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Posts with tag mage-talents

Arcane Brilliance: Things I love most about my mage in patch 5.0.4 (so far)

Arcane Barrage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, I'm taking a few precious moments that I'd otherwise be devoting to farming Tol Barad commendations so I can buy my Fox Kit to hammer out an ode to all the things I'm loving right now about patch 5.0.4. I hope you people appreciate my sacrifice. Seriously, guys. There are literally thousands of warlocks who are only still alive right now because the time I spend writing these columns is time I'm not spending killing warlocks.

There was a point on Tuesday night, while trying out my new rotations in the LFR against Ultraxion (several times, thanks to a long string of tanks who apparently have never used a taunt before), where I fully realized that my arcane mage had Living Bomb. I mean, I knew about it, had tried it out on the beta, but had never raided with it and actually inserted it into my rotation. So there I am, blasting away with my arcane mage and his new decidedly-more-than-one-button rotation, and I see that Living Bomb button on my action bar, and I press it, and then a few seconds later it explodes and I refresh it, and what's this? Am I crying? Yes ... yes, I'm crying like a child while I blow up that giant dragon.

So I'm happy with patch 5.0.4. I know not everybody is. Most of the complaints seem to revolve around the new talent system, which we'll get to in a minute. But me? I am completely on board. I have my quibbles. (Why do my Mana Gems vanish after logout again? I thought we fixed that annoyance a few patches ago.) But any minor issues I notice quickly drown in the massive wake of all the happy. And there is a lot of happy.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Your mage's new spell rotations in Mists of Pandaria

Troll female mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we realize that everything we know is wrong, and learn how to make it right again.

Last time we had an expansion release, it was all about an actual Cataclysm, and when we made jokes about the end of the world and chaos descending and the impending apocalypse, those jokes were appropriate. This time around, we've got cuddly pandas and fun pet battles and ... I don't know ... Eastern philosophy? Jokes about impending apocalypses aren't as apt this time around.

Still, if any expansion has the potential to usher in mass chaos and confusion, Mists of Pandaria may be the one. Never before at any one time have our spellbooks and talent trees undergone such sweeping change. On Tuesday, the servers will go down, and when they come back up, the pre-expansion patch 5.0.4 will be in place (barring unforeseen maintenance mishaps), and everything we know about how to effectively wield magic will be completely different. Our current spell rotations will be gone, and we will need to go about the tricky business of learning our new spell rotations.

Which brings us to the reason I called you all together today. There's magical cake in the back of the room, and later on we'll be doing trust falls with warlocks where they fall and we hit them in the face with an Arcane Barrage. But for right now, our agenda has only one item on it: our new spell rotations. It's time we learned them.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 5.0.4 mage preview

Blood elf female arcane mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, I need to apologize profusely for last week's sad lack of warlock hate. This week, I will hate them twice as much to make up for it.

So now we know when the expansion is coming (Sept. 25), and we also know when patch 5.0.4 is coming (Aug. 28). That means we'll be living with this patch and all of its sweeping changes to the systems and mechanics we're currently used to for the better part of a month before we get a whole bunch of new content to distract us from how different everything just became. That's a substantial amount of time to play with the new talent system, new spells, and ... erm ...pet battles that the pre-expansion patch will bring. I think this is a good time to discuss those changes and prepare ourselves mentally for all the shiny new bounty we are about to receive.

New talent system

This is by far the biggest change on the docket. Forget everything you currently know about talents. Gone is the 72-tier tree of talents that until now defined your mage's effectiveness. Gone are cookie-cutter specs that you had conform to or lose damage. Instead, we get six successive choices that are balanced pretty much equally.

Most of the talents we're used to now have either become baseline spells, been rolled together into current spells, or vanished entirely. Every 15 levels, we get to select from three talents. None of these talents are obviously better or worse than the others, freeing us to to choose the one at each tier that suits our playstyle or the needs of a particular situation.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mists of Pandaria mage glyph guide

Blood Elf Female Mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're talking glyphs and the mages who love them. Question: where do we keep our glyphs? Are they semi-permanent tattoos? Are they inscribed upon our clothing somewhere? Do we carry around a piece of paper with all our runes scrawled upon it? And if so, what happens to that scrap of paper when we forget to take it out of our pants before we run them through the laundry? The practical mechanics of inscription intrigue me.

As time marches forward, I find myself staring intently down the barrel of my wand at the approaching pandaren invasion, realizing with each passing moment that I am entirely unprepared. So much to cover! So little time. Good thing we can Alter and Warp time, right?

It's high time we discussed glyphs. I know Josh Myers previewed glyphs during my absence a few months back, but a whole lot has changed since then. This particular system has changed a bit from what we're used to. Gone are prime glyphs. Now it's just majors and minors. And the majors have been redesigned in an attempt to make them more situational and utilitarian, and this attempt seems to have been largely successful.

