Fire The Frickin’ Lazerz!

Posted: 8 November, 2009 in Mage

Some of you may be aware of a healing questionaire that’s been doing the rounds of the blogosphere lately.  Well Hinenuitepo over at Death Goddess has adapated it for we dps types, and suggested that I take part.  Which is an excellent idea.  There’s been far too much namby-pamby, lovey-dovey stuff been going on in this blog lately, those tree-hugging hippy healers have practically taken over.  Let us not forget that that this is supposed to be a Mage blog, and Calli’s primary purpose in life is to turn things into small and innoffensive farmyard animals and then utterly destroy them using only the power of her mind (which now has 5% more intellect, gnome fans!).  So without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty gritty!

Calli2

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary dps?
Calli, mage, usually Arcane spec.  There she is on the left, isn’t she adorable?

What is your primary dpsing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Raids.  The only time I ever log Calli is to raid or maybe do some dailies .  Most of the time I’m on an alt of some description, but when we need to bring the big guns out, I log Calli.

What is your favorite dps spell/ability for your class and why?
Invisibility is definitely, 100%, hands-down, no questions asked, the best spell mages ever had.  It’s saved me thousands of gold in repair bills.  Even if that weren’t the case, the shock on Teamspeak when everyone sees that some nab mage was the only survivor of the last wipe is always worth the ticket price.   Blink used to hold pride of place if for no other reason than you could escape a wipe on Kael’thas by Blinking through the force fields barring exit from his throne room, but Invisibility is where it’s at these days.

What dps spell do you use least for your class and why?
Can’t remember the last time I used Ice Lance unless it was slaughtering low level mobs in Darkshore while working on that last bit of Darnassus reputation.  It’s great for stomping Totems on Faction Champions in Crusaders’ Coliseum, but that’s not my job.  If Frost were ever a viable raid spec again, that would change of course.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your dps class and why?
Well unlike a certain asshat developer seems to think, we’re not the unparralelled gods of aoe that we were supposed to be.   But Arcane mages have awesome burst dps potential.  If you need something dead right now, nothing beats popping a trinket with Arcane Power and Icy Veins up and then spamming a 4xArcane Blast stack.  With 40% threat reduction on arcane spells I can usually survive it, too.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your dps class and why?
We’re still not very good at dpsing on the move, although as Arcane we’re better than most.  It’s not really much of a weakness, we still have a few tricks up our sleeve and we’re probably the most mobile of the dps caster classes.  Nothing much to complain about, really.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best dps assignment for you?
Stick me on the boss and watch the sparks fly.  Although when you do need to assign some dps to the unglamourous kiting tasks, we’re probably best suited for it.   Our dps suffers, but a shadow priest doing the same job would be 90% useless.

stuff

Rawr!

What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with most and why?
Gimme more elemental shamans!  They can have my Focus Magic anytime!  Totem of Wrath and a guaranteed crit every 8 seconds makes me a very happy mage when I’m specced Fire!  A Demonology warlock with Demonic Pact and Curse of Elements wins when I’m Arcane.

What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with least and why?
Any melee except Retribution Paladins.  I at least get a nice 3% damage buff from being under their Auras, but Feral Druids, Warriors and Rogues do nothing for me.  Deathknights with Ebon Plaguebringer can be fun too.

What is your worst habit as a dps?
Situational Awareness.  Hard Mode Hodir is my worst nightmare, far too many things going on for me to get my head around.  We have a Warlock who can easily do 14k dps on that fight by getting every buff available.  I have trouble going over 8k.  Just too much going on for me to process.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while dpsing?
Selfish bastard dps classes who only care about their own position on damage meters even at the cost of a wipe.  People who continue to dps Gormok the Impaler when snobolds are up.  People who won’t decurse because it means less time doing dps.  And then the shallow morons who make snide remarks about Recount afterwards without checking who did the spellstealing/decursing/crowd control, or who attacked what, not just who attacked the  most.  Really pisses me right off.  “Oh, Calli didn’t do as much dps as <player name>.”  Right, but the dps Calli did was at least on the correct fucking target, dickhead.  Check that on Recount!

