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Posts with tag arcane-tree

Arcane Brilliance: On mage healing and other miscellany

final fanatsy III white mages
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we talk about the concept of mage healing, which in my opinion is like the concept of warlock winning. It simply isn't a phenomena that occurs in nature.

Since those heady, halcyon days of 2004, when mages began to walk to wilds of Azeroth and players were introduced to their glass cannon awesomeness, the topic of mage healing has from time to time emerged, poking its strange and intriguing head up into the mage conversation and usually disappearing just as quickly. The idea has precedence. Healers in Final Fantasy lore are called White Mages. More recently, Dragon Age has its Spirit Mages. Archetypal wizards have had access to magical healing in one form or another throughout fantasy gaming and literature, though rarely is it their strongest focus.

And just lately, the idea has been gaining some unprecedented traction among the WoW mage community. Recently, I've seen the concept presented with consideration and clarity on the official forums, among my own contemporaries in-game, and even right here in the comments section of this very column. It bears thinking about. Though the idea is extremely unlikely to ever be implemented, its increasing popularity and the improving practicality with which its proponents conceptualize it warrant attention. Mage healing, whenever it is brought up, is immediately interesting and always at least a little bit tantalizing, even for its most vehement opponents.

Like me.

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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: Patch 4.2 changes, clarifications and legendary staves

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we discuss the perils of writing about the PTR, which stands for "Public Test Realm." For a very long time, I thought it stood for "Pirate Taco Restaurant," which I thought sounded more fun, frankly.

Yes, it's always a good time when I write something and the testing process immediately renders almost every word of it completely moot. Testing is testing, I guess, and absolutely everything that pops up on the PTR at pretty much any stage of the testing cycle is entirely subject to change. So remember what we talked about last week? The whole tier 12 set bonus thing?

No longer true.

Well, okay, I guess some of it still holds true, but not the really interesting part. Gone is the moving Arcane Missiles. To me, that was the single most significant bonus being offered by the tier 12 set for mages, but it's been removed entirely in the latest PTR build. The other bonuses remain, in slightly altered form, but mobile missiles is apparently out.

Still, I'm not perturbed, other than my simmering rage at having a thousand or so of my words -- wrung from my brain only a week prior, sweat out over a hot (or at least lukewarm, perhaps slightly moist) keyboard, painstakingly arranged into mildly pleasing, competently conjugated sentences -- become instantly irrelevant. You see, I actually think this could end up being a good thing for mages, and I promise that in a minute or two I will tell you why I think that, and the answer will not be "because of all that paint I huffed."

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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: Catching up on mage Cataclysm changes

Each week, Arcane Brilliance steps out of a portal from parts unknown, bringing with it a knapsack full of delicious mage content conjured expressly for your consumption. Try not to overconsume, though. Nothing's worse than waking up one morning to discover your robes don't fit and your fingers are too chubby to waggle your wand properly.

And after that culinary intro joke, it's time we got to the meat of the matter -- specifically, the Cataclysm beta and the constant mage changes going on therein. Each week (and sometimes more than once during each week), a new beta build hits that brings more new stuff for mages. Sometimes these changes are big, and sometimes they're not, but I feel like it's high time we spent a column talking about the more recent ones. I've let like five builds go by without dealing specifically with this stuff, so we'd better get going.

I figure we'll start with the most important change and move forward from there.

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

Arcane Brilliance: These are a few of my favorite things

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column from the author of Don't Break My Sheep: Diary of an Angry Mage and 101 Ways to Cook Warlock.

This is going to be slightly shorter and even more rushed than usual, guys, because new baby. I'd post pictures, but this is the internet. I'll wait till he's a bit older and can ruin his own life. The kid's our third, our first boy, and I'll only say one thing about that: After two girls, I simply wasn't prepared for the peeing. Seriously, the kid fires that thing straight up, without warning, and with laser precision. I've taken to placing a washcloth over his loins during changings, a tip suggested by my genius wife.

Now that I've grossed you out, let's move on to today's topic: awesomeness. Paternity leave from work has given me some extra time between hilarious eye-peeing episodes to fiddle in earnest with my mage on the beta. And though I have some complaints, I'll save them for another week, one in which I'm not still basking in the afterglow of seeing my wife push a baby out from her nether regions. I'm too happy to complain this week, so if you've come here looking for constructive criticism, you're in the wrong place. Join me after the jump for a few of my favorite things about each of the three mage specs in the beta.

