Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Archive for February, 2011

Cataclysm Heroic Tips and Strategies for Mages (Part 4)

This is the fourth and final installment in my series of heroic tips and strategies for mages. I know it was a long time coming – raid start hit me pretty hard and I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write this. Better late than never, right? As always, please feel free to add a comment if you have anything to contribute that I’ve neglected to mention!

This is part four in a series of mage-specific heroic Cataclysm instance guides. This part deals with only The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep.

Part one includes some basic instancing strategies, as well as tips for Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. You can find it here.

Part two covers The Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle, and Grim Batol and is located here.

Part three talked about Halls of Origination and Lost City of the Tol’Vir and you can find it here.

These are not the full strategy guides for each instance – only mage-things that may prove useful. This guide assumes that you are familiar with the basic strategy for each encounter. For instance cheat sheets, you can check out the guides a guildie of mine wrote over at Sword and Board.

And now you will have this song stuck in your head, for which I apologize (but it’s so catchy!) “Well, there was this one time…”

Heroic Deadmines

Trash: Pay attention to the Defias Envokers – they have a passive ability up on them called Envoker’s Shield that protects them from most crowd control. You can spellsteal it and then sheep them, which you may be called upon to do.

Later in the instance you will encounter Defias Blood Wizards. They do two useful things – they put a big red bubble on the ground that will give you the buff Ragezone. You will both cause (and take) 50% greater damage. Watch out for if you have the spinning swords around you (or are standing near a companion who has them). These guys also cast a haste buff called Bloodwash that can be spellstolen.

Finally, the Defias Squallshapers on the ramps leading to the ship have an cast you should interrupt called Seaswell. When their health gets low they’ll cast Riptide on themselves. Spellsteal it quickly – it helps your healer and prevents them from healing themselves.

Glubtok

  • This fight is really not very complicated if you just avoid things that are clearly going to hurt you. Phase one has fire and ice patches on the ground. At a predetermined amount of health, he’ll move to the center of the room and conjure a rotating fire wall.
  • The wall moves clockwise, so what you’ll want to do is strafe over to the left side of it and continue to DPS as the wall approaches. Melee DPS can’t do much to Glubtok at this point and the phase includes adds being tanked and more patches of bad things on the ground.
  • I use Time Warp to minimize time spent in this phase – especially if the group has other ranged DPS it should be over pretty quickly.
  • If you do this correctly and never take fire wall damage, you’ll get an achievement – Congratulations, you’re Ready For Raiding!

Helix Gearbreaker

  • This fight begins with killing Helix’s oaf, and then once he’s dead you kill Helix himself. Periodically he’ll jump off the oaf and onto a person or onto the ground.
  • Someone set us up the bomb – you can tell when these are going to explode because the fuses change in appearance. Don’t be near them.
  • If Helix puts a bomb on your chest, stay away from the group so you don’t explode on them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
  • You may have Helix himself jump on your face at some point – you probably shouldn’t panic and run around in circles like I have been known to do (just once!) because the melee people in your group are trying to attack him.
  • The oaf can also pick people up and smash them against the wall – just don’t be in-between them and the wall. If you are the one picked up, unfortunately you can’t Iceblock out of it.

Foe Reaper 5000

  • Someone has to be the DPS controlling the Prototype Reaper. I prefer it not to be me (or other ranged DPS) because we can keep DPSing the boss while melee DPS has to run away from his AoE. Still, if you’re stuck doing it at any point remember to keep yourself between the fire adds and the ramp – your task is to tank them and keep them from the group, and this is a task I cannot advise you in. Next time nobody else gets into the Reaper I’m just going to play dead.
  • The Reaper has two primary abilities – Overdrive (AoE centered on himself) and Harvest. He marks a location on the ground and destroys everything between him and it. Be somewhere else (blink for the hills!) You can still DPS him from a safe distance. You may spend much of this fight doing a bit of running back and forth.
  • Use Time Warp when he enrages (it emotes “Safety Restrictions Off-line!) because this is the toughest time for your tank and healer.

