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WOD and mages 101 a few things to consider.

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Hello, first post here.


Some common sense and advice for WOD Xpac. This may seem like a bunch of rumbling but hear me out. Make yourself a sandwich and gimme 15 minutes of your time.


I've been playing WOW from day 1. Never stopped. Started with a holy pally in vanilla and BC. Tanked for LK then switched mains to DPS on my alt mage.


It is what it is - The mage is a damage class, it was very convenient to be able to evocate and self heal from 20% back to 100% with "only" 8 evocates at 10% a pop but we were not doing our job to inflict damage because we were healing ourselves. I'm glad that's gone, now healers are going to have to do better at their job and as a mage am going to be more careful at not getting additional unnecessary damage. Hope some will stop complaining about this topic.


-I've been playing a Mage since the Cata expansion. I've tried everything, all 3 specs, cookie cutter builds, custom builds, mix and match gems, enchants and gear configurations. 


-There is always going to be someone in your guild, LFR, a bystander around the training dummies, forums etc who is going to criticize, dissect or give "pointers" about every gem, rotation, gear, enchants etc you have. I’ve seen players who do PVP as fire mages and some do PVE as fire or arcane or even frost mages and I have never, never ever been even close to their damage numbers. Why? Because I play differently, because my gear is not heroic warforged, because my guild doen’t cover all the possible beneficial buffs there are etc.


- Talents and abilities will always be buffed or nerfed as the game goes along, as of right now-right now it's hard to tell if all coefficients, algorithms, damage percentage and such will remain the same until after at least a few weeks into the xpac.


That being said here are a few mage words of wisdom:


1. As soon as the xpac is released focus 100% on leveling up, don't worry too much about specs, talents, itemization, don't even worry so much about addons and crap. Don't waste you time watching how to mage spec WOD 6.xx videos. Just play your mage, as you level up switch between main and secondary specs every other level just to get the feel for each “new” spec in WOD. A gear upgrade its a gear upgrade don't get too picky about getting the right stuff for your "main spec" while leveling. If you do it right you could test all 3 specs and you should be able to play all 3 specs as you level up about 3 levels per spec to 100. If you level up in dungeons do the same, switch specs every other dungeon and still don’t install any addons. This is to test the playability of that spec not to test the damage and “DPS”.


2. Day 1 as 100. Once you reach 100 get a damage meter addon and take a day off to do absolutely nothing but test each mage spec thoroughly on test dummies, after leveling up to 100 you should be able to have tested and know how to play each spec at 75% efficiency. Don't gem, dont enchant just dps the crap out of the dummy, find a logical rotation based on CD's, procs and your OWN STYLE of play. Don't worry too much about gear itemization, right now it's all about base damage and play style. Keep track of your damage numbers. I can guarantee you that after 2-3 hours of testing all 3 specs you’re going to feel like one of the specs is crap and you’re going to trash it and you're going to have a pretty good idea which one is going to probably be your main spec. Do a dungeon or two. Don't watch any mage videos, don't read any forums yet.


*Note: DPS vs Total Damage, I wish people would stop using the term dps. Make sure you understand that it is possible to have the highest dps on a run based on a single huge crit and not even do any additional damage for the rest of the fight. On the other hand contributing with a high total (overall) sustainable damage through the entire fight it’s a completely different thing. It is possible to have lower DPS then everyone but the overall contribution to the fight in total damage dealt be the highest, this is just an example...please don’t find a way to discredit the rest of the post based on a technicality or logistics. You will verify this fact when performing tests on dummies trust me.


***When testing a spec, make sure the test is under the same conditions: 

- Use the same dummy all the time, either use the single dummy or a dummy of the same level with a couple of lower level dummies next to it for AOE factoring.

- Time of test: 2-5mins that's about how long a boss fight could be and most special ability CD's are around 2-3 mins each

- Use all your CD's 20-30 seconds into the test, this will give the chance to use them once or twice during the test (5mins).

- Test a spec 2-3 times in a row before switching to another spec. test each spec at least 10 times, this will give you a good damage meter trending.


