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Arcane Brilliance: Arcane mage Cataclysm talent analysis

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, it's the arcane tree's turn to go under the microscope. If you're looking for our coverage of the fire and frost tree, you can find it here and here.

You've no doubt been waiting breathlessly, hammering the F5 key over and over in the hopes that this time, instead of last week's Arcane Brilliance, you'll see this week's Arcane Brilliance on your computer screen. You've likely written your local congressman, put up "Have you seen this weekly internet mage column?" posters in your neighborhood, and perhaps even undertaken a massive, 120 hour quest involving a rotating roster of companions embodying various and sundry fantasy archetypes in order to locate the one thing that can fell the evil emperor and save your dying world: Arcane Brilliance.

Or maybe you stumbled upon this page while looking for hot mage porn. Here at Arcane Brilliance, we don't judge. Also, we want links.

Either way, here you are! And here I am also, itching to deliver the final part in our increasingly unwieldy compendium of mage talent analyses (analysises? analysi?) for the coming Cataclysm. This week we tackle the mysteries of the arcane tree, which is both the left-most mage talent tree, and also a powerful warlock-zombie-killing option in the forthcoming lawn-defense game, Awesome Mage Plants vs Smelly Warlock Zombies. Or if it isn't, it totally should be. Get on that, Popcap.

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

Arcane Brilliance: These are a few of my favorite things

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column from the author of Don't Break My Sheep: Diary of an Angry Mage and 101 Ways to Cook Warlock.

This is going to be slightly shorter and even more rushed than usual, guys, because new baby. I'd post pictures, but this is the internet. I'll wait till he's a bit older and can ruin his own life. The kid's our third, our first boy, and I'll only say one thing about that: After two girls, I simply wasn't prepared for the peeing. Seriously, the kid fires that thing straight up, without warning, and with laser precision. I've taken to placing a washcloth over his loins during changings, a tip suggested by my genius wife.

Now that I've grossed you out, let's move on to today's topic: awesomeness. Paternity leave from work has given me some extra time between hilarious eye-peeing episodes to fiddle in earnest with my mage on the beta. And though I have some complaints, I'll save them for another week, one in which I'm not still basking in the afterglow of seeing my wife push a baby out from her nether regions. I'm too happy to complain this week, so if you've come here looking for constructive criticism, you're in the wrong place. Join me after the jump for a few of my favorite things about each of the three mage specs in the beta.

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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: Love letters


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column of choice for largely hairless bipedal primates with opposable thumbs everywhere. And also for you, whatever you are. Seriously, what the crap are you, anyway? And what's with all the back hair? You look like Ron Perlman back when he used to make out with the chick from Terminator in the sewers. Which is to say, you look dead sexy. Not that I'm into that kind of thing, but rowr.

As many of you are no doubt aware, I've been forced of late to do something against my very nature -- something so vile and abhorrent that I can scarcely keep the bile down as I partake in it. No, it isn't wearing pants. It's far, far worse.

You see, I decided to participate in our Choose My Adventure series, and as is customary for those who do so, I left the decision-making to you, dear readers. In your vast, collective wisdom (and keen sense of irony), you decided I should be shackled to that thing I hate most. Again, not wearing pants. But, as longtime (or even first-time) readers of this column may have guessed, there remains one thing I hate more than having my lower half clad in fabric, and that thing is warlocks. "Har har," you said to yourselves (in my imagination, you are all pirates), "Belt should play a warlock! That'd be hilarious."

Well it isn't hilarious. It isn't hilarious at all.

Did you know that warlocks have a scent? It's the sulfurous stench of disappointment. Playing one has thus far been an exercise in humility. I am constantly reminded that there are those out there who select one of these godless avatars from the character selection screen on purpose, and do so on a daily basis. I feel there ought to be some sort of fund to which I can, for the price of a cup of coffee per day, sponsor these poor wayward souls and somehow elevate them to a better life.

Still, I feel I have been able to glean at least one thing of value from this experience thus far:

Mages are awesome.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the mage, volume 4 of 72

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to present, once again, its multi-annual state of the mage address. My fellow mages, we are awesome.

First of all, you might be wondering why only 72 volumes. I'll be honest: it has to do with the great zombie apocalypse of 2037. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say it severely impairs my ability to write. To be frank, the last 15 parts are pretty much just "braiiinns...warlocks....suuuuck...brains...braiiiins..." repeated over and over for a thousand words or so. After that, my zombie-self just loses interest. Some of you may wonder how those columns will be any different from the ones I write now. To you, I say bite me.

