How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE guide for end game)

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How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE guide for end game)

Postby Ethne » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:01 pm

This is a short guide about how to be a better mage overall including rotations, talents, stat priorities, sharing trade secrets etc.

First of all I'd like to remind everyone while things like rotations matter, they are crude tools and no guide will give you absolute best for every situation. While you can't trust a random guide you find, if you read this post thoroughly, I think you'll find some if not most points make sense to you, resulting in some trust :)

Example, you can be fighting 6 mobs for a beautiful opportunity to AoE as fire mage. You would keep living bomb all 6 of them and flamestrike if all 6 targets are already bombed. What if one of them has a spellstealable buff that increases your damage for 25%?

Is that worth changing your rotation for? Do the mobs have enough health to use that buff? Does the buff last longer than 3 seconds? There will always be circumstances like this. I'll give you some ideas but handling any situation comes with overall experience.

-----------------------------------

1 - Talents & Glyphs
2 - Stat Priorities
3 - Pointers and Rotations
4 - Professions

-----------------------------------

Talents & Glyphs

Filtering out the bad options:

Frost
is about the worst end-game dps spec for most encounters. You no take guide.

Arcane
while a viable, good dps spec, is unfortunately not working properly on WoW-Mania at the moment (Because of Arcane Barrage being broken, not sure if there's anything else but that's a lot).

A shortcut advice about how to play arcane is; a good arcane mage finishes their mana pool by the end of the fight. If you have too much mana, you didn't spam arcane blast enough, if you are running out too fast, you didn't use arcane barrage enough.

----------

Here are the better options:

If you want to choose before reading, long story short: If you are inexperienced, you'll probably do better dps with Fire<Torment the Weak> overall. Timing and understanding the usage of Icy Veins/Cold snap can be complicated and give you an unpleasant experience because of low dps.

This doesn't mean TTW is a "noob" spec. FFB has more potential than TTW in shorter fights or some fights where bosses temporarily take increased damage or you get temporary special damage buffs. That's what cooldowns like Icy Veins are about, that's burst damage. TTW covers more ground and applies better to most harder fights.


Frostfire

While not the most popular, this actually is a good dps spec and can beat "Torment the weak" in certain fights (depending on the mage and the encounter).

The deal with this spec is using Frostfire Bolt instead of Fireball. Frostfire Bolt benefits from pretty much all talents, spells, items that buff your frost or fire spells.

Pros:
Simpler rotation
Great single target burst

Cons:
Harder to play, requires understanding of cooldowns.
Possible mana issues.

Two talent choices:

Cold Snap altspec:
http://wotlk.openwow.com/talent#oZfVcbRhcuVubhcxbIccocd

Pros: Burst damage with 1 more Icy Veins. Easier rotation.
Cons: Weaker AoE, possible mana issues, slightly more RNG.

Cold Snap is an advantage to your SINGLE TARGET dps where a fight is anywhere from 1 minute to 6~ minutes. It usually only means one more Icy veins. Using it with your trinkets/procs/T10 4-set bonus can result in serious destructive force.
You can of course use it for defensive purposes for Ice Block, helps some very specific situations like the Green Ooze at Professor putricide (You are immune but share damage)

Alternatively:

Living Bomb altspec:
http://wotlk.openwow.com/talent#oZfVcbRhfuVubhctbIccoc

Pros:
Best AoE potential among classes with raid specs
Good for encounters with adds
Mobility
Less mana issues
Cons:
Harder to use living bomb rotation with combustion.

Living Bomb is an advantage to an AoE or high-hp-adds-to-kill situation. It can be a reliable dps increase if you've mastered how to use your combustion/trinket/proc combos. If living bomb explodes when your combustion buff is active, that will be a waste of potential dps. It can also be better than cold snap where a fight is between 5-8 minutes.

Optional talents(sorted from better to worse, but worse might be more fit to your situation, such as mana necessities):

Burning Soul (You'll need this for sure if you are taking aggro or even getting close, it's also useful in fights where you will take constant damage)

Flame Throwing It doesn't affect Frostfire Bolt but it's good to have it for scorch, which is in your rotation; Fire Blast, which is good when moving and has very short range by default. Both situations also apply to Living bomb if you took it.
More range means you can use a larger area, this means more mobility, makes it easier to stay out of things that can hurt you. Easier to spread away from your teammates when needed. If you are having mana issues, drop this and take Master of Elements.

