scroll down for the serious part, if you wish
Well have you?
As you may or may not know, Arcane received a lovely buff to aoe in 7.2, in the golden trait, Time and Space. Arcane's found a great interest, as it turned out that you can spam Arcane Explosion (AE) pre-pull to start the fight with 3 Arcane Missile Charges. Hallelujah! But it did not stop there! Arcane's also learned that AE became the best rotation on two target cleave, not only because of damage, but because of AE now having two instances, therefore giving it the same AM proc chance of AB. Many were satisfied, though were still looking for some help with single target (ST), as the Arcane community felt Frost was getting some better treatment…
Unsatisfied with the results, scientists dug deeper. They wanted to prove Arcane could do incredible things on ST. What they found… was terrifying and impressive.
What did they find you ask? MELEE MAGE! They found that you can actually just spam AE on ST! That's right, MELEE MAGE! No need for ST abilities, just spam AE endlessly! You got melee hunter? You got melee holy paladin's in 7.0? Now you have, MELEE MAGE! What this meant was, scientists found, is that you can actually forgo AB on ST, and just spam AE. In fact, results showed that AE can replace AB and be even on ST, and potentially even better. Glorious!
Now you may be asking, how? Show me the results? I have come to satisfy your desires. Here you are, here is my first adventures into the world of MELEE MAGE https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports/pxyrgnTLFHX7fKt4/#fight=12&type=damage-done. This entire raid night of Normal Nighthold and some Heroic, you'll find me gloriously spamming AE on ST, and on relevant fights, doing pretty well! You can compare these logs to my normal history here https://www.warcraftlogs.com/rankings/character/17705559/latest.
You will quickly find that MELEE MAGE is actually quite similar to the old-fashion, out of date AB spamming mages of the past. It may even be able to surpass it, by a more skillful melee user!
Now, you might be thinking, "Well Seoh, your parses are slightly lower and I mean, cmon they were not that stunning right?" Well that's where you'd be WRONG! I am trash, but there is one mage who does it far better than me! My master!
Check out Choby! This fellow scientist turned me and some others onto the MELEE MAGE train, and he has a top 30 H Star Augur parse, https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports/PLn4x8bjtYV2ZaKk#fight=6&type=damage-done&source=8! Mind you, he has 0 damage done to the Thing that Should Not Be, and less than 5mil damage to Voidlings. Impressive I say!
So it is true! MELEE MAGE is finally here! After years and years of asking, we arcane mages finally get to fulfill our dreams!
On a More Serious Note
I hope you found this entertaining. I've never written any satire, but I wanted to make this post like this because I did have fun tonight and I wanted to share that. I am being serious about this issue, however. This is an actual thing. Some people over at Altered-Time are theorizing that AB~=AE on ST. The AB's you are seeing are PoM ABs, and because of the missile proc chance, you can retain good AM usage. Now, hopefully the devs do not instantly take to nerfing AE proc chance on AM. Firstly, it is interesting as a viable way to two-target cleave, but still retain some priority dps from the increased AM chance. My personal opinion, beyond Time and Space proccing missiles out of combat (which should be fixed imo), is that there are some underlying problems here with AB. AB just simply isn't that powerful when you can compete with an aoe spell. It is my hope that any changes made to MELEE MAGE would be ones that seek a better balance tuning for Arcane ST, not a nerf to our aoe and our two-target cleave (our blind spot if you will).
Also, I want to encourage other mages out there to go try it! Especially fellow arcane mages. I found it quite entertaining, while being goofy and viable. I encourage you guys also to try this and have a little fun with the memes.
Either way, I feel pretty strongly that this playstyle was not intended to be competitive with the more normal ST rotations, and is evidence of some larger problems with the spec, but I will leave that up to the developers. Yes it isn't some amazingly huge dps gain that was not intended, but this is a more subtle and curious problem.
If you'd like to see some further reading, I'll provide some links from Altered-Time. I'd like to thank contributors there for their posts.
I did put a post on the wow forums if you'd like to comment there: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20754526924#1