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Damien

glyphs Arcane Mage: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes, Talents, and Glyphs (Patch 5.0.4)

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This article is no longer being updated. Please check our Arcane Mage guide, which is fully compatible with Mists Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Arcane Mage rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Arcane Mage Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.

Changes to the Arcane Blast Charge Mechanics

spell_arcane_arcane01.jpgArcane Charge replaces the charges of the old spell_arcane_blast.jpgArcane Blast.

New Abilities

You have the following new abilities:
  • spell_mage_altertime.jpgAlter Time is a new DPS cooldown.
  • ability_mage_deepfreeze.jpgDeep Freeze is now available to Arcane Mages. It used to be the 31-point talent of the Frost specialisation.
  • inv_elemental_mote_mana.jpgNether Attunement causes your haste to increase your mana regeneration. This will be very useful as your amount of mana will be capped to 300k.
  • spell_frost_frostshock.jpgShatter increases the damage you do against frozen targets. It used to be only available to Frost Mages and worked only for Frost spells.
  • spell_burningsoul.jpgBurning Soul is now a passive skill given to all Mage specs.
  • The 5th tier of your talent tree gives you the choice between spell_mage_nethertempest.jpgNether Tempest, ability_mage_livingbomb.jpgLiving Bomb, and spell_mage_frostbomb.jpgFrost Bomb. All of them are viable, as we will see in the AoE Rotation section.
  • The 6th tier of your talent tree gives you the choice between spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation (a modification of spell_nature_purge.jpgEvocation), spell_mage_runeofpower.jpgRune of Power, and spell_shadow_detectlesserinvisibility.jpIncanter's Ward. All of them are viable, as we will see in the Single-target Rotation section.
  • There are other new abilities provided by the other tiers of talents. They are not as important as the Tier 5 and 6 talents, so we do not mention them here, but later in this article.

Removed Abilities

Rotation and Spell Usage

The rotation will depend on the Tier 6 talent that you will choose: spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation, spell_mage_runeofpower.jpgRune of Power, and spell_shadow_detectlesserinvisibility.jpIncanter's Ward. In any case, you need to keep in mind that spell_nature_starfall.jpgArcane Missiles is now your most damaging ability and it should be used whenever possible. Also, you need to take spell_mage_nethertempest.jpgNether Tempest as a Tier 5 talent, it is required for the single-target rotation.With spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation, the rotation is a simple priority list:With spell_mage_runeofpower.jpgRune of Power, the rotation (or priority list) becomes:With spell_shadow_detectlesserinvisibility.jpIncanter's Ward, the priority list is a bit more complex and requires a reliable source of damage:In terms of DPS, the Invocation rotation seems to be performing slightly better than the other rotation. We will discuss talent choice in more depth in the talent section.

Cooldowns

  • ability_mage_timewarp.jpgTime Warp and spell_nature_lightning.jpgArcane Power work in the same way that they used to in Cataclysm.
  • spell_mage_altertime.jpgAlter Time is a very interesting cooldown. We see two main ways of using it. If you cast it right after you cast Arcane Power, then you can get 21 seconds of increased damage, with the first 6 seconds costing no mana at all. If you cast it before receiving a large amount of damage or a dangerous debuff, then, after 6 seconds, the damage or the debuff will be gone.

AoE Rotation

In Cataclysm, AoE damage was simple and consisted of spamming spell_nature_wispsplode.jpgArcane Explosion. Now, it is a lot more complex.

For 2 enemies, you have several choices. In all cases, you should keep spell_fire_selfdestruct.jpgFlamestrike up all the time.

  • If you want to focus on one of them while doing collateral damage to the other, keep your spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation single-target rotation on one of them (it means you need to have chosen the Invocation Tier 6 talent).
  • If you want to do more collateral damage on the secondary target (at the expense of the damage on the main target), you can switch to a spell_mage_runeofpower.jpgRune of Power or spell_shadow_detectlesserinvisibility.jpIncanter's Ward single-target rotation on the main target. The idea is that the frequent casts of ability_mage_arcanebarrage.jpgArcane Barrage will do a lot of collateral damage.
  • If you want to do even more collateral damage, you need to replace spell_mage_nethertempest.jpgNether Tempest with ability_mage_livingbomb.jpgLiving Bomb. You must place Living Bomb on both target and let it explode before refreshing it.
Betwen 3 and 7-8 enemies, you should stick to the last of the 3 rotations we just gave.From 7-8 enemies up, you should start using a combination of spell_fire_selfdestruct.jpgFlamestrike, spell_nature_wispsplode.jpgArcane Explosion, and spell_mage_frostbomb.jpgFrost Bomb (the last of the Tier 5 talents).

