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Posts with tag joystiq-features

Arcane Brilliance: A pre-Wrath Mage primer



Each week, Mages from across Azeroth unite under the banner of Arcane Brilliance. We discuss all things Mage-related, from ways to clean Arcane Powder out of your underwear to fun tricks to play on Warlocks involving portals and the whelp room in Blackrock Spire. We talk about the hazards of Blinking and share stories of Blast Wave mishaps. Mages can be a testy bunch, and sometimes fights break out. Somebody misplaces a Fireball, a Blizzard or two, and suddenly everybody goes Invisible. Then we all share a good laugh when we realize we can all still see each other. Ah, good times.

We're close, guys.

The beta is finally closed. The zombie infestation came, we all ate some brains, and then it went. The scourge is still half-heartedly invading such strategically vital locations as the middle of the Tanaris desert and handing out purples, and Teneris Murkblood is still moping around Karazhan, listening to My Chemical Romance and hating his parents, but both of those events will almost certainly conclude any day now. We're only a little more than four days from Kil'jaeden and Illidan becoming two of the most lonely guys in the game. Maybe they can get together with Onyxia and Nefarian and go roast marshmallows over Ragnaros or something.

Yes, the Lich King--and all that pent-up wrath of his--is almost upon us. Soon we'll all be ticking over to level 71 for the first time on live servers, folks will be trying to figure out how to run Ramparts with five Death Knights, and life on Azeroth as we know it will change forever. Mages everywhere will be packing their spellbooks, putting on their fanciest robes, and heading north. Seems there's a whole continent of flammable things up there, and they aren't going to hurl Fireballs at themselves, brethren.

This week, we're doing one last preview of what awaits Mages on those distant shores. Say farewell to Tempest Keep, swap email addresses with Gruul, and kiss Brutallus goodbye. After the jump, we're off to Northrend

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

Arcane Brilliance: Inscription and the common Mage



Each week Arcane Brilliance gathers energy from the nether, spinning it from the bowels of the universe itself, then threads that dark matter together into a tapestry of destruction. This is a fancy way of saying that Arcane Brilliance summons up a column about Mages each Saturday. Then, over the course of a 5 second cast-time, it balls that column up into a giant ball of flame and nukes your face with it.


Patch 3.0.2 hurled a new profession into our little virtual pond, and like Jewelcrafting before it, Inscription has plunged beneath the surface like a cannonball. We'll likely be sorting out the various waves and ripples that splash has created for months to come, but having spent the better part of three weeks with it, we can begin to see some results of the impact. Some of us have dived right in, picking up the profession and leveling it with gusto. Some of us only know that we saw a big splash, and that we are now very wet.

As a Mage, this profession intrigues me more than most. Several of the glyphs for Mages are quite powerful, the Scribe-only shoulder enchants are pretty spectacular, and the off-hand weapons Scribes can create and equip seem like an attractive leveling option going into Wrath. What are the pros and cons of this new profession? Is it worth dropping old standards like Enchanting or Tailoring for? As a Mage, is Inscription worth learning, or am I better off just buying glyphs when I need them?

Though we're still in the early stages of learning about this new tradeskill, we're at a point now where we can start to weigh its costs and benefits. After the break, we'll evaluate Inscription as a profession for Mages, and go over the glyphs available to us both now and after November 13th.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage PvP post-patch 3.0.2



Each week, Arcane Brilliance delivers a serious burst of Mage content, a burst that can even out-damage a Druid's HoTs. How, you ask? Hax. Lots and lots of hax. What, you thought Arcane Brilliance was powerful enough to out DPS a Druid's heals legitimately? Sadly no. Arcane Brilliance cheats. Arcane Brilliance cheats hard.

Edit: Ok, Arcane Brilliance is lying. There are no mods that will allow Mages to out DPS the instant-cast HoTs of the most mobile class in the game. No matter how long we chase that cheetah around that pillar. Please excuse Arcane Brilliance while it casts Invisibility and goes into the corner to cry.


Though I enjoy burning down raid bosses as much as the next Mage (especially now that the raid bosses in question are so much easier to burn down), I make no secret about the fact that my first love has always been burning down other players. When patch 3.0.2 landed so forcefully upon our heads, bearing with it a plethora of new and revamped spells and talents, I have to admit that my first burning question was not so much "how will this help me down Kil'jaeden," as it was "how will this help me brutally slaughter the next Warlock I stumble across?"

