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Posts with tag spells

Breakfast Topic: Non-combat uses for combat spells

Obviously, all of our classes have a bunch of combat spells, and we use them in combat all the time. But when it comes to standing around the city, all of us might as well be clowns mocked up in different outfits, because we don't use our magic unless we're killing something. Of course there are also a lot of non-combat spells, such as mages summoning food and water, or warlocks summoning you and me. But is there any use to some of our combat spells for those times when we're not in combat?

The greatest non-combat use I can think of for combat spells is in roleplaying, such as the frost-mage gnome I featured in an article, who had such a horrible cold all the time -- she would sneeze and Frost Nova at the same time for a really fun character effect. I'd love to hear some more of these roleplaying ideas, but I'd also like to hear from non-roleplayers as well. How do you use your spells to entertain yourself or your friends, without killing something at the same time?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, RP

Warcrafter does the heavy math on your character's stats

Amanna is the latest blogger to bring up Warcrafter, a nifty little online application that is basically the Armory on speed. It'll not only pull up your character, your gear, and your talents, but it'll use all of that information to calculate everything you'd ever want to know about your stats, including DPS, crit percentage, spellpower, and even where all of those things come from. It'll even go into your spells, and calculate the average heal or average damage of your most-used spells and abilities. Warcrafter tells you everything it can calculate about your character, directly from the numbers pulled out of the Armory. Fascinating to see.

There is also a sandbox page, which is everything an aspiring theorycrafter would ever need to make up the character of their dreams. Punch in a class, race, and gear, and then go to town shifting around buffs, weapons, talents, and anything else you'd want to check. Cerberus is an attentive creator, too-- if there's a calculation off or a piece of gear missing, he seems more than happy to add it in. I only hope that we don't crush the site with our exposure.

The sandbox page mentions something about "locking" the character, and it would be cool to have a quick permalink setup for created characters (we could have someone show off all the buffs/gear needed to get the Ghost Wolf taming cast time down, or show off the highest possible spellpower available in the game so far). But other than that, Warcrafter is a great piece of web-based software. Very cool way to inspect every single aspect of your character out of game.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Buffs

PTR Notes: Aimed Shot changed again

A few hours ago, Eyonix posted on the WoW forums regarding another change to the Hunter skill Aimed Shot in patch 2.3. The ability, which has already gained a healing debuff akin to Mortal Strike, will now also have a reduced cast time. The shot will now take a flat 3 seconds to perform, which is a half a second drop from its previous time of 3.5 seconds. In addition, Eyonix also mentioned that the developers are monitoring the ability's effectiveness and may further reduce the cast time after 2.3 goes live.

As is often the case on the WoW forums, there is a rather large outcry over this change, the latest in a series of buffs to hunters. In discussing and defending the change, Eyonix suggests that the developers are trying to make this skill more appealing to the class in addition to helping them be more viable in PvP overall. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Talents, Forums

Growing confidence

Of course, there's such a thing as overconfidence, and I'm sure that we've all met those players who go well beyond overconfidence and into full-bore cocky arrogance, but it's still the case that as we play the game we have those little epiphanies where a new understanding of how to use all of those expensive to train abilities blossoms. It's a fantastic feeling, that sense of pulling out a victory when failure would have been your reward before, of figuring out that proper combination of intervene - intimidating shout - thunderclap to save your healer or managing to walk out of a six mob train in one piece for the first time. It signifies the beginnings of true mastery of a class, when you suss out for yourself how to best make use of all the options available to you.

One of the reasons I'm so addicted to playing Warriors (and I'm not alone, it seems, as this post from Mike brought to my attention) is that I got to have that feeling multiple times, once with each spec/character I leveled to 70. It moved me from a diffident tank to one who would willingly try and tank any mob in the game, knowing that my skills were up to the task. Similarly, I've had that sensation of 'Ah, that is how a shaman kills three mobs aggroing at once' as well as 'Do not die on me... I love you, Nature's Swiftness' by leveling my two shamans, and even my tiny ret/prot pally has given me that sense of wonder and accomplishment recently by being the hero on a Archaedas kill.

