Monday, January 5, 2009

Frostradamus!

I was going to do a boss post for Loken today, seeing that the group that I run heroics with have recently gotten down a solid strategy, and are comfortable with positioning and timing of movement. However, this is the new year after all, and in the same vein that others on the internether have done, I would like to have some fun and express my own thoughts and predictions regarding this year, specifically frost mage-oriented.

Now 2008 has been considered to be a very up and down for mages in general, but the Frost school has seen nothing but good things. The introduction of our proc-based talents have helped our dps, while at the same time, make our rotations a lot more interesting than frostbolt spam. Improvements to our Water Elemental, including both the talent and glyphs, have increased both dps as well as group utility, thanks to its mana regenertion skill. Oh and Blizzard started critting. How awesome.

On the downside, I can only put my finger on Deep Freeze as a center of discussion. The removal of its damage component has irked both PvP and PvE mages alike, but in the end, it seemed that the controversy has subsided to say the least. If anything, Frost kept about its business critting people's pants off, and enjoying the heck out of it.

But where do we go in 2009? What does the new year have in store? Here is my list for predictions. Some are wishes of fortune, while others are ill omens.

1. Frost will be more of an asset in raids than before.

This will be done by either (or both) of two things:
- increase in overall Frost DPS
- more useful raid utility compared to other mage specs

The first buff is a rather straightforward approach to buffing frost raiding by simply raising the damage done by frostbolt. Conveniently, frostbolt is not the primary nuke in the PvP spec due to its cast time, and as such, will be the easiest way to increase frost dps.

The second buff suggestion doesn't focus on the mage's damage output, but rather the other assets he brings to the table compared to other specs. The most significant unique contribution that a frost mage brings is the water elemental's mana regeneration. With one mage alone, it doesn't feel like too much, but with two, you can really see the difference on your mana bar when you're blasting away at a boss like Patchwerk.

Simply put, I predict that if they are going to buff water elementals, the easiest way to do so is to provide the straight up replenishment bonus that Shadow Priests, Ret Pallies, and Survival Hunters provide. This is a more reasonable choice for the frost buff compared to a straightforward dps increase, since frost is more known as the best DPM spec (damage per mana) compared to the DPS power of Frostfire and Fire.

2. AoE will become less viable, but Frost won't be affected as much as other classes.

My thoughts on this stem from a recent pug that I ran. It was Culling of Stratholme heroic, and the party consisted of a prot pally, a hunter, and a boomkin. While the healer's class isn't important in this case, you can see where I'm getting at here. The entire instance was just AoE. It was fast, it was furious, it was boring. Frankly, other than for solo use and farming, I've become sick and tired of Blizzard.

I'm sure such sentiments are shared by many DPS classes, but it also comes from the fact that I simply don't look at my DPS meter anymore, all because it boils down to how soon I start AoE'ing, and how much faster I can regenerate mana compared to my counterparts.

Blizzard will probably fix this for sure in the next content patch. The newer raid and 5-man dungeons will consist of dreadful pulls akin to Magister's Terrace and Shattered Halls, but will be in less quantity, to keep in line with the Lich King dungeon design philosophy.

On top of that, AoE damage from other classes will be reduced, following the Hunter volley nerf. This may include Seed of Corruption, Hurricane, and very likely Divine Storm, but Blizzard will still be able to crit, and will continue to make AoE grinding manageable, albeit more challenging than it was when Wrath was released.

3. Water Elemental immunity in select boss fights will be replaced by AoE damage reduction on all boss fights.

I just noticed that Squirtle doesn't take any raid damage from Loken's debuff. Is it just me, or does he not die to Lightning Nova either? And I don't mean survival, I mean full immunity from heavy AoE on some boss fights. I ran Arachnid quarter with my guild yesterday, and he didn't take any damage at all from rain of fire on the second boss. Is this a glitch?

I would like to think so, and that Blizzard has probably noticed by now. Expect such situational perks to be fixed soon, but in exchange, they will give elementals the AoE protection that they deserve, bringing them in line with other pets.

4. Frost will once again be rulers of PvP.

Thanks to the upcoming buffs to the arcane tree in the next patch, the WoW devs will keep a close eye on the damage of Arcane Barrage. Due to the crying of those who aren't swift enough to get the new resilience gear, they will be one-twoshotted left and right. Arcane Barrage will be brought back in line in terms of damage output.

Similar to the awkward PvE gear scaling towards the end of BC, more and more people will catch up with resilience, and while Arcane PvP won't be neutered to epic proportions, it will no longer be the powerhouse that it once was. Frost will emerge from the shadows once again as the safer school to burst with.

5. None of the above will come true.

Some of it is just wishful thinking, but seeing that Frost at the moment is not getting as much attention as Frostfire and Arcane in PvE and PvP respectively, it is quite difficult to think that Squirtle-wielders will not get any form of attention at all while the other trees are uner review. Only time will tell.

2 comments:

Esdras said...

Mages are wierd in general at the moment maybe, i know frost, fire, arcane and lots of frost/fire mages and all seemt to be good.

krizzlybear said...

Frost is definitely doing respectable DPS. The difference is that a lot of other classes are doing respectable DPS as well, including boomkin amongst others. Compared to other mage specs, however, Frost is a bit behind the others. By how much, I can't really say.

Now I'm not saying that Frost is broken or anything. I'm just predicting that the devs probably want to balance the classes a bit more, especially now that Arcane is going to get some love in the next patch, and is already doing so well in PvP.

Oh, and I forgot to mention in the post that Frost lost their Ghost Hit. That would count as a downer moment, but it was only inevitable that the bug would be addressed.