Did this up for my guild, so’s peeps would have an idea of what mages do raid-wise, specific to Anathema anyways.
It’s occured to me that this guild has not had much exposure to mages as a class.
When me and Vox joined, you guys had… what, Sequel?
So I figured I’d put up this post here, in an effort to (briefly) explain how mages work, and most importantly, how us mages currently affect our current raids/dps make-ups and such.
Any wacko with half a brain can say “Mages does DPS, yuh” but feh.
First off. This guild already has incredibly strong DPS capacity. We have multiple hunters and rogues that consistently do incredibly high amounts of damage, and a couple other caster types who make me feel all sad and happy at the same time (I’m looking at you, Abby and Mord).
Frankly, we could drop a DPS group entirely and we’d be fine, damage wise. I mean, we have, what, 4 minutes to spare on average for Void Reaver?
In this regard, Anathema does not really need to have us few mages go all out balls-to-the-wall, because we already have the DPS there. We aren’t filling in any holes, because there simply aren’t any holes to fill.
You need look no further than some of our random WWS stats pages to see that the magey DPS is always on the low end of the list.
I can QQ all I want, mage DPS is gimped, blah blah, cry, whine, bitch, warlocks are better, blah blah I want some fucking pie.
CONSIDERATION THE ONE
Polymorph. Anyone who says this crowd control spell isn’t amazing is a moron. Is it limited? Yep, sure is. We can only farm-animal certain types of mobs. Are those certain types of mobs present in fast numbers, and powerful, practically begging to be turned into a harmless, cute little animal? You bet they are.
This is, for this guild, the biggest reason to bring along some mages to a group. It’s all about the crowd control. Y’all could give a damn about damage, y’all just want some fucking lamb chops.
And that’s fine. I’m happy being a sheepbot. If it means people get phat lewtz, people have fun, then I’m more than happy. Job well done, grats Shego on Invincibility Ring. Whatevs. I’s cool.
CONSIDERATION THE TWO
The nature of a mage’s damage is far more focused on burst damage than, say, a warlock or a hunter. For example, warlock Curse of Ouchie does 2000 damage over 15 seconds. Nice, sustained DPS. A mage’s Bolt Spell of Hurt does 2000 damage THIS BLOODY SECOND, AND EVERY BLOODY SECOND UNTIL THAT COCK-SUCKING NAGA BITCH IS A DAMN CORPSE. And once it’s a corpse, we gaze sadly at our empty mana bar.
Simply put, mages are far better at burst damage. We have incredible burst damage. Popping all trinkets and standing there spamming Arcane Blast can easily net over FOUR THOUSAND DAMAGE PER SECOND. But we can only keep that up for.. ohhh… 10 seconds?
Put another way, this means that the mage, as a class, is designed to swiftly and brutally kill “trash”. Trash mobs are practically designed to be killed by mages. The encounters don’t last long, thus allowing mages to reach our full blown burst potential, mana dumping and burning something down with frightening speed.
Put us up against a boss, and we struggle. We cannot burst DPS, because thats not what the boss requires. A boss fight requires constant, steady DPS, something mages do not do very well. We run into mana issues very quickly, and usually have to do dick-all about a quarter of the time just so we actually can have any sort of mana left partway through the fight. Running OOM when the boss is only at 70% is a very, very real possibility.
I’m going to deviate a bit here, and discuss the two most common raid mage specs there is.
Essentially, its the old Arcane versus Fire argument.
Put bluntly. Arcane maximizes the burst DPS a mage is capable of doing. Arcane Blast spam has the highest burst damage of… well, anything. Like I said above, its a shit-ton of damage really, really fast, but we can’t keep it up for long. It is godly for trash. Those little flappy bird thingies before Al’ar? We can mana dump into those things, and deal upwards of 20k damage in 10 seconds, in random blues we purchased from the Auction House. Again, after those 10 seconds, we have zero mana.
And against boss fights, the arcane tree is at a serious disadvantage. It does not have the staying power of literally any other DPS class/spec that exists.