I've extolled upon the state of mages on three previous occasions. It's actually interesting to go back and look over those ancient texts from our current perspective. Oh, the silly things we were worried about back then! Fire PvP... ha! Spirit, less than useful? What a ridiculous concern! Oh... how far we've come.

Ignore my sarcasm. I'm not actually unhappy at all with the current state of mages. We are, as I stated in the opening blurb, awesome. Join me after the break and we'll look at where we are as a class in 2010.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Arcane 101

Welcome to another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that is the only place I know of where a gnome in a dress with glowing hands hanging out in the middle of the forest isn't so much creepy as it is socially acceptable.

Since I see a growing trend among the other class columnists, and because I crave the approval of my peers, I bring you Arcane 101. This is intended to be a relatively basic overview of the spec; I won't be delving into much in the way of the more complex mechanics here. This will also be a PvE-centric column. We'll revisit arcane PvP at some future point, but sadly not today. So without further ado:

1. What is arcane?

The leftmost of the three mage specs, this tree focuses on magic that is neither fiery nor frosted. It is (for the next five minutes or so, at least) the current single-target pure DPS champ, as far as mage specs go.

2. Arcane Benefits
  • Extremely high damage
  • Simple rotation
  • Low hit cap
  • Provides good raid utility
  • Missile Barrage is awesome
3. Arcane drawbacks
  • Highly dependent on timely procs for mana efficiency
  • Cannot sustain highest DPS rotation
  • Rotation is fairly boring
  • Sub-par AoE

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: The Mage of 2009

The internet's magiest weekly mage column, Arcane Brilliance would like to wish you and yours a very magetastic holiday season. Unless you and yours are warlocks. In which case Arcane Brilliance hopes the holiday season comes to your Christmas party and punches you in the face.

Every year, as the end of that twelve-month block draws near, Arcane Brilliance likes to take an unbiased look back at the events that captured our collective imagination. Heh. Get it? "I-MAGE-ination?" Holy crap Arcane Brilliance is clever. And indefensibly fond of bad puns.

So what did the year of our lord 2009 hold for those of us who prefer the scent of barbecued sheep to pretty much any odor ever and think strudel is a perfectly acceptable meal choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a meal I like to call the "Evocation's-on-cooldown-snack?"

Join me after the break for all the highlights, presented in vaguely chronological order.

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

WoW patch 3.2.2 changes for Mages


Since I have some extra time while I wait for my Mage to finish his looting animation, I thought I'd post a quick primer on the Mage changes patch 3.2.2 has brought us. There are only three (well, three and a half, I guess), but all three are of significant import. I posted about them in an Arcane Brilliance column way back when this patch first hit the PTR, but a lot has changed since then. Let's look at each change in turn.

Arcane
  • Arcane Blast: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 175% instead of 200%. In addition, the duration of the buff has been reduced to 6 seconds.
Though not nearly as drastic a change as it was at the start of the PTR, this is still very nice. That fourth stack means whatever spell you throw out to consume the buff will do a whopping 60% more damage, and the mana cost increase isn't nearly the killer it used to be, even with four stacks. Plus, none of that matters anyway, since you won't actually be using any mana on the spell you consume your Arcane Blast buff with, because that spell will be free. "Why," you ask? Because that spell will be Arcane Missiles. "But Arcane Missiles costs a buttload of mana," you say? You're right. But you're also so, so very wrong:
  • Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it. This talent no longer has a chance to be triggered when spells miss.
See? Two things here:
  1. The proc chance is much greater for this when you cast Arcane Blast than it will be with other spells. By the time you stack four Arcane Blasts, you're almost guaranteed to get a Missile Barrage proc.
  2. When you cast a gatling-gun Arcane Missiles with this, not only will it be super speedy and awesome-looking, it will also be free. As in, no mana cost. As in yay.
So what does this mean?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mage changes on the patch 3.2.2 PTR


Welcome to the latest edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly Mage column that unites Mages everywhere in brotherhood, friendship, and a mutual desire to set Warlocks on fire.


So, I was all set to write a lengthy diatribe this week on the woes of the Arcane tree. I was going to compare their plight to the aliens in the District 9 trailer, which I totally plan on watching this weekend. Both are oppressed groups, both possess powerful weapons nobody can use properly anymore, and both have spaceships that ran out of gas above South Africa. I was going to bemoan such things as Arcane's inadequate DPS, PvP survivability, and overall mana inefficiency. It was going to be overly-dramatic and incredibly whiny. Warlocks were going to drink from the well of my tears, and find them delicious.