Before the patch, Mage PvP could be distilled down to a couple of absolute truths. The first of these was: Spec Frost. The second was: You will lose to Warlocks, Druids, Priests, Hunters, and Rogues, and only reliably beat Warriors one on one. PvP was a known quantity. We knew based upon the matchup what our chances were, we knew our strengths and limitations, and we knew which spec worked the best (cough...17/0/44).

The patch turned all of that on its head. What spells work now? What talents should we be taking? Are we better or worse off now than we were two weeks ago? Join me after the break and we'll see where we stand.

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

WotLK world event going underway


And thus it begins. Midnight just rang out across the EU's servers, and with it brings the Argent Dawn, appearing in capital cities all over Azeroth warning of the coming of the Lich King. "The plagued tendrils of the Lich King," they say, "lurk close."

We knew it was coming (heavy spoilers on that link!), though we still don't know for sure exactly what form the Lich King's re-arrival into Azeroth will take. Will it be a simple replay of the Scourge Invasion that brought Naxxramas to our shores for the first time? Or will it be something even more sinister, a world event that shakes the very foundations of the World of Warcraft as we know it?

Call us destructive, but we're kind of hoping for the second. Stay tuned for more news of the world event leading up to Wrath of the Lich King as we hear it.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!



Zombies have entered the World of Warcraft in the Wrath of the Lich King world event! Check out our tips for eating brains, our zombie night gallery, or see Blizzard's official zombie infestation guide. They live! Braaiiiiinnnssss!

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Lore, NPCs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Post-patch madness



Each week Arcane Brilliance shows you what happens when Mages stop being polite and start being real. This week, Arcane Barrage gets all up in Living Bomb's face, and fireworks ensue when Hot Streak hooks up with Combustion. Can Netherwind Presence and Missile Barrage learn to live together? Will Arcane Blast come to terms with the fact that it got raped? Will Deep Freeze finally reveal that it has Aids? Find out in this week's Arcane Brilliance.

Anyone else's head spinning like that chick in The Exorcist? I'm not saying I need a priest to come and cast patch 3.0.2 out of my body or anything, I'm just saying that holy crap. That was a lot of stuff, all at once. Even though I've been playing the beta, and constantly scanning this site and various others for information to prepare myself for all that was changing when the patch finally went live, it was still overwhelming to log in when my server finally came back up late Tuesday night and see how crazy everything had gotten. To be quite honest, I'm still adjusting.

In a ton of ways, what we're logging into today is an entirely different game than the one we logged into five days ago, even though our levels are still the same, we're still doing the same quests, and playing the same end-game content. Our mounts are still there, but in a different place. The bosses we're fighting still look the same, but are now way easier to kill. Many of our talents have the same names, but now do completely different things. Spells that were previously good are now bad, and some that were useless on Monday are perfectly serviceable today.

With the information overload we've all been presented with, I have found it best to focus on one or two things at a time, instead of attempting any sort of larger view. I look at each change as I notice it, rather than trying to address them all at once, purely out of fear of my head exploding. If you missed them in all the chaos, Arcane Brilliance did a two-part preview of the major changes, and you can find those here and here. After the jump, I'll go over some of the sparkly newness I've noticed but haven't covered yet in this space, both documented changes that managed to surprise me as well as those that flew a bit more under-the-radar.

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

Preparing your Mage for patch 3.0.2, part 2



So...tomorrow's the big day, huh? When you log in tonight, be sure to open up your talent interface. Take a long look at your talents. Give them all a nice, long, figurative kiss goodbye. Do this because the next time you see your talents, you won't recognize them at all.

Since we have 8 billion things to talk about and substantially less than 8 billion words with which to talk about them, we'd better get started.

Patch 3.0.2--the pre-expansion patch that we're almost certainly getting tomorrow--changes a crapload of things. We went over the more general Mage-related changes in Arcane Brilliance on Saturday, so if you haven't seen that yet, take a look and then come on back.

