[PvE] Frost Mage Guide - 4.1

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93 Tauren Druid
7750
12/28/2011 12:08 PMPosted by Jamdór
I would like to know if its that I still do not do fire rotation properly or frost is not as bad as the masses are making it out to be?


It's actually not that weak with the right setup. The thing about Fire is people are looking at its top end damage and (for whatever reason) expect it to pull those kind of numbers every time. The truth is, Fire's performance is highly at the mercy of RNG-- Fire's worst is worse than Frost's worst showing. While Frost also has a RNG component to it, it's far less than Fire's and more controllable. In essence, what you trade for Fire's top-end damage is Frost's more sustained, reliable damage.
Edited by Seiryu on 12/29/2011 2:21 AM PST
100 Draenei Mage
9105
Been doing some Firelands runs with the 4pc T13 as Frost (and I'm already getting tells trying to convince me otherwise). The 4pc bonus, unlike Theorycrafting, is not going to give you a 24 second cooldown on Icy Veins every time no matter what you do; you are guaranteed a 24 sec. Icy Veins once, and once only, because the second time you pop it you will not have enough stacks of Stolen Time to bring it that low by the time it's up.

In a sense, the 4 pc T13 bonus is more akin to popping Cold Snap, except you have an actual Cold Snap when you find need to carry it past two uses.

Overall, though, I feel 4pc T12 was stronger for both Fire and Frost. The 4pc T13 could make up for having less Hot Streaks/Brain Freezes, but it truly puts you at the mercy of the RNG that T12's bonus greatly reduced.



As i've said before, if it were up to me the t12 4piece would just be integrated into Brain Freeze, and compensate the damage for it. It made frost's rotation much smoother.

I just dropped the t12 4piece for the t13 2piece and other gear. It's been months since i've dealt with frosts intrinsic rotation, not looking forward to it.
90 Blood Elf Mage
0
Been doing some Firelands runs with the 4pc T13 as Frost (and I'm already getting tells trying to convince me otherwise). The 4pc bonus, unlike Theorycrafting, is not going to give you a 24 second cooldown on Icy Veins every time no matter what you do; you are guaranteed a 24 sec. Icy Veins once, and once only, because the second time you pop it you will not have enough stacks of Stolen Time to bring it that low by the time it's up.

In a sense, the 4 pc T13 bonus is more akin to popping Cold Snap, except you have an actual Cold Snap when you find need to carry it past two uses.
There are other threads that go into more detail about the 4P bonus, but suffice it to say that to use it to maximal effect you need a windup. But should you go for ten stacks?

Not necessarily.

The choice is obvious for arcane (yes), given the consistency of their stacks. Similarly, the choice is obvious for fire (no), given how random fishing for DoTs can be. But for frost, the answer is also no - for weirder reasons.

See, the 2P bonus is a minor bonus on its own - where you really can get results is in the shorter cooldowns on Icy Veins. Thus we're looking to minimize that cooldown with just the right number of stacks; its cooldown should be equal to your windup time, plus its duration.

Assume for the sake of simplicity that the vast majority of your casts are Frostbolts, which can trigger the proc. (Some casts will be other things, too, like Frostfire Bolt/Deep Freeze/Ice Lance, but let's stick to a basic model.) Further assume that every second Frostbolt triggers the proc (it has a half-chance of triggering for each cast). Finally assume that the Stolen Time stacks do not significantly alter your Frostbolt cast times. Thus, assuming a net Icy Veins cooldown equal to its duration plus your Frostbolt windup, we have the following equation:

(C = Frostbolt cast time, S = Stolen Time stacks when Icy Veins is cast)

(Cooldown) 144 - 12S = 20 + 2CS (Duration + windup)

124 = 2S * (6 + C)

62 = S * (6 + C)

62 / (6 + C) = S

This is the ideal number of stacks you'll want to shoot for. In my current gear/reforging setup (not ideal for Frost, of course, too little crit) my Frostbolts have a cast time of 1.68 seconds. Thus my ideal number of stacks (S) would be 62/7.68 = (approximately) 8.07.

