Mage PvE Guide

Content

  1. Introduction
  2. Talent trees
    1. Arcane
    2. Fire
    3. Frost
  3. Mage stats
    1. Spell Hit vs. Spell damage vs. Spell Critical vs. Spell Haste
    2. Enchants for mages
    3. Gems for mages
  4. Talent Builds
    1. Arcane / Fire Variations
    2. Full Frost
    3. Arcane / Frost Variations
    4. Fire / Frost Variations
    5. Full Arcane
    6. Full Fire
  5. Cooldowns
    1. Arcane Power
    2. Combustion
    3. Icy Veins
  6. Mage situational gear
  7. Mage macros
    1. Fireball
  8. Professions
    1. Alchemy
    2. Blacksmithing
    3. Enchanting
    4. Engineering
    5. Leatherworking
    6. Tailoring
    7. Jewelcrafting
    8. Herbalism, Mining, Skinning
  9. Comments and Questions
    1. Questions
    2. Comments
  10. Credits

Introduction

(This page is still under development, stay tuned… /Branch )

Mages have a few main functions in a raid, first of all we deliver what everyone likes. Free water and food, and Intellect isn’t a bad thing either.

But more importantly, mages have some of the best burst DPS. And with our high burst and superior AoE along with lock, it often makes us perfect on taking additional trash during encounters, depending on what kind of trash ofc. When doing aoes with a warlock: frost nova, WAIT for the seeds to start going off, then do your blastwave or CoC. Too many mages start dps too early and end up dying or killing the warlocks because they do not understand how seed of corruption works. Firstly, the warlock can't be getting hit while seeding. He has to cast multiple seeds in order to kill a pack of mobs, and interrupts = death. Your main job is not dps but keeping the mobs from hitting the warlock. You want the warlock to do most of the damage because they do not run out of mana and you do… in a non-trivial encounter you cannot afford to blow all your mana bar on a single aoe pull… Spells like blast wave, cone of cold, dragonsbreath are all useful here. The all-mighty warlock will out damage everyone, and both of you will get to live. If you start arcane explosions/blastwave too early you will detonate the seeds prematurely, then all the mobs will go on a rampage, killing the warlock (and maybe a healer for kicks). So… wait till you know 4 mobs have seeds on OR until the seeds start exploding.

Boss dps: mages perform very well, although later on locks get harder and harder for us to beat. Many encounters require for you to move around, and you can't really do any reasonable dps while moving (apart from fireblast), so you want to minimize the time spent moving in order to maximize your damage.

Sheep. The points in arcane focus come in handy here, your sheep rarely get resisted and break less often… if you are not hitcapped (16% hit rating) then consider arcane focus essential.

Vontre's DPS Sheet
To be honest, i don't trust this sheet to much my self of quite a few reasons.

  • Hidden assumptions and unexpected behavior
  • Calculations sometimes fails
  • Activating/Deactivating buffs/debuffs don't show effect.

And theres many other stuff that just seems strange, seems the mix of people developing and adding funtionality without knowing the original design, just ends up stepping on each others toes, also seems that it has startet with to high ambitions. And being a software developer i know what that can do to a project. Now spreat sheets is in general much more simple than what i work with, but i would much rather build an actual application for this sort of stuff. Sadly such a project is time consuming.

So in the end, in lack of better. You can use this for your convinience.

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Talent trees

The mage talent trees consist of 3 schools as any other class. All more or less focused on damage and control over range.

Under each tree i will list up some talents that i wish to comment on, with a special comment on the end tier talent.
Each talent has the bonus i think is important for PvE listed as pr used point, if more values are listed separated by "," it because it does not scale linearly with points spent.

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Arcane

Arcane is probably the least used tree out there, although combined with the mages other trees it can make quite a powerful spec. Arcane alone is properly the least mana efficient you can get, but it has some interesting talents.

  • Arcane Subtlety (2): Reduces Arcane thread by 20% and targets resistance 5%.
    • If your having a tank that doesn't gennerate enough threat, this will be a problem for your DPS as a mage, this talent helps a great deal so that you can start with a few arcane blasts.
    • Helps you not die when mashing arcane explosion
  • Arcane Concentration (5): 2% Chance of clearcasting.
    • Helps to conserve mana every now and then, procs quite often and is defenetly well spent if you go down in the arcane tree.
  • Arcane Mind (5): Increase total intellect by 3%.
    • More intellect means more mana and crit, this is never bad and with spellfire set or mind mastery it also means more damage.
  • Presence of Mind (1): Next spell becomes instant.
    • Instant casts is very mana consuming, but increases our DPS, used very well with Pyro Blast.
  • Arcane Instability (3): Increase damage and critical strike change 1%.
    • More crit means more damage, enough said.
  • Arcane Power (1): Spells deal 30% more damage, but cost 30% more mana for 15 sec.
    • Although very mana-consuming, if you have the mana this gives an amazing damage boost for 15 sec. Macro with a trinket for optimum bang.
  • Spellpower (2): Increase critical damage bonus by 25%.
    • More damage bonus from criticals means more DPS, this works best with a decent amount of critical strike chance tho, personaly idd say its best when you get over 30%.
    • If you are going far enough down in the arcane tree to consider taking it, you'll need the larger crits to keep up with damage.
  • Mind Mastery (5): Increase spelldamage by 5% of total intellect.
    • More spelldamage means more DPS.
    • Nice talent, but very hard to scale with gear… the amount of intellect you have will not increase much, since you will always want +hit or +dmg more.

End talent: Slow

I Personally find Slow useless in PvE, it might be able to save you one time or more on some trash, but if you ask me, the important thing in instances is that you do your job as DPS'er in boss encounters, while trash is less important. For PvP it's another deal. here this talent is very usefull.

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Fire

Fire is in my eyes known most for it’s high (and to times uncontrollable) damage and lower survivability, fire ranges high on mana consumption, but with “Master of Elements” combined with a high amount of crit, a fire mage should be able to last quite a while still.

