I used to be a dedicated fire mage. Actually so dedicated that I think I could very well have qualified for the secret society of sworn fire mages that I’ve actually heard exists somewhere out there. Until this very day I’ve never ever played frost and never felt any longing to lock myself into a circle of ice or sending away a frost creature to help me attack things.
Until two months ago I had never stepped any further away from the Path of Fire than playing Arane/fire for a while. That was great too and I didn’t notice any big difference, since fireball still was my main spell at that time. Since so many theorycrafters seemed to agree that fire was the best raid spec I didn’t see any point in trying something else.
But then I started to reconsider. I think what made me start hesitating in my passion for fire was the constant aggro problems I was experiencing. It felt like if I was spending most of my time standing beside, not participating in the fights, since I knew that if I did I would end up not only grabbing aggro from the mobs, but also from the tank, getting furious about me grabbing aggro. And tank’s aggro is worse than mob aggro, trust me.
As I always do when I try to sort my thoughts out, I wrote a post about it, Fire mage is a way of life, and the answers I got helped me to finally take the step. I became an arcane/frost mage. Now after a month or so time has come to make an evaluation.
Since I respecced I’ve been using a standard raiding spec, 40/0/21. This means that I’ve got Cold Snap which gives me an extra Iceblock and Icy veins on every cooldown. But I don’t have Slow, which can be a handy arcane spell at times.
So far I ’m totally happy with the change. It gives me:
1. Less aggro. An obvious answer, after what I wrote above. It’s more fun to be able to participate in a fight from the very start and to be able to put attention to other aspects of the fight than just staring at Omen…
2. Decent damage. I think most theorycrafters still stick to fire as the best overall raiding spec, but still arcane really isn’t bad and I can compete pretty well on the damage meters with other mages.
3. A few candies to enjoy. I didn’t realize how much I had missed Presence of Mind when I swapped back from arcane/fire to pure fire until I became arcane again. I don’t use it for pyroblast anymore (I don’t even have that spell since I deserted the fire talent tree), so there’s no cool PoM-Pyro-macro for me. But it’s really handy when it comes to sheeping. I use it a lot, in instances and raids for quicker and more controlled sheeping, as well as life saver when I’m questing on my own, accidently pulling too many mobs. The Ice block x 2 as mentioned is also extremely handy whenever in a party with a healer. When you’re on your own it doesn’t help that much, it just postpones things since you can’t heal yourself while frozen.
And what about the drawbacks about going arcane?
Well, I don’t know if I want to call it a real disadvantage, but I’ve certainly got to get used to a different style of playing. Instead of staring at Omen I now find myself always supervising my mana pool, anxiously, always trying to make the most possible I can out of my cooldowns.
As a fire mage I hardly ever used evocation – now it’s quite common. Going for a raid I need to bring whopping 40 mad alchemist potions to make sure I’ll manage the whole way. I find myself constantly chasing more mana, putting mana oil on my weapons instead of damage oil, always hoping to get a shaman or shadowpriest in my group to help up my mana regeneration.
After every single pull I throw myself down to the floor hoping to be able not to go to 100 percent, but at least to have a mouthful of mana biscuits to get a long a few more mobs. I love chain pulling since it keeps me focused, but it IS a challenge for an arcane mage to cope with. I’ve even started to use some odd beer for the bossfights, Kreeg's Stout Beatdown, which is kind of hard to get, you need to make a tribute run in Dire Maul to find the vendor.
Still this mana management issue of course keeps me alert and it’s quite fun to try to figure out how to best handle it. Most theorycrafters these days seem to think that you should spam Arcane Blast as much as possible, just throwing in a few frostbolts as fillers if it seems too hopeless to keep up the mana pool. But I never get bored out of the single spell spamming - it takes a lot of skill to play an arcane mage properly and I’ve still got a lot to learn before mastering it to perfection.
A while ago I got two pieces of T5 gear, which has a set bonus making my damage from AB increase 20 percent – as well as the mana consumption. It makes this spec even more fun – and challenging at the same time. If heroism, icy veins and other spellhaste increasing cooldowns are popped at the same time I can make awesome burst damage – but also empty my mana pool in no time at all. So timing is more essential than ever.
All in all – I’m a very happy arcane/frost mage at the moment, so happy that I’ve regemmed my gear to fit better with the new spec. Arcane requires a lot less spellhit than any other spec. I’ll definitely stick to it for a while.
(This post I dedicate especially for my reader Ghostboci, who wrote that you’ve been following my blog since I’m one of the few blogging arcane mages out there. For once I wrote some magerelated stuff! I can’t help wondering though… There are loads of excellent druid, pala, hunter and priest blogs out there, but mage blogs seem to be rare, especially arcane mage blogs. Aren't we the blogging kind of people?)
5 hours ago