Feedback: Mage Updates

In this thread, we’ll be testing and talking about Mages in The War Within. Look here for posts from the development team as adjustments and bugfixes are made throughout the testing period.

Please note that off-topic or inappropriate posts will be strictly removed.

Thank You

Before we continue testing The War Within, we’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who read and responded to the Hero Talent previews we posted over the last few months.

Looking to the Alpha

In this first Alpha build, every single class has at least one new Hero Talent tree available for testing, with the rest coming in the following weeks. We’re asking testers to initially keep several things in mind:

  • There are UI elements on the talent panel that are placeholder, including things like talent icons, text, or final UI art.
  • Some talents may not be functioning yet, or may be marked as not yet implemented (NYI)
  • New spell visuals and audio for several new Hero Talent trees are still a work in progress. Many trees are using placeholder assets for now that will be updated over the course of Alpha.
  • There are some talents that are not fully tuned yet. This is expected, and we will implement tuning adjustments throughout testing.

The combat design team has two big areas of focus right now that we are prioritizing over other concerns such as tuning or generic class updates/maintenance:

  • Finish building the remainder of the Hero Talent trees that are not yet available.
  • Fix bugs that are blocking testing of new talents.

With the Alpha build being playable and all of the discussion that will occur around the flood of data, we wanted to reiterate that the responses to our blog previews were highly valuable. The feedback we received allowed us to make some early improvements or revisions while we didn’t yet have a public test environment. It allowed us to take some big early swings on certain trees, and then react to early feedback quickly.

Going forward, we aren’t planning to publish any additional Hero Talent previews in blog form, since we’ll add the remaining classes to the Alpha as soon as they reach their ready-to-test state.

Working from Feedback

Several Hero Talent trees have received changes after reading feedback to the blog posts. Some of these were tuning changes to ensure that the Hero Talent tree felt competitive, while others were significant design changes. The feedback thus far has been of great benefit to us.

Going into Alpha, we feel good about the shape of the Hero Talent tree designs. Keeping a consistent number of utility and defensives nodes across all trees, having parity between number of choice nodes, and the overall structure of the trees are things we’re confident in.

We’re also working on tweaking some core class designs as well. In some cases, it was necessary to make adjustments to the class or specialization talent trees before significant work was done on a Hero Talent tree. In other cases, we did work seeking to improve base class talent tree designs.

Alpha Feedback

Now that we’re in Alpha, we’re looking for feedback on how it feels to playtest these trees. We’re specifically curious about:

  • Hero Talents that you feel are “required” for your spec in a type of content, such as raiding or Mythic+, or that push you towards picking a specific tree.
  • Hero Talents that create frustrating or unsatisfying gameplay or rotations for your spec.
  • Hero Talents whose functionality is confusing, unclear, or difficult to track during gameplay.

Throughput comparisons of Hero Talent trees are helpful, but we’re more interested in gameplay, feel, and choice feedback at this stage. Also, when possible, we appreciate it when you focus posts or articles on a single spec and Hero Talent tree, rather than combining feedback about multiple issues.

Again, Thank You

We greatly appreciate all your feedback on Hero Talent trees and are very excited for you to see everything else we’re working on. Thank you!

The World of Warcraft Combat Design Team

Hello mages!

We have some updates coming to the Alpha in the next few weeks and want to give you an early look at a significant talent shakeup.

These changes will be almost exclusively specialization tree changes, but the goals are similar across them all. In general, we’re happy with the core gameplay of each mage specialization. These changes aim to elevate existing gameplay, provide choice, and ease frustration.

Goals

  • Allow you to acquire each specialization’s core gameplay with less talent point investment.
  • Simplify rotational complexity.
  • Provide tools to help you adapt your damage profile to better match a given encounter.
  • Provide competitive choice nodes that let you opt-out of complex gameplay.

Mage Class Tree

So far there is one change in the Mage class tree:

  • Temporal Warp is being removed.

