Arcane Sanctum: Mage wish list for Legion
Since the last Arcane Sanctum, some major things have happened. The upcoming expansion World of Warcraft: Legion was announced, and we were given some tantalizing details. You can check out our Legion page for more general details. We know that our next adventure on Azeroth will pit us against the largest Burning Legion invasion the world has seen. Along with new content, Blizzard has expressed a renewed emphasis on classes and class identity in the expansion.
What this means for us is that it’s a perfect time to look at what we know for sure is coming for Mages, but also to think about what we’d really like to see. We’ll be talking about the announced Artifacts, Class Halls, possible NPCs and a Legion wish list.
First of all, we’re one of the luckiest classes because we’ve had two of our spec’s Artifact weapons announced already. We know that Artifacts are spec specific and that each will have a unique story as you level and improve it. For Fire Mages, our Artifact will be Felo’melorn or “Flamestrike,” a blade passed down through the Sunstrider family until it was eventually wielded by Kael’thas against Arthas Menethil. The fate of this blade until now has been unknown and it was presumed lost after that battle.
Frost Mages will be acquiring Ebonchill, Greatstaff of Alodi. This staff was wielded by the first Guardian of Tirisfal. Of course, less is known about him than Kael’thas, but there is some lore that we’ll hopefully be able to dig into later.
The Arcane Artifact weapon is not yet officially confirmed to be for Arcane, but it’s quite likely the weapon above, called “Aluneth.” This was one of the images released without explanation, and you can see that it matches the one shown in this trailer, clearly being wielded by a human wearing a Mage set. Plus that “purple and pink” vibe is usually what Arcane Mages have going for them. I hope we’ll learn more about it in the weeks to come so that we can find out what its story is!
More news that’s very relevant to Mages is the return of Dalaran as the capital city for both factions. Although I hope that overall Dalaran will experience some changes from the Wrath of the Lich King version, I’m still happy about this news. Dalaran was my favorite capital city of any expansion. It had so many little touches that made it really feel like the magical home of many powerful Mages. From drinking random potions you found in the sewers to being Manabonked by Minigob Manabonk and helping Windle Sparkshine light the lanterns every evening, it was the most homey place I’d ever found on Azeroth. I’d like to see the new version expanding its size and including more of the gardens and trees that Dalaran is described as having. Maybe it will have a new district, or a few new outlying districts to allow folks to co-exist there without having to step on each others toes.
This brings us to another major addition to the game, though! All classes, including us, will be getting class orders with Class Halls. They’ll function somewhat like Acherus does currently for Death Knights. They’re not faction specific, and they’ll also give us access to the interface for Champions, the new versions of followers. In this way, visiting the Class Hall won’t be a solitary experience at all, because you’ll be among fellow Mages and also working with elite Mage NPCs to combat the Burning Legion.
I love all of this. A Mage Clubhouse is the best thing I’ve heard of in a long time. We don’t have any details about it at all, so all we can do at this point is speculate as to its location and contents. Because Class Halls are going to coincide with the reintroduction of Dalaran, there’s a good chance that our clubhouse will be in or near Dalaran proper. Mention of prominent existing organizations was made for other classes, such as the Knights of the Silver Hand, etc. So it stands to reason that our class order may well be affiliated with the Kirin Tor. Of course, because of who we are we can teleport easily to any place on Azeroth — which means the sky really is the limit, all floating city jokes aside. I hear that the warlocks are going to be sent to an actual other fel-infested world, which sounds basically perfect as far as I’m concerned.
As for who will be in our Class Hall, we have many options. I’d honestly like to see every race represented among the NPCs. If this is to exist outside of faction conflicts, we should have all the races of Azeroth present. Khadgar will definitely be there. Jaina’s whereabouts are currently unknown. Given the Kirin Tor’s recent history with Archmage Aethas Sunreaver and Grand Magister Rommath, it seems unlikely that either of them would be there. Although perhaps in light of this new threat, the Mages will be trying to move forward with a clean slate.
The list of NPCs that could potentially serve as Mage Champions is quite a bit broader. I’d really like to see Archmage Vargoth again, as well as Millhouse Manastorm. Maybe Archmage Modera will put in an appearance.
It seems clear that we’ll have an abundance of Mage lore and references in Legion. Between Artifacts, prominent Mage NPCs, a class order of our own and Dalaran back — it’s hard to find fault with any of that! But as far as actual Mage gameplay goes, there are some changes I’d like to see.
Blizzard has been demonstrating that they’re not afraid to rebuild from the ground up or radically change a class for Legion if necessary. They’re adding a melee Hunter spec, reworking Rogues and some aspects of Warlocks. They’ve also said that all class changes won’t be so drastic. We’re not in a position where we need a complete overhaul of our gameplay, but our talents in particular have been a bit of a mess since Mists of Pandaria.
The only way I can really express this is directly: I loathe abilities that either restrict my position or, at the other end of the spectrum, are dependent on having a stationary mob. I thought having to cast Evocation all the time was frustrating, but I was mistaken. Having to babysit a Rune of Power and move as little as possible within that confined area is frustrating. Carefully timing a Meteor or a Prismatic Crystal only to have the boss move away just as you cast them is infuriating. Gaining access to a new tier of talents should be an exciting choice between whatever new spell or passive ability will benefit your gameplay. It shouldn’t be onerous. Basically, if having your new talent is less fun than playing without it, then it’s a bad talent.
From what I’ve seen, no other caster class seems to be suffering from this specific problem. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that Mage talents should be thematically things that will boost your power immensely, but restrict you in some way. We’ve seen small adjustments — increased range for things like Prismatic Crystal and Rune of Power, but these don’t address the inherent nature of the abilities themselves. Unfortunately, this has just been compounding as new tiers are added. Prismatic Crystal is as frustrating an ability as Rune of Power was before it. I’m afraid that our new tier of talents in Legion will add something similar — conceptually it sounds great, but in practice it’s not a fun addition for Mages.
So my ultimate wish list for Legion would be to either make drastic changes to these abilities or remove them altogether. Incanter’s Flow, although usually only used for high movement encounters, is a fair compromise from the evocating problems of old. It’s a passive ability and you’ll gain a benefit just from having it. If you play more intelligently, you can maximize your output with careful timing. But if you don’t, you can still use it and just not worry about it.
Abilities like Prismatic Crystal and Meteor could easily be targeted on a mob rather than the ground. Perhaps slightly reduce their damage to compensate, but if the crystal followed its target it would be much less frustrating overall. You all know, of course, how much I love being a Mage. None of these things have been major enough that I’d abandon my spellcasting ways, it would just be a major quality of life improvement if we didn’t have to contend with them.
That’s honestly all I’d like from Legion, in addition to all the awesome stuff related to Mage lore and our class hangout. I wouldn’t say no to a fourth Chronomancer healing spec, either … but if Legion can deliver all that it’s promising, as well as taking care of some of the nagging design issues in our late tier talents, then it might just be the best expansion yet.
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