Blog Articles by keyword: guide
by Tachyon on Sun. 20. November 2011, 11:45
Filed under: cataclysm, guide, strategy, deathwing, dragon soul, raiding
Welcome to the 2nd part of the Dragon Soul raid tactics. If you've missed the first part (Siege of Wyrmrest Temple), you might want to read that first for tactics on Morchock, Warlord Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj the Unsleeping and Hagara the Stormbinder.
This fight is a tank-and-spank fight, where especially healers and tanks have to deal with the increasing damage done by this boss. The buffs granted by the dragon aspects (crystals, only one can be active on each player) grants the healers more healing power.
Tanks gain a buff from Thrall, reducing defensive cooldowns by 50% and increasing the duration of defensive abilities by 100%.
The dragon aspects will summon crystals behind the raid in regular intervals. Those are meant to be used by the healers, every healer can have one (and only one) buff for the entire duration of the fight.
- Red crystal (Alexstrazsa): increases healing done by 100%
- Green crystal (Ysera): causes all healing done to be duplicated and distributed evenly amongst the raid
- Blue crystal (Kalecgos): reduces mana cost by 75%, and haste by 100%.
The fight takes place on two realms: normal and twilight. Players get a bar with a spell button for Heroic Will in the lower center of the screen, which will allow to escape them from the twilight realm for 5sec, butrenders them unable to do anything until they're back in the twilight realm. Some addons may cause problems by obscuring the bar with the special button, so better make a macro for that:
All players gain a Timeloop buff by Nozdormu, which prevents death once (instead of dying, you'll lose the buff and your health is filled up).
- Boss explodes if he's not killed within 6 minutes, so it's also a DPS race (also because his damage increases steadily during the fight)
- Hour of Twilight: tanks stay in twilight realm and use defensive cooldowns to survive this, all other players escape to the normal realm.
- Fading Light: Ultraxion applies this debuff to 1(10)/ 3(25) players. You need to leave the twilight realm using Heroic Will ~2 seconds before the buff expires, otherwise the explosion will kill you.
Also known as: Lootship. The fight starts with waves of two meele attackers and drakes, which need to be killed, before in phase 2 Blackhorn and his drake Goriona enter the fight.
- Kill adds (Sappers need to die quickly), casters focus on the drakes
- Twilight Onslaught: large swirly patches on ship the ship, this is where Goronia's next attack hits. Enough players need to stand in them to soak up the damage (otherwise the damage hits the ship, and if you lose the ship you're dead).
- Phase 2: Kill Blackhorn and Goriona (drake, will eventually fly away), casters and healers need to stand at least 10y away because of disrupting roar
- Twilight Flames: Goriona casts purple (non-swirly) void zones on the deck of the ship, don't stand in them as they deal massive damage
Spine of Deathwing
After defeating Blackhorn and talking to the NPC on the Lootship, you get ported to the back of Deathwing, where the fight immediately begins.
Be warned: this fight can get quite chaotic, make sure everyone on the raids knows exactly what to do.
- Kill one of the four Corruption Tentacles. Each killed tentacle leaves an open wound on Deathwing, from which adds (large Hideous Amalgamations and small Corrupted Bloods) will spawn.
- Killing Corrupted Bloods near an Amalgamation give it an Absorbed Blood buff. Bring the Amalgamation low, but don't kill it before it has 9 stacks of absorbed blood. Once the Amalgamation has 9 stacks, it will do heavy AoE damage, so meele should step aside and let the ranged classes kill it.
- The Amalgamation will cast Nuclear Blast upon its death, which pries open an elementium plate and exposes a Burning Tendron within. Nuke and kill it quickly before it finishes casting Seal Armor Breach. Once it is dead, another armor plate is removed, exposing two additional Corruption Tentacles.
- Kill the next Corruption to spawn another Amalgamation, and proceed as with the first one.
- The fight is won after 3 Burning Tendrons are killed.
Madness of Deathwing
The final fight against Deathwing takes place at the Maelstrom. There are four platforms around it where players can stand, and each platform is supported by one of the dragon aspects. The platforms are, from left to right:
- RED (Alexstrazsa, presence: +20% health)
- YELLOW (Nozdormu, presence: +20% haste)
- GREEN (Ysera, presence: +20% healing done)
- BLUE (Kalecgos, presence: +20% damage done)
The recommended platform order is Green->Yellow->Red->Blue. This lets you profit from the +20% dmg buff the longest, and you only have to deal with the Blistering Tentacles on the last platform.
