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Posts with tag living-bomb

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the Mage, volume 3


Every once in awhile, on a semi-regular basis, at randomly determined intervals, Arcane Brilliance (a weekly Mage column that is apparently also self-aware) likes to indulge in a little self analysis. Unsurprisingly, Arcane Brilliance's verdict is usually positive. Arcane Brilliance thinks very highly of itself, an attribute about which you may already have become painfully cognizant, if you have even briefly glanced at any Arcane Brilliances previous to this one.

Yes, we've done this before. But in a persistent game like WoW, where the nature of things are in such constant flux, I like to take a step back every now and again, gain a bit of perspective, and take a long look at the class I love and its place within that ever-fluid world. I choose this week, as we approach the second major content patch of this second expansion of the World of Warcraft, to do so once more.

On my imaginary WoW timeline (and in this case, when I say "imaginary," I mean completely made up), I have patch 3.2 as the literal midpoint of the game, halfway through the game's middle expansion. There will be one more major content patch in this expansion, and then three more expansions will follow. The next will be called "Maelstrom," followed by a fourth expansion called "Return of the Wrath of the Lich King," and finally, the long awaited but ultimately disappointing fifth expansion, titled "This is pretty much it, guys, now go buy WoW 2...um...of the Lich King." It is as logical a place as any to take a look at the state of the Mage class. Join me after the break for as much commentary as you can stand on Mages: where we've come from, where we are at this very moment, and where the class seems to be going as we march on into a future almost guaranteed to be nothing like my imaginary and completely ridiculous made-up timeline.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Living Bomb on the Patch 3.2 PTR is completely awesome

Each week Arcane Brilliance celebrates Independence Day in its own special way. Most people celebrate the 4th of July by setting off explosive devices of varying sizes. In similar fashion, Arcane Brilliance also enjoys blowing things up. The difference is that whereas most people tend to set off pretty fireworks, Arcane Brilliance prefers to cause Warlocks to explode. The result isn't nearly as pretty, but to Arcane Brilliance, it has its own very unique charm.

I don't know if you're trying out the patch 3.2 PTR or not, but if you are, you should go out and mess with Living Bomb. Like, right now. Go cast it on some things. That's right, I said things with an "s" on the end. As in plural. As in more than one thing. Watch those things burn to death simultaneously. Rejoice.

Yes, Blizzard's present to Mages on this day when the United States celebrates its Declaration of Independence from foreign rule is apparently the ability to blow up multiple targets with Living Bomb. On the PTR, you can now have Living Bomb up on as many targets as you can feasibly cast it on before its duration or your mana pool expires. The tooltip doesn't yet reflect the change, but Ghostcrawler has confirmed that this is not a bug, and that Blizzard is intentionally testing the idea.

How awesome would this change be? Read on after the break to hear my take on it, but let me just say that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not very awesome and 10 being more awesome than anything, this change would make the scale explode on a molecular level and then reform over billions of years into a new planet of awesome.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Features, Raiding, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as a Fire Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance examines the magical majesty of Mages, and usually makes fun of the wimpy whininess of Warlocks. See that? That's some crazy alliteration right there. Also, I'd like to call attention to the fact that Arcane Brilliance called Warlocks whiny. Oh, snap! Coming from a column about Mages, that has to burn, right? And no complaining in the comments section, Warlocks. Arcane Brilliance pokes good-natured fun at you every week. Don't act surprised.

I know what you're thinking. Fire? In PvP? When you buy the game, doesn't it say right there on the box: "Embark on epic quests. Form powerful alliances. Engage an ever-changing world. Just for the love of God, don't take a Fire Mage into PvP"? If I remember right, I think it does.