Talents

Tier 1 talents have been designed with mobility in mind. You have the choice between:
  • spell_nature_enchantarmor.jpgPresence of Mind, which should be the default choice because it yields a small DPS increase;
  • spell_fire_soulburn.jpgScorch, which you should be using in an encounter with a lot of movement;
  • spell_mage_iceflows.jpgIce Floes, which allows you to cast two spells while moving and should be used in encounters where you have to move from time to time.
Tier 2 talents have been designed with survivability in mind. You have the choice between:
  • spell_mage_temporalshield.jpgTemporal Shield, which can be very useful in encounters with a lot of raid damage;
  • spell_fire_burningspeed.jpgBlazing Speed, which might be of use in some encounters, though spell_arcane_blink.jpgBlink should be enough in most cases;
  • spell_ice_lament.jpgIce Barrier, which should be the default choice because the shield it gives you also protects you against pushback, resulting in a slight DPS increase.
Tier 3 talents have been designed with crowd control in mind. Whichever talent you will choose will depend on the encounter, but we think that these talents are mostly for PvP and will be mostly irrelevant in PvE: Tier 4 talents have been designed with survival in mind. You have the choice between: Tier 5 talents are AoE damage talents. We have already discussed them in the AoE Rotation section. To sum it up, here is what you should base your choice on:
  • spell_mage_nethertempest.jpgNether Tempest should be used in single-target situations or when you are fighting two enemies and want a bit of collateral damage on one of them.
  • ability_mage_livingbomb.jpgLiving Bomb should be used in multiple-target situations when you are fighting between 2 and 7-8 enemies.
  • spell_mage_frostbomb.jpgFrost Bomb should be used when you are fighting more than 7-8 enemies.
Tier 6 talents are mana management talents. We have already described how to use them in the Single-target Rotation section. Below, we give our impressions:
  • spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation will yield the best single-target damage and we believe that it will only get better with gear. More haste means that you will be able to make better use of the +25% increased damage buff and spell_nature_purge.jpgEvocation, which you will use very often, will be cast faster.
  • spell_mage_runeofpower.jpgRune of Power seems to be more tailored for AoE damage, allowing you to make frequent use of ability_mage_arcanebarrage.jpgArcane Barrage.
  • spell_shadow_detectlesserinvisibility.jpIncanter's Ward seems to be more of a situational talent. We need to see how it will fare in the raid encounters, but we believe that the use of this talent will require encounters where periods of downtime on the boss and periods of raid damage are distinct.

Glyphs

Most of your major glyphs will give you more utility, but from a DPS standpoint, only a few will matter:Among the minor glyphs, two might be of interest. inv_glyph_minormage.jpgGlyph of Loose Mana restores your Mana Gem mana over time, which makes you stay longer at full mana (this equates to more DPS as an Arcane Mage). inv_glyph_minormage.jpgGlyph of Momentum will allow you to blink in the direction where you are going. It can be very useful if you are moving sideways and want to keep facing the boss.

Note that inv_glyph_minormage.jpgGlyph of Mirror Image no longer makes a DPS difference.

This concludes our Arcane Mage preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!

Edited by Damien
Updated for MoP beta build 15961.
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I'm very happy about the changes made to arcane mages. Maybe people won't make fun of them anymore because they have less of a face roll rotation.

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at your single target rotation when you use rune of power as last tier you can't use evocation anymore because it replaces it.

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Thanks, Damien, for the guide for the MoP Arcane spec.

I have a question about the maintenance of the spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation 25% extra spell damage buff.

