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Posts with tag frost-tree

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: 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: Things I'm going to miss

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column extraordinaire, and source of 99% of your daily recommended allowance of warlock hate. It's also rich in vitamin D. If you're wondering where you can get the other 1%, the answer is inside-out cheeseburgers. Very tasty, and warlock-hate is the secret ingredient.

There comes a time in everyone's life when they must say goodbye to something. My first major loss came in the summer of 1986. I wept like a little girl when the rubber band holding Snake Eyes' pelvis to his legs and torso finally snapped on that day, after a hard day of battle in which he and Storm Shadow had faced each other in mortal combat no less than twenty times. Even his ensuing career as the first, incredibly violent casualty in every firefight didn't dull the pain of that initial loss. I loved Snake Eyes! Why couldn't it have been Snow Job's stupid pelvis that snapped? For the love of God, why? Incidentally, I asked that same question when I redboxed the recent movie bearing sullying the venerable toy-line/cartoon series' good name.

And though I've spent the last few weeks laying out palm fronds and rose petals in preparation for Cataclysm's triumphant entry into the World of Warcraft, perhaps all is not as wondrous as I've made it out to be. Even in my optimism, I am becoming painfully cognizant of several aspects of the current game that I'll be missing to varying degrees once Deathwing arrives and brings with him all of his fancy new talent trees, masteries, guild perks, and approximately 11 million level 1 worgen hunters.

Yes, despite all the awesomeness in store, we mages will also be losing a few things. Follow me past the jump to gaze wistfully one last time at a few of these soon-to-be-gone relics of a bygone age.

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

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: 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

Lichborne: The rise of PvE frost DPS on the patch 3.3.3 PTR


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly look at the world of the death knight.

With Patch 3.3.3 on the PTR and looking closer and closer to going live, the buzz around death knights is just about where you'd expect it to be, squarely on the frost talent tree. This is especially true of frost DPS. While it once reigned supreme as a cornerstone of the famous 39/32 builds, it's fallen out of favor, and even Threat of Thassarian hasn't been enough to keep it from being consigned to the status of third rate, a pariah from any raid that already has a shaman to provide Windfury.

Blizzard's obviously dedicated to getting the tree properly buffed in Patch 3.3.3, but have they succeeded? Let's take a look at the frost tree thus far, and what we may be doing with our own builds and talents in a few weeks' time.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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: The wonders of Frostfire



Each week Arcane Brilliance mixes frost with fire and comes up with a column about Mages. It's a delicate recipe, requiring just enough frost, and exactly the right amount of fire, with a thick glaze of arcane spread across the entire concoction. If you add too much lightning, you end up with Shamans. If your recipe calls for shadow, you might end up with a Priest. Whatever you do, don't let any amount of suck get into your recipe. Everybody knows that's what Warlocks are made of.

Frostfire Bolt is an interesting little spell. When you first hit level 75, visit your Mage trainer and learn it, you may think to yourself, "So...it does frost and fire damage? It's like a Fireball and a Frostbolt combined! You take some ice, and you combine it with some fire, and you come up with...slush? I'm not sure how something like that is effective, but whatever. Now I don't have to respec to fight fire or ice-immune mobs, I guess? Let me see if I can find a place on my action bar for this. There we go. Right between Amplify Magic and my tea-bagging macro."

You would not be totally wrong in thinking this way. Well, maybe for having a tea-bagging macro, but that's wrong for a whole slew of other reasons. At level 75, when you first obtain the spell, that's really about all it is: a damage spell to use when running into a mob that's immune to your usual nuke. Frostfire Bolt doesn't really hit its stride until you've hit level 80, talented specifically to get the most of the spell, and started to get some of that sweet Naxxramas gear.

Once it does start to live up to its potential, though, Frostfire Bolt suddenly becomes the primary nuke in the single highest DPS raiding spec for Mages in the game. After the break, we'll talk about the why's and how's of this wonderful spell.

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

A Death Knight's first dungeon: Dos and don'ts, part one

Since day one of Wrath of the Lich King, people have been rolling Death Knights. While many seem to be getting along just great, many others are in need of guidance.

This will be a two-part article, and will focus on the things that you will need to know when working with others in a dungeon setting.

Today, I will be discussing the basic things that any meleer should know when entering a dungeon.

Many Death Knights have never had a melee character, and may not know how to avoid aggro while dealing high damage and staying out of the tank's way.

In part two, I will discuss your AoE abilities and their place in a dungeon setting, as well as covering the buttons you should never, ever push while in an instance.