Admiral Ripsnarl

  • Make sure you have nameplates enabled so that you can see any Vapors spawning. Contrary to usual, I save Fire Orb for the first Vapor phase because it provides a convenient passive way to DPS these. Depending on your spec and mana you can AoE to hit them, or single target them – I use Fire Blast and Scorch, myself, but you can use whatever tickles your fancy (and kills them).
  • This can get intense if your DPS are not focusing on the vapors as they spawn – depending on your tank and healer, too many Vapors growing large can and will wipe your group. Make sure you’re not the only one attacking them!
  • Other than vapors, just attack Ripsnarl himself as you are able and he’ll die soon enough.

Captain Cookie

  • You have some options here. Cookie throws out various types of food – it’s either bad (green and with a painful aura) or good food (sparkly and delicious). When you eat the good food you gain one stack of the buff Satiated. This can stack up to 99 times(!). Yes, you read that correctly. Eating bad food will give you the Nauseated debuff.
  • When we do this, we pretty much just ignore the bad food and treat this fight as a DPS race – keep stacking good food to infinity and kill Cookie before your mana runs out. This is harder on the healer though, and you still shouldn’t stand in the green AoE clouds even if you’re ignoring good food.
  • It’s worth noting that to get the I’m On A Diet achievement you do need to get at least one stack of Nauseated, so you will need to eat bad food just once, according to Wowhead commenters.

Vanessa VanCleef

  • This encounter is a gauntlet with a series of challenges. For phase one, you have to dodge fire while running down the Foe Reaper’s ramp. Don’t try to run straight down the ramp, you have to jump off the right side at one point. Use Mage Ward to mitigate some of the damage from either the fire or the ice patches on the ground.
  • Don’t bother with attacking the spiders that spawn – make sure you keep the boss targeted.
  • There’s no magical mage trick to get past the “Mario” portion of this gauntlet, you’re just going to have to edge along around the beams with everyone else. Iceblock does not work here, the beams go straight through it, and Blink is liable to just get you killed. There’s a safe spot to the left where you can group up and wait for people once you’re through.
  • Before the ship is a DPS race with an incredible speed buff – stick with your tank and be careful not to fall off the edge.
  • During the actual encounter with Vanessa many adds will spawn. You can DPS her when she isn’t deflecting, otherwise kill the adds. You’ll remember the Defias Blood Wizards from the trash earlier – they drop a Ragezone and cast Bloodwash so use these tools accordingly (stand in one, spellsteal the other!)
  • Try to position yourself and DPS from a place where you’ll be ready to grab a rope when it spawns, there’s no reason for you to be anywhere else (barring Ragezones).

Heroic Shadowfang Keep

Baron Ashbury

  • This fight depends on coordination of interrupts. Ashbury has several things that must be interrupted. It’s better to talk about this beforehand so you know who is interrupting what. Since our interrupt is on a relatively long cooldown, many groups may assign other interrupters, but be prepared to assume responsibility for one if need be.
  • Pain and Suffering will damage the entire party and also must be interrupted.
  • Approximately every 40-45 seconds, he will Asphyxiate everyone. You can Iceblock out of this.
  • Immediately after Asphyxiation, he will begin to channel Stay of Execution. This heals your party and him – let it tick 1-2 times before interrupting to let your healer get a handle on things. This ability is the objective of an achievement – Pardon Denied. To get the achievement you don’t let him channel the ability at all, so it’s really a challenge for your healer. Make sure you know whether your party is attempting to do this or not before interrupting it, lest you cause an inadvertent wipe!
  • At 25% he enrages and begins to cause unavoidable damage to the party. Use Time Warp here to get it over with quickly.

Baron Silverlaine

  • This guy is really pretty simple as a DPS player. He summons adds that should be killed; I like to spread the damage around with various AoE effects and multiple Living Bombs. A fire mage with a lucky Hot Streak can get lined up to cast Combustion on Silverlaine just before he brings out his first add, so you are doing maximum damage to him at the same time.
  • Be careful not to pull aggro on any of the adds until the tank has a solid threat lead.

