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Posts Tagged ‘3.2.2’

So, despite frost being “not Raid viable” as DPS goes, I still do it from time to time. Frost does bring some nice raid utility, but in my guild’s 25 mans all that fancy viability isnt needed. We got a warlock bringing the spell crit debuff, a ret pally and some hunters for Replenishment and a bunch of other mages for AI, tables and Portals. I wouldnt be caught dead Rading Frost on a progression encounter, for that I’ll stick with Arcane. But there are times when you need a break. You know its okay to switch to Frost spec when all the drops off of a boss in a Raid are going to D/E (I’m looking at you Ulduar!).

With 3.3 Coming, Frost will be come a little bit less laughable in a raiding environment. To that end I am going ot compare my current Frost Raiding spec to the one I will be using come 3.3, and discuss the differences and where the newly needed points will come from.

For more info on Mage Raiding Specs and Rotations check out this post I made earlier.

So lets look at what a Frost Raiding Build looks like in 3.2.2:

3.2.2 Frost Raiding Spec (18/0/53)

So this spec goes into Arcane for Torment The Weak , but also picks up a few useful odds and ends while in there (Arcane ConcentrationFocus Magic and Magic Absorbtion). But ultimately it is Torment the Weak (TTW) that brings us to arcane, That extra 12% damage is invaluable and will remain so into 3.3.

A majority of this spec goes into the Frost Spec (duh!). I want to touch on a few Frost Talents that make the spec. I’m going to gloss over the big duh Talents. It’s a given that you should take the ones that increase the damage of frost spells and the haste of Frostbolt, but some talents are a little more abstract.

  • Permafrost – The ability to reduce a bosses heals is invaluable. It is a fairly situational occurence, but Wrath has a fair share of bosses that have some form of healing. Being able to reduce that Healing by 20% is amazing even if no one realizes you are doing it.
  • Fingers of Frost and Frostbite – These two Talents are intrinsically linked. This post on the official forums explains it far better than I can. In this 3.2.2 build you dont need Frostbite. you are essentially going to ignore Fingers of Frost procs as you are just going to continue using Frostbolt, only it has an increased crit chance.
  • Cold as Ice – Reducing the cool down of your water elemental is key. In 3.2.2 you want your icy little dude out as much as possible. The water elemental is responsible for a very decent amount DPS for a frost mage and keeping him out as much as possible, and keeping him alive, is key to maintaining top DPS.

The rest of the talents are fairly self-explanatory. Increased Damage this, increased crit that, you get the point. Just keep spamming that Frostbolt button and you’ll do all right for yourself.

So what changes in 3.3? What kind of spec will I be rolling with?

3.3 Frost Raiding Spec (18/0/53)

Same numbers, but there are some key differences. In 3.3 Deep Freeze becomes important. Now besides being nice for PvP, it will also do a very sizable chunk of damage to targets that are permanently immune to stun (read: Raid Bosses). This means that you wont just be spamming Frostbolt untill your fingers fall off. Now on every Fingers of Frost proc you will also toss out a Deep Freeze. This alone should be a sizeable increase in Frost DPS, but the fun doesnt stop there!

There will be a new Glyph for your Water elemental. Here is the PTR Link. Glyph of Eternal Water will make it so your Water Elemental is permanent.  Sure he looses his AoE freeze, but thats almost useless in raids anyways. This makes a big difference on talent expenditure. Now Cold as Ice only really reduces Cold Snap, which is nice, but makes a minimum impact on DPS if it isnt taken in 3.3. I mean on any given boss fight you are only going to be able to use this once in most cases. Also a large part of Enduring Winter is useless too. One point in it is really enough to keep Replenishment up at all times, as you will still be spamming the heck out of Frostbolt.

These changes aren’t enough to make Frost the new hotness, but it is a huge boon to Mage Frost Raiding. The best part is there will be very little effect in PvP. PvP frost probably wont take the glyph, because that AoE freeze is invaluable there, and in PvP no one is permanently immune to stuns. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to change to another spec for progression raiding, but now you shouldn’t be embarrassed to be casting Frostbolts in a raid!

Good Hunting!
-Mandrus

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As a mage there are a few things that we can bring to the table in raids (beside jaw-dropping, meter-smashing dps). Many classes offer Raid utility, and mages are no different. Part of the whole ‘bring the player not the class’ mentality that blizzard subscribes to means there is (almost) always overlap in these utilities. Below I will talk about each one and the overlap it shares with other classes.

