Arcane mage

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Arcane mage

Post  Gevlon on Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:09 pm

I'll play arcane mage during the project (with frost offspec) so collected some information. Of course it's not complete or perfect> any discussion is welcomed.

This is a basic skeleton spec containing all necessary talents: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#of0Vfk0czxGuMxebcZMhf0o

You can use the remaining points to increase mana regen (arcane meditation, student of the mind) and survivability (magic absorption, slow, prismatic cloak).

Some lower quality DPS talents (arcane flows, arcane mind) can be sacrificed for further regen or survavibility.

With such spec, in my near-BiS blue gear rawr says I should be doing 3300 sustained DPS with raidbuffs. Of course it's not burst DPS, I already reached 4400 in a far-from optimal 5-man group.

Glyphs: Arcane Blast, Arcane Missiles, Molten Armor period. You simply have no other good glyphs.

Sustained DPS: the rotation is Arcane Blast spamming until missile barrage procs. Arcane Blast leaves a debuff that increase spell damage and mana cost every cast, up to 4 stacks. For highest DPS stack AB up to 4 even if barrage procs after the first cast. For highest damage/mana launch missiles after it procs. Don't wait for the proc, start the next AB when the previous is 80% on the cast-indicator or you stand idly a lot due to lag and your own reaction time.

If it doesn't procs after 4 stacks, for high damage keep spamming AB until it does. For conserving mana, launch an Arcane Barrage to get rid of the debuff. Arcane Barrage itself is not part of the DPS rotation and used only when moving or to get rid of the AB debuff.

Burst DPS: The same rotation as above after using the following cooldowns:
Arcane power: +20% Damage for 15 secs
Icy Veins: +20% speed for 20 secs (stacks with bloodlust)
Whatever trinket you have
In burst case stack the AB up to 4

AoE: usually Blizzard. If you are sure that the monsters don't have whirlwind or other nasty AoE, you can stack to the melee and spam Arcane Explosion for higher DPS and lower threat. But be VERY sure that they don't have whirlwind.


Main problem: mana. The AB-spamming is very mana-intensive. Using regen talent is more than welcomed in this gear level. Switching to mage armor is also possible, despite losing 5-8% crit. Use mana gems (and arcane torrent if BE) on all cooldowns. Evocate fills you up but takes time.


Stat values:
1st: hit rating (around 1.4 DPS/pt). A spellcaster needs 17% hit to be capped. Talents give 6, shadow priest/moonkin gives 3, gear have to give 8%. That's 208 hit rating. Don't be overcapped, that's a waste.
2nd: spell power (around 1.2 DPS/pt) The more is the better
3rd: haste (around 1 DPS/pt)
4th: intellect (around 0.8 DPS/pt, scales with talents)
5th: crit (around 0.6 DPS/pt)
6th: spirit (around 0.5 DPS/pt)
These are just approximations, use rawr.

Buffs: intellect (all mages have it)
Amplify magic (all mages have it but arcanes have +50% from talents): except in very magic bosses like Sarth+buddies it's a must-be on tanks, giving +375 spellpower to healers of that tank.
Focus magic: +3% spell crit to the buffed person (can't be self) and 3% to yourself for 10 secs if the guy crits. Give it to destrolock, demo-lock, other mage, moonkin, holy pala, holy priest, elem shaman. DONT give it to non-casters, affli-locks, trees.
Arcane Empowerment: +3% damage for 10 secs after you crit for the whole raid. The same buff that the BM hunter gives. Any decent, living arcane mage should have it up for 80-90% of the time.

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  gnomeofzurich on Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:54 pm

Since I also play an arcane mage at 80 (though this will not likely be my undergeared character), I want to note a few things.

Gevlon wrote:Glyphs: Arcane Blast, Arcane Missiles, Molten Armor period. You simply have no other good glyphs.

Later you discuss the possibility of switching to mage armor if the mana regen is worth more than the crit, which it may turn out to be in blues. Perhaps you thought it goes without saying, but I would of course switch up Mage Armor glyph for Molten Armor glyph if I were using Mage Armor. If I had to switch back and forth a lot for different fights (mage for long or mana drain fights, molten for others), it's worth simply treating the glyphs as consumables and keeping a stack of each.

Gevlon wrote:Sustained DPS: [...AB spam until missile barrage proc...]

If it doesn't proc after 4 stacks, for high damage keep spamming AB until it does. For conserving mana, launch an Arcane Barrage to get rid of the debuff. Arcane Barrage itself is not part of the DPS rotation and used only when moving or to get rid of the AB debuff.

