Arcane Mage: Feedback

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I Arcane Mage has a lot of issues. Obviously, the below are totally my opinions, but hope to get a bit more discussion on this spec. There seem to be so few Arcane players left. . . .

AoE: We have lost a lot in BfA with Arcane Explosion not interacting with charges. Sure, you can generate charges to let off an Arcane Barrage, but the Barrage doesn't really help much. Ultimately, you go out of mana really really fast, and you have nothing left to do. Also, can we get ranged AoE already? The tiny radius on Arcane Explosion is awful.

Talents: Still too many useless talents.

Lvl 15 Tier: I have no idea why anyone would take Arcane Familiar - it seems pointless. Mana Adept might be okay with lots of mastery, but Arcane Missile damage is so weak, that you are better off just spamming Arcane Blast.

Lvl 30 Tier: No one will ever take Mana Shield as designed, because it would hurt our DPS really badly. Just dump this and come up with something actually useful. Slipstream was nerfed into uselessness with the latest nerf. On live, I would take it to protect my Evocation, but it is so garbage now, that I can't force myself to take it. I'll risk the lost Evo, thanks. Delete it, and let us cast Evo while moving, please.

Lvl 45 Tier: I think RoP is still the go-to talent here, but I have always hated it, and hate it even more on the GCD. I'll go with Incanter's every time now. Mirror Image remains total garbage. If you aren't going to make it useful, just make this a baseline defensive for all specs and adjust it's damage accordingly.

Lvl 60 Tier: Supernova remains garbage. I can't think of any situation where I'd take this.

Lvl 75: Chrono Shift remains the favorite here. Maybe some use Ring of Frost in PvP? Ice Ward won't see much use.

Lvl 90: Unstable Magic and Nether Tempest remain garbage. The damage they do is so pathetic, there is no situation to take either of these. Ever. SIGNIFICANTLY buff these or delete them and make something useful.

Lvl 100: With a one charge Clearcasting and no benefit to Arcane Explosion with charges, Arcane Orb is now a talent with no build to benefit from it. This is a fun talent, but AoE needs to be reworked to give this talent a use. I think Overpowered is too good here to let anyone use Temporal Flux - five seconds just isn't enough time to make up for the damage boost and mana reduction of Overpowered. in BfA, Overpowered will be taken 100% of the time.

Overall, I'd say Arcane is in really bad shape. Sure, you can do a decent ST build with Rule of Threes, but it is basically AB, AB, AB, AB, AB, Barrage, AB, AB (maybe get a lucky Clearcast every now and again, but debatable if it is even worth casting with current tuning). Just boring as heck.
I just discovered I've been given access to Beta.

I already re-rolled frost weeks ago when I saw what was planned for arcane. While I look forward to trying it myself this weekend, your assessment echos what I've seen posted by players and Youtube game reviewers alike.

I'm not optimistic but I guess finally playing it myself will put to rest any hesitancy I have about abandoning the spec I've played since I started playing these many years ago.
Personally, the worst feeling of arcane was coming up to a pack of mobs with the group and having 0 arcane charges so your dps is nonexistent. I believe the change to missiles and explosion is to stop that feeling, but without mastery raising their damage do we have a way to buff them? Just stack INT or Haste for missiles maybe I don't know.

One stack of clearcasting gets rid of what I thought was unique to arcane - stacking procs. Felt good to line up 3 missile procs with a RoP instead of spending the proc immediately like most (all?) classes.

As you say the talents are nearly unchanged and that is enough to make me not want to play it. Gotta really love rune of power and overpowered arcane power to play it.

I remember doing the frost mage tower and holy hell was I surprised how much more fun it was with frozen orb, blizzard procs and ice lance cleaving. I was hoping they would give something like that to arcane orb, but I guess frost is there waiting for us.
Arcane Orb actually works decently with Rule of Three since it's a guaranteed 1 charge instant cast, though, Overpowered is just that, overpowered compared to everything else.
I guess I'm still hoping the devs decide to revert these changes back to the state arcane has been at in Legion.

