[Beta] Heroics and Raid encounters from a Mage POV
This thread is intended to be a place for consolidated Beta thoughts and discussion on Cataclysm Heroic's and/or Raids: From a Mage perspective, for other Mages to read. This isn't a place for generic discussion on things such as strats. Let's keep it strictly about things Mages specifically want to know about, and Mages specifically will be interested in.
Now that raid testing and heroics are available, lets start working out which specs have the opportunity to shine the most via encounter design. Feel free to comment all manner of things including:
- Specs you've tried for various instances and encounters
- Mana viability/problems
- Strength / weakness of specific specs on a given encounter
- Spellsteal: Which buffs (and where) can you steal
- Niche specs: Are there any specs you might feel could be tailor made to a given encounter? (Eg: An improved Blink Frost build, or a CoC/Shatter Fire build)
- Movement: Which fights require excessive movement and consequently favour certain specs or builds
- DPS and Performance (Smart comments. For example: Fire has superior DPS on X encounter because it can leverage Impact and its superior AOE options to deal with Y mechanics/ adds. Or Arcane is better for Z encounter due to T mechanic which allows Arcanes superior burst qualities to really shine)
Discussion is open for all Group content (Heroics and Raid Encounters) on beta.
Omnitron Council: There is quite a bit of movement going on here. I can't see Arcane mages liking this fight very much. Fire can DPS on the move much easier. Living Bomb is nice and Impact can be useful here, if you tank 2 Tron's together (Obviously being mindful of Magmatron's shield). Frosts Water Elemental Freeze would be nice for Toxitron's Poison Bombs, but with only ~75k health they die very easily regardless.
For Halfus Wyrmbreaker, we had the Movement Impairing and Cast Interrupt drakes. Aside from the pull and 30%-0, there isn't really much movement (if you opt to heal through Fireballs) and no adds. Fire's AOE strengths (Pyromaniac, Blastwave etc) don't have an opportunity to shine. Looks like the main concern on this fight will be mana sustainability over the duration. On Halfus, could an Arcane mage could Mage Ward absorb the Drakes Flame Bombs to take advantage of Incanter's Absorption? I was Fire and forgot to test this.
In both fights there are constant interruptable spells, allowing Invocation builds to potentially get an attractive damage increase (Assuming you get the interrupt off, of course). Also, both have regular / reliable sources of Fire damage, which will allow for Incanter's Absorption builds to benefit from Mage Ward absorbs.
Burning Soul (Pushback protection) was useful for both fights, especially Tron Council, with the myriad of spells being thrown around.
Omnitron Council: There is quite a bit of movement going on here. I can't see Arcane mages liking this fight very much.
On the contrary, when I grasped the entirety of the mechanics available in this encounter, I was extremely excited at the opportunities available to a smart Arcane mage.
Let me explain.
This fight allows for an extreme level of maximization of a burn phase for Arcane mages. This has an impact overall, since the bosses share health.
The optimization works due to a combination of a variety of boss mechanics. Some of them will be harder to pull off, but if done successfully, I can see arcane mages making a very. very significant impact on this fight.
The following is the list of mechanics that a raid savvy arcane mage can exploit to execute a burst phase that is almost unparalleled:
Toxitron's Poison Cloud debuff (50% damage taken, works on bosses)
Arcanotron's Power Generator vortex (increases damage done and increases mana regen)
Arcanotron's Power Conversion (spellstealable buff, requires boss to be hit, increases damage)
How will this optimization work?
It will require raid support. You will have to ensure your raid is capable of doing the following things:
Tank must be capable of placing a boss in the poison cloud at a time when his/her shield is not up.
Healers must be capable of healing the Arcanotron tank enough for you to spellsteal his "Power Conversion" buff after it stacks (you need to damage the boss for this buff to stack, but if you damage it too much the tank can be one shot).
You need to be able to get to a "Power Generator" vortex as soon as it spawns and be ready to execute on a burn phase asap (i.e. you need to be at near 100% mana, already at or near an AB4 cast, have all your CDs available and have spellstolen the "Power Conversion" debuff).
If you fulfill these three requirements and have a burn phase ready to go, you will put out a rather ridiculous amount of damage due to all the multipliers working in your favor. You just need to ensure (and time it) so that the boss who is the recipient of this rather awesome burst, does not have a shield up (or will not shield himself sometime during your burst).
In all, I really like this fight as arcane.
edit: Reworded first paragraph to remove some rather puerile imagery.
