Cataclysm Preview for Mages
Every expansion brings changes for the various WoW classes, and Mages may have gotten some of the best upgrades of the game. While no one can guarantee that they won’t be nerfed further down the road, here is a look at some of the exciting changes Mages can look forward to.
A few new spells
Mages will earn three new spells as they level up in Cataclysm. These include:
Level 81: Flame Orb. Just like Prince Taldaram you will know be able to cast a flaming orb straight out in front of you. The orb will send down beams of fire damage while you are free to cast other spells. While any Mage will be able to use this spell, obviously Fire Mages will also get talents to improve it.
Level 83: Time Warp. This spell will be useful to the raiding Mage, granting a Haste effect that is similar to Bloodlust or Heroism to your entire party. The Mage also will see a short increase in movement speed. While you won’t get the Haste effect if you have the Exhaustion debuff, you will still get the movement-speed increase, allowing Mages yet another way to put some distance between themselves and their opponent.
Level 85: Wall of Fog. This spell will be ideal for the Mage looking to do some serious crowd control. The spell creates a 30 yard-long line of frost that will snare enemies and cause damage. Mages will even be able to channel Blizzard while on top of Wall of Fog. While this spell will be very costly in terms of the amount of mana needed to use it, it should create a whole new dimension to PvPing as a Mage.
Of course new spells aren’t the only things that Mages are going to see with the arrival of Cataclysm. For starters, Arcane Missiles is being redesigned so that it becomes a proc-based spell similar to Overpower for Warriors. With low mana and high damage this spell will be quite useful, particularly to low-level Mages working their way up.
Some of the less useful spells are being removed, including Amplify Magic, Dampen Magic, and some of the wards. Also don’t expect to become a vending machine for your party too early on anymore. Mages will not be able to conjure food and water until higher levels, though Blizzard promises that low level mages shouldn’t run out of mana too quickly early on.
Scorch is being edited to make it a more viable part of the Mage’s rotation. This spell will provide a damage bonus and possibly other Mage-specific benefits, and Fire Mages will of course be able to improve this spell using their talent points.
Your new talents
The internet is already abuzz with all of the new talent tree changes for all of the classes. Mages, like all the other classes, will see smaller and more concise talent trees. You will be required to spend a certain number of points in one talent tree before you can spend any points in one of the others, but you will get a Mastery bonus for completing your tree of choice.
When it comes to new talents, a few of your old familiars will be changing. If you have Arcane Focus, then you will get mana back if your spell does not hit your talent. This should give Arcane Mages more options as to how to build their character’s mana up as well as giving them a more viable spell rotation for mana management.
Playing with Fire will have its current effect changed to a reduction of Blast Wave’s cooldown if you are hit by a melee attack. Other Fire talent changes include Pyromaniac, which will grant additional Haste if you have at least three targets under the effect of a fire DoT spell, and Burnout, which will allow Mages to use their health points to cast spells if they do not have enough mana to finish the fight. While this could end up being a kamikaze spell for the Mage, it does give Mages a little more firepower in those big fights.
Mage specs and Mastery
While the three main Mage specs remain the same, players will now see some new Mastery talents to make any spec more enticing.
Arcane Mages will be focusing on Spell Damage and Spell Haste. Their Mastery spell is Mana Adept, which allows them to do more damage based on the amount of mana that they currently have. The more mana that is available, the more Arcane damage they can do, so in order to fully utilize this talent Arcane Mages will need to learn how to effectively balance their mana and bring it back up if they want maximum effectiveness during a fight.
Fire Mages will also focus on Spell Damage, but will be looking more at Spell Crit than Spell Haste. Their Mastery spell is Ignite, which will add a DoT spell to each of their direct damage fire spells. You asked for more burning, and Blizzard has brought it. The overall effect will be similar to Fireball except that you can expect a lot more bang for your buck when it comes to each tick of the DoT spell.
Like Fire Mages, Frost Mages will be looking for Spell Damage and Spell Crit. Their Mastery spell is Deathfrost, which will give Mages a buff whenever they cast Frostbolt. This buff will increase the damage of all spells accept for Frostbolt itself. While some players have expressed concern that this will cause Frost Mages to spam nothing but Frostbolt, experienced players will realize that doing so will waste the Deathfrost effect and will hopefully use the new Mastery skill to broaden their rotation to include more spells.