It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column known for its special five-alarm chili recipe. It's a delicate blend of three different conjured beans, spiced up with Fireballs, Scorches, and slow-cooked over a smoldering Flamestrike, loaded with lamb, bacon, and the occasional roasted monkey, glazed with a dusting of Frostfire, then lit aflame with a Pyroblast. And the secret ingredient? Warlock tears.
If there's one thing mages have been known for during the course of this fine game we all play, it's mass murder. We have at our disposal a wide array of spells that wreak havoc over a large area, perhaps more so than any other class. When it comes to killing things in large numbers, mages are remarkably adept. It's a role we embrace wholeheartedly.
AoE has evolved quite since the inception of the game. In vanilla WoW, AoE was a great way to get yourself killed in an instance, a method of attack that was mostly limited to solo farming and certain trash pulls. These days, with the ability tanks have to hold multiple mobs with relative ease, AoE has morphed into the go-to way to deal with multiple-mob pulls of all shapes and sizes. Crowd control has gone the way of Wand Specialization; it simply isn't required in most situations in Wrath.
Cataclysm is bringing with it some fairly sweeping changes to the way we utilize our AoE repertoire. The developers have stated their intention to return us to a time when we actually had to worry about things like crowd control and pull-sizes, and though we're not reverting completely, pulls on the beta certainly feel more like vanilla or Burning Crusade pulls than anything we saw in Wrath. Join me after the break and we'll go over how our AoE spells will work in this coming era.