Category Archives: Mage

Three Weeks a Fire Mage

Illume Header

Frost was okay, but nowhere near the big hits I was used to on Draenor, so I decided to do something decidedly boring.  That’s right, I swapped to Fire. Like, apparently, every other bloody mage in the entire game.

The problem with Fire for me was that I had gotten Ebonchill pretty far down the ol’ upgrade tree, then swapped out to Felo’melorn; running around with a child’s dinky in an adult’s body, as it were. At 110, you’re expected to be toting a 110-level weapon and gear to match.

So I held on to Ebonchill for those moments when I needed to swap out, but concentrated on Fire whenever I could. After all, practice, practice, practice.

As one might expect, survivability is not a thing with Fire mages. We’re not really designed for that.  But Felo’melorn does have some tools for us, such as a thing that causes Blink or Shimmer to heal you for a little bit. So your rotation often consists of taking a quick blip right after Dragon’s Breath.  And sometimes that brings more to the party.

The next piece of the puzzle was getting Belo’vir’s Final Stand from an Emissary loot box (Highmountain, if you must know, but WoWHead isn’t telling how many times it comes from what).  I’ve often been a critic of people blaming gear for their lack of <your thing here>, but I am here to tell you now that that robe made a world of difference in my damage output and survivability.

So I guess, for great differences, you do see some significant effects. Shut mah mouth.

Of course, changing specs calls for a new transmog. All those blue tones just don’t go with my flaming balls of doom, after all.  So I borrowed from the past.  Long time ago, Jasra made the Robe of Power(1) to wear – that was before she found something more sensible for her line of work – and it was available, so I grabbed it. And then I reached for the Mantle of Three Terrors and … hey, where is it?  It’s not in the box!

Okay, so  you know that there is a thing that any armor appearance you may have had in the past is available to you and your entire account provided they can wear it.  So Jasra’s robe was available to me, but anything class-specific wasn’t. The Mantle of Three Terrors, however, is not class bound, and Flora once had it.  We even have pictures.  Hell, she blogged about it. With pictures.

Let’s be clear – there has never been a more perfect shoulder piece for a fire mage. Two large dragon heads with little flames flickering in their maws and eyes, flanked by two more little dragon heads each. Fierce. And unique, too. There’s only one of these in existence, nothing that looks like them drops from anything else in the worlds.

So when I pinged Blizzard customer support, I was expecting a “wow, not sure how that happened, we’re restored it to your account”. What I got was “our records do not show that you ever had it, have a nice day.”

Thanks a lot, @BlizzardCS.

So what’s a mage to do?  Grind, that’s what.  When possible, I’ve been hitting The Black Morass to try to get Chrono Lord Deja to drop the things.  First note here: the drop rate on WoWHead is deceptive. I suspect it is for the Heroic version of the instance, which you cannot repeat more than once a day. You can reset the instance all you want, but it won’t actually reset. So you have to run it on Normal, and you get only so many tries if you’re efficient at it (nine to ten, generally).  Long story short (too late!), it took forty tries, but I got the damned thing. (that’s 2.5% for those keeping score)

Illume Fire MogStill not happy with the sword mog, but it’ll do for now – most sword models are so elaborate and fussy that they get caught on … well, everything. Brandishing the thing about during casting is an invite to any number of mishaps if you don’t manage it properly, and, let’s be honest here, bladecraft is not normally high up on a mage’s training regimen.

At any rate, let this be a warning to you – not all things you won in BC might have made the trip to the future with you. You might wanna check now and try to get @BlizzardCS to help out if you can figure a way to make that happen. Too late for me, at this point, but if I can help somebody fend off a last minute panic, so much the better.

At this point, fire magely speaking, I’m pretty satisfied with the spec, though I haven’t tested it in an instance or anything.  The DPS is pretty impressive compared to the frost spec with better weapon, though, so I’m hopeful.

An interesting thing about Felo’melorn is that I’ve been getting accosted by NPCs, only Sin’dorei so far, asking to look at the weapon. Once they do, you get +50 artifact power, which is helpful.  I wonder how many other NPCs there are wanting a gander at the blade? And I wonder how many there are out there interested in other class’ weapons? Ebonchill never got this sort of attention. Then again, this is an important part of Sin’dorei lore.  However that plays out, it’s a nice touch.

1 Hipster mode: remember what a gigantic pain in the ass it was to get that pattern and the mats to make it?  WELL I DO.


Mists of Panderia Beta–Inscription: Mage Glyphs

The first thing I want to look at ((Because that’s about all I can right now, given that crafting isn’t up and running yet.)) is look at what glyphs we’re picking up, what ones we’re losing, and which ones we’re picking up.

Since WoWHead is especially confused on a lot of these, I’m not going to include links in this post, because otherwise you might find yourself looking at the Glyph of Arcane Power with a tooltip of Glyph of Cone of Cold.  Blizz appears to be re-tasking all of the Prime glyph slots for new uses, which makes me wonder what sort of bugs we might encounter down the road.  Something to follow up on.

