So apparently patch 3.3 could literally drop any moment. I'm not even kidding. It might have happened while I was typing that last sentence. I don't know. More likely, though, is that it will come (as per the usual deployment-method) during the upcoming Tuesday maintenance. This means we've only got a little time left before we can enter Icecrown Citadel and begin the patch-long process of shaking its inhabitants down repeatedly for loot. I, for one, cannot wait to place an Arcane Missile or five directly up Arthas' frosty tailpipe.
But what, exactly, does this patch bring to the mage class? I'm glad you asked. Though this patch is admittedly a bit heavy on the new raid content and light on class changes, mages are one of the few classes that are getting some pretty significant new junk. From increased raid utility for Arcane, to buffed-up AoE for Fire, to actual, honest-to-goodness competitive raid DPS for Frost, 3.3 is delivering a little of something for everybody. Join me after the break for a full recap of all the newness we can expect come patch day.
- Arcane Empowerment: This talent now also grants 1/2/3% increased damage done by the mage's party or raid for 10 seconds after the mage gets a critical strike with Arcane Explosion, Arcane Missiles, Arcane Barrage, or Arcane Blast. This effect is exclusive with Ferocious Inspiration and Sanctified Retribution.
Well no more! Now every time Arcane mages crit with pretty much anything they're going to be casting, they provide a 3%
Edit: The buff grants damage, not crit, and once again, I prove that in the idiot races, I always take 1st place.
- Blast Wave: The mana cost of this talent has been significantly reduced.
- Burning Determination: The duration of interrupt immunity granted by this talent is now 20 seconds.
- Dragon's Breath: The mana cost of this talent has been significantly reduced.
And you thought significantly meant holy crap before. This is a full 3% more holy crap.
- Firestarter: When this talent is triggered, it makes the next Flamestrike cost no mana in addition to being instant.
So now, when you cast a Blast Wave or Dragon's Breath and trigger Firestarter, the instant Flamestrike that results will not only be instant, it will be free. That's pretty cool. Now go forth, my fiery friends. Head into Alterac Valley. Find a tower. Wait for a group of Alliance/Horde scum to try to invade it. Then set them on fire. Over and over again. Welcome back, AoE dominance...I've missed you so much.
- Improved Scorch: The debuff from this talent no longer stacks, and instead can apply the full effect from a single cast of Scorch.
- Deep Freeze: This spell now deals a large amount of damage to targets permanently immune to stuns. In addition, when this ability deals damage it will no longer consume two charges of Fingers of Frost for those mages with the Shatter talent.
By adding in a damage component against bosses, this spell suddenly goes from "completely useless in PvE" to "the single largest damage spell mages have in PvE." It does a massive, Pyroblast-esque amount of damage to bosses, and should become a permanent part of every Frost mage's PvE rotation. Raiding Frost mages will want to insert this into every shatter combo, every time it's off cooldown.
- Fingers of Frost: This talent now triggers immediately on casting a spell rather than being delayed until the spell strikes the target.
By making the talent proc on cast instead of when the target was struck, this gives Frost mages a lot more control over their combos. It's not as exciting as some of these changes, but this is still a very welcome change.
But the big change for Frost mages isn't a talent or spell. It's a glyph.
- Glyph of Eternal Water: This glyph allows for a summoned Water Elemental to last indefinitely, but it can no longer cast Freeze.
This is a pretty hefty DPS boost for Frost mages, and together with the other changes to Frost is the biggest story of the patch for mages: Frost is PvE-viable again.
That's right, for the first time since the days of Molten Core, Frost raid DPS is competitive with the other two specs. These changes put it right in line with Arcane, and just below deep Fire in the DPS hierarchy. So when the patch hits, I expect to see flocks of Frost mages step outside the battlegrounds for the first time in years, rub their eyes in the bright sunlight of the PvE world, and proceed, their new permanent Water Elemental in tow, to the nearest raid instance en masse. Because though I'm sure Icecrown Citadel is already quite chilly, it could always be a bit...Frostier...right?
The only spec that really will require a new talent build after the patch is Frost, and I anticipate those builds to look something like this:
Edit: Fixed the link.
I can't even begin to explain how excited I am to see volleys of raid-viable Frostbolts and Deep Freezes being hurled in rapid succession toward Arthas' face. He won't know what hit him. He'll only know that whatever it was, it was cold.
What else are we looking forward to in this patch, mages?
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 what Cataclysm will mean to Mages, or our lengthy series of mage leveling guides. Until next week, keep the Mage-train a-rollin'.