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Posts with tag deep-freeze

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 5.1 preview for mages

Ice Barrier
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we realize there's a significant patch coming out any minute now and we haven't even mentioned it yet. Seriously, didn't we just get a whole expansion like yesterday? I'm still trying to figure out what a Shado-Pan is. I hope it's something I can use to make pancakes.

So the build of patch 5.1 that's currently up on the PTR is tagged as a release candidate, which means that the patch could legitimately drop any week now. It's time we discuss it.

We're getting new factions, which thank God, because I keep saying to myself "Self? I sure wish we had more daily quests to do," which my self responds to by punching me in the damn mouth. We're getting a fight club Brawler's Guild to distract us from all those dailies. They're bringing back Wintergrasp and Tol'Barad! We can solo all the old raids without being in a raid group! And of course, we're getting the requisite bunch of tweaks and fixes and quality of life improvements that always come with a patch like this.

But as always, I'm more focused on the changes that specifically affect mages. And while there's nothing here that will make or break the class, there are some class changes in 5.1 that will have a definite impact on the mage class as we delve further into Pandaria.

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

Mage glyph changes in patch 5.0.4

Mage glyph changes in patch 504
When the new 5.0 patch flips over on Aug. 28, will you be ready with glyphs? Blizzard is recycling old glyphs instead of making new spell IDs and charring old ones. Some glyphs are staying the same, some are new, but some share IDs with old Cataclysm glyphs.

Below is our list of new or changing glyphs for mages. This is not a list of changing tooltips, just which glyphs you ought to have if you want to automatically have the new glyphs when the patch flips over.

Mages have no new glyphs but seem to be the masters of musical glyph chairs, namely Icy Veins and Cone of Cold. If you currently have both, you will have both, so get both just to be sure.

Glyphs that are changing into new majors:
Glyphs that are changing into new minors:

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mage, Mists of Pandaria

Arcane Brilliance: 4 things I'm going to miss the most in Mists of Pandaria

Flame Orb
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're discussing a sad topic: loss. Not that this is a new feeling for mages. We've loved and lost before; everyone pour one out for Wand Specialization. You were too beautiful to die.

Every time there's a new expansion, we get some new toys to play with. We tend to focus on these shiny new abilities or revamped mechanic -- and rightly so, as they are often pretty spiffy. But I fear we sometimes forget the casualties. For when Blizzard giveth, it also tends to taketh away. Spells are replaced, redundant talents vanish, and mechanics change, and as a mage, I always feel somehow diminished when I see a blank page in my spellbook -- even if it's a page that used to be occupied by something as useless as Arcane Fortitude or Amplify Magic, those ancient relics of fail.

Mists of Pandaria will be no exception. We're gaining some awesomeness but losing a few things too. And some of those things, I'm really, truly going to miss.

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

Arcane Brilliance: A look at frost PvE in Mists of Pandaria

Mage using Frozen Orb
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Christian Belt is usually at the helm, but rumor has it Saruman has trapped him on the tower of Orthanc and he's awaiting rescue by a large, intelligent bird. Senior Understudy and Last Surviving Student Josh Myers has been charged with delivering the ring to the fires of Mount Doom and writing an article about mages in Mists of Pandaria. Chances are he'll only succeed at the latter.

I started my mage back in The Burning Crusade with the intent of playing arcane. Arcane wasn't really a feasible leveling spec back then, though, and I ended up switching to frost around the time I hit Thousand Needles. The moment I got my first real Shattered Frostbolt off, though, I was hooked. When my mage hit 85 in Cataclysm, all I wanted to do was stay frost. Thankfully, we were into patch 4.2 by this point, and frost was moderately PvE-viable at the time.

When it came time to test the beta version of frost out this week, I had high hopes. Despite my mage being fire for most of DS, frost still feels the most familiar to me, and I was able to slip back into it fairly easily. A lot of the core feeling of the spec remains unchanged, with Frostbolt, Fingers of Frosted Ice Lances, and instant Frostfire Bolts comprising much of your core rotation. There are some real noticeable changes, however, and a lot of them are for the better.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the frost mage

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, though, we're all about frost mages. In case you aren't one, frost mages are the spec to be when fighting anything in Molten Core in 2005.

Just kidding. I kid because I love, guys. If the joke hits a little too close to home, though, it's because there's a very real, very prevalent, very false perception out there. It goes something like this:

Frost is for PVP. It isn't viable for raiding.

This sentiment has been around at various levels of general acceptance since patch 1.1, and even in the most enlightened corners of Azeroth, you'll still find those willing to perpetuate it. But then again, you'll also find people still willing to perpetuate things like racism and gender bias, so I guess ignorance, like a weed or a cockroach or a warlock, is remarkably resilient.

At any rate, in today's State of the Frost Mage address, you'll no doubt discover a recurring theme. That theme is this:

Frost is absolutely, positively viable.