With the buff only lasting 40 seconds, will the buff be the Arcane version of the Retribution Paladin's Inquisition buff that we have to aim for 100% uptime to maintain optimal dps? Does it mean Arcane mages choosing the spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation talent would have to channel an spell_nature_purge.jpgEvocation once every 40 seconds?

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at your single target rotation when you use rune of power as last tier you can't use evocation anymore because it replaces it.

Thanks for spotting this mistake. The three rotations are now given separately. This will prevent this sort of mistakes.

Thanks, Damien, for the guide for the MoP Arcane spec.

I have a question about the maintenance of the spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation 25% extra spell damage buff.

With the buff only lasting 40 seconds, will the buff be the Arcane version of the Retribution Paladin's Inquisition buff that we have to aim for 100% uptime to maintain optimal dps? Does it mean Arcane mages choosing the spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation talent would have to channel an spell_nature_purge.jpgEvocation once every 40 seconds?

You spend so much mana that you will have to cast spell_nature_purge.jpgEvocation more often than once every 40 seconds.

I made a small script to run simulations on that matter. With 0% Haste, it takes in average 31 seconds to get below 33% mana (assuming you spam spell_arcane_blast.jpgArcane Blast and cast spell_nature_starfall.jpgArcane Missiles whenever you get the chance to). With 50% Haste, it takes in average 20 seconds. As you can see, the more Haste you have, the more often you have to use Evocation.

Since maximum mana no longer depends on Intellect and is constant at 300,000 at level 90 for Mages, I can make an even more general statement. The better your gear, the higher your Haste, the more often you will use Evocation. Therefore, maintaining uptime on the spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgInvocation buff should be a byproduct of the rotation.

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The article has been updated for build 15961.

spell_arcane_arcane01.jpgArcane Charge now stacks up to 6 times (up from 4).

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Dear Damien,

I have a major question to ask. As your guide shows lvl 90 rotations and my mind, smartness (héhé i wish it was true) and look on the spec and chance doesn't this implement a lvl 90- rotation that's very diffrent from the lvl 90rotations? because at lvl 89 you don't have invocation you don't have rune of power and so on. So mana awareness have to be higher then it's at lvl 90 (not saying you don't need to look anymore). This shows that at lvl 89 or lower ofc, there aint no evocation with a 10sec cd but one with a 2min cd, so you can't really start bursting your way down to 35% because of the stacks that arcane charges have now (6) that's a 750% increase mana cast of Arcane blast and a 132% increased dmg of arcane blast, missles and barrage will drain your mana quicker then i can type say hello. Evocation aint up in the time for at least more then a good min. This brought me on the idea of lvl 90- rotation that's the following (going to be in quick walkthrough not in single target/multi target rots not worked that out that good, i have a few in my mind so but this is the one i find the best):

- use Bomb (nether tempest/ living bomb/ Frost bomb)

- use AB 4times

- use missles procs at 5 and 6

- only 1missle proc use an extra AB (this will cost ofc a lot more mana)

- then use the missle proc

- if you have still 1 missle proc use it

- if you have 2 missles procs then use both of them (the extra 132%dmg the missles do won't hurt using it and it costs 0mana)

- clear with arcane barrage

- use evocation when hitting 35% mana

- note: keep cd's on mirror images, PoM and arcane power.

Then you hit that 2min CD of evocation what you can't get ridd of because you aint lvl 90 to reduce the CD or get rune of power. Then i was more thinking about following a not get over 4stacks of charges with AB rule. Only with missles you can get higher then 4stacks because that doesn't costs any mana and it makes your barrage 22% stronger each stack you can get above 4. then ofc clean them with barrage.

for a quick look at lvl 85 an AB costs 1500 mana (almost dubble as atm on live) with 1stack that's 1875mana for AB and so on. As i yust want to make clear at the end of 6stacks an AB costs around 11-12k mana for yust casting that. That's a hugh amount of mana for a lvl 85 witch the cap of mana is 100k (105 if your gnome). That's my main reason i'm wondering about the rotation i said above is working well (it did on ptr when i didn't maded anymistakes).