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

Pimp My Profile: Lissaris, arcane mage

Welcome to Pimp My Profile, the column in which the WoW.com staff turns zeroes into heroes. Don't think you're performing where you should be? Not sure how your class/spec is supposed to be gearing up? E-mail us with your Armory link, and you might be next to receive our help!

I've traditionally used a modified frostfire build, which has always worked well for me. I recently dual spec'd and tried an arcane build, but I wasn't able to put out as much DPS. Any suggestions on how I can improve to deliver maximum DPS?
- Lissaris
I wasn't quite sure how to classify you in the title of the post, seeing as you've only recently respecced into arcane. The good news is that most of the tweaks I'll be suggesting today will work for both specs. Lets hear it for stat homogenization!

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Filed under: Mage

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the mage, volume 4 of 72

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to present, once again, its multi-annual state of the mage address. My fellow mages, we are awesome.

First of all, you might be wondering why only 72 volumes. I'll be honest: it has to do with the great zombie apocalypse of 2037. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say it severely impairs my ability to write. To be frank, the last 15 parts are pretty much just "braiiinns...warlocks....suuuuck...brains...braiiiins..." repeated over and over for a thousand words or so. After that, my zombie-self just loses interest. Some of you may wonder how those columns will be any different from the ones I write now. To you, I say bite me.

I've extolled upon the state of mages on three previous occasions. It's actually interesting to go back and look over those ancient texts from our current perspective. Oh, the silly things we were worried about back then! Fire PvP... ha! Spirit, less than useful? What a ridiculous concern! Oh... how far we've come.

Ignore my sarcasm. I'm not actually unhappy at all with the current state of mages. We are, as I stated in the opening blurb, awesome. Join me after the break and we'll look at where we are as a class in 2010.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (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: Mage changes on the patch 3.2.2 PTR


Welcome to the latest edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly Mage column that unites Mages everywhere in brotherhood, friendship, and a mutual desire to set Warlocks on fire.


So, I was all set to write a lengthy diatribe this week on the woes of the Arcane tree. I was going to compare their plight to the aliens in the District 9 trailer, which I totally plan on watching this weekend. Both are oppressed groups, both possess powerful weapons nobody can use properly anymore, and both have spaceships that ran out of gas above South Africa. I was going to bemoan such things as Arcane's inadequate DPS, PvP survivability, and overall mana inefficiency. It was going to be overly-dramatic and incredibly whiny. Warlocks were going to drink from the well of my tears, and find them delicious.

Then this happened.

In case links frighten you, or you can't be bothered to read past the notes for other classes, or just get distracted every time you read about the revamped Onyxia raid we're getting (like me), I'll helpfully re-post the Mage notes below.

Mages
  • Arcane Blast: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 130% instead of 200%.
  • Talents

    • Arcane

      • Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it.

Take a moment. Digest that. Consider the implications. Then follow me past the break.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as an Arcane Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance comes to work totally motivated, ready to sit down and manufacture a fantastic, insightful, entertaining column about Mages. Then Arcane Brilliance's wife brings him breakfast, because she's awesome like that, and Arcane Brilliance takes a break to eat it. Fat and happy, Arcane Brilliance flexes its fingers and gets ready to resume the creative process. Then winamp shuffles through to a song from the new Silversun Pickups album and Arcane Brilliance gets distracted again, and has to listen to the whole album before it can concentrate. Then Arcane Brilliance's kids come in the room and Arcane Brilliance plays with them for awhile. Lunch approaches, and Arcane Brilliance needs to get the column up. And, that, loyal readers, is a preemptive apology for any inaccuracy, inconsistency, misspelling, and grammatical eror that may follow this opening paragraph. Sorry!

Before we begin, let's get a couple items out of the way.

First: In case you haven't gotten it yet, or weren't aware, today is your last day to obtain Polymorph: Rabbit, at least during this calendar year. This is purchasable from the Noblegarden vendors for the low, low price of 100 Noblegarden Chocolates (it's only visible on the vendor if you're a Mage), which shouldn't take very long to obtain if you put your mind to it. Noblegarden ends tonight at 11:59pm server time, so even if you have no interest in the rest of the holiday, don't miss out on this little Mage-only perk.

