Here's the first part of my long analysis.
Generality of mage.
I won't go with all actual problem: scaling, spec disparity, etc.
But I will start with 2 things being said by Blizzard: the remove of the "reset" ability and a rework around rotation to reduce button number.
In short, the end of reset ability mean the disappearing of Alter Time and Cold Snap for mage. It's not really a surprise as they always have been doubtful about this sort of spell. There still be a possibility that they keep them, more or less.
A simplification of the rotation is a good thing. Less spell means that only the essential will be kept, leading to a better identity of each spec. Actually, mage is already in a good spot but with less shared spell like bomb it can only be better. It's what I through.
Mage's talent are good example of both good and bad design.
They're designed like a cross-word game: utility horizontally and spec school vertically. So for RP purpose, it's possible to nearly only choose fire or arcane talent.
We have: movement, damage's reduction, area control, survivability, multi-dot/aoe and game-play.
The 4th row are good, they're balanced with the exception of PoM. But it's a fire problem witch is too mush dependent of Pyro's damage and Ignite.
The bombs problem.
From a good design idea, they came out with more detrimental effect than good. There's balanced around target number and not player choice or game-play. This lead to reinforce the feeling of homogeneity as that take more and more space. And the rotation have ended resolving around them, like level 90. Frost bomb isn't playable as Fire. Nether tempest is a must have as Frost.The level 90.
They also have the purpose to smooth damage output but it can be done otherwise.
For me, part of the problem come from the fact that they change the base game play. It result in having not 3 spec, but 27 with bomb choice.
I also think part of the problem is that it increase damage. Why not baking this 15% into spell damage directly ?
- Level 75 and 90 should be wiped off.
- Level 45 and 60 should move to 60 and 75 respectively. This 2 row are more end-game game-play than progression.
- At level 45, AOE talent could be added: Arcane Explosion, a Fire spell and Blizzard. They will be filler spell for AOE situation.
- At level 90, it could be Armor talent's for high-end number balance.
My idea resolve around the fact that we already have 2 AOE talent that are equivalent in DPS but different for there use: Blizzard and Arcane Explosion. It only need a fire spell with a cast time to make it an in-between the instant and the 8s channel, like a cast bomb that explode immediately on all target around (like frost bomb but in fire).Armors talents.
But they need some spec interaction: Arcane charge generation, haste buff for Fire and mastery buff for Frost.
I have explained it in my previous post. I will detail it here.
The actual offensive bonus need to be include in each spec. It's already the case because each spec use his specific armor.
The defensive bonus need to be more balanced and adding some old but good secondary effect.
more later with Glyph then spec ...
- frost armor -- reduce aoe damage and slow enemy
- mage armor -- reduce the duration of harmful magic effect and have a chance to knock-back enemy.
- molten armor -- reduce physical damage and have inflict small damage to enemy