On each platform:
- Attack tentacle
- Switch to Mutated Corruption as soon as it appears
- When Elementium Bolt is cast, target and kill it quickly. Step away from its impact location, as damage you take is lower the further away you stand. Use the 'Dream' ability before it impacts (until you've done Ysera's platform). A '/target Elementium Bolt' macro is recommended.
- Kill small adds (Blistering Tentacles, Regenerative Bloods)
- When the Mutated Corruption is slain, switch back to the tentacle and kill it (if you don't kill it fast enough, Deathwing's Cataclysm spell will wipe your raid)
- After killing the tentacle, proceed to the next platform
Each platform gets a litte harder, as you lose the support of a dragon aspect once you've done his or her platform. The Elementium Bolt is really fast after you've done Nozdormu's platform, so be careful to step outside its impact location immediately when it's cast. After Alexstrszas' platform, you've got to kill the Blistering Tentacles by yourself (this has top priority, failing to kill them fast enough is a common wipe cause), and depending on your setup you might want to use bloodlust/heroism/timewarp here. The Blistering Tentacles spawn when the platform tentacle is at 75%/50%/25% health. On the PTR it seemed like the Blistering Tentacles are immune to AoE damage, so you might want to focus kill them.
After the 4 platforms, go back to the first (where you started), and attack Deathwing. Adds will also spawn also in this phase, kill the first add waves but remember to focus on killing Deathwing quickly (tanking and ignoring the last waves), this phase is a pure DPS race.
by Tachyon on Fri. 18. November 2011, 20:43
Filed under: cataclysm, guide, strategy, deathwing, dragon soul, raiding
The Public Test Realm offers a good occasion to get a sneek preview of the upcoming raid dungeons. In patch 4.3, we get three new 5men dungones, and a new raid dungeon called Dragon Soul, where we finally face Deathwing himself.
Patch 4.3 also offers a new PUG-feature for raid instances, with slightly downgraded difficulty and loot: Looking for Raid. Players can participate in LFR multiple times a week, but only roll for loot the first time a boss is beaten. Nevertheless, the LFR invite pops up really fast (only 2 tanks needed per 25men raid, so it's way faster than LFG) and it's a hell of a lot of fun to do for casual raiders and twinks.
Now that I've done Dragon Soul (normal and LFR) almost daily over the last two weeks, I decided to sum up the strategies and tactics we have established and tested successfully, in the hope to help you get through the instance without worries.
The Dragon Soul entrance lies the Caverns of Time in Tanasris (as do the 5men instances, by the way). Once you enter you stand in front of Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight, ready to face the first boss after about three trash packs.
Morchock is the first and one of the easiest encounters, to the point where you could consider him 'freeloot'.
- Positioning: huddle up behind Boss (so the Stomp damage splits between all Players)
- Crystal Orb: Morchock summons a red crystal that explodes after 12 seconds. The 3/8 Players standing nearest to the crystal get connected to it with a yellow line, and need to run quickly to the crystal to soak up the damage (damage is larger the further you stand away from the crystal, the line turns blue if you stand close enought)
- Spikes: when the spikes arrive, take cover behind them from Black Ooze that follows shortly after (black stuff that floats on the ground). Casters should position themselves between two spikes so they can continue casting during Black Ooze.
- Another stomp will follow after the ooze goes away, don't return too early or you might get killed by the stomp (unless you're in LFR difficulty)
Tank turns boss away from the raid (Psychic Drain cone AoE, 30° angle).
Make two camps: one ranged, one meele, and mark them with symbols.
- Focused Anger stacks on tank as boss attacks, reduces healing received
- Void of the Unmaking: The Void Orb travels outside, and can be reflected by players. When the void touches the boss, it gets consumed and resets the Focused Anger stacks, but the boss will do a Black Blood AoE for a short time, dealing heavy damage to all players (so huddle up in your camp to make it easier for the healers). During that phase, players also deal more damage, depending on how many times the void was reflected.
- Obviously you want to reflect the void a few times to benefit from the damage buff, but not too often because you need to reset the Focused Anger debuff on the tank. The void travels outside, so the first reflection has to be done by a member of the ranged camp. The next reflect is then done by the meele camp, and so on.
- 5 reflections is a good number to start with: Ranged(1) -> Meele(2) -> Ranged(3) -> Meele(4) -> Ranged(5) -> Meele step aside and tank turns the boss in the way of the void orb so it gets consumed.
