This is seriously what I’m reduced to. There is no good news for mages on the horizon, merely the faint hope that there will eventually be good news on the horizon.
So PTR testing has been going on for a while now, and I can discuss some of my concerns with a little more detail.
Well… turns out my concern about the whole Evocation thing in Ulduar was perfectly valid.
Let’s be honest here. Arcane is not, and never has been, a mana efficient tree. It abuses mana like angry twelve year olds abuse caps lock.
Nowadays, Arcane depends very heavily on Evocation, and if you miss a tick or two…
Anyone who’s had Evocation interrupted in a raid knows what I’m talking about. It’s extremely difficult to recover from losing Evocation time, and missing even one tick can be devastating.
Testing in Ulduar seems to be indicating that the age of the arcane mage might very well be coming to an end.
Fights are lasting much longer; lengthy fights have never been arcane’s forte. Though it is much better now than it has been in the past thanks almost entirely to Evocate; an arcane mage can, essentially, DPS permanently in two minute gaps via constant Evocation.
The prevalence of random AoE and mechanics that require very frequent movement in Ulduar means that it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to find time to get every tick from Evocate.
What happens to a spec that requires lots of mana and full Evocates in an environment where it gets neither?
It becomes obsolete.
I believe it is time for Evocate to undergo a serious make-over. If nothing is done, then I firmly believe arcane is now a dying spec.
Don’t get me wrong, it will still be perfectly viable in all the content we currently have. But Ulduar and beyond… it’s done. Extinct. Finished.
So what about spirit, then?
Blizzard has come forward and said they want to have spirit become a useful stat to us. Again. I dunno, how long can they repeat basically the same sentence?
Anyway, we’ve been given some vague specifics on what they want to do. They don’t want mages to be the class that stacks spirit to the exclusion of other stats. They also don’t want spirit to flat out provide “free” DPS.
I wonder what the definition of “free” DPS is. Perhaps a simple spirit -> spellpower conversion is what they mean, or any conversion into a raw DPS stat (haste, crit, hit).
Which makes me wonder what they’re going to try, then. From the sounds of it, they don’t want to transform spirit into a really good stat (as it is for, say, holy priests and resto druids). They seem to just want spirit to not be completely useless anymore (along the lines of warlocks).
I just wonder why it’s taken so long to get spirit into something useful. It’s been years. Spirit’s been totally useless to mages since Molten Armor was coded into the game.
At least we finally have confirmation that the Scorch/Winter’s Chill debuff is being nerfed and spread around. Apparently, an extra 10% crit for offensive casters was just too powerful a buff.
Due to crit being a stat that often fuels other talents (Ice Shards, Burnout, Ignite, Master of Elements), the powers that be decided that a 5% crit debuff is enough of a boost.
Basically, every player that used offensive spell abilities just lost 5% critical strike chance. Mages aren’t the only ones hit by this, everyone else suffers too.
At this point, I’m not really sure if this is going to hit mages as hard as other casters. On the one hand, mages are more crit dependent than any other offensive caster. A loss of 5% is definitely going to hit fairly hard.
Consider it this way. Losing 5% critical strike chance is like losing 229 critical strike rating. Not a small number.
One the other hand, now that Warlocks bring the debuff too (far easier and faster than a mage ever did), this frees mages from the responsibility of keeping the debuff up.
For both frost and fire mages, this means an extra three talent points they can afford to put elsewhere. A FFB mage, for instance, can put a couple points in Imp. Blizzard, or pick up Blastwave and DB again.
For fire mages, this means they don’t have to use Scorch ever again, and it frees a glyph slot! Conveniently, that latter perk arrives just in time for fire mages to pick up Glyph of Living Bomb.
Either of those two, by themselves, isn’t enough to make up for the loss of 5% critical strike chance.
Both of them together, however, is.
In fact, eliminating Scorch entirely and allowing LB ticks to crit is actually a DPS increase for fire mages, if a very tiny one (as in, 10-20 DPS higher).
Arcane and frost mages are going to lose about 100 DPS, though. Sucks to be you guys.