[PvE] Frost Mage Guide - 4.1

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90 Draenei Mage
0
UPDATE: Once Mists comes out and I do some raiding and testing, I will be doing a thorough overhaul of this guide to match the massive changes the expansion has provided. I can tell you now that with the exception of using FFB, Ice Lance, Frostbolt, and your Elemental, virtually everything else has been changed.

Also refer to Critrocket's own personal guide which includes all of this information in more detail and uses imagery:

http://frostpve.blogspot.com

1. Talents
2. Glyphs
3. Stat Priorities/Gear
4. Enchanting
5. Gemming
6. Professions
7. Single Target Rotation
8. AoE Rotation

1. Talents

For frost, there is really only one main way to spec your tree, but there are a few optional talents that you can put points into based on your situation/preference

  • http://www.wowhead.com/talent#o0bZfcZffMMsuszRo
  • . These are the optional PvE talents:

    Reactive Barrier - Although having only 1/2 into this talent means that there's a 50% chance it will do nothing, once you get past 50% the chance dramatically rises to points where it's almost 100%. Strongly Suggested

    Icy Shards - Due to the nature of the application involving the blizzard slow (there is a delay on the slow until it's applied) it is not as good as it seems. But, i've learned recently that having 1/2 in this means that Blizzard will proc BF and FoF, which makes this talent amazingly better. It almost guarantees max procs when casted upon a lot of targets. Strongly Suggested. As for the 2/2, the slow in 1/2 is utterly worthless, but the 40% in 2/2 is pretty awesome.

    Enduring Winter - Due to the amount of frostbolt's you cast within the duration of Replenishment on average, only the 1 point is needed. The amount of uptime you get with Molten Armor from the extra 7% reduction is extremely negligible. The main reason you will see this in a lot of frost PvE builds is simply a lack of good talents to go to.

    Important: With the higher crit values, there are now two ways frost mages are dealing with mana. The first option is to achieve soft cap (roughly 22% including flask/feast/stat buff/5% buff/5% debuff) and run mage armor full-time. I highly recommend this option as it allows you to completely forget your mana, which in turn allows you to perform your rotation better and increase your raid awareness.

    The other option is to achieve 30% crit fully raid buffed (whatever that may entitle. But as a frost mage in a PvE setting, having full crit bonuses is virtually imperative.) and run molten armor. Doing this requires the use of evocation, mana gems, and for most fights definitely armor switching (going to mage armor at like 25-30% mana and switching back to molten at the appropriate time)

    2. Glyphs

    Starting off as a frost mage, these are the glyphs i would recommend:

    Prime:
    Glyph of Frostfire ( The 15% damage buff is huge considering you will mainly crit with it - if you put up permafrost and have this glyph, it still will not slow)
    Glyph of Frostbolt
    Glyph of Deep Freeze

    Major:
    Glyph of Blink
    Glyph of Evocation (A self heal, must have)
    Glyph of Ice Barrier (Very helpful to your healers in various fights)

    Minor:
    Glyph of Conjuring
    Optional (I personally like Glyph of Armors)
    Optional (I personally like Glyph of Slow Fall)

    3. Stat Priorities/Gear

    As with all casters, your main and most important stat will always be Intellect. It directly gives you spellpower, mana, and critical strike chance.

    Although SimC and things like it give different results depending on gear, these are the normal stat priorities for frost:

    Int
    Hit to cap (17%, or 16% for draenei)
    Crit until soft cap (33%)
    Haste/Mastery
    Crit after soft cap

    Remember that these shift (mainly haste/mastery)
    Edited by Switch on 7/29/2012 6:09 PM PDT
    90 Draenei Mage
    0
    4. Enchanting

    Head:
    (Item not found) You get this from Guardians of Hyjal reputation. Simply doing the main quest line will get you to revered which will allow you to buy this.

    Shoulders:
    Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone This requires the exalted status with Therazane (Deepholm). It will require the quest line plus either dailies or running dungeons with the tabard
    Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone This requires the honored status with Therazane. The quest line alone will get you there.

    Chest:
    Enchant Chest - Peerless Stats This one is more costly than Mighty Stats, but with the release of ZG/ZA it has become much easier to obtain due to the increase in the supply of maelstrom crystals
    Enchant Chest - Mighty Stats Easy to obtain, only 5 stat difference from Peerless

    Belt:
    Ebonsteel Belt Buckle Can be bought from the AH or BS's can make them.

    Legs:
    Powerful Enchanted Spellthread This can be slightly costly, but if you are a tailor this is easily obtainable.
    Enchanted Spellthread If you are low on money and not an enchanter, get this.

    Feet:
    Enchant Boots - Lavawalker This is the most recommended enchant due to the movement speed increase. I believe it is 8%, correct me if i am wrong
    Enchant Boots - Precision If you are having problems getting hit-capped, you can use this.