Commander Springvale

  • Springvale can be a bit tricky if you haven’t done him before (specifically if you’re trying to get his achievement).
  • Unfortunately, our CC is not useful here, so the only thing we can do (if no Undead CC is available) is to burn his adds as they spawn. One is called a Wailing Guardsman and one is a Tormented Officer. We usually assign DPS to handle each. These adds will attempt to cast Unholy Empowerment, which can and should be interrupted. Especially if your tank is moving out of Desecration, he/she may be unable to interrupt this at range so use that counterspell!
  • Make sure you’re behind him wherever he is being tanked. He does a massive damage AoE frontal cone ability and also puts Desecration on the ground. Don’t stand in either of these and you should be fine.

Lord Walden

  • I have a ridiculous amount of fun during this fight. It’s easy – it’s just a big game of Traffic Light.
  • If there’s a big column of green in the center of the room, don’t stop moving (or as my guildies know, “Hey guys, I’m casting scorch while moving!”)
  • If there’s a big column of red in the center of the room, don’t move. It also grants a tasty crit buff, so go wild!
  • He also drops ice shards but these are largely inconsequential and very easy to dodge.

Lord Godfrey

  • I hear that the curse from Cursed Bullets really hurts. As usual, we can help with that, so make sure you’ve got some easy way to see a cursed friendly player and quickly remove it.
  • Do not stand in front of his Pistol Barrage. Depending on where your tank is facing him this can be pretty easy – I’ve noticed some ranged like to stand at the very edge of the top wall, which is possible but mildly annoying. I tried this the other day and it causes my Flame Orb to just sit there stupidly and then explode. They aren’t smart enough to figure out pathing. Mind you, the damage from the orb is negligible so if you prefer to just stay out of harm’s way it’s certainly an option.

And that concludes the series about heroics for mages! I hope they were helpful to someone out there just getting their feet wet as a fresh mage. If you are more of a veteran and you’ve thought of things I haven’t, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

(p.s. Thank you all for your kind words on my previous post. I have read and really appreciate each and every one. I will be replying to them individually, meantime I didn’t want anyone to think I was just ignoring them, far from it! You are all awesome.)

Intermission

I went back and forth on whether I should post about this or not. I also asked Voss if he was okay with it (Voss being my spectacular husband, fellow officer and all around great guy, if you’re new here). He said it was okay, so I am going to write about it very briefly. Mostly Manalicious doesn’t have very much that’s personal, but this is going to be personal.

I know that having long times between posts (especially when my last post was called ‘Knowing when it’s time to let go’) is bad. First and foremost:

  • I’m not quitting WoW.
  • I am still playing, and raiding.
  • I still feel like I have a lot to say about many things and Manalicious isn’t going anywhere.

That said, it’s been hard for me to focus as my family has been going through some troubles requiring my attention, and this week we got some terrible news.

Back in 2008, Voss’ dad had chemotherapy for ganglionic cancer, I’m not sure if that’s the correct terminology in English as I get most of these descriptions in French. Anyway, his chemo then was pretty successful and he’s been well since – his hair grew back in, and he is one of the most ridiculously healthy people I know. He runs and goes to the gym and eats well.

Thursday he called to tell Voss that his cancer has come back and it’s pretty bad. It is being biopsied but he may need to have surgery to diagnose it correctly and then after that he’s going to be starting rounds of intensive chemotherapy – requiring that he be in hospital for a week at a time, in complete isolation. His chances of survival are about 50/50. Needless to say, the two of us were devastated by this news and feeling stuck because we want to help but his dad lives in Montreal and we are pretty far from Montreal. So over the next several months we don’t know what’s going to happen – we’re definitely going to be taking an unplanned trip to Montreal, possibly several. Right now it’s the uncertainty and the fear that makes everything hard, as I’m sure anyone who’s gone through this with a family member or themselves can understand. We will have to be unavailable to raid and won’t be able to play at all, but we’re not sure when. It depends on the outcome of this initial diagnosis.

What does that mean for Manalicious? I’m a bit distracted, is mostly what it means. I could post this and then be hit by a fit of productivity and write three posts, or I could not post for a little while, and I apologize for that. I’ve always tried to maintain a fairly regular update schedule of two-three posts per week but I can’t promise that for the next while. I hope everyone understands and will let my name in your respective blog feed remain unbolded for a time, with the understanding that I fully intend to return when I can.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a post you think would fit with my topics here (raiding, guild leading, guilds, mages, classes with mana bars, pugs), please feel free to talk about it with me. I welcome any quality guest posts at this time and thank you for your patience while we figure out our travel plans and hope that Voss’ dad is going to be okay.

