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Arcane Brilliance: Things I'm thankful for

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, Arcane Brilliance is feeling especially festive. Pyroblasting a turkey will do that.

So apparently it's the holiday season. I'm still burping up cranberries and stuffing, my wife has started forcing Christmas music upon me (and frankly, if it's not Mannheim Steamroller, I don't want to hear it), and I've reached the point in the year when -- for my own mental well-being -- I refuse to look at a bank statement until February. To those of you who survived yesterday's annual gladiatorial bloodletting and emerged victorious from the front doors of Walmart or Old Navy, hoisting your hard-won set of hand towels above your head like a trophy: I salute you. To those of you who, like me, stayed home and bought stuff on Steam and Xbox Live: I also salute you, only I do so from my chair, by typing in an emote. Because, really, we're all pretty lazy. But damned if I don't feel well rested.

In deference to the spirit of the season, we here at Arcane Brilliance thought it might be nice to spend a column thinking about the things we're grateful right now. You'll find the mage-related stuff behind the jump, but here's my non-mage-related short list of awesome things:
  1. flatbread chicken sandwiches
  2. getting randomly tagged on Dragon Quest IX while walking through the airport Tuesday night
  3. troll druid cat form
  4. The Walking Dead
  5. Mumford and Sons
  6. discovering the brilliance of Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights on Netflix
Taco Bell, Netflix, Square Enix, etc. ... feel free to make any and all endorsement checks out to Christian Belt, care of WoW Insider. Also, screw you, AMC, for canceling Rubicon. I was just starting to enjoy that one. And screw you double, FOX, for putting Fringe on Fridays, where all good FOX shows go to die.

Without any further dalliances into pop culture, here (in no particular order) are a few of the things Arcane Brilliance is thankful for in the world of mages this year:

New mages

Let me extend a welcome to all of you who didn't roll a troll druid on Tuesday and instead went with a dwarf, orc, or night elf mage. Several reasons you'll be glad you did:
  1. Not nearly as many hairballs.
  2. You didn't have to contend with approximately a billion other trolls all competing for the same quest mob like I had to last night in the troll starting area. I mean, holy crap, guys. Would it kill you to throw out an invite at least? And the random Deadmines run I went on last night was, no lie, five troll druids. Our healer looked like he was taking his three kitties and a bear for a walk.
  3. When you get to 85, your raid leader can't tell you to either respec tree or bear because they don't need any more DPS. You're DPS, and he'd better get used to it.
  4. Seriously, have you seen our Recount scores lately?
I'm just happy to see a potential influx of new blood. More mages, in my opinion, is always a good thing. And if you're making a dwarf, why not take the next step and make a female one? They're ... sturdy ... and, um, have a low center of gravity? And they have a great personality. Seriously, you will love your dwarf lady mage. And you will be making those stupid achievements where you have to put a pumpkin or some flowers or whatever on one of every kind of everything so much easier on the rest of us.

And goblins and worgen! I almost forgot. I can't wait until the first goblin mage discovers how to reverse a Pyroblast and rez somebody. It's not a real thing, but it should be. And who doesn't want to see a werewolf in a dress? Nobody, that's who.

Ridiculous Arcane Blast and Deep Freeze crits

Sweet fancy Moses, there is nothing better than critting some poor, unsuspecting raid boss for 75k. Or 200k, as I've seen some folks report breathlessly on the forums. I'm just waiting for the swiftly approaching day when we all hit level 85 and get all newly epicced out and somebody sees the first 7-digit crit. It'll happen.

During the burn phase of an arcane rotation, or when Deep Freeze hits just right on a frozen boss, mages are just seeing the most delicious numbers pop up over the heads of their targets right now. Just knowing that if we could somehow get your raid's main tank and his 50k health pool to stand still long enough, you might be able to one shot him at full health ... ahhhh ...

