Archive for November, 2007

$15 A Month

It comes with raiding guilds. It just does.
It’s called drama.
Where people freak out, yell things on Vent, and TYPE THINGS IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

There is no avoiding it.

Anathema downed Lurker last night. Again. It took several tries before it went well, and on the second last attempt there were some pretty big freakouts.
A couple people flipped about people not getting their asses in gear, blah blah blah, and just generally getting mad at other people in the raid for not holding up their end.
Then there was the following response:

This is a typical response to many of the people who complain about people not doing their job.

It is just a game. It is meant to be played. Have fun, enjoy what you’re doing, don’t flip out because a mage forgot to polymorph so and so, or a rogue pressed the Envenom button too early and ate a stormstrike that the elemental shaman was supposed to have.

And so on.

You have some valid points there. It really is a game. You really are supposed to have fun here. You’re paying $15 or so per month to play, so enjoy every minute of it, amiright?

But you’re forgetting something.

This is WoW. World of Warcraft. It is not an RPG, it is an MMO. A Massive. Multiplayer. Online. RPG.

You know what that means?

That you are not the only person here paying $15 a month. There are at least 24 other people around you paying the same thing.

See that orc up front in the heavy armor? He’s paying $15 a month to get the stuffing knocked out of him by everything from giant ogres to oversized jellyfish who shoot lasers from their eyes. Why does he do this? Why does he pay $15 a month to get shitkicked repeatedly? So everyone can have fun and enjoy awesome loots.
See that little troll at the back? The sexy one in the tight fitting dress? She’s paying $15 a month to keep everyone else alive. When the orc in heavy armor gets hit, she’s there to save his life. When something goes wrong, when some crazy ass naga goes around bitchslapping warlocks, she’s there. Why does she do this? Why does she pay $15 a month to live a high stress job of any wipe being initially blamed on her? So everyone can have fun and enjoy awesome loots.
See that Tauren at the back there? the big guy with the giant tiger named “Fluffles”? He’s paying $15 a month to shoot arrows into the bad guys. When the bad guys die, the tank stops getting bashed. When the bad guys die, the healers don’t have to heal anymore. He’s paying $15 a month because its damn fun to kill stuff.
To quote Shatha: “When I’m having fun, I want to kill stuff. When I kill stuff, I’m having fun.”
That Tauren, he’s here for murder.

So explain to me the logic that this is a game and you can do whatever. Explain that.

If you’re a tank, and you bust out a 2H weapon, and die, and then everyone else dies, you just wasted everyone else’s time. Everyone else does’t think its hilarious to watch a tank get one-shotted. You may have enjoyed your $15, but everyone else did not enjoy their $360.

If you’re a healer, and you start trying to DPS, then everyone else dies. The tank dies, the other healers die, and you die. Again, you just wasted everyone else’s time and money. Their $360 a month, wasted because you wanted to have fun with your $15.

If you’re a damage dealer, do the job right. Don’t pull aggro. Do your job, and hurt the enemy. Do your crowd control properly. Everyone goes home happier, and you don’t waste anyones time. Pulling aggro at the beginning of a fight with a 4k crit is NOT your job! Do it near the end, where you don’t put everyone at risk by pulling aggro from the tank.

Learn your job. Do it well. Don’t be an asshole. There is at least $375 a month at stake here, play it like you mean it.
And everyone, not just you, can have fun. And there will be phat lewtz for all.

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World War One, all over again

Ever since 2.3, there have been some major changes to Alterac Valley.
These changes, I think, were supposed to make it more strategical, and try to end the endless zerg rushing of pre-2.3 AV.

The very first iteration of AV was a monstrosity, filled with random NPCs, and even a random rampaging Troll. It has undergone many, many changes, streamlining the battleground into a PvP battleground again.
However, it is one that requires a great deal of execution compared to the Old AVs.

Pre 2.3, you got honor when you killed stuff. Thats it. So everybody bum-rushed everyone else, got tons of honor, and churned out thousands of honor.

Now, things are different. Do you still get honor from killing stuff? Damn right you do. 62 honor for killing the Captain, destroying a tower or bunker. You also snag a hefty 83 honor from killing the end general.
At the end of the game, your team is awarded 41 honor for having intact towers, and a living Captain.
So you lose honor when a Tower is capped from your side. You lose honor when Balinda/Galv get killed.
Furthermore, when one of your towers is capped, you lose 75 reinforcements. And when a captain dies, there goes 100 reinforcements.

In essence, the new AV requires a solid defence now in addition to a powerful offence.
If everyone from your team zergs forward, you lose honor when Alliance kills your stuff. But, if no one goes on offence, then you don’t get any honor from killing stuff.

The old Horde adage was “Defence is for pussies”. The whole horde mentality was one of simply swarming whatever needed to be done. In AB, for example, nobody would defend Lumbermill, because if alliance capped it, horde would simply zerg it back. I participated in this many, many times while leveling up, and witnessed 5-caps at 29, 39, 49, 59, and 69.
In warsong, traditionally horde would not have anybody on defence, and simply attack the alliance. Any defence the alliance had (which was generally 4-8 people) were simply steamrolled, and we killed the alliance flag carrier on our way back. That was how warsong was played. Alliance would put up defence, horde would annihilate defence, horde would win.
Over and over again.
Pre-70, thats how the game is played. I cannot say this is true everywhere, but on Stormstrike, if horde ever devoted more than 10% of its avaliable resources to defence, we would lose. Guaranteed.