It's not perfect, but it seems better than what we're seeing on beta (mechanically speaking, not tuning-wise).

At least in Legion, arcane makes sense. You build arcane charges, which increases your mana consumption, which increases your burst damage for as long as your mana holds-out. You burn your mana and then conserve (by managing your charge level) until you can evoke. Repeat. You can time your burst as-needed by reguluating your mana consumption and managing your Evocation cooldown.

Now, I'm not sure what exactly we're supposed to do, because it's not intuitive.

Okay, so Clearcasting (sort of) replaces the AM proc, except it doesn't stack. We can cast AM any time, but because nothing is tuned, we don't really know when we should be.

Mana Adept (see separate thread on that topic) is potentially interesting in how you spam AM above 80%, but so far it doesn't seem worth taking it off the charge system.

AE on beta is a counter-intuitive mess. It builds charges but doesn't benefit from them. Surely there's a better way to encourage ABarr weaving than destroying AE? What about adjusting the mana cost, which is typically how arcane should be tuned. If AE spam is too powerful, increase the mana cost so it's less sustainable.

I'm just not excited about arcane right now. I played arcane throughout Wrath and Legion. So for what it's worth, that may indicate my preferences for how the spec should feel.

Unless things substantially improve with arcane on the beta, either frost or fire is looking substantially more fun.
First, I agree with what your saying towards the talents.

Secondly, we should also have a general discussion in how Arcane Mage's base abilities have changed. We still have the 4 basic abilities: Blast, Barrage, Explosion, and Missiles.

Blast (& maybe Missiles) is our primary form of offense & only at 4 charges. I never want to cast Arcane Barrage at all because I'd have to start over to build up stacks.

Barrage doesn't do any significant damage and no longer restores mana it seems. Not sure if anyone else noticed, but I feel like my mana regeneration is from Mastery alone; so I won't use it.

Missiles do okay damage, but I would still prioritize Blast over it. It doesn't seem to deal any more damage from the charges and doesn't add any if you cast them. If Missiles should be cast freely in BFA, then there needs to be an additional benefit for casting it, like adding charges or hitting multiple enemies you are engaged with. Right now, it's only benefit is in unison with the Erosion talent.

Explosion feels weaker and doesn't seem to pick up on charges. I don't even use it in mobs.
I wonder if a buff to Nether Tempest could make it worth using for AoE. Build 4 charges, dot with Nether Tempest, barrage, repeat. I just really want a way to dps from range, because I play a ranged spec for a reason, you know, to be ranged.
@ OP I agree. I would also argue arcane lost something without having Arcane Missiles affected by charges as well. I'm sure at a particular mastery rating AB will always be a better choice for a mana sink.

The only thing nice about the changes is that Arcane Missiles and Arcane Explosion deal more damage at start. I would be fine with them keeping their current mana cost, only getting the damage bonus from extra mastery (not having a crazy base increase with each charge without gear like Arcane Barrage and Arcane Blast) and not getting a mana increase for each charge. That keeps the mana cost level, but still allows these abilities to scale with Arcane charges in a reasonable way.

Also, clearcasting is a bad proc. In fire and frost, you can exploit the travel time on your bolts to avoid the procs from cancelling (I.E. cast brain freeze RIGHT after the current frost bolt you're spamming) and you won't lose the chance at another proc. Everything arcane is instant so you have to choose between potentially losing a proc or cancelling your current spell, which kind of sucks. Clearcasting should stack.
These comments do fill me with hope.

I'm not a theory crafter or number cruncher. At my level of understanding from the spec given the years I've played it, the game play as it's posted seems clunky and without addressing the issue with the talents (or lack thereof) I'm not sure anything is to be gleaned from going on the beta.