Now is when we turn to you, gentle (and not so gentle) readers: have you had a breakthrough while playing that revealed a whole new facet of your character? Done what you would have believed impossible, saved the day, or just learned something new about your class? Felt like you took a step towards mastering the playstyle or even just figured out that an ability actually did something cool? The comments await you.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Classes, Alts

The ten commandments of honorable dueling

Dueling has a bad reputation, I think. Too many players see it either as a way to brag about their own skill (or, more likely, time investment), while many other players see it as a way for the first group of players to do that at their own expense. I love dueling, whether I win or lose, because it's a great chance for me to see if I can use everything in my arsenal to the fullest, as well as see another player working against me, hopefully at their best. A great duel is a chance for two players to duke it out and have a great time without anybody dying, while a terrible duel (and the perception of most duels, I think) can be a humiliating or confusing experience.

And so, in my efforts to bring honor back to dueling, I present the Ten Commandments of Honorable Dueling in World of Warcraft. I've split them up into three sections-- Before the Duel, During the Duel, and Post-Duel-- and each one covers a point that has been corrupted or ignored among the worst players in dueling. No longer should we suffer from duel spamming. And no longer should there be jerks who gloat and taunt after a duel has taken place.

Dueling is a very interesting form of PvP-- it's not the large scale onslaughts of the battlegrounds or the smaller matchups in the Arenas. Dueling can even be held within factions-- it's a one-on-one skirmish between two players in the game. And unlike the Horde vs. Alliance shenanigans held in world PvP or the BGs, I believe dueling should be an honorable and respectful endeavor. Click the link below to read the Ten Commandments of Honorable Dueling.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, PvP, Features

Spiritual Guidance: Know your heals

Every Saturday (usually), Eliah or Elizabeth will bring you their thoughts on the Priest class with Spiritual Guidance. Whether it's keeping your fellow players alive or melting their faces, you can read about it here!

Healing spells are to a priest what fire spells are to a mage. Other schools tend to be more efficient in raids (shadow for priests, frost for mages) and are generally thought superior for leveling, but when you think of a priest, you probably think of heals first, just like when I think of a mage, the first thing I think of is a nice fat pyroblast headed right for me. So it comes as no surprise that we have quite a variety of heals.

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Filed under: Priest, Features, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Arcane Brilliance: Armor does matter, part 2

Welcome back to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, an homage to the mages we are, and hopefully a place where we can learn a few things that will help us along the way towards becoming the mages we want to be. When we last sat down together, we went through the different types of mage armor, their stats and uses.

As a result of the comments on last week's article, I tried a little variation in the use of the three armor types in my gameplay. You were right when you said that Mage Armor can actually give more punch than Molten Armor in instances; my addiction to crit was blinding me to the amazing damage that can be done when you don't run out of mana half-way through a fight. See, that's exactly what this column is all about, learning from each other how to become better mages.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

WoW Rookie: All you needed to know about stats, part 3

In today's continuation of our series on what the various stats in World of Warcraft do for you, we're going to be discussing caster stats. And, while a long-time player probably knows everything I'm talking about here, someone who's newer to the game might find spelling all of these things out to be handy. Curious as to how gear with +spell damage helps you out? Not quite sure how useful gear with mana per five seconds on it is for your class? You're in the right place.

However, before you keep reading, it's well worth it to check out part 1 (covering the five main game attributes) and part 2 (covering statistics effecting physical damage). Coming up our next installment we'll talk about defensive statistics (armor, dodge, parry, resilience, etc), so stay tuned!

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Arcane Brilliance: Armor does matter, part 1

You asked for it, in comments, in emails, and now it's finally here. It's high time we sit down and talk about mages, don't you think? Matthew Porter and I will spend some time each week discussing the finer points of the pew pew, hopefully sharing some insights and starting some debates. We can't begin to tell you how to play your mage, but we can offer suggestions gleaned from our collective experience with the class.

