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Posts with tag ice-block

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the frost mage

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, though, we're all about frost mages. In case you aren't one, frost mages are the spec to be when fighting anything in Molten Core in 2005.

Just kidding. I kid because I love, guys. If the joke hits a little too close to home, though, it's because there's a very real, very prevalent, very false perception out there. It goes something like this:

Frost is for PVP. It isn't viable for raiding.

This sentiment has been around at various levels of general acceptance since patch 1.1, and even in the most enlightened corners of Azeroth, you'll still find those willing to perpetuate it. But then again, you'll also find people still willing to perpetuate things like racism and gender bias, so I guess ignorance, like a weed or a cockroach or a warlock, is remarkably resilient.

At any rate, in today's State of the Frost Mage address, you'll no doubt discover a recurring theme. That theme is this:

Frost is absolutely, positively viable.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The mage survival guide, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we continue our discussion of ways to avoid dying horribly. This week's tip: Roll a death knight.

Yes, the sad reality of being a mage is the ever-present threat of a swift and ignominious demise. We're like every character in The Walking Dead: We could go at any time, and our only consolation is that God willing, we'll be able to blow up a few zombies on our way out.

Last week, we discussed a few methods for surviving to pew pew another day, namely aggro drop and damage mitigation. This week, we turn our attention to two other lifesaving techniques: movement and crowd control. Just remember as we go forward that every time a mage survives a fight, an angel punches a warlock in the face. Have I used that joke before? I may have. Doesn't make it any less true. Angels hate warlocks. So does Jesus. And me. And, I pray, all of you.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: The mage survival guide, part 1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week and next, we look at the time-honored tradition of mages dying whenever something looks at them funny and discuss a few ways to break that tradition. Way #1: Stand next to the warlock, pull aggro, cast Frost Nova, then Blink away.

I'm just kidding; that's a terrible idea. Funny, but terrible. Only do it once, purely for the humor value, then concentrate on downing the boss. Okay, maybe twice.

If you've run a heroic in Cataclysm, you may have noticed something: Nobody's healing you. In Wrath, when I'd take my holy pally out for a spin, everybody got heals. I was healing the tank, the off tank, the off-off tank, the DPS, the other healers, the hunter's pet, the death knight's ghoul, the guy standing in the fire ... they all got heals. Now? Not so much.

These days, healers spend 75% of their time healing the tank and the other 25% praying that their mana bars will go back up. That leaves exactly 0% of their time to spend on keeping your mage alive.

We're on our own, guys. When you see your health bar start to drop in a Cataclysm heroic or raid, just know that it won't be going back up any time soon. Our survival as DPSers is squarely our own responsibility. And what's the first rule of magehood? That's right: Dead mages do terrible DPS. We need to stay alive, our raid needs us to stay alive, and the only way that's going to happen is if we do it ourselves.

"But Christian," you might be saying, "I'm a mage! I wear a dress into combat! A particularly vigorous sneeze could kill me." Those things are all true. But you do have a few tricks up your sleeve that can help stave off death, if not forever, then at least long enough to pump out a few thousand more points of damage before you port up to that last great mage table in the sky.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Love letters


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column of choice for largely hairless bipedal primates with opposable thumbs everywhere. And also for you, whatever you are. Seriously, what the crap are you, anyway? And what's with all the back hair? You look like Ron Perlman back when he used to make out with the chick from Terminator in the sewers. Which is to say, you look dead sexy. Not that I'm into that kind of thing, but rowr.

As many of you are no doubt aware, I've been forced of late to do something against my very nature -- something so vile and abhorrent that I can scarcely keep the bile down as I partake in it. No, it isn't wearing pants. It's far, far worse.

You see, I decided to participate in our Choose My Adventure series, and as is customary for those who do so, I left the decision-making to you, dear readers. In your vast, collective wisdom (and keen sense of irony), you decided I should be shackled to that thing I hate most. Again, not wearing pants. But, as longtime (or even first-time) readers of this column may have guessed, there remains one thing I hate more than having my lower half clad in fabric, and that thing is warlocks. "Har har," you said to yourselves (in my imagination, you are all pirates), "Belt should play a warlock! That'd be hilarious."

Well it isn't hilarious. It isn't hilarious at all.

Did you know that warlocks have a scent? It's the sulfurous stench of disappointment. Playing one has thus far been an exercise in humility. I am constantly reminded that there are those out there who select one of these godless avatars from the character selection screen on purpose, and do so on a daily basis. I feel there ought to be some sort of fund to which I can, for the price of a cup of coffee per day, sponsor these poor wayward souls and somehow elevate them to a better life.

Still, I feel I have been able to glean at least one thing of value from this experience thus far:

Mages are awesome.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The difference between good and great

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that believes frost mages shouldn't be the only mages to experience the joy of pet ownership. Reader Doidadetanga, aside from having more syllables in his character name than is reasonably necessary, sent in this picture of his very own Arcane Elemental, which (if Blizzard listens to my nightly prayers at all) will be a new spell in Cataclysm ... along with Anti-Warlock Bolt, the new 56-point talent in the Arfrostfirecane tree.

I'm about to make a bold statement (literally; it's in bold typeface):

I'm a good mage.

My GearScore is adequate. I am fully capable of putting out an acceptable amount of damage over an acceptable timespan. When folks want free food and water, I somehow manage to provide it for them. My dress is appropriately pretty, and my staff is sufficiently formidable in terms of both size and the manner in which I employ it.

I'm about to make another bold statement:

Anybody -- absolutely anybody -- can be a good mage.

I can, you can and yes, even that defecting warlock who has finally outgrown his dark eyeliner, Taylor Lautner posters and hating his parents can be a good mage.

