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Posts with tag mage-column

Arcane Brilliance: Mistakes mages make

Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to say to warlocks: Look... even when we're alone, we outnumber you.

We belong to the best class in World of Warcraft. I know this because I have a checklist. Do you want to see it? Too bad, you're going to see it anyway:
You see? Mages meet every criteria on the checklist. The fact that I just made the checklist up is unimportant; the important thing to take away from this is that mages are, indisputably, the best class in this game.

But we aren't perfect.

We make mistakes. Five of them, to be precise.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Features, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: WoW patch 3.3 primer for mages

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves mages and all things magey. Take this picture, for example. That's a mage right there. If I'm not mistaken, she's getting ready to do something magey. Like plant a Fireball deep in the fertile soil of a warlock's grill. Arcane Brilliance loves everything about that.

So apparently patch 3.3 could literally drop any moment. I'm not even kidding. It might have happened while I was typing that last sentence. I don't know. More likely, though, is that it will come (as per the usual deployment-method) during the upcoming Tuesday maintenance. This means we've only got a little time left before we can enter Icecrown Citadel and begin the patch-long process of shaking its inhabitants down repeatedly for loot. I, for one, cannot wait to place an Arcane Missile or five directly up Arthas' frosty tailpipe.

But what, exactly, does this patch bring to the mage class? I'm glad you asked. Though this patch is admittedly a bit heavy on the new raid content and light on class changes, mages are one of the few classes that are getting some pretty significant new junk. From increased raid utility for Arcane, to buffed-up AoE for Fire, to actual, honest-to-goodness competitive raid DPS for Frost, 3.3 is delivering a little of something for everybody. Join me after the break for a full recap of all the newness we can expect come patch day.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 59-68

It's time once again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to thank its readers profusely for the deluge of screenshots it received last week. Arcane Brilliance sent out the call, and you guys responded in droves. There were so many, in fact, that it was an impossible task to select just one for the column. Arcane Brilliance finally went with this one, apparently of an undead pimp of some type, simply because it made Arcane Brilliance chuckle. Also, the column this week is about leveling through Outland, and this is a pretty good representation of how your mage will look throughout that leg of the journey: like the mutant love-child of the entire cast of Saved by the Bell.

Seriously... you guys are awesome. Sooooooo many good pictures to use. I may have to start writing like 12 of these a week, just to have an excuse to use all of them. Thanks again, and keep them coming. Even if I don't get to use them, I just enjoy browsing through them. So many mages, so little time.

Last week, our mage leveling guide hit level 58 and fled vanilla WoW for the alien landscapes of Outland. This week, we'll tackle the 10 levels your mage will be spending there, amongst the hellboars, sporebats, and ravagers.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide 31-40

Welcome to the latest Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that is your absolute best source for all things mage. Leveling guides? Talent spec guides? Loot guides? PvP guides? Profession guides? Random, vindictive, mean-spirited, and wholly superfluous warlock-bashing? Check, check, check, check, check, and CHECK. Arcane Brilliance has all your mage needs covered.

And the leveling parade continues! Your mage is level 30 and you've grown in your mastery of the magical arts. Your Fireballs are now significantly more likely to set your enemies aflame than they are to go off in your face, you now arrive at your teleport destinations with your extremities more or less intact, and small children no longer cry at the sight of the pastries you conjure.

In celebration of our new-found competence, we'll be changing the content of these leveling columns a bit. We'll no longer be giving each two-level gap its own blurb. Instead, we'll be covering each new spell as it comes, and every major milestone at the appropriate point. If that means that more than two levels go by without a specific shout-out in the text, so be it. Enough preamble. Read on and we'll see how it goes. If it's terrible, we all know I'll just blame warlocks.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 21-30


Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that won't give up, will never back down, won't retreat and won't surrender. Arcane Brilliance has the heart of a champion, the eye of the tiger, the soul of a lion, the reflexes of a mongoose, and the gall bladder of an emu. Now, if you'll excuse Arcane Brilliance, it needs to go indulge in an 80's movie training montage to get ready for this column. And yes, in case you were wondering, Stan Bush and Vince Dicola will feature prominently.

