This has been knocking around my brain for a while, so I’ll spell it out here.
Mostly, I’m looking at the possible power of Incanter’s Absorption in a raiding environment, and how it interacts with that Frost Warding talent that’s sucked for so long… and, of course, how all that works together with constantly tossing up Frost Ward/Fire Ward.
We all know how these work. Whenever you absorb damage, Incanter’s Absorption boosts your spellpower by a percentage of whatever you absorb.
Frost Warding, then, gives you a chance to negate a given frost/fire spell (which does NOT count towards it’s absorption total), restoring the damage as mana. This is a 30% proc rate, so not something you can depend on every time, but can depend on enough to be proccing frequently.
So I had questions. So many questions.
Obviously, the synergy between these two talents won’t be available every fight. It’ll only work on fights where you can expect to take frost or fire damage.
(Unless you have a Discipline priest, I guess. Get on the good side of one of them, and those guys can basically feed you hundreds of spellpower in a high AoE environment.)
The first thing I needed to know was if the damage negation from the talent affected the total absorption.
Let’s say Frost Ward absorbs 2000 damage. The damage aura of Sapphiron ticks on you for 1000 damage, which is instantly negated, and immediately restoring 1000 mana.
Will the Frost Ward then absorb 1000 damage, or 2000 after this happens?
Happily, it’s still 2000. Any damage it negates doesn’t apply to the amount it absorbs.
You ready for this? This is the cool part!
Any damage negated from Frost Warding counts towards Incanter’s Absorption.
Look at it this way.
You cast Frost Ward. You get hit for 1000 damage, which is instantly negated. This gives you 1000 mana and 150 spellpower for 10 seconds.
A couple seconds later, Frost Ward absorbs 1000 damage, boosting your bonus spellpower to 300.
Then again to 450 extra spellpower a couple seconds later. Let’s say Frost Ward dies at this point.
Now you have 450 spellpower more than you normally do. If you have, say, a damage trinket and AP available, pop those two together and the extra damage you deal is greatly magnified.
It doesn’t actually work that way, but if you’re allergic to math you can consider it to work that way.
This is how it actually works:
IA buffs can be rolled. Absorbing more damage does refresh the stack… well sort of.
Rather than the ability simply keeping track of multiple spellpower values, and dropping them off at the appropriate times, it simply adds everything together for a single buff that you can keep rolling for as long as you can.
Again, sort of. Obviously keeping the buff rolling perfectly would be a very bad thing. Arcane mages could easily develop literally huge spellpower values by keeping a massive IA stack rolling.
What IA does is normalize the spellpower buff, refreshing it to it’s maximum 10 second duration via (what else) a formula. The formula is this:
New SP = (Absorbed Damage)*0.15 + (Old SP)*(Remaining Buff Time/10)
You absorbs 1000 damage. IA procs, giving you an extra 150 spellpower for 10 seconds.
2 seconds pass, and you absorb another 1000 damage, giving you another boost of 150. That’s the first part of the equation.
Your old spellpower value was 150. This number is multiplied by whatever time is left on your current IA buff, divided by ten. In this case, you have 8 seconds left, so the 150 spellpower is multiplied by 0.8.
This gives you a value of 120, which is then added to the new 150 spellpower, for a total of 270 spellpower for the next ten seconds.
Let’s say this keeps going. The next tick, two seconds later, misses you for whatever reason, and you don’t absorb anything until two seconds after that. This number is also 1000.
(1000)*0.15 + (270)*(6/10) = New SP value
150 + 162 = 312 spellpower.
Technically speaking, any given spellpower boost is only present for the 10 seconds as advertised, it’s just normalized into a single, formulaic buff that doesn’t eat up Blizzard’s hardware trying to keep track of multiple buffs at once.
(In other words, the original buff lasts for 10 seconds, 2 seconds have passed, therefore 80% of it’s power is passed onto the next buff.)
Note that, as with anything else, these calculations are subject to rounding.
Anyway. Where was I?
So Incanter’s Absorption feeds you extra spellpower. Basically any fight where you can count on getting hit with either frost or fire damage.
And even if you can’t count on it, there are some fights (like, say, Razorscale or Hodir) where you can intentionally “stand in fire” for a tick or two, and let the extra mana and spellpower roll on in.
The real question is, is all this worth it? Is it worth spending the mana and a GCD for some extra spellpower and some mana?
Let’s put it this way.
Frost Ward was cast six times that fight. In addition to the spellpower boosts from IA, those 6 Frost Wards gave the mage back a whopping 12960 mana.
Nearly 13k mana, restoring a mere 631 mana less than Evocation did, and a paltry 1471 less mana than Replenishment did.
Yes, you read that right. The mana returned from Frost Warding was rivaling Replenishment and Evocation, the two hugest (non-Innervate) sources of mana a mage can get.
But still, is it worth it? It’s only going to be available on fights with frost and fire damage splashing around, and of course you have to remember to cast the damn Ward.
In my eyes, you aren’t really sacrificing anything to get the talents. Frost is little more than an annoying necessity to get Icy Veins, so it isn’t hard to come up with two talent points to put in there.
Getting IA itself may be a little more difficult. The range talents, even the pushback talents or any of those other flavor things can be dropped in exchange for IA. Hell, you can even drop points from Arcane Focus, if you want. There’s lots of hit gear swimming around, and really… what else are you going to gear for? The rather bad haste or the terrible crit?
You have nothing to lose, but something to gain. I think it’s worth it.
Just… if you do, try not to become that annoying mage that always asks for stuff, mk? I mean, arcanists already beg for Mana Tide/Innervate, do you really want to start nagging discipline priests for constant bubbles too?
(Yes, of course you do.)