Yor'sahj the Unsleeping
You need only one tank, as the Void Bolt debuff (reduced healing on the tank, stacks) resets when you kill a globule.
- Boss summons 3 out of 6 possible globues (randomly).Kill one globule, the one that's most threatening (you can't kill more than one, after you killed the first, the other two will fuse, rendering them immune to all damage, which means the boss will gain two effects).
- Kill order: Purple > Green > Yellow/Blue
- Cobalt ( Blue): Spawns a void sphere, which drains your mana, and returns it to all targets within 18y if you kill it. Not very threatening, but annoying for your healers and casters
- Crimson ( Red): Huddle up, massive AoE dmg that has to be healed through, use heal cooldowns
- Glowing ( Yellow): Boss attacks faster (60%), abilities used twice as often
- Dark ( Black): Summons adds that fixate players, AoE kill them quickly
- Acidic ( Green): Acid splash damage to single players, spread out (at least 4y away from other players)
- Shadowed ( Purple): Every 5th heal or absorbtion effect causes a heavy explosion in the raid (so stop healing during deep corruption). This is the most dangerous effect here, so killing this globule has top priority. Healers should be aware that the same effect occurs when you fight them as trash.
Hagara the Stormbinder
Hagara has alternating phases (normal, frost, normal, lightning, normal, and so on).
- Ice Lance: deals damage to a player (Beam), has to be healed through (mild damage). Other players have to stay away from the beams (especially where they intersect). Players with beams on them walk away from the other players a bit, towards the source of the beam.
- Ice Tombs: Trap players, have to be killed
- Focused Assault: channeled, deals heavy damage, but tank can just walk out of it.
- Boss is immune during this phase
- Ice Wave: 4 ice waves, spread apart in an 90° angle, rotate around the boss (clockwise), and must be avoided. They grow from the center to the perimeter before they start rotating, make sure you position yourself between two of them before it's to late.
- Run clockwise around the boss, stay away from the impact locations where ice meteors will rain down (blue area on ground)
- 4 Binding crystals (~totems, on N/E/S/W) that have to be killed to remove the boss' shield, so she can be interrupted to end this phase
- Frost Flake needs to be dispelled (leaves behind a frost trap that must be avoided)
- Crystal Conductors which have to be energized to end this phase
- 1 (LFR difficulty)/2 adds spawn, kill them on crystal conductors (on opposite ends of the platform) to energize 2 crystal conductors. Players standing nearby will get hit by an ongoing chain lightning, players have to reposition in a way the chain lightning passes through them into passive crystal conductors to activate them and end the lightning phase.
As this is my favourite boss in the first part of Dragon Soul, I made a video I'd like to share with you, hope you like it (watch it on Youtube for FullHD)
Coming up next: tactics to the 2nd part of Dragon Soul, with Ultraxion, Warmaster Blackhorn, Spine and Madness of Deathwing.
by Tachyon on Wed. 14. April 2010, 02:20
Filed under: fire, guide, raiding, spec, talents, featuredFirst and foremost, Fire was always my least favourite mage tree. Deep in my heart, I still am a Frost mage (/curses Blizzard for completely ruining it as a raid spec), and have fun raiding with an Arcane spec.
But as my guild is stuck in progress at the Lich King, I had to take desperate measures to optimize my contribution to this particular fight. In other words:
I'm raiding with fire and flames at the moment.
According to Kamigami Tools, Fire is now (since 3.3.3.) up to par with Arcane on some ICC 25 fights (especially Professor Putricide and Sindragosa), and even outperforms Arcane on the Lich King fight (and some other fights in heroic ICC too).
This quick and dirty written guide aims at experienced players who want (or have to) give Fire a try. I suggest reading my Arcane Mage Guide also, as all the stuff I don't mention here (gems, enchants, gear planning, faster casting) are mentioned there.
first mage participating in the heroic ICC Lich King kill only differs by one point, so I think there's not much room to negotiate
Endgame Fire Raiding Spec:
As a fire mage, you have no talents to increase your hit rating. If you assume that you have 3% hit from raid buffs, you need to get the missing 14% (or 13% if spacegoats are in your raid) from your gear. That's 367 hit rating, which should not be hard to get.
Stats priority (updated!)
