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Posts with tag fire-mage-arcane-brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the fire mage

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we resume our three-part look at the current state of the mage nation. If you say that fast, it totally sounds like "imagination." DELIGHTFUL.

I am so sorry, guys. I want to write this column. I want to write it every week. Given the choice, I'd like to write it every damn day. I have an incredibly demanding work and family schedule these days. Each week, it's like a magician's trick trying to produce enough time to sit down and provide you guys with a quality column, and some weeks, I wave my hands and say the magic words, and a puff of smoke appears, and when it fades ... nothing's there. I'm working very hard to change my current schedule, though, enabling me to have a regular, slightly more controllable block of time every seven days during which to deliver you something worth reading. So take heart, and keep me in your prayers or thoughts or whatever it is that you think will help, you godless heathens. And if you want someone to blame for the recent irregularity of Arcane Brilliance, blame my children. They are time-destroying merchants of pure evil, and I tell them so as often as I can. Keeps them in line.

Anyway, I know when I wrote the state of the arcane mage column way back in June, I remember promising two more columns, touching upon the current state of affairs for the other two mage specs. It is almost August now. Yikes. Why do you guys put up with my nonsense?

Without further delay, I present to you the 2011 state of the fire mage address, delivered to you from a pulpit of pure flame perched upon the highest peak in the Firelands, to a congregation of mages seated within an auditorium constructed entirely of flaming warlock skulls. It's incredibly uncomfortable, but also crazy-epic.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Magery within the Firelands

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we dispel mage-related myths, expose wizardly untruth, and separate magical fact from fiction ... just like the Mythbusters, only with more Fireballs.

Oh, hai thar! As the master of infiltration, I think everyone saw this post coming. By this point in time, is there a single column that I haven't managed to take over? I really don't understand why people resist it; I should just be the writer for WoW Insider. The rest of the staff is pretty much superfluous at this point. Well, maybe we can keep them around as interns to fetch me coffee and deal with trolls.

I swear, though, this isn't my warlock side that's taken over. No, no, we're a bit more sensible than that here; the editors would never let a warlock write the mage column. Instead, it's the balance druid part of me who joins you today, spewing out your mystical tidbits. Honest, they made me swear an oath and everything. What they didn't count on is that my balance side is rather bitter towards mages and their Focus Magic swapping; warlocks are awesome enough to give me Dark Intent. Also, mages kind of blew up the Well of Eternity thing, and that's not cool.

Let's begin today's lesson, class!

Editors Note: Warning! A moonkin's attempt at bitter comedy ahead!

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: The two-button mage myth

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we dispel mage-related myths, expose wizardly untruth, and separate magical fact from fiction ... just like the Mythbusters, only with more Fireballs.

You may not believe this, but lately I've been finding something more annoying than the continued existence of warlocks. I know, I know. Crazy, right? What could possibly be more annoying than our emo-loving, Hot Topic-frequenting, mascara-laden, parent-hating nemesises? Nemesi? Apparently the dictionary says "nemesis" is its own plural, which is just ... boring.

Anyway, the answer to the question that I just pretended you asked is this:

"Mages are a two-button class." -- The internet

These days, you literally can't post the word "mage" anywhere on the web without someone, usually multiple people, posting some poorly spelled, perplexingly punctuated amalgam of the above words. It's usually intended as an indictment of the class, a dismissal of what non-mages feel is the simplistic nature of of our major DPS spell rotations. The assumption is that mages are an easy, boring class to play, that one could be a successful mage simply by drunkenly alternating pressing two buttons.

For a very long time, it was easy for me to ignore this. It was stupid, and false, and perpetuated by non-mages who were either clear trolls or outright ignorant. But lately, I've been hearing self-deprecating versions of this same phrase from actual, honest-to-goodness mages. Are we really buying into the ignorant assumptions of the rest of the community? It was at that moment that I realized that it was time I addressed what I call the two-button myth.

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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: Upgrading your mage's gear in patch 4.2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Other things, too, but none of those things are nearly as important. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that Arcane Brilliance is, without a doubt, the single greatest weekly mage column on this website. Period.

New patch day has come and gone, and we're all now furiously blasting through the new content, hoping to upgrade our old uber gear for new uber gear. I love the weeks following patch days. It's like the twelve days of Christmas, only instead of turtle doves and french hens we get magical flaming staves and giant angry lava spiders.

Sadly, all that new gear doesn't simply come down the chimney and appear below our flaming Christmas trees. We have to earn it, farm for it, slay bosses for it, and quest for it. All of those things take time, a thing I find I have precious little of these days. So where best to allocate our time in order to get the gear we want in the most efficient ways possible?

