*PvP* [FEEDBACK] Frost/Fire Mage

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
Let me start off this post by saying I’m aware Frost Mages were viable and powerful in certain 3v3 compositions, dungeons, raids, certain classes 1v1s ect… this post isn’t about how good mages are but what I believe is a fundamental flaw in their playstyle making them unfun to play and incredibly frustrating to play against. My opinions have been formed from many hours on the Beta for BFA and live Legion realms.

Current frost mage playstyle revolves around instant cast damage and procs in order to do impactful damage. The reason I believe this is a problem is it leads to moments of tremendous, unavoidable burst followed by incredibly low sustained damage spells used to gain back your moment of unavoidable burst. This is both frustrating for the mage as well as his opponents.

As a Frost Mage In PvP one of two things can happen when all your damage is ready:

-You kill your opponent (Frustrating for your opponent because most of the damage is ranged, and instant cast which are essentially unavoidable.)
-Your opponent lives (Frustrating for the mage because you feel like your “kill window” was lost and now you must spend an unfun 30-60 seconds “turtling”, running, and waiting for your impactful damage spells to recharge and come off cooldown)

Current examples showcasing this problem:

Throughout Legion, a Frost Mage’s only viable 3v3 composition was Rogue, Mage, Priest. This composition works incredibly well with Frost Mage for multiple reasons. First, the composition’s win condition is “Go’s”, which is essentially your turn to CC and burst your opponent’s hp to zero. Frost Mage fits perfectly with this role, you can store your instant damage for when you land CC, use your burst and try to take someone down quickly. If it works, great you won the game. If it doesn’t, you essentially “Turtle”, by spamming out polymorph, frost nova and snares, and wait until you have instant “Go” damage and crowd control diminishing returns available again. This results in a very scripted gameplay where you rely heavily on locking down the entire enemy team or spamming out unstoppable instant damage.

This has been essentially the only viable comp for Frost Mage throughout all of Legion. This is because no other class besides rogue provide the same opportunity to consistently rotate between “Go” and “Turtle”. Frost Mages lack the consistent damage and lockdown needed to pair well with other melee and caster classes which has been a problem for us all expansion.

What can be done?

I believe it’s essential to shift damage out of instant cast abilities and reward players for getting hard casted spells off in PvP. When casted damage matters players can differentiate themselves and feel incredibly rewarded for doing a good job kiting, avoiding interrupts and positioning themselves well when channeling multiple spells (Frostbolt). As it stands now you can be left alone casting Frostbolt after Frostbolt and unless you’re getting lucky with Fingers of Frost procs and Brain Freeze your damage is negligible. It’s a satisfying feeling being rewarded for out positioning your opponent, faking your opponent’s interrupts and being a true threat of a caster when left free. It’s not a good feeling to feel like your damage is binary and 100% reliant on lucky procs or instant cast cooldowns. This also allows for counterplay from your opponent, giving them an opportunity to save interrupts for key windows of burst, instead of watching you jump around spamming instant casts.

Fire Mage

Like Frost Mage, Fire Mage has a similar problem, damage has been slowly shifted out of Fireball and Scorch for Fire Blast, Pyroblast, and Phoenix Flames. Fireball damage has become so low abilities like Dragon’s Breath do essentially equal damage while simultaneously having the benefit of being an AOE/Disorient. Essentially every instant cast spell Fire Mages have hits harder than Fireball, including the guaranteed crit Fireblast. Although interesting, talents like Pyroclasm are essentially non-viable in small numbers PvP, the cast time just isn’t feasible with the amount of interrupts, stuns and uptime melee have. I’d really like to see Fireball damage brought up even if that means some of the damage is removed from abilities like Fire Blast.
Important Note

While I’d love it if caster’s dealt most of their damage with abilities that had a cast time, it’s unrealistic. Melee mobility has increased a tremendous amount over the years and as a result caster’s have needed more instant damage in order to compete. With that said I think there’s a world where there’s a healthy balance. It’s not a good feeling to cast spells that once felt mighty like frostbolt and fireball and have them barely move the target’s hp. I really want to experience that feeling without having to spec into abilities that have what I consider an unrealistic cast time (Pyroclasm, Glacial Spike).

Your thoughts?

I really want to hear what others have to say on this topic, am I alone in thinking this way?
05/18/2018 05:49 PMPosted by Venruki
I’d really like to see Fireball damage brought up even if that means some of the damage is removed from abilities like Fire Blast.


This seems like a reasonable change that would have the desired effect. From a PVE standpoint I don't think it would be an issue. The main role of fireblast in PVE is to convert heating up into hot streak when outside of combustion, and to continue crit chains while in combustion.

In this sense, the damage of fireblast is irrelevant. Seeing fireblasts hit harder than fireball doesn't make much sense. I'd like to see fireblast damage reduced, and a fireball damage increase to compensate.
+1 bump, the constant proc stlye may be fun to simply have fun interactive things come up while in combat - but you're right, it does dull out the actual meaning behind the damage. Great post ^^
05/18/2018 06:19 PMPosted by Taein
+1 bump, the constant proc stlye may be fun to simply have fun interactive things come up while in combat - but you're right, it does dull out the actual meaning behind the damage. Great post ^^


Referring to how some instant damage spells do more than cast based damage
I agree I want to see caster's rewarded for actually casting a spell and not feel it's pointless. Not to mention it increases the skill level instead of just hitting instant damage. If we are not going to be bringing back spells/abilities then skill level needs to come back in other places to differentiate a bad player like me vs somebody of Venruki's caliber.
Would love to see more damage taken from instant cast spells and make frostbolt/fireball a much bigger percent of your overall damage especially in pvp. I agree it just feels more rewarding to play and play against and I think opens up more of those fun windows were you feel good for faking the interrupt and getting some extra casts off instead of it not really mattering.

As a side note, can we please get rid of Rune of Power? at least for fire and frost. It is a never picked talent for pvp and I personally do not like the play style for fire where I just put my rune down, pop combustion and then hit like a wet noodle after rune and combustion are over. I want to pick other abilities like mirror images, which used to be baseline before the pruning.
I don't know if I like having frost mages having to hard cast for damage, that means that potentially you need to have stops for both schools. RMP vs mw double melee in particular turbo it's already hard enough stopping 1 school from a mage so having another school can make it even worse. Mw turbo already has to sit at a pillar all game vs RMP because 1 random sheep and the game can be over.

But I guess if your suggestions are used and frost mages have to hardcast to do big damage than tools such as hex totem will be more effective in stopping damage vs RMP as some comps.
Hey Ven. So, as a player who's basically only played melee I agree about having the "satisfaction" of out positioning your opponent to land casts, but your right. Melee has a lot of mobility to really punish this. I'd like to see casts do more damage with instant casts that can augment them. Like, instead of having the heating up procs for fire, you could do a stacking buff that comes from casting Fireball. I.e. When you cast fireball the cast time of your next Pyroblast is reduced by 25% with crits applying 2 stacks. Stacks up to 4 times. This way here, you cast Fireball to do your damage and then get an instant Pyroblast after a few casts. As many as 4, but as little as 2. This would combo well with Combustion. You'd still have to cast 2 Fireballs to get that instant Pyroblast. This way here you can still save up damage for "go's" if you want, but still have strong consistent damage from casting your Fireballs. Of course, this would require Fireballs damage to be buffed to work correctly.

On the flip side for Frost, bring back Deep Freeze and while a target is affected by Deep Freeze all Frostbolts automatically crit the target. Instead of a shatter thing. To sum it up tho, I don't feel casters shouldn't lose any instant cast abilities, but their "rotation" spells really do need buffed.
Ven,

I agree. Casting should be more rewarding. The issue is that Frostbolt has, by design, become more and more of a 'filler' spell over the years.

What we'd need (short of a complete paradigm shift in design philosophy) is a talent (or talents) that encourage the act of casting, and towards that end what we really ought do here is just throw some ideas at the wall and see what, if anything, sticks.

I will say quickly, however, that the ebb and flow of combat that you described is part of the nature of RMP, and there are other issues with Legion PvP that limited the compositions Frost Mage could excel in. One of those issues is undoubtedly pruning.

For example, God Comp was no good, bordering on useless, for the entirety of Legion because both Frost Mage and Shadow Priest had lost the ability to hold a target in place in any consistent manner.

That aside, what sort of talents can we envisage that would encourage the sort of play style you mentioned? I'm just a casual Frost Mage player (~2200) but I'll start:

A.) A talent, similar in design to Glacial Spike, that removed the icicle component from Ice Lance, but caused Frostbolt to hit harder.

B.) A talent, like Freezing Rain, that empowered Frostbolt's damage during Frozen Orb.

C.) A talent that caused Ice Lance to empower your next Frostbolt so that there was a sort of weaving between the two that had to be done.

D.) A talent that caused Frostbolt to critically strike frozen targets for 2.5x (vs 2x) the damage.

