61 responses

  1. Saxsy
    August 28, 2012

    I disagree with the recommendation for the first tier talent; Scorch seems like a no-brainer. Without it, fire mages lack a quick spell and a spell that can be cast on the move. It’s also subject to the critical mass buff, giving it a boost to crit chance.

    Here’s where I use scorch on each of the Dragon Soul fights:

    Morchok: during the black blood phase, when I’m running away from and back to Morchok, and when I’m trying to find a line of sight between the pillars.
    Yor’sahj: when I’m running toward an ooze and back from killing an ooze, plus when I have no mana because of a mana void.
    Zon’ozz: when I’m moving to kill the adds during the “dark phase” (I forget what it’s called).
    Hagara: killing the pillars during the ice phase.
    Ultraxion: when I don’t have time for a full fireball cast before I have to hit heroic will.
    Blackhorn: when moving into position to absorb the big purple swirly (again, I forget what it’s called) or when moving away from the charge attack.
    Spine: forcing a Hot Streak just before a tendon phase.
    Madness: when moving from platform to platform and moving for positioning for at least three reasons.

    Without Scorch these times would all be down time with no dps, as Inferno Blast is really the only spell you can use, and that won’t always be available because of its cooldown. Giving that up for an instant cast unbuffed Pyroblast every ninety seconds seems foolish, especially when Scorch can be used to trigger an instant Pyroblast with a 25% buff more frequently.

    Scorch seems like a no-brainer to me.

    • Hugh Hancock
      August 28, 2012

      I’ve actually changed my mind since writing this, and I’m adding Scorch in as the preferred option. Thanks for the comment and the reminder!

      • Ghobe
        August 29, 2012

        In response to the tier 1 discussion.
        It all depends on how the PoM would be used. In current LIVE content, scorch and ice floes are the only choice. However, when the level cap raises with MoP, it will be all about abusing Alter Time, and PoM is something that can be abused by it. To give a quick example, let’s say you have Hot Streak and Heating Up both active, cast PoM, then cast Alter Time, thanks to this combo you now have bare minimal, 4 instant cast pyroblasts going off, and ideally you’ll have at least 6. This is due to Alter Time also maintaining your buffs, thus after you hit Alter Time to activate the time change, you’ll have all 3 buffs again. So, prior to MoP, yes scorch is better, after MoP’s release, PoM is the way to go. DS very much works well with scorch, but MoP raids will lend themselves more towards PoM.

      • Hugh Hancock
        August 30, 2012

        Interesting arguments – thanks! There are definitely strong cases either way, and I’m guessing it’s going to end up being a fight-by-fight choice.

        I’m going to be fascinated to see how the theory on talents and glyphs both develop.

  2. Cinos
    August 28, 2012

    Glyph of Arcane Explosion? Really? No Polymorph? No Evocate? Not even Frostfire? No thank you.

    • Hugh Hancock
      August 30, 2012

      Glyph of Arcane Explosion is one of those glyphs that would rarely be useful in an ideal situation – but in my experience, there are very few ideal situations. Increased area of effect can cure a lot of woes, from hyperactive tanks to an encounter that’s gotten slightly out of control.

      However, as I say, glyphs are definitely a personal choice, and you should use whatever you find the most beneficial. Personally, in today’s 99% CC-free world, I can’t really see why I’d take Glyph of Polymorph for PvE content, for example, but if you can more power to you.

  3. Cinos
    August 28, 2012

    And on another note, frostjaw is nothing but a glorifed Ring of Frost with a .5 second less of a cast time. RoF over Frostjaw any day of the week, the target is going to react the exact same way except that youll hit more then one of them.

  4. Explicit
    August 30, 2012

    What do you think is the highest dps spec for mages for this patch

    • Ghobe
      August 31, 2012

      For 5.0.4 – prepatch, the highest dps atm is fire, by a landslide, with frost being slightly higher than arcane.

      • Hugh Hancock
        August 31, 2012

        Huh! So Arcane’s bottom of the magely totem pole for once? That’s gotta be a bit of a blow after so long at or near the top.

        Thanks – interesting info.