  • Improved fireball (5): Reduces casting time on fireball by 0.1 sec.
    • Less casting time means more fireballs means more damage.
  • Ignite (5): Critical strikes causes target to take additional 8% of the spells damage over 4 sec.
    • Ignite is again one of those talents that require you to have a decent amount of critical strike rating, again i'd say 30% and above. As of yet i'm unsure how 2 crits in a row affects ignite, so that is needed to be looked into.
    • A word on rolling ignites, rolling ignites referes to when you get 2 crits in a row, before 2.0 this would refresh the ignite stack to 4 sec and accumilate the damage from the new crit on top, meaning that the longer a ignite was up the more damage it did, rolling ignites is no longer posible since ignite is now reset on new crits, adding the remainder of the damage from the previous ignite isntead, however you will always get the full 40% from your ignite. I will go deeper into ignite and how it's affected by other talents in talent section.
    • The word is: you can lose dps sometimes when you get 2 consecutive crits and the server only registers one. So your ignite is only affected by one crit but not both. This only happens sometimes, i wouldn't worry too much.
  • Flame throwing (2): Increase range of fire spells by 3 yards.
    • Range may seem to be somtehing that has nothing to do with your damage, but lesser range means more time on moving, this will depend very much on the encounter though, so in some encounters the range wont be needed, gruul is an example of an encounter where the range will be useful.
  • Improved fireblast (3): Reduces fire blast cooldown with 0.5 sec.
    • This talent becomes important when you learn to rotate spells, fire blast is expensive on the mana but if you can effort it, it packs a decent amount of damage in an instant cast, how many points to spend in this depends on the rotation, and funny enough on your lag. Having a fire ball, fire ball, fire blast rotation technically all 3 point spend is needed if your fire ball is improved. In the end this is one of those talent you can toy a bit with, find out how it works best for you and if you can spend the points better.
  • Incineration (2): Increase critical chance of Fire blast and Scorch by 2%.
    • I personally don't like this talent, but i know some do, theres several reasons i don't like this. First of you will be doing more fireballs than any of the 2 other spells.
  • Pyroblast (1): Basicly improved fireball with 6 sec. cast
    • ONLY usefull with PoM if you ask me, altho you need to spend a point here to get to blast wave. So if you wan't to spend a point on this do it for one of those 2 reasons.
  • Burning soul (2): 35% chance not to lose casting time when damaged, 5% threat reduction on fire.
    • 10% less aggro may seem as nothing, but depending on your tank it's actualy alot, the 70% chance to not lose casting time is nice to have as well, but with 2 parts of mage tier 4 that gets worthless, take it only if you see aggro problems, aggro doesn't seem to be a problem in 25 man instances, so i think this is more usefull in 5-10 man.
    • Basically, if you are wearing 2 bits of T4, you don't need this, but if you are not, then you should definitely consider it…
  • Improved Scorch (5): Increase damage done by fire by 3%.
    • 15% extra damage, that is a ot although it will require you to keep it up, and here it really boils down to how long the fight is and a few other factors. But in general a very important talent, unless you know your raids will be swarming with fire mages already having it.
    • Let me emphasize that again, 15% extra free damage!!! If your target is going to live for a minute or more, tan you want to keep a full stack of the debuff up full time. Much the same as winter's chill.
  • Master of Elements (3): Fire and frost criticals returns 10% of mana cost.
    • Since fire is quite mana consuming this is a really nice talent after all. 30% mana return on crit really sums up in the end of a long fight. and being able to last longer in fights ultimately leads to more damage. For short encounters this will only ensure you less resting time. Again a certain amount of crit is required for this to have a real effect. A mage without mana = 0 dps.
  • Critical Mass (3): Increase critical strike chance with fire by 2%.
    • Crit is more damage, and even better if you take ignite into the equation and mana return with MoE.
  • Blast Wave (1):
    • I Rarely used Blast Wave for raids when i had it, but it has a few uses tho. In general i find it most useful in PvP, so if you want to be fire, and still have a bit of a chance in PvP, this is defenitely an important talent.
  • Fire Power (5): Increase damage done by fire by 2%.
    • More bang for the buck, i don't think i need to explain this in details.
  • Pyromaniac (3): Increase critical strike chance by 1% on fire and reduces mana cost on fire by 1%.
    • Same argue as with CM, however you gain less critical strike chance from this talent, instead your firespells will cost less.
  • Combustion (1): Increase critical strike chance on fire by 10% for each fire damage spell casted until 3 critical strikes.
    • A Full fire mages CD for massive burst. i don't find this talent to be as good as having AP-PoM-Pyro. However if you have a very high amount of fire damage and less crit i think this talent is extremly important.
  • Molten Fury (2): Increase all damage on targets under 20% by 10%.
    • 20% extra damage the last 20% of a trashmob is nothing, and utterly useless. But on long encounters this will give a lot, for a 10 min fight, 2 mins of 20% extra damage is defenitely going to show.
  • Empowered Fireball (5): 3% extra spell damage from all spell bonus effects.
    • Same as with fire power.

End talent: Dragon’s Breath

  • Same as with slow. Altho this gives a bit of AoE damage, even then i see this more as a lifesaver in the sutuation you accedently pull a mob of the tank in a 5 or 10 man instance.
  • Unlike slow, this is useful as a raid aoe, it does ok damage and disorients, (assuming you can hit with it).

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Frost

Frost is everyone favorite for PvP, or at least it’s the best build for it if you ask most. Frost is also common in PvE especially because of its survivability. But don’t be mistaken, a well played frost mage can still do a lot of damage.

