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Mage PvE Guide (Arcane & Fire raiding) + Best in Slot lists T07-T10

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Vaxsysl    18

World of Warcraft - Wrath of the Lich King
Mage PvE Class Guide

Contact: vaxsysl at gmail dottity com


Table of content
*Use [keywords] to quickly navigate to wanted section.

Arcane Talent Spec
1.    Talent spec - detailed explanation  [Arc1]
2.    Arcane dps rotation and CD usage  [Arc2]
3.    Gearing up, gems, enchants  [Arc3]

Fire Talent Spec
1.    Talent spec - detailed explanation  [Fire1][FFB1]
2.    Fire dps rotation and CD usage  [Fire2]
3.    Gearing up, gems, enchants  [Fire3]

Mage and You
1.    Race and professions  [Mage1]
2.    Mage in Raid  [Mage2]
3.    Macros  [Mage3]
4.    Addons & Interface  [Mage4]
5.    BiS item lists  [Mage5]

BiS gearlists for both specs
*Check [T7a], [T7], [T8], [T9], [T10a], [T10], [APUC].
•    Pre-Naxx gearing (for progressive realms) 
•    Tier 7 (Naxxramas, Eye of Eternity, Obsidian Sanctum)
•    Tier 8 (Ulduar) 
•    Tier 9 (Trial of the Crusader, Onyxia’s Lair)
•    Pre- ICC gearing (for standard 3.3.5a realms)
•    Tier 10 (Icecrown Citadel, Ruby Sanctum)
•    Project Undergeared Challenge (Arcane in Blues)

 

Information 

Greetings, fellow practitioner of Arcane arts! Before we begin, I’d just say it out loud that it’s best when one discovers things on their own. It etches in our memories differently and we know things by heart rather than from memory. It would be best for one to build specs and do all other things step by step on their own, and have someone ask questions until one comes with the final answer. 

This guide is version 3.21, the 3.0 core finished on February 27th 2015 with many, many edits and lengthily postpones since I started playing mage in early 2012. This guide holds all the information necessary for one to come to know how Mage works in WotLK expansion! Have fun raiding and enjoy the game! If you have any questions or remarks, send me an e-mail and I’ll reply when I can. Last major edit happened in July 2017 and last tidbit explanation polishing happened in August 2019. Added Project Undergeared in September information after few queries.

I will help you with any questions regarding either of the two mage specs. If you have something to add about any part of the guide – please contact me so we may discuss it and thank you if you do so, for it are conversations with all of you that led to this quality of content! Thank all of you who have contacted me over the years with many questions, opinions, requests and remarks, especially you Fastor for your critical and valued opinion.

Because it are mostly inexperienced players looking for guides to check their knowledge, I filled this guide with many explanations. To ease up your reading, I have written *very* important things in bold, certain details will be underlined, and it may be in italic – and then the details are written in plain text. Type the [keyword] in the search box to read what you need. The point is, this is not a pocket guide. If you're looking for one, well, either be smart about it or look elsewhere.

So! Let's have a chat about Mage dps, shall we? What spec(s) to get, explanation why the spec looks like it does, what gear to hunt, how to gem it, enchant it, and how to play mage in the raid environment.


Basic Mage Class Information

Mage is a pure dps class and is there to dish out the numbers. You bring Arcane Intellect buff to everyone, free food/drink via Ritual of Refreshment, portals to save HS after the raid as well as opening one during a break for players to quickly do something before it’s over. Mage can interrupt casts with Counterspell (although it has a long cooldown of 24 seconds it’s not really ideal but more like an emergency interrupter). You can help dealing with adds by applying slows (Cone of Cold, Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt) and rooting them in place (Frost Nova). You can cast Polymorph to CC either one mob or one raider that's being mind controlled – Polymorph regenerates HP, that way the raiders can survive! You can assist the raid with Remove Curse, so when healers have their hands full go ahead and assist. On occasion you can Spell Steal fun buffs in encounters...or troll your fellow mind-controlled raiders in fun farm raids and taking away all of their buffs (you lose them later after stolen buff 2min duration limit wears out).

When it comes to gameplay, Mage is one of the most carefree casters in the game. You can move around instantly with Blink, which greatly reduces your casting downtime. Fire Ward and Frost Ward can be used to soak some damage (two talents can make this talent regen you mana and increase your spell power). Ice Block can be used in many ways, be it to guard against over-agrro, removing that one deadly encounter debuff, and it can also be used to guard against an incoming damage source that's aimed at you or you being in its way, saving you from death – once. Mirror Image has similar use; while it's a dps cooldown per default (and a potent one with T10 (4) set bonus!) it also "pauses" your threat for as long the images are alive. Once they die or the duration expires, all the threat you did meanwhile will be added back, so keep an eye out on those threat meters. Invisibility does a similar thing – for as long as you are invisible, your threat is "paused" until you are revealed again. This is your third guard against over-agrro.

However, Mage as a class is the most fragile of all on its own – cooldowns aside, the point is that our health pool is low and our armor is the lowest. You can get nuked easily and a single attack from any mob in raids has a potential to one-shot us. That's why we have powerful cooldowns and learning how to use them best is one of the more important homeworks to do. Above mentioned "carefree" comes after you've mastered it. 

So what’s better, Arcane or Fire? It depends on your raid group setup and your gear – and raid encounter. Both Arcane and Fire have their juice, so play what you find fun the most.


Arcane is not gear reliant, so it will perform well even with weak gears and limited raid buffs (you can't have ideal setup in 10man). It's expected to outdps Fire in stationary fights (single target). That being said, Arcane gives +3% damage buff to the raid, shared only with Retribution Paladins. While it has a simple two button rotation, Arcane is one of the burstiest dps specs in the game, so if there is an add that needs to be dpsed down asap, Arcane Mage is the player that’s to be supported with raid CDs – provided the mage doesn’t need to move a lot AND is top caster dps for that encounter/situation. Because of the incredible scaling with haste, this is easily achieved. The more the raid needs to move, the more dps is lost.

Fire is quite gear reliant – its fire you see, fire needs to be fed – and it performs good only with “high” gears (the higher your crit is, the better), and all the raid buffs as well. It has three-four abilities to dps. It has no rotation, but priority casts. Fire has a really steady dps and since two abilities out of three are instants, Fire can “cast and move” quite often, so it’s not as hindered on movement heavy encounters, making it perform better than Arcane in such situations. The longer the fight lasts, the more damage Fire will do with its 12% more damage on enemies at or below 35% HP. 

And as for Frost… it's a leveling / PvP spec, it's way behind both Arcane and Fire in dps as all talents focus on some control rather than damage increase - but if the situation is so dire that raid has enough dps but no replenishment or needs massive add slowing, one could go Frost but it's sacrificing a lot of dps and its simply not worth it for serious raiding.

All information written is based on private WoW experience. By “private wow” I mean to say that some information might not be entirely „as true as it should be“– they simply are like that on the servers that I am or was playing on. In other words, private server without bugs is something that does not exist. It had a chance, but I won’t bore you with donation greed that killed TrinityCore’s progress to make a stable and bug-free server free for all. 

Let's begin. First come spec specific Arcane & Fire details, then general mage information, followed by BiS lists at the end. Happy reading!
 


Arcane Mage Talent Spec Details
[Arc1]

Spoiler

As I have said in the introduction, Arcane is less gear dependent than fire, so it’s not as hindered at any point in the game and is expected to perform better with limited buffs. The specific trait about Arcane is that it wants to (ideally) end the fight with zero mana available. Arcane has Evocation on 2min cooldown – use your mana gems, use your Evocation - do not ask for Innervate in raids unless no healer requires it. Arcane is also THE burstiest caster dps in the game (with demonology/hybrid warlocks, them during the execution phase).
*NOTE: AB at all times stand for Arcane Blast, not Arcane Barrage!

What do you benefit the raid with as Arcane Mage?
•    3% crit on one raid member via Focus Magic.
•    3% dmg bonus for the whole raid via Arcane Empowerment.
•    Improved Dampen and Amplify Magic via Magic Attunement, if required.
•    Bursty single-target dps.


Arcane PvE Talent Spec for WotLK:
This is a balanced spec. It’s the best spec to use in pugs and non-ideal raid setups. Details will be at the very end. Talents with star* on them indicate that number of talent points invested depends on X reason that I will explain afterwards. Talent build link: <tap me!>


Arcane Subtlety 1/2*
Arcane Focus 3/3
Arcane Stability 4/5*

You never know when things may go awry and tanks cannot make good agrro; having some threat reduction helps. Having 1/2 to start with is enough. You need Arcane Focus for the hit as well as reduced mana costs. Arcane Stability offers 100% protection from pushback effects. Paladins will use Concentration aura if necessary, so 4/5 is enough; however, if you fear that you won’t have Paladins in your pugs, spec it 5/5. If you’re in a guild – check info at the end of the talent tree.

Arcane Fortitude 0/3
Arcane Absorption 0/2*
Arcane Concentration 5/5

Mages in PvE don't need increased armor, we're not the tanks and besides, we're cloth, we die in one hit anyway. Arcane Absorption would be cool to have, but we must focus on our dps first (it's taken only when you want to have increased resistances during progression raiding). Arcane Concentration is your mana savior; and later with Arcane Potency, a dps talent.

Magic Attunement 2/2*
Spell Impact 3/3
Student of the Mind 0/3*
Focus Magic 1/1

Spell Impact increases the damage of Arcane Blast. How Magic Attunement and Student of the Mind affect your dps is explained just after the talent tree. I suggest you pick attunement so you have wider freedom to move in pugs. Focus Magic increases yours and one raider spell crit by 3% (works for any spell crit, from any class with a spell).

Arcane Shielding 0/2
Improved Counterspell 0/2

Arcane Meditation 3/3
Torment the Weak 3/3

Arcane Shielding doesn't help us in PvE, we don't (in general) use any of the abilities. The silence effect from Improved Counterspell is an useful utility, but again, unnecessary. We need Arcane Meditation to prolong the OOM moment for as much as we can. Torment the Weak works on bosses or adds that have their attack speed reduced, therefore it’s pure 12% damage increase.

Improved Blink 0/2
Presence of Mind 1/1
Arcane Mind 5/5

Added 15% Intellect bonus is very nice. You don't need Improved Blink. 

Prismatic Cloak 0/3
Arcane Instability 3/3
Arcane Potency 2/2

Prismatic Cloak is a PvP talent. Arcane Potency requires Clearcasting effect obtained through Arcane Concentration talent.

Arcane Empowerment 3/3
Arcane Power 1/1
Incanter's Absorption 0/3*

Arcane Empowerment increases your spell power bonus and boosts raid dps by 3% damage aura. Incanter’s Absorption is a great talent, but since we're looking at pug raiding I suggested you to take Magic Attunement instead. You should consider taking this talent if you’re in a raiding guild; it’s handy to have on a number of encounters!

Arcane Flows 2/2
Mind Mastery 5/5

If only other specs could have 2min Evocation! Mind Mastery increases your SP by 15% of your Intellect. 

Slow 0/1*
Missile Barrage 5/5*

You don't need Slow in PvE. Yes, it is useful on few occasions, everyone knows that, but any proper stable raiding group does not need it. Missile Barrage is one of your key talents, and having 4/5 (32% chance) is good enough if you want Arcane Barrage 1/1 or Arcane Stability 5/5.

Netherwind Presence 3/3
Spell Power 2/2
Arcane Barrage 0/1*

Passive 6% haste is excellent. Your spell critical strike damage is increased to 175%, up from 150% (50% of 50 is 25; 25%+50%=75%). Now, Arcane Barrage. This ability doesn't help with dps and is thus usually skipped. What it helps you with is to clear AB stacks when your mana can’t handle the lack of missile barrage procs and other normal uses being an instant cast. The talent is not necessary to be had – ideally, no proper raiding spec has it. But if you do want it, take talent point out from Missile Barrage, it can be welcomed for those move-and-dps situations.


In Fire tree, you take: 
Incineration 3/3, as Arcane Blast is your most spammed dps ability, 6% more crit is no joke.


In Frost tree, you take:

Frostbite 0/3
Improved Frostbolt 2/5
Ice Floes 3/3

Ice Floes is the most useful talent of these three. Frostbite should not ever be talented because you don’t want your, e.g. Cone of Cold freezing adds when all you wanted to do is slow them down. Rooted adds won’t follow the tank when he picks them up & won’t run to them when taunted. There is Frost Nova if you will need to freeze adds at any point.

Ice Shards 0/3
Frost Warding 2/2
Precision 3/3
Permafrost 0/3
Icy Veins 1/1

You need precision for hit rating – and additional mana saving. To go further, you need to invest two points somewhere. Best choice is Frost Warding. Simple reason is, Arcane is not there to AoE, as simple as that, and there is no need to empower your AoE potential for trash mobs. There is a lot of frost (and fire) damage going on during almost every encounter in WotLK, we're at Northrend! Why not make your wards to have a chance to regen mana in order to prolong AB spam, or even completely remove the need to use Evocation or call for Innervates? You will always use your wards anyway! And of course, take Icy Veins talent. This 2.4min CD has many uses.


Is this the best Arcane spec?
No. This version is best if you’re in a pug group. If you’re in a raiding guild (or a pug you can trust), you can edit the spec to something more potent. Read further how to edit spec for such groups.


Thorough rundown on some talents:

Arcane Subtlety: To put it short, if you’re on top of your game, you will want 1/2 in this. 2/2 might be overkill, but if you’re opening with raid-supported burst, you might want to have it. Having one point is usually enough, but taking zero points is a bit alarming. Raid groups are not always perfect and tanks cannot make the perfect agrro sometimes, and won’t if you ever go into a pug. Should you open the encounter with your burst, you will definitely pull agrro without threat reduction; and furthermore, what if the group you’re in doesn’t have hunters; and rogues instead of helping with threat trade TotT between? You will pull threat all the time and will have to stop dpsing way too often or die because that pug tank doesn’t have taunt bound or something… Frustration is almost guaranteed. How many points you spend here is up to you. Consider 0/2 only in raiding guilds – and always have consideration available to spend one point in.

Arcane Focus: DPS's most important stat is hit. If you want some other talents and are over the hitcap, if you really wish to, consider removing points from here. Losing this talent while maintaining 17%hit won't hurt your dps. Your spells will cost a tiny bit more, but hey.

Arcane Stability: If you’re pugging, keep it on 4/5 (if not 5/5). If there is some aura of damage or other sources of pushback, paladins will use Concentration Aura and you will have 100% pushback prevention. Take 3/5 if you're in a raiding guild and there is a Holy Paladin with Improved Concentration Aura 1/3+ (you’d be surprised how many holy paladins skip that talent of theirs).
Note: NEVER take 2/5! You will always be subjected to pushback reduction and lose your fifth missile on encounters where pushback is implemented.
*You might see mages with 0/5 points in this. They have it in 2nd spec or are greatly suffering on fights with pushback.

Magic Attunement: Arcane Mage wants to stand in place and cast. Every time you stop casting to move (or blink) is a dps loss. This talent allows you to position yourself better / less frequently and lose as little casting time as possible. Consider removing points from here only if you think that 30y range is absolutely enough for best performance (say, you should definitely remove this talent in guild runs and take up Absorption 3/3 to get njummy SP increases or iffy Student of Mind 3/3 for more 0.5-1.0% crit).

Student of the Mind: Via this talent, in Tiers 7, 8 and 9 you get just around 1% crit total and ~0.50% in T10. The question I ask myself is if it is worth using 3 talent points for 0.50% - 1.00% crit increase over the usefulness of other talents? It’s no doubt that it’s a dps increase, but this is not the only talent which can increase your overall damage output. Lacking either Arcane Subtlety or Magic Attunement can frequently lead to losing dps ‘cause of pulled agrro or by needing to move. Or why not take Incanter’s Absorption for those encounters with magical damage roaming about?
My point is: Arcane is not crit dependent. You decide what’s best for yourself.

Torment the Weak: This talent results in pure 12% dps increase when mobs/bosses are affected by Frost Fever (DK), Thunder Clap (Arms & Prot warrior; Fury won’t do it), Infected Wounds (Feral Bear Druid, if talented) and Judgment of the Just (Protection Paladin; they rarely talent it). There's also Earth Shock (Shaman) but only Enhancement will ever use it.

Prismatic Cloak: This talent can only be useful on servers where boss encounter combat STATE is not properly scripted (we're talking about getting in and out of combat here). Invisibility, if properly scripted, will never drop boss encounter combat. You will be "withhold" on the threat table and come back on it once the Invisibility is either over or broken. But if server lacks proper scripts, 2/3 can be taken to reset pot CD to increase your dps. You'd pre-pot before the pull like a normal raider. Then, before you'd use your first combat pot, you'd cast Invisibility first. 2/3 makes you go invisible right as GCD ends (you're no longer in combat), and you exit invisibility by using the potion, and have another ready in a minute! To repeat: it doesn't work on well scripted servers.

Incanter’s Absorption: Your Ward spells scale with spell power and the more they can absorb, the more spellpower you gain. If your ward can absorb 6k damage, you will get 900 more spellpower for 10 seconds. This talent can increase your damage output on fights where you get hit by fire and frost spell schools; be it direct damage (e.g. Frostbolt Volley by Kel’Thuzad, Sif and Lady Deathwhisper) or aura (Sapphiron and Sindragosa).

Slow: Bosses are immune to it. Most adds are not. In general, you don’t need this talent in PvE. Then again, you might need it during the progression with your group.

Arcane Barrage: The point of taking this talent is to clear your AB stacks when you're in mana troubles and you’re unlucky with procs to minimize mana lost. And additionally, now you can do some damage while moving. It sure is useful as you’re slowly advancing to a new spot or avoiding AoE while your Blink is on cooldown. Never use it in the middle of your rotation. It’s better for you to spam AB until AM procs, shoot the missiles and repeat.


Frost Warding: With this talent your wards have 30% chance to negate warded spell damage and restore you mana equal to the damage the spell would’ve caused. Now how exactly is this effective in practice? Number one, it’s giving you more protection. When the talent procs, the damage is negated – any amount of damage – and your Ward remains intact, ready for next incoming spell. Secondly, the negated damage is turned into mana, prolonging your oom moments and thus is increasing your dps on fights where you get damaged by frost/fire spell schools.

Here is my favorite, if exaggerated example, taken from doing Glory of the Ulduar Raider 25:
Firesong gains 185,907 Mana from Firesong's Frost Warding.
Razorscale's Flame Breath was absorbed by Firesong.(185,907 Absorbed)

That is the power of Frost Warding. In addition to negating damage taken, it ensures that your mana will be almost constantly up on every encounter where you are getting damaged by Frost or Fire spell schools (read: AB spam ahoy!). That is why Ice Shards talent is not even close to being worth.


Frost Warding + Incanter’s Absorption: When your Frost Ward and Fire Ward (and Mana Shield and Ice Barrier) absorb damage, your spell power is increased by 15% of the amount absorbed for 10sec. If your Ward absorbs, say, 5000 damage, you would gain 750 SP for ten seconds (if all damage got absorbed at once), effectively giving you a 30sec CD on trinket-quality worth of spellpower – on encounters where its usage is possible. This talent works with Frost Warding talent, as it counts as an absorb off the Ward – while your Ward remains intact, the damage is still absorbed via its mechanic and it will therefore double if not triple / quadruple the spellpower gain depending on your 30% luck.

If you manage to time your Ward to absorb just as the cooldown (and hence, the duration) is expiring and cast new Ward right before next damage source is about to happen (e.g. Frost damage aura on Sapphiron and Sindragosa, pre-pull), you will gain more than the double spellpower boost. The first Ward’s absorb already increased your spellpower and has therefore increased the absorption power of the “new” ward, which in turn provided you with more spellpower. That’s how it works.

This does not mean that you will be a derp mage that stops casting to go stand in the fire! While the spellpower bonus is nice, you’re losing precious dps time by moving and not casting. To make this thing work on non-aura based damages like Frostbolt Volley-ies or some AoE fire damage, you can pass by the fire when you have to re-position or briefly position yourself just at the edge of it. Unless you’re building up the damage boost to burst something down, never stop your precious quality damage-per-second time to make use of this mechanic. That’s it on this subject.
NOTE: At first I was thinking that it was not supposed to work given how ridiculous powerful it can be in few situations both in PvE and PvP, but WoW patch notes & player comments on official forums confirmed that it is supposed to work together in 3.3.5a. 


To repeat myself, this is a balanced spec, designed for pug raiding; when you don’t know what you have or don’t have, and it could be that the tank will be bad. If you think that you don't need a specific talent, think good of why and watch what you remove. The main essence of it is keeping Arcane Subtlety 1/2 and Arcane Stability on minimum 4/5 to ensure fun dps time without annoyance.

 

Additional Arcane Talent Build variations:
To free up necessary talent points, remove point(s) from: Arcane Barrage; Arcane Subtlety, Arcane Focus, Arcane Stability (3/5 lowest!), Magic Attunement or Student of the Mind. Remember that you aim to have highest dps, not survival or utility; such steps are for adapting to current progression difficulties are spec is reversed back to high dps after difficulty is mastered.

