The Official Patch Notes for the Patch 3.0.8 Test Realm has been updated recently, and you can find it here on the WoW website. With the changes being made to the Mage’s talent trees, there will be a few adjustments you will need to make, and brand new specs to try out in raids. First let’s look at the new Mage changes:
- Arcane Blast: This ability has been significantly changed. Arcane Blast now increases the damage of the next Arcane spell by 15%. However, using Arcane Blast itself does not consume the charge itself. Each time you cast Arcane Blast, the damage of Arcane spells is increased by 15% and the mana cost of Arcane Blast is increased by 200%. This effect stacks up to 3 times and lasts 10 seconds or until any Arcane damage spell except Arcane Blast is cast.
- Arcane Flows: Now also reduces the cooldown of Evocation by 1m/2m.
- Elemental Precision: Renamed to Precision and now works on all spells.
- Evocation: Cooldown reduced to 4 min.
- Improved Blizzard: The snaring effect has been reduced to 25/40/50%.
- Incanter’s Absorption: The amount of spell damage a Mage can gain from this ability is now capped at 5% of the mage’s health.
- Mirror Image: The Mirror Image Polymorph ability now has a range of 8 yards. In addition, Mirror Images will no longer have excessive threat values assigned to them when they are created.
- Slow Fall is now castable on others.
- Torment the Weak: Now works with Arcane Blast and does bonus damage against targets afflicted with any type of slow (such as the combat slow from Thunder Clap).
- Pyromaniac no longer reduces the mana cost of Fire spells by 1/2/3%, and will now allow 10/20/30% Mana regeneration while casting.
- Hot Streak can now be activated by Living Bomb.
So I downloaded the new PTR client, and copied my Mage over to test out all the talent changes, and played around with the new specs. One thing I did forget to do when I copied my Mage over was to bring some Glyphs with me. So I have my Mage on the test server testing out the new specs without the Glyphs to go along with it. Hopefully I find some kind soul on PTR who can give me some.
For now, these are what I’ve came up with just using the [Glyph of Molten Armor], [Glyph of Improved Scorch] and [Glyph of Frostfire]. I also have 4 Pieces of Tier 7. The untalented stats for my Mage are as followed:
- Health: 15.2k
- Mana: 18.6k
- Spell Power: 1808
- Spell Crit: 26%
- Spell Haste: 263
- Spell Hit: Capped
- Mana Regen: 489
For testing purposes, once I found a good spell rotation for a spec, I tested the DPS on the target dummy using recount 5 times, and took the median report and used that. I used only one Mana gem, and stopped DPSing when the Mana gem cooldown came back up (so about 2.5 – 3 minutes). I also didn’t use Evocation.
This is the current top Raid DPS “cookie cutter” Mage spec in its current form. With a few changes in the Mage talents, Frostfire gets a buff in the DPS, as well as the Mana efficiency department. Can the reigning DPS Champ hold its ground against the new up and coming specs? We’ll find out soon.
The biggest change for the Frostfire spec is the change to Hot Streak, with Living Bomb crits now being able to proc the buff. Also yes, if Living Bomb crits on multiple targets, it will proc Hot Streak. This alone will throw in more Pyroblast into your total DPS.
The new change to Pyromaniac will help out with Frostfire’s mana efficiency, as well as making Spirit worth a tiny bit more for Mages. Not much, but it helps.
2 x Scorch, Living Bomb, 7-8 x Frostfire Bolt -> 1 x Scorch
*Use Pyroblast on Hot Streak*
*Recast Living Bomb*
*Refresh Improved Scorch on target*
No change at all in your normal Frostfire spell rotation other than the fact that you will be seeing a lot more Hot Streak procs from your Living Bombs.
Frostfire Bolt will do almost 50% of your total DPS, then Pyroblast and Living Bomb doing about 10% each. Frostfire’s high crit damage and high crit rate makes this spec very powerful. With the extra mana efficiency, I was able to last until the next Mana gem cooldown, even though it was JUST barely. The overall DPS for the Frostfire spec was at around 3470 DPS.
