Friday, January 30, 2009

The war is upon us again

The mage battleground of Azeroth has rested in peace for a couple of months. With the nerf of the arcane blast towards the end of TBC and the introduction of frostfire bolts at level 75 in WotLK, all mages suddenly seemed to agree upon playing frostfire. The standard spec became so common that it wouldn’t have surprised to see even locks or shadowpriests suddenly casting those melting slushy bolts. Rogues too, whatever. Was there ANYONE in Azeroth not playing frostfire? I doubt it.

But that's all history now. Order has been restored. Once again there is diversity among the mages. Those Halflings of fire mages (what else can you call the slush casters) will meet competition – from pure pyromaniacs, from snowmen in ice shields and – above all – from the mages with the biggest intellect, those who stick to the original, true arcane powers in its pure form – the arcanists.

Back to my roots
The drums of war are once again playing in the distance. In the famous first battle of the mages, Gnomeaggedon was the starting ignite. This time Gnome seems to be occupied burning his face (and probably the barbeque meat as well). So in his place, Krizzlybear at Frost is the New Black has challenged his former friends and colleagues, soon to be sworn enemies. He claims he’s merciless. Well so am I! I’m back, I’m as arcane as you can be and I’m ready to fight.

Yesterday night I turned back to the light after those months dwelling in the darkness of fire. (eh, well :)) Following an evil plan the opponents of the arcane force had already managed to persuade Blizzard to nerf the Arcane spec once again.

But have no fear! They won’t succeed in keeping me away from the spec of my heart once again. It was love at first sight. There were those beautiful, glimmering spells flying through the air once again. And it was much better than it used to be. Frankly, pushing one single Arcane Blast button for a whole raid could get a little monotonous. Now the rotations between Arcane Blast, Arcane barrage and Arcane Missiles, whenever Missile Barrage procs. You soon get the feeling for it. It’s like music. Arcane powers flowing through my veins.

Once again do I need to watch not only my threat and my procs, but also my mana bar and the cooldowns for mana gems and other goodies. And it rocks! I felt only as a half mage when I ended fights with almost full mana bar in my former spec. Making the most out of your mana fuel, that’s what magic is all about.

Cute elemental pet
Following the tradition of our former battles, Krizzlybear throws of a missile in the form of a talent he considers awesome. Since we all know he’s got a very special feeling for his pet it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the first thing he mentions is “Improved Water Elemental”. It’s quite touching, this affection of his. Perhaps I should counter with the awesome abilities of Peanuts? The enemies flee whenever he sneezes. It’s cute Krizzly, but seriously, you must have some better tricks than that in your pocket if frost is going to be really competitive.

So what do I counter with this time? I’ll start with the newest and maybe dearest acquisition in my spellbook. The brand new 51 point spell Arcane Barrage. It’s instant! It hurts! A lot. The range is decent, 30 yards. And the cooldown isn’t more than 3 seconds. Finally we’ve got a spell worth the name in fights where we have to move around a bit. Don’t be decived by this “causing 936-1144 damage” description of it. As far as I saw this first night as arcane in WotLK it did many times more, with all the additions you get from gear, buffs and whatever. Any theorycrafter out there (real one, not fake like me) can surely tell you why. To me it’s enough to know that it does its job.

Sisters and brothers! I urge you all to join the battle. Help me to make Krizzly, Gnome and the other poor mislead mages out there see the light! The time has come to let the arcane tree rule the world, as it was meant to do from the beginning.


Gevlon said...

Welcome back!

I was arcane all the time (well since I play mage again). The reason of Barrage being so strong is that it gets more from spell power than normal. A standard instant cast spell (like fire blast) gets 43% of your spellpower, while barrage gets 87%.

BTW how on earth you managed not to pick 2/2 Arcane Subtlety? Every time you AE some adds, you'll have new friends! Yesterday I pulled down Vesperon from the tank after a "lucky" AP-trinket-Barrage-PoMFB-Barrage series (all 3 critted).

However no matter how much I love this spec, I have to see that it does not scale with gear as well as anything with Hot Streak. With my current gear I can make 1950 DPS on boss dummy, with 20/51/0 I can make 2200. This is acceptable loss for Slow (You missed it too!) and the manuverablity granted by the instant barrage.

However if I add more 10% crit from gear, I gain +7.5% DPS on arcane and about +30% DPS on Hot Streak, due to the increased chance of instant-pyros.

So no matter how I love this spec, sooner or later I'll have to abandon it.

Larísa said...

To be honest I'm a little bit lazy. I followed a suggested standard build from EJ...
I DID have to watch my threat a little bit more careful than with my FFB-spec so you may be right about Arcane S. About Slow: I've deliberately left it out. The reason for it is that we usually have other classes in the raid that make the same effect. So no reason to keep it up. Now, raiding isn't everything, so maybe I should pick it at some point, if nothing else to try it out. To be honest I've never had slow, so I have no experience from it. Which is crap if you're supposed to be the defender of arcane...

