Not dead yet!
The amount of mail I get is inversely proportional to the amount I post. Lots of posts, very little mail. Few posts, and I get so many e-mails that getting through them all is a half hour ordeal every day. And that’s if I don’t respond to any of them.
It’s actually flattering the number of mages who seek me out and ask for my honest assistance. It’s a big step, exposing yourself to a stranger for criticism.
Well, a virtual self that has no relation to the real you, anyways.
Naturally, the primary question I get asked is “halp my dps is crap!”
I’m noticing that the vast majority of you (you here used to refer to those mages who seek out my infinite wisdom) seem to be making the same mistakes over and over again.
Allow me to try and address those mistakes here and now, in an effort to help your fellow mages from repeating these same errors.
First and foremost, check your metagem and boot enchant. Those should be, respectively, the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond and Tuskarr’s Vitality.
Thankfully, very few mages come to me seeking aid and sport something other than a CSD. I still see lots of mages hanging around in game with absolutely ludicrous metagem choices (-2% threat? really?), but at least some of you are already well on the path of wisdom.
Tuskarr’s Vitality is something I don’t see nearly enough of. Allow me to explain why an enchant that boosts your movement speed slightly is far, far better than a paltry boost to crit and hit…
As a mage, you are required to DPS.
In order to DPS, you must cast spells.
To cast spells, you must be standing still.
If you are moving, you are not casting spells.
The need to move is inevitable. Nearly every fight will require you to move.
Thus, if you are running faster, you will spend less time moving.
If you spend less time moving, you are spending more time standing still.
If you spend more time standing still, you get to cast more.
If you cast more, your DPS increases.
See how that works?
Related to this, another very common mistake is to move too much. Let’s take the classic Void Zone situation. You do not need to run away from the void zone, you merely need to not stand in it.
Simply put, move in a precise and calculated method. Do not move more than a single yard more than you have to. If a VZ appears under your feet, you do not need to have a five yard buffer between you and the wall of death. A single yard or less is more than fine.
This is a very hard skill to learn to do subconsciously. You will, more likely than not, have to consciously force yourself to stop moving far earlier than you think your comfortable with.
You do not need a comfort zone, you do not require a space buffer.
Naturally, the same thing goes for opposite void zones. If it’s something you want to stand in, move as little as possible to get the buff. You do not need to stand in the exact center of the Blue Rune of Happy, inside the closest edge is more than sufficient.
The other major mistake I see are gem choices that can be best described as “wrong”.
Generally speaking, all but three of your gems should be Runed Scarlet Rubies (or better), with one of those gems being, of course, the CSD and the other two being +9 spellpower/[useless stat here] blue gems to support it.
Naturally, if you are a jewelcrafter, you don’t even need those two blue gems. Everything is spellpower.
It doesn’t really matter what type of +9 spellpower blue gem you get. The stats available to you are equally useless. Spell penetration provides you with nothing, so go with the stamina, mp5, or spirit versions instead. Those all provide you with next to nothing.
Speaking of useless crap, socket bonuses!
Most socket bonuses exist only to make you feel better about gemming inefficiently. Here’s a quick rundown of what to look for:
- Spellpower: pay attention to any spellpower socket bonus. Try to get these.
- Haste/crit: only pay attention if these are present in values higher than five, and only if your spec makes good use of that stat.
- Hit: only pay attention if you are shy of the hit cap, or are juggling gear to maintain the hit cap.
- Everything else: ignore completely.
Some quick examples:
Yellow socket, +4 intellect bonus. Ignore it completely.
Two blue sockets, +7 spellpower bonus. An excellent candidate for the two blue gems you need for your CSD. Otherwise, ignore it.
Yellow socket, red socket, +6 spirit bonus. Once again, ignore it.
Yellow socket, red socket, +6 haste bonus. Consider grabbing the bonus from this one, but only if you are an arcane/frost mage. Even then, probably safer to simply ignore it.
Two red sockets, +6 spellpower bonus. Irrelevant. You’d be putting spellpower gems in here regardless of what the socket bonus was.
Speaking of stats, please bear in mind what the stats your spec wants. Yes, it is different, however simplistic it is.
If you are a fire mage, you need more crit.
If you are not a fire mage, you need more haste.
These are universal constants.
Lemme put it this way.
Over the course of a raid, as a fire mage, half of your spells should be crits. Not joking. Self buffed, aim to get your critical strike chance close to 40% (this is NOT including any glyphs or the scorch buff). Your fire crit should at least be above 30%, preferably before you put Molten Armor up.
As an arcane or frost mage, you should be sitting at at least 10% passive haste unbuffed from gear alone. Your main nuke should be below a 2.3 second cast; aim for under 2 seconds. Again, this is all unbuffed and discluding talents.
If you don’t match or beat those numbers, take a long, hard look at your gear and see where you can improve.
If you are a fire mage, aim to have every slot sporting crit. Arcane/frost should try to have every slot sporting haste. You likely won’t ever be able to do that, but aim for it, and you’ll get the right idea.
And lastly, Glyphs.
Thankfully, I haven’t run into any mages who are glyphing horrifically wrong. Everyone seems to have a mighty fine idea of what glyphs to use.
Except that one guy with Glyph of Arcane Barrage. Seriously man, I hope you set that crappy glyph on fire.
Anyway, there is one thing I want to make clear.
As a fire mage, you should have Glyph of Living Bomb. Ditch Imp. Scorch if you have to, or even Glyph of Fireball/FFB if you must. LBs glyph is, right now, only a very large boost in DPS. You can get by without it, but you’ll be better off having it.
Patch 3.2 will change all that.
If you haven’t been paying attention, 3.2 is introducing three very important things for fire mages.
First, the periodic crits from LB (that the glyph grants) will be able to cause Ignite (which, yes, does contribute to Hot Streak).
Second, LB does not have a target limit. You can throw that puppy on any number of enemies.
Third, 2% of your base mana (or 65 mana) is restored every single time Ignite deals damage.
Do you see where this is going?