Welcome to a guide to playing a Fire mage. This guide will attempt to maintain depth, while being easy to read. I'm a big fan of the teach a man to fish approach, and this will prepare you for being a better fire mage.
Table of Contents1) Playing a Fire MageA. Spec2) Gearing a Fire Mage
A. Combat rating3) Advance Gearing
C. Notes:1. Hit Cap
A. Critical Strike and Ignite munching4) Advance Play
B. Haste Break Points
B. Flame Orb
Playing a Fire Mage
Specing A Fire Mage:
- Always use magma armor. It improves your critical strike, and this is paramount for a fire mage.
- Use hot streak (instant pryoblast) when ever you can. Refresh living bomb after every explosion. Use flame orb when ever it is up. And spam fire ball in between.
- Make sure to keep your critical mass debuff on the target unless a similiar buff is being provided by a different class I.E. Warlocks.
- Combustion is one of the most power cooldowns fire mages have. You only want to use combustion when you have all your DoT's on the target. This means Ignite, Pyroblast, and Living Bomb. But remember ignite is the large single contributor to combustion's damage, so you can forsake pyroblast's DoT if you have a large enough ignite.
- For AoE, you will want to spread living bomb on 3 targets. Use blast wave on Cooldown. And spam flame strike. Please note that you can impact you DoT's when mobs are group up. This is very power but some what unreliable as impact is a proc. Combustion and impact can be used together for very power AoE damage.
- Fire is one of the most mobile spec's in the game. You can cast all of your spells while moving except for fireball. As a fire mage you can literally Always Be Casting, and you should do so.
This is the standard fire spec. It will hit every dps talent fire can reach. It will cover all single target, and all AoE talents.
Glyphs for a Fire Mage:
- Tier 1:
- Master of Elements: Refunds Mana when you crit. Fire is a critical strike based spec, therefore very powerful. It will cut down on your time spent evocating and time increased dpsing.
- Burning Soul: Reduces the casting time lost from taking damaging attacks by 70%. This is a push back prevention talent. Push happens when you take damage while casting, you will gain time on your cast. This talent lowers that time, therefore increases the number of spells you can cast during a given ammount of time.
- Improved Fire Blast: Gives you extra range on your Fire Blast. Fire Blast is not a DPS gain, the only time you use it is to spread your DoT's with impact. The extra range isn't handy as of yet.
- Tier 2:
- Ignite: When you critically strike with a spell (that you cast) you will place a DoT on the target, that will do 40% of the critical strike for the next 4 seconds. Fire is based around critically striking your target, therefore this talent is very important. It will yeild almost 20 to 30% of your damage.
- Fire Power: Increases the damage your fire school spells do by 3%, and when you flame orb ends it run it will explode for some 20k damage (based on 9k spell power). This is a very good talent as it increases your damage by a flat 3%, and gives your flame orb a extra damage effect.
- Blazing Speed: When you get hit my a melee or range attack you have a 5% to chain the blazing speed, and move 50% faster. As you a caster in a range it is highly unlikey you will take a melee attack. Also there are not bosses that will hit you with a range attack. It is fairly uselss in PVE.
- Impact: Gives your damaging spells a 10% chance to proc Impact. Which will reset the cooldown of Fire Blast and cause your next Fire Blast to stun the target and spread any Fire DoT's to nearby enemies targets within 12 yards. The ability to 'cleave' your DoT's is a very power AoE option Fire mages have. You can place all your DoT's on an unlimitted number of Mobs giving you a very high DPS increase.
- Tier 3:
- Cauterize: When an attack would kill you, will instead heal you to 40% of your health and place a DoT on you that will tick for 12% of your health, 4 times on a one minute cooldown. This talent is a mages Ardent Defender. A mage can die, and keep playing. While some mages undervalue this talent, it allows you to mess up in the worst way possible.
- Bast Wave: Is a flame strike clone, that hits slightly harder on initial damage. The more Important function of Blast Wave is 'normally' when it hits 3 or more targets it will automatically proc impact. See Impact.
