FEEDBACK: Mage Class Changes

Updated August 11

Hello Mages. In this week’s build, we’ve made many changes to Arcane as well as a few updates to the other specs to address recent concerns about talents and GCD usage.

General Mage Changes

  • Mirror Images damage greatly reduced, Frostbolt added to all Mirror Images, and while your images are active, damage taken is reduced by 20%. Taking direct damage will cause one of your images to dissipate.
    • Developers’ notes: The goal is to push Mirror Images away from a DPS cooldown and give it a defensive component. Now, only taking direct damage will cause an image to dissipate and there is an ICD of 2 seconds to ensure at least a 6 second uptime when taking damage.
  • Rune of Power has been reworked to cast at your location when you use one of either Combustion, Arcane Power, or Icy Veins, depending on your spec.
    • Developers’ notes: This change is aimed to help with the cast time and GCD utilization at the beginning of an encounter, while remaining viable in your opener as a high burst window.

Arcane

The following Arcane changes are focused on reducing ramp up time, as well as opening up more talent options based on the content you’re running.

  • Arcane Power cooldown reduced to 2 minutes (was 3 minutes).
  • Touch of the Magi now generates 4 Arcane Charges on cast.
  • New Talent: Master of Time – Reduces the cooldown of Alter Time by 30 seconds. Alter Time resets the cooldown of Blink when you return to your original location.
  • Alter Time has been moved to Level 24 for Arcane mages.
  • Resonance damage per target hit with Arcane Barrage increased to 15% (was 10%).
  • Charged Up removed.
    • Developers’ notes: Touch of the Magi will now generate 4 charges baseline. This opens up the Level 35 tier for more viable options that focus heavily on dealing AoE damage.
  • New Level 35 Talent: Arcane Echo – Direct damage you deal to enemies affected by Touch of the Magi, causes an explosion that deals [0.15xSP] Arcane damage to 8 nearby enemies.
  • Time Anomaly now grants Time Warp for 6 seconds.
    • Developers’ notes: A simple change, but this should make Time Anomaly feel more satisfying as a talent since gaining Time Warp is always a good thing, but gaining Arcane Charges isn’t something you’d always necessarily want.

Fire

Fire updates are centered around the change that saw Phoenix Flames baseline as the Ignite spread.

  • Phoenix Flames damage increased and recharge time reduced, but no longer guarantees critical hits.
    • Developers’ notes: Phoenix Flames still interacts with Hot Streak, so it can benefit within the Combustion window, but outside of that, it will primarily function as a way to spread your Ignite.
  • Alexstrasza’s Fury – Dragon’s Breath now also gains a 50% increased critical strike damage bonus.
  • New talent: From the Ashes – Increases Mastery by 2% for each charge of Phoenix Flames off cooldown, and your direct-damage critical strikes reduce its cooldown by 1 second.

June 10

Mage

  • Shimmer charge count increased to 2.
  • Shimmer cooldown Increased to 25 seconds (was 20 seconds).
    • Developers’ notes: After listening to feedback and more playtesting, we are returning both charges of Shimmer at a slightly higher cooldown cost. Our goal with the change was to bring more it inline with the other talents on the row, but in doing so, Shimmer lost a lot of its identity. If the other talents on the tier continue to underperform, we’ll look at ways we can enhance them to be more attractive options while up against Shimmer.
  • Focus Magic now also grants the caster 1% Intellect, stacking up to 8 times when their Focus Magic target critically strikes.
    • Developers’ notes: We’d like for Focus Magic to reward the caster a bit more for taking an ally friendly talent.
  • Frost and Fire Ward removed from all specs.
    • Developers’ notes: Compared to some of the other abilities, these two landed a little flat and overlapped a bit too much with each of the Barriers.

Fire Specialization

  • Alexstrasza’s Fury now also makes your next Pyroblast or Flamestrike deal 35% increased damage.
    • Developers’ notes: We’re looking to make this more competitive with the Flame On and the future Phoenix Flames replacement.

In this thread, we’re discussing Mage class changes coming in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

Read more about initial class changes in the World of Warcraft blog.

This initial post will be updated periodically throughout the Shadowlands test. Please check back here for information about further updates to this class as they are made.

Thank you for your testing and feedback!

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A little background: I’ve played a Mage since Classic, been writing guides about the class on Wowhead since MoP and am a moderator over at Altered Time, the Mage Discord server.

Here I’ll begin by going over some of the class-wide changes and my thoughts on it, then move on to my notes and a wishlist for each spec. This post is extremely long, but that’s because I am passionate about both this class and the game. I’ve added a TLDR summary to each section for easier reading.

Class-wide changes/additions

TLDR:

  • Alter Time is not an adequate replacement for Displacement for Arcane
  • Mirror Image should be a utility cooldown, not a DPS one
  • The loss of Shimmer’s second charge should be compensated with a lower cooldown
  • Focus Magic overlaps with the role of Incanter’s Flow and is only suitable for Frost.

Alter Time

Great to have it back; I am, perhaps, in the minority as I always preferred the WoD version (a simple mobility/survivability spell) over the MoP one (a damage cooldown). However, taking Displacement away from Arcane to give Alter Time back to all specs, at the same time as Shimmer is reduced to one charge, is a significant hit to Mage mobility, and Arcane’s in particular. The spell should really be tweaked for that spec, at least, to refund Blink/Shimmer’s cooldown - they are the masters of time and space, after all.

Mirror Image

As glad as I am to see the spell return to the base kit (it was never a competitive choice against the other options), MI on the alpha is not an interesting button to press; it’s simply ‘Do a bit more passive damage for 40 seconds’. By the end of Mists - the last time the spell was a baseline ability, rather than a talent - Mages were using this as a threat-drop or tool to help with soloing content, but it wasn’t a regular part of a damage rotation; if the spell remains as-is (uninteractive, simply casting Fireball/Frostbolt/Arcane Blast), this may be the route Blizzard should pursue for it.

Fire/Frost Ward

Simply a case of the unpruning going too far, these are not iconic abilities and I fail to see why they’re making a return. A tuned (for example raid-wide) version of Dampen and/or Amplify Magic would be much more welcome.

Shimmer

It certainly needed a nerf; the spell has been a must-pick for all specs since day one of Legion. However, dropping it to one charge while retaining the five-second increased cooldown on Blink is just…bad, to the point where picking the talent on the alpha genuinely feels like you’re choosing to downgrade Blink. Considering the insane mobility of other specs, especially melee classes, as well as Blink’s ongoing bugginess (failing at terrain changes like slopes, stairs and doorways), we will feel this in both PvE and PvP.

Focus Magic

This spell fills too similar a niche to Incanter’s Flow, favouring a flat damage curve. That immediately makes it near-useless for Arcane and Fire, both of which are cooldown-based and simply won’t sacrifice Rune of Power to take a minor crit buff (which Fire doesn’t care about, anyway). Frost, of course, takes Incanter’s Flow and it’s hard to see Focus Magic out-performing that unless the numbers are dramatically tweaked. This is the same problem Mirror Image had, except it encroached on Rune’s territory instead of Incanter’s.

To differentiate it, the Mirror Image/Focus Magic talent spot should be significantly different to ‘short cooldown burst spell’ or ‘passive damage increase’, such as a burst spell with a long cooldown.

Covenants

TLDR:

  • Only the Kyrian Covenant works well in all content for all specs
  • Radiant Spark has issues with multiple projectile spells and travel times
  • Mirrors of Torment is unusable in PvE, but Venthyr have the best Signature ability (a teleport)
  • Deathborne is powerful for Arcane but loses out for Fire and Frost
  • Shifting Power is immobile, provides little cooldown reduction and needs to be cast too frequently, taking away from the class rotation.

Note that all of the below said with the realisation that we haven’t seen the legendary items, Soulbinds, etc., but weaknesses need picking up early on and I don’t believe that using one system to fix the flaws of another is healthy.

This may be grass-is-always-greener syndrome, but Mages really seem to have been given the short end of the stick when it comes to Covenants, with low damage, awkward or flat-out pointless abilities. Preach said it best, in his video about the Night Fae: “Poor Mages - every time we get to them, I feel bad.” Let me explain:

Radiant Spark (Kyrian)

This is a flat damage increase, and is probably the one most players will end up taking as it just works in all situations (which makes it unfortunate that the Kyrian Signature Ability is by far the weakest compared to the shields, movement speed increases and teleports of the other Covenants). The low cooldown is great and the damage increase is of course useful. The issue comes with spells that are treated as separate hits: things like Flurry and Arcane Missiles consume multiple stacks, and spells with different travel times (Ice Lance travels faster than Glacial Spike; Fire Blast is instant and hits before Pyroblast) also interfere with the debuff. That makes it awkward to play ‘correctly’ and line up your biggest damage spell with the fourth stack.

