Each year, Arcane Brilliance cooks up 52 columns about Mages, each one roasted at precisely the right temperature for precisely the right amount of time (usually a couple hours on Saturday morning over a soggy bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, to be honest). As we arrive at the 52nd week of 2008, Arcane Brilliance would like to thank each and every one of the Mages who come here every weekend to celebrate our wonderful class by reading a giant, well-cooked wall of text. Arcane Brilliance would also like to say to the Warlocks who come here to mock us and drink our delicious tears, "We hope your felhound eats you."
Wow, so 2008, huh?
A lot of things happened this year, right? Crazy.
We here at Arcane Brilliance thought that since next week's column will be posted in 2009, we should take a moment this week to remember the year that was, and what it meant to all of us who walk the path of magic. There were some pretty high highs, and some exceptionally low lows, so we figured it would be fun to throw the highs into a ring with the lows and let them fight to the death. Join us after the break to see who wins!
- (Yay!) Frostfire Bolt is the nuke to end all nukes
I almost filed this under (Boo!), if I'm being entirely truthful, simply because I hate that this is now the flavor-of-the-month "best" DPS spec for Mages, and I think it's unequivocally stupid that some guilds are even requiring their Mages to spec this way. Really? Is the end-game content so unforgiving that your guild can't figure out how to beat Kel'Thuzad with a Fire Mage or a Frost Mage in the party? This isn't the freaking Sunwell, guys. These WotLK raids are forgiving enough that a good raid can burn through them, regardless of composition. As long as you have enough tanks, healers and DPS, and you haven't brought along any total jackwads, you're going to be fine. Personally, I'd rather have the Arcane Mage who knows how to play than the Frostfire Mage who can't find his sheep button with a compass and a map.
- (Boo!) Deep Freeze doesn't do any damage
- (Yay!) The Arcane Tree doesn't suck!
Suddenly Arcane Mages had high DPS, decent survivability, and a sense of mobility and slipperiness that Mages had never known before. Arcane Barrage, instant Invisibility, Missile Barrage...the list of significant, game-changing newness was long and varied. The Arcane tree suddenly provided a unique sense of fun that Mages had been missing for a very long time. Arcane Mages could run around, Slowing their targets and then playing a game of long-distance tag with them until they dropped dead. Perhaps no other change this year was as significant or as successful--at least as far as Mages were concerned--as the revamp of the Arcane tree.
And the best part? Patch 3.0.8 promises to make it even better.
- (Boo!) Homogenization of Itemization, or "why is that Priest rolling on my staff?"
I'm not sure how the problem can be fixed, but I am sure that when an item drops, I want to be able to say "ah, now that's a Mage item," instead of having to outroll the Priest, the Warlock, the Holy Pally, the Boomkin, and the freaking Resto Shammy for everything that drops. I can understand Blizzard's desire to avoid a glut of items in the game. It must be a giant pain to design and program all of that gear. But surely you could just tweak some stats, do a palette swap on some existing gear and call it good? Jeez, leveling through Northrend, it looked to me like you guys only designed like 5 different gear models anyway, and then gave them varying shades of brown and gray and called it a day.
- (Yay!) Sunwell Isle was a lot of fun
Like everyone else, Mages flocked here in droves, worked our way to exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive, and then lamented our low spots on the damage meters in the Brutallus fight. Good times were had by all, until everyone got their raid-spots taken by a Shaman.
- (Boo!) R.I.P. Arcane Blast
The good news is that all signs point to this changing, and soon. Patch 3.0.8 promises to make this spell worthwhile again, and in a way that pleases both Blizzard and Mages, two parties that seldom see eye to eye. Everyone cross your collective fingers that this particular buff makes it live.
- (Yay!) Mirror Image is delicious
Still, it's like I always say: the only thing better than one of me is four of me. I enjoy being able to conjure my own posse at the push of a button. This is a very cool spell, and very nice prize for hitting level 80. It definitely has room to improve, and I look forward to seeing if and how Blizzard lets it evolve.
So there's my short list of the good and bad 2008 had to offer Mages. Now that the dust has settled, it looks like the Yays have won out over the Boos. Based on that unscientific and completely arbitrary result, I hereby declare 2008 a success. Bring on 2009!
Every week Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of Mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our recent two-part look at reputation rewards in WotLK, or our guide to leveling builds to get you through Northrend. Until next week, keep the Mage-train a-rollin'.