This a basic quick and dirty guide to how to be an arcane mage. It will cover the bases briefly, and touch on most subjects. This guide is written to be a basic read this before you ask.
Let us start. So you are an arcane mage, and you've been level 80 for a while but something just isn't right, its your dps, but what could be wrong?
Where to start:
1) Your Spec:
It should look like this. This is cookie cutter. Their isn't many choices were your talents can be placed.
Three points left over where can i put them?
Only pve useful talents are included.
- Arcane Stability: Two more points (3 total) will give complete push back resistance with a pally aura.
- Magic Absorption: 80 passive resistance to all schools of magic, very useful for fights that have a constant AoE aura.
- Student of the Mind: Yes and No, generally this talent will give you a total of 1.2% of crit which for 3 talent points isn't that
- Magic Attunement: This talent shines on certain encounters, other its use it dimishned
- Slow: a real niche talent. This can make you shine on some fights for kiting.
So why am i taking these?
- Arcane Subtlety: Aggro reduction. This is a general throughput stat, stop your dps is a dps loss.
- Arcane Focus: Mana reduction and chance to hit. Beside lower your mana cost (increasing up time) this talent will allow more ilvl budget to spell power and haste rather then hit.
- Arcane Stability: pushback resistance, push badk resistance is important on fights that have a AoE aura.
- Arcane Concentration: 10% chance on every spell cast to proc clearcasting, so the next spell cast will cost no mana. Also it will proc arcane potiency (30% increase crit chance, on the next spell cast). Mana efficiency and more throughput.
- Spell Impact: 6% extra damage with arcane blast (70% of your damage) so yeah take it.
- Focus Magic: Fun little buff, gives more crit to you on proc, and your target constantly.
- Torment of the Weak: 12% extra damage with Arcane Blast.
- Arcane Meditation: 50% mana regen while casting, so yes very good.
- Presence of Mind: Normally known as PoM. Causes you to instant cast your next spell. Good for movment.
- Arcane Mind: 15% more int. More int = more mana, more regen, more spell power. So take it.
- Arcane Instability: kinda ironic you take arcane stability and instability. Anyways 3% crit chance is always worth 3 talents.
- Arcane Potency: on proc you get 30% chance to crit with your next spell. This really adds value to PoM and Clearcasting.
- Arcane Empowerment: 3% extra damage for the raid group,45% extra spell power bonus to arcane missiles, 9% extra spell bonus to arcane blast. This is one of the corest of the core talents.
- Arcane Power: 20% extra damage, 20% extra mana. . 15seconds. A primary CD.
- Arcane Flows: reduces the CD of PoM (Presence of Mind), AP (Arcane Power), Invis (Invisibility). And 50% reduction on Evocation. . down to 2min.
- Mind Mastery: increase the rate that int is converted to sp.
- Missile Barrage: This is the arcane proc. It causes AM to cast very fast basically. 40% proc off of Arcane Blast, 20% off of Arcane Barrage, FFB, FireBall, FrostBolt.
- Netherwind Presence: 6% spell haste, 6% faster spell casts, 6% more spells during a fight.
- Spell Power: 50% extra damage on crits. . kthnxs
- Arcane Barrage: Instant cast spell. Hit pretty hard. Use for movement, and clearing stacks of Arcane Blast debuff.
-Incineration: 6% chance to crit with arcane blast, very handy as arcane blast is 60 - 70% of your damage.
- Imp Frostbolt: A prefered talent to frostbite. As you can see some use out of imp frostbolt, namely if you use a down ranked frostbolt for the slow affect it gives.
- Ice Flows: basically it reduce the CD on icy veins which is main reason we go this deep in the frost tree.
-Frost Ward: Improves you warding spells. Using your warding spells are important. There is a lot of fire damage (Ruby Sanctum) and frost damage (ICC) in teir10 raids.
- Precision: 3% chance to crit, 3% mana reduction. Same reason as before.
- Icy Veins: 20% haste for 20 seconds.
- Molten Armor: More Crit
- Arcane Blast: More extra damage from the arcane blast debuff
- Arcane Missiles: More crit damage from Arcane Missiles
2) Your Gear / Stats / Gems:
As arcane you should generally stack
(Hit to cap) > Spell Power = Haste > Crit
Hit is normally a flat upgrade to your dps. Generically some simulation programs will place it lower then spell power or haste in some situations.