Mirrors of Torment (Venthyr)

This spell will almost never get its full value in PvE, as NPCs rarely cast frequently enough to consume all three stacks, plus you generally want to be interrupting their spells anyway. The cast speed slow effect, while useful, makes proccing the root + silence at the end even less likely. In addition it appears to just simply not work on most PvE bosses, and in PvP begs to be dispelled.

Deathborne (Necrolord)

Another contender for the default option, this ability has the advantage of having a use in cleave situations, although the cooldown is much longer than Radiant Spark. In addition, Fireball and Frostbolt don’t deal a huge amount of damage anyway, so the Necrolord Covenant will be less attractive for these specs than it is for Arcane - which, again, pushes all Mages towards Kyrian.

Shifting Power (Night Fae)

Aesthetically this is by far the best-looking Covenant ability, but that’s where the attraction ends. Being forced into melee range is traditionally unhealthy for casters (we’re treated as valid targets for ranged mechanics no matter where we stand), and standing still for six seconds while the spell channels is even worse. Coupled with the fact that it only ticks every 1.5 seconds (so four instances of damage/cooldown reduction), and the cost of interrupting the spell becomes even worse. On top of all that, it’s only three seconds of CDR with each tick, so just 12 seconds per full channel. With a 45-second base cooldown, that is a LOT of channelling to make Shifting Power worthwhile.

Arcane

BASE ROTATION

TLDR:

  • Arcane has between nine and 15 seconds of set-up time before dealing damage; cooldowns should be removed/taken off the global cooldown/combined to address this
  • The spec lacks cleave, but Touch of the Magi could fill this niche with appropriate tuning
  • Mobility is a big issue and Arcane needs an adequate replacement for Displacement, which Alter Time is not.

Arcane’s burn/conserve rotation has seen some changes going into Shadowlands, specifically with the doubling of Arcane Power’s cooldown and the addition of Touch of the Magi as a new base spell. This means one big burn every three minutes, and smaller burn phases every 45 seconds. It also reduces the power of the Overpowered talent, which is welcome. However, the spec still has the glaring weaknesses that have prevented it from being mainstream throughout BfA.

SET-UP TIME

The biggest issue with Arcane on the alpha is its set-up time. The spec has always been slow to start, with the need to build four Arcane Charges before it can enter the burn phase - the Charged Up talent addresses this and is a must-pick in most raiding environments. However, even with Charged Up there are now fully six global cooldowns - nine seconds - of doing nothing except casting buffs before starting to deal damage, or around 15 seconds without Charged Up. That is: Charged Up/Arcane Blast x 4; Mirror Image; Covenant ability (if Kyrian or Necrolord); Touch of the Magi; Rune of Power; and Arcane Power. The last four of those are also only active for a short time, so some - maybe most - of the duration will be wasted while casting additional buffs.

Moving Mirror Image to be a utility cooldown instead of a DPS one, taking some spells off the global cooldown (Touch of the Magi and/or Arcane Power would be the top picks) or combining some (like Charged Up and Touch of the Magi, which have similar cooldowns of 40/45 seconds) would go some way towards alleviating this problem - but is at best a sticking plaster.

I can’t stress enough how bad it feels to play with all of these buffs and cooldowns on the alpha. The spec drags behind others, and most mobs are half dead by the time you can actually start doing damage.

CLEAVE

Of the three Mage specs, Arcane has always held the crown for the highest theoretical single target damage (movement is a limiter, but that’s a later discussion). However, where it really falls down is in its cleave damage, meaning passive damage executed as part of the single target rotation. Because very few fights these days are pure single target, cleave is an important feature for every damage spec. Frost has Splitting Ice and Frozen Orb, while Fire spreads Ignite (passively for now, every time it hits Phoenix Flames in Shadowlands). The only cleave damage Arcane has is Arcane Barrage, and while it hits hard the need to cast it with four Arcane Charges massively limits the number it is possible to cast, even using Arcane Orb. Consuming your Charges in this way is also hugely disruptive to your single target rotation.

Touch of the Magi could be a fantastic way to give Arcane cleave potential using the spec’s strong single target burst, but the tuning is currently well off.

The issue is that the splash damage from Touch is far, far lower than the damage the main target takes, and falls even further with more targets (the formula is ‘100% damage divided by [square root of mob count]’, so 57% splash damage to three (total) targets, 50% to four targets, 44% to five targets, etc. This was confirmed with testing). It’s far from a reliable or high-damage cleave tool, especially considering its limitations in needing to be cast on a mob that will live for the full eight seconds to get the maximum benefit; although that might also be a hindrance if the pack needs to die quickly. Still, we’ll accept that as a limitation of the spell as it’s currently designed for now.

But…what if we don’t accept it? Let’s look at a possible redesign of Touch: still a debuff cast manually on a mob, but instead it acts more like Prophecy of Fear (https://www.wowhead.com/item=124230/prophecy-of-fear&bonus=1801) from WoD, exploding for damage each time the Mage hits the target. This design gives Arcane some on-demand ranged AoE and cleave, without needing to worry about the target or other mobs dying before the effect activates.

MOBILITY

Of all the Mage specs, Arcane loses the most DPS from movement as all of its damage (barring the non-spammable Arcane Barrage) comes from hard-casts. Live Shimmer, with Displacement, partly counteracts this weakness over long distances, although micro-movement (moving out of a void zone, for example) is still painful. There’s a reason all the top Mage logs on Shad’har - the only pure single target fight in Ny’alotha - are Fire, not Arcane.

The nerfing of Shimmer to one charge and the (long overdue) reversion of Clearcasting to stack increases the viability of the Slipstream talent, which is welcome. However, this leaves Arcane with the opposite issue: long-range movement. Alter Time is not a valid replacement for Displacement; in fact, it feels like the other specs are gaining something while Arcane is losing power. Lowering Alter Time’s cooldown for Arcane, having it refund Blink’s cooldown, or both, would be very welcome - again, masters of time and space.

AoE

TLDR:

  • Arcane needs a reliable ranged AoE ability to both remain safe in raids and avoid dropping mechanics on melee players.

There’s little to be said here; Arcane has always been forced into melee range to AoE; another element that has limited the spec in raids. While Blizzard, Frozen Orb and Flamestrike can be cast safely from range, Arcane needs to position to avoid melee mechanics while also being a valid target for ranged mechanics, which often means they are simply not allowed near the melee pile.

The addition of Touch of the Magi again goes some way towards addressing this, and gaining mana from Arcane Barrage (a Shadowlands levelling perk) is a great bonus; but for years Arcane has been punished for trying to AoE, and that doesn’t appear to be set to change in Shadowlands. If nothing else, the return of the larger range on Arcane Explosion that was present in Legion would be welcome.

TALENTS

TLDR:

  • The new Enlightened talent emphasises remaining at high mana levels, which impacts talent choice in the rest of the tree.
  • Dead talents like Mana Shield, Supernova and Nether Tempest remain.

Amplification’s change to fire two additional missiles, and Clearcasting stacking three times instead of once, will really increase the power of Arcane Missiles. Whether it will be enough to take away from Rule of Threes - a major conserve tool - remains to be seen. The new Enlightened talent makes conserving at high mana even more important, but it is possible that Rank 2 Arcane Barrage will compensate for this.

Mana Shield’s buff is nice but the talent will still rarely be used in competitive PvE. Movement is just too important for the talent to compete with Slipstream or Shimmer.

On our 45 tier, Arcane is locked into Rune of Power. As mentioned above, Focus Magic and Incanter’s Flow do not fit Arcane’s burn-conserve playstyle; especially now that Touch of the Magi encourages a burn every 45 seconds - the exact same as Rune of Power’s cooldown.

Resonance remains a great AoE talent while Charged Up is the go-to for a single target, and Supernova is still underpowered. The latter has some utility in Mythic+ but is rarely, if ever, worth the opportunity cost of missing one of the other options on this row.

The 75 tier has little impact on PvE, but all three talents are usable in different situations.

The 90 tier has a new problem. In BfA, in common with the 60 tier, it forced a(nother) choice between single-target (Touch of the Magi) and AoE (Reverberate), with Nether Tempest as the trailing third option. Thankfully Enlightened, replacing Touch of the Magi, increases all damage done, so while Reverberate might be stronger in AoE, Arcane Mages won’t feel like they have a dead talent if called on to attack multiple targets. The issue is that, because Enlightened is strong and fits all situations, other more niche talents will just not be chosen. It also encourages playing at high (above 70%) mana unless burning, which plays poorly with ⅓ of Temporal Anomaly’s effects and any level 15 talent except Rule of Threes.

At the 100 tier, the increase to Arcane Power’s cooldown has nerfed Overpowered, which was really necessary; it was always the best choice. With that we may see more choice in this tier, which is very welcome. However, as mentioned above, with Enlightened (currently looking like the go-to choice) we want to remain above 70% mana. This means that any Evocation procs from Temporal Anomaly are going to be mostly wasted. Lowering the mana threshold on Enlightened would go some way towards addressing this, and also make Rule of Threes less important. That is a minor issue, though, and I welcome having some actual choice on these talents again.