*Personal experience note: Throughout almost every single xpac there are some elitist who keep telling us all that Fire, or arcane, or frost is the spec of the tops guilds and you must copy it exactly, and for some reason frost or whichever other spec is just the cookie cutter lazy rotation for all the rest of us noobs, yet we deliver sustainable competent damage numbers and still being frost or arcane is never good enough unless you go fire or whatever is the flavor of the month. This happens when we get sucked into watching greatest "hits and crits" how to video highlights and we forget that that's exactly what those videos are "their greatest Hits and crits" they don't show you their average runs; only their best. Don't try to be like them, play what you enjoy and your style. Are you a clicker? who cares, if that's how you play that's how you play, don’t relearn gaming because someone tells you clicker is a fail. I have missing fingers and clicking is the only way I can play so there /off the soapbox


3. Day 2 as 100 Once you have a potential "solid" main and secondary specs, start doing dungeons and attempt to get your blue and purple gear. Don't enchant dont gem yet. Start getting addons as needed, switch specs once in awhile to get them tested during your dungeon runs. If you're on a roll getting into dungeons keep going, otherwise practice on dummies between queues, switching talents and messing around with rotations etc. do this all day 2.


4. Day 3 as 100 make sure you're comfortable with this “new” play style and rotation and you're certain that's the spec you're going to enjoy playing with for awhile. Do a few more dungeons and get more blues and purples. Still don't gem don't enchant. Keep testing on dummies.


*Note: at this point in the game it's been about 2-3 weeks since xpac release (well at least I’m not planning on getting to 100 in the first week). Blizzard may have done a few hotfixes, first wave of nerfs or buffs maybe already done.


5. Day 4 as 100 a bunch of talented players may have theorycrafted or posted good "how to" materials online (youtube, icyvein, noxxic etc). start looking at their rotations and gear / gems and enchant suggestions while you wait on queues. Only listen to their suggestions, don't take it as religion, there will be no cookie cutter specs at that point in the game, watch and learn then YOU customize your character to your own spec and play style.


6. Remember that PVE is PVE and PVP is PVP. PVP style there's a lot of running and moving around, you maybe get instant satisfaction from killing a player and love it or just get constantly ganked and hate the game forever, in PCP you die and in 25 seconds you comeback and try again. In PVE is a group effort and you need to do your job: inflict damage, be aware, don't stand on stupid, and don't die, if you die in PVE everyone dies and it’s re-try all over again 5 mins after and hopefully no one leaves or goes afk....you know the dance.


*Note: DPS/Healing meters kind of ruins the game experience. Seems that we all take our dungeon and raid roles as a player vs player competition to see who gets the higher numbers, when the real experience is to explore, venture, achieve and conquer the next dungeon, raid or capture the flag. Once dps numbers go down people try to do stupid things (AOE, CD's, pop-hero etc), when dps numbers are high then people lose focus and get themselves dead for standing too long to finish a cast or get distracted watching the meters etc.


7. When you feel that your gear its been upgraded to a decent level and you are ready to raid start boosting your output with gems and enchants as recommended by the specific spec needs. Once your gear is all gemmed and enchanted test your gear and rotation again as in section ***"When testing a spec" 5 to 10 times and write down your damage numbers. Switch specs and do the same test for the second spec keep the same gear don't re-gem dont re-enchant as it can be very expensive. If you want to try a 3rd spec same gear configuration do it. Take a break and compare damage numbers. It is up to you if you want to re-gem and re-enchant your gear to the secondary spec specifics and go at it again testing both main and 2nd spec with same gear...you'll be surprised which dirction dps vs damage numbers go when mixing and matching gear configs and specs.


8. See what gear, gems, chants and damage numbers other mages have and do in LFR's and Flex and ask questions. Don't just watch videos and read posts but ask questions from things YOU see yourself.


9. At this point if someone tells you that you have the wrong spec or gear because the top mage on the top guild or whatever, you have done your own testing and research for your gear level and play style and you're 99% sure what you have is the best for you. Then a few weeks after xpac and more content is released you can go and read and watch and keep playing, upgrading and maybe eventually changing to something else that you personally have tried and tested yourself.


Although this all sounds like common sense, I thought I would share some of this to all of us who may have lost some of the sense and guide you into your own personal direction of how to make playing your mage spec enjoyable for you.

