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Posts with tag wrath-talents

Mists' talent system revamp: Hit or miss?

Now that it's been a while a look at Mists' talent system
We've had the new talent system now for eight months, and it's had time to settle in, so it seems that it's an appropriate time to see whether it has been a success in its objectives, to assess the pros and cons of the new system.

In case you forgot, Wrath of the Lich King featured 71 talent points, which were distributed over three trees, resulting in some entertaining builds, and no requirement to place the last talent in the tree. The Burning Crusade was similar, but with 10 fewer points, and slightly smaller trees as a result. By the time Cataclysm rolled around, adding an additional five levels, there was concern about this system being bloated, daunting, and unnecessarily complex. So, with Cataclysm came a simplification: 31-point talent trees. At the time, Zarhym explained the change as follows:

Zarhym
We'd rather have a simpler design with a lot of depth, than a complicated but shallow design. The goal for Cataclysm remains to remove a lot of the passive (or lame) talents, but we don't think that's possible with the current tree size. To resolve this, we're reducing each tree to 31-point talents.

Cata also added a requirement that you get to the end talent of your main tree before moving onto the next, effectively removing the hybrid builds that had occasionally surfaced. But that change clearly wasn't enough, as most readers of WoW Insider will recall, there was a further revamp at the start of Mists, moving to the current system. It was a far more drastic change, too, with the disappearance of the talent trees we'd grown used to seeing. But was it a change for the better?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Skill Mastery: Berserk

Berserk, the new 51-point talent in the Druid's Feral tree is...what day is it? Thursday? They change it a lot. Anyway, the talent originally combined elements of The Beast Within with Last Stand, but they've disengaged the +health component and made it a separate talent entitled Survival Instinct. The talent that remains affects both Bear and Cat form and does the following:
  • Mangle (Bear) will automatically hit up to 3 targets and is spammable (i.e. no cooldown)
  • Cat form abilities cost 50% less energy
  • Breaks Fear and makes you immune for the duration of Berserk
Berserk lasts for 15 seconds and Tiger's Fury is unusable while it's active, at least in the talent's current form. But odds are pretty good you'll be too busy rolling your face across the keyboard and shouting, "Faster, pussycat! Kill! Kill!!" to notice this.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Deep Freeze



I have to admit, when the three 51-point Mage talents were revealed, Deep Freeze was the one I was least excited about. In its initial form, the spell was 1.5 second cast, 5 second duration stun that only worked on frozen targets. Ok.../golfclap. I shelved the spell in the dark recesses of my brain and devoted most of my time to pleasant fantasies involving Arcane Barrage, Living Bomb, and a lot of Gnomes.

Then a funny thing happened. Over several new beta builds, the spell actually became good. When I finally got into the beta and was able to take the spell for a test-drive, I discovered it was very good. Not perfect, mind you, but highly effective.

Damage was added to the spell. High damage. Then the cast time was removed, making it instant. The spellpower coefficient remained what it had been when it had a 1.5 second cast. All of a sudden, Deep Freeze was an instant-cast nuke with a reasonable cooldown that also delivered a stun mechanic. Suddenly, the spell had become...well, pretty awesome, actually.

So how does it work in practice?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Living Bomb



Those of you who read my last Arcane Brilliance column may already know I'm not terribly fond of this spell so far. How much my dislike stems from using the buggy version of it that exists on the beta and how much comes from the spell actually being sub-par I can't be sure. We'll find out when patch 3.0.2 hits the live servers I guess, and probably not a moment sooner. In this edition of Skill Mastery, though, I will endeavor to be as fair and objective as I can manage. This could end up being a very, very good spell, if it lives up to its potential.

The 51 point talent for the Fire tree, Living Bomb is potentially a very fitting cap talent. The Fire tree has always been about blowing things up good and fast. Fire's purpose has traditionally been high single-target DPS, low survivability, and enormous AoE. This spell, current bugginess notwithstanding, is the natural evolution of that purpose. It has gone through multiple incarnations in its short existence, but the current form could end up being the best of the bunch once it works properly. Follow me after the jump for the details.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Forecasting Frost



Arcane Brilliance is a weekly column about Mages. It contains text. We promise the word "Mage" will appear with moderate frequency within the body of said text, possibly near such modifiers as "awesome" or "god-like." The word "Warlock" may also appear once or twice, sometimes in close proximity to such phrases as "ridiculously overpowered" or "I hate Warlocks." That's really the extent of what we promise, here at Arcane Brilliance: text, Mages, and Warlock-hating.

Indulge me for a moment before we get to the Frost tree:

I'm beginning to recognize a pattern forming. Each week, as Blizzard tweaks the talent setup in the Wrath beta, I'm becoming less and less inclined to complain. I know...I know. I'm a Mage. You poke a Mage with a stick, and QQ comes pouring out. We're all angry emo virgins, sitting at home blogging furiously with keyboards made completely out of tears about how the colors are too bright in Diablo III and writing free-verse epic poems about how Living Bomb caused our parents to divorce.

That's just it, though: lately, I've found I'm all out of QQ. I've put my mascara-stained Sephiroth pillow back on my bed and stopped mailing locks of my greasy dyed-black hair to Kalgan, and have instead started to feel something very close to optimism. It's been building since I hit rock bottom after the WWI to the point where now I feel pretty good about the direction we're heading as a class. As you may recall, It wasn't that long ago that I felt far differently.