WISHLIST

  • Significant reduction in set-up time/global cooldowns
  • Touch of the Magi to more clearly fulfil the cleave role that damage specs need for viability in the current PvE end-game. As well as a damage buff, acting like the Prophecy of Fear trinket from Warlords of Draenor - which Arcane Missiles had a unique interaction with - would be one way of addressing this.
  • Alter Time to have an Arcane-specific component.
  • Some form of reliable ranged AoE. Touch of the Magi could fulfil this role with the above redesign.

Fire

BASE ROTATION

Of course Fire in Shadowlands is going to feel very different to how it does at the end of BfA, where rental power has increased output to silly levels. The spec currently flows well but, much like Arcane, is designed around high peaks and low troughs. A single fluffed Combustion can be the difference between success and failure. Having lost much of that rental power (Memory of Lucid Dreams, Hyperthread Wristwraps, etc), this would be a good time to increase Fire’s damage at a base level.

AoE

TLDR:

  • Fire has no effective burst AoE against low health enemies.
  • Manual Ignite spread was tried and failed in Warlords of Draenor; limiting it to eight targets is enough.

AoE has, ironically, been a problem for Fire for several expansions. There are no easily spammable spells like Blizzard + Frozen Orb, or Arcane Explosion + Barrage. Rather, Fire’s AoE ability comes from spreading a big Ignite, but that requires having a single large target to build and spread the Ignite from; it only looks good now because we have the tools to create burst windows to build that massive Ignite. Without that, Fire doesn’t have the tools to cope in its base kit, and this is very obvious in low-keystone-level dungeons or when facing many small mobs.

Another issue, which Blizzard addressed while I was writing this post (thanks!), was in using Fireblast to spread Ignite. That functionality is now on Phoenix Flames, which is an excellent change. However, the spell should be changed so it does not interact with Hot Streak/Heating Up, otherwise we’ll face the same issue (using it during Combustion, rather than for spreading Ignite) that we did with Fireblast. An adjustment to its travel speed/spreading Ignite on cast rather than impact/being off the global cooldown would also be welcome. As it is, we lose a minimum of two Ignite ticks before Phoenix Flames hits and spreads the DoT.

In addition, manual Ignite spread enabled what came to be called ‘tick compression’ in WoD (see here). How will this be avoided in Shadowlands?

TALENTS

TLDR:

  • Fireblast is too important to the rotation to give up Flame On.
  • Flame Patch still encourages hard-casting Flamestrike; perhaps it should only apply to those cast using Hot Streak.
  • Conflagration is almost irrelevant.
  • Kindling desynchs Combustion from other abilities, which plays against Fire’s cooldown-stacking playstyle.

The importance of Fireblast exacerbates the disparity in our level 60 talent tier; as it stands, no-one would consider taking anything except Flame On, although I’ll admit that we haven’t seen Phoenix Flames’ replacement yet (please god not Cinderstorm). Likewise, Rune of Power is the only competitive option in high-end PvE with the existing peak-and-trough style of play.

Further down the tree, the level 90 tier is built around AoE and, with tuning, could work; but at current levels the choice has almost no impact on a single-target encounter. Currently the damage increase from Conflagration is absolutely minimal on a single target: taking another option, even if you never cast Flamestrike/Living Bomb in a fight, is less than a 2% DPS loss. The talent needs some love.

Living Bomb could be a tool to handle Fire’s weak AoE when it can’t spread Ignite, but at current levels of tuning (without the high Mastery we have at the end of BfA) it’s not worth casting on an average-sized (4-5) pack of mobs, and until late 8.3 everyone has taken Flame Patch for dungeons. At the moment, though, Living Bomb has actually been nerfed going into Shadowlands (it deals reduced damage to secondary targets), while Flame Patch has not.

Flame Patch is a problematic talent, in that it encourages what I would consider degenerate gameplay; namely, ignoring your entire rotation to hard-cast Flamestrike against anything more than two mobs in a dungeon setting. Ideally the talent should only encourage you to spend your Hot Streaks on Flamestrike, so a simple fix would be to make it only apply to instant-cast Flamestrikes - perhaps with a small buff to compensate.

At the very end of the tree, the level 100 tier currently looks pretty balanced. Both Pyroclasm and Kindling have been buffed to compete with Meteor and that is appreciated (whether the hassle of playing Pyroclasm will be worth it in a real-world setting is a different story). That said, Kindling still has two issues: first, that it lowers the cooldown of Combustion but nothing else, which makes stacking cooldowns like Covenant abilities difficult (again, the current peak-and-trough playstyle means desynching cooldowns is not desirable); and second, that it works with all of our rotational abilities - even Phoenix Flames - except Scorch, which makes it play against Searing Touch.

WISHLIST

  • New/different ability to spread Ignite, removing some of the rotational weight from Fireblast - FIXED WHILE WRITING THIS POST, PRAISE THE LORD
  • Flamepatch to not encourage hard-casting Flamestrike - this is not simply a BfA issue, but something seen in Legion as well.
  • Smoothing rotation by moving damage out of the burst window

Frost

BASE ROTATION

TLDR:

  • Flurry and Winter’s Chill have issues with travel time and do not allow the Shatter combo to work effectively at either maximum or minimum ranges.
  • Fingers of Frost is still ‘munched’ (useless) with a Brain Freeze proc.
  • Frost is still stuck spamming Frostbolt without procs, and may once again drop Ice Lance from the rotation at high Mastery levels; a proposed redesign addresses both of these issues and is linked below.
  • Frozen Orb remains buggy when used in melee range.

Frost has had few changes going into Shadowlands; mechanically, the spec plays well and has a tool for most situations. Its major issue in BfA has been the degenerate gameplay of the No Ice Lance build (which will not be a thing in Shadowlands) and the range issue of the Winter’s Chill debuff.

In BfA, Brain Freeze makes Flurry apply Winter’s Chill: a very short buff allowing the next spell to act as if the target were frozen. The most common way to consume Brain Freeze is to cast a Frostbolt/Glacial Spike/Ebonbolt (Spell #1) and queue an instant Flurry immediately afterwards, followed by an Ice Lance; because of Flurry’s travel time, and the fact that it hits three times, this enables Spell #1, as well as the Ice Lance, to benefit from Winter’s Chill (‘the Shatter combo’). However, because of spell travel times standing in melee range means that - in the situation above - Spell #1 will not benefit from Winter’s Chill, as it hits before Flurry.

Winter’s Chill has had a slight redesign in Shadowlands: it now lasts six seconds and affects the next two spells to hit, enabling the double Ice Lance gameplay that first appeared in Legion. However, the melee range issue is still present, and the combo now has the same issue at maximum range - especially on large bosses like Stormwall Blockade, Immerseus and Lord Marrowgar. In these situations the third projectile from Flurry may hit before Spell #1, causing that spell to consume a stack of Winter’s Chill.

The Shatter combo is a massive part of Frost’s damage, and the inability to stand at either maximum or minimum range will have a serious impact on the spec’s DPS on fights where standing elsewhere is impossible. There have been many suggestions to change how the combo operates, most recently and -comprehensively from Norrinir and other Mages of Altered Time: https://vituscze.github.io/frostmage/. While these are significant changes, they address some core weaknesses of Frost by providing bad luck protection, future-proofing against No Ice Lance returning at high Mastery levels and emphasising the Shatter combo.

A related issue with Frost’s procs is that Brain Freeze renders Fingers of Frost - both of which interact with Ice Lance - useless and results in munching the FoF proc (because the target is already considered Frozen due to Winter’s Chill). The above proposed redesign handles this by changing Flurry to an instant-cast spell with two charges that always applies Winter’s Chill, and making Brain Freeze refund part of a Flurry; this gives players the choice of when and how to use Flurry.

Aside from the Winter’s Chill issues, Frost - although a little boring and suffering from severe repetitiveness when it fails to get procs - is otherwise well prepared for most of the challenges it faces and puts on a respectable showing in all content. An honourable mention should go to Icy Veins, though, which is both a fairly weak cooldown and doesn’t interact with the spec at all (Frost gets no additional procs or power from adding haste than ‘more casts in this time span’). The changes suggested by Norrinir et al., above, adds Flurry interaction to the spell.

Finally, a quality of life issue: when enemies are in melee range, Frozen Orb tends to either slow down too late (after having passed through most of the enemies) or not slow at all. Combined with the unreliability of the Flurry-powered Shatter combo in melee range, this makes Frost very frustrating to play whenever the player is forced into melee range. One potential solution is to use the targeting reticule to place Orb, as with the Concentrated Coldness PvP talent.

AoE

Little to say here. The Frozen Orb/Blizzard interaction works and Frost performs well in sustained AoE. Adding Frozen Orb to its Mastery is a way to keep that stat relevant when attacking groups of enemies, and is very welcome.

