[PvE] Frost Mage Guide - 4.1

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85 Undead Mage
5690
TLDR: Alternative "Stagger Method" Frost Rotation
~Great for on-use trinkets like (Moonwell Chalice + Rune of Zeth).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My method of playing Frost is a slight variation of your guide (thank you btw!) and yields great DPS. This method can actually make use of Chalice AND Rune of Zeth effectively on every CD by staggering IV/FFO instead of popping them together(which I personally think is a waste [explanation below]). This is probably why we're disagreeing in the first place since I never elaborated on how I play the spec.

To explain it briefly...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Open with Mirror Images -> PF -> IL -> (Moonwell Chalice + FFO) -> DF
2. Frostbolt and expel FoF/BF charges according to standard priority.
3. FFO fades -> Clear FoF charges -> Icy Veins (Do NOT use trinket!) -> PF -> DF on CD
4. IV fades -> refrain(~10-15 seconds) while holding one FoF charge
5. DF on CD -> FFO on CD
6. Coldsnap -> PF -> DF -> (Rune of Zeth + Icy Veins)
8. IV fades -> (Moonwell Chalice + FFO) -> PF(if needed) -> DF
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Try to keep PF on CD so that it's always coming up a few seconds before your DF CD(you may need to fill a few seconds(<5) with Frostbolt during step 3 if FoF charges dry up.

After that it's FFO/IV/MI/DF/PF on CD and another Coldsnap towards the end if the fight is long enough. Once step 8 is over. Every other FFO should be used with Moonwell Chalice, and every Icy Veins should be used with Rune of Zeth.

With this method, you're popping Coldsnap close to the one minute mark which means although your leaving FFO/IV off CD for a few seconds initially, FFO numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc will line up perfectly with the Moonwell Chalice CD so the on-use will ALWAYS be effective (barring a RNG dud FFO that doesn't proc anything) and the Rune of Zeth CD will line up perfectly with every Icy Veins with the exception of the first.

On FFO/IV Usage (Staggered or Simultaneous?)
I've tried your method and didn't like the period after the 2nd CD burn where all you have is Frostbolt and FoF charges are at a minimum. Your strategy seems to compress everything too tightly into a narrow window to maximize the number of CD's you can fit in a given fight, at the expense of FoF charges and optimal use of Icy Veins.

The only real difference in our methods is I don't pop IV and FFO at the same time or put two FFO's up simultaneously since(to me at least) it's a waste of 20 seconds of cast speed increase if you have constant FoF charges to expel.

[The OP has been revised regarding FFO, NEVER pop two FFOs at the same time.]

Without IV, you'll occasionally be GCD or Cast locked to the point where you miss an FoF charge on just a single active FFO; but you can easily make up for it during the Icy Veins that follows due to more frequent Frostbolts coming out (thus a higher rate of FoF procs).

***Double FFO is a complete waste because they can proc FoF/BF at a rate of 2 charges per second. Even with IV's GCD reduction you'll lose them constantly. Let say FFO does a liberal estimate of 45,000 damage over it's duration...losing a single FFB or two FoF IL's because they're proccing too fast means you've effectively negated the extra damage you gained by popping the 2nd FFO early.
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Edited by Critrocket on 8/2/2011 1:09 PM PDT
85 Undead Mage
5690
Continued(Character limit exceeded)
Using IV to help with Double FFO's proc rate is still extremely risky and then you have to deal with a full minute of neutered DPS because everything is on CD. This can create situations in certain encounters where your lacking in DPS when you really need it, but have no cooldowns.

Overall, the staggering method for CD's distributes damage evenly over a given time period instead of in spikey intervals when compared to the method in the OP, reduces the risk of FoF overwrites, and reduces the "refrain" period from one minute down to 30 seconds.



