5.4 Fire Mage PvE Guide

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90 Troll Mage
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Hello Mages! This is my guide to the Fire spec. Suggestions, comments, corrections, etc. are welcome. I want to thank the mage community, Elitist Jerks, 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.

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 MoP:

1. All three mage specs no longer provide extra damage to the same school of magic as the spec. Critical Mass is also available to Fire, multiplying our Crit by 1.3.

2. There are three different bomb choices. The best bomb to take completely depends on the encounter, something I’ll explore thoroughly in the next section.

3. Blizzard has essentially removed much of the RNG that was prevalent within the Fire spec, basically took care of the ignite munching issue that plagued the Fire spec, and at the same time nerfed its AoE damage capabilities.

4. The mechanic “Hot Streak” has been replaced by “Heating Up”. Heating Up will be explained thoroughly in the Single-target Rotation section, but it's essentially the same thing.

5. Our Mastery applies the Ignite DoT to a target , deriving its damage from the spell that applied it (Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, Inferno Blast, Pyroblast, and Scorch), every time those spells hit a target (just hits, no crits required). With 0 mastery, base percent damage is 12%, and obtaining more Mastery will yield stronger ignites by increasing that percentage. Also, Ignites can now stack in damage, meaning no more Ignite Munching (however, each ignite itself only lasts for 4 seconds or so).

6. Arcane Brilliance now provides 10% Spellpower and 5% Critical Strike Chance to your raid group, meaning no more keeping the 5% crit debuff up via Scorch. Also, Intellect no longer provides mana; all casters have 300k mana.

Abbreviations

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).
CD-Cooldown
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
NT- Nether Tempest
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)

ChangeLog

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 7/17/2014 7:24 PM PDT
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1. Talents & Glyphs

In MoP, many of the previous talents in the Fire spec have either been removed, changed to passive buffs/spells, molded into other existing abilities, or are available to all the mage specs. The new talent system in MoP has six tiers, independent of spec, with each tier allowing one choice among three similar talents.

There are no cookie-cutter specs anymore for many fights: if you want the most optimal set-up for your mage, you will be switching around some talents throughout the raid (you no longer need to visit the mage trainer to change your talents; simply purchase Tome of the Clear Mind to change out talents and glyphs).

Tier 1 (Level 15)

The movement tier

Presence of Mind – Works the same as it did in Cataclysm, makes your next spell an instant cast. This is the best talent for most fights as it can be used to build strong combustions.

Blazing Speed- Has nice movement speed. This talent could be very helpful for fights involving a lot of movement, but I think Presence of Mind will still be the best choice on the average encounter, especially since we already have Blink and can Scorch on the move.

Ice Floes- This talent is most useful for fights with fairly light movement, but for the same reasons as explained for Blazing Speed, the best one will be Presence of Mind.

Tier 2 (Level 30)

The Survivability tier

Temporal Shield- Very useful for situations where a lot of damage is dealt over a relatively short time span, and saves a GCD. As long as it's used preemptively, this talent tends to be used often. With the 5.4 changes, is now even more competitive with Ice Barrier.

Flameglow- Best for low periodic damage while saving a GCD since the ability is passive. 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, just a pure shield. Especially a good option on fights where damage tends to be sporadic or gradual.

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)

Survival tier

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, for example Heroic Jin'rokh.

Tier 5 (Level 75)

Any of these options will be used in our rotation.

Note this is the tier with the different mage bombs. Which bomb you choose is completely dependent on the encounter at hand. As you'll see, it usually has to deal with how many enemies there are in the fight, if they're stacked/spread out, etc.

Nether Tempest- Each time this DoT ticks, it’ll do 50% of that previous damage to one random target within 10 yards. This DoT can be put on any amount of targets, and is best used for encounters involving several spread enemies and multi-dot fights in general. Is also good if you have something like 2-3 enemies stacked on each other, as the cleave damage will be more than the Living Bomb's explosion damage.

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. Currently the best bomb single-target, as well as on up to 3 spread out enemies for multi-dotting. For every additional tick reached with Haste, the explosions damage is increased by 25%.

Frost Bomb- Explodes after 5 seconds, dealing damage to its main target and half of that damage as AoE to everything within 10 yards of the target. This bomb deals no DoT damage before the explosion. 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 near each other, but I don't think it'll be used often in SoO. Should be avoided if you have a trinket that activates off of periodic damage.