  • Improved frostbolt (5): Reduces casting time on frostbolt by 0.1 sec.
    • You need it if you want to do damage with frostbolts.
  • Elemental Precision (3): Reduces the mana cost and chance your target will resist fire and frost by 1%.
    • Apparently, this talent is still bugged, and in a good way. It gives 6% to hit on frostbolt (!). Bear in mind 1% hit rating means about 1% more dps, that's amazing for a rank 1 talent. Must-have, even without the bug.
  • Ice Shards (5): Increase critical damage from frost by 20%.
    • One of the ways that frost damage can compete with fire is 200% crits. Don't leave home without them.
    • Still, since dependant on your critical strikes, a decent amount of crit is required as well.
  • Piercing Ice (3): Increase damage done by frost by 2%.
    • Extra damage per hit is always welcome, and a total of 6% is a lot over time.
  • Icy Veins (1): Reduces casting time by 20% for 20 sec, adds 10% chance for frostbite to proc.
    • The new talent, a CD similar to Arcane Power and combustion, this shares the downside of Arcane Power by ultimately costing more mana, this is technically 20% more damage in 20 sec. This is not quite as much as Arcane Power leads to, especially because instants would benefit from Arcane Power, while this has no effect on your instants. But a must for a frostmage.
  • Arctic Reach (2): Increase range on frostbolt and the radius by Area of Effect frost spell by 10%.
    • Ive been over this on fire, since frost has even less range its even more crucial
  • Frost Channeling (3): Reduces mana cost on frost by 5%,10%,15% and thread caused by frost by 4%,7%,10%.
    • Cheaper spells means we can cast more, and in the end do more DPS in long fights. You can skip this talent if you know you'll always have a shaman/shadowpriest in your group… If you don't you'll be chugging manapots/gems like a trooper and still go oom very quickly.
  • Cold Snap (1): Removes cooldown on all recently cast frost spells.
    • Amazing talent for boosting dps, just as amazingly it occasionally fails to work. Known bug, hasn't been fixed yet.
  • Winter's Chill (5):
    • Just like fire mages have there +15% fire damage buff, frost mages here has a ultimately +10% crit, which will work well with your Ice Shards. Much like scorch, you want to keep winter's chill up on your target untill it dies, restacking = lost dps. If you absolutely have to move the debuff can be refreshed with icelance.
  • Improved Cone of Cold (3): Increases damage done by cone of cold by 15%,10%,10%.
    • Fair for AoE, again i don't see AoE all that much in larger instances these days. lets see when we get further in SSC etc.
    • Like dragonsbreath, its very hard to hit all the mobs in an aoe pack at once. Rank 1 CoC is useful as a cheap snare.
  • Ice Floes (2): Reduces cooldown on Cone of Cold, Coldsnap, Ice Barrior and Ice Block by 10%
    • If you plan on getting water ele, this talent is very useful, it increases the elemental uptime —> more dps.
  • Ice Barrier (1): Shield that absorbs 977 damage, last 1 min.
    • This is pure survivability, or good for PvP altho i enjoy stealing it on my mage :P
    • This spell is expensive, but useful for pushback prevention. On fights like curator for example, where you will get hit all the time, if you are a firemage you have 70% pushback resist from talents, frost mages have no such luxury. But if you put ice barrier up at the right moment you can often get that crucial cast in without interruption.
  • Arctic Winds (5): Increase all frost damage by 1%.
    • More damage, MORE DAMAGE!
  • Empowered Frostbolt (5): 2% extra spell damage from all spell bonus effects, 1% increased critical strike chance.
    • And then some!

End talent: Summon Water Elemental

  • Besides all other end tree talents, i see this as in fact very usefull in PvE raids, this is because the water elemental, in contrast to the other end tiers, does add to your direct damage on a boss as an example.
  • Its squishy! It runs out of mana! Its a little mini-mage! In a raid environment, it can do 10-16% of your damage if you keep it alive.

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Mage Stats

This section will address things like +hit rating, +critical strike rating, +spell damage, intellect, stamina, spirit, agility and even strengh.

Strengh

Increases our attackpower, this can be helpfull when… oh y… after curator for one, therese thos nasty leaches that are immune to magic, stack as much str you can here O_O…

Ok if you hadn't noticed that was a joke, this stat is udderly useless to us.

Agility

Increases our chance to critically strike… with melee. A bit more beneficial is that it increases our armor a bit, aslo dodge. So a better stat than strengh for us, still quite useless though.

Stamina

Stamina increases our health pool by 10 per. point. It is important that you increases your stamina to a certain point, generaly don't worry to much tho, this seems to scale with the gear as we progress further. But its indeed a very good idea to have some gear in your bags that are more stamina heavy for specific encounters if you need it. A few pieces of PvP Gear is always nice here.

Intellect

Intellect does so much for us, it increases our mana pool and our chance to get critical strikes with spells, also if your a Arcane mage or if you have the Spellfire set, it will increase your damage as well.

Spirit

Many arcane mages claim this is a very important stat to them, well they have there 15% mana regen in combat, so that might be, i don't know for sure since i never liked full arcane. After our evocation does not work on spirit enymore, it's more useless that before, but weather or not its helpful for arcane mages, i won't be the judge. Your T4/T5 gear has spirit on it, you really don't need any more :)

Armor

Damage reduction, nice to have. But the 10% to maybe 20% won't do us much difference.
Well… not quite. 10% more armor for a clothie is a massive boost in terms of physical damage mitigation… but all that means is a mob will hit you for 6500 instead of 6800… you'll still end up dead. Unless you are planning to respec tank, you don't need it.

Spell Damage

Spells is our only weapon generaly, so this is very important. Get more.

Spell Hit Rating

Increases your chance to hit with spells, you can increase your chance to hit up to 99%, then your capped and anything over that is a pure waste.

+1% Chace To hit with spells = 12.62 Spell Hit Rating.

Heres the basics on your chance to hit what level monster with no + to Hit chance.

Monster Level Chance to hit You need to cap
70 96% 3%
71 95% 4%
72 94% 5%
73 83% 16%

Keep in mind that some talents improve this, so if you have those you need less, also if in a group what a Dranei you get an adttional 1% from his aura and finally if his an elemental shaman with the +3 crit/hit you need even less. Have gear to switch in and out depending on encounter and group.

