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Hello Mages! This is my guide to the Fire spec. I originally wrote it right before the Mists of Pandaria expansion was released, and I've decided to attempt to keep it updated through this expansion as well. I've been playing since BC and raiding since WoTLK, and back in Cataclysm, I got as far as trialing with a couple different US 40 guilds at the time, but realized that atmosphere wasn't for me. I did some raiding until the start of T16, SoO Now I mostly do LFR, CM's, and level alts while keeping up with all the latest theorycrafting. Suggestions, comments, corrections, etc. are welcome.
I want to thank the mage community, Elitist Jerks (even if you're now an out of date source for mage theorycrafting, you were an invaluable source for my learning and what I put into this guides original publication), Altered Times, Lhivera, and Mageski for the discussions of mage mechanics that helped me in writing this guide, as well as the effort put into the mage community. With the retirement of Lhivera at the end of MoP, who was a very prominent mage theorycrafter from Vanilla onward, I would like to dedicate the continuation of this guide to his memory. Even if most people didn't agree with your views on the Invocation and RoP talents in MoP (which were terribly designed, in my honest opinion), you will be missed.
I attempted to maintain a balance between being comprehensible to the newest of players and at the same time serving as a useful reference for some advanced mages. Consequently, there are many sections where I endeavor to use as little math as possible in my explanations, if at all. If you have any questions concerning the Fire spec or about some of the theorycrafting underlying the spec, feel free to ask!
Table of Contents
1. Talents & Glyphs
2. Stats and Reforging
3. Enchants, Gemming, and Gear
4. Professions and Consumables
5. Single Target Rotation & AoE Damage
6. Resources & Addons
7. Frequently Asked Questions
8. General dps tips & tricks
Before I begin with the rest of the guide, I want to address some of the main things that changed with WoD:
1. Fire Mages have a new passive ability called Incineration that increases the Crit we get from all sources by 5%.
2. We no longer have access to a few different bomb choices; in Tier 5, Frost Bomb and Nether Tempest were replaced with Unstable Magic and Blast Wave, leaving Living Bomb as one of the talent choices. Arcane can choose Nether Tempest, and Frost can choose Frost Bomb instead of Living Bomb.
3. Hit, Expertise, Dodge, and Parry have been removed from the game, while Multistrike, Leech, Versatility, and Avoidance have been added as new stats. Leech and Avoidance are not really worth mentioning, as they do not directly contribute to dps.
4. We've lost multiple abilities, since with the WoD patch, Blizzard decided to remove abilities from most classes in order to simplify the game, since the number of abilities we ad was a bit out of hand. The main abilities we lost were Arcane and Frost spells, especially the ones that tended to be in other specs' rotations. We still have Frost Nova, and most of the utility spells such as Blink and Ice Block.
5. Related to #4, we've lost Mage Armor and Frost Armor. Additionally, Molten Armor is now passive, and it increases our crit by 15% and reduces damage taken by 6%.
6. To help with our raid utility, mages now have an ability called Amplify Magic, that increases healing taken for all group/raid members by 10% for 6 seconds.
Mages also have a set of abbreviations used for commonly used phrases:
AoE- Area of Effect. Basically any ability having effects on more than one target.
BL-Blood Lust (Time Warp/Heroism/Ancient Hysteria, depending on which class applied it).
DPS- Damage Per Second (should be interpreted differently than just Damage).
FB- Fireball (also means Frostbolt, but that spell won't be used often by Fire Mages, could also be Frost Bomb).
GCD- Global Cooldown (the clock-spin after using a spell that forces to wait a time interval before using another ability).
IB- Inferno Blast
ICD- Internal Cooldown (for example, an ability may only be able to proc once every 40 seconds; that would be its ICD).
LB- Living Bomb
Pyroblast!- The instant-cast version of Pyroblast you receive from Heating Up.
RNG-- Random Number Generator (If something is described as "RNG", it means random; out of ones control)
ROP - Rune of Power
2/25/2015 - Updated for 6.1
12/28/2014 - Updated for 6.0, WoD expansion
7/17/2014- Updated Resources and list of streamers, and slightly changed stat builds
9/10/2013- Updated for 5.4
8/2/2013 - Updated AoE section
5/23/2013 - Updated for Patch 5.3
3/5/2013 - Updated for Patch 5.2
12/21/2012- Updated for 5.1 Hotfixes, mainly AoE and Critical Mass changes
11/29/2012- Updated for Patch 5.1
11/16/2012- Updated Single Target Rotation
9/28/2012- Updated for patch 5.0.5
9/24/2012- Added stat conversions, general updating for MoP
9/14/2012- Added information about AoE damage, general housekeeping.