After a rather extended hiatus from the leveling grind, we here at Arcane Brilliance (and when I say "we," I pretty much mean "me," and when I say "pretty much," I mean "absolutely." I fact, I'm not sure why I even said "we" in the first place. Just forget I said anything. Let's move on, shall we?) are finally ready to continue with our series of overly wordy leveling guides this week. Here's what we've covered thus far (and, yes, I'm aware that I continue to use the first-person plural when referring to myself. I'm a very confused individual.):

Part 1: Getting started

Part 2: Levels 1-10

Part 3: Levels 11-20

We begin today's installment at the grand old level of 21. Your mage is freshly bemounted (That word doesn't actually exist, but I think it should) and ready to take on the world. Chances are you're preparing to move into your third major zone. From this point on, you have a great deal of freedom in choosing where you want to quest. I'd recommend an add-on like Cartographer, or a website like mapwow (just check the box that says "Show names for zones") to see a map that tells you the appropriate levels of the zones around you, so you can pick a place to make your home for the next 5-10 levels. Once you've selected a destination, mount up and head that way. Stick to the road if you decide to travel through any higher-level zones in-between, and be sure to pick up any flight paths you pass during the trip.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Leveling, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.3 PTR mage change analysis


Welcome to Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that champions the causes of wizards everywhere, be they fiery, frosty, or arcane...y. The top issue facing the mage community right now? Warlocks: how to get the stink out of your robes after setting one on fire? Fear not, Arcane Brilliance has the solution: when killing warlocks, always stand upwind.

Since last we convened as a body of mages, no fewer than two new builds have descended upon the PTR, heralding a slew of upcoming changes for our class. Alex wrote an excellent post covering the first few of these, but a few more nuggets of newness have surfaced since then that need to be addressed. And since I'm a diagnosed (and unrepentant) completionist, we're going to go ahead and double back to analyze those earlier changes as well. The next installment of our mage leveling guide will come next week.

So without further preamble, let's look at the changes, shall we?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 11-20

Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that dares to ask the question: how much mage is too much? Then Arcane Brilliance slaps itself in the face, because that's a stupid question. You can never have too much mage.

So, your mage is leveling nicely. You've wandered out of the starting area and into the wider zone beyond, done a bunch of quests, learned a rudimentary spell rotation (Frostbolt-->Fireball-->Fireball-->Fireball-->Conjure Water-->Drink) and now you've gone and hit level 10. This is a milestone for a number of reasons:
  1. The mage staff quest we talked about two weeks ago.
  2. You can now begin doing PvP in an actual battleground against players in your level bracket (as opposed to doing PvP against bored 12-year-olds who think it's fun to run around the starting areas with their level 80 death knights ganking lowbies).
  3. Your first talent point!
Let's discuss the second two of these three things before we move forward.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Quests, Features, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.3 PTR changes for mages



It's the weekend, and that means it's time for another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column where the boys are boys, the girls are girls, and the warlocks are smoking husks that only vaguely resemble the humanoid shapes they once assumed.

We're taking a small break this week from our ongoing leveling guide parade. There are some things we need to discuss, you and me. We need to have a talk. Don't worry! It's nothing bad! We're getting a pretty sweet buff, actually. Well, arcane mages are, anyway. We just wanted to discuss it with you, that's all. Oh, we're sorry! Did you think Arcane Brilliance was breaking up with you or something? No, we'd never do that! Arcane Brilliance still thinks you're sexy.

See, it's this whole patch 3.3 thing that's happening right now. It's got Arcane Brilliance all hot and bothered. The other columns are too busy to talk to Arcane Brilliance about it. Totem Talk is all excited about "new totems" or some other such nonsense, Lichborne is too busy being overpowered, and Bood Pact... well, you didn't hear it from me but Blood Pact is written by a warlock. I know! Right here at this otherwise reputable website! Also, Blood Pact smells funny. I think it's a gland problem. It's very embarrassing. I shouldn't be telling you this. And Blood Pact drinks its own pee. Okay. That's enough. I'm done now. I've said too much. Keep this to yourself, all right? Loose lips sink ships and all that.

Jump on past the break and we'll discuss the patch 3.3 changes for mages.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide: 1-10

Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that thinks nothing goes better with strudel than a warm ball of fire.

Ok, so last week, we all clicked the "Create Character" button and selected a mage. We picked a race for that mage, gave him or her facial features, a skin tone, a hairstyle, possibly even a lower jaw, and chose a non-stupid name for our fledgling master of the arcane arts. This week, we're backing our new mage out of the garage and taking him for a spin. Interesting fact: mages actually appreciate in value the more mileage you put on them!

The first few levels can be a trying time for a new mage. A couple things you'll notice:
  1. You're wearing a skirt and wielding a stick.
  2. You're a huge wuss.
This can be quite vexing, especially if you're used to another class, possibly one that wears actual armor into battle, doesn't get a nosebleed from standing up too quickly, and isn't the dungeon master for the chess club's Dragonlance campaign. Well get used to it. You may have been on the football team before, sacking the quarterback and dating the head cheerleader, but that was before, when you were a paladin or a warrior or whatever. Now you're Bill Haverchuck. Intelligent and frail, mages are the geeks of the World of Warcraft. We might as well embrace it. We're the nerds, warriors are the jocks, and warlocks are the emo kids. The good news? Someday, they'll all be pumping our gas. At least that's what my guidance counselor always told me. Someday means soon, right?