  • Arcane Stability 5/5 & Arcane Subtlety 2/2. Drop Magic Attunement for those two points. Now you don't need to worry about having Concentration Aura and there's no way in hell you're going to pull agrro on tanked targets.
  • Magic Absorption 2/2 for increased resistances, its 80 resistance in bonus to however much you already have via buffs or gear. Goal is to boost your survival in encounters with high & spiky magical damage (e.g. Freya & Thorim HMs). If Frost school is a problem, consider equipping some Frost Resistance gears instead.
  • Incanter’s Absorption 3/3. Receiving 15% of absorbed damage via wards as spell power (one should forever avoid using Mana Shield to save oneself in raid, but Iceblock instead) has a potential to increase your dps on fights where ward usage for specific school is possible. List is below:
    T7 (Naxx, OS, EoE): Four Horsemen, Sapphiron, Kel’Thuzad and Sartharion
    T8 (Ulduar): Ignis, Razorscale, Algalon, Hodir, Thorim (HM only), Freya, Mimiron
    T9 (ToCr, Onyxia’s Lair): Beasts of Northrend, Jarraxus, Twin Val’kyr, Anoob’arak, Onyxia
    T10 (ICC): Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Bloodprince Council, Sindragosa, Lich King


So what does the author suggest?
If you’re pug raiding, stick with the talent spec I presented you. Alternatively either drop Magic Attunement for full Arcane Subtlety and Arcane Stability (100% pushback reduction and 40% threat reduction) or pick one point from Missile Barrage into Arcane Stability so you're 100% safe from interruption – or talent Arcane Barrage if you're feeling the ability.

If you’re in a raiding guild with unstable rosters and the guild is not hardcore, keep to the talent spec yet again – or alternately respec before every raid, mage trainer is located in Dalaran anyway. If you’re raiding with stable roster of players with competent leadership, adapt the spec to the group. Remember, first thing to look at is if the Holy Paladin in the group took Improved Concentration Aura 1/3+, that frees you one talent point. Then weight if Magic Attunement is useful to you or not. From there on, adapt to your need. Your choices have been explained.

If I were in a serious raiding guild with perfect raiding setup, I would use this spec <tap me!>. It focuses on taking Incanter's Absorption by moving a point from Arcane Stability (Holy Paladin is protecting my casts!) and dropping Magic Attunement (I am getting Tricked anyway; plus guild coordination allows "simple" positioning) and keeping Arcane Barrage (while it IS worthless to have it at this point as its not increasing my dps, that instant is just nifty sometimes!).

 

Arcane Major Glyphs:

  1. Glyph of Arcane Blast
    “Increases the damage from your Arcane Blast buff by 3%.”
  2. Glyph of Arcane Missiles
    “Increases the critical strike damage bonus of Arcane Missiles by 25%.”
  3. Glyph of Molten Armor
    “Your Molten Armor grants an additional 20% of your spirit as critical strike rating.”

Arcane Minor Glyphs:

  • Glyph of Arcane Intellect
    “Reduces the mana cost of your Arcane Intellect and Arcane Brilliance spells by 50%.”
  • Glyph of Slow Fall
    “Your Slow Fall spell no longer requires a reagent”
  • <empty>
    There is no third effective minor. If you’re scared that the enemies you’re turning into sheep might freeze to death, get a glyph to turn them into penguins instead. Or get Frost Ward minor to have 5% chance to reflect frost spells back at adds and have a laugh once a year.


Those are the best glyphs you can get. Minor intellect glyph is kind of important to have if healer dies and gets revived and wants int buff for more % of total mana returns (replenishment) and extra AP for hunters and enhancement shamans. Casting few AI now and then won't hinder your mana much. Note, if you will buff them, do it when you need to move as it’s not priority for them to have the buff. Paladin’s blessings, priest’s Fortitude and druid’s Gift of the Wild buffs are way more important.

 

Arcane DPS rotation in WotLK 
[Arc2] 

Spoiler

Arcane Blast until 4 stacks > Arcane Missiles
(Arcane default rotation; slightly altered with T10(2) set bonus)
Arcane Blast until Missile Barrage proc > Arcane Missiles
(mana conserving rotation)
Arcane Blast spam with CDs up until they expire or you run OOM*
(full CD usage rotation; when mana is not a problem)


How you dps depends on your mana and raid situation. If everything is normal, you’re doing 4AB way (default). If your mana is low or you wish to conserve mana, you use Arcane Missiles on every barrage proc. When you’re raid supported or when all of your CDs are up (and/or when you get huge SP boost through IA talent), spam ABs until cooldowns are done with or you run out of mana – or still retain normal dps rotation if your mana won’t hold it. You don’t want to find yourself out of mana without being able to regenerate. If you’re fresh 80 and/or overall lower geared, either aim for 3ABs instead of 4 and/or use missiles on every proc to conserve your mana. This can also be applied to T10(2) set bonus (depending on your haste) in order not to lose 12% haste bonus it offers.

The goal is to end the encounter with as little mana as it is possible. You ideally have full raids’ support for this, but that will only happen when your burst dps is the best dps in the raid group. Also, if it is known that healers will need Innervate (or there are no druids to provide it), don’t do AB spam but dps normally. The difference in dps is not THAT great, but pushing is pushing.


What's this beast burst damage that you speak of?
1.    Arcane Power for 20% more damage.
2.    Icy Veins for 20% cast speed increase for 20 seconds. 
3.    Mix in on-use trinket if you have one; or proc from passive one(s).
4.    Add Power Infusion (20% casting speed increase and 20% mana cost reduction for 15sec).
5.    Add Potion of Speed (~13% for 15sec) or Potion of Wild Magic (+200crit +200sp).
6.    Top it off with Heroism / Bloodlust (30% for 40seconds).
7.    Spice it with two rogues with (glyphed?) Tricks of the Trade for 15% increased damage for 20 seconds; if not even three rogues to cover you with 15% damage increase all the time during rotation of all those haste mind blowing numbers. 15% increased damage for burst is no joke.
•    Add Hyperspeed Accelerators from Engineering (10% for 12sec).
•    Add miscellaneous encounter buffs or effects that are increasing your damage.
•    Add Incanter’s Absorption SP increase if talented.
•    Add Troll Racial (+20% casting speed for 10sec) for good measure.
•    Add Tier 10 (4) set – flat 18% dps increase for 30 seconds.
(And now you know why you want Arcane Subtlety talent!)

*Note: You will get raid supported if the burst you can do will be the raid’s top result; and tricks usage will happen only if threat is OK.
*Note: Some of these haste buffs don't stack with each other, they're used in a rotation. But even if they stack, if you're ICC geared you should be careful not to get your spell casting speed be faster than gcd timer. Also pay attention when Potion of Speed loses its usefulness, Potion of Wild magic will yield more results. 

What are Arcane raid consumables?
Flask: Flask of the Storm Wyrm (+125SP) 
Potion: Potion of Speed (+500haste) // Potion of Wild Magic (+200csr +200SP)*
Food: Fish Feast or any other spellpower food.
Scroll: Scroll of Spirit VIII (+64spirit)
Other: Have Runic Mana Potions handy for long fights and Runic Health Potions for emergencies.
*Last repeat, potion of Speed falls behind in usefulness when its usage would bring your casts below GCD.
*You can only use spirit scrolls if there’s no druid or priest buff available (you’re giving yourself int).

When should I use Arcane Power and Icy Veins?
It depends on three points. One, use them with Heroism / Bloodlust, you can't miss that (Icy Veins stacks with Hero/BL). Two, use them with trinket procs if you have any. Three, save it to burst the boss or that one important add down. Hero/BL will usually be used and that’s your cue; but do note, sometimes the raid leader will want to use Hero/BL and personal cooldowns separately. If you have on-use dps trinket, use it with the CDs (Talisman of Resurgence is the best on-use trinket in the game for this).
*Same goes for T10 (4) set bonus – but use images before these cooldowns (it’s on gcd!).
*Icy Veins should sometimes be preserved for uninterrupted Evocation (no priests in raid to shield you).
*Icy Veins does not stack with Power Infusion or Troll's racial.

When should I use Presence of Mind?
Good question. What I read online is that players were using it before Arcane Missile so all five missiles have +30% crit chance. However, on most if not all private servers that kind of usage is bugged as it doesn't affect all missiles, if at all. Therefore it is best to use it on 4th AB stack for maximum dps (one could also use it for an instant Polymorph...). Another usage is preserving AB stacks during extensive/prolonged movement so you don't lose as much on your damage output.

How is Arcane Blast spam better than using Arcane Missiles?
Arcane Missiles do more damage than Arcane Blast, true, but the dps loss comes from stacking Arcane Blast again. How you approach your dps ultimately depends on your mana situation and active cooldown usages. The short of is that if you’re not being raid supported, you’re better off using your 4AB rotation until your wind up dead from the repetition. Even still, if you're being raid supported, consider your mana! Also consider this: while it's often bad when you oom yourself in the middle of a fight, sometimes it's better to commit full burst to kill add before things go sour. Encounter knowledge is essential.

Anything else I should keep an eye out for?
Always mind your positioning. You do NOT want to stop casting and move. Basic rule of caster dpsing is ABC – Always Be Casting. That’s the very reason why I almost always take Magic Attunement in favor of other talents – the less Arcane has to move, the better. Unless the movement required is “heavy”, all moving you want to do is blinking around. Additional note is learning how to do your burst in most effective way with your group – while personal is nothing complicated to do, buffs from other players change it a bit, especially if you’re at T10 gearing and your haste is so high that CDs need to be used in a rotation. And remember – you have utility abilities. Don’t forget them!

 

Arcane Mage Gearing 
[ARC3]

Spoiler

Arcane Mage Stat Priority:
Consult with the gearing list I have provided in this guide to realize what’s your ideal gear setup. Gem and enchant yourself accordingly to what you will read below. 99% of Epic cloth armor in WotLK come with Stamina and Intellect as base stats. The items then have three out of five additional stats, and this is their importance:

  1. Hit rating is your most important stat. If you can’t hit your targets, you’re not dpsing. WotLK Spell Hit rating versus level 83 (boss) is 446 (17%). Arcane has two talents helping with hit: Arcane Focus and Precision, both of which grant 3% for total 6%, thereby reducing required rating to 288 (11%). Furthermore, in raids you will have either Shadow Priest for Misery or Balance Druid for Improved Faerie Fire for added 3% spell hit (they don’t stack with each other), pushing down required hit to 210 rating (8%). Finally, if you’re a Draenei, or expect to have one in your PARTY (their aura is party wide, NOT raid wide!), you require 184 rating (7%) not to ever miss with spells. In other words, have 210 rating (8%) ready for raiding and few items as backup to increase hit to 11% once you know there’s no mind melters or owlkins around.
     
  2. Spellpower increases your damage output. Your Arcane Missiles get 45% bonus spellpower modifier and your Arcane Blast 9% modifier. Being Arcane Mage, you get extra spell power through Intellect via Mind Mastery talent.
     
  3. Haste is what Arcane Mage strives for. Final haste softcap from gear is 1,400 rating (50% reduced cast time). Once you pass that, your haste will continue to reduce the cast times, but it won't reduce the global cooldown. T10 BiS (1474 haste) will bring you close to GCD "cap" when a cooldown is used and it is around that point that you bring cast-increasing buffs into a rotation to maximize your dps.
    *One haste rating equals ~0.03% haste. To get 1% haste, you need 32.79 haste rating.
     
  4. Critical Strike comes secondary. We all love high numbers, but haste is what Arcane is all about.
    *One critical strike rating equals ~0.02% crit. To get 1% crit, you need 45.91csr.
     
  5. Intellect needs to be put here so you know you want it more than you want spirit. It's present on every item and you are not placing any intellect gems into any socket, but it offers you more than spirit does: 15% increased total intellect, 15% of total intellect goes into spell power. Gnome's intellect racial is vastly superior to Human's spirit one.
     
  6. Spirit is weaker form of crit. Avoid gear with spirit unless you have no alternatives (there’s no other haste/hit gear combination to be had). Only 55% of spirit turns into crit, therefore it’s just not as good as pure crit or it being a hit stat instead (wearing T9(2)set makes it be 70% spirit > crit conversion). The extra regeneration it provides does not increase our dps, all things considered (2min Evocation, three mana gems, possible innervate if raid supported).

 

Arcane Mage Gemming
Meta: Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (+21csr, +3% crit dmg)
Red Socket: Runed Cardinal Ruby (+23SP) 
Yellow Socket: Runed Cardinal Ruby or Reckless Ametrine (+12SP, +10 haste rating)
Blue Socket: Runed Cardinal Ruby or Purified Dreadstone (+12SP +10 spirit)
*Ideal gemming for Arcane Mage is full spellpower focus with two purples to activate meta gem. Reckless Ametrines are welcomed if socket bonus rewards 5SP or higher.
*Gem purples into two blue sockets that yield the best bonus (like, say, T10 head gives 9SP). Into any other blue socket, gem Runed Cardinal Rubies.
*At all times, if you are lacking hit, fill your yellow > red sockets with either Rigid King’s Amber (+20hit) or Veiled Ametrines (12SP + 10hit).
*During T7 and T8 progression content, use rare variations of same gems.

Arcane Mages’ gear Enchants
Head: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries (+30SP +20csr)
Shoulder: Greater Inscription of the Storm (+24SP +15csr)
Back: Greater Speed (+23 haste)
Chest: Powerful Stats (+10 all stats)
Wrist: Superior Spellpower (+30 SP)
Hands: Exceptional Spellpower (+28SP) > Precision (+20hit)
Waist: Belt Buckle
Legs: Brilliant Spellthread (+50SP +30 spirit)
Feet: Icewalker (+12csr +12hit) // Greater Spirit (+18spirit) // Tuskarr’s Vitality (+15stm +8%movement speed)
1h Weapon: Mighty Spellpower (+63SP)
2h Weapon: Greater Spellpower (+81SP)
*Avoid hit enchant on gloves, take it only if you can't get any ideal hit pre-raid! 
*If you need hit, Icewalker is the best. If you don’t need hit, take Greater Spirit. Or alternatively go with Tuskarr’s Vitality for faster moving, it’s really useful even with Blink available.

If you have certain professions, use these:
Shoulders: Master's Inscription of the Storm (+70SP, +15csr)
Back: Lightweave Embroidery (+295 SP on proc) [Tailoring] > Springy Arachnoweave (+26SP+slow fall) [Engineering]
Hands: Hyperspeed Accelerators (+340 haste for 12sec, 1min CD) [Engineering]
Wrist: Fur Lining - Spell Power (+76SP) [Leatherworking]
Waist: Frag Belt [Engineering] stacks with Belt Buckle!
Feet: Nitro Boots (+24csr & +100% speed for 5sec, 3min CD)


And that is Arcane for you! If you wish to skip Fire spec and resume reading the guide – how to play mage in raid environment & other information – type [mage#] in search box. Now it’s time for the gear-hungry Fire spec! Its fire, it’s hot, it’s an agrro whooore!

 

Fire Mage
[Fire1] 

Spoiler

I am always hungry, I must be fed. The finger I lick will soon turn red.


As I have said in the introduction, Fire is one gear-hungry agrro whore. Where Arcane favours haste, Fire wants crit, and lots of it! Minimal amount with perfect raid setup is 28-29% Fire crit (which is not that much, but it is the bottom limit with PERFECT raid groups). You get +22% crit unmodified by (de)buffs & auras (that will be explained during “mage in raid section”). With 28% personal Fire crit, your total crit will be 50% (again, only with perfect raiding setup!) and Pyroblasts won’t be so constant due to luck required to get two concussive crits. It is why Arcane Mages are expected to surpass any Fire Mage at this point.

The thing you should know about Fire is that it’s very rng. You're either a happy Pyroblast spammer or you are not. What I said just now is Hot Streak talent - two concussive non-periodic fire spell crits are required for instant Pyroblast. At one point I have had 80% raid crit and I was doing 22K dps at Deathbringer Saurfang....and the next time I came there (same raid setup) I was doing cheap 15K. Why? Unlucky rng. Fire is rng based spec, it doesn't have "stable" dps. It’s heavily gear reliant and every single buff helps immensely. To stress it again, what counts for fire as a “real” dps is increase is not just having crits – it’s about having TWO CONCUSSIVE crits! Furthermore, the more Hot Streak procs you get the more you can move - casting an instant Pyroblast and refreshing Living Bombs allows you to move for the GCD amount, which is usually enough to avoid any danger.

*NOTE: When I say “refresh Living Bomb”, I mean that you should wait until it actually explodes before casting it again – refreshing it before it explodes is called clipping and its reducing your dps. The only time you want to do it is when AoE from the explosion would do unwanted things, such as ruining Crowd Control and/or friendly fire on MCed raiders. If it does go off, CC will be ruined. You can try to salvage it by casting Polymorph on your teammates after Ignite ticks off if they’re still alive (you’re not the only one who can mess up with AoE).


What do you benefit the raid with as Fire Mage?
    3% crit on another raid member via Focus Magic.
    5% crit debuff on enemies enemy via Scorch
    Immense (mobile) AoE damage with Flamestrike (& Living Bomb)


Let’s go on with talent building!

Know that there are two Fire specs: Frostfire Bolt spec and Fireball spec (FFB fire and TTW fire for short). Let’s give them quick overview so you know what’s best for you and why. Spoiler: Torment the Weak (Fireball) is better. To be fair, both specs are close. Fireball is more potent via TTW and having Focus Magic outweights FFB capabilities... At least until RNGesus places a bet against you.

Torment the Weak
Spell Impact (+6% damage on Fireball) 
Focus Magic (+3% crit for all spells)
Arcane Concentration (6-10% chance for Clearcasting effect)
Student of the Mind (+10% spirit)
Torment the Weak (+12% dmg on Fireball & Pyroblast) 
Glyph of Fireball (-0.15 cast time) *Fireball scales better with haste! 
Fireball spell power coefficient = 100% without talents 

Frostfire Bolt
Piercing Ice (+6% damage on FFB)
Glyph of Frostfire Bolt (+2% crit on FFB)
Frost Channeling & Frost Warding (10% reduced mana cost on all spells + ~Frost Warding effects~)
Precision +3% hit for all spells.
Ice Shards (+100% critical strike damage on Frostfire Bolt)
Icy Veins (+20% spell casting speed for 20sec, 2.4min CD)
Frostfire Bolt spell power coefficient = 80% without talents
 

Summary: 
Fireball spec does more damage through greater scaling with spellpower, TTW out-damaging Ice Shards, +4% overall crit increase in ideal raid environment; and better scaling with haste. Advantages of Frostfire Bolt spec are +3% hit, Icy Veins for the burst as well as safe Evocation. Which brings us to the question:

“When is FFB the better choice?”
Because Fire has high mana costs, mana can be a problem if your group has no Replenishment, Mana Tide Totem and/or Hymn of Hope. You will find yourself using mana pots more than dps pots. And if there’s no Priest (any spec) to PW:Shield you, you won’t be able to Evocate on fights with pushback. When you meet yourself in such situations, go for FFB spec. One example to this is PP in ICC, a long fight with constant pushback. If you're TTW Fire Mage without Priest in party to protect your Evocation and no Replenishment, I strongly suggest you to prepare FFB as your 2nd spec.

In addition to the possible mana problems, FFB is a better choice if you have serious issues obtaining gear with hit. Going from dungeons into raids without 3% hit talent can be dreadful when you’re just plain unlucky with items, and if you furthermore don’t have the hit debuff in your raid group, your dps drops considerably. Time for FFB spec! You lose crit, but hit stat is way more important.

“I have seen Arcane Frostfire builds online. What's the deal?”
I don't know. Arcane Frostfire gets outperformed by all three standard specs (or at least did so during my testings out of curiosity). The spec is neither as bursty as Arcane (doesn't have Icy Veins and avoids haste stat) nor is it as sustainable as Fire is, but I have to admit that it cuts close - but not close enough. The spec is using Frostfire Bolt and Arcane Barrage until Arcane Missiles trigger. The spec holds good logic by focusing crit - FFB needs to crit to do serious damage and Arcane Missiles do 25% more damage on crit and has Arcane Power as dps cooldown. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but... yeah.

For those curious, here is the link to the build. Major Glyphs are Molten Armor, Frostfire Bolt and Arcane Missiles. There's no pushback reduction for Frostfire Bolt, so if you want it you have to abandon Netherwind Presence. Some say that it would be better to spec for Icy Veins instead of the pushback, but this is cutting out Arcane Barrage and my tests concluded that it's not worth it. Maybe someone will shed more light on this spec than I can, so until then, I can't recommend it at any point. If you're low geared, you play Arcane, if you have good gears, play either spec.

Now let's kick to the real Fire builds.


Fireball spec (TTW spec)
There is a "better" version, look at the bottom of the build for more details. This build has the most crit potential.
Link to the build: 
<tap me!>


Improved Fire Blast 0/2
Incineration 0/3

Improved Fireball 5/5

Fireball is your main spell. You can't afford Incineration.

Ignite 5/5
Burning Determination 0/2
World in Flames 3/3

When one would take a look at recount they would see Ignite holding the 2nd or 3rd place (if not 1st?) in damage done. It also restores mana via Empowered Fire talent. World in Flames increases the crit of Pyroblast and Living Bomb by 6%, there's no skipping that one.

Flame Throwing 0/2*
Impact 0/3
Pyroblast 1/1
Burning Soul 2/2

Flame Throwing is optional talent but we'll talk later about it, we won't take it in this starter build. Impact is very unreliable and its stun effect isn't needed in PvE (even with horrible setups). Pyroblast is used as an instant cast via Hot Streak procs. You need Burning Soul to reduce pushback effects and get much needed threat reduction.

Improved Scorch 3/3
Molten Shields 0/2
Master of Elements 3/3

Improved Scorch is the debuff you want - crit chance! The talent is also increasing the crit chance of your spam spell by 3%. Molten Shields talent is useless in PvE. Master of Elements is very useful - Fire is crit hungry. More crits, more mana back! Yay!