To be fair, this model is imprecise. Stacks build up at random, and the frost rotation contains some spells that don't actually build stacks. On the other hand, Frostfire Bolt (when used properly) can build stacks at a greater rate (being instant-cast), and Early Frost will shorten one Frostbolt cast time every fifteen seconds.
90 Night Elf Mage
9515
Just started playing around with an off-spec frost spec again and have a question...
When Brain Freeze procs is there a reason FFB is used instead of just FB? Is the DoT that important that FFB is the better choice? I'm probably missing something but to me it seems like FB would just in general be the better option because it's stronger and glyphed would most likely have a higher damage output despite FFB's DoT.

Like I said forgive me if I am misunderstanding the use of FFB or something, but was just curious.
FFB being both a Frost and a Fire spell will benefit from Frost's specialisation (flat 25% increased damage), and also from Frost's mastery (increased damage against frozen target or with Fingers of Frost up).
This means, regardless of the DoT effect, a Glyphed FFB used on a Brain Freeze proc will yield much better damage output than a glyphed Fireball, since Fireball does not have those benefits.
Edited by Eladen on 1/13/2012 5:09 AM PST
90 Night Elf Mage
9515
Makes sense now. Thanks :)
85 Troll Mage
9365
Frost with the 4p is rather annoying to play as. Like Vltraech said, using Icy Veins at 8 stacks is ideal, assuming the RNG gods are on your side with the procs (which I've noticed are a lot more frequently applied as Frost than Fire. A lot)

Sadly, even with the increased haste from both the stack, general gear stats, and the increased Icy Veins uptime, Frost isn't anywhere in the competition anymore. The 4p genuinely makes Frost more tedious to play, and it was already the most tedious of the three mage specs. I haven't looked at any Sims in a while, but I can guess Frost is either at the bottom of the barrel or simming close to it. Just thinking about the trinkets/gear we have available, Cunning of the Cruel with Will of Unbinding would be our BiS trinkets, just because the Haste from Insignia would be wasted.

Frost just doesn't have anything going for it in PvE, and it's blatantly obvious Blizzard isn't going to do anything about it. Fire has stronger single target and stronger AoE plus increased damage during execute. Arcane has insane single target burst. Both specs get so much from the 4p (Fire having Combustion up for every slime set on Yorsahj and twice on each platform during Madness? OP.) and Frost gets so very little.

It honestly saddens me that Frost isn't more competitive, especially when the reasoning given is any buff would cause a PvP imbalance. Other classes with specs that excel in PvP are doing just fine in PvE (Aff, Subt, Arms, Resto, etc.) and they're not having to listen to the "Play your other spec!" nonsense. Subt has long been the red headed step child of PvE, but I said it time and time again in T11: T13 would have Subt rogues on top simply because of the amount of Agi they will get from gear. Frost doesn't have anything like that going for it. At this point, I'd settle for a Deep Freeze buff and a Frost Bolt buff, just so the spec can compete in PvE.
96 Gnome Mage
14385
Really!... I used to have hope. Now I am totally disillusioned and just don't believe a single word they say anymore. Frost pve is dead and so am I. I definitely would no longer recommend this game to a friend.
90 Undead Mage
4490
Just got back into the game. Great guide! I have started lvling with Frost PvE build (I like awkward builds and I was frost back in vanilla-check out the arc pvp build for gigglez) and I LOVE the spec in instances. What I am wondering is if I am really wasting my time. Some say it is great, but some say it does crap damage compared to other specs. Kinda confusing.
I am not going to be anywhere close to a top raiding mage. so I am not really interested in min/max conversations. BUUUUUT

My question is: is frost raid dps close enough (I know suggestive) to (insert top mage dps spec that changes every patch) that I wont get kicked from a guild for using it? Because it IS super fun..... just not fun enough to be forced out of a raid rotation because of it >.>
85 Troll Mage
9365
Just got back into the game. Great guide! I have started lvling with Frost PvE build (I like awkward builds and I was frost back in vanilla-check out the arc pvp build for gigglez) and I LOVE the spec in instances. What I am wondering is if I am really wasting my time. Some say it is great, but some say it does crap damage compared to other specs. Kinda confusing.
I am not going to be anywhere close to a top raiding mage. so I am not really interested in min/max conversations. BUUUUUT

My question is: is frost raid dps close enough (I know suggestive) to (insert top mage dps spec that changes every patch) that I wont get kicked from a guild for using it? Because it IS super fun..... just not fun enough to be forced out of a raid rotation because of it >.>


I'll throw in my anecdotal information.

