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Posts with tag ice-lance

The Light and How to Swing It: 4 Dragon Soul tips to make your DPSers love you

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

With the 15% nerf to Dragon Soul slated for Tuesday and Mists of Pandaria's beta test here already, Cataclysm is winding down. Many guilds are on autopilot in Dragon Soul, simply clearing the place each week for another shot at an elusive trinket or item. You can buy the heroic Dragon Soul title or mount on most realms without too much trouble. With a few months of the same eight bosses ahead of us, it's easy to understand why everyone is focused on what's coming next.

I am always looking for ways to optimize my guild's raids. If there's a way that I can shave a few seconds off a boss encounter, I'll take it. There are plenty of areas in Dragon Soul where a clever holy paladin can help move things along. I currently run with a secondary holy talent build that includes Denounce specifically for the purpose of speeding up our runs. If you're still learning Dragon Soul or working on a new heroic encounter, these tips probably won't apply to you.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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: 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 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: News and notes for mages from PTR patch 4.0.6

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, a magical journey awaits ... a fantastic voyage through a mystical realm. I speak, of course, of the Public Test Realm, and the wondrous patch notes that dwell therein.

Now before we begin, I should make it clear that mages aren't getting anything even remotely earth-shattering in patch 4.0.6. It's not like Blizzard is letting us autofire while moving or anything. But a patch is still a patch. Things are going to change, and though mages have been left largely un-fiddled-around-with (at least in comparison to many other classes), we do have some incoming alterations to be aware of.

So with our expectations in an appropriately subdued state, let's peek beyond the jump for an annotated look at what be happening, yo.

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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: I hope for an icy apocalypse

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that has, for well over two years now, been your one-stop source for mage-love and warlock-hate. Which, of course, made it pretty much inevitable that you all would vote that I roll a warlock by such a hilariously high percentage in Friday's Choose My Adventure poll. Jerks. Just know: it may not be all that fun to watch me repeatedly drown myself or run naked into crowds of high-level mobs. Or ... maybe it will be.

So, I don't know if you saw this, but I found it a little depressing. It's a collection of DPS data from the current endgame of WoW, Icecrown Citadel 25-man. And while fire and arcane mages appear to be right up there in the mix, frost is not. Instead, they're relegated to the same marginal, fringe PvE status that other under-represented specs enjoy, like subtlety rogues, or beastmaster hunters. It seems that not only were the few frost mages whose data made its way into those World of Logs parses doing some pretty woeful DPS, but so few of them were actually going into Icecrown that the data we do have is rendered completely unreliable. Maybe they weren't all that bad? It's tough to tell when there were sometimes less than 50 frost mage results. Even low-representation specs like arms warriors had thousands.

This, my friends, is unacceptable.

Frost mages, while kings of the PvP hill, have long been the redheaded stepchildren of mage specs when it comes to PvE content. Still, they've seen multiple recent changes to their spec that have promised to narrow the gap, and to a large extent, those changes have made something of a difference. Frost isn't by any means up to the same same level as arcane and fire yet, but in terms of raw DPS output, the gulf is narrowing.

Sadly, it seems nobody has noticed. Now, I'm not blaming frost mages. I expect that a large and unsavory part of the problem is not frost mages failing to go to Icecrown or failing to perform well when they do go, but is instead a failure of Icecrown groups to allow frost mages to go. The stigma against frost is ancient, its taint deep. I have all but given up on this changing during this expansion.

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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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 59-68

It's time once again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to thank its readers profusely for the deluge of screenshots it received last week. Arcane Brilliance sent out the call, and you guys responded in droves. There were so many, in fact, that it was an impossible task to select just one for the column. Arcane Brilliance finally went with this one, apparently of an undead pimp of some type, simply because it made Arcane Brilliance chuckle. Also, the column this week is about leveling through Outland, and this is a pretty good representation of how your mage will look throughout that leg of the journey: like the mutant love-child of the entire cast of Saved by the Bell.

