Blizzard changing mage specs
Blizzard says this about our specs:
Is Arcane generally above Fire? Yes. The difference may only be 10% though, and Fire is still above many damage specs. Is Arcane so much higher than Fire than Marks is to Survival? Not really. Yet we see more Survival hunters (in this particular data set on one boss) than we do Fire mages. Clearly more is going on that players just gravitating towards whichever spec does the most damage. (The key word is “just.” Players definitely like specs that deliver the most damage, but that does not appear to be the sole governing concern in this case.)
There are a lot of things contributing to Arcane beating other mages. Incanter’s Absorption is probably way too good in conjunction with kind Disc priests. Arcane benefits a lot on movement fights like PP. Arcane benefits a lot from using those Innervates that the Fire mage can’t really use and the healers (for the moment at least) don’t really need. As Lhivera points out, Frost can do decent (not stellar) given the chance, but fights like Marrowgar really exploit (in a bad way) Frost’s relative lack of pushback resistance.
We’d like to get the mages closer together, and that’s something we’re still going to work on. (“Wait until Cataclysm” is something snarky players like to say more than we do.) What we don’t want to do is suddenly catapult Frost up ahead of Arcane such that every mage feels like they have to change… again. Close, without going over, is kind of the mantra at this stage. 🙂
Confession: I picked Arcane as my spec because it was said to do more damage than Frost, which was my spec at the time. When I went to a dummy it was clearly true—Arcane was doing much more damage than Frost so I switched since I was beginning to raid. I later heard that Frost was “primarily” a PvP spec, in particular because of its movement restricting abilities.
But I’ve always loved Frost thematically. It was my first spec, one I thought my character identified with, and I like having the water elemental around. But now I have an obligation to pick a spec that will pew pew and when the difference is as large as 10% I gotta go with Arcane. I don’t find anything wrong with Arcane per se, it just lacks an attractive theme. It’s not as flashy to have an arcane blast as it is a frostbolt or a fireball.
The ideal solution would be if there could be different a spec for different fights. I would love it if a stand-still fight required Arcane build but a run-and-gun fight required a Frost build—for example. We have three specs, why not use them all, all the time?
And riddle me this: Why don’t monsters suffer more or less damage depending on the type of damage applied? Why don’t I want to bust out my Frost spec during the Ignus fight in Ulduar, or my Fire spec when dealing with Festergut or, well, anything in Icecream Citadel?
Do you ever switch specs? I find I don’t, ever. I think on paper what I should do is switch into Arcane when I enter a dungeon but use Frost when I’m out and about in PvE, where DPS doesn’t matter and my elemental can help me get groups of quest mobs quicker. But the thing is I rarely remember to do that. It’s easy enough to do but it’s out of sight, so out of mind.
Meanwhile, I look forward to the day when one doesn’t have to pick a spec when entering a dungeon. I’d rather pick different specs within the dungeon. It would make fights significantly more interesting. (Especially if those fights were unscripted.)