The current Mage class tree has a variety of talents which offer a variety of utility and survivability talents options, but with its current layout, a lot of that choice feels difficult to navigate. This is due to the nature of their current capstones and how impactful and important they are to the overall rotation for each of the specs. In Fractures in Time, we’re making a few changes such as making some abilities baseline, removing Rune of Power, a slightly new tree layout, and adding 3 new capstone abilities to replace Shifting Power and Meteor. We’ll highlight some of those larger changes below.
Rune of Power
We’re removing Rune of Power from the class tree and shifting some of its loss power directly into all Mage abilities that deal damage. While the decision to remove Rune of Power wasn’t easy, we feel it is best for the long-term health of the class. Fighting within a Rune of Power is almost mandatory to maximize your damage as a Mage and any sort of mechanic that forces you out of it for a prolonged period of time ends up feeling incredibly punishing to your overall throughput.
In Raid, Mythic+, and PvP, having a player commit to a small space for 12 seconds is a large ask and one that just doesn’t feel fun to play around, as frequent as Rune of Power is. By removing Rune of Power we’re able to shift more of the Mage’s damage into their abilities baseline while also leaving us room to further amplify their big cooldowns (Arcane Surge, Combustion, and Icy Veins) if necessary. While we expect it to be a large adjustment at first, we’re confident that this will be an overall boon for Mages in the future.
While the overall structure of the class tree has changed, we’ve made a few key adjustments that should allow for a little more customization when spec’ing into your class tree. The total number of capstones has been reduced from 5 to 3. At the moment, Mage’s capstones have a wide variety of power that offer different levels of throughput or survivability and utility. The difference in damage throughput and utility/survivability at the capstone level has proven to be somewhat problematic for Mage and their ability to feel free to customize their tree as they see fit. The tree is now structured to offer 3 capstones with the center capstone (Time Anomaly/Temporal Warp) offering the only throughput and the left and right capstones offering different utility or survivability for you to consider based on the content you might be running. The goal here with the new structure is to offer a little more flexibility within the class tree and feeling less mandatory to pick up both Shifting Power and Time Anomaly/Temporal Warp choice node.
We have 3 new capstones available which offer a different variety of gameplay choices based on the content you might be running. Ice Cold is a talent that modifies your Ice Block so you are able to cast while it is active, but you are no longer immune to damage and instead take greatly reduced damage for a shorter duration. The other two talents are a choice node for Mass Invisibility and Mass Barrier which as the names imply allow you to cast Invisibility on your nearby allies or cast your Specialization’s Barrier on up to 3 nearby allies.
Going into Fractures in Time, we want to focus on giving Arcane Mages a more consistent way to deal AoE damage without having to rely on Touch of the Magi or Radiant Spark windows where quick mob deaths or movement can greatly hinder their performance. Arcane also has a few talents that offer a variety of utility but felt inaccessible based on their position on the tree, pathing in the tree, or lack of points after filling out their chosen build. To combat this, we’ve shifted a few things baseline most notably Arcane Barrage and Clearcasting and updated the pathing on a few talents.
We’ve reworked Orb Barrage capstone talent into something a little more consistent and likely familiar to Legion Arcane players. Orb Barrage now gives your Arcane Barrage a chance per Arcane Charge spent to hurl an Arcane Orb at your target. This talent should give a much-needed way to both send out some consistent AoE damage while also giving a steady stream of Arcane Charge generation when fighting large packs. We’ve also added a new talent “Concentrated Power” which gives more purpose to your Clearcasting and Arcane Explosion while in AoE heavy fights. This talent causes your Arcane Explosion to echo an additional time for a % of its original damage.
We’ve also updated Arcane’s tree to be a little more flexible when trying to pick up unique nodes that aren’t always directly throughput. We’ve shifted Arcane Barrage and Clearcasting baseline, untied Reverberate from Nether Tempest, added new connections from Nether Tempest, and removed the Arcane Power talent and folded its power into Arcane Surge. The goal with these changes is to give you a couple extra points to play with and create a more positive experience as you navigate through the tree enabling you to create a spec tree that fits your needs.
Fire and Frost
While this round of Fractures in Time PTR only includes Class and Arcane updates, aside from the damage re-distribution from the Rune of Power change, we have not forgotten about Fire or Frost. We have plans for them in upcoming PTR builds.
At the moment, Fire suffers from a one-build-fits-all talent tree. Which is problematic for a couple of reasons: the lack of choice/variety gets stale after a while, Ignite dealing large portions of damage in single target, and AoE makes it incredibly difficult for us to separately tune Single Target or AoE damage for Fire during tuning passes. Moving forward, we want to explore ways we can create alternative AoE builds that aren’t just Ignite stacking, reduce the amount of 2-point nodes to free up a few points, and shift some abilities baseline such as Flamestrike and Cauterize. These aren’t final or comprehensive changes, but hopefully give a good idea of our goals for Fire moving forward.
Moving forward with Frost we’re looking into the lesser picked talents that offer a different gameplay style compared to the “meta” builds but generally underperform. Talents like Ray of Frost and Glacial Spike offer unique alternatives to the standard rotation but given their current impact and lack of synergy within the tree they become a hard thing to opt into. Additionally, we’re taking a look into the “minimal Ice Lance” builds, as this shouldn’t be the correct way to play Frost. Ice Lance should be an impactful button that is played around rather than minimally cast due to the amount of modifiers of other talents and damage sources preventing it from being so. There are also some talents we want to reassess in the talent tree and instead move baseline such as Blizzard and Cold Snap. Lastly, the amount of talents required to make Icy Veins feel like a high impact cooldown is relatively high, we would like to take this opportunity to see if we can make it stand on its own a little more.