Seriously... you guys are awesome. Sooooooo many good pictures to use. I may have to start writing like 12 of these a week, just to have an excuse to use all of them. Thanks again, and keep them coming. Even if I don't get to use them, I just enjoy browsing through them. So many mages, so little time.

Last week, our mage leveling guide hit level 58 and fled vanilla WoW for the alien landscapes of Outland. This week, we'll tackle the 10 levels your mage will be spending there, amongst the hellboars, sporebats, and ravagers.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: The changing face of Frost

Welcome to this week's Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that insists that tragic teleportation accident that left you with a polearm instead of an actual arm does not entitle you to a refund.

Yeah, I should have known better than to start a multi-part leveling guide during a PTR cycle.

Barring more huge news, we'll come back to the leveling guide next week, but this week we need to discuss the fact that Deep Freeze is awesome. Don't believe me? Stop reading this right now. Download the PTR client. Transfer your mage over. Spec Frost. Go find a training dummy. Use Deep Freeze on it. Giggle. Then come back here, because holy crap.

Here's how the spell works currently on the PTR:

Deep Freeze: This spell now deals a large amount of damage to targets permanently immune to stuns.

The base damage is 1469 to 1741. The spellpower coefficient appears to be rock solid, something in the neighborhood of 2-2.5. It doesn't currently benefit from Ice Shards or get an increased crit chance from Shatter, but I expect both of those things to change before this goes live. When it hits the PTR, it'll be the single most powerful damage-dealing spell Frost mages have.

It'll be like a Pyroblast made of ice. Only better.

For those of you with a short attention span, here's the tl;dr version:

After patch 3.3 hits, in a raiding spell rotation, you will use Deep Freeze every time it's off cooldown, and you will see a substantial DPS increase because of it. Read on for the longer, more text-intensive version.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.3 PTR mage change analysis


Welcome to Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that champions the causes of wizards everywhere, be they fiery, frosty, or arcane...y. The top issue facing the mage community right now? Warlocks: how to get the stink out of your robes after setting one on fire? Fear not, Arcane Brilliance has the solution: when killing warlocks, always stand upwind.

Since last we convened as a body of mages, no fewer than two new builds have descended upon the PTR, heralding a slew of upcoming changes for our class. Alex wrote an excellent post covering the first few of these, but a few more nuggets of newness have surfaced since then that need to be addressed. And since I'm a diagnosed (and unrepentant) completionist, we're going to go ahead and double back to analyze those earlier changes as well. The next installment of our mage leveling guide will come next week.

So without further preamble, let's look at the changes, shall we?

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Classes, Talents, (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

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.1 Musings



Each week Arcane Brilliance dispeneses a tall glass of sweet Mage content. Sometimes this content consists of pure, undistilled truth. Other times, there's some crap in the mix. I blame Blizzard, for putting the truth and the crap right next to each other on the same shelf. You'd think they'd put the truth all alone on its own shelf--you know, to prevent any misunderstandings--or maybe put labels on this stuff, clearly distinguish the truth from the crap. If it were me, I think I'd just stop stocking the crap all together. They must know something I don't. I guess that's why they're the giant game developer and I'm the guy sitting in front of my computer in my pajamas eating pop tarts and trying not to get too many crumbs on the keyboard.

In case you've been stranded on a remote island for the past week with nothing but a volleyball for company and only just made it back to civilization, put a shirt on, shave your beard and brace yourself: we finally got some solid patch 3.1 info. I know, it totally makes that week of eating coconuts and talking to yourself worthwhile, right?

We've been waiting for this patch almost since day one of Wrath, with its tantalizing promises of Ulduar and dual specs, and now Blizzard has given us a lot more details. There will a huge amount of class changes, and Mages will not be left out of the mix. The announced changes are intriguing, even if they are infuriatingly vague. We're definitely getting some new stuff, some buffs, some nerfs, some buff-nerfs...but as to the specifics, who knows, really? Pending more detail, we're going to have to take our best educated guesses as to what all of this means. Follow me after the jump for as much unsubstantiated conclusion-jumping as you can handle.

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

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