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Arcane Brilliance: Taking your mage transmog beyond tier sets

The same draenei mage wearing arcane, fire, and frost gear
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire. She also maintains the mage blog, Manalicious.

I haven't written about transmog here yet, which is really a terrible oversight. It was always in the works, though, there's just been so many other things to talk about. But I find myself at liberty to do something a little more light-hearted this week and so let's talk about fashion!

Many potential transmog enthusiasts might find themselves getting a bit overwhelmed when it comes to choosing what to wear. You don't need an article that tells you "tier sets look good," because it's kind of a given. They were designed to match each other, so yes, an entire tier set isn't necessarily a wrong choice. At the very least it'll look cohesive, and mages have some great tier sets.

But it isn't necessarily an original choice, either, and it won't set you apart in a sea of cloth-wearers or even mages wearing the entirety of Tirisfal Regalia. So what we're going to talk about, for anyone who might be less confident in their transmogging, is how you can take your transmog to the next level and what you should consider as you do. We'll look at color and contrast, how to build a set around a unique piece, or take a potential theme and make it your own.

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Arcane Brilliance: Next steps for playing a fire mage at level 90

A draenei mage holds a fireball while surrounded by a field of fire.
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

Congratulations! You've always wanted to play a mage alt but somehow never find the time, or perhaps you're considering a new main for Warlords of Draenor. Either way, you've decided to boost a mage to level 90 or re-spec your mage and you are faced with a decision. What spec would you like to play? We're going to talk eventually about all three excellent specs, but for now we're going to start with fire.

Being a fire mage has always represented the somewhat reckless side of wizardry. Fire mages used to take talents that would increase their damage done in exchange for damage taken. (Nothing ventured, nothing gained!) Modern fire maging is a little less risky than that and comes with many advantages. You might enjoy playing a fire mage if you want:

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Arcane Brilliance: A timely discussion

A photograph of antique timepieces and watches
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

I'm interrupting my planned final installment in the Challenge Mode tips series to talk about a more pressing topic. Things have really been heating up in the mage community over the past few days. (I'm sorry, I couldn't help it).

It all started when Celestalon made his fateful tweet about button bloat, asking what ability we worried about losing that might potentially be cut. Discussions about button bloat have happened in the recent past, but this sparked the discussion anew. A few mages suggested Alter Time might be a suitable candidate for a variety of reasons. More mages began to speak up that were vehemently opposed to its removal. Both sides became more vocal and some heated forum posts were created.

I don't mention this all to sow any more discord. At the end of the day, we're all robe-wearing, spell-flinging casters of magic. I'd like to see things kept civil. But it's a worthwhile discussion to have, if a "cut" is coming (and all evidence suggests that it is), what could we stand to lose and why?

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Arcane Brilliance: Challenge mode tips for mages part 2


Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

This is part two of three challenge mode tips for mages articles. Click here to go back and read part one.

This week we're going to look at getting your gear ready to dive into challenge modes! First, a few loose ends. I neglected to mention another reward for finishing gold CMs: Challenger's Path. This is a teleport on an 8 hour cooldown that will take you straight to the entrance of a CM you achieved a gold rating in! Once you complete any CM, the teleport cooldown resets. They're very handy for getting around Pandaria.

Some mages left comments about doing gold CMs as arcane. That's great! If you have any CM-specific arcane questions, I'm sure they'd be happy to share some of their strategy in the comments this week. I'll still be assuming you are probably frost. Frost is the most accessible and easiest option for the average mage, but I didn't say it couldn't be done by another spec. The reason for this is that frost scales better than the other two specs at lower item levels. It will perform well for you and can put out some serious AoE damage. Most mages doing CMs use it.

Finally, Adam Koebel posted an introductory challenge mode guide this week. It also includes links to recommended strat videos. HamletEJ's were the ones I used.

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Arcane Brilliance: Challenge mode tips for mages part 1

A group of characters wearing challenge mode gear, from left to right: draenei shaman, human paladin, draenei mage, pandaren shaman, draenei death knight
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

Happy new year! Welcome to 2014. This week I'm going to talk about something we haven't looked at yet: challenge modes. Every column I've posted, someone has asked about or remarked on my current transmog. (Thank you for that. It warms my heart that you're also fashion-conscious). I'll admit, I haven't been able to change my transmog since I got the CM one. It's such a perfect combination of unique, exclusive, and also it's a credential. It says, "Trust me, I know what I'm doing here."

But the best thing about it is that you don't need a raid group to get it. Why would you want to do challenge modes as a mage? Read on to find out.