9/7/2012- Added Abbreviations list and General Tips
9/4/2012- Guide Published
Edited by Coopthefat on 2/24/2015 9:12 PM PST
1. Talents & Glyphs
The talent system involves 6 tiers, with 3 choices in each tier. Each tier usually has a unifying theme to it, such as survivability, dps CD's, etc.
There are no cookie-cutter specs for many fights: if you want the most optimal set-up for your mage, you will be switching around some talents throughout the raid (Use Tome of the Clear Mind to change out talents and glyphs).
Tier 1 (Level 15)
The movement tier
Evanesce – Acts like Deterence with a 45s CD, allowing you to avoid some attacks/abilities. Main downside is that it replaces Ice Block. This talent is recommended if your healers need help/survability is an issue, and if you would get negligible dps gain out of the other two talents (such as fights involving little movement).
Blazing Speed- This talent could be very helpful for fights involving moderate movement, especially emergency/haphazard movement requiring fast speeds over a short time span. This will be useful in overcoming various mechanics and allows one to recover from mistakes, depending on the situation.
Ice Floes- This talent is most useful for fights with moderate movement that happens fairly often, especially for encounters with predictable mechanics and movement. For these cases, Fireball can be cast instead of using Scorch, meaning a dps increase. This seems to be the best talent in this tier for the average encounter, where Blazing Speed will win over if you need the faster movement speed, or if survival is of utmost importance.
Tier 2 (Level 30)
The Survivability tier
Alter Time- This spell snapshots your location and health at the time of activation, and returns you to the same location and health after 10 seconds (or upon second use). This is best if you need a "heal" after taking in predictable damage, and for mechanics where you need to move out of bad stuff/activate something or move somewhere else, and need to quickly return to the same spot. Alter TIme is also off the GCD, meaning no net dps loss with using it. This will be the default talent of this tier.
Flameglow- Best for low periodic damage while saving a GCD since the ability is passive, and does not require activation to use, so it doesn't affect dps. Due to raid damage usually being high, I wouldn't recommend this talent for most situations.
Ice Barrier- This talent is best for damage dealt over longer periods of time, or to keep you alive. It's just a pure shield. Especially a good option on fights where damage tends to be sporadic or gradual, and where none of the damage is predictable.
Tier 3 (Level 45)
The CC tier
Ring of Frost- Is useful for situations requiring CC, such as CCing in dungeons or CCing adds a tank is kiting, etc.
Ice Ward- The only time I see this being better than RoF is if you place it on a tank when he or she has to move away from the group, or needs to get away quickly.
Frostjaw- Frostjaw is only useful for freezing non-elite mobs, and in a raid environment, this is almost never necessary.
Tier 4 (Level 60)
Greater Invisibility- This talent will be valuable for mitigating damage in raids, and is more proactive. Lets us absorb really dangerous mechanics without having to move, removes one debuff, and is the best talent to use once you know you won't get randomly gimped during a fight due to damage. I'd say this is the best overall if you know what mechanics there are that you can use this for to mitigate damage.
Cauterize- This is an upgrade from the previous iteration of Cauterize in Cataclysm, where you’d die without receiving heals. This talent is very good for learning encounters and is better for reactive damage situations in general. However, if you take damage equal to double your given health, you die instead of being brought back to life.
Cold Snap- Provides a second ice block and heals for 30%, which is really nifty for avoiding debuffs being applied to you if timed properly. Resets Ice block, Dragon's Breath, and Frost Nova, so in this senes it can be a dps gain if you can fit in a second Dragon's Breath during AoE situations.
Tier 5 (Level 75)
Living Bomb- A DoT that lasts for 12 seconds, has a 1-second GCD regardless of Haste, and once it reaches its final tick, deals explosion damage to all enemies within 10 yards in addition to the tick occurring at 0 seconds. If you refresh it between the second to last tick and penultimate tick, it replicates the explosion effect, so should be refreshed before it falls off. LB can be put on three total targets. For every additional tick reached with Haste, the explosions damage is increased by 25%. Currently the best option for non-single target situations.
Unstable Magic- This is not as good as Blast Wave or Living Bomb in most scenarios.