Blast wave This actually isn't good for your dps, and knockbacking mobs away from other dps and tanks is rude and inefficient. However it can be useful in many fights.
*Knockback means you can interrupt a spellcasting, even the ones you can't interrupt with counterspell
*You can save healer from getting hit if the tank hasn't made it there yet
*You can avoid getting hit by a blood beast in Saurfang
*Slow down Valkyries in Lich King fight
*and many more. Of course, if you want to top the dps meters and don't care about progress, this is not for you.

Master of Elements This can be a good talent if you are going out of mana and have over 40% crit rating (buffed). 40% crit means you get 12% average more mana to spend. 30% would mean 9% average more mana.

Dragon's Breath This can be useful in some fights, similar to blast wave. However since it doesn't have a lasting effect like Blast Wave, I consider it much less useful.

----------

Fire <Torment the Weak>

The most used mage dps spec with good reason. Seeing 20-25k crits (means 30-37k with ignite) makes one happy dps. Not even counting the special buffs from raid encounters with spellsteals or special buffs like Blood Queen's bite...

Torment the Weak (12% passive damage increase with any snare/attack slowing effect on target. This means it'll happen 100% of the time on a raid boss unless your tanks are pretty bad at their job or situations like air phases of the bosses.

These provide you TTW:
Thunder clap<Warrior>
Infected Wounds<Druid>
Judgements of the Just<Paladin>
Frost Fever<DK>

http://wotlk.openwow.com/talent#of0Vck0cZzEcoRhcuVubhct

Pros:
AoE
Less cooldowns to be worried about.
Most liked spec means you can find better advice about it more often.

Cons:
More threat, that's it.

Optional fire talents(sorted from better to worse, but worse might be more fit to your situation, such as mana necessities):

Flame Throwing More range means you can use a larger area, this means more mobility, makes it easier to stay out of things that can hurt you. Easier to spread away from your teammates when needed.
Blast wave This actually isn't good for your dps, and knockbacking mobs away from other dps and tanks is rude and inefficient. However it can be useful in many fights.
*Knockback means you can interrupt a spellcasting, even the ones you can't interrupt with counterspell
*You can save healer from getting hit if the tank hasn't made it there yet
*You can avoid getting hit by a blood beast in Saurfang
*Slow down Valkyries in Lich King fight
*and many more. Of course, if you want to top the dps meters and don't care about progress, this is not for you.
Master of Elements This can be a good talent if you are going out of mana and have over 40% crit rating (buffed). 40% crit means you get 12% average more mana to spend.
Dragon's Breath This can be useful in some fights, similar to blast wave. However since it doesn't have a lasting effect like Blast Wave, I consider it much less useful.

Optional arcane talents:

Arcane Concentration Less potential mana gain compared to Master of Elements but choose between this and Magic Absorbtion to get to next talent tier.

Magic Absorbtion This basically gives you 80 resistance against elements. If you have absolutely no mana issues, take this and whatever arcane talent you want instead to get to next tier.

Student of the Mind While spirit can be very useful, end-game mages ideally don't have a lot of spirit. Having low spirit in the first place results in a very minor percentage income from this talent.

Magic Attunement More range for Polymorph on Lady Deathwhisper heroic. More amplify magic for the dreamwalker. Extremely situational.

Arcane Meditation By the time you consider this talent, you should already have Torment the Weak, which is why we came to arcane tree. I suggest choosing from Fire talent tree instead. This can only be useful if you are having mana issues and have a lot of spirit in your gear.

That's it for talents, if you have any questions just ask.

---

Glpyhs

Frostfire
Glyph of Frostfire (Duh)
Glyph of Molten Armor (55% crit ratio with this, 70% if you have tier 9, potentially making spirit better than haste)
3rd Glyph is not very important, I use Glyph of Scorch since it's in our rotation.

Minor:
Glyph of Slowfall
Other 2 are not important, Frost Ward and Fire Ward for extremely situational minor benefit.