Spell Power is a throughput stat, with out question. Arcane missiles has a 142% spell power coeffiecent meaning that 142% of your spell power is converted into extra damage on spell cast. Arcane Blast sits at 71%. Thus you can see that 1 point spell power is roughtly equal 1 extra damage per spell cast.
Haste arcane has a relatively long spell cast. Arcane Blast starts at 2.5 seconds, thus haste will lower your spell cast time. Dps is measured in Damge per Second. So if you lower the time (which haste does) you increase the dps, with out increasing damage.
Crit arcane doesn't like crit as much per say as fireball spec does. But this stat is still handy. Generically critical strikes are nice, having critical strikes often is even better, but a flat increase to dps is better then random chance to increase your dps (replace dps with survivability and see agg's posts on Ehp if you don't understand).
Int is never a bad stat. Int is a core stat, but not a stacking stat. Int does everything for mages, enlarges our mana pool (so more regen, and longevity), increase our spell power, and increases our critical strike rating. Int will scale with gear level, don't stack it.
Spirit as you most likely know spirit's regen value was nerfed at the start of WoWLK. Thus spirit is a meh stats for mages. With talents and molten armor it does give mages some critical strike rating, and some modest regen. Spirit follows arcane mages to a certain degree, it is used in gems to active your meta but shouldn't be stacked as spell power and haste are more important.
Stam you don't wanna die do you? Stam should never be stacked, unless you are caster tanking in which case it should. Stam will increase with the ilevel of gear, so like int and spirit leave well enough alone.
The Gems you should use are:
Runed Cardinal Ruby
Chaotic Skyflare Diamond
CSD is your meta. You should use two PD to keep it active, try to use slots that have +9 spell power bonus for blue gems. The rest of your slots should be RA and RCR, depending on how much haste you have.
Why? CSD can add 300+ damage per crit, that's a lot.
Spell power and haste are important, as you get closer to 40 - 50% haste from gear you generally don't need to gem as much haste and spell power. Geming straight haste is never a great idea also, you get more stats from RA.
Quick note on hit: here are then numbers you need to be hit cap'd
Hit cap: You need 17% hit to never miss you will get 6% from talents. So it breaks down like this
Standard (17%) = 446
Standard w/ Racial (16%) = 417
Talents (11%) = 287
Talents, /w Racial (10%) = 261
Talents, /w Misery / Imp FF (8%) = 209
Talents, /w Misery / Imp FF, /w Racial (7%) = 183
NOTE: all hit ratings values are rounded up.
NOTE: Racial mean dreania heroic presence
NOTE: Imp FF means Improved Faerie Fire
Please note as an arcane mage you will be over hit caped most the time. Alot of gear we generally has hit on it, but because of the massive 6% chance to hit from talents you need a lot less hit then other classes could use.
3) Rotation Spells:
The standard arcane mage rotation is AB (arcane blast) to 4 stacks and clear the AB stacks with AM (Arcane missiles) if its proc'd or ABarr. Now of course I say standard, very rarely is this the best. In t9 gear this will suit you just fine.
But when you hit t10 gear you get a wonderful 2set bonus. So when you find yourself in a low haste (aka unable to pull off 4AB's under the set bonus's duration) you will want to cast AM as soon as it procs so to get maximum up time on your 12% haste bonus.
After you reach a point you can get 5 - 6 GCD's (Global Cooldowns) you will be able to start stacking up the AB and casting AM at X stacks of AB. But at this point you will have so much mana (30k or more) that you can continue cast AB 5 or 6 times in a row while waiting for AM to proc.
4) Rotations (Cool Downs):
General Cooldown stacking is king, you want to use CD's together to maximize their affect. IE.: the haste for IV (Icy Veins) can let you cast more spells during the 20% damage buff from AP (Arcane Power)
There are a couple of CD's Arc Mages have:
IV: Icy Veins (20% haste increase)
AP: Arcane Power (20% damage increase)
PoM: Presence of Mind (makes next spell and instant cast)
Mirrors: Mirror Images (Slow tps, Gives 1k dps increase, gives 15% damage buff)
-- Potion of Wild Magic (200crit, 200 spell power)
-- Potion of Speed (500 haste)
H/BL: Heroism / Blood Lust (30% haste)
NOTE: There alot of haste CD's mentioned, mages can and will hit the hard haste cap, so be careful. You want to stack as much haste as possible, with out going over the Hard cap.