Spell Critical Strike Rating

Increases your chance to do between 50%-145% more damage from a spell depending on your tallent spec. This has a direct impact in your DPS in raids just as well as spelldamage. They scale difrently and are dependant on each other. More to that later.

If you have Master of Elements this gives an extra benefit of 30% mana returned more often, so more critical strike rating actually saves you mana, how big a benefit it is can be very hard to figure out, but lasting longer is always nice. This is a part about critical strikes many mages forget.

+1% Chace To critical strike with spells = 22.08 Spell Critical Strike Rating.

This table list the benefit on a single spell that critical hits depending on build:

Build Talent Additional Damage Total Damage
Arcane Spell Power 75% 175%
Fire Ignite 110% 210%
Frost Ice Shards 100% 200%
Arcane/Fire Spell Power/Ignite 145% 245%
Arcane/Frost Spell Power/Ice Shards 125% 225%

Spell Haste Rating

Decreases the time it takes you to cast spells, it also reduces your GCD, however this ihas it's limited use for us… but it does have a bit, Other than that, get some if you can. The only trouble with haste is that items rarely have both hit and haste on them. Reaching the hit cap is more important than haste jollies, so most of us can't afford to stack too much of it.

Also keep in mind that improving your DPS through spell haste is expensive, everytime you decrease your cast time by 1% you will also increase your mana consumption by 1%.

+1% Faster cast times = 15.76 Spell Haste Rating.

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Spell Hit vs. Spell damage vs. Spell Critical vs. Spell Haste

Now most mages will tell you that: Spell hit (untill capped) > Spell haste > Spell damage > Spell Critical.

Why is this true?… or why is it not?… lets have a look at the claim and see if it is actually true, and what assumptions are made around it.

With the way that was put, this is ofc not! true. Ill keep things a bit abstract for now.

Spell Hit.

Since spell hit is as cheap on the item table as it is, we will let that be on the top. So always go for spell hit over any of the other stats if its on a 1:1 basis. And since it has been rare to find items where the comparison was a 1%:1% before the 2.4 patch, this is normally a winner.

However in 2.4 the new batch rewards have either hit or crit where it's 1%:1%. Here your spec all of a sudden begins to have high influence, as full fire due to the fact that the benefith of 1% crit is very close to 1% hit and proberly even better when taken the mana returns in mind, but ofc put hit gems in the sockets.

Full frost would proberly go for hit.

The once with the hard choice is proberly the arcane/fire and arcane/frost, this is becouse the 1% crit is better that 1% hit due to the high crit multiplyer and for fire it also offer mana regen, however the spirit on the hit gear actually offers some very nice mana eficiency as well.

But at the end of the day, i don't think we will see to many item slots where the items are designed this way. So if your at a situation where to items has a 1%:1% hit to crit ratio, theres proberly other good reasons to go for the one with crit. since it would have more stats, damage and so forth.

Spell Critical or Spell Haste

Again Spell Haste is cheaper than the Critical Strike rating, however this is a more clear situation. For specs with high crit multiplyers and especially fire centric mages, Spell haste is a bad thing for many reasons.

For fire and arcane/fire mages, Critical Strikes will be a utility for high damage and to last longer, Spell haste might be a utility for high damage but you will last shorter. So you have to evaluate your situation on your mana consuption before favoring haste over crit, and if your fine on mana, is there other ways for you to improve your DPS (More expensive but better rotations) before going out on haste.

This is crucial things to consider since haste is a pure expensive way to increase DPS. while criticals are improving your eficiency.

But if you do find an item with Spell Haste Rating on a 1:1 basis towards critical strikre rating, on a pure DPS perspective, haste will give a much better improvement. But remember, it is at a price!

Spell Critical or Spell Damage

This is the hardest one if you ask me to actually judge, luckely it is rare to be in the critical zone where critical actually becomes a better choice on a 1:1 basis, lets have a arcane/frost mage as a reference with 1200+ Damage and 100+ Critical Strike Rating. (On gear only)

And this point gaining one more Critical Strike Rating will actually give the same as gaining 1 spell damage, so in that situation it would gennerally proberly be best to socket the spelldamage/crit gems, since his + damage is more likely to grow more rapidly with items.

But this mage is proberly the only mage out there that may actually have to make that choice, even though arcane/fire mages by nature has a higher multiplyer on there criticals, they already by nature exceeds the point where 1 critical strike rating is more beneficial than 1 damage.

So Spell Damage > Spell Critical Strike rating in 99% of the cases if you ask me. Calculating a firemages Master of Elements into this equation will yeald to little change for it to bother with if you ask me, i don't think this will change the picture.

A Genneral note.

But as a fact that seems to be forgotten all around is that they all are closely connected, and they affect each other which can make it extremly dificult to figure out what is best without the prober calculatuons, so as a good rule the before displayed:

Spell hit (untill capped) > Spell damage > Spell Critical.

Will be a good reference, now removed Spell Haste Rating from the original. It is correct that on a 1:1 basis, DPS whise it's placed in front of damage, but due to the nature of spell haste, it suddenly turn around and cost you DPS at the end of a fight. So this is only to be tanke if you never experiece mana issues, so it's really made for the deer frostmages if you ask me :)

While the above goes for all kinds of mages.

….Below is old shit for reference while i do this intire part.
(1)
\begin{align} DPS = {{( ( BaseDamage + {{DamageBonus * BaseCastTime} \over 3.5}) * (CriticalChance * CriticalModifyer) ) * ChanceToHit} \over {ActualCastTime * HasteModifyer}} \end{align}

(just testing the capabilities of the math engine LaTeX, before i go mathematical nutty)

(Ill do that later… falling asleep here zZzZ) (you may want to use the dps sheet if you REALLY want to prove your point… i don't think its necessary)

You want a minimum of 3% hit rating, anything less is totally gimping your damage. For raid bosses hit rating is capped at 16% or so. The point values are: Spellhit(untill capped) - spell haste - spell damage - spell crit - Int - Stam, in that order. What that means is: 1 point of spell hit is worth more than one point of spell damage (until you have 16%), 1 spellhaste > 1 crit, etc.

