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Posts with tag mage-builds

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: Arcanapalooza



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

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

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

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

Arcane Brilliance: The wonders of Frostfire



Each week Arcane Brilliance mixes frost with fire and comes up with a column about Mages. It's a delicate recipe, requiring just enough frost, and exactly the right amount of fire, with a thick glaze of arcane spread across the entire concoction. If you add too much lightning, you end up with Shamans. If your recipe calls for shadow, you might end up with a Priest. Whatever you do, don't let any amount of suck get into your recipe. Everybody knows that's what Warlocks are made of.

Frostfire Bolt is an interesting little spell. When you first hit level 75, visit your Mage trainer and learn it, you may think to yourself, "So...it does frost and fire damage? It's like a Fireball and a Frostbolt combined! You take some ice, and you combine it with some fire, and you come up with...slush? I'm not sure how something like that is effective, but whatever. Now I don't have to respec to fight fire or ice-immune mobs, I guess? Let me see if I can find a place on my action bar for this. There we go. Right between Amplify Magic and my tea-bagging macro."

You would not be totally wrong in thinking this way. Well, maybe for having a tea-bagging macro, but that's wrong for a whole slew of other reasons. At level 75, when you first obtain the spell, that's really about all it is: a damage spell to use when running into a mob that's immune to your usual nuke. Frostfire Bolt doesn't really hit its stride until you've hit level 80, talented specifically to get the most of the spell, and started to get some of that sweet Naxxramas gear.

Once it does start to live up to its potential, though, Frostfire Bolt suddenly becomes the primary nuke in the single highest DPS raiding spec for Mages in the game. After the break, we'll talk about the why's and how's of this wonderful spell.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.0.2 and you



Each week, Arcane Brilliance journeys to the heart of Mageland, braves all the perils of Blinking backwards, premature sheep-breakage, and table-ninjas that infest that mystical place, and returns triumphant, bearing with it the spoils of its epic victory: one-to-two-thousand words, a center-aligned image of some type, and several dozen Wowhead links. It then distributes these treasures among the citizenry, spreading word of its conquests throughout the villages and townships, before kneeling before the King of Mageland and presenting him with the head of a Warlock.

And there is much rejoicing.


I don't know about you, but the idea of patch 3.0.2 scares the living crap out of me. I mean, I'm excited about a lot of it--changing my Mage's hairstyle and restoring his lower jaw, for instance (it still perplexes me how a barber can alter my entire facial structure)--but there are things about the impending patch that absolutely terrify me. Chief among these is that free respec.

Choosing a spec on the beta, where respecs cost a whopping 1 copper, has been difficult enough. Almost every talent we have now will be changed (in most cases improved), moved, or flat-out abolished when the patch hits, and many new talents will appear. Believe me when I say that none of the currently accepted level 70 talent specs will remain intact. In many ways, Mages, like every other class, are getting what amounts to a complete class reset. Everything we know about talent builds will essentially have to be forgotten and relearned. Even raids your guild knows frontward and back will become a crazy new adventure, and PvP will become a giant crap-shoot. The good news is that for at least that first week, the Arena playing field will be leveled completely.

But don't worry. Arcane Brilliance is here to help. Follow me after the break to see what kind of fun we can have with our 61 talent points after the patch hits.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Building your Mage, part 1: Raiding



Arcane Brilliance comes to you every week from the top of Archmage Xylem's tower in Ashzara. Yes, in between sending wave after wave of power-hungry Mages to kill Morphaz over and over and over again, the Archmage finds the time to put quill to scroll and conjure forth a weekly Mage column for WoW Insider. Just kidding, it's actually just some guy at a computer who writes these, and all Xylem does in between giving quests to unwary adventurers is walk from the bottom of his tower to the top and back again. It's a boring life to be sure, but all I do between typing paragraphs is walk from the computer to the fridge and back again, so who am I to judge?


When people who don't play World of Warcraft find out I play the game, a common question I get is "what level are you?" It isn't always asked that way; those unfamiliar with basic game mechanics might not know what a "level" is precisely, but the intent is the same. If they care to ask questions at all, they frequently want to know how "far" I've gotten in the game. Progression is a basic ingredient in video games, and when I tell them I'm level 70 (I generally leave out the part where I explain that I actually have two characters at 70, and between all my alts I have gained over 400 levels across 14 characters, so as to avoid getting the "oh, you're a crazy person" look from whoever I'm talking to), and they learn that 70 is the highest current level attainable, they typically assume I've "beaten" the game, that I've completed it somehow.

The problem, of course, is that WoW doesn't work like that. Hitting level 70 is definitely a milestone, and a genuine accomplishment, but it is nowhere near being the end of anything. If anything, level 70 is the flaky crust through which you must chew to access the real meat of the game. Frequently, characters will clock far more playtime after level 70 than they ever did while they were still gaining experience points.

Last week we discussed the myriad options available to a newly minted level 70 Mage, and I suggested a checklist of things to do to improve your character once that particular plateau had been crested. This week we'll begin going over one of the most important decisions a Mage needs to make at endgame: nailing down a talent spec. After the jump, we'll discuss some common raiding builds, what each build is good for, and how you can tweak each spec to match your play-style.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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