How To Improve As Arcane Mage — Shadowlands 9.0.2
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Arcane Mage in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.
Having Low Downtime
As an Arcane Mage, due to having filler spells, there is always something you could be casting. Which means, any time you are not casting something, you lose lots of damage. This is most often due to movement, because the only obvious thing Arcane Mages can cast while moving is (ignoring talents) Arcane Barrage. However, you often do not want to use Arcane Barrage, because dropping your Arcane Charges is very often a mistake. Luckily, Arcane Mages have multiple ways to deal with movement.
The first one is not Arcane Mage specific, but it goes for all casters. Plan your movement. If you know that in 10 seconds you need to be at a specific position, you should use the Global Cooldown of any instants that you use in your normal rotation to slowly move to that position. If you would normally cast Arcane Barrage anyway, during the Global Cooldown, you can move a little bit towards where you want to go. The same goes for other instant cast spells that apply the Global Cooldown, like Arcane Orb, Nether Tempest, etc. On fights with a lot of movement, it is also advisable to hold onto Presence of Mind for movement, instead of using it as part of your normal rotation.
The second one is quite obvious, but often not optimized properly, and its Shimmer and Alter Time usage. Shimmer will not interrupt your cast, and should thus always be used over interrupting your cast and manually moving, when possible. If a patch of fire spawns under your feet, you can simply Shimmer out of it, instead of moving out of it. Alter time can be used right before big damage hits and then again right after taking the damage, to avoid having to move to dodge the mechanic.
Not Going into the Burn Phase at the Wrong Time
The Burn Phase is a big portion of your damage as an Arcane Mage. Which means, if you activate Touch of the Magi and Arcane Power, and promptly have to move a lot, especially out of your Rune of Power, you will lose enormous amounts of damage. Make sure that you watch Boss Mod timers, to ensure as little mechanics as possible overlapping with your Burn Phase.
Not Ending the Fight on High Mana
As described all throughout the guide, Mana equals damage for an Arcane Mage. Thus if you end the fight with Mana remaining, you lost damage. When you see the boss being on low Health, you should stop using Arcane Barrage altogether, and just burn through all your Mana. If somehow the boss seems to live a bit longer than you anticipated, you can start using Arcane Barrage again, but in practice, most people end the fight on high Mana, and thus lose damage. Do not be afraid to use up all your Mana when the boss is on low Health!
Knowing How To Sim Yourself
It is impossible to correctly play and optimize an Arcane Mage without using Raidbots to sim your own character, there are simply too many variables involved to intuitively figure out what gear to wear and so on without simming it first. Generally speaking, a simulation should be the first and final say in the gear you end up wearing for any given situation.
Simming is now very easy with no need to understand SimulationCraft syntax or installation yourself. All you will need is the in-game SimulationCraft AddOn, and the Raidbots website. Below you can find a video on how to sim your own character using the website.
Analyzing Your Mistakes as an Arcane Mage
When it comes to identifying and improving your mistakes, we recommend the website WoWAnalyzer — it will analyze your logs and give you a report detailing how you did on the problems above and more.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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