I hope you understand the stuff i typed here so not you can surely ask me. :) I hope you can help me out of one of my biggest dilemma's so far in world of warcraft (i guess it's my first one but héhé :P) and you can help me out with bring up mayby more ideas about how to handle arcane mages below 90.

Greetz

Dthehunter (arcane mage silvermoon eu)

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Dear michael

Damien and Vlad are away today and put me in charge (WHAT?!??! O_O) so they won't be able to answer your question right away.

First of I want to point out that the guides are made for level 90 specifically.

secondly I'm no expert in mages so don't take my word for granted.

So: looking at what you said I understand your problem and I think the rotation you posted looks pretty good. I might just be talking out of my ass but the way I see it is that you can just play arcane as you always did. Get up to 3 (or 4) stacks and not higher like you pointed out since that will drain your mana too fast. Drop the stacks with a arcane barrage or missiles and be careful during burst phase since it will drain your mana very quickly and you don't yet have invocation.

You can expect an answer from Damien or Vlad tomorrow I think.

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Dear michael

Damien and Vlad are away today and put me in charge (WHAT?!??! O_O) so they won't be able to answer your question right away.

First of I want to point out that the guides are made for level 90 specifically.

secondly I'm no expert in mages so don't take my word for granted.

So: looking at what you said I understand your problem and I think the rotation you posted looks pretty good. I might just be talking out of my ass but the way I see it is that you can just play arcane as you always did. Get up to 3 (or 4) stacks and not higher like you pointed out since that will drain your mana too fast. Drop the stacks with a arcane barrage or missiles and be careful during burst phase since it will drain your mana very quickly and you don't yet have invocation.

You can expect an answer from Damien or Vlad tomorrow I think.

Thx allrdy for answering :) and i'll see when they reacted. Have fun with being in charge :) and enjoy the good day :)

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Thx allrdy for answering Posted Image and i'll see when they reacted. Have fun with being in charge Posted Image and enjoy the good day Posted Image

I think that Arcane will not be a great spec to use before reaching level 90. I leveled up as Arcane on the beta and I was eating mana food between each pull.

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I think that Arcane will not be a great spec to use before reaching level 90. I leveled up as Arcane on the beta and I was eating mana food between each pull.

Dear damien :),

Oke, but we are getting our new talents allrdy at the 28th (US) 29th(eu) in the prepatch that hits, so you recommand me to go fire/frost for that time? and what of the 2 you say would work the best for bosses like spine HC? because burst dmg there is still so needed. I still believe in the fact that arcane can do some nice dps without the last talent line but as i said in my huge post earlier on you have to use a total diffrent rotation because evoc is 2min cd. I think it's almost the same as the rotation we have right now but don't get over 4stacks with AB and get the rest filled up with missles. Also i'm doing this for other guildies who i even sended to this website but are really not that great in doing nice dmg in fire or even in frost spec or they are a slow learner what will cause us so much more issues on HC bosses in DS. That's why i'm trying to get a rotation for those people and mayby myself working but i'm not playing long enough to say that it can work or not and i don't have any good exp on making rotations like that. So hopefully you can help me out with this (the rotation is in the hugh post i posted a few days ago)

thx

Dthehunter

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Dear damien :),

Oke, but we are getting our new talents allrdy at the 28th (US) 29th(eu) in the prepatch that hits, so you recommand me to go fire/frost for that time? and what of the 2 you say would work the best for bosses like spine HC? because burst dmg there is still so needed. I still believe in the fact that arcane can do some nice dps without the last talent line but as i said in my huge post earlier on you have to use a total diffrent rotation because evoc is 2min cd. I think it's almost the same as the rotation we have right now but don't get over 4stacks with AB and get the rest filled up with missles. Also i'm doing this for other guildies who i even sended to this website but are really not that great in doing nice dmg in fire or even in frost spec or they are a slow learner what will cause us so much more issues on HC bosses in DS. That's why i'm trying to get a rotation for those people and mayby myself working but i'm not playing long enough to say that it can work or not and i don't have any good exp on making rotations like that. So hopefully you can help me out with this (the rotation is in the hugh post i posted a few days ago)

thx

Dthehunter

My prediction is that Arcane will be terrible until you reach level 90. So it will be either Fire or Frost ;)

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