However, if Frost is meant to excel at two-target cleave - a stated design intent during the BfA beta - it needs some sort of two-target capability in its base kit. Currently, this comes through the Splitting Ice talent.

TALENTS

TLDR:

  • No glaring issues on live, many talents saw play in BfA thanks to the support of different Azerite traits. Without support from Soulbinds/legendaries etc, talents like Rune of Power, Thermal Void and Ray of Frost will not be used.

As with other Nova talents (Supernova/Blastwave), Ice Nova is underwhelming compared to other talents in its row, which provide much higher damage over the course of a fight. It is useful for bursting or trapping an enemy in PvP, but has little-to-no use in end-game PvE. It needs a significant buff to compete with Bone Chilling or Lonely Winter.

Nerfing Shimmer makes Ice Floes much more attractive on the 30 tier (although Frost already handles movement reasonably well thanks to its procs), but Glacial Insulation suffers from the same problem as Ice Nova: it is near-useless in PvE. If it is the ‘I’m not moving’ talent, it should do more than increase armour, as the vast majority of incoming PvE damage is not physical.

Rune of Power doesn’t line up with any of Frost’s other cooldowns and the spec has a flatter damage profile than Fire or Arcane, so it is forced into Incanter’s Flow. Focus Magic may actually have some viability here, but I’m not a fan of creating a class-wide talent for a single spec.

There are no outstanding issues with the 60 tier; all of these talents have their place. Frozen Touch could be rewritten to make it more obvious that the increase is multiplicative rather than additive. Likewise with the 75 tier and 90 tiers; each of these talents has a place, although at high Mastery levels Comet Storm falls off compared to Splitting Ice, even on a single target.

At 100, Thermal Void has fallen far from its glory days of 100% uptime in Nighthold, but found some relevance again with Orb Build in BfA. Hopefully the talent will continue to see support, perhaps through a legendary item increasing Fingers of Frost generation, in Shadowlands. Ray of Frost is simply not that interesting, simply a button you press on cooldown, while Glacial Spike actually interacts with Mastery and changes your rotation; it is difficult to beat its power for a mainstream build.

WISHLIST

  • Fix the Shatter combo and its interaction with Flurry travel time/Winter’s Chill to work at all ranges.
  • Icy Veins to interact with spec mechanics, rather than simply being ‘Do what you always do, but faster’.
  • Perhaps a long-shot, but take lessons from the efforts of high-level theorycrafters to redesign the way Frost works. This would protect against dry streaks of no procs (bad luck protection), future-proof the spec against dropping Ice Lance and make Icy Veins work with the spec: https://vituscze.github.io/frostmage/.
27 Likes

UPDATED 10 June

Mage

  • Shimmer charge count increased to 2.
  • Shimmer cooldown Increased to 25 seconds (was 20 seconds).
    • Developers’ notes: After listening to feedback and more playtesting, we are returning both charges of Shimmer at a slightly higher cooldown cost. Our goal with the change was to bring more it inline with the other talents on the row, but in doing so, Shimmer lost a lot of its identity. If the other talents on the tier continue to underperform, we’ll look at ways we can enhance them to be more attractive options while up against Shimmer.
  • Focus Magic now also grants the caster 1% Intellect, stacking up to 8 times when their Focus Magic target critically strikes.
    • Developers’ notes: We’d like for Focus Magic to reward the caster a bit more for taking an ally friendly talent.
  • Frost and Fire Ward removed from all specs.
    • Developers’ notes: Compared to some of the other abilities, these two landed a little flat and overlapped a bit too much with each of the Barriers.

Fire Specialization

  • Alexstrasza’s Fury now also makes your next Pyroblast or Flamestrike deal 35% increased damage.
    • Developers’ notes: We’re looking to make this more competitive with the Flame On and the future Phoenix Flames replacement.

2 Likes

I’m a long time mage player, mostly fire even when it was out of meta. I enjoyed it even when everyone hating on it. But if the ignite going live like this and not gonna be passive it’s the end of my wow carrer for sure.

It doesn’t feel good, it’s not fun at all, also doesn’t make sense. A lot of time developers coming up reasons around RP and RPG, how fire only spread when we hit a switch?

1 Like

The first comment from Malonn says it all. I was a long time arcane player until lately. I really wanna go back to arcane, but arcanes state in Beta right now really worries me.

Please pay attention to his feedback cause its accurate 100%

1 Like

Hello Mages. In this week’s build, we’ve made many changes to Arcane as well as a few updates to the other specs to address recent concerns about talents and GCD usage.

General Mage Changes

  • Mirror Images damage greatly reduced, Frostbolt added to all Mirror Images, and while your images are active, damage taken is reduced by 20%. Taking direct damage will cause one of your images to dissipate.
    • Developers’ notes: The goal is to push Mirror Images away from a DPS cooldown and give it a defensive component. Now, only taking direct damage will cause an image to dissipate and there is an ICD of 2 seconds to ensure at least a 6 second uptime when taking damage.
  • Rune of Power has been reworked to cast at your location when you use one of either Combustion, Arcane Power, or Icy Veins, depending on your spec.
    • Developers’ notes: This change is aimed to help with the cast time and GCD utilization at the beginning of an encounter, while remaining viable in your opener as a high burst window.

Arcane

The following Arcane changes are focused on reducing ramp up time, as well as opening up more talent options based on the content you’re running.

  • Arcane Power cooldown reduced to 2 minutes (was 3 minutes).
  • Touch of the Magi now generates 4 Arcane Charges on cast.
  • New Talent: Master of Time – Reduces the cooldown of Alter Time by 30 seconds. Alter Time resets the cooldown of Blink when you return to your original location.
  • Alter Time has been moved to Level 24 for Arcane mages.
  • Resonance damage per target hit with Arcane Barrage increased to 15% (was 10%).
  • Charged Up removed.
    • Developers’ notes: Touch of the Magi will now generate 4 charges baseline. This opens up the Level 35 tier for more viable options that focus heavily on dealing AoE damage.
  • New Level 35 Talent: Arcane Echo – Direct damage you deal to enemies affected by Touch of the Magi, causes an explosion that deals [0.15xSP] Arcane damage to 8 nearby enemies.
  • Time Anomaly now grants Time Warp for 6 seconds.
    • Developers’ notes: A simple change, but this should make Time Anomaly feel more satisfying as a talent since gaining Time Warp is always a good thing, but gaining Arcane Charges isn’t something you’d always necessarily want.

Fire

Fire updates are centered around the change that saw Phoenix Flames baseline as the Ignite spread.

  • Phoenix Flames damage increased and recharge time reduced, but no longer guarantees critical hits.
    • Developers’ notes: Phoenix Flames still interacts with Hot Streak, so it can benefit within the Combustion window, but outside of that, it will primarily function as a way to spread your Ignite.
  • Alexstrasza’s Fury – Dragon’s Breath now also gains a 50% increased critical strike damage bonus.
  • New talent: From the Ashes – Increases Mastery by 2% for each charge of Phoenix Flames off cooldown, and your direct-damage critical strikes reduce its cooldown by 1 second.
2 Likes

Mirror Images damage greatly reduced, Frostbolt added to all Mirror Images, and while your images are active, damage taken is reduced by 20%. Taking direct damage will cause one of your images to dissipate.

I love the concept of it but i would like to change some stuff. For example that autoattacks doesnt work. Imagine you are in a PvP Situation. A rogue attacks you and deletes your 3 images in seconds and then uses his big abilities.

A good way to get rid of the insane ramp up time but its now useless for Frostmages because Icy veins is one of the worst CD’s in the game. Also its only useful for your big CD’s while then its a dead talent. I would rather have the following advise how it should look like:
You still have your 2 Charges but everytime you use your Combustion, Arcane power or icy veins it consumes one charge. So you still have annother Charge for a Meteor play or Aluneth.

I welcome the changes but unfortunatly it doesnt line up anymore with Presence of mind but i take this sacrifice

Great! LOVE IT!

Need to test it but looks like a genuine replacement for shimmer (even tho shimmer could still be baseline)

Thanks to the Person in the US forum actually making this suggestion. I love it but tbh i would love it more if touch of the magni lasts longer from 8sec -> 10sec.

I can accept that. We need to see how the performance is in raid/dungeons but a shorter cooldown is better. even tho the phoenix reborn (legion artifact trait) was much better.

Looks like a blastermaster reorigination. When we still have the same playstyle as in bfa and go full mastery, i think its a bad talent. It gets weaker when we could needed it and its strong when the burst window isnt so active.