Temporal Warp has some experiential issues we aren’t happy with, like mages not being able to use it in raid fights where Time Warp is not used at the start of the fight. We’re also unhappy with the significant APM requirements it creates, and how failing those might snowball into substantially reduced damage over the course of a fight.

Mage damage overall will be tuned taking Temporal Warp’s removal into account as these changes roll in.

Arcane

The Arcane spec tree will be receiving updates aimed at providing more options for players who enjoy the fantasy of Arcane and want to play it without some of the demanding elements of its current playstyle.

Arcane has a lot of inherent complexity with mana management, and that complexity is not well represented in the spec tree. Talents that might seem simple to manage on other specs become a headache to juggle alongside Arcane’s burns and mana management. This, paired with the new elements being added by Hero Talents, make it seem like the right time to address these issues.

We’re still working on the changes, but we can share this: Radiant Spark will be redesigned to be much simpler. It will also have a competitive choice node for people who do not like the scripted style of gameplay it incentivizes. We’re also looking at increasing the power of Arcane’s procs and giving them more exciting procs, such that responding to them as they come up is almost always the best move, even in your burns.

Fire

Fire will likely be the first to test new changes. These changes are targeted at giving Fire more talent options, particularly in AOE. We want you to be able to assess the encounter and adjust your talents accordingly, and that means being able to alter how good Ignite/Flamestrike/Phoenix Flames are at different target counts. We’re also taking a look at Fire’s suite of maintenance buffs and culling a select few of them.

Frost

With the exception of a few talents, which we’re looking to address, we’re feeling good about Frost’s gameplay and tree. Our first batch of changes for Frost will be small in scope, and targeted at adding a new build that should reminiscent of the Deathborne playstyle from Shadowlands, while also freeing up some talent points.

Thank you for your continued feedback, and we’re excited to hear more from you in the weeks to come.

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Hello Mages!

We have a lot of Fire Mage changes hitting the Alpha today, and we want to take some time to go over what changes were made and why. As mentioned in our update post last week, we have a few goals that span all mage specializations. These are:

  • Allow you to acquire each specialization’s core gameplay with less talent point investment.
  • Simplify rotational complexity.
  • Provide new nodes that can help you adapt your damage profile to better match a given encounter’s demands.
  • Provide competitive choice nodes that let you opt-out of complex gameplay.

Since we’re talking about Fire only, we can get a bit more granular:

Fire’s AOE
The biggest issue we were looking to address with this iteration was giving you more ways to adjust your talents and rotation to better suit different profiles, which goes hand-in-hand with increasing the effectiveness and excitement of Flamestrike, Phoenix Flames, and Living Bomb. We’re excited to see what Fire Mages can cook up with the new talents. Our goal with these changes is to push Ignite-spreading out of the default playstyle in higher forms of content, especially above 3 targets-- but retain and add talent support for it so its still exciting to utilize when it makes sense.

Sun King’s Blessing
Sun King’s Blessing is a powerful and exciting capstone that Fire Mage players have been utilizing heavily for quite a while. We like the Sun King’s Blessing / Unleashed Inferno capstone choice node, but recognize that Unleashed Inferno still has some gaps to close, particularly in AOE.

By increasing the stack requirement of Sun King’s Blessing to 10 and increasing Unleashed Inferno’s effectiveness in AOE, we’re hoping that the two talents can better coexist as a meaningful choice when going into an encounter.

Maintenance Buffs
Fire’s array of maintenance buffs has been a sore spot in Dragonflight, and its something we’re looking to address moving forward-- especially given the addition of the Aberrus tier set as talents in the Fire tree.

Firemind is our first removal, but we’re also being sensitive to the fact that Firemind didn’t require you to play around it very much, so its removal might not be doing much to simplify the landscape of Fire’s maintenance buffs.

We’re also simplifying Improved Scorch’s damage amplification effect to be less punishing when its dropped, but also allowing it to be opt-in complexity. Fire Mages who want increased execute damage without the addition of another maintenance buff should look towards Down in Flames, a new choice node against Improved Scorch.

