I've had this post ready for a couple of days waiting for the PTR update that included the change. Here's how the new Mastery works (some of this may have been laid out in official notes or datamined info, but I don't know as I'm writing this how complete they'll be).
Several other changes are being made in conjunction with the Mastery change:
- Frostbolt no longer increases its own damage. It still applies the debuff, and its own damage is not being increased. However, as you'll see from the Mastery information below, its effective damage is now being increased by the new Mastery.
- Ice Lance damage is being increased by 29%. If you previously had +40% Mastery, this works out to about an 8% reduction across the board. By comparison, the first PTR change to Frostburn would have not affected damage with FOF procs, but would have reduced damage vs frozen targets by about 29%.
- Waterbolt damage is being increased by 9%. Again, if you previously had +40% Mastery, this is a reduction of about 22%. But as with Frostbolt, see below for the way the new Mastery affects it.
Every Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, and Waterbolt that deals damage to a target now generates an Icicle of 1.5% the damage of the original spell per point of Mastery.
So say you have 20 Mastery. With Frostburn, this would have increased damage to frozen targets by 40%. With Icicles, it will generate Icicles that store 30% of the damage you deal with each Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, or Waterbolt.
You can store up to five Icicles. Each Icicle has an individual duration of 15 seconds. They are used in one of two ways:
- When you cast Ice Lance, you will immediately begin to discharge your Icicles. They will launch at the target the Ice Lance hit, at the rate of one per second (adjusted by haste), until they are gone.
- If you generate a new Icicle when you already have five, the oldest will immediately launch at the target hit by the spell that generated the new Icicle, and the new one will be stored.
A simple way to look at it is this: Icicles is like Ignite, if you were able to save up some Ignite damage and deliver it to any target on demand.
- The Icicles hover around the head, kind of like Soul Shards.
- They float in launch position, and when launched, they shoot out of their slots, looking much like little Ice Lances, with a similar travel speed.
- There is some concern that the whole thing is too visually "busy," and the devs are interested in feedback on this point.
Let's say you've got 24 Mastery and 35% haste. You'll store Icicles worth 36% of the damage of your triggering spells, meaning when full up, you're going to have damage worth [i]around[/i] 1.8x the average damage of those spells held in reserve.
When you cast Ice Lance, you'll then dump that damage into the target in the space of about 3.7 seconds, plus any charges you accrue while the originals are launching.
What this accomplishes
- It makes the value of Mastery much more similar in PvE and PvP.
- It preserves some of the kit of Frostburn by beefing up Ice Lance damage.
- It preserves and enhances the "hasty" kit of Frost without actually adding any haste.
- It does what it does in a less bursty manner than Frostburn.
Q: Do the Icicles crit?
A: No. Like Ignite, their damage is simply a percentage of the spell that creates. them. A 160,000 Frostbolt crit will create an Icicle with twice as much stored damage as an 80,000 Frostbolt hit.
Q: Do Icicles use the normal spell hit chance?
A: Yes. The devs are aware that this double-dips the chance to miss, but given how consistently people are maxed on hit, they think it probably doesn't matter much. That said, this answer was qualified with "currently."
Q: Are Icicles modified by damage-increasing or -decreasing effects or debuffs?
A: Yes. Damage is calculated as if the original spell was not affected by such effects, and then appropriate damage increases/decreases are applied to the Icicle based on the target's state when the Icicle is used.
Q: Can Icicles trigger on-damage procs?
Q: Are they treated as periodic damage?
A: No. Each Icicle is effectively a single direct-damage spell cast.
Q: What if I have a shit-ton of haste?
A: Then the Icicles will launch very quickly. There isn't really any minimum interval. They're not bound by any sort of global cooldown.
Q: Do I get Icicles from healing the Water Elemental, which I have named "Squirt" as all right-thinking Mages do?
Q: Will Alter Time restore Icicles state?
A: Yes. You could have a full stack, Alter Time, cast Ice Lance so that your stack is expended, and the stack will be restored when Alter Time expires.
Q: Are Icicles dispellable?
I expect this to be somewhat controversial. There are people who are very much attached to the single-target instant burst damage that the current (live) Mastery provides.
However, it also addresses some longstanding problems with the huge difference in damage against frozen vs non-frozen targets and the difference in Mastery's value in PvE vs PvP. It preserves some kit by still attaching extra damage to Ice Lance, and enhances the hasty flavor of Frost by essentially putting a rapid-fire rocket pod on your shoulder.
What do you think?