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Enchants for mages

Spell damage on everything that will fit. After that… Vitality on boots? MP5 or +6 all stats on chest if you have loads of health already, otherwise 120hp. Mages are squishy, and a dead mage does no damage. As we are moving up into T5 content, you will tend to get hit by massive nasty aoes… get more health and live?

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Gems for mages

Never socket the +8 spellhit unless your critically low on hitrating as things are. And it's much more viable get your hit up on items rather than gems. Favor orange gems with +4 hit / +5 spell damage if you need hit.

This is very simple to see why when you socket your first +9 spell damage in your gear along with the +8 hit. here you simple wasted Gold and stats. Yes you wasted stats…

1 x (9) + 1 x (8) = 17 stat points. (8 hit, 9 damage)
2 x (5 + 4) = 18 stat points. (8 hit, 10 damage)

now that seems insignifigant, but if you suddenly have just 10 slots to use, which is not uncommon. we are talking +5 more spell damage. And it's even cheaper in gems.

Always socket +9 spelldamage if you can effort it and don't need hit, otherwhise the +4 crit / +5 spelldamage is a very nice alternative. it provides you a little less on the DPS table, but om lower Tier gear idd recommend this over +9 spelldamage, maybe becouse im a cheap bastard who won't spend too much gold on lower tier gear… but thats just me.

But don't mistake me, +4 crit / +5 spelldamage over +9 spelldamage is purely an economical choice in most cases. If you can get a worthy socketbonus with this then ofc' its another matter.

In trying to dig up some items where putting in the +4 / +5 crit gems is accepteble over +9 damage for dps reasons would be:

Boots of Incantations
Boots of the Tempest
Amice of the Convoker
Belt of the Tempest

The very best excample, and also an excample of where putting 2 x +9 damage over +4 crit / +5 damage would be pure stupitity is Amice of the Convoker. The 4 damage that would be lost by putting a orange gem in the yelow socket is gained in the socket bonus, that means +4 crit FOR FREE!…

If we compare the +5 crit gems / + 6 damage with the +12 damage, the loss here is 2 spelldamage, still acceptable for 5 crit. When it comes the the other items in this case though, sacrifycing 4 spelldamage for 5 crit would again be for the economic reason, which i don't think exists for epic gems.

However for my last point on the above items, this is the items where you ofc wan't to put in those +5 hit / +6 spell damage gems you need a few or more of to reach the hit cap.

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Talent Builds

A Fast roundup of some of the builds ill be talking about:

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Arcane / Fire Variations:

33/28/0 - Grinding Spec

So i called this a grinding spec, well actually i find it a good Arcane / Fire variation if you want to Grind, PvE and PvP.

Most of it is put into talents improving your PvE damage output

For grinding you have Blastwave and improved arcane explosion for some AoE grinding, in general though, when you become good geared AoE grinding ceases to be useful. Its simply faster to just single nuke.

For PvP blastwave is crucial, also reduced cooldown on fireblast is very important since you will be moving a lot in PvP. This spec is actually very viable in PvP if you have the skills and gear, and having ice block now can only make it better, it will never beat frost though but ive had some very funny situations where i did amazing things (Branch, i'm not editing this sentence, its priceless xD). And for the last resort, have tailoring nets prepared.

33/28/0 - Pure PvE

This is pure PvE if you ask me. grinding is ofc still very good.

Notice that theres no longer put a point into blastwave, ofc blastwave is good for AoE'ing packs but how often is it we use that in an instance? Well, for Kara, you don't need blastwave. You'll really wish you had it in ZA when you have dragonhawks running around in every direction. And i hear that further in 25 man content you have to aoe big nasty stuff… Arcane Explosion gives the benefit of -40% threat and you will end up doing most of the damage with it, no matter what your spec. However I see snare aoe as a raid utility rather than a pure "dps" talent… and snares save lives. Not necessarily your life, see above for "aoe with a warlock".

This spec has the scorch talent so it becomes an important part to keep this up all the time, because losing the debuff stack means lost dps. So scorch has to be put through into a rotation. Assuming you are not moving for the whole fight. Depending on how long the fight are this buf should be up at all time if posible (it's very har at gruuls). On eny fight where a mob dies within 15 sec, stacking the debuff will cause you to lose damage. For bosses. a Fireball, Fireball, Fireblast rotations 3 times, then a scorch, fireball, fireblast and over again. Thats asuming you can stand still for the whole duration.

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Full Frost (with water elemental)

Raiding frost spec 10/0/51

  • Managing your cooldowns, and keeping your elemental alive. That's what takes up most of your attention as a frost mage. The rest of the time you mash the frostbolt button.
  • Cooldowns: Firstly, you want your elemental to be doing maximum damage for as long as the little guy can manage it. it may not seem to be doing much dps, but it adds up… The trick is having him out as much as possible. Usually I summon the elemental after the tank hit his target once or twice, and then coldsnap/summon again. You want to use cold snap as soon as its available, and use it to reset IV and water ele.
  • Keeping the pet alive: This is really boss-specific. The general idea is to keep the elemental out of aoes, he rarely lives for 1 tick of any raid aoe. To give an example: on Akil'zon the pet gets instagibbed by the first arcane discharge that lands near him, so you want to summon him in a corner where no-one is standing. He doesn't take any damage from the lightning storm (don't ask me why) so if you park him in a safe spot he can keep casting for the full duration.

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Arcane / Frost Variations:

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Fire / Frost Variations:

0/26/35

There is none effective builds here as far as im aware, if enyone would like to prove me wrong here though, if they have a real Hybrid frost fire spec, then please post it.

Note: The so called 2/48/11 is not a Hybrid spec, but a firemage putting bits into frost.