Instead of being forced to choose between damage increase glyph A and damage increase glyph B, you will now find yourself choosing the glyphs that appeal to you most or fit your playstyle best. Cookie-cutter, must-have glyphs are by and large a thing of the past, and I submit that this is a positive change.

Still, each spec will find that certain glyphs work better for them than others, and in the guide that follows, I will endeavor to advise you as best I can on which glyphs look most attractive for each school of mage.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mists of Pandaria talent spec guide for mages

Arcane Brilliance Mists of Pandaria talent spec guide for mages
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're looking at the overhauled talent system in Mists of Pandaria and figuring out which talent is best for killing warlocks. My initial impression is all of them. All of the talents are good for killing warlocks.

So with the expansion less than two months away and patch 5.0 looming on the "any week now" precipice, it's time we stopped messing around. I promise to stop skipping weeks of this column for trivial things like "family," or "crippling work schedule," or "violent and possibly terminal illnesses," because, damn. The time is short. The end of the end of the world is nigh, and the coming panda apocalypse is nearly upon us. We need to get down to the nitty-gritty here, guys.

Look forward to some extra mage content in between Arcane Brilliances as we ramp up in the coming weeks, in the form of basic class 101 guides for all the stuff you need to know before the expansion hits. I'll save the Saturday columns for more detailed analysis.

This week, we're wading neck deep into the new talent system, since it's probably the single biggest change our class is undergoing in Mists. It's a bona fide shock to the system and a radical departure from the status quo, and believe me when I say that it will take all of us some getting used to before it begins to feel even remotely normal.

The whole basis behind this talent system revamp is to eliminate cookie-cutter specs and provide us with six distinct choices between talents that serve roughly the same function as each other with slightly different mechanics. The idea is to provide freedom of choice by removing the need to pick the best talent at each tier. Each of the three choices at each tier is designed to be a good choice depending on playstyle, and no specific talent is supposed to provide measurably better DPS than another, so we can all hold hands, smoke the peace pipe, and pick whatever we like.

And now's the part where we all decide which of these equal talents are more equal than the others.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Why I still love my mage

Raistlin Majere
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we take a short break from talking about pandas and mists and the delightful Asian-flavored turtle-nation where the pandas and the mists combine to form a giant kung fu turtle panda Voltron super expansion of glory. But don't worry, the break will indeed be short. Because pandas.

Let's all join hands, cast Alter Time together, and journey back to the halcyon days of early 2008. George Walker Bush was nearing the end of his time as the leader of the free world, a visibly checked-out Britney Spears was auto-tuning her way to the top of the charts while simultaneously losing custody of her children to this guy, we were all playing the first games in the Rock Band and Mass Effect series, and the Hollywood screenwriters strike was nearing its end. Which, thank god, because the world needed Ron Swanson.

And in February of that year, I started writing for this wonderful website, beginning with a column titled Why we Mage. In that column, I endeavored to crystallize my deep and abiding affection for the mage class in World of Warcraft. A dash of my deep and abiding loathing for the warlock class may have seeped in there, too, as warlock loathing tends to do.

A great deal of time has gone by since then. Over four years, to be precise. I just finished Mass Effect and I still play Rock Band, mostly for the Iron Maiden songs. It's 2012. We've killed Arthas and Deathwing, Ron Swanson just got renewed for a fifth season, and somebody's remaking Herzog Zwei.

And oh yeah, I still love mages.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Weighing the level 90 mage talents

Rune of Power
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're looking once again at the mage of the future. And just like the mage of the right now, the mage of the future needs two things in abundance: mana and spellpower. Fortunately, the mage of soon™ only has to get to level 90 to get a new way to gain both.

You've traversed the wilds of Pandaria. Your mage has decked himself out in shiny new quest reward greens that are better than the purples he farmed Deathwing for months to collect. You've killed X number of mobs, collected X number of inexplicably difficult-to-locate vital organs from those mobs and returned them to people with increasingly tough-to-reconcile reasons to want said organs, killing a potentially genocidal percentage of the warlock population along the way. Now, you're level 90.

Your reward is two new abilities. One is Alter Time, which we've already discussed at length. The other is entirely up to you. There are three new choices in your talent ladder to select from. They range from a fresh and infinitely more useful version of Mana Shield to a crazily improved buff for Evocation to a rune of wizardly sparklesauce that you place on the ground and then set up shop there, serving up magical deathfire to all customers forevermore, amen.

They sound quite different, but have one thing in common: You press a button, and you get mana and spellpower. I think we can all agree this is a button we want. The question is, which of those three buttons do we want the most? And the next question is, do we want any of them as our capstone talent?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Which spec will be best in Mists of Pandaria?