Feel the Burn is on our radar, but its output is impactful enough that it serves as a great way to express skill for Fire Mages who have mastered its gameplay. New talents along with effects from the Frostfire and Sunfury trees are increasing player’s access to Fire Blast and Phoenix Flames, so keeping Feel the Burn up should be easier than ever before.

That’s all for this update. We’re excited to read all of your feedback on the new Fire talents!

Hello, after playing mage on the Alpha and seeing us getting a rework I thought i’d share some feedback. I’ll give feedback on fire and it’s hero talents for now as it’s the only spec with major changes in this alpha build

Sunfury

I really love this hero talent tree. It adds some cool visuals and the gameplay it adds is very fun. There isn’t a lot of negative things to be said about this tree tbh, so far I only have a few issues

  • I think Gravity Lapse is a very cool spell and would like to see it remain, but I hope we see some changes to Lessons in Debilitation. Being forced to give up Blast Wave or add CC effects to our Phoenix’ pool of exceptional spells feels bad.

  • The recharge rate of our spellfire spheres are too long. You also don’t passively generate up to 5 Spheres out of combat when you talent into Rondurmancy, not sure if that’s intended or not though.

  • I dislike how rigid and static the spellfire spheres are. I would love for them to move around like the Legion phoenix flames orbs did. It looks a lot more natural and way cooler.

  • Not a huge deal, but it would be nice if there was a way to add some more Arcane visuals. Arcane Mage has some of the best visuals in the game, but it feels somewhat lacking in this hero talent tree. Maybe something that would make Arcane phoenixes fly out and damage our mobs would be cool? A similar visual to the current head enchant in Amirdrassil, but with Arcane visuals instead.

  • The phoenix randomly attacks any mob in range. I assume this is unintended as it’d be very rough in keys or in raids where you need to CC some adds, like we did on Fyrakk.

Frostfire

I really love this hero talent tree as well, the class fantasy and visuals are amazing. I do have more criticism of this hero talent tree than I do for Sunfury though.

  • Biggest problem by far is the number of passives we have to track with this hero talent tree. Frostfire Mastery, Excess Frost, Excess Fire, Frostfire Empowerments are all talents we’ll have to track and play around. Just those four talents alone would be quite a lot to play around, but then the Fire spec tree adds a bunch more stuff to track.

  • I don’t like how the hero talent forces us into picking Meteor and Firefall. Not a huge deal, but with so many new hero talents added, and so many being capstones, it feels a bit bad that we’re always locked into spending 2 points into meteor talents.

  • Elemental Affinity and Flame and Frost don’t feel particularly great for fire. As frost gaining the CDR on Dragon’s Breath and Blast Wave feels very good, but as fire it’s a pretty forgettable talent.

Fire:

The reworked talent tree feels like it has a lot of potential, but it a bit undercooked right now. Hopefully we’ll see it end up in a great position like mages were in after the 10.1.5 reworks.

  • Biggest problem by far right now is the amount of things to track and the number of maintenance buffs. Hopefully we see more pruning in this department with future builds, but right now it’s a major concern. The spec feels impossible to play without Weakauras right now.

  • I love the addition of Living Bomb talents and trying to turn it into a relevant spell, it’s by far one of my favourite spells in the game. However the tuning for Living Bomb is very week, even with all the dmg amps for it. Not only that, you don’t really feel the spell in your gameplay. Having it impact our gameplay in some way would feel great, maybe having it contribute to our hotstreak would be an option?

  • I love seeing so many new capstone talents added, most of them feel very underwhelming. I hope you guys do another pass on those talents and make them feel like strong capstone talents.

  • While I understand the Sun King’s Blessing nerf to bring it more in line with Unleashed Inferno, I wish it would’ve been done in a way that didn’t change it from consuming 8 to 10 hotstreaks. Having high uptime on combustion was very fun.

  • I think reworking Hyperthermia slightly would do a lot to make it feel like a significantly better talent. With the reworked Pyromaniac talent, my suggestion would be to make Pyromaniac have a 100% chance to proc during Hyperthermia. I think it could lead to some very fun gameplay.