There are three utilities, however, that are not shared with anyone else. The lovely Arcane Brilliance, Portals and Ritual of Refreshment. The intelligence from Arcane Brilliance is an incredible buff for mages whether soloing or in a group. Can’t beat more mana and more spell crit, right? It is an incredible boon to all that group with mages too, and is perhaps the single biggest reason to bring a mage to a raid. It lets the casters dps longer and more effectively and lets the healers heal more, which is great! Of course it doesnt buff everyone. I’m reasonably certain warriors, rogues and feral druids dont benefit at all, but thats their loss, big dumb brutes. Some people have no refinement!

Portals are only slightly considered a raid utility. It’s nice to get everyone out and back to a city after raiding. I think a lot of people run around and gem and enchant the gear they just got after raiding. So a quick port to Dalaran and they can hit the bank and then run to a city to hit the AH and they can still hearth back to Dal when it is all done. So it’s not a huge buff to a group, but it is one of the biggest perks of playing a mage for me.

Of course, everyone benefits from Ritual of Refreshment! The largest of which is WoW’s gyms and diet plan companies across Azeroth! If I look back at all the Mana Strudel I have sucked down in the past, I cringe! I think mages are the single group of people responsible for Diabetes and Fatness across Azeroth. Its a terrible cycle, we raid to burn calories but burn health and mana too, so we are forced to eat more strudel! I kid, anyways, its nice to be able to refill mana and health after a boss falls, and its even better when you dont have to pay cash for it. It certainly isnt a huge raid benefit, but it is nice.

So now for the overlap. in 3.2.2 (when I am writing this) there are two buffs that us mages can talent into. The first is an almost necessary buff for those fights that are tougher or just in raids with a lot of dps casters. I’m talking about Imp. Scorch and Winter’s Chill. There is overlap here with each other and a Destro Warlock’s Imp. Shadowbolt. I am not sure if it is considered a must for non destruction warlocks to take, but I think it is personal preference, I’ll not guess at the minds of warlocks, thats spooky stuff.

So what does this mean? Well in a standard raiding setup there is probably going to be a Mage and a Warlock. I have heard that Destro is one of the top raiding builds so if you have a destro lock you dont have to worry about speccing into either of those mage talents. There is also (in 3.2.2) a very good chance you will not be raiding with a Frost mage. They just cant put up competitive dps. I can just break 3k dps as a frost mage, but thats 25man buffed. However all Frost mages will take Winter’s chill because of its other benefits, so if you see a Frost mage and you are Fire you don’t have to worry about Imp. Scorch. Since Imp. Scorch provides NO other benefit there isnt much of a reason to take it. However if you do find yourself being the only person in your regular raid group you may consider taking the Glyph of Imp. Scorch. It makes being the Scorcher all the more easy. The only benefit, really,  is a slight dps increase (since you dont lose dps casting scorch 5 times) and if you ever can’t reapply the 5 stack because of moving or other boss mechanics you dont have to cast it 5 times again. That being said, I dont find casting scorch 5 times to be that bad, and it is pretty easy watching the debuff if you are paying attention. As a Frostfire or Fireball mage there are many other glyphs that will increase your dps more.

The last buff a Mage can bring is Replenishment. This is a Frost only ability that is applied passively by casting Frostbolts when you have specced into the Enduring Winter talent waaaay down the Frost tree. For 3.2.2 its a must to keep your elemental out as much as possible and to justify raiding as Frost. Replenishment is also applies by Survival Hunters, Ret Pallies, and Shadowpreists so there is a good chance someone else is applying it. But Replenishment only effects 10 people in your raid so a 25 man raid of all mana user would need 3 replenishers to make sure its up on everyone all the time. It’s more than likely you will only need 2 though. Also the other replenishers above dont need to lose a lot of dps by speccing into replenishment. Only Frost is poor in comparison to the other dps specs available to potential replenishers.

Also a note for the future:
Word has it that 3.3 will make Frost a viable DPS spec (woooot!). I am totally raiding Frost as soon as 3.3 hits. Also Arcane will be providing a Spell damage debuff to mobs as well. Last I heard it was 3% spell damage passivly just from casting normal Arcane spells. So who knows what the future will hold for Mage’s Raid utility.