Random notes/tips:

For fights <8 minutes.
-To ensure you get a 2nd Coldsnap on shorter fights, you can pop your first FFO(w/ Chalice) and IV(no trinket, ICD constraint) at the same time and Coldsnap after the 2nd DF as in the original OP. Then IV(w/ Zeth) and leave FFO off CD for 30 seconds to ensure it stills lines up with Moonwell Chalice for the remainder of the fight. The damage lost from leaving FFO on CD for 30 seconds can be regained in roughly 3-4 FoF Ice Lances or 2-3 FoF FFBs that are buffed by the Chalice trinket(basically you will "break even" on your 2nd delayed FFO due to Chalice, and after that you're popping FFO on CD). After that, every FFO + Chalice pop is a significant damage increase versus using FFO immediately after Coldsnap and leaving the cooldowns out of sync.

DF and Moonwell Chalice
-Make sure DF will always come off CD during the Chalice buff(upwards of 25k-35k extra damage with all raid buffs and mob debuffs present). If necessary, you can leave DF off CD to accomplish this for roughly 7-8 seconds before the damage increase becomes a wash; any longer and you're losing DPS. It's a 20 second buff so it should never really be a problem though.

FFB and Moonwell Chalice
In a FFO+Chalice phase with FoF1, /stopcasting->FFB will be a DPS gain regardless of how far along your current Frostbolt is. Back to back FFB(w/ FoF) procs are absolutely worth /stopcasting Frostbolt to keep the ignite rolling if it would drop otherwise.
E.X.
No Chalice Buff
16k FB @ normal crit rating vs. 25k FFB @ 100% crit rating. (20k avg. Frostbolt vs 70k FFB+Ignite avg).

On-Use Trinkets and Stagger Method
It is NOT necessary to have any "on-use" trinkets at all to use this rotation. It will still do comparable DPS to the method explain in the OP. Furthermore, Rune of Zeth + Moonwell Chalice are not THE required trinkets but are likely the best combo available to use with the "Stagger Method".


Phew...ok. Ponder all that for a bit and/or try it out. If I've overlooked something or you have any improvements to suggest feel free to comment.
Edited by Critrocket on 7/26/2011 7:39 PM PDT
1 Gnome Rogue
0
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.


I wouldn't say players playing frost don't take it seriously. But your meaning is correct. The best of the best do not play frost.

So if you have a batch with THE best players of a class + Decent players + bad players

and compare it to a batch of decent players + bad players

The results are going to be skewed.

Top players play the theoretically highest dps spec. For a very simple reason, discrepancies in skill between specs is not a big factor for them. Simply put, they can master every spec equally. I mean, it's what the guys (and girls) do.

So if one spec COULD see 1k more dps then another, and they play BOTH specs 95% perfect, then that gap is going to exist for them. Thus becomes a factor in why they go with whatever is theoretically higher.

Now take average joe, say myself. I'm a pretty good player. Not the best but pretty good. I do my research, I hit dummies to improve my rotation etc etc. But, I am not going to play each spec equally. So if I play frost at 85% efficient, but arcane at 70% then that 1k difference isn't going to be a factor into the damage I actually do with each class. Frost could come out on top for me, because (for arguments sake) I'm better at it then I am with arcane. Now if I practiced enough it brought myself closer to playing arcane at 85% that 1k will be a factor.

But for most people, there will be a skill difference from spec to spec.

One spec will always be ahead. The problem (imo) is when you pick up a spec you are terrible at...and do equal dps (or better) then the spec you are actually good with. The dps gap between them has to be terrible for that to happen.

OP, well done:)
07/25/2011 05:05 AMPosted by Finkathy
So if one spec COULD see 1k more dps then another, and they play BOTH specs 95% perfect, then that gap is going to exist for them. Thus becomes a factor in why they go with whatever is theoretically higher.


Which is kind of sad WoW has gotten to a "Moar DPS" mindset than which spec works best for each senario, or at least part of my server has.
100 Draenei Mage
10065
@ Critrocket

After reviewing what you said for a good bit and running the numbers on some heroic dungeon bosses, i've come to the conclusion that the dps is virtually the same. If you read the rotation area carefully, i did say that you want to wait until FFO is down and then cast the second one. But still, i mainly use my "First strike" in order to get Cold Snap on cooldown as quickly as possible. If the fight is even 7 minutes, i'll be able to use two.