There is a more complicated issue also. Arcane Missiles dps is not absolutely horrible even without missile barrage, especially at 4 stacks, so there's some variation as blizzard makes small changes whether it's more dps or more dpm to clear with an unprocced AM versus clearing with Arcane Barrage. The standing EJ take for 3.2/3.3 is that clearing with AM on 4 stacks is a middle way, it is higher DPS but slightly less mana efficient than clearing with AB. Yet it is mana efficient enough that clearing with AB is almost always incorrect unless you can match it up with a move you have to make at some point anyway. But the EJ numbers all assume Uldaur+ gear. Did you redo the detailed calculations with BiS blue gear numbers and conclude that clearing with AM is dominated by another option, or did you not consider it carefully yet? This is a pure math question. We should rerun the Dps/mp5 tradeoffs for all the basic rotations and post a chart.

Gevlon wrote:AoE: usually Blizzard. If you are sure that the monsters don't have whirlwind or other nasty AoE, you can stack to the melee and spam Arcane Explosion for higher DPS and lower threat. But be VERY sure that they don't have whirlwind.

I've been playing around with flamestrike, and I'm pretty sure, at least at brindemir's gear level (mostly ilvl200 epics a few better) highest sustained AOE dps involves flamestriker9:flamestriker8:blizzard repeat. The DoTs of different ranks of flamestrike stack (same rank overwrites). flamestrike rank 7 is not worth casting, and on very short pulls (5man heroic trash with 3 good dps) the opening cast time plus positioning requirement kills flamestrike and it's better to just use blizzard from the get go. It's also better to use blizzard when mobs don't position nicely or your tank is hyper as flamestrike has such a tight circle and is dependent on keeping its DoT up to beat blizzard's DPS.

Since I'm assuming we won't put up with AoE tanks that move around a lot, I think you'll want to keep flamestrike in mind for fights longer than 15-20seconds or so.

Gevlon wrote:Main problem: mana. The AB-spamming is very mana-intensive. Using regen talent is more than welcomed in this gear level. Switching to mage armor is also possible, despite losing 5-8% crit. Use mana gems (and arcane torrent if BE) on all cooldowns. Evocate fills you up but takes time.

I doubt anyone will be losing more than 5% crit. If they are, they are doing it wrong when it comes to gearing. Note in your values below this that spirit is the least valuable stat of stats that are worth gathering at all. Brindemir, in avg lvl200epics has 287 spirit. In BiS blue gear, he'd probbly be around 200. I doubt any mage in blues worth giving a spot to will have more than 300 spirit, which is about 3.6% crit. So I'm pretty quick to put on mage armor. This is just another dps/mp5 tradeoff which needs to be theorycrafted. The crucial theorycrafting for arcane mages is the list of tradeoffs for mana, to know how efficient each one is. Then on any given fight, you simply run down the list from most efficient to least until you don't run out of mana anymore. And we include everything, including things like wanding, evocation, gemming spirit or int for slot bonuses, etc.

Gevlon wrote:Focus magic: +3% spell crit to the buffed person (can't be self) and 3% to yourself for 10 secs if the guy crits. Give it to destrolock, demo-lock, other mage, moonkin, holy pala, holy priest, elem shaman. DONT give it to non-casters, affli-locks, trees.

Not affliction locks? Are DoT tick crits not proccing FM? Or affliction locks not taking Pandemic? I would have said aff-locks and shadow priests before (or about the same priority as) holy priests or holy paladins, but after all other caster dps. Fire or frostfire mages should be #1 priority, if they are competitive enough with arcane at this gear level to run.

IIRC, the best use of focus is for focus mages to cast on each other in a ring (the self buffs from your own focus procs increase the procs for the mage who focuses you), The focus mages should only give it up elsewhere if there is a caster who gets more than 200%+CSD bonus on crits, such as frostfire mages (fireball mages should have focus) and maybe destro locks, or if there is only one mage with the talent in the raid.

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Gevlon on Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:38 pm

The glyph: since you can't have more than 100% regen, the mage armor doesn't really works. Unglyphed gives 50% regen, talent gives another 50%.

You're right, normal AM can clear an AB buff, at the cost of some mana. Higher DPS than AB.

I have 460 spirit and +46+80 comes from priest buff and kings. While in epics there is SP-haste gear to every slot, in blues the collection is more rare. Also some items are practically unavailable as they are rare drops from certain dungeons. Collecting the absolute BiS gear would take ages. Near-bis items are often healer cloth stam-int-spi-SP. So I'd guess the blue mage will have much more spirit than an ilvl 200-213 epic mage.

The FM list was not priority list. However the "give it to whom" question is simple: check damage meter of the last fight and give it to the guy with the highest crit rate (unless he got one already).

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Misaka on Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:24 am

Why no Incanter's Absorption?

It might not be useful on each fight, but if there's a raidwide aoe going on that you can absorb (think Val'kyr Twins, Anub'Arak, Marrowgar or the dragon at the end of Naxx, whatever's his name) with either your own shields or PW:S from the priest, it's free spell damage.

