The final class update has arrived (well, except for Paladins, which are next week), and if you ask me, Mages are getting some rather powerful new abilities. As opposed to those of most other classes, every one of them seems useful.
Flame Orb is introduced at Level 81, and it’s a spell you’re probably already familiar with if you’ve gone toe-to-toe with Prince Taldaram. His signature ability is now the Mage’s to command and it functions very much in the same way. The combustible sphere travels forward in a straight line, lashing out at targets as it passes by them. Talents may also allow the orb to explode upon contacting the target.
Few abilities seem as raid-essential as good old Bloodlust, but the new spell Time Warp adds a similar buff to the Mage’s arsenal. Using it boosts your group’s Haste rating, while also increasing the caster’s personal movement speed. As both (and other) spells cause Exhaustion, they cannot be used simultaneously. However, on long fights, there is the potential to cast them at different times.
Finally, the Mage gets a great new utility spell called Wall of Fog. Maintaining some sort of distance between you and the enemy seems like a key theme in many of the abilities we’ve seen introduced over the past few days, and this is no different. Casting Wall of Fog will erect a barrier of frost 30-feet-long in front of the caster. Any foe who passes over it takes damage and becomes ensnared for a short amount of time. The benefits of such a spell, especially in PvP, should be obvious.
There are a couple of mechanical changes to be aware of: Arcane Missiles will be a proc-based spell instead of a channeled one, making it no longer spammable, many extraneous spells such as Amplify/Dampen Magic will be removed, and you will not get access to created food until probably around Level 40 (low-level Mages will have other ways to deal with mana shortages).
Everything else is behind the cut!
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we’ll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you’ll get an early look at what’s in store for the mage class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.
New Mage Spells
Flame Orb (available at level 81): Inspired by Prince Taldaram’s abilities in Ahn’kahet and Icecrown Citadel, this spell allows the mage to cast a flaming orb that travels in front in a straight line, sending beams that cause fire damage to passing targets. Once it’s cast, the mage is free to begin casting other spells as the Flame Orb travels. While the spell will be useful to any spec, Fire mages will have talents that improve it, possibly causing the Flame Orb to explode when it reaches its destination.
Time Warp (level 83): Grants a passive Haste effect much like Bloodlust or Heroism to party or raid members. It also temporarily increases the mage’s own movement speed. Time Warp will be exclusive with Bloodlust and Heroism, meaning you can’t benefit from both if you’ve got the Exhaustion debuff, though the movement-speed increase will still work even when under the effects of Exhaustion.
Wall of Fog (level 85): Creates a line of frost in front of the mage, 30 yards from end to end. Enemies who cross the line are snared and take damage. The mana cost will be designed to make Wall of Fog efficient against groups, not individuals. This spell is intended to give mages a way to help control the battlefield, whether the mage is damaging incoming enemies (Blizzard can be channeled on top of Wall of Fog) or protecting a flag in a Battleground. 10-second duration. 30-second cooldown.
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
In addition to introducing new spells, we’re planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you’re familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.
- Arcane Missiles is being redesigned to become a proc-based spell. Whenever the mage does damage with any spell, there is a chance for Arcane Missiles to become available, similar to how the warrior’s Overpower works. The damage and mana cost of this spell will be reworked to make it very desirable to use when available. This change should make gameplay more dynamic for the mage, particularly at low levels.
- We are planning to remove spells that don’t have a clear purpose. Amplify Magic, Dampen Magic, Fire Ward, and Frost Ward are being removed from the game, and we may remove more.
- The ability to conjure food and water will not become available until higher levels (likely around level 40), as we’re making changes to ensure mages generally won’t run out of mana at lower levels. Once mages learn how to conjure food and water, the conjured item will restore both health and mana.
- Scorch will provide a damage bonus to the mage’s fire spells. Our goal is for Scorch to be part of the mage’s rotation and a useful damage-dealing ability, even if someone else is supplying the group with the spell Critical Strike debuff. Scorch will provide the mage with more specific benefits, which can also be improved through talents.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- Arcane Focus will now return mana for each spell that fails to hit your target, including Arcane Missiles that fail to launch. We want Arcane mages to have several talents that play off of how much mana the character has and give the player enough tools to manage mana.
- The talent Playing with Fire will reduce the cooldown of Blast Wave when hit by a melee attack, instead of its current effect.
- Pyromaniac will grant Haste when three or more targets are getting damaged by the effects of your damage-over-time (DoT) fire spells.
- The Burnout talent will allow mages to cast spells using health when they run out of mana.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Spell Crit damage
Mana Adept: Arcane will deal damage based how much mana the mage has. For example, Arcane mages will do much more damage at 100% mana than at 50% mana. If they begin to get low on mana, they will likely want to use an ability or mechanic to bring their mana up to increase their damage.
Ignite: All direct-damage fire spells will add a damage-over-time (DoT) component when cast. The flavor will be similar to how Fireball works; however, the DoT component will be much stronger.
Deathfrost: Casting Frostbolt places a buff on the mage that increases the damage for all frost, fire, and arcane spells. The only damage spell that won’t be affected by this buff is Frostbolt.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.