Blast Wave- Currently the best talent for single-target.
Tier 6 (Level 90)
Mirror Image- This ability is best used for single-target fights, as the images only cast single-target spells. *I'm not sure yet how much health they will have relative to mobs in WoD, but will be helpful in taking all your aggro, and may even live a while if they have enough health.*
Rune of Power- You can have two of these runes on the ground at any interval of time. However, you do not gain extra effects by stacking the two runes on top of each other. This is the talent that will be taken the most, unless there is a lot of movement going on.
Incanter’s Flow- This option becomes very viable when movement becomes a major concern, and when it gets difficult to stay near your RoP and to keep casting RoP. Incanter's Flow is also easy to use, due to it being passive, so you never really have to worry about it.
Tier 7 (Level 100)
Kindling - Causes Crits from some of our spellds to reduce the CD of Combustion. This talent is currently not worthy taking, though in future tiers it could become viable as we obtain more Crit.
Prismatic Crystal - This talent is currently only worth taking if you have the T17 4-piece.
Meteor - This talent is the best choice of the tier, and should be taken if one does not have the T17 4-piece. However, this talent should still be taken if there are a lot of adds that need to be dealt with.
Glyphs are passives that can be added to affect your play, and you can only have 3 major glyphs and 3 minor glyphs active at any given time. Only Major glyphs really affect your dps.
Glyph of Combustion- Only reason I can think of to not take this glyph is if there's a situation where the targets won't live long enough for the glyphed combustions to have full effect. Otherwise, the longer duration of combustion will really sync when lined up well with CD's, especially during the opening sequence when trinket procs are virtually guaranteed.
Glyph of Inferno Blast- Highly recommended for any fight involving 5+ enemies at once. This glyph spreads all of our DoTs except for Mage bomb to up to 4 other enemies, for a total of 5 (without the glyph it's 3 other targets, or total of 4).
Glyph of Dragon's Breath- increases Dragon Breath's damage by 100%. For adds that won't live long, or if being used in the AoE rotation, then this glyph becomes valuable.
Charred Glyph- Increases the distance of your Blink spell by 8 yards. Overall, this only equates to ~ one extra GCD, sort of nice if you need a filler glyph.
(Item not found) Lets our Ignite DoT place a slow on the target, made since now Fireball replaces Frostfire Bolt.
Glyph of Counterspell If there's room for it, this glyph is helpful on fights involving interrupts, and saves having to interrupt your cast in an emergency.
Glyph of Rapid Displacement Very nice for moving around if you can fit this one in. No longer removes stuns or bonds, but I don't think that's a big issue for raiding.
Glyph of Ice Block - Good for survivability if can make use of the spell immunity it provides. One thing to note is that Blast Wave will not activate, even though it replaces Frost Nova.
Glyph of Regenerative Ice- Good source of heals if it's necessary: it will heal up to a maximum of 40% health (4% health every second) if you remain encased for the full 10-second duration.
Glyph of Remove Curse- The damage boost is nice, but it's not a dps gain even if you do decurse for a fight.
All other glyphs don’t provide any meaningful advantages in the majority of PvE encounters. One thing I want to note is that, along the same lines as your Talents, you might be shifting your Glyphs a couple of times throughout a raid night, though it’s not as likely as it is for talents. All in all, the decision would realistically be between 4-5 glyphs.
Minor glyphs serve only as quality-of-life changes, or are meant to be fun additions to the Mage class.
Edited by Coopthefat on 2/24/2015 9:05 PM PST
1 Intellect=1 Spell Power
1 Intellect=0.00039% Crit
55 Mastery Rating=1% Mastery
110 Crit Rating=1% Critical Strike
66 Multistrike = 1% Multistrike
100 Haste Rating=1% Haste
130 Versatility = 1% Versatility
Intellect- Our best stat. Intellect increases the amount of Spell Power we have, which in turn makes our spells hit harder, and converts marginally into Spell Critical Hit (ie. Crit). This stat should be sought out whenever possible for gems, enchants, etc.
Spellpower- Makes our spells hit harder. A very useful stat, one can only obtain this through acquiring trinkets and weapons, as well as from Intellect. Can’t be obtained through enchanting, gemming, reforging, etc. Each spell has a Spellpower coefficient, so Spellpower will affect some spells more than other spells.
