Mage changes I would love to see in Warlords of Draenor

I’ve been playing a mage as my main in WoW since I originally got the game in August of 2005. I’ve dropped the game and picked it back up a few times, and I’ve spent some time devoted to other characters, but for a majority of that time, it’s been my troll mage that I’ve spent the most time with.

I contemplated changing to a new main at the start of Mists of Pandaria, and I did originally level through the content as a Warlock, but ultimately I found myself wanting to experience the story content as the mage (he would be extremely interested in bringing down the Zandalar, whom he sees as traitors to the troll race, and has wanted Garrosh dead since late Wrath). That and the fact that I was reading stories of how well balanced all three mage specs had FINALLY become, something I had been campaigning for since Wrath of the Lich King as well. Plus Frost was finally raidworthy! How could you not love that!
So by the time of Patch 5.4’s release, I was fully committed to my mage again. I’ve seen all of Throne of Thunder (in LFR anyway) with him and I’m working on clearing Siege of Orgrimmar in LFR now (having an infant daughter is a joy, but it does take away from your gaming time!) And based on that experience, I do have a wishlist for what I would like to see happen to mages in the game’s next expansion, Warlords of Draenor. I’ve not yet decided what I’ll play (waiting on Class changes to get previewed before I seriously think about that) but if these changes get put in the game, I would almost certainly stick with the class.

1. Completely revamp the gawdawful level 90 talent Tier

Seriously everyone hates you, level 90

Seriously everyone hates you, level 90

I don’t think I know of a single talent tier that is met with more disgust by players of the class than this one. Every single one of them is basically a punishment to us in return for allowing us to regen mana and have a spellpower buff that makes us competitive. Incanter’s Ward forces us to take damage, teaching us the bad habit of standing in the fire. Rune of Power? Yeah, you’re pretty much immobile. Invocation? You’ll be prevented from doing damage for a bit every minute in order to keep this buff up, oh and we’ll kill your passive mana regen to make sure you need to do this.
Why? This adds no fun to the mage, it’s an irritation more than anything. We either choose from two flavors of mobility loss or being forced to stand in avoidable damage just to keep our damage output up to snuff. Meanwhile we stare longingly at Shamans with their Spiritwalker’s Grace, Warlock’s with Kil’jaeden’s Cunning, or Hunters who can pretty much move and cast everything they have and ask….why?
This tier needs a revamp. We shouldn’t feel like we have to pick between three different punishments, especially for level 90 talents. Those should feel like awesome rewards we want to use as much as possible

2. Reduce Fire’s dependance on Crit, and smooth out its scaling.

PYROBLAST!

PYROBLAST!

Fire has always been a bit of a problem for mages due to it’s extreme reliance on the Crit rating stat. Early on in an expansion, lower item levels don’t give you enough crit to get enough Hot Streaks or a high enough ignite DoT to do competitive damage. Later on, once you reach some magic threshold of Crit rating, Fire’s damage skyrockets and it blows anything else away.
Warriors have this problem as well (mostly Fury, from what I understand) in that our primary sources of damage output as a spec are overly reliant on getting as many critical strikes as possible. It’s time to reduce or outright eliminate that, and make it so those mechanics can be triggered in other ways, especially ones that will raise the value of other starts (haste and Mastery) to be closer to Crit’s value. This will also solve Fire’s scaling problems and make it viable across all gear levels.

3. Make Arcane more mobile again.

Can I move now, plz?

Can I move now, plz?

Right now Arcane is very much undesired for serious endgame raiding due to its extreme lack of mobility. This is primarily caused due to the fact that it is utterly shackled to the terrible Rune of Power talent. If we aren’t standing on or near the rune, our damage and more importantly our mana pool will plummet. Raid design, at least for now, places a very high premium on mobility. Sure Blizzard made the Rune larger, and allowed us to place a second one without the first fading, but the Rune still has a cast time, which we must stand still for. All this adds up to a very static spec where movement of any kind drains your damage, and so far, most raid bosses have required an ample amount of movement. I think getting rid of Arcane’s shackle to Rune of Power will certainly help, but ultimately I think Arcane could use another tool to help with their mobility. Fire can cast Scorch while moving, and frost still has the capability to spam Ice Lance, while neither is optimal, it still allows mages to keep doing damage until they are out of danger. Arcane does not have this right now.

