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WoW patch 3.2.2 changes for Mages

Christian Belt

Since I have some extra time while I wait for my Mage to finish his looting animation, I thought I'd post a quick primer on the Mage changes patch 3.2.2 has brought us. There are only three (well, three and a half, I guess), but all three are of significant import. I posted about them in an Arcane Brilliance column way back when this patch first hit the PTR, but a lot has changed since then. Let's look at each change in turn.

  • Arcane Blast: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 175% instead of 200%. In addition, the duration of the buff has been reduced to 6 seconds.
Though not nearly as drastic a change as it was at the start of the PTR, this is still very nice. That fourth stack means whatever spell you throw out to consume the buff will do a whopping 60% more damage, and the mana cost increase isn't nearly the killer it used to be, even with four stacks. Plus, none of that matters anyway, since you won't actually be using any mana on the spell you consume your Arcane Blast buff with, because that spell will be free. "Why," you ask? Because that spell will be Arcane Missiles. "But Arcane Missiles costs a buttload of mana," you say? You're right. But you're also so, so very wrong:
  • Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it. This talent no longer has a chance to be triggered when spells miss.
See? Two things here:
  1. The proc chance is much greater for this when you cast Arcane Blast than it will be with other spells. By the time you stack four Arcane Blasts, you're almost guaranteed to get a Missile Barrage proc.
  2. When you cast a gatling-gun Arcane Missiles with this, not only will it be super speedy and awesome-looking, it will also be free. As in, no mana cost. As in yay.
So what does this mean?

It means that I get to be the first to introduce you to your new Arcane spell rotation, and I really hope you like each other, as you'll be spending a lot of time together:

Arcane Blast-->Arcane Blast-->Arcane Blast-->Arcane Blast-->MIssile-Barraged Arcane Missiles

Repeat as necessary.

If the gods hate you and Missile Barrage somehow refuses to proc through four consecutive 40% chances for it to do so, you'll simply continue to spam Arcane Blast until it does. There you go. It's not sexy, but it's powerful, and mana efficient.

And to prevent wasting a Clearcasting proc on a spell that will already be free, we get this little change:

  • Arcane Missiles: Casting this spell while both Missile Barrage and Clearcasting are active will cause only Missile Barrage to be consumed.
Now, there are many of you who are calling this boring, and you're right. Spamming Arcane Blast isn't any more engaging, really, than spamming anything else. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't beyond giddy about the fact that I can throw out mana-free machine-gun-missiles pretty much whenever I want to. The rotation will undoubtedly grow stale, to be certain, but until it does, I'm going to watch my DPS rise, and my mana consumption fall, and smile the whole time like the guy in the back of the bus who just cut one and is trying not to laugh while it works its way up the aisle. My only desire right now is for Blizzard to find a way to buff Arcane Barrage just enough to make it PvE viable again but without making it overpowered in PvP. I miss that spell. It was fun.

And the third change is perhaps my favorite of all:

  • Combustion: This talent now also increases the critical strike damage bonus of Fire spells by 50% while it is active. In addition, Living Bomb periodic ticks will no longer interact with the count or the charges on the talent.
This means one thing and one thing only: Combustion--my single favorite talent from the pre-Burning Crusade era--is back, baby.

Not only will it do what it always did--give you a stacking crit chance buff with three charges--it'll also be more reliable and be a clear DPS boost. It'll be more reliable because you don't have to worry anymore about it wasting charges on a Living Bomb tic crit. It'll be a clear DPS boost because it will give those three crit charges a 50% damage bonus. Triggering Combustion used to mean "I am about to blow stuff up good." More recently, it has meant "I am about to get a couple more crits, maybe, to go with all the other ones I get anyway." Now, it'll mean "I am about to make that Warlock's corpse unrecognizable."

This patch is a positive one for us, guys. All of those changes are helpful. Nothing got nerfed. What do you think, Mages?

2n - 1 go left, 2n go right. I don't see enough DoTs! More DoTs now!

Are you ready for the return of Onyxia? With the Brood Mother being revitalized as a 10 and 25 person raid, you'll need to be sure you know everything that's coming at you.'s Guide to Patch 3.2.2 will make sure your set for the next patch!

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