Arcane Missiles: joke is over

I understand the value of interesting new mechanics for newbies, and I know you designers love that virtual gambling addiction you've got going with proc-based effects. I won't begrudge you polluting the mage class with something like this, provided that it remains a unimportant side-aspect of the game, like questing or fishing.

The problem is two-fold: First, I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen. You're going to keep fenangling the arcane tree until reacting to AM procs is an essential part of the gameplay. Now this was fun back when the metagem produced an occasional overpowered burst that players typically used on arcane missiles. But read that again, it was fun because it was overpowered. It was not fun because I was compelled to stop what I had already decided was the best course of action, to cast the spell that a RNG told me was a good idea. You're not just going to reinforce this horrifying Simon Says design, you're serving it up to the newbies at level 2.

The second problem is even worse: Arcane has Barrage, (bringing the number of instant attacks up to 3, ice lance is still super strong) which doesn't do anything of consequence in pvp, and arcane blast, a spell that is only relevant when the mage is unharassed. Sure, this is a delightful design for the arcane tree. PvP with arcane is like a horror movie version of Where's Waldo, and I'm the sorority girl who just acquired biblical knowledge of the opposite gender. The problem is that that one spell isn't quite enough to make the tree meaningful. Arcane needs something else, not to give it more power, but just to give it a little more identity. With the Arcane Missiles spell permanently locked into some kind of mindless 'smoke em if you got em' design, there is nothing to arcane beyond casting arcane blast and praying to the Gnome Surgeon God.

I was among those who petitioned most strongly for arcane missiles to be improved. It was too costly, and telegraphed the mage too well. The problem is that the new design is a regression. What little was useful about arcane missiles was discarded, (extra range, tracking, can't run through the mage, psychological pressure) and nothing whatsoever was given in return. In fact, it's massively weaker and requires even more talents than before to become useful. If it's now supposed to be a mana tool, then locking it at a 40% proc is logically indistinct from simply giving us more mana. Either way, choice does not exist.

I'm not averse to this spell being a mana tool. But, there are easier ways to do this, without ruining the spell itself. It could just be a lot cheaper. Clearcast could be changed to half spell cost on the next two spells, so the mage could choose whether to cancel the current spell and cast two cheap arcane missiles, or continue the current spell and get one cheap arcane missiles. Arcane missiles could have a much longer channeling time by default, like 8 individual bolts, but cost a lot of mana, so clearcasts are very rewarding. AM could maintain the AB debuff, and each wave of AM could proc clearcast or some mana regeneration effect. Barrage could have it's damage powered up, with AM casts being the only means of reducing it's cooldown. (Frontloaded option with Pom instead of AB backload)

Many things are possible, but the current implementation is giga pudding bad.
Edited by Haply on 12/4/2010 2:30 PM PST
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80 Tauren Druid
2295
I like arcane missles. A lot of specs are designed to have procs that change their rotation, Arcane Missles is yours.

Blizzard don't want to you doing the same rotation from beginning to end... if you can call what Arcane Mages do a rotation. Really something that requires you to react and do things differently is good for the class.
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Arcane Missiles has definitely lost it's luster post-4.0.

Pretty much everything I liked about the spell is gone - it's no longer a great tool vs. LoS for all specs as only arc can use it, and now as arcane it's barely worth casting in PvP at all due to pathetic damage when it used to make up a lot of my damage and gave arcane a very offensive magic look and feel(the arcane missiles cast animation for undead and gnome is great) which suited it.
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85 Tauren Warrior
4450
PvP with arcane is like a horror movie version of Where's Waldo, and I'm the sorority teenager who just acquired biblical knowledge of the opposite gender.


wat
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85 Goblin Mage
5205
PvP with arcane is like a horror movie version of Where's Waldo, and I'm the sorority teenager who just acquired biblical knowledge of the opposite gender.


wat


if this was reddit, hed be nonsensical analogy

and you look cute
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80 Orc Death Knight
1620
I like arcane missles. A lot of specs are designed to have procs that change their rotation, Arcane Missles is yours.

Blizzard don't want to you doing the same rotation from beginning to end... if you can call what Arcane Mages do a rotation. Really something that requires you to react and do things differently is good for the class.


You're speaking from the frame of live, where way undertuned spell costs and overinflated mana pools have diluted the rotation to spamming AB for extended periods.

