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Arcane Brilliance: Dual-speccing your Mage



Each week, Arcane Brilliance brings you a wealth of Mage news and information, an unhealthy amount of incredibly biased commentary, a sprinkling of unnecessary and entirely random pop culture references, at least one unapologetically hateful and frequently childish comment about Warlocks, several examples of poor spelling and questionable grammar, and the occasional wildly inappropriate fart joke. I apologize in advance.

Patch 3.1 is allegedly bringing with it one of the most significant changes the game has yet seen: the dual spec system. Players have been clamoring for the option to switch between specs freely as long as players have been clamoring for just about anything, so this new system promises to make a lot of people very happy. I'm a little excited about it myself. I may or may not have taught my two-year how to say "dual spec." I think she believes it to mean "when I say this, Daddy starts smiling and talking a lot." I also may or may not be secretly training her to be a tiny Warlock-killing machine. "OK, kiddo, this button here is called 'Counterspell.' Go ahead, push it. Now blow up the Gnome with the ugly doggie over there. Good job!" I believe Warlock-hate is something that can only be taught at home. I'm not trusting the school system to instill those values in my kids, that's for sure. And, yes, I'm a terrible, terrible parent.

Ahem. Back to dual specs.

Though the system will undoubtedly be more exciting to hybrid classes, we Mages will still benefit greatly from ready access to two different talent specs in our own special pure-class way. No, we can't switch roles like a Warrior or Druid will be able to--no matter how we spec, we're always going to be DPS--but having a different brand of DPS at our fingertips to switch to when the situation calls for it will be more significant than you may think.

So what, exactly, will dual specs mean for Mages? Click on the magical orange text below and we'll discuss the possibilities.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Grading the glyphs



Each week Arcane Brilliance writes a column about the ins and outs of Magehood. Mostly, what's in a Mage's hood is the Mage's face (which may or may not have a lower jaw), and what's out of a Mage's hood is fiery death. Did you see what I did there? It's clever word-play, you see...ins and outs...Magehood...in a Mage's hood...out...get it? Oh, fine. You try to come up with something witty every week! It's hard! Stupid italicized introductory paragraphs...I should have just gone with some more Warlock-bashing.


I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, discretionary funds were rare and precious. There were so many toys to buy, and so little money with which to purchase them. If Grandma were to send me a card with five bucks in it for my birthday, that was a windfall of epic proportions. Each purchase had to be carefully planned, each dollar wrung for as much value as it could provide. Use the money now on a Storm Shadow action figure (with combat grip!), or save it to someday replace the NES controller that had died a premature death in the wake of a last second Tecmo Super Bowl loss to my little brother? Yes, my childhood was in many ways resource management training for later years spent playing games like Starcraft.

And games like World of Warcraft.

Do I spend my Stone Keeper's Shards on a meta gem now, or save them for that sweet Mammoth? Use my honor to upgrade my cloak now, or save it and get the trinket? Use that socket for spellpower or hit rating? Kill the Warlock, or kill the Warlock? So many choices.

All of which brings us to this week's topic: what to do with our precious and very limited Glyph slots? Follow me through the jump, and we'll discuss.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

Arcane Brilliance: Arcanapalooza



Each week Arcane Brilliance drops at a 100% rate from your computer screen. It can be equipped in any slot, and doesn't bind to your character in any way, shape or form. It can be disenchanted into whatever you want, and sells to merchants for a million gold. It is of legendary quality. When equipped, it raises all of your stats exponentially, to the power of awesome. It also has an on-use ability with no cooldown: Arcane Brilliance instantly turns any targetted Warlock into a ridable mount.

I have to begin by admitting my deep bias here. Since midway through The Burning Crusade I've been a deep Arcane Mage. I loved the Arcane tree when it was bad, and I love it now that it's good. It's entirely possible that this fact disqualifies me from even speaking rationally about this topic, but I've never let a crippling lack of impartiality stop me before.

