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WoWApr 19, 2015 4:00 pm CT

Arcane Sanctum: A first look at patch 6.2 Mages

In this week’s Arcane Sanctum, we interrupt our look at Blackrock Foundry for an important announcement. There’s a new PTR and that means we have our first look at what the future holds for patch 6.2 mages!

Amplify Magic slated for removal

First, let’s get this out of the way and just pull off the band-aid: these patch notes contain the sad news that Amplify Magic is going away. Some of you may find this sadder news than others. When I first read the patch notes, my immediate reaction was dismay. I’ve always enjoyed bringing utility to my raid. I liked having a cooldown I could use for the benefit of all. Unfortunately, it seems that Amplify Magic was just a little too beneficial.

Over the years, mage “utility” has meant many things. Conjuring food one stack at a time and passing it out to raid members, stacking the Scorch debuff on a boss, and making sure you have an expedient way to Remove Curse. (We can still decurse, of course, but it’s seldom applicable in boss fights these days). I don’t miss most of those things, but this implementation of Amplify Magic was nice. Having a strategic ability to use that helps other players is engaging to me. I don’t resent using the GCD for it. In fact, using it when a Druid is casting Tranquility is extra satisfying. It’s sort of like DPSing in reverse. It gave me a reason to notice my raid frames more than I had before, and to know that when things weren’t going well I had an ability that could make a difference. It’s all too easy as a DPS player to tunnel-vision on our spellcasting and numbers and it can be a bit isolating, too. Amplify Magic gave us a way to feel more like part of a team and not just another damage dealer.

I’m really hoping that the devs will reconsider this decision. If Amplify Magic is too overpowered in many situations, there must be a way to balance it more effectively. A debuff limiting the number of times it can be cast in the same time frame would discourage class stacking. A small percentage nerf could also be applied, although you have to keep it effective enough that it is worth using that GCD on. What do you think about Amplify Magic? Love it, hate it, have an idea that could salvage it instead of getting rid of it entirely?

Spec Changes

Please keep in mind that these are early patch notes and extremely subject to change. They will definitely see many iterations over the coming weeks. But for right now, here are some of the changes.

Arcane will see a 6% reduction in the effectiveness of its Mastery: Mana Adept. This will take some of the oomph out of your burn phase, but Arcane Missiles sees a 10% damage increase at the same time. This may have the net effect of evening out Arcane damage overall.

Frost Mages will experience the exact opposite when it comes to their Mastery: Icicles as it will be 13% more effective. Brain Freeze will trigger less frequently on multistrike, dropping to 15% down from 25%. Also, the latest build implemented a whopping 30% damage boost to Frostfire Bolt and Frostbolt. Although Frost has struggled a bit in PVE content over the last few months, it seems like a serious push is being made to bring Frost Mages more in line with the other two specs.

Currently, there are no changes being implemented that are specific to Fire Mages.


Mage Specific Trinket

Information about class specific trinkets have been data mined and promise to be really interesting. Here are the current effects for our trinket, by spec:

  • Arcane: Wild Arcanist – Arcane Power also increases the damage and reduces the cast time and global cooldown of Arcane Blast by 40%.
  • Fire: Pyrosurge – Inferno Blast has a 60% chance to also cast Flamestrike at the target’s location.
  • Frost: Shatterlance – Ice Lances cast immediately following a Frostbolt deal 60% more damage.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know how badly I wanted an ability called “Pyrosurge” before now. Each of these effects have intriguing possibilities, though and could even change our current rotations. Smart Arcane Power usage will become even more important, and depending on the math Shatterlance could lead to casting Ice Lance even when you don’t already have Fingers of Frost procs. The usefulness of all these abilities is difficult to gauge before we know how many of the fights will be AoE fights, but we’ll start finding out more about that as PTR raid testing begins.

Tier 18 Set Bonuses

Take these with an especially large grain of salt, as they are subject to change and in some cases are incomplete.

  • Frost (2P Bonus): Water Jet generates Brain Freeze when used.
    Frost (4P Bonus): Increases the duration of Water Jet by 4 sec, and increases the total Fingers of Frost stacks by two.

Water Jet generating a Brain Freeze is simply put, great. Increasing the duration of Water Jet and also the Fingers of Frost procs you get from it is similarly good. Frost mages are going to enjoy this.

  • Arcane (2P Bonus): Your Arcane Blast has a 20000% chance to reduce the cool down of your Presence of Mind by 20 sec.
    Arcane (4P Bonus): Presence of Mind opens up a Time Anomaly, summoning a random ally to assist you in battle.

Okay, Arcane Mages, settle down. You know that’s a typo. But a mage can dream, right? I’d like to talk about that second bonus. You’re going to be just plucking people randomly out of nowhere to fight for you and do your bidding. Poor Bob is just sitting down to have a nice cup of tea and then bam — spacial anomaly, and he has to go and fight that boss for you and do everything you say. I hope this spell favors selecting Warlock minions.

  • Fire (2P Bonus): Pyroblast has a 25% chance when dealing damage to conjure a Fiery Phoenix, dealing (200% of spellpower) Fire damage to the target.
    Fire (4P Bonus): While the Phoenix is active, you gain Ph

Yes. I want all of that, especially a Fiery Phoenix to an enemy’s face. Unfortunately, as you can see, Fire Mages will have to be patient while our set bonuses are finished up. Otherwise, I can only assume this is going to read “While the Phoenix is active, you gain pH until you’re basically household bleach and you melt all Warlocks in the immediate vicinity.” But it probably won’t say that.

Images courtesy of Wowhead

Tier 18 Set Appearance

Last but definitely not least, we’ve had a look at what Tier 18 is going to look like for Mages. Here it is! It’s not clear yet which colors are which, but possibly assume Normal, Heroic and Mythic from left to right.

I don’t mind this set, honestly. The red and purple set is a fairly iconic color scheme, and we’ve seen that used in mage sets previously. The teal and grey set is probably my favorite, it almost puts me in mind of priest tier 3. The last set…sure has a lot going on. I’m not really enjoying those colors. It’s not that I don’t like them, just maybe not together like that. It also seems to be experiencing some sort of shoulder growth. The only thing about all of the sets that I’m unsure about are the pennants hanging down off the shoulders. If you spin the model, they’re actually really paper-thin. They just seem like an odd addition. But they’re okay, they do fit in with the triangular theme the set seems to be going for.

That’s it for the early patch notes! Let me know what you think in the comments about anything upcoming: Amplify Magic, the appearance of the tier sets, set or trinket bonuses, and especially what you’ll do when you gain pH.

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