Generally CD rotation (generally sync your trinkets with the closest mage CD)
This colldown usage represents a tank and spank fight, rarely will you get to execute prefect cooldown stacking.
Start: H/BL + Potion + AP + IV + Mirrors
1.4 min : AP
3 min : AP + IV + Mirrors
4.4 min : AP
6 min : AP + IV + Mirrors
Now H/BL changes things. Its huge 30% haste increase when added with your t10 2set 15% you get almost 45% haste (not counting DR, talents or gear). The hard haste cap is 150% so you are starting to brush up against it.
With your t10 2set bonus, you are generally safe under 560 haste rating, stack all your haste CD's under H/BL.
Over 560 to about 880 you can't IV in H/BL but you can speed pot.
Over 880 you can't use any haste CD's in H/BL.
5) I am still bad! HALP!:
This will act like a short Q&A session, to fix some basic issues.
1)"I've followed all the steps above but my dps is still bad. What can I do?"
DPS is generally as easy as ABC (Always Be Casting). As an arcane mage you don't want to move, if you can you want to stand still. Try to talk with guild members namely moonkins, destro locks, fire mages, and other arc mages about how you can move less.
Are you perhaps using a /stopcasting macro? because you shouldn't.
2)"But some fights force me to move alot!"
Icecrown is very movement heavy, and often you don't get to stand still. Therefore you have instant cast spells that can be used on the run. Generally ABarr, PoM'd AM, Fireblast, and Ice Lance. If you stop casting your dps is dropping.
3)"Can I click cast?"
No, click casting is bad you have to move your cursor to the spell you want to click before you can start cast, this may seem fast. But its slower then lowering your finger and pressing a key its already over.
4)"Can I keyboard turn?"
No, this is bad. You want to move as little as possible, keyboard turning will mean you move slower... Thus bad idea.
5)"Why are some mages getting off more spell then me even when they have the same haste rating?"
Two reasons, the main is pre-casting. Addons like quartz will let you when you can start casting your next spell. Generally you can start casting before the previous has ended because of lag, this shorten the down time in between spells cast thus you are casting more spells.
The second is key spamming, while a casting bar addon will give your a snap shot of lag 1 or 2 seconds ago that's not always useful, you generally want to be hitting (hitting the key as many times as you can) the next spell you will be casting when your cast bar hits 50%, as this will compensate for a change in lag.
To clarify spamming, is precasting with out regaurd to what your latency is but only to what your next spell is.
6)"But I want to be a better Fire Mage!"
7)"What are some good addons to use as an arcane mage?"
Quartz is good for its cast bar lag display.
Mage Nuggets come prepackaged with all proc alerts for all mage procs pre-set up. It also lets you see your spell power, crit, haste, and hit.
8)"What are other good proc addons?"
Power Auras works very well, and looks very nice but takes some getting used to.
9)"How do I see my dps?"
Use recount or skada addons. In the authors opinion recount offers more information in the break down of actually damage, but if your happy with just seeing your dps skada has a lower memory cost.
10)"Is x piece of gear better then y?"
Use RAWR it is simple to use, and it will tell you what your upgrades are. The UI isn't amazingly intuitive, it takes some playing around to find everything you need but after an hour or two you will have it basically down pat.
11)"What should I do for enchanting my gear?"
Kirin Tor Head enchant for head.
Son's of Hordir OR Inscription Enchant for shoulder.
Greater Speed OR Lightweave embroidery for back
Powerful Stats for chest
Superior Spell Power OR Fur lining for bracers
Exceptional Spellpower OR Hyperspeed accelerators for hands
Eternal Belt Buckle for belt
Brilliant Spellthread OR Masters Spellthread for legs
Spell power on rings if your a enchanter.
+83 spell power on a 2h staff and Black magic on a a 1h sword / dagger.
Credits: Those who helped on this Thread.
-PvE magegraft post.
-Explaining why we take aggro reduction.
-Why wardings are good
-Offering suggestions that ultimately revamped the talent section.
-Explains the nature of hit well. Its linked but credit is given where due.
-Keeping my facts straight.
- Up to date as patch 3.3.5
- Last major edit July 23rd 2010 (Change to CD section)
Looking for some suggestions as to objectiveness (removing my PoV from this guide), and sentence structure as English is not my primary language. If you have any suggestions for the content material or questions concerning it or its presentation please ask, the communities input is not only welcomed but needed to help improve this guide.