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

Arcane Brilliance: How to be legendary

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. The title of this week's column is a bit misleading. As we all know, mages are, by virtue of their magehood, already legendary. I probably should have called it "How to be more legendary," or "How to be legendarier." Too late now, it's already been typed.

Last week, as I neared completion of Arcane Brilliance's mage guide to patch 4.2, I touched upon one of the more exciting aspects of our impending foray into the Firelands: Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest. Dragonwrath will be the new legendary staff available to casters in this patch. It will be difficult, but not by any means impossible, for a good guild to obtain. It will require a long term commitment to the new Firelands raid content. Most guilds will only obtain the staff once, and even the really high-speed guilds will only be able to pick up this staff for a select few of their caster members.

It's an incredible piece of statistical candy. Dragonwrath will be the best-in-slot weapon for every variety of DPS caster the moment it becomes available, by a very large margin, and it will likely remain that way for the rest of this expansion and into a good portion of the next one. If you are able to get your hands on it, you won't be letting go of it any time soon. Absolutely every caster class/spec will want it, including hybrids and classes that use spirit. Take a look at your guild. How many level 85 DPS casters do you raid with? Now look at yourself. How many of you are there? No, your mirror images don't count.

Those are your odds. So how do you lower those odds? How do you stack the deck a bit in your favor. My mission this week, ladies and gentlemen, is to help you be the chosen one in your guild who gets to wield this spectacular weapon. No, not you, warlock. My mission, this week as every week, is to see you die in a fire.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage's guide to patch 4.2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we're taking a quick break from our look at the state of the three mage specs to deal with the impending release of patch 4.2. Yes, I know it has only been one column, and we're already taking a break. Honestly, why do you always have to point things like that out? Sheesh.

So with patch 4.2 dropping at any moment (all signs now point to the 28th of this very month), I figure we'd better just sit down, look deeply into one another's eyes, and discuss our future. You see, we're going places, you and I ... more specifically, we're going into the Firelands, to kill Ragnaros and his buddies. We're looking for increasingly elaborately decorated dresses to wear, and one very impressive magical staff. I just want to make sure that we're both prepared for what we will find there, for the challenges we'll be facing, and for the changes we will be experiencing before we start the journey. We'll have deeper voices, hair where we didn't have hair before ... no wait, that was what happened when we started middle school. This is pretty similar, actually, only with fewer pimples and slightly more Fireballs.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Do mages need to be hit-capped?

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're discussing a topic near and dear to a caster's heart: the problems associated with reaching the hit cap. Because when you conjure a flaming boulder from the ether and hurl it toward the hideous walking nest of claws and teeth that's currently eating your tank, you don't want to miss.

We've discussed this before. But this is a new expansion, and a new crop of players seems to be playing it, and I just had to berate a holy pally in Zul'Gurub for like 15 minutes about how he doesn't want the Hakkari Loa Drape that just dropped because he doesn't need the hit rating on it and he should give it to the elemental shaman instead -- and did I mention it took 15 minutes to convince him of this? Needless to say, the run was long, yeah, and lo, it was also full of wiping.

So the facts are these: The game has been out a long time, but the playerbase is constantly rotating. It may be hard for old-timers to accept, but even the most basic of gameplay concepts still need to be explained, and ignorance of a thing doesn't constitute a bad player, necessarily -- just a new one or one who is returning after an extended absence.

All of this is the long way of answering the many emails and comments I've gotten lately about hit rating, its importance, and whether or not mages still need to worry about capping it.

The short way? Cap hit.

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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: On the 12th tier and the set bonuses thereof

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we'll be discussing the Firelands patch and the sweet new mage gear it will be providing to us. Also, what is that thing sticking out of our helmets? Is that a tail? Made of fire? A flaming headtail of magical might?

So we're only a few weeks into patch 4.1, and already our sights are focused squarely on patch 4.2. You can hardly blame us, though. I mean, while I am thoroughly enjoying the current patch, what with its freshly recycled 5-man content and its new Dungeon Finder Call to Arms that I don't seem to benefit from in the slightest (my queue times are right back up to 30 minutes, thanks), but I think we can all agree that for a major content patch, 4.1 was substantially light on ... well, content.

Not so with 4.2. Patch 4.2 will be bringing us the Firelands, which is apparently a raid where epic cupcakes fall from the sky like rain, hardcore raiders experience orgasms just by zoning in, and we all ride flaming unicorns across lava bridges to do battle with volcanic dragon manticores. I'm not kidding. The entire raid sounds like something you'd see painted across the side of a rock band tour van in the '70s. We're also getting two new daily quest areas with their own epic loot vendors, and yes, the game's first legendary staff. And no, it doesn't have spirit on it.