But times, they did a-change.

And now AV is unfriendly to pure offence strategies.

So. You need to have some folk on defence, and they better be some damn solid folk.
Don’t misunderstand this. You do not win an AV by having Defence. You delay your opponents victory through defence.
All defence serves to do is slow down and hinder the enemies attack, while your own offence pushes through to ultimate victory. At absolute maximum, half the raid group will be on defence. ABSOLUTE MAX. You need a minimum of 20 people on offence if you expect to be victorious in any kind of timely manner.
So, where do we devide who goes on defence, and who goes on offence?
First off, the people on offence will be fighting a lot of NPC’s, while those on defence almost never will, and will almost exclusively be fighting other players.
Thus, people with PvE builds and gear should go on offence right off the bat, and those with PvP builds and gear are better suited to playing on defence.
Second, there are some very nice talents/abilities that lend themselves specifically to a role in AV. Rogues, for example, have been longstanding examples of excellent Tower-cappers. If you can “Ninja” a graveyard or Tower, you are an incredible asset to a team.
Any and all AoE fears are incredibly useful on defence. Priests and warlocks can ruthlessly upset the offence of the opposing team. In the same regard, a Druid’s Cyclone ability can be devastating if you cyclone the main tank of the other team.

You get the idea.

So where do we stand, as mages?

If you’re in Karazhan gear, play offence. You have better PvE skills, and will be far more useful to an effective offence.
If you’re sporting S2 arena gear, you’re better off on defence, as you’ll be more suited to the heavy PvP combat that comes from playing that side.

And now to specs.

If you’re arcane, you are very well suited to playing on Offence. Solid DPS and raid power, coupled with the brief PvP potential from those 3 minute mage abilities, will make you perfectly suited to playing Offence. When your offence runs into the enemies defence, you can pop those powerful abilties to steamroll them, and get right back on to killing Archers/whatever.

Fire spec is kindof a tossup. In general, you’re better of on Offence, putting those handy damage abilities to good use. However, abilities like Dragon’s Breath are incredibly potent, and can seriously shut down the offence of an enemy. A 3 second AoE stun is ridiculously powerful. Use it wisely, you can make a huge dent in, for example, enemy healers. Dragon’s Breath can also be used on offence, and, indeed, Blastwave + Dragon’s Breath can often single-handedly break a stalemate. The sheer amount of devastating damage seriously weakens your opponents, allowing your teammates to take them down quickly.
You will often die rather shortly after unleashing Blastwave/Dragon’s Breath on a collection of alliance/horde, however.

Frost is an amazing defence build. No if’s or but’s about it. Slows, roots, what’s not to like? You can frustrate any advance easily. The whole makeup of frost is mastery of kiting, and doing massive damage while the enemy is rather strictly controlled. In essence, it is perfect for defence. And if some brilliant people are defending with you, you can be unstoppable.
In old AV, I’ve witnessed 3 frost mages and a pair of warlocks stall the entire alliance offence for a good 45 minutes. Endless roots and fears kept them at bay for a very long time.

TL;DR version: play to your spec and gear. Prot warrior with 19k hitpoints? Go on offence and help tank stuff. Shadow Priest with 12k hitpoints and 500 resilience? Go on defence, and be the shade that wouldn’t die. Resto shaman in Tier 5, with mp5 so high it makes Holy Priests cry? Go on offence, and spam chain heal. Resto druid sporting S3 gear? Stay on defence, you will piss a lot of people off.

And if you find yourself in one of those stalemate AVs, where the whole fight is essentially btoh sides rezzing and killing each other every 30 seconds?
I feel for you.
Attrition battles in the new AV really, really suck.

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I experienced my very first AFKers in Arathi Basin today.

I was shocked. I was horrified.

I burst into tears at this heresy. Here we were, 11 horde strong, trying to fight off 15 alliance. For the entire battle, alliance held 2 bases, and horde held two bases, and there was always one or two nodes that were in conflict. Sometimes alliance would get three, sometimes horde would get three.
Sometimes Alliance zerged mine, and at one point alliance was capping everything except blacksmith.

And these ungrateful bastards sat in the starting room, getting their daily quest done for doing nothing at all.

Did I spam “AFK” report them? Darn tooting I did. I even went to the /bg chat and said “Report those damn AFKers”

To which some twisted soul replied “type /afk report to see the interface”.

After he said that, three people on horde side promptly left the battleground


So that puts horde at 8 versus 15.

I took off my clothes and danced naked at farm.

7 horde versus 15 alliance.

Did we lose? Yes, we lost rather horribly at that point.

Was I happy? Damn right I was.

Some jackhole AFKers aren’t getting a daily quest done on my watch.

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The Ultimate Raid

Sure, you may have cleared Serpentshrine Cavern. You may have beaten the Eye, finished Hyjal, and even managed to take down Illidan himself.
But are you ready?

Are you ready for the ULTIMATE test of your mettle, your abilities to withstand such incredible and chaotic forces, and yet still maintain control and do your job?

I am, of course, talking about the World of Warcraft Forums.

The official WoW forums are known to cause serious injury to ones ability to think coherently, and have been proven to cause a loss of all basic motor skills.

Here are some Gems of comments I found from the Mage forums. Whether they are said in all seriousness, or as a joke, well, take a guess! That makes it so much more fun!

