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Arcane Brilliance: Which spec will be best in Mists of Pandaria?

Undead fire mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we endeavor to answer that age old question: Which spec will other people insist my mage needs to be? We will try not to resort to that age old response to that question, which tended to involve punching those other people in the mouth.

One constant, no matter how hard I've tried to ignore it, that has always existed in WoW is that one spec is always "best." The class designers are constantly tweaking the numbers and trying to keep things balanced, but once we all sit down with our collective calculator and spreadsheet, one spec always emerges to rule them all.

It has been a sad reality that while we have always had freedom to choose a spec and personalize it to fit our preferences, when it comes time to raid at high levels or take part in PvP at high levels, that freedom essentially vanishes. You can make arguments for utility over damage or for certain specs in certain fights, but in most cases, under most circumstances, you're going with whatever cookie-cutter spec the internet has agreed upon that week, or you're not getting an invite.

Well, now we have a fresh expansion to leverage our calculators and spreadsheets upon. It's still early in the beta process, and hard numbers are in short supply. Still, the overall design of the specs seems to be fairly well-defined, even if the actual percentage points are still in flux. What conclusions can we draw at this stage? Which spec looks to put out the best damage? And most importantly, which spec will let us kill warlocks most efficiently?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mages are fine! Now fix us.



Each week Arcane Brilliance saves the world, one Mage column at a time. Once, we did it by throwing the One Ring into a volcano. Oh, and this one time, we did it by slaying the evil Voldemort. And every once in awhile, we do it by traveling back in time and saving John Connor from the robotic clutches of Skynet. The Edward Furlong John Connor, not the Christian Bale one. Also, Arcane Brilliance doesn't go back as Michael Biehn or Ahnuld. Arcane Brilliance is totally Summer Glau. Yowza.

So...with news flying around about upcoming patches, and changes on the horizon for other classes, I can't help but notice a strange, almost eerie silence over here on the Mage front. If this were a movie, somebody would say "It's quiet," and then somebody else would pipe up with "yeah...a little too quiet," and that'd be the moment when somebody gets grabbed by something big and scary, or something explodes, or Samuel L Jackson gets eaten by a shark or something. Seriously, I'm starting to get a little freaked out here.

Now, don't misunderstand: I'm not complaining. I appreciate the recent Mirror Image change. I like that my copies aren't morons now. I really do. It's just that you have to go back to patch 3.1 to find anything even resembling a major change affecting the way Mages play the game, while other classes still appear to be in constant flux.

This tells me one thing: Mages are good. We're set. Really, you guys have fun over there with your new class mechanics and what-not, we're fine over here with our...whatever. Yeah? You got yourself some new Druid bear-form art? That's cool, because we...um...we can turn stuff into rabbits now. That's right, suck on it.

So apparently Blizzard thinks Mages are fine for now. I'm not arguing the issue; if you ignore that fantastic five minutes right at the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King when we were awesome, I'm hard pressed to think of a point in the history of this game when Mages have been in a more comparatively satisfactory position than we are right now. Our damage is competitive, and we don't suck in PvP. We can get raid spots. We can kill Warlocks. I'm not unhappy right now, really I'm not.

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

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