When I first installed this game on my computer about four years ago and quested my zombie Mage all the way to level 10, the first talent point I ever spent was in the Fire tree, and I then spent the next sixty levels happily setting things ablaze. I discovered PvP somewhere around level 45, and queued my Fire Mage and his mismatched greens that probably had agility and strength on them up for an Arathi Basin battleground. One killing blow and about 37 deaths later, I rematerialized next to the battlemaster in Undercity, uncertain and confused, but undeniably exhilarated. I proceeded to take my Fire Mage into many more battlegrounds, discovering a great many things in the process, including the value of hiding behind trees, and the wonderful things Blast Wave could do to large groups of Alliance in Alterac Valley. I considered myself an Undead hand-grenade, charging into crowds and blowing up as often as I could. My average life-span was approximately 6 seconds, but they were always a glorious six seconds.

It wasn't until I tried a Frost spec at level 70 that I realized just how ineffective I'd been.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

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

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage through Northrend



Each week, Arcane Brilliance rounds up all of the quest mobs in an area, gathers them all up into a giant, tagged, frozen gaggle, then AoEs them to death while everybody else has to watch and wait for the respawn. Just kidding, Arcane Brilliance doesn't actually do that at all. Why? Because that would make Arcane Brilliance a selfish jerk. I'm not even making a joke here. I'm saying in thinly veiled code to that Gnome Frost Mage in Gjalerbron yesterday, "you, sir, are a selfish jerk." Ok, so maybe the code isn't even thinly veiled. Maybe it isn't even a code, exactly. All I know is that one of these days, I hope you forget how much mana you have, and run out right when you've gathered an extremely large group of quest mobs, and that those quest mobs then surround you and tear you limb from Gnomish limb while you mash your Ice Block button in vain. Jerk.

So, apparently an expansion came out, or something? Seriously, what are you doing here, reading this? I'm going to assume that you're trapped at work or something. Don't despair! There's still time for you to cultivate a nice, wet, contagious-sounding cough, something that can only be cured by a bit of time off, spent nursing yourself back to health in front of your computer, killing zombified murlocs and getting sea-lions to mate with each other. Not that we don't want you here, of course. We here at WoW Insider appreciate every second you choose to spend here. But holy crap, Wrath of the Lich King is awesome.

Follow me after the break, and we'll discuss the process of leveling in this strange new continent, list a few leveling builds, and just generally blabber on about how awesome everything is.

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

Mage changes in patch 3.0.3

Mages, don't worry, you weren't left out of the love light this patch. Not at all. The number of bug fixes in your section of the patch notes does outweigh the number of substantive changes, but one of the substantive changes is very significant. Let's start with a bang:
That could practically read "reduced the mana cost of mages." Great stuff. Looking at the numbers from the last beta build, the reduction seems to be on the order of 10%, which is quite noticeable when applied to your staple spells.

Living Bomb, which has been something of a controversial talent, has also been polished a bit:
  • Living Bomb: Mana cost reduced to be the same as Arcane Explosion; no longer causes the caster to stand up when the final explosion occurs, and it is now possible for each mage to have a Living Bomb active on a target.
Frost mages, I'm sorry, but there's a herd of small nerfs (nerflings?) for you in this patch:

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Filed under: Mage, Patches

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

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: 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

Skill Mastery: Living Bomb



Those of you who read my last Arcane Brilliance column may already know I'm not terribly fond of this spell so far. How much my dislike stems from using the buggy version of it that exists on the beta and how much comes from the spell actually being sub-par I can't be sure. We'll find out when patch 3.0.2 hits the live servers I guess, and probably not a moment sooner. In this edition of Skill Mastery, though, I will endeavor to be as fair and objective as I can manage. This could end up being a very, very good spell, if it lives up to its potential.

The 51 point talent for the Fire tree, Living Bomb is potentially a very fitting cap talent. The Fire tree has always been about blowing things up good and fast. Fire's purpose has traditionally been high single-target DPS, low survivability, and enormous AoE. This spell, current bugginess notwithstanding, is the natural evolution of that purpose. It has gone through multiple incarnations in its short existence, but the current form could end up being the best of the bunch once it works properly. Follow me after the jump for the details.

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

Hybrid Theory: State of PvP in the Wrath beta

Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.