Knowing When It’s Time To Let Go (Redux)

This post originally appeared in my old space, Pugging Pally – last June. At the time I posted it I had a guildie ask me, “Uhh, is there something you want to tell us, Vid…?” There wasn’t, I just felt like I had something to say about the topic, and now I’m going to say it again!

It'll make sense in a minute, I promise.

It was my brother’s 25th birthday party, over seven years ago. We had only a stay-at-home affair planned – my Mom had baked a cake and we’d had supper in. It was just myself, Mom, and my brother’s (current, this is important, trust me) girlfriend, and my brother. We hadn’t yet actually had the food, or the cake, when the doorbell rang.

The girl at the door was his ex girlfriend. She arrived without having phoned beforehand. With her, she brought three things:

  • a birthday card
  • a framed photograph of her and my brother
  • and a gigantic cookie she had baked for him.

Needless to say, the following hour was not a comfortable one. It was so uncomfortable, in fact, that my Mom likes to remind me that I phoned up a friend on the sly and said, “Hey, want to go for coffee?” and then pretended that I’d planned to go out all along as I sped out the door with a breezy, “See you later!”

I remember leaving them all sitting at the kitchen table, current and ex girlfriend on either side, and my brother in the middle.

Say it with me now:

Awkwaaaard.

I don’t bring this up now because I’m the world’s meanest person, or I want to reflect on the feelings that would drive someone to come across as so, well, let’s face it…desperate. She knew my brother had a new girlfriend. They’d broken up over a year before, but she chose to drop by, hoping to…win him back? Remind him how awesome she was? I’m not sure. But I can relate to the feeling of clinging to something that’s probably run its course. In fact, when it comes to WoW it can be all too easy to do.

Friends

Very strong ties can be forged online, I think (I hope) we’ve all experienced how great it can be to play a game you enjoy with people you’ve met. But as Voss is constantly reminding me, the internet is a nebulous thing. In the two years that I’ve played WoW, I’ve had good friends, and they’ve gone on to do other things. Sometimes it’s harder when you don’t get any closure – someone just goes offline, or server transfers without a word. It’s not like there was a huge blow-up or fight, but they’ve clearly moved on. My unofficial rule is one point of contact, and then it’s over.

When we “split” with our former server and transferred to raid on another, not all of our friends were too happy about it. I hoped we could stay friends, but some reactions were pretty unpleasant. I did send an e-mail or two, before I realized that it was pointless to pursue something that really had no future. The biggest thing we had in common was the game – why belabor something that had run its course? It was better to just let it go. Even now I occasionally miss some of those people, and I think about e-mailing or dropping by their server to say “hi,” but I always stop myself. The friendship can’t exist the way that it did, and so it’s better for all of us to just not go there.

This isn’t to say you can’t stay friends with people if your server, guild or even faction affiliation changes. Sometimes you can, and sometimes it’s better if you just don’t. The trick is to learn to discern the difference between the two.

Guilds

This is somewhat related to the previous point, because naturally you often become good friends with the people in your guild. But the guild exists separately from the friendships, an entity unto itself. Whatever the guild’s focus is – PvP, PvE and raiding, or roleplay – people change, and so do their goals and wishes within the game. The casual, friendly guild you joined to level up when you first started playing may no longer fit your burning desire to raid end-game with like-minded people. It doesn’t mean you suddenly hate everyone in the other guild, but you may have to make a choice to change in order to do what you want to do.

It’s not an easy decision to make, but in the long run both you and your former guild mates will probably be happier for it. If you’re staying in a guild out of a sense of obligation or inertia, people around you can sense it. If you leave before things start to sour, there’s still a chance you can retain the friendships you value.

Activities

Maybe it’s that arena team you agreed to join, or the raiding you were really gung-ho about, and unfortunately you found out that you don’t enjoy it the way you thought you would. I don’t advocate leaving people in the lurch – if you’ve made a commitment, you should honour it. But your first priority should be yourself – if it’s not fun any more, set an end-date for it, or talk to the people your decision will affect, and try to come up with a compromise. Don’t keep making yourself do something you don’t want to do. It’s a game, and you should be having fun.