Second: Mirror Images aren't stupid anymore! Yes, when the PTR for patch 3.1.2 went live, the patch notes included one tiny note for Mages, but what a note it was. Your Mirror Images will now attack only the target that you've generated the most hate from, instead of targeting whatever shiny object happens across their fields of vision first. In addition, they'll no longer break CCs whenever they feel like it. I've tested this out a bit, and I'm happy to report that it seems to be working as advertised. Rejoice, my fellow Mages: our copies are no longer ham-fisted, drooling, mouth-breathers. I'm giddy.

And with the news and notes out of the way, we are free to move on to this week's topic: PvPing as an Arcane Mage.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Guides, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Barrage nerfed stealthily



For about five shining minutes, Mages were over-powered. Arcane Mages, to be precise. Or so everyone tells me. All I know is that for the first time in a long time, I felt the kind of power I always assumed Mages were meant to wield.

Patch 3.0.9 has brought Arcane Mages back down to earth, though, and only some of the bad stuff was actually in the patch notes. You see, along with the incredibly clunky and obtuse changes to Arcane Power and Presence of Mind (effectively ending PoM-Pyro specs as we knew them), and the nerf to Slow, this briefly mighty spec has also received a bonus undocumented nerf to our signature spell: Arcane Barrage.

After a whole lot of us noticed we simply weren't doing the same damage post-patch that we were pre-patch, the official forums lit up with Mages contending that Arcane Barrage simply wasn't packing the punch it used to. Though the tooltip hadn't changed, the damage had fallen off considerably. Last night, Eyonix responded with a post explaining the change and letting us know that its effects would be monitored. I always thought the PTR was a good place to monitor changes, but what do I know?

Before we discuss this any further, let me just put it up front that I'm setting the over-under on "QQ MOAR" comments following this post at 45. I'm taking the over.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Talents

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 best and worst of 2008



Each year, Arcane Brilliance cooks up 52 columns about Mages, each one roasted at precisely the right temperature for precisely the right amount of time (usually a couple hours on Saturday morning over a soggy bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, to be honest). As we arrive at the 52nd week of 2008, Arcane Brilliance would like to thank each and every one of the Mages who come here every weekend to celebrate our wonderful class by reading a giant, well-cooked wall of text. Arcane Brilliance would also like to say to the Warlocks who come here to mock us and drink our delicious tears, "We hope your felhound eats you."


Wow, so 2008, huh?

A lot of things happened this year, right? Crazy.

We here at Arcane Brilliance thought that since next week's column will be posted in 2009, we should take a moment this week to remember the year that was, and what it meant to all of us who walk the path of magic. There were some pretty high highs, and some exceptionally low lows, so we figured it would be fun to throw the highs into a ring with the lows and let them fight to the death. Join us after the break to see who wins!

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

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.0.8, or Blizzard's love letter to Arcane Mages



Each week, Arcane Brilliance gains 5,000 reputation with the Kirin Tor by writing a column about Mages. That's right, I said 5,000. Are you reading this, Kirin Tor? I'm declaring myself exalted. Give me my dagger already, you selfish jerks.


I may have mentioned this before, but I'm an Arcane Mage.

I wasn't always. I spent my initial leveling days as a pure Fire Mage, and loved it. I spent a good chunk of time PvPing as a Frost Mage, and had a glorious time. But now I'm all Arcane, all the time, and I'm as pleased with it as it is possible for an unapologetic cynic like myself to be pleased with a thing.

And so, as you can imagine, I look at the PTR 3.0.8 patch notes as Blizzard's Christmas gift to me personally. It's as if they decided, "yes, we would like to keep taking money from your credit card, Christian, and so make our product better specifically for you." Actually, that's probably exactly what they decided, only substituting the names of every person ever for my own. The difference is that for me specifically, they've actually been successful. Anytime you give me a patch that buffs my spec of choice specifically and also fails to nerf it in any way, your "give him what he wants and he will give us money for it" business model has been successful.

Follow me after the break and we'll discuss what will hereafter be referred to as patch 3.KeepChristianHappy.8 (ok, maybe not...that's incredibly cumbersome), and all that it will change for Mages, especially those of the Arcane persuasion.

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

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