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Arcane Brilliance: Fun and frivolity for mages

A female draenei mage casts many portal spells in one location.
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

I know that some of you who read this column may not be full-time mages. Some of you may have mage alts. Some of you are warlocks - actually an alarming number of you are warlocks, I think that you secretly like us. That's okay, you could always make a mage and be eight billion times more awesome. We'll wait.

That's not what I'm here to talk about today, though. I know that sometimes as a DPS player it can become easy to get caught up in numbers. Best in slot gear, logs, damage done - all of that. I'm not saying that doing damage isn't fun. It is ridiculous, enemy annihilating fun. But there's more to life as a mage than that. In the spirit of the holidays, I'd like to discuss some of those more lighthearted things. They should apply to long time mages and dabblers alike, unless otherwise noted.

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Arcane Brilliance: Putting the brilliance back in arcane

A draenei mage wearing a purple robe floats in midair above the city of Dalaran
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

I haven't forgotten the arcane among us. When it comes to flavor, arcane mages have it in spades. All of the now definitive mage abilities - Alter Time, Time Warp, Arcane Explosion - these all stem from the power of the arcane. These mages are not elementalists, but delvers into the arcane secrets, the essence of magic itself. Arcane mages embody everything you think of when you think "wizard," mysterious and powerful, and with sparkly spell effects.

I've played arcane over the years at various times, usually when it was too good to ignore as a top-performing spec. Mists introduced some major changes to arcane, even from patch to patch. The charges of Arcane Power went from six to four. The cooldown on Rune of Power was removed. The range of Rune of Power's effect was increased. Scorch went baseline for fire - not a bad result for fire, but tough if you were an arcane mage. Ice Floes is not a panacea when it comes to movement and casting, though the cool down and charges on it were also adjusted for the better.

To be completely clear: Arcane mages aren't having a hard time in terms of damage output. Currently arcane is very high performing. If you look at some of the numbers from various sources, arcane is not just high, it's the highest. That hasn't necessarily made it popular, though, for a number of reasons. Arcane is facing a few challenges.

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Arcane Brilliance: A glimpse of the future


Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

The dust has settled from BlizzCon and everyone is buzzing with excitement about Warlords of Draenor! A few items of note came out of the reveals shared at the convention, and we're going to take a look at some of them today.

Gear and Stat Changes
Just after expertise had been changed to allow us to use it in addition to or in place of hit rating, both of these stats are going away in WoD. If your mage is a race that grants an expertise or hit increase as a racial bonus (i.e. draenei, gnome, etc.) you can expect a revamped racial with the expansion.

With the removal of hit and expertise we also say goodbye to reforging and meta gems. Honestly, I think this is mostly good news. Hit was never a very interesting stat, and constantly having to juggle it on your gear to a set cap and then ignoring it doesn't add much to game play. Expertise was just another way for mages to chase hit if they needed it. Meta gems were another road bump on the way to outfitting your character. There's always been one gem that's best for us, period, and so this wasn't presenting us with interesting options either.

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Arcane Brilliance: Talent Show

draenei mage
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we're holding our breath to see what news will be revealed at Blizzcon!

If I could have absolutely anything from Blizzcon this year specifically pertaining to mages, it'd be this: I'd like to know what the future of our tier 6 talents is going to be. It's already been acknowledged that they'd like to make changes to these talents. The devs know that the talents are an ongoing concern and really a major thorn in our side.

It became clear to me just how I felt about the tier 6 talents as I was leveling my troll mage to 90 a few months ago. I went to do a dungeon as a fire mage and I evocated, and imagine my surprise when -- it triggered a long cooldown. I got some mana back. Nothing else happened. My invocation buff tracker remained at nothing. I happily did the rest of the dungeon without ever using evocate at all unless I needed mana. Then I realized that it was more fun to be level 88 than it was to be level 90.

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Arcane Brilliance: Critical points

Arcane Brilliance Critical Points
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we talk about things that are flammable (hint: Cloth is especially flammable. Warlocks are also especially flammable because of their fel centers).

I hear you pyromancers out there clamoring for me to talk about you. Frost had the more pressing need! It's the only spec to majorly change in patch 5.4. The only change to fire was a 50% nerf to Combustion because - let's face it - it was just too good. Even after the nerf, fire is still really, really good.

But I'm new here, and we haven't talked about mages in quite awhile, so let's take a long view of fire. Prior to Mists, fire saw a lovely and elegant redesign. Fire has always been my spec of choice. Maybe it's the visceral WHOOSH-BOOM that accompanies a Pyroblast! proc, or the satisfying crackle of flame at your fingertips. Whatever it is, you have to admit - fire is the sexiest mage spec.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance