Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column of choice for mages who hate warlocks, warlocks who secretly want to be mages, and everybody else who likes their mage discussion sprinkled lightly with random and inappropriate references to Lost, Flock of Seagulls, Lufia, and KFC's new "Double Down Sandwich," or as I like to call it, "population control." I mean, seriously? Who greenlit this? "I have an idea, guys. Let's offer a bacon and cheese sandwich where we remove the bun and replace it with two slabs of fried chicken! Ooh, and then, instead of offering drink sizes, let's work on a way to allow customers to hook themselves directly into our soda machines intravenously. They'll be mainlining Dr. Pepper! Because if there's anything America needs more than ever during these tough economic times, it's more ways for people to kill themselves via food!"
Lately, a lot of you have been asking for gearing advice for the new level 80 mage. It seems that a good number of people (myself included) have been making good use of this pre-Cataclysm lull to level their alts, and I'm proud to learn that many of you have chosen to level a mage as one of your alts. For many of you, the gearing landscape probably looks very alien when compared to the way it looked when you were gearing up your last character. New opportunities abound, with the promise of epic gear dangling around every bend. What path should you take?
Fear not, young magelings. This week, Arcane Brilliance has decided to draw you a roadmap. Now, a warning: Arcane Brilliance can't draw. Seriously, when Arcane Brilliance was 5, he drew a picture of a "horse" for his mother. As horse pictures go, it was apparently quite disturbing. Arcane Brilliance had to spend some time at a hospital for "special" children, and mom started drinking heavily. So, you're going to have to use your imaginations about the "map" part of the roadmap. It's mostly going to consist of words, something Arcane Brilliance can produce largely without upsetting medical professionals. Largely.
So you've hit level 80 with your mage. Your gear slots are likely filled with a random assortment of quest rewards, heirloom gear that suddenly doesn't look so good anymore, and stuff that dropped in normal Nexus ten levels ago. You'd like to start running some of the level 80 content, but your DPS still hasn't cracked a thousand. You're not geared enough for a trip to heroic Ramparts, let alone heroic Trial of the Champion. So what do you do? Where do you begin?