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Posts with tag improved-scorch

Arcane Brilliance: Random postpatchery


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, Arcane Brilliance brings you a random collection of thoughts, impressions, half-baked ideas, and unprovoked hatred for warlocks spawned in the wake of the single most significant patch in the history of WoW. But then again ... except for the patch part, that pretty much describes every Arcane Brilliance, right?

I thought I'd throw that picture of the tier 11 mage set up there to start the article because it looks so awesome. Someone in the comments section last week suggested I spend an entire column waxing poetic about how cool our tier 11 looks, and I want you to know that I gave the idea serious consideration. Could I come up with a thousand words on one set of gear? Yes, yes I could. Would it be worth reading? No, probably not. But did I want to do it anyway? Yes, yes I did. Let's leave it at this: I really, really want to put that flaming skull mask on my mage's face, and I don't care how many warlocks raid bosses I have to kill to make that happen.

So now that the insanity of patch week has come and gone, how are you coping? Got your mage's specs all sorted out? Comfortable with your new spell rotation yet? Updated all your addons? Disconnected a few dozen times trying to summon the Headless Horseman? If you're still looking for a bit of help, check out last week's column on mage specs, glyphs, and spell rotations for a basic primer. This week, I figure I'd just spend the column going over a bunch of stuff I ran out of room to mention last week, along with a few new things that have occurred to me during this week's play.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Fire mage 4.0

It's Saturday, and that of course means it's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column, hero to the downtrodden, vanquisher of evil, dispenser of justice. That's right. By day, Arcane Brilliance is a mild-mannered mage-related wall of text. But by night ... Arcane Brilliance is Deathspank.

Another beta build hit a couple nights ago -- as they tend to do -- and it brought a number of class changes. A quick glance at the new talent trees revealed the expected (some talent position swaps, a few talents vanishing, some tooltip alterations, the occasional loss of a rank here and there) and the ... unexpected. Three changes in the fire tree, particularly, caught my eye:
Yes, the tooltip for Molten Shields really is "Redesign!" With an exclamation point. For emphasis.

So clearly the fire tree is in a certain amount of flux? I became instantly excited. The fire tree, perhaps more than either of the other two trees, really has been due for some focused attention. Then I saw this, from none other than Lead Game Designer Tom Chilton:

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

Arcane Brilliance: The services we provide


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that come rain or shine, snow, sleet, hail, netherstorm or cataclysmic event is always delivered to your electronic doorstep by a mysterious robed man with a strange affinity for sheep. Perhaps you have wondered why Blink is distanced at exactly 20 yards? Because that's the exact number of digital yards between your internet yard and your neighbor's internet yard. This strange wizardly paperboy blinks onto your e-porch, unfurls this week's Arcane Brilliance, magicks it under your internet door, turns your internet yard gnome into an internet yard sheep, then poofs his way next door and repeats the process. He does this whether you've actually subscribed to Arcane Brilliance or not. It's all a bit creepy, but at least it's free.

Let's take a moment and talk about utility, shall we?

This week, I'm going to present the case for mages as the single best utility class in the game. Sure, druids bring their gifts of the wild, death knights bring their horns of winter, shaman bring their bloodlust/heroism, warlocks bring their evil little cookies and their obscene body odor, and rogues bring ... a tendency to stab things in the back ... but mages -- I think you'll agree after I pound it into your heads for the next thousand words or so -- are the kings of utility.

You may think of us (and many of us may think of ourselves) as simple purveyors of arcane destruction. We trade in damage, humble merchants of death, standing behind someone wearing more substantial attire, churning out our fireballbolts and frostmadoodads and whatnot until the boss keels over, like any good ranged DPS class should. While this is our essential function, I'd like to spend this week's column shining a spotlight of sorts on the other things we bring to the proverbial table.

Protip: one of the things we bring is a literal table.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Fire 101

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that believes there is no such thing as too much Pyroblast. You can certainly have not enough Pyroblast, as any fire mage who is desperately praying to the RNG gods for a second consecutive crit so that Hot Streak will grant him an instant one can attest. But you can never have too much. Never.

Since publishing Arcane 101 and Frost 101, for our series of class 101 guides, I've received numerous requests for Fire 101. Where is it? When is it coming? Why haven't you written it yet? There's even one guy who I swear has emailed me pretty much daily inquiring as to Fire 101's whereabouts. These emails progressed steadily in their tone and verbiage from mild annoyance to frustrated desperation, to thinly veiled threats to do me bodily harm. It wasn't long before the emails began coming with increasingly creepy pictures attached: first one of a road map with a thumbtack in the southwestern portion of Nevada, then one of the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, then one of the street where I live, then one of my house, my driveway, and so on. The picture contained in yesterday's email was of a naked man who wasn't me standing in my bathroom brandishing a large knife. So, I've decided that today is the day!

Now, please ... get out of my bathroom, crazynakedguy@iwillstabyouinthefacechrisbelt.com.

