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Arcane Mage Review - Battle for Azeroth Community Opinions
2018/07/28 시간 01:08
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Throughout the pre-patch, we'll be launching a community opinions article for every class and spec. We're continuing our Battle for Azeroth Class Reviews and in this post, we'll be taking a look at the state of Arcane Mage. See if this spec appeals to you in Battle for Azeroth!
We reached out to the Arcane Mage community to give their thoughts and opinions on the changes and current state of the spec.
If this spec appeals to you after reading this article, check out our
Battle for Azeroth Arcane Mage Guide
- SimulationCraft developer, Mage theorycrafter and moderator in the Mage Discord
- Mage guide writer/theorycrafter and moderator in the Mage Discord
- SimulationCraft developer, Mage theorycrafter and admin of the Mage Discord
- Mage theorycrafter and contributor in the Mage Discord
- Raider and officer in Limit (US-Illidan)
contains the most impactful changes thus far, from an ability being tied to a maximum 3-stack proc to one that is available at all times with significant mana cost.
’ mana cost is negated by
, which has a proc chance proportional to mana usage rather than a fixed probability. This maintains the same “cast filler, hope for proc, cast
” gameplay that was present before. However, damage is no longer affected by
, which effects a major rotational change in how it is used.
In the past,
has been tuned in such a way that casting below maximum
was suboptimal. There were some exceptions to this rule, such as preventing the loss of a proc when reaching max
s were being built. On the other hand, when decoupled from
can be used immediately as
procs occur. This allows it to be used seamlessly, creating a more fluid rotation overall. The addition of the buff application delay, similar to Frost’s
, also serves to reinforce this fluidity by eliminating loss of procs.
For those who have not received these changes well, consider how the rotation would feel if you still needed to build to maximum
s before using
. The “lack of buttons” complaint has already been voiced by a number of people; being forced to use one of your few abilities less often would only exacerbate that problem.
In summary, the intention is to allow the Mage to cast
immediately, without being “punished” for getting a proc at an inopportune time. If baseline damage were higher, it could also be used without
as an on demand nuke for priority targets. This allows a gameplay decision to be made wherein the Mage can allow for otherwise suboptimal mana expenditure at a time when burst damage is more important. Unfortunately, tuning
damage in such a way is a very volatile effort.
As outlined previously with the
since-removed Mana Adept talent
, adding things that buff
can have some unsatisfactory rotational side effects now that the ability is available at all times. This was observed previously with Mana Adept, where rotations were focused on hardcasting
above 80% mana. This was acknowledged as problematic and the talent was removed as a result. With the introduction of the
Azerite trait, the markings of a similar problem to an even worse extent are beginning to show. Mana Adept was at least constricted by a mana threshold; with
, there is no such threshold.
simply does more and more damage, which incentivizes replacing traditional fillers entirely.
It cannot be stated for sure that this is something that will be “fixed” again. It is the same rotation that existed previously, and has now been reintroduced with renewed fervor.
Sigma has expressed a desire
to “preserve the Mana Adept gameplay”, and without further clarification as to what that means, it is possible that such a rotation is actually a feature, not a bug.
Other abilities beyond
have updated interactions with
now has an additional benefit alongside the damage and mana cost increases per charge. Each
will now reduce the cast time of
by 8%. This increased rate of mana consumption is offset by the nerf to the
mana penalty, moving from 125% in Legion to 100%.
has also been decoupled from
, insofar as it no longer receives the damage buff. This does limit the usefulness of Mastery in AOE situations, as it will only affect spells buffed by
, and thus does not incentivize casting
. However, the reintroduction of its ability to generate
, after being initially removed in early alpha, does enough to encourage
usage if only for its instant cast nature allowing for more frequent 3 - 4 stack
With these changes, the role of Mastery feels a bit muddled. Of the three primary abilities, one of them generates and benefits from
, another generates and does not benefit, and another neither generates nor benefits. Mastery: Savant is having somewhat of an identity crisis.
Despite Arcane’s complete lack of talent diversity in Legion, there has been less activity in each tier than expected. Only two tiers have received substantial changes.
