Mage changes in Cataclysm revealed, part two of ?

Ghostcrawler answered some questions about the mage preview. Let’s look!

Emphases mine…

Flame Orb is not channeled. It may have a cast time, but after that is fire and forget. We want to try the line idea because there aren’t any spells that work that way currently. Giving it a target to follow makes it feel more like a fancy dot – useful perhaps, but nothing that feels really new. It will be balanced for single-target damage, but if you can launch it in such a way that it will hit multiple targets, then you’re just being awesome.
That’s what I figured. And, yes, having it follow would be more useful actually. 😉
Wall of Fog is not channeled. We don’t know yet how wide it will be, but wide enough so that it feels more like a trip-wire than an area like Frost Trap.
As expected, so that’s good. I still think the mana cost is going to be significant however.
We like the basic gameplay of Hot Streak. With lower crit rates all around, we hope that it will feel more like a bonus when it’s up rather than a penalty when it refuses to stay up. We may lower the magnitude overall for the same reason.
Lower crit rates, you say? Hmm.
Anyway, the meat of the matter, for arcane mages like myself anyway:
On Arcane Missiles, the basic spell is pretty cool. The problem is the way the spell works makes the current design hard to balance. It’s either too expensive and low damage or the opposite problem. This is particularly true at low level, and meanwhile we think the mage experience at low level is also a little too repetitive. The change is that you can’t hit Arcane Missiles whenever you want. The icon is just grayed out. However, when you deal damage, you have a chance to get Arcane Missiles to light up and then you definitely want to hit it. At higher levels Fire and Frost may eventually phase it out in preference for other spells, or if we like the mechanic, it may be something even Fire and Frost do, just less often than Arcane.
Does this mean arcane’s going to continue being “the” raid spec? Hmm. This I would be something disagree with. I’ve said before that ideally, arcane, fire, and frost should all be equally viable in raids.
On the topic of mastery bonuses, understand that this is a new design for us and very few people have seen them in action yet. We run the risk of specific masteries being so generic that the mastery stat isn’t interesting or so complex that what players really like about playing a certain spec gets turned on its head. This is the kind of thing that will require a lot of iteration and the reason we’re trying to cover the whole gamut of relatively complex to relatively simple to see what feels right.
Sounds good to me.
The reason behind Deathfrost (Frost mastery) isn’t to get Frost to spam Frostbolt more. It’s to get mages to spam Frostbolt less. If you hit nothing but Frostbolt, you’re wasting the Deathfrost bonus.
We’re shifting food and water to higher level because we don’t want players to have so much down time at lower level. We’re not trying to make it harder to level; we’re reducing the need to drink or eat so we’re bumping the actual food and water (though it’s really foodwater in the case of mages) higher.
Er, frostbolt is pretty much the mainstay of the frost spec. Getting people to cast it less would be quite a trick. Making other spells slightly more attractive will make a dent in frostbolt casting, I guess…
The intent behind Mana Adapt (Arcane mastery) is that Arcane currently has a pretty fun mana management game going, at least at relatively high level. We thought it would be fun to extend that concept even further to where Arcane mages that use the mechanics to keep their mana high would do higher dps. I find many of the predictions that Arcane is doomed in PvE based on the very limited information you have at the moment to be quite premature.
I agree with the premature comment, but I wouldn’t necessarily characterize mana management as fun, nor is it really an issue at high level. If anything, at high level it becomes easier. At least I hardly ever have to worry about it at all.
On Time Warp vs. Bloodlust, we are really trying to give groups flexibility in who they bring to 10 player raids to an even greater extent than we did in Lich King. We heard over and over that shaman still felt like the one mandatory class in any raid. The more we hear “now there will be no reason to take me over X class / spec” the happier we will be. The reason should be that you’re a good player, not that your mere presence makes everyone else perform better. It’s fun to feel more powerful in a group – we get that, and we aren’t going to completely marginalize group synergy. But it needs to come secondary to the skill of the players involved.
Yup, this seems clear from everything they’ve been saying/doing recently. And all in all I support it because no one class should be that critical. I can fully understand and support a class being beneficial for a particular encounter, say, but no one ability of one class should make or break any encounter. There should be a way for a capable team to get the job done no matter which classes compose the team—as long as the basics of tanks, heals, and deeps are met.
I understand some mages really like Fire Ward or Dampen Magic. Perhaps “no clear role” wasn’t the best choice of words, but we are trying to remove mechanics from the game that we think aren’t really cutting it. When asking players to put more buttons on their action bars from these new spells, we only think it’s fair to try and get some bar space back from the least interesting spells. Don’t worry so much about balance at this stage. Many things will need to be tweaked. Worry more about whether it ever felt like a fun decision to use these spells.
Well, ‘really like’ is a bit strong, but yeah, I did use (one of) them. Meanwhile, yes, I do like the idea of get a button, remove a button. I’m all for that. 😉
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Geek. (But so are you!)

Posted on April 10, 2010, in World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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