The next time the conditions align themselves perfectly and you manage to squeeze out a truly gigantic crit (yes, I said "crit" there ... what did you think I said?) on your mage, I suggest you bow your head for a moment and offer up a silent word of gratitude to whatever deity it is that you worship. Then resume killing.

A return to crowd control

Some of you may not be all that thrilled about this one, but I sure am. Pew pew is fun and all, but I miss the days when a mage was called upon not only to blow things up, but also to make sure one of those things was turned into a sheep or turtle or whatever and kept that way. I also miss being able to instantly pinpoint any stupid people in your group by seeing which one decided to whack your sheep target first.

CC is something of a lost art these days, and let me assure you that even if you actually do remember those halcyon days during The Burning Crusade when you'd see "LFM, Sethekk Halls: mage" being spammed in trade chat, CC is definitely a perishable skill. You'll walk into the first 5-man in Cataclysm, then realize you can't recall what your keybind for Polymorph even is. Better start practicing now, because a group without CC in this new expansion is a group that will die. A lot.

I'm just excited to have an excuse to use one of my mage's signature abilities again. Now if only we could find a good use for wands besides just being a stat stick ...

Entrepreneurial opportunities

Step one: Park yourself somewhere high traffic, like a bank or auction house in Org or Stormwind.
Step two: Conjure portals to the other major cities.
Step three: Announce that you're charging for party invites.
Step four: Profit.

Now, a caveat: Don't be a dick. Business is good right now, and we haven't really been called upon to be portalbots for a couple of expansions now, so it feels good to again have one of our signature mage abilities be relevant again. But that doesn't mean you get to gouge people. Charge something the market seems comfortable with and something that seems reasonable to you, knowing that the mat only costs you a few silver pieces. You're charging for your time, really. Figure out what that's worth to you and charge accordingly. If you find people are calling you names or business is slow, you may need to rethink your price. Or, you may just decide to be super nice and give them out for free with the occasional tip. That's cool, and all, but just remember the old saying: You can give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day, but charge a man 25g for a port to Undercity and he'll probably just learn how to start using the zeppelin.

It may get annoying at some point soon, assuming Blizzard doesn't cave to all the haters who can't stand the idea of actually having to travel sometimes and add portals back into the game, but for now, it's kind of nice. It reminds of old times, and gives me another way to be useful to my fellow player. And always remember, as soon as the expansion hits and folks start flying around the old world, the demand will go down significantly, so the window of opportunity on this particular enterprise is small.

Oh, and also: Don't spam the trade channel. Just don't. Announce yourself once or twice. Then maybe a reminder every 5 minutes or so. Any more often than that and I will come to your house and choke you.

OK, one more thing I'm thankful for.

The warlock nerf

Seriously, man, I don't pay that much attention to the goings on over there at the Hot Topic, but all I know is I walked by the other day while I was on my way to the Orange Julius and I heard some truly spectacular crying going on in there. I guess they got nerfed or something? I don't know. It sounded great, though. I decided I needed to visit their forums for a second. Actual titles of posts I saw there:
  • The nerf was to much
  • wow ... this last nerf is lame
  • Lost and Hopeless! (I like the use of capitals there)
  • Mages suck.
  • Why nerf??
  • I hate my warlock.
  • How I feel about the warlock nerfs. (I'm pretty sure this one can be sung to the tune of every Evanescence song ever, and if not, it should be.)
And my personal favorite:
  • Why warlocks are dead; and how to re-roll
Whatever happened, guys, it must have been pretty epic. I'm not one to take pleasure in the pain of others ... oh, who am I kidding. You guys have read an Arcane Brilliance before. You know where I stand on warlocks.

I stand on their grave, peeing.

And frankly, when the nerfbat comes around again for mages, I expect nothing less from warlocks. Hate's no fun if it's not mutual.

So, what are you guys thankful for?

Every week, Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our recent look at how much I hate damage meters or what to expect for mages in patch 4.0.1. Until next week, keep the mage-train a-rollin'.

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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