So I started a Mage. I’m holding off on going back to my Warrior and/or Priest until the dual talent spec system comes out – I’m looking forward to playing them as the tank and healer they deserve to be. My Mage is now level 20 and he’s pretty good fun, like a more potent version of my Shadow Priest I’m not sure I’m going to go back to my Shaman alt… maybe one day but I just found all of those totems too damn annoying.
Having played a spread of classes now, one thing I’ve found that creates a huge impact on ease of gameplay is melee vs magic and the rank of your spells. For instance, my Mage is Frost spec and just got a new Frostbolt upgrade at level 20. Fantastic. Improved damage and things die so much faster now buuuut I don’t get another upgrade until level 26. That’s 6 levels of using the exact same spell as I’m using now, doing the exact same damage followed by a huge jump upwards again. This puts me at a huge disadvantage compared to a melee class whoes abilities do damange based on weapon damage because they can continually upgrade their weapons. Plus melee classes rely a lot more on just hitting their opponent and can continually increase their strength and weapons to increase this damage. Sure, my Mage can increase his intelligence or buy a new staff but the real source of my damage comes from spells and they only upgrade every 6 or so levels.
So what am I saying? Well, I reckon the life of a caster is far harder than the life of a melee class and I think it’s got a lot to do with the whole spell rank system. EQ2 had a similar issue because spells/abilities got upgraded every 14 levels (although they had the whole Adept III/Master I twink system which made things easier). I wonder if WoW would benefit by adding more spell ranks spaced less far apart to make up for this deficit, especially at lower levels when mob’s hit points increase dramatically every level. Or maybe WoW should restructure their spells to be like Warhammer Online by removing the whole ranking system and have them scale as you level.