Arcane Brilliance: Mages magicking BlizzCon

Arcane Brilliance is a little late today, but for a pretty good reason: I'm writing the column from the floor of the Anaheim Convention Center. Seeing as how we are coming to you live from BlizzCon, I thought it might be of interest to show you how mages are receiving the love from the Blizzard dev team. The first class panel didn't give us much in the way of new info on the mage, but there certainly were a lot of references to mages during the convention. Jeff Kaplan appears to play a mage, I say this because many times whenever he referenced a spell or ability, it invariably was tied to mage abilities in some way. A good example of this was his explanation of the new inscription profession, where he explained that you might add a knockback ability to your Fireball spell. Slip of the tongue perhaps? I'd love to think he plays a mage as his main and is there representing for the magic lovers.

Speaking of Inscription, the addition of this profession to the game will definitely affect the mage as a class. The profession allows the crafter to affect spells and abilities, adding new effects to your original spells. I can only imagine that this will enable an entirely new level of pwnage for mages in both PvP and PvE environments. My personal interests lie in blending new schools of magic into my spells for added damage to elemental-based mobs. Imagine being able to tack on a nature damage bolt onto your Arcane Missiles. The possibilities are daunting when you consider how much power we might be able to have at our fingertips.

As the second class panel chugged along, not much was added to the original info provided. If you had followed along on our Liveblogging of the panel you'll know that mages did get slightly touched on during the panel. In the first place, it was mentioned in both class panels that the mages are the sandbox and playground for innovation. It is the mage class that the developers love to experiment with, and we have Invisibility and Spell Steal as a result.

It was also noted that although mages are considered the DPS kings, it was decided that they would more focus on the AOE damage, and the rogue would stand out as a single-target DPS master. I know this appears to be a bit challenging in instance situations, and definitely brings to mind the difficulties we have with mana efficiency in massive AOE fights. They are looking into changing Spirit as a stat, so perhaps this will improve the situation in the future.

Secondly, the question came up during the Q&A section of the second panel regarding the summoning of food and water. Tom Chilton's answer was brilliant: In the future mages will be able to summon a feast table to their location and group members will be able to get food from it, and yes we will have a water fountain. Huzzah! All in all, I came away with the feeling that mages are definitely respected by the development team, and that they will continue to read the forums as they look to improve the talents for us. From here on, the focus will be on the live content patches and how they will affect the class.

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.