Playing with Fire 3/3
Critical Mass 3/3
Blast Wave 0/1*

Playing with fire is 3% dps increase. Critical Mass is crit, 6%, you gotta love it! And alas, sadly, no, you won't take Blast Wave for raiding, but there is a spec that makes it viable for encounters that are adds heavy and „help button“ is required for AoE spell interruption and/or slight knockback.

Blazing Speed 0/2
Fire Power 5/5

Uff, if you get hit by a boss in PvE, you as a cloth are so totally dead! Blazing Speed serves no purpose in raiding. Fire Power is another pure dps increase, this time of 10%!

Pyromaniac 3/3
Combustion 1/1
Molten Fury 2/2

Pyromaniac is another crit increase of 3%, and adds nice mana regeneration that we need. Combustion is one very, very delicious cooldown ability. Molten Fury is what makes Fire be so high in dps the longer the execution period lasts.

Fiery Payback 0/2
Empowered Fire 3/3
Dragon's Breath 0/1*

Fiery Payback doesn't serve any purpose in raiding. Empowered Fire, on the other hand, increases the spell power of our main spells and also makes our Ignite talent restore some mana back! Yaaay!

Firestarter 0/2*
Dragon's Breath 0/1*
Hot Streak 3/3

As with Blast Wave, we are, sadly again, not taking Dragon’s Breath talent nor the very sexy follow-up. No. We take even sexier Hot Streak. Just read this beauty. Hot Streak is what Fire is all about!

Burnout 5/5
Living Bomb 1/1

Burnout Increases all critical strike damage is increased to 175%, up from 150% (50% of 50 is 25; 25%+50%=75%). Living Bomb is your DoT; helps a lot with proccing Hot Streak, the final explosion has +6% crit and it affects all enemies in AoE radius of 10y! Talk about burning down the woods!


Now we're going to the Arcane tree: 
Arcane Subtlety 2/2
Arcane Focus 3/3
Arcane Stability 0/5

Filler talents. Arcane Focus affects only arcane spells, so no 3% hit for us. /rude ; HOWEVER, Arcane Focus is important to interrupt boss level enemies without +3% hit debuff on them! So never skip this talent lest you look like a fool when your clutch Counterspell misses and the raid wipes (example: Iron Council in Ulduar).

Arcane Fortitude 0/3
Magic Absorption 2/2
Arcane Concentration 3/5

Magic Absorption is really good. It helps a lot on encounters with lots of environmental damage. Clearcasting is your occasional mana saver, plus it allows you to "spam" free Flamestrikes on big squads of mobs while getting all your Ignite mana restoring ticks. Or spam Blizzard completely free of mana cost, but you lose a lot of damage done. I chose Magic Absorption 2/2 as a standard build so you have more chances of survival.

Magic Attunement 0/2
Spell Impact 3/3
Student of Mind 3/3*
Focus Magic 1/1

Spell Impact increases the damage of Fireball and Scorch by 6%. Student of the Mind gives you that critical strike which you very much need, but it won’t pass 1% unless you’re overloaded on Spirit. I chose this talent over Flame Throwing for base spec example because when you're starting out you need critical strike more than the range increase. Focus Magic is free 3% crit – I'll cover best targets for its use it later on.

Arcane Shields 0/2
Improved Counterspell 0/2
Meditation 0/3

Torment the Weak 3/3

TTW is the reason why it is better than FFB fire spec - by Fireball and Pyroblast doing 12% higher damage, it also affects Ignite damage. You don’t need meditation; you have Pyromaniac talent.


Is this the best Fire spec?
Both yes and no. Yes, this is the spec for the most dps increase because it has Student of the Mind for bigger critical, which is direly needed at early gearing stages and welcomed at any point; and Magic Absorption is taken for defense. No, this is not the best spec because ideally one skips Student of the Mind and takes Arcane Concentration 4/5 with Flame Throwing 2/2 instead. 42 yard cast range is useful to be had, but it’s not mandatory-ish. 

By removing points from Student of the Mind and investing one into Arcane Concentration for 4/5, you free up two talent points. Talents where one could put them are Flame Throwing, Blast Wave and Dragon's Breath (and Firestarter for the eck of it). Don't look at Incineration, it's not worth it. Except for Flame Throwing, none of these talents enhance your performance - those talents are taken for raid utility, or fun. 

So in a nutshell, Student of the Mind 3/3 is increasing your crit by 0.50-1%. By dropping it you enable picking up Flame Throwing which helps with positioning and staying safe (for what it gives, it’s considered the better pick AFTER your crit is alright). Blast Wave helps with add handling (take point of Master of Elements), its knockback stops casting and slows adds, giving tank ample time to pick them up. Taking Dragon’s Breath and Firestarter 1/2 is reserved for fun in dungeons and trash (you take points off Flame Throwing and one point off Master of Elements). Last bit of attention goes to Incineration. Fireblast and Scorch are still used sometimes, after all. However, ideally you won’t use 'em nearly as often – there will be a warlock to provide crit debuff. Having Student of the Mind will bring better results with the overall crit increase instead of strengthening your utility arsenal; and usefulness of Flame Throwing is miles ahead.


Fire (TTW) Major Glyphs:

  • Glyph of Fireball
    “Reduces the casting time of your Fireball spell by 0.15 sec, but removes the damage over time effect.”
  • Glyph of Living Bomb
    “The periodic damage from your Living Bomb can now be critical strikes.”
  • Glyph of Molten Armor
    “Your Molten Armor grants an additional 20% of your spirit as critical strike rating.”

Fire (TTW) Minor Glyphs:

  • Glyph of Arcane Intellect
    “Reduces the mana cost of your Arcane Intellect and Arcane Brilliance spells by 50%.”
  • Glyph of Slow Fall
    “Your Slow Fall spell no longer requires a reagent”
  • <empty>


These are the best glyphs you can get. Minor intellect glyph is kind of important to have if healer dies and gets revived and wants int buff for more % of total mana returns (replenishment) and extra AP for hunters and enhancement shamans. Casting few AI now and then won't hinder your mana much. Note, as it’s not priority for them to have the buff, do it when you don’t need to move AND have no Hot Streak proc, nor the need to cast LB. Paladin’s blessings, priest’s Fortitude and druid’s Gift of the Wild buffs are way more important. And don't ever consider minor Glyph of Blast Wave (15% less manacost but no knockback) – you took Blast Wave to push adds back in the first place!



Frostfire Bolt Spec
[FFB1]

This spec doesn't hold any advantages over TTW “besides” +3%hit and handiness of Icy Veins (and lower mana cost on spam spell). Read again what I wrote at the start of the fire guide if you're unsure of why TTW spec is superior. Truth to be told, the spec is not far behind. If you see Frostfire Mages outdpsing Fireball mages, it could mean gear and/or skill difference, as well as one having RNG God at his side. As I have said… 22k dps down to 15k simply because I was unlucky with concussive crits, no other reason.


Talent Spec:
Link to build: <Tap me!>
Note how you have five talent points free. Elaboration is below.

Spec changes so all Arcane subtree points are going to Frost, and Fire tree has only one change: Improved Fireball 0/5 points go to: 
Incineration 3/3
Improved Fireblast 2/2


In Frost, you take:
Frostbite 0/3
Improved Frostbolt 2/5
Ice Floes 3/3

You don't take Frostbite with same reason why Arcane does not: You don't want your adds rooted on chance lest you ruin offtank's job, especially so since FFB can root with this talent (and if you will ever do Yogg-Saron with raid using kiting tactic (omg don't), you won't be able to use FFB lest you root them). Ice Floes reduces necessary cooldowns.

Ice Shards 3/3
Frost Warding 0/2*
Precision 3/3
Permafrost 0/3

Ice Shards increases the damaging potential of Frostfire Bolt by significant margin. Precision gives hit rating and reduces mana cost of all spells slightly. Frost Warding was explained under Arcane talent tree, please read up.

Piercing Ice 3/3
Icy Veins 1/1
Improved Blizzard 0/3

Piercing Ice equals Spell Impact for TTW spec. Icy Veins was explained for you.

Arctic Reach 0/2
Frost Channeling 0/3*

Shatter 0/3
Frost Channeling can increase your mana longevity.


Advice on how to spend those five talent points:

  • You go for FFB spec when you have either mana or hit issues. Mana problem is solved by taking Frost Warding 2/2 and Frost Channeling 3/3. Icy veins ensures safe Evocation.
  • If you cannot make use of Frost Warding (say, PP again!), spec into Flame Throwing 2/2 instead. 
  • If you want help button, talent Blast Wave 1/1 by taking point from Frost Channeling. Don't drop Frost Warding if you can make use of it.
  • You might be using Frostfire spec to have easier time with Blood Beasts on DBS in ICC 10man? If so, drop Improved Frost Bolt 2/5 for Frostbite 3/3 (15% to root) and take Permafrost 2/3 (7% more slow), Blast Wave 1/1 (knockback) and Dragon's Breath 1/1 (disorient).


FFB spec’s damage dealing is the same; just replace Fireball with Frostfire Bolt in your rotation and that’s it. Don’t forget to get Glyph of Frostfire Bolt instead of Fireball one. While Fire Blast has 1% increased crit compared to FFB, continue to avoid using it, unless ofc you have to move or LB explosion is under a second. It has increased crit, but it deals low damage. GCD time spent on Fire Blast doesn’t out-weight the time spent casting FFB damage-wise (Fireball spec has it the same, only without +6% crit modifier).
That’s it. Replace all Fireballs in the further text with Frostfire Bolt and everything else is the same.


Fire Mage DPS Rotation in WotLK
[Fire2] 

Spoiler

Priority #1 Use up Hot Streak – throw those Pyroblasts!
Priority #2 Keep Scorch* and Living Bomb debuffs up at all times.
Priority #3 Your spam spell is Fireball until Hot Streak procs for instant Pyroblast.


What are Fire spec raid consumables?
Flask: Flask of the Storm Wyrm (+125SP)
Potion: Potion of Wild Magic (+200csr +200SP) > Potion of Speed (+500haste)
Food: Fish Feast or any other spellpower food; crit food works as well.
Scroll: Scroll of Spirit VIII (+64spirit)
Other: Flame Cap (+80 Fire Spellpower), farmed in Zangamarsh
*Have Runic Mana Potions handy for long encounters if need be, or if you die.
*You can only use spirit scrolls if there’s no druid or priest buff available (you’re giving yourself int).


How to start encounters as Fire Mage: 
Open encounters by casting Living Bomb. Follow with Scorch (?). You share Scorch’s 5% crit debuff effect with Affliction and Demonology Warlocks who are applying it with their standard spam spell – therefore if they are present, you can skip casting Scorch and start casting Fireball instead. They will keep debuff up until execution phase. Demo stops first at 35% mark to cast Soul Fires, Affliction second at 25% when they start using Drain Soul as main filler spell. It's a good thing to discuss who will keep the buff up at this point.
You can also pre-cast Fireball before the pull, but be careful of your threat...

How does Ignite work?
Ignite procs on any fire spell critical hit. Your spell critical strike damage does 175% of normal spell damage. Ignite burns the target for 40% of damage done. Debuff lasts four seconds; ticks 1/4 of total damage every second. When multiple Fire spells crit (including LB crit ticks), their 40% damage done adds to its threshold.

Example:
- Your Fireball crits for 10k damage. Ignite debuff is applied, with threshold of 4000 damage (4 ticks of 1000 damage)
*First tick ticks for 1000 damage.
*Second tick deals 1000 damage.
- Your Pyroblast crits for 12k damage. Ignite debuff is refreshed and new impact damage is calculated into it (4800 damage, 1,2k dps)
*First tick deals 2200 damage.
*Second tick deals 2200 damage.
*Third tick deals 1200 damage.
*Fourth tick deals 1200 damage.


See how Ignite stacks? It procs of any Fire spell crit that you land, above is just a simple example. Add in Living bomb ticks and explosions, Flamestrike, Fire Blast and other fire spells. The more often you crit, higher climbs your Ignite damage. My record is around ~126k single tick. Talk about agrro problems! Combustion is really powerful. 
*My 126k damage tick and pre-ticks happened on Sindragosa. While I did stop dpsing, 126k tick ticked right on breath's time, turning her to the raid, killing all of us. Yay? Yikes! Lesson was learned and Iceblock CD is even less wasted since.

When should I use Combustion?
Because it increases your critical strike damage by 50%, the ultimate goal is to use it when you have the most SP (trinket use/proc); having an addon to track iCD is nice. It is best used when boss is at 35% HP for Molten Fury talent effect. If the fight is really short, use it at this point! If the fight lasts longer than single use, feel free to use it anytime. Try not to waste it on Scorch and avoid “wasting” it on Living Bomb final ticks (cast it after LB is refreshed on the target).
*If you have T10(2) set bonus; while it is still ideal to wait for trinket procs, you can use it after your first Scorch / before your first LB so you get set bonus active without any delay.
*If you are using it at 35% HP mark, don't have an itch to use it immediately - wait for trinket proc if the mob will live long enough!



Fire Mage Tips & Tricks + How to avoid clogging Hot Streak

Fire has a lot of small rules that mean a lot. In essence, it’s narrowed down about knowing the relationship between Living Bomb and Hot Streak and knowing the importance of the distance between you and your target. For instance, you got Hot Streak in the middle of Fireball cast. You have two choices after your cast: refresh Living Bomb or cast instant Pyroblast. So here is what you need to consider: refreshing LB before firing Pyro results in the highest dps increase. BUT, if it happens that airborne Fireball crit'd and triggered newer Hot Streak while you were refreshing LB. you've just lost an instant Pyroblast. It's called clogging and that is the biggest dps loss you can do to yourself!

And between those moments of refreshing LB or throwing an instant Pyro – you’re using Fireball (and Scorch or Flamestrike). That’s it!


The first rule of caster dps is ABC – Always Be Casting. Movement encounters are where Fire Mages shine. If crit is generous, you can cast and frequently move for GCD duration, which is usually more than enough to eliminate any idle moment apart from Blinking when situations require you to, ensuring that you're always "doing" damage. You have no idle moment whatsoever.

So let’s talk about the little things that make a difference in your performance, starting with the distance between you and your enemy. Now naturally, you’re going to be a good raider and follow the tactics and won’t stand who knows where. Outside of that scope, in situations when you don’t have to be clumped with the rest of the raid or have specific ranged positioning or exact spot to stand on, how far you stand from your target is determined by your gear.

At lower gear levels, you aim to be as far as you can. Regardless if you have Flame Throwing or not, in situations when it is expected of you to use your Arcane utility, be in range of those abilities (30y). Reason for maximum distance is Ignite’s mana restoration. The lower the crit is the bigger is the gap between critical strikes (including LB ticks). Ignite will have more uptime the further you stand from the target. The higher your gearing – or more specifically, the higher your haste is – the closer you stand so your Fireball in air lands just so before your current Fireball cast is done (this won’t happen before T9 gearing). Reason for such positioning is not to clog your hot streak proc, more so when Heroism / Bloodlust is up. Naturally, do not stand so close that you enter melee range threat pull threshold, you might find boss turning around to bitch slap you like Shiva.

This leads us to Living Bomb. Its explosion counts for Hot Streak proc and if it crits on two enemies its Pyroblast ahoy. If you’re so distant that your Fireball is being cast while Hot Streak is up, and if LB crits, it will be a dps loss because you just lost one hot streak; and it’s a dps loss if you stop Fireball mid cast to shoot Pyro. It’s a dps loss if you throw Pyroblast before re-applying Living Bomb, but if airborne Fireball / other Living Bomb crits and triggers Hot Streak, it’s again a dps loss as you just lost a Pyroblast. You see how it’s turning into a circle here? That all is the second reason why having proper distance is important.

The more enemies are affected inside Living Bomb’s 10y blast radius, the higher the chances of an instant Pyro. In case where you have enough adds to LB every GCD and boss to take care of, you should spam those LBs on all targets (especially boss or X big add) and then spam all those happy Pyroblasts at the boss and repeat the process. They don’t necessarily have to be together, but if they are, not only will boss be singed from Pyroblast spam, he will be damaged from the explosions themselves, adding in the damage from them and all the Ignite, oh, all the Ignite. No mana problems at all.

However, if adds are not important – AND are not close to the boss – you should ignore them and focus all of your dps only on the boss. While you’re doing more overall damage done, your boss dps drops (or as I like to call it, effective damage). If the adds are important, then LB them all the same. To give examples: At Onyxia, you should LB all whelps and shoot Pyros at her (or at the big add on need). You should definitely LB all body parts on Mimiron’s 4th phase (and keep up Scorch debuff as well). You should NOT cast LB on Ghouls (if tanked by OT) at Lich King encounter in ICC – you should focus all of your dps only on the boss; maybe LB Shambling Horrors (in phase 1; in phase 2 and in both transition phases you should LB all enemies of any kind!). 

Highest AoE damage comes from Flamestrike spam (it's greater than LB spam), provided enemies are not moving. LB+Pyro is about spread damage between a cluster of mobs and singular important target (boss or “big” add). 

To track Living Bombs, install TidyPlates + PlateBuffs or other addon(s) that tracks / displays LB timers on all mobs – or develop a mental timer. Hey, if you have a loud clock in your room, that helps too! It’s worth noting that if you AoE with Flamestrike or LB spam (and only LB) and there are no hunters or rogues to help with agrro; and your raid is filled with paladins that don’t pay attention to using their HoSalv and HoP abilities, expect often trips to the spirit world or at least lengthily repair bills.

The last advice is to tell you to "avoid" casting Fire Blast while spamming Fireball. Use it when you know your Fireball won't be cast in time, when you need to move, or LB is just right about to explode. It has-3% chance to crit compared to Fireball or Scorch, and it doesn’t get any spellpower increase from talents. If your previous spell did crit and Fire Blast does not, you have just wasted your possible Hot Streak. Minus 3% is not much and you might get lucky if you have high crit and you will have your Hot Streak, but just be careful, alright? Avoid casting it within rotation at any rate, damage-per-second is not worth it the higher geared you are, and if you furthermore lose a Hot Streak due to its lower crit, its two steps back on the damage done.


Speaking of low damage, if you ever get interrupted (PAY MORE ATTENTION!!), your best course of action is to re-position yourself if necessary and cast Arcane Blast until you can use Fire spell school again.

 

How/where can I easily farm Flame Caps?
The easiest and the laziest way to keep yourself stockpiled is to park an alt with herbalisam right outside The Slave Pens. There's a node right inside after the first batch of mobs into the corridor, right of where Summer Festival NPCs are located (you start at the zero (0) shaped area, proceed through the tunnel, the node is in the next room on the very right as you enter). Patrolling Zangamarsh for nodes also works, but you're not the only one after the goal, therefore entering the dungeon five times an hour gets you several stacks a day with only several minutes of investment. Happy herbing!

 

Fire Mage gearing up in WotLK
[Fire3]

Spoiler

Fire Mage stat priority: 
Gearing Fire spec is about a balance of haste and critical strike, all the while dealing with heavy hit stat demand. Consult with the gearing list I have provided in this guide to realize what’s your ideal gear setup. Gem and enchant yourself accordingly to what you will read below. 99% of Epic cloth armor in WotLK come with Stamina and Intellect as base stats. The items then have three out of five additional stats, and this is their importance:

  1. Hit rating is your most important stat. If you can’t hit your targets, you’re not dpsing. WotLK Spell Hit rating versus level 83 (boss) is 446 (17%). In raids you will have either Shadow Priest for Misery or Balance Druid for Improved Faerie Fire for added 3% spell hit (they don’t stack with each other), pushing down required hit to 368 rating (14%). Fire has no talents to help with fire hit, unfortunately. If you’re a Draenei, or expect to have one in your PARTY (their aura is party wide, NOT raid wide!), you require 342 rating (13%) not to ever miss with spells. Therefore, have 368 rating (14%) ready for raiding and few items as backup to increase hit to 17% once you know there’s no mind melters or owlkins around.
     
  2. Spellpower increases your raw damage output. Fireball, Frostfire Bolt and Pyroblast get 15% increased spell power bonus; Living Bomb, Scorch and Fire Blast spells do not get any special increases.
     
  3. Critical Strike is increasing the frequency of your Hot Streak count; therefore it’s your most valued stat after hit (with spell power). Your dps increases exponentially the higher your critical stat is. All things considered, you have around ~23-24% crit increase on Fireball spell in ideal raiding environment. Therefore, you need ~29% minimal crit to have 50% crit. After all things are added up, your ideal raid (Fire) spell crit is within 70-80% range. It is at this point that you should focus on increasing your haste instead (BiS T9 or T10 equivalent).
    *1 crit rating equals ~0.02% crit. To get 1% crit, you need 45.91csr.
    Because bosses are 3 levels higher than you, your critical strike is reduced by 3% when striking them. If you play fire as fresh 80 (Arcane will outdps you!), after hit, getting 30% Fire crit is your top priority.
     
  4. Haste is a very good stat; Fireball is 3.5sec base cast time and is scaling really well! But the cores of Fire Mage’s dps are crits, not fast casts. Each tier has different “ideal” balance of crit and haste. Consult with gearing lists to get the general idea for every tier.
    *1 haste rating equals ~0.03% haste. To get 1% haste, you need 32.79 haste rating.
    Minimal ideal haste from gear is 12% (+8% from raid = 20%). Try not to be below that.
     
  5. Spirit is weaker form of crit, and it’s also increasing your mana regeneration. Spirit is an okay stat for fire, just not as good as pure crit, haste or hit stats (Arcane has it the same).
    *Not that it's bad since 55% (70% with T9(2) set) of it turns into crit rating, but that itself is the "problem" - it would be better if it was pure critical strike rating instead (or any other stat for the matter). If you’re able to, replace any spirit item if/as soon as possible.