Anyway, the fact remains that mages are wimps at low levels. Rest easy, though. It gets better.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide: getting started


Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly Mage column that believes leveling a Mage is a noble endeavor, worthy of praise, tax breaks, and probably some kind of discount at Denny's. Arcane Brilliance also believes leveling a Warlock means you're going to Hell.

So, you may think I'm doing things backwards. You're right. I totally am. I spent the last two weeks blathering on about gearing up for raiding. This week, we're talking about the first twenty levels of the game. It makes no sense. Feel free to mock me in the comments. I'm freely admitting I'm a sad, confused individual, with little to no sense of journalistic etiquette. Also, bite me.

In any event, the last round of Mage leveling guides are growing decidedly long in the tooth, having been written sometime around the same time as the Carter administration. Back then, Mages were still the "Kings of AoE," 2v2 was still a viable Arena configuration, and crowd control was still something Mages were expected to actually do in instances. Remember all that? Me either. It's a whole new World of Warcraft out there these days, but it's the only World of Warcraft we've got. Let's get out there and nuke the living crap out of it, shall we?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: 6 essential Mage add-ons for PvE


Welcome to another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly Mage column that celebrates everything Mageworthy and thinks Warlocks smell funny.

I have a buddy who doesn't use addons.

I know, I know. And before you ask: yes, he is a moron. It's a flaw I've learned to overlook during the years we've known each other. His rationale for not using addons seems to be a combination of mistrust for anything that isn't part of the game right out of the box and a misguided belief that addons somehow equate to a form of cheating.

Now, I'll never convince him he's wrong--even though he clearly is--but I chalk that up to the fact that he is a moron. We both know and accept the fact of his moronitude, acknowledge that after 20 years of friendship, he probably isn't going to become any less infuriating, and move on to other topics.

You see, addons are awesome. I frequently assert to anyone who cares to listen (earning me more than a few strange looks, believe you me) that believing addons are cheats simply because Blizzard didn't program them into the default UI is pretty much the same thing as considering indoor plumbing a cheat because God didn't program it into the Earth when he originally created it. Addons are the community's way of grafting functionality into the game that Blizzard should have included from the start, and that's simply how it is. And yes, I am indirectly rebuking deity for not providing mankind with toilets from the beginning. I mean, how does it make sense that we had to go thousands of years without the option of peeing indoors? That's just poor design. I fully expect to be struck down at any moment as an example to smart-asses everywhere.

Disclaimer: I am in no way asserting that not using addons makes you a moron. I'm certain there are a great many of you out there who prefer not to use addons, and I'm sure you're by and large wonderful, fully functioning human beings. All I'm saying is that my buddy isn't one of those people. Also addons are awesome. That's all I'm saying.

Ahem.

The last time we discussed Mage addons, we focused on the PvP side of things. This week: PvE.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Add-Ons, Features, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Five things every Mage should do before they ding 80


Each week Arcane Brilliance waves its wand and conjures a column about Mages. Then Arcane Brilliance turns the column into a sheep, sets that sheep on fire, and then freezes it into a flaming-sheep-sicle. This flaming-sheep-sicle-that-used-to-be-a-Mage-column is actually tastier than you might think, but also quite deadly. Having created it, Arcane Brilliance then proceeds to find the nearest Warlock and hurl the tasty-flaming-sheep-sicle-that-used-to-be-a-Mage-column-of-death at that Warlock, killing him or her instantly. It's the flamingest, frozen-sheepingest, tasty-deathiest Warlock-killingest column on this website, let me assure you.

Contrary to popular belief, Mages do not simply spring to life at level 80. Just like other, lesser classes, we too must begin at the lowly level of one. Even Mages must put their robes on one leg at a time, place one frail foot in front of the other, and trudge across Kalimdor, the Eastern Kingdoms, Outland, and finally Northrend until our experience bars progress from the left side of the screen to the right side a total of 79 times.