Frostfire spec still looks very good, and adding Living Bomb to Hot Streak really helps out. The problem I have with Frostfire is that it is VERY inconsistent. Some test runs didn’t break 3k DPS, while some broke 3.5k. Sometimes I would have 8 Hot Streak procs, sometimes I get only 3. The damage is still high, and Molten Fury hasn’t even been factored in yet.
I also have to note that while testing this spec on the target dummies, Living Bomb was actually hitting another target dummy which was just within range of the blast. So the total DPS was a bit higher than it is. This will also affect the number of Hot Streak procs and the number of Pyroblasts thrown in.
Overall, Frostfire will still remain a high DPS spec for raiding Mages.
Deep Arcane w/ IV:
The new change to Arcane Blast is one of the biggest changes, and will give Arcane Mages a nice boost in DPS making them viable for raiding again. The new Arcane Blast mechanic gives the Arcane Mage a sort of “combo” system, much like how Rogues DPS. This gives you a lot of flexibility as an Arcane Mage, allowing you to make adjustments in your rotation depending on your Mana pool.
With the change to Elemental Precision (to be renamed to just “Precision”), it will now also affect Arcane Spells. This combined with Arcane Focus, Arcane Mages can have 6% increase in Arcane Spell Hit, and 6% Mana reduction on Arcane Spells. This makes it so that Arcane Mages only need 289 Spell Hit without the help of other players.
3 Points into Incineration gives your Arcane Blast an increase of a critical strike chance by 6%. I also have Icy Veins in this spec. Everything else in the Arcane Tree is pretty much “cookie cutter” Arcane with the exception of not having Magic Attunement for the extra 6 yard range. If you want the extra range, you can sacrifice Icy Veins for it.
New Arcane Blast Mechanics
When you cast Arcane Blast, you get a buff that will give your next Arcane Spell a 15% increase in damage. It will also increase the mana cost of your next Arcane Blast by 200%. This buff can stack up to 3 times, and is not consumed by Arcane Blast.
- 1 Stack: 15% Damage increase, 200% mana cost on next Arcane Blast
- 2 Stacks: 30% Damage increase, 400% mana cost on next Arcane Blast
- 3 Stacks: 45% Damage increase, 600% mana cost on next Arcane Blast
How many buff stacks you use will be up to you, depending on your Mana pool’s relation to the Mob’s health. For the testing I was running out of Mana way too fast, and had to keep the stacks to down the 1 and 2.
Slow, AB -> ABr, AM on MBr
This means keep the Slow debuff up on the target at all times, while using an Arcane Blast -> Arcane Barrage rotation, and using Arcane Missile whenever Missile Barrage procs. This was the basic spell rotation which I used, and I STILL ran out of mana before the Mana gem cooldown was back up. Let’s see what the results were.
As you can see, Arcane Blast will make up a majority of your DPS with Arcane Missiles and Arcane Barrage close behind. You will have your big crits like your Frostfire counterparts (yep 11k crits!), but sadly the crit rate was disappointing if you are used to playing as Frost/Fire/Frostfire. The overall DPS for the Arcane Spec was at around 2690 DPS.
Remember this is WITHOUT the proper Glyphs for this spec. If I had the [Glyph of Mage Armor], [Glyph of Arcane Power] and [Glyph of Arcane Blast], this would have been a totally different story. The Arcane Blast Glyph increases the buff given by 5%, which gives 20/40/60% increase in damage depending on the number of stacks. That glyph would have made a HUGE difference.
Also in a raid setting, you will have multiple ways of regaining Mana back with various raid buffs and debuffs. You would be able to afford to add 2 to 3 stacks of the Arcane Blast buffs into your rotations.
This makes Arcane very much a viable raid spec which will rival even Frostfire spec. I also like how the DPS was a lot more consistent than Frostfire. The only problem is maintaining the mana long enough to keep this spec in the running during boss fights.
Deep Fire w/ TotW:
Fireball makes an appearance into the raiding scene once again in an attempt to dethrone Frostfire as King of the Mage raiding DPS spec. With the change to Torment the Weak, that talent opens up many new opportunities for other specs to raid with. This is one of them.
The big change of course is Torment the Weak which before only applied to Slow on boss fights, will now apply to other slowing movement/attack/casting speed debuffs such as Thunderclap or Curse of Tongues. So in a raid where such debuffs are up on the boss most of the time, this Deep Fire spec will shine.