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Full Arcane:

44/0/17

This is a real arcane build, that favors spamming Arcane missiles. How this build would do in raids is only theory, but i find it a bit interessting actually, and something i will try out in the future to give it a review.

The point being is that you gain alot of spelldamage to your arcane missiles, 45% of a normal kara geared mage is easely around 540 damage when buffed, and that is alot.

40/21/0

This spec is inspired from one of our own mages, Iðunn. I have moved some bits arround that i thought made the spec a bit better in the PvE invironment, but otherwise the same. The spec it self is a Arcane spec, but if favors casting fire spells.

Rather than stacking up the criticals and 6% extra damage on fire as the 33/28/0 builds, this build goes for the Mind mastery which gives you 25% of your intellect to your damage. And since 600 intellect for arcane mages aint uncommon in raids when buffed, this gives ~150 extra spell damage which is a fairly ok amount.

Downside is that it's harder to scale well compared to the 6% + firedamage the 33/28/0 mage will have. It has other perks though, one being a large mana pool useually.

40/0/21

This is similar to the above spec, just a Arcane build that favors casting frostbolts rather than fire, some of the advantages of this spec is that it was very high critical strike bonus. And it combines Icy Veins and Arcane Power for a major burst. However also a very expensive burst.

But since frost has very good mana conservation, and the arcane part provides you with many enhancements on your mana side, it makes up for what you burn in that burst if you just pot correct at least.

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Full Fire:

2/48/11

The new full firespec, after blizzard added the new improved gems many 10/48/3 mages went with this. And let me start by saying, this is defenetly the best on point DPS spec you will see as fire, but it has its shortcommings even though you will never hear a true firemage admit that.

Before the 2.3 patch, there where so many full firemages complaining about there mana eficiency, and that they wen't out of mana way before a boss was dead unless they potted 100% correctly and had a shadow priest in the group. So when blizzard gave them what they needed to stay up longer, what did they do?… Threw it away as fast as they could.

This spec is even worse on the mana side than the old one, obviously. And thats something you can feel in raids when bosses last around 10 min, after doing some calculations useing votre's DPS sheet i came to the conclusion that yes, this is unbeatable in DPS, but unless you have a shadowpriest in group. You won't have mana for more than around 5 min.

Ultimately ending up doing about ~50.000 less damage on a 10 min fight than the previous firespec. And ~60.000 less than 33/28. All messured with the same stats.

With the shadow priest on the other hand, this spec is ~40.000 more damage than 33/28 and ~20.000 more compared to the old firespec. But note that this is with the same rotation. as an advantage the old full firemage can change his rotation and narrow that down, and even beat this spec.

So there you have it. Best DPS as long as you have the mana.

Intellect: 500
Spirit: 225
Spell damage: 1000
Crit Rating: 300
Hit Rating: 130

Rotations:

  1. Scorch - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball

Statistics: (10 min)

Rotation Vampiric Touch (mp/5) DPS Time Total
1 0 1368 4:55 499.809
1 100 1368 6:27 611.879
1 200 1368 9:22 786.680

10/48/3

In conserns to the above, i find this to be the best full fire spec out there, and if you ask med, then proberly the best DPS spec you can get.

What i feel that most mages fail to realize out in the community, and also explains why the above is the hot stuff at the moment, is that if you get more mana utility, you can work out new spell rotations to do more damage while lasting the the same amount of time.

If your from the start has the worst mana efficiency you can get, you have nothing to work with, you only have requirements to set. Which ultimately makes you fail when those are not met. As you can see for the 2/48/11 spec is that there is only one rotation you can use for a longer fight, and that rotation fails without the shadow priest.

Intellect: 500
Spirit: 225
Spell damage: 1000
Crit Rating: 300
Hit Rating: 130

Rotations:

  1. Scorch - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball
  2. Scorch - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fire blast - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball

Statistics: (10 min)

Rotation Vampiric Touch (mp/5) DPS Time Total
1 0 1325 6:03 566.231
1 100 1325 8:33 718.830
2 200 1338 11:11 802.921

18/43/0

Working on crafting a new spec that tries to combine the high damage output from full fire and some of the mana eficiency from arcane, ive gotten so far to come up with this. (On a theoretical basis still)…

Let me explain some of the important choices ive made here.

- Scraped Elemental Precision (+3 points)

This is a talent that gives 3% chance to hit with what we care about, fire. But so far it has only been there becouse you had no where else to put those points, many think its an all good talent, and yes for shure. In the cases where you have 3 points left you can place better. Or as in the 2/42/11 situation where you need 2 points in tier one to get to tier 2.

But why only here?, why don't a 33/28 mage not go 33/25/3 ?, well becouse he has no reason to. The fact is that 3% hit is a static value that does not really scale with yor gear that much, a % to your damage does, so becouse 3% hit is so cheap to aquire elswhere, it does not really make sence to waste 3 expensice talent points on it.

Lets evalueate that from a 33/28 perspective, choice is 3% hit or 6% damage, if he has ~1300 fire damage buffed, that means sacrificing 6% damage and gaining them on itemisation instead will cost him 78 points to spell damage.

This is 8.66 Red gems of +9 damage, or 6.5 Red gems of +12 damage.

How much is those 3% hit rating then saving him from?, well 3% is 37,86 hitrating, which then leads to lets say 37 for convinience, so that will be 4.625 Yellow gems of +8 hitrating, or 3.7 gems of +10 hit rating.

It is simply cheaper to stack up hit rating on items than the damage.

- Scraped Pyro Blast and Blast Wave (+3 points)

Pyro blast is obvious, it only has a point to get to blastwave, so thats easy out of the window if we can explain why we scrap blastwave.

