IntroAight, as requested on the PvPTR thread earlier, I will be giving my own feedback about Frostmages in 5.4. The opinions on this post are my own and I will try to cut down Frostmages into grasslevel in theory, so that it should be easy to read for any level of player.
A short about me, I am an enthusiast theorycrafter. In short, I love asking "What was the logic someone thought when making this", "What drove the person doing this" and "What does this affect in the whole big scheme".
For this post, I've done about 25-30h of PTR testing.
-Great setup potential for damage
-Great on-demand burst
-Rather squishy with only one real defensive cooldown
-Zero damage outside of on-demand burst (the 1 out of 10 games midgame proc fishing can be good)
-No real damage if not set up at all
Alright, so.. Above I've cut down Frostmage into easy-to-recognize words and sentences and I believe we all can agree to. Currently in 5.3, Frostmages have the damage to kill a target who doesn't have defensive cooldowns left and is not getting peeled at all with the short cooldowns of Mages. This damage is easily seen and with defensive cooldowns or peeling, is easily stopped or completely negated. This is why every single meaningful damage Frostmage puts out has to be set up; which is done by controlling the enemy healer by either Poly/CS'ing him or going on him with Deep Freeze. Any little interrupt, pushback, stun; any control effect really will stop your team-mate from dying.
Playing comps like FMP gives you a massive control potential aswell; Deep into PoM RoF/Poly into CS into Nova/Rof/Poly and then your partner takes over for a while and your control is off from DR already.
Mages don't do any damage at all outside of the on-demand burst. Frostbolt casting is in most of the cases not worth it or impossible and you need to save your procs for damage later when you and your partner is ready to go. Some rare cases, you can sit midfield and spamcast Frostbolt and fish procs and can force alot of stuff yourself, but this should never happen in theory.
Mages are also very squishy but that is covered mostly with the mobility and control. But Mages are still very squishy and often when you see two classes connecting on to the mage even for a split second, that's Ice Block forced.
I won't be going into Datamined info, only what is said on us.battle.net PTR Blogs.
- Frost Bomb now deals 70% damage to players (up from 60%).
- Living Bomb now deals 85% damage to players (up from 70%).
- Nether Tempest now deals 85% damage to players (up from 70%).
- Temporal Shield now also reduces damage taken by 15% while active in addition to existing effects.
- Glyph of Blink now increases distance travelled with the Blink spell by 8 yards (up from 5 yards).
- Glyph of Remove Curse now increases the damage dealt by 15% after successfully removing a curse (up from 10%).
- Glyph of Spellsteal now heals the Mage for 5% of their maximum health after successfully stealing a spell (up from 3%).
- Mastery: Frostburn has been redesigned. Fingers of Frost now increases the damage of Ice Lance by an additional 2%, Brain Freeze increases the damage of the instant cast Frostfire Bolt by 2%, and damage done by the Mage's Water Elemental is increased by 2%.
The effect of change
I will be covering only the Mastery change, because the rest are just small and marginal changes.
What Mastery change does to Frostmages?
- Casting is yet again worthless, Frostbolt can be, without any exaggeration, removed from the bars. My Frostbolt does 25k crits on Deep on PTR. Ice Lance is around the same
- Deep Freeze no longer increases Frostmages damage. Bursting into Deep is gone
- On-Demand burst has been lowered to cover almost nothing, without any kind of compensation
Because; procs are procs, they are RNG. There's two abilities that gives us FoF procs on-demand and those are Orb and Freeze. Bomb spells give us RNG Frostfire bolts. Frostbolt and Blizzard give us RNG FoF procs. So there's 1min CD and 24sec CD that gives us reliably procs and rest is just RNG.
What was the answer from Holinka to this?
"That's being terribly dramatic"
So, let me say this again. Frostmages have been built around on-demand damage and control. With this Mastery change, the on-demand damage has been taken away.
What does this mean then? Frostmage is now a procmachine, heavily relying on procs to have a chance to kill. A Frostmage is no longer in control of the damage he puts out. It can be double FoF and one Brainfreeze proc into double FoF and 5 Brainfreeze procs.
On live 5.3 currently, if all cooldowns and trinkets forced and no peeling is available, Deep + Orb + Alter Timed procs gives you almost guaranteed kill. Just a Deep wont be guaranteed, most of the times your target stays alive. Also, once your killtarget/healer is out of the control, the killwindow is shut down, and you have to start building the killwindow again.
On 5.4 PTR, my Deep + Orb + procs with Alter time cuts about 50% of someones HP. Even a Treantstun that I blink afterwards reduces the damage I do into Deep + CS to about 20%.
My own thinking why this was changed is because of low-mid experienced players. Deep + Orb is a damn powerfull skill currently and inexperienced players have huge trouble surviving this. This is why you see twice a day streams with titles such as "1v2 mage" and those are multiglad/r1 level players who play at 1k-1.5k MMR against players who have no idea how to use defensive CDs or stop the damage.
My own opinion how to change the damage that Frostmages can dish out:
Mastery: Frostburn. Passive
Your Frostbolt, Magebomb spells, Ice Lance and Frostfire Bolt gain Frostburn effect when casted on a Frozen target, increasing the damage done to the target by n%
What does this change you might ask? Well, for starters Frozen Orb lost it's Mastery completely, resulting in about 15k Orb crits maximum.
Secondly, compared to current 5.4 PTR Mastery, it still promotes casting and isn't such a "magekiller" gamechanging.
Also, Deep Freeze will remain as it is: A damage cooldown that gives Frostmages the required killwindow building gamestyle which is still the reason you might want to have a mage in the team.
I hope I've cleared out my opinion clearly and I do want to see a slight nerf to Frostmages damage, but it shouldn't be on the massive scale it currently is on PTR. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated and I encourage the discussion about Frostmages PTR state kept on one thread to keep the voices of the community in one place, so it's easier for Blizzard employees to read it (yes they've said they read Arena Junkies aswell)