The mages in my guild are using it to do crazy dps on these kind of fights.


Last edited by Misaka on Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:24 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Adam on Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:42 am

This is excellent information, thanks for that. Just one thing - I've done a little bit of research online which tells me that while arcane is the present end-game raiding spec, it is not that good for levelling. At the moment I am levelling with Fire spec, but it feels like a glass cannon, ie if they get close to me I'm in trouble. Any quick thoughts on the most effective levelling spec? I know that the object of this exercise is the raiding, but the quicker I can level the quicker I can raid.

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Pwaza on Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:07 pm

Well, I'm currently leveling as an arcane mage (hoping to quickly get to http://www.wowwiki.com/Arcane_Meditation ), however it has come to my attention lately that according to http://www.wowwiki.com/Mage_builds , "Frost is far and wide considered the best mage leveling tree due to four factors: its mana-efficiency, high survivability and control, and high burst damage."

One of the main issues I had yesterday when instancing (at level 15/16) was my very high downtime due to mana issues. So I'll probably start investing in the frost tree first from now on.

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Gevlon on Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:00 pm

Absorption doesn't seem like a good idea when you're struggling with mana. In full ilvl245+ you can absorb half of you mana and watch it grow back based on replenishment and your 1200+ intellect. With 800 intellect it will be much less fun.

I leveled on arcane and found it very effective. After 5/5 arcane stability the monsters can't delay your casting, you just AM-spam them down. Also your -40% threat makes sure that you won't pull aggro in PuGs.

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Ballisto on Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:48 pm

During the few times I went disco on my priest in raids, I had a pact with our arcane mage that I pay attention to shield him (and gave Power Infusion if that was possible). In return, he gave me Focus Magic every time I was shadow (as I normally was). Needless to say, both rejoiced.

If we are lucky enough to have a disco priest at 80 in our raids, then I'd submit my vote for Absorption. (And IMO we absolutely should try our best to get one, they make a great difference.)

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  gnomeofzurich on Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:45 pm

Leveling is trivial enough now that once you understand how to play your class any spec works fine.

That said, frost is the way to go if you want max leveling speed and survivability. Your burst dps is just as good as fire/arcane and your mana usage is less, so it all goes faster. You almost never get hit if you know what you are doing as frost and avoid closed in spaces, and you can AoE grind (though it's a lot touchier than for tank classes) which makes certain obnoxious kill quests a lot easier and suddenly fields of high-aggro high-respawn rate mobs become more of a present than a pain in the ass.

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Chopsui on Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:44 am

Although you don't have to worry about that now, but come ToC25 all mages should have absorption. On Twin Valkyr, the "dark" or "light" essence absorb the AE damage from the other color at all times, not just on vortexes. That gives you a permanent +1000 spellpower.

What I used to do on my mage if mana was becoming tight, due to unlucky Barrage procs was end the ABx4 with an Arcane Barrage. Arcane Barrage is a talent I liked having anyway, since it gives you something to do when you're forced to be mobile. I also had some fallback dps-rotations that I'd get to when mana was becoming real tight, but those weren't really optimized, and I"d just try to time stuff so that I could go until Evoc or the managem were off cooldown again.

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Misaka on Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:25 am

And yeah, it works with all absorbed damage, whether it's priest stuff or your own, or the fight provides one. Can't unfortunately provide details like Chopsui above, since I play a tank and only had to suddenly deal with two crazy, aggro happy mages.

Since it really depends on the fight itself, it's something you might want to have as a dual spec maybe (or main spec if these 3 points would be filler points anyway).

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Tal on Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:48 am

Gevlon wrote:
1st: hit rating (around 1.4 DPS/pt). A spellcaster needs 17% hit to be capped. Talents give 6, shadow priest/moonkin gives 3, gear have to give 8%. That's 208 hit rating. Don't be overcapped, that's a waste.

Having a Draenai gives another 1% to hit. It's only relevant for the US guild, but should probably still be mentioned.

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Re: Arcane mage

Post  Ulatekso on Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:11 pm

Gevlon wrote:This is a basic skeleton spec containing all necessary talents: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#of0Vfk0czxGuMxebcZMhf0o

You can use the remaining points to increase mana regen (arcane meditation, student of the mind) and survivability (magic absorption, slow, prismatic cloak).

Some lower quality DPS talents (arcane flows, arcane mind) can be sacrificed for further regen or survavibility.
First thing I notice is the lack of Arcane Stability. While on some fights it is indeed pointless (ie Patchwerk), on others (Grobbulus comes to mind) pushback protection is quite helpful. Especially so for Arcane Missiles, where even the smallest amount of pushback will cause you to lose one missile. You'll need 4/5 for total protection when there's a Paladin using Conc Aura, or 3/5 when said Paladin is specced for improved Conc Aura.

