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Posts with tag mage-arena

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the mage, volume 4 of 72

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to present, once again, its multi-annual state of the mage address. My fellow mages, we are awesome.

First of all, you might be wondering why only 72 volumes. I'll be honest: it has to do with the great zombie apocalypse of 2037. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say it severely impairs my ability to write. To be frank, the last 15 parts are pretty much just "braiiinns...warlocks....suuuuck...brains...braiiiins..." repeated over and over for a thousand words or so. After that, my zombie-self just loses interest. Some of you may wonder how those columns will be any different from the ones I write now. To you, I say bite me.

I've extolled upon the state of mages on three previous occasions. It's actually interesting to go back and look over those ancient texts from our current perspective. Oh, the silly things we were worried about back then! Fire PvP... ha! Spirit, less than useful? What a ridiculous concern! Oh... how far we've come.

Ignore my sarcasm. I'm not actually unhappy at all with the current state of mages. We are, as I stated in the opening blurb, awesome. Join me after the break and we'll look at where we are as a class in 2010.

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

Arcane Brilliance: More questions than answers

Each week Arcane Brilliance endeavors to bring you all the latest news and notes from the land of Mages. This week, the subject is questions and the answers they conjure forth. The way it works is this: you wiggle your fingers for a while, ask some questions, and then poof! Blizzard gives you a cinnamon roll and a glass of water and sends you on your way.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, really, when Blizzard proposed this whole "class Q&A" series over on the official forums. When the initial post showed up, asking us to pose questions of the development team, Mages everywhere seized the opportunity to air grievances, request clarification, and make suggestions. The thread quickly swelled to epic proportions, and I waited, intensely curious, for Ghostcrawler's response. How many of our questions would be answered, and in how much detail? How much concrete information would we get? Which of the issues raised in the thread would be addressed, instead of just glossed over?

We got our answer post last week, and it turns out the answer to almost all of those questions appears to be: "Not a whole lot."

Join me after the break where we'll break it down Hammer-style.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Raiding, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Forums

Arcane Brilliance: PvPing as a Frost Mage after 3.1



Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a column about Mages. This column used to be housed on Wowinsider, but now it's featured on some newfangled site called WoW.com. The url is a full seven letters shorter. It's crazy. where did those seven letters go? I don't know, but I blame Warlocks.

There's an old saying: you can please some Mages some of the time, but you can't please all Mages all of the time. Or something like that. Last week, several of you complained that I was spending too much time writing about PvP, while ignoring PvE completely. This will be the fifth PvP-related Arcane Brilliance in a row. Previous to that, you have to go back to October 25th of last year to find our last PvP-centric column. A short list of things that have happened since then:
  • Wrath of the Lich King was released.
  • Barack Obama became the president of these United States.
  • 5 dollar foot-longs.
  • Arcane Brilliance brought you 24 PvE columns in a row.
Seriously, guys. Make up your minds. I don't know what you want from me anymore. Anyway, on to Frost Mage PvP.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage addons for PvP



Each week Arcane Brilliance gets Blizzcon tickets. Yes, Arcane Brilliance always gets 1st place in the queue, and then buys as many tickets as it wants. Arcane Brilliance is just that cool. Also, Arcane Brilliance refuses to give me any. Stupid Arcane Brilliance. Stupid Blizzcon. Stupid Warlocks. Wait...what? Just go with it.

I know, I know. Two weeks ago I wrote about Arcane PvP. Last week, it was Fire. This week...I'm not writing about Frost. Why? Because I'm not ready.Seriously, I haven't played Frost PvP since Arena season 2. This week provided me with pretty much no time to respec and do some research, so Frost PvP will have to wait. Sorry, guys. Next week, I swear!

But don't fret: the PvP train is still rolling. This week, we'll tackle a subject that any Mage spec can benefit from in PvP: Addons. I've been meaning to write about these for a very long time, and since the planned column had to be put on the back burner this week, it seemed like as good a time as any to go for it. In PvP--where each second is a freaking eternity--the right addon (or lack of) can spell the difference between becoming a winner and becoming the vaguely Mage-colored liquid the Death Knight steps in on the way to kill somebody else.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Add-Ons, Features, Guides, Classes, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing your Mage for PvP



Each week Arcane Brilliance sits around, thinking of things to put in this opening paragraph. Arcane Brilliance considers many things. Then Arcane Brilliance usually ends up going for the easy Warlock joke, because let's face it, Warlocks are pretty low-hanging fruit, and Arcane Brilliance is lazy.