Hit Rating (until cap) > Crit Rating > Spell Power > Haste > Spirit > Int
Spell Priority System
Fire doesn't use dynamic rotations like Arcane. There's not even a fixed rotation, but rather you will decide what spell to use next using a priority system:
- Priority 1: Keep Improved Scorch up
Improved Scorch lasts 30 seconds, and increases the spell crit chance on the target by 5% for all casters. Warlocks' Improved Shadow Bolt has the same effect, and doesn't stack with Improved Scorch, so if warlocks in your raid have Shadow Bolt in their rotation, you can forget about applying the Scorch debuff.
- Priority 2: Keep Living Bomb up
Living bomb does great damage on your target, especially when other targets get hit by the splash damage at the end. Remember that the huge damage comes at the end, so when your target is likely to die within 12 seconds, it's not worth (re-)appying it.
- Priority 3: Use your Hot Streak procs
Hot Streak procs allow you to cast instant Pyros after two subsequent nonperiodic crits with fire spells. The biggest issue here is Ingite Munching, which causes the system to forget to bank the ignite of one spell if two fire spells crit more or less simultanousely. If you have at least two pieces of the Tier10 set, consuming the Hot Streak proc will give your 5 seconds of +12% spell haste (of which 1 global cooldown is wasted, at least 1 second), this makes it worth using at least when the haste buff isn't up. The pyros are mana consuming, if you ever run into mana problems you may want to use the instant pyros less often.
- Priority 4: Fireball chaincasting
If you use TellMeWhen, you might want to watch for following procs/debuffs/cooldowns:
- Hot Streak: Buff, Player, When present, Timer
- Improved Scorch: Debuff, Target, When present, Timer
- Living Bomb: Debuff, Target, When present, Timer, only if cast by self
- Ignite: Debuff, Target, When present, Timer, only if cast by self
- Combustion: Cooldown, Spell or Ability, When usable, Timer
This macro lets you cast Living Bomb on the target under your mouse pointer, or if nothing there, on your selected target. Very handy to apply Living Bomb on multiple units without having to lose your current target!
#showtooltip Living Bomb
/cast [target=mouseover,harm,exists,nodead] Living Bomb; Living Bomb
Keeping up Living Bomb on multiple targets isn't that easy, but fortunately there's a nice little addon that helps here:
Living Bomb Tracker shows a little tooltip when hovering with your mouse cursor over a target, showing whether Living Bomb is applied and how much time is left ticking before you can reapply it.
Ignite is a core mechanic you are expected to understand if you raid with fire.
Whenever one of your fire spells crits, it will do 40% of that damage as DoT (Damage over Time). On a single crit, there will be two Ingite ticks, the first after 2sec, the second after 4sec, both doing 20% of the direct damage component of the spell that crit. If other spell crits happen when there's still Ignite damage to tick, the new Ingite damage is added to the amount that is left to tick, and the timer starts anew to tick after 2/4 seconds.
Example 1: Single crit
t=0sec, Fireball crits for 1000 damage. 400 damage (40%) is added to the Ignite bank.
t=2sec, Ignite ticks for 200 damage (half of what's on the bank)
t=4sec, Ignite ticks for 200 damage (the rest), Ignite debuff expires on the target.
Example 2: Multiple crits
t=0sec, Fireball crits for 1000 damage. 400 damage (40%) is added to the Ignite bank.
t=2sec, Ignite ticks for 200 damage (half of what's on the bank)
t=2.5 sec, Pyro crits for 1500 damage. 600 damage (40%) is added to the bank. Ignite timer is reset
t=4.5sec, Ignite ticks for 400 damage (half of what's on the bank)
t=5sec, Fireball crits for 1200 damage. 480 damage (40%) is added to the Ignite bank.
t=6sec, Fireball crits for 1000 damage. 400 damage (40%) is added to the Ignite bank.
t=8sec, Ignite ticks for 640 damage (half of what's on the bank)
t=10sec, Ignite ticks for 640 damage (the rest), Ignite debuff expires on the target.
This effect of banking Ignite damage is called 'Rolling Ignites'. Back in the classic days, there was only one Ignite bank per unit, so fire mages all added to the same pool. If their crit chance or number was high enough, Ignites could roll for a very long time, increasing the size of the ticks and causing aggro problems to the fire mage which caused the last crit. In vanilla WoW, once Ignite was applied it ticked every 2 seconds until it expired. The damage of the first tick was not substracted, but instead each tick was meant to do half of the banked damage. If rolling ignites occurred, the new Ignite damage was banked to the initial damage and the tick timer was reset to 2, so any damage from the first tick could tick again. This bug caused the banked damage to grow to massive dimensions sometimes, and was a hidden damage boost of fire mages. That had been fixed with patch 2.0, giving each player its own ignite bank slot, substracting any damage ticks and resetting the timer when a new crit occured.