You won't be needing 2/2 in Subtlety. A single point (20% reduction) is more than sufficient, and at this gear level you might even get away with no points in it at all. In addition, depending on availability of hit rating on gear, take points away from Arcane Focus - the mana cost reduction by itself is not good enough to warrant spending points on it.

Student of the Mind is a very weak talent. The DPS increase is very, very small, and the mana regeneration is completely dwarfed by Arcane Meditation. I'd consider Arcane Meditation a mandatory talent, even.

As stated, Incanter's Absorbtion works with every kind of absorb, not just your own Fire/Frost Ward and Mana Shield. Using Mana Shield just to proc Absorbtion is a complete waste, because it simply burns through an insane amount of mana, thanks to the scaling with spellpower. Even at higher gear levels you can't afford to throw mana out of the window like that. That said, in just about every fight where there's some raid damage going on and priest shields being handed out (or movement + fire or frost damage), Incanter's Absorbtion will provide far superior DPS gains to Student of the Mind.

As for survivability, with a lot of raid damage being of magical nature, Magic Absorbtion is your best bet. That said, I've never felt the need to spec into it, especially not for normal mode fights. The only time I wished I had room to spec into Slow was on Faction Champions who are frankly a pushover on normal mode, blue gear or not. Prismatic Cloak is alright but generally outperformed by Magic Absorbtion.

For reference, I raid with this spec currently.
Sustained DPS: the rotation is Arcane Blast spamming until missile barrage procs. Arcane Blast leaves a debuff that increase spell damage and mana cost every cast, up to 4 stacks. For highest DPS stack AB up to 4 even if barrage procs after the first cast. For highest damage/mana launch missiles after it procs. Don't wait for the proc, start the next AB when the previous is 80% on the cast-indicator or you stand idly a lot due to lag and your own reaction time.

If it doesn't procs after 4 stacks, for high damage keep spamming AB until it does. For conserving mana, launch an Arcane Barrage to get rid of the debuff. Arcane Barrage itself is not part of the DPS rotation and used only when moving or to get rid of the AB debuff.
I find that even at high gear levels, fishing until Missile Barrage finally procs is not viable. Sometimes luck is terrible and it literally takes fifteen casts before MBarr goes off. I tend to use Arcane Missiles to clear the stack after the seventh Arcane Blast regardless of MBarr status. At our gear level and thus lower mana pool this number would probably be lower.

We might even find that 4AB followed by MBarr is not sustainable for longer fights. Keep in mind that using MBarr as soon as it procs is not that much of a DPS loss, but a massive mana efficiency boost. Oh and as said never use Arcane Barrage to clear stack. If you want to save mana, throttle back to 2-3-4AB+MBarr instead, it will save more mana and lose less DPS.
Burst DPS: The same rotation as above after using the following cooldowns:
Arcane power: +20% Damage for 15 secs
Icy Veins: +20% speed for 20 secs (stacks with bloodlust)
Whatever trinket you have
In burst case stack the AB up to 4
Excellent. Keep in mind, however, that after the initial burst cooldowns on these abilities will not align exactly. Use fight length to determine whether to use them again as they come of cooldown right away, or wait for other cooldowns. Typically I just hit the shiny buttons as soon as they're ready again, unless there's burst opportunities like stunned Icehowl with his 100% damage taken debuff. Try to use cooldowns right as you use Missile Barrage since that is the highest DPS moment in your rotation and it increases the chances of having another MBarr while cooldowns are active.

Another thing to keep in mind is that over, say, ten minutes of straight casting, pure AB spam is a little bit more DPS than 4AB+MBarr. However, in smaller windows, such as stunned Icehowl, doing regular rotation might have you cast 4AB, then MBarr, then another 2AB before stun wears off. In this case, it'd be better to cast 6AB followed by MBarr. As a rule of thumb, for short burst opportunities like this I use pure AB spam with a MBarr thrown in at the very end.
Stat values:
4th: intellect (around 0.8 DPS/pt, scales with talents)
The scaling with Mind Mastery is a measly 0.15 SP per point of Intellect. The other DPS gains come from a model that assumes "more intellect means higher DPS but lower mana efficiency rotations" which I don't trust to be accurate at all. Rawr for example values Talisman of Resurgence trinket quite highly, but frankly I found it to be a piece of dung.
Arcane Empowerment: +3% damage for 10 secs after you crit for the whole raid. The same buff that the BM hunter gives. Any decent, living arcane mage should have it up for 80-90% of the time.
Retribution Paladins too.

Never given AoE too much though for arcane, since no fight where I use arcane spec requires highly optimized AoE damage. One thing to keep in mind is that Arcane Explosion has 10% chance per mob it hits to proc Clearcasting which is very nice.

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