Then this happened.

In case links frighten you, or you can't be bothered to read past the notes for other classes, or just get distracted every time you read about the revamped Onyxia raid we're getting (like me), I'll helpfully re-post the Mage notes below.

Mages
  • Arcane Blast: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 130% instead of 200%.
  • Talents

    • Arcane

      • Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it.

Take a moment. Digest that. Consider the implications. Then follow me past the break.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Classes, Talents, (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.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Features, Raiding, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: The best and worst of 2008



Each year, Arcane Brilliance cooks up 52 columns about Mages, each one roasted at precisely the right temperature for precisely the right amount of time (usually a couple hours on Saturday morning over a soggy bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, to be honest). As we arrive at the 52nd week of 2008, Arcane Brilliance would like to thank each and every one of the Mages who come here every weekend to celebrate our wonderful class by reading a giant, well-cooked wall of text. Arcane Brilliance would also like to say to the Warlocks who come here to mock us and drink our delicious tears, "We hope your felhound eats you."


Wow, so 2008, huh?

A lot of things happened this year, right? Crazy.

We here at Arcane Brilliance thought that since next week's column will be posted in 2009, we should take a moment this week to remember the year that was, and what it meant to all of us who walk the path of magic. There were some pretty high highs, and some exceptionally low lows, so we figured it would be fun to throw the highs into a ring with the lows and let them fight to the death. Join us after the break to see who wins!

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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: Patch 3.0.8, or Blizzard's love letter to Arcane Mages



Each week, Arcane Brilliance gains 5,000 reputation with the Kirin Tor by writing a column about Mages. That's right, I said 5,000. Are you reading this, Kirin Tor? I'm declaring myself exalted. Give me my dagger already, you selfish jerks.


I may have mentioned this before, but I'm an Arcane Mage.

I wasn't always. I spent my initial leveling days as a pure Fire Mage, and loved it. I spent a good chunk of time PvPing as a Frost Mage, and had a glorious time. But now I'm all Arcane, all the time, and I'm as pleased with it as it is possible for an unapologetic cynic like myself to be pleased with a thing.

And so, as you can imagine, I look at the PTR 3.0.8 patch notes as Blizzard's Christmas gift to me personally. It's as if they decided, "yes, we would like to keep taking money from your credit card, Christian, and so make our product better specifically for you." Actually, that's probably exactly what they decided, only substituting the names of every person ever for my own. The difference is that for me specifically, they've actually been successful. Anytime you give me a patch that buffs my spec of choice specifically and also fails to nerf it in any way, your "give him what he wants and he will give us money for it" business model has been successful.

Follow me after the break and we'll discuss what will hereafter be referred to as patch 3.KeepChristianHappy.8 (ok, maybe not...that's incredibly cumbersome), and all that it will change for Mages, especially those of the Arcane persuasion.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Six things I love about being a Mage in the beta



Each week Arcane Brilliance takes a quick peek into the world of Mages. The peek has to be quick indeed, for to look any longer into that world is to invite madness. I mean, have you looked in there? There are people making copies of themselves, then their copies are turning people into penguins, then those penguins are getting set on fire and frozen, all at the same time...it's...it's not right. I don't know what it is, but it isn't right, people.

So...the giant nerf-patch of doom came down this week. It hit everyone. Except...Mages? Huh? What...how...who?

I had myself all braced for the nerf-bat to hit us, and well, I guess it whiffed? I dunno. Our Mirror Image is still awesome, our Deep Freeze still stuns, does good damage, and is instant, our Arcane Barrage is still on a glorious 3 second cooldown, and our Frostfire Bolt still benefits from every talent that affects either Fire or Frost spells. Surely Blizzard can't be happy with Mages being the actual, genuine kings of DPS in a physical universe that actually exists.

Virtually.

And only in beta form.

Cough.

We'll get a nerf in the cursed name of "balancing" eventually, I'm sure, but for now we get a reprieve. And I couldn't be happier.

This week, I'm going to list a few things--some of them big, some of them small--that I love about being a Mage in the beta right now. If even a few of these make it live, there is cause for rejoicing, and any that we lose in all of the class-polishing hobnobbery that goes on between now and that glorious day in which we install Northrend onto our hard drives will be cause to mourn. Join me after the jump for the list.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

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