What this means for you: be aware that not all your damage is unloaded directly, and subsequent crits can delay the dot damage (theoretically ad infinitum). Any Ignite damage still banked when your target dies is lost, this is part of the reason fire specs are atrocious for levelling or any target that doesn't live long enough (such as the Ice Spheres in the Lich King fight).
I hope you enjoyed this guide. If there's anything you think should be added, drop me a note in the comments. Now go and RELEASE THE BURNING KRAKEN!
by Tachyon on Sat. 10. October 2009, 00:29
Filed under: arcane, guide, talents, featured
Why is arcane so popular these day? It's not only due to the fact that since patch 3.2.2 it can compete with fire specs again, but also most mages seem to prefer arcane over fire due to the proactive playstyle which is both more challenging and more fun.
Fire mages are forced into a very reactive play style. They know exactly which spells to cast when, as the normal cycle (chaincast Fireball) is only disrupted when debuffs expire (Living Bomb or Scorch, reaction: reapply) or a Hot Streak proc occurs (reaction: use an instant Pyro as your next spell). This results in a more or less steady mana burn rate, so you just cast and hope you never go out of mana. You'll find yourself with a half full mana pool on the end of a fight, knowing that this mana was just wasted.
Arcane, on the other hand, has 3 cooldown abilities at hand (Arcane Power, Icy Veins, Presence of Mind) which allow for burst damage when the mage requests it. Not only that, but arcane mages have multiple cast cycles with varying DPS and DPM, so they can adapt their casting strategy on the fly to optimize their actions for any situation. That's what proactive casting is about, looking ahead and planning how to play to live up to the full potential. In this ability to adapt lies the arcane mage's greatest potential to do extraordinary damage.
This is a guide for effectively playing an arcane mage in a PvE (Player vs. Environment) raid scenario. It's not a beginner's mage guide as it implies you already know how to play a mage in general, so I'm not going to explain core mage concepts and spells for the leveling folk or the lazy buggers who bought their mages on Ebay or inherited a friend's account. This guide also doesn't cover how to play an arcane mage in PvP, sorry.
But if you've just switched to arcane for the first time, rerolled arcane now it's up to par with fire specs again or if you're already playing arcane and want to make sure you didn't miss an aspect or two, this guide is for YOU!
Oh, and /cheers to my friend and co-worker Elrydion on EU-Malygos who just hit 80 some weeks ago with his mage and for whom I wrote this guide!
Core Spec: 53/3/11, 4 points left to spend
This spec stub contains all the important talents needed for an arcane spec. I even dare say that any arcane spec which isn't based on that stub is suboptimal.
Most arcane specs are derived from this core spec, here's some of them:
Max. range, max. intellect, Slow and max. Blizzard crits.
This is the spec I recommend to any new arcane mage, as it performs well in any scenario, be it hardmodes, normal modes or 5men / solo. It's also the arcane spec with the highest AoE damage thanks to the additional point in frost.
Classic Spec: 57/3/11
Optimized on single targets, with Slow.
That's the classic out-of-the box spec you'll see in any other arcane guide. Nothing bad about it, has a negligibly small bonus to single target damage (+3% spirit, which gives a little more crit), and does less AoE damage the the allround spec.
I personally wouldn't recommend this spec to anyone, better go for the allround spec instead.
Spirit Spec: 57/3/11
10% more spirit, but on the cost of not having the max. range for arcane spells. 3 points for ~1% crit is rather expensive.
Incanter's Absorption Spec: 57/3/11
2/3 points into incanter's absorption, no Slow.
This is a spec for more experienced arcane mage who want to toy around with Incanter's Absorption to squeeze a little more spellpower from absorbed magical damage (only complete absorbs count, make sure to use your frost/fire ward where appropriate). The benefit of this spec is very situational (a lot of bosses do fire/frost damage, but you need to know in advance when to expect it and cast your ward, which costs a global cooldown), but in some encounters, like Twin Val'kyrs, it can do devastating damage.
For arcane mages, there is exactly one set of glyphs that makes sense:
Glyph of Arcane Blast
Increases the damage from your Arcane Blast buff by 3%.
