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Posts with tag mage-dps

Do mages really need 3 competitive PvE specs?

female mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're talking about specs, and DPS, and possibly smurfs, though I shouldn't get ahead of myself.

Patch 4.3.2 has dropped, and for mages, the only item in the patch notes is a 6% damage nerf to Fireball and Pyroblast, ostensibly to bring fire mages back in line with arcane mages for top prize in the What Spec Will My Raid Leader Expect Me to be Raiding With This Week Sweepstakes. For good or ill, every patch brings changes like this, as the spec balance carousel continues its eternal round.

That's been mage history, in a nutshell -- fire and arcane take turns pushing each other from the top of the PvE heap, and frost just shakes its head and queues for an Arena match. It's like a giant teeter-totter, with fire damage stacked on one end and arcane damage stacked on another. Blizzard goes back and forth between the ends, adding just a bit more of each type of damage or taking some away in an attempt to get the thing perfectly balanced, but try as it may, one end or the other is always sticking up in the air.

The number crunchers crunch the numbers after every damage pass and crown one spec king ... until the next pass, when the cycle repeats. And frost mages just watch and wonder when it will be their turn to go raiding.

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

Arcane Brilliance: 5 ways to increase your mage's DPS right now

Undead Mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we try to help you accomplish the most important thing any mage can ever do: kill something just a little bit faster.

You're a mage, so right away we know two things about you:
  1. You're awesome.
  2. You're in the business of damaging things.
We hear jokes about mages being portal-merchants/sheep-bots/cake-vendors, but our real purpose -- the only role we play that really matters -- is that of DPS. We destroy things, and we do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. And if we can't provide that service, our raid will replace us with someone who can.

So if damaging things is our business, it follows that we should always be striving to make sure business is good. We're in competition for DPS slots with literally every single other class in this game. It's in the interests of all mages that we work to improve ourselves at every opportunity. If we don't, it's entirely possible that our raid might take a warlock along instead.

And with God as my witness, I will not allow that to happen.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Why the one true spec assumption is a lie

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Now, before we get started, I want you all to look at that picture and realize that at one point in my life, that kid was rad. He was cool. I was never that cool, but you better believe I wanted to be that cool. I wanted to have a sweet mullet and wear acid-washed jeans and a pink shirt and give a thumbs-up while I played Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers one-handed in my Nintendo/baseball/helicopter lair. Just remember that. This kid was the absolute best, and everybody knew it.

I don't know how to tell you this, but we are all wrong.

All of us.

Oh, we mages are right about some things: Most everything can be improved by turning it into a sheep, If you're going marshal arcane energy and bend the fabric of space time to conjure food from thin air, you might as well be conjuring cake and strudel, and yes, it is still and always will be true that the only good warlock is the one that has been reduced to unrecognizable chunks of scorched viscera. But about a few very important details, we are most definitely all mistaken. Here are a few things we all seem to accept as true:
  1. Arcane is the undisputed top mage raiding spec.
  2. If you are a mage, and you are raiding as anything other than arcane, you are hurting your raid and limiting your own effectiveness.
  3. Frost is a PVP spec, and hasn't been a viable raid spec since the days when Ragnaros lived in Molten Core and didn't have legs.
All of those statements contain elements of truth, but I am here to tell you -- as emphatically as I can -- that they are lies. They are gross generalities that rise from popular perception, and I firmly believe that our almost universal acceptance of them as fact hurts the game as a whole.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Which mage spec should you be raiding with?

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we tackle the question everybody's asking: Which mage spec is the best? And exactly how many seconds from now will it be before the answer to that question will no longer be accurate? The answers, of course, are "fire," and "Now it's arcane, you useless noob ... I mean frost ... re-roll rogue."

Because for a very vocal minority, this game isn't about having fun but rather about having an e-peen of wider girth than the virtual fellow at the virtual urinal next to you, someone out there will always be happy to tell you which mage spec you should be using. The correct answer varies depending upon who you are talking to, what time it is, the force of the winds coming out of the north, the positioning of Venus in the night sky, and whether or not Michael Bay is directing or just producing.

The simple fact of the matter is that there are too many variables at play. To use a basketball analogy, picking a "best" spec is sort of like picking a "best" way to shoot free throws. No two shooting forms look entirely identical. As of this writing, Kevin Love and Kirk Hinrich are both shooting exactly 87.6% from the free throw line, and yet their shooting forms look completely different. Both players start out with the same potential (both possess two arms, opposable thumbs, and functioning brain stems) and yet achieve the exact same result with completely different methods of shooting. Hell, Rick Barry used to shoot a very similar percentage using an underhanded granny shot. He did that for 12 seasons. So should everybody shoot granny shots? I say yes, but mostly for the comedic value.

Pure numerical simulations will tell you that at any given point in time, one spec has the potential to provide more DPS than the other two. I don't know about you, but I don't typically play the game with a simulator. I play the game with my e-peen. Just kidding. Sort of.

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

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: Good and Bad in patch 3.2

Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly Mage column where you can find all the latest issues that are important to those of us who can alter the molecular structure of our enemies, conjure great missiles of entwined flame and ice, and create delicious pastries from the very air around us, but can't seem to negotiate the mysteries of wearing anything more substantial than a fancy bathrobe into battle. Mages: masters of the arcane, failures at dressing.