    Bracer:
    Enchant Bracer - Mighty Intellect Keep in mind, this is extremely hard to find (world drop) and extremely expensive, but it still is the best enchant for dps.
    Enchant Bracer - Precision Again if you are having problems getting hit-capped, use this.
    Enchant Bracer - Greater Critical Strike Most used enchant due to the rarity of Might Intellect. Requires maelstrom crystals
    Enchant Bracer - Critical Strike 15 Less crit than Greater Critical Strike, but no maelstrom crystals required.

    Gloves:
    Enchant Gloves - Haste
    Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery
    Scroll of Enchant Gloves - Exceptional Spellpower
    Since (for their respective values in the enchants) all the enchants are relatively equal here, it is personal preference

    Cape:
    Enchant Cloak - Greater Intellect
    (Lightweave Embroidery) - http://www.wowhead.com/spell=75172#recipes - Tailors Only

    Weapon:
    Enchant Weapon - Power Torrent - Top dps caster enchant.
    Enchant Weapon - Hurricane - Not nearly as good, but much cheaper

    Off-hand:
    Enchant Off-Hand - Superior Intellect - Only off-hand enchant

    5. Gemming

    Red:
    Brilliant Inferno Ruby
    Brilliant Chimera's Eye Jewelcrafter's only.

    Yellow:
    Potent Ember Topaz

    Blue:
    Veiled Demonseye

    Meta:
    Burning Shadowspirit Diamond


    Important:
    If you have bad socket bonuses such as +10 hit rating, +10 haste rating, and +10 mastery rating, it is better to just put the red gem into that slot, it will give you more dps overall. Remember, Int conquers all.

    6. Professions

    Here is the list of the stat bonuses of each individual profession:

    Crafting

    Enchanting - +80 Int (double 40 int ring enchants)
    Tailoring - Lightweave (totals to around 80 int average at all times)
    Alchemy - +80 int (benefit from Mixology from flask of the draconic mind)
    Engineering - +80 Int
    Blacksmith - +80 int (two extra gem sockets)
    Jewelcrafting - (27 extra int per red socket) - 81 int (3 gem maximum)
    Leatherworking - (+130 int from Embossment - intellect)
    Inscription - +80 int (Felfire Inscription)

    Gathering

    Mining - +120 stam
    Skinning - +80 crit
    Herbalism - +480 haste every 2 minutes (small heal as well, but it's negligible)

    On a side note: I would personally recommend tailoring for simply being a mage. In addition to lightweave: you can make your own epics, not paying nearly as much for your leg spellthreads, and create flying carpets! Plus new recipes are added every tier and are usually non-heroic BiS.
    Edited by Switch on 9/12/2011 5:38 PM PDT
    90 Draenei Mage
    0
    7. Single Target Rotation

    In my personal opinion, frost has the most situational and complex rotations among the 3 in the mage class, and possibly in the caster section. This is due to the fact that both of our procs are damaging abilities. Not only that, they can meld together as one attack as well.

    Legend for Non-Obvious Terms:
    FoF = Fingers of Frost
    BF = Brain Freeze
    FFB = Frostfire Bolt. *Important* - Whenever i say FFB, it will always be used as frostfire bolt with Brain Freeze and FoF up.

    PF = Pet Freeze

    You'll want to start off the fight with this (This "first strike" rotation is unique to boss encounters only):

    (Any trinkets/Volcanic potion) - Frostfire Orb - Icy Veins - PF - Deep Freeze - Cold Snap - Deep Freeze - Frostfire Orb - (begin "refrain" rotation. It's important to note that you should wait until the first FFO is gone to cast the second.) - Icy Veins (once the first's duration is over)

    If any of the previously mentioned abilities are on cooldown when beginning a fight, simply take them out of that rotation (remember if Cold Snap is on cooldown, all the abilities used after it will be unusable that quickly)

    Refrain Rotation

    Fact/Priority List:

  • Use Frostfire Orb off cooldown
  • --- But, if the situation makes it so it would be a worthless cast, wait for the right time (I.E. Boss moves around a lot (Shannox), or removes himself from battle (Beth'tilac))

  • Use Deep Freeze off cooldown

  • Use Pet Freeze off cooldown. If PF is up and you have FoF charges, expel them then use Pet Freeze. You don't want to waste charges

  • Use Icy Veins off cooldown


  • Use Cold Snap only after Icy Veins/Frostfire Orb/Deep Freeze have been recently used for maximum dps gain.


  • Frostbolt is always your main filler. If you have no FoF charges up or BF procs up, you will be casting frostbolt. If you have 2 FoF charges up, expel an Ice Lance, but try to keep 1 FoF charge active until Deep Freeze comes off cooldown, or until a Brain Freeze proc surfaces..