In five days, arcane becomes an entirely different animal. Nobody at 85 is going to be able to cast more than two or three blasts before clearing the debuff stack or they're going to go hard oom. And not that wimpy warlock OOM where you cast a regen spell a few times, I mean Hard-get-out-your-wand-and-go-make-a-sandwich-OOM. Mages will have to clear their debuff stack so often, they had to reduce the cooldown on Arcane Barrage from 5 seconds to 4 seconds, and that still might not be enough to keep them afloat in the first few tiers of gear.

AM doesn't even change your rotation at all. The way the debuffs work, you have to plan when to drop the stack anyway, so missiles isn't even a "hit it when its up" attack. When your mana starts dropping after the second AB, you clear the stack. If missiles is up, you can hit it, if not, you hit Arcane Barrage. Missiles isn't even a fun reaction spell, it's just a possible substitution for ABarr in the rotation. In the long run, it does less DPS than ABarr but at a lower mana cost, so it's more or less a DPS wash and which one you use to dump the stack doesn't even matter. Frankly, AM could be totally removed and no one would miss it since you could simply use ABarr instead every time.

It's not fun, it's not bursty, it's not strategic. It's just something that happens. I can see the appeal for low-level mages, but it's more or less rotationally obsolete as soon as you get ABarr. Being able to choose a lower-dps spell for possible mana efficiency reasons isn't really a compelling choice (just ask a fire mage how they feel about scorching for mana) because it's just something you do in order to keep doing the fun stuff. When you go hiking, you get excited about the hike, not about packing your lunch beforehand.
Edited by Gorgash on 12/1/2010 8:18 PM PST
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I'd prefer that you direct the discussion towards pvp, or at least mention how changes to AM could improve pvp for the arcane tree.

Old example: AM could have a shorter cast bar, but then originate from a destructible 'totem' type entity, which would improve arcane mobility, while also making it a worthwhile choice in pve.

I believe above all else that AM must be castable on demand, ideally without a cooldown or any associated proc effects. My reason isn't complicated: two very simple spells unique to this tree (ab and barrage) aren't a sufficient foundation for arcane gameplay, or design.
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80 Orc Death Knight
1620
That's fair. The spell needs a pvp use. If it's going to continue to be proc-based, it can't be reliably used for LoS dps or many other uses. If it requires you to remain still for 2 seconds to channel it, it needs to motivate you to use it for something or you'd just be better off casting another AB.

Ways to make standing still and channeling AM instead of casting AB desirable:
-Make it uninterruptable
-Add a secondary effect (knockdown, knockback, short stun, spell interruption, snare)
-Provide a bonus for successfully casting it (run speed increase, short term dps boost, cooldown reset)
-Make it higher burst DPS than AB
Edited by Gorgash on 12/1/2010 8:40 PM PST
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85 Undead Mage
2250

I believe above all else that AM must be castable on demand, ideally without a cooldown or any associated proc effects. My reason isn't complicated: two very simple spells unique to this tree (ab and barrage) aren't a sufficient foundation for arcane gameplay, or design.


In PvP, I don't understand why not. What relevance is there to the variety of damage spells cast? How many casters DO have more than a couple spec specific damaging attacks?
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80 Orc Death Knight
1620
I like spell reflecting Arcane Missles


Mages at 85 are liable to let you on purpose. A few of those puppies won't hit for anything; it'll be the perfect spell to eat your reflect.

You should really start hoping to catch an ABarr or AB.
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82 Troll Mage
1180
I honestly don't care about arcane in PvP, because you're kind of retarded if you're not playing frost any way.

However, I do find that arcane missiles went from a very compelling spell in 3.3 to an "I don't know what the hell it's even for" spell in 4.0. I could understand if it was a step up in damage or some thing (so you'd be excited about it proc'ing), but since it's generally a step down in damage, the only reason to cast it is to clear blast procs, and that's what barrage is for, isn't it? It's not like missiles are reliable, after all, so no matter what you've got to save barrage to clear those stacks if missiles don't proc.
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80 Orc Death Knight
1620
I honestly don't care about arcane in PvP, because you're kind of retarded if you're not playing frost any way.