Naturally this can intersect with either of the previous topics; you joined a raiding guild, so you can’t really get too bent out of shape to realize that… it requires raiding commitments. But if it’s not working for you any more, most raiding guilds have some provisions in place for social members. You can always step down from the active roster but remain in the guild.

Blogs

Most people who write blogs are usually avid blog-readers. I’ve definitely heard an ongoing complaint from other bloggers about their massive, unwieldy blogrolls. What I have to say might sound a bit callous, but I’m going to say it anyway: cut that thing down to size! Feel no guilt. I think the problem is that we tend to associate a blog more with a person than content. So taking them off the blogroll might feel a bit like, “I don’t like you any more.” It isn’t, though.

I don’t know about you guys, but my work and other commitments can severely limit the amount of time I have available to read blogs in a given day. I have to be pretty ruthless about what I take the time to read, and it was an adjustment for me. When work wasn’t busy, I had all the time in the world, I could read any blog I liked. Nowadays, I’m pretty judicious about new blogs I add, and I do sometimes regretfully remove (usually inactive blogs) or blogs that aren’t speaking to me any more.

It’s cliche, but “It’s not you, it’s me,” really applies here. It could be a blog about a class I don’t play as avidly. Speaking from my own point of view, I’d rather someone not read my blog than feel they have to read it but it’s kind of boring to them. I get that you don’t hate me. It’s okay.

Even when I don’t actually remove a blog – I’ll admit, I use “Mark all as read” liberally. Some blogs update more often than I can keep up. I might skim to see if a topic really interests me and then read more in-depth and comment. I know everyone loves comments. But when there’s no time for that… there’s always Twitter, right? (140 characters is just right for small procrastination breaks).

This section applies to writing a blog, too. Sometimes your interest may have waned, and you just don’t have anything left to say. I know many bloggers have recently been hanging up their hats, and while it makes me sad I can’t do anything but respect their decisions. It’s better to walk away knowing you made the right decision than to just let your blog fade leaving people wondering what happened.

No, Really

So whatever it is… if you feel you might be clinging to something that’s just over (or should be), take steps to rectify or change the situation so that you can have fun again. It might be something I didn’t cover here, I don’t know, but I suspect you will.

In the situation I described before I left a bad situation on my old server, the stress and drama was making me physically ill. I had recurring, painful migraines and bouts of inexplicable nausea. Yes, I know, it’s “just a game,” but it can have a way of making itself pervasive. We can all take this game pretty seriously sometimes. But your subconscious often knows what’s best for you, and it’s telling you somehow or other. Don’t be a “quitter,” but don’t jeopardize your own health and well-being either.

And don’t drop by to visit any ex-girl or boyfriends. You’ll thank me later.

I'm so over you. But you don't know what you're missing!

Patch 4.0.6 for Mages

We interrupt the regularly scheduled Tuesday Art Day for more pressing matters. First, here’s a video from the genius of Greyfoo to make you laugh while you’re waiting for the servers to come back up. What do mages have to look forward to? I’ve cut the relevant part of the patch notes out here. A few of them are mostly relevant to me (unless you’re also a draenei mage, in which case, draenei solidarity!) I’ve put commentary underneath most of the things. (TL;DR – most mages are going to be pretty happy today, and we’re going to hope things work out well for Frost). Gazimoff wrote an analysis of 4.0.6 worth checking out a little while back, with more explanation. If you’d like to read the full list of patch notes, they’re available here.

Mages

  • Arcane Barrage mana cost has been reduced by 8%.
  • Arcane Blast mana cost has been reduced by 12%.
  • The mana costs of Arcane Brilliance and Dalaran Brilliance have been reduced by approximately 16%, making them roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
  • Counterspell lockout duration reduced to 7 seconds, down from 8.
  • Fireball mana cost has been reduced to 9% of base mana.
  • Flame Orb now ignores critters.
  • Frostfire Bolt mana cost has been reduced to 9% of base mana.
  • Mage Armor now reduces the duration of magic effects by 35%, down from 50%.
  • Molten Armor, Frost Armor, and Mage Armor no longer cost mana.
  • Polymorph now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Ring of Frost: Radius shrunk to 8 yards, and inner “safe” radius is now 4.7 yards (exactly matching graphic). Dispelling the effect of Ring of Frost will now make the target immune to being refrozen for 3 seconds. If a second Ring of Frost is cast by the same mage while the first is still active (via Cold Snap), the first will now disappear and cease functioning. In addition, Ring of Frost now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • When a mage uses the Invisibility spell, it will now also cause their pet Water Elemental to become invisible.

