Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag mage-specs

Arcane Brilliance: Next steps for playing a fire mage at level 90

A draenei mage holds a fireball while surrounded by a field of fire.
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

Congratulations! You've always wanted to play a mage alt but somehow never find the time, or perhaps you're considering a new main for Warlords of Draenor. Either way, you've decided to boost a mage to level 90 or re-spec your mage and you are faced with a decision. What spec would you like to play? We're going to talk eventually about all three excellent specs, but for now we're going to start with fire.

Being a fire mage has always represented the somewhat reckless side of wizardry. Fire mages used to take talents that would increase their damage done in exchange for damage taken. (Nothing ventured, nothing gained!) Modern fire maging is a little less risky than that and comes with many advantages. You might enjoy playing a fire mage if you want:

Read more →

Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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.

Read more →

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (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.

Read more →

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.

Read more →

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

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.

Read more →

Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Raiding, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (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.

Read more →

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.

Read more →

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

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your baby mage


It's only been a few days since Patch 2.3 was released, and you are already itching to create some new alts, aren't you? Totally understandable, lots of lower level characters are getting some love now that the experience gain has been accelerated. But seeing as how that exp boost doesn't kick in until level 20, Arcane Brilliance is here to provide you with some tips and tricks for getting your mage leveled with speed and style. Now, we've already talked about low-level gear, so let's move on to some of the more juicy parts of leveling your baby mage. So roll your new mage in your starting area of choice and meet us after the jump.

For the super mage gods out there: I realize that there are plenty of ways to level a mage, but this guide is my take on the quick and dirty way to get to 20. Perhaps you did it differently, and perhaps you don't even think this worthy of a guide. But that's the lovely thing about our class: we go with what works. In my experience having leveled a couple of mages past their 20's, these tips work, and so I share them with those looking to level their mage alts. This guide is for those who are new to the class, and as such might seem elementary to you, but we all had to learn the basics as some point, right?

Read more →

Filed under: Leveling, Guides, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories

Joystiq

Massively

Engadget