We’ve been farming Brutallus in Sunwell Plateau for some time now. I say “farming” him rather than saying he’s “on farm” since he’s anything but an easy fight. When I came back to the game we’d downed him maybe twice, and I arrived back in the raid wearing Tier 5 gear. It goes without saying that I was seriously undergeared for Sunwell, the other mages all had their 4 piece Tier 6 bonus, I didn’t even have a single piece and only had one BT-level ring that compared to their gear. Luckily, it didn’t take long for me to get close to their gear level and within a month I was sporting 4 pieces of my own Tier 6 with the gaps made up from badge loot and Zul’Aman gear.
But I still struggled to match their dps. Well to cut a long story short, despite conflicting advice on the Elitist Jerks forums about the relative value of spell haste, I’m convinced that haste is the way to go. The other mages had massive amounts of haste and lower hit and crit rating than me, and once I re-gemmed for haste I finally managed to get 1950 dps on Brtuallus. Not as good as some, but enough to justifiy my raid spot. It’s obviously not as simple as that alone, the group you’re in makes a HUGE difference to a mage, but this post isn’t about me improving dps on one fight, it’s about the new talent changes in the upcoming patch.
On the Test Realms last week, unbuffed, ungrouped and with sub-optimal enchants (+40 dmg rather than Soulfrost) I managed 2050 dps as a Frost Mage on Doctor Boom. Compare that to a fully raid-buffed Fire Mage with the best group setup and all consumables getting 1950 dps.
Impressed with the new Frost Talents yet? I was.
Arcane on the other hand, just seemed a bit “meh”. In the same setup the best I could do was 1100dps. Now I accept that you can’t expect to get the most from a new spec straight after visiting the trainer. I also accept that it’s entirely possible I was using the wrong rotations or the wrong spell as my “filler” between Arcane Blasts (I was using Frostbolts). Perhaps I should even have been using Arcane Barrage instead of Blast around my filler spells. All of this may be true, but even so, 1k dps vs 2k dps seems like it can’t be explained by crappy rotations alone. If there are any other Arcane Mages out there with a different experience, please feel free to point out what I’m doing wrong because I really, really want to like Arcane.
As for Fire, well I ran into a little problem testing Fire, in that I can’t get onto the PTR lately. I did have a play around with Fire, but didn’t do any comprehensive testing. Fire feels ok, but I’d like to do some dps tests to see exactly how it stacks up against Frost.
Meanwhile, The Mighty Jingles had a play around with Affliction. I was just messing around, not doing any serious testing, but Affliction sure is complicated now! It seems like you’re fighting your cooldowns rather than the mobs. There are some nice talents in there, but some can be counterproductive, like your Shadowbolts resetting the timer on your Corruption, for example. Sounds great on paper, but unless you time your Shadowbolts precisely you can end up resetting too early and losing DoT ticks. It can actually lower your dps! There’s just too much cooldown juggling going on there to be comfortable in my opinion.
Aluriel also popped over to the Test Realms and was immediately critted in the face by a wall of confusion. Don’t get me wrong, the new Priest talents are lovely in my humble opinion, they’re not the issue. Aluriel’s problem is that she doesn’t know what to wear! Some of her healing gear seems like it would be better for dps, and some of her dps gear looks like it would be better for healing! This is what I believe is referred to as “an embarrasment of riches”. It’s quite a nice problem to have so I’m not complaining. As far as the dreaded spell downranking nerf is concerned, Priests are better off than most in this department. With the proper talents we can regain mana from overhealing, we can gain clearcasting at an increased rate and our Shadowfiends benefit immensely from the shared spellpower mechanic. We can also, in a pinch, use the neglected max rank “Heal” rather than Greater Heal, which in Aluriel’s case, still heals for a reasonable 2k. I’m pretty happy with the direction Priests are going, all in all.
After hearing good things about Protection Warriors I took the plunge and transferred Gorn over to the PTR too. All of the rumours are true. Protection is FUN! In a mixture of Kara/Tier 4 epics and blue quest and reputation reward tanking gear, Gorn was storming through the Quel’danas dailies like a man possessed. Shield Slams were critting for 2k,and they were critting regularly, as were Heroic Strikes and Devastates. I’m not saying he’s anywhere near Calli’s dps, because he clearly isn’t, but grinding as a Protection spec warrior isn’t an exercise in having your teeth pulled anymore. I’m predicting a happy, fun-filled future for tanks. Oh, and Shockwave? I want to marry it and have its babies.