The level 15 tier received two additions in 8.0,
can provide a rotation that is mana neutral or better, depending on
procs. On the other hand, Arcane no longer hemorrhages mana as it did throughout Legion, where the rotation was very mana negative and players could have noticed reduced mana expenditure being more impactful. Additionally, its negation of
’ mana cost is mostly irrelevant at present time, though with the introduction of Azerite traits like
, it could prove more useful if rotations start gravitating towards frequent hardcast
. Whether it could compete with
in those circumstances remains to be seen.
itself has limited if any desirability today. For Mages who have played Arcane on a single target encounter during this prepatch,
providing upwards of 80% of total damage is not an uncommon sight.
simply has no place to prove itself useful if
is only providing negligible damage. This is something that could be rectified with tuning. A buff to this talent would hopefully discourage players from choosing
solely for the support it provides to goofy hardcast Arcane Missile rotations.
Most of the excitement is in the level 90 tier. The removal of Erosion and Unstable Magic is a welcome change for many. Both were completely passive with limited noticeable presence in game, and had little to no impact on rotation.
have been added as replacements.
will likely be a favorite for Mythic+ or other heavy AOE encounters. As mentioned before, on top of its ability to damage everything around you,
will get you to maximum
s faster and allow for more frequent
is simply a direct buff to that capability. The proc based nature of this talent is its only shortcoming, but that in itself can at least provide some reactive gameplay by requiring the Mage to more closely monitor their
The Artifact trait
reappears as a talent in this tier. Its effect on rotation in Legion was minimal, at best, as the damage was not substantial even with the AOE component. If it were buffed, perhaps, to motivate players to react to the proc and adjust their rotations accordingly, that would provide some interesting gameplay for min/max-minded players. This may prove to be a difficult equation to balance, as it is already very powerful in many situations. Buffing it further would only dissuade players from choosing the alternatives.
Lastly, Blizzard are on the verge of making
a relevant talent, if they have not already achieved that outright, but it could be for all the wrong reasons.
is the only viable choice for
spam rotations, as
would therefore have insignificant and nonexistent effects respectively. Aside from this, it remains a decent all-around option, and might see some increased usage in Mythic+ for affix combinations or dungeons that do not lean exclusively towards single or multiple target.
While the end result looks largely the same, the level 100 tier has been the site of some experimentation. Initially, Blizzard introduced a revamped version of Temporal Flux that would trigger a second
a handful of seconds after it was first used. This provided a lot of extra mana regeneration, but because it was not available on demand as another charge, similar to the
legendary, it did not offer much in the way of varied gameplay. In fact, it served only to extend burn phases slightly by providing additional mana. With two talents in the same tier directly targeting the burn phase, and Temporal Flux already trailing behind
from the start, it was eventually removed.
In its place, a new talent was added:
. Every 2 seconds, there is a chance of gaining
신비의 마법 강화
for 8 seconds,
for 1 second, or 4
s. This can even happen out of combat. There are things that cannot be confirmed about how
works. Much of its behavior has been inferred from hours of data collection and tests, which you can check out for yourself if you are interested in
. Here are some important conclusions that have been drawn:
The chance of a successful proc is about 1 in 15. This does not appear to change based on the number of available proc “candidates”. This chance is also subject to change without warning by Blizzard, and would go unnoticed without subsequent rounds of data collection.
On average, you will get a proc every 30 seconds. Based on several rounds of data collection, our current assumption is that
procs are governed by the relatively new
deck of cards system
added during Legion. RPPM seems unlikely, as the variance in proc rate is not as high as it would be under that system.
proc does not occur if you already have 3 or more
proc will not occur if you are already channeling
Previously, when the duration of the
신비의 마법 강화
proc matched the 10 second duration of
신비의 마법 강화
itself, a proc would refresh the buff. At the time of writing, it is not confirmed that this is still occurring. Anecdotally, no one can report having seen this behavior since the reduction, but there is not sufficient data to be certain.
