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Posts Tagged ‘Spec’

Liquid Cookie Cutters

I get a lot of questions like “should I get Imp. Scorch?” or “is Incanter’s Absorption worth it?” “or “where should I put point X and Y? Is it worth dropping Z?”

The answer is short, and may be disappointing to some of you:

I don’t know.

How can I know? I’m not you, I’m not in your shoes, I have no idea what your raiding environment is like. I can’t tell you, flat out, how to play. All I can offer is pointers and some rather basic rules.

Just for a fleeting moment in time, picture WoW as real life, and this as an advice column. I receive many questions such as “should I eat oranges or apples? Is there even a comparison?” but those questions I can’t satisfactorily answer.

I could say “eat apples!” but what if you’re allergic to them? What if apples are really expensive, or people with your hair colour are arrested and beaten for eating apples?

I can offer advice like “jumping off buildings will have a negative impact on your health”, or “it is unwise to lick predators larger than you”; you know, basic stuff. (more…)

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Raiding as Frost

Common Spec

18/0/53 is the best spec for frost mages. There is some variation, though with a spec that requires a minimum of 50 points in one tree and 18 points in another, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room.

Most mages in earlier gear levels will put three points into Brain Freeze for the extra damage that provides for them. Some invest in Ice Barrier, some in Blizzard talents… generally, whatever you wish to have.

See my detailed guides to specific talent trees for further information to choose your talents.

Abbreviations

BF – Brain Freeze, a talented proc that gives you a free fireball.

FoF – Fingers of Frost, a talented proc that allows to to treat any target as frozen.

FrB – Frostbolt. FB typically stands for Fireball, so I’m using FrB (pronounced “furbie”) until someone tells me what it’s supposed to be.

IL – Ice Lance.

IV – Icy Veins.

WE – Water Elemental, your little personal squirtle. (more…)

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Raiding as Arcane

Common Spec

57/3/11 is, by far, the favored spec for arcane mages. There are some variations in the arcane tree, based on personal style and taste.

Where those final points are spent vary from mage to mage and what they deem to be the best options for themselves. Ones concerned about pushback invest in Arcane Stability, ones that cannot depend on a slow from a tank pick up Slow, some pick up Magic Attunement for the extra range, some fill out Student of the Mind…

You get the idea.

See my detailed guides to specific talent trees for further information to choose your talents.

Abbreviations

AB – Arcane Blast, your bread and butter nuke.

ABarr – Arcane Barrage, the end tree talent.

AM – Arcane Missiles, Captain Pew Pew himself.

AP – Arcane Power, a talented cooldown vastly increasing your damage dealt in exchange for a higher mana cost.

IV – Icy Veins.

MB – Missile Barrage, a talented proc that greatly reduces the cast time of AM.

MBAM – An Arcane Missiles casted under the effects of Missile Barrage.

PoM – Presence of Mind, a talented cooldown allowing you to make your next spell instant. (more…)

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Common specs

Fire: Something along the lines of 18/53/0.

You need 18 points in the arcane tree (deep enough for 3/3 Torment the Weak) and 51 points in the fire tree (for Living Bomb). The details are largely up to you. Some mages skip Imp. Scorch, some mages get 2/3 in Arcane Meditation for a 20/51/0 build.

Frostfire: Something along the lines of 0/53/18.

Again, the details are largely up to you. Living Bomb is needed, and you also need to get Ice Shards from the frost tree. Getting Piercing Ice, Icy Veins and Frost Channeling is also highly recommended.

See my detailed guides to specific talent trees for further information to choose your talents.

For both specs, Combustion is a very useless cooldown. Highly recommended to not take it.

Abbreviations

FFB – Frostfire Bolt, compare FB for Fireball.

HS – Hot Streak, that proc that gives you an instant Pyroblast.

LB – Living Bomb, the end tree talent for fire.

Spell Rotation

Fire and Frostfire mages have essentially identical spell rotations. Just replace the word “nuke” with Fireball for Fire mages, and Frostfire Bolt for Frostfire mages.

As with most casters in today’s world… of warcraft, fire/frostfire mages do not have a proper spell rotation, merely spell priorities. These are those: (more…)

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I Have Nothing to Say (I Lied)

There’s really nothing interesting going on.

There’s been no mage relevant news in days and days, no new mechanic changes, not even a hint that the problems this class is facing has even been acknoledged.

I guess there’s Shattering Throw? Sure, let’s talk about that.

Shattering Throw is a new warrior ability that allows them to remove an invulnerability effect. Normally, the spell ability deals damage and reduces armor by 20%. But if the target is affected by an immunity, it removes it instead (5 min cooldown).

Now I know what you’re thinking. “HOLY GOD ALMIGHTY MY ICE BLOCK! /wrists”. Am I close?

Relaaaax. It’s not that bad. An ability like this won’t have much of an effect for 5v5 and 3v3 arena teams. There might be some initial shock when teams first encounter this ability, but strategies will evolve and soon this will simply be another tool to counter in a fight.

