Fire Mage Shadowlands Class Change Highlights
Mastery: Ignite Reworked. Fireblast now serves as the catalyst: when used against an enemy who is Ignited, it spreads to up to eight enemies close to your target.
Blast Wave now does more damage, and an increased slow duration.
Kindling Combustion cooldown reduction increased.
Pyroclasm damage bonus to Pyroblast increased.
Shimmer charges decreased from 2 to 1.
Focus mage *New Talent* replacing Mirror Image
Mirror Image becomes baseline talent for all mage.
Pyroblast does additional (18.6% of Spell power) Fire damage over 6s
Now some of these changes seem great, ie: Pyroclasm additional bonus damage over time (I don't know if this new dot stacks with itself or not), Mirror Image being baseline, and increased Pyroclasm damage so meteor might not always be the default anymore. It is disappointing that mage straight up loses a second charge of shimmer, drastically cutting down mobility. This will mostly be felt in PvP settings. Now onto the biggest issue about the whole Fire mage changes, the new Ignite. This change will drastically hurt aoe and single target damage. This restricts Fire mages combustion burst encase they need to spread their Ignite damage right after the combustion window ends, making you keep once charge of fire blast in reserve and forcing people to use scorch in its place. The idea blizzard had in mind for this change was for more control over how we choose to spread Ignite damage, but in turn this has drastically restricted their gameplay and cause player to be more cautious on how they spend their fire blast charges, which are the very core of a combustion rotation. Changing Fire mages playstyle from reactive to a more timid-proactive style.
Now if they want to stay with how Ignite works in alpha that is fine, but Fire Blast cannot be the catalyst for the specs aoe and cleave potential. I have seen other members of the mage community throw their suggestions on how Blizzard could come to adjust this for the better, but i have not seen something like this suggested yet.
My idea on how Blizzard could address the ignite issue; remove Phoenix Flames from the Tier 35 talent row and make it baseline. Phoenix Flames will now act as the trigger to spread the ignite dot to different targets. Fire Blast stays the same as its always been. To replace the empty talent on tier 35 I have come up with a few different ideas for potential talents. First talent Duplicative Incineration, Passive talent that gives your fireball a % chance to cast a secondary fireball right after. Second talent idea, Phoenix Reborn, Passive talent that lets your Phoenix flames jump onto two nearby targets that are affected by ignite with each jump the dealing would be reduced by 50%. Third talent, Burning Mindscape, upon the activation of combustion increase your Fire Blast recharger rate by 100% for the duration of combustion.
If making Phoenix Flames is not the way to go another method might work. Taking the minor of Memory of Lucid Dreams and making that a baseline passive effect fore Fire mage. This would make it so that Fire mages would not have to wait as long for their Fire Blasts recharges to come off cooldown to spread Ignite onto targets.
In a perfect world we do not have classes that base their whole expansions playstyle around barrowed power that comes in future patches. Instead take these things that are mandatory for the class and turn them into baseline abilities and passives. Ideally for myself at least, having Phoenix Flames spread Ignite would feel much better all around for both single target and aoe situations. Alternatively, the Flame On talent could also become baseline as it has been completely mandatory since Legion and replace the Flame On talent with a one of the previous one mentioned.
Second issue with the currently state of the Fire mage on the alpha is the changing of Shimmer, losing one charge on shimmer is a massive hinderance to the mage’s mobility. The other two spec’s Arcane and Frost at least have other decent alternatives to Shimmer in the forms of Slipstream and Ice Flows, respectively. While fire has no other movement related talents on the same tier, Fire mages will now start to take Blast Wave. Yes, Fire mages have the Frenetic Speed talent on Tier 75, however that is only a 30% movement speed increase while you are spamming scorch. For big movement fights forcing someone to use an ability that will do hardly any damage while also not receiving the same stacking critical strike bonus Fireball gets with their rank two Fireball so you can try to get some Hot Streak procs is just simply a slap in the face. The only time this is acceptable is when the target is under 30% health and they have selected Searing Touch talent. If Blizzard really wanted to take away some of our only movement, they need to add in alternatives.
Three solutions I have come up for the Shimmer nerf. Firstly, change the cooldown on Shimmer from 20s to 10s. This will allow us not to spam Shimmer twice in a row but will also still let mages receive a fair amount of movement from the talent. Secondly, switch Blast Wave and Frenetic speed on the talent tree (This is my least favorite options as it does not really address the main issue). Now Thirdly, rework Blazing Soul. The new talent **could** work as such: Blazing Soul, while Blazing Barrier is active Fireball is now castable while receiving at 50% movement speed reduction. This last one does seem fairly strong, but its just an idea.
Fears from what Shadowlands might bring to not just Fire mages, but all classes. More barrowed power systems! We still do not know what the legendary system will work, all we know is that everyone is going to craft their own legendries. A fear of this system that not just myself, but others have is “are they just going to make legendary fix the problems that the classes have?” No one wants these band-aid solutions slapped onto our characters in every patch to try and fix an issue.
Now these are just my idea and thoughts on the Ignite situation, please if anyone else has other ideas feel free to share your thoughts and comments.
** edit 1 - adding more idea for discussion on what can be done about the proposed changes have laid out. Also changing some spelling errors and included the issues people have with the Shimmer changes.