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Posts with tag wrath-mage

Arcane Brilliance: I still don't like spirit



Each week Arcane Brilliance delivers a column about Mages to you, and you, in turn, deliver Mages to the column. Thank you, Mages. Some of you deliver Warlocks to the column. Screw you, Warlocks.

Wow. Just a warning: I got done watching the series finale of Battlestar Galactica like 5 minutes ago, and I cried like a little girl like 12 times throughout. I'll try to keep it together long enough to successfully complete this column, but holy crap. That was some pretty stirring stuff right there. Let it be known that I'm not too big a nerd to completely lose it during the final episode of BSG. Wait...maybe that actually makes me a bigger nerd? I don't know. I'd like to think there are bigger dorks than me out there, and they're probably twittering about plot holes and scientific inaccuracies and how Ron Moore is the antichrist or whatever as we speak. At least I'm not doing that. I'm bawling like a baby, but I'm not nerd-raging about a sci-fi show on the interwebs, right? Now if you'll excuse me, I have to write a column about the latest nerfs to the Mage class in World of Warcraft.

Seriously, patch 3.1 can't come soon enough, as far as I'm concerned. You know why? Because when it arrives, it'll mean Blizzard is finally done nerfing us.

Now, granted, Mages on the live servers are definitely on the good side of the class-balance pendulum right now, so it makes a certain amount of sense, given Blizzard's never-ending quest to make everything in the game identical, that we were going to see a few nerfs. Knowing that doesn't make watching it happen any more fun. It's sort of like having a gangrenous limb amputated, only having to be fully awake throughout the operation, and having it take place bit by bit over the course of several months. For frak's sake, just knock us out and don't wake us 'til it's over. You can find the details on this week's chopping--along with my feelings on it--after the break. Bring some novocain, won't you?

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

Arcane Brilliance: Changes to the Fire tree



Each week Arcane Brilliance Blinks behind you and hurls a Fireball full of Mage content up your tailpipe. It stings, yes, but the burning sensation is only temporary. Just wait until you see what the Warlock gave you. It's nasty, and trust me when I say that it won't be going away anytime soon.

I've been neglecting Fire Mages, I'll admit it. Before you wind up a Pyroblast and point it my way, hear me out. There's a reason. Since we Mages stepped our flimsy, cloth-clad feet onto the shores of Northrend those several months ago, we've gone through a decent amount of changes. Unfortunately, very few of those changes were to the Fire tree. The news-making specs have been everyone's favorite love-it/love-to-hate-it spec, Arcane, Frostfire, and to a lesser extent, Frost. With so much to report on regarding the other specs, Fire has sort of been put on the back burner (yes, you can expect more bad puns as we proceed--you have been warned). It still blows stuff up like it always has, but does so in as quiet and workmanlike a fashion as a spec that conjures enormous explosions can. Fire Mages are still out there, Fireballing away in relative obscurity while the next Mage over throws his flashy Arcane Barrages or Frostfire Bolts, but there aren't as many as there once was.

I became a little excited when we were told that Patch 3.1 would bring "more survivability for Fire spec in PvP." Though it wasn't anything big or flashy, finally I might have something to report on regarding everybody's favorite fire-starters. Then the PTR patch notes came and went, bearing with them no real Fire-related change to speak of. I keep forgetting that the PTR notes change by the day.

PTR build 9658 has finally put Fire Mages back in the news. The changes aren't anything huge on the surface, but they speak to a new direction in Blizzard's design philosophy for the spec, and with any luck will lead to more changes. After the break, you'll find the complete changes, along with a look at the current and future state of Fire Mages as a spec. You wear your flame-retardant gear, and so will I.

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

Arcane Brilliance: Statistically speaking



Arcane Brilliance is a Mage column on a weekly spawn timer. It shows up all of a sudden on your computer screen or your iphone and starts wandering about, waiting for somebody to come shake it down for loot. What does this rare and wondrous column drop, you may ask? It drops a magical potion that, when imbibed, grants the magical ability to waste about 15 minutes of your employer's time reading a column about Mages. Hurry up and tag it, before the guy in the next cubicle does!


I'm listening to a playlist full of old NES chiptunes as I write this, Zanac, Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man, Crystalis, Shatterhand, Tecmo Super Bowl, Legacy of the Wizard--just some awesome old stuff, some of which comes from composers who went on to become even more awesome. I love the game music from that era; I find it absolutely amazing what those guys could make that tiny sound chip do. And yes, I am a massive and unrepentant dork. Why do I bring this up? I have the playlist on shuffle, and the overworld theme from Dragon Warrior just played, and it got me thinking about this week's subject: stats.

