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Posts with tag world-of-warcraft-mage

Arcane Brilliance: How long will my gear last me?



Each week, Arcane Brilliance emerges from the sewers beneath Dalaran, weary from dueling (and winning!) over
and over in the Circle of Wills, to deliver to you a column about Mages. What's that you say? What good are sewers in a floating city? Where does all the sewage go? Does the city drift over the countryside, forever trailing a series of sewage waterfalls? Ah, but you forget: Dalaran is a city of Mages! Even our poo is magical.

After reading our own Adam Holisky's excellent post on upgrading tanking shields in Wrath, I decided I wanted to know how long my Mage's gear would last in the frozen north. It's a fair question, and I suspect a common concern. We've worked hard for our shiny epics--either by raiding like crazy or grinding for honor or Arena points, and often a bit of both--and the thought of leaving them behind in one of the expansion's first zones for some green quality item that drops off a random mob is a little bit depressing.

We want to feel--in these last months before Wrath arrives--as if our efforts have not been in vain. If we're still rolling in Karazhan gear, is it worthwhile for us to spend the time upgrading? If our guild has worked its way up through Sunwell Plateau, are we going to replace that gear right away, or will it last us a few levels? How motivated should we be to try to obtain the best that Burning Crusade has to offer before making the trip to Northrend?

Well, fear not. Arcane Brilliance is here to show you how long you have before you retire your level 70 purples. And relax: it'll be longer than you think. Come back after the jump, won't you?

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Filed under: Mage, Blacksmithing, Tailoring, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Leveling, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Deep Freeze



I have to admit, when the three 51-point Mage talents were revealed, Deep Freeze was the one I was least excited about. In its initial form, the spell was 1.5 second cast, 5 second duration stun that only worked on frozen targets. Ok.../golfclap. I shelved the spell in the dark recesses of my brain and devoted most of my time to pleasant fantasies involving Arcane Barrage, Living Bomb, and a lot of Gnomes.

Then a funny thing happened. Over several new beta builds, the spell actually became good. When I finally got into the beta and was able to take the spell for a test-drive, I discovered it was very good. Not perfect, mind you, but highly effective.

Damage was added to the spell. High damage. Then the cast time was removed, making it instant. The spellpower coefficient remained what it had been when it had a 1.5 second cast. All of a sudden, Deep Freeze was an instant-cast nuke with a reasonable cooldown that also delivered a stun mechanic. Suddenly, the spell had become...well, pretty awesome, actually.

So how does it work in practice?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.0.2 and you



Each week, Arcane Brilliance journeys to the heart of Mageland, braves all the perils of Blinking backwards, premature sheep-breakage, and table-ninjas that infest that mystical place, and returns triumphant, bearing with it the spoils of its epic victory: one-to-two-thousand words, a center-aligned image of some type, and several dozen Wowhead links. It then distributes these treasures among the citizenry, spreading word of its conquests throughout the villages and townships, before kneeling before the King of Mageland and presenting him with the head of a Warlock.

And there is much rejoicing.


I don't know about you, but the idea of patch 3.0.2 scares the living crap out of me. I mean, I'm excited about a lot of it--changing my Mage's hairstyle and restoring his lower jaw, for instance (it still perplexes me how a barber can alter my entire facial structure)--but there are things about the impending patch that absolutely terrify me. Chief among these is that free respec.

Choosing a spec on the beta, where respecs cost a whopping 1 copper, has been difficult enough. Almost every talent we have now will be changed (in most cases improved), moved, or flat-out abolished when the patch hits, and many new talents will appear. Believe me when I say that none of the currently accepted level 70 talent specs will remain intact. In many ways, Mages, like every other class, are getting what amounts to a complete class reset. Everything we know about talent builds will essentially have to be forgotten and relearned. Even raids your guild knows frontward and back will become a crazy new adventure, and PvP will become a giant crap-shoot. The good news is that for at least that first week, the Arena playing field will be leveled completely.