      • Ghobe
        September 1, 2012

        Well it should be noted that at 90, the sims are showing less than a 2% difference between highest dps and lowest dps specs, which is far from how it is now at 85.

      • mastamage
        October 23, 2012

        even in Cata, Fire was still > Arcane

  5. Heather
    September 1, 2012

    Why would you get FROST BOMB over FIRE BOMB as a FIRE MAGE… That doesn’t make any sense… and then later you state to keep FIRE BOMB up…. it’s one or the other… we can’t get both so which is it?

    • Hugh Hancock
      September 1, 2012

      Frost Bomb is simpler to optimise than Living Bomb, and their DPS totals are nearly identical – hence the choice. Living Bomb is a very good choice too, and if you feel strongly that it’s more thematically appropriate, you can choose that.

      The section where you reference my suggestion to keep Living Bomb up is the talent section, where I mention that any of the Tier 5 talents are strong options :).

      • Ghobe
        September 1, 2012

        If absolutely concerned for dps…
        Single target: Nether Tempest
        2-3(maybe 4) target: Living Bomb
        4/5+ target: Frost Bomb

        This only breaks for a frost mage where frost bomb > everything due to the explosion forcing a brain freeze proc while the other 2 bombs are limited to 1 brain freeze proc per duration(may not even proc), not to mention it’s easier to align with burst(see: alter time).

  6. Heather
    September 1, 2012

    Living bomb/fire bomb w/e

  7. Ratatts
    September 2, 2012

    Hi, I’m new to fire spec. Been a long time arcane fan, til the patch.. Question.. In reference to the scorch issue.

    Fire blast needs two fire damaging attacks to crit twice in a row correct ? So since scorch is also a fire damaging attack. Wouldn’t it be wiser to spam scorch (ofcourse after casting frost bomb) until fire blast proc’s rather than fire bolt since the cast time is faster or will it not matter dps wise since scorch is naturally a lower dps spell than fire bomb?

    • Saxsy
      September 2, 2012

      On Jana’s stats right now, scorch does about 10.3k damage with a 1.28 second cast time, for about 8.1k dps. Fireball does 18.3k damage with a 1.91 second cast time, for about 9.6k dps. (These figures would be doubled with crit and do not include ignite damage, but they should be roughly proportional.)

      More importantly, scorch lands instantly on the target, while fireball has some cast time. Because of the way spells are queued, when scorch lands you are going to be in the middle of casting your next scorch when you get the signal for a crit, and that scorch will land before you can switch to Inferno Blast to trigger the Pyroblast! buff. With a fireball, travel time will allow the fireball you are casting to leave your hands with the Heating Up buff active, and then let you cast Inferno Blast to trigger the Pyroblast! buff before the fireball lands. With Scorch you forego this possibility or add an unacceptable delay between each cast to consider whether to cast Inferno Blast.

      • Hugh Hancock
        September 3, 2012

        Great answer – thanks.

      • Ghobe
        September 6, 2012

        Great, but inaccurate. Heating Up is not removed for an entire 0.25 seconds after a non-crit, therefor you could still meet the end of a Scorch cast with Inferno Blast and proc Hot Streak. Travel time spells cap out at 0.75 second travel time and have the same delay allowing up to 1 second(maximum, 0.25 minimum) from the cast leaving your hands to decide to Inferno Blast. This was all recently covered 2 days ago by the blues.

        The real factor is this: Scorch does not benefit from Pyromaniac, Fireball does. That is a 10% damage difference on primary nuke. If this was not a factor, scorch would be ahead by roughly 1.8%, but since it is a factor, scorch falls behind by roughly 4.5%. Not to mention that your reaction time has to be much higher to use scorch instead of fireball(though can be done).

        In a quick 2 minute test of each…
        Scorch 44.3k dps
        Fireball 46.4k dps

        Scorch primary damage source: Pyroblast
        Fireball primary damage source: Fireball

        Scorch HS procs: 20
        Fireball HS procs: 15

        33% more procs for 95% of the output.

      • Hugh Hancock
        September 6, 2012

        Thanks – this is a fascinating discussion, and I really appreciate all the time you’re taking to write answers on this guide. Much appreciated.