Most of this stuff is great news – mana reduction, mana reduction – Flame Orb gets marginally smarter, and Ring of Frost gets a predicted nerf. Also, when I’m questing in Frost I won’t have to abandon poor Speak to certain death because he’ll go invisible when I do. Good stuff overall! There’s a nerf in here for Mage Armor too, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not too terrible.

Talent Specializations
Arcane

  • Slow now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.

Fire

  • Firestarter now allows the mage to cast Scorch while moving (regardless of which armor spell is used), and no longer eliminates Molten Armor’s critical strike chance reduction.
  • Flashburn (Mastery) benefit per mastery has been increased by 12%.
  • Living Bomb mana cost has been reduced by 22%.

Frost

  • Deep Freeze damage done has been reduced by 20%.
  • Fingers of Frost can no longer be dispelled and now also increases Ice Lance damage by 15%.
  • Frost Specialization now only grants 2 base points of mastery (instead of 8), reducing all Frost damage to frozen targets by 15% from previous values. However, Frost Specialization now increases base Frostbolt damage by 15%.

More PvP adjustments for Arcane. Firestarter is greatly improved and now we can cast scorch while moving regardless of armor (“I’m casting scorch while mooooving guys!”, my guild hears this pretty often) AND Molten Armor will now grant crit. So that’s a straight-up buff, enjoy your new crit! Flashburn also gets a 12% increase which is pretty substantial. This along with the mana cost improvements to Fireball and Frostfire Bolt means Fire mages should beĀ  pretty happy with these changes.

As for Frost, I had read that they claimed what looks like nerfs is actually a normalization and that Frost and Fire mages have been performing similarly on the PTR. We’ll have to see how this plays out – if anything it should save our frost mage from a heart attack when he uses Deep Freeze a few seconds into a boss fight.

Mage bug fixes

  • Arcane Power now has its tooltip updated when Glyph of Arcane Power is active.
  • The attachment point of Cone of Cold was too far left and has been adjusted on male troll models.
  • Evocation was returning less mana than the tooltip stated it should. This has been corrected.
  • Flame Orb’s tooltip should now state how much damage it will explode for after the Fire Power talent is chosen.
  • Rank 1 Frostfire Orb is no longer applying a debuff that incorrectly states that it snares its target.
  • The Hurricane weapon enchant should no longer proc when Polymorph is cast.
  • Molten Armor tooltips now display the correct information.
  • Nether Vortex was causing Arcane Blast to yield a string error when Arcane Blast was reflected. It shouldn’t do that.
  • When Presence of Mind was active, Conjure Mana Gem was not becoming an instant cast spell if used to refresh a stack of 2 or less Mana Gems. This has been fixed.
  • Presence of Mind is no longer consumed when Flame Orb is cast.
  • Ring of Frost can now be cast and works properly on transports (this includes elevators, trapdoors, etc.).

I’m not sure how great the discrepancy was between actual mana and the tooltip, but evocation will give a bit more mana. Now, I don’t see it mentioned here but I’m sure I read it elsewhere. There was a bug where putting only one point into Pyromaniac was granting a flat 5% haste all the time. This is being remedied and will no longer be the case.

Glyph fixes

  • Glyph of Arcane Power should correctly reduce the global cooldown of Blink, Mana Shield, and Mirror Image to 0.
  • Ice Barrier’s tooltip is now correctly updated by Glyph of Ice Barrier.

Items

  • Bell of Enraging Resonance can now trigger from any damage spell instead of only critical strikes.

Worth noting if you have this trinket from Atramedes – it seems it just got better!

Alchemy

  • Alchemist’s Stones for Agility, Strength, and Intellect have been added.