You cannot reach 100% Fireball crit “legally”. T9 (2) set bonus is... "bugged" on most privates. If you were to equip two T9 pieces and all the best spirit gear from ICC and gem it with pure spirit and activate Molten Armor – that bonus would remain. You further boost that crit by having enough pure crit sockets in your normal gear and your Fireball crit will be over 103.01%. Congratulations on… Blizzard bug exploiting? Only they know why they didn’t look into that.
*Some servers have this disabled; this server realms are part of it.


Fire Mage Gemming
Meta: Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (+21csr, +3% crit dmg)
Red socket: Runed Cardinal Ruby (+23SP)
Yellow Socket: Runed Cardinal Ruby, Potent Ametrine (+12sp +10 csr), Reckless Ametrine (+12sp +10haste) or Veiled Ametrine (+12sp +10hit)
Blue Socket: Purified Dreadstone (+12SP +10 spirit) or Misty Eye of Zul (+10csr, +10spirit)
*At all times, if you are lacking hit, gem it!
*You enjoy every hit, SP, crit (and hit?) socket bonuses, so gem both colours, if not all three. Avoid having more than 2-3 purple gems if you can help it.
*Pure crit gem Smooth King's Amber (+20csr) is also a valid option for yellow slots, as is Misty Eye of Zul (+10crit, +10spirit) for blue.


Fire Mages’ gear Enchants
Head: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries (+30SP +20csr)
Shoulder: Greater Inscription of the Storm (+24SP +15csr)
Back: Greater Speed (+23 Haste Rating)
Chest: Powerful Stats (+10 all stats) // Major Spirit (+15 spirit)
Wrist: Superior Spellpower (+30 SP)
Hands: Exceptional Spellpower (+28SP) > Precision (+20 hit rating)
Waist: Belt Buckle
Legs: Brilliant Spellthread (+50SP, +30 spirit) 
Feet: Icewalker (+12csr +12hit rating) // Greater Spirit (+18spirit) // Tuskarr’s Vitality (+15stm +8%movement speed)
1h Weapon: Mighty Spellpower (+69 SP) // Black Magic (+250haste proc for 10sec; 45sec iCD)
2h Weapon: Greater Spellpower (+81SP)
*Black Magic is better than raw Spell Power on paper, but I think that spellpower is more effective because you can’t always make the best use of haste proc on all encounters, even if you move right. Use as you will, results can't disappoint.
* Avoid hit enchant on gloves, take it only if you can't get any ideal hit pre-raid! 
* Spirit on chest rewards 0.01% more crit than 10 Stat enchant (unless you're Gnome!), so one could say that it’s better all-time; and it’s definitely better enchant to use with T9(2) set bonus active. It's also super cheap.
* If you need hit, Icewalker is the best. If you don’t need hit, take Greater Spirit. Or alternatively go with Tuskarr’s Vitality for faster moving, it’s really useful even with Blink available.


If you have certain professions, use these enchants instead:
Shoulders: Master's Inscription of the Storm (+70SP, +15csr)
Back: Lightweave Embroidery (+295SP on proc) [Tailoring] > Springy Arachnoweave (+26SP+slow fall) [Engineering]
Hands: Hyperspeed Accelerators (+340 haste for 12sec, 1min CD) [Engineering]
*Hyperspeed is better than Rockets because ~10% haste for 12 sec will outdps the rocket any day.
Wrist: Fur Lining - Spell Power (+76SP) [Leatherworking]
Waist: Frag Belt [Engineering] stacks with Belt Buckle!
Feet: Nitro Boots (+24csr & +100% speed for 5sec, 3min CD)

 

Mage and You – Race & Professions
[Mage1]

Spoiler

Alliance

  1. Gnomes get Expansive Mind (+5% increased Intellect) & Escape Artist (removes any and all movement impairing effects, 1.75min CD).
  2. Draenei get Heroic Presence (+1% party-wide Hit) & Gift of the Naaru (a decent HoT, 3min CD))
  3. Human get The Human Spirit (+3% increased Spirit) & Every Man For Himself (PvP trinket, 2min CD)

Gnome's increased intellect provides you with the most critical strike chance and bigger mana pool; and Escape Artist can remove any snares or roots (helpful!). Draenei’s 1% hit allows you for more customizing with your gearing, and your raid will love you for that hit and the extra heal for anyone in danger, be it tank, yourself or anyone. Humans don't shine because you ideally have the least amount of spirit possible, making human racial a lackluster; and Every Man For Himself is upgraded Escape Artist, making it great for a handful of encounters, but nothing that turns the tables.
 

Horde

  1. Trolls get Berserking (20% casting speed increase for 10sec, 3min CD) & Beast Slaying (5% more damage vs Beasts)
  2. Blood Elves get Arcane Torrent (6% total mana return and AoE 3sec silence, 2min CD)
  3. Forsaken get casting animation & Will of the Forsaken (removes Charm, Fear and Sleep effects, 2min CD)

Trolls’ racial is the best racial in the game for casters. It doesn't work with some buffs, but you can bring it into rotation. Trolls also do 5% more dps on Beast bosses (e.g. Maexxna). Blood Elves get 6% mana regen every 2 minutes which can silence adds as well. Forsaken don't get any beneficial racial that help you dps, but most agree that they do have the most awesome casting animation in the game, so they have that going for them, which is nice. They can also remove Fear (and Charm and Sleep) effect(s), and that's useful-ish (Tremor Totem is there?).

 

Professions

Top three professions for both specs are engineering (provided you're using everything – Hyperspeed Accelerator, Global Thermal Sapper Charges or Saronite Bombs on CD), tailoring (Lightweave Embroidery proc, +295sp for 15sec) and jewelcrafting (most custom stats; 48SP). Lightweave Embroidery is potent!... but you can't make a good use of it just every time, same as Black Magic enchant. Online opinions consider Tailoring a superior choice to go with Engineering instead of mixing in Jewelcrafting with either. It comes down to your personal preference I'd say – JC can help you with any custom stat or have a constant 48sp bonus. 

Best profession after those three is alchemy (+47sp).
Next come leatherworking, inscriptionenchanting and blacksmithing*, each giving 46 bonus spell power (value of two Runed Cardinal Rubies). Note on blacksmithing is that sockets can contain any gem, not just spellpower. Lastly, skinning adds 40 critical rating (value of two yellow Smooth Kings’ Ambers, decent fire spec profession).
*Progressive servers don't have epic gems until 3.2 patch. If all you aim is to increase your spell power, blacksmithing is an inferior choice for that time period.

Except for Herbalisam and Mining, you cannot miss with any other profession which would increase your dps. If you enjoy haste, bombs, nitro and parachute, take engineering. If you enjoy gems or custom stats, get jewelcrafting or blacksmithing. If you enjoy crafting your own consumables and longer flask duration perk, take alchemy. You enjoy enchanting? Roll that. Glyphs are something you enjoy? Take inscription then (and also, free shoulder enchant, no need to farm Sons of Hodir reputation!). You enjoy making cloth armor and bags and have free leg enchant and extra small trinket proc? Roll tailoring. Leatherworking is as good as others, if no special perks for you. Skinning is a nice addition only for fire. Crits are love, crits are life!

 

Mage in Raid (Arcane & Fire) – Your place in the group 
[Mage2]

 

Spoiler

You as a Mage are in the raid to wreck havoc!...But before that...cast Ritual of Refreshment to be nice, buff Arcane Brilliance (Dalaran flavored?), buff yourself Molten Armor and find someone to give Focus Magic to. Finally, check if your Mana Gem is on three stacks. Lastly, use up your flask if necessary before the pull. Once the raid is over, it’s considered polite to create a portal to Dalaran. Or troll your party and make portals to wherever and forever.

Focus Magic priority: 
1.   Another (Fire) Mage, top priority. If there are no other mages...
2.   Balance Druid (also crit dependent) or Warlock* > other caster dps
3.   Enhancement Shaman
4.   Non-druid healer.
•    If you're the only Mage, look for top caster dps if you can choose.
•    In PuGs you mages are sharing FM. Two mages, you pair up. Three mages, you make an (alphabetical) order (e.g. Azizh > Fastor > Firesong). Four mages, you make two pairs. Five mages, one pair and one order; and so on. Keep in mind that FFB mages can't be included into any circle or pair.
•    If it's healing intensive fight and dps is not an issue, give your FM to any non druid healer, they're HoTing and crit non-periodically almost never.
•    In case of FMed player dying, rebuff him/her on revival asap (or find a new raider if this one can't move out of the fire).
•    In case of a player dying "permanently", find new FM target asap.
•    *Demonology gets most out of your Focus Magic than Affliction does. However, Affliction Warlock has this thing called "Corruption rolling". When they apply Corruption, it snapshots current damage % increases (such as tricks) and critical (buffs n debuffs). They re-apply it at 35% mark for increased 15% damage via talent. Demonology and Destruction don't have this perk, tho Demonology also has significant execution phase. So when you are wondering whether to buff Balance, Affliction or Demonology, check who's more geared.

Mana Gem – In general, use one charge when you can refill your mana to almost full and then use again on cooldown. Being an instant use, you are not interrupting your dps, unlike when you need to Evocate. If you find yourself using all three charges and still needing more, conjure fresh gems ASAP if possible (Lich King has 15min enrage timer).

Evocation – "Use it when it's convenient". There are two rules: Number one, when it’s safe to use it - for if it is not safe to use it, you ruin it. Number two, when you're not pushing dps. Dead dps does zero dps, but you're alive, and doing zero dps. WTF mate? Lootbanned.
Jokes aside, best usage when you're at ~35% of your mana, however, you need to adapt to the encounter; sometimes using Evo at 60% can be a good thing.  You also have to take into consideration any environmental damage - coordinate with your discipline > holy > shadow priest to shield you before using it (or if you know when the shield from healer priest is coming, use it when you're shielded). Don't lose ticks! Additionally, use your wards if they help with absorbs. It’s also wise to use Evocation at the last second of Heroism / Bloodlust or Power Infusion (if not Icy Veins) to make it perform faster. Do note, if you have Icy Veins, you can use it to allow yourself a safe evocation, but that cooldown should be used to dps – but oom mage does zero dps, so…
If you find yourself being Fireball spec and not having priests to shield you from the aura damage, use Evocation just as one damaging tick happened. You should be okay if your wards can shield you, but that’s only for fire and frost schools. Don’t ever use Mana Shield in order to try to save Evocation. You will lose more mana than you gain.

Fire Ward & Frost Ward - You can use only one at a time, they share CD. Some fights have constant aura damage, some occasional raid-wide damage, or it will be you taking damage because of, reasons. Aim to use them tactfully, there are always periods when healing is a bit problematic. Also aim to use it to "save" your Evocation. Remember that if you’re Arcane (or FFB), they can restore mana; and if you’re Arcane spec with Incanter’s Absorption, say /hello to increased spell damage.

Ice Block – Don't waste this cooldown! It’s once every five/four minutes depending on your spec. If you get agrro, this is your number one ability to use besides Mirror Image (some targets are not tauntable and images are best used to dps; with T10(4) set that ability becomes core cooldown ability). Do note that going out of Ice Block brings you back to the threat list as you were, so let tank get some more agrro back first. However, if you pull agrro (and use Iceblock to protect yourself), you will not be able to use it to get rid of X bad debuff on you or to protect yourself from high damaging nukes. Having one target less to heal up can make a difference, especially on 10man.

Mirror Image – They benefit from Hero/BL. Always aim to use them just before it’s cast so they get the buff. If they’re properly scripted on the server you’re playing on, they will deal nice damage. Furthermore, Mirror Image puts a “treshhold” on your threat. Your current threat is “paused” until your images are gone or die, at which point all the threat you accumulated meanwhile will be instantly added. You can use this ability to drop threat temporarily, but if you keep having threat issues with a specific tank or encounter due to X reason, be careful as it ends, you might be blazing red. It’s the #1 ability to use when you get unexpected agrro, especially AoE. Save Ice Block as second measurement (if not third in cases when the adds are freezable and are not ranged).
IMPORTANT: Wearing T10(4) set, this ability becomes a dps cooldown (+18% damage for 30sec). 

Invisibility – This ability is bug-ish on most private servers. Blizzlike, using Invisibility acts like threat drop mechanic until you get out again and your threat is restored. Furthermore, it should not drop raid encounter combat. That being said, you have to find out how is Invisibility scripted on the server you’re playing on. If it is bugged and makes you lose combat #1 usage is to reset pot duration, and maybe even eat your strudels during the encounter yourself; or you can use it as instant threat drop.
*A repeated note, this server realms are well scripted and potion reset trick won't work here.

Blink – The point of using Blink is to move out of harm's’ way or get to a better casting position while losing as little casting time as possible. In case of expected difficulties that will require instant reactions – regardless if you’re Arcane or Fire – save it and run to desired position. This harms Arcane dps that doesn’t have instants in rotation to move bit by bit to better dpsing spot as clock ticks, but it’s better to be alive than dead, looking like a fool who has escape mechanism and failed to react.
*On Lich King encounter in ICC, you can blink back to the platform after Val'kyr drops you; but only at the tips of jagged edges. If you wish, get Glyph of Blink (replace Molten Armor) to be able to blink back from any point.

Amplify Magic & Dampen Magic – These two spells are not commonly used. First reason is that it mostly doesn't really make a big difference. The second reason is that they bring mixed results. Amplify Magic increases healing received, but also increases incoming spell damage. This is true for both direct spells/effects as well as active healing over time (HoT) or damage over time (DoT) effects. Dampen Magic does the opposite – reduces healing done and reduces magical damage received. And third reason is that it cannot be cast party or raid wide, requiring you to buff everyone up individually. If you're in 25man raid with you being the only mage, you will cast it twenty five times and eat your mana back before pull can happen.

So in a nutshell – because of varying results and it not being a BIG impact – as a rule of thumb, you don't sweat over thinking if you should cast it or not - your raid leader will ask it of you. You should however remember three encounters when they are of great value: Anub'Arak in ToGC, Saurfang and Valithria in ICC. Anoob'Arak's Swarm affects whole raid, dealing damage to everyone each second. Therefore you might be asked to cast Dampen Magic on everyone before the pull. Saurfang is the opposite - the encounter has no magical damage. You *will* be tasked to buff Amplify Magic on everyone to help keep players alive. And on Valithria encounter, the point is to heal her to 100%. Casting Amplify Magic on her makes a great difference.

Myself, I cast Amplify Magic on the tanks on every encounter that doesn't have a lot of magical damage coming their way and otherwise ignore it unless it's one of the three encounters listed above. Pre-cast it 25 times and have fun drinking.

 

While dpsing, remember that you have small raid utility arsenal.
They have priority over your job to deal damage, so stop dpsing and DO it!


Remove Curse – Sometimes it is you who has to do it. Some encounters ask for immediate dispel (/stopcasting), some you can wait until you finish casting your cast. Healers that can dispel curses are shamans and druids (only you and druid can do it naturally, shamans need a resto talent, and asking feral to dispel over you makes them lose shapeshift and that's not good). Check macro section to dispel on mouseover to hover over the raid frame for easy use and not dropping your target.

Counterspell – 24sec cooldown is long, but sometimes that's all the raid has and you will often be assigned to interrupt some specific things in at least one encounter in every raid instance. Because it’s so long of a cooldown and it being ranged, you make a good backup if someone fails or is unable to. Check macro section for using counterspell on focus.

Polymorph – Aside from controlling certain adds, this is the best ability to use on your Mind Controlled ally that’s low on HP. Because it heals the target, be wary of casting poly on adds (unless the raid wants them alive for an “odd” reason such as achievement hunt).

Spellsteal – Some buffs you can steal increase your dps and are mandatory to be dispelled (not only because it’s increasing your damage but to reduce boss/add damage, duh!). Here are three important (and in way, only, examples): Nether Power, increasing your damage by 20% per each spell stolen stack (Lord Jaraxxus in ToC). Avenging Wrath (Paladin Champion in ToC). Vampiric Might (fanatics on Lady Deathwhisper in ICC).

Frost Nova (root) & Cone of Cold (slow)- You can stop whole bunch of adds if they're rootable with this, or slow them down with well aimed frontal cone slow. These are the two most useful CDs used to protect healers / the raid, so do not tunnel vision yourself. Also useful to save the tank if adds can be slowed or rooted if (s)he's taking too much damage. HOWEVER, unless there is significant trouble, tanks don’t like it when their adds are rooted (or slowed for that matter) – Frost Nova is merely used to save someone when tanks are *UNABLE* to act!
*
Frostfire Bolt, Frostbolt work too, as well as odd-ball Improved Blizzard talent.

Blast Wave (knockback) & Dragon's Breath (disorient) – Fire Mages with either of these two talents can use them with conjunction with Frost Nova and Cone of Cold for maximum add control. Not only do they “stop” adds, spell mechanics can interrupt their spell castings as well, if they can be affected by their effects.

Slow – In case you have it and some add is quite bothersome, use it on them to slow them down or slow their casting (only rogues and warlocks can reduce casting times with their class arsenal; hunters can do it too with Snake Trap but it's not that effective; although BM hunters can use a pet with same ability).



Anything else?

...yes. Staying alive (by Bee Gees).

No matter how good you have mastered your class, it's all for naught if you end up dying or making a raid-wiping mistake. ALL of this text is not as important as it is to stay alive. WotLK expansion is about Enrage timers. Beat that dps clock. Mage is a powerful dps class, but you're of no use to anyone dead and certainly are making a clown of yourself if you cannot follow the tactics. Therefore, adapt.

Regarding your survival, first thing to do is to keep that threat meter at an eye's glance, more so if you're crit-lucky Fire Mage with insane Ignite ticks or Arcane with all the boosts the raid can give. You have Blink, Iceblock, Invisibility, Mirror Image and Fire/Frost Wards to survive in one way or another. Dunno if you've noticed but Mage as a class does not possess any passive damage reduction and that we have the least amount of HP in the raid, thus survival is oftentimes difficult when nukes are involved. If you are following the tactics (not taking any unnecessary damage (and are in range of healers*)) and are using your Wards right and you still end up dying to nukes (Ice Block can only be used once), there is but one solution and that is having Sacred Shield on you and/or maybe Earth Shield too.
*There is also a possibility that healers are bad, but let us assume that they're doing their work just fine, eh?

Another personal layer of protection is using Mage Armor or Ice Armor (swapping Armors should be done only when survival or healing in general is an issue, never sacrifice your dps if there's no need to!). There's also an option to have Magic Absorption talented (I actually suggest it in TTW Fire spec). The raid can help with Hand of Sacrifice and Divine Sacrifice, and Power Word: Shield too, but those cooldowns are both not always available and may not be enough too.

Best examples from personal experience are Freya hardmode (10man) and Lord Marrowgar heroic (note: both encounters at the time were both pre-nerf and buffed up, so they were doing some more damage than it's usual). Freya has magical nukes flying all over and buffed Tremor will literally one shot you without shield up and Ice Armor up and Marrowgar's Bonestorm (hc) hurts no matter where you are. Those are the fights where SS and ES are welcomed if you cannot survive the burst or consistent physical damage and/or swapping to Ice Armor during Bonestorm for maximum protection and swapping back to Molten Armor once he stops spinning. Similar line of thought follows using Mage Armor for magical damage, but the only time I have ever felt the need to use it (while following the tactics) was during Sapphiron 10man when both healers were frozen and we had no one to (off)heal us; and I used Dampen Magic on myself as well. 

 

Raid buffs/auras which improve your dps:
This is not the list of all buffs in the game, but a list of buffs that increase YOUR dps. E.g. Fortitude buff doesn’t increase your dps, but it does increase spellpower for Demonology Warlock and therefore yours as well. Don’t forget to use your Flask of the Frost Wyrm and dps potion of choice!

  • Arcane Brilliance: +60 Intellect, buffed by Mages (~0.36% crit increase; +9SP for Arcane)
  • Prayer of Spirit: +80 Spirit, buffed by Priests (44 critical rating; 49 with Student of the Mind)
  • Gift of the Wild: +51 all attributes from Druids
  • Blessing of Kings: +10% all attributes from Paladins
     
  • +3% haste from Balance Druids and Retribution Paladins (Moonkin Form & Swift Retribution)
  • +5% spell haste from any Shaman (Wrath of Air totem)
  • +5% Critical Strike aura from Balance Druids or Elemental Shaman (Moonkin Form & Elemental Oath)
  • +280 spellpower(+) from Elemental Shamans (fixed) and from Demonology Warlocks (depends on gear, it can climb to above 500sp) (Totem of Wrath, Demonic Pact)
     
  • Heroism [A] / Bloodlust [H]: 30% casting, melee and ranged speed for 40sec; casted by Shamans
  • Power Infusion: 20% haste (and 20% less mana cost) for 15 seconds; by Discipline Priests
  • Tricks of the Trade: 15% damage done for 6 seconds (or 10 if glyphed) every 30sec via Rogues
  • Focus Magic: +3% Critical Strike, casted by another Mage on you
     
  • (Improved) Concentration Aura: Reduces the pushback while casting spells by 35%. Talented it’s 50% reduction and further reduces silence effects by 30% (any Paladin; only Holy has it talented).
  • Replenishment: 1% mana back every five seconds from Retribution Paladins and Shadow Priests (Survival Hunters and pure Destruction Warlocks give it as well, but they’re considered inferior raiding specs overall).
  • Fish Feast: +46 Spell Power and +40 Stamina, delivered by anyone with 450 cooking.


