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Posts with tag frostbolt

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 state of the mage, volume 4 of 72

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to present, once again, its multi-annual state of the mage address. My fellow mages, we are awesome.

First of all, you might be wondering why only 72 volumes. I'll be honest: it has to do with the great zombie apocalypse of 2037. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say it severely impairs my ability to write. To be frank, the last 15 parts are pretty much just "braiiinns...warlocks....suuuuck...brains...braiiiins..." repeated over and over for a thousand words or so. After that, my zombie-self just loses interest. Some of you may wonder how those columns will be any different from the ones I write now. To you, I say bite me.

I've extolled upon the state of mages on three previous occasions. It's actually interesting to go back and look over those ancient texts from our current perspective. Oh, the silly things we were worried about back then! Fire PvP... ha! Spirit, less than useful? What a ridiculous concern! Oh... how far we've come.

Ignore my sarcasm. I'm not actually unhappy at all with the current state of mages. We are, as I stated in the opening blurb, awesome. Join me after the break and we'll look at where we are as a class in 2010.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (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

Ready Check: Guide to Naxxramas (Kel'Thuzad)


Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. Tonight, we finish off Naxxramas, check our watches, and ask, "What else is left to kill around here?"

Out of all the forum posts written concerning raid content back in Burning Crusade, I remain fondest of a guide to Tier 6 written by Gragnarth of Andorhal, who I assume must be a deeply cynical person by nature. Within you'll find expert tips on Illidan ("If YOU get demoned you say something to the effect hey I got demoned, and then hope that you are well liked"), Shade of Akama ("I play a fury warrior, and as a result i have no clue what the strategy for this boss is"), and Rage Winterchill ("Make sure you have at least 1 person bandaging the Main Tank every minute"). But the comment that seemed to get the most mileage was one concerning Illidari Council, which was colorfully described as "THE SUPER BOWL OF NOT STANDING IN THINGS!" This phrase subsequently entered the parlance of many a raiding guild, and I'm reminded of it whenever I look at AoE-intensive fights.

Kel'Thuzad isn't a fight with the kind of AoE damage you'll see on (for example) Malygos, but I rather like to think of him as being the Super Bowl of spreading out. For every time you've heard your raid leader howl at the raid to "Spread the ^*#% out!" before, you'll be hearing it five times more here, and with good reason.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, Ready Check (Raiding), Achievements

Ask A Beta Tester: Spirit, AoE, and raid loot


I'm going to start off this AABT by stealing a question that Alex actually took last time, mostly because I started laughing when I read it yesterday. I have, oh, conservatively, billions of Wrath screenshots on my hard drive at this point, but there's one I remember all too well.

Marathan asks...

Some time ago, there was a talk about new player character models for Wrath - and even some bugged pictures. So the question is, are they going live? Are we finally going to get improved graphics on our characters?

As Alex wrote, Blizzard used one beta build to test the ease of implementing new skins and some of them...didn't turn out too well. Imagine you're me and you get a beta key. Budget a few hours of anticipatory excitement while your main copies over. She's a 70 Tauren Druid who has been with you since day one, your sole 70, and you think she's the most beautiful thing in the game even if to everyone else she's an ungainly 8-foot heifer. Now imagine booting up the Wrath beta for the first time and being horrified to see your beloved character with a Glasgow smile, like the developers had seen the Joker in The Dark Knight and thought, "Hey! We could make that work!"

Holy water did nothing. Neither did crucifixes, garlic, a wooden stake, waving the Bible in the direction of the laptop, or sobbing quietly in a corner.

On the plus side, here was finally something in the game to which Tauren cat form was an actual graphical improvement.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Mining, Tailoring, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Wrath of the Lich King

Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow tank, part 2


Dear corpsified bundles of beautifully-armored joy (but more particularly those who tank Azjol Nerub while wearing Expedition Bracers of the Bandit),

We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.

Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.

Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.

Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.

I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Mage mana costs to be slashed across the board

So Mages. Do you think you spend way too much mana to cast your spells? If you answered yes, here's some good news: The dev team agrees.

However, says Ghostcrawler, they didn't want to reduce the cooldown on Evocation anymore, nor did they want to make Mage Armor so powerful that other Mage armors were no longer worth using. Thus, they simply lowered the mana cost on Fireball, Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, Arcane Blast, Arcane Missiles, and Arcane Explosion.

Of course, we still won't know exactly how much until the next build hits the Beta servers, but it seems like it's got to be good news if it's anything of a significant cost reduction. Of course, some Mages are still hoping for a more active mana regeneration mechanic such as the Warlock's Life Tap, but in the meantime, hopefully this reduction is enough to make a difference.

[Thanks to VyseV1 for the heads up!]

Filed under: Mage, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Servants of Allistarj no longer good for weapon skilling on Beta

If you play a melee or physical damage class or spec that is not a Feral Druid, you have probably experienced this most excruciating of mechanics that is the leveling of class weaponry skill.

