Looking at the Druid and Death Knight talent tree previews has stirred a lot of discourse in the community about what people would like to see for each class and specialization. With Alpha likely around the corner I want to use this opportunity to discuss how the new talent revamp could positively impact Arcane Mages.
Dead talents, especially talents that have little to no impact on your rotation or are tuned so poorly that they are never selected, are a major point of frustration in the past few expansions for Arcane. Throughout the entirety of Shadowlands the only talent Arcane Mages will change is the level 35 row to select either Resonanz
or Arkanes Echo
. This includes some very beautiful spells like Arkaner Familiar
as well as some more interesting items like Nachhallen
. In my view, dead talents rows can also be the result of tuning, like Viel zu stark
, and unfortunately some of the dead talent rows result in you picking the most boring option, also like Viel zu stark
. The hope is that these should no longer be the central focus of the talent tree with a more dispersed investment of points.
Among these dead talents are a few favorites in the community that I would like to be reimagined in a way that can compete in the modern game, while you may not agree with some of these ideas, I hope you understand that the idea is that they’re currently not useful and in need of some attention:
- Netherorkan: The 12-second duration of this spell is annoying in the best situations, the single-target limitation on the spell also does not really make sense given the design of the spell and the options it has historically competed with. Netherorkan should be redesigned to be the spread-cleave option for Arcane, this would also give Mages in general an option for this incredible useful niche.
- Supernova: Overall this spell should be good, however it has some unintuitive interactions with the knock-up that prevent it from actually interrupting some spellcasts in PvE. Many people, myself included, have suggested that this spell be changed into a vacuum spell akin to Zeichen der Ketten or Blutschattens Griff. A simple AoE stun would be more than enough as well. It would be a welcome gift to move this towards being a fully utility spell rather than a rotational spell that has a weird pseudo-crowd control tied into it.
- Meister der Zeit : Please just make this Verzerrung. Removal of this spell was extremely unpopular and trying to move it into a talent based around Alter Time just has not really worked out. With the new talent tree revamp, I think most people would like to see the return of this spec favorite.
- Arkaner Familiar: While Arkaner Familiar does not add anything rotationally nor is the effect particularly interesting, the spell is still cool for its graphical representation – I would like to see this changed to do AoE damage around the target, something to make it a competitive option in dungeons.
- Zeitumlenkung & Verlangsamen: I would really like to see it be the case that Zeitumlenkung applies Verlangsamen; it would also be an interesting utility if Verlangsamen applied an attack/cast speed or damage reduction similar to Fluch der Schwäche or Fluch der Sprachen.
- Rune der Kraft: This has eclipsed other options and while it is a controversial spell with some of the community, I think overall it’s a very iconic component of the Arcane toolkit. However, there is one large issue of how it functions in the Arcane toolkit, currently with 1:30 Arkane Macht timings, you hold Rune der Kraft for 45 seconds, every 1:30 cycle. Not only is this awkward, it just feels really off putting, especially to people who learn they’re losing damage not doing this. A return to the charge-based Rune der Kraft where Arcane Power drops one charge instead would be extremely welcomed in a general sense (for all specs) but especially for Arcane Mages.
New Talents, Old Ideas
There have been many great powers for Arcane over the years, I’m just going to list out some of the most requested repeat visitors!
- Strahlender Funke & Arkane Harmonie: In Shadowlands, Arcane Mages found a very strong niche as a burst funnel spec, this especially played well in Sanctum of Domination on the last few bosses as well as in Sepulcher of the First Ones on Anduin Wrynn. There are some very valid complaints about tying the really big Arkanbeschuss hits to Arkane Geschosse and the issue of spellqueueing or not around the 5th spell of Strahlender Funke.
- Spiegel der Qual (Freizaubern Generator): This spell isn’t so much the wish so much as a spell that generates Freizaubern procs – this is a MAJOR pain point of Arcane as non-Kyrian in Shadowlands, having to blow all of your mana on a low chance proc, with a decent chance that you don’t get the procs you need in order to do your burst rotation correctly does not feel good and leaves Arcane with an additional layer of punishing rng. There is also a big issue with having to hold your cooldowns for ~20 seconds at the start of a pull since that is usually when mechanics really begin happening in encounters of all difficulties.
- Mantel der Ersten der Kirin Tor: This is probably the biggest fan favorite for Arcane Mages from Legion. Kunstwerk des Erzmagiers tried to emulate its success but the satisfaction of the Arkane Kugel hit just was not there.
- Sturmladung/Hirnsturm: While this power has been poked fun at for tuning reasons over the last couple of expansions, its original implementation felt amazing; you were rewarded for turning the rotation on its head, however after the initial nerfs to it in Battle for Azeroth it became a terrible option until 9.0.5 when Venthyr and Necro became viable covenant options for Arcane. I believe with better emphasis on this being a shorter buff with more strength this would be a welcome return.
- Arkanosphäre: Simply put, Arkanosphäre is amazing. Not only is it amazingly fun to use and an effective tool in our arsenal in PvP, it is also pretty and could encourage some interesting gameplay in PvE. To have a spell like this gated behind PvP, especially for Arcane Mage which is notoriously terrible in PvP, is a disservice to the game.