The convoluted, opaque nature of this talent makes implementing it in simulations properly somewhat frustrating. Its biggest drawback, however, is the high variance that it introduces into overall results. Reliable and predictable damage output is almost always preferable, particularly for raid progression, which could eliminate
altogether in that setting. It does offer some possibilities for unique gameplay by reacting to the individual procs, so it is commendable that Blizzard is at least trying new things in this tier to compete with the deeply entrenched
It is not necessary to look too deeply into individual Azerite traits at this time, but it is worth looking at some of the more concerning aspects of a few specific traits.
There are a number of traits that directly affect
. Now that it is always available for use, buffs to its damage run the risk of encouraging the replacement of
as fillers with
. Early testing is showing
, for example, to be quite powerful for this very reason, along with
to a lesser degree. Whether this gameplay is intended is unconfirmed, and whether it is “fun” or “rewarding” gameplay is a matter of opinion, but it could easily be argued that chain casting an ability that is otherwise discouraged by its high mana cost is not sensible.
The power of
also threatens to completely invert cooldown usage in burn phases. Primary stats are a lot more powerful overall for many specs, and the prospect of a large Intellect buff for the burn phase could encourage the use of
신비의 마법 강화
. That such gameplay is viable is also further testament to how little concern needs to be paid to mana usage for a specialization that allegedly revolves around resource management. In itself, unconventional cooldown usage is not an objectively bad thing, and whether an Azerite trait should be that impactful is a matter of opinion. What is disquieting is that Arcane could possibly invert its traditional cycle of mana expense and regeneration with little regard to how available mana affects its rotation thereafter.
Other traits are benign by comparison. Rotations are not especially affected by them and can mostly be used without too much disruption.
Closing Thoughts: A Troubled Timeline
Of the three Mage specializations, Arcane is the only one that has had substantial time invested into reworking some of its fundamentals. It does, however, retain some of its flaws from Legion, and seems to still be a work in progress even at this late date. Blizzard has intimated that some classes or specializations will have to be fleshed out further in 8.1. The development timeline for Arcane during the Battle for Azeroth Alpha and Beta as well as its current form implies that it is included in that group. It is helpful to look back on the evolution of Arcane over the past few months to reinforce this claim, and provide further context on how it has gotten to its present state.
At the onset of Battle for Azeroth Alpha, Blizzard came out swinging with some major changes to its core abilities, including the introduction of
, on demand
, and changes to how
s interact with all core spells. This was a promising start to a transformation that would solidify Arcane as a strong and viable alternative to Frost and Fire. More importantly, it was an indicator that Blizzard had a vision for Arcane, and a plan of action to coalesce that into reality. Unfortunately, this momentum would not sustain itself in the weeks and months that followed. Changes were not as forthcoming and development was quieter than one would expect for something that was believed to be receiving a lot of attention internally.
Outside of Blizzard itself, no one can truly speak to their intentions or internal workings, so it should be noted that the following includes some measure of informed guesswork and conjecture.
With the Battle for Azeroth release date rapidly approaching, Blizzard realized that Arcane was still in need of attention and dedicated more resources to maturate the initial foundation they laid into a finished product. A flurry of changes occurred, primarily focused on the addition and removal of talents, as well as addressing some of the issues covered in
Battle for Azeroth Community Opinions: Class Changes and State of Mages
. Of course, with new changes come new challenges, new rotations, new weird edge cases, and all manner of number tuning and balancing therein. This seems to be the point where it became apparent that not enough was done for Arcane, and Battle for Azeroth’s release was too close to make up for lost time. Major issues would be addressed and fires extinguished if necessary, but any further worthwhile changes would have to wait for 8.1.
Today, Arcane is in a bit of an uncertain state. While not completely rudderless, the vision that the community hoped would come into focus with greater clarity has remained somewhat cloudy. However, fearmongering is not the objective here. Always keep in mind that gameplay design, in general, but especially for Arcane, is a difficult task and a delicate balancing act. Growing pains are to be expected, and a lot can change in further iterations. In the meantime, some interesting and welcome changes have already occurred.
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