  • Make ice block able to crit!
  • in a world where a zombie can summon and then launch bolts of ice from their hands, gravity is the least you have to worry about. (In response to someone suggesting that Ice block should be able to crush someone if the mage uses it while above them)
  • You mean this level 62 Paladin didn’t hit 2500 in every bracket and then come post about it in the mage forums? (It was a keylogger)
  • I could macro a Nintendo controller to play a 23/38 lock to maximum efficiency.
  • Did anyone actually read my post? (to which the response was) silly bunny, this is the mage forums! no one ever reads well thought out posts!
  • Oh pray do tell, how long does your CoC last ?
  • I swear, she told me she was 18!

Ehhh, not much of a post. But I laughed.

And its my blog. So whatever.

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How To Not Pull Threat

A very real danger to any DPS class is the risk of pulling aggro from your tank, and thus getting yourself horribly squashed, and potentially wiping the party.
If you have mad DPS, but keep pulling aggro and getting killed 15 seconds in, you are useless. Worse than useless, you are a liability to the party.

Don’t be the warlock who opens each fight with a Shadowbolt crit of 4k.

Don’t be the Boomkin who starts off every boss fight with a Starfire crit.

And please, for the love of all that is Mageness, don’t be the mage who fires off PoM + Pyro the same second the Paladin first hits the mob.

So, here are some strategies on mitigating threat, and how to work with your tanks to avoid being a dumbass.
You may not always be able to avoid threat, but you can mitigate it. (more…)

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Patch 2.3.2

Arena season 2 doth draw to an end, heralding the start of a new season of bloodshed and gnashing of teeth.
Less than a quarter moon’s cycle from now, a new season of slaughter will begin.
And lo, in this season of killing, a voice descended from the heavens, and did announce in a blue voice:

“I am Eyonix, your Lord and Master. I speaketh thus!
There are a few nice improvements we’re making to the mage class in patch 2.3.2 (a small patch that will be on the public test realms soon) and we wanted to share them with you. First, we’ll start out with two changes affecting all mages. Ice block will become a core ability, trainable by all mages at level 30. Additionally, conjure mana (rank 6) will restore 1800-3000 mana and will now have three charges, meaning you can use it three times before having to create a new one.

To be sure we’re clear here, yes, the same cooldown will still apply between usages. ­čśŤ

Cold snap will be moved to Ice block’s position in the talent tree and its cooldown will be reduced. As a side note, it will no longer reset the cooldown on fire ward. Moving in to Cold snap’s spot will be a brand new ability called Icy Veins. This new ability will decrease casting time for all spells by 20% and increases the chance that chilling effects freeze the target by 25%. It’s an active ability, lasting 20 seconds and has a 3 minute cooldown.”

And there was much rejoicing.

Ok, first off, I would like to say the following.


So. Let’s have a look at how this all plays out.

First off, the change to mana gems is very, very nice. Blizzard apparently does listen to the community, and the mages issues with mana seems to have been heard rather nicely. They already fixed evocate, a joyous change that was only dreaded by those mages that stacked spirit (/mock).
And now they’re fixing mana gems. Making them restore a far heftier chunk of mana, and giving it multiple charges.
Oh, God, multiple charges. That is a very sexy mana gem now. Now if only I could trade them to the healers in the raid group, I’d leap for joy. As it is I can only bounce up and down happily.

Ok, now to the meat.

Icy Veins.

Mmmmm….. tasty.
20% reduction in cast speed, and 25% increased chance for freezing. Will this be QQ’d about by other classes? Hellz yes it will. Will mages rejoice? Hellz yes we will.

Let’s look at it practically.

Let’s say you cast Frostbolt. It has a 2.5 second cast time, and a 15% chance to freeze the target it hits.
Activate Ice Veins, and that frostbolt now has a 2 second cast time, and a 40% chance to freeze. Therefore, in a 20 second window, you can cast 10 frostbolts, rather than 8.
And of those ten, roughly half of them will freeze your target to the ground.
And every time that happens, you can unload with a Frostbolt/Ice Lance shatter combo.

If Blizzard renamed this ability from “Icy Veins” to “God Mode”, I wouldn’t be surprised.
This ability, used right, is incredibly powerful.
Look at it this way:

This ability makes you do more damage. As well, any damage you do has a high chance of letting you do even more damage. And every time you do even more damage, you have a high chance of being able to do more damage. And so on, and so forth.

I’ll give you a paper doll example.
Let’s assume frostbolt hits for 1500, crits for 3000. Ice Lance hits for 1000, and crits for 2000.

Say you see some random mob. You activate Icy Veins and fire off a frostbolt. It hits the mob for 1500, no root. 2 seconds have gone by.
So you cast frostbolt again. This time it roots. (1500 + 1500 = 3000 damage so far) 4 seconds have gone by.
You cast frostbolt again, and add Ice Lance at the end to get a shatter. They both crit, for a total of 5000 damage, putting your total damage dealt at 8000. 7.5 seconds have gone by.
You cast frostbolt again, it hits for 1500 (Total damage is now at 9500). 9.5 seconds have gone by. Freeze procs again.
Another Shatter combo. Frostbolt doesn’t crit, Ice Lance does, but frostbolt procs Freeze again.

Now, at this point, only 13 seconds have gone by. You have dealt 13000 damage (thus putting your dps at 1000), and your target is rooted, ready to be struck with another Shatter combo.

So you see the power this will have?

