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Yet more beta changes to Mages

Christian Belt

As has become customary, a new build of the beta has rendered a lot of the Mage class changes I reported earlier today moot. Much of it is still relevant, but the new build has introduced some very substantial new talent re-workings. Blizzard continues to make good on their promise to "polish" the Mage class, and the results continue to be both good and bad, but always intriguing.

A full list of the newest changes and my thoughts on some of them follow after the jump.

Some of these are things we already knew about, but most are entirely new. Here's the list in full:

  • Arcane Fortitude moved to tier 2, increased to 3 ranks, now increases armor equal to 50/100/150% of Intellect.
  • Arcane Subtlety now reduces the chance your spells will be dispelled by 15/35%, and no longer reduces the resistance of targets.
  • Arctic Reach now also affects Deep Freeze.
  • Blast Wave now knocks all affected targets back.
  • Elemental Precision moved to tier 2.
  • Empowered Fireball reduced to 3 ranks, now increases damage by 5/10/15% of spell power.
  • Empowered Frostbolt reduced to 2 ranks, increases damage by 5/10% of spell power and increases critical hit chance by 2/4%.
  • Flame Throwing moved to tier 3.
  • Frost Channeling now reduces mana cost of all spells by 4/7/10%.
  • Frost Warding now increases armor and resistances of Frost/Ice Armor by 25/50%, now gives Frost Ward and Fire Ward a 15/30/5 chance to negate damage caused and restore mana equal to damage caused by the warded spell.
  • Ice Floes renamed Cold as Ice, now reduces cooldown of Cold Snap, Ice Barrier, Summon Water Elemental, and Deep Freeze by 10/20%.
  • Improved Counterspell now always silences the target for 2/4 seconds.
  • Improved Fire Blast moved to tier 1, reduced to 2 ranks, reduces the cooldown by 1/2 seconds.
  • Improved Flamestrike moved to tier 2, renamed World in Flames, now increases the critical hit chance of Flamestrike, Blast Wave, Dragon's Breath, Living Bomb, Blizzard, and Arcane Explosion by 2/4/6%.
  • Improved Frost Nova renamed Ice Floes, moved to tier 1, increased to 3 ranks, now reduces cooldown of Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Ice Block, and Icy Veins by 7/14/20%.
  • Magic Absorption reduced to 2 ranks, increases resistances by .5/1 point per level, and restores 1/3% of total mana on a resist.
  • Master of Elements now affects all spell criticals.
  • Mind Mastery reduced to 3/6/9/12/15%.
  • Molten Shields now gives Fire Ward and Frost Ward spells a 15/30% chance to reflect the warded spell.
  • Prismatic Cloak (Arcane)increased to 3 ranks for 1/2/3% and now also reduces the fade time of Invisibility by 1/2 seconds.
  • Pyroblast cast time has been reduced to 5 seconds.
  • Shatter no longer has a prerequisite.cane
  • Fiery Payback now reduces the cast time of Pyroblast by 1.8/3.5 seconds when below 35% health and also increases it's cooldown by 2.5/5 seconds.
  • Mana cost on Arcane Barrage Rank 3 reduced from 610 to 592.
  • Ice Floes is now a Tier 1 talent instead of Tier 6. The new description is: Reduces the cooldown of your Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Ice Block and Icy Veins spells by 7%/14%/20%.
  • Elemental Precision is now a Tier 2 talent instead of Tier 1. The new description is: Reduces the mana cost and chance targets resist your Frost and Fire spells by 1/2/3%. Before this patch it increased your chance to hit by 1/2/3%.
  • Improved Frost Nova removed.
  • Shatter no longer has Improved Frost Nova as prerequisite.
  • New Talent: Cold as Ice: Reduces the cooldown of your Cold Snap, Ice Barrier, Deep Freeze and Summon Water Elemental spells by 10/20%. Requires 1 point in Cold Snap and 25 points in Frost Talents.
  • Winter's Chill talent reworked. It is now a 3 point talent instead of 5 points and now gives your Frost damage spells a 33/66/100% chance to apply the Winter's Chill effect which increases the chance Arcane, Fire and Frost Spells will critically hit the target by 2% for 15 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.
  • Shattered Barrier description changed to: Gives your Ice Barrier spell a 50/100% chance to freeze all enemies within 10 yds for 8 sec when it is destroyed.

The first thing that really jumps out at me here is the change to Fiery Payback, which makes it impossible to spam a 1.5 second Pyroblast at less than 35% health. The addition of a 5 second cooldown to the spell means it will have to be worked into a normal spell rotation, instead of being the rotation. This is likely a balancing issue, as the talent in its previous incarnation was probably considered over-powered.

Another major change to the previous build involves Prismatic Cloak. The last information we got was that it would reduce Invisibility's fade time to zero at max rank, making the effect instant. In the current build it appears that the reduction is to 1 second at best, meaning no "poof, I'm gone" for Mages. This saddens me, but I guess Blizzard is set on giving the spell at least some fade time, and one second is certainly better than five.

A lot of talents, such as Elemental Precision, Impact, and Flame Throwing, have moved around their trees, switching tiers and affecting all sorts of builds. No longer can you spend 3 points in the Frost tree and get a bunch of spell hit for your Fire and Frost spells. This is interesting, since the Arcane tree equivalent, Arcane Focus, is still in tier one.

There are quite a few changes to the Frost tree, which I'll be going over in depth in next week's Arcane Brilliance. Overall, the new changes seem to be organizational and balancing in nature, as if Blizzard is cleaning up after introducing so many new things to the mix over the past few weeks. I'm less than thrilled about many of the changes, but impressed at the attention our class continues to get. Here's hoping that when the polishing is finally done, we'll end up with a shiny new Mage class to play with.

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