- Arkanes Bombardement/Arkaner Druck: Arkanes Bombardement was extremely fun to use in early Shadowlands prior to Kyrian taking over the meta for us. This effect gave us some really useful damage for some situations (looking at Stone Legion Generals), felt very impactful in dungeons, and had some interesting effects on our rotation in AoE execute scenarios.
New Talents, New Ideas
Lastly there are some issues Arcane has as a whole that could use this opportunity to address either through a new talent or just changes to the spells themselves.
- Arkanbeschuss cleave logic has been particularly painful on fights where a target has an extremely large boss model. For those who do not know, Arkanbeschuss cleave logic is based off the center of the target’s hitbox, not the edge nor the model. This means that for a boss like Nzoth and Eye of the Jailer cleaving is nearly impossible, while for bosses like Soulrender and Vigilant Guardian it just becomes a point of yelling at your tanks to pixel stack mobs underneath the boss. Overall, this could use some attention, even if it’s in the form of a talent that extends the cleave radius, optimally this entire logic would just be changed to work on the same rules of Ice Lance which cleave logic is based on the edge of the hitbox. This could also be an opportunity to improve Arcane uncapped AoE by adding targets to get hit per charge.
- Freizaubern should buff Arkane Explosion, the fact that our big damage proc has us using a single target spell in AoE just feels bad, it feels even worse when Freizaubern is accidentally consumed by an Arkane Explosion while AoEing. Currently Freizaubern removes the mana cost of Arkane Explosion, however mana is nearly irrelevant for Arcane as discussed above, but this is even more true in AoE where Arkanbeschuss is used very frequently. Freizaubern proc rate is also reduced by Arcane Power currently which is likely a bug that hasn’t been addressed in a very, very long time.
- Arkane Explosion could very much use an option to use it at range, this has been a large limiter of Arcane in PvE over the past few expansions and having to play in melee as a ranged spec has opened us up to risks most other ranged specs are unaware of such as mob frontals or the types of ranged mechanics that cannot be brought into melee range for various reasons. Personally, I think this should just be castable on an allied target as a baseline effect. As for a talented solution to a problem we have, Arkane Explosion feels incredibly weak in uncapped AoE situations despite being the quintessential spell for it, a talent that increases the damage as we go up in targets could help with this issue, maybe even in conjunction with being able to cast it on enemies as well.
- Manaedelstein herbeizaubern was a neat little return to RP for Arcane Mages, however there are a couple of points that could really use attention. First and foremost, recasting Manaedelstein herbeizaubern does not refresh charges, currently we have to delete Manaedelstein to make a new one and with a 2-minute cooldown, we frequently have to do this. Currently community members have solved this with addons and macros, however this is functionality that existed for Manaedelstein herbeizaubern] in previous expansions. Second, Manaedelstein herbeizaubern is just kind of bland and could use something more flavorful added, some ideas that have been passed around in the community recently is that Manaedelsteins should be distributable to raid members (akin to Gesundheitsstein) or redesigned to offer some more noticeable benefit like a magic absorb or damage buff.
There are many more suggestions and ideas that exist within the community at large, many of them are spectacular ideas, and I would urge Blizzard to listen to the community on this, Arcane has been in a state that has been largely overlooked by the meta scene and as such the community has designated this as a weaker specialization. Some much needed tuning and love to our upcoming talent tree options could do a lot to reshape that community perception and get people to really enjoy playing Arcane again.
Thanks for reading!
With Dragonflight now stated as a 2022 release, now is a good time to consider what talents we may see for Fire and Frost Mage.
To be clear, this is not an article where I will try to guess the talents that we will end up with. Looking at the Druid and Death Knight talents, there seems to be a clear and predictable way that Blizzard is creating these talent trees. This is instead a wish-list for talents I would like to see for Fire and Frost Mage,
because I think it is more fun to think outside the box in cases like this. These are also my own subjective opinions.
Hopefully we see the actual talents soon, and have adequate time to provide feedback.
To start off, I'd like to point out the current failures of the current talent system. Talents that are never used, or have little to no impact on your character are referred to "dead talents". Many of the current talents that could be considered useful end up as dead talents because they are greatly outshined by the other options on the same row. Rune der Kraft
is a good example of this, since Fluss des Beschwörers
and Magie fokussieren
aren't bad but don't get much use due to the strength of Rune der Kraft
To illustrate this point, here is a graphic made using data from Warcraft Logs showing the distribution of talents in Sepulcher of the First Ones Raid. Keep in mind that PvP and Mythic+ add a little more variety, but not much
. Talents in red are considered dead talents.
0-1% distribution in WCL
2-10% distribution in WCL
11-100% distribution in WCL
Many of the talents in red are interesting and could find use when detached from the row they are a part of such as Froststrahl
. I expect many of them to come back in some form, hopefully with some slight changes.