Raid debuffs which improve your dps:

  • +3% Hit chance by Shadow Priests and Balance Druids (Misery & Improved Faerie Fire).
  • +3% Critical Strike chance from Assassination Rogues, Retribution Paladins and Elemental Shamans (Master Poisoner, Heart of the Crusader, Totem of Wrath).
  • +5% Critical Strike by Fire Mages and Demonology or Affliction Warlocks (Improved Scorch & Improved Shadowbolt).
  • +13% Magical Damage Done from Unholy Death Knights, Balance Druids or Warlocks (Ebon Plague, Earth and Moon, Curse of Elements*).
    *(Ebon Plague; AoE applyable; automatic) > (Earth and Moon; single target; automatic) > (Curse of Elements; single target; loses personal dps as Curse of Agony & Curse of Doom are warlock’s dps curses). // Heart of the Crusader can be talented by protadins and bad holy paladins as well).


Before I go on, I'd like to stress one important detail: Mage is not essential for any raid group. How do you get into a raid group? Why would people want you?

The answer is damage and food table. But buff-wise, we're mostly overlooked. Intellect buff *is* unique, but 5% crit debuff (Fire) is applied by Warlocks, who also bring Soulstone, Healthstones and Summoning Stone (and Demonic Pact if Demo) which are much more valued. Arcane's 3% damage buff is only shared with Retribution Paladins, who bring their usual paladin arsenal – blessings, auras and hand spells – and spec specific buffs, 3% crit on target, 3% haste, Replenishment, Aura Mastery and the 3% damage buff you share.

We're also second pick for our support arsenal for 10man raids. We are primarily picked if the raid group has Holy Paladin and healing Priest as healer combo – neither can dispel curses. We're secondary pick because Balance Druids are more sought after, as not only can they de-curse but they give 3% hit (de)buff, 5% spell crit aura, 3% haste aura, Innervate and Rebirth.

The point I am trying to make is that for better or for worse, we're selfish. Learn how to survive and deal insane damage to make yourself a valuable asset.

Macros 
[Mage3]

Spoiler

If you run out of places to make new macros, download BindPad addon.

Mage PvE macros:

Arcane dps macro
/use Arcane Power
/use Icy Veins
/use 13
/use 10
*Command line” /use 10” is for gloves – engineering haste enchant.
*Command line “/use 13” and “/use 14” are for your two trinket slots. Alternately write or shift+click name down into macro, e.g. “/use Talisman of Resurgence”.
*If your character is a Troll, add “/use Berserking”. [NOTE: On some servers, it doesn’t stack with Icy Veins because they’re both cast increasing buffs.]
*You could add “/cast Arcane Blast”, but sometimes you want to activate CDs mid rotation.

Arcane Blast
#showtooltip Arcane Blast
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cast [nochanneling] Arcane Blast
*This macro allows you to “spam” Arcane Blast without fearing of stopping your Arcane Missiles. It also clears Ice Block for fast dps resume.

Arcane Missiles
#showtooltip Arcane Missiles
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cast [nochanneling] Arcane Missiles
*To prevent accidental overlaps.

Arcane Barrage
#showtooltip Arcane Barrage
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cast [nochanneling] Arcane Barrage
*To prevent losing 5th missile in movement clutch plays. 

Fireball
#showtooltip Fireball
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cast Fireball
*Remove Ice Block once danger is over and resume dpsing.
*Replace Fireball with Frostfire Bolt if playing FFB.

Pyroblast
#showtooltip Pyroblast
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cancelaura Divine Intervention
/cast [nomod][nochanneling] Pyroblast
*If you have suicidal friends (or enemies) like I do, they will cast DI on you to get another person higher on the dps chart.

Living Bomb
#showtooltip Living Bomb
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cancelaura Divine Intervention
/cast [nomod] Living Bomb
/cast [mod:ctrl, @focus] Living Bomb
/cast [mod:shift, @mouseover] Living Bomb
*This is a real example of how all of my macros for targeting spells look like. Nomod use for normal cast and modifiers for different targeting practices. Mouseover addition makes applying LB very easy - mouseover unit frame and voila. Changed target or unwilling to; or everything is chaos? I can still cast on focus.

Combustion
#showtooltip Combustion
/cast Combustion
/use 13
/use Potion of Wild Magic
/use Flame Cap
*To use Combustion and on-use trinket in one go. Remember, /13 is first slot, /use 14 second.
*Don’t ever put Nevermelting Ice Crystal trinket into the macro as its best used separately from Combustion for maximum damage output.

Frostfire Spec DPS macro
#showtooltip Icy Veins
/cast Icy Veins
/cast Combustion
/use 13 
/use Potion of Wild Magic
/use Flame Cap
*FFB version of above macro.

Blink
#showtooltip
/cancelaura Ice Block
/stopcasting
/cast Blink
*To blink on time. Be mindful, Blink is still on global cooldown.

Counterspell
#showtooltip Counterspell
/cancelaura Ice Block
/stopcasting
/cast [nomod] Counterspell
/cast [mod:CTRL, @focus] Counterspell
*On using, you will stop casting and do counterspell, and if you hold down mod button, use it on focus rather than your current target. 

Ice Block
#showtooltip
/stopcasting
/cancelaura Ice block
/use Ice block
*On first use you’ll stop casting and use Ice Block. Second use removes Ice Block.
*If you’re a button masher or are worried that you’d mash this button in panic, remove /cancelaura line and make a good use of AB/Fireball macros to resume dpsing.

Ritual
#showtooltip
/say Two clicks for njummy Strudels! Stop drinking tea and get fat with magic!
/cast Ritual of Refreshment
*To notify people around you to click. Type in any message, I just gave a silly example.

Utility in one button
#showtooltip
/use [mod:alt,help,exists,@mouseover] Focus magic
/use [mod:ctrl,@focus] Polymorph
/use [nomod,help,exists,@mouseover] Remove Curse
/use [nomod,harm, nodead] Polymorph
/use [mod:shift] Spellsteal
*Multi-function macro. Priority is #1 you will de-curse the player on mouseover and #2 it will polymorph your current hostile target if mouseover isn’t on friendly. SHIFT modifier will use Spellsteal on your current target regardless of mouseover. CTRL will polymorph your focus and ALT will cast FM.


Or if that is too much for you:

Polymorph (with focus)
#showtooltip Polymorph
/use [nomod] Polymorph
/use [mod:CTRL, @focus] Polymorph
*Add “@mouseover” if you prefer it like that.

Remove Curse
#showtooltip Remove Curse
/cancelaura Iceblock
/use [help,exists, @mouseover] Remove Curse
*When you mouse-over your raid unit frames or players, it will attempt to de-curse (no need to target them – this is crucial in order not to lose target!).


General Gameplay Macros: 
List of non-mage class specific macros that I use on daily basis to enhance my gameplay.

Clear Target
/cleartarget
*Blizzard made a silly oversight. Sticky targeting is there, but no keybind to drop target (other than ESC which can ruin some other actions)? Geez.

Grays Delete
/run for bag = 0,4,1 do for slot = 1, 32, 1 do local name = GetContainerItemLink(bag,slot); if name and string.find(name,"ff9d9d9d") then PickupContainerItem(bag,slot); DeleteCursorItem(); end; end; end
*Deletes all gray items in your bags.

Grays Sell
/run for bag=0,4,1 do for slot=1,GetContainerNumSlots(bag),1 do local name=GetContainerItemLink(bag,slot) if name and string.find(name,"ff9d9d9d") then DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage("- Selling "..name) UseContainerItem(bag,slot) end end end
* It will sell grays to vendor if valid vendor window is opened.
*WARNING: It will equip all grays if no vendor window is opened. Ooops!
*I suggest you to use a lightweight addon to do this simply to have it more convenient.

Profession Save // advert
/5 WTS [Jewelcrafting] Got all recipes, 50g per cut.
*When writing the macro, shift+click on profession link to save it into a macro. Notice that it saves LINKS – meaning that the macro doesn’t update automatically when you train new recipes. To update, you have to open macro and link it again. There is a macro that “pulls” information from your logged character, but you cannot use it from alts, or link it to yourself via “/s [link]” or similar.

Spec Swap 
/usetalents [spec:2]1;2
*Swaps your talent specs hence and forth with one keybind.

Spec + Gear Swap
/equipset [nocombat,spec:1] Arcane
/usetalents [nocombat,spec:1] 2
/equipset [nocombat,spec:2] Fire
/usetalents [nocombat,spec:2] 1
*In addition to swapping specs, it swaps gearing sets (Options > Interface > Features > use Equipment Manager). Type down correct saved set names complete with capital letters (e.g. not "fire but "Fire").
*If you have JC and have special gems in different items, you should either make a separate macro bind or change equip lines (in this particular example, it would be changing to “…spec:2] Arcane”; “…spec:1] Fire”).

RDF eye
/run LFGTeleport(IsInLFGDungeon())
*Teleport inside or outside the dungeon with a keybind.

Ride
#showtooltip Frostwolf Howler
/cancelaura Ice Block
/use [nomod] Blazing Hippogryph
/use [nomod] Frostwolf Howler
/use [mod:ctrl] Reins of the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth
/use [mod:alt] Slow Fall
*Shows your land mount so you know if you can mount or not. In priority it uses flying mount first, land second (so you always fly if you can). CTRL modifier brings up vendor mount. Alt casts Slow Fall.
*/use 15 is to use “Back” itemslot if you have engineering (you can’t cast Slow fall while silenced).

Drink (three drinks in one keybind, for non-mage casters) 
#showtooltip Honeymint Tea
/use Star’s Sorrow
/use Honeymint Tea
/use Conjured Mana Strudel
*This is drinking variation for casters. It will attempt to consume strudels first. If there are no strudels, it will attempt to use normal drink. If you’re in arena without strudels, you will drink PvP drink.
*Normal PvPers tend not to have Honeymint Tea; it's here so its usable by all characters.

Queue-RBG (random battleground)
/run TogglePVPFrame()for i=1,GetNumBattlegroundTypes()do local _,_,_,iR,_=GetBattlegroundInfo(i)if iR then JoinBattlefield(i)end end TogglePVPFrame()
*This macro queues you for random battleground.
*The macro “glitches” ONCE after first win since last relog. The game automatically swaps PvP panel tabs after you finish a battleground. Fixing the glitch is simple: open PvP tab (default H) and set the tab back to “Battlegrounds”. Done! Queue again infinitely with a single keybind, pronto!

Arena Point show
/script local a={0,.76,.88,0,1};for t=1,3 do local p,z,r=GetArenaTeam(t);if p then if r>1500 then p=a[z]*1511.26/(1+1639.28*2.71828^(-0.00412*r));else p=a[z]*(.22*r+14);end DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage(('%gv%g (%g): %g Points'):format(z,z,r,p));end end
*Displays how many arena points you will get this reset (arena team rating, not personal).

Trinket 1
#showtooltip 13
/use 13
*If you are using different trinkets for different occasions, this will display which trinket is in your upper slot and use it. E.g. you’re playing as non-human and your PvP trinket should therefore be in the lower slot. If you change trinket by click or key, you are changing your other upper slot – recognized as 13.

Trinket 2
#showtooltip 14
/use 14
*Same as above, only bottom trinket slot.


Important-ish PvE targeting macros:
A helpful bunch that get the job done without any fuss. These macros are designed to ease targeting on few raid encounters. There’s no risk of targeting a dead mob and/or losing target. Tar1, Tar2 and Tar3 help targeting bosses and adds easier. Tar4 helps you select targets that are either hard to click/mouseover and/or demand instant reaction from the raid. Enjoy!

Tar1
/tar [exists,nodead] Tenebron
/tar [exists,nodead] Kologarn
/tar [exists,nodead] Leviathan MKII
/tar [exists,nodead] Fjola Lightbane
/tar [exists,nodead] Valanar
*Add /tar X Faction Champion in ToC that you're supposed to Polymorph.

Tar2
/tar [exists,nodead] Shadron
/tar [exists,nodead] Right Arm
/tar [exists,nodead] VX-001
/tar [exists,nodead] Eydis Darkbane
/tar [exists,nodead] Taldaram
*Add /tar Y Faction Champion in ToCr that you're supposed to Polymorph.

Tar3
/tar [exists,nodead] Vesperon
/tar [exists,nodead] Left Arm
/tar [exists,nodead] Aerial Command Unit
/tar [exists,nodead] Keleseth

Tar4
/tar [exists,nodead] Heart of the Deconstructor
/tar [exists,nodead] Life Spark
/tar [exists,nodead] Eonar's Gift
/tar [exists,nodead] Saronite Animus
/tar [exists] Nether Portal
/tar [exists] Infernal Volcano
/tar [exists,nodead] Kinetic Bomb


In ToCr, Faction Champion encounter, you are required to CC two mobs with Polymorph. By adding those specific names to Tar1 and Tar2 you can easily target them. My personal approach was to make a modifier bind to existing macro that polymorphed them (and placed them on focus; targetlasttarget) so I never drop my current target.

WotLK Dungeon Item
/use item: 46029
/use item: 49278
/use item: 50307
/use item: 50851
/use item: 37860
/use item: 37859
/use item: 37815
*First item is magnet for Mimiron. Second for rocket pack for Gunship. Third for Sister Svalna. Fourth for Sindragosa ICC weekly. Bottom three are for drakes in Occulus.
*Feel free to add any other daily/world item into this to use with one keybind.


AddOns & Interface
[Mage4]

Spoiler

This topic is slightly controversial. For casual raiding, default UI can work. Truly! Unit & raid frames are there, display health bar, get purple outline if cursed and most of the information is there on the screen. But that itself is the problem the harder you bite the game – the information is either at odd locations, can be barely visible, and that's if it is there in the first place. What sets players apart are their reaction times – and you can't react if there's no information for you to react to, be it something you see, hear or get alarmed of. So let me help you step by step.

What should my user interface look like?
The first advice is to clear the clutter. All raid-unimportant information should be hidden and your screen should be free as much as possible to allow you clear view of the encounter area and distinctly display you encounter-crucial information as well as the status of your team. I’ll list you my advice below. You’re not entirely obliged to follow them if they don’t suit you. "If it’s not broken, there’s no need to fix it". In other words, if you don’t mind standard UI and it doesn’t affect your performance, you don’t need to change things as much as you could add, such as e.g. Weak Auras for more distinct debuff tracking and encounter timers (modified WA, DBM, DXE) so you can react on time.

What are the “problems” with standard UI?

  • Things are big & are at “odd” locations and you can’t move around any of it. Therefore, your interface is not tailored to your need. Default UI has placement as follows: Unit Frames are top left, (de)buffs are top right, raid frames are middle-bottom left, your ability cooldowns down below and/or the right side of your screen. The result is that your eyes dart all over. It's having a negative effect on your performance if you need to pay attention to all over your screen. The bigger the monitor the worse it becomes.
    Solution: Centralize the information. To most players, action bars are down at middle (or slightly to the side if healer), castbar just above, unit frames & related (de)buffs close up around (to the sides or direct above action bar, depends on screen size) and raid frames are at the middle if healer or slightly to the side if not – and you need to see them right so you can DE-curse when necessary, check if you're in range of healers, etc. If you still prefer standard WoW UI looks, consider installing MoveAnything addon to position everything more conveniently as a beginning.
  • Lack of information. Even if you manage to edit placements, the general client UI still doesn’t display as much information as it is necessary (castbar details, distinct proc/CD ready notifications; incoming heals*, clear debuff durations, etc.). There's barely any encounter warning.
    *In big rooms, 10 or 25man version, you need to see if you're in range of healers, but you also like to see if heals are coming your way – if not; time to pop Healthstone or Iceblock!
    Solution: Install addons for things you wish to improve or implement. DBM to name one, top helper with raiding.
  • Castbar is very basic, as already mentioned twice.
    Solution: My warmest recommendation to install Quartz unless you're using a built-in castbars via other addons.
  • Total lack of information control and announcements.
    Solution: How deep will you go? Addons are a-plenty. Again, the harder you bite, the more you edit. The important thing is that information is (should be) there. How it looks... it's up to your taste. The goal is to make it comfortable for yourself and that it should be effective. Admit flaws in your UI and adapt.


How do I begin to optimize my user interface? Which addons should I get?
Now I will list you few addons to begin with. If any addon function is unclear, google it out (and google for any other addons you'd like). I’m merely giving you a list and basic info. Here is the list of most recommended addons to edit your user interface to raiding environment (alphabetical-ish order):

  • BindPad enables you extra 42 general account macros and whooping 378 character specific macros (126 macros per spec). These macros don't have character limit.
  • Bartender4 or Dominos to enhance your action bar(s).
  • DBM or DXE help every raider by giving encounter announcements in a clear way. You can setup sounds, bars and icons as well as their placement. Get only one of them btw.
    *After you get comfortable, consider removing warnings that are not relevant to you.
    *Heavily modified WeakAuras can serve for the same thing, but DBM/DXE come built in and ready.
  • Move Anything was mentioned, no need to elaborate. Note, if you are using any of mentioned addons here, nearly all of them can be moved without this one.
  • Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text or other similar addon to move scrolling text away from middle of your screen & more.
  • Omen displays threat list. Use this addon if you don’t have any clear threat display. You need to know your threat level against your target at all times. You don’t want to get ahead of the tank…
  • Quartz is the best castbar addon out there (isn’t it?). Don’t play caster in WoW without it.
  • Recount (or Skada) tracks combat statistics for real time or later review. Damage/healing done or taken, interrupt count, etc. Note, hide it during the fight. Tactics > dps. Pay attention!
  • SexyMap for clean & clear minimap. Personal reasons for recommending it are the awesome Simple Square style and an option to hide buttons (unless mouseovered?) to have it clean... and the fact that it shows who's clicking on minimap. By the Light how I love that.
  • Snowfall Key Press makes your keys activate on press rather than release. Once you begin playing with it you won’t revert back.
  • Tidy Plates and Plate Buffs enhance nameplates to better display selected debuffs, castbar and can change plate colour according to agrro. It’s very useful for LB tracking too.
  • Unit & Raid Frame Addon, such as VudHo, Grid, Pitbull, ShadowedUnitFrames or Xperl – or ElvUI*. You need to clearly see your status, target, focus and most importantly, your raid status. While Remove Curse is your only defensive support ability in arsenal, having clear view of everything is godsend.
  • *ElvUI is a complete UI overhaul to great standards. I encourage you to make a backup of WTF folder (if not copy whole WoW folder) and try the addon out. Regardless if it suits you or not, it might give you some nice ideas. Warning for Hot Streak is one of them.
  • Weak Auras or Power Auras recommended in that order, mostly recommended for warnings (say, Hot Streak!), but things you can edit go on to great length. Google them out.
  • Of Mage-specific addons, the only two I can suggest are Scorchio2 and Mage Nuggets. I'm not using them myself because I get all necessary information via other addons.


In a nutshell, you want clean and centralized UI. How you achieve it is left to your own designs – not everyone shares the same perspectives or have the same monitor size. 

Myself, I'm playing in windowed mode on 22inch screen. I use Bartender4 on 0.6 size because I only glance down to check range & CD timer if I'm unsure; 2 bars visible for CDs and mana, rest hidden. For Raid frames on mage I use Xperl on 70% size because I'm lazy to edit other addons (people frown on Xperl because of its flaws) and the information suits me (procs and temp buffs are displayed as first buffs under my char frame and raid frames are neat and shows me clearly who is debuffed and/or out of range; and shows incoming heals too). Quartz to cast more efficiently. DBM warnings are customized & tailored to raid leading, not my-role-important information. MSBT to free the middle of my screen further. SexyMap to have it clean with no buttons visible and to see who is the derp clicking on minimap when I'm trying to explain things.

Stuff like that – clean UI with information relevant to you. And I use 28 addons, mind you! Whatever you do, aim to keep the vision clear & informative with the most crucial information. There are other addons that I could suggest you to get for quality of life changes, but I decided cut that from this forum version and focus only on interface and raiding information.

Oh, and regardless of your UI, do organize your bags! Sometimes you loot encounter-important temporary items which you need to use! Clear your default 16slot backpack and keep it always empty; or alternatively  recognize the item and place it on your action bar and keybind it (check macro section for WotLK raids just above).

 

BiS Gearsets for all raiding tiers (25man) + pre-raid
[Mage05]

Spoiler

If you ever end up having all BiS items for any tier - congratulations, you belong to less than 1% of competitive player base to have achieved it! These lists are guidelines for the end goal; the road to that is what is important – realizing which items to replace and when. Bad itemization will yield poor results, so here's a reminder:
Arcane wants haste; if non-set item doesn't have haste, it's probably bad!
Fire wants balance of haste (12% is ideal before T9) and crit – 30% minimal, the higher the better!
And both specs shun spirit as stat if possible!

These lists are for 25man. If you’re looking for 10man exclusive itemization…sorry! Download Atlasloot and WoW-Equip addons and browse raid loots, crafts and emblems and come up with your own designs – or use rawr, or other sources. The same goes if you’re looking for FFB BiS lists. Start by replacing items with hit for more haste, crit or spirit instead and there you go. 

I find it important to reveal to you that cloth armor proficiency is often used by leather, mail and plate users alike. You dislike having items with spirit; but so do some other casters; and their best in slot item is in fact cloth. E.g. Ele Shamans’ mail belt has crit and hit where a cloth item has haste and hit instead. Hate it as you will, some non clothies will take cloth off your hands and be prepared to grind your teeth a little. Blame Blizzard and don’t hate the players.

Lastly, if you disagree with BiS list, contact me with all information on hand. I’m curious. I made this using my head what would be best. All feedback is much appreciated!