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

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: News and notes for mages from PTR patch 4.0.6

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, a magical journey awaits ... a fantastic voyage through a mystical realm. I speak, of course, of the Public Test Realm, and the wondrous patch notes that dwell therein.

Now before we begin, I should make it clear that mages aren't getting anything even remotely earth-shattering in patch 4.0.6. It's not like Blizzard is letting us autofire while moving or anything. But a patch is still a patch. Things are going to change, and though mages have been left largely un-fiddled-around-with (at least in comparison to many other classes), we do have some incoming alterations to be aware of.

So with our expectations in an appropriately subdued state, let's peek beyond the jump for an annotated look at what be happening, yo.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Things I'm thankful for

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, Arcane Brilliance is feeling especially festive. Pyroblasting a turkey will do that.

So apparently it's the holiday season. I'm still burping up cranberries and stuffing, my wife has started forcing Christmas music upon me (and frankly, if it's not Mannheim Steamroller, I don't want to hear it), and I've reached the point in the year when -- for my own mental well-being -- I refuse to look at a bank statement until February. To those of you who survived yesterday's annual gladiatorial bloodletting and emerged victorious from the front doors of Walmart or Old Navy, hoisting your hard-won set of hand towels above your head like a trophy: I salute you. To those of you who, like me, stayed home and bought stuff on Steam and Xbox Live: I also salute you, only I do so from my chair, by typing in an emote. Because, really, we're all pretty lazy. But damned if I don't feel well rested.

In deference to the spirit of the season, we here at Arcane Brilliance thought it might be nice to spend a column thinking about the things we're grateful right now. You'll find the mage-related stuff behind the jump, but here's my non-mage-related short list of awesome things:
  1. flatbread chicken sandwiches
  2. getting randomly tagged on Dragon Quest IX while walking through the airport Tuesday night
  3. troll druid cat form
  4. The Walking Dead
  5. Mumford and Sons
  6. discovering the brilliance of Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights on Netflix
Taco Bell, Netflix, Square Enix, etc. ... feel free to make any and all endorsement checks out to Christian Belt, care of WoW Insider. Also, screw you, AMC, for canceling Rubicon. I was just starting to enjoy that one. And screw you double, FOX, for putting Fringe on Fridays, where all good FOX shows go to die.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Frost mage Cataclysm talent analysis

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're discussing the ins and outs of the frost tree, the mage tree wherein you learn to conjure delightful snow cones from the air around you, and then how to hurl those icy treats into your opponent's face at 1,000 feet per second. It's like a winter miracle that kills you.

Whenever I do these kinds of things, where we explore each of the three mage trees on consecutive weeks, it seems like the frost tree always goes last kind of by default. In the English-speaking world, we read left to right, we tend to organize things on a page in left-to-right fashion, and until Simon's Quest came along and screwed everything up as awesomely as possible, we played our video games from left to right. Frost's the tree on the right, so it always ends up last, while arcane somehow always gets to go first.

It isn't fair, so what we're doing here is giving the usual way of things a big middle finger. Last week, we hit the fire tree, and this week we're going frost. Arcane will have to wait until next week. Take that, conformity! I feel like we've really done something here. Society will be better because of this column. I really believe that.

After the jump, we'll look at each and every talent in the frost tree in turn, picking them apart for nutrients, then squeezing the rest into a fine paste to use as a crude adhesive. Yes, once we're done with the frost tree, we should have the raw materials to feed our family and also to build a small hut.

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

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for mages in 4.0.1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

The Cataclysm is getting close, so we've only got a few weeks of this transitional stage, but it's important to pick out our PvP talents heading into the expansion. Today, we're going to take a look at mages, who have the usual set of tools and a couple of new ones. Nothing drastic has changed, despite the overhaul in 4.0.1, so mages are still casters who do best at range. Nothing has made them capable of wading into melee and standing toe-to-toe with rogues or anything silly like that. Instead, what we've got are three interesting trees with slightly different ways to crush their opponents -- all of them fun.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

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

Arcane Brilliance: Love letters


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column of choice for largely hairless bipedal primates with opposable thumbs everywhere. And also for you, whatever you are. Seriously, what the crap are you, anyway? And what's with all the back hair? You look like Ron Perlman back when he used to make out with the chick from Terminator in the sewers. Which is to say, you look dead sexy. Not that I'm into that kind of thing, but rowr.

As many of you are no doubt aware, I've been forced of late to do something against my very nature -- something so vile and abhorrent that I can scarcely keep the bile down as I partake in it. No, it isn't wearing pants. It's far, far worse.

You see, I decided to participate in our Choose My Adventure series, and as is customary for those who do so, I left the decision-making to you, dear readers. In your vast, collective wisdom (and keen sense of irony), you decided I should be shackled to that thing I hate most. Again, not wearing pants. But, as longtime (or even first-time) readers of this column may have guessed, there remains one thing I hate more than having my lower half clad in fabric, and that thing is warlocks. "Har har," you said to yourselves (in my imagination, you are all pirates), "Belt should play a warlock! That'd be hilarious."