    Order of importance:
    Deep Freeze > FFB > Ice Lance > Frostbolt

    Specifics
    Due to the 4.1 change that Frostfire Orb will now proc BF, you won't be spamming Ice Lances once the orb is out. But, when it is out (and especially when two are out in the "first strike" phase) don't save the last FoF charge. They are coming in quick enough that you can use them all on the incoming BF and FoF procs. And by the time you cast another frostbolt (if no charges are somehow up), you will 9 times out of 10 have at least 1 charge by the end of the cast, which allows you to "ghost cast" whichever proc is more important.

    If you are in a situation (which happens a lot to frost mages due to the high volume of attacks hitting the target in the beginning phase) where you have a lot of your trinkets/power torrent/lightweave about to end, and you have 1 FoF charge left, use it on Ice Lance. It's important to note that this mainly only happens during "first strike". I've done testing in that specific scenario and it was better than using a non-item proc benefited FoFBFFFB. To put it simply, a 37k ice lance is better than a 27k Frostfire Bolt

    For an alternate rotation that is generally the same but spreads out the use of cooldowns more, check this out:

    <a href="http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2522074557?page=11">http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2522074557?page=11</a>

    8. AoE Rotation

    Due to the 4.1 change, Blizzard is now a viable means of consistent AoE damage (Arcane and fire will still out damage frost in terms of AoE however). You can always simply cast blizzard, but using these methods will effectively double the dps you would gain from that.

    Simple Shatter Blizzard - Before or while casting blizzard, simply use PF on the area you will/are cast(ing) on. It is a dramatic damage increase and lasts long enough to be worth the cd. Plus, blizzard procs BF and FoF (ONLY if you have 1 or more points in Ice Shards since it gives blizzard a chill factor), so by the time you are done casting you usually have charges to go right into the single target rotation without any delay (or to finish off any adds that made it through). I recommend this for moving AoE damage in frost (I.E. Beth'tilac/Rhyolith/Ragnaros)

    Flamestrike + Blizzard Shatter - Due to the amount of raid damage that is being put on the adds, this requires some precise timing. Simply start casting flamestrike and right before it goes off, put down PF, then go right into casting blizzard. This ends up doing more damage than the "Simple Shatter Blizzard", but ends up doing less and wasting more mana if the adds are moving quickly.

    Hope this guide proved helpful to you! If i missed anything feel free to point it out. I will answer any questions given and will be updating it constantly.
    Edited by Switch on 8/19/2011 2:30 PM PDT
    Iamesauce, Blizzard should offer you a free race change to Troll.
    - World of Warcraft
    90 Human Mage
    10015
    The second and third points in Enduring Winter are extremely optional; the amount of extra time they give you in Molten Armor makes a small fraction of a percent difference in total DPS.
    05/14/2011 05:46 PMPosted by Trevihn
    Iamesauce, Blizzard should offer you a free race change to Troll.


    No, I'm serious. By specs, several simcraft sites ranked arcane at 41,000 value points and fire at 37,000 value points.

    Frost? 14000.
    90 Draenei Mage
    0
    The second and third points in Enduring Winter are extremely optional; the amount of extra time they give you in Molten Armor makes a small fraction of a percent difference in total DPS.


    Thanks Lhiv, changed accordingly.

    No, I'm serious. By specs, several simcraft sites ranked arcane at 41,000 value points and fire at 37,000 value points.

    Frost? 14000.


    This is mainly due to the fact that for the entire duration of wow, frost has been terrible. You cannot expect people to jump on it right away. In reality, frost is doing very well in raiding right now.
    Edited by Switch on 5/14/2011 7:24 PM PDT


    No, I'm serious. By specs, several simcraft sites ranked arcane at 41,000 value points and fire at 37,000 value points.

    Frost? 14000.


    This is mainly due to the fact that for the entire duration of wow, frost has been terrible. You cannot expect people to jump on it right away. In reality, frost is doing very well in raiding right now.



    Value points aren't based by opinion, they're based by performance numbers.
    90 Draenei Mage
    0
    05/14/2011 07:43 PMPosted by Iamesauce
    Value points aren't based by opinion, they're based by performance numbers.


    And those performance numbers are based on individuals who aren't taking the spec seriously. The pros are playing arcane/fire and the casuals are playing frost. This is skewing the numbers. The pros might have good reasons for choosing to do so, but that doesn't mean a guide shouldn't be posted for frost mages interested in raiding. It is plenty fine for raiding.
    81 Undead Mage
    1765
    Very nice read. I am leveling a mage now using Frost, and the first talent build you listed is what I am aiming for with the exception of not taking Permafrost, and putting that 1 point into Ice Shards. I have heard that in doing that, Blizzard will now proc Fingers of Frost, and that is the only reason I am taking it. If it didn't proc FoF, I would use Permafrost just for the added pet survivability. Good job.
    85 Gnome Mage
    7110
    [/quote] Value points aren't based by opinion, they're based by performance numbers. [/quote]

    You can not only base your opinion on sim runs. There are several key strengths to frost that make it more desireable. Try it out for yourself.

    moarz on topics- I is approve of the post. Stickied
    Edited by Cozmic on 5/14/2011 7:59 PM PDT
    85 Goblin Mage
    11630
    05/14/2011 07:46 PMPosted by Switch
    Value points aren't based by opinion, they're based by performance numbers.


