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Posts with tag mage-cataclysm-beta

Arcane Brilliance: Fire mage Cataclysm talent analysis


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we take a hard look at the new fire tree in Cataclysm and beyond. Well, not really beyond; I'm not sure how we'd even do that.

The next three weeks will find Arcane Brilliance looking in depth at each of the mage talent trees, with all of the associated bits and bobs. Because it's very likely the most popular of the three specs right now, we'll begin with the fire tree. Or will we? Yes ... yes, we will. I'm sorry, I just got done watching Inception for the first time (I know, I'm slow), and I'm pretty sure none of this is real and all of it is a dream. A dream where I get to write a weekly column about mages and set fire to warlocks over and over without repercussion. And you guys are all in my dream with me! Frankly, I never want to wake up.

The fire tree, in my opinion, is a model of good design. From top to bottom, the talents play off of each other, working together in creative ways that just make the tree fun both in theory and in practice. It's not without its problems, but the issues are comparatively minor. We'll mention some of them, but only in the interest of full disclosure. For the most part, the fire tree seems to be an example of Blizzard's getting it right.

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

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: Mage AoE in Cataclysm, part 2


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that likes AoE. In fact, you can expect those three specific letters in that precise configuration to appear approximately fourty-three thousand times during the course of the column to follow. Pretty impressive, considering the column's only a shade over 1,500 words long. How'd I do it? A true magician never reveals his tricks, guys.

A brief history of fire:
  • 17,000 B.C. - Motivated mainly by an intense desire to cook bacon, mankind discovers fire.
  • 3,000 B.C. - On Azeroth, the first mage, motivated mainly by an intense desire to cook warlocks at range, discovers how to hurl a Fireball.
  • 2004 A.D. - Mages set fire to Hogger for the first time. Bacon is served.
  • 2010 A.D. - Cataclysm comes out, bringing with it such fiery wonders as Flame Orb, moving Scorches, and the reworked Combustion. Warlocks are served.
  • 2015 A.D. - Following the Zombie Apocalypse, mages find that Blast Wave + conjured strudel is the ideal skill-set for surviving in a world full of ravenous undead. Zombies are served. Also: zombie warlocks. Also: zombie bacon. Mmmm ... zombie bacon.
Last week we discussed the general changes to AoE spells across the board, as well as the specific AoE capabilities of the arcane and frost trees in the upcoming WoW expansion, Zombie Cataclysm. Those trees both have their ways and means of killing things in large groups, but I think we can all agree that when it comes to mass murder, the fire tree is where it's at. Join me after the break, 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: 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

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