- Hot Streak: When ever you cast a spell as a mage you have a chance to trigger arcane missiles. Instead now you have a chance to proc hot streak. Hot streak is an instant pyroblast. As pyroblast is the hardest hitting fire spell, this talen cannont be undervalued and can provide about 15% of your damage.
- Improved Scorched: Reduces the mana cost of your Scorch spell by 100%. This talent allows you to run out of mana, and keep dpsing. While it seems trivial as fire has no mana problems. On fights like Yor'sahj the unsleeping where you will find yourself with no mana it is very important.
- Tier 4:
- Molten Shield: Reduces the GCD of mage ward, and your Blazing Speed dispells all movement slowing effects. Also when your mage ward is fully absorbed, Blazing Speed will be triggered. Not very useful. As fire can already cast entire rotation while moving (with the exception of fireball).
- Combustion: Combustion combines all your Fire DoT's on your target into a single DoT. This is the largest damage cooldown you have as a fire mage. See the advance combustion section on its full uses.
- Improved Hot Streak: When ever you cast a spell as a mage you have a chance to trigger arcane missiles. Instead now you have a chance to proc hot streak. Hot streak is an instant pyroblast. As pyroblast is the hardest hitting fire spell, this talen cannont be undervalued and can provide about 15% of your damage. This talent gives you a second way to proc Hot Streak, meaning you can get MORE Hot Streaks, which is very good.
- Firestarter: Allows you cast scorch while moving. This talent gives fire mages the ability to cast and move together, and allows for all their spells (accept fireball) to be cast while moving. Which means they have no reason to ever stop DPS'ing.
- Tier 5:
- Improved Flame Strike: Makes your FLame Strike and instant cast, allowing for AoE and movement. Also if Blast Wave hits more then 2 targets, it will trigger a flame strike in the same location. While this sounds meh, Flame Strike's strength is in its DoT affect which can now be triggered without using it, a very large gain when AoE'ing.
- Dragon's Breath: Breath's Dragon Fire onto all mobs infront of you. Once again a powerful AoE ability for fire, it is also critical as it is required to take Living Bomb (See: Living Bomb).
- Molten Fury:Increases damage for all spells against targets below 35% health by 12%. This effect is fire's 'execute' ability. Also a very large DPS gain, if you don't die before 35% health.
- Tier 6:
- Pyromaniac: Increases spell haste by 10% if 3 or more targets have your Fire DoT's on them. This talent increases your single target DPS while you AoE.
- Critical Mass: Increases Living Bomb (roughly 10% of your damage) and Flame Orb Damage by 15%. Also your Scorch, and Pyroblast will increase the target's chance to be critically struck by 5% (by spells).
- Tier 7:
- Living Bomb: Is a Fire DoT, that will tick on your target, and eventually explode dealing AoE Damage. The highest Damage per execute the fire build has. It's explosion, and DoT affectly also favorably into Fire's DoT based AoE.
- Off Tree:
- Netherwind Presence: Increases spell haste by 3%. 3% faster casting for 3 points is very much worth the investment.
- Piercing Ice: Increases critical strike chance of your spells by 3%. 3% critical strike is worthy of 3 points.
There are Four Viable Glyphs for a Fire Mage. I have listed them in order of importance.
- Glyph of Molten Armor. This Glyph will net you an extra 2% critical strike rating when you use molten armor. It is the best glyph for a fire mage hands down.
- Glyph of Pyroblast. Pyroblast is a large amount of your damage. And increasing its chance to critical strike is very good for you DPS.
- Glyph of Fireball. Fireball is roughly 50 to 30% of your damage. Increasing its critical strike rating is a massive damage gain.
- Glyph of Living Bomb. Living Bomb is only good when you can sustain 2 to 3 living bombs for the duration of the encounter. If this is the case replace glyph of fireball with this.
- Glyph of FrostFire. Basically, never use this. FFB is a dps loss from fireball. Also FrostFireBolt wasn't buffed as fire was in 4.3 mean it will fall even further behind.