Today, we'll look at the vast, sweeping modifications our talent trees have undergone. Trust me when I say a lot has changed. Did I mention the changes were sizable? Well they are. Come back after the jump for a massive review of new and remodeled Mage toys.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Preparing your Mage for patch 3.0.2, part 1



Each week Arcane Brilliance patches itself with new Mage content. These weekly patches are always full of buffs, and never any nerfs. They never contain any changes made for the sake of class balance. There are no bug fixes; because Arcane Brilliance has no bugs (or at least no bugs that can't be retroactively called "features"). This week, the patch notes read as follows:

Mage:
  • New spell: Polymorph: Corpse - 1% of base mana, instant cast, 50 yard range, transforms the target into a corpse, making it dead. While dead, the corpse cannot attack or cast spells. Lasts however long it takes for the target's ghost to run back to their corpse.
  • Mages can now equip plate armor.
  • Mana no longer goes down when casting, it instead goes up.
Next week, I'll complain about this patch. It's totally not powerful enough. Also, Warlocks are OP.

All signs point to this coming Tuesday being the day patch 3.0.2 arrives and turns the game on its head. Up will be down, left will be right, dogs and cats will live together, mass hysteria will ensue. We need to prepare for this coming insanity, if only so that we're able to give snarky answers to the many questions that will pop up in trade chat after we all log back in. I expect lots of "LOL WUT HAPPEN TO MY TALENTS?" and the occasional "I used my mount and it disappeared! Bug?"

This week will be the first of two columns in which we'll go over the changes most important to Mages that we can expect come Tuesday. We'll begin with general changes, and move on to the altered trainable spells. The second part will appear Monday, and will cover the three talent trees and review the many changes we'll find there. Jump on past the break and we'll get started.

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

Enter to win a custom WoW t-shirt from SwagDog.com and WoW Insider


We announced a while back that SwagDog.com was teaming up with Blizzard to offer some custom-made WoW guild t-shirts, and now their site is apparently open for business -- you can put your guild name and tabard on a t-shirt along with your character name and realm, to wear with the pride that only having a famous Warcraft character can give you. And to celebrate, SwagDog is teaming up with WoW Insider to give away three custom-made T-shirts.

To enter, you must leave a comment on this post with the faction you choose to support, either "Horde" or "Alliance," before this Friday, October 3rd at 11:59pm. At that point, we'll choose one random winner on each faction to win a t-shirt, and the faction with the most supporters will win a third t-shirt (by a random drawing of that faction). So if more Alliance "grab their sword and fight the Horde" in the comments section below, we'll give away two Alliance shirts, but if more Hordies show up, they get the third shirt. Got it? Each winner will get a code, redeemable on the SwagDog website for a customized Warcraft shirt of the faction of their choice, worth $26.99 each.

You may only enter once (though you can recruit as many friends and guildies as you like to support your side), and to enter, you must be 18 or older and a resident of the United States. Click here to read all the official rules, and good luck! May the best faction win!

Update: Please note, guys, that you must say "Alliance" or "Horde" in your comment below to get counted as a support for that faction. Saying "I kill Horde" will get you counted for the Horde -- all you need to do is shout out the name of the faction you support.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Contests, Fan art

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the Mage



This week, Arcane Brilliance would like to address all Mages everywhere, from level 1 to level 80, in a spirit of optimism and brotherhood. We only have a little over six weeks left before the release of Wrath, and we need to come together as one Mage...one freakish, mutant Mage with a million arms and legs and wands sticking out all over the place...one giant, horrific ball of flesh, cloth, and silly hats that could hurl a Pyroblast roughly the size of a planet. Let's do it! I'm pretty sure if we all stand facing each other like so...and then blink at the same time...oh sweet mother of all that is good and pure...that's awful...just...just nevermind. We'll clean that up later.


My fellow Azerothians...

We've been through a lot these past four years and change. There was the great respeccing crisis of Molten Core. A string of Blink mishaps. The table-ninjaing scandal of '07. We've Fireballed our way through the scourge invasion, the rise of the silithid, the opening of the Dark Portal. We've killed Ragnaros, Kel-Thuzad, Nefarian, Onyxia, Illidan, and on like 14 separate occasions, Kael'thas Sunstrider. We've emerged unscathed from the bloody, neverending Southshore/Tarren Mill conflict (though countless questgivers and flight masters were lost), and moved on to more organized, focused wars in the various battlegrounds. These were battles with a clear purpose, an attainable goal, and with the notable exception of Warsong Gulch, a firm timetable for troop removal.

