Friday, September 07, 2007

Mages and AoE

If mages are supposed to be the kings of AoE damage, why do we always use warlocks in fights which require AoE?

Take Illhoof, for example. The standard strategy is to have a warlock spamming Seed of Corruption on Illhoof to take out the imps. But why not use a mage? Does it just come down to the fact that the warlock will be a lot easier to heal?

It seems a bit odd. If mages are supposed to be the best at AoE, they should be the first choice for fights which require AoE.


Todd said...

I won't be nearly as rude as the other commenter. But lifetap does come into the equation. For Illhoof, it's better to use SoC, particularly if you have a paladin for Concentration Aura. A mage does excel at AoE for sure, but not in long term situations. Having a shadow priest would help, but a properly geared mage is better utilized to dps Illhoof/chained person than to worry about imps.

GSH said...

I deleted the first comment, in case anyone was wondering.

Shalkis said...

If you look at the number of AoE spells, a mage seems to have an advantage. However, the situation is a bit like Holy Priests vs Holy Paladins. Sure, the former has more spells, but the latter outputs more raw healing and can last longer.

Warlocks have been the kings of AoE since TBC, and it's mostly due to Seed of Corruption. It's a spammable spell that does very high damage and doesn't require the caster to stay in close proximity or channel the spell. Warlocks also have much more longeivity than mages. A mage will run OOM very quickly during AoEing, but if the warlock is being healed, he can just Life Tap and continue AoEing.

If you want to do the Illhoof fight with mages, you need three of them plus a shadow priest, and they'll still run OOM.

Shalkis said...

And as it stands now, the situation is unlikely to change before Wrath of the Lich King. The AoE damage caps will be enforced on warlocks as well at patch 2.2, but they will also receive extra spell coefficient as compensation, something that the mages did not get.

Dazanna said...

On the Illhoof fight Warlocks have 3 main advantages over mages.

1. Lifetap/Dark Pact: While its probable that the lock will end up chugging mana pots during the Illhoof fight anyway, it is much easier for them to retain mana while AoEing as compared to a mage.

2. SoC vs. Blizzard: Both are very high end damage moves, but the warlock has the advantage in the fact that SoC is not a channeled spell. With Concentration aura and some points in the destro tree he won't suffer any pushback, whereas a mage channeling blizzard will only get one or two ticks per cast due to all the imp fireballs.

3. Gear: Most warlock will have much more health than a mage, due to their specs and how the class' gear is designed. Thus a warlock can take much more of a beating than a mage without suffering any ill effects.

Its also worth noting that a destro warlock has access to the Nether Protection talent, which (because they are getting hit so often) can mitigate most of the damage the imps do.

SolidState said...

Except for Illhoof, are there many boss fights in TBC where you need AoE? At least up to Gruul, I can't think of any others. As for non-boss fights, yeah, warlocks compare very favorably with mages, although Frost Mages still have a slight utility edge I think due to the added CC component for their Blizzard (slowdown/freeze).

As for Illhoof, I'm probably one of few mages who have actually been called to fill the AoE role so I can give a first-hand view of the issue. I was a Frost mage at the time (I'm Fire now) and no warlock was online so I got called to do the job. The Paladin healing me told me he barely had to heal me, so the whole damage-mitigation/more-life is I think a non-issue. I used Dampen Magic initially, Ice Barrier when I could (stopped mid-fight due to low mana) and also Fire Ward to mitigate the imps damage, but in any case I was wearing ~200 FR un-buffed gear, so the imps damage wasn't a real problem.
I did have one advantage over a warlock, when I got shackled I just used Ice Block to get rid of it and get back to AoE-ing.

The main problem and the reason why a warlock is better for this fight is the mana issue. Even with mana-regen oil, mana-regen pot and mana-regen food and pala-buff, still I was chugging mana pots and gems like crazy and it was not enough. Using Evocation is of course of limited use in this fight, for obvious reasons. A Resto Shamman, Shadow Priest or Druid Innervate would have helped a lot, but none were available (the druid was tanking) and a warlock can do without them, which is the main issue. I was OOM near the end of the fight, luckily we had a strong group who took Illhoof down quickly, however a slightly longer fight and the imp spawns would have started to be a problem for me.