But don't worry. Arcane Brilliance is here to help. Follow me after the break to see what kind of fun we can have with our 61 talent points after the patch hits.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Mages in the beta



Each week, Arcane Brilliance conjured up a sizable serving of delicious Mage cookies for everyone to enjoy. This week, special thanks goes out to a very generous reader who wishes to remain anonymous, but was selfless enough to donate his beta key to Arcane Brilliance, for the the benefit of all who read it. To that wonderful reader, I say thank you, thank you, and every time I kill something, I will kill it in your name. When I Cannibalize the corpse, though, that's all for me.


Let me begin by saying the beta is awesome.

After six hours of downloading and installing, several more hours of patching, and approximately seventy-three different server crashes and shutdowns, I've been able to spend a solid four hours on the beta so far. In those four hours, I've respecced no less than 8 times. I've cast Living Bomb on rabbits on multiple occasions. I've gotten a whole two bars of the way to level 71. I've been impressed with or disappointed with but always amazed by almost everything I've seen and done. There's such an overwhelming sense of newness that pervades the entire experience, it's difficult to adequately describe.

Four hours may not be long enough to do a lot of things (I swear it took me like a half-hour to navigate from the top of the zeppelin platform at Vengeance Landing to the bottom), but in experimenting with the new talents I've had plenty of time to formulate some strong opinions. There are things I like, and thing I don't, but in both cases I'm almost embarrassingly excited.

Join me after the break for the all the highs and lows four hours can deliver, and I promise not to spoil any plot points. If you don't wish to find out which talents seem to work well and which don't then stay away, but otherwise you're safe.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Glyph-hanger



Each week, Arcane Brilliance inscribes a glyph into the greater glyph slot of your Saturday afternoon. It's called the Glyph of Mageosity, and it Mageifies the entire rest of your day. A few words of warning, once your day has been Mageified: you may find fire bursting from your fingers at inopportune times. You might discover that certain nearby people who were formerly human may now be sheep. Also, for the rest of the day, you may want to avoid any contact with Rogues or Warlocks.

As you may have noticed, build 8820 has touched down in beta land, and with it we Mages finally have our first real taste of how Inscription will affect us as a class. There are still a great many things we don't know about these glyphs, but just having a list and knowing that Glyph of the Penguin won't be our only reason to track down an Inscriber in the expansion is newsworthy. I mean, I'm as excited to turn a Warlock into a penguin as the next Mage, but I'm glad to finally have some idea what our other glyph options will be.

Now, I'm still not one of the fortunate few who've gotten into the beta, so sadly I have no first-hand information to pass on to you. I'm sure that a goodly number of Mages more blessed than I are logged into the beta, busy testing out damage numbers as we speak, and I look forward to reading their euphoric and/or rage-filled forum posts later on...reading and dreaming and plotting to kill them and steal their beta keys. For now, though, you'll have to make do with my own uninformed and hastily formulated analysis of these forthcoming glyphs. Frankly, I wouldn't offer you anything less.

Join me after the break for the full list of Mage glyphs, and as much hyperbole and bias as you can shake a Chilly Slobberknocker at.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Forecasting Frost



Arcane Brilliance is a weekly column about Mages. It contains text. We promise the word "Mage" will appear with moderate frequency within the body of said text, possibly near such modifiers as "awesome" or "god-like." The word "Warlock" may also appear once or twice, sometimes in close proximity to such phrases as "ridiculously overpowered" or "I hate Warlocks." That's really the extent of what we promise, here at Arcane Brilliance: text, Mages, and Warlock-hating.

Indulge me for a moment before we get to the Frost tree:

I'm beginning to recognize a pattern forming. Each week, as Blizzard tweaks the talent setup in the Wrath beta, I'm becoming less and less inclined to complain. I know...I know. I'm a Mage. You poke a Mage with a stick, and QQ comes pouring out. We're all angry emo virgins, sitting at home blogging furiously with keyboards made completely out of tears about how the colors are too bright in Diablo III and writing free-verse epic poems about how Living Bomb caused our parents to divorce.

That's just it, though: lately, I've found I'm all out of QQ. I've put my mascara-stained Sephiroth pillow back on my bed and stopped mailing locks of my greasy dyed-black hair to Kalgan, and have instead started to feel something very close to optimism. It's been building since I hit rock bottom after the WWI to the point where now I feel pretty good about the direction we're heading as a class. As you may recall, It wasn't that long ago that I felt far differently.