We all know the tale: You find a spiffy new weapon, you go out and use it, and find that your damage is abysmal. Then you realize it. Your skill with this weapon is 1! Thus, you're forced to go trudge off to find some grey or green mobs to solo and thwack mindlessly for a few hours until you can finally get some decent damage out of the supposed "upgrade" that you were so pumped to get a few minutes prior.

One of the ways people have made this strange little grind somewhat bearable is by using the servants out in the Blasted Lands. Because they can't die from normal weapon strikes, you can simply set yourself in front of one and swing away. If you're max level or if you have a self-healing proc or ability, you can spend a long time just wailing away mindlessly at the guy, leaving one eye on the screen while you do other things. Some people have even been so ambitious as to drag one of them to Stormwind for a skilling up free-for-all in the trade district.

Unfortunately, it looks like the ride's over. People are reporting that the Servants are no longer giving skill ups, even after 10 minutes of wailing away on the mob. There's no blue post confirming or denying the change as of this writing, but if it's in, it would seem to be deliberate.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Bugs, Expansions, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Report Card: Phase 3 quests

Phase 3 is now in full swing on many servers, including mine, and this time, we're working on taking the Sun's Reach Harbor as well as opening up the long awaited badge loot vendor. How do the quests stack up this time around? Does the near flawless run for great dailies from Quel'danas continue? I've had a few days to try out the runs, and I have to say that there's a few rough spots, but you can continue to grow your list of dailies with confidence as the new phases come on.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Blood Elves, Factions, Making money

Omen meet Orgrimmar, Orgrimmar meet Omen


The Lunar Festival is in full swing, and every once in a while Omen is no where to be found. I talked about killing him earlier in the week, but there is another strategy that's been popping up. Have you ever wondered what it's like to kite something across half a continent? Well, now's your chance!

I've tried this with a few friends, and the trick is to keep Omen moving along with as many movement-impairing effects up on him as possible. We had a mage there slinging Frostbolts at him, a shaman shocking him with Frost Shock, and of course a hunter laying down his Concussive Shots and Frost Traps. I was there on my warrior issuing the occasional Taunt just in case one of the DPS made a mistake and got too close (this was never a problem).

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Filed under: Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Odds and ends, Bosses, Guides

Around Azeroth: Frostbolt!


Reader Smegaleg from Eredar submits this Mage Action Shot (tm) for us all to enjoy. Often, in-game spell graphics come and go so quickly that there's no time to appreciate them -- but in this Frostbolt still-shot, you've got to appreciate the ice crystals and tiny snowflakes contained in each frosty blast. Getting hit by that chunk of ice would hurt! (So thankfully it appears to be flying over our head!)

Do you have any puzzling in-game moments you'd like to share with the rest of us? Because we'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wow.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Filed under: Screenshots, Around Azeroth

Incoming buff for Frostbolt 12


Such power we have here at WoW Insider! I posted early this morning about Frostbolt 12 doing less damage and costing more than rank 11, and now it's going to be buffed. Vaneras, bearer of good tidings:
  • We have received quite a few reports regarding the Rank 12 Frostbolt not doing enough damage when compared to Rank 10 and 11. To address this issue we plan to change Rank 12 in the near future, hopefully to be implemented with the next patch already.

    Frostbolt rank 12 should get improved and receive approximately 20-25 additional damage points for max damage
This looks like a pretty small buff to me. That makes sense in theory, though, since I finally got my head around Tseric's argument from yesterday. Basically, the argument is that rank 11, as a book drop, was meant for uber 60s, whereas rank 12 is meant for normal 63s. If they had as much of a jump every time as they did between 10 and 11, Frostbolt would soon get pretty imba. Let's compare numbers, just for fun:

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion

Blue Notes: Transfers, amulets, and Frostbolt

Moves are on in a big way right now, and there's a piece of good news about that. Now you can play your character while it's in queue to be moved; it won't be moved until you log out. From Nethaera:
  • We are changing the way we process our free character moves and paid character transfers. Players will now be able to queue into the system for the destination realm they wish and continue to play that character until the specified period of time the move will occur. Characters will only be moved after they are logged out of the game. Moves will occur each day from 12:01 AM PST until 2:00 PM PST.
We all probably figured this, but Griftah, vendor of "Amazing Amulets" in Shattrath's Lower City, almost certainly sells nothing that actually works. If the vendor's name name doesn't tip you off, how about this post by Eyonix:
  • He's a very sneaky vendor. Buyer beware! Although they are pretty fun little items to have from an RP standpoint.
Lastly, Tseric comments on the Frostbolt XI vs XII issue (in a nutshell, XI costs less mana and does more damage than XII):
  • Rank 11 Frostbolt is a book drop. Rank 12, like most other ranks, is available from a trainer. The players this would impact the most are people who've gotten the book, which then don't really need the trainable 'upgrade' at that moment. Those without the book drop are moving along the graded increase of frostbolt's power.

    Consider Rank 11 a vestigal growth, like an appendix or ear muscles. ;)

Filed under: Mage, Odds and ends, Blizzard

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