BiS List Example & Explanation:
*Item Part: Name (from where it is obtained)
*// means the items are equally good and > means that an item is better than another
* < stands for better but stats are not (overall) ideal (e.g. lacks necessary hit)* Pre-raid only.

Self Buffed: Arcane Intellect & Molten Armor
Raid Buffed: Arcane Brilliance, Molten Armor, Focus Magic ×2, Gift of the Wild, Prayer of Spirit, Blessing of Kings, Moonkin Aura; Totem of Wrath, Wrath of Air Totem, Flask of the Frost Wyrm and Fish Feast. SP-wise, total bonus is +451.
NOTE: Never forget raid debuffs (+3% hit, +8%crit, +13% spell damage)
*All talents are included into calculations, such as Arcanes’ Mind Mastery and Netherwind Presence.
*However, Student of the Mind is NOT calculated! (Its 1% crit bonus in T7, T8 and T9; 0.50% in T10)
*At final stats on Arcane Blast & Fireball, the cast time is with 8% raid haste. To get real crit information, deduct -3% because you’re attacking boss level target.
*Profession bonuses of any kind are not included!

Character Model: Firesong
Base Intellect: 185
Base Spirit: 173
Base Spell Critical: 2.02%
*I chose Blood Elf as a model because they don’t have any racial bonuses of intellect or spirit…And the fact that they are Elves. It’s a fantasy game. 

What’s better; mainhand with offhand, or a staff?
Mainhand + offhand have more stats than a staff. However, getting good offhand and mainhand tends to be more difficult than obtaining a staff. If you are not in a (raiding?) guild, you need luck to win both items. If you're in a raiding guild, expect that top players will get priority on 1h+offhand. If you're not on that list, hug your staves. That’s the general gist of it.


Arcane pre-Naxx BiS list:
[AT7a] [Gearscore: 3636]

Head: Forgotten Shadow Hood (CoS) > Crown of Unbridled Magic (Occ) > Hat of Wintry Doom (Tailor)
Neck: Necklace of Taldaram (OK) // Encircling Burnished Gold Chains (EoH) < Chain of Latent Energies (Naxx BoE)
Shoulders: Dark Runic Mantle (HoS trash) > Mantle of the Tribunal (HoS) > Mantle of Deceit (CoS)
Back: Deathchill Cloak (Tailoring) >//> Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape (Occ) > Shroud of Dedicated Research (Kirin Tor rep.) // Dark Soldier Cape (Ebon Blade rep.)
Chest: Heroes’ Frostfire Robe (T7)(EoH) > Ebonweave Robe (Tailoring) // Spellweave Robe (Tailoring) > Egg Sack Robes (AK) // Drakewing Raiments (Occ) // Water-Drenched Robe (VH)
Wrist: Cuffs of Winged Levitation (Occ) > Savage Wound Wrap (DTK) < Wraps of the Astral Traveler (BoE)(213 EoV)
Hands: Heroes’ Frostfire Gloves (T7)(EoH) > Ebonweave or Spellweave Gloves (Tailoring) > Silken Birdge Handwraps (OK) // Traditionally Dyed Handguards (HoL)
Waist: Plush Sash of Guzbah (EoH)
Legs: Woven Bracae Leggings (HoL) > Breeches of the Caller (UK) // Black Duskweave Leggings (Tailoring)
Feet: Sandals of Crimson Fury (Wyrmrest rep.) < Boots of Impetuous Ideals (213 BoE from Naxx) < Arcanic Tramplers (226 BoE from EoE)
Rings: Annhylde's Ring (UK), Band of Guile (CoS) > Signet of Hopeful Light (Argent Crusade rep.) > Solitaire of Reflecting Beams (VH)
Trinkets: Sundial of the Exiled > Pendulum of Telluric Currents (Occ) > Mark of the War Prisoner (VH) // Darkmoon Card: Illusion (BoE)(Inscription) // Twilight Serpent (Jewelcrafting)
1h Weapon: Titansteel Spellblade [BS] > Flameheart Spell Scalpel (Kirin Tor rep.)
offhand: Temple Crystal Fragment (DTK) > Ward of the Violet Citadel (EoH) 
Stave: Staff of Draconic Combat (Occ)
Ranged: Wand of the San'layn (UK) // Rod of The Fallen Monarch (AN) // Wand of Ahn’kahet (OK) > Wand of Sseratus (GD)

Sockets:
Purified Twilight Opal ×2
Reckless Monarch Topaz ×6

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1044 // 1213
Spirit: 446 // 634
Critical: 22.91% // 45.17%
Haste: 21.07% // 29.07%
Hit: 8.01%
Spell Power: 1712 // 2188
*Arcane Blast cast time is ~1.90 sec & 48.89% crit. With Icy Veins 1.58sec. With Hero/BL it is 1.46sec. With both up and active it’s 1.21sec. With added potion usage it’s 1.07sec.

Few words on gear progression:
The above stats are with all “first” items except for the cloak (as if you’ve farmed dungeons alone). I suggest you to get T7(2) set bonus for more mana restore and for more effective burst. Additionally, check current, if any, world events. There’s almost always some nice epic to get.


Arcane Tier 7 BiS list:
[AT7] [Gearscore: 4394]

Head: Valorous Frostfire Circlet (T7)
Neck: Wyrmrest Necklace of Power 
Shoulders: Valorous Frostfire Shoulderpads (T7)
Back: Pennant Cloak 
Chest: The Sanctum’s Flowing Vestments // Heigan's Putrid Vestments
Wrist: Unsullied Cuffs 
Hands: Valorous Frostfire Gloves (T7)
Waist: Leash of Heedless Magic 
Legs: Valorous Frostfire Leggings (T7)
Feet: Arcanic Tramplers
Ring1: Signet of Manifested Pain 
Ring2: Signet of the Malevolent // Band of Channeled Magic
Trinket1: Illustration of the Dragon Soul 
Trinket2: Embrace of the Spider 
1h Weapon: The Turning Tide 
Offhand: Surplus Limb
Staff: Greatstaff of the Nexus 
Ranged: Gemmed Wand of the Nerubians 

Sockets:
Runed Scarlet Ruby ×7
Purified Twilight Opal ×2
Reckless Monarch Topaz ×2

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1206 // 1391
Spirit: 492 // 685
Critical: 24.65% //47.07%
Haste: 25.03% // 33.03%
Hit: 8.58%
Spell Power: 2461 // 2940
*Arcane Blast cast time is ~1.83 sec & 53.07% crit. With trinket proc it’s 1.62; with Icy Veins 1.53sec; with Hero/BL 1.43sec; with IV+Hero/BL 1.17sec; with all three 1.04sec. With haste pot 0.93sec.

Few words on gear progression:
What you must know about T7 content is that there are no 226 staves and that TTT+SL is total and absolute BiS for many classes. Therefore, if you're in a guild (or without) and you're not a core raider or other raiders have greater privilege on items than you, your niche item is Greatstaff of the Nexus from Eye of Eternity 10man, 213 item level with perfect stats. The problem is that the same goes for all other stave-using casters, so expect high competition for it. You should start farming it asap. 

Trinket Illustration of the Dragon Soul shares similar problem; more so because even the healers need it. If it will go to dps, it will always go first to guild's Demonology Warlock, then to others. It's "rare", so good luck on obtaining it!

As for the tier items, the best non-set item is chest, definitely. Taking either variation is good, the dps difference is minimal (Putrid Vestments variation rewards ~12sp more at a trade of some minimal crit and haste) The set bonus holds more in it than going for other non-set items with haste instead, don't underestimate your 5% damage on crit!


Arcane Tier 8 BiS list:
[AT8] [Gearscore: 4889]

Head: Collar of the Wyrmhunter
Neck: Sapphire Amulet of Renewal > Pendant of Shallow Grave
Shoulders: Conqueror’s Kirin Tor Shoulderpads (T8) 
Back: Sunglimmer Cloak 
Chest: Robes of the Umbral Brute >//> Raiments of the Iron Council 
Wrist: Grasps of Reason  
Hands: Conqueror’s Kirin Tor Gauntlets (T8)
Waist: Sash of Ancient Power > Leash of Heedless Magic
Legs: Leggings of Lost Love > Leggings of the Wanton Spellcaster
Feet: Treads of the False Oracle > Boots of Fiery Resolution
Ring1: Conductive Seal 
Ring2: Nebula Band 
Trinket1: Scale of Fates
Trinket2: Flare of the Heavens
1h Weapon: Starshard Edge
offhand: Cosmos
Stave: Icecore Staff
Ranged: Scepter of Lost Souls 

Sockets:
Runed Scarlet Ruby ×13
Purified Twilight Opal ×3
Reckless Monarch Topaz ×1
Veiled Monarch Topaz ×1

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1292 // 1486
Spirit: 681 // 893
Critical: 31.71% // 49.42%
Haste: 26.86% // 34.86%
Hit: 8.27%
Spell Power: 2652 // 3131
*Arcane Blast cast time is ~1.80 sec & 55.42% crit. With trinket use it’s 1.63; with Icy Veins 1.50sec; with Hero/BL 1.39sec; with IV+Hero/BL 1.16sec; with all three 1.04sec. With haste potion 0.94sec.

Few words on gear progression:
**This list might not be ideal!** I have never managed to test it in a real environment. T8 (4) set bonus has a chance that your Hot Streak / Missile Barrage / Brain Freeze won't be consumed on use, allowing you to spam Arcane Missiles until the buff expires. Given how Arcane Works, I'm not sure if that would be a dps increase, confirmation with proof needs to be provided (and given how Arcane is not an ideal spec for Ulduar raid due to high movement required, it's ought to take a while). Until that moment, T8 (4) won't be recommended to get.


Arcane Tier 9 BiS list:
[AT9] [Gearscore: 5732]

Head: T9.5
Neck: Wail of the Val’kyr [A] // Cry of the Val’kyr [H]
Shoulders: T9.5 
Back: Jaina’s Radiance [A] // Aethas' Intensity [H]
Chest: Flowing Vestments of Ascent [A] // Flowing Robes of Ascent [H]
Wrist: Armbands of the Ashen Saint [A] // Bindings of the Ashen Saint[H]
Hands: T9.5
Waist: Cord of the Tenebrous Mist [A] // Belt of the Tenebrous Mist [H]
Legs: T9.5
Feet: Boots of Mourning Widow [A] // Sandals of the Mourning Widow [H]
Ring1: Firestorm Ring [A] // Firestorm Band [H]
Ring2: Ring of the Darkmender [A] or Band of Deplorable Violence [A] // Circle of the Darkmender [H] or Lurid Manifestation [H]
Trinket1: Reign of the Unliving [A] // Reign of the Dead [H] – heroic versions
Trinket2: Reign of the Unliving [A] // Reign of the Dead [H] – normal versions // Talisman of Resurgence
1h Weapon: Blade of the Unbroken Covenant [A] // Mortalis [H]
offhand: Chalice of Benedictus [A] // Lightbane Focus [H]
Staff: Clemency [A] // Sufferance [H]
Ranged: Rod of Imprisoned Souls [A] // Scepter of Imprisoned Souls [H]

Sockets:
Runed Cardinal Ruby ×9
Purified Dreadstone ×4
Reckless Ametrine ×7

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1629 // 1857
Spirit: 650 // 859
Critical: 34.31% // 57.86%
Haste: 32.53% // 40.53%
Hit: 8.27%
Spell Power: 3352// 3837
*Arcane Blast cast time is ~1.72 sec & 68.86% crit. With Icy Veins it’s 1.44sec; with Hero/BL 1.33sec; with IV+Hero/BL 1.10sec.

Few words on gear progression:
Tier 9 (4) is worthwhile to get. Normal Anub trinket stacks with heroic version, effect can crit. Special notice goes to EoT trinket, Talisman of Resurgence. It's the best on-use trinket which you can obtain in this game at this point and it works wonders with IV+AP. It's arguably better choice than normal Reign so you can burst down Anoob during p2 burst, but I haven't tested it out myself.

Now, the ring issue. Haste is the most wanted stat, but the only ring with haste in T9 has Mp5 on it. If you dislike MP5 and consider it an absolute waste of stats, then aim for ring with crit and spirit instead. The trade-off is...small. You gain ~1.9% crit and lose slight more than 1.49% haste. All the tests I have done didn't bring one ring one in front of the other.


Arcane pre-ICC raiding BiS list:
[AT10a] [Gearscore: 5369]

Head: [Faction] Hood of Conquest (T9) (EoT)
Neck: Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker (ICC BoE) > Arcane Loops of Anger (FoS)
Shoulders: [Faction] Shoulderpads of Conquest (T9) (EoT) < Stiffened Corpse Shoulderpads (BoE)
Back: Cloak of Displacement (ToCr BoE) > Disguise of the Kumiho (EoV) 
Chest: [Faction] Robe of Conquest (T9) (EoT)
Wrist: Bejeweled Wizard’s Bracers [Tailoring] > Wristguards of Subterranean Mass (PoS nm) > Cuffs of the Shadow Ascendant (EoV) < Lady’s Brittle Bracers (ICC BoE) for stats
Hands: [Faction] Gauntlets of Conquest (T9 (EoT)
Waist: Strip of Remorse (HoR) // Braid of Salt and Fire (PoS)
Legs: Leggings of Woven Death (Tailoring) > [Faction] Leggings of Conquest (T9) (EoT)
Feet: Sandals of Consecration (Tailoring) // Deathfrost Boots (Tailoring) > Prelate’s Snowshoes (PoS)
Ring1: Ashen Band of Endless Destruction (Ashen Verdict rep)
Ring2: Runed Signet of the Kirin Tor (Ring Vendor)> Band of the Invoker (EoT)
Trinket1: Talisman of Resurgence (EoT)
Trinket2: Abyssal Rune (ToCd nm)
1h Weapon: Quel’Delar, Lens of the Mind (Broken Hilt) > Seethe (FoS)
offhand: Shriveled Heart (HoR)
Staff: Engraved Gargoyle Femur (PoS)
Ranged: Nightmare Ender (ICC BoE) > Brimstone Igniter (EoT)

Sockets:
Runed Cardinal Ruby ×5
Purified Dreadstone ×3
Reckless Ametrine ×6

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1639 // 1867
Spirit: 445 // 631
Critical: 34.00% // 49.20%
Haste: 32.17% // 40.17%
Hit: 8.75%
Spell Power: 2808 // 3293
*Arcane Blast cast time is ~1.76 sec & 67.20% crit. With Icy Veins it’s 1.47sec; with Hero/BL 1.35sec; with IV+Hero/BL 1.13sec.

Few words on gear progression:
*I need access to test realm before updating stats.
This is for normal servers with 3.3.5a patch where one as a fresh 80 is doing dungeons for Emblems of Triumph in order to gear up for ToC and ICC. List contains all items which are obtainable outside the raid. Ashen Verdict rep can be farmed to exalted by clearing trash in Icecrown Citadel over and over and over again for multiple hours, if you’re up for that. I did not pick Stiffened Corpse Shoulderpads because you want T9 (4) set bonus, and legs are the best replacement, but if you cannot gather or purchase the mats for the tailoring legs, use the shoulders and T9 legs (rip haste, but good SP and crit boost). If you cannot get the shoulders either, get set bonus ones. You're fine with them.


Arcane Tier 10 BiS list:
[AT10] [Gearscore: 6557]

Head: Sanctified Bloodmage Hood
Neck: Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker
Shoulders: Sanctified Bloodmage Shoulderpads 
Back: Cloak of Burning Dusk 
Chest: Sanctified Bloodmage Robe
Wrist: Bracers of Fiery Night
Hands: Sanctified Bloodmage Gloves
Waist: Crushing Coldwraith Belt
Legs: Plaguebringer’s Stained Pants
Feet: Plague Scientist’s Boots
Ring1: Ashen Ring of Endless Destruction
Ring2: Ring of Rapid Ascend
Trinket1: Charred Twilight Scale
Trinket2: Dislodged Foreign Object
1h Weapon: Bloodsurge, Kel’Thuzad’s Blade of Agony
offhand: Shadow Silk Spindle
Staff: Archus, Greatstaff of Antonidas
Ranged: Corpse Impaling Spike

Sockets:
Runed Cardinal Ruby ×18
Purified Dreadstone ×2

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1934 // 2192
Spirit: 223 // 389
Critical: 40.58% // 55.53%
Haste: 50.95% // 58.95% (62.95% // 70.95% with set)
Hit: 9.03%
Spell Power: 3757 // 4146
*Arcane Blast cast time is ~1.50 sec & 69.53% crit. With (2) set bonus it’s 1.34sec; with Icy Veins it’s 1.12sec; with Hero/BL 1.32sec; with (2)set+IV+Hero/BL it’s 0.86sec.

Few words on gear progression:
*I need access to test realm before updating stats.
Notice how Mirror Images ability becomes a dps cooldown. Use it well (in conjuction with Icy Veins and Arcane Power, but make sure to pop Mirror Images before due to GCD).
If you don’t have access to Ruby Sanctum gears, then these are ICC items you’re looking for: 
Back: Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape > Jaina’s Radiance [A] // Aethas' Intensity [H]
Wrist: Ether Soaked Bracers (hit?)
Trinket: Muradin’s Spyglass (sustained) // Talisman of Resurgence (burst)

 

Arcane Project Undergeared Challenge
[APUC] 

Head: Forgotten Shadow Hood (CoS)
Neck: Necklace of Taldaram (OK)
Shoulders: Dark Runic Mantle (HoS) > Mantle of the Tribunal (HoS)
Back: Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape (Occ)
Chest: Drakewing Raiments (Occ) // Egg Sack Robes (AN) >//> *Water Drenched Robe (VH)
Wrist: Savage Wound Wrap (DTK)
Hands: Traditionally Dyed Handguards (HoL)
Waist: Flowing Sash of Order (HoL)
Legs: Black Duskweave Leggings (Tailoring)
Feet: Cleric's Linen Shoes (Nexus)
Ring1: Solitaire of Reflecting Beams (VH)
Ring2: Ring of the Frenzied Wolvar (UP)
Trinket1: Pendulum of Telluric Currents (Occ) // Forge Ember (HoS) >> Spark of Life (HoS)
Trinket2: *Mark of the War Prisoner (VH)
1h Weapon: Flameheart Spell Scalpel (KT rep) >//> Cursed Lich Blade (DTK)
offhand: Temple Crystal Fragment (DTK) >//> *Telestra's Journal (Nexus)
Staff: Staff of Sinister Claws (OK)
Ranged: Wand of the San'layn (UK)

Sockets:
Runed Scarlet Ruby ×4
Purified Dreadstone ×2
Veiled Monarch Topaz ×2

Total Stats
I have no test server available atm. 1535 SP without Mind Mastery, 19.37% haste (25.37% with Netherwind Presence, so 33.37% in raid), 8.04% hit.
 

Few words on gear progression:
Project Undergeared is about whole raid group using 200ilevel blues (rare) as highest quality items – no epic items or gems, and no enchants requiring Abyssal Shards (meaning no +10 all stats on chest and no +63/81 SP on weapon) and finishing every raid possible to prove that gear is no real obstacle. Professions & their bonuses are allowed. Arcane Mages don't rely on gear as much as many other specs so that's good. Don't attempt playing (Frost)Fire for this challenge. Use the spec with Incanter's Absorption to maximize your dps output on every encounter possible. Have fun!

Gear-wise, there is not a lot of choice: rare quality has only two equip stats, so we aim for SP+haste & SP+hit as priority. Therefore it's all straightforward, even with trinkets.

You might enjoy Mark of the War Prisoner for controlled burst damage (say, last phase of PP, pop Hero/BL with IV+AP, pot and trinket use?). You are using either of the first two robes suggested with it. When you want two proc trinkets, equip Water Drenched Robes to get lost hit back (but mind you, don't have three purple gems!). Or if you're Draenei, swap offhand and socket an additional Veiled Monarch Topaz.

If mana longevity is ever an issue, there are two items to consider equipping: Spark of Life and Leggings of the Ruins Dweller (GD), but those items won't increase the damage you do. But oom dps does zero dps, so...

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =



Fire pre-Naxx BiS list: 
[FT7a] [Gearscore: 3673]

Head: Hat of Wintry Doom [Tailoring] < Crown of Unbridled Magic (Occ) > Forgotten Shadow Hood (CoS)
Neck: Necklace of Taldaram (OK) < Titanium Spellshock Necklace [JC] // Chain of Latent Energies (Naxx10 trash) > Encircling Burnished Gold Chains (EoH)
Shoulders: Runecaster's Mantle (UK trash) // Dark Runic Mantle (HoS trash) > Mantle of the Tribunal (HoS) > Mantle of Deceit (CoS)
Back: Dark Soldier Cape (Ebon Blade rep.) // Reanimator's Cloak (DTK trash) < Deathchill Cloak (Tailoring) > Reanimator's  Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape (Occ) // Shroud of Moorabi (GD) // Subterrean Waterfall Shroud (OK)
Chest: Heroes’ Frostfire Robe (EoH) > Ebonweave Robe [Tailoring] > Water Drenched Robe (VH Ichoron)
Wrist: Azure Cloth Bindings (VH) // Cuffs of Winged Levitation (Occulus) < Wraps of the Astral Traveler (213 EoV)
Hands: Heroes' Frostfire Gloves (T7) (EoH) > Ebonweave Gloves [Tailoring]
Waist: Plush Sash of Guzbah (EoH) > Girdle of Bane (UP)
Legs: Woven Bracae Leggings (HoL) > Breeches of the Caller (UK)
Feet: Slithering Slippers (GD) // Sandals of Crimson Fury [Wyrmrest] < Boots of Impetus Ideals (Naxx, 213 BoE) < Arcanic Tramplers (EoE, 226 BoE)
Rings: Titanium Spellshock Ring (Jewelcrafting) > Signet of the Kirin Tor (Ring Vendor) > Ring of the Traitor King (AN) >> Globule Signet (VH) // Annhylde's Ring (UK) // Band of Guile (CoS)
Trinket1: Mark of the War Prisoner (VH) > Forge Ember (HoS)
Trinket2: Sundial of the Exiled (EoH)
1h Weapon: Titansteel Spellblade (Blacksmithing) > Flameheart Spell Scalpel (Kirin Tor rep)
offhand: Ward of the Violet Citadel (EoH)
Stave: Staff of Draconic Combat (Occ)
Ranged: Rod of The Fallen Monarch (AN) // Wand of the San'layn (UK) > Wand of Ahn’kahet (OK) // Wand of Sseratus (GD)

Sockets:
Runed Scarlet Ruby ×4
Purified Twilight Opal ×2
Veiled Monarch Topaz ×1
Potent Monarch Topaz ×1

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 821 // 1026
Spirit: 279 // 451
Critical: 31.71% // 52.34%
Haste: 6.31% // 14.31%
Hit: 14.22%
Spell Power: 1594 // 2045
*Fireball cast time is ~2.48 sec & 55.34% crit. With Hero/BL it’s 1.91sec. With Power Infusion it’s 2.07sec. With both it’s 1.59sec. With speed potion it’s 2.17sec. With all three it’s 1.39sec.