Blastwave is good for AoE granted, but as soon as you gain the +6% crit on Arcane Explosion thats simply better, blastwave have a nice snare ability, but you will still have Cone of cold to compare, and then Frost nova is better than both since it locks in place rather than slows… And as i recall, Blastwave shares cooldown with Frostnova, however its a very long time since i had that talent so…

- Scraped Dragon's Breath (+1 points)

Again an AoE effect, it's nice enough to deal some damage, the disorientation effect will last at tops 3 sec, and thats if the target aint getting hit it the mean time (like thats going to happen)… so the disorientation will at the end of the day only sitract the mob for ½ sec tops.

- Moved down to Arcane Meditation in Arcane tree.

This is alowing you to regenerate mana during combat, and do not underestimate the value of this, it alows you to inhance your spell rotations, therevy do more damage. Calculations folows.

Intellect: 500
Spirit: 225
Spell damage: 1000
Crit Rating: 300
Hit Rating: 130

Rotations:

  1. Scorch - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fireball
  2. Fireball - Fireball - Fireball - Fire blast - Scorch - Fireball - Fireball - Fireblast

Statistics: (10 min)

Rotation Vampiric Touch (mp/5) DPS Time Total
1 0 1318 7:05 631.259
1 100 1318 10:49 790.862
2 200 1348 11:05 808.610

NOTE!

I have to redo the calculations for the 3 above and other specs all over, i think i hit the same stats and assumptions for all, but since im not 100% surtain, ill have to do it over obviously..

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Cooldowns

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Arcane Power

This is a real good damage booster, for 15 sec you gain 30% damage on all spells, it will cost you in your mana pool since all your spells get equally more expensive, so make shur you have the mana for it, firering this off and then running out of mana during or after, makes it a total waste.

However ive never had major problems.

Another problem can be threat gain, 30% more damage will obviously make you gain even more threat. so watch out and make shure you are far enough from the tank to fire this up. If your close to the tank on a long encounter (boss) then consider poping invisibility and then fire this up.

Works very well with PoM + Pyro.

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Combustion

The worst and porest mage cooldown there is if you ask me, in fact if your critrating is very high in raids i consider this close to useless. Shure it boost your damage a bit by letting you have 3 enshured crits. But in the end, you are going to burn some crits of on spells that you would have critted with enyways. Hence wasting its effect.

But admitebly it is ahrd to messure how this works excatly. A good thing is though that compared to other cooldowns, this is a "free" one. Since boostring your dps by this does not cost you extra amounts of mana, in fact it enshures you to have 30% mana returned on 3 spells. So in some sence it saves you mana.

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Icy Veins

As with Arcane power, this is a good damage booster, putting the to together for arcane frost mages would really make an insane boost, but as with Arcane power, this is also expensive to use, casting faster is just another way to use your mana faster than useual. And threat gain will also increase.

So the same advices goes for this as the other. which is the most beneficial is hard to calculate since they work diferently with your stats. So im gonna just let it be at what it is, i can defenetly understand why many 10/48/3 mages has changed over to 2/48/11.

If you combined Arcane Power and Icy Veins, Presence of mind sadly looses a bit of its viability since you will be very close to the 1.5 sec global cooldown which an instant cast would still have.

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Mage situational gear

As mentioned somewhere above, mages are squishy and since you don't do a hell of alot DPS if your dead, we need to think hard about this fact.
However, a misconception is that you should throw away your high DPS-Low HP gear in favor of more stamina. DON'T EVER DO THIS!…
Because even though we often are easy targets, it is not in all fights this matters, sometimes your not intented to get hit at all…
When this is the case, the normal ocational hit will be something you can survive with your 8K buffed health.

So my point being here, is pack away that hope about that just becouse your a one way class, means you only need one set of gear.
You need many sets of gear, most sets will be compiled of many of the same items, but with that one or to item switched out to boost whatever need boosting…

So create gear sets with aim for the folowing stats:

  • 8.000 hp Unbuffed (For when a fight requires about 10k buffed HP, however normaly tactics and the guild will provide you for an Unbuffed aim).
  • 10.000 hp Unbuffed (For when a fight requires about 12k buffed HP, however normaly tactics and the guild will provide you for an Unbuffed aim).
  • 3% increased chance to hit. (For when you are killing trash, but it's only for mages who really wan't to maximize)
  • 12% increased chance to hit. (For boss fights when you are in a group with a elemental shaman using his hit/crit totem)
  • 15% increased chance to hit. (For boss fights when you are in a group with any drenai)
  • 16% increased chance to hit. (For boss fights)

Then you can think about the folowing mixes:

  • 8.000 hp Unbuffed and 12% increased chance to hit.
  • 8.000 hp Unbuffed and 15% increased chance to hit.
  • 8.000 hp Unbuffed and 16% increased chance to hit.
  • 10.000 hp Unbuffed and 12% increased chance to hit.
  • 10.000 hp Unbuffed and 15% increased chance to hit.
  • 10.000 hp Unbuffed and 16% increased chance to hit.

Then theres many other sorts of set you might wan't to collect, Resistance (Normaly a requirement for some fights), Tanking (Gruul), Speedy (speed enchant+speed gem, usefull for running after a wipe). Fishing (If you ever do that).

Some sets are purely for the Mage that just wants it all (having a set that increases your running speed is hardly ever usefull in combat, yet i have one :P)

But many of them comes in handy, the idea is ofc. that when you can go from a normal +16% hit set, to a 15% hit set, you gain other stats, this could be critical strike rating, spelldamage, stamina, intellect. theres no point in lowering your +hit when you can if it doesn't give you an increase else where. And having sets for it all is extremely expensive, so you should put alot of thougt into it.

Minimum required sets are however:

  1. 16% increased chance to hit. With focus on high DPS with loss of HP.
  2. 10.000 hp Unbuffed and as much toward 16% increased chance to hit.

(And if you can get those, you can get alot of the others just by mixing it)

Keep in mind that for set (2) the 16% increaed chance to hit should not be at the expense of to much +damage. removeing 100+ damage for 1% chance to hit would be pure nonsence. Always consider the tradeoffs.