It won’t be quite this good in PvP, as you have to take into consideration that your opponent will try to ruin your fun. As well, you have to factor in diminishing returns into the whole root equation.
Realistically, after the first freeze, the second and third ones will only let you have time to get off a single Ice Lance. And the fourth will be immune… until 15 seconds from the first has gone by.
Since the ability lasts 20 seconds, you will be able to get a full on Shatter combo in at the end, and at the beginning. And a couple Ice Lance thingies in the middle.

Now, toss in Water Elemental anf Frost Nova into here, And you could easily be looking at keeping your target perma-rooted for almost 20 seconds.
(Permafrost, W/E’s Freeze, and Frost Nova all have diminishing returns, but they are all on different timers at this time.)

When this hits the PTRs, I will be spending a LOT of time there.

Hell, I’ll probably spend the cash to do this on live servers too. ‘Cause it is, quite simply, that good.

And if you’re a mage trying to do Arenas without speccing frost… after Icy Veins gets introduced, you have no choice. You must be frost… you just have to. No if’s or but’s, your speccing frost if you expect to get anywhere.

And to the rest of you… I hope your Paladin’s Blessing of Freedom isn’t on cooldown.

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Arenas on the PTR

Thanks to Anathema and the joy that comes from raiding and shooting fireballs at Lootreaver, I will probably NOT be spending a lot of time within arenas on the live servers.
I will most likely be doing my competitive arenas on the test realms.

Here is my thinking:

Respeccing every week or so from raiding fire, to PvP frost would cost a fortune. Can I make up for it with dailies? Yep.


I could remain fire on the live servers, hit the honor cap, borrow 2k gold, copy my character over to the test realms, give the gold back, and spend all that honor and get a ridiculously awesome geared out dude on the test realms. Even better, I can copy myself four times to have 8k gold ready to go, if I wanted.
And… here’s the kicker. I’ve already done the latter with the PTR’s for 2.3.

I partnered up with a Blood Elf (female, obviously) for some hawt two on two action.

[Random rogue build that I could never even pretend to understand] + [Frost mage] = 1803 rating.

Thats right. You heard me. 1803 rating.

Don’t believe me? I would gladly show you proof, except I can’t, because for some extremely odd reason, whenever I hit the screenshot button, the screen simply freezes, and I need to reboot my PC. Natch, the pic is gone. Hoo boy I’m going to get some flak if I ever post that on the forums.

Anyways, where was I?

Ahh, yes.

So, on the 2.3 PTRs, our team was called “What Would MacGyver Do” after a T-shirt the rogue thought was hysterical.
His rogue, rather appropriately, was called “C├írcelcebo”, which is Spanish for “Jailbait”. Directly translated, he tells me, via the google translator.
Obviously, my name was far more simplistic, “Spade”. Named after the technical term for a shovel.

Anyways, our strategy was simple. Since “Cebu” (as I called him) was always stealthed, I’d open combat… in some way, and he’d go from there. My job primarily was to tank, at least until someone started targeting him. At that point I’d rush in and save the day, giving him a chance to Vanish or some such rogue thingy.

For example, one of our earlier battles was against a Warrior/Paladin team. Natch, the warrior rushed me, and Cebu went after the Paladin. It takes a good 7 seconds for the warrior to realize his healbot is being shitcanned, so he intercepts Cebu. At that point, I bust out the water elemental, and root them both. Thus letting Cebu to run off… leaving both the Paladin and warrior deliciously rooted. Being 17/0/44 specced at the time, I silenced the Paladin, and dropped a Shatter combo, and that was done.
NOTE: Cebu always ran with Crippling and Wounding poison up. Thats just what he did.

In general, our fights went very well. I’d always take the opening hits, and then Cebu would kill something. Almost every single fight went that way.

For example. Warlock/Druid team. He opens up on the resto-druid, correctly guessing the warlock was soul-link specced.
Natch, with Wounding poison, the druid is turned into a sad panda and is quickly slaughtered. The whole focus-fire thing is just awesome, especially when your partner is smart enough to tab target + Blind the warlock. We kept that poor warlock out of comission the whole time we killed the druid.
I sheeped him first off, which he trinketed out of. Then got blinded. When he came out of that, his fear was counterspelled by yours truly.
Poor little impotent gnome warlock.

As a side note, frost mages love soul-link warlocks. We really do. You know why? Because of that damage sharing thing, Ice Lance doesn’t break Frost Nova. Meaning, of course, that I can Frostbolt + Ice Lance + Ice Lance + Ice Lance before the thing breaks.

Meaning that I do more damage to you when you have your damage reducing skill active.

Feel free to cry. You won’t be the first.

Some other notes.

Enhance shammies were almost scary with 2.3. It’s almost a return of the juggernauts of the pre-TBC era. Scary-arse, relentless killing machines.
This is not due, too much, to intrinsic changes to the Enhancement tree. Quite bluntly, excellent shamans, who were resto up to this point, gave Enhance a try. Now, all these shamans are very good players, which means their nigh-unstoppable as enhancement, simply because they’re damn fine players.

Retribution Paladins are actually a threat now. In one battle, I was gang-rushed by two of them, and before I knew it, had taken three crits of almost 2k damage. !BOOM! There goes half my health to a fucking Paladin.

Did we still win? Yes, we did. Did I, personally, survive? Yes, I Ice Blocked, and let Cebu (who prided himself on his skill of slaughtering Paladins) kill one of them while I was blocked. It was an awe-inspiring sight, really, watching a Paladin be killed off in less tha ten seconds. Poor guy didn’t have a trinket, I think. He sat all the way through Kidney shot…

Anyways, a quick rundown.

