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Posts with tag mage-beta

Arcane Brilliance: What the MoP beta means for arcane mages

Mage casting something very arcane-looking
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This column is usually brought to you by archmage and former Hogwarts headmaster Christian Belt, but rumor has it he's still stuck in an alternate dimension where playing World of Warcraft is state-mandated but only offers you 10 different classes of warlocks to play. Senior Understudy and Last Surviving Student Josh Myers is covering his class this week. Arm your spitballs.

Throughout Cataclysm, the arcane spec has been a strange beast. At the beginning of the expansion, it was solidly the worst mage spec due to the absurdly high cost of Arcane Blast. After some quick patch 4.1 fixes, it became our top-performing spec, especially if we had access to Shard of Woe. From that point on, arcane was a source of potent damage. While fire has become the vogue spec for Dragon Soul, arcane still is a very viable and desirable spec. Going forward into Mists of Pandaria, that all could change ... or the spec could be made even better.

Part of the source of arcane's potency this expansion has been due to how incredibly well the spec scales with intellect. While intellect provides the same spellpower to arcane mages that it does to every other caster, arcane mages' Mana Adept mastery makes the mana increase from intellect critical. Arcane Blast, the pivotal spell in arcane's rotation, has a static mana cost that is only based on mage base mana and not their mana after gear. Because of this, the more intellect you have means the more Arcane Blasts you can fit in at higher mana levels, meaning more damage through mastery.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Arcane Brilliance: Catching up on mage Cataclysm changes

Each week, Arcane Brilliance steps out of a portal from parts unknown, bringing with it a knapsack full of delicious mage content conjured expressly for your consumption. Try not to overconsume, though. Nothing's worse than waking up one morning to discover your robes don't fit and your fingers are too chubby to waggle your wand properly.

And after that culinary intro joke, it's time we got to the meat of the matter -- specifically, the Cataclysm beta and the constant mage changes going on therein. Each week (and sometimes more than once during each week), a new beta build hits that brings more new stuff for mages. Sometimes these changes are big, and sometimes they're not, but I feel like it's high time we spent a column talking about the more recent ones. I've let like five builds go by without dealing specifically with this stuff, so we'd better get going.

I figure we'll start with the most important change and move forward from there.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Things I've learned while dying in Cataclysm heroics, mage edition

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column of choice for dress-wearing, warlock-hating Frostbolt slingers the world over. Also, fans of the short musical films of Journey, Short Imagined Monologues, and the sublime, video game-based synth and fretwork amalgams of Sixto Sounds. Seriously, listen to this one. Holy crap.

So over the past few days, I've found myself a broken corpse lying in a spreading puddle of my own bodily fluids a bit more frequently than I'm used to. The reason for this is simple: heroics. No, not the ones on the live servers -- where you can throw together a random group consisting of a ret pally tank, a six-year-old playing a hunter his mom bought him on eBay the day before, a feral druid healer who for some reason came into the instance suffering from nine more minutes of resurrection sickness, a mouth-breathing rogue who may or may not be a serial killer, and an AFK shaman farming badges while auto-following the healer -- and still blast through the place. I'm talking about heroics in the Cataclysm beta.

They're absolutely brutal, guys. Now, granted -- it's still early. The testing process for these beauties is still in its infancy. We're tackling them using premade characters with talent builds we threw together by looking at the talents and thinking, "This looks nice." We're wearing gear that's barely entry-level for heroics (if we're lucky) and using spell rotations that we're basically making up on the fly. We're going into instances we've never seen before, doing boss fights nobody knows the mechanics for, and dealing with crippling, often game-breaking bugs. These places simply aren't finished, not by a long shot.

But then again, that's why we have a beta. We go in, throw our soft, cloth-clad bodies against the long claws of some horrifying beast or another, use the final droplets of our blood to scrawl feedback for the developers ("Landmines ... everywhere ... can't feel ... legs ... fading to black ... tell warlocks ... hate them ... so ... much ... "), and then come back for another round. Blizzard takes the data it gathers from our gruesome deaths and uses it to construct a better game.

Still, there is much we can learn -- even in this unfinished state -- from the first incarnations of these heroics. Join me after the jump, won't you?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Things I'm going to miss

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column extraordinaire, and source of 99% of your daily recommended allowance of warlock hate. It's also rich in vitamin D. If you're wondering where you can get the other 1%, the answer is inside-out cheeseburgers. Very tasty, and warlock-hate is the secret ingredient.

