessary to turn Evocate into an instant buff, similar to how Innervate works. This has the down side of removing all skill required to use it correctly, though it’s advantages are obvious.
Or reduce its cooldown even further, turning it into something very similar to how Aspect of the Viper works. This does, however, kill everything that Evocate ever used to be. Though modeling it this way will increase the level of skill to use it correctly and efficiently.
Then there’s also the huge amount if spirit that seems to be prevalent on every single piece of cloth caster gear. Over two-thirds of the caster gear we know of so far has spirit on it, and even then the spirit-free pieces tend to have mp5 on them.
This makes me wonder, all the more, what exactly spirit is going to actually do for mages.
In order for it to be useful to mages, it therefore needs to be useful for all mages. Meaning arcane, fire, and frost mages.
Which means, more likely than not, that it will need to have a different effect for each tree.
If it’s used primarily for mana regen (as it is now), then arcane and fire mages will go along with it, and frost mages get shafted again. If frost mages need the mana regen, then fire mages are basically completely screwed and arcane will rely more than ever on Evocate.
Unless frost gets a proper mana dump.
If it’s spellpower or otherwise DPS related in order to try and solve frosts low DPS problem at the same time as the spirit problem, then it stands a very good chance of overpowering the specs that already have high DPS.
If it provides DPS to the specs that need it and mana regen to the others, then arcane gets shafted with terrible scaling and fire mages will wonder what the hell to do with all this damn spirit.
It’s all very complicated, and will take a great deal of testing to perfect.
SO WHY IS IT NOT ON THE PTR BEING TESTED?!
Sorry, got a little carried away there.
Lastly, what’s up with all the AoE?
Blizzard said “Oh, CC will be making a comeback” and all I see is more AoE than ever before. Of course, we haven’t gotten to really see the trash yet, and they could very well be Sunwell super trash.
This, too, could very well have a serious impact on desired specs. Frost could become more powerful, or Frostfire builds for Frostbite/Shatter/Blizzard combos. Arcane could keep its top spot, what with Arcane Power/Icy Veins/Blizzard.
But with the emphasis on movement (as mentioned above), Blizzard could very well be dead. Meaning AoE will then depend on either Arcane Explosion… or the fire tree and it’s instant Flamestrikes.
Hard to tell, as there just hasn’t been enough PTR exposure to the greater mage community yet. I highly doubt any of us will truly know for sure until several weeks after the patch has been released.
Until then… well, there really isn’t anything all that new. A tiny tweak here, a little change there. There aren’t really many earthshattering changes, though the new Glyph of Ice Lance comes close.
The mage changes account for a small number of bullet points every now and then, with most other classes garnering huge paragraphs and even small essays with great frequency.
Blizzard hasn’t even had the courtesy to make a huge promise and then go back on it (hiya hunters, how’s that ammo treatin’ ya?). It just seems like mages, as a class, just isn’t getting a lot of attention.
It’s ok, though. I understand, really. Obviously a lot of effort was put into our class during the original beta, and now our class is basically perfect, right? So there isn’t really anything all that important left to do. Right?