Archive for November, 2009

The Iceman Cometh

Posted: 19 November, 2009 in Mage, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Another week, another failpug story, but this time it’s not mine.  Poor old Gnomeageddon takes the prize for Failpug of the Week and puts the “ew!” into “pew pew!” with this absolutely horrific tale of woe.  The Deathtards may be the new kids on the block but there’s always a Huntard somewhere willing to go that extra mile to reclaim the title.

The DPS questionairre seems to have caught some attention, with WoW.com giving it some link love, which explains the umpteen bazillion hits I took earlier on in the week.  But all the hot news is about the PTR, patch 3.3 and Icecrown Citadel!

So, what’s in it for mages?  Well first of all, Arcane is getting a utility buff with the change to Arcane Empowerment meaning that we’ll be giving the same 3% damage buff to the group/raid as Hunters with Ferocious Inspiration or Paladins with Sanctified Retribution.  Simply crit with Arcane Explosion, Missiles, Barrage or Blast and everyone gets the buff for the next 10 seconds.  The big changes, however, are in the Fire and Frost trees.  Fire gets the following very boring changes:

Mana cost of Blast Wave and Dragon’s Breath reduced.
Interrupt immunity granted by Burning Determination is now 20 seconds.
When Firestarter is triggered, it makes the next Flamestrike cost no mana in addition to being instant.

*yawn*

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?  Is this a change to Scorch I see before me?  You bet your pearly pink panties it is!

The debuff from Improved Scorch no longer stacks, and instead can apply the full effect from a single cast of Scorch.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!  Fire mages rejoice!  You no longer have to waste a useful Major Glyph slot to provide a buff that any other class gets either natively or with talents!  What happened to the Glyph of Scorch?  A 20% Scorch damage increase or something, who cares?  It’s still junk.  Moving on to Frost, the fun just continues!

Fingers of Frost: This talent now triggers immediately on casting a spell rather than being delayed until the spell strikes the target.
Frozen Core: This talent now also causes Ice Lance critical strikes to reduce the cast time of the mage’s next Frostbolt or Frostfire Bolt by 0.4/0.7/1 seconds.

All good stuff, but nothing to make you wish you’d packed a spare set of underwear.  Until we get to the Deep Freeze change, that is:

This spell now deals a large amount of damage to targets permanently immune to stuns. In addition, when this ability deals damage it will no longer consume two charges of Fingers of Frost for those mages with the Shatter talent.

And that is just..  just..  well awesome doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Put into simple terms, “targets permanently immune to stuns” means raid and dungeon bosses.  Or in other words, Frost now has a 51 point PvE talent.  Enough to make Frost competitive in raids?  Possibly, I don’t have any numbers, but it’s going to be fun to find out.

Oh and Glyph of Water Elemental now makes ole Frosty a permanent pet.

Calm down, Frost mages, really!  There are children present!

Sadly it’s not all beer and skittles.  The following pearls of wisdom from the game developers made baby Jesus cry:

Icecrown Citadel is going to be broken up into four distinct sections: The Lower Spire, Plagueworks, Crimson Hall, and Frostwing Halls. We plan on releasing these four sections of Icecrown Citadel over time and not all immediately when patch 3.3.0 goes live.

and…

We believe a staggered release of the content will allow players to experience Icecrown Citadel at a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace.

and…

There are other elements that gate access along the way. Players may not attempt any Heroic versions of 10 player encounters until they have defeated the Lich King in a 10 player raid. Similarly, players must defeat the Lich King in a 25 player raid before they can attempt a Heroic 25 player encounter. So players must master every normal difficulty encounter in Icecrown Citadel before attempting Heroic difficulty.

There’s even more stuff about how you won’t be allowed to do X until you’ve done Y and so on and so forth, yadda yadda.  But with the help of my trusty Bullshit Translator, we can have everything converted into proper English in a jiffy!  Wait for it..  here it is:

We want to spin this shit out for as long as possible in order to free up resources for working on Cataclysm and Starcraft 2, so we’re going to drip feed you the next raid instance and force you to progress at a pace we choose rather than the pace your level of skill, gear and determination entitles you to.  Yes, this does mean that you’re going to end up clearing all the latest raid content in a night when it’s first released.  You can then either call it quits for the week or go back to farming Crusaders’ Coliseum again for the rest of the raid week.  No we don’t care.  Tough titty.

We will, of course, spin this in such a way that it will appear to the stupid and those without a Bullshit Translator that we’re releasing content this way because we only want the best for you, our loyal customers.  Not because we have to make this shit so easy for the common herd that the seasoned raiders burn through it in a night and want more.  Oh no.  Not us.

And they call me cynical.  Pfft.

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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.