Even those who now hate this spec and cry loudly (and as frequently as the refresh button on their internet browsers will allow) for massive and immediate nerfs will agree that there has never been a better time to be an Arcane Mage. Already quite powerful in PvP and fairly solid in PvE, patch 3.0.8 has only increased the effectiveness of this formidable spec. Playing an Arcane Mage is easy to pick up and challenging to master, and more out-and-out fun than it has any right to be. Follow me after the break and we'll discuss some of the ins and outs of this very potent school of magic.

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

PuG dungeon loot etiquette for dummies

So with the dawn of Wrath, a lot of people have been heading into 5-man dungeons, both the normal and heroic type. They may be after experience, they may be after badges, they may be after achievements, but nearly everyone is also very interested in whatever loot may drop along the way.

To add to this, not everyone is so lucky as to have a pre-made 5 man ready to go when they log on for the night. Maybe they're guildless, maybe their guild is off in Naxxramas, maybe their guild is 10 levels below them, but whatever the reason, a lot of people end up looking for the pickup groups to get their dungeon diving done.

Anyhow, you probably know what happens next. Pickup group plus loot equals drama. You'd almost think that's some sort of universal constant in WoW. Sure, we've had some great PuGs, but we've had some bad ones too, and those bad ones seem to come complete with ready-made loot drama, and it seems like we're not alone. We're hearing from a lot of people lately who've had problems with loot distribution drama.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the Mage, part 2, the sequel



Each week, Arcane Brilliance stirs you up a delightful goulash of Mage news, opinion, tips, and info, and seasons it all with an unhealthy sprinkling of Warlock hate. Mmmm. Tasty, delicious Warlock hate. Enjoy!

My formative years fell mainly within the late-80's and early 90's, back when Double Dare and Saved by the Bell were a daily afternoon ritual and it was perfectly acceptable to show up to school wearing parachute pants and looking like Brian Austin Green from 90210 (I'd be careful about clicking that last youtube link, the video contained therein quite literally made my brain bleed). My family was...um...frugal, so school shopping was always an exercise in humility.

"But Mom, all the other kids are wearing Bugle Boy and Jordache, why can't I?"

"Everybody else will have a sweet Trapper Keeper, why do I have to get this crappy notebook?"

"My friends get to play Crystalis and Life Force, why am I stuck with Destination Earthstar?"

I know that last one isn't at all related to education, but even while school shopping, my mind was on games. A lot of my best memories involve the Playchoice 10 display at Montgomery Ward.

All of these questions and many more elicited the same response:

"Chris, you shouldn't worry about what other kids have. You can't compare yourself to other people."

Oh Mom, how wrong you were. How very, very wrong.

In World of Warcraft, the late stages of the game revolve around how your class compares to those around you. Your raiding value is determined by how much healing you can muster, how many other classes and specs can out-DPS you, or how well you can hold aggro and mitigate damage. PvP is essentially a caste system so rigid and brutal India would be proud of it. So now that we've had the Lich King around for a solid two months and the classes have begun to settle into their roles, how do Mages stack up? Where do we rate? Can we walk down the cool kids' (Death Knights) hallway? Or are we the nerds, staying in the library at lunch to avoid getting beaten up because we bring Dragonlance novels and issues of Nintendo Power to school? Join me after the jump and we'll discuss where Mages stand.

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

Lichborne: One more round of Death Knight changes in 3.0.8


Welcome to Lichborne. Your host is inflicted with the space plague this week, but has done his best to write for you people anyway, so be grateful, you hear?

We've covered 3.0.8 pretty extensively, between Mike Sacco's coverage of the initial round of changes and our week before last discussion, but the devs weren't done yet. With 3.0.8 likely to make it to live servers in the next week or two, this is probably a good time to discuss the Death Knight tweaks that have gone in the last few PTR updates.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Bosses, Death Knight, Inscription, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing your Mage up for Naxx



Each week, Arcane Brilliance commandeers a cannon atop one of the towers in Wintergrasp and launches flaming balls of explosive Mage content down upon the unsuspecting masses below. Deadly, deadly Mage content. You may not know this, but Arcane Brilliance gets a tenacity buff whether it's outnumbered or not. Suck on that, Warlocks!


