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Posts with tag fingers-of-frost

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: MoP talent calculator changes for mages, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we finish what we started in our last cloumn, which will involve wild speculation, irresponsible levels of optimism, and a giddy and in all likelihood unwarranted sense of unchecked excitement about tooltips.

If you missed part one, what were you thinking? We talked about the updated Mists of Pandaria talents and even made some disparaging comments about warlocks. It was super fun -- you should go check it out. But hurry up about it.

Because we have new spells to discuss.

Like that one up there in the picture. It's rad.

Arcane spells

Arcane Charge An Arcane Charge, generated by Arcane Blast and Arcane Missiles, and consumed by Arcane Barrage. Stacks up to 4 times (Passive).

This is a brand new spell, and it's by far the single biggest game-changer for arcane mages in the new calculator. You pick it up if you spec arcane at level 10, alongside good old Arcane Blast, and it changes how that spell works, along with every other major arcane nuke.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The constantly evolving, completely stagnant frost tree

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we bring you the second in our irregularly structured critical looks at ways each of the three mage specs could be changed for the better. Scroll down for the frost tree, and view last week's look at the arcane tree.

So here's the thing:

The frost tree frustrates me.

It is and always has been the preeminent mage spec for all varieties of PvP and right now is, in fact, one of the most dominant PvP specs in the game, period. It's an incredibly versatile and fun spec to play in PvE. It has a freaking water elemental.

But every time the damage capabilities of the spec look like they might be approaching a truly raid-competitive level, the same damn roadblock gets thrown up. Every single time.

The roadblock of which I speak, of course, is the perception that the only way to balance frost mages in PvP is to hamstring them in PvE. As someone who loves the spec and dearly, dearly longs for the day when frost mages can walk proudly into even the most elitist of raids with their heads held high and their DPS meters proudly displayed for all to see, this perpetual tug-of-war is a never-ending source of disappointment.

Why do I begin with such doom and gloom? Well, because frost mages are getting another buff, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let those cruel shysters fool me again. I'm on to you, class designers.

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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: 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

Arcane Brilliance: News and notes from Cataclysm beta build 12604

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that strives to bring you all the latest in Flame Orbs and Deathfrosts, Arcane Missile Barrages and Frostfires, Arcanefireflamefrostfreezes and Iceflamefrostfirecanebolts and everything in between.

Well guys, we just got our second pass.

The arcane tree is finally beginning to resemble something semi-coherent, and the other two trees have gotten a spot of polish applied to them in this build. The mage talent situation in Cataclysm is finally beginning to take shape, and now that things are beginning to come together, it's time to pick apart that embryonic shape and see what makes it tick. Because that's just how we roll.

Grab your blowtorches and put the kids to bed, we've got some deconstruction to perform.

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

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

Arcane Brilliance: WoW patch 3.3 primer for mages

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves mages and all things magey. Take this picture, for example. That's a mage right there. If I'm not mistaken, she's getting ready to do something magey. Like plant a Fireball deep in the fertile soil of a warlock's grill. Arcane Brilliance loves everything about that.

So apparently patch 3.3 could literally drop any moment. I'm not even kidding. It might have happened while I was typing that last sentence. I don't know. More likely, though, is that it will come (as per the usual deployment-method) during the upcoming Tuesday maintenance. This means we've only got a little time left before we can enter Icecrown Citadel and begin the patch-long process of shaking its inhabitants down repeatedly for loot. I, for one, cannot wait to place an Arcane Missile or five directly up Arthas' frosty tailpipe.

But what, exactly, does this patch bring to the mage class? I'm glad you asked. Though this patch is admittedly a bit heavy on the new raid content and light on class changes, mages are one of the few classes that are getting some pretty significant new junk. From increased raid utility for Arcane, to buffed-up AoE for Fire, to actual, honest-to-goodness competitive raid DPS for Frost, 3.3 is delivering a little of something for everybody. Join me after the break for a full recap of all the newness we can expect come patch day.

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

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as a Frost Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a column about Mages. This column used to be housed on Wowinsider, but now it's featured on some newfangled site called WoW.com. The url is a full seven letters shorter. It's crazy. where did those seven letters go? I don't know, but I blame Warlocks.

