I posted this on the Blizz Damage Dealing forum and it's not really getting any traffic (perhaps I just can't take a hint...). I was hoping it would prompt some discussion, so I'll bring it here too.
The two main things I like about the spec and why.
The “pyroblast slot machine”
I love randomly getting free instant cast pyroblasts. This has always felt like one of the most effective parts of the kit since its Wrath redesign. The addition of heating up has only made this better by removing some of the frustration associated with a crit dry spell. Totally awesome!
A mixture of direct damage and DOTs
It’s interesting to me to have a few DOTs and conditionals to watch. It adds flavor to the spec and I like managing the DOTs while trying to maximize my nukes as well.
The things I dislike and why.
Over dependence on critical strike
I understand that the design is for fire to be the crit spec, but by having several of our core mechanics dependant on it we seem to get scaling issues every expansion cycle. Along with the flat damage increase of the spell critical strike, crit also affects the following fire mage abilities: ignite, more crits more big ignites ticking; pyroblast!, more crit means more free instant pyroblasts; combustion, bigger ignites mean bigger combustions. By having several different abilities affected by crit it has a multiplicative effect on fire mage damage. As a result it seems like when our crit increases our damage increases exponentially.
Frustrating DPS cooldown
Combustion is clunky. It is far too frustrating having to wait for the stars to align to get that good combustion off. I’m not convinced that a conditional DPS cooldown is right for the class. I know that it adds randomness and an element of skill requirement, but in my opinion, the ends don’t justify the means. At higher crit levels this becomes less of a problem, but then the spec start to quickly become overpowered. This does not mean that I think the spec needs a click it and forget it cooldown, but I think there are better alternatives to combustion.
Overly complex and random AOE
I’m going to be honest here. Maybe this means I’m a baddie, I’m sure folks will let me know. I kind of miss the days of casting flamestrike, then channeling blizzard. Here’s what I have to do currently.
- Cast flamestrike,
- apply living bomb,
- spread living bomb with inferno blast,
- maybe keep casting on a single target and hope for a crit, cast combustion IF it’s off cooldown AND the mobs have enough health left,
- run into melee range and spam arcane explosion IF combustion’s on cooldown OR it’s not worth casting combustion.
This is pretty complex and if combustion’s not on cooldown or you are unlucky with crits, the damage is going to be pretty low.
Suggestions of possible solutions
Give heating up a flat chance to proc that never changes.
This would remove one layer of crit affecting our damage and help even us out over the course of an expansion. In addition it would give the designers another knob to turn when tuning the damage of the spec.
I know, I know! But hear me out. There are many possibilities for interesting, but less random and frustrating DPS cooldowns.
- A toggled ability with a cooldown that once triggered begins increasing your chance to crit while at the same time dealing increasing damage to the mage.
- An ability that causes fireball to apply a stacking debuff the duration of which is refreshed, but decreases with each additional stack. When the debuff duration wears off, a DOT, the magnitude of which depends of the debuff stacks, is applied.
- Instantly absorb your dots off a target. DOTs are removed but spellpower is increased by x for each dot absorbed for y seconds.
- Combine your mirror images into a flame familiar that damages your target.
- Conjure a wall of flame that increases the damage of any fire spell passing through it.
Rework combustion it to make it less random.
Flat damage, damage per DOT on target, based on a meter that fills as the target takes fire damage, anything that’s less random and frustrating. I understand that the spec is supposed to feel random, but I'm not convinced that our DPS cooldown is the right place for it.
Add another ranged, fire AOE spell.
A channeled spell that damages enemies in your flamestrike, a long dot that flamestrike spreads to all enemies it hits, a fire bomb that explodes and hits surrounding targets.