4. Balance secondary stats for all three mage specs.

As it stands, every mage spec focuses almost entirely on one of the secondary stats, and pretty much stacks it above everything else. Fire stacks crit, Arcane stacks Mastery, and Frost stacks haste. This makes spec switching a costly endeavor, as you must go reforge and regem your gear each time if you want to remain optimal. If you like changing up your spec occasionally to change up the game for yourself a bit, as I do, this becomes a painful endeavor. It was lessened somewhat back when primary stat gems were the norm for gemming strategy, but the changes to gems in Mists of Pandaria have made it most optimal to gem “combo” gems which contain a primary and secondary stat. This will be ameliorated somewhat by the removal of reforging, but gems will still focus on secondary stats, which I am not a fan of. To this end, Blizzard, in my opinion needs to focus on balancing the three secondary stats for mages as close together as possible so that we can switch up our specs whenever we like and not cripple ourselves without regremming.

5. Increase our solo survivability

Possibly the worst experience a mage can have is playing the solo experince. I marveled at how much of an absolute pain it was to level my mage throughout MoP compared to leveling any other class due to sheer lack of survivability. We have no pet to tank for us, no self-heals outside of the Glyph of Evocation (which is crippled by our level 90 talents), tissue paper for armor, and are reliant on long cast times that require us to take a beating to finish casting before we can move. It’s high time we got something to fix this. Practically every other DPS class has either a self-heal or a pet to mitigate the damage they take, we need something to make our solo lives less painful.

6. Make Combustion less clunky, and give fire some of its fun back

Seriously, I want this friggin spell back

Seriously, I want this friggin spell back

Combustion, on paper, is a fantastic idea. In practice, you need an addon to properly manage it, and you have to cheese Alter Time and Heating Up stacks to reliably get a high enough Ignite tick to make it worth using. And heaven help you if you use it when you don’t have a decent Ignite, because then your damage is bleeeeh. This needs to be less RNG dependant and more of a straight up DPS increase every time. It should be used as soon as the cooldown expires, and it shouldn’t be useless without an addon. Come on.

Also, can anyone explain to me why Blast Wave and Flame Orb were removed? Blast wave was a fun AOE spell to weave into Fire’s AOE rotation and Flame Orb was just a cool looking spell. You gave a Frost Orb to Frost, why the need to remove Flame Orb?

7. A couple of ideas that are a bit out there, not really necessary, but would be awesome.

BLIZZARDS EVERYWHERE!

BLIZZARDS EVERYWHERE!

People keep talking about removing “pures” from the game, classes that have no roles they can fill outside of DPS. They do this by recommending existing specs be changed to be tanks or healers or some weird “support” role. The most often bandied about ideas are to make Demonology Warlocks and Beast Mastery Hunters tanks, and Arcane Mages as healers based on the idea of time manipulating and “reversing” damage. I’m okay with the idea of no longer having pures, and I even like the idea of a mage healer, but please, let’s not replace existing specs. That would be awful. I’m still miffed that Blizzard took away Blood DPS from Death Knights (behind the old Frost/Unholy dual-wield spec from the early days of Wrath), and I’d hate for fans of those specs to lose them. Instead, if you’re going this route, add a 4th spec. Druids already got them when Feral was split from it’s tanking role, there’s no reason other classes couldn’t get a 4th spec. I’m not even a particularly big healer, and I’d try a “Chronomancer” healer spec out.

One of the more “Iconic” roles the mage once had was being the king of AOE. Between Blizzard, Flamestrike, Cone of Cold, Arcane Explosion, and others, no other class really had the AOE power we did. Most of the classic forms of AOE as a whole has been nerfed pretty much to the point of non-usefulness, largely to counteract the “AOE down the trash” model that dominated much of Wrath. I think it’s been overdone, and we need to see the Mage return to a much stronger AOE damage dealer, especially in a solo environment. Strong AOE would be one step towards solving our solo issues.

Well that’s my ideas for one class come Warlords of Draenor. I’d love to hear your opinions, or even what you’d like to see from your own class of choice! Comment below!

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