New raid content means new tier sets, and this time around, we're reaching a cool dozen. The tier 12 set bonuses are interesting, to say the least, and bear a bit of looking at. Keep in mind, though, as we discuss these bonuses that we're still early in the PTR process, and everything on the test realms right now is entirely subject to change -- which is, in this case, a very good thing.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Assorted patch 4.1 thoughts

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we take a break from slaughtering trolls and digging up ancient relics long enough to discuss our early impressions of patch 4.1. My first impression: Cobraaaaaa!

The days and weeks following a major content patch are always an adventure. Suddenly Azeroth becomes the Wild West, with unexplored frontiers awaiting over every mountain, untamed vistas as far as the eye can see, and far, far too many people wandering around who haven't bathed in months.

Patch 4.1 has been no exception. Logging in on patch day is a bit like going to sleep in one world and waking up in another, one where up is down, left is right, Olivia has brown hair and wears tight shirts, and Walter Bishop has an intact brain and is sleeping with some Asian chick. You never know when you're going to discover some random new nugget of craziness that wasn't in the patch notes. You also never know when you'll be disconnected in the middle of a boss fight, but hey, patch days are patchy.

It's only been a few days, but undoubtedly you've noticed some good, some bad, and some weird new things lurking about the fringes of this digital world we spend time in. Let's take a look at some of the more mage-specific tidbits, shall we?

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

Arcane Brilliance: The first things your mage should do after patch 4.1 drops

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we'll be discussing the sparkliest ways to blow things up. Turns out there are a lot them.

Let me begin by saying that as of this writing, we don't know for sure when the patch will actually drop. What we do know, however, is that the build that's on the PTR right now is flagged as a possible release candidate build, meaning it could be the final build of the patch. That usually means the release of the patch is imminent. It may not happen this week or next (we can sometimes go through several "release candidate" builds before Blizzard finally drops the thing), but my guess is that it totally will.

So when the patch does hit, whenever that may be, what are you going to do first? You know, besides go hunting for warlocks to stuff and mount on your wall? I find it's good to have a plan when new content drops. Otherwise, I just end up only hunting warlocks, which -- while awesome -- doesn't really involve any of the new content.

So what to do? Fear not, I've compiled a handy list of the new features that apply directly to mages so you'll have something to channel your arcane energies toward once all the warlocks are dead.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage armors and the mages who armor themselves with them

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we deal in a difficult topic for mages: armor.

Armor. Our ancient foe.

We can use our arcane minds to teleport our physical bodies across thousands of miles in an instant, conjure enormous balls of flame from the ether with a flick of our fingers, and bake delicious pastries without ever setting foot near a stove. But present us with a shirt made of interlocking metal rings, and you are setting before us a conundrum we simply cannot solve.

Still, we mages are nothing if not resourceful. We've come up with several workarounds for our inability to master putting on protective attire:
  1. We make friends with someone who can wear armor, then charge into battle cowering bravely behind that person.
  2. We learn to fling our spectacular balls of flame at our enemies from as far away as possible.
  3. We use our magical talents to conjure our own unique kind of armor.
Hey, when you have to fight monsters wearing nothing but a skirt, you learn to get creative.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Perfecting the fire tree

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, though, it's mostly for fire mages, a spec that isn't at all broken. And yet, here we go, spending a thousand words or so endeavoring to fix it, just going to show that mages, given the opportunity, can and will complain about absolutely anything.

When I started this triumvirate of columns highlighting the shortcomings of the three mage trees, I knew that this would be the point at which I would start having problems. See, things were pretty easy with the arcane and frost trees. You can find those two previous columns behind the following links:
Both of those trees have real problems. You remember when you were a kid and you didn't want to eat your mom's meatloaf because it looked and smelled like something left in the wake of a mule with irritable bowels? And then she'd tell you to eat it because kids in whatever African country happened to be having a famine that year had it way worse than you? That's how frost and arcane mages want to respond when fire mages complain.

You think you have problems? Well how about I trade you my Arcane Barrage for your moving Scorches? See what kind of problems you have then.

The fire tree is flat-out incredible right now. It's near the top of the damage charts at the highest levels of Cataclysm raiding, the talent tree is spectacularly designed from top to bottom, and most importantly, the spec is just really fun to play.

Still, there are a couple of nagging issues -- annoyances that, if addressed, might just result in the game's first truly perfect spec. I think that's a noble goal, and we're gathered here today in pursuit of it.

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

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

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