Alright, SO. Things have changed for raiding arcane mages again. Again.
- Ditch Glyph of Arcane Power, grab Glyph of Arcane Missiles
- Arcane Missiles is your go to spell, not Arcane Barrage
- Arcane Stability is even more important now
- Mage Armor (and it’s corresponding glyph) is better than ever
Got all that? Good, moving on to the massive walls of text.
Right now, Arcane Barrage is a wee bit nerfed. The coefficient of the spell was adjusted in a downward direction, and nothing else about the spell was buffed to compensate. Nerf.
However, Arcane Missiles recieved a buff. There is now a new Glyph of Arcane Missiles that buffs up the critical strike damage bonus of AM by 25%.
I currently do not know if this extra crit damage is additive or multiplicative. In either case, this glyph is a fairly hefty boost to AM damage. So much so, that with ABarr being nerfed, AM actually replaces ABarr in the arcane rotation.
Consider the old rotation: AB, AB, AB, ABarr.
For your new rotation, simply remove ABarr and replace it with AM. That’s it!
Running low on mana? Can’t afford a three ABlast rotation? Go with ABx2AM, or ABAM instead!
With the numbers sitting as they are now, ABarr simply does not have a place in the standard arcane rotation. Arcane Missiles is just flat out better, with or without Missile Barrage procs.
ABarr is still plenty useful for movement fights, it’s just not as strong for those stand-still-and-cast moments.
Here comes the next shocker…
The way you’re going to want to use Missile Barrage procs is also different now.
Essentially, you do not want to use a MB proc when you have three stacks of AB. A MB proc should be used when you have two stacks of AB, or even one if you’re running a low mana consumption cycle, but never three.
Except during Arcane Power or pure mana dumps, of course. More on this a little later.
The issue, of course, is mana. Using a MB proc when AB is stacked to three costs too much mana to sustain in your standard cycle for the damage boost it gives. It can’t be kept up even with solid raid support, let alone by yourself.
Ideally, your standard cycle will be AB AB (MBARR) or (AB AM).
Use AM after two ABs if MB has procced. If not, cast a third AB and then a non-MB AM after it, then start the cycle over again.
Some situational reactions to give you an idea of how this works:
MB procs on the first AB. Cast a second AB, then AM.
MB procs on the second AB. Immediately cast AM, if you can react fast enough.
MB procs on the second AB, but you are already casting the third AB. If the third AB has only been casting for 0.5 seconds or less, cancel it and use AM. If it’s already too late, you have two options at this point.
- Cast AM with three stacks of AB, and hope you can survive the mana loss in the long run.
- Cast ABarr once you have three stacks of AB, reset the cycle, then cast AM when you have two stacks of AB again.
The first option deals more damage and costs more mana. Choose wisely.
MB procs on the third AB, and it’s already too late to react to it. At this point, hope your mana can hold out, and look into reducing mana consumption for a little to make up for it.
If it isn’t too late to react to it, see the two options above and pick one.
It’s a good idea to have your reactions planned out in advance, so that when the critical decision comes up you don’t flub it in the chaos of the moment.
For instance, on Patchwerk you can decide beforehand to just roll with MBAM on three stacks, mana be damned.
Given all of this, you sorta have to go get the Glyph of Arcane Missiles. AM is extremely important to your DPS, and the glyph will go a long way towards boosting that.
Glyph of AP gets the boot here. It’s just not as powerful as the other two (Glyph of AB/Molten Armor).
Speaking of Armors, Molten Armor isn’t quite as far and away the best Armor to use anymore (Arcane specs only. Everyone else stick with Molten).
Arcane has always been the spec that values damage per mana (DPM) more than the other specs, and this is only emphasized more strongly with 3.0.9. It’s for this reason that Mage Armor, and thus glyphed Mage Armor isn’t that far behind (glyphed) Molten Armor anymore.
Molten Armor is still the better choice, don’t get me wrong. It’s not instantly the better option, is all.
Look at it this way.
“Which is better: Mage Armor or Molten Armor?”
Pre-patch: “Molten Armor. No question.”
Now: “Well… hrmm… yeah… Molten Armor.”
Patch 3.1 is, supposedly, bringing with it changes to mana regeneration and mechanics or something to make spirit not a terrible stat for mages. Mage Armor could very well become the best thing ever next patch.
I, for one, don’t think Spirit will ever be an attractive stat. Not useless, sure, not bad, yeah, but attractive? Nah, that won’t happen. It will always be on the bottom of the barrel as far as useful stats go.
One last thing.
If you haven’t invested in Arcane Stability yet, now would be an excellent opportunity to do so. With ABarr having been largely replaced in most Arcane cycles, the vast majority of your damage will be coming from AB and AM.
Losing casting/channeling time will hurt more now than ever before. Investing in push back protection could easily be one of the smartest choices you make in a raiding build.