I consistently run OOM on Lurker, repeatedly. I chug every potion I can as fast as I can, and using any and all mana gems whenever possible, AND scale back on my DPS just so I have a chance of bursting the adds down in any type of respectable manner.
Put bluntly. Fire spec specializes the mage towards fighting long encounters. First off, the Scorch debuff is designed for encounters that last at least 30 seconds, the longer the better. The main nuke for the fire tree is a helluva lot cheaper than its arcane equivalent, by almost half. Whereas the arcane tree keeps up a 4k DPS for about 10 seconds, the fire tree keeps up about 900-ish DPS for about 7-8 minutes, 12-13 depending on where evocation is used.
It does not have nearly as strong burst damage as arcane, by simple fact that the tree cannot bring its full power to bear until the scorch debuff has reached its maximum strength, which effectively means the combat must last longer than 7.5 seconds, AT LEAST, for the fire tree to start doing some hefty damage. On most trash, I usually don’t even manage to make it to 4 stacks before the mob gets killed.
Holy crap, this is getting long winded.
Anyhoo, one more consideration to make here. Arcane is a spec that performs good, no matter what gear level you have. If you’re in a bunch of crappy quest greens, it will perform good. If you’re in some excellent Tier 5 epics, it will perform good. If you have the bestest, most amazing AWESOME sweet gear in the game, it will perform good.
Contrarily, in poor gear, fire performs poorly. In good gear, fire performs goodly. In excellent, bestest most amazing AWESOME gear, fire performs most excellent, AWESOME bestest GODLIKE DPS.
I had a point here…
Ahh, yes. Look at it practically. Arcane provides a ton of support to the guild for trash clearing. It has the highest burst damage possible for an offensive caster, and has a couple of highly important talents for polymorphing.
First off, Presence of Mind. Essentially gives an instant cast polymorph, allowing a marked-for-piggy mob to bite the bacon in the same amount of time it takes for me to push the “0” button on my number pad. As well, the improved + spell hit means that few sheeps are resisted. I say “few”, because, statistically, 1% of the time something will go horribly wrong.
It was said in, I think, a Botanica run that me, as a mage, was better than some other PuG mage the group had. (I believe this was the run where Erol tried magnificently to get killed by worms, and thanks to the awesome that is T-man, only managed to get killed once). It was commented that my sheeps occured faster, and that I was doing more damage.
Could it be that I was a better mage than random PuG mage so-and-so? Most definitely. But I had an advantage in my spec and utility over that other mage.
Namely, my sheeps were going off faster because they didn’t have a cast time. My damage was higher because I could mana-dump during pulls.
The strengths of my spec was a huge factor in the percieved better-ness of me.
Holy fucking hell this is long winded.
So with Arcane spec, as a mage, I am effectively sacrificing my ability to function in boss fights to make the trash pulls far more easier. I am deliberately taking away from DPS talents so my sheeps can be instant, thus preventing many headaches.
And I can do this, because we, as a guild, do not need the DPS on boss fights as much as we need some bloody farm animals.
If we were constantly falling flat on our faces because of enrage timers on boss fights, I would definitely spec back into fire to give us the extra fire power we need to take said bosses down.
You want some numbers? I can do that too.
Assuming cookie cutter mage (600 INT, 200 SPI, 250 crit rating, hit capped, 1k spell damage all schools, fully raid buffed.)
Cookie cutter Arcane/fire spec (50/11/0)
Mage average DPS over ten minute fight: 1193
Cookie cutter Fire raid spec (10/48/3)
Mage average DPS over ten minute fight: 1380
Almost 200 DPS difference between the two, and these numbers are assuming standard raid rotation with an infinite mana supply.
If mana is finite (which it is), the fire spec will still be casting long after the arcane spec has gone home and had a nap.
Hopefully, assuming y’all took the time to read this, you’re a little more savvy about the inner workings of raid mages.
If you want your mage to be a utility sheeper trash annihilator, we’ll spec arcane and suffer the hit to boss DPS for it.
If you want your mage to be a boss DPS’er, the sheeps will have a cast time, and our trash damage output will be lower.
Now you know.