I was chatting on twitter with Cynwise the other day and they mentioned that Human’s racial ability set them up so much higher than rolling a Gnome Mage was out of the question. Despite my dislike for the gnome race, I don’t mind using one as a twink so I took that statement as a challenge and rolled yet another twink named Blastoph. I had a good bit of fun with the Gnome last night and got the chance to see the new leveling mechanics with the changes in 3.3. When I saw Cyn’s post this morning on Green Tinted Goggles I decided I should probably post a bit about me new leveling experience as well.
Blastoph: Gnome Mage
This post isn’t going to be about Blastoph quite so much as the last two posts have been for my other twinks because he’s only level 7 and I have a couple of other blogs set aside to start monitoring my twinks anyway, which I’ll introduce to you later when I have their designs and such finalized.
What I do want to do though, is share some of what my experiences last night showed me with leveling new characters. So here are some examples of what I did with Blastoph:
Killing Spree: No, not the achievement, just the literal performing of such. I took the mage into the troll cave in the starting area, positioned myself right in the middle of all of the mobs (which are now Neutral instead of Hostile) and starting casting Fireballs one right after the other on every mob in the entire cave without taking any breaks until they were all dead. More specifically, I cast 40 consecutive Fireballs without running out of mana. Every mob in there died to two casts or to two casts plus the extra little bit that comes from the dinky DoT effect of the Fireball.
Frostbolt Sucks: Actually it doesn’t suck, but with the changes made there’s really no reason to bother casting it in the starting zone. Fireball now has the same cast time, costs only 1 more mana point to cast, and does significantly more damage. With all of these changes you might as well consider Frostbolt a thing of the past while you’re rolling your new toon and just Fireball everything in the face. That’s what I did this time.
“Free” Quests? Yoink! Now that none of the mobs in the starting areas will agro you before you attack them you can do all of those otherwise annoying little gather quests with no worries and little effort. Just run right up, grab what you need, and then run back and turn in the quest. Collecting Felix’s items for him was easier than ever this go around.
Details on 3.3
With the new changes in 3.3 the leveling of a mage has taken a whole new twist. Here are the main reasons why:
- Reduced Mana Cost
- Reduced Casting Times
- Increased Mana Regen
Reduced Mana Cost
First on the list we have probably the biggest contribution to the changes in the reduced mana cost. A level 1 mage in 3.2 had to spend 18-25 mana (if I remember correctly) to cast a Fireball. In 3.3 through, using a Gnome in my case, Fireball costs a whopping 8 mana to cast a level 1. That’s more than a 50% reduction in mana cost, and that’s flipping huge.
One of the main trade offs in 3.2 and previous patches between Fireball and Frostbolt was that Fireball cost quite a bit more mana, so you could cast for a longer period of time by leaving the Fire alone save for pulling. At level 4 my Fireball required 9 mana to cast and my Frostbolt required 7; I think I can handle an extra 2 mana for higher damage.
Reduced Casting Times
Previously Fireball had a base cast time of 2.0 seconds, which made things move a bit slower than you’d like (sort of like a Warlock from that day and age with their Shadowbolts). But now our Fireball (Rank 1) has only a 1.5 second cast time. That was the second big difference between Fire/Frost in 3.2 was that you could fire off Frostbolts with a lower mana cost and also a faster casting speed, but that’s no longer the case.
The casting speed does jump back up to 2.0 seconds when you get Fireball (Rank 2), but it still hits harder than Frostbolt does, and with the next point below you can see that the mana issues are no longer a problem.
Increased Mana Regen
When they nerfed regen in previous patches it really screwed low level toons to the point where I actually had to start drinking between fights in my starting areas. With 3.3 they have increased regen by 200% which is a very noticeable rate now that we’re back to having some decent regen.
The removal of food on starting characters didn’t bother me as I don’t think I have ever used the starting food for anything but a few spare coppers in my pouch, but the removal of drinks made me wonder a bit about casters.
Other 3.3 Changes
Another new little feature I want to bring to your attention is that any time you learn a new spell now it will auto-assign it to an open space in your action bar. While this feature actually bothers me due to my planning out my action bars ahead of time and reserving slots for future use and such, it does provide a benefit to a lot of people making it almost impossible for you to miss the fact that you learned a new spell unless you just never bother looking at them for some reason.
A really big change that I saw in starting areas also is that now all mobs in starting areas are Neutral, meaning that you aren’t going to have to fight anything you don’t want to until you get out of the starting zone. The little mini-bosses of sorts, everything you have to kill for a quest, every mob all together in your starting areas are now Neutral, meaning that you will not draw agro from anything unless you attack it. So you can move at your own pace no matter where you’re at, and with the big boost to regen rates you can get a lot more done with a lot less hassle.
You’ll also find the new build in quest tracking features to be very helpful. As Gordon over at WeFlySpitfires.com discussed yesterday, this new feature potentially removes the need for questing addons such as QuestHelper. Your questing is going to be made easier with all of these changes whether you use addons or not, but this is just one more change that’s going to impact the speed at which you level early on.
I think the only thing they could have done to make leveling any easier would be to give us some bags to start out with and/or put a mailbox in the starter zone so that we don’t have to run to the next town to pick up bags, gear, or gold that we mail to them.
New Leveling Rotation
When it comes to the new starting zones you can write off everything I said in the old mage leveling post and stick to this rotation right here:
Fireball, Fireball, Fireball, Fireball
That’s it, just spam Fireball at everything until it’s dead. Once you run out of mana, go collect all of your loot and by the time you finish clicking all of the sparklies you’ll have a full mana bar and will be able to jump right back into that rotation again.
Sadly, I’m completely serious about this. I don’t mind the fact that leveling is a bit easier now, the sad part comes from the fact that using Frost isn’t even the least bit necessary any more. Just spam Fireball 2-4 times and whatever you’re fighting will be dead unless you keep missing for some reason.