Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ice Blog is over...for now.

I didn't really want to admit it for a while; but, when my guild got into Heroic modes, I had a feeling it would happen. I'm no longer playing Frost.

But, as it happens, it wasn't because I needed to play Fire or Arcane to stay competitive; in actuality, my Frost DPS was just fine. Actually, it was because we needed a healer.

Just as we stepped into Heroic modes, two of our three main raid healers quit the group. Most of our raid can heal, but I stepped forward and took the job.

Now we're 4/8 H, and Hagara's days are numbered. But, unfortunately, it looks like my Frost Mage is going to be on hold until Cataclysm.

What I'm wondering is, what does this mean for Ice Blog? I know I have like, zero readers; but, the significance of my chronicles of Frost Maging are to document competitive PvE play of what's considered one of the least competitive (if not THE least competitive) PvE spec in World of Warcraft. When Mists of Pandaria launches, all that changes - theoretically, every spec should be even, and players won't be forced to change specs because they will be thousands of DPS behind if they don't.

Will Ice Blog be relevant in a game where, theoretically, the best players can play competitive Frost (as opposed to right now, where they rank on World of Logs by having Dragonwrath and a full set of heroic gear)? I guess only time will tell.

As for right now, here are my current thoughts on the state of MoP's Frost. Now, admittedly, I haven't played in the Beta yet; but, here's what I know:

Frost is looking to change dramatically. Now, it looks like Haste will be our most important secondary stat. Not only is Frost Armor going to grant us Haste, but they are encouraging us to stack Haste by making Frost Bomb's cooldown and countdown scale down with Haste rating. This also allows the game designers to keep Icy Veins in its current state while synergizing with Frost PvE much better than it was before.

Now, I can't say whether or not rolling Nether Tempest/Living Bomb on just a few targets will roll in tons and tons of Brain Freeze procs (though I suspect they might); however, I can tell you that with Frost's resource management grossly oversimplified (Brain Freeze can't benefit from Fingers of Frost, Deep Freeze can't deal damage anymore), it's going to be a simple matter of finding out whether Ice Lance of Frostfire Bolt deals more damage. After that, our rotation is going to be quite simple:

1 Pet Freeze
2. Frozen Orb
3. Bomb (refresh)
4. (Ice Lance/Frostfire Bolt - whichever one does more damage)
5 (Frostfire Bolt/ Ice Lance - whichever one does less damage)
6. Frostbolt.

This might look similar to our rotation right now; but, with Fingers of Frost only interacting with one spell in our rotation instead of three, and Brain Freeze having no synergy with Fingers of Frost, it's going to be a case of "Casting (spell-x) is always better than (spell-y), all the time."  It'll just be a matter of which "Bomb" talent to take.

Crit Cap looks like it's going possible in MoP; but, we'll have to reforge for a lot more Crit to get it (31.05% after raid buffs; so, 21.05% with Crit buff + Molten Armor, and 26.05% with just Crit buff....this is, of course, assuming Food/Flask/Kings). On the other hand, if it winds up being the best way to play the spec, we won't have to depend on having Warlock/Fire Mage to be competitive. In fact,  Mages bring the crit buff, AND 10% Spell Power so we apparently won't have to depend on anyone!

If crit really does become the way to go, it probably won't be a viable gearing option until the second raiding tier (That was the first time *I* was able to get such high amounts of crit in my gear...even though I didn't really need it), so only time will tell. But, regardless of what the optimal stat weights are, Frost's rotation appears to have been dumbed down dramatically.

Here's what I'm predicting/hoping will happen, come patch 5.0: Frost will be competitive. It will be as good as Fire and Arcane. Maybe even...better? And, to boot, it'll be much easier than Fire, and even Arcane. In fact, it'll be so easy that it needs to be nerfed...but wait! Since all specs are supposed to deal competitive DPS, Frost's damage can't be nerfed! So, what happens to Frost?

Complexity is added. Here's hoping. See you in Pandaria.

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