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Posts with tag arcane-spec

Data suggests mage changes solved spec issues

GuildOx sends us interesting news of a change in the ratio of specs for raiding mages. Prior to hotfixes and patch adjustments that happened over the past couple months, raiding mages were overwhelmingly fire specd -- over 90% of the top mages were specd into fire. Now? According to GuildOx data, 45% of the top mages are arcane spec, and 39% are fire spec. Prior to the changes, arcane was around 3%.

While this change in mage spec might seem an oddity and not necessarily important, it does serve to illustrate an key fact: balance changes can and do work. All these small changes to the way that the game is played, be it through small hotfixes or modifications to the encounter designs; these changes eventually lead to an equalization of spec and greater player choice.

Of course in a perfect world these minor changes wouldn't be necessary to correct major deficiencies. But, given that the game is so fluid and changes are a natural part of WoW these days, it's encouraging to see that they have the desired effect.

Is there a method to Ghostcrawler's and his team's madness? Yes, and it appears to be working.

Filed under: Mage

Arcane Brilliance: First impressions of arcane in Mists of Pandaria

Nether Tempest after kiting for a while.
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Christian Belt is the normal archmage, but rumor has it that he's currently trapped in one of many hell dimensions. The Simbul has gone to investigate, leaving Senior Understudy and Last Surviving Student Josh Myers to cover this week's article.

I've had a love/hate relationship with arcane. As I mentioned last week, when I first started my mage I had every intention of playing arcane ... but that was back in The Burning Crusade, when phrases like class balance and raid-viable didn't make sense to me. When my mage started growing in levels and I found out the best raiding spec for mages was destruction warlock, I jumped ship.

My mage hit level cap during the height of arcane's PvE dominance in Wrath of the Lich King, and I decided it wasn't the spec for me. When my mage capped again in Cataclysm and started preparing to raid, frost was enjoying its brief period as a semi-viable spec, and I had a secondary fire spec for Alysrazor. I haven't had much cause to go arcane lately, beyond Spine of Deathwing when we were progressing, and up until now I was pretty glad for that fact.

That is, until I hit beta. After writing my first impressions of both frost and fire and totally dropping the ball on my original arcane speculations for MoP (pro tip: Arcane Missiles is still a proc), I thought it was my duty to try out arcane. I told myself that for the sake of science and fairness, I'd give arcane a shot. After a night of streaming dungeon runs, dummy testing, and some Jade Forest leveling, I almost feel like I owe arcane a huge apology -- because in MoP, it's a legitimately fun spec.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Beginner's guide to being a mage

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're taking a trip through the first 20 levels of the game, which are now eternal. The important thing to remember about rolling a mage is that you've made the right choice; congratulations.

Between the newly adopted unending demo, the extended Recruit-a-Friend promotion, and the freshly bargain-priced WoW/The Burning Crusade bundle, it seems Blizzard is making a concerted effort to woo new players. And from my limited viewpoint, it seems to be working.

I have a brother, a year and some change younger than me, who doesn't live near me. This sucks, because he and I have absolutely everything in common. We grew up taking turns watching each other play Shining Force, or designing Dungeons & Dragons campaigns to force each other to play through, but then college, family, and career separated us. I'm here in Las Vegas playing copious amounts of video games and ignoring my kids, and he's at Purdue, working on his doctorate and just generally making me ashamed of the waste my life has become. Naturally, I've been trying for years to drag him down to my level. Thus far he's resisted, but when I notified him of these new opportunities to play the game on the cheap, he finally took the plunge.

And rolled a warrior.

Sigh.

Oh well. At least it wasn't a warlock, right?

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

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the arcane mage

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Well, almost every week. Okay, every other week. Semiannually. Every leap year.

Seriously, sorry about the inconsistency lately. Family illness struck last week, and though the situation made it impossible for me to write a column, I still feel bad about leaving you guys in the lurch. I'll do everything in my power to keep the column weekly going forward. Because if I don't, the warlocks win. And they can never win, you guys. Never.

With that out of the way, we're at the point in the expansion when most of what I said about the various specs early on is now almost completely false. I feel it is time again for me to address the mage nation about the state of the mage. This time around, though, I thought I'd tackle each spec separately, since the state of the mage is quite different depending upon what sort of mage you happen to be. Over the next three weeks, we'll take a hard look at the state of the three mage specs, focusing on PVE, and see where we're at as a class.

