Simply put, Mages are a broken class right now.
Class mechanics need an overhaul in an attempt to balance Mages with both buffs and nerfs.
There are several contributing factors:
1) Novas are far too powerful and plentiful.
Playing against Mages, no matter how awful the Mages are, will always be miserable and no fun so long as Mages have so many instant aoe roots at their disposal.
2) Mages are too powerful when the healer is crowd controlled, and not nearly powerful enough when not.
This has to do with dispels and the momentum we're able to create through casting opportunities when novas etc aren't dispelled.
3) You are not rewarded at all for casting frostbolt.
By successfully kiting and juking, you can cast frostbolt for a massive 5500 noncrit damage on players with 3500 resil. Mages are not rewarded adequately for being able to play well enough to get off Frostbolts; risk vs reward problem.
4) Extreme devaluation of polymorph on anything but the healer.
The abundance and availability of dispels from healers, interrupts from dps, loss of r1 frostbolt and winter's chill, and increased cast time on polymorph make using polymorph on anything but the healer a waste of time unless the healer is cc'd by someone else. It's just almost never worthwhile; another risk vs reward problem.
5) Mages are GCD locked while being trained.
Mage defenses are all activated abilities that require the use of a global cooldown (ice barrier, mana shield, cone of cold root, frost nova, mage ward); contrast this to warlocks whose defenses are far more passive in nature (damage mitigation from soul link etc). This leaves little time to do damage of any sort besides Ice Lance on Fingers of Frost procs or on an Improved Cone of Cold target. This is also a contributing factor to Frostbolt not really being worthwhile to cast while trained.
6) The Shatter talent change from WotLK to Cataclysm
forces Mages to gear for crit in order to do deal semi-reliable damage that is already insufficient in arena. This severely cuts back on haste and other stats that Mages would have been collecting instead (when Shatter was just a flat +50% crit chance).
7) Time is a Mage's enemy
. Mage usefulness slowly expires with time due to cooldown dependency and the extremely long downtime between cold snaps.
(numbers are examples; changes made with as little PvE impact as possible)
1) Completely change Shattered Barrier so that it reduces incoming damage by 20% for 8 seconds after breaking; remove nova effect.
The current Shattered Barrier promotes further use of Ice Lance over Frostbolt while being trained, and the amount of instant novas available is currently absurd.
2) Change Improved Cone of Cold talent so that it roots the opponent only when the Cone of Cold slow is dispelled, change the root so that it is undispellable and 3sec instead of 4sec.
This further cuts back on instant
roots/peels and the promotion of Ice Lance while being trained, but it also makes it so that Mages aren't so badly punished by spam dispels. It also makes Cone of Cold more dynamic and makes Mages put more thought into the use of the ability.
3) Add a new major glyph ("Glyph of Quickening" or whatever) that reduces the base global cooldown of Ice Barrier, Cone of Cold, and Frost Nova to 1sec
with a .5sec gcd cap for the abilities (meaning gcd will be affected by haste). This essentially serves to shave off a combined 2-3 seconds every 30sec so that Mages can actually cast an additional Frostbolt here or there while being trained without actually lowering the cast time of Frostbolt.
4) Add new ability to frost talent tree choice or frost talents that functions as a modified R1 Frostbolt
: .5sec cast, no cooldown, no damage or very very minimal damage; applies debuff that snares the target. When used, the ability lowers the cast time of the Mage's next Polymorph by .3sec, and when dispelled increases the damage of the Mage's frostbolts by 20% for 10sec.
The new ability's debuff wouldn't override the Frostbolt or Cone of Cold debuff, but instead both could exist simultaneously on same target. For reference, noncrit frostbolts currently do 5.5k damage on 3500 resil targets, so a 20% frostbolt increase in damage would just be 6.6k frostbolts. This lowers Mage susceptibility to dispels, provides a minor cover debuff for Polymorph, and allows Polymorphs to actually land more often.
5) Reduce the base cooldown of Cold Snap from 8 minutes to 6 minutes.
This hopefully will make it actually feel like time is less the enemy than it currently is; Rogue Preparation got the same treatment.
Net Effect of Proposed Changes:
1) Less instant novas / peels.
2) Less Ice Lance opportunities.
3) Less susceptibility to spam dispels.
4) Less awful in really long games.
5) Greater reward for casting Frostbolt.
6) Polymorph more effective.
WoW forums link: http://us.battle.net...ic/2065610125#1