Crit (Spell Critical Chance) - Whenever a spell crits, it does 100% bonus damage to a target. Obtaining Crit rating increases the chances of obtaining Critical Hits. This stat is always valuable to a Fire Mage, especially for obtaining juicy Combustions, and getting more instant-cast Pyroblasts via Heating Up. Crit is very useful for the way our mechanics operate. At the moment it's our best secondary stat.
Critical Mass multiplies your crit by 1.3.
Haste- Haste serves one purpose as a stat: It increases casting speed, meaning more casts within the same time interval, as well as reducing the time on the GCD (can only reduce the GCD to 1.0 seconds).
Mastery- Our Mastery has been remodeled from the Cata version. Now, our Mastery is the Ignite DoT, a DoT that’s put on the target with 12% of the damage of the spell that applied it. Ignite is put on a target after Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, Scorch, Pyroblast, and Inferno Blast does damage. Obtaining more Mastery increases the % of damage the DoT derives from the spell that applied it. This is a good stat to have, but is currently not as valuable as Crit or Haste.
Multistrike- Gives two chance to proc extra attacks that will do 30% damage of the spell that applied it> *Need to check whether it's spell applied, or just normal damage the spell does*.
Leech- Heals you for a portion of all damage and healing that you do.
Versatility- Increases damage and healing done and decreases damage taken.
Avoidance- Reduces damage taken from AoE abilities.
Since Leech and Avoidance appear as "extra" stats on gear and do not directly contribute to dps, I will most likely not mention them for the remainder of the guide.
TL;DR: Single Target: Crit >Mastery>Haste>Multistrike>Versatility
*Though our stat priority remains more stable than it does for, say, Arcane and Frost, I'd still recommend to sim yourself, whether via Simcraft or AskMrRobot, in order to determine your best stats for your particular gear setup.
Edited by Coopthefat on 2/24/2015 9:07 PM PST
3. Enchants & Gemming
Enchant Cloak - Gift of Critical Strike
Enchant Cloak - Breath of Critical Strike (cheaper)
Enchant Neck - Gift of Critical Strike
Enchant Neck - Breath of Critical Strike (cheaper)
Enchant Ring - Gift of Critical Strike
Enchant Ring - Breath of Critical Strike (cheaper)
Mark of the Thunderlord (Hidden)
Mark of the Shattered Hand (Hidden) (cheaper)
The main change to gems this expansion is that there are no colored sockets anymore. Each socket is now a prismatic socket, and it is not possible to gem for Intellect. Therefore, we can now gem for Crit.
Prismatic Socket - Greater Critical Strike Taladite
Critical Strike Taladite (cheaper)
When gearing up your mage, it can sometimes be useful to look at a list of most-wanted gear pieces, so you know which pieces to go after. Icy Veins provides a very nice and elaborate BiS gear list for each gear slot, and tons of viable alternatives ranging from quest greens to heroic raid epics:
4. Professions and Consumables
In Warlords of Draenor, most dps gains that were provided by each profession were removed entirely from the game. Now what profession you choose is entirely up to you. Garrison profession buildings do not even require you to be trained in said profession; for example, you can plot a tailoring building and make your own cloth gear, all without needing the tailoring profession itself. The same can be said for Enchanting, Inscription, etc.
On any PvE fight, you're able to consume various items in order to get buffs. You can consume food before combat, flasks before combat, and potions both pre-pull and once during combat.
Flask: Greater Draenic Intellect Flask
Draenic Intellect Flask (cheaper)
Potions: Draenic Intellect Potion Be sure to use one right before you enter combat, and then use another one at the same time as Time Warp/Bloodlust +any other CD's are used.
75 Crit: Blackrock Ham, Grilled Gulper, Feast of the Waters, or Feast of Blood
100 Crit - Blackrock Barbecue or Savage Feast
Edited by Coopthefat on 12/28/2014 11:57 PM PST
5. Single-Target Rotation & AoE Damage
Fire is more of a priority system than a rotation. The priority system is as follows, with the most important steps being at the top:
1. Combustion (with high Ignite DoT).
2. Cast Pyroblast when the Pyroblast! buff occurs.
3. Inferno Blast (if 1 crit is present and Inferno Blast is off CD)
4. Spam Fireball
5. Use Scorch if moving
For this rotation, I make the assumption that you'll be using Rune of Power as your Tier 6 talent (if you're using Mirror Image, simply use it on CD, and Incanter's Flow is passive). I also assume that you've chosen Unstable Magic as your talent in Tier 5 ( if you chose Living Bomb, then it takes priority after step 2, assuming it needs to be refreshed, and if you've chosen Blast Wave, it takes priority after step 3).