Tier 6 (Level 90)

There isn't much reason to not choose Invocation. All of these deal with mana management and dps buffs.

Invocation- This talent is the best on most fights since it allows complete mobility and has a short cast time. You must complete the Evocation cast in order to get the damage increase. This talent eliminates the CD of Evocation, so you can try again if you were previously interrupted. Also be sure to Evocate every minute to keep the damage buff up.

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. Replaces Evocation. This talent is mainly viable for fights involving little movement so you can dance 8 yards around your rune, or fights where you know where you’ll be moving to ahead of time., otherwise stick with Invocation. 75% mana generation, but mana is never an issue for Fire, meaning no net advantage over Invocation.

Incanter’s Ward- This talent good for fights involving considerable amounts of movement, as well as involving periodic damage to the raid group. However, if there isn't periodic damage going out to the raid ~ every 25 seconds, or some sort of damage to proc the absorb, its potential will decline. It's better to take Invocation for most fights.


Glyphs

Prime Glyphs have been removed all-together, leaving just Major and Minor glyphs. Only Major glyphs really affect your dps.

Major Glyphs

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.

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 Evocation- Causes you to regain 10% of your Health over its duration. Recommended if there's room for it, but due to it being nerfed, not as necessary as before.

Glyph of Armors- Potentially useful for fights involving a ton of damage, if necessary for your healers. It reduces the cast time by 1.5 seconds, and increases the defensive capabilities of each armor by 10%.

Glyph of Blink- 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.

Glyph of Frostfire Bolt- Decreases the casting time of Frostfire Bolt. Only pick up this glyph if you plan on using Frostfire Bolt as your main nuke instead of Fireball.

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.

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 7/17/2014 7:47 PM PDT
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2. Stats and Reforging

1 Intellect=1 Spell Power
1 Intellect=0.00039% Crit
600 Mastery Rating=1% Mastery
600 Crit Rating=1% Critical Strike
340 Hit Rating=1% Hit
425 Haste Rating=1% Haste
1 Expertise Rating= 1 Hit Rating

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.

Hit- The best secondary stat you can actually acquire through gemming, reforging, etc. Most often, you ideally want 15% hit. It’s okay to be a little over or under 15%, since reaching exactly 15% Hit can become unwieldy. Once you reach 15% Hit, any additional Hit becomes useless. We need 5100 Hit in order to be Hit capped.

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 other than Hit, and Crit is worth more than one half the value of Intellect. The significance of this is discussed in the Gemming section.

Critical Mass multiplies your crit by 1.3.

Haste- Haste serves two purposes as a stat:

1. 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).

2. In discrete amounts, Haste can also add more ticks to a DoT within the same DoT duration. What this essentially means is that at certain values of Haste, you can add extra ticks to your DoTs.

The dps value of Haste increases as you reach Haste breakpoints (plateaus), and then decreases slightly after you obtain these thresholds. Usually, it’s best not to worry about reaching thresholds unless you’re close to the values. Mastery becomes better than Haste after one of our plateaus, 5036 Haste. A neat tool for finding these plateaus if interested is
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsDL8HE-bGDVdFFVWlIzbzQ5RFJJZGFyQ25xZmFYa0E#gid=39

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.

TL;DR: Standard build: Ideal for single-target and spread out multi-target. Slightly better at movement with faster casts. Intellect>SP>Hit>Crit>Haste(up to 5036)>Mastery>Haste(after 5036).

Haste Cap Build where at higher levels of Haste breakpoints, some of your Haste can be safely reforged into Mastery. This is better with stacked enemies/cleave damage, but should only be pursued by players that can safely reach that level of Haste (such as guilds clearing heroic conent). The priority is Intellect>SP>Hit>Crit>Haste(up to 14100)>Mastery>Haste

One thing to note is that 1% Expertise=Hit, so for the beginning of MoP, if you're absolutely struggling to reach the hit cap, then consider reforging another stat into Expertise.


Reforging

You can convert 40% of one secondary stat on your gear and convert it into another stat that’s not currently on said piece of gear. In general, you’ll be reforging your least-wanted stat present on the piece of gear into Hit in order to reach the 15% Hit cap. Once the Hit cap has been reached, feel free to reforge a least-wanted stat into a superior stat, if possible.