Of all the new stuff patch 3.1 brought us, perhaps this single most significant change was the addition of dual specs. Suddenly everybody and their second cousins can tank (or think they can tank), and every Druid/Paladin/Shaman has a resto/holy spec waiting in the wings. Everybody rolls on everything in every dungeon because they're "gearing up for their second spec"...or third spec...or whatever.

Mages don't have multiple roles to fill. We can't use our second talent spec slot for a tank or healer build. Our choices are and always have been DPS or DPS, just as God intended. And so, the advent of dual specs have instead opened up a different kind of door for a lot of Mages: PvP.

For the first time, we can keep our mana-efficient, DPS-maximized raiding build, and still have a second PvP-centric build on stand-by. A lot of Mages are taking advantage of this, and many are taking their first real steps into the strange and somewhat intimidating world of player-versus-player combat. For the Mage making that first foray into PvP, the culture shock can be very real, and the gear gap can seem insurmountable.

Fear not. Arcane Brilliance is here to tell you how to quickly and easily close that gap. Click the link below, and we'll have you mounting Warlock heads on your wall in no time.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, PvP, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

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: 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

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: Building your Mage, part 2: PvP



Each week, Arcane Brilliance attempts to give Mages something to read. Immediately thereafter, Warlocks also get something to read, only their reading material is instant cast, applies a DoT, and can turn into an invincible demon from the nether-regions of Hell. Mages complain, and Blizzard responds by giving Arcane Brilliance a 2 second stun. The catch? It only works if the reading material crits, and only if the target is a frozen sheep.


Alright, it's Saturday, and by now you've hopefully had time to make the trip to Theramore or Stonard to pick up your new Portal and Teleport spells. If early, unconfirmed info is your thing, you've no doubt taken a look at the leaked WotLK Alpha talents and formulated your own opinions on what the future may or may not hold for Mages. If not, well, there's no time like the present. Go ahead, I'm not going anywhere.

All set? Good, because we have lots to talk about. Last week we discussed some basic, flexible talent builds you can use to get your Mage ready for raiding. This week, we're exploring the PvP side of things. After the jump, We'll go over a few templates you can use to begin building your PvP Mage, including my own Mage's spec, so be sure to click the blue text below this sentence. I mean, how can you pass up the opportunity to mock my spec and tell me what a noob I am? Get going...clicky, clicky!

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage versus everyone, part 2

Each week, Arcane Brilliance is conjured out of thin air after a three-second cast, and then handed over in stacks of twenty to everyone who cares to have some. Actually, it's usually written over the course of a few hours by a half-asleep father of two after the kids have gone to bed. It may or may not be written while eating Cakesters and listening to a giant, largely embarrassing playlist of 80's music that includes Jan Hammer, Joe Esposito, and the illustrious Ronnie James Dio. So in a way, I suppose, perhaps magic is involved in the creation of this column. How else can you explain my ability to right-align a screenshot or create hyperlinks to Wowhead under those conditions? I'm some kind of sorcerer, that's how.

This week we continue our look at who Mages can kill, and who we can only kill if the other guy spills Red Bull all over his keyboard mid-fight. Just like every other class (except Druids) in this game, there are some good match-ups for Mages, and some incredibly bad ones. Last week we touched on several of these, and this week, we'll go over the rest. To review, according to the unscientific and largely arbitrary rating system I invented for the purposes of this column, it was decided that Warriors were very killable, Hunters were killable with some skill and luck, but Druids and Warlocks were not very killable at all.

So who's on tap for this week? Priests, Pallies, Shammies, and Rogues. Just for fun, I think we have to throw in some hot (or cold, depending on spec) Mage on Mage action, too. Join me after the jump for all the good stuff.

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Filed under: Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: Mage versus everyone, part 1


Every Saturday, Arcane Brilliance opens a portal to the wonderful world of Mages and encourages one and all to step through. This week, we'll be taking a hard look at Mage PvP in the Arena combat era, specifically two all-important questions. First, who can a Mage kill? And secondly, who can generally kill a Mage? The answer to the second one--and this may surprise you--is not "an AFK Warlock." Of course, I've never found an AFK Warlock to test that out on, even though I pray every single night that I will. Every...single...night.

