Right, so with all the ability bloat talk i'll just go ahead and list my take on it. I know mages aren't in a huge problem in reguards to bloat but i'll still do it because it's the class i'm most familiar with. The aim of this is not only to reduce abillity bloat but also to make it easier for Blizzard to balance between the three specs in terms of DPS.
DISCLAIMER: Any numbers or cooldowns are simply an example and not to be taken as balanced. Any balance passes shall be left to Blizzard after much QA and testing so don't come crying X ability is OP. Numbers can always be changed.
So to start off lets get the basics out of the way:
- Frostfire Bolt only available to unspecced mages. Chosing a spec removes this spell from your spellbook.
- Arcane Explosion is only available to Arcane spec.
- Spellsteal is only available to Arcane spec.
- Fire Blast is only available to Fire spec.
- Flamestrike is only available to Fire spec.
- Living Bomb is only available to Fire spec. This is no longer a talent.
- Ice Lance is only available to Frost spec.
- Blizzard is only available to Frost spec.
- Frost Nova is only available to Frost spec.
- Cone of Cold is only available to Frost spec.
- Frost Bomb is only available to Frost spec. This is no longer a talent.
- Mastery is now the same across all specs and no longer provides the same bonuses.
- Each Armor spell is only available to each respective spec and are now affected by Mastery.
- Burning Soul is now affected by Mastery.
- Evocation is now learned at level 10.
- Dalaran Brilliance removed from spellbook. Now a minor glyph that changes your current Arcane Brilliance's cosmetic effect.
- Alter Time removed from spellbook. Now a minor glyph, effect is canceled if damage done or taken. Doesn't break invisibility.
- Deep Freeze removed from spellbook.
- Pyroblast removed from spellbook.
- Inferno Blast removed.
- Water Elemental removed from Frost spellbook.
- Nova spells available for each spec: Arcane Explosion (Arcane), Blast Wave (Fire), Frost Nova (Frost).
- Arcane Explosion - Deals damage and Slows for 2 seconds (separate Slow effect).
- Blast Wave - Deals damage and dazes. Critical chance increased against burning targets. Each critical strike reduces its cooldown by 1 second.
- Frost Nova - same as now.
- AoE spells available for each spec: Torrential Flux (Arcane), Flamestrike (Fire), Blizzard (Frost).
- Torrential Flux - Your Arcane Barrage now bounces up X additional targets within 20 yards of the target dealing damage on each jump. X equals to the number of Arcane Flux stacks available, consuming them. Typical rotation would be Torrent>Barrage with Blast to maintain the Arcane Charges. Does not stack with Charges so only the primary target triggers the initial jump despite up to four more Barrages being launched due to Charges.
- Flamestrike - Same as now, no cooldown. No longer deals lingering area damage, crits reduce the cooldown on Blast Wave.
- Blizzard - same as now.
- Frontal cone spells available for each spec: Nether Tempest (Arcane), Dragon's Breath (Fire), Cone of Cold (Frost).
- Nether Tempest - applies Nether Tempest to all targets in front of you (like Cone of Cold). Nether Tempest deals damage to all other targets affected by your Nether Tempest over its duration. During Arcane Power the bounces can hit all nearby targets.
- Dragon's Breath - same as now. Detonates Combustion on all targets hit. (more below)
- Cone of Cold - same as now. During Icy Veins cooldown is removed.
- Rune of Power becomes Arcane-only and is reworked. Rune of Power is simply cast as an aura under the mage that also affects nearby allies (visible graphic stays under the mage at all times). Effects are now different:
- Allows casting while moving. While moving spells cost 10% more mana. Likewise it must be recast every 30 seconds to maintain. As the increase in mana stacks with Arcane Charges it is unsustainable to cast any spells while moving with high number of stacks so beware.
- Rune of Power increases in power while stationary every 2 seconds up to 4 stacks. Moving removes one stack per tick instead. Each stack adds the following effects: Increased mana regen by 50%, increased spell power by 5%.
- Rune of Power now shares all of its effects spread across all characters standing in the rune up to four other players. So at 4 stacks (200% mana regen and 20% spellpower) and four other players standing with the mage gets 40% mana regen and 4% spellpower each. Glyph removes the "sharing", Rune's effects are reduced by 50%, no longer loses charges and no longer allows casting while moving.
- Arcane Power increases damage relative to the amount of mana the mage has (20% damage at full mana).
- Arcane Barrage no longer consumes Arcane Charges.
- Arcane Missiles launch a missile every second for 4 seconds. Each tick consumes a stack of Arcane Charge.
- Blink can now consume 4 stacks of Arcane Charge while it is on cooldown to Blink again! Doing so increases its mana cost accordingly.
- Single-target is now Barrage>Blast and using Missiles to clear Charge stacks, you can move while casting but that burns mana and you lose Rune of Power charges. AoE rotation should be 4xArcane Charges and Arcane Flux>Arcane Barrage with the ocasional Arcane Blast to maintain Charges OR maintain Flux while doing your normal single target rotation. You want to be at full mana for Arcane Power cooldown but you no longer need to stay at full mana outside of Arcane Power so burning mana with the simple Barrage>Blast rotation and extensive use of Missiles to regen mana. Managing Rune of Power and Arcane Power is key for maximum damage.