  • Blast Zone seems like a cool talent, but it feels bad because it’s gated behind Fire’s Ire and it also suffers because the Living Bomb explosions don’t overlap with each other atm. So to get full value from it atm requires an extremely high pull count.

  • Deep Impact from a PvE perspective at least feels very weak especially at the capstone level. Not really sure how to make it feel like a better talent tbh.

  • Majesty of the Phoenix feels out of place both as a capstone, it seems very weak at the moment.

  • With the Aberrus tier set being added as talents, and a lot of the hero talents, the number of spells that interact with Phoenix Flames is very high. I would love to see Alexstrasza’s Fury become baseline as a result. I would love to see it replaced with the Darckli’s Dragonfire Diadem legendary from Legion, which would let us use Dragon’s Breath in our rotation without being forced to be in melee range.

  • Tied to my previous points, the amount of talents interacting with Phoenix Flames makes the spec impossible to play without weakauras. I have no way of knowing which buff is making my Phoenix Flames glow without weakauras to track it.

  • I think Improved Scorch should get pruned. While buffs like Feel the Burn leads to some fun min/maxing gameplay, improved scorch doesn’t really add much in that regard at all. It just ends up being a button we have to press every 12 seconds to maintain a dmg buff, otherwise you lose a lot of dmg.

  • I would love to see Spontaneous Combustion to replace one of the other capstone talents. It seems like it’d be a very nice talent to have, but since it competes with Improved Cumbustion I doubt we’ll get to play with it a lot. Another option would be to make Improved Combustion baseline and have a different talent placed there.

Overall I am optimistic about the fire rework, but I definitely hope we see the number of maintenance buffs and passives to track significantly reduced. The baseline spells tracked was already overwhelmin when doing intense bossfights, adding 4-5 additional things to track is going to be a bit too much.

Class Tree

I don’t know if there are any planned changes to the class tree, but I would love to see some changes here as well.

  • I would love to see Mirrors of Torment added as a choice node with Shifting Power. While there are scenarios where Shifting Power makes our CDs line up way better for fights, having more options is always nice.
  • I don’t know how realistic it is, but it would be nice if Shifting Power could work on trinkets as well. Having our CDs never align properly with on-use trinkets has felt very unfun.
  • I would love to see some changes to make Displacement easier to pick up without having to give up powerful spells like Ice Cold or Mass Barrier.
  • I hope we get a choice node against Time Anomaly. I think it’ s an ok talent, but it would be cool to get something else as a choice node as well. More options is always nice. I also dislike how it disincentivzes you from pressing Time Warp as you can get a Time Warp proc, while Blood Lust is active from a non-mage.

I look forward to seeing how the spec develops throughout the Alpha and Beta. I also look forward to see what you guys have cooked for Arcane and Frost. Thanks!

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Hello Mages!

We have some Arcane Mage changes hitting the War Within Alpha today, and we want to go over them here. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we have goals that span all mage specializations.

These are:

  • Allow you to acquire each specialization’s core gameplay with less talent point investment.
  • Simplify rotational complexity.
  • Provide new nodes that can help you adapt your damage profile to better match a given encounter’s demands.
  • Provide competitive choice nodes that let you opt-out of complex gameplay.

Today we’re talking about Arcane, so let’s dive into the specifics.

Radiant Spark
Arcane Mage has long had the reputation of being one of the most complicated and skill expressive specializations in World of Warcraft. A large contributing factor to this is the way in which Radiant Spark asks you to optimize your rotation. Radiant Spark’s damage bonus was so substantial and so dramatically punished you for using Arcane Missiles, that you had to go about your big burn in a very scripted fashion. With the introduction of Shifting Power, Arcane Mage gained access to mini-burns that can also utilize Radiant Spark, but to facilitate optimal usage of the spell those also had to be very scripted-- and worse yet-- your mini burn script was different than your big burn script.