My last Ultraxion kill as Fire, I did 41k dps. The next week, I did 34k as Frost. No gear upgrades. Nothing different, really. In fact, I feel much more comfortable playing Frost. It has a lot to do with the T13 4P and general Fire mechanics.

Frost will get the job done, but Fire does it better. You'll do fine as Frost on pretty much every fight aside from Hagara, where movement during the Frost phase and AoE for the Ice Tombs makes you fairly useless. Fire just has the AoE capabilities, high mobility, and raw damage over Frost.

If you're really serious about raiding as Frost, stick to your guns. Practice, practice, practice in LFR and random dungeons. Be so good at it that no one will turn you away for it. 34k on Ultraxion is definitely acceptable for normal modes, and if you have no intention of doing heroics, then you should definitely be fine.
90 Gnome Mage
12905
how are you only doing 34k as frost on ultrax steehl, I've pulled upwards of 36k, when I've uploaded to WoL 40k one time in LFR, and you are alot better geared than I am.
85 Troll Mage
9365
02/09/2012 01:40 PMPosted by Gamdwelf
how are you only doing 34k as frost on ultrax steehl, I've pulled upwards of 36k, when I've uploaded to WoL 40k one time in LFR, and you are alot better geared than I am.


Probably because Fading Light likes me a lot. But the top Frost mage on Ultraxion has the legendary and only did 36k. Heck, even the highest Frost mage log on LFR Ultraxion with the legendary is 39k. So I don't know what to say. I'm not doing anything fundamentally wrong with my rotation.
02/09/2012 07:12 PMPosted by Steehl
Heck, even the highest Frost mage log on LFR Ultraxion with the legendary is 39k. So I don't know what to say. I'm not doing anything fundamentally wrong with my rotation.


I've actually myself pulled 36K without a legendary, was a really great proc day for me. Though now normaly on average am getting around 25-28k in a 10 man group.

The unfortunate part of frost is it's extremely RNG based were fire is just based on your crit chance and arcane is haste rating. If Blizzard were to modify our Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost chance to a higher rate, such as 30% for FoF and 25% for BF, or even bringing back Winter's Chill. However we're too close to MoP to make the latter change, we'ld make a significant comeback on dps meters.
90 Gnome Mage
6540
02/24/2012 02:56 AMPosted by Icyheart
Heck, even the highest Frost mage log on LFR Ultraxion with the legendary is 39k. So I don't know what to say. I'm not doing anything fundamentally wrong with my rotation.


I've actually myself pulled 36K without a legendary, was a really great proc day for me. Though now normaly on average am getting around 25-28k in a 10 man group.

The unfortunate part of frost is it's extremely RNG based were fire is just based on your crit chance and arcane is haste rating. If Blizzard were to modify our Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost chance to a higher rate, such as 30% for FoF and 25% for BF, or even bringing back Winter's Chill. However we're too close to MoP to make the latter change, we'ld make a significant comeback on dps meters.


They actually did a little bit of work to make Frost more consistent this expansion as opposed to Wrath when FoF and Brain Freeze procs were completely random. At least now we can control our procs and have a lot more chances to proc them. Unfortunately, maintaining PvP balance hurts us in PvE a lot.

I do agree that bringing back Winter's Chill would've done wonders for us this expansion and reduced our over-reliance on full raid buffs (especially since we could've provided one of those ourselves). It also would've spread out the 5% Spell Crit debuff around the specs and classes since, currently, only Warlocks and Fire Mages provide it. We see Fire Mages everywhere now (because of the 4.3 buff), but Warlocks (to me) have been rather scarce. Pre-4.3, Fire Mages were somewhat scarce, too.
85 Night Elf Priest
4845
Just a quick question, I was reading the OP and i am confused about what our crit should be at.
33% or 22% I saw both numbers in there.

Should I have 22% crit before flasks and etc? or 33% thanks.
100 Troll Mage
13290
Just a quick question, I was reading the OP and i am confused about what our crit should be at.
33% or 22% I saw both numbers in there.