Generally, you’ll want to reforge Mastery into Hit, Haste, or Crit, depending on your current stats. If a piece of gear has Haste and Crit, and you’re already at the Hit cap, then you’d leave that piece of gear untouched.

Askmrrobot now takes Expertise into account, so feel free to use it for reforging if you want a rough estimate on reforges.
Edited by Coopthefat on 7/17/2014 7:45 PM PDT
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3. Enchants & Gemming

Enchanting

Shoulders

Greater Crane Wing Inscription
Crane Wing Inscription (cheaper)

Cape (Back)

Enchant Cloak - Superior Intellect

Chest

Enchant Chest - Glorious Stats

Bracers

Enchant Bracer - Super Intellect

Hands

Enchant Gloves - Greater Haste
Enchant Gloves - Superior Mastery
Enchant Gloves - Superior Expertise if needed for hit cap.

Belt

Living Steel Belt Buckle + Smooth Sun's Radiance

Pants

Greater Cerulean Spellthread
Cerulean Spellthread (cheaper)

Feet

Enchant Boots - Pandaren's Step

Weapon

Formula: Enchant Weapon - Jade Spirit
Enchant Weapon - Elemental Force (cheaper)
Enchant Weapon - Windsong if(cheaper)

Off-hand

Enchant Off-Hand - Major Intellect

Gemming

The main change to gems this expansion is that each gem that contains secondary stats, contains 50% more of that stat than primary stats. For example, pure gems might have 160 Intellect, or 320 Crit, since there's double the amount of a secondary stat on each gem.

While this doesn't change the absolute value of Crit, having double the amount of Crit on gems makes that stat much more vaulable to obtain than in previous expansions. For gemming purposes, follow this stat priority:

2 Crit>Intellect>Hit>Haste>Mastery

Basically, if you can get Crit in your gems, you should be getting Crit.

Generally for gems, you want you want to match most of your socket bonuses. The gems to put in each socket type are as follows:

Red Socket Gems:

Potent Vermilion Onyx

Blue Socket Gems:

Rigid River's Heart if you need help reaching the Hit cap, otherwise use Piercing Wild Jade.

Yellow Socket Gems:

Smooth Sun's Radiance

Meta Gems

Burning Primal Diamond

In Prismatic sockets, put in Smooth Sun's Radiance

To determine the optimal gems to use for your setup, it’s best to use a simulation to determine your stat-values and whether or not you should match which socket bonuses. Mr Robot is fairly accurate as well.

Gear

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:

http://www.icy-veins.com/fire-mage-wow-pve-dps-gear-loot-best-in-slot

4. Professions and Consumables

In Mists of Pandaria, most of the professions are about even for Mages, as far as the amount of Intellect that each can provide. Which profession you take is entirely up to you. However, the professions best for overall dps will be the crafting ones, so stay away from Skinning, Mining, Herbalism, etc., as these will not provide the same stat increases, unless you want to make some gold on the side, or save gold by fueling your crafting profession with raw materials.

Blacksmithing: Allows for two extra gem slots, totaling in 320 extra Intellect.

Leatherworking- Superior bracer enchant resulting in a net gain of 320 Intellect.

Jewelcrafting- Creates two Brilliant Serpent's Eye, these can be used in place of your normal gems. Having two ends up in a gain of 320 Intellect.

Inscription- Secret Crane Wing Inscription, which is 320 Intellect more than the alternative Shoulder Enchant, Greater Crane Wing Inscription .

Enchanting- Lets you enchant both of your rings for ~ 160 Intellect each, total being 320 intellect.

Alchemy- Buffs flasks that you know the recipe to. Will add 320 Intellect to Flask of the Warm Sun, as well as doubling its duration.

Engineering- Synapses Springs gives you a huge amount of Intellect for 10 seconds with a 1-minute CD, an enchant you place on your hands. Averages out to 320 Intellect.

Tailoring- Allows you to enchant your cloak with Lightweave which has a chance to proc X amount of Intellect for 15 seconds, with an ICD. Averages out to 320 Intellect.


Consumables

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: Flask of the Warm Sun

Potions: Potion of the Jade Serpent 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.