I really enjoyed playing frost in MOP, I really enjoyed playing fire PVP in Cata, it was ok to play arcane for a while but meh. Now I can’t wait and see what WOD will bring for spec for most damage output and the whole testing will be helluva lotta fun.

I used to spend thousands of gold re-gemming, re-enchanting, reforging gear sets for hours and hours to get the top output now I have learned to start with the basic gear and do a basic reality damage check before boosting my damage with gems and such.


I thank you for your time, enjoy and see on the other side.

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A very interesting read, I have found myself getting lazy at times and checking to see "what's the best spec right now" and most of the time there isn't a whole lot in it and basically boils down to what you enjoy, which in my case 9 times out of 10 would be fire, closely followed by frost and never ever ever ever arcane tongue.png


But thanks for your post, it did open my eyes a bit, time to get to work wink.png

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I really enjoyed playing fire as PVP and some PVE loved the fire spell graphics, I really enjoyed playing frost its procs aoe etc, I was ok playing arcane once in awhile, what I really dislike abou the next xpac is how fire seems like it's gonna be nerfed for mobility (scortch) that was the only mage spec that allowed us to be a mobile range like locks, priest, shmans, and hunters. Seems that mages are now meant to stand still and dps.


I've "wasted" hours and hours of time reading and watching posts of what they think is or will be the best spec, and for every xpac and patch every video and forum post is all about their own personal play style, rotation, macros and CD sequence. Here I am just copying someone elses personal preference like an idiot and I'm not testing my own spec to my own play style.


There is some very good theroycraft material and how to videos out there mostly good for new players, for us seasoned players it should be obvious how we want to play and what spec is going to be the better one and second best one to swap.

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There's some interesting perspectives here, and I appreciate the intent of trying to remind players to enjoy themselves while playing a game, but there's advice here I can not agree with.


1. Gems & enchants matter. There are cheap versions of each that are very affordable.  Have plenty of them and automatically slap them on any new piece of gear you get. This will not cost you much gold. If you think you can learn or evaluate say fire spec mage while having no crit, all you will learn is bogus.


2. Unfortunately, you can not "play your own way" and expect acceptable results. Blizzard has designed each spec's abilities so that they interact with each other, and with various procs, in such a way that some sequences are vastly more effective than others. Its true there are minor variations within the big picture that don't matter very much one way or the other (i.e., certain talent or glyph choices; or some cases where A before B is no different than B before A), but you need to know which is which. If "your way" is spamming Pyroblast hardcasts, then "your way" is going to be terrible.


3. Unless you enjoy theorycrafting yourself, you are much better off relying on informed analysis that has been debated, questioned, and ultimately confirmed by large numbers of players rather than trying to make your own judgments based on extremely limited data points of fighting a target dummy while not even raid buffed. You are not likely to learn anything worthwhile this way and if you did come to a result that said the "experts" were wrong, even then its still much more likely that it was your lack of buffs or not having upgraded gear enough yet that resulted in the difference.  Nothing about "personal playstyle" can change the fundamental math behind how Blizzard constructed a rotation, and the server applies the math the same to all players. The whole thrust of the advice that an individual random player is better qualified to figure out these mechanics on their own than people who have spent hundreds or thousands of hours writing advanced simulations or parsing thousands of log files is just silly. 


4. I do agree that choosing a spec based on a minor difference on a simulationcraft dps ranking that was valid only against a boss that required no movement and no mechanics, is foolish. If Blizzard says a spec is meant to be acceptable for dps, it really ought to be for most people in most situations, and even when its currently broken there's hope Blizzard will fix it in an upcoming patch. Given that, picking a spec based on what you find most fun sounds reasonable or at the very least entertaining. That said, if you are not your own raid leader, or are not comfortable forming your own pug groups, the "truth" and your own opinion may ultimately matter a lot less than the opinion of the person who is going to invite you into a raid, or not.

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Thank you for your reply


"Gems & enchants matter" of course they do, yet when testing a spec basic abilities, CD's and play style gems and enchants are optional during lvling up and testing state. Currently gems and enchants are affordable specially if you are part of a medium to large guild and the guild bank has an overage of mats to grab from. At the start of any xpac gems, enchants, herbs leg armor etc are overpriced, some gems type are harder to come by and again in the beggining is hard to find a JC or chanter or BS etc who has those cuts even learned. Again in th beggining this can be an expensive task while trying and testing a non-tier gear spec combo.

