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…
Where was this shit when I had to start a paladin at level 1 in Burning Crusade?? Seriously, leveling is actually fun now.
I guess this is something most hardcore players totally write off as one of the features of Cataclysm. Hell, I did. I had already leveled all my alts to at least 70, the promise of new 1-60 content didn’t really appeal to me as a feature to list on the back of the box.
That said, the one thing I still have never done in 6 years of WoW is level a character to max level as Alliance. I noted Friday that my Gnome mage experiment had begun – and I’m not sure if it’s the heirlooms, the new faction, the new quests, or all that shit combined, but I am having a great time.
The revamped Gnome starting area was largely disappointing start (if they were going to give trolls and gnomes their own areas it would have been nice for them to last a bit longer than the 20-minute 1-6 stretch), but past that it’s been a lot of fun. Gone are the days of vanilla where you are sent back and forth between town and some random yeti cave, each time with a quest to go a little bit further in than you previously had. Gone also are quests that send you clear across the fucking world to talk to some guy and then go back where you came from.
Each now has more of its own story and quest flow, much like the Northrend and high-level Cataclysm zones. It makes for a more immersive leveling experience as you see how more or less every quest fits into the grand scheme of things in that zone, and more importantly it saves you all the hassle of going all over creation to get things done.
The best zone up to this point in my opinion has to be the revamped Eastern Plaguelands. Now a level 35-40 zone, EPL has been reclaimed by the Argent Dawn and Argent Crusade and the storyline follows two paladins aspiring to join their ranks as they ride a caravan from tower to tower. It’s designed to basically take you in a circle around the zone, and provides some cool bonus buffs to choose from as you add more and more members to your caravan. The story of the zone even culminates in a short cutscene where your fully assembled party bands together to take down a banshee. Really cool zone – nice flow, fun quests, lots of flavor.
In a way this makes me glad I no longer raid hardcore in WoW. I would likely have never taken up the task of leveling a new character from level 1 were I still committed to a full-time 5-day raid schedule. It’s nice to see this other side of the game that Blizzard assured us was so much better in Cataclysm than it was before, having previously not even seen it as a selling point.
Really the only downside I see to the 1-60 revamp (unless the upcoming 40-60 zones are a major drop in quality) is the fact that all I have to look forward to at the end of the fun is the soul-crushing wasteland known as Outland 😦
So I know this is a little bit late to be posting about, but I just picked this up again so sue me.
Blizzard announced last week that 4.1 was going on the PTR and the dataminers immediately got to work pulling all kinds of cool shit from the game files. They found things like crazy firebird mounts, Firelands zone files, new pets, and ZOMG LEGENDARY STAFF! People were like, “Yay new content! I can’t wait to kick Ragnaros in his little polio legs!”
But it was all for naught, as the announcement quickly came that none of this stuff was coming in 4.1, but was being added in preparation for 4.2. Bummer.
So what do we get in 4.1? Let’s go to the Blue Post!
The main content features currently planned for 4.1 are:
- Zul’Gurub revamp
- Zul’Aman revamp
- New level-85 Stranglethorn quest line (phased) leading players into the troll dungeons
- New tier of Heroic dungeon gear (epic item level 353) to give players a slightly bigger boost going into raids for the first time
- New & updated flavor items, vanity pets, and mounts
- Guild Challenges (new guild quests)
And the Ensidia’s of the world collectively groaned.
Let me tell you how I read this:
- A new heroic that you saw 5 years ago. It won’t be as hard as it was then. It’s the one we removed in Cata so we could replace it with 2 quests for level 30s.
- Another new heroic you saw 3.5 years ago. It won’t be as hard as it was then.
- A couple “feeder quests” to actually point you to the entrance, in case you don’t want to use Dunegon Finder.
- Epic gear that is better than other heroics, but if you’ve done any sort of raiding then you probably won’t care.
- A snail pet. Also some reworked mounts from ZG and ZA that won’t be as cool as the ones that dropped originally.
- We stole the guild quest idea from Rift, so it’s at least on our radar.
Let me start off by saying I really liked the idea of reworking some of the original dungeons from vanilla. The new Deadmines is fun (though most people bitch about it taking too long). New Shadowfang is a bit less cool but at least it has a neat nostalgia factor to it. That said, I really don’t want this to be a well they return to throughout the course of Cataclysm. Reworking 5-mans as updated 5-mans is one thing – reworking raid instances into 5-mans is another. They’re already rehashing half the end-bosses from vanilla raids (Nefarian, Ragnaros) in new raid content, is it too much to ask for something (completely) new?
Given that I can’t raid hardcore anymore, I’ll probably take advantage of ZA and ZG despite my bashing of the idea. After all, Death Knights weren’t able to ever obtain the Bear mount from ZA and 10 months worth of ZG runs twice a week resulted in the one Tiger mount drop I ever saw being won by a rl friend. Still though, the mounts aren’t identical, couldn’t this have all been part of some new troll instance somewhere?
The bigger thing about 4.1 that kinda astounds me is that many (maybe thats an overstatement, maybe) people will be looking to this patch to determine whether they should stick with WoW or head to the greener pastures of Rift. I know in my last post I wrote about how I would ultimately not be staying with Rift, but the fact remains that it looks to be the best MMO to be released since WoW and could actually steal some subscribers. Blizzard should be responding to the release of Rift with something new and cool, something that says, “sure they have big rifts in the sky, but we have THIS!”