Food:
300 Intellect- Mogu Fish Stew
275 Intellect- Great Pandaren Banquet or Braised Turtle
250 Intellect- Pandaren Banquet or Swirling Mist Soup
Edited by Coopthefat on 9/15/2013 10:54 AM PDT
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5. Single-Target Rotation & AoE Damage

Single-Target Rotation

Fire is more of a priority system than a rotation. One of the main changes from the Cataclysm priority system is that Flame Orb was removed from the Fire spec. The priority system is as follows, with the most important steps being at the top:

1. Combustion (with high Ignite DoT).
2. Use Mirror Image (unless it's being saved to take aggro)
3. Mage Bomb
4. Cast Pyroblast when the Pyroblast! buff occurs.
5. Inferno Blast (if 1 crit is present and Inferno Blast is off CD)
6. Spam Fireball

One thing you may notice is that there is no longer a Hot Streak proc. It has been replaced by 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. Refresh your bomb. 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.

Of the three mage armors at our disposal, you’ll almost always want to be using Molten Armor for the 5% Crit.

It’s important to maintain high upkeep on your bombs, because each bomb now applies Pyromaniac, which increases the damage of Fireball, Pyroblast, Inferno Blast, and Frostfire Bolt by 10%. This buff lasts 15 seconds, so Frost Bomb does apply the buff.

In the Fire spec, Inferno Blast replaces Fire Blast. 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 most of Cataclysm, Fireball and Frostfire Bolt were close enough in damage that some mages used Frostfire Bolt in place of Fireball, simply for the cooler animations. With the new spec changes, and if you use the Glyph of Frostfire Bolt (a major glyph that reduces the cast time of Frostfire Bolt), then the two spells are approximately equal in damage. The slow that Frostfire Bolt applies could potentially be useful in later boss encounters, so it’s something to consider.

Combustion

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. Then, it adds 20% of the dps value of the Ignite DoT, and creates a new DoT that ticks once every 10 seconds, or 20 seconds if glyphed, each tick dealing the same amount of damage as all those dps values combined.

Let’s say there’s an Ignite doing 1000 dps. Combustion creates a new DoT on the boss that deals 200 dps for every tick, and it ticks once every second.

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. Right now, a good way to obtain a big combustion is to wait until you get a Pyroblast proc, Alter Time, use the proc, then Alter Time again, activate any CD's, and use your Combustion. Be sure to use Presence of Mind before Alter Time was well if it's the chosen talent.

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 now 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.


Other abilities

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.

Evocation (Unless replaced by Rune of Power)- Restores Mana during the full cast (also restores Health if glyphed). If Invocation is taken as your tier-6 talent, then your CD on Evocation will be reduced to 10 seconds.

Mana Gem- Creates a Mana Gem that has 3 charges (10 if glyphed), each charge restoring 15k mana. Has a 2 minute CD. Evocation and Mana Gem are our 2 primary ways of restoring mana throughout a long fight, though currently in MoP, mana isn't a big issue.

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.

Mirror Image- Summons three identical copies of the mage that last for 30 seconds. They cast Frostbolt by default, but a minor glyph can change their spell to Arcane Blast or Fireball, depending on your spec. They do a lot of damage, but they also accumulate all of your aggro for 30 seconds. Essentially, this is another go-to aggro dump in emergencies if you didn't use this ability already for dps, especially if you know you'll be going over a bosses berserk timer and can extend it via Rogue's Evasion, Mage's Mirror Image, etc.

Alter Time- Takes a snapshot of your position, buffs, debuffs, health, and mana 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 a Pyroblast proc, 100% health, a debuff and an Intellect proc when activating Alter Time, once it wears off, you instantly restore that Pyroblast proc, are instantly restored to 100% health, the Intellect proc is restored to the same duration it previously had, and you regain the debuff.

This ability is quite powerful when used correctly, and it adds complexity to our rotation and the timing of our abilities. For example, using Alter Time can give you extra Pyroblast procs, and can extend any buffs you previously had, including BL. Also, 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. From a min-maxing point of view, it's best to use Alter Time to get a quick Pyroblast to build up a good Combustion.

AoE Damage

One of the main changes to our AoE is that our DoTs except for our mage bomb can only 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 significantly reduces the hold Fire Mages had on AoE power in Cataclysm, making us more of a cleave spec.

