The periodic damage from Combustion has been reduced by 50%.
The critical strike chance multiplier from Critical Mass has been reduced to 1.25 (was 1.5).
For those that don’t know fire mages that well, essentially this means that our big cooldown spell had its damage sliced by about 33%, while our crit rate on every relevant single target spell was reduced by about 16.7%.
Keep in mind that, after hit cap, crit is the most important secondary stat for a fire mage and you might begin to appreciate how big a nerf this is. Crits give me hot streaks, hot streaks give me buffed pyroblasts, and those pyroblasts represent, as of my last run, about 32% of my damage.
It would not surprise me if this one change reduced my dps from between 10 to 20%. And my dps isn’t that great. I do well, but it’s not like I’m destroying the damage meters when I play with similarly geared people.
What really bugs me and perplexes me all at once is that this was done in a hotfix. I have some conception of how Blizzard tries to balance the specs and classes; perhaps they run simulations of fights, perhaps they observe data from the PTR, and so forth. And then, finally, when they feel they have it right, they release the major patch to us with confidence that all of the classes are doing well.
And then two days later they push through a 15% nerf to fire mages in a hotfix.
Why, Blizzard? Was it really that fire mages in 5.1 were overwhelmingly overpowered all of a sudden from changes in 5.1 that seemed like a minor nerf themselves? Why did you abandon your carefully measured determinations from weeks, if not months, of testing with various gear levels? What changed in those two days?
My bet? Ghostcrawler got schooled by a fire mage. I don’t see any other logical explanation for it.