Regular readers of any kind of mage blog or forum will doubtless have heard the litany of complaints about how everything we can do, some other class can do better. Here are a few of the old examples:
Mages do ranged dps, just not as well or for as long as Warlocks or Hunters.
Mages get a damage immunity/debuff clearing mechanic in Iceblock, except unlike Rogue Cloak of Shadows, when we use it, it crowd controls us.
Mages get a threat clearing ability in Invisibility, except unlike Warlock Soulshatter, Hunter Feign Death or Rogue Vanish, it takes an age to kick in and can be interrupted if a fly lands on your nose.
Mages can get free food and water. True, but the stuff you get from the vendors doesn’t disappear when you log out, and you don’t have to be in a group to get a vendor to sell you stuff.
Mages do kickass AoE damage. Three words. Seed. Of. Corruption.
Mages get crowd control with Polymorph. Sap, Blind, Seduce, Hibernate, Mind Control, Freezing Trap, Banish, Cyclone, Shackle, etc, etc, yadda, yadda, yadda.
The list goes on. For anyone who’s really interested in reading more, feel free to go take a good long look at My Mage Sucks, Yours Does Too. No seriously, take a look, if nothing else it IS an amusing blog, in a cynical kinda way.
Ok, all of that stuff is old news, and while I certainly believe it’s true that Mages in Warcraft as it stands right now are far too much glass and nowhere near enough cannon, I still enjoy playing my mage and don’t plan on switching to any other class when the expansion hits.
The thing is, if you expect your mage to be an unstoppable dealer of death and destruction, you’re in for a rude awakening. We can do great dps when we put our minds to it, but it is a simple, cold, hard fact that a warlock with equivalent gear is going to do more. No use crying about it, that’s the way it is. A decent Hunter can do more if he doesn’t have to chain trap. In the right circumstances a Retribution Paladin can do more! And here’s the problem, we as a class need to stop looking at what we can’t do better than anyone else and look at what we can do as well as or almost as well as anyone else.
It’s at this point that I’m going to draw a parrallel with another class, and hopefully explain why. Priests.
There was a time when you’d see the following in general chat:
“Looking for one more, Stratholme, need Priest.”
“No, want a priest.”
“No, Priest please.”
People have short memories. This was not good class balance, the Priest used to be such an overpowered healing class that every other healer had a hard time finding a group for anything. Everything that any other healer could do, Priests could do too, and do it better. Two years later we find that the landscape has changed, and for the better. Priests are still great healers, but Paladins, Shamans and Restoration Druids have good things to bring to the party too. Strong single target heals? You want a Paladin, but Priests have that covered too. AoE heals needed, get a Shaman, but a Priest is almost as good. Heals over time? You’ll be wanting a Restoration Druid, but don’t count your Priests out entirely. Priests today are the Jack of All Trades of the healing classes. They can do everything that any other healer can do, perhaps not as well at any one thing, but they come close and have the versatility that the other, specialist healing classes lack.
At roughly the same time, a Warlock couldn’t get a group for love nor money. Hunters had an equally hard time. Sure, you could get a group eventually, but only if there were no Mages free. This was also not good Class balance. Warlocks and Hunters were the red-headed stepchildren of the ranged dps classes, and Mages were the Kings and Queens. Sure, I’m generalising, but it wasn’t a fun time to be a Hunter or Warlock.
Since then our Warlock and Hunter friends have had a lot of love, and the Mages haven’t. This is a source of constant complaint in the Mage community, but guess what friends and neighbours? Those classes NEEDED some love and we didn’t. I don’t begrudge any buffs the Warlock class has received, even if those buffs have relegated my favourite class to second best dps. The reason is that like the Priests in the healing community, we Mages are not the one-trick ponies that Warlocks now are. Sure, Warlocks do amazing dps, but that’s all they do.
You know what? We’re the Priests of the dps classes. There’s nothing we can do that some other dps class can’t do better, but there’s no other dps class who can do as much as we can. We can do dps, we can buff, we can do amazing crowd control without interrupting our dps, we can do low threat, powerful AoE damage, we can get a raid to where it needs to be fast and provide consumables for an entire raid to keep the pace of the raid going between fights. Ice Block is a thing of rare beauty, it should be the envy of all other classes. A debuff that would kill, cripple or severely restrict any other class’s ability to do their job in a raid is something we can just shrug off. We shouldn’t be complaining that it isn’t good enough, we should be grateful we have it at all. It wasn’t that long ago that it was only available to Frost mages! We can create mana gems for nothing that save us a fortune in Mana Potions and don’t share a cooldown with our potions. Aska Holy Priest, Restoration Druid or Holy Paladin which other class ability they’d most like to have and I’m guessing Mana Gems alone would come near the top of the list.
Seriously, we as a class need to stop demanding to be better than everyone else at everything, and just learn to embrace our versatility. Sure, there are real issues that affect us, but the fact that Warlocks and Hunters can do better dps is really not one of them.
I just wish they’d fix Blink, though. :p