There's an old saying: you can please some Mages some of the time, but you can't please all Mages all of the time. Or something like that. Last week, several of you complained that I was spending too much time writing about PvP, while ignoring PvE completely. This will be the fifth PvP-related Arcane Brilliance in a row. Previous to that, you have to go back to October 25th of last year to find our last PvP-centric column. A short list of things that have happened since then:
  • Wrath of the Lich King was released.
  • Barack Obama became the president of these United States.
  • 5 dollar foot-longs.
  • Arcane Brilliance brought you 24 PvE columns in a row.
Seriously, guys. Make up your minds. I don't know what you want from me anymore. Anyway, on to Frost Mage PvP.

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

Mage changes in beta build 8962



Ok Mages. Are you sitting down? We finally got our nerf. We sort of knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it suck any less. We got a few buffs, too, but the one major nerf was a whopper. It won't affect everyone, just Mages like me who had fallen in love with the new Arcane tree. This nerf, if it stands, almost singlehandedly kills the whole tree, at least as a stand-alone spec.

Here it is:

  • Arcane Blast changed. Each time you cast Arcane Blast, the damage is increased by 15% and mana cost is increased by 300% (used to be 25% damage and 75% mana cost)
Soak that in for a second. I really, really hope that's a typo. I went onto the beta this morning and spammed Arcane Blast on a training dummy for a bit. After 4 casts, I was suffering a 1200% increase in the mana cost of the spell, while only gaining a 60% increase in damage. The fourth spellcast was costing 2970 mana and doing about 3k damage per cast, fully talented and spell damaged out. That's about 1 point of damage per mana point, making it so ridiculously inefficient that only the first cast is worth the cost, and then only barely.

I'm praying that the 300% number is supposed to be 30%, and will be fixed. 30% sounds about right to me. With the nerf to the damage buff, that kind of mana cost reduction would work, though they could probably go as far as 50% and I wouldn't freak out. But to reduce the damage and make the mana cost so incredibly prohibitive? Just...wow.

You can find the full list of changes after the jump.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Expansions, Classes, Talents, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Mage changes in Wrath beta build 8885

Mages certainly weren't forgotten in beta build 8885. Did they get everything they could have hoped for? No, not really, they didn't. There are some nice things mixed in with the handful of changes though.
  • Hot Streak has been changed. After two Fireball, Scorch or Frostfire Bolt crits in a row, you have a 33/66/100% chance for your next Pyroblast within 10 seconds to be an instant cast.
  • Improved Scorch now does the exact same thing as Winter's Chill. Yay?
  • Improved Water Elemental now makes your Elemental regen mana to all party or raid members equal to 0.2/0.4/0.6% of their total mana every 5 seconds.
  • Fingers of Frost now lasts 15 seconds, but only affects you next two frost spells.
  • Slow received a straight buff, reducing movement speed by 60%, and increasing casting time and time between ranged attacks by 60%, all up from its original 50%.
  • Focus Magic now buffs the entire raid's damage.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Forecasting Frost



Arcane Brilliance is a weekly column about Mages. It contains text. We promise the word "Mage" will appear with moderate frequency within the body of said text, possibly near such modifiers as "awesome" or "god-like." The word "Warlock" may also appear once or twice, sometimes in close proximity to such phrases as "ridiculously overpowered" or "I hate Warlocks." That's really the extent of what we promise, here at Arcane Brilliance: text, Mages, and Warlock-hating.

Indulge me for a moment before we get to the Frost tree:

I'm beginning to recognize a pattern forming. Each week, as Blizzard tweaks the talent setup in the Wrath beta, I'm becoming less and less inclined to complain. I know...I know. I'm a Mage. You poke a Mage with a stick, and QQ comes pouring out. We're all angry emo virgins, sitting at home blogging furiously with keyboards made completely out of tears about how the colors are too bright in Diablo III and writing free-verse epic poems about how Living Bomb caused our parents to divorce.

That's just it, though: lately, I've found I'm all out of QQ. I've put my mascara-stained Sephiroth pillow back on my bed and stopped mailing locks of my greasy dyed-black hair to Kalgan, and have instead started to feel something very close to optimism. It's been building since I hit rock bottom after the WWI to the point where now I feel pretty good about the direction we're heading as a class. As you may recall, It wasn't that long ago that I felt far differently.

Join me after the jump for more positive thinking followed by enough Frosty goodness to give you brain-freeze.

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

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