Fire <Torment the Weak>

Glyph of Fireball (That DOT doesn't really matter compared to lowering your casting time of fireball)
Glyph of Molten Armor
Glyph of Living Bomb


Minor glyphs are same as Frostfire.

-----------------------------------

Stat Priorities

I'm not going to write about the optimal stats found with simulations with Best-in-Slot gears. That is what most usually go to, however, it's really reduntant for more than 90% people who would be reading this. Even if you have BiS gear and perfect rotation, to my knowledge, the true results of those simulations are mostly lost this date giving us rough estimation of what is better or worse.

Hit rating (Until capped) > Spell power > Crit > Haste > Spirit (If you have Tier 9, Spirit can be better than haste, definitely if you have mana issues)

Hit Cap for any caster is 17%
A shadow priest will benefit you 3%
Moonkins can use Imp. Faerie Fire to increase hit chance "another" 3% (Don't worry, they "probably" use it)
A draenei in your party (NOT RAID) gives you 1%

-----------------------------------

Pointers

First, some notes since a lot of mages memorize rotations and miss these:

Living bomb: Don't use it if it's not going to explode, it will be a dps loss.

Combustion: Use it with spell power increasing trinkets / procs / etc. Try to avoid living bomb exploding and scorch with combustion buff on you, it will be waste. After all you prefer a 30k crit (with ignite) to 5-10k crit right?

Mirror image: This is your DEFENSIVE cooldown. It temporarily dumps your aggro, any mob attacking will turn away and attack the next person on the threat table, usually back to tank. Mind that after 30 seconds, or your mirror images die, if tank didn't take the aggro back...well you still have ice block, right?

Mirror Image is mostly just offensive cooldown if you have 4+ piece tier 10 set, where it's actually pretty awesome.

Mana Gems: If you KNOW that you are having trouble with your mana, start using them early in fights. A raid encounter can take 5 minutes or more, if you start using them early, you can have 6k more mana to use before fight ends. If the fight takes really long, creating one of these will be worth is since using it gives more mana.

Did I mention using this doesn't decrease your dps in theory? It doesn't affect global cooldown.

Blizzard: Nope, use flamestrike, spam flamestrike, beats blizzard.

Cone of cold: This is a great spell to slow down something that chases you or your teammates. It's instant, low cooldown, lasts a good amount, cone-aoe, doesn't break like frost nova.

Frost nova: Useful but overrated. If tank has aggro and you frost nova a mob, mob will attack the next person on threat table instead of the tank, if they are instead in melee range. You can actually harm your party using this depending on the situation. Also you know it breaks pretty fast if people are DPS'ing it (such as blood beasts in saurfang)

Polymorph: While in theory this is a good spell, you'll have party/raid members accidentally damaging this CC. Use it, spam it if need be, but be ready for disasters xD

Blink & Slowfall: If you stood in something and are thrown in air, using Blink instead of Slowfall will save you some time. Blink will teleport you right back to ground where you can continue your dps instantly, instead of waiting to fall. While blink can be buggy when you cast it on the ground, it actually works better than retail in wow-mania when you are up in the air.



---

Rotations

Frostfire

Single target:
Hot streak > Keep Scorch debuff up > Frostfire Bolt
-or- (depending on what you chose with Cold Snap)
Hot streak > Keep Living Bomb up (let it explode each time, never refresh) > Keep Scorch debuff up > Frostfire Bolt

AoE (2+ targets)
Spam Flamestrike, but make sure to give tank time for aggro, do whatever, get in position, premeditate.
-or-
If you don't expect the mobs to die in 10 seconds, living bomb each one of them > spam flame strike

Fire <Torment the Weak>

Single Target
Hot streak = Keep Living Bomb up (let it explode each time, never refresh) > Keep Scorch debuff up > Fireball

AoE (2+ targets)
If you don't expect the mobs to die in 10 seconds, living bomb each one of them > spam flame strike

Oh yeah, did I mention flame strike is still viable on 2 targets?

-----------------------------------

Professions:

Tailoring (Best)

Lightweave Embroidery is an item enhancement on your cloak, doesn't stack with other cloak enchants. This gives you 295 spell power for 15 seconds. It has an internal cooldown of 45 seconds. This means practically 70 to 95 spellpower at the loss of 23 haste from the cloak enchant. It's a great trade-off, making tailoring the best reliable dps choice.