All of that to say, we don’t think that the exciting and challenging part of Arcane should be the memorization of a large script. Arcane’s burn gameplay should support and be enhanced by the mechanics and talents you have, not circumvent them. We feel confident that the removal of Radiant Spark in its current fashion is the right path forward to achieve that goal.

The soul of Radiant Spark will live on, however, through a new talent: Magi’s Spark. Magi’s Spark accomplishes a similar goal to Radiant Spark by making Touch of the Magi more of an exciting moment, but it now rewards you for utilizing each of your core rotational Arcane spells.

Opt-In Complexity
We’re interested in preserving Arcane’s legacy as a skill-expressive specialization, but we must also recognize that there is a considerable population of Arcane Mage players who engage with the specialization for its visual identity and fantasy-- less so for the challenging gameplay. As Arcane Mage currently stands, it does not support simpler playstyles and thus, less informed Arcane Mages will produce very middling results.

Similar to other trees across the game, the Arcane Mage tree is getting some choice nodes and supporting talents that are meant to provide meaningful throughput while offsetting some of the specialization’s inherent complexity-- and maybe letting you remove a button or two off of your action bars along the way.

As with Fire Mage, we plan on tuning the more “challenging” talents to be the most competitive choices, but we will be making sure the gap between a complex talent and its simpler alternative is small enough that you don’t feel like you’re making a huge mistake by opting out of the complexity.

Arcane Missiles
Arcane Missile’s damage and excitement was difficult to balance alongside its accessibility. If Arcane Missiles ever became too powerful, it would dominate Arcane’s rotation and become its highest priority in all situations. By restricting access to Arcane Missiles to only be castable when you have Clearcasting, it enables us to increase its damage and expand its range of effects in a more healthy way without compromising the rest of your rotation.

Clearcasting Effects
We’ve observed that there has been some frustration around effects that key into consuming Clearcasting since there can rarely be long streaks where players won’t get a proc. We’re watching the discussion around these effects, and are being sensitive to the frustration these effects might cause. Sunfury and Spellslinger both grant increased access to Clearcasting, which should smooth out the rate at which you receive Clearcasting and quell some of that frustration, but if this still ends up being a large point of frustration, expect us to take action on it.

Complexity
Increasing the approachability of Arcane Mage was a big pillar of this talent tree redesign, and we hope that those of you who have been intimidated by Arcane’s complexity in the past will give the specialization another shot once you have access to these changes.

As we gather feedback and continue to iterate on these changes, keep in mind that our goal moving forward is to move the skill expression of Arcane Mage into lining various buffs and effects up in preparation for your burn. Mastering the new talents and effects, and ensuring you’re managing these in a proper fashion to best utilize them during Touch of the Magi will be the differentiating factor between good and great Arcane Mages. Expect future changes to support this vision.

That’s all for this update. We’re excited to read your feedback on this new iteration of Arcane Mage!

Last night i was: ok, lets try arcane.

Specced into arcane, spend talentpoints for a simple orbbuild with siphon storm. Unlocked all herotalents and go as arcane spellslinger.

I have placed my portrait and the target more to the middle. When i then checked the box for Personal Resource Display it confuses me to see my charges under me and under my portrait.

Shortly after in a questline i did a followerdungeon. (Even if you tell the game to show the way, you need to show the follower where to go. They dont jump by themself down a shaft for example.)

Druid was marked as tank so i put a sign on his head to see where he is going.
Suprisingly shaman was marked as tank too. And guess who was pulling with chainbolts: the shaman.
I was thinking what a slap in the face to all shamans who wanted to tank :wink:

Long story short: orb barrage orb barrage like i was used to in retail in pulls. I didnt focus too much on arcane battery on live. If i had a procc in a bigpull it was exciting but i dont wanted to get frustrated if i play arcane cause sanguine. Most of m+ i play frost. (Our keys are not high enough for fire ignite and the choice between flamestrikebuild/hybrid and frost, frost wins for me.)

Procchance of orb was fine, please keep it.
Only at bosses arcane surge was worth to use cause everything else died too fast.