We start this week with the left-most mage spec: arcane.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Things I want to see changed, arcane edition

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we do what mages do best, if you don't count brutal warlock-murder: we whine. Oh relax; it's constructive whining. I promise.

OK, I'm not going to sit here and pretend mages are terrible. I'll leave that to the official forums. The honest truth is that we're a more than capable DPS class, with two currently mediocre specs (one of which is making some substantial strides on the PTR) and one fairly spectacular one. We have one dominant PvP spec, and two others that can kind of hold their own if you don't look too closely at them. In this game, that's pretty much par for the class-balance course.

So I'm not saying the end is nigh, Blizzard is the root of all evil, time to re-roll a death knight, I'm canceling my subscription and buying Rift, or anything else equally ridiculous. And I'm not going to spend a thousand words complaining about stupid things. We have it pretty good, all things considered, and I'm simply not jaded enough yet to ignore that fact.

But the fact remains that the mage class has been pretty damn stagnant for some time now. We've now gone through two straight expansions with no discernible face-lift to speak of, while other classes have undergone some fairly seismic reboots. For the most part, that's not a bad thing. It means we're doing okay, or at least the class design team feels like we are. I tend to agree, but there are still a few nagging problems with our class that I feel need to be addressed. When the status quo has flaws -- even if those flaws are comparatively minor -- then maybe the status quo simply isn't good enough.

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

Arcane Brilliance: A Cataclysm 101 guide for mages

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we'd like to welcome any and all of you who decided the end of the world was as good a time as any to roll a new mage. For you newbies, here's magehood condensed into sound effects: Pew pew! Splat! Rez!

It has come to my attention that there are still some of you out there who are not mages yet. Unacceptable, people. Frankly, there are only a few legitimate reasons left that make not being a mage OK:
  1. You are a warlock.
  2. You are a tauren. (A reminder: the Interracial Humanitarian Association of Tauren and Everyone in WoW Against Race Limits On Choosing Kinship with Sorcerers, or IHATEWARLOCKS, still meets every Saturday, right here at WoW Insider. I'm bringing nachos and punch this week. You should totally come.)
  3. That's it, really. I don't know, maybe you have a severe allergy to massive crits or something? Just roll a mage already.
I imagine that the combination of a new and immeasurably improved leveling process, exciting new race/class couplings, and the introduction of worgen and goblins has already inspired and will continue to inspire a fresh influx of the uninitiated to join the hallowed ranks of magedom in the coming weeks. As is our custom here at Arcane Brilliance, we would like to offer a quick and dirty guide to being a mage for those of you plan to join our awesome little club of awesomeness in the coming weeks. It is our ongoing mission to keep magehood the single most highly prepared and well-played class in the game, so here is a basic primer in advance of the release of the biggest WoW expansion yet. Join us, won't you?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Why Mana Adept might not suck

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that needs more screenshots. Yes, I'm reminding all of you that I need more pictures of mages to open this column with. They can be any pictures of mages, whether they're mages killing warlocks, or mages setting warlocks on fire, or mages destroying a warlock's self-esteem, or a mage stealing a warlock's lunch money, or a mage sneaking into a warlock's backyard and salting the earth so that nothing can grow there for a hundred years. Really, any mage screenshot will do. Send them to arcanebrilliancepics@wow.com; put "Mage screenshot" in the subject line, and sign the email with whatever name you want the picture to be credited to. My email's getting lonely. Seriously, all I get now are fake beta invites and porn. Sometimes in the same email.

Mana Adept concerns me.

I don't think I'm alone, in my concern, either. In fact, I think it's safe to assume that a very large percentage of arcane mages, upon reading about the coming mastery bonus for their spec of choice in the recent Cataclysm class preview, let out a collective sigh of deep unease.

The mastery bonuses for fire and frost are fairly straightforward. Fire is getting a powerful DoT component added to all of their direct-damage fire spells. Frost is getting a damage buff applied to all of their damaging spells but Frostbolt. Compare those to the mysteries of Mana Adept:

Bashiok
Mana Adept: Arcane will deal damage based how much mana the mage has. For example, Arcane mages will do much more damage at 100% mana than at 50% mana. If they begin to get low on mana, they will likely want to use an ability or mechanic to bring their mana up to increase their damage.