Tbqh, there isn't much of a "drop off" point (as you said after using everything in my arsenal), because by the point that all of that is done i have PF up once again. And as long as you hold 1 charge with you, you never really feel like you're in a conservative phase or anything.

Your method is interesting, but the dps differences are so small it's really just up to personal preference.

@ Finkay

There's one flaw in your argument. Arcane is much easier to play on good note then frost is. For instance, it may be hard to play arcane as 95% efficiency, but 85% is easy. Whereas it's moderately hard to play frost at 85% difficulty. It's more than just "i'm better at this spec", the difficulties between the specs are different, and if you add that onto the theoretical 1k dps difference, the choice is obvious for top players.
85 Undead Mage
5690
@ Critrocket

After reviewing what you said for a good bit and running the numbers on some heroic dungeon bosses, i've come to the conclusion that the dps is virtually the same.


I've come to the same conclusion as well after testing both methods countless times. My rotation is a little safer and will work much better with "on-use" trinkets than yours but both are certainly viable options. I typically use my opening first strike "stagger method", and your "simultaneous" method on the 2nd Coldsnap since it typically occurs during the sub <30% burn and you want to throw everything ya got.



If you read the rotation area carefully, i did say that you want to wait until FFO is down and then cast the second one.


From your OP.

(begin "refrain" rotation, but important to note that you will rarely have to cast Frostbolt while the two Frostfire Orb's are out)


You may have just overlooked this part, but your wording implies having two FFO up at the same time. At least that's the impression I got. In any case, I'll leave my Double FFO explanation up for others who may have also been confused.

But still, i mainly use my "First strike" in order to get Cold Snap on cooldown as quickly as possible. If the fight is even 7 minutes, i'll be able to use two.


Addressed in post #202 (I have may ninja edited it in while you were typing your response, cleaned it up a bit to be more visible)


If possible, can you provide a link to post #201 and 202 in your OP labeled "Stagger Method for on-use Trinkets"? I can make a seperate thread but I'd prefer to have the information consolidated here for everyone since this is the "go-to" Frost PvE thread.
Edited by Critrocket on 7/25/2011 12:24 PM PDT
90 Human Mage
10015
07/23/2011 11:45 PMPosted by Switch
Necromantic Focus off Baleroc


Re-read the tooltip. This trinket gains it's "equip" benefit only from periodic spells. It's useless to frost and arcane and barely usable for fire (add the low amount of dots --relatively speaking--to how bad mastery is for fire mages and it's a terrible trinket)


Unless something has changed dramatically, it's one of the best two options for both Fire and Frost. Fire gets 100% uptime, and Frost gets over 90% uptime from the FFB DOT and FFB Ignites. It sims out as the clear winner over both Rune and Lightning Capacitor, or at least it did during beta.
85 Undead Mage
5690

Unless something has changed dramatically, it's one of the best two options for both Fire and Frost. Fire gets 100% uptime, and Frost gets over 90% uptime from the FFB DOT and FFB Ignites. It sims out as the clear winner over both Rune and Lightning Capacitor, or at least it did during beta.


Frost can certainly make use of it and have little problems maintaining the stack but it doesn't seem like BiS material, at least not the non-heroic variant. Depending on FoF procs, Mastery typically only affects around 50% of Frosts overall damage output.