Should I have 22% crit before flasks and etc? or 33% thanks.


You should end up at 33.34% crit after all buffs and flasks and such are added. In my raid comp (no 5% crit debuff) that means about 25% unbuffed + 5% from leader of the pack + 3% from molten armor + that extra fraction from arcane int + flask + food buff and such.

Can someone tell me if the shadow and flame/critical mass debuff is counted before or after shatter? If before then you only need 20% crit when you have it, if after you need 23.34%. (Assuming you have leader of the pack or a similar buff)
Several months ago, I found this sweet doodle to calculate the shatter cap without having to take out the calculator: http://opendevelop.fr/shatter/Shatter.html

The only thing it does not include is the food buff, but you just have to add 80 intellect to your unbuffed intellect and that should show up.
Just a quick question, I was reading the OP and i am confused about what our crit should be at.
33% or 22% I saw both numbers in there.

Should I have 22% crit before flasks and etc? or 33% thanks.
This and the doodle I linked above should help you:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2u_m4KpTiFU/TlH-xz8ZCrI/AAAAAAAAAGc/n2CovyvOgKw/s1600/Glyph-and-Armor-Choices.jpg
Taken from: http://frostpve.blogspot.com/p/stat-priorities-gearing-and-raid-buffs.html

The actual shatter crit cap is 33.34%. That's what you want to reach entirely raid buffed, with flasks, food buff, FM, etc...

02/27/2012 02:40 PMPosted by Dreyfuss
Can someone tell me if the shadow and flame/critical mass debuff is counted before or after shatter? If before then you only need 20% crit when you have it, if after you need 23.34%. (Assuming you have leader of the pack or a similar buff)

Any and all crit modifiers, including debuff type like Shadow and flame, are taken into account with Shatter.
Edited by Eladen on 2/27/2012 10:36 PM PST
90 Draenei Mage
11845
Thanks for posting that calculator, Eladen, it actually makes my life much simpler.

For using mage armor:
If I input my intellect (I'll use the buffs I give myself in LFR), I put 6408 + 100 (intellect scroll, cheap to make for scribes) + 90 (food buff) = 6598 intellect.
I check 5% crit buff from feral, warrior, etc.
I check 5% crit debuff from warlock, etc.
The result is that I need 1570 crit rating for the shatter cap.

For using molten armor:
Same inputs as above, I need 1032 crit rating for the shatter cap

For using molten armor with glyph:
Same inputs as above, I need 674 crit rating for the shatter cap

I like the infinite mana from mage armor, but using molten armor buys you (well, me) 538 stat points, and dropping frostbolt glyph for glyph of molten armor earns a 896 stat point difference over mage armor.

With molten armor, you have to evocate, even with 3/3 Enduring Winter. So....I guess my question is...is using mage armor worth the 538 stat points that have to go into crit instead of haste / mastery? Same question with using glyph of molten armor instead of glyph of frostbolt.

I know frostbolt is our most damaging spell percentage wise, I just don't know the dps loss of evocating compared to the dps gain of those haste and mastery stat points.
Using Mage Armor over Molten Armor saves you from ever looking at your mana bar. In a very intensive fight in which you especially have to look at the mechanics (so heroic modes), I'd strongly suggest using Mage Armor regardless if your raid comp allows it, just because it helps you better focus on the mechanics rather than your mana bar, so less mistakes.

Now to answer your question directly, Mage Armor saves you from evocating, so you essentially gain anywhere from 4-12 seconds of DPS. However, Molten Armor makes up for that with slightly higher DPS. Essentially, both are so close to each other that you can pick whichever you want.

It might also depend on your comp, since the shatter cap is very easy to reach in DS gear with crit buffs/debuffs.
Personally, I always liked managing my mana as heavily as I do with Molten Armor, so I most of the time go with it instead. :)
Edited by Eladen on 2/29/2012 10:14 AM PST
90 Gnome Mage
6540
I set my gear up on the assumption that I will be missing the 5% Spell Crit debuff from a Warlock / Fire Mage. If I get one and still have the 5% Crit buff provided by half the classes in the game, then I do a little happy dance while I spam my Mage Armor button.

It's all gear specific. I wish Frost didn't cap so easily on its secondary stats.
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