There comes a time in everyone's life when they must say goodbye to something. My first major loss came in the summer of 1986. I wept like a little girl when the rubber band holding Snake Eyes' pelvis to his legs and torso finally snapped on that day, after a hard day of battle in which he and Storm Shadow had faced each other in mortal combat no less than twenty times. Even his ensuing career as the first, incredibly violent casualty in every firefight didn't dull the pain of that initial loss. I loved Snake Eyes! Why couldn't it have been Snow Job's stupid pelvis that snapped? For the love of God, why? Incidentally, I asked that same question when I redboxed the recent movie bearing sullying the venerable toy-line/cartoon series' good name.

And though I've spent the last few weeks laying out palm fronds and rose petals in preparation for Cataclysm's triumphant entry into the World of Warcraft, perhaps all is not as wondrous as I've made it out to be. Even in my optimism, I am becoming painfully cognizant of several aspects of the current game that I'll be missing to varying degrees once Deathwing arrives and brings with him all of his fancy new talent trees, masteries, guild perks, and approximately 11 million level 1 worgen hunters.

Yes, despite all the awesomeness in store, we mages will also be losing a few things. Follow me past the jump to gaze wistfully one last time at a few of these soon-to-be-gone relics of a bygone age.

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

Arcane Brilliance: These are a few of my favorite things

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column from the author of Don't Break My Sheep: Diary of an Angry Mage and 101 Ways to Cook Warlock.

This is going to be slightly shorter and even more rushed than usual, guys, because new baby. I'd post pictures, but this is the internet. I'll wait till he's a bit older and can ruin his own life. The kid's our third, our first boy, and I'll only say one thing about that: After two girls, I simply wasn't prepared for the peeing. Seriously, the kid fires that thing straight up, without warning, and with laser precision. I've taken to placing a washcloth over his loins during changings, a tip suggested by my genius wife.

Now that I've grossed you out, let's move on to today's topic: awesomeness. Paternity leave from work has given me some extra time between hilarious eye-peeing episodes to fiddle in earnest with my mage on the beta. And though I have some complaints, I'll save them for another week, one in which I'm not still basking in the afterglow of seeing my wife push a baby out from her nether regions. I'm too happy to complain this week, so if you've come here looking for constructive criticism, you're in the wrong place. Join me after the jump for a few of my favorite things about each of the three mage specs in the beta.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The early levels for Cataclysm mages

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves warlocks. Arcane Brilliance loves warlocks so much. It loves them right in the face. With a Pyroblast. Can you feel the love? Does it feel like your heart is melting? And like your brain is running down the side of your face? Because it totally is. And ... I think that used to be an ear. Oh, warlocks. So much love! If you still had anything resembling a face, Arcane Brilliance would totally kiss you.

Let me get this out of the way: I love my goblin mage.

I love him as much as it is possible to love a short, ugly, green man who values profit above anything else. When I'm playing my main, trying out new talents and abilities, I can't stop wishing I was spending time with my irredeemable little goblin, attaching rockets to chickens and riding robotic laser-sharks. It's not healthy, but I just can't quit the tiny little monster.

So my beta testing this week has been pretty focused on the low-level stuff in Cataclysm, rather than clicking Fire Orb and hoping that this time it actually works. I figure this is okay, since Cataclysm itself is an expansion focused not just on the endgame stuff, but also on overhauling the leveling process. So today, put down your spreadsheets and your nerdrage; we're going to have a brief conversation about leveling.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Random impressions from the beta

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, your one-stop shop for weekly mage columns. Seriously, any time you want a weekly mage column, you can come here and obtain one. We do one thing here at Arcane Brilliance, but we do it well. Or if we don't do it well, we at least do it hard. Or maybe just adequately. Pick an adverb. Any adverb, really. Insert it at the end of the phrase "we do it." Chances are -- at least some of the time -- that's probably how we do it.

Good news everyone!

I'm in the beta. It is awesome. I have been thoroughly impressed, and because I like you people, I would like to share some of those impressions with you. As you may have guessed from the title of the column, they will be fairly random. Most will be related in some fashion to mages.

