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Mage Changes in 3.2.2

Arcane Blast is getting a mana cost reduction and the ability to have a fourth debuff. This means that you’ll be able to cast four Arcane Blasts for grand sum of 60% additional damage. The mana debuff removes a lot of the mana problems that Arcane mages have had (although when I was Arcane I never really saw a problem except for lengthy fights) and adds more damage to the DPS focused spec.

See, Arcane is more of a DPS spec. An Arcane Mage can pop every cooldown they have and produce a high amount of burst damage inflating their DPS. Then their damage cools off and they do a marginal amount of constant raid damage that relies on procs and the RNG more than anything else. If we compare that to raiding’s current favorite spec, Fire, we’ll see that damage is more important than DPS in longer fights which dominate the current endgame.

Now, let’s ask the question: do we save mana with the changes? The answer is: yes! A fourth cast will cause another spell to enter the rotation, but you’re at the max cost being 490% with the new changes for the fourth cast and with the current iteration being at 500% for the 3rd cast.

“Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it.”

You’re going to see Missile Barrage proc a lot more often now. Now you’re going to max your Arcane Blast stacks at 4 and Missile Barrage now has a 40% (up from 20%) chance to proc. Think about that for a minute. You have almost a 1 in 2 chance for it to go off each cast and you’ll probably want to cast Arcane Blast 4 or more times with the mana changes. Not to mention it makes Arcane Missile completely free.

This doesn’t really increase DPS per se, depending on how often you’ll need to reset your stacks. However, it does help with the day to day life of an Arcane Mage. You’ll almost always have the proc available so you can reset your stacks at anytime with a high DPS spell and the mana cost will help ease a lot of the mana problems Arcane Mages have.

So what will come of Arcane Mages? Well, it looks like the rotation will now only contain two spells and be much more simplified. Arcane Barrage is now a useless spell only bound to the keyboard for moving fights where you need an instant cast. You still need it for movement, but otherwise you’re not going to be seeing it much.

This does dumb down Arcane Mages which are known for their complexity and versatility. However, it opens a specialization that was abandoned many patches ago by making it easier. The increased DPS and mana conservation changes aren’t anything legendary and won’t break open the damage meters with this change alone. Instead, you’ll be seeing the spec as something that’s easier to work with that has less headaches involved.

Should you switch over to Arcane when 3.2.2 hits? For right now, I would say stick with Fire. At least you’ll still have better scaling with crit/hit/spell power and these changes are only really to make the rotation easier. Fire also brings a lot of raid utility, something that Arcane still sorely lacks. Arcane could become viable as different loot and different set pieces enter the game.