The tier 7 talents are also worth discussing. If Prismatic Crystal is chosen, then make sure you have both a Heating up Proc and a Pyroblast! proc banked before setting the crystal down and damaging it. If you choose Meteor, then it can be used to build up a strong combustion.
One mechanic that occurs during the rotation that warrants explanation is called Heating Up. You receive one stack of Heating Up after obtaining one crit, and obtaining another crit in a row will remove the Heating Up Buff and create the Pyroblast! proc. A 3rd crit will create a new Heating Up buff, and a 4th crit will remove the heating Up buff and create another Pyroblast proc; however, since Pyroblast! doesn't stack, gettting that 4th proc before casting Pyroblast! means you effectively lose one Pyroblast proc.
If possible, it’s a dps increase to pre-pull with a Pyroblast (ie. Begin casting Pyroblast 1-2 seconds before the tank pulls the boss), but if the way your guild handles threat is shaky, then I wouldn’t recommend this maneuver.
One trick is to save Pyroblast procs until a Heating Up proc occurs. Once this happens, cast Pyroblast right after casting Fireball. This essentially doubles your chances of getting a 2nd crit to get another pyroblast proc.
If the conditions are right, use Combustion. Then, use Pyroblast if the Pyroblast! proc is present. Next, use Inferno Blast if you have a crit present. After that, spam Fireball as filler. Use Scorch if you're unable to use Fireball.
Unique to the Fire spec, Inferno Blast is a guaranteed crit and should thus be used after getting 1 crit, in order to get Pyroblast! However, interrupting a spell mid-cast to use Inferno Blast is a dps loss (unless Combustion timing ends up being sensitive). When you’re able to use Inferno Blast also depends on your distance from the boss, as well as latency: the closer you are to the boss, the harder it is to fit in Inferno Blasts. It’s best to use it when you have 1 crit, and you just finished a cast. Then, use Inferno Blast before the just-casted Fireball reaches the boss in order to get your second crit.
Fireball vs Frostfire Bolt
For Mists of Pandaria, if ony used the glyph for Frostfire Bolt, then this spell could replace Fireball as your main nuke, which some players preferred simply for the cooler animations. This is still the case. The slow that Frostfire Bolt applies could potentially be useful in later boss encounters, so it’s something to consider.
Combustion is a unique DoT in that it takes a snapshot of the current Ignite DoT on the target, taking any Haste and Intellect procs into account. Essentially, it looks at whatever the current damage of Ignite is over 8 seconds, and creates a new DoT that ticks once every 10 seconds, and is equal in damge to 8 seconds of the Ignite ticking. If glyph of combustion is chosen, then combustion will last 20 seconds instead of 10 seconds and will essentially do double the damage overall.
Combustion is neat in that it can essentially double-dip, as in for mechanics involving a percent increase on a target, not only the DoTs composing Combustion will be stronger, but after the Combustion DoT is created, it too takes advantage of the % increase in damage, after already taking into account the “supercharged” DoTs that compose it.
One piece of advice concerning Combustion: if you’re using the glyphed version, then depending on the length of the fight, you may have the luxury of waiting for a Pyroblast.
Remember that Ignite no longer requires crits to be applied to its target, so be extra careful as to keeping track of when you get ignites applied by crits, especially since Ignite stacks. In some cases, if you're getting lucky RNG, you may be able to keep building up Ignites for a bit before applying Combustion, but this can be risky play.
Some of the spells in the Fire mages toolbox are not explicitly meant to deal direct damage, are indirect damage abilities on a CD, or exist solely for utility and survival, but are still extremely useful to us.
Ice Block- Makes us immune to all physical damage and spells for 10 seconds, but we’re immobilized during that time, unless we cancel the Iceblock buff. Has a 5-minute CD.
Invisibility- Makes the mage invisible over a three-second interval, dropping our threat. This is our primary method of dropping threat if we’re ever in danger of stealing threat from the tank.
Alter Time- Takes a snapshot of your position and health on use. Once this buff wears off (or is removed by using Alter Time again, if you wish to do so), you are instantly restored to the state you were in when you activated Alter Time. For example, if you have 100% health when activating Alter Time, once it wears off, you are instantly restored to 100% health.
Since it restores your previous position, you could theoretically use Alter Time to quickly get across the map. This becomes extremely handy on some boss encounters where you're at position A, move to position B, then need to quickly move back to position A.
