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Disclaimer: the solutions I offer were all thought of by me in the past few days. I do not claim any of them to be original ideas. Maybe I invented them, maybe I read a suggestion on some forum somewhere a year ago, maybe I just borrowed a mechanic from another class.

Problem: unpredictable and unreliable burst damage.

Generally speaking, when a class wishes to burst, they push a couple buttons which massively increases the damage they are capable of pumping out. A warrior pushes Bladestorm, a frost mage pushes icy veins, arcane mages push arcane power.

Fire does not have such an option. Fire has Combustion, which essentially creates guaranteed crits that crit harder than normal. This is going to become a common theme in the rest of the post here, the core problem here is too much RNG.

When a warrior pushes Bladestorm, he is dealing tons of damage immediately, possibly to multiple targets. When a frost mage pushes Ivy Veins, he is casting much faster, resulting in a huge increase to effective damage output. He can also use Deep Freeze and shatter combos. This is all immediate, on demand burst damage. (more…)

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Fire Questions Answered

In regards to the frag belt, as opposed to simply building the individual bombs.

If you want to use the cobalt bombs every minute instead of the belt every six, go right ahead. The belt is far cheaper in the long run, which is the only reason I consider it superior to using individual bombs.

I have not run into any situation where the six minute cooldown on the belt has hurt me. I simply do not use it more often than that. I have some individual cobalt frag bombs sitting in my engineering bag, but they have never been used. The belt has proven to be enough.

It’s also worth noting that the belt and grenades only partially share cooldowns. If you use a grenade, this puts both the grenade and belt on cooldown for one minute. If you use the belt, the belt is on cooldown for six minutes, but the grenades are only on cooldown for one minute.

I say, use both. Default to the belt if it’s up, if not, then use an individual frag. Best of both worlds and it will save you some cash. (more…)

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Dear Mr. Gnomeaggedon, Sir

I’ve had several pleas from the various far flung corners of the internet for help, regarding fire PvP. So without further ado, I will try my best to answer those questions.

First, gearing questions.

  • Ignore haste, crit and spellpower all the way

Haste is the best friend of frost and arcane PvP specs. Not so for fire! As a fire mage, the only spells with a cast time you will ever be casting are Polymorph and Scorch. Literally every other spell you ever use will be instant cast; you simply do not need to use haste for anything.

Instead, gear for crit. Your base PvP set has all crit, aim to get crit on every single piece you use. Buy the crit necklace, the crit cape, the crit rings, and so forth. If you end up with some haste from, say, your raiding weapons, that’s fine, just make sure your actual PvP gear is haste free.

Gem for spellpower and spell penetration. It might be tempting to gem for, say, crit, but don’t give in! Primarily you’ll want to gem Mysterious Dreadstones, and you’ll want to end up with around 120 spell penetration. This should nullify most of the resistances you meet in general PvP. Naturally, once you have enough spell penetration, fill everything else up with raw spellpower. (more…)

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Adapting Specs For Your Needs

A cookie cutter spec is not the end all, be all spec.

A cookie cutter spec is a base line spec that will serve you well in any situation. It is an unmodified car, the basic WoW UI with no addons. It will get the job done.

A cookie cutter spec, however, is not always the best spec.

A raiding fireball mage, for instance, does not take blastwave or dragon’s breath. But… what if that fireball mage raids 10-man and is the only non-healer ranged class in the raid? Suddenly those two talents become extremely good for the Deathbringer Saurfang fight, don’t they?

The cookie-cutter arcane spec, for instance, does not include Slow. But again, consider the Deathbringer example above. What if this mage doesn’t raid, but instead chain runs heroics? Slow is amazingly good in any kiting situation, whether that is due to a fight’s mechanic or tanks incompetence.

Sure, you could use frostbolt instead. You could very easily simply use a spell that takes around a second and a half to cast with a 20% weaker snare. Slow is better, of course, and will make the fight far easier, but it is still possible to be victorious without it. (more…)

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Talking About Forst Fro a Bit

As has been noted elsewhere, there is a macro that the warlocks discovered that can be a rather large boost to frost’s DPS.

I found a thread here, Lhivera talks about it here, and krizzlybear goes into great detail here.

The jist of this whole crazy thing is that you macro your water elemental’s attack (/use waterbolt) into your frostbolt. This forces the elemental to cast more often than it otherwise would. It is always a DPS increase to do this, though the increase itself can vary greatly.

It is very important you do not macro /petattack! If you macro that, it will constantly interrupt your elemental’s cast. Putting in /use waterbolt simply forces it to cast all the time, which it doesn’t do by default. For some reason. I don’t know why the elemental suffers from latency. This seems very odd to me.

I cannot imagine this being intentional. It feels like some inscrutable issue with the pet AI that some poor newbie programmer is going to spend weeks smashing his head into. Good luck, newbie programmer. Bring redbull.

