I’ve got to be honest with you, I have almost no idea which way Calli’s going to spec when Wrath of the Lich King ships. The one thing I do know is that it won’t be Fire. Well… the way Fire seems to be shaping up as the lolspec gimmick tree, that is.
Obviously we can’t tell yet exactly how things are going to end up, and I’ve had a play around with the talent calculators over at WoWhead as I’m sure we all have; but if we can’t say precisely where things are going to end up, we can at least see how things have developed since the closed alpha and get a pretty good idea of the way Blizzard intend things to go. Fire, the raiding build of choice since after Blackwing Lair, is not looking very competitive in Wrath. Well, that’s not strictly true. It is possible to make a decent raiding build of sorts with Fire, you just have to avoid all the gimmick aoe talents. The problem you then find yourself with is twofold:
1. You’re arguably worse off than you are with the current cookie cutter 02/48/11 Fire/Icy Veins spec.
2. Deep Arcane beats seven different shades of shit out of Deep Fire.
Let’s see what Deep Arcane gets us:
1. 40% reduced threat on Arcane spells
2. 80 resistance to all schools of magic
3. 2% of your total mana back on any spell you resist
5. The very awesome Focus Magic
6. 30% mana regen while casting, even with Molten Armour
7. 15% more Intellect
8. Presence of Mind
9. 3% extra spell damage and crit chance
10. Arcane Power
11. 50% crit damage bonus on ALL spells
12. Spellpower increased by 25% of your Intellect
13. 6% native spell haste
14. Arcane Barrage
Two words spring to mind looking at all of that, and they’re both “pew”. Best of all, you can get all of that at level 65. By the time you’re 80 you’ll have 15 points left to blow on the Fire or Frost trees.
And this is where things get confusing.
See, no-one knows for sure yet, as far as I’m aware, what your best nuke would be in Wrath. It could be Fireball, backed up by all those lovely Arcane Talents and with the remaining 15 points stuck in the Fire tree for Ignite and all that good stuff. I mean, imagine a Fireball that crits for the amount of damage you currently get from the hit and the ignite tick combined, and then Ignite procs AS WELL! Zomg! The confusing issue is Frostfire Bolt. I admit I’m far from being an expert on this stuff, but if I read things correctly, Frostfire Bolt is neither a Fire nor a Frost spell, but it can deal either Fire OR Frost damage, and gets all the bonuses associated with BOTH your Fire and Frost talents that affect Fire or Frost damage. It’s at this point that you probably need to go over the talent tree with a fine toothcomb and check the small print. Anything that affects Fire or Frost SPELLS isn’t going to affect Frostfire bolt. Anything that affects Fire or Frost DAMAGE, will affect Frostfire bolt.
Okay, example time.
Ignite 5/5. Critical strikes from your Fire damage spells cause the target to burn for an additional 40% of your spell’s damage over 4 seconds. This WILL apply to Frostfire Bolt.
Burning Soul 2/2. Gives your Fire spells a 70% chance to not lose casting time when you take damage and reduces the threat caused by your Fire spells by 10%. Sorry, doesn’t apply to Frostfire bolt.
So you can see where the confusion lies. There isn’t a single talent in there that applies directly to Frostfire Bolt, so it’s difficult to make direct comparsions. But there are any number of talents in there that apply indirectly to Frostfire Bolt. There’s so little info coming out of the beta for Mages that I can see, and it’s very difficult to make any kind of informed choice. Of course, all of this could change and probably will change long before we mortals get to play with it. However, if anyone out there knows more than I do or can see anything obviously wrong with anything I’ve said, please feel free to leave a comment.
All I can say for certain is that as things stand, a deep Arcane spec with Ignite from Fire using either Fireball or Frostfire Bolt for some pew pew between Arcane Barrage cooldowns is looking mighty tasty for Wrath raiding.