Few words on gear progression:
TTW spec requires insane 14% hit, so let's deal with that first!
Hat of Wintry Doom is considered BiS because of its 44 hit a red gem slot, but if you want to socket hit, get Crown of Unbridled Magic. Same is with Necklace of Taldaram, but both other items give more stats overall (so, get a Hat instead?). Runecaster's Mantle and Dark Runic Mantle have another gem socket for you. Cloak for hit is either Dark Soldier Cape or Reanimator's Cloak with a gem socket. Chest T7 is BiS, but if you severely need more hit before your first raid, get either alternative ones, same goes for the hands, but remember that (2) set bonus really good for your mana. The rest is self-explanatory. Use Precision enchant on gloves. Additionally, check current, if any, world events. There’s almost always some nice epic to get.

If you have issues obtaining your hit items before your first raid, go FFB spec. This mostly revolves around your luck getting Mark of the War Prisoner, FFB wants to have Forge Ember as 2nd trinket anyway. Also, do mind, you won't be doing a lot of damage, but its still raid decent.


Tier 7 Fire BiS list: 
[FT7] [Gearscore: 4375]

Head: Hood of Rationality > Valorous Frostfire Circlet (T7)
Neck: Wyrmrest Necklace of Power
Shoulders: Valorous Frostfire Shoulderpads (T7)
Back: Pennant Cloak
Chest: Valorous Frostfire Robe (T7)
Wrist: Unsullied Cuffs
Hands: Valorous Frostfire Gloves (T7)
Waist: Cincture of Polarity
Legs: Valorous Frostfire Leggings (T7)
Feet: Boots of Impetuous Ideals
Ring1: Signet of Manifested Pain
Ring2: Signet of the Malevolent
Trinket1: Dying Curse
Trinket2: Sundial of the Exiled 
1h Weapon: The Turning Tide
offhand: Surplus Limb
Stave: //
Ranged: Gemmed Wand of the Nerubians

Sockets:
Runed Scarlet Ruby ×7
Purified Twilight Opal ×2
Potent Monarch Topaz ×2

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1037 // 1196
Spirit: 412 // 597
Critical: 31.99% // 54.16%
Haste: 16.53% // 24.53%
Hit: 14.33%
Spell Power: 1979 // 2430
*Fireball cast time is ~2.26 sec & 57.16% crit. With Hero/BL it’s 1.74sec. With Power Infusion it’s 1.88sec. With both up it’s 1.45sec.

Few words on gear progression:
While T7 itemization doesn't hold enough gearing power to push Fire above BiS geared Arcane Mage, it is Fire one wants to play when T8 content hits. If you dislike my haste-focused build, you can play around with items; but I don’t suggest going below 12% haste. Your itemization is your own thing – as mentioned, Fire cannot become super potent in T7 gear. Haste-focus trades ~3% crit for 3.5% haste and ~55 more SP, and the end result was actually very satisfying.

If you wish more crit rating, get the following items: 
Shoulder: Mantle of Dissemination (and use T7 head)
Wrist: Bands of Impurity or Bindings of the Expansive Mind
Ring: Lost Jewel
offhand: Ward of the Violet Citadel.

Extract of Necromantic Power would’ve been BiS, but through patches it gained 45sec iCD, leaving Sundial of the Exiled as a superior choice. There are no good fire staves in this tier; both Damnation and Staff of Restraint (213 ilvl) are weaker compared to 226 ilvl TTD+Limb, and Greatstaff of the Nexus doesn't have critical strike nor spirit on it; tho that huge hit sure can help. Dying Curse is the best hit trinket you can hope to get as Fire in the whole expansion, don't ever vendor/DE it, it can be useful even in T10!



Fire Tier 8 BiS list: 
[FT8] [Gearscore: 4980]

Head: Conqueror’s Kirin Tor Hood (T8)
Neck: Pendant of the Fiery Havoc
Shoulders: Conqueror’s Kirin Tor Shoulderpads (T8)
Back: Drape of Mortal Downfall
Chest: Conqueror’s Kirin Tor Tunic (T8)
Wrist: Grasps of Reason
Hands: Pharos Gloves
Waist: Starwatcher’s Binding
Legs: Conqueror’s Kirin Tor Leggings (T8)
Feet: Treads of the False Oracle
Ring1: Nebula Band
Ring2: Conductive Seal
Trinket1: Flare of the Heavens
Trinket2: Scale of Fates // Eye of the Broodmother 
1h Weapon: Starshard Edge
offhand: Cosmos
Staff: Staff of Endless Winter
Wand: Petrified Ivy Spring

Sockets:
Runed Scarlet Ruby ×7
Purified Twilight Opal ×3
Potent Monarch Topaz ×4
Reckless Monarch Topaz ×2
Veiled Monarch Topaz ×2

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1151 // 1322
Spirit: 604 // 808
Critical: 39.16% // 61.63% (41.06% // 63.52% with Eye of the Broodmother)
Haste: 11.99% // 19.99%
Hit: 14.07%
Spell Power: 2537 // 2933
*Fireball cast time is ~2.35 sec & 64.63% crit (66.52% with Eye of the Broodmother). With Hero/BL up it’s 1.81sec. With PI up it’s 1.96sec. With both it’s 1.51sec.

Few words on gear progression:
Tier 8 (4) has a chance that using your Hot Streak won't consume the buff, and it can proc off itself, allowing you to maybe spam Pyroblast until the buff expires. Isn't that awesome? Trinkets... people debate over 2nd trinket. Both are great, can't say I can favor one over the other. While on-use haste is nice, passive crit pays up! If you find yourself in a place where (4)set is not working, get these items instead: 
Head: Crown of Luminescence
Waist: Sash of Ancient Power (Tailoring)
Legs: Leggings of the Enslaved Idol


Fire Tier 9 BiS list: 
[FT9] [Gearscore: 5796]

Head: T9
Neck: Wail of the Val’kyr [A] // Cry of the Val’kyr [H]
Shoulders: T9
Back: Jaina’s Radiance [A] // Aethas' Intensity [H]
Chest: Skyweaver Roves [A] // Skyweaver Vestments [H]
Wrist: Bindings of Dark Essence [A] // Dark Essence Bindings [H]
Hands: T9
Waist: Cord of the Tenebrous Mist [A] // Belt of the Tenebrous Mist [H]
Legs: T9
Feet: Boots of the Mourning Widow [A] // Sandals of the Mourning Widow [H]
Ring1: Band of Deplorable Violence
Ring2: Firestorm Ring
Trinket1: Reign of the Unliving [A] // Reign of the Dead [H] – heroic  versions
Trinket2: Reign of the Unliving [A] // Reign of the Dead [H] // Flare of the Heavens
1h Weapon: Blade of the Unbroken Covenant [A] // Mortalis [H]
offhand: Symbol of Transgression [A] // Talisman of Heedless Sins [H]
Staff: Clemency [A] // Sufferance [H]
Ranged: Petrified Ivy Sprig

Sockets:
Runed Cardinal Ruby ×5
Purified Dreadstone ×5
Reckless Ametrine ×10

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1424 // 1623
Spirit: 567 // 767
Critical: 42.28% // 57.53%
Haste: 22.11% // 30.11%
Hit: 14.07%
Spell Power: 3164 // 3615
*Fireball cast time is ~2.16 sec & 73.53% crit. With Hero/BL up, it’s 1.66 sec.

Few words on gear progression:
Trinkets stack and can be a critical hit. Some players prefer Flare of the Heavens (2.61% crit) instead of normal Reign for the passive crit and SP proc. Both trinkets are damn close, but I personally prefer Reign to Flare (BiS gear only!) because Fireball crit is above 70% and Reign's passive SP gain and frequent high-damage effect are constantly coming. Some players prefer building more crit to reach above 75%! That's also valid. How you deal with it is up to you, I can't say one to be so much more better than the other.


Fire pre-ICC raiding BiS list: 
[FT10a] [Gearscore: 5321]

Head: T9 (EoT) // T9+EoT head&shoulder combo
Neck: Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker (ICC BoE) > Arcane Loops of Anger (FoS)
Shoulders: Stiffened Corpse Shoulderpads (ICC trash) > T9+EoT head&shoulder combo
Back: Cloak of Displacement (ToC BoE) // Asimov’s Drape (Uld BoE) > Cloak of the Fallen Cardinal (PoS normal) > Deathchill Cloak (Tailoring)
Chest: T9 (EoT)
Wrist: The Lady’s Brittle Bracers (ICC BoE) > Bracer of Worn Molars (HoR)
Hands: T9 (EoT)
Waist: Strip of Remorse (HoR) // Sash of Ancient Power (Tailoring)
Legs: T9 (EoT)
Feet: Deathfrost Boots (Tailoring) > Prelate’s Snowshoes (PoS)
Ring1: Ashen Ring of Endless Destruction (Ashen Verdict rep.)
Ring2: Runed Signet of the Kirin Tor > Band of the Invoker (EoT) 
Trinket1: Nevermelting Ice Crystal (PoS)
Trinket2: Sundial of the Exiled (EoH) > Shard of the Crystal Heart (EoT) > Talisman of Resurgence (EoT)
1h Weapon: Quel’Delar, Lens of the Mind (Broken Hilt) > Surgeon’s Needle (PoS) // Seethe (FoS)
offhand: Shriveled Heart (HoR)
Staff: //
Wand: Nightmare Ender (ICC BoE) > Brimstone Igniter (EoT) // Soulsplinter (HoR)

Sockets:
Runed Cardinal Ruby ×4
Purified Dreadstone ×3
Veiled Ametrine ×2
Potent Ametrine ×2
Reckless Ametrine ×3

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1305 // 1492
Spirit: 491 // 684
Crit Rating: 43.27% // 58.33%
Haste Rating: 17.05% // 25.05%
Hit Rating: 14.10%
Spell Power: 2675 // 3126
*Fireball cast time is 2.25 sec & 74.33% crit. With Hero/BL up it’s 1.73sec.

Few words on gear progression:
This is for normal servers with 3.3.5a patch where one as a fresh 80 is doing dungeons for Emblems of Triumph in order to gear up for ToC and ICC. Boots made by tailors are 2nd/3rd BiS as there are only one cloth boots in 25man ICC (that you want to use) and the competition is fierce. Leg item crafted by tailors is not ideal because you will want to replace them with T10 asap (hit). Don’t use Nevermelting Ice Crystal with Combustion! Use them separately, one after another!

One important thing when upgrading to Tier 10: Tier 9 (4) set bonus increases FFB/Fireball's crit chance by 5%. That's a lot. When looking at which tier item to replace, consider any other gear you get. For instance, getting head and legs as first items is plausible because T9 head and T10 legs have crit (and hit) and you replace T9 head's haste with crit. You won't end up losing too much crit (3.50% tops). T10 (2) set is powerful, indeed, but try to lose as little crit as possible.

 


Fire Tier 10 BiS list: 
[FT10] [Gearscore: 6557]

Head: Sanctified Bloodmage Hood
Neck: Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker
Shoulders: Sanctified Bloodmage Shoulderpads
Back: Cloak of Burning Dusk
Chest: Robe of the Walking Nightmare
Wrist: Bracers of Fiery Night
Hands: Sanctified Bloodmage Gloves
Waist: Crushing Coldwraith Belt
Legs: Sanctified Bloodmage Leggings
Feet: Plague Scientist’s Boots
Ring1: Ashen Ring of Endless Destruction
Ring2: Ring of Rapid Ascent
Trinket1: Phylactery of the Nameless Lich
Trinket2: Charred Twilight Scale
1h Weapon: Bloodsurge, Kel’Thuzad’s Blade of Agony
offhand: Shadow Silk Spindle
Wand: Corpse-Impaling Spike

Sockets:
Runed Cardinal Ruby ×14
Purified Dreadstone ×2
Potent Ametrine ×2
Veiled Ametrine ×2*
*It is two Veiled Ametrines with Icewalker feet enchant. With Tuskarr, you require one more.

Total Stats (self buffed // raid buffed)
Intellect: 1682 // 1906
Spirit: 223 // 389
Crit Rating: 52.67% // 63.78%
Haste Rating: 32.51% // 52.51%
Hit Rating: 14.07%
Spell Power: 3428 // 3862
*Fireball cast time is ~1.99 sec (1.77sec with set bonus) & 77.78% crit. With Hero/BL up it’s 1.46sec.

Few words on gear progression:
ICC ditches spirit completely. T10 (2) set's 12% haste combined with 8% raid haste gives exact 20% increased haste while set bonus is active. Combined with ~30% haste from gear, Fireballs are coming fast and you need to mind your positioning more than before. Notice how with T10 (4) set bonus Mirror Images becomes a dps cooldown. Use it well! You’re welcome to increase your crit if you wish by equipping spirit+crit gear items, I prefer the haste personally. If you don’t have access to (heroic) Ruby Sanctum gears, then these are ICC items you’re looking for:
Back: Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape > Jaina’s Radiance [A] // Aethas' Intensity [H]
Wrist: The Lady’s Brittle Bracers
Trinket2: Dislodged Foreign Object (or Muradin's Spyglass for more crit and constant SP?)


The End
[INFO2]

Wow, we’re done! I hope this guide has been helpful! Even though WotLK is at the end of its private WoW era, I still respond to emails and find time to edit some missing points. Please contact me if you have any observations or want to say thanks – or are interested in some of my other WoW class guides. Stay safe and enjoy the game! Change Log is below. Bye bye!

Spoiler

Change-log:
Major changes only.

2015
•    27th February – Published as third edition after being late with it for eight months. Blame RL.
•    23rd March – Arcane edit. Thank you Fastor from BC/TW for the chat.
•    26th April – Itemizations review. Also lots of grammar fixes.
•    11th June – Addon section overhaul. Few Fire spec explanations have changed. Arcane Tree overhaul. T9 gearset changed (oops!).
•    30th August – Additional addon section overhaul. Fire explanations received a final change (I hope). Some explanations are now listed instead of just talked through. Few typos fixed.
•    26th September – Edited Fire tree to have Magical Absorption as default. Few details at gearing have been corrected (values).

2016
•    7th January – Corrected gearing values for many tiers. Changed suggested T7 gearing for Fire spec to full haste focus after several test runs (17% from gears, up from 12%).
•    28th February – Fast-search to professions has been miss-labeled for over a year. Sorry!
•    23rd May – Update from 7th January was not updated. Corrected the gearing.
•    27th June – After numerous in-game and email conversions, I've adapted Fire and Arcane talent spec wordings at multiple locations; Arcane received a full page of text; Fire lost one and a half. Added few new macros (/cancelaura mostly).
•    4th July – Added real-time stats to all BiS lists. “Few words on gear progression” has been heavily edited so all information per Tier remains on a single page. And /sigh, added gearscore.
•    7th July – Some gearing details were mismatched. Addon list is more comprehensible now.
•    29th July – Polished some wordings all around. Corrected T10 details.

2017
•    26th  March – Added a better explanation for Incanter’s Absorption. Fixed some typos.
•    22nd July – Re-worked Frost Ward & IA explanations. Edited most BiS lists’s values. Edited FFB information. Added more information on how to use Mirror Images right. Addon section received an update. Several typo fixes.

2018
•    15th July – Added more information about survival under M2 section. Few gearing points have been better explained, and there's still room to improve.
•    1st September – Polished many random segments with better explanations.

2019
•    21st April – Added information on Arcane Frostfire build.
•    3rd September – Added information on Project Undergeared's Arcane gearset.
•    17th October – Well what do you know. Pre-ICC Arcane had wrong trinket saved. T10 had wrong haste calculations. I'll update this on feedback.
•    18th October – Added missing WotLK Dungeon Item macro.
•    5th November – Revised Project Undergeared gear list.

2020
•    16th June – Small edits.
 



And always, remember this joke…
One sunny Sunday, three wives were sitting on a bench in Stormwind Park.
“My husbands’ a warrior,” boasted the first with a grin “he has stamina to last all night!”
“My husbands’ a rogue, he likes to do it from behind.” admits the second.
As they both laugh, their friend takes a peculiar shade of red, and they expectantly look at her. 
“My husbands’ a mage,” she mumbles “… and I HATE Polymorph!”

 

Edited by Vaxsysl
Tidbit edits.
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Vaxsysl    18

There we go, layout is now done properly with quick [keywords] present. Forum version is a bit clunky, if you wish to read normal document version (it's more comprehensible and easier to read), contact me over email.

Cheers.

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hypertomee    0

Hi, nice work. I've been tinkering around with a couple of bis lists I have found for T7 in arcane, and yours has come out ahead by ~30dps on rawr and reached 6909 on simcraft.

This T7 arcane bis list: 

dps: 7170.71 on rawr //  6909 on simcraft
stat weights: 
int: 0.7065
spi: 0.4825
sp: 1.00
hit: 1.8853
crit: 0.5790
haste: 0.9098

I made several modifications, you seem to be using icewalkers on your boots, which is why you have 0.58% above the hit cap, by using the 18 spirit enchant, you gain like 2dps on Rawr, which gets better if you want to take points in Student of Mind(0/3).

I also changed your spec, you have to take the 5/5 in Barrage Missile, the dps loss was 158.26 on Rawr, which is pretty big. If you really want Arcane Barrage, you can drop one point in Arcane Meditation(2/3) which is a loss of 54.33. You can also drop one point from Arcane Stability(3/5) and ask a healing paladin to put one point in aura of concentration in your raid so you can still have 100% pushback resistance.

Edited by hypertomee

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Britak    0

Nobody saying Frost can be viable here too? It can. Its Deep Freeze works (not bugged) on bosses giving damage and with Cold snap its pretty good extra dps. Its Blizzard is much stroger AOE for faster cleaning trash and slowing down mobs. Water Elemental makes additional DPS too.

Will someone try to prove me wrong as I would indeed like to hear thoughts, numbers and suggestions?

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hypertomee    0

The problem with frost mage is how bad they scale with secondary stats. At the moment, the potential DPS is about 5% lower compared to arcane in BiS gear (Rawr : 6934.29 and Simcraft: 6618) but the stat weights are much lower:

    Arcane // Frost

int: 1.0979 // 0.2226

spi: 0.7585 // 0.4724

sp: 1.5826 // 1.6240

hit: 2.8816 // 2.2250

crit: 0.9049 // 0.7961

haste : 1.3991 // 0.8490

 

Those are the scale factors I got for arcane and frost with T7 BiS gear. As you can see, frost is only on par with arcane on the spell power stat, the other stats do not offer as much DPS in frost as they do in arcane. So the more gear you have, the greater the gap.

Regarding your AoE argument, it is simply not true, every mage spec has a crit modifier that can affect blizzard, and fire is by far the best spec for aoe/cleaving because of fire bomb.

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Britak    0

I’d really love the opportunity to put it on a test with someone as I’ve had biggest dps anytime I go dungeon, but never had another mage to put it to test while I’m not high and am actually on time with casting xD I think that what you are saying is true in theory but in raids especially serious ones it’s never the case you are able to provide max demage theoretically possible so I doubt the gap being that big. 

 

 

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Vaxsysl    18
On 3/16/2018 at 4:07 PM, Britak said:

Nobody saying Frost can be viable here too? It can. Its Deep Freeze works (not bugged) on bosses giving damage and with Cold snap its pretty good extra dps. Its Blizzard is much stroger AOE for faster cleaning trash and slowing down mobs. Water Elemental makes additional DPS too.

Will someone try to prove me wrong as I would indeed like to hear thoughts, numbers and suggestions?

(...)

I’d really love the opportunity to put it on a test with someone as I’ve had biggest dps anytime I go dungeon, but never had another mage to put it to test while I’m not high and am actually on time with casting xD I think that what you are saying is true in theory but in raids especially serious ones it’s never the case you are able to provide max demage theoretically possible so I doubt the gap being that big. 

It's not viable for SERIOUS raiding, where you are looking to do the maximum your class can offer, therefore it is not included in the guide. Frost scales the least of all, not only in talent's damage portion but in actual stat scaling as well. Therefore, even if you get raid supported (PI, TotT, etc.), Frost's damage output will not come close to what Arcane or Fire can dish out. If you ever manage to obtain BiS gear for any tier, go Frost and compare it to your Arcane or Fire performance on some real fight, and more so with full raid support. I'm curious as well at just how much it can really perform, but I've never gotten around testing it because of above stated reasons.

