Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tier 13 set bonus for Frost.

EDIT: Links now fixed because my guildmate, Corv, is a genius. P.S: Get a blog, Corv.


I'm going to assume - however dangerously - that anyone into WoW enough to read a blog about it has also been keeping current with WoW-related news. Specifically, the Tier 13 set bonuses have been announced.

2P -- Your damaging spells have a 30% chance to grant Stolen Time, increasing your haste rating by 50 for 30 sec and stacking up to 10 times. When Arcane Power, Combustion, or Icy Veins expires, all stacks of Stolen Time are lost.
4P -- Each stack of Stolen Time also reduces the cooldown of Arcane Power by 3 sec, Combustion by 4 sec, and Icy Veins by 6 sec.

I don't wanna say too much about the changes in relation to Arcane and Fire (since this is a Frost blog, after all), other than to say it sounds screwy for Arcane and totally_awesome for Fire.

Concerning the bonus in relation to Frost, however...I am somewhat conflicted. There's no doubt that having more Haste is going to boost our damage. There's also no question about whether or not having Icy Veins more frequently is good or not. It might even make Mastery a more attractive stat to gear for after reaching Crit Cap (although common convention is that Haste and Mastery are very close at the moment).

Instead, my real concern is that it's...boring? Like, really, really boring. Even if I think the Arcane 4t13 is screwy, it at least affects the most interesting part of Arcane; when we get Arcane Power again, that signifies another burn phase. Likewise, the single-most satisfying part of playing Fire is landing a totally rad, 10K+ Combustion DoT; getting the chance to do that more often is just too cool.

Icy Veins, however, is far from being the most interesting thing about Frost, even if it is our big DPS cooldown. "Wow, we sure do cast quickly. Woooo." We might as well have Lifeblood as our Cooldown.

Not to mention, does anyone else find this to be a bit cyclical? We cast spells and gain a haste buff...so that we can get our haste cooldown that much quicker...so that we can use our haste cooldown...and then we lose our haste buff? Does this sound interesting to anyone!?

The problem, in my opinion, is that Arcane's DPS cooldown and Fire's DPS cooldown are synergetic with what's fun about playing Arcane and Fire in general - respectively, resource management and crazy burst damage; and DoT management and landing high periodic damage as a reward for making good decisions.Frost's big DPS cooldowns - Icy Veins and Cold Snap - are not at all synergetic with what makes Frost a fun spec to play in PvE.

Frost is all about managing procs and short cooldowns. It rewards players for making smart split-second decisions on how to spend, conserve, or gain their procs. Getting Icy Veins faster isn't a satisfying, climactic affair which gloriously highlights the fun and excitement of firing off a baller-ass Frostfire Bolt with an Ignite on the tail-end, or quickly deciding whether to Ice Lance our last proc away instead of saving it for the Deep Freeze which comes off cooldown in eight seconds. It's just...


So, how to fix the fun factor for our 4t13? Well, there's a few options:

1. Revamp the bonus entirely. Probably not gonna happen, given that it's thematically consistent with the look and name of the Tier 13 Set, "Timelord's Regalia". But, that could be a way to do it.

2. Have the 4t13 affect Cold Snap. After all, Cold Snap is still a 6.4-minute cooldown, even after taking three points in Ice Floes. However, Cold Snap might just be a liiiitle bit on the crazy side if we could lower its cooldown. It's also not a hell of a lot more fun, anyways.

The third solution came to me as I was writing this post. The answer that I never saw before is almost too obvious now.

3. ...Why not change Icy Veins? The real problem here isn't that the set bonus is crappy (although I still wonder if it shouldn't be altered somewhat for Arcane); the real problem is that Icy Veins is crappy. It may be a valuable DPS cooldown to us (what caster would decline a 20% casting speed buff?)...but it's no fun at all.

My proposition is that Icy Veins, instead of giving casting haste and pushback reduction, gives casting haste and an increased chance to proc Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze. After all, if proc management is the most exciting thing about Frost, why not give us more procs? Now, we get to have our ballin' Frostfire Bolts more often, AND we have way more procs to manage. With this change, the power of Icy Veins may truly reward those who are smart about proc management more than anyone, just as Arcane Power and Combustion reward playing their respective specs properly.

