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Arcane Brilliance: Adventures on the PTR

It's time once again to celebrate our mageness with Arcane Brilliance, and this time we're going where I certainly have not gone before: the PTR. I finally got my character transfers to go through, and my immediate thought was to slip on into the PTR and check out how the changes to mage spells and talents affected my character with the addition of Patch 2.3. A lover of experiments, I figured one was in order, and so happily spent the morning blasting things in the name of gaming science.

The parameters of said experiment were the following: I used the same spec on both the PTR and the live server, and decided that for simplicity's sake I would record data on three separate types of spell damage: using only Fireball, using only Scorch, and using my normal spell rotation. Now, you'll notice that my spec is a basic fire spec, newly reclaimed after some time spent as a blended POM/Pyro mage. I have decent gear, not the best, not the worst. I would say that I wear middle-of-the-road items, some Tier 4, Spellstrike and Spellfire, and the enchants and gems I have are also of the meh category. They aren't terrible, but I haven't had the opportunity to deck out this mage with all the snazzy +12 spell damage gems I would like. So the following are the experiences of a mage with some lower-end raiding gear, a fire spec, and a curious nature.

With those boundaries set, I first tumbled on out to the Dark Portal to see what I could do against the demons flooding the steps there. I found that it was a bit challenging blasting away at them, simply because I was competing for their hit points with the NPCs around me, and I would invariably either pull aggro or they would die too fast to get a clear idea of how my spells were damaging them. This challenge in mind, I got the following numbers while I was there:

PTR Server

Fireball only: Non-critting spells ranged from 1937 and 2407 spell damage, and Critting spells from 2908 to 3826.

Scorch only: Non-critting spells ranged from 804 to 1037 and those that crit landed between 1216 and 1537 spell damage to the target.

Spell rotation (Fire blast, 5 Scorch, 4 Fireball): DPS ranged between 553.5 and 892.8.

Live Server

Fireball only: Non-critting spells ranged from 1400 to 2168 spell damage, and Critting spells from 2000 to 3305.

Scorch only: Non-critting spells ranged from 818 to 987 and those that crit landed between 1259 and 1504 spell damage to the target.

Spell rotation (Fire blast, 5 Scorch, 4 Fireball): DPS ranged between 591.6 and 1093.5.


Now I looked at these numbers and wondered if the lack of variation was caused by the aggro challenges or if they were valid as they stood. In order to further satiate my curiosity, I decided to pay a visit to every caster's best friend, Dr. Boom. While there I encountered a couple more mages out testing their skills. One in particular was kind enough to talk to me about her experiences so far, the lovely Barbs of Dath'remar. Through the nifty addition to the inspect UI I was able to see she had almost the exact same spec as I did. Her gear was better than mine, and so her DPS was significantly higher. She was finding that she too was doing about the same DPS on the PTR as on the live server. We grouped and spent the next hour happily frying Dr. Boom to a crisp. These are the numbers I logged from that session:

PTR Server

Fireball only: Non-critting spells ranged from 1985 and 2448 spell damage, and Critting spells from 2974 to 3826.

Scorch only: Non-critting spells ranged from 915 to 1023 and those that crit landed between 1362 and 1515 spell damage to the target.

Spell rotation (Fire blast, 5 Scorch, 4 Fireball): DPS ranged between 674.4 and 824.3.

When I bid my new friend adieu and hopped back onto the live server to blast Dr. Boom, these are the numbers I found:

Live Server

Fireball only: Non-critting spells ranged from 1819 to 2015 spell damage, and Critting spells from 2000 to 3305.

Scorch only: Non-critting spells ranged from 865 to 1037 and those that crit landed between 11404 and 1539 spell damage to the target.

Spell rotation (Fire blast, 5 Scorch, 4 Fireball): DPS ranged between 450.0 and 661.0.

I realize that these are only the results of my own practical experiment into spell damage, and I had only my own hand as a recording device rather than any information gathering mod. I find that my spell damage is about the same on the live server and the PTR, but I have read in a couple of places that mathematically there is an increase to DPS, particularly for Fire and Frost mages. I found very little change in the numbers I was hitting, but that is not taking into account the stopcasting addition to the gameplay. Where I was able to cast between 4-5 fireballs at the Dark Portal demons on the live server, on the PTR I was hitting them with between 6-9. Even if the spells are doing the same amount of damage, being able to cast the spell more times means you will do more damage to the mob overall. There was even a trick I read about where mages were binding their scorch spell to their mouse wheel, and getting amazing results. I am temped to try that out myself once the patch goes lives.

In the end I look at my experiment as a success, if only for the fact that I will go into the game after Patch 2.3 with both eyes open. I had expected a huge increase to my DPS, and there really was none. I realize that I did not take into account the changes to Meta gems available to mages and there might very well be a greater DPS boost for mages with the top end T5/T6 gear and their shiny spell haste, but alas that must remain for someone else to assess.

Filed under: Mage, Patches, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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