Undead fire mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we endeavor to answer that age old question: Which spec will other people insist my mage needs to be? We will try not to resort to that age old response to that question, which tended to involve punching those other people in the mouth.

One constant, no matter how hard I've tried to ignore it, that has always existed in WoW is that one spec is always "best." The class designers are constantly tweaking the numbers and trying to keep things balanced, but once we all sit down with our collective calculator and spreadsheet, one spec always emerges to rule them all.

It has been a sad reality that while we have always had freedom to choose a spec and personalize it to fit our preferences, when it comes time to raid at high levels or take part in PvP at high levels, that freedom essentially vanishes. You can make arguments for utility over damage or for certain specs in certain fights, but in most cases, under most circumstances, you're going with whatever cookie-cutter spec the internet has agreed upon that week, or you're not getting an invite.

Well, now we have a fresh expansion to leverage our calculators and spreadsheets upon. It's still early in the beta process, and hard numbers are in short supply. Still, the overall design of the specs seems to be fairly well-defined, even if the actual percentage points are still in flux. What conclusions can we draw at this stage? Which spec looks to put out the best damage? And most importantly, which spec will let us kill warlocks most efficiently?

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

Arcane Brilliance: 4 things I'm going to miss the most in Mists of Pandaria

Flame Orb
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're discussing a sad topic: loss. Not that this is a new feeling for mages. We've loved and lost before; everyone pour one out for Wand Specialization. You were too beautiful to die.

Every time there's a new expansion, we get some new toys to play with. We tend to focus on these shiny new abilities or revamped mechanic -- and rightly so, as they are often pretty spiffy. But I fear we sometimes forget the casualties. For when Blizzard giveth, it also tends to taketh away. Spells are replaced, redundant talents vanish, and mechanics change, and as a mage, I always feel somehow diminished when I see a blank page in my spellbook -- even if it's a page that used to be occupied by something as useless as Arcane Fortitude or Amplify Magic, those ancient relics of fail.

Mists of Pandaria will be no exception. We're gaining some awesomeness but losing a few things too. And some of those things, I'm really, truly going to miss.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Bombs and tempests on the Mists beta

Frost Bomb
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're discussing my favorite kinds of mage spells: the ones that blow things up real good. Namely, warlocks. I like the spells that blow up warlocks. This should not come as any sort of surprise to anyone, ever.

I don't know about you, but I didn't roll a mage for the free strudel. I'm not going to lie; the prospect of magical baked goods didn't hurt. Unlimited pie is something of a draw for me. But when I chose mage for my first character lo those many dead warlocks ago, I did so because I wanted to make pixels explode in spectacular fashion.

And my mage certainly didn't disappoint. Over the years, I've thrown my share of Pyroblasts, Frostfire Bolts, and Arcane Explosions, and the resulting pixel explosions have been quite satisfactory. Still, I'm nothing if not greedy. In my opinion, when it comes to exploding pixels, more is always better.

And so, when I learned of the new talents, the ones I was secretly most excited by were the three bomb talents we were choosing between at level 75. The worst part? I had to choose just one.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Familiars, porcupines and Frostbolt healing, oh my!

Fiery Familiar
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we'll be discussing a few of the more recent additions and tweaks to our class on the Mists of Pandaria beta. Some of them are awesome. Some of them are silly. And some of them are porcupines.

You see that thing up there in the picture? That tiny little legless flaming elemental from vanilla WoW? That's one of our three new familiars. That's right: familiars.

I've actively campaigned for mage familiars in the past, even as far back as this crusty old post from 2008, in which I also wished for more portals, a Blink spell that actually worked, and a rumored new ability called Mirror Image, which I believed would prove to be a combination of a bacon double cheeseburger, the second coming of Christ, and a double rainbow out of a leprechaun's butt. So young! So naive.

I always imagined my mage running around with a tiny furry minion, maybe mouse with glowing eyes, or an ominous crow, possibly animated by Don Bluth, that would do my bidding and tell me which cottage in the forest Princess Aurora was hiding in. I imagined a wizardly pet that would be always by my mage's side, part of the persona, perhaps conferring a passive buff or something.

Well that isn't quite what we're getting here.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Going back to the future with Alter Time

Image
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're going to jump into the not-so-distant future -- specifically, the day we hit level 87 in Mists of Pandaria. We're going to need 1% of our base mana, some plutonium, and 1.21 gigawatts, and we're going to need to be moving at 88 miles per hour.

Mages are getting a fair number of new or reworked spells and talents in Mists of Pandaria, but arguably the most intriguing of the bunch is Alter Time. Continuing along with the time -manipulation theme already established by spells like Time Warp, upcoming talents like Temporal Shield, and the time chicken tier 13 armor set, Alter Time allows us to transport our mages back in time to the ancient era of six seconds ago.