I do not expect this issue to be fixed for quite some time, even the great “will fix every issue in the game ever” Cataclysm probably won’t fix this. In any case, frost needs every DPS boost it can get, so even if it is technically broken, a DPS boost is still a DPS boost. (more…)

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E-mails

I am getting your e-mails. I receive lots of them, read them, then sigh in deep regret because I can’t just dash of a quick couple sentences to them. Nearly every e-mail I receive would require time, effort and a lengthy response to adequately respond to. Yes, I could reply to a question about frost mages in arena with a quick bulleted list, but that doesn’t really answer the question, just addresses it.

I’m sure you see the difference.

I may only be in first year University, but I am taking second year level history courses. I went into the IB (International Baccalaureate) program in high school, which can be best labeled as the “International program for students who think they’re smarter than everyone else and want to prove it.” Oh do I have stories about IB… anyway, it means I get treated as if I have already done the first year course of whatever classes I took in IB and did great in.

University is hard, blah blah, not really, it just eats up a lot of time. Especially the history courses.

So in answer to all those people who’ve e-mailed me your excellent questions, consider this your public acknowledgment. Keith, Dan, Theodore, Ripples the Pengiun (I’m not kidding either), I got it. Your e-mail is safe in my inbox with a little frowny face tag.

I’ll get to them… hopefully…

My last final is Monday, I should have a LOT of free time after that to get out proper answers to them. (more…)

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Two Finals Down, Three to Go

My mom took it upon herself to talk to the manager of the bus drivers in my town. He wasn’t there (haha yeah), so she gets a call back from the head boss guy about an hour later.

“Hi, I’m Tom from Transit.”

So my mom said, tersely, her name. So he responded with…

“No, I’m Tom.”

Not even joking. So not joking.

Believe it or not, the conversation went downhill from there.

-=-

“We”, meaning us, meaning For Whom The Bell Tolls, have cleared ICC. Lady Deathwhisper keeled over, sexy rogue loot was handed out, then the elevator kidnapped me. It was hilarious.

At one point you have to fight a trash mob dragon with a million hitpoints. Your spell effects look absolutely monstrous on a model this huge. Our druid threw up Insect Swarm and it apparently looked like space invaders from melee. (more…)

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To The Congregation

Since starting this blog, I’ve avoided forums like they were a large group of diseased troglodytes. Elitist Jerks and Arena Junkies are the only forums I visit “frequently”, and the latter is only visited when I have absolutely nothing better to do. Hitting myself in the head with a textbook is included in “better than reading the AJ forums”, and “frequently” means once or twice a week, maybe, for a few minutes at a time.

The EJ forums I can actually enjoy reading, but me and pompous douchebaggery go together like water and more water, so that isn’t really saying much. The AJ forums are like EJ, but replace the “pompous” part with epeens and compensation the size of planets.

Both are actually pretty educational, provided you can survive them. You’ll need a fireproof suit, perhaps a sherpa, but it’s possible.

I was inspired by Megan to try and actively participate in forums again, because she’s right, as always. (more…)

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Amagah! Amagah! Amagah!

RAIDING!

Arcane brings the Ferocious Inspiration buff! 3% more damage for you and the entire raid for 10 seconds whenever you crit with any arcane spell! (Effect attached to our current Arcane Empowerment talent.)

A nice buff for arcane, it spreads out yet another raid buff to allow for even more raid flexibility if somehow your raid doesn’t include a BM hunter or ret paladin.

For my 10 man guild, this is nice, as both our hunters go the survival/marksman style route, and our ret paladin is going to be a full time tank from here on out. He hated ret anyways, so this works out well for everyone. I don’t change anything, paladin gets to tank (something he actually likes doing), and me DK friend changes from full time tank to unholy DPS.

You hear that? Yeah, that’s the sound of me destroying the damage meters. It sounds like hunters and rogues crying. (more…)

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Fire PvP

BOOM here comes the BOOM ready or not, haha how you like me now?!

LK has, so far, been the best expansion in history for mages. Multiple specs viable for both PvE and PvP, and patch 3.3 is gifting us with a PvE viable frost spec (or close enough for most people), and a fire tree that’s viable for PvP.

Wait, what? Hell yeah, fire for PvP.

Been paying attention to the PTR notes? No? Forgot? Here’s a ‘fresher:

  • Mana cost of DB and BW slashed, they’re cheap as dirt now.
  • Firestarter, that talent everyone ignores that gives you instant flame strikes when you use DB or BW, now also makes that flamestrike cost no mana.
  • Burning Determination now grants you immunity to the next silence or interrupt effect.

Fire already has other talents which edge it close to being a great PvP spec. Fireblasts that can stun, Living Bomb on unlimited targets, instant pyros whenever you crit twice, blazing speed, a disarm and anti-execute damage reduction.

In case you missed it, the Scorch effect applies all five stacks immediately as of 3.3. No need for the glyph at all. Hurray for raiding fire mages! The glyph is still around of course, providing a 20% boost to scorch damage. Bah, says the raiders, no one will ever take that. (more…)

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