Once upon a time, this process took awhile. An average trip to level 60 used to require the following:
  • Approximately 192 trips from the north end of The Barrens to the south end...on foot, uphill both ways, fending off Mankrik's wife and Chuck Norris with a stick.
  • Actually setting foot in Desolace.
  • Getting dismounted several hundred thousand times in Dustwallow Marsh because you'd strayed across three inches of water.
  • Having to wait several hours to turn in every quest in Hillsbrad Foothills, because the questgivers in Tarren Mill and Southshore are always dead.
  • Getting eaten by a giant and improbably stealthy Devilsaur in Un'Goro Crater at least a million times, and always as far from the nearest graveyard as possible.
This is all fact. Sadly (or totally not, depending on how sado-masochistic you are), leveling is no longer nearly as grueling and refining an experience as it once was. It's entirely possible to skip a whole lot of the early-game content these days, and come patch 3.2, PvP experience will allow us to skip all of it on our way to level 80. Still, there are some things I feel we're missing out on as we cruise through the old-world content these days. Follow me beyond the jump for a list of five things every Mage should do on their way to level 80.

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Filed under: Mage, Tailoring, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Features, Leveling, Classes, Alts, (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: Patch 3.2 for Mages


Each week Arcane Brilliance sits down to write a column about Mages and all things Mageworthy. Big news this week in Mageville: Patch 3.2 is hitting the PTRs. And we all know what that means -- new Mage cat forms. Finally.

Having had some time to ingest the 3.2 PTR patch notes, I feel I can now speak about them in a calm, rational manner. The PTR (and all of the additional changes that tend to take place therein) is only just beginning, and yet there are already so many nuggets of newness to devour that my news-stomach feels full to the bursting point. The Isle of Conquest... the death of 2v2 Arenas... Engineering becoming cooler... Emblems of Conquest dropping from heroics (?!)... the fact that Blizzard is now shutting all twinks away together in their own battlegrounds, exiled from the general populace, where they can only pwn each other all day long, until one day Kurt Russell is sent in to rescue the president after Air Force One crashes there... there's simply so much to take in that it's been a little bit difficult to process it all.

And yes, once again, looking at those patch notes, I can't help but feel a bit underwhelmed at the 3 lines Mages got. Does every other class really need that much more fixing than us? Really? Still, what's there deserves some analysis. We're not getting much, fellow Mages, but what we are getting is fairly significant. So let's all stop staring at the 72 changes Death Knights and Paladins got for a few minutes and have a little talk about the notes for Mages, such as they are.

One nice thing about the lack of changes we're getting: according to the brand new Mage Q&A, Blizzard thinks we're fine, which of course explains why we're not getting messed around with. More on that next week, after I've had a chance to make my peace with God and get my affairs in order. In fact, Blizzard has long suggested a direct corollary between the amount of changes a class is receiving and the general status of the class. Looking at the patch notes, I can't help but notice the following: Mage changes: 3... Warlock changes: 8. I'm looking at this as statistical proof that Warlocks are almost three times as screwed up as Mages. It's good to see Blizzard accept what I have always known: Mages are way better than Warlocks. Just like I've always said.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Highly ineffective!



Each week Arcane Brilliance puts on its game face and comes to play. It always gives 110% and leaves everything on the field. In fact, you might say that Arcane Brilliance just wants it more than the other team. Or something.

I think we can all agree that the first few Mega Man games were awesome. In case you just moved here from rural Nepal, or were raised Amish, or just awoke from a thirty-year coma or something, let me tell you why. The graphics were astounding for the era, the music was and always will be some of the catchiest game music ever created, and the games were incredibly challenging and fun. The Mega Man series introduced us to an awesome gameplay concept: you start out as a small blue robot with a tiny little pea-shooter on his arm, but each time you kill one of the games multiple robotic bosses, you get to use its special weapon from that point on. You kill Crash Man, you get to use his bombs. Take out Quick Man, you get to use his sweet, sweet boomerangs. Metal Man lends you the use of his metal blades. Much like in WoW, each time you bested one of the game's bosses, you couldn't wait to see what new weapon would drop from him. You worked your way through each level, dying repeatedly, trying out new strategies, until you finally downed the boss and claimed your reward, and for the most part, the reward was worth the effort.

Except for Mega Man 2's Bubble Man. His weapon sucked. It was called the Bubble Lead, and it was terrible. This special weapon was a large ball that rolled along the ground really, really slowly, crushing the dreams of young gamers everywhere as it went. It was kind of powerful when it hit, but so cumbersome and difficult to use that nobody ever bothered. The first time you equipped it and tried it out, excited to see what your new weapon could do, you watched that big slow ball of disappointment roll across the screen, and you swore to never use it again. Then you got to the last boss and discovered that the Bubble Lead was the only weapon that could really damage it. Yes, Mega Man 2 is awesome, but it is also iron-clad proof that game designers in the 80's hated us.

Similarly there are several spells in World of Warcraft that also suck. Every class has a couple. And though Mages are otherwise awesome, even we have a couple of bona fide stinkers.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Humor, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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