Yeah scaling is of course one aspect, but it's not everything. It's got to fit with your playstyle, the way you move, the way you cast your spells. there is something in Arcane that seems just to fit me.

When I respecced I had a go at the dummies as well, before respec and after, just to see what happened. Actually the dps turned out to be more or less exactly the same (around 2500-sh), but the mana pool didn't last as long with arcane. On the other hand you have shorter cd on evocation etc so mana really doesn't have to be a big issue, not what I've seen so far.

Eishen said...

Wellcome back to the chosen ones larissa ;-)

Enjoy your 14k barrages and dont hesitate about your mana at least until ulduar, current fights are quite short and rarely you will have to evo more than once, pairing it with IV makes it a not so great problem as it seems. what I really love about current arcane is actually having to take decisions in combat, switch armors, timing evo, shorting AB sequence, spamming it searching for a Mbarr proc.... I bored myself for a short time with throwing bolts too when we were no way viable, At least we are back.

Gevlon said...

Slow was the No1 reason why I loved arcane in BC and keep holding to it despite the higher DPS hot-streak builds. Slow means you can nuke an add forever and ever without a tank. He just walk and walk and walk while you burn it down. You can cast slow on sheeps and frozen enemies without breaking the CC. And in PvP it is the ultimate spell. Ret Paladins cannot even touch you.

Granted I put in several self-defense talents like Magic Absorption and Prismatic cloak, and my DPS could be increased but

I'm a bit surprised on 11 cold, I'll make some calculations but it seems nice, especially when IV is combined with AP and trinket (about 3.5% overall DPS increase)

I tried 11 fire (for PoM-Pyro every 2 mins) but 11 arcane is much stronger.

Still I would miss my self-defense talents too much to trade them for some 3% DPS.

Carra said...

Mages seem to have improved from the time that I played them. Then it was:
-> Frostbolt > repeat

Or, for experts only:
-> Scorch x 5 > fireball > repeat and use a scorch now and then

krizzlybear said...

@Carra (first time, i typed it as kara. go figure!)

For frost, it's essentially the same. Frostbolt>Frostbolt, but this time around, you get to pop cooldowns in between depending on your mood. Quite fun!


While it's definitely true that FFB scales better than arcane with crit, it simply means that you will only "have" to spec FFB once you achieve that stat threshold. In the meantime, there's nothing stopping you from speccing whatever way you want.

Oh, and icy veins is just ridiculous when you're in AB spam mode for the final stretch of the boss fight. Especially when you time it to stack with heroism.


Slow is always a safe talent to pick. Due to fight specifics, certain classes may not elect to keep their slowing ability up for the fight, since they have to worry about other issues such as keeping up with threat.

Esdras said...

Have they sorted the mana problems now?

I was arcane for a bit at 70 which was good for raiding but rubbish for dailies.

Maybe gonna level my mage up soon i think.

ps my new site but your feed is not updating again?

What link do i use.

Billy Wallace said...

Now I want to go dust off my mage and play around with specs! I was fire for all of the outlands content. I guess it's time to try something new.

Larísa said...

@Eishen: indeed it's great fun! I had no mana issues whatsoever in 25 man. Yesterday night I did Naxx 10 man and that proved more of a challenge manavise, especially on the trashmob packs. (No time for drinking between the pulls, which I really approve of, but as arcane it's a little more of a problem.)
I deeply missed the shadowpriest who normally attends our 25 man raids.

@Gevlon & Krizzlybear: oh you really tempt me with this slow thing. I may add it after I've gotten more used to arcane again. One more thing to think about!

@Carra: well, arcane mages have spellrotations as well, but depending on how Missile Barrage procs at least you have to be a bit alert and prepared to switch around.

@Esdras: I haven't yet done any questing, so I can't tell how it works for that purpose or for levelling. About the linking stuff: I've mailed you.

@Billy Wallace: welcome to join the club!

Devv said...

Sorry. Still in love with deep Fire. Might I re-spec Frost for a while? Sure. When dual-speccing finally drops, I'll have a deep Fire and a deep Frost. But I just can't bring myself to go too deep into the Arcane tree. As Gevlon stated, Hot Streak is where it's at. It's like the Three Minute Mages of old without the points invested in Arcane. Give me a crit and I'll take my "free" bump in DPS.

Anonymous said...

Hey Larisa, don't you go ganking lowbie Fire Mages like me ;-)

I think I need Devv or PewPew to step in for me.. I don't want to get one-shot

Larísa said...

@Gnomeaggedon: what's this? I don't believe it? You're fleeing at the very sight of me? Come on! Take a walk up on the mountain. Meditate (done the quest in HF yet?). Use arcane focus, whatever. I'm sure you'll come up with something.