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Once you hit 80 there are essentially 4 Talent specs to choose from. There is one per talent tree and one major variation. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to all the specs. As you get settled in your spec of choice you will want to try variations. I will be giving sample specs and talking a little about each one as well as giving the standard rotations for each. In each spec I have made sure to take all the DPS increasing talents as well as some of the ‘optional’ talents with the points left over. So here it goes:

Arcane Spec (53/3/11)
Arcane is a great spec for a new mage. A lower hit cap (thanks to Precision in Frost and Arcane Focus) and a relatively  easy to pull off Spell Rotation make it the best to get rolling as a starting raider. 

Rotation:

  1. Arcane Blast x4
  2. If Missile Barrage Procs then cast Arcane Missiles (if it doesnt, keep casting Arcane Blast 2-3 more times until it procs and if it still hasnt just go with a standard Arcane Missiles or Arcane barrage if you are forced to move).
  3. Repeat 

Pretty easy, right? In mix matched Blues and Greens you should be able to hit about 2k DPS with this spec and rotation. The key thing is to keep an eye on your Arcane Blast debuff and watch for your Missle Barrage procs. With every Arcane Blast cast you have a higher chance to proc Missle Barrage. 9 times out of 10 you will get the proc before you cast your 4th Arcane Blast, but if not keep trying to get it to proc with Arcane Blasts. its not worth going too far without the proc, your mana will start going down fast, so dump the debuff with a Barrage or standard missles. When moving about make sure not to let your Arcane Blast debuff wear off. If you have to move because of a void cricle or some such boss mechanic, toss out an Arcane Barrage to use up the debuff.

Frostfire Spec (0/53/18)
Frostfire is the major variation I spoke of earlier. It is essentially a Fire build but goes into Frost to boost the main nuke of the build Frostfire Bolt. It is a solid spec that only came to being in WOLK. Pretty fun and slightly easier on Hit (thanks to Precision in the Frost tree) than its badder, hotter brother Fireball spec, but very similar. It doesn’t have a rotation as much as a Priority system, making it a bit more complicated than Arcane.

Rotation:

  1. Keep Living Bomb up at all times
  2. Keep the improved Scorch debuff up at all times. Scorch untill 5 stacks and maintain.
  3. When Hot Streak procs cast Pyroblast
  4. Cast Frostfire Bolt
  5. Repeat

It isn’t too complicated. It will take some time to practice keeping the debuffs up at all times, but when you can nail that Frostfire will shine. Another good thing about Frostfire is it’s one of the best soloing specs as is. The slow on your main nuke is great for keeping the baddies at bay, and a Pyroblast will half an enemy mob’s health bar easily.

Fireball TTW Spec (20/51/0)
This is one of the most damaging specs a mage can have. It comes at a big disatvantage. There isnt a single hit increasing talent in the build. You will need a whole bunch of hit before you even want to try this spec. It plays almost exactly like the Frostfire Bolt spec above, but you substitute Fireball for Frostfire Bolt. So if you have been getting lots of hit gear and are comfortable rolling Frostfire you will be at home here, and be doing more damage.  

Rotation:

  1. Keep Living Bomb up at all times
  2. Keep the improved Scorch debuff up at all times. Scorch untill 5 stacks and maintain.
  3. When Hot Streak procs cast Pyroblast
  4. Cast Fireball
  5. Repeat

It isn’t too complicated. It will take some time to practice keeping the debuffs up at all times, but when you can nail that Fireball will shine. Just stack that Hit and pew pew!

Frost Spec (18/0/53)
Though generally considered ‘not raid viable’ Frost can shine in select fights. More survivability, the most raid utility (replenishment, healing reduction from Permafrost, and Spell Crit increase debuff) and a friendly companion. I love love love frost. For now it wont do as much damage as any other specs, but a good frost mage can still rock good dps. You get some Hit increase (Precision) which is nice, but soloing takes a hit as to do the most damage you need to use the glyph of Frostbolt which removes the slowing effect.

Rotation:

  1. Cast Frostbolt

Yep, thats about it. Nice and simple. Try and keep your water elemental out whenever you can. If you are moving toss out some Ice Lances. 

So that is the 4 major specs for raiding as a mage. Out of the box those specs should work very well when following the rotation, but the only way you will become a better mage will be trying new specs and rotational variations. I hope these will provide a good starting point for your newly 80 (or freshly respecced) mage. Good hunting!

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