Wait ... what?

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Arcane 101

Welcome to another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that is the only place I know of where a gnome in a dress with glowing hands hanging out in the middle of the forest isn't so much creepy as it is socially acceptable.

Since I see a growing trend among the other class columnists, and because I crave the approval of my peers, I bring you Arcane 101. This is intended to be a relatively basic overview of the spec; I won't be delving into much in the way of the more complex mechanics here. This will also be a PvE-centric column. We'll revisit arcane PvP at some future point, but sadly not today. So without further ado:

1. What is arcane?

The leftmost of the three mage specs, this tree focuses on magic that is neither fiery nor frosted. It is (for the next five minutes or so, at least) the current single-target pure DPS champ, as far as mage specs go.

2. Arcane Benefits
  • Extremely high damage
  • Simple rotation
  • Low hit cap
  • Provides good raid utility
  • Missile Barrage is awesome
3. Arcane drawbacks
  • Highly dependent on timely procs for mana efficiency
  • Cannot sustain highest DPS rotation
  • Rotation is fairly boring
  • Sub-par AoE

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Arcanapalooza



Each week Arcane Brilliance drops at a 100% rate from your computer screen. It can be equipped in any slot, and doesn't bind to your character in any way, shape or form. It can be disenchanted into whatever you want, and sells to merchants for a million gold. It is of legendary quality. When equipped, it raises all of your stats exponentially, to the power of awesome. It also has an on-use ability with no cooldown: Arcane Brilliance instantly turns any targetted Warlock into a ridable mount.

I have to begin by admitting my deep bias here. Since midway through The Burning Crusade I've been a deep Arcane Mage. I loved the Arcane tree when it was bad, and I love it now that it's good. It's entirely possible that this fact disqualifies me from even speaking rationally about this topic, but I've never let a crippling lack of impartiality stop me before.

Even those who now hate this spec and cry loudly (and as frequently as the refresh button on their internet browsers will allow) for massive and immediate nerfs will agree that there has never been a better time to be an Arcane Mage. Already quite powerful in PvP and fairly solid in PvE, patch 3.0.8 has only increased the effectiveness of this formidable spec. Playing an Arcane Mage is easy to pick up and challenging to master, and more out-and-out fun than it has any right to be. Follow me after the break and we'll discuss some of the ins and outs of this very potent school of magic.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Raiding, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: The Arcane tree in WotLK



Each week, Arcane Brilliance blinks in from out of nowhere to deliver an instant cast full of Mage info and analysis to the interwebs. Or at least it tries to. Sometimes it blinks sideways, you see. Sometimes, backwards. On rare occasions, Arcane Brilliance casts Blink and goes absolutely nowhere. Oh well, at least the sparkly lights looked pretty.


Let's hear it for no more NDA! Now we can finally talk in detail about things a lot of us have known about for months. I'm sure we're all underwhelmed by the Beta patch notes as they apply to Mages. Here they are, in full. Pull up a chair, these could take you a full 90 seconds to read:

Mage
  • Arcane Focus (Arcane) is now 3 ranks and increases chance to hit and reduces mana cost of Arcane spells by 1/2/3%.
  • Counterspell now costs 9% of base mana.
  • Frost Armor, Ice Armor, Mage Armor and Molten Armor are no longer Magic effects and cannot be dispelled.
  • Invisibility now makes the caster invisible after 3 seconds, reduced from 5 seconds.
  • Magic Attunement (Arcane) now also increases the range of your Arcane spells by 3/6 yards.
  • Polymorph now costs 12% of base mana.
  • Portal spells now cost 18% of base mana.
  • Prismatic Cloak (Arcane) now also reduces the fade time of Invisibility by 1/2 seconds.
  • Slow Fall now costs 6% of base mana.
  • Teleport spells now cost 9% of base mana.
Ok. Deep breath. Repress urge to kill. Repeat after me: "It is still early in the testing process. These notes are incomplete. Changes are likely coming. Mages will get something cool." Feel better? No? Me either. Still, there are some things worth discussing here, and with the lifting of the embargo on leaked Alpha talents, we do have a great many things to talk about. Join me after the break and we'll do just that, starting with the tree that has changed the most: the Arcane tree.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

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