For Atromedes, although it would be possible to stand in fire intentionally for Incanter's Absorption abuse, Sound mechanics would render this too risky or not possible. For Twin Dragons, most of the damage is Shadow and thus you won't be able to Mage Ward abuse Incanter's Absorption either. Invocation could carve out a niche on several fights so far (Maloriak, Ascendant Council) - but there are several problems with relying on that talent for important raid wide interrupts - assigned to just one player using a 24 second spell.
Improved Blink could see some use on these fights, moreso Atromedes, however good reflexes and smart use of normal Blink is more than enough. Would be nice for an Arcane build to pickup, but probably not worth Fire/Frost going out of their way to do it.
Cauterize so far has been strangely unnecessary, unless you're exhibiting unusually poor levels of play and probably deserve to die multiple times anyway. Though these are only normal modes, of course.
The main standout points i've noticed so far, besides the generic "Mana Issues", are: Pushback Protection (Burning Soul) and Movement (Firestarter). There's alot of spells being thrown around, and although I was tempted to skip 3/3 Burning Soul prior to Beta raid testing - that's just not an option anymore.
With regards to movement: Atromedes (air phase) and parts of the ground phase (Discs, Sonic Breath, Searing Flames) really give Firestarter an opportunity to shine. I'd be interested to see how Fire / Frost fare on the movement aspect of this fight, of which there is a nontrivial amount. Frost can no doubt use FoF/DF charges on the move if they were up, and Arcane can... Arcane Barrage (Though you might only be at 1-2 stacks when you need to move to Barrage)?
For the twin dragons: Constant movement required for both phases. More opportunity for Improved Scorch to shine.
With regards to Logix's post on Arcane having the opportunity to show off its superior Burst, via the blue pools on Omnitron, that's true. Although Atromedes has a similar mechanic (Vertigo), the duration is too short by comparison to Omnitron to really consider it a strength of Arcane for the dragon fight.
As a fire mage the main things i've noticed so far are:
- Mana issues (See the myriad of previous posts and in the Fire thread for more details). Improved Scorch might be useless now in WOTLK, but its 0 mana cost is looking mightily attractive right now
- Pushback Protection. There are just too many potential pushbacks going on to consider this a luxory talent, for current fights at least. Back to 3/3 essential for me.
- Movement. Specs that can keep up DPS while enduring constant movement have an advantage (Firestarter is a stand out here currently)
- Situational Utility talents. Incanter's Absorption, Invocation, Improved Blink are indeed carving out small potential niches on fights. Cauterize still is an amazing talent to have in your arsenal, but i've been surprised how unnecessary its been so far.
- Ring of Frost. As outlined in the Frost thread, this spell is just full of awesome. There's no shortage of potential applications for this spell. Any encounter that has mobs which aren't immune to RoF's effect is an opportunity for you to do some creative things with the spell.
- Fire DPS. Summed up by saying, "I feel like I have to jump through too many mana hoops to attempt to be competitive, to attempt to do what other classes seem to do relatively effortlessly". For full details on all the other dps related problems (such as the effects of reduced crit on Hot Streak, Fun factor, MoE etc - see the Fire thread).
If Invocation was redesigned to be something like "Any time you Counterspell an interruptable ability within 1.5 seconds of the beginning of the cast, you gain X% bonus damage. This effect occurs irrespective of whether you or another party member actually interrupted the spell."
Difficult to word the concept, but what I mean is: If you didnt get the actual spell interrupt off (lets say a warrior did) by a split second, but you still Counterspelled and would have interrupted it if the Warrior didn't - you'd still get the benefit of the talent. The talent would then offer a much more compelling FUN role in Arcane PvE without resorting to the ominously scary "let the mage only do interrupts, he wants Invocation" scenario. Something like this will keep the Arcane mage on their toes as they go through the mind numbing rotations, but the current +10% damage number is probably way too high. "Pyromaniac" is a potential problem balance talent for similar reasons why "Invocation" could be in this regard.
With regards to Fire's extensive AOE talents, there hasn't been too much opportunity to really make them exceptionally worthwhile yet. Situationally useful? Sure. Worth taking up that many points in the fire tree? So far, i'm leaning towards no. Hopefully with more testing and encounters we'll get a better feel for an answer to this. Blastwave/Flamestrike is very good: only ~1200 mana, snare for adds (such as poison bombs, abberations) and will hopefully get up Pyromaniac and proc an Impact for you. We just need encounters that give us the opportunity to take advantage of it.
And how was your DPS compared to other classes? Did you have Recount/Skada/WoL running?
Would be interesting to know as a lot of casters do more DMG on "Patchwork"-Style Fights or Training Dummies without much effort... can Mages outdamage other Classes in Fights where you actually have to move or where you have to fight multiple targets? Or do we have to wait until we get a lot better gear to be able to compete?