I will also run down some very basic rule of thumbs for your gear and talents, as well as including a discussion about some of the group-oriented talents that you could acquire.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Expansions, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

The Wrath of the Lich King Death Knight roundup


Good Thursday morning, everyone. I'm sure by now that many of you rushed home from your midnight openings, installed the game, and started up a new Death Knight. Many others may, like me, be expecting to do that tonight after work or school, while others are looking at rolling a Death Knight in a few weeks or months after the rush has died down or they get a main to 80. Whatever your plans, if you're playing a Death Knight anytime in the future, you'll want to read on. We have a nice selection of some of the best news, information, and analysis of the Death Knight class after the break, including a lot of information that the new Death Knight will find useful.

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Filed under: Items, Tips, Leveling, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Lichborne: Talents for catching up


Welcome to Lichborne, where Daniel Whitcomb is doing some last minute agonizing over what face to give his Death Knight on Thursday.

So there are quite a few of us, I imagine, who are still on track to switch to a Death Knight, or at least play one quite extensively, immediately when Wrath of the Lich King hits the live servers. But the fact remains that you'll be 15 levels behind everyone to start, and if you have friends to catch up to, you're going to want to get up there pretty quickly, most likely. Even if you plan to take it slow, you'll still want a good effective leveling build, most likely. So today, we'll look at three solid solo DPS builds from each tree, and discuss how to use them most effectively for grinding and leveling.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Leveling, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Preparing your Mage for patch 3.0.2, part 2



So...tomorrow's the big day, huh? When you log in tonight, be sure to open up your talent interface. Take a long look at your talents. Give them all a nice, long, figurative kiss goodbye. Do this because the next time you see your talents, you won't recognize them at all.

Since we have 8 billion things to talk about and substantially less than 8 billion words with which to talk about them, we'd better get started.

Patch 3.0.2--the pre-expansion patch that we're almost certainly getting tomorrow--changes a crapload of things. We went over the more general Mage-related changes in Arcane Brilliance on Saturday, so if you haven't seen that yet, take a look and then come on back.

Today, we'll look at the vast, sweeping modifications our talent trees have undergone. Trust me when I say a lot has changed. Did I mention the changes were sizable? Well they are. Come back after the jump for a massive review of new and remodeled Mage toys.

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

Lichborne: State of the Death Knight

Welcome to Lichborne, WoW Insider's newest class column. Every week in Lichborne, Daniel Whitcomb will explore the ins and outs of Blizzard's newest class, the Death Knight.

It's Wrath of the Lich King Beta time, and finally time to meet the new Death Knight class. Unfortunately, we can't really guarantee you'll be meeting the same class that you'll see in the live game, per se. It's not that the class isn't shaping up well or isn't quite distinctive, it's more that there's just so much that's changing.

The next build that's scheduled to hit the Beta servers is a perfect example. Not only will talent trees be changing extensively, with some talents becoming baseline and some baseline abilities becoming talents, some talents switching tiers, and others even switching trees, but the very way we inflict and stack diseases will be getting some tweaking as well. In addition, many of the Death Knight's baseline abilities, especially related to disease and damage rotations, are changing as well.

So with all these changes, what can you say about a class that's changing drastically on a weekly basis, and may look completely different from how it does now by the time Wrath goes live? Is it really possible to speak about an overarching unifying theory of Death Knights?

Well, let's try. Welcome to the first annual State of the Death Knight address.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Death Knight Gameplay Movies: Frost and more Blood leveling

We bought you Jadefury's Unholy and Blood Death Knight game play videos yesterday, and now he's released another batch. This time, his Death Knight is a bit higher level, and he puts two new talent builds through their paces.

In the video above, he focuses on the Frost tree. You can see the control that Frost provides specifically - the freezing effects actually seem to last a remarkably long time, certainly long enough to set up a nice chain of abilities and spells for maximum damage. A Hungering Cold followed by a Deathchill and finished up with a Howling Blast can be particularly devastating. Jadefury also points out that if you have any lingering diseases on any of your targets, you can use Blood Boil to quickly wipe them out, doing extra damage and making them susceptible to being frozen again.

Frost, reports Jadefury, is probably the least solo-friendly build. Because you need to go very deep into the frost tree to get all the abilities you need for maximum control and damage, You can't get the self-sustainability talents in the Blood tree such as Vendetta. That said, Frost should still be amazing for groups, since you'll be able to provide some very passable crowd control and damage, and I myself am still looking forward to seeing what a good Frost Mage/Death Knight team can do in PvP.

Now that his Death Knight is a bit higher level, Jadefury also released a second Blood tree video that showcases a higher level build.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, News items, Expansions, Leveling, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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