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Icicles Part Two: the Stabinating

Wednesday, July 24 2013 at 12:28pm CDT

The developers have been watching various feedback threads on the new Frost Mastery, Icicles, and as you'll see, they've been paying attention. There is now a new PTR build containing changes derived from our feedback.

Some common complaints about the initial implementation of Icicles were:

  • Icicles launched by Ice Lance didn't feel responsive enough
  • There didn't seem to be a big difference between how fast the Icicles launched after an Ice Lance and how fast they launched from normal overflow
  • Small Icicles generated by the Water Elemental felt like they hurt burst damage
  • if the Water Elemental was attacking a different target, some icicles would fire at that target, siphoning damage away from a higher-priority target
  • The duration was too short, causing lost damage after immunity phases or between targets
  • The damage numbers were just plain too low
  • It felt like a double ramp-up in conjunction with the Frostbolt debuff

In response, the devs have made the following changes.

  • Frostbolt damage debuff removed: No more ramp-up for Ice Lance and Waterbolt damage. The debuff has been removed, and the damage of Ice Lance and Waterbolt increased by an additional 15% to compensate.
  • Conversion value increased to 1.75%: Instead of 1 Mastery giving 1.5% Icicles, 1 Mastery will give 1.75% Icicles, a 16.67% buff to the conversion rate.
  • Duration increased to 30 seconds: Each Icicle now has an individual duration of 30 seconds, up from 15. This will make it much easier to hold onto a few when preparing to deliver some burst damage.
  • Launch rate increased by 1/3: The old launch rate after an Ice Lance cast was 1/sec, adjusted by haste. The new version launches every 0.75 sec, with the first launch beginning after 0.25 seconds. At zero haste, the fifth launch will begin 3.25 seconds after the Ice Lance cast. This makes the whole Ice Lance plus Icicles burst sequence feel a lot more responsive and well-differentiated from normal rotation.
  • The Water Elemental no longer generates Icicles: The pet will still scale with Mastery by gaining additional Waterbolt damage. This will reduce the rate at which you generate Icicles, but there won't be any little ones anymore.

In addition, many people were concerned that the new Mastery does nothing to increase cleave or AOE damage. In response, the following glyph change has been announced, though it is not yet available on the PTR:

  • Glyph of Ice Lance replaced by Glyph of Splitting Ice: The glyph now affects both Ice Lance and all Icicles (not just those launched after you cast Ice Lance). Every Ice Lance and Icicle will deal an additional 50% damage to a secondary target.

This is a significant, but not enormous, change. If you have 20 Mastery, 17.5% of the damage you deal with Frostbolt and Frostfire Bolt will be dealt to a secondary target, if available, in addition to your normal Ice Lance cleaves.

And finally, a piece of good news for many of you, unrelated to the new Mastery: Glyph of the Unchained Elemental not only changes the Water Elemental's model, it also silences the burbling sound. Enjoy the silence!


Submitted by Tiga on

As was reported on the US PTR forum, there's a bug in the current build where crit damage doesn't increase Icicle damage. Icicles damage is calculated from pre-crit damage of the spell. This means about one third of the mastery damage is missing. My guess would be that the bug existed in the previous build as well and we just didn't notice it, but it would explain the extremely poor mastery scaling in that build too.

I wrote a bit of Lua to analyze the differences between 5.3 damage and what's on the PTR now, assuming they bug is fixed. I've posted a longer article on the MMO Champion forums and on the EU mage forum and I have uploaded the Lua code on a web server.

Here's the EU mage forum post: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7818613126

Here's the MMO Champion post: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/1321774-New-Frost-Mastery-Icicles!?p...

And here's my Lua code along with comments explaining how the calculation is done: http://wow.poista.net/theorycraft/PTR_5.4_analysis.lua

Without any reforging etc, it's looking like a 3% or so buff for me and I'm at iLevel 537, so well past the point  where mages switch to Fire and where Frost is considered to need a buff. If mastery is now worth more than haste (I think it's probably a very close call once the bug is fixed), there might be a similar increase to be had from reforging. It's possible Blizzard will go back to 12% for 8 points if they think that's too much. Calculating the DPS gain for say 3000 mastery is easy, but it's much harder to calculate the loss from 3000 haste because of all the haste capping and the way mage bombs and frozen orb interact.

I think things are looking good now, although I still want an AOE Icicle volley proc from Blizzard & CoC. :) Maybe that could be a major glyph?

P.S. Adjusting the formulas to account for the crit bug with Icicles, current (buggy) PTR DPS is calculated to be about 11%-12% below live with my gear. My advice: don't try Frost in a raid before this is fixed, if your DPS matters.

Submitted by Lhivera on

I've been told the crit damage bug is fixed in the next build.