3 Likes

Please make arcane power and icy veins off the global cooldown, it feels super awful

icy veins need some changes in my opinion, it doesn’t feel as good as combustion or arcane power

would be awesome to have frost bomb back

also please remove focus magic, personally don’t like sacrificing my personal power as a pure DPS class to give it to others, it also doesn’t compete with rune of power unless tuned correctly

personally dont like the current ignite, i hope you guys look into mop/wod ignite

make ray of frost like the old water jet pet spell back in wod, cause currently it feels so bad to play, having it a pet spell would be really nice

5 Likes

the new arcane power change from 3 min to 2 min will make it really feel bad due to necrolord covenant ability being 3 mins so it will result in desync

the new rune of power change is ok BUT you need to add the extra charge or it will feel really bad

1 Like

Arcane Mage feedback:

A lot of the recent changes have been great and am happy to see them!

However there are still some issues imho.

AoE feels really bland. I personally would prefer if Arcane Explosions would behave like they did in Legion with increased damage and manacost based on Arcane Charges.

As of right now it’s pretty much just a mindless Arcane Explosion spam always doing the same damage into Arcane Barrage. Just over and over.

With the old way Arcane Explosions worked similar to Arcane Blasts, continuously using them despite being at high Charges did obviously great damage but also came at the risk of going very fast oom and gave the spec an additional nuance.

Also Mastery only giving additional damage to other Arcane damage is problematic with Fire Blast as well as Trinkets that will do Arcane damage.

I was really looking forward to having Fire Blast as Arcane Mage as Arcane Mage has had and still has huge issues dealing decent damage on movement heavy fights.
If Fire Blast would scale at least decently (being just shy of being used in stationary combat) it would do wonders to help Arcane Mage to have more consistent damage.
Right now Arcane Mage pretty much always needs the highest patchwerk simdps to be able to get reasonable DPS numbers as you just lose out too much damage while dodging/moving.

Losing Displacement obviously hurts. That was one niche Arcane Mage had over the other specs which was just removed so even less reason to play Arcane Mage now?

Arcane Mage utility is still nowhere to be found? Only reason to ever play them in M+ is if their damage is currently over tuned.
The spell Slow is simply not valuable enough outside of PvP.
Meanwhile Frostmage has massive AoE slows which are valuable and Fire Mage has Dragon’s Breath.

Please consider making Supernova baseline instead of a Talent competing with raw damage Talents which you always have to taker over it, or at least make it’s damage decent enough that you could consider picking it.
Losing out on damage for utility always feels bad as a DPS class.

Arcane Mage still has no decent AoE damage at range. Meaning they have to get close, this is problematic with certain mechanics directed at ranged players where you don’t want to get close.

Getting Blizzard/Flamestrike would be cool for flavor and PvP. Where you can stop drinks/stealth at range. But based on your mastery and spec fantasy will most likely never compete damage wise in PvE and be mostly dead Spells outside of PvP.

Overall Talent feedback:

15 row:
Mostly boring options? Also 2 raw Singletarget options and one being for ST and AoE might result in a cookie cutter build for AoE or mixed dmg content.

Amplification: Seems pretty nice no issues with it.

Rule of Threes: Kinda boring or bland? Doesn’t really effect your playstyle at all.
As you kind of always go for 4 Arcane Charges anyways. Proposed change is: Make it happen when you gain your fourth Arcane Charge. Thus it changes your playstyle somewhat. As you now cast another spell before Arcane Barrage in Conversion Phase.

Arcane Familiar: Kinda meh, hope you fixed the bug of it randomly aggroing neutral mobs.
Issues: Arcane Familiar Mana helps in ST and AoE and Familiar does damage in AoE and ST situations, meanwhile the other two Talents only work when doing ST rotation.

25 row:
Really interesting now. All 3 Talents have their clear strengths and weaknesses.

Master of Time: Seems like a real powerful option to compete with Shimmer and Slipstream. It also is a great boost to Arcane Mages defensive abilities.

Shimmer: Got nerfed but still has it’s uses, does feel a bit weaker now though with the removal of Displacement.

Slipstream: Might feel stronger again with the buffs to Arcane Missiles.

30 row:
Overall now 3 Talents that mostly behave as passive tools.

Incanter’s Flow: This Talent has always bothered me somewhat. In theory it could be a really interesting options. However they way it’s tuned it’s always super boring. As you just treat it like a passive without a care.
Maybe if you were to make it a Level 50 Talent instead and buff it’s numbers it would alter your playstyle.

Focus Magic:
Seems like a problematic Talent. It might not be the best damage Talent for yourself, but it might deliver more overall DPS to the group/raid. So you either have to sacrifice your own power or the groups power. Also obviously more effective with certain specs in your group/raid. If the damage boost to you is at a similar level as the other Talents this will be must pick, as it also boosts a mates DPS.

Rune of Power:
I really like the change actually. Always felt bad having to cast it specifically and it’s also been way too overpowered for Arcane Mage and pretty much always must have. I hope it having less uptime now makes the other Talents capable of competing better in raw DPS numbers.

35 row:
Great mostly AoE row with slight ST boost outside of Nether Tempest.

Resonance: Always really strong sustained AoE damage. Slight boost to ST.

Arcane Echo: Depending on tuning can give you some nasty aoe burst with it. Can also maybe compete with Resonance on singletarget.

Nether Tempest: Historically has been tuned absolutely horrible (really disappointing no other way of saying it) and at times simply not even worth using a global cooldown on it. Hopefully this changes. Could be a great cleave/AoE spell when tuned correctly. Probably should also do enough damage to warrant using it on ST. Otherwise you just sacrifice boss damage in M+ for instance.

40 row:
Chrono Shift just overpowering all the other options.

Chrono Shift: Simply feels must pick for Arcane Mage. The slow is good and applied simply by doing your basic rotations and the movement speed bonus is super good in all areas as well.

Ice Ward: Simply worse imho than Chrono Shift. Don’t really see myself ever picking it.

Ring of Frost: Only really used for very specific boss mechanics or for cc chains in pvp. The fading AoE slow is okay, but Chrono Shift still will be probably picked in PvE 99% of the time simply for more mobility and great uptime on the slow.

45 row:
Awkward row. First Talent is strictly AoE damage Talent, Second Talent is ST and AoE damage Talent, Third Talent is undertuned dmg wise and thus an utility Talent. This row doesn’t really give you much choice and is a nice showcase of cookie cutter builds. For Singletarget you just always take Enlightened without a second thought.

Reverberate: Random more Arcane Charge feels kinda bad? Like what does it do when I proc it when I am at 3 Arcane Charges? Doesn’t it just waste one Charge now as I overstack which doesn’t do anything. Also a strictly AoE Talent.

Enlightened: Interesting Talent. I like it. Works singletarget and AoE.

Supernova: Why is this on the same row as DPS Talents. It simply doesn’t do enough damage to warrant that. It does 100% increased damage to primary targets, which should make it in theory a decent option for singletarget and AoE.
But generally it just doesn’t do enough damage.

50 row:
Overpowered might even be better than before and has always been great. Time Anomaly too random procs for any content outside of raids. Arcane Orb primary AoE tool while the other Talents work for AoE and singletarget.

Overpowered: Has been powerful for ages. With Arcane Power being now 2 minute cd but gaining 5 second duration this Talent might just overshadow the other options massively.

Time Anomaly: Fine for raid encounters, but horrible in any other content. You get random procs in M+, pvp or open world sometimes in positions where you simply are not in combat at max mana or not in a position to use the damage procs.

Arcane Orb: Imho should still be a baseline spell to spice up the rotation. Mostly an AoE Talent as you gain 4 Charges at 3 targets+. So without it being overtuned is only ever taken in exclusive AoE content. Which is kinda nowhere to be found?
Overpowered and Time Anomaly will probably compete dmg wise in AoE while also being superior in singletarget.

1 Like

FEEDBACK mainly focused on PvE. Apologies in advanced if I am salty at times, I am very passionate about this class, and specially this spec.

TALENTS

  • Row 15
    We’ve 2 dead talents here:
    Firestarter was used in 1 boss of EP and it was only because CDs couldn’t be used on pull. And that was it, for the entirety of the expansion. It makes you strong for very little time (the first 10% of the boss HP, which isn’t really 10% of the boss fight duration because of the raid opener’s burst). Just buff the threshold at least.
    Pyromaniac, on the other hand, had no use at all. It has an 8% chance to proc (that’s just laughable) and it’s a proc munching talent… Easily fixable by either making it work as the Expanded Potential legendary (which you can actually play around) or redesign Hot Streak so that you can have 2 stacks of it (at least, attenuating the proc munching problem that it inherently has).

  • Row 25
    Blast Wave. What’s the purpose of this talent exactly? It doesn’t have a tunning problem, it’s completely out of place and, correct me if I am wrong but, I don’t think anyone uses this for either PvE or PvP, it just has no use.
    This talent slot would make good use for something like “cool_talent_name_PH”: “Every ‘X’ Hot Streaks consumed, you get a buff with the following effect: the next time you move while casting, this effect will be consumed but the cast won’t break” It could even have something like “It can only occur once every ‘Y’ seconds” if it’s a struggle to balance.

About Shimmer (and Blink): it’s not working as intended, even on flat ground without any obstacles as it might not teleport you at all, and Shimmer won’t prevent the spell that is being casted to be stopped!. Unbug this, please.