Warriors were, in general, easy for me to kill, but almost impossibly hard for Cebu. In the arenas, he’d mostly annoy them while I killed them, and run away like the little girl his elf was whenever they targeted him.
A couple times, he was ham-stringed and killed by them. It made me laugh. He called me a jackass.

Druids are a tough class to beat as a mage. Well, when they’re played properly anyways. Insant HoTs, the ability to break/be immune to any and all CC effects makes them a dangerous foe.
Fortunately, for a rogue, a druid is pretty much a non-issue. /gank, /rinse, /repeat.
I’d usually just frost nova/rank one frostbolt to annoy them while Cebu did some creepy animal molestation thing involving a pointy object.

Hunters were… interesting. It fully depended on skill. Poor hunters were rapidly, and rightly so, annihilated by the two of us. Good ones were infuriatingly hard to kill for Cebu, but only a moderate challenge for me, depending on spec. In general, one good ambush from Cebu and a Shatter from me would spell the end for them.
At least a dozen times, though, Cebu was killed by the hunters while I was otherwise occupied running away from a BigAngryPet, Ice Blocked, or silenced. Once, I was even Wyvern Stinged and caught without a trinket/iceblock or anything else. (That was a survival hunter/affliction warlock combo… ridiculously hard on the CC-breaking abilities).

Mages were… well, it made me sad, actually. Our strategy came to this: sheep the mage, then start opening fire on the other guy. Cebu would rape the mage. If the mage was any good, I’d chuck a silence on him and wait for Cebu to get around to killing him again whilst I harassed the other guy. Usually I’d start casting polymorph on the other guy as soon as it had gone through on the mage, simply due to the fact that I expected the rogue to break sheep right away. I was wrong only once, when a fellow troll mage was arcane-specced and didn’t have a trinket.
Feh, Cebu killed the poor guy in about 4 or 5 GCDs.

Paladins were generally easy. I’d kite them, Counterspell when needed, and let Cebu sit on their heads and sing merry Irish jigs about revenge.

Priests were also laughably easy to kill, no matter the spec. We would ALWAYS focus fire the priest, and it would ALWAYS die really, really fast. Apparently, Water Elemental Freeze + Shatter combo + Ambush + Rogue resisting AoE fear (or trinketing out of it) leads to a very dead priest. And that is, of course, assuming the poor priest even gets a spell off. Generally, he had been kicked/counterspelled or even Blood Elf Racialed into impotence.
I pity them. I really do.

Rogue fights were hysterical. We developed a strategy, whereby if nobody was visible when we started, Cebu would walk almost right behind me. Usually, it would go like this:
Random rogue Ambushes Spade!
Cárcelcebo Ambushes Random Rogue!
Spade uses blink!
Rogue realizes he is basically fucked!
Rogue fights are generally determined by who gets off the first blow. That’s just the way it is. So when a rogue fights another rogue, it’s very similar to a knife fight in a phone booth, where the second rogue gets to shoot the first one with a musket first.

Shamans were almost a non-issue. Both me and Cebu can quickly shut them down and kill them. They died fast and often.

Warlocks varied a lot. It kinda depended how the fight started with one of them. Generally, if I fail to land a shatter early in the fight, it’s going to be tough. On the same token, if Cebu didn’t get to use an opener from stealth, we’re far, far worse off. Teams with warlocks we lost to on a very frequent basis. A warlock could keep Cebu crowd-controlled a long time; he’d have to blow trinket and CloS just to touch the damn thing a few times. Of course, when Cebu touched things, they died really fast. If Cebu was given at least 4-ish seconds uninterrupted on the warlock, we’d most likely be victorious.
Generally, we would quickly kill the warlocks partner and try to keep the warlock subdued (counterspelled, kicked, blinded, anything and everything).
Makes the fight soooo much easier.

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A Spartan way of Life


Fire in PvP.

I’ve been specced fire on the Public Realms for a couple weeks now, and I feel it is only fair that I provide a somewhat more in-depth analysis of how it plays out at 70.

Well…. where to start?

The first thing you notice is that the damage you can unleash on hapless foes is… ridiculously high.
Like, we’re talking I three-shotted a fellow mage in Arathi Basin. With fireball, fireblast, and Dragon’s Breath.
We’re talking I fight a rogue, and they pop sprint and run for it. To slow them down, I hit Dragon’s Breath… which outright kills them.
We’re talking a fireball/fireblast combo that drops a hunter from 100% life to 20%.
We’re talking sheeping a warrior, killing the paladin in 6 seconds, then slaughtering the warrior in another 8.
We’re talking a stalemate on the alliance bridge in AV, where a bunch of hunters/healers are bunched there holding off the entire horde offensive. And Blastwave/Dragon’s Breath scattering them like flax. And netting me over 20k damage done in 3 seconds.

If that isn’t a good enough idea, it’s effortless to top the damage charts when you’re in the game. The damage fire dishes out is at an unholy level, and I found myself the #1 kill target within minutes of each fight.
In a Warsong Gulch, I fought middle with a warrior and a holy priest. 66 honorable kills later, the alliance stopped trying to attack us. Needless to say, I was top of the damage meter, beating the number two slot by… get this… 202k damage.
I was even responsible for killing 5 alliance flag carriers, who made the fatal error of trying to “Go Tun”.

Quite simply put, Fire is devastatingly power of you leave the mage alone for 2 seconds or longer. And even then, it still kicks ass.

