Pet upgrades were the standard upgrade. They do pretty good dps and tank fairly well. I tanked a nasty Tier 2 named in a mission that had Raid Boss type HP pool. It was the 96 EM 8 focused air pet max VoA aa's. Had 2 mercs healing and only a few "oh no!" moments but that's typical of retarded mercs. I'll just say they don't suck but others have stronger opinions. I'm still parsing out DPS and I'll post those numbers as soon as I get them done. I didn't do any tanking parses.
Spells are lackluster but our weave is changing. In mage chat I told people to hold off for PJ to discuss it, and I'm hoping he will, because he probably tested out our new weave more than anyone (and I'm greatful that he did).
As far as new spells: we have 2 new summoned pet clickies that are one charge and intended to be presummoned (they are in the same class as the ice clicky) and an upgrade to the DoN clicky. We also got two new gifts: an invis clicky and quiver with max arrows (wtf?).
The 2 new pets will fall in the menu of summon misc-->pet-->fire/earth. They aren't omgawesome! but they are dps. I accidentally parsed a rank 2 one earlier and it was a meager 1.4k dps with 5k dmg over 30s.
XXX of Many was nerfed (sorta). It's still more damage than the old one but won't reach the potential it could have. What has happened was that the amount of strikes were lessened but more damage added in an attempt to help us ramp it's damage up faster. We tried to get this changed but Aristo wouldn't budge.
Other than that, we got standard upgrades, including a harvest upgrade.
AA's are all jacked up. Without getting all emotional about it I'll point out that things won't be as they should until December. We are missing things but they will be in place in the December patch. FBO is being reduced in cast time to 0.25s and Eli is working on adding a crit mod (it'll make crit dmg higher) for Vapor Core. CoH had a rank added that reduces the cast time by 2s. The new aa we got this time around is Elemental Union which works alot like Fire Core and affects all nukes but currently shares a timer with Fire Core (which may be changed soon). Elemental Union being on the same timer as FC makes it worthless.
Currently, the only thing we have are the standard upgrades except for the above and the next paragraph.
December patch will see more/new aa's. We had chats with Eli on getting some aa's added. I don't know what he will actually add but he was okay with a few things. Mod rod specialist was ok'd so we could get that with the caveat that more mana means more damage. Poisons like PC all/all poisons may be added to our pets. A staff block so that using a 2-hander could become an option in the future. More mana regen via the water pet illusion (if Aristo is okay with us getting more regen). We might get a hastened Drape aa to be able to cast it more often.
DPS and mana regen will be the 2 biggest concerns this expansion. With the new burn weave being spear, old spear, xxx of many, and RS costing 10k per (base cost) we are hurting. I'll be keeping pressure on to bring our regen back in line and bump dps but we can't be bickering over how it's done. It needs to be done and we need to focus there.
One more thing, the mod shard will not be getting a bump this expansion and that's how it's going to be. Our rod specialist aa, if we get it, should take care of that anyway.
And, finally, my apologies to anything I missed. I was hoping for advanced word on the NDA lift and wasn't fully prepared. There's lots of changes with this expansion: raid flagging and progression, group progression, and hotbars/spellbars. But that's pretty much the highlights as far as pertaining to mages.
Edit: Changed the weave to correct a typo. I had posted bolt when I meant xxx of many.
Raid currency: After you complete a raid, you get so much currency for it. Each tier uses different currency. Each tier has a raid vendor attached to it and as you complete more raids in a tier you will see more stuff. You can use this currency to buy any gear (and spells too iirc) from that tier. No longer will you wait on EM focii to drop. Gear and runes still drop in the chest. Tier 1 raids drop more loot to compensate for 2 raids.
EM Focus: EM focii were bumped by 3 ranks and the first rank drops in Tier 2. The raid EM were not added to visibles but at least we still have a guaranteed way of getting them. The EM focii from HoT work on the VoA pets.
Alaran language: This can't be gained the normal way. You do progression missions for books that you click to gain language. You can not do the same mission over and over. Once you click a book, you no longer can get it. Rk 2+ spells, any class aa, and mission keyphrases are locked behind alaran language. There are 2 ranks of Alaran Knowledge on your aa "special" tab. These are granted when you have appropriate level language.