2-3 Enemies:

1. Keep up Living Bomb and spread DoTs with Inferno Blast (unless they're spread apart, in which case multidot)
2. Continue with your Single Target rotation

4+ Enemies:

1. Apply Nether Tempest to all targets
2. Continue with Single Target rotation

*Frost Bomb is technically better if you have 6+ enemies stacked together, but this currently doesn't happen often, and may be better for a spec such as Frost than Fire at that point, especially with Frost going for Haste.

The point of continuing our single-target rotation is so we can continue to spread our DoTs. If the enemies are at low health, then spam Arcane Explosion and Cone of Cold. Use Blizzard if you can't be in melee range of the adds.

*Whenever Combustion is cast on your target, the CD on Inferno Blast instantly resets, allowing you to instantly spread your Combustion to your enemies.
Edited by Coopthefat on 7/17/2014 6:54 PM PDT
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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. Here is a link to a guide I made on youtube (it's a shorter version of this guide):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPgni1XaW4c

Youtube

Coopthefat- http://www.youtube.com/user/coopthefat1?feature=mhee

DeathDefier http://www.youtube.com/xdeathdefier

Streams

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

Cycobi http://www.twitch.tv/cycobi

Tergeron - http://www.twitch.tv/tergeron

Frenikk http://www.twitch.tv/frenikk

Hotpots http://www.twitch.tv/thetinymage

Vatti http://www.twitch.tv/vattitv

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, reforging help, 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.

MrRobot & Reforgelite- These two websites and addons allow you to find the best ways to reforge for your character. For the most optimal results, use the stat-values from SimulationCraft, and plug them into the reforger to determine the best reforges for your gear, though just using the sites off the bat will give roughly accurate results.


SimulationCraft- http://simulationcraft.org/
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).

Lhivera's Blog- http://lhiveras-library.com/compendium
Lhivera is one of the more prominent mage theorycrafters in the community, and this website is a blog that harbors intelligent discussion of mage mechanics.

Haste Breakpoint Tool (Mage Bombs)

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsDL8HE-bGDVdFFVWlIzbzQ5RFJJZGFyQ25xZmFYa0E#gid=39

This tool is very helpful in showing you different Haste breakpoints for various spells.

World of Logs- http://www.worldoflogs.com/
World of 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 WorldofLogs 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.

Addons

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 7/17/2014 7:17 PM PDT
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90 Troll Mage
13965
7. FAQ

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: Which Mage Bomb should I use?

A: The bomb you choose really depends on how many enemies are present, and whether they're stacked or spread out in general. Living Bomb is the choice for single target, and up to 3 enemies that are spread out. Nether Tempest is good for multidotting at 4+ enemies, and any number of enemies that are stacked. Frost Bomb is good at 6+ enemies stacked up, but this only happens in a couple fights in SoO if the conditions are right.

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.

Q: How can I determine how much Haste is needed to reach extra ticks on my DoTs and HoTs?

HoTs and DoTs are also governed by mathematical relations and Haste. The following equation pertains explicitly to DoTs and HoTs:

( 1 / base tick )/2 +1 / base ticks +1 / base ticks …… = Total % Haste needed.

To find the number of base ticks on a DoT or HoT, take off all of your gear to ensure you have no Haste, and cast said ability. That's the number of base ticks. For example, Living Bomb has 4, Nether Tempest 12, Pyroblast DoT 6, and Ignite 2 (Ignite does NOT gain additional ticks from Haste).

That solves for the total Haste needed. To find how much Haste is needed from gear, you can use the same equations from the previous question. For the first extra tick in this equation, you just take the inverse of the # of base ticks, and take half of that, and that number is the total Haste needed. For subsequent ticks needed, you simply add 1/base ticks to the first value determined, and follow that same process for X number of ticks.

8. General Tips & Tricks

Most of the following are meant to be general-gameplay tricks that can aid in raid performance.