Also, sheeping something and getting off a full-cast Pyroblast is an incredibly evil and fun thing to do. Especially when it drops half their health in a non-crit. L2Trinket, imo.

The second thing you learn is that you are incredibly squishy. Like, we’re talking three shotted by a dual-weilding warrior squishy.
A geared Season 2 Warrior killed me in under 4 seconds.
That’s how squishy a fire mage in PvP is.

But to be fair, we have better survivability than arcane mages, because Dragon’s Breath, quite simply, is a godly spell. About 1k damage on non crits that stuns for 3 seconds? AND it’s an AoE?
I fully support renaming it “Summon Warlock” because it can be that devastating. It can shut down 5 or 6 healers at once, and do enough damage to them that they won’t be healing anyone else for a while… or ever.
As fire, there is no end to how badly you can fuck with a healer. First off, you have a ton of damage. Then, every fire spell you cast has a 10% chance to stun. Third, you have a ton of damage. Second… err… fourth, you have a spell that interrupts, stuns, has a chance to stun more, and does more damage. Oh, yeah, and Counterspell, which prevents any healing spells from being cast for 8 seconds.
Now, go find a Holy Priest. Make it your bitch.
Paladins are also acceptable. Please be sure to Spellsteal Blessing of Freedom and Frost Nova the hapless Paladin.

The tl;dr version: Dragon’s Breath is a sadistic spell, that causes emotional anguish among anyone and everyone who gets struck with it. Used properly, it’s like an AoE deathcoil with a twenty second cooldown.
Used wrong, you look stupid.

A critical problem with any non-frost build is the lack of a certian reliable crowd-control breaker.
Every mage has access to Blink and (unless you suck) a trinket. That gives every mage two reliable ways to break things like fear and stunlocks. But… thats not enough.
What if you need blink to escape Intercept? What if you escape Kidney Shot with it, but then find yourself Blinded seconds later? Hmm? What then?
Quite simply, to be better able to survive this highly unfortunate situations, you want, nay, NEED to have a third reliable stun-key (opposite of stun-lock… get it? Oh, I’m so classy!).
And that skill, that tool, is the godly Ice Block.
Damn, I’m like a priest for that ability.
I should go form the church of Ice Block or something.

I cannot believe how incredibly awesome that ability is.

And I am finding hard to believe how I survived without it.




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I’d like to take a break from our usual Magery programming, and discuss !!!FASHION!!!

The Dungeon sets for mages prove to be mostly an exercise in sadness.

Dungeon Set 1 (or Magister’s Regalia) is a futile attempt to try and visualize a high level armor set. It’s garish red and purples produce a horrendous effect that seems designed to hurt loved ones in the ugliest possible fashion. Seemingly concieved by a four-year-old, it would fit in very well… worn by the evil Wizard in a children’s story book. An excellent clown suit, by the way. Definitely a set to get for the cynical!

By comparison, the Dungeon Set 2 gets everything right where D1 got everything wrong. It has the same visual skin, but the colors transform it from something garish to something (shall we dare say it?!) SEXY! D2 has a much darker ambience to it, and the dark blues mesh SO WELL with the deep purples of the Set. The Sorceror’s regalia oozes “Cool” in the same way a diner hamburger oozes grease when poked with a spoon. You know you shouldn’t.. but you just can’t resist the calories! *Giggle*

Now, for the D3 sets, there are actually two varieties, and seem almost as disparate as D1 and D2. Incanter’s is just… AWEFUL. It seems to try and snag the dark ambience of D2, but completely loses the effect by adding ORANGE of all things into the mix. Orange is a very difficult color to pull off, clashing with pretty much any color imaginable. The Incanter set fails admirably, and ends up looking, regrettably so, “Fugly”.
Mana-Etched is a HUUUGE turnaround! The colors are a PERFECT match, and the pattern on the robe and the shoulder piece gives it such a smooth feel. It is visually appealing, with one excpetion. What is UP with that headpiece? Like a mini-UFO flapping around up there. This ruins the effect on anything except gnomes. On gnomes, its just ADORABLE!!

So now let’s hit up the Tier gear! (OMG RHYME!).

Tier 1 follows the same type of design as D1 tried, but actually manages to pull it off. Whereas the colors on D1 were terribly matched with the pattern, the T1 gear actually fits! The pattern offsets the disparate colors rather nicely, generating a sense of controlled chaos with the viewer. The headpiece and the shoulders combined is just… Haaawt. It works. It so does. Definitely feels a lot better on females, it just feels… off on a male character.

T2 (not the movie, jerkwad) goes in a whole different direction. It is all about deep blues and purples, generating a very… well, magely effect. The feel of Netherwind is one of the magically endowed, and actually feels a bit… overdone. It’s like one of those parties you go to, where one person is juts trying WAY TOO HARD to fit in that it becomes extremely awkward so that everyone gets uncomfortable, and so the person tries even harder, and the situation just gets totally out of control until everyone is shifting and mumbling and the person trying is near tears and the music starts playing Achy Breaky Heart, but then someone starts quoting the Bee Gees, and then it all goes to hell… very, very Awkward. Like that sentence!

T3 kinda/sorta follows the route that T2 went. Its obviously high-end gear, and looks the part. BUT. It manages to pull the whole “I’m a mage, obviously” thing without overdoing it. It just fits so perfectly together, that you’d be a fool to think it doesn’t look awesome. I do have one gripe with it, however. The way the headpiece shows up, it looks far to much like a wee little snow parka. Just looks wrong.

