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Posts with tag polymorph

Five more must craft neutral Hearthstone cards

It turns out that people get oddly passionate about card lists, which is honestly a pretty great sign for Hearthstone. The first list we dropped two weeks ago was met with agreement, and also a lot of 'where is this card?!', despite warnings that there would be more to come. There was also some disagreement with the Wild Pyromancer choice, but I'm hoping that Amaz and his skilled use of the fiery minion at Dreamhack Summer has opened some eyes. It's incredibly powerful with the right complements.

This week we'll take a look at another five sub-epic cards no one should be without. The only ranking to the list is mana cost, so we're not saying that one's more important than another. That decision is up to you and what decks you want to play.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Arcane Brilliance: Fun and frivolity for mages

A female draenei mage casts many portal spells in one location.
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.

I know that some of you who read this column may not be full-time mages. Some of you may have mage alts. Some of you are warlocks - actually an alarming number of you are warlocks, I think that you secretly like us. That's okay, you could always make a mage and be eight billion times more awesome. We'll wait.

That's not what I'm here to talk about today, though. I know that sometimes as a DPS player it can become easy to get caught up in numbers. Best in slot gear, logs, damage done - all of that. I'm not saying that doing damage isn't fun. It is ridiculous, enemy annihilating fun. But there's more to life as a mage than that. In the spirit of the holidays, I'd like to discuss some of those more lighthearted things. They should apply to long time mages and dabblers alike, unless otherwise noted.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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

Lichborne: 3 quick tips to step up your death knight's game

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

So you know your rotations. You know your gear priorities. You know what to reforge, which buttons to hit, and how to stay out of the fire. These are all good things. Yet still, you feel like you're missing something. Maybe you feel like you could crank out another 1-2k DPS on some fights. Maybe you feel like your health keeps dropping a little low when you tank.

Sometimes, the problem with problems like these is that it's not a big glaring thing you're forgetting (nor is it forgetting to drop your favorite lucky vanity item). Sometimes, it's just that you need to tighten up your play just a little bit. This week, we're going to take a look at a few simple tricks that hopefully a lot of you can use just to shore up your play and go the extra mile.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Arcane Brilliance: Beginner's guide to being a mage

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're taking a trip through the first 20 levels of the game, which are now eternal. The important thing to remember about rolling a mage is that you've made the right choice; congratulations.

Between the newly adopted unending demo, the extended Recruit-a-Friend promotion, and the freshly bargain-priced WoW/The Burning Crusade bundle, it seems Blizzard is making a concerted effort to woo new players. And from my limited viewpoint, it seems to be working.

I have a brother, a year and some change younger than me, who doesn't live near me. This sucks, because he and I have absolutely everything in common. We grew up taking turns watching each other play Shining Force, or designing Dungeons & Dragons campaigns to force each other to play through, but then college, family, and career separated us. I'm here in Las Vegas playing copious amounts of video games and ignoring my kids, and he's at Purdue, working on his doctorate and just generally making me ashamed of the waste my life has become. Naturally, I've been trying for years to drag him down to my level. Thus far he's resisted, but when I notified him of these new opportunities to play the game on the cheap, he finally took the plunge.

And rolled a warrior.

Sigh.

Oh well. At least it wasn't a warlock, right?

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

Arcane Brilliance: The mage survival guide, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we continue our discussion of ways to avoid dying horribly. This week's tip: Roll a death knight.

Yes, the sad reality of being a mage is the ever-present threat of a swift and ignominious demise. We're like every character in The Walking Dead: We could go at any time, and our only consolation is that God willing, we'll be able to blow up a few zombies on our way out.

Last week, we discussed a few methods for surviving to pew pew another day, namely aggro drop and damage mitigation. This week, we turn our attention to two other lifesaving techniques: movement and crowd control. Just remember as we go forward that every time a mage survives a fight, an angel punches a warlock in the face. Have I used that joke before? I may have. Doesn't make it any less true. Angels hate warlocks. So does Jesus. And me. And, I pray, all of you.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: News and notes for mages from PTR patch 4.0.6

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, a magical journey awaits ... a fantastic voyage through a mystical realm. I speak, of course, of the Public Test Realm, and the wondrous patch notes that dwell therein.

