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Mage changes in beta build 8962

Christian Belt

Ok Mages. Are you sitting down? We finally got our nerf. We sort of knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it suck any less. We got a few buffs, too, but the one major nerf was a whopper. It won't affect everyone, just Mages like me who had fallen in love with the new Arcane tree. This nerf, if it stands, almost singlehandedly kills the whole tree, at least as a stand-alone spec.

Here it is:

  • Arcane Blast changed. Each time you cast Arcane Blast, the damage is increased by 15% and mana cost is increased by 300% (used to be 25% damage and 75% mana cost)
Soak that in for a second. I really, really hope that's a typo. I went onto the beta this morning and spammed Arcane Blast on a training dummy for a bit. After 4 casts, I was suffering a 1200% increase in the mana cost of the spell, while only gaining a 60% increase in damage. The fourth spellcast was costing 2970 mana and doing about 3k damage per cast, fully talented and spell damaged out. That's about 1 point of damage per mana point, making it so ridiculously inefficient that only the first cast is worth the cost, and then only barely.

I'm praying that the 300% number is supposed to be 30%, and will be fixed. 30% sounds about right to me. With the nerf to the damage buff, that kind of mana cost reduction would work, though they could probably go as far as 50% and I wouldn't freak out. But to reduce the damage and make the mana cost so incredibly prohibitive?

You can find the full list of changes after the jump.

This is one we've been waiting for for awhile, and it's certainly nice to have.

  • Focus Magic (Tier 3) changed to - Increases the target's chance to critically hit with all spells by 3%. When the target critically hits the caster's chance to critically hit with spells is increased by 3% for 10 sec.
Ok, this spell still isn't working on the beta, so I have no idea what to make of it. The way I understand it, this will be a buff that is castable on yourself and other friendly targets, increasing the target's chance to crit with spells by a flat 3%. That in itself is a nice buff, but it'll also have the added mechanic, once it's implemented, of adding to the caster's crit chance by another 3% every time any of those who have the buff manage to crit with one of their own spells. The effect lasts for 10 seconds, and we have no idea if it will stack, or overwrite itself, or what. It could potentially be a very nice spell, especially in raids, where your chances of having the extra 3% buff up constantly are good. We'll see how it pans out.

Just a name change here.

  • Arcane Stability (Tier 1) - Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Arcane Missiles and Arcane Blast by 20/40/60/80/100%.
Finally. This talent was always a bit too expensive to warrant 5 talent points to improve one spell. We've wanted protection from Arcane Blast pushback for a long time, and now we finally have it. Now nothing can stop Arcane Mages from taking over the world...oh wait. That's right. Arcane Blast is terrible now.

So here's what I don't understand. Arcane Blast is clearly supposed to be the primary nuke for Arcane Mages, right? We finally get pushback protection on it to bring it in line with the other specs' primary nukes...and in the same build, we lose any semblance of mana efficiency? Even if Blizzard felt the spell was too powerful (and I'm prepared to admit that it probably was), they could have solved this by simply lowering the damage buff. Instead, we get the damage buff lowered by a full 10% and the mana penalty increased by 300%? My memory's terrible, but that may be the single biggest nerf, percentage-wise, to a single spell in the history of the game.

The upshot is this: either Blizzard wants this spell to be Arcane's primary nuke or they don't. If they don't, then what's it for? If they do, then why make its cons so vastly outweigh its cons? I just don't understand, and I fully expect this to be changed. I have to admit I'm worried, though. There's balancing and then there's getting hosed. We got hosed on this one, guys.

  • Flamestrike mana cost reduced and is now a 2 second cast (Previously 3 second cast).
A good solid buff to a spell that has always been kind of a waste. I'd go even further, make it a 1.5 second cast, but that's just because whenever I see a gift horse, the first thing I want to do is look it in the mouth. Ok fine, 2 seconds is definitely a big step in the right direction.

  • Fingers of Frost (Tier 8 ) now gives your Chill effects a 7/15% chance to grant you the Fingers of Frost effect (Previously 5/10% chance on frost spells).
Another clear buff, and 5% is sizable. In fact, if you're a Frost Mage, then this is the beta build for you. All buffs, no nerfs. Lucky sons of....

Edit: Ah, I'm not smart. As many of the commenters have pointed out, this isn't a buff, because it now only procs on Chill effects, and not on every frost spell. For some reason I missed that when I was reading through the changes. Weak sauce.

This change is now a clear nerf for Frost Mages, as they will no longer be able to spam Ice Lances in PvP and get a Fingers of Frost proc. This seems like another of Blizzard's "fix-it-because-we-didn't-mean-for-you-guys-to-do-it-that-way" changes. They didn't like the way we were exploiting the rules they established, so they changed the rules.

  • Frozen Core (Tier 5) now reduces damage taken by all spells (Previously only affected fire and frost).
This is pretty cool. I never like this talent before, as it really only helped you against other Mages and maybe a Warlock. Now it helps you against every caster in the game. A PvP Mage will almost have to take this now, as it will increase survivability across the board. Now if only I can figure out where I'd get the extra talent points from...

  • Shatter (Tier 4) is now 3 ranks. It increases the critical strike chance of all your spells against frozen targets by 17/34/50% (Previously 5 ranks and increased by 10/20/30/40/50%).
...Ah yes, right here...

  • Ice Shards (Tier 2) is now 3 ranks. It increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Frost spells by 33/66/100% (Previously 5 ranks and increased by 20/40/60/80/100%).
...And here as well! Nothing like being given an extra 4 talent points without losing anything, right? Not to alarm you, Frost Mages, but I think I hate you now. Yep. Totally hate you. If you'll excuse me, I have to go watch my mana bar disappear while I cast my primary nuke.

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