View Full Version : Mage Problems with arcane spec design beyond just rotation?

09-13-2011, 09:25 AM
So last night I noticed that Blizzard put up "class feedback" threads with a few basic questions about how people generally feel about each class, and I decided to make a post about mages. I tried to think of what bothered me most about the class and realized that although I agree the common "arcane is dull and boring", it wasn't the spamming of arcane blast that really bothers me about this spec. I'm really curious now to know what other people think, as I haven't heard much complaining about anything but the rotation. Below is part of what I posted on the battle.net forums:

"I'm not going to talk about the constantly mentioned "arcane rotation is boring" because I think there are honestly some bigger and more overlooked issues with the spec in comparison to other specs. Fire and frost both carry a significant amount of utility in their arsenal. Fire is the most significant in raids- impact is a stun that can be effective for adds, it also helps in any multi-target or aoe situation for DoT spreading. Blast wave is a slow as well as significant aoe dps (keeping up the flame strike dot). Frost has a few as well- the water elemental's freeze being the most significant. Arcane falls behind in this department though, with very little utility save a slow that can only be on 1 target at a time.

Now, I need to touch on arcane rotation a little bit- not the linearity or lack of buttons, but the lack of movement it allows. When playing fire, yes fireball is the main nuke, but you have plenty to do while moving as well. Pyroblast procs, impact, blast wave, and flame strike are all instant casts. Fireball can even be replaced with scorch and the mage can keep moving with minimal dps loss. Frost, again, requires you to stand still for your main nuke but frostfire procs; ice lance with fingers of frost; water elemental freeze; and similar to scorch, "dry" ice lances can be casted if nothing else. Arcane is completely at a loss in this regard. The mage must stand still to do any significant damage, as arcane blast and arcane missiles force us to. Arcane barrage is hardly any dps at all, and makes movement dangerous for an arcane mage.

At this point it could be argued that giving arcane utility and mobile dps would just be taking away its uniqueness and making it more like frost and fire, but that's not so at all. I see the change to scorch in cata and the mobility of other specs as a move towards more compelling gameplay, where rotation and fight mechanics are no longer exclusive "phases" that a caster switches between. I enjoy the mana-management aspect of arcane and I think it's a spec whose rotation is constantly under the microscope- to a point that the issues that actually cause it to be a boring spec get overlooked."

I'm curious to know how others feel about this. Do you think arcane would be better if there was more to do outside of the rotation? What about making AB a mobile cast like scorch? Are there any other ideas out there to improve this spec without necessarily adding more buttons to the rotation?

09-13-2011, 09:32 AM
Arcane is boring. Yes there is the dynamic mana management, its fun its cool. But after you get the same gear and you play it 16+ hours a week. It does get boring. I recognize that arcane is a challenging spec it has it pitfalls and requires very good execution awareness etc. to play correctly. But, its still boring.

I wrote a blog on this nobody bothered to read.

09-13-2011, 09:34 AM
I can't speak from a PvE stand point anymore for mages but I still follow the PvE side of mages. I think Arcane needs to be nerfed and then buff frost and fire so those specs can compare to Arcane so mages can have more then one spec to PvE as and do worthwhile DPS.

09-13-2011, 09:39 AM
While I agree that it would be nice if the other two specs are viable, I'm trying to just focus on the mechanics of playing each spec. There are definitely problems with scaling for mages but that's a whole other issue.

09-13-2011, 09:50 AM
Most Mages love this spec. We level in it, we solo in it, we pvpwn in it. But in pve frost is very lack luster. The issue with frost is gear scaling. It namely rotates around the talent shatter. This is as core to frost as frostbolt. See shatter causes Frost mages to reach a 'crit cap' very quickly. After this we are left with haste and mastery (I'm not discussing hit, spell power or int as those are more primary stats) as useful state. Haste is right out. It only buffs one spell in the frost rotation, our filler (and our lowest damage per execute). Mastery, while providing a simple way to buff frost's damage would cause EXTREME pvp issues.

Suffers from the opposite of problem of frost. Arcane simply scales so well (primarily due to its int+mastery synergy). While a spec like fire or frost will gain 2 or 3 dps per point of intellect, arcane gains 4 or 5. This means that without taking secondary stats into consideration arcane is going to get more out of a single piece of loot.

Fire is a fun spec. It allows mages to embrace our inner warlock and play around with DoT's and Direct Damage without worrying to much about mana, and just wrecklessly light the world on fire. But it still has problems. Fire gains to much dps from secondary stats (namely crit and haste).

10-21-2011, 11:20 AM
Finding the perfect terminology here is tough...

The fire implementation is perfect, the fire mechanics make it fail.

By that, I mean I love the way the spec plays one of the most compeling priority systems in the game IMO.

The mechanics and being so reliant on an rng stat like crit cannot work. For one, Blizz has said they don't want crit to ever be like it was at the end of wotlk. Therefore, the dps contribution of pyroblast has to be de-emphasized. Otherwise, I will continue to do 20k on one 5 man boss and 12k on the next with the same "rotation". And it can be a somewhat challenging rotation. Not like kitty used to be which was my fav.

Compared to arcane...I won't even play arcane anymore because it bores me. It is the rotation that bores me. It is the simplicity of that rotation that has a lot of consistency and is higher than my dynamic, challenging, dps'ing on the move and every trick in the book fire.

That whole comparison frustrates me to no end. Fire I can do my priorities perfectly and because of the math of getting two back-to-back crits with crit so suppressed and underperform my gear if I don't get MORE procs than the math would indicate I should average. I feel like I have NO control over my dps. Meanwhile an arcane friend who plays like 3 hrs a week will beat me on dps 75% of the time. He is skilled enough but not enough practice to get what he should out of his gear and can still usually beat me.

I hate arcane for being too boring to play but being too OP to compete against.