Now before we begin, I should make it clear that mages aren't getting anything even remotely earth-shattering in patch 4.0.6. It's not like Blizzard is letting us autofire while moving or anything. But a patch is still a patch. Things are going to change, and though mages have been left largely un-fiddled-around-with (at least in comparison to many other classes), we do have some incoming alterations to be aware of.

So with our expectations in an appropriately subdued state, let's peek beyond the jump for an annotated look at what be happening, yo.

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

Arcane Brilliance: A friendly introduction to mage crowd control

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, a public service announcement:

An open letter to the guy who keeps breaking my sheep:

Please stop.

Sincerely,

Christian

P.S. -- Listen. I know it's Christmas and I should probably be doing a puff piece on things I want for my mage for Christmas or something like that. But I Simply can't stay quiet. We wiped 20 times in that heroic Grim Batol run last night, and though I know not everybody who plays this game reads this column, I have to do what I can. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing, or something like that.

I know The Burning Crusade happened like two years ago. I'm well aware that there's a distinct possibility you started playing the game during Wrath. Perhaps you either don't remember or don't have any idea what a "Polymorph" is or why it's not in your best interests to immediately begin whacking whatever I just cast it on as hard as you possibly can. I'm willing to allow for ignorance.

Mages, I can even understand it when you don't sheep things. Polymorph doesn't do any damage; in fact it heals its target! Why would you want to use a spell that doesn't blow things up when there are so many other delightful spells in your spellbook that do? It seems counter to everything we got into magecraft for.

Wrath was a long expansion. For the better part of two years, we spent the majority of our time chain pulling and AoE-farming our way through every instance in sight, concentrating on one thing and one thing only: DPS. Recount gave us a number at the end of every boss fight, and if that number was higher than the warlock's number, we had done a good job. Sure, the fights sometimes had mechanics we needed to pay attention to, but they mostly involved moving from one place to stand and shoot to another place to stand and shoot. We forgot a very important part of our jobs as mages.

We forgot how to sheep.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Things I'm thankful for

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, Arcane Brilliance is feeling especially festive. Pyroblasting a turkey will do that.

So apparently it's the holiday season. I'm still burping up cranberries and stuffing, my wife has started forcing Christmas music upon me (and frankly, if it's not Mannheim Steamroller, I don't want to hear it), and I've reached the point in the year when -- for my own mental well-being -- I refuse to look at a bank statement until February. To those of you who survived yesterday's annual gladiatorial bloodletting and emerged victorious from the front doors of Walmart or Old Navy, hoisting your hard-won set of hand towels above your head like a trophy: I salute you. To those of you who, like me, stayed home and bought stuff on Steam and Xbox Live: I also salute you, only I do so from my chair, by typing in an emote. Because, really, we're all pretty lazy. But damned if I don't feel well rested.

In deference to the spirit of the season, we here at Arcane Brilliance thought it might be nice to spend a column thinking about the things we're grateful right now. You'll find the mage-related stuff behind the jump, but here's my non-mage-related short list of awesome things:
  1. flatbread chicken sandwiches
  2. getting randomly tagged on Dragon Quest IX while walking through the airport Tuesday night
  3. troll druid cat form
  4. The Walking Dead
  5. Mumford and Sons
  6. discovering the brilliance of Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights on Netflix
Taco Bell, Netflix, Square Enix, etc. ... feel free to make any and all endorsement checks out to Christian Belt, care of WoW Insider. Also, screw you, AMC, for canceling Rubicon. I was just starting to enjoy that one. And screw you double, FOX, for putting Fringe on Fridays, where all good FOX shows go to die.

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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: Things I'm going to miss

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column extraordinaire, and source of 99% of your daily recommended allowance of warlock hate. It's also rich in vitamin D. If you're wondering where you can get the other 1%, the answer is inside-out cheeseburgers. Very tasty, and warlock-hate is the secret ingredient.

