Christopher asked a question in the comment section on ony of my recent blog posts. He writes, "could you share a little knowledge about the newest Mage trick, Frostfire bolt? How does it affect us frosties with deep frost builds? Is it worth it to use? Does it replace frostbolt in our rotation of frostbolt, frostbolt, frostbolt with the procced fireball and ice lance when appropriate?"
Well Christopher, let's begin by examining the properties of Frostfire Bolt. Frostfire Bolt is a 3-second nuke that counts as both a frost spell and fire spell. This means that any and all effects that would affect either school would apply to Frostfire Bolt as well. However, when it comes to damage, it doesn't count as either frost or fire at all. Instead, it counts as frostfire, and because of this, it ignores resistances and immunities to either school. But, if the target has a general resist/immunity to spells, it will affect it.
So what does this mean for frost mages? As a deep frost raider, no longer will you be completely shut out of a fight where he boss has phases of frost immunity. An example of this would be Hydross in Serpentshrine Cavern. When he gets pulled through the beam and takes on his frost phase, your Frostbolts will be rendered useless, but your Frostfire Bolts will be able to damage him. The spell will benefit from a large number of talents in your build, excluding Improved Frostbolt and Empowered Frostbolt. This is a definite asset to have, but that's as far as it goes with regards to the spell's use. Your frostbolt still has greater DPS capability in a deep frost build, thanks to Empowered Frostbolt and a faster casting time than Frostfire Bolt.
Thus, in order to maximize the effect of a Frostfire Bolt-centric raiding build, you will have to "double dip," taking talents in both the Frost and Fire trees to boost the abilities of your spell in order to maximize DPS. Due to the placement of such talents in both trees, you simply cannot take them all. It will require proper tuning and balance of talents to both improve its damage, and cater to your playstyle.
At the end, you will end up making one of three choices with regards to the spec: deep frost with leftover fire, deep fire with leftover frost, or an elementalist spec with approximately equal amounts of points invested in each. From what I've been reading on the net, it would appear that deep fire is the ideal route to maximize the damage of frostfire bolt, and thus has more of a fire spec feel than frost.
And from one look at the talent tree, this is quite the case. Most of the fire-buffing talents on the fire tree is in the higher tiers, while the frost-buffing talents are more spread out on the frost tree. More importantly, by homogenizing the effects of Improved Scorch and Winter's Chill, it is no longer required to invest points into both, making Winter's Chill a less attractive option, as it is in a deeper tier than Improved Scorch.
But as a diehard frost fanatic, I will tell you that you can still have lots of fun with Frostfire Bolt with a deep frost build. Here's a spec that may tickle your fancy. It plays a lot like a deep frost build, but replaces Frostbolt spam with Frostfire Bolt spam. Of course this will output less single-target dps than Frostbolt spam, but by going into the fire tree, your AoE dps becomes absolutely DISGUSTING.
World in Flames, meet Blizzard, your new best friend.
Or, how about an elementalist spec? Let's emphasize more fire, but keep to the spirit of deep frost. Try this 0/30/41 spec on for size. You grab Fire Power for an awesome 10% increase in Frostfire damage, you retain sufficient snare to AoE grind effectively, AND you get to keep Squirtle! Hot damn!
With these two builds, you can do your best frost mage impression while you get acquainted with this awesome new spell. Now all blizzard needs to do is to make a dual-school AoE spell. Frostfire Storm, anybody?
110% of Base Mana, 30 yd range
Pelts the enemy with shards of frostfire, doing 3000 damage over 8 seconds, slowing movement speed by 10% and causing an additional 50 damage over 5 seconds to each target. If the target is more vulnerable to Frost damage than Fire damage, then this spell will cause Frost damage instead of Fire damage.
Tomorrow: Frost Death Knight Impressions
5 minutes ago