Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Call of the- oh, wait, wrong patch

So, looks like patch 3.2.2 is dropping on the live servers today. Seemed like an appropriate time to reemerge on this blog and discuss some mage-y things.

Due to my computer SUCKING COMPLETE ASS, I haven't been able to get on the PTR. Ever. It just won't load the installation application, and it just doesn't work. So, take all of this with a grain of salt. I'll run some testing later tonight, or tomorrow when everything is live and stable.

Full patch notes can be found at MMO Champion. It's been updated a few times already today, and I'd expect to see more updates once the servers come back up. Here's the pertinent magely info from the patch notes:

  • Arcane Blast: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 175% instead of 200%. In addition, the duration of the buff has been reduced to 6 seconds.
  • Arcane Missiles: Casting this spell while both Missile Barrage and Clearcasting are active will cause only Missile Barrage to be consumed.
  • Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it. This talent no longer has a chance to be triggered when spells miss.

Combustion: This talent now also increases the critical strike damage bonus of Fire spells by 50% while it is active. In addition, Living Bomb periodic ticks will no longer interact with the count or the charges on the talent.

First, let's discuss the fire changes, since that's easier. Summary: ABOUT FREAKING TIME! Combustion was a talent that I specced into from habit, but I don't think I've used since, uh, Naxx. Especially paired with the LB glyph, it maybe lasted about 6 seconds - hardly enough time for anything substantial to crit. The only time it got used was when I got MC'd and the boss decided to pop my "cooldowns".

A 50% increase in crit damage bonus is nice, but Combustion is still rather underpowered. Compare it to what the other specs get, like Icy Veins (20% haste) or PoM/Arcane Power (instant cast/30% more damage with 30% more mana cost). In comparison, getting three guaranteed spell crits is probably not worth a, what, 3 minute CD? Yeah (EDIT: still a 3 minute CD, and lasts until 3 non-periodic Fire spell crits). I'd be happier if it had a set duration/set crit chance bonus, or a shorter CD, or both! In its current format, you're not even guaranteed a Hot Streak proc. It needs a major overhall.

Now, for the Arcane changes... these I really want to get on and test. I've been specced fire for over a month now (and my arcane spec got cannibalized into a pvp frost spec for Faction Champs), and my roommate (a fellow mage, and diehard Arcane fan) and I have been really hoping that the potential buffs make Arcane a competitive spec again.

The Arcane Blast change can only be considered a buff, at least, as far as I'm concerned. We're going from a total of 600% mana increase:45% damage increase, to a 700% mana increase:60% damage increase. This is an increase in our DPM (damage per mana), which is so tenuous with Arcane mages. I'd like to test how this change, especially with the shorter duration, will affect our mana efficiency when paired with the Missile Barrage change.

Now, on to Missile Barrage. There was some confusion with this change (and since live realms are still down, I can't confirm either way). The patch notes state that "this talent now removes the mana cost". This is the wording generally used when the talent itself has changed. They usually put "this talent, in addition to its original effects, now removes the mana cost" if it's, well, an additional effect. The patch notes seem to be saying that the effect has changed from half the cast time, to no mana cost, but people were reporting that the talent was behaving, on the PTR at least, as though the mana reduction was an additional effect, and were still proccing half-time casts that were free. The latter would be an amazing boost, but the former just... sucks.

EDIT: as of last night, Missile Barrage got an awesome change! First: yes, it is free. As in, no mana cost. So that just saved you 960 mana. Woo! Second: it no longer casts "in half the time". No, the cast time is reduced by 2.5 seconds!!!! That, my friends, is AMAZING. I just lost a half second off the channel time for my Arcane Missiles (well, when I'm not fire specced). So I'll be casting Arcane Missiles that channel in 1.5s, and do 60% more damage, and they'll cost me no mana! This was a patch of Arcane-Mage-ly LOVE!

EDIT AGAIN: Just adding this in: my roommate, the other Arcane fan that hasn't yet abandoned her spec (I feel like a failure in my Frosty side), was running a heroic dungeon yesterday (dunno which one, though). After it's done, she runs in my room, and says 4 magic words:
I gained 1000 dps.
Oh. My. God. Wtb respec. (For comparison's sake, she's still in about 80% Naxx 25 gear, including her weapon, and she was pulling 6k dps or more. I'm actually going to wait a week or so for things to settle down. I fear an incoming nerf.)

Hm, I really haven't made any big insights on this post. Sigh. What a terrible comeback post.

Check back later in case I do update this. I'm also going to go work on what is, arguably, a more interesting post about how Vezax is EVIL.