Compare it to Moonwell Chalice, which provides ~23.5% Frostburn Damage and can be lined up with every other FFO CD when the majority of our Frozen damage is being thrown out and used on every 4th DF. The "on-use" actually provides a much higher effective uptime than the 16% that the trinket CD would suggest.
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Following rough calculations according to established 4.2 scaling factors (post soft crit cap unless otherwise noted)

MC(365)
Lets put the effective uptime at 25%(which might even be lowballing it, not sure). 23.5% damage increase on 50% of overall damage with 25% uptime works out to...~3% increase in overall DPS; +1326 DPS from passive int

NF(378)
420 mastery is ~6.5% Frostburn damage with lets assume 95% uptime, the stack works out to...~3% increase in overall DPS; 1493 DPS from passive int

RoZ(378)
[Use with Icy Veins!] 1277 Int provides 4980 DPS and 3.8% crit (effectively 680 rating) with 25% uptime...1772 DPS + (.20[Icy Veins] * 1772 DPS) = 2126 DPS using a slightly lower pre-soft cap crit scaling factor since you would use it during IV->Frostbolt spam.

Assuming you're at the crit soft-cap, 383 static rating only provides around 400 DPS but it can be reforged to haste/mastery/hit.

Summary
Moonwell Chalice = ~3% overall DPS + 1326 DPS (e.x 1866 DPS gain @ 18k)
Necromantic Focus = ~3% overall DPS + 1493 DPS (e.x 2033 DPS gain @ 18k)
Necromantic Focus Heroic Version = 3.3% overall DPS + 1699.7 DPS (e.x. 2240 DPS gain @ 18k)
Rune of Zeth = 2172 DPS Base [2526 with IV]
RoZ Reforge Options
    Haste = 2286 DPS [2640 with IV]
    Mastery = 2220 DPS [2574 with IV]
    Hit = 2614 DPS [2915 with IV] *Assuming excess hit is reforged to Haste/Mastery


*These are just stand-alone base calculations. No buffs/debuffs/procs/shifting coefficients taken into account.

From a glance, RoZ appears to blow the other trinkets out of the water. Even moreso when popped with every IV. Better base DPS increase and the ability to reforge it adds some flexibility to gearing. 1 minute cooldown so if FFO and IV are staggered properly you can use it with both, but using during IV takes priority over FFO if all three are coming off CD simultaneously.
Edited by Critrocket on 7/25/2011 4:18 PM PDT
85 Troll Mage
5090
I think it's 391 Necromantic Focus that ends up being one of the best options because neither RoZ nor Moonwell Chalice have a heroic version. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you're getting heroic NF, then you most likely have your 4pc set bonus as well which floods you with FFB procs making NF even better for Frost. They work well together.
85 Undead Mage
5690
07/25/2011 03:44 PMPosted by Ellyngton
I think it's 391 Necromantic Focus that ends up being one of the best options because neither RoZ nor Moonwell Chalice have a heroic version. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you're getting heroic NF, then you most likely have your 4pc set bonus as well which floods you with FFB procs making NF even better for Frost. They work well together.


I'm using scaling coefficients for 4.2 BiS gear which includes 4pc T12 for Frost. My numbers should be reasonably accurate. RoZ is still coming out on top, but I like said; these are stand alone calcs. Individual results may vary.

Necromantic Focus Heroic Version = 3.3% overall DPS + 1699.7 DPS (e.x. 2240 DPS gain @ 18k)

Keep in mind that Heroic NF scales with the rest of your gear, buffs, and raid debuffs much faster than RoZ. My example of 18k DPS is to provide a comparison to the other normal/vendor trinkets; but if you're dropping Heroic Baeleroc....you're probably pulling closer to 23-24k or better.

2240 DPS gain @ 18k
2419 DPS gain @ 24k
2600 DPS gain @ 30k

Past a certain gear level, H NF will most certainly pass RoZ. RoZ will likely remain the best choice for your 2nd slot until Heroic VPLG.
Edited by Critrocket on 7/25/2011 4:33 PM PDT
100 Draenei Mage
10065
07/25/2011 01:03 PMPosted by Lhivera
Unless something has changed dramatically, it's one of the best two options for both Fire and Frost. Fire gets 100% uptime, and Frost gets over 90% uptime from the FFB DOT and FFB Ignites. It sims out as the clear winner over both Rune and Lightning Capacitor, or at least it did during beta.