This increases the damage done with your next arcane spell by 15% + 3% = 18% per stack, so instead of an 15/30/45/60% increase you get 18/36/54/72%.
Glyph of Arcane Missiles
Increases the critical strike damage bonus of Arcane Missiles by 25%.
Glyph of Molten Armor
Your Molten Armor grants an additional 20% of your spirit as critical strike rating.
As a PvE mage, Molten Armor is the only armor you'll ever use. Molten Armor grants you 35% of your spirit as crit rating, or 55% with this glyph, or 70% with the glyph and the 2pT9 bonus
Glyph of Slow Fall
Your Slow Fall spell no longer requires a reagent.
Glyph of Fire Ward
You have an additional 5% chance to reflect Fire spells while your Fire Ward is active.
Glyph of Frost Ward
You have an additional 5% chance to reflect Frost spells while your Frost Ward is active.
As with any mage spec, your primary focus should be getting hit capped.
Your base chance to hit a boss is 83%, and you get 6% + Hit from talents, and 3% from Misery or Improved Faerie Fire in a raid. That leaves 8% (210 Hit Rating) or 7% (184 Hit Rating) (if you're Alliance and got a squid faced space goat in your raid) until you're hit capped.
Apart from Hit Rating, Spellpower and Haste Rating are your most important stats. Arane doesn't benefit that much from Crit Rating, as the crit multipliers are rather low (compared to fire and frostfire).
Haste rating has soft caps, as you cannot cast more than one spell per second (when the cast time is lower, you enter the global cooldown util the next spell is ready 1sec after you cast the last). As an arcane mage, your spell rotation only consists of Arcane Blast and Missile Barrage AM, which both have a 2.5 sec cast time.
If you combine the 6% haste from talents with the 3% haste in a raid environment (from Swift Retribution or Improved Moonkin Form ), and stack Icy Veins (20% haste) and Bloodlust/Heroism (30% haste) on top of that, you end up with a 70.3208% haste peak (haste stacks multiplicatively). With 1% haste per 32.79 haste rating, you'd need (2.5 / 1.703208 - 1) * 3279 = 1534 Haste Rating to reach the haste peak soft cap. You'd still improve your DPS outside haste peaks, but it's worth lesser and lesser until you reach the hard cap at 4229 haste rating, where not even Icy Veins or Blood Lust/Heroism will be able to further hasten your cast time.
Hit Rating (until cap) > Spellpower ~= Haste Rating > Crit Rating > Spirit ~= Intellect.
The chart below shows the % DPS increase per unit stat once you reach the hit cap (raid buffs applied, the chart doesn't vary that much depending on your gear):
The easiest way to do gear planning is to use a stats ranking site. Stats ranking works as follows: you assign a weight for each stat to define how valuable it is for you, and let the ranking site then calculate the item value for all possible items (sum of the weighted stats on each item).
I usually use the spellpower equivalent values for each stat as a weight, with the exception of hit rating which just gets a fixed value assigned (more hit rating is no benefit, but losing hit rating will at least have a tradeoff cost if you're not much overcapped). My weights are:
Spell Power = 1, Hit Rating = 0.2, Haste Rating = 0.98, Crit Rating = 0.53, Intellect = 0.37, Spirit = 0.35
My favourite loot ranking site was lootrank.com, which was merged with GuildOx some weeks ago.
When applying the weights above in GuildOx, you get the following loot rank list:
Arcane Mage Loot List (hit cappped, all instances).
Use this as a starting point, check or uncheck the raid instances and professions (BoP crafted items) you have access too, and adapt the weights where necessary.
The choice of gems is pretty much dictated by the weights of the stats. Best choice is of course the pure +spellpower gems. Carefully consider how much benefit you get from the socket boni, and decide if it's worth to discard them and putting just red spellpower gems into the sockets.
- Meta socket:
Chaotic Skyflare Diamond
+21 Critical Strike Rating and 3% Increased Critical Damage, requires at least 2 Blue gems
This is the non-plus-ultra meta gem for any mage spec. The critical strikes of your spells gain 3% more damage before any talent is applied, so this is a significant boost for your DPS. Rule of thumb is that it's worth about 200 spell power.
- Red socket:
Runed Cardinal Ruby (red)
+23 Spell Power
- Yellow socket:
Reckless Ametrine (orange)
+12 spell power and +10 haste
- Blue socket:
Purified Dreadstone (purple)
+12 Spell Power and +10 Spirit
In order to activate the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond meta gem, you need two blue gems (2x Purified Dreadstone). Try placing them into blue sockets if possible, and then decide which yellow sockets you want to fill with Reckless Ametrines (only if the socket bonus is worth it). Fill the rest of the sockets with Runed Cardinal Rubies, regardless of their color.