        (BTW – particularly impressed you’re taking reaction time into account. As a non-18-to-24-age-bracket player, I’m acutely aware that techniques which work for people with the reaction speed of a greased ferret may not also work for the rest of the playerbase!)

      • Saxsy
        September 6, 2012

        In theory it is possible to cast Inferno Blast to force a Pyroblast! debuff while casting scorch. You certainly have to have a faster reaction time than if you are casting fireballs, but I have been able to do it on target dummies, though not with anything approaching 100% reliability.

        In practice I have been unable to do this with any kind of reliability in a raid. Perhaps it’s because I use scorch while I am in motion and am unable to react as quickly as I would if I were sitting at a target dummy.

        Theoretically it’s possible. In my practical experience, using scorch would mean foregoing the chance to cast Inferno Blast to proc Pyroblast.

      • Ghobe
        September 6, 2012

        Well…I CAN do it, but like I showed in the results, it doesn’t matter because you don’t receive additional benefit. Though I don’t think I could manage it very well in a raid environment either since I have to focus pretty hard to do it.

  8. Hursty
    September 7, 2012

    hi, thanks for putting this together, most helpful. one quick question, isn’t a glyphed FFB better than a fireball with identical damage and cast time but an added slowing effect? sorry if I am missing something obvious but I’d appreciate clarification.


    • Ghobe
      September 9, 2012

      It’s only “better” in the sense that it gives a snare effect. Which means, for pvp sure, but for pve, you’re pretty much wasting a glyph slot. There’s no advantage in a raid environment.

  9. Johnny McClure
    September 9, 2012

    where is this fire explosion

    • Hugh Hancock
      September 10, 2012

      I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand the question – can you rephrase?

      • Ghobe
        September 11, 2012

        He’s referring to your aoe section where you say the second priority is this “fire explosion”.

      • Hugh Hancock
        September 11, 2012

        Ah, my old enemy Global Find-and-Replace, we meet again.

        I am there, of course, referring to “Arcane Explosion”. Sorry about that – I’ve fixed it now.

  10. Ghobe
    October 7, 2012

    Alright Hancock, since I can’t login to the game you’re getting a wall of text to improve this.

    One of the biggest changes I see left out of a lot of guides is this: Expertise now affects the hit chance of mages and warlocks at a 1:1 ratio. Which means that the best enchant for hands when gearing for raiding, is more than likely the expertise enchant. People should also note that when reforging for hit, that if they have a piece with say hit and haste on it, they can reforge the haste into expertise for even more hit(I make special note of this because it is very easy to forget).

    Next, I very heavily suggest the combustion glyph for pve(i recommend NOT using it for pvp). This gives you potentially more room to make for that large ignite, and will make that large ignite all the more powerful(a 500k+ combustion should not be uncommon, especially at raid gear level).

    On glyphs as well, although they provide choice, Arcane Explosion is a very weak glyph. If your concern is aoe, the glyph of Cone of Cold is a dramatically better choice as it provides roughly 2.5x the output of an arcane explosion. So your actual rotation will be something along the lines of bomb rotation->cone of cold->flame strike->blizzard if you won’t suffer pushback or interrupt otherwise arcane explosion, then continue to use your bomb(s), Cone of Cold, and Flame Strike on cooldown, while using Arcane Explosion when you only have time for 1-2 globals, otherwise Blizzard. And for reference with bomb rotations: if you have nether tempest, Inferno Blast your bomb target on cooldown; if Living Bomb, make sure to spread the bomb and refresh it immediately on one target and spread it again after the initial bombs go off; if Frost Bomb, just let it do it’s thing. Also, if using Frost Bomb, you should NOT have glyph of Fire Blast.

    So for the record, in my book proper glyphs for dungeons/raids: Combustion/Fire Blast/Cone of Cold.

    As to talents, Ring of Frost is a much better choice than Frost Jaw. Frost Jaw locks down one target, Ring of Frost locks down an entire wave of adds, which is typically what is seen in raid style fights where adds can be cc’d.

    Invocation is the highest dps increase for fire, as long as you can maintain it. If you can not maintain it(too much movement), Incanter’s Ward is the go-to. Rune of Power is not to be used with fire.