Fortunately, throughout all of these conflicts, the economy has remained strong. Seriously, have you seen the price of Runecloth lately?

So now, my fellow Mages, it is time for us to look closely at the state of our glorious class. We know where we've been, and where we are now. We're fully aware of our past, and we know where we want to be as the future rushes toward us. Let's take a constructive look at our unresolved concerns, and try to foretell our place in the coming expansion. Follow me through the break, won't you?

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

Arcane Brilliance: How long will my gear last me?



Each week, Arcane Brilliance emerges from the sewers beneath Dalaran, weary from dueling (and winning!) over
and over in the Circle of Wills, to deliver to you a column about Mages. What's that you say? What good are sewers in a floating city? Where does all the sewage go? Does the city drift over the countryside, forever trailing a series of sewage waterfalls? Ah, but you forget: Dalaran is a city of Mages! Even our poo is magical.

After reading our own Adam Holisky's excellent post on upgrading tanking shields in Wrath, I decided I wanted to know how long my Mage's gear would last in the frozen north. It's a fair question, and I suspect a common concern. We've worked hard for our shiny epics--either by raiding like crazy or grinding for honor or Arena points, and often a bit of both--and the thought of leaving them behind in one of the expansion's first zones for some green quality item that drops off a random mob is a little bit depressing.

We want to feel--in these last months before Wrath arrives--as if our efforts have not been in vain. If we're still rolling in Karazhan gear, is it worthwhile for us to spend the time upgrading? If our guild has worked its way up through Sunwell Plateau, are we going to replace that gear right away, or will it last us a few levels? How motivated should we be to try to obtain the best that Burning Crusade has to offer before making the trip to Northrend?

Well, fear not. Arcane Brilliance is here to show you how long you have before you retire your level 70 purples. And relax: it'll be longer than you think. Come back after the jump, won't you?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mages in the beta



Each week, Arcane Brilliance conjured up a sizable serving of delicious Mage cookies for everyone to enjoy. This week, special thanks goes out to a very generous reader who wishes to remain anonymous, but was selfless enough to donate his beta key to Arcane Brilliance, for the the benefit of all who read it. To that wonderful reader, I say thank you, thank you, and every time I kill something, I will kill it in your name. When I Cannibalize the corpse, though, that's all for me.


Let me begin by saying the beta is awesome.

After six hours of downloading and installing, several more hours of patching, and approximately seventy-three different server crashes and shutdowns, I've been able to spend a solid four hours on the beta so far. In those four hours, I've respecced no less than 8 times. I've cast Living Bomb on rabbits on multiple occasions. I've gotten a whole two bars of the way to level 71. I've been impressed with or disappointed with but always amazed by almost everything I've seen and done. There's such an overwhelming sense of newness that pervades the entire experience, it's difficult to adequately describe.

Four hours may not be long enough to do a lot of things (I swear it took me like a half-hour to navigate from the top of the zeppelin platform at Vengeance Landing to the bottom), but in experimenting with the new talents I've had plenty of time to formulate some strong opinions. There are things I like, and thing I don't, but in both cases I'm almost embarrassingly excited.

Join me after the break for the all the highs and lows four hours can deliver, and I promise not to spoil any plot points. If you don't wish to find out which talents seem to work well and which don't then stay away, but otherwise you're safe.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Glyph-hanger



Each week, Arcane Brilliance inscribes a glyph into the greater glyph slot of your Saturday afternoon. It's called the Glyph of Mageosity, and it Mageifies the entire rest of your day. A few words of warning, once your day has been Mageified: you may find fire bursting from your fingers at inopportune times. You might discover that certain nearby people who were formerly human may now be sheep. Also, for the rest of the day, you may want to avoid any contact with Rogues or Warlocks.

As you may have noticed, build 8820 has touched down in beta land, and with it we Mages finally have our first real taste of how Inscription will affect us as a class. There are still a great many things we don't know about these glyphs, but just having a list and knowing that Glyph of the Penguin won't be our only reason to track down an Inscriber in the expansion is newsworthy. I mean, I'm as excited to turn a Warlock into a penguin as the next Mage, but I'm glad to finally have some idea what our other glyph options will be.