Join me after the jump for more positive thinking followed by enough Frosty goodness to give you brain-freeze.

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

Arcane Brilliance: The future of Fire



Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a healthy dose of Mage opinion and analysis. Most of the opinion is extremely biased and borderline libelous, and the analysis tends toward hyperbole and slander, especially when the topic of Warlocks comes up. In fact, here at Arcane Brilliance, we feel that you can never have too much Warlock slander. Especially against Gnome Warlocks.


Leave it to Blizzard to change the Arcane tree substantially the week after Arcane Brilliance's detailed look at that very same tree. I'm sure they did it to spite me, because yes, I do firmly believe everything is totally about me. Anyway, here are the notable changes, before we get to the giant unequivocal "meh" that defines our analysis of the Fire tree in Wrath.

Arcane Impact has been changed into Spell Impact, and now increases the critical strike chance of not just Arcane Explosion and Arcane Blast but also Blast Wave, Fire Blast, Ice Lance, and Cone of Cold. This makes it a much more versatile and beneficial talent, affecting spells from every school of magic.

Student of the Mind has been moved to tier 3 and now increases your total spirit by up to 12% over 3 ranks, while Potent Spirit (which gave increased chance to crit based on your total spirit) has been removed altogether. It looked for awhile there as if Blizzard intended to really increase spirit's usefulness to Mages, but I guess we should have called "no take-backs" on that one, huh?

More Arcane changes after the break, as well as a few long sighs and downcast looks as we discuss the future of the Fire tree.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Why Frostfire Bolt could change everything



Each week Arcane Brilliance serves up a big slice of Mage-cake. Of course, Mages have a very different idea of what it means to "bake" and then "frost" something, so Mage-cake might not be quite what you're expecting. Unless of course you were expecting a blackened husk of indeterminate (vaguely Gnomish) origin frozen into a block of ice, in which case you'll get exactly what you thought you were getting.


So last week was fun, huh?

I have to say, I expected some controversy, but nothing like that. My earlier column about how much I love being a Mage got 32 almost universally positive comments, which seemed quite respectable to me at the time. This one, in which I bemoaned what I perceive to be a very fixable problem with the class (the fact that our DPS doesn't balance out our incredibly poor survivability) is at 200 and counting. Reading through them over the course of this week, terrified to post any sort of response lest I be torn limb from limb and devoured, it seemed like there was no middle ground. Responses ranged from "Please consider discontinuing this article from here on" to "I think this is the most well written piece on this site that I've ever read." Of the 200 responses, I'd wager 150 or so were negative.

So what have I learned? You guys prefer optimism. Apparently.

This week, I went in search of things to feel good about. I do still love to play my Mage--much moreso than any other character I have--and I truly want to be optimistic about the direction we're headed as a class. Once I went actively searching for happy thoughts, I found they were out there, in abundance. In fact, many of them were suggested within those same 200 comments.

You see, as it turns out, Frostfire Bolt has the potential to be very, very nice. In fact, Frostfire Bolt could actually change everything. Come back after the jump to find out why.

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

Arcane Brilliance: How to fix Mages



Each week, Arcane Brilliance puts a Mage-related joke at the beginning of a column about Mages. This week, though, after the class panels at the WWI, Arcane Brilliance is not in a joking mood.


Warriors are unique in that they are the strongest, most durable melee class, can use all of the biggest and best weapons and armor in the game, and make highly-sought-after tanks.

Rogues are unique in that they can Stealth past almost anything, are downright impossible to hit at times, and can contribute incredibly high single-target DPS in groups.

Druids are unique in that they can shape-shift into awesome animal forms that amount to slightly lesser versions of several other classes, can be excellent tanks, DPS, and healers, have incredible buffs, and are the single most annoying Arena class in the game.

Priests are unique in that they can be both an incredibly effective caster DPS class as well as the best (and surprisingly durable) pure healing class, while providing some of the best buffs around.

Hunters are unique in that they can tame their own pets, then use them to tank for them while they sit back and provide top-tier ranged DPS.

Paladins are unique in that they are the only healing class that can wear plate, can perform the duties of the best multiple mob tanking class, the best single-target healing class, or an effective melee DPS class. Also, they have a bubble.