  • Always Be Casting- Consider this the ABC's of raiding. As silly as it may sound, no matter if you're standing still, moving, or unsure of what is happening around you, unless your raid group has mentioned to stop damage at a particular time interval, you should be using every GCD possible towards something.
  • The most efficient movement possible is a combination of your WASD keys (or other keyboard keys) and your mouse. Using just your keyboard or just your mouse to move is both clumsy and inefficient. Also, never keyboard turn (using solely a key on your keyboard to turn); instead, you should attempt to strafe, and use your mouse to steer you. The easiest way to remove the bad habit of keyboard key is to simply Unbind your turning keys, and re-keybind them to strafing keys.
  • Do not click your abilities. By this, I mean pointing your mouse cursor and "clicking" on an ability on your action bars in order to cast spells. This is very inefficient, and while it could be viable on a purely tank-and-spank fight, once you add movement to the mix, your performance will drop drastically.
    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.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and what's happening on a particular boss fight. Even if you perform at 100% maximum capacity with zero mistakes, if you have terrible raid awareness (ie. standing in fire, repeatedly dying to easily-avoidable mechanics, etc.), you're hindering your raid group. One easy way to accomplish this goal is to take off a lot of clutter from your screen. For example, if you use a lot of addons that aren't used during raids, but take up a lot of screen space, then you should probably disable them during your raids. Also,depending on a few factors, you can scale down your UI to any level you're comfortable with.
  • Macros can be useful at times. Basically, it's code that can mold several actions together, so that several actions can be done at once. For example, you could macro all of your CD's together into one button (as long as no more than one ability is on the GCD) allowing you several actions at the price of one action.
  • Dps is your most important function as a Mage in a raid or dungeon, but also keep in mind that dead mages do no damage. Therefore, you should be willing to sacrifice damage in certain situations if it means you get to live, especially mechanics dealing damage that you can easily avoid.
  • You can queue your next spell while still castng your current one. For example, if you're currently casting Fireball, you can press your Fireball again when your current cast is almost finished, and as soon as that Fireball finishes its cast, your just-queued Fireball begins its casting time. This should be done for nearly all of your spells, and it very quickly becomes a habit. (This is possible because of in-game latency, and having an addon such as Quartz will easily show you when to queue your next spell).
  • Edited by Coopthefat on 7/17/2014 7:21 PM PDT
    Reply Quote
    90 Human Mage
    9305
    Sticky requested, assuming the other author does not update, it's a great resource.

    Thank you for taking the time to write it.
    Reply Quote
    90 Troll Mage
    13965
    Will touch on any editing needed, grammar mistakes, etc. later.
    Edited by Coopthefat on 9/4/2012 1:49 PM PDT
    Reply Quote
    90 Worgen Mage
    20380
    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.
    Reply Quote
    90 Blood Elf Mage
    10920
    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
    Reply Quote
    90 Orc Mage
    5900
    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.
    Reply Quote
    90 Troll Mage
    13965
    09/04/2012 02:20 PMPosted by Rtrm
    Just wanted to correct this. Combustion is either a 45sec cd or 1.5min cd with glyph not 3min.


    Thanks for the notice! Of course was reading the tooltip while I had the glyph equipped.

    09/04/2012 02:23 PMPosted by Melindur
    Flamestrike is not calculated into combustion.


    Just wanted to confirm, remember reading on EJ at some point that it was. Thanks!

    09/04/2012 02:16 PMPosted by Digerati
    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.


    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
    Reply Quote
    Your sections on Mastery are incorrect (posts 1 and 3). Ignite no longer requires a crit, it's simply a percentage of total damage done by your Fireballs, Frostfire Bolt, Inferno Blasts, Scorches and Pyroblasts.
    Reply Quote
    90 Troll Mage
    13965
    09/04/2012 06:27 PMPosted by Ocato
    Your sections on Mastery are incorrect (posts 1 and 3). Ignite no longer requires a crit, it's simply a percentage of total damage done by your Fireballs, Frostfire Bolt, Inferno Blasts, Scorches and Pyroblasts.


    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.

    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.


    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
    Reply Quote
    90 Orc Shaman
    11830
    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.
    Reply Quote
    90 Troll Mage
    13965
    09/04/2012 08:54 PMPosted by Mahanik
    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!
    Reply Quote
    09/04/2012 01:20 PMPosted by Coopthefat
    6. Our Mastery makes Ignite stronger, so now our Mastery applies the Ignite DoT to a target , deriving its damage from the spell that applied it (Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, Inferno Blast, Pyroblast, and Scrorch)


    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.
    Reply Quote
    90 Troll Mage
    13965
    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
    Reply Quote
    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.
    Reply Quote

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