So, like many of you, I've been stuck here at home for the duration of BlizzCon. My day-job (what I like to refer to as my "what I do when I'm not being a Mage") has kept me here in sunny Las Vegas instead of in sunny Anaheim, and so I find myself at my computer, dividing my time between writing this column and furiously hitting the refresh button on my browser, hanging on every word my co-bloggers serve up from the convention floor. I wish I'd been able to make the reader meet-up this year, but that was not meant to be. I wanted to meet all of you, stammer like a dork while trying to say hello to Felica Day, and possibly get jumped by a gang of angry Warlocks while I screamed "Ice Block! Ice Block! Iiiiiice Bllloooccckkk!" at the top of my lungs. I will be there next year, with my level 85 Goblin Mage in tow, even if it kills me.
I'm really having difficulty processing all of the information out there, and the vast, universal, and sweeping impact it will have on everything about this virtual world we play in, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Guild leveling? Mastery system? Southshore... taken by the Horde? My mind is leaking from my ears. I'm not even kidding; it's gross. But the purposes of today's column will be to try and make some preliminary sense of this massive glut of newness, and apply it to the only class I care about: Mages. What will the new (old?) content mean for those of us who wander the current, relatively un-sundered Azeroth, conjuring portals and pastries? Read on for my initial impressions.
Ok. You have to admit: Blizzard is made up of pure genius. I'm to the point now where I'm ready to hand my debit card to Tom Chilton and say "here you go, just withdraw whatever you need, buddy." Everything about this new expansion seems to be geared toward bringing in new players and encouraging old players to start fresh. All I know is that if Blizzard doesn't increase the number of toons per account on a given server, I'm going to be deleting a few perfectly good alts, which is just stupid. I think we need to be able to make at least 20 characters per server. I'm not even exaggerating.
- Worgen and Goblin Mages
Let's take a quick look at what the announced racials for these two new races will bring to the proverbial Mage table.
Two Forms - instant, 1.5 sec cooldown, Turn into your currently inactive form.
Your Mage can now switch from a human to a wolfman at will. An evil curse coursing through our veins? This is something I think we can all get behind. Also, if you take tailoring, you can totally sew up your robes whenever your lycanthropy tears them.
Darkflight - instant, 3 min cooldown, activates your true form increasing movement speed by 70% for 10 sec
Sprint... Blink! Faster ways to run away from stabby things. A valuable Mage ability.
Viciousness - passive, increases all damage done by 1%.
Holy overpowered racials, batman! Let's see, I can roll an Undead and be able to breath longer underwater...or i can roll a Worgen and do 1% more damage. Choices are hard.
Flayer - passive, skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin faster.
For all the leatherworking Mages do. All none of it.
Aberration - Reduced duration against curses and Diseases.
Less time spent decursing yourself and more time to spend decursing every other shmuck that isn't a Worgen.
Best Deals Anywhere - always receive the best possible gold discount, regardless of faction.
First of all, this is just funny. Second of all, hey, cheap stuff.
Better Living Through Chemistry - Alchemy skill increased by 15.
Alchemy is a fantastic profession for any class, and Mages are no exception. And this doesn't just increase it by some wussy 10. This is 15, baby. Also, the rumor is that this will also allow your own potions to work better for you, meaning more mana from mana potions.
Edit: As several of you have pointed out, I am an idiot, and wrote that this will increase your Alchemy by 15%, which was a typo. It increases it by 15, meaning that if your Alchemy would otherwise be 385, this racial makes it 400. As always, I'm a moron.
Pack Hobgoblin - Instant, 30 minute cooldown, Calls in your personal servant, allowing you bank access for 1 min.
Ho. Ly. Crap. Seriously, if I could break "crap" up into multiple syllables in order to accentuate it, I would, because this is awesome. It has no specific benefit to Mages, but wow. I wonder if these little dudes can access my guild bank too?
Rocket Barrage - 30 yd range, Instant, 2 min cooldown, Launches your belt rockets at an enemy, dealing 30 fire damage.
A free instant Fire damage ability on a relatively short cooldown? Yes please. Here's hoping it scales with stats somehow. And also counts as a fire spell, and can help trigger a Hot Streak and stuff. Too much? Probably.
Rocket Jump - instant, 2 min cooldown, activates your rocket belt to jump forward.
Up? Or just straight? Will it work like a free Blink every two minutes? This has potential, and I'm always in the market for another escape mechanism. I can only pray I'll be able to rocket jump off the cliff in Arathi Basin, turn invisible, then Slow Fall my way down to the blacksmith, and then send my pack hobgoblin parachuting in beside me while we both fire off rockets from our belts.
Time is Money - cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed.
Again, why even roll another race? Worgen get 1% flat damage and Goblins get 1% flat haste? That's some serious racial power, there.
Either every race is going to need a revamp to their racials to match these two, or Goblin and Worgen Mages are going to be flat-out unbalanced. I'm rooting for the former. I like racials. I think they add flavor to the game, and I'd like to see every race get as interesting racials as these appear to be. Oh who cares, there'll be a million billion Worgen running around come expansion time anyway. they could give them no racials and that'd happen. I personally plan on having ten of them: one of each class they can be and three Warlocks who I can leave dead somewhere.
- New Mage races
In fact, the only race still left out of the Mage party is the Tauren. It's discrimination, clearly, and I don't think Tauren should stand for it. Join us, Tauren, and together we will fight this injustice. Our organization will be known as "Interracial Humanitarian Association of Tauren and Everyone in WoW Against Race Limits On Choosing Kinship with Sorcerers," or "IHATEWARLOCKS," if you prefer acronyms. We meet every week, on Saturdays. Or sometimes Sundays. Whenever. the important thing is that we meet, and there's plenty of strudel for everyone.
The bottom line here, with the inclusion of a total of five more Mage-compatible races and the revamp of all the old-world leveling content, is that we now have a lot more reasons to go back and make new Mages all over again. I'm excited about the possibilities awaiting my current, beloved, zombie-tailor-Mage, but I have to admit the lure of seeing Magehood from several more perspectives is very attractive.
Next week, or possibly sooner (who knows?) I'll tackle more of the possibilities for our class. Five more levels? Talent mastery system? Archeology? Path of Titans? I'll indulge in as much wild speculation and unsubstantiated rumormongering as I can manage. Plus, I haven't even touched on the class panels! Spellpower...going away? MP5...gone? My brain hurts. Holy crap, guys. What do we think? Awesome? Or too awesome? Or "meh?" Or "World of what-craft?" What do you guys think?
Every week Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of Mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our recent three-part guide to PvP for each Mage spec, or our look at what hit rating means to Mages. Until next week, keep the Mage-train a-rollin'.