  • Row 30
    Focus Magic: dead talent. First, it’s a flat increase of intellect for a class & spec that is bursty and is played around windows of damage; and it gives you crit… Also boring, there’s no interaction with it. It’s like a second Arcane Intellect, How is this even talent?.
    Just make it a baseline spell for Mages in general.
    Now Rune of Power: the change was made with Arcane spec in mind ONLY; it’s a straight up nerf for fire (as it wasn’t terrible enough), and frost. The rune is meant to be combined with other CDs and procs, not Combustion alone. The old RoP gave an extra layer of procs/CDs/positioning management and it had impact in the way you played the class, making you think ahead and planning. With this new version, you’re removing that little depth it gave to our gameplay. You could leave it as it was and make it so that if you happen to have a spare charge when you pop your major CD, this effect will trigger passively.

  • Row 35
    I don’t understand the philosophy behind this row…
    Flame On Why is this not baseline? The spec feels horrible without it.
    Alextrasza’s Fury: even with all these buffs and this talent is still so dead anyways (we are RANGED). Imagine being on melee while progressing a raid boss to cast DB… Or using it off-CD in M+ because “it’s part of your rotation”, yoinking someone’s kick… Or in PvP, where it applies DR but it’s a proc generator. “Always critically strikes for 50% increased critical strike damageMake it a hundred, make it 200%. It doesn’t matter.
    And the new talent From the Ashes. Now that Phoenix Flames doesn’t critically strike, you force us to go for Flame On even more! It’s NOT an option, doing otherwise is handicapping yourself.
    Alextrasza’s Fury is not designed with ranged dps mechanics in mind (also, you generate more threat the closer you are, imagine having to be on melee to combust because of this talent). And the mastery increase of From the Ashes is simply negligible and gives less mastery when you most need it.
    This row makes you feel bad about having to take Flam… I mean, choose a talent.

  • Row 40
    The best row, there’s a place for every single one of them; all useful.

  • Row 45
    Flame Patch = degenerate and extremely unfun gameplay. If you just made it something like “your pyroblast leaves a patch of flames under your target’s feet and your flamestrike does it on the ground if they had no cast time” it would be fixed. This would make the talent more balanced, it would give it a place on ST (situationally of course), it would prevent Flamestrike to be hard-casted and it wouldn’t affect the new legendary “Firestorm”.
    Conflagration: there’s nothing I like about this talent: zero interaction with it, no impact (0.5% damage increse on ST at most, and very little on AoE. It’s specially worse in AoE now that Ignite has a target cap.
    Can Conflagration just be something like the new Arcane Echo talent? “Direct damage you deal to enemies affected by Pyroblast (the DoT) causes an explosion that damages nearby enemies”? The Arcane version is really cool, and the animation is great.
    It would make good use of an animation update. It would also make sense in your philosophy of class identity over spec identity.
    Living Bomb I just think this one should be baseline. Currently in Shadowlands, Fire has the least engaging AoE rotation of the 3 specs and having Living Bomb by default would certainly help on that.

  • Row 50
    This row was actually “decent” until recently, just before you changed Rune of Power (nerfing Pyroclasm - - which doesn’t feel rewarding anyways - - and Meteor along the way for no reason; as well as buffing kindling by accident, pretty sure).

BASE TOOL KIT

  • Pyroblast rank 2
    I don’t really see why the damage of the DoT shouldn’t stack as you cannot realistically control when to re-apply it as you do with other DoT effects with other classes.
  • Combustion rank 2
    I assume extending the duration of Combustion for 2 seconds was an attempt to make Phoenix Flames not feel bad to use during it. It didn’t work, it does feel bad to use it during Combustion because it’s on GCD but it hits way less than Pyroblast. With the change on the duration of RoP (and as Incanter’s Flow cycles behave) it would make more sense for our beloved CD to last for 15s.
  • Critical Mass rank 2
    I think it is well known that the “You gain 10% more of the Critical Strike stat from all sources” was pretty irrelevant and kind of purposeless in a way for the whole of BfA. I think that if there’s a spell/talent/passive that, in practice, does nothing for your class/spec, then it just shouldn’t exist or be there. I understand that you want to give us more crit so we can actually play the spec and get some procs to PB/FS, but then again I think it would be more reasonable (and healthier for fire mage balance and scaling) to be just an extra flat crit chance added to the rank 1 version of this passive spell. I don’t know the magic number, it could 5, it could be more.
  • Phoenix Flames
    So it’s not a guaranteed critical strike anymore, which makes it’s usage so, so clunky. In fact, this is probably the most problematic spell for fire mage because it actually interacts with Heating Up but it’s also the only way we can spread ignite and it has a GCD + a travel time (BTW, 25s is a bit too long of a CD to spread Ignite, even if it has 3 charges). It happens so many times that you just finished Combusting, you end up with a Heating Up proc and you’d like to start casting a Fireball into a Fire Blast at the end of the cast (because it was recharging) so you can keep your rotation flow… But you just can’t as it is right now. You can’t because you need to use Phoenix Flames to spread the Ignite, like you really need to use it just after you finished your Combustion as it is when Ignite is at its peak; and if it doesn’t crit it feels extra terrible atm.
    I think Phoenix Flames shouldn’t interact at all with Heating Up (with the current Fire Mage iteration). Right now, if you just finished casting a Pyroblast and you want to spread that 9s Ignite, you need to wait for that GCD, then cast Phoenix Flames and wait for the travel time to reach the target so it does its job (at that point you’re basically spreading a 7s Ignite). It would make a lot of sense in the rotation for it to be off the GCD so you can Pyroblast and use a charge of Phoenix Flames right after. That would make it spread a 9s Ignite and this spell would have a very clear purpose now. It doesn’t feel it’s a good spell at all on the current Shadowlands build.

COVENANTS
I am only going to talk about the Mage signature spells, not the generic Covenant spells; Covenants should just be RP imo, anyways:

  • Kyrian | Radiant Spark
    Just think about it on Combustion (let’s forget about the anti-synergy it has with the fire mage rotation out of CDs cause it’s so bad). You use your Radiant Spark and you pop Combustion. Well, big issue right there because your Fire Blast’s in between will also consume the debuff from Radiant Spark… I think this debuff should be consumed by very specific spells (not just for fire, but for the other specs too).
    Currently doesn’t fit the spec.

  • Necrolord | Deathborne
    The class identity over the spec identity is very obvious in this one, and so are the flaws of it as you made it so Deathborne impacted the filler spell for the 3 Mage specs, but you didn’t take into account the role the filler has for each on of them:

  1. Arcane Blast is your main source of damage and your hardest hitting spell on Arcane, while hopefully your gonna be casting the least amount of Fireballs if you’re lucky enough with crits to Pyroblast.

  2. Deathborne is also a 10% increased damage on a 3min CD, and it makes perfect sense to be using Arcane Blast during the Deathborne + Arcane Power combo, while it makes absolutely no sense to be doing so with Deathborne + Combustion.
    So what’s the philosophy for Shadowlands regarding class vs spec on Mage? Right now, if you choose a covenant as a Mage it reinforces the spec identity as it happens with an Arcane Necrolord Mage, while it’s made very evident that you are playing the wrong spec as Fire Mage if you are Necrolord. Isn’t this exactly the opposite of what you’ve been trying to achieve? The problem is the Covenants are designed as if the specs of a class worked as if they were similar, but they are not. In the case of Mage (Fire, Arcane & Frost), they are radically different in the way they do their damage, their windows of damage, their mobility, the bursty they are, the role of their filler, the streanth of their CDs, their downtime, and so many things!
    I’d fix this by, for example, making it so that your next ‘X’ Glacial Spikes (if talented)/Ice Lances, ‘Y’ Arcane Blasts and ‘Z’ Pyroblasts would cleave the 2 nearest targets.
    Currently doesn’t fit the spec.

  • Venthyr | Mirrors of Torment
    Aside from the fact that this could become extremely overtuned due to one of the available conduits currently in the build, Why does it proc its damage from its target’s casts going through (and by doing so, rewards bad gameplay)? What about making it so that it doesn’t slow the casts neither silences the target with the last mirror consumption but instead it only applies the slows (Maybe the root at the end as well? That might just be overtuned for PvP vs melee comps so idk) and you can proc each mirror by re-casting the spell (so you use it and you get 3 stacks of it, just like Presence of Mind for Arcane Mage), consuming a mirror each time you do so… This change would only make sense if the charges that you can consume are off the GCD though. I don’t know if this Covenant was designed with PvP in mind but, for PvE, it feels a bit out of place for any of the 3 specs we have, not just fire.
    Currently doesn’t fit the spec.
  • Night Fae | Shifting Power
  1. 6s cast: This cannot realistically be used in ANY actual content, What were you thinking tho? Is it to justify the existance of that conduit that reduces its channel duration by half on its max rank version?