As always, these posts come with a small disclaimer: these are meant to be basic guides covering a general overview of the spec from a PvE perspective. This one is meant as an introduction to Fire. It will not help you maximize your DPS on heroic 25-man Lich King. It will, however, help you get some idea of what the fire spec is, and how to go about playing it.

Without further ado, I bring you Fire 101.

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

Arcane Brilliance: WoW patch 3.3 primer for mages

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves mages and all things magey. Take this picture, for example. That's a mage right there. If I'm not mistaken, she's getting ready to do something magey. Like plant a Fireball deep in the fertile soil of a warlock's grill. Arcane Brilliance loves everything about that.

So apparently patch 3.3 could literally drop any moment. I'm not even kidding. It might have happened while I was typing that last sentence. I don't know. More likely, though, is that it will come (as per the usual deployment-method) during the upcoming Tuesday maintenance. This means we've only got a little time left before we can enter Icecrown Citadel and begin the patch-long process of shaking its inhabitants down repeatedly for loot. I, for one, cannot wait to place an Arcane Missile or five directly up Arthas' frosty tailpipe.

But what, exactly, does this patch bring to the mage class? I'm glad you asked. Though this patch is admittedly a bit heavy on the new raid content and light on class changes, mages are one of the few classes that are getting some pretty significant new junk. From increased raid utility for Arcane, to buffed-up AoE for Fire, to actual, honest-to-goodness competitive raid DPS for Frost, 3.3 is delivering a little of something for everybody. Join me after the break for a full recap of all the newness we can expect come patch day.

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

Patch 3.3 PTR: Mages get simplified Scorch, Frost changes

Fire mages are ablaze with joy over today's patch 3.3 PTR build, frost mages are a little iffy, and arcane is... pretty much completely untouched! Let's skip over any additional preamble and dig right in. Do note, however, that some of this is so far unconfirmed and comes from datamining. Considering these changes come from the PTR, any of it could change before patch 3.3 goes live.

Fire
  • Improved Scorch: The debuff from this talent no longer stacks, and instead can apply the full effect from a single cast of Scorch.
  • Glyph of Improved Scorch now increases the damage of your Scorch spell by 20%.
This is going to make a lot of raiding mages very happy. It essentially normalizes the debuff to match equivalent debuffs, like Improved Shadow Bolt. Streamlining an unnecessarily complicated debuff is a great thing. It'll lift a needless burden from mage DPS. And yes, there are mages getting drunk in celebration this evening. It's somewhat disturbing, really.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

Arcane Brilliance: Okay, now I like spirit



Each week Arcane Brilliance glances around to make sure there are no Death Knights in the area, then daintily tiptoes out from cover long enough to throw together a column about Mages. Usually, this ends badly for Arcane Brilliance. Out of nowhere, a big purple rope-looking thingy wraps itself around Arcane Brilliance's neck and drags it backward into a big stabby implement of some type. Arcane Brilliance tries to fight back, but finds it has been silenced three different ways and the Death Knight that just jumped it has enclosed them both beneath some kind of ugly anti-magic igloo. So, Arcane Brilliance no longer want to hear any complaints about misspelled words or grammatical errors. Arcane Brilliance is simply too busy getting ganked by Death Knights to proofread. I swear.

When I posted on Wednesday about the giant Mage Q&A session hosted by the developers, I was cautiously optimistic. The developers repeatedly assured Mages in that Q&A thread that they were keeping a close eye on our performance on the PTR, that a lot of our concerns would shake themselves out as we continued along through the testing process. Chief among these concerns of late has been the nerf to Molten Armor and its glyph, a change that tied the formerly static 5% crit buff those offered to spirit and turned out to be a nerf to the large majority of Mages and a slight buff to only the most well-geared among us. As nerfs went, it wasn't the most devastating one in recent memory, but was disproportionately reviled by Mages because it forced us to pay attention to a stat that was otherwise of little value to us. In the Q&A thread, we were told that the developers were aware of our concerns and would consider upping the spirit-to-crit conversion rate if they felt it necessary. I remained positive, but wasn't exactly holding my breath.

It appears I needn't have been skeptical. The latest PTR build already reflects a few very nice changes for those of us who like to wear robes, waggle sticks in the air, and hurl large flaming orbs of magical death at Warlocks. That's right, my fellow Mages: It appears the nerf-train has at least temporarily run itself off the rails. Follow me after the break, and we'll go over the specific changes.

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

Vaneras answers a whole lot of Mage questions



In Saturday's Arcane Brilliance, I linked you to a Ghostcrawler post on the official forums in which he answered a good number of pressing Mage questions. Some of his answers were encouraging, some were vague, but all of them served to give a Mage community very concerned about its future a more enlightening look at Blizzard's development goals for our class than we've had in some time.

On the heels of that post comes this truly epic thread on the EU forums from Vaneras. He begins by reposting Ghostcrawler's earlier Q&A in its entirety. Five pages of Mage questions later, he presents us with no fewer than four more gigantic posts filled with more questions and developer answers (whether this is direct from Ghostcrawler or not isn't made clear).

