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Starym

Fire Mage in Patch 9.1: An Initial PTR Spec Overview

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We're going to be taking a look at the specs that have received the most changes on the PTR so far, with our class guide writers taking in-depth looks at what Blizzard are tuning and the implications of those changes. Today we're starting with Fire Mages, as Dutchmagoz takes us through it all.

PvE

For PvE, Fire currently has no planned mechanical changes for 9.1, and the changes on the 9.1 PTR are purely focused on numbers. It is getting multiple nerfs to both its single target and its AoE damage, most likely largely inspired by its Mythic+ performance.

The Flamestrike Flamestrike  + Flame Patch Flame Patch nerf of 10% were quite obviously coming with how strong Fire is on AoE, however, I think Fire's real strength comes from the fact that both Flamestrike and Flame Patch have no AoE cap. Due to no AoE cap, Fire does exceptionally well on more than 5 targets compared to other classes, while the nerf also impacts Fire's AoE DPS on fewer than 5 targets. I personally would prefer to bring other classes up to par with Fire by removing AoE caps across the board, instead of nerfing the damage of uncapped spells. That's because these uncapped spells will remain fundamentally hard to balance, as any nerf to them also impacts the AoE DPS on less than 5 targets, when the real goal of nerfing these spells is to nerf the 5+ target AoE DPS. This nerf will also hit all the Fire Mages who do not have predetermined Mythic+ groups and do relatively small pulls, while the nerf is aimed at the well coordinated groups.

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The Kindling Kindling nerf (1 sec reduction instead of 1.5 sec per crit) makes sense from a talent balance perspective, as Kindling is by far the best talent on that row in all situations. On single target, the nerf causes Combustion Combustion to have around a 10-12 second longer cooldown on average. Since you want to align trinkets/racials with Combustion, this nerf also effectively increases the cooldown of trinkets/racials by ~10-12 seconds. This nerf is a significant decrease to Fire's DPS (~5%), which, if applied to live servers, would cause Fire to become quite weak on single target encounters, especially combined with the Infernal Cascade Infernal Cascade nerf.

Infernal Cascade Infernal Cascade is also getting nerfed by 20%. The spell is absolutely an outlier is terms of strength compared to other Conduits, and not just compared to other Fire, but conduits across all specs and classes. Thus it makes sense that this gets nerfed to bring it more in line with other Conduits (it will however still remain by far the best pick).

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Conclusion: Fire is getting hit quite significantly on the PTR, and if these nerfs would go live right now with our current gear and raid fights, it would make the spec significantly less attractive on a lot of fights in Castle Nathria. In my opinion, these nerfs are a little bit overboard and probably largely driven by Fire's performance in Mythic+ and MDI, more so than in raiding. However, we can't only look at these nerfs in isolation. 9.1 will bring new gear, higher level conduits, different fight timings, etc. Additionally, most of the other ranged classes that are doing well are also getting nerfed.
 

Legendaries

Additionally, 9.1 is introducing new Covenant specific Legendaries.

Kyrian, Memory of the Harmonic Echo Harmonic Echo: Damage dealt to enemies affected by Radiant Spark Radiant Spark's vulnerability echo to 4 nearby enemies for 25% of the damage dealt. This Legendary increases Fire's cleave DPS for 4 spells in a row. Generally, this is probably not going to be very strong, as it only works for 4 spells in a row, whereas Fire's burst lasts a lot longer than those 4 spells. This most likely does not compete with Disciplinary Command Disciplinary Command even on cleave. It also has the downside of being Kyrian, making it relatively unlikely that Fire Mages will have access to this.

Necrolord, Death's Fathom Death's Fathom: Your Fireball Fireball, Frostbolt Frostbolt, and Arcane Blast Arcane Blast have a chance to grant  Deathborne Deathborne for 8 sec. While in the form of a skeletal mage the spell damage granted is increased by 1% for each enemy hit by Fireball, Frostbolt, and Arcane Blast. Since this is a random proc, it will be hard to get this proc active during Combustion Combustion. Getting it outside of Combustion is going to do very little for Fire, which means that this Legendary is most likely going to be weak for Fire.