  2. 15 yards range: basically not usable for a lot of end-game content, you still get targeted for range mechanics even if you are on melee range, like please, we’re NOT a melee class

  3. The animation is beautiful, but it makes it very (like seriously) very spicy to see stuff on the ground.
    The 6s cast would be bearable if it was castable while moving.
    The range? Make it so it can be casted on an enemy/allied target (just like Mind Sear for SP). There’s the option to make it 40 yards and hit only the targets you are engaged in combat with (like Starfall), but I don’t think that is an elegant solution. Or just make it an instant cast.
    Currently doesn’t fit the spec.
    TL;DR for Mage covenants: it actually does not matter which one you pick, they are all garbage.

LEGENDARIES

  • Sun King’s Blessing
    “(…) your next non-instant Pyroblast (…) grants you Combustion for 6s” That Pyroblast should have the Pyroclasm effect regardless of you being talented into it. If that makes it too strong, just nerf the Combustion duration from it, but I don’t see why a legendary has to feel clunky for no reason.

  • Triune Ward
    “(…) Each absorb shield has 40% effectiveness” So instead of getting a Blazing Barrier for 100% of its value, you get 3 shields for the combined value of 120% (20% more than the default Blazing Barrier), at the cost of a Legendary slot. This doesn’t feel very “legendary” to me.

  • Firestorm
    Is there any intention to add any kind of bad RNG protection to it? This is an extremely heavy RNG-based legendary, I’m pretty sure that anyone who has tried it would agree.

  • Expanded Potential
    It doesn’t feel impactful at all, specially compared to Frost (because Brain Freeze is a Flurry + 2 Ice Lances) or Arcane (due to the rarity of the Clearcasting proc compared to Hot Streak).

  • Molten Skyfall
    It’s a very boring legendary but I think it should also interact with Scorch if you are talented into Searing Touch during execution, and it certainly should interact with Flamestrike.

  • Grizzly Icicle
    Is it intended to affect bosses at all? Are mobs intented to be able to move with the debuff? It’s not clear how it’s intended to work. It would also make this one more interesting if the effect could be procced from Frostbolt as well for ST (even tho Frostbolt doesn’t root, I know!).

I also thought about a legendary that maybe could give us the ability to pool Hot Streaks and extend the duration of the Hot Streak procs (so pooling is made possible), and reducing the damage you take for each Hot Streak stack you have by 1% (maybe that second part is too much but sounded cool in my head). It could have actual impact on fire gameplay, playing around positive cycles of Incanter’s Flow or preparing for a RoP (if you decide to adjust this talent so it can also be used on demand) along with other procs, etc. I thought about a name: “Kissed by Fire”. You might think the spell alerts (Hot Streak procs) would be too much, but the alert could be changed into smaller fiery circles (as the Pyroblast is a fiery bolder) and be clear and clean. Maybe?

Fire (and Mage, in general) has so much potential to be fun but it just isn’t in its current version and I don’t like the way the spec is being approached for Shadowlands. Feels like you don’t know what do with the spec. Hell, feels like you don’t know what to do with the class.

Lastly, it doesn’t make much sense that Ignite doesn’t spread naturally. It’s only natural that fire spreads all around your targets, even from a RP PoV.
Corruption was the problem, not the ignite. Certainly not Fire Mage.

15 Likes

Hi, just wanted to leave my 2 cents about the current status of Fire in PvE. My background is a Mage since Vanilla day 1, cleared all content at its respective relevant time excl. WOD, M+ in Legion (6k) and BFA (7k).

OVERALL

I hope that the changes added to Fire are taking into consideration Fire’s performance pre-Corruption and not the broken way it works on live at the moment. Changes to how Ignite spreads and removal of a lot of the tools which made the spec quite fluid (i.e. Lucid, Minute-mage build, Bracers, Double-trinket) are felt very strongly in Shadowlands. Not saying to bring those things back, but to consider how they helped the class and perhaps polish the Shadowlands version without forcing Mages into playstyles like double-trinket. If we look back at Legion when Fire was actually quite fun to play, just in our good old friend Felomelorn there are some AMAZING options that I am really surprised have never returned.

TALENTS

Row 15
Firestarter - niche talent with rare usage.
Pyromaniac - awkward to play and unable to sim past an Execute talent.
Searing touch - the only choice on this row due to how weak the other 2 talents are.

Row 25
Blazing Soul - excellent talent which far outweighs the current version of Shimmer. With the upcoming defensive conduits buffing barriers, even more attractive.
Shimmer - I still do not understand why Shimmer was punished by 5 sec more recharge. The basis of this change was purely PvP where this could have been addressed (we already have spells behaving differently in PVP, why is this different) and cannot compete with Blazing Soul (1 GCD + shield on 15 s CD vs off-GCD Shimmer with almost double the cd and no shield!)
Blast Wave - a talent that hasnt been touch by anyone both players and Developers. Should be made baseline IMO as it only provides flavor (the small knockback) to Fire and the GCD for it doesnt outsim any scenario. A great replacement option would be the Felomelorn Molten Skin trait!
If I had to choose between Shield-on-Blink, 20s Shimmer and Molten Skin, now THAT is a hard choice!

Row 30
Incanter’s flow - dont change what it works, I would consider lowering the cycle down which will naturally increase the average performance of all players who pick this talent and dont want to min/max Rune of Power.
Focus Magic - useless for Fire and Frost, Arcane will not give up Rune of Power for it either. If someone picks it, it will be traded between Mages in the raid, in m+ you will not have a 2nd mage and either support someone with it or pick what actually gives You damage. No one wants to be a support class. HOWEVER, it would be a great addition to the baseline toolkit of Mage - to provide a unique buff in raids and m+. Making it baseline also opens the opportunity for an actual talent that CAN rival Rune of Power in playstyle and sims.
Rune of Power - the new ROP could potentially work with Kindling and Night Fae covenant to create a new Minute-mage build, but outside of those conditions, it feels weak when major CDs are on such a high CD. Rune having charges allowed good mages an opportunity to maintain something of a decent DPS inbetween burst, rather than just AFK.
If Focus Magic becomes baseline, maybe a juiced up version of the Mirror Images can be re-introduced, with Mirror Images that actually do damage worth the GCD on a 2 min cd though.

Row 35
Flame on - 2 sec off and extra charge is still strong, but the new options on this row may prove lucrative.
Alexstrasza’s Fury - the bonus Pyroblast damage is in my opinion awful as when testing with Pyroclasm, I had to constantly cancel instant Pyroblast procs to hard-cast a Pyroclasm proc with the Alex’ Fury buff. Here we have the option to actually bring back one of the best Legiondaries - the Dragons Breath Helm! Simply turn this talent into the Legendary effect and this will actually create a tough choice between it and Flame On even for AOE!
From the Ashes - currently not awarding the proper amount of Mastery. With the nerf to PF not being guaranteed crit, 6% mastery flat quickly falls off compared to Flame On and a potential DB Legendary helm if the change above is made. Or bring back Phoenix Reborn, Ignite reducing PF cd by a marginal amount?
In my opinion, this is the row where we can have 3 TOUGH choices - Flame ON for ST (with some additional change to focus on ST, perhaps bring back Fire-at-Will trait from Felomelorn or Blast Furnace, making Fireblast also a Dot), DB legendary helm for pure AOE blasting and PF buffed to Legion version (maybe with Warmth of the Phoenix from Legion, giving the party crit when used?) and damage for 3-5 target cleave as guaranteed splash crit. I really hope we see some changes on this row!

Row 40
Frenetic speed - again nerfed for PvP reasons, would be great to have it back to at least 40% speed or maybe Blazing Barrier can give a passive 20% move speed instead?
Ring - always great as an option!
Ice Ward - only used for Corruption bros, but perhaps with the new legendary can have a PvP niche.

Row 45
Flame patch - weak and a filler for when we have too much haste and not enough mastery. Make it move maybe like Ravager?
Conflagration - also known as the “its an ST fight, let me get extra 0.6% dmg”. This is NOT an interesting choice.
Living Bomb - really needs to come back to Legion levels of RELEVANT damage.

Row 50
Kindling - interesting buff, strong intent on taking night fae too for 1 minute combustions.
Pyroclasm - still nowhere near Legion status and also nobody likes to cast 4.2s cast spells in the middle of any content.
Meteor - the standard “we dont have enough gear to support Kindling and i need a filler spell”.

COVENANTS’ CLASS ABILITIES

Kyrian
Promotes Pyroclasm builds which are annoying to play (4s cast times, requires Rune and fishing for procs), not useful for Frost and just another GCD for Arcane, which even with the recent buffs, still has a LOT of things to press in a row before seeing actual numbers.

Night Fae
The covenant which intrigues me the most as CDR in a game like WOW is extremely powerful. Shifting Power has the potential to make minute mage, create very high uptimes for Icy Veins with the right conduit and create more burst windows for Arcane. As its affected by haste and one of the covenants offers 10% mastery, a strong option for Fire AND frost.