I would like to begin this odyssey into the world of magic with an unlikely topic: armor. When I first began playing the class, unlearned in stats as I was, I admit I tried my best to get items with as much armor as possible. But honestly, that's not the sort of armor I'm talking about. Each mage walks around with instant protection, and no, I'm not talking about meat shields either.

As we gain levels we attain various armor spells to help buffer us from the aggro we will inevitably pull from the tank. It's these spells that although not often talked of, give mages endurance to go along with their substantial power. As a caster class, mages are the only class to receive damage dealing armor in addition to protective shields. The shadow priest can bubble, the warlock has their Fel and Demon armors, but only the mage has a combination of both.

First, lets look at the armor spells available to mages. They come in three types, and each has very useful effects depending on the situation.

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

Mage Spell Calculator shows numbers behind the casting

From a forum post by Jonaleth, we find this nifty little tool that will tell you everything you ever needed to know (ever) and even some things you didn't about how your mage spells push out damage.

It takes a while to load, and the site seems pretty rickety (I really hope posting it here doesn't bring it down), but once it loads up, you can realize just how powerful a tool it is. Put your mage talents in, use the checkboxes at the top to fill out info about your gear and situation, and then the tool will show you average hit calculations,damage per mana spent total, and even all of the damage coefficients (up to 2.0.1, so Arctic Winds hasn't changed here yet) on each one of your spells.

Pretty incredible tool for mages, especially for those who want to squeeze every possible bit out of their class and spec. Jonaleth uses the guide as proof that frost mages don't get to churn out nearly as much damage as fire mages do. Well, umm, yeah. What else is new?

But Jonaleth is right-- this kind of tool does provide a really clear look at what we already know to be true. Now you can see in raw numbers just how crazy powerful Pyroblast is.

Filed under: Mage, Tips, Odds and ends, Classes

A crummy idea

Magimagic posted a forum topic that concerns all mages. He suggests, that since we summon food, water and gems and have access to the "summon water elemental" spell, that we should likewise have a "summon bread elemental." Now, certain posters mentioned some of the challenges that might come along with a bread elemental. Your elemental might aggro mobs around as soon as it is summoned. We all know ogres have huge appetites. Another brought up the valid point that bread is not, in fact, an element at all. And what reagents would be required for said summoning? A simple flour, no doubt, but I'm not sure how I would be able to find yeast in the game.

A similar concept has been brought up in a previous post regarding the summoning of water. I know I keep a bag empty to summon water and food for groups and raids, and I love the idea of not having to feed and water entire armies. I'm not exactly sure the bread elemental is something that the devs will pick up on, but it certainly is a fun idea. I mean, everyone loves the Pillsbury Dough Boy, right?

[via Tom Waddwell, image via Arturis]

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion

Polly wanna morph?

Last night we ventured back into Zul'Gurub, mudskunks in hand, for another unsuccessful attempt at the fishing boss. Although Gahz'ranka didn't see fit to drop my book, again, I was grateful for the opportunity. I don't know why I am obsessed with getting the third polymorph spell, but I am. In fact, I think there should be more of these little gems. I have often found myself in a group with another mage, and having a pig and a sheep certainly makes knowing who's target is who's that much easier. So I have been thinking about the polymorphs I have seen used by NPCs in the game, and the ones I would like to use myself.

Yesterday, after the ganking discussion, I started a blood elf warlock on a pvp server. I didn't get far, but I managed to get some apprentice discipline in before I switched characters. There it was, another polymorph I hadn't even recognized, and although I don't really want to be able to turn people into boars, it's out there as a possibility. I've been turned into squirrels, frogs, rats, chickens, even flowers. All of these spells are in the game, albeit as NPC abilities, and I think should be available to the mages willing to slough through the difficult task of getting them. The way I see it, the more variety the more chance for personalization of the character, and it sure would be easy to distinguish one mage's poly from another in raids.