E.) A talent that causes each consecutive Frostbolt to hit harder, stacking up to three times.
I 100% agree with this. For PvP this would be great, though the mage would need a larger buff than they already need right now to deal with the utterly ruinous amounts of mobility present for melee. Even with chill back up to 65% slow when talented, peeling a sub rogue is still not really possible. And peeling anything as fire and arcane currently is not really doable.

Even for PvE I think this is still a great change, since feeling like your damage is coming purely from RnG is not fun. Playing frost feels like you are not at all in control of your damage output outside of a few cooldowns.
BUMP
great post. undeniable points.
every pvp'er i've heard feels the same way about mage and similar situations with other classes. imho, sustained (filler) damage needs to be higher and cd's need to have lower %'s. some of this has been addressed in BfA with higher white dmg and cd's on the gcd, but things mentioned above also need fixing. would prefer less cc/stuns and less passive aoe. hoping more feedback will be taken from these type of expert pvp'ers, and the next couple months will be used to make crucial changes for the betterment of pvp. also that BfA won't just be a large Legion 2.0 patch for $60.
bold prediction here. Blizz won't change it
05/18/2018 06:08 PMPosted by Ralienta
05/18/2018 05:49 PMPosted by Venruki
I’d really like to see Fireball damage brought up even if that means some of the damage is removed from abilities like Fire Blast.


This seems like a reasonable change that would have the desired effect. From a PVE standpoint I don't think it would be an issue. The main role of fireblast in PVE is to convert heating up into hot streak when outside of combustion, and to continue crit chains while in combustion.

In this sense, the damage of fireblast is irrelevant. Seeing fireblasts hit harder than fireball doesn't make much sense. I'd like to see fireblast damage reduced, and a fireball damage increase to compensate.


Heating up is the core mechanic for Fire and it'll always force you into a rotation of casted - instant cast abilities. I don't know why the controllable ignite mechanics like Inferno Blast / Combustion were removed from Fire Mage but the most sensible way to reward casting, to me anyway, is to increase the impact that ignite has on the rotation through either Mastery preferably since that would allow fireball to deal more damage or Hot Streak, by adding scorch to enhanced pyrotechnics and then lowering the initial damage of instant cast abilities. Building and managing ignite was the most rewarding gameplay I found for Mage and haven't really enjoyed it since , so I could be biased.

I agree with the points made and think that you should be rewarded for casting instead of being so heavily invested into rewarding crits. This is a great post though and thank you for taking the time to write it.

Frost could be rewarded more as well but I think ever since the addition of icicles at the end of MoP , that spec has gotten too focused on the system of Fingers of Frost / Icicles / Ice lance that unless something major changes with tuning you'll only see the same repeat iterations of the spec - just with a new ability each time like we saw with "We want to reward casting" but then got Nova into "We want to tone down instant cast damage" and then got Glacial Spike and eventually Ebonbolt as it currently is.
Frost could be rewarded more as well but I think ever since the addition of icicles at the end of MoP , that spec has gotten too focused on the system of Fingers of Frost / Icicles / Ice lance that unless something major changes with tuning you'll only see the same repeat iterations of the spec - just with a new ability each time like we saw with "We want to reward casting" but then got Nova into "We want to tone down instant cast damage" and then got Glacial Spike and eventually Ebonbolt as it currently is.


Glacial Spike is generally not worth it and rarely played in arena. It requires too much setup, and has an unrealistic cast time. In addition you're also gimping a lot of instant burst by losing lance icicles and comet storm.

The problem with Ebonbolt being our hard hitting cast is that it has a cooldown, same issue arises where you effectively run out of damage even though you're free casting. In addition, unfortunately a lot of the damage of Ebonbolt was from the follow up flurry + lance. Often times mages will just cast an Ebonbolt out of line of sight just to get the flurry proc. Gives them guaranteed burst with no threat of being interrupted.
05/18/2018 08:58 PMPosted by Venruki
Frost could be rewarded more as well but I think ever since the addition of icicles at the end of MoP , that spec has gotten too focused on the system of Fingers of Frost / Icicles / Ice lance that unless something major changes with tuning you'll only see the same repeat iterations of the spec - just with a new ability each time like we saw with "We want to reward casting" but then got Nova into "We want to tone down instant cast damage" and then got Glacial Spike and eventually Ebonbolt as it currently is.


Glacial Spike is generally not worth it and rarely played in arena. It requires too much setup, and has an unrealistic cast time. In addition you're also gimping a lot of instant burst by losing lance icicles and comet storm.

