Mar 20, 2009

Mage Changes in 3.1

Since being gently prodded by Alarand to do so, here are my thoughts on mage changes in 3.1 (special thanks to "Fuegogrande" for compiling a nice list of changes).

Firstly, it seems the major change in 3.1 is going to be how mana is used and regenerated. Basically, with 3.0, I never run out of mana. That's why the arcane spec has been used so heavily (I'm still Frostfire, and following last night's 10 man Naxx, it's quite evident that I need to go Arcane to keep up with DPS). Because Arcane mages can more efficiently translate mana into damage, they are able to do more damage since we have so much mana available to us. I never have to evocate and I only use my mana gems to get the two piece bonus. In 3.1, they're going to make mana regen much more important and make it much tougher for everyone to keep their mana pools from emptying.


* Arcane Meditation - Now allows 17/33/50% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting. Up from 10/20/30%.
* Mage Armor - Now allows 50% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting. Up from 30%.
*Arcane Blast stacking effect is no longer considered a Magic effect and will not be dispelled.

So as we can see here, the first two changes deal with mana regeneration. Currently, Arcane Meditation allows 30% mana regeneration when fully talented. This is a key talent if you are an arcane mage since you're converting mana to damage as fast as possible. So in the next patch it goes up to 50% which is quite a boost. Similarly, while sporting Mage Armor in 3.1, you can easily have 100% of your mana regeneration while in combat which is a huge boost. However, losing a straight 3% crit (5% if using the glyph) from Molten Armor, is a huge loss. From most of the arcane theorycrafting I've seen, molten armor is the preferred armor over mage armor unless you're having mana issues. As for the Arcane Blast change, that's meant for PvP, so I'll ignore it.


* Burnout - Now increases your spell critical damage bonus with all spells. Changed from only Fire spells.
* Pyromaniac - Now allows 17/33/50% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting. Up from 10/20/30%.
* Fiery Payback - Now also melee and ranged attacks made against the target have a 5/10% chance to disarm your attacker's main hand and ranged weapons.
* Impact - Gives your damaging spells a 4/7/10% chance to cause the next Fire Blast you cast to stun the target for 2 sec.
* Ignite: The damage done by this talent no longer receives modifications from effects that increase or decrease damage done by a percentage.
* Improved Scorch: Increased critical strike chance is now 1%, down from 2% per application of the Improved Scorch effect.
* Molten Armor now causes 170 Fire damage when hit for all ranks (Up from 75/130/170) and also increases your critical strike rating by 25% of your spirit.

Burnout now affecting all spells seems like a huge boost, but it's so far down the fire tree, that it's only going to be applicable to fire/frostfire mages. So giving me an extra 50% bonus damage to all spells is nice for when I'm casting Blizzards, I don't see how it will affect my damage much. Fiery Payback and Impact are PvP skills so I won't touch on them. The Ignite change seems like a significant nerf, but I have no numbers to back it up. When you Ignite a target, you get a bonus of 40% more damage. This is usually positively affected by spells like Curse of Elements so we lose some extra damage in certain situations.

The improved scorch nerf really will hurt us though. Previously, we could easily stack 5 scorch debuffs on the target and gain 10% extra crit chance. With a crit modifier of 230% for frostfire bolts, we gained a lot of extra damage from this 10% extra crit. In the next patch, it will be just 5% extra crit. It appears that a warlock's Incinerate spell, when glyphed will add a 5% crit debuff to the target, so stacking scorch and incinerate will get us back to a 10% crit bonus, but that forces 10 mans to run with a warlock if they want to get that full 10% crit bonus that applies raid-wide. This is a tough nerf to handle and I'm not liking it one bit.

Previously, Molten Armor gave a 3% (5% glyphed) extra crit chance. With the change in the next patch, it goes to 25% of spirit. Right now my spirit is 374. 25% is 93.5. 93.5 crit = 2% extra crit. So I effectively lose 3% crit chance. That sucks. Combined with the improved scorch nerf, I'm losing 8% crit. No thank you.


* Improved Water Elemental - Increases the duration of your Summon Water Elemental spell by 5/10/15 sec and your Frostbolt spell has a 33/66/100% chance to grant the Replenishment effect to up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.25% of their maximum mana per second for 15 sec.
* Winter’s Chill: Increased critical strike chance is now 1%, down from 2% per application of Winter’s Chill.

The frost changes have a change to the water elemental, which is not used in PvE that often, and the same Winter's Chill nerf that Improved Scorch received.

There's also some glyph changes, but I can go over those in another post. Nothing too big there. But in the end, it will be interesting to see how the mana regen changes work themselves out. And we'll see how the crit nerfs hurt our DPS. If you look at the changes that are announced daily, there's quite obviously many more changes to every other class and it seems as if mages are getting the short end of the stick. We have very few (if any) buffs, but instead, a couple of nerfs. With the mana changes, I can't see arcane staying atop the charts (and I unfortunately haven't had the time to track all the changes at Elitist Jerks). I think we'll just have to do the standard wait and see approach to figure out how all these changes will affect us. In the end, it seems like a slight nerf.

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