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Posts with tag strudel

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: The difference between good and great

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that believes frost mages shouldn't be the only mages to experience the joy of pet ownership. Reader Doidadetanga, aside from having more syllables in his character name than is reasonably necessary, sent in this picture of his very own Arcane Elemental, which (if Blizzard listens to my nightly prayers at all) will be a new spell in Cataclysm ... along with Anti-Warlock Bolt, the new 56-point talent in the Arfrostfirecane tree.

I'm about to make a bold statement (literally; it's in bold typeface):

I'm a good mage.

My GearScore is adequate. I am fully capable of putting out an acceptable amount of damage over an acceptable timespan. When folks want free food and water, I somehow manage to provide it for them. My dress is appropriately pretty, and my staff is sufficiently formidable in terms of both size and the manner in which I employ it.

I'm about to make another bold statement:

Anybody -- absolutely anybody -- can be a good mage.

I can, you can and yes, even that defecting warlock who has finally outgrown his dark eyeliner, Taylor Lautner posters and hating his parents can be a good mage.

The problem is, not nearly enough of us manage to move beyond that particular tier of magehood. I know I'm still working on it, five years after I started playing this wonderful game, and chances are you are too. There are a whole lot of good mages out there -- but not a whole lot of truly great ones.

But fear not, my fellow mages. Though I have not yet attained greatness, I can recognize it when I see it. I'm willing to bet a good number of you can, too. Follow me past the jump and we'll discuss the fine line that separates a good mage from a great one. Because I'm going to make one final statement, and this one isn't even bold:

Every mage can become great. Every single one.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: How to be a good PUG mage

Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that is incredibly proud of mages. We are, after all, the only class in the game that can conjure our own 5-man group, as evidenced by the picture above. And though our mirror images may not be too bright, I'd still take them over about 3/4ths of the folks I PuGed with last night.

Holy crap. I'm not even kidding. It was like some kind of idiot convention, and I was the keynote speaker. I came in with some prepared remarks, like "Don't stand in the green stuff that looks like poison, because it is poison," "when he begins spinning his giant sword around like a whirlwind, it's because he's doing Whirlwind and you should get out of the way," and "Warlocks drink their own pee," but ended up just sighing and shaking my head a lot.

This whole Dungeon Finder tool is incredible, right? My head has been spinning since the patch dropped, marveling at the ways it has already changed the game, both for good and ill. Suddenly, PuGs are the norm, not the exception. Each instance is a complete unknown, and not just because you don't know which one you're going to get. Is that rogue going to inexplicably decide to eschew his formerly stealthy ways and take up tanking? Who knows? Is the pally healer who just joined specced ret? It's not as unlikely as you think. Did that warlock really just go afk during the boss fight, then return only to need the Frozen Orb and drop group? Yep, he did. Outstanding.

It works the other way, too. There I was, minding my own business, happily spamming Arcane Blast on some kind of giant disgusting undead guy, only to see him turn and begin lumbering over in my direction. OK, I thought, I'll just stop casting, let the tank snatch him back up. Only that doesn't work. I look over at the threat meter to see that I have like three times more threat on that mob than anybody else. In fact, the only two other names on the threat list were the tank and the healer. That's right, I had been pew pewing the wrong giant disgusting undead guy. The fight ends with me reduced to a stain on the floor, and nobody to blame but my own stupid self. Sometimes, when you can't spot the nub in the room, it's because the nub is you.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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