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Frost mage talent build question

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I've been playing with my talent build to try and maximize damage and need a little help/clarification. The recommended build says to take bone chilling which increases frost damage by 6% once you have 12 stacks. Why is that better than the permanent 25% increase on frost bolt, ice lance, flurry and frozen orb by taking lonely winter? I may be doing something wrong, but my dps is much higher even without a pet if I take lonely winter. I've also tried ray of frost but still do more burst and overall dps with lonely winter.

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Honestly, all 3 of the first tier talents are viable, and from the simming/testing I've been doing over the last few weeks, probably to a futile end with 7.1.5 reworking the spec as much as it is, has shown that your stats seem to dictate which will be the strongest spec for you. To put it simply, if you have a lot of mastery followed by crit, your best bet will generally be a Lonely Winter/Glacial Spike build, if you have tons of haste and very low mastery, Ray of Frost seems to shine, and if you have a fairly even balance of the three, the Bone Chilling setup is the way to go.


Now, as to your question about the Bone Chilling vs Lonely Winter, I'll just use one of my parses to show you why Bone Chilling is able to perform against Lonely Winter in a spec revolving more around Ice Lances.


On the fight in question (Mythic Odyn) I cast:

Ice Lance 197 times, resulting in 74.6 mil damage

Frostbolt 186 times, resulting in 44.0mil damage

Flurry 30 times, resulting in 19.8mil damage

Frozen Orb 10 times for 4 mil damage

Water ele did 27.43mil


Now the thing about Bone Chilling is it gives you that water elemental, which provides water jet, which I used 19 times, and since I'm pretty good about only using it when I know I can finish my casts to proc both, let's just assume it gave me all possible 38 Ice Lances. Without the water elemental I would have been short those Ice Lances, and since this is all hypothetical let's say the Frostbolts filling those globals gave like 10 back(even though that's way better RNG than I'm used to) for a net loss of 28 Ice Lances. Then we further remove Ice Lance procs from water ele basic attacks, which is a 5% proc rate and there were 311 of those, so another 15 Ice Lances gone, bringing our total loss to 43.


With an average damage on hit of my Ice Lances being 400k, that would result in a loss of 17.2mil Ice Lance damage, giving us 57.4mil, then further remove the 6% and we end up with 54mil damage. Then we factor in the Lonely Winter buff and we're back to about 69.12mil. So that's 74mil damage from Ice Lances going down to 69mil due to lost procs from the water ele. Sure there'll be more Frostbolts to fill in the lost globals, but I did significantly less damage with Frostbolts than Ice Lances with only 11 fewer casts, and that's not even looking at all the free damage Water Ele does just shooting Waterbolts (24 mil).


If you're using the Water Jet properly, you'll see a significant increase to Ice Lance generation (and by extension longer Icy veins if running Thermal Void), which will increase your damage with Ice Lance by a decent margin, even when you look at the 6% vs the 28% with artifact trait. 


All this said, if you run a Lonely Winter/Glacial build with high mastery throw all that math out the window because you're more focused on Frostbolting and Glacial Spiking and mostly use Ice Lances only if you have Chain Reaction stacked or as a means to do some sort of dps on the move if you run out of Icy Floes/Shimmer.


And you mentioned you've toyed with Ray of Frost, but neglected to mention all of the other tiers of talents used along with it, if you ran Incanters Flow with Ray, that's why you are seeing lower returns, because much like Fire and Combust, Ray of Frost lines up that perfect 10 second window for tons of damage in a short amount of time.


It would help my job greatly if you were to link some sort of log for me to ponder over, so I don't have to dig through my own to give you a hypothetical and could instead see what all of your talent choices/gear/other circumstances are.

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Why is that better than the permanent 25% increase on frost bolt, ice lance, flurry and frozen orb by taking lonely winter?


Because it is. That's just how the math works. There's a lot of complex mathematical facts to prove this but I feel it would not benefit you to see it unless you we're also avidly into theory

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