Gearing a Fire Mage
As you now know how to play a fire mage, you should would likely to know what kind of gear your mage should wear.
In short you can say
Int > Spell power > Hit (to cap) > Haste = Crit > Mastery.
Yes, while I do talk up the value of Crit for a Fire Mage. You have very long cast time times that need to be sped up.
Example of haste and crit interaction:
Hit Cap: The Hit Cap is 17% or 1742 rating. If you are having trouble getting gear you can gem hit in hybrid gems (20int/20hit), but remember int is your primary stat and losing it for hit will be a dps loss. You can also reforge stats that are less dps per point for hit (for example mastery).
Meta-Gem: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond. It will increase the damage your critical strikes do, and give you int.
- Head:Arcanum of Hyjal
- Shoulder: Greater Inscription Of Charged Lodestone
- Cloak: Intellect
- Chest: Peerless Stats
- Bracer: Mighty Intellect
- Gloves: Haste
- Belt: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
- Boots: Lavawalker
As I pointed out there is more to gearing a fire mage then meets the eye. So this section is dedicated to a more advanced look at how your stats interact.
The more haste you get, the faster you cast, the more breakpoints you hit, but the more you much ignites.
The more crit you get, the more direct damage you do, but the more ignite munches.
- Ignite Munching: Ignite it self doesn't work like the tool tip suggests.
The Ignite debuff is not applied until .5 seconds after the critical strike is registered (the wow server actually asks the client if you indeed have the ignite talent and allows 500ms to account for latency).
This system is old and outdated, and correctly modeled. It most likely isn't going to get fixed any time as it is likely hard coded into wow, just like the block table. Ignite munching occurs when you crit more then once in a 500ms window.
For example: You get a hot streak, after fireball procs, your pyroblast also crits, now that second pyroblast will not trigger an ignite, its forgotten as the server is already working on the fireball ignite. BUT as the pyroblast 'should have' triggered an ignite you are locked out for another 500ms. How ignite normally functions is displayed below:
http://i.imgur.com/838LR.gifused with author's knowledge and permission
- Haste Breakpoints: Haste Breaks are a FUN.
In short mages have it easy when it comes to haste break points. All of our DoT's share haste plateau's (which is the wrong term as haste is a pretty crazy stat). In short you should reforge out of crit to get to a break point. In long, do a sim says is better.
Please note that all fire mage DoT's share a break points. Except ignite (it does not scale with haste), combustion is omitted as proper usage of combustion is worth FAR more then gearing for its breakpoint. Please allow for a 3 to 4 haste rating disparity between the chart and in game as it was not calculated after the links in the word fun, so its not 100%, just 99%.
The things I outlined above will make a good fire mage. But nobody searches for information to become 'okay'.
- Combustion: Is the largest cooldown fire mage's have. This cooldown works by taking a snap shot of all your current fire DoT's. Combining them all into one Super DoT, and making it last for 10 seconds. 1 or 2 Good Combustion's are worth more then 4 to 6 Bad combustion. You can combustion for as little as 50k damage or for as much as 700k. The choice is up to you.
- When you blow combustion you want all your DoT's present on your target.
- You must realize that ignite is 60 to 70% of the damage of combustion.
- You really only want to combustion after a hot streak pyroblast crit, and if living bomb is over 3/4 of its duration.
- Flame orb: It may seem like a no brainer, but make sure you are facing your target when you launch a flame orb. After combustion it can be your highest damage per execute, and it really sucks to see it wander off into left field. This really only comes into play when you are moving when its cooldown ends, which happens.
- Impact: Impact is one of the most power AoE abilities in the game. It literally does what the tooltip says. The only issue is Impact is on a proc, and that defeats its use logically. So you need to be able to manually trigger ignite. This is done by casting blast wave on 3 or more targets. Then ignite will auto proc and you can spread your DoT's. Also its best to use impact with combustion as your combustion will be spread to all targets, and a combustion ticking for 20k on 40+ targets is MASSIVE AoE.