- No mana regen mechanic as we've gotten used to but the spec now relying more on mana.
- Arcane orb now rendered useless (especially as a top tier talent) with missiles not being a proc.
- No real choice in talents (still!) with so many being mandatory and too many passive/uninteresting
- Charges only affecting arcane blast and, to a lesser degree, barrage
- Explosion nerfed to the ground

The best I can surmise, we'll now be in a ABx4>barrage rotation which seems uselessly simplistic. Guess the excitement is when we get a clearcasting proc but since they can't stack it's not like it can be pre-planned to maximize it.

Very unfortunate. IMO all arcane needed in BfA was slipstream and arcane orb made baseline (addressing our mobility and melee range aoe issue), mana regen built into barrage (a la kilt) and we would have been fine.

As it stands, I'll probably defer beta and just stick with frost.
05/01/2018 05:31 AMPosted by Aedrid

As it stands, I'll probably defer beta and just stick with frost.


I think for me that is the most heard phrase. I could give numbers, and information (which I have in on other threads), but Blizzard now likes their information in feels. So to start off with Arcane seems...aimless in the beta. It doesn't have any sort of rhyme or reason to the rotation, just push buttons. Eventually I am sure someone will optmize a "best" rotation, but if I take a new player drop them in arcane, they probably couldn't tell you what they should be pushing.

The talents still don't feel like I have choice, and I feel like evocation on the move shouldn't have to be a talent. All the cool spells I want to use are not as good typically as the passives in almost all situations :(.

And fire is just as fun as ever, I wish phoenix wasn't a talent choice, but that is for another thread. So once again for the 2nd expansion, I am hearing, why be Arcane when Frost & Fire are in much better places.

Now if the Blizzard team waved their magic tuning wand and Arcane was brokenly destroying meters, I wouldn't want to play it. It's that aimless with the changes. I think sticking with the Legion formula isn't a bad thing. Give one or two more ways for mana reclamation and tweak the talents for parity and you would have a pretty decent spec. My 2 cents.
I'll likely find another class, really. I struggle with Frost because I HATE having to choose between Splitting Ice and Freezing Rain. Cleave and AoE should not be on the same tier.

One of my biggest concerns is AoE. So, I'm still stuck in melee, with a significantly smaller radius for Arcane Explosion. Expect to die. A lot. Next, I have no way to sustain AoE. Sure, for a short dungeon pack, great. But in raiding or higher M+, I'm out of mana much much faster than the CD on evocation. What do I do then? Basically, I can AoE, then, when mana is low, go into a ST conserve phase until Evo is off CD. This is awful! Supernova and Nether Tempest remain horribly undertuned, so they don't work either.

I'm really at a loss at what to do in sustained AoE scenarios. This doesn't come up much in current testing, but will definitely be a huge issue in M+ and raiding.
I have been playing Arcane for about 12 years as the mage, Sprocketman on Rexxar, and have seen and played the changes through Legion and every prior expansion. The formula Blizzard had for Legion in my opinion was the best build they have had up to this point for Arcane.

Arcane AOE - This is where the Arcane Mage shined brightly in Legion. As it stands now, there is no benefit from Arcane Charges for Arcane Explosion and no multidot allowed for Arcane Tempest. That pretty much makes Arcane AOE useless unless Blizzard makes Nether Tempest castable on more than 1 target as it used to be in Cataclysm I think. During that time Nether Tempest was the go to talent for ranged AOE. They need to either give us back the stacks affecting Arcane Explosion AND the slow mana ramp up of AE OR allow multidotting with Nether Tempest to give Arcane mages some type of feasible AOE.

I rather liked the way they had things in Legion, albeit the AOE was melee ranged, and have played Arcane throughout it and every other expansion. It was only in Legion, that I found the Arcane mage finally keeping pace with Frost and Fire due to the much needed ramp up of AOE to the Arcane spec. Only by doing that, was Arcane able to keep pace in damage overall. Hence Arcane became the AOE spec that shined and then would lag on single target thus balancing out.