Before I start, while you read this remember that the Wrath beta does not currently allow you to hit the level cap. Everyone is level 77, and there's a lot that is unfinished. This is more anecdotal about the state of things, and not really analyzing how things will look in the end. You still with me? Good.

I decided to try out incredibly, insanely buggy Lake Wintergrasp when the beta realms went up yesterday, and later on I gave the new Battleground a whirl, too. Through all of this, there was one constant: Holy crap Ret Paladins are OP. No, really. I know, it blew my mind, too. Retribution Paladins. Overpowered. Hell has frozen over.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Hybrid Theory, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Ch-ch-changes



Each week, Arcane Brilliance fills your head with as much Mage-related information as it can. You may have wondered how our signature buff works--how exactly does a Mage make you smarter for an hour? Well there you have it: we shoehorn this column into your brain with a flick of our fingers. That's how awesome Arcane Brilliance is, not only does it entertain, it also actually makes you more intelligent. For an hour. Or until a felhunter eats it.

It's Saturday again, and you know what that means: you guessed it, everything I'm about to write will be completely obsolete in about 15 minutes.

I'm not even sure where to begin this week. I was planning to turn this column's attentions to the Frost tree, but how can I ignore the vast and fairly sweeping changes the other two trees have undergone in the past seven days? The answer? I can't.

Still, I don't want to short-change the Frost tree. So here's the plan. I'm going to deal with the most drastic of the changes to the other two trees this week. Next week, barring another giant list of new craziness, we'll lay our hands upon upon that new Frost tree and wring it dry.

So what's new, you ask? Lots of things. Come back after the break for more newness than you can shake an epic wand at.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The future of Fire



Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a healthy dose of Mage opinion and analysis. Most of the opinion is extremely biased and borderline libelous, and the analysis tends toward hyperbole and slander, especially when the topic of Warlocks comes up. In fact, here at Arcane Brilliance, we feel that you can never have too much Warlock slander. Especially against Gnome Warlocks.


Leave it to Blizzard to change the Arcane tree substantially the week after Arcane Brilliance's detailed look at that very same tree. I'm sure they did it to spite me, because yes, I do firmly believe everything is totally about me. Anyway, here are the notable changes, before we get to the giant unequivocal "meh" that defines our analysis of the Fire tree in Wrath.

Arcane Impact has been changed into Spell Impact, and now increases the critical strike chance of not just Arcane Explosion and Arcane Blast but also Blast Wave, Fire Blast, Ice Lance, and Cone of Cold. This makes it a much more versatile and beneficial talent, affecting spells from every school of magic.

Student of the Mind has been moved to tier 3 and now increases your total spirit by up to 12% over 3 ranks, while Potent Spirit (which gave increased chance to crit based on your total spirit) has been removed altogether. It looked for awhile there as if Blizzard intended to really increase spirit's usefulness to Mages, but I guess we should have called "no take-backs" on that one, huh?

More Arcane changes after the break, as well as a few long sighs and downcast looks as we discuss the future of the Fire tree.

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

Mages in WotLK: I'm re-speccing frostfire



As you are likely already aware, the internets exploded yesterday with what is apparently leaked details from the friends and family alpha of Wrath of the Lich King. Arguably the biggest part of this news was that we apparently have access to very early versions of the new talent trees for several of the existing classes. Being the responsible, conscientious Mage columnist that I am, I immediately pored over the Mage talent trees, devouring this very premature, more than likely never-to-see-the-light-of-day info like a starving man would tear into a steak.

Of course, as we all know by now, information coming out this early is almost guaranteed to differ radically from what actually makes it live. Still, it serves a purpose. Even if none of these spells and talents reach the live servers unmolested, at least we're getting a glimpse into Blizzard's development process, and possibly seeing the direction they intend to take our beautiful class in.

We like Blizzard around here, and since they made it clear that they do not want us posting the new info directly, I won't be specifically listing the new Mage talents here. You can find those on the WotLK information Wiki, so click away. When you're done, come on back and join me after the jump, where I'll give my take on what the expansion appears to have in store for Mages.

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

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