The new change to Pyromaniac will also help out with Deep Fire’s mana efficiency, as well as making Spirit worth a tiny bit more for Fire Mages. Although this will help a bit with mana efficiency, Deep Fire will still have some mana concerns.
The reason is the lack of Elemental Precision. This will also mean you will need to make up the extra 3% Spell Hit with gear. This makes the Spell Hit rating you need at 446 without any help from other classes.
2 x Scorch, Living Bomb, 7-8 x Fireball -> 1 x Scorch
*Use Pyroblast on Hot Streak*
*Recast Living Bomb*
*Refresh Improved Scorch on target*
The spell rotation is pretty much exactly like the Frostfire’s spell rotation.
The DPS reports pretty much shows Deep Fire almost identical with Frostfire. The difference is that Fireball crits are lower than Frostfire Bolt but happens more frequently. Deep Fire’s mana also didn’t last as long as Frostfire’s mana. Despite this small difference, the overall DPS for Deep Fire was at 3391 DPS.
Uh oh! Looks like Deep Fire has already given Frostfire a run for its money, and it hasn’t even shown its full potential yet! First off, this test was still missing the [Glyph of Fireball] which will increase the critical strike chance of Fireball by 5% at the cost of the Fireball dot.
Another missing component to this test was the lack of slows and snares on the target. Adding a slow to the target would essentially add and extra 12% damage increase to all of the Fireball’s damage. This would push Deep Fire’s DPS over Frostfire’s DPS by a good amount.
Deep Fire’s DPS is a litte bit more consistent than Frostfire, but there is still a gap between the min/max of this spec’s DPS. There are just things that you cannot control for both of these specs. You could have a 55% crit rate with none of them happening in a row, which will result in no Hot Streak procs for example. Also mana will be an issue with this spec. Better than Arcane, worst than Frostfire for mana.
Do we have a new winner? Looks like we may. Deep Fire will make its way back into the raiding field again with this coming patch. Look for this spec to flourish in raids next patch.
Deep Frost w/ TotW:
Last but not least, we’ll see how Deep Frost fits in with this new crowd of specs. Like the Deep Fire spec, 18 points will be dropped into the Arcane tree to pick up Focus Magic and Torment the Weak for the DPS boost.
You will also have Arcane Concentration which will pretty much have you never running out of mana if you are spamming Frostbolts.
Frostbolt -> More Frostbolt
The spell rotation for Deep Frost has pretty much become the easiest spell rotation. Just Frostbolt as much as possible while managing your cooldowns. Looks like I can start to watch TV again while raiding again! Just in time for this season’s 24!
Frostbolt will do pretty much be all the damage that will be coming from your Mage (not counting Water Elemental). With Fingers of Frost procs and Frostbolt’s already high crit rate, you will be critting A LOT! Also, by the time the Mana gem cooldown was up again, I was still at around 70% mana. Mana will NOT be a problem with this spec at all. The total overall DPS of the Deep Frost spec (counting Water Elemental) was around 3188 DPS.
Looks like the new Deep Frost spec has brought the gap between Frost and Frostfire a bit closer. Again, the [Glyph of Frostbolt] was missing from this test and could increase the DPS by a good amount. [Glyph of Water Elemental] was also missing, but wouldn’t have impacted this test much.
Again, mana won’t be an issue unless you were spamming Blizzard, and you shouldn’t even have to use Evocation during boss fights. I also liked the consistency in the DPS for Deep Frost. The DPS was pretty much the same with all 5 tests.
Will Frost be the top spec? Nope, but it’s not going to be 15% behind like it is now. Will it be viable in high end raids again? Looks like it will have a shot again.
Again this was just a small spec test done by me on the PTR for like an hour. It doesn’t give any concrete proof, it just to give you a “look” of what to expect. Also remember other factors which haven’t been included in these test such as having to move, length of fights, etc. Also I didn’t have the correct Glyphs for any of the specs besides Frostfire. If you are on the Test Realms and happen to have a few extra glyphs you don’t need, Spicytunas is the name of my Mage (on both test servers) if you want to pass them on.
As always, any questions or comments are welcomed. Anything you would like to add, please feel free to do so.