Instead they are saying, “here’s a lot of stuff you’ve already seen to some extent in the last 3-5 years with a new coat of paint. New shit will be here in June so please stay tuned!”
Maybe they are underestimating Rift, maybe they really think these smaller, more frequent patches will appear to more players, maybe both – I can’t say for sure. But it seems to me that, knowing many guilds blew through Cata release content a lot faster than Blizzard would have liked (unless you’re a 10-man guild – more on that in a future post), and knowing a new MMO just launched that actually provides an enjoyable experience comparable to WoW, now would be the team to present your best stuff.
In the long run, it probably won’t matter. It’s not like Blizzard is going to lose 50% of their subscribers overnight to Rift or any other game. They probably know that they’ll keep most of these folks either way. And maybe that’s the real problem.
From the latest PTR build:
Molten Armor now causes 170 Fire damage when hit for all ranks (Up from 75/130/170) and also increases your critical strike rating by 25% of your spirit.
LOL HEY MAGES YOU THINK YOUR SPIRIT ON YOUR GEAR IS WORTHLESS HUH? WELL YOU SHOULD HAVE KEPT YOUR FILTHY BLUE MOUTHS SHUT CUZ NOW YOU’RE REALLY GONNA GET IT. YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT! STACK SPIRIT OR ELSE YOUR FAVORITE BUFF IS WORTHLESS! HOW MUCH SPIRIT? OH, Y’KNOW, ENOUGH THAT YOU’LL NEVER GET UP TO THE LEVEL OF CRIT THE SPELL GIVES NOW! HAHAHAHAHA! BETTER GEM SPIRIT AND ENCHANT THOSE BRACERS YOU SORRY FUCKERS!
So glad I re-rolled!
I know this is a few days late, but I just wanted to point out that Mage was again the “Class Most Likely to be Shit Upon” in the first round of previews for the upcoming 3.1 content patch. Each class got a few interesting little morsels to chew – a few new things to look forward to in 3.1 be they ability changes or talent swaps or whatever. Mages, however, got this:
Improved Water Elemental – this talent has been removed and replaced with a new talent that grants Replenishment (similar to Shadow priests).
We are also working on a way to give frost mages Ice Lance “Shatter combos” in PvE.
We are also working on more survivability for Fire spec in PvP.
We are also working on making Spirit a more useful and interesting stat for all mages.
Later, Ghostcrawler was quoted in saying “Hey guys we came up with some cool stuff for everybody else, but we’re just can’t figure out what to do with you yet. We’re kinda hoping you’ll just get distracted by your flashy spell effects. If not, we’ll probably just make all of your talents scale with Spirit so you have to gem for it. Cuz why not. Eat shit, bitches!”
Yep, that’s right. I hated my mage so much that I leveled my new toon as fast as I could. So fast, in fact, that I was the first DK on my server to reach level 80!
But fear not, loyal readers…the hate will continue! With assistance from Pyth and Chunga (who both decided to stick with the Mage like idiots), this blog will still be the place to be for all things awful about mages – plus some DK love thrown in for good measure!
Thanks to all who kept reading while the blog has been on hiatus (even the idiots who don’t get the joke), it’s really cool to still see new comments popping up every week while I haven’t been writing.
See you soon!
If there’s one thing Blizzard has shown that they like about the Mage community over the past few years, it’s fucking around with them. There was that HUGE mage review back in 1.9 (or something) that ended up being a HUUUUUUGGEEEE disappointment. Then there was the whole “jaw-dropping damage” debauchle in TBC.
But more than anything else, Blizzards longest running joke and blatant showing of how little they care – changing Mage spell icons for no reason.
Patch after patch following the original WoW release, Mages would get new icons all the time. Warlocks were completely awful at launch? We’ll work on that over a few patches. Shaman could completely own everyone by spamming Frost Shock? We’ll take care of that. Mages have problems? Change their icons or something, that’ll shut them up.
The situation eventually became a complete mockery when Blizzard released the infamous “Evil” Patch Notes for v1.11 on April Fools Day in 2006. The only mage change listed in the JOKE patch notes:
Mage Armor – Now has another new, unique icon.
Rumor has it that the joke notes originally listed several changes that would actually make them a good class, but Blizzard ultimately decided this was incredibly cruel and opted to simply shit on everyone instead.
Anyway, what’s the point of this history lesson?
The latest build of the Wrath of the Lich King beta features a HILARIOUS addition to the game, directed right at Blizzards favorite red-headed step-children:
GET IT?! NEW ICONS FOR YOUR SPELLS! YOU CAN PAY FOR THESE! YOU CAN PAY FOR NEW ICONS FOR THE SPELL YOUVE BEEN USING FOR FOUR YEARS!
Heaven forbid they add some damage scaling back to the class or at least come up with a different mechanic besides giving us oodles of crit since it’s just gonna make us go OOM faster. Nah, hell with it…let’s throw in some cute little jokes and a few more Polymorph spells.
I really, really try not to end many posts with a big “Fuck you, Blizz” but…
Fuck you, Blizz.