The problem is, not nearly enough of us manage to move beyond that particular tier of magehood. I know I'm still working on it, five years after I started playing this wonderful game, and chances are you are too. There are a whole lot of good mages out there -- but not a whole lot of truly great ones.

But fear not, my fellow mages. Though I have not yet attained greatness, I can recognize it when I see it. I'm willing to bet a good number of you can, too. Follow me past the jump and we'll discuss the fine line that separates a good mage from a great one. Because I'm going to make one final statement, and this one isn't even bold:

Every mage can become great. Every single one.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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

Insider Trader: Patch 3.2 keeps getting better

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

I love it when a content patch includes some professions love. As the details keep surfacing, patch 3.2 is looking better than ever.

In fact, with the upcoming patch, Engineers will finally be able to drop their Gnomish and/or Goblin specialties ("for a fee")! This has been one of those issues, like ugly and buggy cat forms, that has dragged on and on.

The materials for Jeeves have also been updated (get the schematic!). If you're wondering just what you should be saving, hop on through the break for that and other patch 3.2 news!

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Filed under: Alchemy, Engineering, Jewelcrafting, Insider Trader (Professions)

The OverAchiever: Return of the Glory of the Hero

Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle. -- Firefly, "Our Mrs. Reynolds."

Just as a recap, this is what we've covered so far in the OverAchiever: Glory of the Hero series:
Having finished the first of the two "troll dungeons" in Wrath, let's head to the second: Gun'drak! Gun'drak is interesting in that it houses both the easiest heroic achievement and (arguably) the most annoying all at once, What the Eck? and Less-rabi respectivey. If you're planning on doing all of these achievements in one go (which may or may not be a good idea depending on group composition), I would recommend taking a group with a Bloodlust/Heroism (you may have seen me make mention of this point before) and several interrupts. A Shaman with Reverberation can be useful on Moorabi. You will also need an off-tank and off-healer for Share The Love.

Snakes, Why'd It Have to Be Snakes?

As a note, this achievement seems to be individually- rather than group-based; you can get it even if someone else gets wrapped. However, if you're interested in getting multiple people the achievement all at once, there are ways to ensure it doesn't happen at all.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Features, Bosses, Achievements, The Overachiever

Scattered Shots: The dev team takes on PvP

Welcome once again to Scattered Shots, WoW Insider's spot for all things Hunter, except for the stuff Big Red Kitty covers. Daniel Whitcomb will be your host today (a day late, for which he apologizes) as David Bowers tries to shake off some extra aggro.

The state of Hunters in PvP is perhaps one of the most debated subjects in WoW PvP. Some call Hunters overpowered for their dispelling Arcane Shot (which is going away in Wrath, to be sent to the non-damaging Tranquilizing Shot), while others point to their low Arena representation and the ease of using line of sight to negate most of their DPS and Abolish Poison to get rid of their main PvP utility as proof that they need buffs. Regardless, even the devs acknowledge that Hunters probably need some help in PvP, and class designer Koraa recently spoke on the subject on the Beta forums. In his post, he covered the problems he sees Hunters having, and how Blizzard will be helping with those moving forward into Wrath.

Unfortunately, his solutions seem confused in and of themselves. They involve giving Hunters more melee attack power (instead of more way to break from melee so they can use their ranged weapon) and a variety of talents scattered around many trees in such a way that it will be difficult for a solid PvP build to get them all. And, as I mentioned in a post yesterday, they still aren't giving pets resilience.

Other Hunters such as Megatf have done an excellent job responding to some of Koraa's points in the thread itself, but I'd like to address and respond to the post myself in this week's column, and see how they stack up to the problems Hunters face in small scale Arena PvP.

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Filed under: Hunter, PvP, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

PTR Patch 2.3.2 notes leaked

MMO-Champion got their hands on the Patch 2.3.2 notes and they contain many interesting changes. Some highlights include:
There are many more class buffs, tradeskill tweaks, boss changes and bug fixes (including one for the button mashing issue). Check out the complete notes on MMO-Champion.

No word yet on when this Patch will hit the Test server.

EDIT: Hortus announced the PTR is coming up later today.

EDIT2: Not leaked anymore! Here's the official patch notes.

Filed under: Patches, News items, Classes

Mage changes in next patch

A few weeks ago, Eliah reported that buffs to the Mage class were slated for an upcoming patch and more details were released today. A few hours ago, Eyonix posted a listing of the changes that will be included in the next patch, 2.3.2. It sounds like the frost tree will be getting some nice buffs, but magi of all types will have reason to rejoice. Read the entirety of his post below.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Talents

Mage buffs on the horizon

Here's some more good news today for mages. On top of Hypothermia going back from 45s to 30s, Kalgan has stopped by the mage forums to promise some additional buffs in person. These probably won't make it into 2.3, but he says they'll go in "in the near future." My guess is that translates to 2.3.X or 2.4. It looks like Blizz is basically in a "buff" swing recently, which fits in with their general design philosophy -- start underpowered, and then build the classes up as necessary. Buffs make far fewer people angry than nerfs do.

What are these buffs, you ask? Trainable Ice Block, and "to-be-finalized improvements to mana issues in longer fights" (source). We've been seeing more and more skills moved to trainable as the game has matured, from Evocate to Holy Fire to Improved Sap. Ice Block mades good sense to add to that list. Kalgan's reasoning is that IB is something they want to be able to design PvE encounters around all mages having, and that it helps open up the range of viable specs for PvP. As far as the "mana issues" improvements, it's hard to comment too much on that without any details, but efficiency is good. Any speculation on what they're going to do there?

Oh, and in a later post, Kalgan lets slip that mana gems are also slated to be buffed. Let that be a sort of after-dinner mint of buffage.

Filed under: Mage, Patches

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