One of the features of our AoE is that our DoTs can be spread to 3 other targets off your main one, so basically 4 maximum targets (Glyph of Inferno Blast adds 1 more target onto the cleave). This makes Fire a powerful cleave spec.
2-4 stacked Enemies:
Continue your single-target rotation on one target while keeping up Living Bomb and using Inferno Blast to spread DoTs.
5+ stacked Enemies:
1. Cast Flamestrike and Dragon's Breath on CD.
2. Continue with Single Target rotation while spreading DoTs.
*Whenever Combustion is cast on your target, the CD on Inferno Blast instantly resets, allowing you to instantly spread your Combustion to your enemies.
As is different than in previous expansions, whenever there are spread out enemies, it is a dps loss to try and multi-dot with Living Bomb. When there are spread-out enemies, it's better to maintain your single-target rotation on one of them, and possibly try to keep the pyroblast debuff on as many enemies as possible if you're getting lucky.
Edited by Coopthefat on 12/29/2014 12:32 AM PST
6. Resources & Addons
Streams/Youtube Videos of Mages
We can read theory all we want, but sometimes it helps to actually see mages in action. I've kept my youtube link on here, but I have yet to upload WoD videos. I will do so in the future, and I have a lot of videos from Cata and MoP if you're interested in seeing some dungeons and raids from the time (MoP is mostly Frost though, as a warning).
A lot of these initial streamers listed mainly play Fire as of the time of this edit, but many of the streamers also play Frost and Arcane.
Arold - http://www.twitch.tv/aroldthemage
Xiun - http://www.twitch.tv/xiun
DeathDefier 25H Wed 7-11PM EST http://www.twitch.tv/deathdefier
Myxel 25H Thursdays http://www.twitch.tv/myxeleu
Twïss Thursday 19:30 to 24:00 (cest) http://www.twitch.tv/twiss_nl
Fuyuri 10H http://www.twitch.tv/zkane
Preheet 25H http://www.twitch.tv/preheet
Tergeron - http://www.twitch.tv/tergeron
Glacius 25H http://www.twitch.tv/neogaming2013
Crabmodem Tues/Thurs/Mon 8-11pm US Central http://www.twitch.tv/crabmodem
There are a plethora of resources available to mages and raiders in general. These resources provide meaningful information pertaining to stat weights, general theorycrafting, etc.:
Altered Time- http://altered-time.com/forum/index.php
Altered Time is a great forum for mages to discuss particular class mechanics in intellectual ways. It has guides for different types of content such as raiding and leveling, and just has a lot of general advice, some top mages post there, etc.
Icy Veins- http://www.icy-veins.com/
Icy Veins has guides and advice for all specs of all classes in different types of content, both leveling, raiding, etc. Just a good general source for WoW related things.
SimulationCraft is a simulation. It doesn’t help you with gemming or enchants, but there’s other uses for it, such as looking at damage spreads, stat values, priority lists, dps value per 1 usage of each ability, among other things. There’s other mechanics you can explore with it, but that requires knowledge of code (something I don’t have).
AskMrRobot is a tool where you can upload your character stats, such as by using armory, and it'll tell you your stat priority, if your enchants are the best choices, possible upgrades if you were to choose between certain pieces of gear, etc.
Haste Breakpoint Tool (Mage Bombs)
This tool is very helpful in showing you different Haste breakpoints for various spells.
Warcraft Logs https://www.warcraftlogs.com/
Warcraft Logs is essentially Recount, except you can upload your parses to this website for your guild & anyone else to see. Especially useful for evaluating the performance of other raid members, and more importantly, evaluating the performance of other mages around the world. Analyzing the data of other competent mages can serve to teach yourself where you could improve in your performance, but be aware of “padding”, ie. Unnecessary damage, such as using massive AoE on adds when it’s not necessary.
One thing that should be said about simulations: they’re meant to be optimal performances, completely perfect simulations and executions of mage mechanics. As such, occasionally some of the results produced by simulations should be taken with doubt. This is where your own knowledge comes in, and being able to determine what information is correct, and which information needs to be molded to adapt to a real-life scenario, is crucial.
However, even though real-world data such as Recount and Warcraft Logs can be accurate, you must be aware of some phenomena such as active time, padding, different raid strategies/different raider assignments, RNG etc. RNG is also why testing out mechanics on a target dummy isn't always valid, for there are not enough trials to properly rule out RNG. In other words, don’t blindly follow simulations or real-world data without critical thought.