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other dps?
I do.  It took a long, long time to get there, but mages are in a good spot right now.  We spent an entire expansion being completely and utterly shit.  I don’t look back on The Burning Crusade with any kind of nostalgia, it was a terrible time to be anything other than a Warlock or a Shadow Priest if you were a caster.  But Wrath is a great Expansion for us.  In TBC you could do great dps as a mage, provided your entire group was set up to do nothing but buff and support you, and it wasn’t worth the effort when you could just hire a shadow priest and get half a dozen warlocks to faceroll their shadowbolt key for more return on your investment.  Thankfully those days are long gone.  When 10 out of 10 of the best raid guilds in the world said that mages were the biggest waste of a raid slot in TBC, you can only cry quietly and hope things get better in the next expansion.  And they did.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a dps’er?
Recount and World of Logs.  I’m just recently getting to know how to properly use Recount to analyse what I did and why I should be doing anything different, but it’s a great tool as long as it’s not used to spam raid chat by the moron Rogue who stood in Fire behind Koralon for 15 seconds, but did awseome dps before he died.  World of Logs is also an excellent tool, and you can run it Live to check performance while raiding.  I highly recommend it.

WoWScrnShot_102809_095243

You want the gnome? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE GNOME!

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
Well I was once asked if I could summon someone to Stormwind.  Yes, it was a Night Elf Hunter.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new dpsers of your class to learn?
Ask me this a year or two ago and I would have said threat control.  It’s still possible to overaggro as a mage these days if you’re a complete idiot and your tank is new to the job or just incompetent.  Heck, you can overaggro even with the best tank, but you have to be a special kind of overgeared and stupid to do that these days.

What dps class do you feel you understand least?
Rogues.  I’m not terrible on my Rogue, but I should be far better.  Again, it’s a situational awareness thing, there’s a lot of stuff to keep track of if you want to do good dps as a Rogue.  Any idiot can do mediocre dps as a Rogue, most of us can do decent dps, but doing great dps as a Rogue is hard damn work!

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in dps?
Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text is very useful to remind me what procs I need to use before they fade.  Scorchio is invaluable for tracking things like Hot Streak, Polymorph, Arcane Blast stacks and Missile Barrage procs.  I used to use Clique for crowd controlling focus targets but that’s built into Blizzards’ default UI now (if you enable it).  Still use Clique for healing, but that’s a whole different questionairre.

What stat to stack, and why?
That used to be a simple question to answer, stack spellpower until your ears bleed.  Things changed in Wrath.  Generally you won’t go wrong stacking spellpower anyway, but the value of one stat changes in relation to how much of other stats you need.  At its most basic, hit rating is very valuable right up until you reach the hit cap, at which point more becomes totally worthless.  Understanding the relationship between your current spellpower, haste and crit ratings is far more complex.  The best advice I can give anyone is to use the wonderful Theorycraft-o-matic by Lhivera, Zaldinar and Zxile.  I plug myself in there, tell it what spec I am and see straight away that further hit rating is worthless, haste is worth the most, closely followed by spellpower, both of which are worth twice as much to me as any more crit.  It’s a great tool and I urge mages everywhere to use it.

Comments
  1. Hinenuitepo says:

    Very very nice and entertaining post! :)
    A good read.
    I’m getting the link up post up on my blog now.

    If you think of any other dps blogs out there, give them a tag!

    -Hine

  2. jong says:

    Good read. I think I’ll participate in the survey too.

    I like how your hair matches your armor.

  3. Calli says:

    I did actually choose that hair colour to match the armour. I am a total fashion victim, I have to admit. There is gear that’s a clear upgrade for me that I’ve passed on for no other reason than because it looked completely bonk. Remember the clownsuits we all wore while levelling from 60 to 70? Not this mage! No sir, I wore 8/8 Tier Two until at least level 68!

    It doesn’t matter if you can sear the flesh from your enemies’ twitching bones with the power of your mind if you look like Sideshow Bob while you’re doing it! Jong understands, a Gnome’s got to look the part!

  4. The feeling is mutual I hate mages as a ret paladin also. Haha Joking aside I personally stoped using recount all together and I only check up on my live world of log if something is going wrong in a raid.

