I've posted this in the beta forum as well, but wanted to put it here for those who aren't following the beta threads.
The playstyle itself seems to be pretty well settled. There are a couple of people who dislike it, but most people seem to think the basics have turned out well and that what it mostly needs at this point is some spit-and-polish. This is basically a compilation of the spec's remaining issues that appear, to me at least, to have reasonable consensus behind them. I'd be interested in your thoughts.
Freeze and Fingers of Frost
Many of us feel that using a pet-based reticule-targeted CC spell against targets that we know cannot be CC'd in order to proc a buff on the Mage is awkward and weird. We like interacting with the pet, we like having controlled generation of some FOF charges, we don't particularly care for the mechanic. Common suggestions include a single-target pet spell that produces a similar effect on a shared cooldown with Freeze.
The Water Elemental does enough damage now that it seems to break its own Freeze effect with a single Waterbolt, creating some awkward timing issues in setting up a Shatter Combo. Suggestions include:
- Minimum Freeze duration of 1.5 seconds before breaking from damage
- Increase threshold
- Certain damage doesn't count toward threshold (e.g., from Water Elemental)
- Scale threshold with spell power
Water Elemental Survivability
Primarily a PvP complaint, but not irrelevant to PvE, some people feel that the Water Elemental dies too easily to go without for one minute after death.
The pet does not currently seem to benefit from PvP power/defense.
It would at least be helpful to be able to heal the pet out of combat, rather than relying solely on its natural regeneration between pulls. Some way to heal it or mitigate its damage in combat would also be welcome. Suggestions I've seen have included:
- Restore the damage-to-healing effect currently seen on Permafrost
- Give it an Ice Block- or Dispersion-like cooldown ("Evaporate" or something) that renders it invulnerable but prevents it from taking action
- Provide a channeled heal akin to Health Funnel
- Gobzoot has suggested that it receive a shield like Ice Barrier
Glyphed Water Elemental
While the Water Elemental can move without interrupting a cast, it will not start a new cast without being told to do so. It seems as if it should automatically chain-cast Waterbolt while moving.
Frozen Orb, Glyphed Ice Lance, and Fingers of Frost
Frozen Orb's reduced Fingers of Frost proc chance helped reduce the Ice Lance spam while the orb is up, which is good. However, in conjunction with the reduced Mastery multiplier, it also no longer feels much like a mini DPS cooldown.
Glyphed Ice Lance is ideal for situations with 2-4 targets, but Frozen Orb doesn't generate many Fingers of Frost procs with so few targets.
Suggest a small increase (perhaps to 15%) of the Frozen Orb per-tick proc chance, and perhaps a small increase to Frozen Orb's own damage.
Some of us feel that it is too easy and too common for Frost to bump up against the 50% haste soft cap (flooring the GCD). It may be a good idea to reduce the haste bonus provided by Icy Veins and either increase the duration, reduce the cooldown, or add a secondary effect.
Some people seem to feel that its cast time really sets it apart and makes it inferior to the other bombs.
Personally, I prefer it with a cast time (as Frostbolt is the only other rotational spell with a cast time, and too many consecutive instant casts doesn't feel good).
One suggestion has been to leave the cast time, but increase the snare duration to 3-4 seconds.
Ring of Frost, Ice Ward, and Frostjaw
In PvP, some people feel that diminishing returns makes Ring of Frost by far the superior choice.
There is at least one report (I have not confirmed) that it is currently impossible for a new Mage to learn Frostbolt at level 12; you are sent to the trainer, who no longer teaches the spell.
Quality of Life Stuff
These are relatively minor suggestions that seem to be popular.
- Fingers of Frost UI: Track as a secondary resource like Soul Shards.
- Water Elemental cosmetic glyphs: Alternate models, reduce size, add top hat, allow naming.