Add-ons are neat tools that have been developed for various means in WoW gameplay. For example, there are add-ons that can provide visual cues for certain mechanics, make it easier to manage raid frames, programs that help your auction house experience, etc.
Many players like to use plenty of add-ons, and as such, I’ll post some of the popular ones that aid in raiding. Add-ons can never play the game for you, but some of them provide quality-of-life changes. I list the ones that are most relevant to dps:
Deadly Boss Mods (DBM)- This or a related add-on is required by many raiding guilds. Essentially points out when certain mechanics are occurring or will occur, warnings, etc.
Recount- Collects a lot of information about dps, healing, deaths, absorbs, etc.
Skada- Performs the same functions as Recount.
Note: If your raid uploads WoL parses, then using Recount and Skada aren't necessary, unless you like to stare at your dps mid-fight, or to check logs right after a kill or wipe.
Omen- Shows how much threat you and other people have. Is nice for knowing when to pop Invisibility in order to drop threat, but depending on the group, tanks getting threat could be a trivial matter.
Quartz- Gives a lot of customization for casting bar and accounts for latency in your casts.
Combustion Helper- Helps in calculating the damage of Ignite, and thus aids the player in timing the perfect combustions. Some Fire mages find this addon unnecessary to use Combustion, others absolutely love it.
MyBigIgnite- Just provides a number on your screen, indicating the size of your Ignite.
Bartender- Allows you to customize your action bars and move them around, resize them, etc. Also allows to remove Blizzard Art and to add more bars.
Power Auras- Powerful add-on that allows you to create visual images and or sounds to appear on your screen for just about any game mechanic, timers, DoT uptimes, etc.
WeakAuras- Performs the same functions as Power Auras.
Mage Nuggets- Can show your real-time stats, let you know when certain procs occur, can have timers on CD's and DoT's as well, among other functions.
Schorchio!2- As far as I know, performs the same functions as Mage Nuggets and similar addons.
I listed some of the more popular ones. There’s over 5000 add-ons available at http://www.curse.com/
Edited by Coopthefat on 12/29/2014 1:06 AM PST
Q: Is Fireball or Frostfire Bolt better for dps?
A: Fireball and Frostfire Bolt are virtually equal in terms of dps, so use whichever one you prefer. Do note, however, that Frostfire Bolt is only equal to Fireball if you obtain the major glyph of Frostfire Bolt. Also keep in mind the slow that Frostfire Bolt can apply, though the slow will have limited use in typical raid PvE encounters.
Q: Is damage interchangeable with dps?
A: No. While the terms "damage" and "dps" tend to be used by players interchangeably, they each represent different concepts. Damge is pure damage, ie. how much damage one ability can do. DPS (Damage Per Second) is the rate of damage with respect to time. It is damage divided by time. For example, one Fireball over 3 seconds yields a different dps number than one Fireball over 6 seconds yields.
Q: Is Haste additive?
A: No, Haste is not additive; it's multiplicitive. When you're trying to determine how much Haste you have from buffs and gear, you must multiply all of these values together in order to find your true Haste. For example, lets say we wanted to determine how much Haste is needed in order to reach a certain cast time on one of our spells:
( Base cast time / Desired case time ) +1 = Total % of Haste needed.
However, what we're most interested in is the amount of Haste we need from gear. There's another equation we can make use of:
1.05 (Hybrid Haste Raid Buff) * 1.xx (Haste Required from Gear) = Total Haste needed (which we solved for via the first equation).
Remember that whenever you're dealing with Haste Rating, you need to convert it to % of Haste, so divide your Haste Rating by its conversion factor, 425 Haste Rating=1% Haste.
Through the above steps, we can see that Haste is indeed multiplicative.
8. General Tips & Tricks
Most of the following are meant to be general-gameplay tricks that can aid in raid performance.
Instead, keybind all of your abilities to additional keys on your keyboard and/or mouse, and press those keys intead to perform the desired action. This ensures maximum performance while moving, especially when multi-tasking is involved. For example, I personally have my Mage Bomb keybound to "3", and my Iceblock keybound to "Q", and press those keyboard keys to activate said abilities.
Edited by Coopthefat on 1/17/2015 8:47 AM PST
Thanks for the guide. I love Blazing Speed personally for pure DPS. Macro it into Blink and you basically have Improved Blink back. Macro Darkflight and Blazing Speed in and they both stack, giving you 350% movement.