    As to gems, prior to t14, what you’ve said is correct. However, at the t14 gear level 2 points of crit > 1 point of int, therefore, at that point you should be using crit gems instead of int gems(potent, smooth, piercing). It is also arguable that rng is rng and as such you should try to minimize it even prior to t14.

    As to minor glyphs, totally up to the choice of the user, though I don’t really recommend loose mana for anyone, but MAYBE arcane.

    Also as to proper combustion use, we want this ideally after back to back critical HOT STREAK’d pyroblasts, though this will be a rather rare case prior to being raid geared, so after a single hot streak’d pyroblast crit that had at least 4 seconds prior of fireball/pyroblast casting prior will be good enough, however, if you have Inferno Blast off cooldown prior to the combustion use, use it for additional ignite damage(especially since combustion is off the GCD, and refreshes your Inferno Blast). If you have an addon that tracks combustion size, the size you’re looking for is at least 11k prior to raiding(14k being ideal), in raid gear you don’t want anything less than 22k. This doesn’t mean higher numbers can’t be achieved(I have done a 30k combustion with 28 ticks prior to being raid geared), it’s just incredibly rare.

    Otherwise, I think we’re good here.

    • Ghobe
      October 7, 2012

      Oh, actually I did leave out one detail specific to Living Bomb here in MoP. Living Bomb can now be safely refreshed early and I actually recommend it as it is a dps increase if you can do it(just don’t go out of your way to do it). The window for refresh is between the final and 2nd to last ticks, refreshing it at this point causes the previous bomb to immediately explode(indicator that you refreshed properly). The timing of this window will depend on your haste.

    • Hugh Hancock
      October 8, 2012

      Dear Blizz: Thanks for breaking Ghobe’s login temporarily so that he came over here to give us great advice!

      Seriously – thanks very much. I’m going to do a pass over all the guides next week, and I’ll incorporate bits of your advice into the main guide at that time, but in the meanwhile, this is awesome, and everyone else – read this comment! The Hit/Expertise equivalence is particularly important – that’ll be going into ALL mage and lock guides next week.

  11. Redware
    October 9, 2012

    Great little thread here!

    Are there haste breaks like there were in Cata that we should be aiming for? Sure point to point Crit is better, but if a couple of extra points of haste gets you an extra tick on your combustion/LB/ignite then surely its worth going for?
    Anyone have values? % or raw numbers would be great.

    • Ghobe
      October 9, 2012

      I haven’t really looked into these yet. However, combustion’s(unglyphed) breakpoints remain unchaned(5,15,25,35,etc). I imagine living bomb/nether tempest hasn’t changed(12.5,37.5,52.5,etc), pyroblast might have changed. I haven’t been able to confirm this yet but supposedly glyphed combustion is 2.5,7.5,12.5,17.5,etc.

      • Redware
        October 9, 2012

        I’m finding that haste is the stat that is looking the most sorry for itself at the moment after reforging to get the raid hit cap, self buffed i have .03% over 15% hit cap and 23.9% crit. Despite favoring gear with hit/crit and hit/haste and reforging all mastery for hit/expertise i still have 14.81% mastery and a measly 5.27% haste. Should i look to get either 7.5% haste or 10% haste so that with raid buffs I’m at the 12.5% for LB or 15% for combustion, or keep it all on crit?

        Any and all help appreciated!

      • Ghobe
        October 9, 2012

        Well, we want at least 25% crit self buffed at the bare minimal as fire. The only haste breakpoint that can be seen as worthwhile is that 12.5%, which would mean with group buff you should only need slightly above 7.14% haste from rating(3038). From what I’m seeing though you still need more crit rating.

        And for reference the next major breakpoint after that(which might be unreachable until next raid tier) will be slightly above 11.72% haste from rating(4988), which grants the third extra tick on Living Bomb/Nether Tempest during Bloodlust with group haste.

      • Frostfíre
        November 12, 2012

        Ghobe…I love you. This has been one of the best walls of text I’ve ever read, simply for the fact that it is actually readable, and isn’t all just stats, like most other wall-of-text posts. It has made my day to see the assistance you’ve given to so many players through these posts, and my hat goes off to you.

        Keep up the good work.

        PS – Blizzard should break your login more often 😉

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