In the current state, arcane has ZERO AOE possibilities that can even compare to fire or frost. At least in Legion, I had no problems keeping pace with other specs in damage output since the Explosion x 4 followed by Barrage was easily sustainable and kept me way ahead in damage output so that when I lost ground in single target, it would equalize versus other specs. Now, I am being forced to abandon Arcane after 12 years of playing it to be Frost since frost spec sustained no real changes from Legion and now does 2-3 times DPS that Arcane does. Without SUSTAINABLE HIGH aoe OUTPUT or Single Target output Arcane cannot compete once again.

Single Target DPS - Kind of a no brainer here. Frost and Fire still have sustainable single target damage that hits as hard as a 4 stack Arcane Blast with NO mana usage while the Arcane mage has to ramp up to it and cannot sustain it due to the heavy mana usage at 4 stacks. There are just not enough procs of clearcasting to allow the Arcane Mage to keep pace with Frost or Fire. The only fix here is to make Arcane Blast higher in damage per stack or faster per cast from the start.

Currently AB at 4 stacks is 1.3 secs. If every cast was 1.3 secs given the damage ramp up on each cast, then Arcane could have a shot at being feasible. Arcane is supposed to be HIGH DPS for short spurts. That is the allure, at least for me. Trying to balance mana conservation with damage output to keep pace with the other specs Fire and Frost is what Arcane is all about.

As it stands, Fire and Frost leap ahead by 3-5 times the damage in single target since all their primary casts have no mana usage and equal the 4 stack Arcane Blast while it takes the Arcane mage about 9-12 seconds to get to 4 stacks. Then we have to dump the stacks or end up without mana and zero damage output.

Either way, Frost AND Fire trump Arcane in single target and always have. That is why I thought Blizzard increased the Arcane AOE in Legion so that the three specs would balance out overall in damage done?

Blizzard- Either give back the AOE to the Arcane Mage or increase Single Target output significantly by significantly reducing AB and AE mana costs, or reducing cast time of the AB from the start or just make AB cast time low and static, or increase the damage of AB from the start so that the final cast at 4 stacks = the output of the other specs over the same amount of time. Without balancing damage per second in some way, Arcane is a lost spec as it stands and will be unplayable.

Discrimination ?? - In current form on the PTR, Arcane spec could actually end up being an automatic disqualifier for being allowed to participate in raid or M+ content as it most likely could not keep pace with the damage that tanks do. That is something to really think about. You have nerfed the spec so badly, that any person that plays arcane will likely not be allowed into a raid and will likely be kicked from LFR at the first possible moment. This in of itself is something I think should be taken into account. The Arcane Mage in its current state on the PTR brings nothing to the table in terms of damage or utility, thus could likely become an instant disqualifier during the screening process for raid and M+ content.
You hit the nail on the head there, man.

Can't count the number of times I'd queue up for a pug raid and get asked "frost or fire?" Arcane was a meme all Legion and now it's looking like it's becoming completely redundant in BfA.

The rework (third expac in a row?) makes NO sense. Unfortunately, mages rarely gets posts from devs so it's unlikely we'll know WHY the rework nor get any feedback on where it's headed. A rework was NOT NEEDED. Basline slipstream and orb, mana regen mechanic added to barrage, and mastery actually scaling to haste was ALL that was needed for BfA.

Even if the new ABx4-Barrage AOE rotation was killing the meters, it seems like it would mindlessly numb and boring. And yes, someone will come up with the best possible rotation for whatever arcane ends up being but if it's not fun to play then meh.

The main mechanic in arcane is arcane charges and yet they've reduced that to only affecting blast and barrage? Again, game play is muddled.

So what IS the theme for arcane?

Mana management? Overpowered fights against this.
Arcane charges? Only affects blast and barrage now.

So many useless and/or passive talents and no real choice. Arcane Orb rendered useless ... new Temporal Flux is a JOKE. Less mobility than frost and fire (cause removing icy floes made sense to the devs and slipstream being baseline apparently makes NO sense to the devs). AOE seemingly nerfed .... why WOULD anyone play arcane in BfA?