T4 is a miracle in clothing engineering. It has only two simple colors, some easy blues combined with some dull gold shadings, mixed with a smooth pattern. It just feels so RIGHT! It’s simple, it’s sleek, it’s sexy. It doesn’t say anything, it just glances at you sidelong, demurely, inviting you in to touch it. Like a kitty!

T5, too, is an excellent design. It goes a much darker red and black route, but keeps the same sleek feel of T4. It builds on it, though, adding a feel of simple elegance. It adds complexity, but without looking like it did. A wonderful visual set, it’s simply lovely in design and execution.

And then we see Tier 6… something went wrong here. We seem to have gone backwards. This set has the potential to be attractive, but goes about it all the wrong ways. Like a woman putting on far too much mascara and lipstick, and wearing a push-up bra and wearing a tank top four sizes too small. It has the right intentions, but just. Didn’t. DO. It right. The effect is one of desperation, leaving the viewer with a sense of “I’m cool right? RIGHT?! Say I’m cool!”

And that is Mage Fashion for this week! I hope you’ll join me some time in the future, where we discuss the ramifications of blood elf hairstyles on the Mage PvP gear!

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World of Magecraft, Volume IV

Sorry this was so long in coming.

Now, for this issue of Magecraft, we are going to assume that you, lovely mage, have just reached level 70. So now what?
Well, first off we’re going to go over the standard builds for level 70 mages. You’ll see these referenced on the forums as “10/48/3” and “LOL 17/0/44 nub”, and other such enlightening and pointless verbiage.

Commence buildshop!

(Disclaimer: the following talent specs are cookie cutters. This means that they are intended as an excellent place to start your own theorycrafting about where talents should go. They are meant as an outline to end-game specs rather than an end-all. Of course, these specs are cookie cutter for a damn good reason.)

These are the three specs primarily used for PvE.

The Raiding Standard

This is an extremely popular end-game build, and one that yours truly uses for any serious group PvE. This build capitalizes on the heavy innate damage and crit rate that comes from the fire tree. By stacking full Scorch debuffs, it essentially gives any person using fire spells a 15% boost to their damage! This turns your fireball spell into an incredibly powerful weapon (even more so now that 2.3 has scrapped the damage co-efficient). This build scales extremely well. Obviously, it gets better the more spell damage and crit rate you have, but because of the nature of the fire tree, it gets more returns than any other spec from those stats. Flat out increased damage, and Ignite provides a ton of damage that only gets more powerful the better your gear gets.
Master of Elements and Clearcast gives you very solid mana-efficiency, and elemental precision is an absolute must for the hit rating.
A very solid raiding build, and comes highly recommended by me. Remember, make sure you have max Scorch debuffs at all times. Make sure to refresh it with a scorch at least every 25 seconds, so that nothing stupid happens and you lose the whole stack.
Drawbacks: A hefty chunk of the damage you can deal is left up to random chance (crits, and thus ignite).

Arcane Raiding

Note that the random point spent in Magical Attunement can be put pretty much anywhere. It doesn’t matter, its kind of a silly leftover… thingy.
This is the alternative build to a Fire raiding spec; this is the arcane raiding spec. Arcane is… an unusual spec, to say the least. Let me put it this way… the damage that can be dealt by a fire specced raiding mage is limited by two things: cast time and crits. Those are the two ruling factors for a fire mage. The same holds true for frost. But with arcane, your damage is limited by how much mana you have. Take Arcane Blast as a perfect example. It’s cast time is reduced at the same rate as its mana cost goes up. Hence, you are limited by the amount of mana you have. In addition, as an arcane mage, a percent of all your Intellect becomes spell damage. What does this mean? You make your mana pool bigger, thus letting you cast longer. It also increases your crit rating. It also increases how much spell damage you have, which gets ridiculously powerful with Arcane missiles nabbing an extra 45% of bonus spell damage.
Quite bluntly, if you stack endless amounts of Intellect and Spell Damage, you will make tanks weep.
This Arcane spec also has the unique property in that it is the only Mage spec where Spirit is actually useful. Combine the (improved) Arcane Meditation with Mage Armor, and spirit looks very tasty indeed.
Drawbacks: Lack of range leaves you standing within several bosses AoE effects. You will have to be fast and clever to avoid these without hurting your DPS. Oh, yeah, and it goes Out of Mana faster than a Moonkin with 600 spell haste rating.

Frost Raiding (LOL spec)

A highly contraversial spec for raiding, by simple merit that it has the least amount of innate damage than any other PvE spec. A lot of the burst damage from frost comes from being able to “freeze” the target, and thus gain Shatter abilities. Sadly, most of the end-game raiding mobs are immune to being frozen, and only one boss in the entire game can be rooted. Due to this mechanic, frost is sorely lacking in the DPS department. Frost emphasizes control, controlled burst damage and survivability above all else. For raids, it is a poor choice. However, it is an excellent 5-man Instance spec, due to those same reason. Very few mobs in 5-mans are immune to freezes, meaning frost can gain some very respectable damage from this type of PvE. As well, the control the spec offers is highly useful for Heroics, adding a very nice cushion for screw-ups. Hell, any mob that can be rooted or slowed is solo-able by a frost mage.
Again, you’ll see we put 10 points in Arcane. Couple Clearcast with Frost channeling, and frost will have mana long after the other specs have run OOM.
Drawbacks: Lowest damage output of the three cookie Mage specs.