Supernova/Dragons breath
Supernova as a choice node in classtree is fine. More interrupts always good for m+.
And Supernova fits arcane more than Dragons breath :wink:

Temporal Warp gone:
No more temporal warp = i dont need to think anymore if there is a pull in between lusts for my group where its worth for temporal warp and i will get lust soon enough back. Holy how often i needed to ask if someone has drums :wink:
In raid im no more underperforming at bosses with BL at the end compared to other classes cause i cannot lust a 2nd time with cds (as frost).

Energized Familiar and Mana Adept:
There are two options. You have manaproblems or you havent. If arcane is tuned to have manaprobs then mana adept is a save bet so ill take it over Energized Familiar. This has only a small chance for managain. I dont think the dps part of energized familiar will ever be enough to justify this talent.
The more mastery the less manaproblems i have. A short time after hitting maxlevel and get some masterygear both talents are dead? Or will an arcane mage have more manaproblems than a healer and hold the group back?
In the followerdungeon i didnt have any manaproblems without the 2 talents.

Evocation:
Why is evocation this deep in the tree? Manaburn and manaregain is the core of arcane. Evocation should be at row 1,2 or 3.

Arcane Harmony and Leydrinker:
Am i wrong or are they doing the same thing just with different dps profiles?
Both are increasing ST dps. Leydrinker has a cleave part on its own. Harmony need to spend a talent point in Arcing cleave to cleave like the name says.
Harmony is more bursty than the more flatten profile Leydrinker has.
Doing the same thing in different ways competing on the same row doesnt make sense to me.
The Harmonybuff is not shown under my char. GL finding this infight in the buffbar. Need to be tracked via weakaura.

Your design goal “no more complicated scripted cast sequences” vs my personal dps goal:
My goal as dps is to align as much modifiers as i can.
Presence of mind + Evocation with Siphon storm + Arcane Battery + Aether Attunement + Arcane Harmony (+Amplification for faster stacks) + Magis Spark + Nether Munitions leads to exactly what you dont want: a complicated scripted cast sequence.
Fishing for procs till Aether Attunement is active. 30 sec buff for next AM 150% dps ST and 100% dps increase to 4 nearby enemies.
I want this in my Totm window. And i want a CC proc for AM for Magis spark. Then i want as many as possible harmonystacks for ArB in my totm window. ArB i need anyway for Magis spark. Further i need an AB for Magis Spark.

I was lucky and got enough cc procs and BL is not over yet xD

Evocation/ Arcane Surge / ArB into / TotM with Magis Spark so the ArB counts for Magis / AM/ AB/ (Magis Spark explodes inside TotM and activates Nether Munitions)/ AB or AM depends on cc procs / PoM-2x AB at the end of TotM.
In short: Evo/ Arcane Surge / ArB /TotM/ AM /AB /AB (AM on proc) till PoM-2xAB
(dont forget pots+trinkets)

You are right, its not as complicated as it is now on DF live. But its far away from other classes-press your cd and do your usual rotation. And still scripted unless an AM proc in Totm in between AB/PoM-2xAB.

Is it fun to fish for procs and see others bursting in BL and you know, they just press their cd and are having fun while you sit there fishing? Hell no.

If you are lucky and got early procs and can start cds with high stack harmony, even then you are behind with a harmony build. Such long rampups are just not fun.

You need 4 cc procs for max stack harmony and Aether Attunement and following then you need a cc proc for Magis Spark. Thats too much. Please lower the amount of procs you need to trigger or change PoM to give clearcast on demand. Or lower the max stacks of Arcane Harmony. The setbonus on DF live is perfect. Pure dps numbers can be tuned then.

After 1 or 2 hours of arcaning i was thinking: oh there were herotalents. What are they doing? I didnt notice the whole time their impact.
A dot…thats it?! A storm? When where?
Graphics set to 10, i didnt notice the Splinters or storm or whatever they are doing.

Next graphical thing: my familiar is way too small. If i need to almost zoom into ego-perspective to see it, its too small. Thats saying a gnome.

(Do i need to say i love Sunfury Firemage?! (with UI than SKB ofc!))