Dragon Warrior was my first role-playing game. It was my first exposure to such concepts as experience points, and leveling up, and hit points. Stats in games of that era were pretty simple. You had strength, which affected how hard you hit things, and agility, which...made you more agile? Who knew? That was about it. Hit points measured how many whacks you could take before you died, and magic points ran out as you used spells. There wasn't a whole lot to it.

When I first started playing WoW, knowing which statistics were important to my Mage and which weren't was comparatively simple too. As you leveled, you looked for intellect and spirit. At max level, you learned the value of a few other stats, like spell crit, spell damage, and spell hit rating. Generally, if it said "spell" in front of it, your Mage wanted it. Now, though, we have so many different stats--one covering every aspect of every spell we cast, and so many different ways to customize the amounts of each that your Mage's gear has--that it can be quite daunting trying to decide which ones to prioritize. Follow me through the break where we'll discuss the various caster stats and the relative value of each to our class.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage through Northrend



Each week, Arcane Brilliance rounds up all of the quest mobs in an area, gathers them all up into a giant, tagged, frozen gaggle, then AoEs them to death while everybody else has to watch and wait for the respawn. Just kidding, Arcane Brilliance doesn't actually do that at all. Why? Because that would make Arcane Brilliance a selfish jerk. I'm not even making a joke here. I'm saying in thinly veiled code to that Gnome Frost Mage in Gjalerbron yesterday, "you, sir, are a selfish jerk." Ok, so maybe the code isn't even thinly veiled. Maybe it isn't even a code, exactly. All I know is that one of these days, I hope you forget how much mana you have, and run out right when you've gathered an extremely large group of quest mobs, and that those quest mobs then surround you and tear you limb from Gnomish limb while you mash your Ice Block button in vain. Jerk.

So, apparently an expansion came out, or something? Seriously, what are you doing here, reading this? I'm going to assume that you're trapped at work or something. Don't despair! There's still time for you to cultivate a nice, wet, contagious-sounding cough, something that can only be cured by a bit of time off, spent nursing yourself back to health in front of your computer, killing zombified murlocs and getting sea-lions to mate with each other. Not that we don't want you here, of course. We here at WoW Insider appreciate every second you choose to spend here. But holy crap, Wrath of the Lich King is awesome.

Follow me after the break, and we'll discuss the process of leveling in this strange new continent, list a few leveling builds, and just generally blabber on about how awesome everything is.

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

Arcane Brilliance: On Deep Freeze



Each week Arcane Brilliance invites Mages everywhere to read a column about themselves. It then invites Mages to cast Mirror Image and have their copies read it also. It then invites those mirror images to in turn cast Mirror Image upon themselves, and those copies to cast it as well. In this way, Arcane Brilliance intends to become the single most viewed page on the web. Get casting!


Let me preface this by saying that if you are one of the many who label anything written by a Mage that isn't full of sunshine and candy canes as complaining, crying, or QQ, you may want to just stop reading right now. Thanks for coming, post your "UR TEARZ R DELICIOUS" nonsense in the comments section, and then go back to tea-bagging your kills on Halo or whatever. This column is not for you.

Ok, gone?

Good.

Now that it's just Mages left here, we can talk. Last week I made a promise concerning Deep Freeze. This week I intend to deliver upon that promise. You see, since last week's column, build 9014 and build 9038 have come and gone on the beta, and Deep Freeze still does no damage. We still have no idea, at least not in the form of a comment by a blue poster, whether this change is permanent, intentional, or just Blizzard screwing around with things the way they're still doing with Arcane Blast, i.e. over-nerfing a spell for testing purposes. All we know is that the Frost tree's 51 point spell sucks. It sucked two builds ago, and it goes on sucking to this very day. As I write these words, Deep Freeze remains on the beta, sucking like nothing has ever sucked before.

Now I must do what I must do.

There will be no sunshine or candy canes after the jump. This I promise you.

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Filed under: Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Expansions, Humor, Raiding, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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

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

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

Skill Mastery: Living Bomb



Those of you who read my last Arcane Brilliance column may already know I'm not terribly fond of this spell so far. How much my dislike stems from using the buggy version of it that exists on the beta and how much comes from the spell actually being sub-par I can't be sure. We'll find out when patch 3.0.2 hits the live servers I guess, and probably not a moment sooner. In this edition of Skill Mastery, though, I will endeavor to be as fair and objective as I can manage. This could end up being a very, very good spell, if it lives up to its potential.

The 51 point talent for the Fire tree, Living Bomb is potentially a very fitting cap talent. The Fire tree has always been about blowing things up good and fast. Fire's purpose has traditionally been high single-target DPS, low survivability, and enormous AoE. This spell, current bugginess notwithstanding, is the natural evolution of that purpose. It has gone through multiple incarnations in its short existence, but the current form could end up being the best of the bunch once it works properly. Follow me after the jump for the details.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, 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

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