News flash, right? The only time frost was considered a good raid spec was at the outset of vanilla raiding when everything you pulled was immune to fire damage. Still though, Blizzard has made long strides since then in attempting to make all specs viable in both end-game PvE and PvP – so why is frost the seemingly lone remaining bastard child?
Anyone who has read the blog since I re-launched and cares to remember what I wrote for longer than 45 seconds might recall that I recently embarked on a new journey as a gnome mage. The intent was to give me an avenue to check out all the revamps to 1-60 brought by Cataclysm, and hopefully give me new things to rant about.
When I hit level 10, I thought long and hard about which tree I wanted to lock myself into until level 70. I ultimately decided to go with the frost tree just because my original mage had never been frost spec since the release of The Burning Crusade.
With heirlooms and a 50% slow on my main nuke, its pretty much faceroll to level as frost. The pet is next to worthless except for the extra freeze, but thats fine because that’s usually all I need anyway. I can easily down 5-6 mobs at a time with the ranged freeze + talented Blizzard slow – its mind-numbingly simple.
What I’ve realized from playing the spec though is that the same thing that makes it great for leveling is what makes it awful for end-game PvE. Frost is a spec that has a very specific “flavor” to it – it favors roots and slows, as you would expect, because frost is something that is cold. Without those mechanics, it wouldnt feel like a frost tree anymore.
The problem with it is that the damage has to suffer to give all those spells the “frosty” feel they come with. Why would you use Fireball if Frostbolt hit just as hard AND slowed an attacker? Why would you use Blast Wave for a daze if Frost Nova did equal damage and rooted? I get that, and thats probably a trade-off that people are happy with. It’s worked out for me so far in my leveling experience, and I can certainly see the appeal from a PvP standpoint.
That said, given that everything in raid content that counts (trash doesn’t) is immune to slow and root. Even the bottom tier frost talent has to have incentive to use it against mobs that are immune to freeze effects. You’re left with your gimpy damage that is being offset by utility that you literally cannot take advantage of. Fingers of Frost goes a little ways in mitigating it, but even then Ice Lance is never going to be your primary source of damage.
So what could they do to make frost raid-viable? They could probably sort it out with some creative glyphs – something that allows you to remove the slow effect from your frostbolt and increase its damage. But if they did that, what’s the point of being frost? As it stands, the slows/roots are what defines the class. Take those away and bump up the damage and you might as well be playing a fire mage – you’d be using the same basic rotation with procs thrown in (mind freeze may as well be hot streak as it is). Even then it would still be inferior because fire offers better options for getting dps on adds without having to fully abandon the primary target.
I guess what I am really saying here is that the leveling experience has given me an appreciation for something I thought was completely terrible. It’s actually fun being able to kite around elite mobs and solo shit I probably couldn’t burn down with the glass cannon approach of the other mage specs. I feel though that the aspects of the frost tree that make it unique will ultimately prevent it from ever becoming a fully raid-viable spec.
And maybe that’s fine. After all, it’s not like being the black sheep is something new to the Mage class…
Blizzard has really outdone themselves with the new Inscription profession. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Inscription is a new for Wrath of the Lich King and allows the scribe to make scrolls (which don’t stack with buffs aka are useless) and to create glyphs. Glyphs modify your existing spells and abilities to increase their power or add new effects.
Yeah, I know, 99% of you know all this already. But you’d be surprised how many people actually don’t read anything about the upcoming changes to the game, so shut up already.
Despite an overall lack of attention throughout legacy WoW and TBC, Mages ARE technically a player class, and therefore Blizzard had to come up with some glyphs for them. I thought it would be fun to check out the Mage glyphs and discuss all the one’s that are awful (there are many, but these are my top five). Here’s a sample of the absolute worst:
1. Glyph of Evocation – In what way is this NOT useless? 15% of your health? You’re a mage, a couple of renew or lifebloom ticks is 15% of your health. Not like you’re gonna be hurting for HP and suddenly realize you can get 15% of your health over EIGHT SECONDS. Seriously, you know what would have been amazing? If this instead gave some percentage chance for Evocation to not lose 80% of its duration when the wind blows on you.
2. Glyph of Ice Armor – A Major Glyph that applies to a useless spell. Moving on…
3. Glyph of Ice Block – Ok, I understand how this MIGHT be nice to have in PvP, like, one out of every 1000 times. Even if you are a frost Mage, you still cannot double up IB anymore, you’re stuck with a 45 second minimum cooldown. Frost Nova has a 20 second cooldown, so if you can’t cast Frost Nova again by the time you pop out of that seocnd Ice Block, God is likely out to get you. What’s more, if you’re sitting in Ice Block for 8 seconds and waiting on the Frost Nova cooldown still, chances are you blew your existing cooldown at a pretty lousy time. So good job, this glyph is there to counter-balance you being bad.
4. Glyph of Improved Scorch – This one is just like Blizzard slapping you in the face with their collective dicks. The last post (I know it was three weeks ago, I’m busy, sorry) outlined the complete and utter raping of the Improved Scorch talent, and now Blizzard goes and hands us this glyph. The problem with this glyph is that it does not help you at all past the first 8 seconds of any fight. Whether you’re stacking Scorch five times on the pull or twice, you’re still casting it again every 30 seconds to keep the buff up. Couldn’t they have made this something that improves the duration of Improved Scorch? Or something that refreshes the buff when you cast another spell? SOMETHING WORTH HAVING? Using a major glyph slot to save yourself at most 4.5 seconds of cast time in a boss fight is completely retarded.
5. Glyph of Polymorph – Congratulations mages, you can take up a major glyph spot to counter-balance all those idiots in your raid who put dots on your sheep! You struck the glyph jackpot here! Why not make a Warlock glyph called “Glyph of Don’t Be a Retard and Put Curse of Agony on Sheep”?
Now yes, I know there are good ones. Although they even nerfed the ones that were good so they arent quite as good now. Most notably, they changed the Glyph of Fireball to give 5% increased critical strike chance instead of 5% additional damage. Remember kids, Mage damage scaling in any way is ALWAYS unintended.