This may be, quite frankly, more direct communication between the developers and Mages in one day than in the rest of the six months of Wrath's existence combined. I found a lot contained within that was encouraging. I found a few things that concerned me. Mostly, though, I'm just happy we're on speaking terms again. I was beginning to think that maybe all those things some of us said about "slaps in the face" and "re-rolling a Lock" and "quitting the game" had offended Blizzard, and they'd finally taken our number out of their phone and changed their Myspace status to "Stop calling me, Mages." My thoughts on this wealth of information after the jump.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Classes, Buffs

Arcane Brilliance: Q to the power of Q



Each week Arcane Brilliance runs out of mana halfway through a column about Mages. Seriously, Arcane Brilliance is terrible at managing its mana. And then every time it Evocates, Arcane Brilliance manages to get interrupted before it gets any mana back. It really sucks. Yep, Arcane Brilliance spends a lot of time wanding. To be honest, Arcane Brilliance is probably about one more wipe away from getting kicked out of its guild. LTP, Arcane Brilliance...LTP.

I tried my best to be optimistic last week, to look at the changes to Fiery Payback and Impact (especially Impact) as semi-good things. The Fiery Payback-disarm effect will be marginally positive, I told myself, and at the very least, Impact being triggered by Fire Blast will make the spell less random and more controllable, right? We Mages get such a reputation for being whiners that I try to steer clear of pessimism as much as a can just to avoid being lumped in with that lame generalization. I try, and most of the time I fail, but I award myself an "A" for effort.

The comments section set me straight last week. Fire Mages are not happy with Blizzard's attempt at improving their survivability in PvP. You guys were brutally frank in your comments, and I have to admit that I see your point. Nobody likes dying, but as a Fire Mage you sort of expect it, similar to the way nobody likes getting tackled, but as a football player you know it comes with the territory. All Fire Mages want is to be able to dish out an acceptable amount of pain before they explode. In fact, a lot of you proposed the idea of allowing Fire Mages to literally explode upon death, making killing one a dangerous proposition. Several of you commented that this was a Fire Mage's idea of survivability, to die, but leave a smoking crater behind. Seriously, this is an idea I can get behind.

Here's the thing, though: If you weren't happy with the changes last week, you really aren't going to like the latest PTR build. Follow me through the break and we'll talk ourselves through the changes. I'll try to keep the tears to a minimum.

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

Ghostcrawler on the state of the Mage

The tension between PvP balance and PvE balance is once more giving the developers a hard time. Ghostcrawler has made a post on the state of the Mage, and it runs roughly as follows. They're happy that Arcane is "starting to feel like a viable alternative" to Frostfire for raid DPS. However, they're concerned that Arcane does too much burst in PvP, and they need to figure out how to fix that without hurting Arcane too much in PvE. Argh! Can we just introduce different rule sets for PvP and PvE and be done with it? The devs have been saying similar things for Rogues since LK launched: too low in PvE, but we can't make them any higher in PvP or they'll be imbalanced.

He also touches on a few more points that don't make me want to hit things. The Improved Scorch debuff is "too much of a unique snowflake" in the new buff system, forcing exactly one mage per raid to spec for it and spend a fair amount of time casting Scorch to apply the debuff (compare Winter's Chill, which is applied passively); presumably, it is going to be addressed by making it easier to apply for Fire and/or castable by Arcane and/or other classes. Making frost-based Frostfire specs competitive is also "definitely a concern, but lower priority than these other issues."

Finally (and going back to PvE vs PvP), they would like to find some way to make Frostbolt builds competitive in PvE again (the phrase GC uses is "'Shatter combo' vibe"). However, so far, they haven't thought of a way to achieve this without buffing Cone of Cold Ice Lance [thanks, Bubsa], which they don't want to buff in PvP. Wouldn't it be simple enough to remove PvP from the game just make Lance do less damage or whatever in PvP?

Filed under: Mage, Forums

Mage changes in Wrath beta build 8885

Mages certainly weren't forgotten in beta build 8885. Did they get everything they could have hoped for? No, not really, they didn't. There are some nice things mixed in with the handful of changes though.
  • Hot Streak has been changed. After two Fireball, Scorch or Frostfire Bolt crits in a row, you have a 33/66/100% chance for your next Pyroblast within 10 seconds to be an instant cast.
  • Improved Scorch now does the exact same thing as Winter's Chill. Yay?
  • Improved Water Elemental now makes your Elemental regen mana to all party or raid members equal to 0.2/0.4/0.6% of their total mana every 5 seconds.
  • Fingers of Frost now lasts 15 seconds, but only affects you next two frost spells.
  • Slow received a straight buff, reducing movement speed by 60%, and increasing casting time and time between ranged attacks by 60%, all up from its original 50%.
  • Focus Magic now buffs the entire raid's damage.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

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