In my server AH economy is brutal. I've spent up to 7k gold every couple of weeks buying multiple cuts and top enchants in addition to reforging to make a fair educated dps test for all 3 specs because ppl kept telling me that arcane is the way to go, then 2 weeks later fire is the way to go.


it's actually "playing your own style" all mage spec have had the same basic rotation for single target game play up to now (pre-WOD):

Fire: pyro, bomb, spam FB, wait for procs, inferno blast, use CD's, dump procs.

Arcane: bomb, spam AB, get 4 stacks, wait for procs and mana regen, dump stacks either via barrage if no procs or CD's and dump AM.

Frost: bomb, spam FB, wait for procs, CD's, FO, FFB, dump procs, FFB dump procs, FFB, procs etc.

all 3 specs require us to spam and wait for procs. pretty much if we dumb it down to the basic core that's what it is.

Difference is one spec abilitities keep on ticking DOTs, another spec have burst, another one has steady sustainable dps.

Again playing your own style encourages players to choose the spec based as an acceptable damage source while enjoying and being comfortable playing that spec.


The intent of my post was to allow mages the freedom and empower them to learn a spec in their own style of game play. youtube and elitist forums have created cookie cutter zombies of us who just copy and paste builds into their toons and faceroll our way through content.


Sadly bots and farmers have created monsters out of GMs and raid leads that must gear check and dissect your spec, gems, chants, glyphs, they way you xmorg your gear etc and have forced us all into being the fat kid waiting to be picked for dodge-ball.


Spec vs skill, I've copied exactly buff by buff, gem by gem, ilvl, enchant, rotations, glyphs etc and have never been able to replicate or duplicate the output of any of the how to videos out there. But as soon as I would tweak my current spec my damage numbers would be more competitive for my guild raid runs (top 2 dps). The other mage in my guild religiously followed the trend of being fire specd, his gear was pretty awesome and he would constantly give me unrequested advice about how high his crit % was and how much fun it was to play fire, and how the top mages in the world are fire etc, once the fight started my damage as frost mage would be so much higher than his and it was sustainable throughout the fight he would struggle at next to last in total damage for the fight. Was it that frost spec is better than fire? not according to the simulcraft, was it that he was just lousy as playing fire? probably. Yet as soon as he would go frost his numbers were just as competitive as mine.


Again I'm not flaming a spec, if mine, your and many others play style is fire go fire, or arcane or frost.

If we all truly test and accept that one spec is "better" than the other two but for some reason can't make it work with our own play style then go with what gives you competitive and acceptable results.


GM's and raid leads would just have to give their guildies the benefit of the doubt and let mages and all other classes the chance to prove themselves in battle. The there's days in which we can be completely off our top game, RNG gods will not be on our side and perform terrible even with top gear and best spec.

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I have a couple of comments on this post.

It isn't elitist forums and bots/farmers that make people dissect your gear. It's the innate human drive to always want to improve. Wanting to improve but at the same time saying... I can't afford 1k gold for Jade Spirit oh well doesn't matter.... well that's something that doesn't happen. One always wants to have everything set up optimally and THEN begin adjusting their playstyle, because the one is simply a case of getting what's best for you and the other needs constant practice and rework. The reason raid leaders don't give their guildies the benefit of the doubt, is because if you didn't even bother to be optimally gemmed/enchanted for your character how could they expect you to be the one they want in your team?


Concerning learning a spec in your own style or gameplay:
Sadly there are not often specs that perform best in different ways. Whatever your style of play is, hard casting pyroblast on Fire is always going to be a dps loss, regardless on if it is a playstyle you developed. Concerning the cookie cutter builds, that happens because blizzard does not always consider all talents should be for all situations. Taking WoD as an example, for Burst AoE Supernova is infinitelly more powerful than Nether Tempest or Unstable Magic. It doesn't matter how you feel about it, it just is so. None forces you to pick Supernova of course, if you enjoy Nether Tempest more go ahead and pick it. But by doing so you ARE holding back your group, and why would anyone take someone that is not at least pretending to give 100%?