Now, for PvP, things get a little different.

PoM + Pyro!

Like any non-frost spec, this build simply will not hold up inside an arena. It is used to its best effect in Battlegrounds, and can only perform well in 5v5 arenas if played very well.
This is the PoM + Pyro spec that is QQ’d about endlessly on the mage forums. It has the best burst potential of any build in the game, provided some jackass shaman doesn’t Purge you. You’ll be seeing a lot of the kind of super-heavy damage Arcane puts out, as long as you continue to have hefty amounts of Intellect and Spell damage in your PvP gear. And, of course, if you pop the classic PoM + Trinket + Arcane Power + Pyro, you’ll be seeing that single spell crit of upwards of 4k damage. Against people without Resilience, it is entirely possible to get close to one-shotting them.
Prismatic Cloak and Improved Blink are not necessary to take, but, seriously, where else are you going to put them? They are very nice survivability talents, and will help you nicely in Battleground scenarios. If you adore Arcane and Arathi Basin, this is the build for you.
Drawbacks: You are so squishy, a Ret Paladin will most likely two-shot you. You also have the least PvP control capabilities of either the fire tree or frost tree.

Scorch Spam

The PvP Fire build. Before we start, note that the points currently spent in Emp. Fireball can be spent roughly anywhere. In PvP, you generally won’t be using Fireball; you won’t have time. Once you enter the brawl, or the brawl comes straight at you, you’ll be using fireblast and Scorch almost exclusively. PvP changes too much, too fast, to warrant a 3 second cast. Otherwise, snag all the usual increased fire damage stuff and crit talents. Skip “Playing With Fire”, and shove points into Blazing Speed. A contraversial talent, you will fall in love with it while fighting warriors and rogues. Yes, it has a relatively low proc rate, but when it procs, it’s basically a huge “Fuck you” to the melee classes. Combined with Impact/Molten Armor, it basically gives you a 20% chance at a “I win” moment when anyone hits you in melee. And you’d still have all the usual Blink, Frost Nova type tactics to rely on. Dragon’s Breathe is also annoyingly awesome for pretty much everyone. The 3 second stun can ruin a casters day, especially a healer.
Now, lets look at the Arcane side here. Put points into both Clearcast and Imp. Arcane Missiles. Whenever clearcast procs, hit Arcane Missiles for an uninterruptible, un-LoS kitable, powerful burst spell. Once Arcane Missiles starts casting it will complete even if the target runs out of range or breaks LoS. And it won’t cost you mana to do. This is a common tactic for many PvP mages.
Also, getting the Improved Counterspell is just cruel. It is an excellent way to kill Paladins and Priests. Get it. Love it. It is sexy.
Drawbacks: Very squishy, and smart use of your Instants and Counterspell will quickly make you the “KILL FIRST” target of… well, everyone. That, and you’ll probably be on top of the damage charts, thus making you an even higher priority target.

For any Frost PvP talent, you MUST have the following talents:
5/5 Improved Frostbolt
5/5 Ice Shards
2/2 Improved Frost Nova
1/1 Cold Snap
5/5 Shatter
3/3 Frost Channeling (shocker, I know, but you desperately need the mana efficiency. There’s so little Intellect on PvP gear, you cannot afford to go without this talent)
1/1 Ice Block
1/1 Ice Barrier
5/5 Arctic Winds
5/5 Empowered Frostbolt
1/1 Water Elemental

The following talents are very useful, and you can pick and choose them at will. I highly suggest testing them, and seeing how they work out for you.
Piercing Ice
Arctic Reach
Improved Cone of Cold
Ice Floes
Winter’s Chill

Personally, I can’t bear to play without Improved Cone of Cold. I use it a lot as a direct damage spell, so I need to squeeze all the damage I can get out of it. If you’re the type who uses it as a snare and nothing more, by all means skip it.

So. For speccing frost fore PvP, there are basically two other trees to use in support. You can either pick Arcane or Fire as a backup.

17/0/44 – Remember the whole Clearcast/Arcane Missiles thing? Yeah, same here, coupled with Improved Counterspell. Pick and choose your frost talents as you wish.

0/8/53 – This takes almost all of the awesome frost talents, and pairs it with Impact and the fastest cooldown Fireblast avaliable. Impact is excellent in PvP, since you’d better be running with Molten Armor. Stuns are good, learn to love them. The rapid Fireblast is also very important, the more you cast it, the better.

40/0/21 – An interesting spec, this combines a lot of the burst damage of the Arcane tree with some of the survivability of the frost. It allows for such neat tricks like PoM + Frostbolt. And, of course, combining Arcane Power and a Shatter combo will see Ice Lance critting for… well, an extremely high amount. Difficult to pull off, but this spec can be incredibly awesome. And you don’t lose Ice Block, either.

0/14/47 – Also known as “ADD” spec. It goes deeper into fire than 0/8/43, to get the improved fireblast/scorch crits, and Burning Soul. The idea is, that when your frost tree gets shut down for some reason, you drop scorch’s until its back up. Your damage dealt doesn’t slow because of this, but you do lose mobility.

0/27/34 – The very strange Elemental Spec. Essentially, it combines Blazing Speed with Ice Barrier, to gain… a very odd spec. It has strong control and survivability, and some very interesting burst damage from fire. If one tree gets shutdown, its very easy to switch to the next. Being able to Ice Block and Blastwave at the same time will confound the shit out of your opponents.

And thats it! Those are the specs most people end up using.

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