    And those performance numbers are based on individuals who aren't taking the spec seriously. The pros are playing arcane/fire and the casuals are playing frost. This is skewing the numbers. The pros might have good reasons for choosing to do so, but that doesn't mean a guide shouldn't be posted for frost mages interested in raiding. It is plenty fine for raiding.


    ^^
    90 Gnome Mage
    12905
    Stickied, and all those actual trolls calling switch a troll should just get out now.
    - World of Warcraft
    90 Human Mage
    10015
    05/14/2011 07:58 PMPosted by Cozmic
    Value points aren't based by opinion, they're based by performance numbers. [/quote]

    You can not only base your opinion on sim runs. There are several key strengths to frost that make it more desireable. Try it out for yourself.[/quote]

    The sims actually say Frost should be doing very well. It's Raidbots data that isn't favorable. Trouble is:

    - First, as explained above, the spec has been bad for years and it'll take time to overcome that perception even if it's mechanically fine now.

    - Second, many people tend to use the top 100 parse comparison. This makes for a terrible comparison for a couple reasons: first, because a higher-variance spec will always look better than a lower-variance spec when you're sampling the top end of the range. Second, because when you only have a few hundred parses, the top 100 can represent the top 15-20% of the total parses rather than, as with Fire, the top fraction of 1%, meaning you're getting a much larger portion of Frost's range, hurting the resulting average number.

    In short, the raidbots numbers are pretty useless for Frost at present, and will remain useless until lots of skilled, well-geared people are playing the spec - which is unlikely to happen because so many people base their decision of what to play on those numbers, creating a vicious cycle.
    85 Gnome Mage
    7110
    Pretty nice guide. Bumped.

    A few things though. First, you should really go into more detail about the pull. the hardest part of the Frost Mage rotation is the pull, and you only gave a couple sentences to it.

    Also, the whole tone of your guide seems to be as if youre directing it at a semi-experienced Frost Mage. For instance:

    Due to the 4.1 change that FFO will now proc BF, you won't be spamming Ice Lances once FFO is out. But, when FFO is out (and especially when two are out in the "first strike" phase) don't save the last FoF charge. They are coming in quick enough that you can use them all on the incoming BF and FoF procs. And by the time you cast another frostbolt (if no charges are up), you will 9 times out of 10 have at least 1 charge.


    What I would have said:

    "Whenever you have a Frostfire Orb out, you will be raking in FoF charges in quick succession, so be prepared to spam Ice Lance and FFB (on proc) whenever you have a FFO out. Of course, dont wait for a charge if you have no charges out-- just have your finger on the button and press it the moment you get a charge. I wouldn't bother saving a charge either, as it's almost inevitable that you will get at least 1 more by the time DF is off cooldown."

    Also, I know you like abbreviations, but you get a bit ridiculous. It doesn't help new Mages to have to decipher everything you say. Really, whenever you're talking to new people, you want to use as simple language as possible.

    And, your first sample talent tree is way off. You should never, ever take points in Piercing Chill for single target dps. there aren't going to be 2 other people there to recieve the charges. And, there is no real reason for a point in Reactive Barrier either. The only real purpose of that talent is in PvP, where you can't waste a GCD to cast it. In a realistic PvE environment, you can simply manually cast Ice Barrier (if it is necessary at all). I would take all 3 of those points and put them into Ignite. FFB Ignite crits are a much more significant part of our rotation than you make it out to be.

    Other than that, decent guide. I don't know about sticky-worthy, but I'll bump it out of support for a fellow Frost PvE Mage.

    P.S. and yes, you don't see Frost Mages in "top 100" parses because elitist Sinestra raiders don't take the time to master it because they think its terrible. Frost, I would say, takes at least 1-2 weeks to master. And that's if you do nothing but Frost. People may try it once for fun, think that its terrible, and go back to Arcane.


    Where would you put the points if you did not put them in reactive barrier or piercing chill? Those are the only talents that actually have a direct impact on our survivability or dps. If not put into piercing chills or reactive barrier you do not have enough points to get to deep freeze.


    Edit: I suppose you could take Ice Shards but i would personally rather have piercing chill. Both are situational to an extent but I think it is much more rare that Ice shards would come into play.
    Edited by Cozmic on 5/15/2011 12:31 AM PDT
    85 Undead Mage
    1980
    Really awesome thanks. Stickied.
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