Another idea on customization goes along with the concept of beauty parlors. Instead of having a lot of different animals, mages could quest for the ability to colorize their sheep. I've done it in other games, and this would be another way to distinguish targets. Plus, it would just plain be fun.

What do you think? Which animals would you like to see added to the list of polymorphs? Personally, I'm voting for polymorph: panda.

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion

I have portals, I know things

The other day I was helping a guildie with their mage as they reached 20. Thus began the long journey to collect teleportation training from around Azeroth. Something he said along the way stuck with me though. He mentioned that he hardly sees people asking for portals to Darnassus now. I thought about it, and would have to agree. I seem to sell as many ports to Darnassus as I sell to the Exodar. The cities are so closely linked, it's fairly easy to hop on a boat and be anywhere on Kalimdor that you need to be.

Why then the great level difference in the training? The portal to Darnassus still remains a spell you can train in at level 50, while the portal to the Exodar is a level 40 spell. This goes for the teleport spells as well, since the level for Darnassus is 30, while all the others are available at level 20. So in essence, all that bouncing around the continent starts ten levels sooner. I imagine that initially the portal to Darnassus was level 50 because it represents a greater magical achievement. You are now transporting a group across the ocean. Does the Exodar require less skill to use? You are still transporting people across the Great Sea. Wouldn't it in fact require more skill, seeing as how we have had a longer history with the Night Elves than we have with the Draenei? I am thinking that the developers might want to take a look at the level requirements for the portals. The initial level requirements seemed to support the lore. The training, as it stands currently, does not.

A possible explanation is that Night Elves shun arcane magic. However, they do accept the portal trainer within their city, so this argument doesn't seem to work for me. If they let that first mage in there to create the portals in the first place, why would it be more difficult for other mages to do so? Is there some sort of other explanation that I'm missing as to why there is such a level discrepancy with both the teleport and the portal spells to Darnassus?

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Priest racials

One unique thing about the Priest class is racial spells. Every race has their own traits for all classes, like Dwarves' Stoneskin and the Undead's Cannibalize. However, Priests also have special spells that are only available to certain races (each race gets two of the racial spells). Fear Ward is probably the most infamous; it's a 10-minute duration targetable buff that absorbs one fear effect, and is available only to dwarves and draenei. This leads to the common contention that the best race to roll for an Alliance Priest is dwarf, because Fear Ward is far better than all the other racial spells. Some racials are obviously trash -- my own Priest, being a human, has Desperate Prayer, which is a free instant self-heal on a 10 minute cooldown, and Feedback, a sort of very expensive mana-burning aura. Desperate Prayer is pretty decent, but Feedback is such utter rubbish that I can't even bring myself to spend the money on training it.

As you may imagine, this is perceived as a sub-optimal situation by many Priests, including this blogger. However, it's not immediately obvious what the best way to fix it is. Remove racials entirely, possibly making some of them baseline abilities trainable by all races? Keep the lower-powered racials and baseline/remove the high-powered ones? Eyonix recently said it's likely that at some point in the future, you'll see additional improvements to priest racials -- what improvements would you like to see?

Filed under: Priest, Breakfast Topics, Features

Warlock Spells: Incinerate

Warlocks get a few new non-talent related spells in the expansion pack. One of the neatest ones is called Incinerate. Incinerate is acquired at level 64, and it's a fire-based spell in the destruction tree. As you can see from the tooltip, it has a pretty average mana cost (Rank 10 Shadowbolt, learned at level 60, uses 370, this uses 325) and does less damage. Oh, it does less damage unless you've got an Immolate debuff already up on the target, in which case this does damage on par with a shadowbolt, with a lower casting time. For more on this spell, and a picture of the coolest casting graphic in the game, read on.

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Filed under: Warlock, The Burning Crusade

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