2v2 mages are getting shafted, of course, but hey, even that doesn’t matter too much. Mages aren’t exactly doing so hot in the 2v2 bracket;  neither are warriors, for that matter. (more…)

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Random PTR Observations

I hate to use the word gimmicky to describe a particular raid encounter.

Frankly, any encounter that isn’t a straight up tank and spank is a gimmicky fight, thanks to all the… well, gimmicks. Even Patchwerk is, technically, a gimmicky fight thanks to the Hateful Strikes.

But I really can’t come up with a better word for the encounters in Ulduar. Gimmicky is just… so… fitting.

There are fights with constant movement. Fights with deadly AoEs that you then need to take advantage of to win the encounter. Fights with a bajillion adds. Fights where the raid has to split up. And multiple combinations thereof.

And this is before people start messing with hard modes.

It’s hard not to think of the repercussions all these gimmicks will have on preferred specs for the future of mage raiding.

First concern.

Evocation. Even when stacked with Icy Veins, it still takes many seconds to cast, depending on how much haste you have. Could be anywhere from 5-6 seconds, maybe four if you stack it with Bloodlust/Heroism too.

In any case, it’s still a relatively long time. (more…)

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Mandatory Talent Bloat

Hi there. Welcome to Critical QQ. This is a blog written by streams of QQ pouring down the face of a very sad person who plays WoW.

Prepare for QQ.

There will be a LOT of it in the following days.

First, a couple things Ghostcrawler has stated.

One. A tree is considered “bloated” if, after taking all of it’s mandatory DPS talents, it only has 2-3 points left to spend on random stuff, like utility and so forth.

Two. Any player can sacrifice small amounts of DPS in order to gain some utility. For instance, a frost mage can drop a point in Arctic Winds to pick up Deep Freeze.

These points are important, please remember them. There will be a test.

So then. Let’s take a look at some numbers, just tree by tree for now.

Arcane needs to spend a minimum of 53 talents in it’s home tree to pick up all the important DPS talents.

Fire needs to spend a minimum of 51 talent points, and you can make a very strong argument for 54.

Frost, too, needs to spend a minimum of 53 talent points.

So far, so good. (more…)

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Frosted Flakes

In true mage fashion, mere days after being handed a massive pile of steaming buff, I’m back here complaining up a storm.

QQ, as some might say.

Yes. Yes it is.

QQ moar, some might say.

To them, I say: Very well.

So Frostfire Bolt was fun. Unreasonably huge crits, easy to play, and took the other specs DPS and rap… royally thrashed them. Fireball was a little behind, but basically the same. Frost sucked, and so did arcane.

Arcane gets buffed so much it spewed sticky juices all over the wall. Fireball gets better, too, as TTW becomes a far more powerful talent. Who cares about Fireball, though? Have you seen the new spell animation? Blech.

Anyway, point is… where’s the love for frost? So far, this poor neglected tree has been depressingly low in it’s damage potential.

Sure, it’s devastating in Heroics and solo play, but toss it into a raid with proper boss fights, and the poor thing falls apart.

My opinion is that the problem is two fold. (more…)

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Facelift Gets an Arcane

The new face of arcane.

The new face of arcane.

3.0.8 has been released, and hopefully by now you’ve been able to experience the joy of crashing servers and the pain of watching your friends all go offline while you sit safely in an instance server.

Or something like that, anyways.

I’ve talked about this before, but the patch is here now, so it’s all official “this is how it works” now, until the next patch anyways.

The easiest way to think of it is that Arcane now functions off of a combo point system. I’m sure everyone out there is familiar with what, exactly, the ABlast buff actually does.

In case you don’t, here’s a recap:

Arcane Blast now increases the damage of the next Arcane spell by 15%. However, using Arcane Blast itself does not consume the charge itself. Each time you cast Arcane Blast, the damage of Arcane spells is increased by 15% and the mana cost of Arcane Blast is increased by 200%. This effect stacks up to 3 times and lasts 10 seconds or until any Arcane damage spell except Arcane Blast is cast.

Simple, right?

It’s actually extremely intuitive if you play around with it. (more…)

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Ponderable Ponderings

/ponder

/ponder

BRK has been grumbling about hunter mana issues for a while, and this has got me thinking…

He gripes about how his combat decisions, and even spec, are up to the whim of another class (namely, their presence – or not).

This isn’t just true for hunters, and hasn’t been ever since Vampiric Touch was introduced into the game. As a mage, I’m very reliant on Replenishment and at least the 13% bonus spell damage debuff from somebody. A shaman in the group, the 5% crit boost from somewhere else…

All of those things add up extremely quickly. With them, the damage flies fast and hard, with truly massive crits lighting up the damage meters.

Without them… and even a casual observer can tell I’m crippled. (more…)

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