Oh, and make sure to not forget to add an Eternal Belt Buckle to your belt.
- Weapon (1H Sword/Dagger):
Mighty Spellpower -> 63 spellpower or
Black Magic -> 35% chance on cast to proc 250 haste for 10 seconds, 30sec internal cooldown.
- Weapon (2H Staff): Greater Spellpower
-> 81 spellpower
- Head: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries
-> 30 spellpower, 20 crit rating
- Shoulder: Greater Inscription of the Storm
-> 25 spellpower, 15 crit rating
- Chest: Powerful Stats
-> 10 to all stats
- Legs: Brilliant Spellthread
-> 50 spellpower, 20 spirit
- Hand: Exceptional Spellpower
-> 28 spellpower
Icewalker -> 12 hit rating, 12 crit rating (if you're not overcapped with hit), or
Greater Spirit -> 18 spirit, or
Tuskarr's Vitality -> minor movement speed increase and 15 Stamina.
I recommend Tuskarr's Vitality as it's optimal for movement fights in ICC content
- Wrist: Superior Spellpower
-> 30 spellpower
- Back: Greater Speed
-> 23 haste rating
...plus any profession specific enchantments (e.g. rings, Lightweave Embroidery on your cloak).
For a quick enchantment check, go to be.imba.hu. This site checks if you already got the recommended enchantments, and which enchantments are recommended for each slot.
If you haven't read my article on the 3.2.2 spell rotations, you might want to read it in a calm minute. Here's the extract of the spell rotations that make up your casting arsenal:
Single target rotations:
- Standard DPS Rotation:
Spam Arcane Blast, use Missile Barrage when it procs and AB is fully stacked (4 stacks).
Use: standard rotation as long as you can keep your mana up.
- Optimal DPS/DPM Rotation:
Spam Arcane Blast, use Missile Barrage as soon as it procs
Use: on long fights or if you get low on mana, until you can evocate.
- Mana Recovery Rotation:
Spam Arcane Blast, use Missile Barrage as soon as it procs. If no procs occur after 2..4 AB stacks, clear the stack with Arcane Barrage.
Use: when you really start to run out of mana. The rotation can be kept up pretty much forever
- Burst Rotation:
Spam Arcane Blast, disregard any Missile Barrage procs.
Use: on burst phases (Arcane Power, Icy Veins or Bloodlust/Heroism) or when the raid is requested to do insane DPS for a short time, or when you can afford to burn the mana (before Evocation comes off cooldown)
Arcane, especially the variant with 12 points in frost, is the spec with the highest burst AoE (Area of Effect) damage. You're verly likely to draw aggro if you dont start carefully. A good advice is to take your your Mirror Images before starting to bomb, so your initial aggro is split up on you and your images which prevents you from surpassing the tank in the aggro list on the first few seconds.
Casting Flamestrike every 8 seconds is a good idea, as it adds a nice little DoT to your AoE targets. Note that each rank of Flamestrike (FS) has its own DoT component, so whilst 2 subsequent FS Rank 9 won't stack, FS Rank 8 + 9 will (you could even stack rank 9+8+7+6+..., but due to the penalty the lower ranks get, this is not advisable)
- cast Mirror Images
- (Presence of Mind)
- Flamestrike Rank 9
- Flamestrike Rank 8
- Pop trinkets, activate Arcane Power and Icy Veins
- Spam Blizzard, reapply Flamesstrike Rank 9+8 as soon as the DoT expires, rinse and repeat.
Arcane is a very proactive mage spec, which not only lets you vary your cast cycles on the fly, but also has a number of cooldown abilities which boost your DPS for a short time.
- Arcane Power (AP)
2 min cooldown, with talents: 1 min 24 sec
When activated, your spells deal 20% more damage while costing 20% more mana to cast. This effect lasts 15 sec.
- Icy Veins (IV)
3 min cooldown, with talents: 2 min 24 sec
Hastens your spellcasting, increasing spell casting speed by 20% and reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting by 100%. Lasts 20 sec.
- Presence of Mind (PoM)
2 min cooldown, with talents: 1 min 24 sec
When activated, your next Mage spell becomes an instant cast spell.