So in conclusion...I'm kind of a genius. BRB, editing my Mage Class Feedback post on Blizzard's forums. Any thoughts?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Class Feedback Response.

Recently, Blizzard made some forum topics on their website asking for player feedback about their classes. Being the loudmouth that I am, I wrote them a short novel, only to find out that you can only make posts with 5000 characters or less. Either way, I posted it, and I thought I'd post it here, too. So, for the other two Frost Mages on Earth, what do you think? Agree, or disagree?...

Almost every answer here pertains to the Frost Spec, as I play it far more than Fire or Arcane. I enjoy the other specs and also find them very fun; however, I lack the experience to comment on them in-depth.

What type of content do you focus on? [PvE/PvP/Both]

Both, with a much bigger focus on PvE at the moment.

If PvE, what type of PvE? [Heroics/Raids/Other]

Raiding. My guild is 6/7 Firelands, and we were 1/12 Heroic on Tier 11 before Firelands was released.

If PvP, what type of PvP? [Arenas, BGs, Rated BGs]

Arenas (usually 2's and some 3's) and normal BGs.

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.

It would be nice if Mage-class Armors carried a one-hour duration without a Glyph, along with Arcane Brilliance.

What makes playing your class more fun?

I enjoy that Frost feels more 'Active' than Fire or Arcane, in that I feel like I have to make more split-second decisions due to the way procs change what you are able to do - and possibly, what you should be doing.

What makes playing your class less fun?

Here's a few things:

1. Far too dependent on Crit as a stat. We need to get as close to 34% Crit as possible. This is a pretty high number, so this makes gear options pretty strict and limited. It also makes us comp-dependent, as Critical Mass/Shadow & Flame is one of the only feasible ways to hit that number.

This may sound like a complaint about my DPS not being competitive. It's not; I rank on World of Logs every time I can make to my guild's raids - my DPS in Frost is just fine. Needing such an outrageous amount of one stat is not fine.

2. Frostbolt costs too much mana. The cast time of Frostbolt is 20% faster than Fireball or Frostfire Bolt, and yet it costs 4% more of our Base Mana to use. We're stuck a few, extremely inefficient options: Run Mage Armor, which is flat-out overkill, or max out Enduring Winter, which only lowers the base mana cost by 1%.

3. Too many filler points in the talent tree (for PvE). Frost has 4-6 points spent on talents with _extemely_ specific uses: using Blizzard against AoE groups with no threat table (3 Points in Permafrost, 2 Points in Ice Shards, 1 Point in Enduring Winter), or getting more Fingers of Frost procs against boss encounters where there's two adds that are always in close proximity to the boss (2 Points in Piercing Chill, 1 Point in Permafrost, 3 Points in Enduring Winter). In other words, if we put one point in Permafrost and Enduring Winter (for raid buffs/debuffs), we could seriously put the other four points anywhere in the tree and it would make no difference in most encounters. Even Permafrost's raid debuff is pretty insignificant, so it could be as much as five pointless points.

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)

The single-target rotation is fine - great, actually. On the other hand, the AoE rotations leave something to be desired.

Blizzard is our only AoE spell worth using, and it requires somewhere around twelve targets for it to be comparable to a single target rotation. Cone of Cold isn't much better, requiring about ten targets and having a cooldown.

Again, while this may sound like a complaint about DPS, it's not; it's a complaint that there's almost never a reason to use our AoE spells.

What’s on your wish list for your class?

- Please, let us name our pets! Since it's here for good, it would be nice to have a name with a bit more personality than "Water Elemental."

- It would be nice if Frost Armor had a more common reason to be used in PvE...Not that I have any logical reason why.

- Can we also have one or two new talents in our tree?

- Having Critical Mass available to Frost would be cool, too, and solve one of the only obnoxious aspects of Frost PvE.

- I'd like to see the mana cost of Frostbolt go down proportionally with the other Mage Fillers.

- Is there any way to make Cone of Cold a useful PvE spell without having a huge, rippling effect on Frost PvP?

What spells do you use the least?

Cone of Cold and Frost Nova. I feel like there's a lot of potential for these spells in PvE, beyond proccing Fingers of Frost and snaring adds on Nefarian.