Now, I'm still not one of the fortunate few who've gotten into the beta, so sadly I have no first-hand information to pass on to you. I'm sure that a goodly number of Mages more blessed than I are logged into the beta, busy testing out damage numbers as we speak, and I look forward to reading their euphoric and/or rage-filled forum posts later on...reading and dreaming and plotting to kill them and steal their beta keys. For now, though, you'll have to make do with my own uninformed and hastily formulated analysis of these forthcoming glyphs. Frankly, I wouldn't offer you anything less.

Join me after the break for the full list of Mage glyphs, and as much hyperbole and bias as you can shake a Chilly Slobberknocker at.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

Arcane Brilliance: My Mage wishlist



Each week Arcane Brilliance endeavors to give you a tiny peek into the vast and mysterious world of Mages. This peek comes at the cost of your very soul. Really, it totally does. Ok, so I'm lying. Your soul will be fine. No soul-related problems will come from reading Arcane Brilliance. That we're aware of.


Mages complain a lot. We do. A stroll through the first couple pages of threads over on the official Mage forums is more often than not like a guided tour of QQ central. For instance, as I write this there's a four-page topic on quitting the game over not being able to downrank spells anymore. Yes, it's terrible, but apparently a level one Warrior is considering leaving the game because he can't save a bit of mana on his main by casting rank 1 Frost Nova. I sense a great disturbance in the Force, as if one first-level Warrior cried out in terror and was suddenly silenced. I think we all share a great sense of loss here.

To be frank, in these heady days of Living Bomb spells that look like they might actually be useful, Frostfire Bolts that have the potential to be very, very powerful, Deep Freezes that have become instant cast and do nice damage, an Arcane tree that looks as if it can stand alone as a high-DPS tree, and of course Polymorph: Penguin, I feel as if there simply isn't much left for us Mages to complain about. In fact, as the Wrath beta progresses, I find more and more about our class that inspires an overall sense of optimism.

Still, I dream of better things. I'm happy at the direction we appear to headed in, but there a few things I wish for our class--a short list of improvements, most of which I have wanted for a very long time. I'm not finding fault, just wishing. A Mage can dream, can't he? Join me after the break for a brief Mage wish-list, the things I dream of when I'm not setting fire to Fel Orcs.

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

Wrath of the Lich King's magical city of Dalaran

Dalaran, which is more or less the Shattrath of Wrath, has been getting a lot of love in the last couple of beta patches. It seems development on that particular bit of Northrend is going at full steam. It's still far from complete, with a whole legion of NPCs missing, the inside of some buildings still lack textures, and entire parts of the city still walled off. It really is coming together little by little though, and the city is more or less presentable now, not to mention beautiful -- it's like cotton candy for your eyeballs.

We've put together a little gallery of Dalaran for you to sift through if you're interested, and as the beta patches go by we'll probably update it with more of the finished product. Not yet pictured is the Dalaran Sewers, but I hope to fix that soon. What are the Dalaran sewers, you might be wondering? It's a small hidden town beneath Dalaran, within the pipelines that were torn up when the relocation took place. It's full of all sorts of unsavory stuff. Awesome? Yes. Yes it is.

Filed under: Undead, Expansions, Lore, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Hunter Talent Analysis, Part I: Marksmanship

Hunter talents are out, and there's definitely a lot to say about them, both good and bad. While we have discussed some of the changes to the lower Survival tree, what we haven't touched on is all the new talents and the talent changes in other trees. If I was to sum it all up in one sentence, I'd say this: The 51 point talents look lackluster, but most of the rest is downright drool inducing.

Marksmanship's early tiers are now full of easily obtainable goodies for any Hunter, Survival's gained even more group and raid buff utility, and Beastmastery has even more amazing pet synergy.

There's a lot to cover, so we'll tackle it one tree at a time. First, we'll look at Marksmanship, which was once premiere Hunter tree, but has fallen a bit to Beastmastery in Burning Crusade. It's certainly seen some marked improvement for Wrath so far, and even if you don't plan to spec Marksmanship, you'll at least want to know about the first few tier talents, as you'll probably want to grab many of them anyway.

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

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