So don't throw out your low stamina pieces, just becouse you need 10.000hp for a surtain fight…
Keep if for when you don't need that 10.000hp.

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Mage macros

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Fireball

#Showtooltip Fireball
/stopcasting
/cast Fireball

Ok ill let the macro stand, but i have made the conclusion that Stasya is correct, and you no longer need this to boost damage through latency. However, i still find a castbar mod (Quartz as an example, as recomended by Materia) very usefull. This will help you to know when you need to tap the fireball/frostball, or what you use, again.

Since this is rather unclear for you when to recast otherwise, and you will end up tapping the button madly which somethimes is done soon enough for the client to start a global cooldown, this means you won't be able to send a cast message from the client before the global cooldown is cancled by the server reporting that your tap was to soon, it is a rare situation, but i have seen it happen.

It will also help you not to forget when to recast, since you might go into "auto-mode" on an encounter where you just need to stand and nuke, an suddenly your mind just addept to the normal casting bar to complete, again loosing presious time.

- Acording to Stasya casting has been modified so that we can cast during latency, makes this macro obsolete

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Professions

What Professions are useful for us, which are not?… we will uncover benefits and downsides and what might seems good and then becomes not so good later.

Keep in mind that the point of view here is what can benefit your DPS in raids, so some professions will get trash talked here while being very good at other purposes. (Ill see if i can't get a more genneral part in under each, devide it into what benefits you in genneral, and what benefits your performance)

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Alchemy

Alchemy provides you with one thing gold cant buy. Alchemist's Stone. Before Patch 2.4 there where a 1000 better choices for trinkets out there (ok, so i exaggerate a bit but you get the point).

However, now you can upgrade your stone to the new once, and suddenly it all gets a bit better. ActuallySorcerer's Alchemist Stone is a real nice trinket, and limits the amount of choices for better once alot.

And with new badge loot, moving tailoring viability a bit, today idd would say that alchemy is as good a choice as Tailor and Engeniering.

Another perk is the Mad Alchemist's Potion, while being an extremly nice perk for alchemists, this is not giving enything you can't pay your way out of.

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Blacksmithing

No no no, we can not use plate, even though we have many times over wished we could, whatever we can use this for can be obtained through other Blacksmiths as far as i'm aware.

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Enchanting

If you ask me this is by far the best choice for a caster, this is generally because its the only profession that gives you something that can't be replaced, ring enchants! 2 x Extra 12 spell damage as an example. Nothing can replace this since it can always be redone on any new rings you might find.

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Engineering

Engenieering provides you with a very nice hat, theres no doubt about it.The Deathblow X11 Goggles is a very T5 equivalent, enginering will also give you some nice bombs to toss around. In the end though, the hat will be replaceable by something else as we progress, and the bombs are an expensive way to improve your DPS. You can make lots of fun pvp items too…

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Leatherworking

We don't wear leather either, althoug gnomes might look quite kinky in black shiny l… o.O… ok that gave very disturbing mental images…

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Tailoring

This we can actually wear, yay. Tailoring has 3 branches today. Mooncloth, Spellfire and Shadowweave… and mooncloth is of no use to us… Spellfire covers 2 of our schools, fire and arcane while Shadowweave is a set for us as well as the warlocks and shadow priest, since its frost and shadow. These sets are very nice and even though they provide you with a very low amount of health, you will use them for most of the time up until we hit T6. At least for Spellfire since it has a very nice set bonus (+7% of your intellect as +spelldamage). Basicly, Dont even THINK about replacing one spellfire piece before you have all 3 slots covered with T6 or equivalent. If you need more stamina, there are better ways.

Again these items will be replaced eventually tho, along the way theres quite a few nice patterns to pick up in the higher 25 man instances, so i see this as a bit of a better choice compared to engineering. But thats my personal opinion.

However, in patch 2.4 a new tailoring only peice has arived. The Sunfire Robe simply has no equal out there, some things from Sunwell Plateau is still far behind and yet the closest you can get. It almost is reason enough alone to become a tailor for us mages. However, the parttern drops in Sunwell Plateau, so it will be a while before we see it out on the market, and it is going to be expensíve as hell. If we get into Sunwell Plateau, then its another deal.

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Jewelcrafting

Jewelcrafting is probably the next best choice as we progress further into higher level instances, and tailoring outlives it purpose. Like enchanting this profession gives you something you can't replace by any looted or bought items. Don Julio's Heart gives +14 spell damage, thats more than any gem out there, even the epic gems from Black Temple, however keep in mind that this is ultimately only a +2 compared. Where enchanting is +24. Since only one of these gems can be worn at any given moment, theres a gem for spell critical strike rating that is also better that eany other gems you can obtain.

As an addition in patch 2.4 blizzard added 2 more BoP things you can make as JC, Pendant of Sunfire is one awsome neck, the pattern drops from Sunwell though, so it will be some time before that makes it to the open market i gues, but the neck is awsome.

They also provided us with a new trinket Figurine - Crimson Serpent which sadly has it's very limited use, being tanking and other places where you need high amount's of health.

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Herbalism, Mining, Skinning

Ok i gathered these under the same part. In general the only thing gathering skills are good for is to get money or support your 2. picked profession. These are good while you level your character, but when you hit 70 and begins to raid, i find them less viable.

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Comments and Questions

Any comments or questions can be posted under here, i will then take a look at them ASAP, and see if theres something i should add or correct in the guide. And unless you want to make it anonymous for some reason, leave your name so if i need you to clarify the meaning i can get back to you :).

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Questions

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Comments

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Credits

Ok i don't think theres eny harm in saying that i, Mablung/Branch is the main person behind this page. So i can pat my own back a bit here and say i contributed a lot.

However, Materia have definitely contributed with a lot as well, especially when it comes to the frost specs, and correcting my harmful spelling errors. So a HUGE thanks to him for helping on this guide.

Also thanks to Thorondar, who offered to help out with spelling errors as well.

It's not done yet, but i felt it was the time to thank whoever contributed.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License