The fact that youtube videos and forums exist, and the fact that people read them is a very postive thing. It shows that people really strive to learn and improve, and they try to gather up information. It also shows that there are people interested enough to put in hours of research and logical evaluation and devote their time to help people who are not in a state of mind (or generally not interested) to do so, to learn their class. People should not mindlessly copy things from the internet, and participating in discussions is always great. An example is Noxxic, which simply tells you a rotation and sais: assume this is best shut up. Icy Veins on the other hand provides a guide, and then forums where you can ask any question you like, with lovely moderators who will answer you and help you understand. 


Considering the simulation craft argument on your latest post, I agree 100%. You can not compare yourself to the top players. Ian hatzikostas said something quite harsh, but very correct nevertheless. People are very poor in judging their own skill. They don't understand how much better the guys with the rank 1's are, they can't even imagine how much better they are. My point is, Frost this expansion was far easier to the casual player than Fire, and Fire required so much more gear. And your guildmate saw Bluntss or Hotpots playing Fire, thought yay that's Top spec, went for it and failed miserably. That was expected and of course pardoned. My point is, the top players are in such a different level than you (without meaning this in any offensive way) both in skill and in gear, that their dps is always going to crush yours. Even if they gave you their account details, if you couldn't setup combustion for Fire, they would trump you on your own 550 character (example).


You also said that you should play around with specs while leveling. Whilst on the one hand you can do that, there is the benefit of learning the core mechanics of your class whilst leveling. 


I want to close with something you seem to have gotten wrong. When I am suggesting you should pick Supernova for bursting adds it's not because that's my personal prefference. I very often play with talents/rotations/specs that are most definatelly NOT my personal prefference, but because it will provide more output. There is no escaping the truth that not everything is tuned perfectly, or it can be even intended that certain talents are far more powerful than others in certain situations. It's to understand the nature of this truth that me, Oltier (cough cough), Dutchmagoz, Nathyiel, Frosted, Komma and all the other mage Theorycrafters are working for. We strive to understand the game, to improve our playstyle, and then share our experiences and our FACTS to the public; not because we care if they copy our suggestions or not. It's quite possible that I will never meet even 1% of the people that read any of my guides. We do it merely to inform the readers of our content. 


I think what you might be angry about, is that some sites provide one *Universal* build, that is best in all situations, something that is really never the case. What I think is that you require of any guides you read/watch that they explain every single talent choice and the playstyle chagnes that brings, rather thant telling you pick UM at all times (without mentioning the fact that SN is better at AoE burst). On that I'm with you 100% and I think I managed that quite well on my level 100 Arcane Mage guide, but the rest of your post simply doesn't fit the truth of the game. If you are someone who is striving to improve and become better and better, you ought to want to learn the game inside out. None is judging you if you do not want to do that, but when a raid leader/guild master wants to set up a group, you can't fault him for picking the people that do try and improve with what's objectively best.


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Good luck getting people to hit level 100 and spend the next day solely at the training dummy's.


You forgot one crucial point. World of Warcraft is not just about your class. It is about the World.... of Warcraft. People will want to spend day 1 seeing new content, building up their garrison and starting to gear up and level professions.


I understand the concept and the logic behind your concept. But getting into a whole new xpac is like Christmas morning for me. I couldn't care less about being optimal (Not at first anyway). As soon as I hit 100, I will spend the next week running 5 mans, CM's and farming those achievement for tier 3 Garrison buildings. There is plenty of time to perfect your rotations (That is if you haven't already in beta like I have.


Getting to 100 then spending time on training dummy's is the equivalent of waking up on Christmas morning then doing you homework. 


Also I don't like the fact that you advise people to make their own rotation that they are comfortable with. It takes 10 minutes to look up a basic guide that tells you exactly how to do your rotation. The player could have an IQ of 180, never stand in fire and be amazing at this game... But if they use a sub optimal rotation that they are comfortable with then they are getting insta-kicked from most hardcore guilds.


Also don't pick a main spec. You should be switching specs between each fight to suit that particular boss. Don;t toally disregard a spec because you may end up having to play that spec somewhere down the line. (Spine of Deathwing much?)