Let me begin with a few nice things. These are things I like--things that do not, in principle, infuriate me. We'll get to things that do a bit later. I'll hide them after the jump, I suppose, so as not to annoy those of you who cannot stand to see even the most minor of complaints from any class but your own. For now, we'll be positive and cheery, and illustrate that--as it ever has been and ever will be--there are aspects of this game that I love, and aspects that I simultaneously do not. Such is life on the class-balance carousel. As a Mage with a pulpit from which to preach, I will never cease to celebrate the changes I agree with, and decry those which I consider to be affronts to Magekind.

Preamble aside, let me tell you what I love right now: our mana gems no longer share a cooldown with Warlock healthstones. Yes, though it wasn't in the patch notes, this seems to be an undocumented change that has made it live, and one that Mages have been lobbying in favor of for a very, very long time. For far too long, we've been largely unable to take advantage of the one good thing Warlocks have to offer, for fear that we'd use one and then not be able to pop our own mana returning item when the need arose. No more! Dying? Need a few thousand health in a hurry and can't wait for the healer to notice you're on death's doorstep? Ice Block on cooldown? Use that healthstone with impunity, my fellow Mages!

More good stuff after the break. Also bad stuff. If you dine on Mage tears, feel free to wring the second half of this column for whatever sustenance it might provide.

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

World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 Mage Guide


WoW.com has covered patch 3.2 extensively. Everything from the surprising changes to flying mounts, to the latest and greatest loot, and all the changes in between. In our patch 3.2 class, raiding, and PvP guides we take a look at exactly what changes and how the changes will affect your playing.

So...a patch happened or something? I guess it's a big deal. People are excited or whatever. I'm way too cool to show any kind of positive emotion, so...meh. Meh, I say.

Ok, I can't keep that up. Patches always make me happy. I've been known to break into song and engage in impromptu yet highly choreographed dance routines on patch days. This time around it was a little number called "Living Bomb is Castable on Multiple Targets Now...Yay!" The lyrics are actually quite clever. They go like this: "Living Bomb is castable on multiple targets now...yay!" repeated several times, and sung to the tune of whatever Wiggles song my kids happen to be listening to in the background at the time. Or sometimes to the Knight Rider theme. Don't ask me why. I'm a musical genius and I don't have to explain myself to you.

Anyway, let's take a quick look at the ways this patch will be affecting Mages. Here's a five-word preview:
  • Living
  • Bomb
  • Multiple
  • Targets
  • Yay

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Classes, Talents

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: How to fix Mages



Each week, Arcane Brilliance puts a Mage-related joke at the beginning of a column about Mages. This week, though, after the class panels at the WWI, Arcane Brilliance is not in a joking mood.


Warriors are unique in that they are the strongest, most durable melee class, can use all of the biggest and best weapons and armor in the game, and make highly-sought-after tanks.

Rogues are unique in that they can Stealth past almost anything, are downright impossible to hit at times, and can contribute incredibly high single-target DPS in groups.

Druids are unique in that they can shape-shift into awesome animal forms that amount to slightly lesser versions of several other classes, can be excellent tanks, DPS, and healers, have incredible buffs, and are the single most annoying Arena class in the game.

Priests are unique in that they can be both an incredibly effective caster DPS class as well as the best (and surprisingly durable) pure healing class, while providing some of the best buffs around.

Hunters are unique in that they can tame their own pets, then use them to tank for them while they sit back and provide top-tier ranged DPS.

Paladins are unique in that they are the only healing class that can wear plate, can perform the duties of the best multiple mob tanking class, the best single-target healing class, or an effective melee DPS class. Also, they have a bubble.

Shamans are broken currently, but will soon have some of the best raid-wide buffs in the game via their totems, and are still sort of unique in that they can spec to provide both melee and caster DPS, as well as very nice healing, and have an incredibly nice panic button.

Warlocks are unique in that they can provide what is possibly the best caster DPS, both single-target and AoE, have Life Tap, which makes their mana almost never-ending in groups where they have a healer willing to throw them a heal every now and again, have a pet which can add to their DPS, tank for them, destroy casters in PvP, or provide CC.

Mages...Mages are Warlocks without pets.

Ok, to be entirely fair, we can also make food and open a portal to Shattrath at the end of every instance.

Mages need help (Shamans need help too, but Arcane Brilliance isn't a column about Shamans). Come back after the break and we'll talk about what needs to be done.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Classes, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

Arcane Brilliance: Adventures on the PTR

It's time once again to celebrate our mageness with Arcane Brilliance, and this time we're going where I certainly have not gone before: the PTR. I finally got my character transfers to go through, and my immediate thought was to slip on into the PTR and check out how the changes to mage spells and talents affected my character with the addition of Patch 2.3. A lover of experiments, I figured one was in order, and so happily spent the morning blasting things in the name of gaming science.

The parameters of said experiment were the following: I used the same spec on both the PTR and the live server, and decided that for simplicity's sake I would record data on three separate types of spell damage: using only Fireball, using only Scorch, and using my normal spell rotation. Now, you'll notice that my spec is a basic fire spec, newly reclaimed after some time spent as a blended POM/Pyro mage. I have decent gear, not the best, not the worst. I would say that I wear middle-of-the-road items, some Tier 4, Spellstrike and Spellfire, and the enchants and gems I have are also of the meh category. They aren't terrible, but I haven't had the opportunity to deck out this mage with all the snazzy +12 spell damage gems I would like. So the following are the experiences of a mage with some lower-end raiding gear, a fire spec, and a curious nature.

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

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