    I personally think seeing recount numbers force me to get that dps ego that I also hate, by keeping it out of my add ons I can concentrate on other things like Fire or ice blocks.

  5. Calli says:

    It’s only really useful for comparing yourself against others of the same class, spec and gear level in that respect. If all the mages are doing similar dps, for example, then you know there probably aren’t any problems.

  6. Mike says:

    Its actually very easy to over aggro with Frostfire spec

    • Calli says:

      Depends how much crit you have, but yes. Frostfire is heavily crit dependant, and if you get a string of crits in a row it can easily push you over the limit, IF you’re not watching your aggro.

      • Mike says:

        I play Frostfire mainly as I find it most fun. My DPS is up there in the top 2 always, and yes, I do have ALOT of crit , so I do need to be very careful with aggro. It isn’t as easy as you say. Aggro is a battle I am always trying to win. Its not easy.

      • Calli says:

        I used to be Frostfire until the Molten Armour nerf, and it was a fun spec to play. The thing I found about Frostfire was that while the crits were absolutely massive, the damage you did if you didn’t crit was a bit.. well.. crap.

        As for the ease of pulling aggro, I can pull aggro off any PuG 5 man tank, no problem. But I’m covered in item level 258 epics, so you’d expect that. If your tank is geared appropriately for you, there is no way you should be pulling aggro off them unless one of you is incompetent or not paying attention. If your tank is struggling and you both have equal gear levels, you probably need to find a better tank.

      • Roxton says:

        You’re right about Frostfire’s damage being a bit sporadic, but compared to Fire/TTW it’s the platonic ideal of stability. Where Frostfire/Fire really shines is in longer encounters where you don’t lose DPS time due to the regular evocations, and if there’s more than one mob involved, as having more than one LB up at any given time greatly increases your chance of a Hot Streak proccing.

        Of course, that’s the other easy, easy way to pull aggro as Fire/FFB: put LB on everything. In 12 seconds, you’re going to have the mother of all spike damage, bang bang bang. On the other hand, it does mean that you get to spam instant pyros every GCD, so if your tank can handle it or you have IB/Invis/MI on CD then it’s a lot of fun.

        Sorry, got a bit involved. I’ve answered the survey now, it’s a good idea.

        Nice article!

      • Calli says:

        Again I think a lot depends on your gear levels. My Fire spec gear is ilevel 245 tier 9 with the 4 piece set bonus, which is inferior to my Arcane gear set but still packs over 70% Fireball crit fully raid buffed. As you can imagine, I see a lot of Hot Streaks.

        I have dual spec and tend to switch to Fire/TTW on Anub’arak in Trial of the Crusader. With Living Bombs on Anub and the Guardians in Phase 1, Anub gets a lot of Pyroblasts thrown his way. In phase 2 you dot up all the scarabs with Living Bomb and after a few seconds you’re constantly spamming your Pyros. It’s a lot of fun, but when you end up with a triple Pyroblast streak on a raid boss you certainly start to “feel the heat” on the aggro meter.

        Arcane has the 40% threat reduction but with 3000 spellpower raid buffed and a 33k mana pool I can keep up a 4xArcane Blast stack for a good length of time and with Arcane’s burst dps cooldowns, any tank is going to struggle if you’re not careful with your threat, even with 40% threat reduction. 20k+ Arcane Blasts are a thing of beauty though!

        I sometimes wonder about going back to Frostfire as my offspec, though, instead of Fire/TTW. With the absurdly high levels of crit that Fire Mages are sporting nowadays, and with the Tier 9 set bonuses, Frostfire crits should be pretty impressive.

        Any way you look at it, I think we can all agree that Mages are in a pretty good spot at the moment, far better than we were in the dark days of The Burning Crusade.

  7. Xallanthia says:

    THANK YOU for the theorycraft link, I’d never seen that! I’d been stressing about sp vs haste and that made it very clear.

  8. Bablade says:

    I have some questions about your spec. I was wondering why you put 4 points into improved frostbolt instead of putting 2 of those into ice shards for better blizzard damage. My other question is now that the 2 piece T9 increases your spirit–>crit with moltnen armor wouldnt putting 3 points into SotM and glyphing molten armor be ideal?