 

On 3/12/2018 at 3:28 AM, hypertomee said:

Hi, nice work. I've been tinkering around with a couple of bis lists I have found for T7 in arcane, and yours has come out ahead by ~30dps on rawr and reached 6909 on simcraft.

(...)

I also changed your spec, you have to take the 5/5 in Barrage Missile, the dps loss was 158.26 on Rawr, which is pretty big. If you really want Arcane Barrage, you can drop one point in Arcane Meditation(2/3) which is a loss of 54.33. You can also drop one point from Arcane Stability(3/5) and ask a healing paladin to put one point in aura of concentration in your raid so you can still have 100% pushback resistance.

All that information is present - the suggested talent build is for pugs, and lower in the details are changes for more serious raiding. Why Magic Attunement would be good or "bad", why Student of the Mind, or other talents, including your point on Arcane Stability, which is actually explained twice - once at the very build-up stage and then again below when I go further into details about talents that can be changed (or should not be).

I have raided with Missile Barrage 4/5 for the majority of my time as Arcane and I've had almost zero problems as the "hiccup" happens just slightly more often than it usually does with 40% chance instead of 32%. The only REAL problem that came was during General Vezax hardmode where you want to conserve as much mana as possible (use AM on every proc), but that entirely depends on your raid group. If they can keep up in dps and if Mark healing is kept to a minimum, there's plenty of mana left by the time Saronite Animus spawns.

As for the gearsets - my old PC couldn't handle rawr or anything, a true potato - it was done ingame with WoW-Equip addon, then later on "tested" on public test realm(s) if you could call them a test - self buffed and random boss debuffed via .aura macros and keeping my HP up with GM command. I mean, look at ALL gear pieces offered, then make setups according to some gear elimination and voila, you come up with one to four gearings, after which you compare them, make few tweaks and voila, we have a victor!

It has been years since I tested them (last tests in action were done in 2015). If you find a bad spot, let me know!

Edited by Vaxsysl
(...) not to confuse.

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Britak    0

Still there is so much more things that affect the damage and usefulness diversity frost can offer. Damn I guess 25m raid should have all 3 mages including 🧙‍♂️Frost. Frost is great for crowd controlling, additional demage water elemental is doing, different skills of a person as to ability to always do max damage etc etc

for example - I am noob meaning I could get in any raid group and wouldn’t have a clue about what to do when if someone doesn’t tell me, as it would probably be my first time doing it xD but I did play mage looong before I figured how retribution paladins’s one click macro is easy to play xD

with that in mind if I do get to serious raiding (which I should as everyone had their first time), I would try but probably wouldn’t anyways do max DPS my class can- as I guess is the chance with any first timer, right... so then well if someone prefers safety and survivability of frost and does high but not max dmg due to his inexperience shouldn’t you include frost mage too as not everyone IS as experienced as you to be able to do everything perfectly correct. 

Thats my point.

 

 

 

 

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leman1991    16

Frost mage used to be called improper for PvE, but if u know how to use that spec u can do around 7k+ dps in naxa-geared raid. Frost loose less on fights which require some movement cuz have 1. fast casts; 2. pet active all the time.

Fingers of Frost give crazy crt increase - if u know how to use it u can do around 40k of dmg in +-2-3 secs.

Frost give nice raid buffs cuz of: 1. replenishment; 2. 5% crt increase on target

The last thing - frost mage can spam his skills much longer than other specs because of crazy cheap spells.

In endgame gear the gap between frost and two other specs could be higher but it's really fun spec 2 play. Just catch your caps (hit, then crt to 100% crt chance on raid buff and FoF proc, then haste as much as possible).

Check out https://sunwell.pl/talents-calculator/mage?tal=23002400310013000000000000000000000000000000000000000000003503030311233100030152231151

Usefull tip: when your FoF proc it normally affect next 2 spells BUT it could affect 3 of them. How? FoF proc -> Frost Bolt -> Frost Bolt AND Deep Freeze or (of DF is on CD and Brain Freeze proc) Frostfire bolt = 3 spells with crt chance areound 100% if good geared.

Frost have the same crt dmg modifier as fire = our crts doesn't hit for 150% of normal dmg but for 200%. 

I've played probably all of mage builds and this one was my favourite. These mages which crying "omg, frost mage can't fu*k me out in dps" are really fun ;3

And the last thing - Frost mage makes a lot more DMG on AoE than Arca, little less than fire BUT u can spam your blizzard whole day w/o even thinking of your mana. In addition mobs are rooted cuz of Imp. Blizzard + Frostbite and have more time to react if get aggro.

That's all. Thank you for your patience ;3

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Britak    0

Great thanks. Can above post be added to the main post and if u guys can just add few bits like what glyphs would be better to take, any epic trinket or something you can think of to add more to frost part?

as well what’s hit/Crit cap on mage without buffs?

and a small add from me - since fire mage aoe you cast and then it deals dmg over 8sec, you can first cast fire aoe then blizzard which is channelling and u have double dmg (bit lower on fire) but with good mana regen (mage shield) it’s deadly high DPS on AOE.

And for that I think I should go for talents like this: 

https://sunwell.pl/talents-calculator/mage?tal=0000000000000000000000000000002303230300003000000000000000350303031103313003015223105

Edited by Britak

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TriHard    15
17 hours ago, leman1991 said:

Frost mage used to be called improper for PvE, but if u know how to use that spec u can do around 7k+ dps in naxa-geared raid.

I call bullshit, link any recount SS or logs proving that.

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hypertomee    0

Both of these specs are horrible. And nobody is hiting 7K in Naxx atm. Advocating for a spec that is just bad in PvE is quite tiresome, especially with no proof to back up any of your claims, and both of you "pro frost mage" obviously know very little about raiding or even pve for that matter. So please, get informed properly (use rawr/simcraft/old theorycraft from tlk) if you want to contribute to a meaningful discussion, but going on feelings is pointless and you will be ignored/mocked, rightfully, for doing so.

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Vaxsysl    18

Why is it that on every server there are...Frosties? Guys, Frost Mage and semi-serious and above raiding don't go together.

The server is young. I don't think that anyone reading is up for it, but if you do want to prove Frost's capabilities as a worthwhile and welcomed raiding talent specialization, you're more than welcomed to open up your forum topic on the subject and share your knowledge with us as well as showing either screenshots or video recordings of the damage done. There's no use denying that an inferior talent spec, but it would be really interesting to see what the actual gap is. A bit of an unfair comparison, we have <playing ironically> logs for the current top performance (don't we? I played with many of them on prev server in more than one guild so I expect that they're still doing it). Or just any logs of decent players in general.

Let's reply now.

 

23 hours ago, leman1991 said:

 #1 The last thing - frost mage can spam his skills much longer than other specs because of crazy cheap spells.

#2 Check out https://sunwell.pl/talents-calculator/mage?tal=23002400310013000000000000000000000000000000000000000000003503030311233100030152231151

#3 Frost have the same crt dmg modifier as fire = our crts doesn't hit for 150% of normal dmg but for 200%. 

#4 I've played probably all of mage builds and this one was my favourite. These mages which crying "omg, frost mage can't fu*k me out in dps" are really fun ;3

#5 And the last thing - Frost mage makes a lot more DMG on AoE than Arca, little less than fire BUT u can spam your blizzard whole day w/o even thinking of your mana. In addition mobs are rooted cuz of Imp. Blizzard + Frostbite and have more time to react if get aggro.

That's all. Thank you for your patience ;3

You bring out weird points there and you're a bit misinformed.


#1 If the raid has Replenishment and a priest to shield Evocation, no mage goes oom, with exception being early geared Fire spec who does need a mana potion if there's no active regen (there's Mana Tide Totem and Innervate to consider). There's no "longer spamming". Even Arcane doesn't go OOM unless it goes berserk mode with raid support and double Incanter's Absortion via well-timed wards, but that's what raid support is all about.

#2 Your spec is horribly wrong. You're missing key talents such as Ice Floes and Cold as Ice and Frostbite and Frost Channeling, both being kind of obsolete; at least Frostbite is since you cannot freeze bosses. This resembles something close to what Frost should look like in raids: <tap me>. Two talent points are unspent. One could argue if Spell Impact is worth it for Ice Lance instants, but oh well, points are easily swapped. Improved Blizzard 1/3 is also kind of unnecessary, but it increases AoE damage by a lot so its nice.

#3 You're wrong with Frost and Fire modifiers. Frost has 100% increased critical strike damage, yes, but Fire doesn't stop at 50%. See Ignite, 40% damage done in DoT style? It goes way over Frost's capabilities of critical strike damage.

#4 "This build was my favorite" + "omg, frost mage can't fu*k me out in dps" - Well... If you were playing with the spec you have linked, you were not bringing up Frost's full capabilities into action. Whatever you have done you could've done with better results. Yet, I don't see you out-damaging Arcane or Fire. I don't see Frost being as useful to the core of a say, 10man group that's progressing hardmodes or heroic raids. Can Frost DPS? Of course it can, but it cannot "compete" with sister specs. You can come to normal runs like that, you are ought to outdps dolts in your group, but step into some more serious raiding that's focused on mentioned progression, you are under-performing by at least 500-1000 dps to begin with, and that's a lot.

#5 And this is the biggest flop yet. First up - AoE damage (in actual AoE, not few multi targets) to that point you want to push it or risk a CD usage or a wipe - is not important. Well to be fair, ToGC requires good spread damage for the burrowers, but that's another story. Secondly, you never want your adds to be rooted EXCEPT when tanks are UNABLE to act (not react - ACT!) and you therefore have to freeze them up. Rooted adds don't follow the tank = losing agrro. You root taunted add = tank is further away, no meaningful attacks are done, taunt expires, healer goes splat. Frostbite? Trash.
Arcane Mage? If Arcane really goes to AoE, it has no issues spamming Blizzard as Frost does. Arcane will always either be that blasting cannon it is, or will join up in AoE if there's no "big" target to attack. Arcane Concentration saves the mana.
And Fire Mage? Ignite. Ignite. Ignite. Master of Elements. No mana problems at all. Oh and it Arcane Concentration as well. What mana problems? :)

 

 

8 hours ago, Britak said:

#1 Great thanks. Can above post be added to the main post and if u guys can just add few bits like what glyphs would be better to take, any epic trinket or something you can think of to add more to frost part?

#2 as well what’s hit/Crit cap on mage without buffs?

#3 and a small add from me - since fire mage aoe you cast and then it deals dmg over 8sec, you can first cast fire aoe then blizzard which is channelling and u have double dmg (bit lower on fire) but with good mana regen (mage shield) it’s deadly high DPS on AOE.

#4 And for that I think I should go for talents like this: 
https://sunwell.pl/talents-calculator/mage?tal=0000000000000000000000000000002303230300003000000000000000350303031103313003015223105

#1 No.

#2 Spell hit for bosses in WotLK is 17%. You have 3% from talents (Precision) and 3% in raid (with proper setup). What does that leave you with? Answer: <tap me>

#3 If Fire Mage can cast Flamestrike all day, there's little what can outdps that. As Frost, well, do what floats your boat. Blizzard spam is better for your mana.

#4 /facepalm
No man. Just no.

 

On 3/18/2018 at 12:30 PM, Britak said:

#1 Still there is so much more things that affect the damage and usefulness diversity frost can offer. Damn I guess 25m raid should have all 3 mages including 🧙‍♂️Frost. Frost is great for crowd controlling, additional demage water elemental is doing, different skills of a person as to ability to always do max damage etc etc

#2 for example - I am noob meaning I could get in any raid group and wouldn’t have a clue about what to do when if someone doesn’t tell me, as it would probably be my first time doing it xD but I did play mage looong before I figured how retribution paladins’s one click macro is easy to play xD

#3 with that in mind if I do get to serious raiding (which I should as everyone had their first time), I would try but probably wouldn’t anyways do max DPS my class can- as I guess is the chance with any first timer, right... so then well if someone prefers safety and survivability of frost and does high but not max dmg due to his inexperience shouldn’t you include frost mage too as not everyone IS as experienced as you to be able to do everything perfectly correct. 

Thats my point.

#1 There's close to little need for crowd controlling in sense of slowing enemies down. If you will need to perform actual CC, you will use Polymorph. Other classes bring good AoE slows naturally in different kinds, where you are sacrificing your dps to do it. In other words, for the sake of slowing down, it's not worth it.

#2 ...uhh, what was the point there?

#3 ...that's what the guides are for. That's why I wrote this guide during my free time - to help inexperienced players. You don't have time or will to study the mage yourself or are looking to check how right or wrong you are? What are others thinking? Both specs have their talent build in a link. Wanna know the details why each talent? Read. Wanna know the details how they work with examples for easier understanding? Read. Wanna see what others have to say how a Mage should "behave" in a raid group and what they bring? Read some more. My guide is actually not THAT  long, I simply took my time explaining things.

And sure, one won't ever expect a perfect play from you. Mastering the encounter comes through wiping, not being smart. Everyone can be smart. Can you do it? Fail and try again and shape yourself. It's no different than with anything in life and WoW is not a complicated game. So what is there to be uncomfortable about?

Survival? That's divided into four parts. One, you have healers to heal you if you take damage. Two, there are buffs, debuffs n other that make you take less damage. Three, why did you take damage in the first place? The only encounter I have had serious issues staying alive was Freya hardmode on 10man without Sacred Shield on me (she nukes the raid & random targets hard and mage has no damage reduction for it (compared to other cloth classes)). If you are taking UNNECESSARY damage, YOU are doing something wrong. The point is, knowledge and growing skill is what keeps you alive. Fourth point is the same, but on raid level. If you take unnecessary damage, healers will need to start healing you more, taking focus away from another raider or a tank. If multiple of you are failing... having Ice Barrier won't save anyone anything. Ice Armor can help during Lord Marrowgar's Bonestorm, but it will help little if you keep moving bad.

 

Now, please stop with the Frost, everyone. You can open your own topics. I'm not placing any haterino, just that if you disagree with things I have written in the guide or think you know better, compile your thoughts and knowledge and we can actually talk. This senseless commenting with only thoughts and without "evidence" has no place here, and this is the first and last reply to such comments. If you want to scrub along, you can do anything you want. If you want to step up with someone's help, one way to do it is to read a guide, mine or anyone's. Frost has nothing to look at in serious raiding. Amen. You disagree? Prove it. Want to discuss it? Open a new topic.

Have fun.

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TriHard    15
28 minutes ago, Britak said:

here

>blink on 0

>whole guide is dpsing boss on rhc

>6k dps with at least toc gear

Yep, pretty much sums up all PvE frost mage players.

  • Perfect! 2

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Keynn    6
On 3/12/2018 at 3:28 AM, hypertomee said:

Hi, nice work.

"Posting the guide to forum with comprehensible layout. It takes hours."

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwFarUulhtJ4aEdCb1dzcmZBdTA

Why u spent a lot of hours on editing this guide instead of just pasting link to "UR" guide? 

And why u deleted part about authors and changelog? LUL

Edited by Nico
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KimmoKM    43
Quote

Who wrote this?
 Nazad @Bloodcraft &amp; TrueWoW
 Elan &amp; Firesong @Dalaran-WoW (Algalon realm)
 Contact: vaxsysl@gmail.com

This thread on the other hand was made by a poster called Vaxsysl. Moreover, it sounds like he has played on Dalaran-WoW, which is the same server authors of that document are from. I'd hazard a guess it's the same guy.

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Vaxsysl    18
15 hours ago, Nico said:

"Posting the guide to forum with comprehensible layout. It takes hours."

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwFarUulhtJ4aEdCb1dzcmZBdTA

Why u spent a lot of hours on editing this guide instead of just pasting link to "UR" guide? 

And why u deleted part about authors and changelog? LUL

I spent hours not editing this guide per se, but editing the layout - paragraphs, bold, italic, numbering, colours, etc. When you copy-paste documents, it's necessary to do it. Forum versions are always a bit "clunky" since it's all there in front of you with an endless scroll, there's no read-breaking when you swap to a new page, therefore "spoilers" are necessary as well. In addition, I had to edit the guide for THIS place, T7, and the bugs that are present here, or some that are not. I already have three points to edit since posting this, I'm just unable to find the right time.

I omitted the author part because it's considered polite not to talk about other private WoW servers other than the one you're playing on. I dislike even mentioning them. But yeah, my Mages were Nazad on TrueWoW; and Elan and Firesong both on Dalaran-WoW. Here I created Saidar, but it's no 80 yet as I had no time to level alts. Armory link on "who wrote this" will be added once its 80.

And I omitted the link to my google drive because it's not necessary here. Dalaran staff neglected their project for far too long and even now we are unable to make big posts, not only from their ddos defense blocking any sensible comments but from the fact that their forum is so useless one cannot use scripts properly, let alone posting something as big as this! So what am I to do other than posting a link instead? Not everyone wants to go to google drives and download documents; more people prefer to read it here as forum versions. And besides, the document version is unable to be identical to my local file because some paragraphs break and you get titles at the end of a page instead being there on the next one which annoys me so much I could Hulk smash it.

Those are the reasons. In case you've been thinking of some infringement, none happened. I'm the right guy.

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hypertomee    0

I've done some testing, and I have found two better BiS lists for fire and arcane. They both simed higher on simcraft and rawr.

For fire:

Head: Valorous Frostfire Circlet (KT 25)

Neck: Wyrmrest Necklace of Power (Malygos 25 & Saphiron 25)

Shoulders: Valorous Frostfire Shoulderpads (Set shoulders 25)

Cloak: Pennant Cloak (Sartharion 25 2D)

Chest: Valorous Frostfire Robe (Set chest 25)

Bracers: Unsullied Cuffs (Sartharion 25 2D)

Gloves: Valorous Frostfire Gloves (Set gloves 25)

Belt: Leash of the Heedless Magic (Malygos 25)

Legs: Leggings of the Wanton Spellcaster (Malygos 25)

Boots: Arcane Tramplers (Malygos 25)

Ring 1: Signet of the Manifested Pain (KT 25)

Ring 2: Signet of the Malevolent (Gothik 10)

Weapon: The Turning Tide (KT 25)

Off-Hand: The Surplus Limb (Patchwerk 25)

Wand: Gemmed Wand of the Nerubians (Anub'Rekhan 25)

Trinket 1: Dying Curse (Naxx 25, shared loot table)

Trinket 2: Illustration of the Dragon Soul (Sartharion 25)

 

You'll need a couple of spell+hit gems and one hit gem on belt.

Simcraft dps: 6706 on 300sec fight and 6448 on 500sec fight.

Stat weights for both fights: 300/500

spell : 1.00 // 1.00

int : 0.3657 // 0.6561

spi : 0.5642 // 0.8428

crit : 0.7435 // 0.8320

haste : 0.6087 // 0.1563

 

So the longer the fight is the worse haste becomes and the stats pertaining to mana regen become more important(spirit and int).

 

In regards to arcane, I have actually dropped the 4P as it simed higher without it. I've checked the maths behind the 4P, and it basically boils down to 2.5 x crit% damage increase. This means if you have 40% crit chance, the 4P is only a 1% damage increase. I am a bit lazy to re do the entire list, it is similar to the one the OP posted, but 3 pieces differ:

head: Hood of Rationality (Malygos 25)

legs : Leggings of the Wanton Spellcaster (Malygos 25)

ring : Band of Channeled Magic (Emblem of Valor) instead of the hit ring

The difference in DPS isn't huge compared to your Arcane BiS list, but mine sims higher on both simcraft and rawr, with 20 to 50 more dps(not a lot) whatever the fight length.

Edited by hypertomee

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Vaxsysl    18

Big thanks to administration team for the pin! B|
I'm glad for the attention it's getting (over two thousand views monthly!) and the knowledge it's passing on. Thank you everyone!

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Hyaerk    0

Question regarding arcane blast stacks:

'Each time you cast arcane blast, the damage of all arcane spells is increased by 15% and mana cost of arcane blast is increased by 175%'.

Is the base damage of arcane spells increased by 15% or is the total damage output once spell power has been calculated increased by 15%?

If base damage is increased it would look like this: the base damage of arcane blast is 1256-1460. With one stack of AB the base damage would be modified to 1679=1460x1.15.

If the damage output is increased it would look like this: arcane blast hits the mob for 7000 with 2000 spell power and no arcane blast debuff. With one stack of AB it hits the mob for 8050=7000x1.15. 

 

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Vaxsysl    18

Sorry for the late reply @Hyaerk, I wasn't available.

To be honest with you, I have no idea. I really don't know for certain, I have to admit that I never bothered to delve into that since the information is not distinct. Blizzard was never clear in explanations of base damage or modified damage, with only few exceptions. By my guess its the standard one, taken into account after all the bonuses, since the damage of Arcane spells is increased by 15%, its not per a single spell. So by my guess it's the modified one, but I really don't know for certain. Sorry.

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Vaxsysl    18

Hello there @Sash. There's little use for such lists as you're generally gearing up and your gear can look very differently depending what other items you have from previous tier. But if you're not doing hardmodes but are doing OS25 3d and EoE on regular basis, you aim for Brood + Scale trinket setup, EoE neck quest, OS cloak (and wrist is good-ish too), T8(4) set and the rest depends on which items you already have. Sash of Ancient Power (Ulduar crafted haste+hit belt) is nifty to have unless you already have Dying Curse or other items with hit. Auriya's weapon is your best 1h weapon from any non-hardmode. Your main concern is optimizing hit - mentioned neck, belt, OH and feet from XT - and Dying Curse. You optimize on the go.

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