Mage Class Changes in Dragonflight

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A new WoW expansion is getting closer and closer to its release on the 28th of November. Each build makes it easier to speak about various class changes and suggest firm predictions on Dragonflight meta. This text will cover crucial class and talent Mage tree changes in Dragonflight.

Class Tree Changes

The revamp of the talent system in the new expansion leads to the emergence of two separate trees for class and specialization. One tree contains basic class talents which are accessible in every spec. And another one — those that belong only to a particular specialization.

Players have 31 points to spend in the class tree and 30 points in a spec one. These restrictions will make players choose a limited number of skills and traits by holding more or less to the right, middle, or left branches. One more feature to remember is that talents placed in octagons must always be chosen out of two options.

A few powerful talents that have previously been accessible only to certain specializations will be available to all mages in Dragonflight. Among them is a powerful renewed skill Time Anomaly. It used to be a PVP Arcane skill. But now it’s at the bottom of a basic tree.

The old version gave a chance to get Arcane Power, Evocation, or Time Warp effect. But now it’ll depend on your specialization. Arcane can get Arcane Surge or Clearcasting. Fire player — Combustion or 1 charge of Fire Blast. Frost — Icy Veins or Fingers of Frost. And all of them have a chance to get Time Warp is also an option now. Which can be very effective even for short 6 seconds. By the way, that talent is placed in the octagon. Which means you must make a choice: either it or the Temporal Warp? The last is exactly the former Runecarver Power that gives a player the ability to cast Time Warp on itself even under the effect of Temporal Displacement.

Although generic traits and skills are available to every spec, it’s interesting that a class tree still seems to have three branches. Where the Frost talents mostly belong to the left one, Arcane to the middle, and Fire to the right.

The appearance of former Fire and Frost spells like the Blast Wave or the Ice Nova among generic talents in Mage’s Dragonflight tree is promising. They may lead to many new deadly combinations. And the first of them is a combination of these two spells with each other. Just imagine knocking back and slowing your enemies down with an explosion followed by freezing them? You could’ve called this combination A Song of Ice And Fire. But reserve that for combining the Ring of Frost with the Meteor. Yes, a build that includes those two will also be possible.

Besides, as the new system is getting similar to the old one, there’ll also be new stat talents. These traits increase only stats. Like Tome of Antonidas, which increases Haste by 2%. However, such traits can’t be called completely new as a lot of their analogs have already been in other systems of the previous expansions. Like Conduits and Soulbind of Shadowlands, or Azerite Traits of BfA.

Fire Spec Changes

How many changes will a talent tree bring to Fire spec in Dragonflight? First of all, developers tried to carefully move powerful Shadowlands effects from legendary items and other features to the spec tree. For example, the Shadowlands Runecarving Power Sun King’s Blessing appears at the bottom of the left branch. It’s one of the best Shadowlands Fire legendary effects. To receive additional Combustion for 6 seconds regularly is always cool.

At the bottom of the right branch, there’s Hyperthermia. It’s another Dragonflight Runecarving Power copy for this mage spec. The copy is even stronger than the original called the Firestorm. Hyperthermia makes it possible to instantly deal critical damage from many Pyroblasts and Flamestrikes during Hot Streak within 5 seconds. While the Firestorm was about doing the same thing, but only for 4 seconds.

Some old features return too. For instance, the Improved Scorch. It was removed in Mists of Pandaria. Now it’s back with an updated effect, reading which will definitely make you think of taking it together with a familiar Searing Touch. Such a combination will strike fear into the enemies with HP lower than 30%.

Finally, two completely new traits: the Tempered Flames and Incendiary Eruptions. The first trait is about making your Pyroblast cast faster, at the same time lowering the duration of Combustion. It can actually change the whole Fire Mage’s usual rotation in Dragonflight. However, as this one is in the octagon, you may often prefer to keep to the tradition and take the familiar alternative — Improved Combustion. And the effect of Indendiary Eruptions is just giving a possibility to cast Living Bombs on all the targets in the Flame Patch left of the Flamestrike.

Frost Spec Changes

One of the main Frost talent tree spec changes in Dragonflight is the Flurry rework. Now it’s cast instantly, but with a 30 seconds cooldown. Besides, it became too dependent on the traits from the left branch.

That can make you think of a build without Flurry. However, there’s much fresh cool stuff to test instead of a familiar strategy. For example, the new Hailstones trait is at the lower right corner. If you take it twice, you receive a 100% chance to trigger the Icicles Mastery effect on a frozen target with your favorite Ice Lance spell. Or the Subzero, which increases damage to the rooted and frozen targets.

Some Frost Mage spells will be influenced by the features passed to the Dragonflight talent tree from other Shadowlands systems. The Cold Front Runecarving Power will receive its complete copy at the bottom of the left branch. The Glacial Assault is similar to the 2-Set bonus from Erudite Occultist’s Vestments. It gave all spells a chance to drop a frozen comet on the enemy, dealing additional damage not more often than once in 20 seconds. Glacier Assault will give the Flurry a 15% chance to drop a dangerous comet too.

Finally, Frost players will also have an old effect returned — the Frostbite. It was removed in Cataclysm. Before removal, it gave up to a 15% chance to freeze the enemy under the Chill effect for 5 seconds. Now that it has returned, the chance is reduced to 10%. And the freeze effect is reduced to 4 seconds.

Arcane Spec Changes

Right in the middle of the Dragonflight Arcane Mage tree, there’s a fresh crucial talent called the Arcane Surge. It replaces the Arcane Power — a spell that just increased the player’s damage not for too long and with a big cooldown. The very description of the fresh skill makes it seem very powerful and even atmospheric in the case of this spec. It’s quite logical to give it a spell that destroys the enemy at the cost of all mana, but with a possibility to regenerate it back fast.

As in the case of other Mage class and spec changes, essential Shadowlands buffs and effects are saved. For example, Bastion’s Covenant ability Radiant Shark appears at the bottom of the middle column. Its effect remains the same. But now there’s a possibility of upgrading it with the Harmonic Echo, making it a little bit AoE toward 4 nearby enemies. While at the bottom of the right branch you can find a copy of the Arcane Harmony Runecarving Power. Its main difference from the original is reduced damage and an increased maximum number of stacks.

Finally, Arcane Mage’s build in Dragonflight may include both completely new upgrades of the Arcane Orb and such nostalgic traits as the Foresight. The last one is a remake of the effect of Legion’s legendary item Norgannon’s Foresight. It gives an ability to cast on the move after a few seconds of standing still. And the Arcane Orb is strengthened with the Charged Orb and Orb Barrage talents. The first one adds one more charge to the spell. The second provides interesting ways to reduce the spell’s cooldown and throw one more orb at your enemy without a cast.

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