If you want the pet aa's and your pet to be awesome, you will have to do progression. I know missions were changed so I'll briefly discuss that next.
For aa's, you need 75 Alaran skill. Once you have that, you can purchase any Class AA as long as you meet other pre-req's (level, aa's, etc).
Missions: The progo [non-instanced] tasks aren't a viable way to gain xp because they give crap xp rewards and so do the mobs you kill for drops. If you are TA'd to a progo [shared] task, you still get your book no matter where you are but you will only get the XP if you are within 300' of the chest when it's opened. Steps have been taken to ensure people don't/can't hog all the mobs for tasks. Please be considerate and move along when you are done with a mission, unless you are helping out friends, to ease congestion and zone pop in tier 1.
Raid progression: For VoA you will get a book when a raid is beaten. Keys don't exist. Only the raid requestor is required to beat all raids/tasks for the request; everyone else just needs the proper level book. Book xp is given based on your tier flag and what tier raid you beat. Same tier raid is normal xp; 1 tier behind is double xp; 2 tiers behind triple. The xp is not capped. If you beat a Tier 3 raid and are almost tier 2 flagged, you will zoom really far into Tier 2 xp. Everyone in the raid gets a book and you have 30 minutes to click when the raid ends (when the chest spawns, the timer starts). Only a max of 54 books will be awarded so you can't cheese the system.
The normal 85/15 rule still applies for pushes. Under this new system you could do only the same raid in a tier over and over until you get flagged for tier 2. You can even not ever step foot in a tier and still get flagged properly.
Edit: Made the text in the "missions" section more clear.
Edit #2: Added a bit about Alaran and AA's. Only Class AA's require Alaran.
To answer some questions folks had in other threads...
1. Max group focus in this expansion is EM11. Max raid focus goes up to EM16 if I remember right.
2. If you are a raider, wins net you some currency based on the tier of the raid (each tier has a different currency). This currency can be used to buy that raid item you keep losing out on, including the pet focus. They are not cheap, requiring on average a full month or so of wins over all the content in a tier to have enough coin to buy a piece on average, but it lets people get around horrible RNG luck. You also cannot buy gear from an event you, personally, have never beaten.
3. While the airship is a fun idea, in practice the thing is a pita, much more so than the boats of old. Lucky GH portals have a stone to set the portal to Argath, and druids/wizzies get port spells. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if a teleporter guild gnome takes up residence in Steamfont at some future point.
4. Mob density in some places is very low.
5. Invis is your friend, but there are also a lot of see invis scattered around. You can still navigate fairly well if you are careful and learn to think in routes of three dimensions and not just two dimensions.
6. The new air pet is a beast with an EM13 focus on it. Not using RS and just casting damage spells, and with only buffs I could cast or a merc could cast, the pet had no problem rumbling through the trash in one of the tier 4 zones. Add in RS and moloing, at least, is possible...and the EM8 pet is also capable of doing this however it is a little more of a knife edge balancing act. Of course against the worst named in that zone, well, it was another story with both focuses but I expected that. I don't have parses, but post-tuning I was a lot happier with the pet than before.
7. 10 12-slot hotkey bars and casting from bags (as long as the clickie doesn't have must equip on it) are pure gold.
And if you haven't gotten the book from Baga's stand, do the VoA launch mission that takes place in an Innovation instance (starts in Steamfont)...the mission is sort of long and really needs CC and a rogue to do it in a reasonable time period (which is still a couple hours), but the chest at the end also has the book. It gives 5 to Alaran language, which does not sound like a lot, but trust me, you want that 5 in Alaran.
1. The type 3's for VOA spells did not make the release and will be in the December patch (supposedly).
2. Purity augs were dropping (rarely) - I got a 15% one off trash in Sarith. I didn't see them for sale on any vendors, but they could be there.
3. RK1 mage spells are sold from two different vendors in Argath...for the most part one has the pets/summoning stuff, the other has the nukes, but there is some variation. The spell sellers are relatively close to each other just inside the entrance wall from the Steamfont zone line, sort of on the left as you wander in.
Some purity augs should be tradeable.
Also, pp drops in chests now. The point is to alleviate some money woes since many raiders don't have time to farm plat or whatever. So if you have a few toons who do cultural instead of raid gear then they should be able to afford it now. Don't let your GL's steal it all =P
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