However, I do find that arcane missiles went from a very compelling spell in 3.3 to an "I don't know what the hell it's even for" spell in 4.0. I could understand if it was a step up in damage or some thing (so you'd be excited about it proc'ing), but since it's generally a step down in damage, the only reason to cast it is to clear blast procs, and that's what barrage is for, isn't it? It's not like missiles are reliable, after all, so no matter what you've got to save barrage to clear those stacks if missiles don't proc.


Pretty much, yeah. It'd be nice if one were a clear-cut DPS winner, so there'd be a rule at least. Something like "AM does more dps, so use it if its up, and ABarr if its not up or you have to move."

Of course, lucky arcane has the most counterintuitive mastery ever, so AM is both less dps and less mana, which could(?) translate to higher dps from mana adept? Even though its lower dps than ABarr in the first place? Or maybe it doesn't and you should only use it if you made a mistake and you're now hurting for mana? Who the hell knows.

They've taken an expansion that ostensibly lessened the need for everyday players to have to go look up the "right" talents and gear, and introduced a spec that's so incredibly unintuitive that it downright requires you to do that before it makes any sense at all. Even then, the "right" course of action at any given time is totally obscured by the conflicting nature of AB and Mana Adept, and no matter what it feels like you're flailing.

And the reward for pulling it all off perfectly? DPS that's more or less equivalent to that frost mage who's spamming frost bolt and using his procs when they proc. Hooray.

Arcane missiles is confusing, unreliable, and obsolete in its current incarnation, in pvp and pve.
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85 Draenei Mage
3935
L2Arcane.

You have -two- rotations, based on whether mana gem and evocate is up or if they are not.

You throw out a couple AMs, Gem, then AMspam until you're at 25% mana (assuming the evocate tooltip is correct). Then, you Evocate to full, and your job is to use ABarr and AM to keep your mana as close to full as possible. Not 'Build three stacks.' Close. To. Full. Then, once Gem comes back up, start burning your mana again.

If you're spending the fight afraid of going oom, you're not doing optimal DPS with the spec. You Burst at the beginning, then slow down a bit, then Burst. The only difference with this that 85 brings is your burst fire phase will be shorter and you won't have Tier10/4 making your damage redonculous. A constant stream of +25% damage from your mastery for all your spells is superior to an average of around +20% for three of a four spell rotation. The only time you can do better than being at full mana is when you burn out with a full stack of AB--a convenient time to pop cooldowns. And that burn out is a meaningful gain and therefore you should be doing it when you can (i.e. When you can undo the burn with Evocate)
Edited by Disgruntler on 12/1/2010 9:40 PM PST
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85 Gnome Mage
10660
Arcane was broken for cataclysm pvp the second they announced the planned changes to take AM/AB off the blast buff. This is new and exciting stuff.

Does AM still track players by the way? I can't remember as I haven't played mage in quite a bit. Kind of lol'able if they stripped that away.
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32 Gnome Mage
390
I just started playing this mage.

And arcane Missiles is amazing for leveling. If u level as arcane it is Godsend. It helps a lot with mana and reduces downtime.
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85 Undead Warlock
7450
L2Arcane.

You have -two- rotations, based on whether mana gem and evocate is up or if they are not.

You throw out a couple AMs, Gem, then AMspam until you're at 25% mana (assuming the evocate tooltip is correct). Then, you Evocate to full, and your job is to use ABarr and AM to keep your mana as close to full as possible. Not 'Build three stacks.' Close. To. Full. Then, once Gem comes back up, start burning your mana again.

If you're spending the fight afraid of going oom, you're not doing optimal DPS with the spec. You Burst at the beginning, then slow down a bit, then Burst. The only difference with this that 85 brings is your burst fire phase will be shorter and you won't have Tier10/4 making your damage redonculous. A constant stream of +25% damage from your mastery for all your spells is superior to an average of around +20% for three of a four spell rotation. The only time you can do better than being at full mana is when you burn out with a full stack of AB--a convenient time to pop cooldowns. And that burn out is a meaningful gain and therefore you should be doing it when you can (i.e. When you can undo the burn with Evocate)


Umm...unless EJ is wrong, you're wrong. You just spam AB until you run out of evocates and gems. If you have the mana (which most T10 mages should) you should never cast anything else.

I find it hard to believe that 85 will fix such heinously broken gameplay.
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85 Orc Death Knight
3865

I find it hard to believe that 85 will fix such heinously broken gameplay.


Just another reason to roll as Fire or Frost.
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