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Regional FlagFreezing Mechanics and Mages (bit long)Source
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Virdus
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#0 - 2007/03/03 04:56:53 AM
This is detailing the effects of the suppposed nerf/bug with Frost Nova/Freezing Effects/Ice Lance.
Reposted from another thread:

I'll put in my two cents on the issue...


Untalented DpS comparison between fire and frost would put fire as the winner. Higher damage output with the option of a higher DpM spell to put into the cycle (ontop of Arcane Blast). The boost to the frost tree is having 200% crits upfront and the ability to 'force' crits (though not 100%) on a greater basis than fire.

That said there are 3 corner stones to the frost tree: Kiting talents, Damage Talents and Biding talents. Kiting talents increase the time it takes for melee to reach you, snare/root and range talents fall into this. Damage talents increase your base damage output, crit damage bonus, crit rate, bonus from damage gear and decrease casting time. Biding talents are a bit unique, they are talents that increase the time you stay alive solely to have the shorter cooldown timers ready or give you time to cast (talents that reduce cooldown timers also fall into this). Any talent in the frost tree falls under one of these titles (or the few rare that fall under 2, or the all in one wonder of the WE that falls in all 3). A heavy frost spec is built upon a synergy of these three talent types, more often leaning towards one of them.

A heavy frost build's damage normally relies on frostbolt spamming with being supplemented by crits (and now Ice Lance on frozen targets). Key markers of this corner stone are 200% crit (Ice Shards), +50% Crit chance on frozen targets (Shatter), Faster casting time on Frostbolt (Imp Frostbolt), Better gear scaling of frostbolt (Emp. Frostbolt), 10% increased crit rate debuff (Winter's chill) and an independant damage pet (Water Elemental). This creates a synergy with other (normally) non damage talents and abilities, Frostbite and Frost Nova/Freeze being the most noticable (and also any other freeze effect like the hunter's Freezing Trap). The ability for these effects to have a chance to last beyond one hit gives greater ability to improve damage. The Shatter talent can be seen as the center of this (hence, "Shatter Build").

The issue is that if this is changed to break freezing effects on crit it scraps the shatter talent. Though not all freezing effects will hold beyond the first hit, a good portion will. These give a few extra seconds for CD timers to count. Not only does reducing the time rooted decrease a frost mage's damage, it also hit's their survivibility.

You have to take a few things into account. First is that a mage's defense is active, not passive. This means that a mage either attacks or defends, not both. The 'Avoidance over Midigation' design also means that we don't take hits well. This means that while a mage is being attacked either their damage is (nearly) non-existant in comparison with it's actual potential but taking less from the hits or that they are dealing reduced damage (if any) while taking full damage. The only way to tip the favor towards the mage is through a counter (something that stops them from attacking for a second. Impact proc off of MA is a good example). The issue is that most of our defenses are in the form of snares and roots, the rest coming from small damage shields, stuns and lockouts.

Now what happens when a mob is immune to freezing effects (or being rooted for that matter)? The damage output of a heavy frost mage drops by a decent percentage (I can't give exact numbers as I can't determine the exact % of my crits that are caused by shatter). When that mob is also immune to snares (or when roots and snares have no effect on it's damage output) then the survivibility of mages in general is shot. One might say the same thing about warlocks and fear immune mobs, but they have other options given to them by higher hitpoints and a full time pet.

But saying the entire frost tree is centered on Frost Nova is flawwed. It would be much more accurate to say that the frost tree is heavily centered and dependant on freezing effects of which Frost Nova is our most powerful and reliable. It can also be said that any changes that are made to the effect of frost nova will be applied to all freezing effects. This means that if all freezing effects instantly break on a single crit then the overall effectiveness of shatter will be shot (having this talent turned into another double edged sword), or if an Ice Lance crit will instantly break any freezing effect then I can bind it to a lesser used space on my bars as it would kill a large number of the situations it can be used in (Breaking from crit after 1.5s into FN's cooldown or 4.5s into it's cooldown, easy choice). Changing Ice Lance in this manner actually makes it less worthwhile for a frost mage to use it than a fire mage.

Considering that both Frostbolt and Fireball got hit with an unjusified 10% coefficient nerf (If they were doing to much damage through the Empowered talents then they should change the effect of those talents or replace them entirely. That would only affect the builds that were causing too much damage in the first place instead of nerfing almost every build out there... And they should also update the damned tooltip to this nerf!) and then hitting either Icelance or Freezing effects themselves with this nerf is well on it's way to killing the frost tree as a whole. Frost would no longer have any reasonable spell to fall back on for constant damage and the new toy of the frost school would get trashed. Not to mention changing (nerfing) one of the key mechanics that an entire tree is based around would have adverse effects on specs that went deep into that tree...

The real question is why is Freezing then repeated Icelancing any different than fearing and DoTing? (Aside from the obvious remark that warriors don't have to deal with fear and instead are at the mercy of snares and roots) There are actually less ways to break fear (or prevent it) than there are for freezing effects and roots. Freezing effects on live seem to have about the same change to break from damage as fear does anyways.

Anyways, that's how I see things

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Blue Poster
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#3 - 2007/03/03 05:53:39 AM
I will ask, sure. However, I'm pretty sure they're determined to eliminate chain-critting on a frozen target. Ice Lance wasn't the sole reason for this, per se, it just became such standard behavior that it illustrated the fact that crit damage didn't necessarily break the effect.

As for the rest of it, I'll simply admit that an exaggeration was a poor way to illustrate a point on my part and I'll certainly apologize for it. I will also admit that chain-critting with Shatter was something that people were relying on, so if you want to think the talent is useless, nothing I say is going to change that. I don't really see saying anything beyond this point as helping, so I'll just read.

Nice post, by the way.

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Blue Poster
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#13 - 2007/03/03 06:01:41 AM
Q u o t e:
Tseric, do you know if all crits break Frost Nova, or just mage crits?

From what I've heard, it is on any crit.