Join me after the jump for more positive thinking followed by enough Frosty goodness to give you brain-freeze.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Yet more beta changes to Mages



As has become customary, a new build of the beta has rendered a lot of the Mage class changes I reported earlier today moot. Much of it is still relevant, but the new build has introduced some very substantial new talent re-workings. Blizzard continues to make good on their promise to "polish" the Mage class, and the results continue to be both good and bad, but always intriguing.

A full list of the newest changes and my thoughts on some of them follow after the jump.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: The future of Fire



Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a healthy dose of Mage opinion and analysis. Most of the opinion is extremely biased and borderline libelous, and the analysis tends toward hyperbole and slander, especially when the topic of Warlocks comes up. In fact, here at Arcane Brilliance, we feel that you can never have too much Warlock slander. Especially against Gnome Warlocks.


Leave it to Blizzard to change the Arcane tree substantially the week after Arcane Brilliance's detailed look at that very same tree. I'm sure they did it to spite me, because yes, I do firmly believe everything is totally about me. Anyway, here are the notable changes, before we get to the giant unequivocal "meh" that defines our analysis of the Fire tree in Wrath.

Arcane Impact has been changed into Spell Impact, and now increases the critical strike chance of not just Arcane Explosion and Arcane Blast but also Blast Wave, Fire Blast, Ice Lance, and Cone of Cold. This makes it a much more versatile and beneficial talent, affecting spells from every school of magic.

Student of the Mind has been moved to tier 3 and now increases your total spirit by up to 12% over 3 ranks, while Potent Spirit (which gave increased chance to crit based on your total spirit) has been removed altogether. It looked for awhile there as if Blizzard intended to really increase spirit's usefulness to Mages, but I guess we should have called "no take-backs" on that one, huh?

More Arcane changes after the break, as well as a few long sighs and downcast looks as we discuss the future of the Fire tree.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: The Arcane tree in WotLK



Each week, Arcane Brilliance blinks in from out of nowhere to deliver an instant cast full of Mage info and analysis to the interwebs. Or at least it tries to. Sometimes it blinks sideways, you see. Sometimes, backwards. On rare occasions, Arcane Brilliance casts Blink and goes absolutely nowhere. Oh well, at least the sparkly lights looked pretty.


Let's hear it for no more NDA! Now we can finally talk in detail about things a lot of us have known about for months. I'm sure we're all underwhelmed by the Beta patch notes as they apply to Mages. Here they are, in full. Pull up a chair, these could take you a full 90 seconds to read:

Mage
  • Arcane Focus (Arcane) is now 3 ranks and increases chance to hit and reduces mana cost of Arcane spells by 1/2/3%.
  • Counterspell now costs 9% of base mana.
  • Frost Armor, Ice Armor, Mage Armor and Molten Armor are no longer Magic effects and cannot be dispelled.
  • Invisibility now makes the caster invisible after 3 seconds, reduced from 5 seconds.
  • Magic Attunement (Arcane) now also increases the range of your Arcane spells by 3/6 yards.
  • Polymorph now costs 12% of base mana.
  • Portal spells now cost 18% of base mana.
  • Prismatic Cloak (Arcane) now also reduces the fade time of Invisibility by 1/2 seconds.
  • Slow Fall now costs 6% of base mana.
  • Teleport spells now cost 9% of base mana.
Ok. Deep breath. Repress urge to kill. Repeat after me: "It is still early in the testing process. These notes are incomplete. Changes are likely coming. Mages will get something cool." Feel better? No? Me either. Still, there are some things worth discussing here, and with the lifting of the embargo on leaked Alpha talents, we do have a great many things to talk about. Join me after the break and we'll do just that, starting with the tree that has changed the most: the Arcane tree.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Why Frostfire Bolt could change everything



Each week Arcane Brilliance serves up a big slice of Mage-cake. Of course, Mages have a very different idea of what it means to "bake" and then "frost" something, so Mage-cake might not be quite what you're expecting. Unless of course you were expecting a blackened husk of indeterminate (vaguely Gnomish) origin frozen into a block of ice, in which case you'll get exactly what you thought you were getting.


So last week was fun, huh?

I have to say, I expected some controversy, but nothing like that. My earlier column about how much I love being a Mage got 32 almost universally positive comments, which seemed quite respectable to me at the time. This one, in which I bemoaned what I perceive to be a very fixable problem with the class (the fact that our DPS doesn't balance out our incredibly poor survivability) is at 200 and counting. Reading through them over the course of this week, terrified to post any sort of response lest I be torn limb from limb and devoured, it seemed like there was no middle ground. Responses ranged from "Please consider discontinuing this article from here on" to "I think this is the most well written piece on this site that I've ever read." Of the 200 responses, I'd wager 150 or so were negative.

So what have I learned? You guys prefer optimism. Apparently.

This week, I went in search of things to feel good about. I do still love to play my Mage--much moreso than any other character I have--and I truly want to be optimistic about the direction we're headed as a class. Once I went actively searching for happy thoughts, I found they were out there, in abundance. In fact, many of them were suggested within those same 200 comments.

You see, as it turns out, Frostfire Bolt has the potential to be very, very nice. In fact, Frostfire Bolt could actually change everything. Come back after the jump to find out why.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

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