I mean what does it say about Arcane in Legion when they're adding Ebonbolt and Phoenix Flames to BfA because they became a beneficial part of the rotations for frost and fire but they're throwing Mark of Aluneth in the trash bin?

It says "We as developers no not know how to design arcane as a spec. We do not understand the core mechanics nor can we develop anything for it that makes it on par with frost and fire. We're playing this by ear and basically have one dev that spends 15 min a day thinking up changes for it just so that you guys can't say we're ignoring it. Apologies. Please enjoy frost and fire as we clearly understand them and remember arcane fondly from WoD when you guys were viable."

Frost and Fire have more than just ST damage going for them: they have relatively smooth game play with a clear connection to stats and spec mechanics. Arcane is lacking in that and has since Legion started (ie: when it was built around quickening and then they removed quickening and changed nothing else) and it's looking like it's going to be even worse in BfA.

I'm salty about this now.
So it's going to be another whole expansion of arcane being bad in raids is it?

At least it was fun mechanically in Legion.

What's its niche in BFA? I struggle to understand.
As a new Arcane player on live, I was really excited to see if they changed anything in the beta. Now I'm just sad. I'm completely okay with losing Mark of Alun'eth or whatever, but what the heck is the change to arcane missiles and the triple stack procs? Why the AoE change? C'mon, of course I find something I enjoy besides my DK and they push it into the dirt. :(
05/02/2018 10:29 PMPosted by Ianarion

What's its niche in BFA? I struggle to understand.


That's the problem - we don't know the niche. So far, it seems to have good burst AoE with Arcane Explosion, but once you go out of mana, you have nothing. So, there is no way to actually sustain your AoE. Also, range on AoE is even smaller, so hope you have a good healer.
I just don't know what the end game is here for them.

This is the third expac in a row where arcane gets reworked. Legion made it worse than WoD when Quickening was removed. Now BfA is going to apparently turn the Meme Mage spec into something NO ONE wants to play.

The simplicity of what it seems it's going to be makes me think they want a brainless mage spec for casuals and new comers to play. Is that the end game?

Or is it to ruin the spec to the point that they have one less spec they have to worry about balancing/tuning/developing/maintaining?
Well, I'm one of those casuals (when it comes to mages, at least), and I'm unimpressed with the BfA Arcane design. I'm not sure the Legion design is the best I've seen - I liked the old Mastery (more mana=more damage) and the system back then too, but this new system is terrible. AoE builds stacks but there's no AoE that's affected by them seems odd, and Arcane Missiles having no interaction with stacks at all aside from more expensive Blasts proccing more free Missiles feels pretty dumb.

At first I thought that maybe one was supposed to sustain by using Missiles, but that's not the case. Then I thought maybe you were supposed to use them while moving, or could at least talent for that, until I found that the talent only lets you move when casing procced ones (and not ones from the Rule of Three). So there went that idea. Now so far as I can tell being able to cast Missiles at will is basically a trap for newbies.
I do not enjoy the present rotation of Arcane. Clearcasting is ridiculously clunky, and Missiles as a mana conservation mechanic is very weak. Our only real damage is through 4-charged Arcane Blasts, Arcane Explosion feels worthless (and detrimental due to mana cost and position requirements) to use, and the inability to use ANY of the active talents on the entire talent tree just depresses me.

The 'new' mastery feels awful. Arcane Blast and Barrage being the only spells affected just means the entire rest of the kit won't scale, and any talents that don't directly buff those two spells will be worthless.

I want to feel like my spells have meaning, and mindless arcane blast 4x, barrage dumping with intermittent useless missiles casts to 'conserve mana' doesn't give me a whole lot to work with. Honestly, if ever there was a spec that really needed a redesign, I would argue that Arcane is the winner of that spot. I don't feel like a Mage who is unleashing the devastating power of the Arcane anymore, I feel like a mage throwing my hands in the air and yelling like I just don't care. (Except I do, that's why I'm here writing this).

In it's present condition, I can see no reason to tell a friend looking to play a mage that they should even consider trying Arcane over Frost or Fire for any aspect of the game.

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