The fact that warlocks can convert life to mana and have healers heal them back for a fraction of the cost is the winning point for this fight or indeed any fight which is so mana intensive.

Samownall said...

Imo a mage is better (only becasue I play one :) However, a mage can use a lot more mana depending on how many imps they wait to spawn before aoeing. A lock is just generally OP atm and can do anything. Hopefully Blizz will restore mages back to their rightful position as masters of aoe.
Samownall - World of Warcraft Blog

Elaird said...

Illhoof is kind of a bad example for a few reasons. Nether protection mitigates lots of fire damage for destro locks, a lock's larger HP pool (sometimes combined with SL and boosted magic resistance) makes a lock easier to heal than a mage. Perhaps most importantly, a lock's mana pool is limited only by that of his healers - they can keep going far longer than your average mage.

There're a few other benefits that locks get over mages, not the least of which is that SoC benefits from heroism/bloodlust, whereas a mage's AE does not. When my guild was learning the AoE phase of Kael'thas, this was a big deal.

There's at least one place where mages still excel though, and that's the trash packs in Hyjal. While warlocks can fill in for mages there, the packs tend to be poorly spread out by the tanks, and mobs often peel off toward some over-zealous DPSer. Often the poor positioning means that SoC can't hit the entire cluster, while mages can pick a spot near the middle & hit nearly every mob, as well as being able to nova & buy tanks time should a mob run away.

The Warlock/Mage scale of AoE might be slightly tilted toward the locks at the moment, but I still think a lot of what you're seeing is specific to the Illhoof fight.

Avandaara said...

If I had a ton of fire resist, switched to int gear for a mana ocean, a dedicated healer, a Shadow Priest or two to feed me mana, and an Ele. Shaman to make up (slightly) for my gimped gear then perhaps I could handle the imps at Illhoof.

Or we could just use a more or less unassisted Lock in typical gear.. :)

Mages have more AoE spells than other classes, but I cringe any time I have to use one.

Places AoE spells are useful are so limited and easily done without that we might as well not have them. I pulled the two optional AoE spells out of my Fire tree for this reason and don't miss them in the slightest.

Locks are the AoE class in TBC.. Mages support.

Anonymous said...

basically warlocks dont run out of mana, and of course are easier to heal. illhoof imps dont really hit for much though.

this, combined with the lower chance of the warlock to pull aggro on illhoof because he does not need to be in melee range, means the warlock can do more damage to illhoof while imps are scarce, while being as effective as the mage for aoeing. remember that you pull aggro when you exceed the tank's aggro by 30% at range and 10% at melee.

i think mages may need to adjust their specs for this fight to compete with warlocks. magic absorption and some slots of fire resist+FR aura could probably help a lot with the mana situation. 5% of total mana restored per full resisted imp bolt = lots of mana returned. the mage could possibly AE all the imps to low health, and take firebolts for a while just to keep his mana going.

Leiandra said...

I always laugh at Blizzard's own description of the classes. For a mage, we get, "Very effective in damaging multiple targets at once with powerful Area of Effect Damage Spells," as a strength. Damage isn't even mentioned in the strengths/weaknesses of warlocks. Furthermore, the damage that is mentioned in the description of a warlock talks about their DoTs. It's like they forgot to read their own descriptions when coming up with spells for TBC.

Anonymous said...

Its simple. Mages are burst damage kings and Warlocks are better in anything that requires sustained dps.

Warlocks/Shadow Priests/Rogues are THE top DPS in the game for raids due to their ability to sustain it.

Seed of corruption is also conditionally more powerful while a mage's aoe is instant. So if you need something to die to aoe right away, mages are better. Warlocks are better for illhoof simply because you can heal through the imps, allowing the warlock's superior-dps aoe to get off.

DaveT said...

I think a better way of looking at it is mages are the kings of mobile AOE. Even pre-TBC the most powerful AOE was a lock's hellfire, but we can't do that on the move.

Riprap said...

My group never had a warlock for Illhoof, and did fine killing him on our third try with a mage gathering imps. I think they put on about 325 FR, downranked Arcane Explosion, and then just stood in there taking it. They got mana regen from resists on them and resists on the mob, maybe an innervate during the fight, and when needed to use Evocate, we had our other AOE folks wipe up the imps that were up, priest PW:S, and evocate.