If you’re an alchemist, in which case you already get twice as long for your flasks and rub my face in it during raids and…why in my day we used our normal flasks and we liked them, too! Grumble, etc. No really, enjoy your fancy new trinket, alchemists.

Enchanting

  • Three new bracer enchants are available. They increase Agility by 50, Strength by 50, or Intellect by 50 respectively. Item level 300 or higher required. These new recipes are rare world drops.
  • Enchant Off-Handed – Superior Intellect now increases Intellect by 40, down from 100.

If you’ve been using Crit or Hit to your bracers, you’ll be wanting to find this new enchant when you can! Meantime, good-bye 60 intellect. I loved you.
Engineering

  • Synapse Springs now increase Agility, Strength, or Intellect (whichever is highest for the character). In addition, the effect now lasts 10 seconds, down from 12.

I’m not an engineer, but this sounds good if you are a one.

Jewelcrafting

  • Meta gems with the Chaotic and Relentless prefixes now have a requirement of 3 red gems.
  • New meta gems have been added: Agile Shadowspirit Diamond (Agility/3% critical damage), Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond (Strength/3% critical damage), and Burning Shadowspirit Diamond (Intellect/3% critical damage). These new recipes are unbound and can drop from any Cataclysm creature. The new meta gems have a requirement of 3 red gems equipped.
  • Vivid Dream Emerald (new gem) provides resilience/spell penetration and can be purchased for 3 Illustrious Tokens.
  • Wrath of the Lich King purple, green, and orange gems have been increased in cost to match red, blue, and yellow epic gems (220 Justice Points). Burning Crusade epic gems have been increased in cost to match the most expensive Wrath of the Lich King gems.

What we have all been waiting for! Take note, if you’ve been using a meta other than Chaotic (and it wasn’t worth using Chaotic) you will now want to switch to Chaotic immediately until you can get your hands on the Burning Shadowspirit Diamond. Unfortunately the recipe is a world drop. When you’re able to obtain it, it will be the meta of choice and I am very excited.

As for the other changes, no more swapping Justice Points for cheap and resell able Burning Crusade gems, and a new spell penetration/resilience gem available for PvPers. But did I mention the new meta gems? Because there are these new meta gems…!

Races

  • The draenei racial trait Gift of the Naaru now heals 20% of the target’s health over 15 seconds, rather than a scaling value.

For me this translates to approximately a 21K heal. It used to scale with my spellpower, and I think it heals for less this way, but I’m still going to be using it pretty much on cooldown.

Character info window

  • The Haste display on the Character Info window (C) now shows the total haste percentage, rather than only haste from haste rating.

A minor quality of life improvement so you can see your total haste. Not a big thing, but worth noting.

Have fun burning, freezing, and… er…blasting some things, fellow mages! Do you have a better idea for the arcane verb: to kill things with targeted magic? Feel free to share it in the comments!

Hello, Paladins.

Hello, Paladins.
Look at your guild tag,
Now back to me.
Now back at your guild tag,
Now back to me.
Sadly, it isn’t the same as mine.

<Business Time>

But it could be if you were ready to put on business socks and apply to mine.
Look down, back up!
Where are you? You’re in a raid instance with the guild your guild could be.
What’s in your hand? Back at me. I have it!
It’s a calendar with an invite to the raid you love.
Look again, the invite is now spellpower plate we’ve been disenchanting.

Anything is possible when your guild wears business socks. (I’m on a pally horse).

Sadly, I forgot to take a better horse screenshot before my horse became an Elekk. (See how easily things become other things around here?)

More plainly, you’ve all heard about my guild. We’re a guild that’s been strict ten since ages ago (April 2009). We’re almost two years old now! We finished out Wrath by achieving Bane of the Fallen King after getting our Frostbrood drakes back on June 1st. We’re currently 10/12 with available content (Al’akir, Nefarian remaining) and will be heading into heroic modes over the coming weeks. We are based on Moonrunner US (PvE, PST) and we raid Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 PM PST.