As Ellyngton pointed out, that may be due to the t12 4piece. Since you will most definitely be using FFB at least once every 10 seconds. Try running the sims without the 4 piece and see what happens to NF. I wouldn't be surprised if it sunk below some t11 ones.

And thanks for all the info critrocket, i'll be sure to edit the OP and add in another potential rotation option.
100 Human Mage
17630
Hey Switch, when's it okay to break my t11 4 set bonus (all 359)? :3
81 Orc Warrior
1890
Unless something has changed dramatically, it's one of the best two options for both Fire and Frost. Fire gets 100% uptime, and Frost gets over 90% uptime from the FFB DOT and FFB Ignites. It sims out as the clear winner over both Rune and Lightning Capacitor, or at least it did during beta.


As Ellyngton pointed out, that may be due to the t12 4piece. Since you will most definitely be using FFB at least once every 10 seconds. Try running the sims without the 4 piece and see what happens to NF. I wouldn't be surprised if it sunk below some t11 ones.

And thanks for all the info critrocket, i'll be sure to edit the OP and add in another potential rotation option.


You don't have to FFB every 10 seconds to stack the buff. You only have to cast one every 18 seconds to keep it stacked.
Edited by Atomheart on 7/26/2011 10:50 AM PDT
81 Orc Warrior
1890
I think it's 391 Necromantic Focus that ends up being one of the best options because neither RoZ nor Moonwell Chalice have a heroic version. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you're getting heroic NF, then you most likely have your 4pc set bonus as well which floods you with FFB procs making NF even better for Frost. They work well together.


I'm using scaling coefficients for 4.2 BiS gear which includes 4pc T12 for Frost. My numbers should be reasonably accurate. RoZ is still coming out on top, but I like said; these are stand alone calcs. Individual results may vary.

Necromantic Focus Heroic Version = 3.3% overall DPS + 1699.7 DPS (e.x. 2240 DPS gain @ 18k)

Keep in mind that Heroic NF scales with the rest of your gear, buffs, and raid debuffs much faster than RoZ. My example of 18k DPS is to provide a comparison to the other normal/vendor trinkets; but if you're dropping Heroic Baeleroc....you're probably pulling closer to 23-24k or better.

2240 DPS gain @ 18k
2419 DPS gain @ 24k
2600 DPS gain @ 30k

Past a certain gear level, H NF will most certainly pass RoZ. RoZ will likely remain the best choice for your 2nd slot until Heroic VPLG.


Your method of comparing trinkets is flawed, and doesn't take into account far too many variables that exist. You're not doing yourself much of a favor comparing the trinkets in this manner, and should instead checked the Sim results which take all (or as many as possible) factors into account that exist. Your numbers aren't accurate. You're not in any way taking into account what spells are cast while the trinket is active, all buffs/debuffs, nor overlap of effects.
Edited by Atomheart on 7/26/2011 11:04 AM PDT
100 Draenei Mage
10065
07/26/2011 10:49 AMPosted by Atomheart
You don't have to FFB every 10 seconds to stack the buff. You only have to cast one every 18 seconds to keep it stacked.


The trinket effect lasts 10 seconds (plus the FFB dot lasts 12 seconds..where are you getting 18 from?). If you can't get off enough DoTs to keep the trinket effect up, then your spec shouldn't be using it.

07/26/2011 10:26 AMPosted by Kenpo
Hey Switch, when's it okay to break my t11 4 set bonus (all 359)? :3


If you're referring to frost (which benefits it greatly, but not as much compared to fire/arcane), you can probably break it with the t12 2piece. I believe the 2 piece is a 2.1% dps increase, and the t11 4 piece is probably around 3%. So factor in the stat bonuses from the t12 pieces and it should even out at that point.
Edited by Switch on 7/26/2011 11:10 AM PDT
100 Human Mage
17630
07/26/2011 11:09 AMPosted by Switch
You don't have to FFB every 10 seconds to stack the buff. You only have to cast one every 18 seconds to keep it stacked.