- Combustion reworked. Each non-critical strike now applies a Combustion stack on the target, increasing critical strike chance against that target by 10% per stack. Stacks up to 5 and are displayed as combo points. No limit on targets affected by this.
- Fireball and Pyroblast crits consume a Combustion stack. Each consumed Combustion stack increases Ignite by 100% (not the whole ignite, only from that crit). Dragon's Breath causes all stacks of Combustion to be consumed at once increasing Ignite by up to 500% on the next Fireball or Pyroblast crit.
- Fireblast now grants Heating Up and stacks up to 4. Two stacks of Heating Up change your Fireball into Pyroblast which always detonates a stack of Combustion (two if crit) and is instant.
- Scorch never crits and resets the cooldown of Fireblast. Can be cast while moving.
- Living Bomb works as it does now, critical strikes apply Ignite.
- Normally DPS would consist of Pyroblast>Fireblast>Fireball. Dragon's Breath can be used to clear all Combustions. Scorch is essentially a Combustion generator now, also allowing you to alternate it with Fireblast and fire off Pyroblasts for casting while moving, maintaining Living Bomb as usual. Managing Combustion stacks is the key for maximum damage.
- Chill effect reworked. Now stacks up to three, each stack slowing the target by 15%. Additional applications of Chill consume all stacks to apply Deep Freeze to the target, stunning it for 4 seconds. Failing to do so generates Icycles (typically on bosses or diminishing returns immunity).
- Icycles reworked. Each additional failed application of Chill generates an Icycle and stacks up to 5. Each Icycle empowers your next Ice Lance to hit the target as if it was frozen.
- Frost Bomb reworked. In addition to the detonation, when cast it consumes all Icycles and stores them in the target, launching Empowered Ice Lances at up to 5 nearby targets when it detonates.
- Frostbolt, Mirror Image's Frostbolt, Blizzard ticks, Frost Bomb detonation and Cone of Cold generate Chill.
- Normal DPS rotation is spam frostbolt, prevent wasting Icycles by casting Ice Lance so it doesn't reach 5 stacks. Cast Frost Bomb on cooldown and make sure you have 5 Icycles for max damage. Being able to cast Frostbomb with 5 Icycles while not letting any go to waste outside of its cooldown is key for maximum damage.
15: (lvl15 talents are now at lvl75)
Invocation - same.
Torrent of Mana - NEW. Evocation is now instant, restoring 100% of your mana over 18 seconds and increases spell damage by 12% in its duration.
Incanter's Ward - same.
30: All same
45: All same
60: All same
75: (lvl75 talents are now at lvl90)
Presense of Mind - same.
Blazing Speed - same.
Ice Flows - reworked, you passively gain a stack of Ice Flows every 20 seconds, allowing to cast the next spell while moving and is not consumed if you don't move and "stacks" with Rune of Power.
90: (lvl90 talents are now at lvl15)
Elemental - new spell that allows you to summon an Elemental of your spec. Arcane gets a Mana Wraith which is very low health but sports a mana shield, its normal attack is a channeled spell that deals damage and drains a minor amount of mana to maintain its own shield and at maximum mana all mana is sent to the mage, able to cast a single-target Nether Tempest. Fire gets a Fire Elemental that casts Firebolts, casts Flamestrike when the mage casts Blast Wave and casts Blast Wave when mage casts Flamestrike. Frost gets Water Elemental like it is now.
Battle Mage - your main attack spell (Arcane Blast, Fireball, Frostbolt) is now cast from your weapon while moving. This also means its damage and casting speed are modified by the weapon's stats (slow weapons deal more damage but cast slower) and these spells can no longer be interrupted or silenced but disarm will prevent you from casting it. This includes attack animation for that spell, having it come out of the weapon instead of hands.
Shield-Warden - [this is essentially a tanking talent] You can now cast a mage Siege Barrier on yourself which reduces damage taken relative to shield's power (higher shield = less dmg taken). The Siege Barrier shield is empowered by your spec mechanics (Rune of Power, Combustion or Icycles), causing them to sustain the Siege Barrier instead. The mage's damage is no longer increased by those spec mechanics as they now work to empower the shield. Rune of Power extends the benefits of the shield across 4 nearby players as explained above (glyph still applies). Combustion causes all additional Ignites and Pyroblasts to increase the shield instead of damaging the target. Each Empowered Ice Lance is now essentially a DK's Bone Shield further reducing damage taken per hit, Frost Bomb can only be cast on yourself, damaging everyone around and giving you all the consumed Icycles. You are allowed to select Tanking Role in LFG with this talent selected.
Mastery now increases the power of the Armor spells and Burning Soul.
Capping Burning Soul to 100% through Mastery might be similar to expertise hard-cap for tanks.
Mage Armor increases the duration of Arcane Power, increases base mana regen and decreases magic damage taken.
Molten Armor increases combustion bonus damage over 100%.
Frost Armor decreases the cooldown of Icy Veins and increases its duration.
Most of the simplification came from locking some spells into their specs.
You can see how Shield Warden changes depending on which spec you're using.
I've changed mana regen talents into lvl15 because it helps you get to know the basics of your character first, Presense of Mind is not very useful at lower levels, not to mention new players will have trouble getting off instant polymorphs in the panic of pvp.
The "best" talents are now at lvl90 as theu should,
Obviously there should be hilariously bad things written here which i miss the flaws while writing this post. But hope you like it :3