I've come to understand that there exists a sizable contingent of folks who play this game but would prefer not to know about future iterations of it in advance of actually playing them. I respect that. I'm not sure, really, what beta information would be considered a "spoiler" and what beta information wouldn't (is talking about new talents a spoiler? UI changes? The new launcher? I don't know!), so I'll go ahead and bury all of my scattered thoughts behind the jump. That way, those of you who came here to this WoW news site in an attempt to avoid WoW news can turn back now, your virgin eyes still pure and unspoiled.

And yet, part of the purpose of placing text in front of the jump is to whet your appetites, leading you on to the meat of the article, so I feel obliged to mention two things before we adjourn and retire to the page beyond this one.
  1. Earlier today, I set fire to a bomb-throwing monkey.
  2. Prior to that, I ran over a pirate with my car.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Fire mage 4.0

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

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

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

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

Arcane Brilliance: News and notes from Cataclysm beta build 12604

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that strives to bring you all the latest in Flame Orbs and Deathfrosts, Arcane Missile Barrages and Frostfires, Arcanefireflamefrostfreezes and Iceflamefrostfirecanebolts and everything in between.

Well guys, we just got our second pass.

The arcane tree is finally beginning to resemble something semi-coherent, and the other two trees have gotten a spot of polish applied to them in this build. The mage talent situation in Cataclysm is finally beginning to take shape, and now that things are beginning to come together, it's time to pick apart that embryonic shape and see what makes it tick. Because that's just how we roll.

Grab your blowtorches and put the kids to bed, we've got some deconstruction to perform.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Beta wishlist

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like you to know that yes, that is a screenshot from the Cataclysm beta, and yes that's a lowbie goblin mage. Also, the goblin on the right is Fizz Lighter, the goblin mage trainer. He's eternally flinging Fireballs at the goblin on the left, Evol Fingers, the goblin warlock trainer. The dirty lock is returning fire with an endless string of Shadowbolts. Even in screenshots, it's truly the most epic thing ever. I can't wait to see it live. And to assist Fizz with my own barrage of Fireballs. Stinking warlocks.

It's incredibly difficult for me to write about the beta for two reasons:
  1. I'm not in the beta.
  2. Anything I write about today is very well going to be completely different tomorrow. Or gone entirely.
So you can see my problem. I have been playing with the new 31-point talent trees almost non-stop since they were revealed. Like the crazed wizard I am, I have cobbled together approximately a billion different specs, molding them into vaguely humanoid shape and granting them life, then sending them forth to do my bidding. I call them "talent golems." I do this because I am a nerd.

Unfortunately, the next beta build will, in all likelihood, blow all of my precious creations up completely. This means that writing any sort of in-depth analysis at this point amounts to a bit of a mental merry-go-round. It's fun while it lasts, but you always end up back where you started.

So instead of wasting your time with a long diatribe on things which may or may not ever see the light of the live realms, I choose to waste it in a different way.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm

Arcane Brilliance: Cataclysm beta highlights for mages


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that hasn't gotten a beta invite, despite an ongoing salvo of increasingly pathetic groveling at the feet of Blizzard's customer service department. Oh, the things that Arcane Brilliance would do ... It's shameful, really.

So I want you guys to know that it's been difficult. I don't want you to assume it's been easy for me, this last run-up to the beta. There have been so very many things I've wanted to tell you but couldn't. I've wrestled with myself. There has been a hefty amount of soul-searching, an activity that -- for me -- requires spelunking gear and a machine gun that doubles as a flamethrower.

But now the beta has dropped, the NDA has been lifted and it's open season on all the awesome changes in store for the mage class. In the coming weeks, we'll be going over everything in ridiculous detail, picking through every new build with a fine-toothed comb and just generally having a total nerdgasm on a weekly basis. There's so very much to discuss. In the interest of getting started, though, I figured that today I'll stick to what I see as the most significant changes. There are plenty of other places where you can get a full list of new stuff. That information's readily available. In the end, we'll get to everything, but I figure when you come here, it's for three things: analysis, opinion and warlock jokes. I hereby promise to deliver at least some of all three.