    Thanks

    • Calli says:

      Both good questions, happy to answer. I put the four “filler” points into Imp. Frostbolt simply because we were doing Heroic Jarraxxus at the time and I needed a fast nuke to use whenever I got hit by Mistress’ Kiss and had my Arcane school locked out. I tend to respec and swap those filler points around based on whatever progression content we’re doing at the time. I also hardly ever use Blizzard, any fight where there’s an appreciable AoE factor involved I tend to swap to my Fire/TTW offspec. For almost everything else I just drop a PoM+Flamestrike. Putting points into Ice Shards for the exactly the reasons you describe is a great idea, however, and as good a place to use the filler points as any. If my spec ever stabilises I’ll probably do exactly that.

      As for taking SotM and glyphing Molten Armour, yes you’re absolutely correct that I’d see more immediate dps benefit from doing exactly that. The two-piece Tier 9 bonus is completely worthless for Arcane Mages using Mage Armour. Without the bonus I have 100% regen while casting anyway, I really don’t need another 15%. I do, however, need that 100% while casting, and with Molten Armour I’d have exactly 0%. I can just about get away with spamming 4xAB stacked Missile Barrages without having to Evocate (relying on mana gems and pots) for any current boss fight (Magic Absorption helps a lot) but if I was using Molten Armour I’d be OOM faster than a Destruction Warlock pulls aggro.

      It may be that doing what you suggest is better overall for shorter fights or longer fights were you can take casting breaks to Evocate, but I hate having to take time to stop dpsing and Evocate. It’s probably a bad habit from days as a Fire or Frost mage when having to Evocate was a sign that the shit had hit the fan. The other problem is that Glyphing Molten Armour means I’d have to give up a glyph that’s useful all the the time for a glyph that’s only useful when I can spare the mana.

      It’s certainly an interesting idea, though. It’s entirely possible that, depending on gear and regen, the numbers might bear it out.

      • Bablade says:

        Hmmmm
        I appreciate your guidance. I use my offspec for my pvp (arcane shatter) so doing fire/ttw isnt an option for Aoe. I am confused as to how if you have 3/3 in arcane med you would be doing 0% mana regen, wouldnt it be 50%? Do you think 3/3 in Sotmwith acane med might be able to compensate for mana regen? Another strategy that many folks are advocating these days is doing evocates either at the tail end of IV or working it into the fight when there is a phase transition. I guess it really depends on group dps and length and type of fight. Jarraxus is really the only fight I find to be mana challenging because of the spellsteals, but I think the buff makes up for it on the back end. As far as glyphs go how useful do you find the arcane power glyph to be ?

      • Calli says:

        Apologies for the delay in replying, been actually posting these from sea all week and the connection sucks, so waited until I got home.

        Anyway, you are of course correct that with 3/3 Arc. Med. we’d have 50%, not 0% regen while casting. I have that and still run empty on TotGC25 without Mage Armour up. However, and this is a big however, Arcane mages can get away with using Molten Armour and throttling their mana useage aggressively by using planned Evocation breaks. The only issue is that you need to know every detail of the fight in advance, because if you get caught Evocating when Dreadscale blasts you with a toxin, you pretty much just turned yourself into a Wand for the rest of the fight. On the other hand, you’re going to get at least 15% more crit and correspondingly higher dps if you get it right.

        As for the glyph of Arcane Power, it’s usefulness probably depends a lot on your gear and your talents. I run with 850 haste so I can squeeze in an Arcane Blast and an Arcane Barrage or Missile Barrage with it. It does the job.

        I should probably make it clear that there’s nothing wrong at all with going the way you suggest, it WILL net you higher dps if you’re brave enough and know exactly when it’s 100% safe to Evocate on any fight. I’m just a coward.
        :)

  9. Frostsmoke says:

    I have to wholeheartedly agree with you on selfish dps. Last nite on Deathwhisper–”Wow Frost, your dps was fairly low, what happened?” Could it be the 98 decurses, or me as the only sheeper? At least I got them to listen on Marrowgar–Arcane really starts to suck switching to Bonespikes and back–couldn’t get an ABX4 to save my life. Switched around roles (made dedicated spike killers) and Marrowgar is littering the floor 5 mins later.

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