However I would like to add a piece of advice. DON'T Gem or Enchant your gear until 5 minutes before your first raid starts. In the first week or so you are replacing gear every 5 minutes and if you enchant every piece you are going to lose gold faster than a bucket with a hole in the bottom. Wait until you have pre-raid BiS before enchanting or if you don't manage that before raid week then enchant and gem the stuff you've got. (Unless you are doing CM's then Gem and Enchant everything you get)

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Thank you for your replies!


This is not a guide on which spec to choose, not suggesting which bombs to use or what rotations are good or bad. This is not a guide on how to join a hardcore guild either.


So far pretty much everything you guys replied with was covered in the original post:

- Give all specs a try

- Learn to play each spec, to make your own educated decision based on your own testing

- Incorporate the spec / specs you choose with your play style

- Run dungeons (once you're comfortable with the new spec/specs)

- Be aware of how expensive it can get testing specs fully chanted and gemmed, be prepared when joining a run

- It's ok to copy and paste a cookie cutter specs and basic rotations...try and test them yourself first and get used to them, yet spam/spam/procs/cd/dump procs is not that hard to figure out for each spec (yes I know I'm oversimplifying it). Each spec will have it's own taste and their own perks and boosts.

- It's not about "personal preferences" its about "personally tested"


It takes discipline and patience. Some of the statements I've made such "on the first day do nothing but...dummies...." or "don't gem, don't enchant" there are all a figure of speech were I'm trying to encourage to focus on the task at hand after lvl 100. It takes discipline and patience again to take a couple of hours to get the right gems and enchants while performing tests on dummies. Thus, make sure we all know which spec or specs we're going to commit and use for the foreseeable future use a wise rotation that makes sense and performs well. Then invest the time and gold to start pimping your gear.


Let's not start to do what we hate the most "people telling us how to play and gear our class", it's about trying things yourself, reading or watching suggestions about it then testing it again yourself but it all starts with testing it on your own...the whole day? probably not, but take some time to do it.


Most if not all materials out there, forums, videos, simulators etc were made by players who invested their time by doing (nothing else) but doing what I suggested in this read, trial and error. Test, test, test, get rid of the bad add something new and test test test over and over again. I get the sense from people that we want others to just copy and paste, blindly accept it and just shut up about it and if we can't  make it work we're just baddies.


I agree don't wait until the first pull to start gemming and enchanting keep a small stash of green gems and maybe some cheap enchants handy until more cuts and high end enchants are available and once you start getting good purples go at it.


I'm not very crazy about the whole new garrison thing, blizz screwed us with the huge mountain of dailies/rep farming in MOP and they admitted to over doing it, now the garrisons will become another farming frenzy / AH over price nightmare and just like every xpac I'm gonna get suckered into it.


@ Berlinia, I'm not sure sure were you got the impression that I was angry. I am far from it. I'm excited to share some things and I'm excited to see what being a lvl 100 mage would be and rest of the content.

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I'm not sure this is much of a guide. It reads more like a reminder for yourself. People act on their own desire and own pace on how to explore and discover. Writing what to do and when in this matter will probably not work since I assume most of the readers have some experience already. Lots of words kicking open doors, but I appreciate the effort and enthusiasm.

Edited by Destiny1979
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Mages are OP, check this out!


I deleted your post, because it's completely off-topic. You can open your own topic and ask for opinions, etc, but this post looke like a self-advertisement and as I've stated above, it's off-topic.

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New to Icy Veins but have been on the site reading for many years now.  I really liked the intention of this post because for most people who aren't min maxers who really just play the game for something to do and get a fun gaming experience I would agree with alot of this post.  One major thing that sticks out to me is your comment about "dps"....dps is, at its core, exactly what the acronym stands for....Damage Per Second....and all that means "literally" is how much damage in a certain period of time you do in total divided by the number of second in that time period.  I know the term gets thrown around to describe various things like how hard a spell hit once ect. but saying that dps and total dmg are two different things is actually completely incorrect.  If you use one spell at the beginning of a boss fight and stop doing dmg as long as combat persists your "dps" will go down.  Just so people dont get confused by statement about it.


Now I know what your point is because if combat stops your damage meter stops running and because of that dps can be inaccurate in a total dmg sense of a dungeon but make no mistake, dps is the measure of your total dmg divided by the total amount of seconds in combat so if somebody has higher dps but lower total dmg that just means they were "in combat" less or afk ect.

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