Patch 3.0.8, and all of its unabashed Arcane Mage love, is just around the proverbial corner. If you missed Arcane Brilliance's coverage of the changes, you can find it here, still preserved in its original state. We have other business to attend to this week, though. Last week, we finally rounded out our series of leveling guides by going from level 70 all the way to 80. Now comes the age-old problem: what to do once you've hit the cap?

As it has ever been, hitting the current level cap--much like graduating from high school or college--only serves to show us how far behind the curve we really are. We go from the top of one ladder to the very bottom of another. No self-respecting raid-leader is going to invite a Mage to Naxxramas who is still sporting the mismatched greens and blue quest-rewards he had on when he dinged 80 somewhere in the middle of Zul'Drak. The good news in Wrath of the Lich King, however, is that the power gap now isn't as difficult to bridge as it has been in previous incarnations of the end-game.

After the break, we'll go over some of the changes and list a selection of pre-Naxx gear and where to find it.

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Filed under: Mage, Tailoring, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Jewelcrafting, Features, Raiding, Factions, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Spiritual Guidance: 4 different ways to diagnose your healer


Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Today Matticus checks out common problems healers run into that stall them from being effective.

Every healer in their life time will experience a situation gone bad where they try to figure out what went wrong. It usually goes something like this:

"What's the problem?"

"Lack of heals."

"Okay, more heals please!"

If I had a copper every time I heard that phrase, I would have enough for a mammoth by now. After every wipe or death, the first person that gets blamed is the healer. Big props to all of you right now no matter what class you are for sticking through it and helping your friends, guilds and raids out. I know I put up with a lot of stuff when crap hits the fan.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Tips, Instances, Raiding, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage, 70-80



Each week,
Arcane Brilliance invites Mages everywhere over for brunch. We serve muffins, sweet rolls, croissants, and enough mountain spring water to wash it all down. Then, for dessert, Arcane Brilliance conjures strudel for everyone, because who doesn't like strudel? If you raised your hand, you, sir or madame, are a dirty, dirty liar. Everybody likes strudel.

About a billion years ago, when Warlocks still ruled the world, back in those dark days before Arcane Barrage, spellpower, and elementalist specs--in that bygone era before Death Knights appeared in Azeroth, bringing with them their ridiculous magic resistances and eighty-seven different ways to silence or interrupt--Arcane Brilliance brought you a series of Mage leveling guides. In those days, we didn't have any of this crazy "rock music" you kids listen to now, and when we fought Illidan, we had to chain pot. We walked naked twelve miles to school through nineteen feet of snow while fending off wolves and dinosaurs with our bookbags, and we liked it.

Things are different now. Nowadays, when you hit level 70, your experience bar doesn't vanish, never to return. We have ten new levels and an entire new continent to adventure our way through, new talent points to spend, new gear to pick up, and several fresh and exciting ways to barbecue zombies. It's an exciting time to be a Mage, and Arcane Brilliance is here to open a portal to level 80 for you.

If your Mage is at some other point along the leveling continuum, you can find the previous leveling guides here, here, here, and here. You can find the new one by clicking the words "read more" directly following this period.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Expansions, Features, Leveling, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Scattered Shots: New Year's Resolutions for Hunters and for Blizzard


Welcome to Scattered Shots! This week, your author has managed to take a break from lamenting that the stores about to stop selling eggnog to make a few Hunter-specific resolutions.

The New Year is considered by many people to be the time for a fresh start, a time to wipe the slate clean of past missteps, or just to make some changes to your life to make it even better. In that spirit, I'd like to propose some Hunter-related resolutions for both Blizzard and for Hunters in the spirit of promoting peace, harmony, and understanding in the new year for all Survivalists, Marksmen, and Beastmasters.


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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.0.8, or Blizzard's love letter to Arcane Mages



Each week, Arcane Brilliance gains 5,000 reputation with the Kirin Tor by writing a column about Mages. That's right, I said 5,000. Are you reading this, Kirin Tor? I'm declaring myself exalted. Give me my dagger already, you selfish jerks.


I may have mentioned this before, but I'm an Arcane Mage.