Mage Tree (available to all Mage specs)Temporaler Schild
Right now this is a PvP talent, but I would love to see it come back as a general talent. Zeitverschiebung
kind of fits the same role now, but I think having more proactive options for recovering health would be great for Mages.
Choice of Frost Bomb, Lebende Bombe
To be clear, I am referencing the Mist of Pandaria versions of these talents, back when there was a choice for all Mage specs to pick from one of the three. Although there were clear balancing issues with these talents back when they were available, I think bringing back this choice and making the bombs all have clear use-cases would be fun. Eisschollen
This exists as a talent for Frost Mage, but I would love to see it come back for Fire and Frost with a new twist. Remove the cooldown from Eisschollen
and make it cost mana. Allow the spell to stack on the player but ramp in mana cost if in rapid succession (ex: Moderately high Mana cost that doubles when used again within 5 seconds, stacking). This would make Mana a relevant resource for Fire and Frost, and let mages who are skilled at managing movement and mana to really stand out on movement intensive encounters. Zauberraub
is the other other mage spell with a significant cost to Fire and Frost Mages, and the only real use for mana currently for these specs.Machtverschiebung
In the same way that Konvokation der Geister
has made an impression on Druids this expansion, I feel this ability has also left an impression on Mages. Cooldown reduction is a very powerful tool for Fire Mages and allows us, especially in Mythic +, to be very flexible. If this is included, please let us cast it while moving!Kältekegel
- old version
If you ever tried out Mage in Classic WoW, you were probably surprised the first time you used this spell and it did more damage than it does on retail (even after the numbers have been inflated now). Before Kältekegel
was gutted then made Frost specific, it was a hard hitting AoE spell on a moderately short cooldown. The damage was heavily nerfed, but they added a glyph (remember those?) to bump the damage back up to where it was worth casting. I would like this spell to come back as a talent available to all Mages with damage similar to Classic.
aka Item - Mage T17 Fire 4P Bonus
We have had this effect as both a tier bonus and legendary in the past. There was a brief time in Shadowlands where it was the best legendary for Fire Mages (before Fiebernde Zauberformel
was fixed to no longer drop stacks from Schattenkernöl
). I was sad to see the legendary left to rot in this expansion, as it was a pretty fun effect. I'd love to see it come back in some form. Darcklis Drachenfeuerdiadem
Originally a Legion Legendary effect, this talent would give Fire mages access to a longer range, harder hitting Drachenodem
. PvP balance aside, this would be extremely fun to have back in Raid and Mythic+.Pyrosog
- old version
A lesser-known effect, this was granted by the Foliant der wandernden Worte
trinket. Originally it gave Feuerschlag
around a 70% chance to proc Flammenstoß
From the Legion trinket Arans Entspannungsrubin
. The damage on this trinket was heavily nerfed in Legion, but it was very fun while it lasted. In legion I felt this was a missed opportunity to not give this to Fire Mages as a spell. As a talent, it could either be a spell or a passive proc, but I think having it be a cast would be more interesting.
Insert cool name (Passive Ignite spread)
This talent with a really cool name would give Entzünden
the ability to passively spread again, at the cost of a talent point. I think giving Mages the option to turn Entzünden
from Manual to Automatic when it comes to spreading would do a lot to bridge the gap from BFA Fire Mage to current.
Deep Freeze - Cataclysm version
Removed in Legion, Deep Freeze was a skill that stunned and froze the target on a 30 second cooldown. It was only unable if the target was already frozen. On targets immune to stun, like raid bosses, it did significant damage making it a powerful cooldown in all modes of play.
Choice of Eiszeit
or Reise der Zann'esu
From the Legion legendary Eiszeit
, this talent would increase the damage of Gefrorene Kugel
and give Frost Mage back some of its power in priority cleave. This talent would be in the same node as Reise der Zann'esu
, making it so you could only pick oneReise der Zann'esu
is the other choice. This talent would allow Frost Mages to build damage on their next Blizzard
while AoE isn't happening, this unleash an amped Blizzard
when the time is right. Frost is generally known for having consistent AoE, but this talent would give savvy Frost Mages an edge when AoE is less consistent.
A lot has changed since Legion for Frost Mages but I think allowing Mages this choice between Eiszeit
and Reise der Zann'esu
would be an interesting talent choice.Splitterlanze
- old version
Also from the Foliant der wandernden Worte
trinket. Shatterlance changed the playstyle of Frost to incentivize a playstyle reminiscent of shatter gameplay, where you would freeze an enemy then cast a Frostblitz
to have both spells benefit from Zertrümmern
. The damage increase granted changed many times, but it generally floated between 25-38%.Blitzeis
I include this as a talent mainly to give Gletscherstachel
a reason to ever be played again. I'm not sure if I like having to take two talents to make Gletscherstachel
work, but maybe this could be baked into the current talent?
A new expansion is the perfect time for Blizzard to reassess the state of classes and mix things up. I hope more than anything else that the choices we get are interesting and less of a remix of current existing talents. Hopefully with a little tuning and creativity the mage talents end up interesting, and have less dead talents than the current system.