In days of yore, before the Burning Crusade brought us Arenas and Blood Elves and approximately 974 new factions to grind reputation with, 1-on-1 match-ups (besides the occasional random ganking over a mining node) tended to only happen in meaningless duels outside Orgrimmar or in Goldshire. Back in those wild, crazy times, before diminishing returns and 41 point talents, most of the meaningful PvP took place in the Battlegrounds, and for Mages, it usually involved hiding behind a tree casting Blizzards down at the bridge in Alterac Valley. When a Rogue unstealthed behind us and planted a dagger in our backs, we died quietly, with a spell on our lips, and revenge in our hearts. Then we rezzed, ran back to our tree, and started the cycle over again.

When the expansion dropped Arena combat into our lives, everything changed. Suddenly, some of us found ourselves in a 2-man team with a Druid or a Shaman, facing off across Blade's Edge Arena against a Warrior and a Paladin. Dying in a blaze of flaming glory after three seconds of combat was no longer going to cut it. Mages adapted. We stacked on the new PvP gear, jacking up our stamina and resilience in the process. We fell in love with Blink, Ice Block, and Frost Nova. We respecced Frost. We learned how to survive, and soon found that we were living six, seven, and sometimes even eight seconds before dying quietly with a spell on our lips.

We also quickly learned that there were some classes we could consistently defeat, as well as several that made us curl up into the fetal position and rock back and forth, weeping softly. Several patches and multiple class-balancing tweaks later, some things have changed, but one thing still holds true: In Arena combat, it's all about the match-ups.

Join me after the break to find out who we can kill, and who we can't.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: 10 things every Mage should know before going into the Arena

Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a new batch of Mageliciousness, served fresh and piping hot on a magical floating snack table. This week, we take a long hard look at a sore spot for the Mage community at large: Arena PvP. Don't despair! Mages can be useful in Arenas...as long as we aren't being hit...or silenced...or cycloned repeatedly...or looked at sideways by a Warlock...

With patch 2.4 looming, many Mages may be making that final push to level 70 so they can participate in all that wonderful new content. If you missed Arcane Brilliance's look at what's new for us, you should check it out. We'll wait. Done? Good, because once you've had your fill of all that shiny new PvE hotness, you may find yourself wondering what else there is to do until the expansion hits. If you're slightly masochistic, or into self-flagellation, or possibly just mildly deranged, you may decide to try out the Arena.

Some may try to talk you out of it. You should probably listen to them. I'm not going to lie to you; it isn't pretty. People get hurt in there. Keyboards tend to become airborne. Expletives may be uttered, and not in a conversational tone. We're talking "hide the children, Daddy's saying the naughty words" kind of stuff. Especially when you're a Mage.

What's that? You still want to go?

Ok. But don't say I didn't warn you. Now that you've decided you simply must touch the stove in order to learn how hot it is, the least I can do is prepare you for that eventual burning sensation, and the emotional and possibly physical scarring that will eventually result. I will try to arm you for the coming battle, my friends, the best I know how.

After the jump, I'll list 10 things that I wish I'd known when I started my career as a gladiator.

A gladiator wielding a stick and wearing a dress.

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Filed under: Mage, Tips, PvP, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds, Arena

Arcane Brilliance: Azeroth's got talent

Each week, Arcane Brilliance endeavors to bring you small peek into the strange and wonderful world of Mages. We're simple creatures, we Mages. We like to live fast, die fast, and turn things into other, funnier-looking things. We also enjoy giant, juicy crits. We don't need much, just absolute power.

When a Mage is born, he or she springs to life in Deathknell or some such place, tumbling out of the nether fully grown and wearing a dress. As they take their first tremulous steps into the World of Warcraft, they discover that they can summon balls of flame and hurl them at zombies. Soon they learn to freeze the very air itself and fling bolts of freezing death at boars. In time, as they venture into the great world beyond their starting area, they ding 10 and gain their first talent point.

Suddenly, these young magelings discover they can hone their craft, direct their studies along three distinct paths. Will they walk the devastating road of Fire? The subtle alleyways of the Arcane? The deadly tundra of Frost? Or dabble in all three? Reading this, you may be tuning out at this point, saying something to yourself like "duh...17/0/44." Some of you may be thinking, "Arcane? There are talents in that tree beyond Improved Counterspell? You sure?" You may also be thinking "ltp n00btard! you got pwned," but quite frankly, if you think in leetspeak I fear for your very soul. If you're thinking any of those things, read on. I stand before you to assert that there are absolutely must-have talents in every tree that you can fit into other more popular specs, and after the jump I'll explore some ways to do it.

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Filed under: Mage, Tips, PvP, Features, Raiding, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Arena

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