+ Arcane Potency (2/2): Increases the critical strike chance of your next damaging spell by 30% after gaining Clearcasting or Presence of Mind.
Use your cooldown abilities whenever available, preferrably during Bloodlust/Heroism. PoM gives the next spell a +30% crit chance, so this is best used when your next spell does high damage, hence you want to use a PoM-AB when your AB stack is full for the highest bang for the buck.
You should wait some seconds into an encounter before popping your cooldowns, as you rely on raid debuffs on the target and want to give your tank a head start building aggro.
Initial burst sequence on the start of an encounter (all cooldowns ready):
- Mirror Image (to split your initial aggro)
- 4x Arcane Blast
- Use any trinkets that can be activated
- Presence of Mind, Arcane Blast (instant)
- Arcane Power + Icy Veins (make a macro)
- Arcane Blast spam until Icy Veins fades
- Use Invisibility if necessary before your mirror images fade
Burst damage macro
This macro activates Arcane Power, Icy Veins, Trinkets and your Mirror Images at once (unless the ability is on cooldown, of course). Mirror Images should only be included when you have the 4xT10 bonus, otherwise I think it's better to activate them separately. The numbers 13 and 14 refer to your trinket slots, you can adapt the macro to only use the slot which contains an 'on use' trinket.
/cast Icy Veins
/cast Arcane Power
/cast Mirror Image
Tips & Tricks
Evocation is ready every 2 minutes, but takes 8 seconds to cast (before haste is applied).
If you'd use it every 2 minutes, you'd be casting for 112 seconds and evocating for 8 seconds every 120 seconds. That's a significant loss, and to compensate for that you would need 120/112-1 = 7.15% additional haste, or 233.5 haste rating.
Arcane Blast spam gives you only 2% more DPS than the standard rotation (AB until MBarr, use at 4 AB stacks), but costs almost 60% more mana, so unless the encounter has idle phases which allow to use Evocation, you'd better not chaincast AB but rather preserve your mana so you don't have to evocate that often.
If you have to use Evocation, the best time to do it is on the last second of Heroism/Bloodlust/Icy Veins (the cast time is determined upon the start, so you can prolong the effect of those haste buffs).
Both Arcane Blast and Arcane Missiles have a range of 30y. With the Magic Attunement talent, you can and should increase your range by 3/6y.
I know it's very tempting to skip this talent partially or completely and invest the points somewhere else, but I highly recommend to spend those 2 points there.
3/6y may not seem that much, but it's not the range that is important but the size of the area given by that range (3y -> 21% more area, 6y -> 44% more area). The larger the area is, the more likely you won't have to move to get something in casting range, which is very important for fights on which you have to spread out or when the boss is moving or spawns adds. Moving will hurt your DPS badly, so whilst range does not increase your DPS, it can save you from losing DPS.
Faster casting tricks
The matra for high damage is ABC: Always Be Casting. Any second you aren't casting is lost damage. Move only when necessary, and if you have to move use Arcane Barrage before your AB stack expires.
But also when you don't move, you're still losing time between your casts due to the latency between your computer and the WoW server. It's only a few dozen or hundred milliseconds, but boy does that add up quickly! Here's some tricks how to reduce the idle time between spells:
- Be aware of lag gaps between your spells, and minimize them by all means:
Find out how to optimize your TCP connection for WoW. Bandwith doesn't matter, it's the response time that matters. Use Leatrix Latency Fix (or edit the Windows registry yourself) to set the TCP Acknowledge Frequency to 1 (ACK on each TCP packet), that will reduce your ping significantly.
- Use Quarz or any other cast bar addon that shows the last latency measured. You can start casting the next spell as soon as the casting bar enters the latency area (when it does, the spell is supposed to be finished on the server, only your UI does not know about it yet due to the latency). It's rumored that even when you start a little too early casting the next spell it won't be lost but queued on the server, so you theoretically can do seamless chaincasting.
- Don't mash the buttons. Klicking a keyboard button fires two events: pressed and released. Be aware that spell casting starts on the 'released' event. Pressing and releasing costs time (about 70-80 ms if you're fast), so when chaincasting press and hold the button in advance, so you only have to release it for the next cast.
Snowfall KeyPress addon can help you casting faster, what it does is to trigger spells on KEY_PRESS instead of KEY_RELEASE events. Give it a try, you'll love it.
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If you think this guide is missing something important, or if you think you found a mistake, please tell me in the comments so I can keep this guide up-to-date, thanks!