Glyph of Combustion- Increases the CD, duration, and damage all by 100%, meaning it now lasts for 20 seconds, does 100% more damage on each tick, and has a 3-minute CD. This glyph is highly recommended for most fights.
Just wanted to correct this. Combustion is either a 45sec cd or 1.5min cd with glyph not 3min.
Also a good trick I've learned to help get a good ignite is when you get a fireball crit start casting your 2nd fireball then depending on fight, if you cast an inferno blast either before the fireball via the que spell system or after you launch the fireball, this allows back to back pyro's if pulled off correctly asumming both pyro's crit which with raid buffs and proper gear(H ds) happens alot. Throw in dragonwrath proc's and you can get those combustion's you use to get pre 5.0.4 :D
Living bomb is exploding on a refresh, as far as I know it is no longer necessary to let it fall off. At 15% haste I can refresh at 2 seconds or less and still get an explosion.
Simcraft is still beta for 5.0.4, is -not- completely correctly set up (at least for mages), and should -not- be taken as absolute truth as far as stat weights go. This also calls in question the reforging of reforgelite, MrRobot, and wowreforge.
Flamestrike is not calculated into combustion.
Thanks for the notice! Of course was reading the tooltip while I had the glyph equipped.
Just wanted to confirm, remember reading on EJ at some point that it was. Thanks!
Thanks for the advice. Ultimately I think it depends on the encounter at hand: any of those three talents could be useful. I'll update the guide.
Edited by Coopthefat on 9/4/2012 4:19 PM PDT
Nice catch. Corrected.
Living bomb is exploding on a refresh, as far as I know it is no longer necessary to let it fall off. At 15% haste I can refresh at 2 seconds or less and still get an explosion.
The Living Bomb part is interesting. It has to be refreshed between the last tick and the penultimate tick, but it does indeed explode if done properly. Guide is now updated.
Edited by Coopthefat on 9/4/2012 7:28 PM PDT
90 Orc Shaman
Frost Bomb- Explodes after 4.30 seconds, dealing massive AoE damage to all enemies within 10 yards of the target. This bomb deals no DoT damage before the explosion.Has an initial 8.61 CD, but both the duration and CD of the bomb are reduced by Haste. It’s impossible to refresh this bomb before it falls off, so just reapply it once it comes off CD. This bomb is the superior choice for fights involving 6 or more enemies.
The description is right, but you should probably put the unmodified cooldown/detonation numbers (10 sec cd/5 sec to detonate). I know it's a nitpick, but better to be thorough.
I should really stop analyzing my spells when I have all of my gear on...
Fixed. Don't forget to sticky the guide!
Typo on Scorch in the first quote, and:
Glyph of Blink- Increases the distance of your Blink spell by 5 seconds. Overall, this only equates to one extra GCD (TO BE CONFIRMED) and is not as useful when compared to other glyphs.
Seconds are not a unit of distance. Being fussy on these two I know, but I'm of the opinion that if this is intended to be a primary resource for Fire mages, it's better to be fixed, especially given how much time it looks like you have put into it.
Other than those two minor issues, good guide. Reported for sticky.
Typo on Scorch in the first quote, and:Glyph of Blink- Increases the distance of your Blink spell by 5 seconds. Overall, this only equates to one extra GCD (TO BE CONFIRMED) and is not as useful when compared to other glyphs.Seconds are not a unit of distance. Being fussy on these two I know, but I'm of the opinion that if this is intended to be a primary resource for Fire mages, it's better to be fixed, especially given how much time it looks like you have put into it.Other than those two minor issues, good guide. Reported for sticky.
I'm just glad someone's pointing these things out. One person doing editing doesn't always catch his or her own mistakes. Better to make fixes right now and make sure the guide is accurate.
EDIT: Adding description to Ice Ward's use, making it useful in only a few cases. Will also write more material on general player tips and add an abbreviations table sometime this weekend.
Edited by Coopthefat on 9/5/2012 11:59 AM PDT
Living Bomb- A DoT that lasts for 12 seconds,
Worth adding that it only has a 1.0 sec GCD by default, regardless of haste.
Mastery- Our Mastery has been remodeled from the Cata version. Now, our Mastery is the Ignite DoT, a DoT that’s put on the target with 40% of the damage of the spell that applied it.
12%, increased by Mastery.
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