So, despite frost being “not Raid viable” as DPS goes, I still do it from time to time. Frost does bring some nice raid utility, but in my guild’s 25 mans all that fancy viability isnt needed. We got a warlock bringing the spell crit debuff, a ret pally and some hunters for Replenishment and a bunch of other mages for AI, tables and Portals. I wouldnt be caught dead Rading Frost on a progression encounter, for that I’ll stick with Arcane. But there are times when you need a break. You know its okay to switch to Frost spec when all the drops off of a boss in a Raid are going to D/E (I’m looking at you Ulduar!).
With 3.3 Coming, Frost will be come a little bit less laughable in a raiding environment. To that end I am going ot compare my current Frost Raiding spec to the one I will be using come 3.3, and discuss the differences and where the newly needed points will come from.
For more info on Mage Raiding Specs and Rotations check out this post I made earlier.
So lets look at what a Frost Raiding Build looks like in 3.2.2:
So this spec goes into Arcane for Torment The Weak , but also picks up a few useful odds and ends while in there (Arcane Concentration, Focus Magic and Magic Absorbtion). But ultimately it is Torment the Weak (TTW) that brings us to arcane, That extra 12% damage is invaluable and will remain so into 3.3.
A majority of this spec goes into the Frost Spec (duh!). I want to touch on a few Frost Talents that make the spec. I’m going to gloss over the big duh Talents. It’s a given that you should take the ones that increase the damage of frost spells and the haste of Frostbolt, but some talents are a little more abstract.
- Permafrost – The ability to reduce a bosses heals is invaluable. It is a fairly situational occurence, but Wrath has a fair share of bosses that have some form of healing. Being able to reduce that Healing by 20% is amazing even if no one realizes you are doing it.
- Fingers of Frost and Frostbite – These two Talents are intrinsically linked. This post on the official forums explains it far better than I can. In this 3.2.2 build you dont need Frostbite. you are essentially going to ignore Fingers of Frost procs as you are just going to continue using Frostbolt, only it has an increased crit chance.
- Cold as Ice – Reducing the cool down of your water elemental is key. In 3.2.2 you want your icy little dude out as much as possible. The water elemental is responsible for a very decent amount DPS for a frost mage and keeping him out as much as possible, and keeping him alive, is key to maintaining top DPS.
The rest of the talents are fairly self-explanatory. Increased Damage this, increased crit that, you get the point. Just keep spamming that Frostbolt button and you’ll do all right for yourself.
So what changes in 3.3? What kind of spec will I be rolling with?
Same numbers, but there are some key differences. In 3.3 Deep Freeze becomes important. Now besides being nice for PvP, it will also do a very sizable chunk of damage to targets that are permanently immune to stun (read: Raid Bosses). This means that you wont just be spamming Frostbolt untill your fingers fall off. Now on every Fingers of Frost proc you will also toss out a Deep Freeze. This alone should be a sizeable increase in Frost DPS, but the fun doesnt stop there!
There will be a new Glyph for your Water elemental. Here is the PTR Link. Glyph of Eternal Water will make it so your Water Elemental is permanent. Sure he looses his AoE freeze, but thats almost useless in raids anyways. This makes a big difference on talent expenditure. Now Cold as Ice only really reduces Cold Snap, which is nice, but makes a minimum impact on DPS if it isnt taken in 3.3. I mean on any given boss fight you are only going to be able to use this once in most cases. Also a large part of Enduring Winter is useless too. One point in it is really enough to keep Replenishment up at all times, as you will still be spamming the heck out of Frostbolt.
These changes aren’t enough to make Frost the new hotness, but it is a huge boon to Mage Frost Raiding. The best part is there will be very little effect in PvP. PvP frost probably wont take the glyph, because that AoE freeze is invaluable there, and in PvP no one is permanently immune to stuns. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to change to another spec for progression raiding, but now you shouldn’t be embarrassed to be casting Frostbolts in a raid!