Shamans are broken currently, but will soon have some of the best raid-wide buffs in the game via their totems, and are still sort of unique in that they can spec to provide both melee and caster DPS, as well as very nice healing, and have an incredibly nice panic button.

Warlocks are unique in that they can provide what is possibly the best caster DPS, both single-target and AoE, have Life Tap, which makes their mana almost never-ending in groups where they have a healer willing to throw them a heal every now and again, have a pet which can add to their DPS, tank for them, destroy casters in PvP, or provide CC.

Mages...Mages are Warlocks without pets.

Ok, to be entirely fair, we can also make food and open a portal to Shattrath at the end of every instance.

Mages need help (Shamans need help too, but Arcane Brilliance isn't a column about Shamans). Come back after the break and we'll talk about what needs to be done.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Classes, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing your Mage for Karazhan



Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, where our spell hit is capped out, our damage is through the roof, and our crits are frequent and beefy. We're Mages, after all, and absolute power is what we do. Except against that Rogue last night--the one who seemed to be able to pop Cloak of Shadows every 3 seconds or so and never took full damage from anything even though armor-wise, he only seemed to be sporting some kind of ninja mask and a black jumpsuit of dubious fire-retardant value. No, against that particular Rogue, our absolute power amounted to having three of our spells resisted in a row, followed by us blinking away in abject horror, weeping like a child. That's right: fear Mages. We're powerful sorcerers, channeling the profound and unparalleled might of the arcane...unless you resist our spells, in which case we're just guys in dresses waving sticks. Feel free to jab us with something sharp.


Once upon a time, your Mage stumbled blearily out into Azeroth and cast his first Fireball at a kobold or a wolf or something. Then a bunch of other stuff happened, and now you're level 70, and you just bought your flying mount and used it to see how far up you could go before your graphics card stopped rendering the ground. After you screw around a bit, maybe quest out Netherstorm, run Shadow Labyrinth a few times and learn to hate the Blackheart fight, you may find yourself wondering what's next for your green and blue-clad wizard. Perhaps...another color entirely? Wandering aimlessly about Shattrath one day, you notice a fellow spell-slinger clad in a robe you've never seen before. Inspecting her, you are shocked to see the name of the robe is written not in green...or even blue...but purple.

Asking where such a treasure might be obtained, you learn a name that will consume your waking thoughts and haunt your dreams: Karazhan.

Your guild, you learn, frequents the haunted castle that bears this name, and would be happy to take you along...if you can be of some use to them within its shadowed walls. Your current hodgepodge of mismatched quest rewards and 5-man drops simply won't cut it. You must improve yourself, and quickly. But how? Read on, fellow Mages, and find out.

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Filed under: Mage, Tailoring, Blizzard, Instances, Jewelcrafting, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Worldwide Invitational

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage, 60-70



Mages sometimes get a bad rap. Some say we whine too much, while others claim we stink at PvP, or pull aggro too often from the tank. Here at Arcane Brilliance, we ignore these people, because we know the truth. You see, it's a well-known fact that while people tend to like awesome, they simply can't handle too much of it. When people see Mages in the back row, flinging giant balls of flame and ice from their fingertips, landing ridiculously large crits on everything, or plucking delicious magical food out of the air before them, their sense of what is and what isn't awesome gets skewed, and this makes them feel weird. They don't like it. They fear it. The awesome that Mages bring to the table is just too much for most folks to handle. Remember this the next time you get yelled at over voice chat, or someone posts a nasty thread on the forums. We Mages are just too awesome. It's our curse. Luckily, we can remove curses.

Last week, we hit level 60. A long time ago, this was the end of the line, the top of the heap. Once you hit level 60, your experience bar disappeared, and only by improving your gear could you continue to advance your character. That all changed about 18 months ago, when Blizzard introduced us to the world beyond the Dark Portal, 10 more levels of experience, and level 57 greens that were better than level 60 purples. Last week, we brought ourselves to the brink of level 60, to the doorstep of Outland, and this week we'll explore that vast and dangerous new frontier and see where it takes us. Join us after the break for a look at what to expect from the last ten levels of the current game.

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Filed under: Mage, Items, How-tos, Instances, Quests, Features, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Making money, Mounts, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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