There comes a time in everyone's life when they must say goodbye to something. My first major loss came in the summer of 1986. I wept like a little girl when the rubber band holding Snake Eyes' pelvis to his legs and torso finally snapped on that day, after a hard day of battle in which he and Storm Shadow had faced each other in mortal combat no less than twenty times. Even his ensuing career as the first, incredibly violent casualty in every firefight didn't dull the pain of that initial loss. I loved Snake Eyes! Why couldn't it have been Snow Job's stupid pelvis that snapped? For the love of God, why? Incidentally, I asked that same question when I redboxed the recent movie bearing sullying the venerable toy-line/cartoon series' good name.

And though I've spent the last few weeks laying out palm fronds and rose petals in preparation for Cataclysm's triumphant entry into the World of Warcraft, perhaps all is not as wondrous as I've made it out to be. Even in my optimism, I am becoming painfully cognizant of several aspects of the current game that I'll be missing to varying degrees once Deathwing arrives and brings with him all of his fancy new talent trees, masteries, guild perks, and approximately 11 million level 1 worgen hunters.

Yes, despite all the awesomeness in store, we mages will also be losing a few things. Follow me past the jump to gaze wistfully one last time at a few of these soon-to-be-gone relics of a bygone age.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The services we provide


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that come rain or shine, snow, sleet, hail, netherstorm or cataclysmic event is always delivered to your electronic doorstep by a mysterious robed man with a strange affinity for sheep. Perhaps you have wondered why Blink is distanced at exactly 20 yards? Because that's the exact number of digital yards between your internet yard and your neighbor's internet yard. This strange wizardly paperboy blinks onto your e-porch, unfurls this week's Arcane Brilliance, magicks it under your internet door, turns your internet yard gnome into an internet yard sheep, then poofs his way next door and repeats the process. He does this whether you've actually subscribed to Arcane Brilliance or not. It's all a bit creepy, but at least it's free.

Let's take a moment and talk about utility, shall we?

This week, I'm going to present the case for mages as the single best utility class in the game. Sure, druids bring their gifts of the wild, death knights bring their horns of winter, shaman bring their bloodlust/heroism, warlocks bring their evil little cookies and their obscene body odor, and rogues bring ... a tendency to stab things in the back ... but mages -- I think you'll agree after I pound it into your heads for the next thousand words or so -- are the kings of utility.

You may think of us (and many of us may think of ourselves) as simple purveyors of arcane destruction. We trade in damage, humble merchants of death, standing behind someone wearing more substantial attire, churning out our fireballbolts and frostmadoodads and whatnot until the boss keels over, like any good ranged DPS class should. While this is our essential function, I'd like to spend this week's column shining a spotlight of sorts on the other things we bring to the proverbial table.

Protip: one of the things we bring is a literal table.

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

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 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

Ask a Beta Tester: It's all about the money


We have a lot of profession questions today, but also a few about Achievements, the Beast Mastery 51-point talent, and what happens when you push Death Knights off a cliff:

Riley
asks...

How is the Shaman Hex ability working? Does the target still have control of movement and does the PvP trinket work against it?

Hex is a the crowd-control spell for Shamans referenced by the devs at the class panel here, and it's been tinkered with a lot since we first heard about it. It was originally meant to be more of an emergency-only, short-duration CC. In its present form, Hex's duration has been increased to 30 seconds and it doesn't necessarily break on damage. However, in PvP the target can control where they go, the PvP trinket does work (you can also shapeshift out of it as a Druid), and it's considered a curse and can be dispelled by Mages, Druids, and restoration Shamans (who will have the ability do dispel curses with a 31-point talent Cleanse Spirit). Think of it as a somewhat odd combination of Counterspell, Fear, and Polymorph.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Shaman, Herbalism, Alchemy, Engineering, Tailoring, Enchanting, First Aid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Economy, Expansions, Features, Classes, Making money, Enchants, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription, Achievements

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