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

Arcane Brilliance: On Deep Freeze



Each week Arcane Brilliance invites Mages everywhere to read a column about themselves. It then invites Mages to cast Mirror Image and have their copies read it also. It then invites those mirror images to in turn cast Mirror Image upon themselves, and those copies to cast it as well. In this way, Arcane Brilliance intends to become the single most viewed page on the web. Get casting!


Let me preface this by saying that if you are one of the many who label anything written by a Mage that isn't full of sunshine and candy canes as complaining, crying, or QQ, you may want to just stop reading right now. Thanks for coming, post your "UR TEARZ R DELICIOUS" nonsense in the comments section, and then go back to tea-bagging your kills on Halo or whatever. This column is not for you.

Ok, gone?

Good.

Now that it's just Mages left here, we can talk. Last week I made a promise concerning Deep Freeze. This week I intend to deliver upon that promise. You see, since last week's column, build 9014 and build 9038 have come and gone on the beta, and Deep Freeze still does no damage. We still have no idea, at least not in the form of a comment by a blue poster, whether this change is permanent, intentional, or just Blizzard screwing around with things the way they're still doing with Arcane Blast, i.e. over-nerfing a spell for testing purposes. All we know is that the Frost tree's 51 point spell sucks. It sucked two builds ago, and it goes on sucking to this very day. As I write these words, Deep Freeze remains on the beta, sucking like nothing has ever sucked before.

Now I must do what I must do.

There will be no sunshine or candy canes after the jump. This I promise you.

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Filed under: Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Expansions, Humor, Raiding, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Six things I love about being a Mage in the beta



Each week Arcane Brilliance takes a quick peek into the world of Mages. The peek has to be quick indeed, for to look any longer into that world is to invite madness. I mean, have you looked in there? There are people making copies of themselves, then their copies are turning people into penguins, then those penguins are getting set on fire and frozen, all at the same time...it's...it's not right. I don't know what it is, but it isn't right, people.

So...the giant nerf-patch of doom came down this week. It hit everyone. Except...Mages? Huh? What...how...who?

I had myself all braced for the nerf-bat to hit us, and well, I guess it whiffed? I dunno. Our Mirror Image is still awesome, our Deep Freeze still stuns, does good damage, and is instant, our Arcane Barrage is still on a glorious 3 second cooldown, and our Frostfire Bolt still benefits from every talent that affects either Fire or Frost spells. Surely Blizzard can't be happy with Mages being the actual, genuine kings of DPS in a physical universe that actually exists.

Virtually.

And only in beta form.

Cough.

We'll get a nerf in the cursed name of "balancing" eventually, I'm sure, but for now we get a reprieve. And I couldn't be happier.

This week, I'm going to list a few things--some of them big, some of them small--that I love about being a Mage in the beta right now. If even a few of these make it live, there is cause for rejoicing, and any that we lose in all of the class-polishing hobnobbery that goes on between now and that glorious day in which we install Northrend onto our hard drives will be cause to mourn. Join me after the jump for the list.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Forecasting Frost



Arcane Brilliance is a weekly column about Mages. It contains text. We promise the word "Mage" will appear with moderate frequency within the body of said text, possibly near such modifiers as "awesome" or "god-like." The word "Warlock" may also appear once or twice, sometimes in close proximity to such phrases as "ridiculously overpowered" or "I hate Warlocks." That's really the extent of what we promise, here at Arcane Brilliance: text, Mages, and Warlock-hating.

Indulge me for a moment before we get to the Frost tree:

I'm beginning to recognize a pattern forming. Each week, as Blizzard tweaks the talent setup in the Wrath beta, I'm becoming less and less inclined to complain. I know...I know. I'm a Mage. You poke a Mage with a stick, and QQ comes pouring out. We're all angry emo virgins, sitting at home blogging furiously with keyboards made completely out of tears about how the colors are too bright in Diablo III and writing free-verse epic poems about how Living Bomb caused our parents to divorce.

That's just it, though: lately, I've found I'm all out of QQ. I've put my mascara-stained Sephiroth pillow back on my bed and stopped mailing locks of my greasy dyed-black hair to Kalgan, and have instead started to feel something very close to optimism. It's been building since I hit rock bottom after the WWI to the point where now I feel pretty good about the direction we're heading as a class. As you may recall, It wasn't that long ago that I felt far differently.

Join me after the jump for more positive thinking followed by enough Frosty goodness to give you brain-freeze.

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

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