Venthyr, Sinful Delight Sinful Delight: Consuming Brain Freeze Brain Freeze, a Fire Blast Fire Blast charge, Clearcasting Clearcasting reduces Mirrors of Torment Mirrors of Torment cooldown by 3 sec. If  Mirrors of Torment is dispelled the cooldown is reduced by 45 sec. This Legendary actually synergises quite well with itself, since Mirrors of Torment reduces the cooldown of Fire Blast, which in turn reduces the cooldown of Mirrors of Torment. Mirrors is quite a good spell for Fire, and this Legendary will most likely reduce the cooldown of by around 30 seconds, reducing it from 1.5 minutes to 1 minute. Depending on what type of cooldown usage ends up being relevant for the upcoming raid, and whether or not Fire will still play Kindling, will determine whether or not this Legendary is going to be relevant.

Night Fae: The Night Fae Legendary is currently unknown.

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Conclusion: I believe that Covenant specific Legendaries are not a good addition to the game, as it makes it even harder to swap Covenants. At first glance, it seems unlikely that any of these new Legendaries are better than the current best one (Disciplinary Command), and even more unlikely that they will make people swap Covenants for a specific Legendary.
 

PvP

Ring of Fire Ring of Fire is a new PvP talent, which is cast in the same way and is named after Ring of Frost Ring of Frost, but has a very different purpose. Instead of CC'ing when people run into or out of the circle, it instead applies a (Magic) damage-over-time effect, causing them to burn for 24% of their max health over 6 seconds. This largely looks like a (rated) Battleground talent, as placing this around objectives or on large groups of enemies should be able to apply a significant amount of damage, especially against tanks. I think this is an interesting talent and think it fills a very interesting purpose.

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Controlled Burn Controlled Burn got reworked. Instead of Ignite Ignite doing its damage 100% faster, it will make Ignite do 100% more damage outside of Combustion Combustion. Ignite does effectively no damage outside of Combustion, and even if you spread it to other targets, it will still do basically no meaningful damage and apply almost no additional pressure. The only real use case I see for this talent is if you are able to spread the Ignite from Combustion to a lot of nearby targets, right as Combustion ends. This talent might see some situational use in (rated) Battlegrounds if you can reproduce that specific situation consistently. However, this comes at the cost of a nerf to Fire's Arena (especially 2v2) burst DPS, as the old Controlled Burn was sometimes taken in 2v2 Arena to increase Fire's burst DPS further. This new version seems rather weak on first sight and is probably not going to be picked very often, unless Ignite turns into a meaningful source of damage again later in the expansion.

The final change is a reworked World in Flames World in Flames. It now makes it so Flamestrike Flamestrike is only quicker and does more damage when cast after a previous Flamestrike. However, it instead deals more damage and reduces its cast time more than before. This looks like a really strong (rated) Battleground talent, especially combined with Flame Patch Flame Patch and Ring of Fire. If you throw a Ring of Fire or Ring of Frost around a group of opponents and chaincast Flamestrikes on them you apply enormous pressure to the entire group. Worth noting, you can use an instant Flamestrike (via Hot Streak Hot Streak) to trigger the quicker cast and higher damage of Flamestrike, so you do not first have to cast the long version of Flamestrike to start chaincast very quick Flamestrikes.

 

Thanks a lot to Dutchmagoz for this overview of Fire Mages, and you can check out more from him here:

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kinda anoying that they nerf / buff classes based on premade grp which push the highest keys / playing MDI. i mean im only doing 18-20 keys at the moment but the amount of pulls with 5+ adds in my grp is pretty low thought. im often close to the other dds in overall dmg and im also not on 1st place in every run.

ive said it once, ill say it again, im ok with capping fire mage aoe dmg to a target number, then observe it and if its still too high lower the dmg but what they are doing now is just mad hatter nonsense

Edited by ResoWho

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1 hour ago, ResoWho said:

kinda anoying that they nerf / buff classes based on premade grp which push the highest keys / playing MDI. i mean im only doing 18-20 keys at the moment but the amount of pulls with 5+ adds in my grp is pretty low thought. im often close to the other dds in overall dmg and im also not on 1st place in every run.

ive said it once, ill say it again, im ok with capping fire mage aoe dmg to a target number, then observe it and if its still too high lower the dmg but what they are doing now is just mad hatter nonsense

Or, since the issue really is balance against capped classes, remove the stupid AoE cap. Fire/Balance benefits massively without it, even with these nerfs perhaps, whilst it stumps other classes with a cap. Hell even some uncapped classes are still perceived poorly (Feral/SV) when they can smash the AoE too...

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