Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we tackle the question everybody's asking: Which mage spec is the best? And exactly how many seconds from now will it be before the answer to that question will no longer be accurate? The answers, of course, are "fire," and "Now it's arcane, you useless noob ... I mean frost ... re-roll rogue."
Because for a very vocal minority, this game isn't about having fun but rather about having an e-peen of wider girth than the virtual fellow at the virtual urinal next to you, someone out there will always be happy to tell you which mage spec you should be using. The correct answer varies depending upon who you are talking to, what time it is, the force of the winds coming out of the north, the positioning of Venus in the night sky, and whether or not Michael Bay is directing or just producing.
The simple fact of the matter is that there are too many variables at play. To use a basketball analogy, picking a "best" spec is sort of like picking a "best" way to shoot free throws. No two shooting forms look entirely identical. As of this writing, Kevin Love and Kirk Hinrich are both shooting exactly 87.6% from the free throw line, and yet their shooting forms look completely different. Both players start out with the same potential (both possess two arms, opposable thumbs, and functioning brain stems) and yet achieve the exact same result with completely different methods of shooting. Hell, Rick Barry used to shoot a very similar percentage using an underhanded granny shot. He did that for 12 seasons. So should everybody shoot granny shots? I say yes, but mostly for the comedic value.
Pure numerical simulations will tell you that at any given point in time, one spec has the potential to provide more DPS than the other two. I don't know about you, but I don't typically play the game with a simulator. I play the game with my e-peen. Just kidding. Sort of.