Venthyr
Mirror of Torment are essentially only useful with the respective conduit which gives 10% spell power / 30% spell power for 30 s, but from a lot of testing, while it does work on abilities, it may have too much off a downtime and too long of a cd.

Necrolord
Fire is burst and casting Fireball will never be great, making Necrolord and its incredibly long CD a no-go option for essentially all 3 specs.

LEGENDARIES

Given that Legendaries are 100% targetable, as a DPS it essentially means you will have DEAD legendaries, just like the Blizzard belt or the Move while casting boots in Legion. This means that LESS is MORE.

Disciplinary Command - no one wants crit, DEAD legendary.
Expanded Potential - throwback to ToS, created a lot of munching for Frost and weird gameplay for Fire similar to Pyromaniac.
Grisly Icicle - pvp legendary.
Triune Ward - perhaps useful in 9.3, but with timegating of Torghast and caps on Legendary “currency”, will not be used by anyone early on.
Fevered Incantation - I have not testing this legendary yet, but if it works like in Legion where you lose the buff when you dont crit, low on the picking list. Also unclear if it stacks and how much. Perhaps if it stacks to 10 and doesnt drop off non-crits may be attractive.
Molten Skyfall - back to gimmicks when you could get double Meteor to drop at 30 stacks, great on ST if I recall sims, perhaps a good starting Legendary, but will be forgotten in later patches.
Sun Kings Blessing - no one, likes, to, cast, 4sec, spells. Even if they give combustion after it.
Firestorm - At its current 1+Haste RPPM seems quite strong as its based off Hot Streak and not Pyroblast and is linked to Shoulder, a major stats slot. Definitely looking miles ahead of the other options.

Conclusion
Fire mage should not pay for the sins of Corruption patch and should be somewhere between Legion design and BFA fluidity. Currently, the spec feels very rigid and unsatisfactory to play, as it does not excel at anything - ST, cleave and AOE are all weak which may be patched up with tuning, BUT the spec faces fundamental issues/gaps which tuning CANNOT fix. Even though most things are set in stone already, major Shadow priest revamps and abilities changes other classes see give me hope that Fire can be turned around into an excellent spec in Shadowlands, not one that requires a maxed out artifact, 2 legendaries, overpowered secondaries, on-use bracers and double-trinkets.

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Hello,

I’ll keep this short…

With legendaries returning I hoped for a certain legendary to come back.

The Arcane mage leveling shoulder Mantle of the First Kirin Tor: Arcane Barrage has a 10% chance per Arcane Charge consumed to launch an Arcane Orb in front of you.

This legendary alone made arcane mage one of the most fun specs to play in m+ during legion. It helps arcane mages cover what they lack in m+, which is aoe. Arcane mages don’t need a better kit for ST and this legendary isn’t going to make arcane too op in ST as its main usage is for aoe.

Anyway I hope this is taken into consideration and I get to see this very fun legendary come back.

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Hello just wanted to give quick feedback on frost since currently it’s the only spec that interests me from the 3:

While doing testing I ran the frozen orb legendary that summons an orb after 15 flurry/frostbolts.

It seems like a really fun setup while going lonely winter/frozen touch or chain react/freezing rain or splitting ice/thermal void, however while it felt like the most fun thing ever when paired with necrolord (to me), at times it did feel very awkward to play.

First of all, orb gives 1 guaranteed Finger of Frost, and has a chance to generate more. A frostbolt also has a chance to generate more and generally before a flurry, you cast a frostbolt. This would often lead to the orbs generating so many fingers of frost, it’s virtually impossible to dump them to use a flurry during cooldowns, or to use a flurry without random fingers of frost appearing as I’m throwing 2 icelances in the shatter window, effectively wasting one proc or the other almost always.

My suggestion on this would be that, since shatter from flurry only happens if used as a proc, maybe make it so the next icelance, maybe 2 (?) now that shatter window got increased don’t get consumed. This would greatly improve gameplay since icelance is the main source of damage with this setup and a lot of fingers of frost get wasted to something you have no control over as it happens randomly.

An other thing related to the procs, back in legion there used to be a 3rd icelance being stored due to a weapon trait which was very nice when you get multiple icelance procs during an orb just as you cast frostbolt so you don’t randomly waste any.

While on the topic of munching procs, sometimes you get back to back flurries and sometimes you get none in 15-20 casts. Getting none feels bad, getting them back to back also feels bad because one gets wasted because you have to dump the icelance charges first. If we had the aforementioned icelance storing up from legion but for an extra flurry that would be a nice qol change, or honestly anything to prevent this munching from happening.

Other than this when it comes to talents I also have a small concern and also a small suggestion. Glacial spike scales, icelance does not. The only thing interacting with icelance is versatility or crit damage, however glacial scales infinitely with mastery and you get the problem with live where noicelance rotation is the togo setup because it scales astronomically, leaving thermal void in the dirt. It would be nice if we could get maybe some sort of scaling to icelance, perhaps a very small % of the mastery so even if glacial happens to outperform, you still have to click your icelances. Also crit and haste are important when running the thermal void settup, something you can’t get as much since you also need versatility for icelance.

And the other thing is that ebon bolt has been effectively dead since BFA released. It has no place in the row where it’s placed and even if picked it is never actually used, only as a bad luck protection for glacial if you don’t get a flurry proc as it doesn’t do any meaningful damage or anything for that matter for the cooldown it has. It would be great if we got it baseline just like other classes got their old legion weapon artifacts back.

Last thing I want to mention is that having low haste makes good proc streaks outside of cooldowns feel tedious more than hype because the gcd feels very long when dumping fingers of frost as opposed to the icy veins window. Bonus points that crit cap is something not even worth going for and 50% of your icelances don’t even crit.

That is all, thank you for your atenshone.

Quick edit: Icy veins being on the gcd as a 3 minute cooldown that doesn’t do anything but give haste feels really bad and to this day I still don’t understand why it was ever put on there. Also the cool visual it had in legion was removed with ice building up just because it was a weapon trait. Why remove the visual too?

Also necrolord does nothing for fire mage, maybe change it for fireblast and phoenix flames or something? As I can imagine it would be too strong for pyroblast.

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On the Shadowlands mage round table, Toegrinder suggested that Flamestrike spread ignite.

While testing, it felt conceptually intuitive and efficient out of a key bind perspective.

Living Bomb can supplement area of effect damage (and Arcane Explosion). However, I am not sure what is to be done about Flame Patch. Conflagration remains the single target choice.

Thank you to everyone providing feedback and, importantly, listening.

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I completely agree about frost munching issue. It feels like you are doing the wrong thing when munching, and at the same time you cannot do anything about it. There was a great suggestion for frost which would also remove this issue: https://vituscze.github.io/frostmage/ They would only have to use his idea.

For Ebonbolt… It’s just like Focus Magic and so many other talents for the 3 specs, these should all be baseline. They have no place in the talent trees.

Regarding Necrolord, if they made the change for Pyroblast to be the interacting spell, Arcane Blast would still have way more impact with this covenant, imo.

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I would like to give some feedback on improvements for each spec that I have currently tested on beta:

Frost:
Talents:

  • Icy Veins should be on a 2 minute cooldown (Like Arcane power and Combust)
  • Glacial Spike could have potential, but it feels very bloated to use because of the long cast time and relying on a flurry proc. A potential fix would be to lower the cooldown of Ebonbolt drasticly.
  • Splitting Ice should be changed so it hits 3/4 targets to be more competitive on medium cleave fights.
  • Focus Magic should be slightly buffed to make it more desired to take as a party buff. (Could be increasing the limit to two you can put it on or increase the criticaly hit)

Covernant:

  • Currently I don’t feel that there is any convernant abillities that empower the gameplay of a frostmage. Like with warlock where necrolord is interacting with drain sould / Incenerate, I would love to see something similar added to frostmage. Currently Radiant Spark is my favorite flavor but it doesn’t add anything cool and the damage feel a bit weak. I tried the nightshifting power too from the nightfae and the channeling + 15 yard damage range does not really fit frost very well.

Conduits:
Pretty fine conduits and they seem fine. I would love to see either a change or addition to the current Frozen Orb conduit that would lower the cooldown.

Arcane Mage (Not much feedback yet):

  • Deathborne is currently on a 3 min cooldown and doesn’t fit well with Arcane power on 2 minutes. I would suggest to change deathborne to a 2 min cooldown.

couple things i would like to see changed.
i understand wh you brought rune of power back on a 45 sec cd. but can we please remove the cast time and just have it insta dropped underneath us?

Frost:

Id like to say im pretty happy. I outdouble or ourtriple other speccs and Classes in Damage, melees beg for mercy while i freeze off the last bit of their selfesteem and people are happy to take you with them into dungeons.

Our only weakness is that we have nothing to heal ourself midcombat. Otherwise i have nothing to complain. Thanks Blizz.