The problem with Ebonbolt being our hard hitting cast is that it has a cooldown, same issue arises where you effectively run out of damage even though you're free casting. In addition, unfortunately a lot of the damage of Ebonbolt was from the follow up flurry + lance. Often times mages will just cast an Ebonbolt out of line of sight just to get the flurry proc. Gives them guaranteed burst with no threat of being interrupted.


It was a pretty nasty ability early in the expansion and we just lined it up with Skyfury totem / Serenity but, yeah, it did fall out of favor as a talent and generally wasn't always the greatest option.

What I mean by the cycle though is now you've got Ebonbolt on it's own row, Splitting Ice or Comet Storm right below it, and then Glacial Spike on the last row. Even if you try to take another talent your getting the same result in any of the rows pretty much.

Casting Frost Bolt at any amount of damage gives you the potential to do so much burst (and they've only made it worse in BFA). Without a traditional damage increasing cooldown you'll typically see damage abilities overtuned to compensate for that.

I want to see stronger Frost Bolts but I also don't want to be on the opposite team getting barreled down by them only to see both Fingers of Frost & Brain Freeze proc and ask myself why I'm dying to a filler spell & rng.

Frost Mage gameplay to me is just so far past being rewarded for casting after the addition of more proc based mechanics (Brain Freeze/Flurry, Ebonbolt, Glacial Spike). It should have stayed at deep freeze instead of turning into what it's become.
Didn't Frost at one point have a Glyph that shattered Frostbolt into 3 smaller bolts off 1 cast? Like, it would cast three mini Frostbolts that hit for 40% of the originals damage, which resulted in a flat 20% total damage increase; but it rng'ed the crits more because say, only 1 of the three crit you'd only get 80 + 40 + 40 = 160. Or 2, so 80 + 80 + 40 = 200% (a normal crit). Or, all 3 for 80 + 80 + 80 = 240% (1/5 bigger than a normal crit.) Could bringing something like that back maybe bridge the gap of having casted Frostbolts feel more rewarding? All 4 possible combinations have you doing more than normal damage with each cast, however, 2 suffer from being weaker then a normal Frostbolts regular Crit. So, they buff consistent filler damage, why rnging crit damage, which is what Crit damage is supposed to be. Since Frostbolt isn't something that gets the highest priority to be kicked (unless your in an execute range) something like this could increase your basic rotation's consistent damage and bring a possible flare to the crit side of things too.
The mobility arms race needs to stop and things pulled back so casters won't need to rely on so many instants.
05/18/2018 08:11 PMPosted by Rith
Even with chill back up to 65% slow when talented, peeling a sub rogue is still not really possible


If you could counter every class what would be even the point.
05/19/2018 12:11 AMPosted by Bigbobam
Didn't Frost at one point have a Glyph that shattered Frostbolt into 3 smaller bolts off 1 cast? Like, it would cast three mini Frostbolts that hit for 40% of the originals damage, which resulted in a flat 20% total damage increase; but it rng'ed the crits more because say, only 1 of the three crit you'd only get 80 + 40 + 40 = 160. Or 2, so 80 + 80 + 40 = 200% (a normal crit). Or, all 3 for 80 + 80 + 80 = 240% (1/5 bigger than a normal crit.) Could bringing something like that back maybe bridge the gap of having casted Frostbolts feel more rewarding? All 4 possible combinations have you doing more than normal damage with each cast, however, 2 suffer from being weaker then a normal Frostbolts regular Crit. So, they buff consistent filler damage, why rnging crit damage, which is what Crit damage is supposed to be. Since Frostbolt isn't something that gets the highest priority to be kicked (unless your in an execute range) something like this could increase your basic rotation's consistent damage and bring a possible flare to the crit side of things too.


It was fine for damage from what I remember but I forget when the glyph was removed to make any comparisons. I'm pretty sure all 3 bolts triggered shatter though which was the main benefit.

05/19/2018 01:55 AMPosted by Riidatar
05/18/2018 08:11 PMPosted by Rith
Even with chill back up to 65% slow when talented, peeling a sub rogue is still not really possible


If you could counter every class what would be even the point.


I don't think he's asking to counter every class through slows - just have one of the few tools of defense against melee to not be ignored completely against some.
I wonder if changing up the honor talent Deep Shatter would work.

Maybe:
-> Frostbolt deals 100% damage (down from 150%)
-> Frostbolt, Blizzard, and Water Jet can no longer proc FoF (Frozen Orb & pet nova, however, still can)

Blizzard did say, maybe 2-3 weeks ago, they were open to feedback on War Mode & the honor talents.

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