Using the proc from Lightweave Embroidery with combustion along with other trinkets will be what gives you the real edge, resulting in much more than potential 70-95 of the previously mentioned average spellpower.

Good Choices

Engineering

Gloves get 340 haste for 12 seconds every 72 seconds (60 sec cooldown after effect ends). This means ideally 57 haste at the loss of 28 spell power, resulting in almost no bonus. HOWEVER using with your trinkets, procs, T10 4-set bonus, can give you a dps bonus that ends up in more potential compared to other professions.

The boots get passive 12 crit trade-off to 12 hit rating from Icewalker enchant. However the real edge comes from surviving with using that boot, blink has a cooldown, can be glitchy and sometimes engineering boot speed is downright better anyway.

Cloak gets 27 spell power at the loss of 23 haste. This should be equal to 15~ spell power increase. (You can't use this with tailoring, Engineering can still be better than others without this if used right)

Jewelcrafting: Better self (BoP) gems, result: +48 spell power.

Alchemy: Alchemists gain better effects from flasks, result: +47 spell power.

Enchanting: Ring enchants, result: +46 spell power. (This goes pretty good with tailoring, a good budget/starter choice)

Inscription: Umproved shoulder enchant, result: +46 spell power.

Leatherworking: Improved bracer enchant, result: +46 spell power.

Blacksmithing: Extra gem sockets on gloves and bracers, result: +46 spell power.

Worse choices:

Skinning: +46 crit rating. Best "gathering" profession. Since spellpower results in more potential dps, this is one of the worse.

Herbalism: This gives you an activated Heal over Time ability: Lifeblood. It won't help you much, our survivability comes from avoidance with things like Blink, Ice Block, Frost Nova, Blast Wave etc.

Mining: +60 stamina. Same deal with Herbalism.

That's it for now, can improve this later.
Last edited by Ethne on Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:48 am, edited 21 times in total.
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE end game)

Postby Ethne » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:12 pm

Wrong subforum, could someone move it? (Sorry ^.^)
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE end game)

Postby Kalasbyxan » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:32 pm

Moved!
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE end game)

Postby Ethne » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:21 am

I want that 25 MP on Ethne btw :D
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE end game)

Postby Janitor » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:47 am

Sent. Thank you for contributing.

Maybe next time try to make it a little more visually attractive with graphics, colours, steps to follow or links.
Remember we have all sorts of players reading this, from newbies to experts.
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE end game)

Postby JuNNeZ » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:03 pm

Great post, I agree with Janitor, visuality helps a lot. Keep them coming! :D
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE guide for end game)

Postby Daisy22 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:27 pm

great info ! but i want to know have you send any link for this Youtube tutorial ?
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE guide for end game)

Postby Ethne » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:18 pm

Youtube tutorials take a lot of editing and time, at least for me. If I knew dozens of people were gonna use it I would make it. I'm sorry if it's a long wall of text, if it helps use the titles and CTRL+F to find what you may need or whisper Ethne, Deus, Astrid, Aoe in-game.
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE guide for end game)

Postby Xerjol » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:01 am

Herrrrrrrrrro!

I honestly think it's a wonderful guide, it's not really too in-depth but for a basic overall guide - I think it's great!

It has every section i could ever ask for, i also liked how you included optional talents and provided links to each spec.
I personally think the guide looks visually appealing, why? Well, it's clean and easy to read and that is what matters!
Pictures take up too much space, I'm not totally against them, but I just think they're unnecessary if links to specs are provided.
As for videos, if you make them relatively short and concentrate on important specifics - They're great! But like you said, making them and then editing them takes up too much time.
Seraxe <3
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Re: How to Mage 3.3.5 (PvE guide for end game)

Postby Batu » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:11 am

Shadow priest Hit + Boomkin hit dont stack.

Could have went into further detail about T10 2P proc usage, not overlapping it to maintain 100% uptime without wasting procs/haste.

No need to maintain Scorch after your first since you've got warlocks doing it they dont stack.

Usage of Wild Magic/Haste pot depending opener whether Bloodlust/Hero will be popped.
Usage of Living Bomb + Combustion since it's a DPS loss allowing Living Bomb to explode during Combustion up.
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