In a nutshell, we are a tight-knit, small group of adults dedicated to progression raiding on a schedule that actually works with people’s lives. Our members have jobs and other things they are doing, so we pull at start time and not a moment later (or else Voss’ head explodes). When we raid we’re serious about it (I’m really trying hard to avoid making another Flight of the Conchords joke here, so just bear with me). Thanks to incredible stability and very low member turnover, our roster is almost the same now as it was a year ago – no mean feat, I think! The commitment of our members is itself a testamony – BT folks tend to stick around, and we like it that way. We don’t have roster openings very often.

Unfortunately, real life stuff (happy real life stuff such as getting engaged and moving!) is going to be claiming our holy priest in the next while and we’re going to need another dedicated healer (a solid off-spec wouldn’t hurt, either, but we’re primarily looking for a holy paladin.) I’m hoping that since my original blog seemed to attract many awesome holy paladins interested in watching the noob flounder cheering me on, that perhaps some of you still read and might be looking for a great guild. Our current healing roster has two restoration druids, a restoration shaman and a holy priest – so we’ve got no paladin in this role at all. We think a paladin would be just perfect (although if we don’t have luck finding one we might consider a different healing class).

If you have any questions feel free to ask them here, on our website, or you could drop me a line via Twitter or my e-mail (puggingpally AT gmail DOT com). And if you aren’t looking for a guild but you have a friend who might be, please consider spreading the word! I appreciate any mentions or links immensely.

Tuesday Art Day: Third Dimension

I have a bit of a twist for art day this week with some Sculpey I was playing around with months and months ago. I took the photos and just never posted it!

"What about THE FANGS?" That's from an Ellen stand-up routine. +10 geek points if you have any idea what I'm talking about!

This is a small Millya, she sits on my desk and keeps me company during raids.

I may sculpt these things just as an excuse to make little hooves.

She is right next to mini-Vidyala, once posted on Pugging Pally but I don’t think I’ve used it here. I wanted to try using coloured Sculpey instead of the all-one-colour kind because my results with painting that stuff before hadn’t worked out very well. Painting three-dimensional things is not my strong suit. I also burnt mini-Vid’s horns, something I managed to avoid with the coloured Sculpey.

And neck tentacles, those are fun to make too.

Finally, I used to get really fun and weird search terms, but almost all of my search terms now tend to be practical ones (looking for a mage gear guide, heroic guides, etc.) Here are three I feel I can actually answer from the last week or so.

What spec should a mage be when running heroics in cataclysm?

There’s no specific spec you should be, really. Play a spec that you enjoy. I haven’t played Arcane at all in Cata but it is a very strong, single target burst spec that will serve you well for single-targeting down anything in packs. I personally run as fire in heroics (as I do in raids) because extreme familiarity with a spec is generally beneficial when you move from five to ten or twenty-five or whatever. If you have muscle memory for what to do on a boss in a five man, you probably will also know what to do when the boss is bigger (and has more loot).

Fire carries some inherent risks because Living Bomb can potentially explode and break CC, so watch what you’re doing there. Truthfully, in all the guild heroics we do we’re doing a lot of AoE now and so Fire is awesome for that. I wouldn’t assume that is the case with any pugs, though. Flame Orb has also been changed to not break Polymorph any more (but it will still break other CC effects). Frost is a solid choice for heroics as well, you get quite a bit of passive damage mitigation and it also has incredible burst. On any given boss fight if I’m running with my fellow mage (he plays Frost) he starts out ridiculously ahead of me (damn you, Deep Freeze!) but it usually evens out after my ramp-up time. Actually, he still beats me – he’s very good.

your thoughts on scorch weaving as a fire mage

It was very necessary at lower gear levels, and is starting to be less necessary (especially with additional upcoming changes in 4.0.6). You can see this section about mana management at EJ for more details. Ideally you are managing your top DPS rotation to coincide with Molten Fury at a minimum, or any other burn phases (Magmaw’s exposed pincers, etc.) I have found that since my gear has improved – and taking into account necessary movement components of a fight where I will be scorching in any case – I don’t run OOM anymore and can maintain a straight-up Fireball rotation for most of the time. How much scorch weaving you are obliged to do is going to depend on your gear level, your mana, and how long the fight is going on (average DPS of your raid).

why are mages so bad in cataclysm

I’m sorry, it’s not us – it’s you. We are awesome, as usual.

Have a great day, everyone!

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