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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: 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

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for mages in 4.0.1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

The Cataclysm is getting close, so we've only got a few weeks of this transitional stage, but it's important to pick out our PvP talents heading into the expansion. Today, we're going to take a look at mages, who have the usual set of tools and a couple of new ones. Nothing drastic has changed, despite the overhaul in 4.0.1, so mages are still casters who do best at range. Nothing has made them capable of wading into melee and standing toe-to-toe with rogues or anything silly like that. Instead, what we've got are three interesting trees with slightly different ways to crush their opponents -- all of them fun.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Arcane Brilliance: Mage AoE in Cataclysm, part 1

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column known for its special five-alarm chili recipe. It's a delicate blend of three different conjured beans, spiced up with Fireballs, Scorches, and slow-cooked over a smoldering Flamestrike, loaded with lamb, bacon, and the occasional roasted monkey, glazed with a dusting of Frostfire, then lit aflame with a Pyroblast. And the secret ingredient? Warlock tears.

If there's one thing mages have been known for during the course of this fine game we all play, it's mass murder. We have at our disposal a wide array of spells that wreak havoc over a large area, perhaps more so than any other class. When it comes to killing things in large numbers, mages are remarkably adept. It's a role we embrace wholeheartedly.

AoE has evolved quite since the inception of the game. In vanilla WoW, AoE was a great way to get yourself killed in an instance, a method of attack that was mostly limited to solo farming and certain trash pulls. These days, with the ability tanks have to hold multiple mobs with relative ease, AoE has morphed into the go-to way to deal with multiple-mob pulls of all shapes and sizes. Crowd control has gone the way of Wand Specialization; it simply isn't required in most situations in Wrath.

Cataclysm is bringing with it some fairly sweeping changes to the way we utilize our AoE repertoire. The developers have stated their intention to return us to a time when we actually had to worry about things like crowd control and pull-sizes, and though we're not reverting completely, pulls on the beta certainly feel more like vanilla or Burning Crusade pulls than anything we saw in Wrath. Join me after the break and we'll go over how our AoE spells will work in this coming era.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm

Arcane Brilliance: News and notes from Cataclysm beta build 12604

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that strives to bring you all the latest in Flame Orbs and Deathfrosts, Arcane Missile Barrages and Frostfires, Arcanefireflamefrostfreezes and Iceflamefrostfirecanebolts and everything in between.

Well guys, we just got our second pass.

The arcane tree is finally beginning to resemble something semi-coherent, and the other two trees have gotten a spot of polish applied to them in this build. The mage talent situation in Cataclysm is finally beginning to take shape, and now that things are beginning to come together, it's time to pick apart that embryonic shape and see what makes it tick. Because that's just how we roll.

Grab your blowtorches and put the kids to bed, we've got some deconstruction to perform.

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

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