The trinket effect lasts 10 seconds (plus the FFB dot lasts 12 seconds..where are you getting 18 from?). If you can't get off enough DoTs to keep the trinket effect up, then your spec shouldn't be using it.

Hey Switch, when's it okay to break my t11 4 set bonus (all 359)? :3


If you're referring to frost (which benefits it greatly, but not as much compared to fire/arcane), you can probably break it with the t12 2piece. I believe the 2 piece is a 2.1% dps increase, and the t11 4 piece is probably around 3%. So factor in the stat bonuses from the t12 pieces and it should even out at that point.


Thanks bro, I just hate the fact how they even more rng-ified mages by giving 2 rng set bonuses. -.-
90 Human Mage
10015
07/26/2011 09:51 AMPosted by Switch
Unless something has changed dramatically, it's one of the best two options for both Fire and Frost. Fire gets 100% uptime, and Frost gets over 90% uptime from the FFB DOT and FFB Ignites. It sims out as the clear winner over both Rune and Lightning Capacitor, or at least it did during beta.


As Ellyngton pointed out, that may be due to the t12 4piece. Since you will most definitely be using FFB at least once every 10 seconds. Try running the sims without the 4 piece and see what happens to NF. I wouldn't be surprised if it sunk below some t11 ones.

And thanks for all the info critrocket, i'll be sure to edit the OP and add in another potential rotation option.


Simmed it both ways, back in the T12 optimization thread; bonus doesn't make much difference. It's a little better with, but not a lot. One FFB per ~19 secs is all you need to maintain the buff.

I'll retest once the profiles are straightened out (probably be a couple weeks at least though).
100 Draenei Mage
10065
Simmed it both ways, back in the T12 optimization thread; bonus doesn't make much difference. It's a little better with, but not a lot. One FFB per ~19 secs is all you need to maintain the buff.

I'll retest once the profiles are straightened out (probably be a couple weeks at least though).


Where are you guys getting 18 and 19 seconds from?

Necromantic Focus

The buff lasts 10 seconds. If you don't cast a DoT within that time frame, it expires. Am i missing something?

07/26/2011 11:13 AMPosted by Kenpo
Thanks bro, I just hate the fact how they even more rng-ified mages by giving 2 rng set bonuses. -.-


Haha, well i actually think that the t12 2piece has a relatively high proc rate. The only bad part is the ICD. I wouldn't call the 4piece an rng set bonus however. It helps our rng significantly.
If you want to see terrible rng set bonuses, check out warlock t11 and 12.
Edited by Switch on 7/26/2011 11:24 AM PDT
81 Orc Warrior
1890
Simmed it both ways, back in the T12 optimization thread; bonus doesn't make much difference. It's a little better with, but not a lot. One FFB per ~19 secs is all you need to maintain the buff.

I'll retest once the profiles are straightened out (probably be a couple weeks at least though).


Where are you guys getting 18 and 19 seconds from?

Necromantic Focus

The buff lasts 10 seconds. If you don't cast a DoT within that time frame, it expires. Am i missing something?


Because it stacks each time your FFB ticks. You only need to cast a new one 10 seconds after the last tick of your FFB cast. You need to account for lag, the travel time of the FFB, and the time until the dot ticks after application. 19 seconds is safe.
Edited by Atomheart on 7/26/2011 11:25 AM PDT
100 Draenei Mage
10065
07/26/2011 11:24 AMPosted by Atomheart
Because it stacks each time your FFB ticks. You only need to cast a new one 10 seconds after the last tick of your FFB cast. You need to account for lag, the travel time of the FFB, and the time until the dot ticks after application. 19 seconds is safe.


Ah, of course. Wasn't thinking straight. In that case, it would seem to be moderately viable in terms of the effect. But, the ramp-up time would be high.
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