I wasn't always. I spent my initial leveling days as a pure Fire Mage, and loved it. I spent a good chunk of time PvPing as a Frost Mage, and had a glorious time. But now I'm all Arcane, all the time, and I'm as pleased with it as it is possible for an unapologetic cynic like myself to be pleased with a thing.

And so, as you can imagine, I look at the PTR 3.0.8 patch notes as Blizzard's Christmas gift to me personally. It's as if they decided, "yes, we would like to keep taking money from your credit card, Christian, and so make our product better specifically for you." Actually, that's probably exactly what they decided, only substituting the names of every person ever for my own. The difference is that for me specifically, they've actually been successful. Anytime you give me a patch that buffs my spec of choice specifically and also fails to nerf it in any way, your "give him what he wants and he will give us money for it" business model has been successful.

Follow me after the break and we'll discuss what will hereafter be referred to as patch 3.KeepChristianHappy.8 (ok, maybe not...that's incredibly cumbersome), and all that it will change for Mages, especially those of the Arcane persuasion.

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

Lichborne: Reputation rewards for Death Knights in Wrath of the Lich King

This pretty much never gets old.
Welcome to Lichborne, WoW Insider's weekly column on the Death Knight, written and named by a guy who actually doesn't have that talent. How does this keep happening, seriously?

So by now, I'm sure a lot of Death Knights are, like yours truly, getting into the level 80 home stretch and trying to figure out which of the Wrath factions to grind first. If you've already read our Wrath 101 guides to reputation and to the Oracle and Frenzyheart tribes, you're off to a good start. In this week's Lichborne, we'll take it a step further by looking at the purchasable rewards for each faction with the eye of a Death Knight. As with our previous gear guide, I'm operating on the assumptions that haste and armor penetration are less desirable for Death Knights and that expertise is primarily for Death Knight tanks.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Leveling, Factions, Guides, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Arcane Brilliance: Wrath reputation rewards for Mages, part 1



Each Saturday, Arcane Brilliance conjures forth a column all about Mages. You may well wonder: what does Arcane Brilliance do the rest of the week? The answer--up until a couple of weeks ago--was travel through time, righting the wrongs of the past. It was all very heroic, lent itself handily to an episodic format, and Dean Stockwell was prominently involved. Then Wrath happened. Now? Well, now Arcane Brilliance pretty much just hangs around in , ganking Death Knight noobs. Trust us, it's just as heroic, in its own way.

I trust we, as a nation of Mages, are all happily churning our way through the new content, gazing about us in wonder and amazement at the majesty of Northrend, and then nuking the crap out of that majesty. I know I am. Just about everything about the Wrath experience has been positive for me so far. The visuals are incredible, the quests are fun and rich with lore, and the music is phenomenal. I could (and have) spend hours just wandering about Dalaran, taking in the ambiance, feeling all kinds of magey. Seriously, Blizzard, I'm starting a slow-clap right now, and it's all for you.

One thing you've likely noticed as you've quested your way north is that almost everything you do seems to grant you reputation with some new faction or another. If you're anything like me, your first questions were probably "where might I find the quartermasters for these factions," and "what do they sell that is made of cloth and dripping with spellpower?" For a nice overall guide to the basics of these new factions, I'd urge you to check out our own Alex Ziebart's Wrath 101 posts about the subject. They can be found here and here. After the jump, we'll be focusing on the rewards these new factions offer that are specifically valuable to Mages.

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Filed under: Mage, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Factions, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Insider Trader: Inscription from 200 to 305


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

For the past two weeks, Insider Trader has been helping you level your Inscription cheaply and efficiently.

Beginners should read through the walkthrough up to skill point 100, as it not only shows you how to reach it, it discusses the basics of Inscription in detail and offers some helpful hints.

Once you've reached 100, move on to the guide to hitting 200. You will need to be at least level 20 to complete this!

This week, I am walking you from skill 200 to skill 305. At 225, you will need to be at least level 35, and by the time you hit 300, you will need to be level 50 in order to train from 301 to 375.

Remember to click on any of the Wowhead herb links to view detailed maps of where to find each herb!

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Filed under: Herbalism, How-tos, Walkthroughs, Economy, Expansions, Features, Leveling, Guides, Making money, Insider Trader (Professions), Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

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