Well it isn't hilarious. It isn't hilarious at all.

Did you know that warlocks have a scent? It's the sulfurous stench of disappointment. Playing one has thus far been an exercise in humility. I am constantly reminded that there are those out there who select one of these godless avatars from the character selection screen on purpose, and do so on a daily basis. I feel there ought to be some sort of fund to which I can, for the price of a cup of coffee per day, sponsor these poor wayward souls and somehow elevate them to a better life.

Still, I feel I have been able to glean at least one thing of value from this experience thus far:

Mages are awesome.

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

Arcane Brilliance: I hope for an icy apocalypse

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that has, for well over two years now, been your one-stop source for mage-love and warlock-hate. Which, of course, made it pretty much inevitable that you all would vote that I roll a warlock by such a hilariously high percentage in Friday's Choose My Adventure poll. Jerks. Just know: it may not be all that fun to watch me repeatedly drown myself or run naked into crowds of high-level mobs. Or ... maybe it will be.

So, I don't know if you saw this, but I found it a little depressing. It's a collection of DPS data from the current endgame of WoW, Icecrown Citadel 25-man. And while fire and arcane mages appear to be right up there in the mix, frost is not. Instead, they're relegated to the same marginal, fringe PvE status that other under-represented specs enjoy, like subtlety rogues, or beastmaster hunters. It seems that not only were the few frost mages whose data made its way into those World of Logs parses doing some pretty woeful DPS, but so few of them were actually going into Icecrown that the data we do have is rendered completely unreliable. Maybe they weren't all that bad? It's tough to tell when there were sometimes less than 50 frost mage results. Even low-representation specs like arms warriors had thousands.

This, my friends, is unacceptable.

Frost mages, while kings of the PvP hill, have long been the redheaded stepchildren of mage specs when it comes to PvE content. Still, they've seen multiple recent changes to their spec that have promised to narrow the gap, and to a large extent, those changes have made something of a difference. Frost isn't by any means up to the same same level as arcane and fire yet, but in terms of raw DPS output, the gulf is narrowing.

Sadly, it seems nobody has noticed. Now, I'm not blaming frost mages. I expect that a large and unsavory part of the problem is not frost mages failing to go to Icecrown or failing to perform well when they do go, but is instead a failure of Icecrown groups to allow frost mages to go. The stigma against frost is ancient, its taint deep. I have all but given up on this changing during this expansion.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Frost 101

It's the weekend again, and that means it's time for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to continue its ongoing series of "Pictures of things you're hitting that warlock in the face with." In today's installment, we'll be hitting that warlock with a large chunk of ice. As you can see, the ice has sharp edges, pointy parts, and is hurtling toward the warlock at an absolutely painful rate of speed. Other things we'll be hitting that warlock in the face with in future installments include massive balls of flame, rapid-fire salvos of arcane energy, and of course monkey feces.

To contribute to the increasingly awesome collection of guides that make up WoW.com's class 101 series, I bring you Frost 101. As with the Arcane 101 column I did a few weeks back, let me begin with what this guide is, and also with what it is not:

What it is: A general overview of the spec from a PvE perspective, directed at relative newcomers to either level 80 or the spec in general. It will provide basic idea of where to start, how to spec, how to gear, and what to do as a frost mage.

What it is not: A guide to in-depth theorycrafting, detailed hard-mode raid strategies, min-maxing, which weapon kills Sparkman fastest, how to pull off an ultimate combo, or burn an entire quarter on one play with Bo Jackson. We'll cover all of those topics on some other day. Well, maybe not all of them. But definitely the Bo Jackson run, because that was crazy.

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

Arcane Brilliance: An argument for raiding as a frost mage

Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to assert the following:
  • Fact: Mages are the sparkliest class in the game.
  • Fact: Sparkles are awesome.
  • Fact: Warlocks have poor personal hygiene and generally smell funny.
None of these assertions can be disputed.


Hey, mages! Let's have an argument.

Well... maybe not so much an argument per se, because no matter how you slice it, an equally geared frost mage is going to do less overall DPS than a fire or arcane mage... but we'll definitely be having a discussion.

Here's a general format for how this discussion will take place:
  1. I will present my reasons why raiding as a frost mage is viable.
  2. You will then tell me why I am wrong.
You may be asking yourself: Christian, what has provoked this sudden defense of frost magery? You play an arcane mage! Also, where are your pants?

To your first question, I would say, "yes, you're right. But in preparation for writing my forthcoming Frost 101 column, I have been toying with a secondary frost spec, and finding it a great deal of fun." To your second question, about the whereabouts of my trousers, I would say stop watching my webcam. Really, you knew what you were getting into when you clicked that link.

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

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