It's an incredibly interesting mechanic that works in practice about how I expected it to in theory, which is both good and bad.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Archmage Pants expounds on Mists of Pandaria magery and magic

Pandaren Female Mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Even when the guy who usually writes it is trapped by the ancient warlockian curse known as Long-work-hours-and-three-kids-and-no-free-time-makes-it-hard-to-write-about-Warcraft ... Bolt. A deeply sincere thank you goes out to the incredible Josh Myers, who stepped in and handled my business for me with uncommon style and undeniable skill for the past month and a half. Josh, the next warlock I kill, I will kill for you.

Holy crap, it's good to be back.

I'd toyed with the idea of quitting entirely, seeing no practical way to consistently scrape together enough time each week with the current demands on my time to provide you guys with quality mage columns. But as the weeks went by, I found I simply couldn't abide not writing about turning warlocks into sheep and then hurling volleys of Arcane Missiles at those sheep until they explode. There was a gaping hole in my life that could only be filled with a massive Pyroblast.

So this past week, after squeezing in some quality time with the Mists beta, I sat down at my keyboard and began typing. At first, I wasn't even writing with a clear goal in mind. I had no intention of posting any of my thoughts. But as I played, and wrote, and played, and wrote, I found I was becoming more and more stupidly excited about the prospect of talking to you guys about new stuff. So I had to come back, you see. And it's all your fault. I hope you're happy with yourselves.

Josh has already done a marvelous job of sharing his beta analysis with you over the course of several columns. If you haven't already, check them out here, here, and also here. Though some of the ground we cover today may overlap, what follows isn't anything resembling analysis. As I get myself back up to speed, I'll go more in-depth -- but this week, we're going the full stream of consciousness, random observational impression route. Strap in, and for God's sake, keep your arms, legs, and wands inside the vehicle.

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

Arcane Brilliance: How to solo Magtheridon for fun and transmog

Magtheridon gets mad
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. In good news, the most esteemed archmage Christian Belt has escaped from the alternate timeline where he was forced to perpetually watch reruns of Fox Van Allen's appearance on The Price is Right. The bad news is that this means this is Josh Myers' last mage article for a while, but he had fun while it lasted!

My mage wasn't level-capped when Magtheridon was relevant content. I was a resto shaman, content to spam my one PUG raid night a week spamming four ranks of Chain Heal on other people. I still remember those days fondly, as they were my first exposure to "real" raiding. Also, Magtheridon's Lair was considerably easier than tier 4's other 25-man raid, Gruul's Lair, and the only way to get access to your tier four chestpiece.

I first learned Magtheridon's Lair was soloable at level 85 by managing to do it on my hunter, because pet classes are overpowered (though the ones with self-healing are even more so -- I'm looking at you, Megan O'Neill!). Speaking of potent self-healing, I followed with my blood death knight, and then conquered the pit lord with my enhance shaman. The natural next choice would have been to take a warlock or maybe a feral druid, but I wanted a challenge. Also, Magelam was craving a Crystalheart Pulse-Staff, so he was my fourth choice. I ended up spending about two hours last November perfecting my strategy and have since been able to down him consistently whenever I want a quick 50 gold and some level 70 epics to sell.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm, Raid Guides

Arcane Brilliance: 5 abilities that keep me playing my mage

A female human mage standing with her Mirror Images
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Christian Belt is the normal archmage, but rumor has it that he's currently trapped in one of many hell dimensions. The Simbul has gone to investigate, leaving Senior Understudy and Last Surviving Student Josh Myers to cover this week's article.

I am a gigantic nerd. I love math, and science, and testing. So when a new beta comes out and there's testing and theorycrafting and video game science to do, that's my focus. I go, "Hey, look at this shiny new spell, and what are the rotational ramifications of its existence?" And then I forget that I have work in the morning and am up till four in the morning running around Jade Forest trying to get the perfect screenshot of Nether Tempest.

I'm on vacation visiting my parents in Michigan this week, and I promised myself that part of that vacation would be to eschew plying beta for the week, since we've been pretty inseparable for the past month. Also, I'm using my significant other's laptop, and I'm not sure even my rep level would support downloading another massive file onto it. As a result, I've been playing a lot on live, and I've taken some time to remember why it is that I love playing the mage class.

There are a lot of reasons (none of them are the fire spec in PVE at the moment, but that's another post entirely), but the main one is the repertoire. Mages have a ton of abilities, and a lot of them are chock-full of flavor and awesomeness. I had to narrow this list down to my five absolute favorites, but everything from Mirror Image to Invisibility to Cone of Cold are eligible contestants too. The abilities I chose are my favorites, ones that fit the classic mage archetype while having mechanics that make sense in WoW. Also, they're shiny.

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

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