In this discussion, as in those to follow, the master worksheet for all this is on Google Docs. If you have to ask what something means, don’t look at it – this isn’t a tutorial on my spreadsheet peccadillos.

New Additions

[table id=3 /]

Some notes:

  • Glyph of Fingers of Frost probably goes a ways to compensate us for the loss of the damage component of Deep Freeze.
  • Glyph of the Penguin and Glyph of the Monkey were removed to remove the “the”, no doubt to help with sorting, but then they added “of the Bear Cub”.  I suspect that’ll get renamed for consistency.
  • Speaking of which, the Bear Cub ink is not yet official – best guess is Midnight.


[table id=4 /]


  • Most of there were former Prime glyphs, but not all.
  • A lot of minor and major glyphs – new or old – show Prime glyph tool tips still.  In many cases the effects don’t even make sense. I’m guessing they have a lot of work to do still.

Carried Over

[table id=5 /]


  • Some of these were former Prime glyphs that were deemed valuable enough to retain, even if the type of glyph was changed.
  • Many of these have different effects than before – in some cases, far different.
  • While some changed ink type (no doubt to reflect the level changes for some of these), there was no significant drift towards more of one tier over another, and no new inks at all.


It’s obvious from the tooltips and the profession UI that serious work on integrating the new glyphs into the game has not really taken off yet.

Frost Magery in MoP – Talents

As writ previously, talents are differently applied this time than they have in the first four iterations of WoW. Rather than choosing from 60ish or 40ish talents, you get to choose from six tiers of talents, each containing three choices, of which you can choose one each.  The intended design of this is to make all choices matter, when it comes to talents.

Note: As I proof this one more time, the beta rolls on relentlessly.  I have given a good look at the most recent changes but cannot guarantee that when this goes live, it’ll already have several grievous errors.  The Management Regrets, et cetera. Only one thing is certain: if I don’t post this soon, it’ll be about the NEXT expansion’s beta! So off we go!

So let’s see what Frost gets to play with.

Tier 1 TalentsTier 1

At level 15, you get to choose one of these.  The theme here is cast time mitigation.

When activated, your next Mage spell with a casting time less than 10 sec becomes an instant cast spell.

Scorch the enemy for 930 to 1102 Fire damage.  Can be cast while moving.

  • Ice Flows ((Yes, that is misspelled. Yes, a bug report has been submitted. No, I wasn’t the one that caught it first ((And it’s going to go live in the next build. Woohoo!)).))

Allows you to move while casting and channeling the next 2 Mage spells that have a base cast or channel time less than 4 sec. This spell may be cast while a cast time spell is in progress.

Presence and Flows both add a cooldown to your rotation for you to get any benefit. This complicates an already complicated rotation in raiding, but might provide a nice little IWIN button for PvP.  Currently I’m going with Flows but could change my mind at any time.

Of the spells taking less than four seconds ((I thought they were going to try to simplify things!)), Frostbolt and Frostfire Bolt both qualify. This is still highly situational, though. Getting off an instant Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, or Ice Bomb might be worth it, though.

In the end, Presence will probably be my ultimate choice.  As Grimm, I can’t ever remember to switch to Aspect of the Fox for those brief move-and-fire fights, and this looks to be even more complex to shoehorn into an already loaded rotation.

Tier 2 Talents

Tier 2

Achieved at level 30.  The theme here is personal protection / damage mitigation.

Envelops you in a temporal shield for 4 sec. Damage taken while shielded will be healed back over 6 sec. This spell is usable while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared or asleep.

Suppresses movement slowing effects and increases your movement speed by 150% for 1 sec.  May only be activated after taking a melee or spell hit greater than 2% of your total health, or after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor. This spell may be cast while a cast time spell is in progress.

Instantly shields you, absorbing (4580 + $SPFR * 4.401) damage.  Lasts 1 min.  While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be delayed by damage.

Again, it seems, we’re presented with two great choices and one non-starter.  Ice Barrier is a trademark skill for frost mages, offering mitigation and an extremely handy cooldown. The new choice is very interesting, though. Temporal Shield appears to offer a great panic button for those situations in which your healer needs all the help he can get. It doesn’t say, but if it also breaks stun effects, that would be marvy.

Blazing Speed is just a little too complicated in its requirements to be easily accessible in PvE, but looks like it would always be ready to roll in PvP, so I’m guessing that’s the intended audience. This with Blink (please don’t share a cooldown) offers a couple of ways of disengaging with opponents.

Tier 3 TalentsTier 3

Achieved at level 45.  The theme here is crowd control.

Summons a Ring of Frost at the target location.  Enemies entering the ring will become frozen for 10 sec.  Lasts 10 sec.  10 yd radius.

Places an Ice Ward on a friendly target. When an enemy strikes the target, all enemies within 10 yds will become frozen in place for 5 sec. 1 charge.  Lasts 30 sec.

Silences and freezes the target in place for 8 sec.  Lasts half as long versus Player targets.

This, at least, looks like a good Frost tier, with three Frost-themed choices. Again, one seems very clearly aimed at PvP (Frost Ward), though it would be useful in some PvE encounters if cast on the add tank to help control adds where she’s at.

The other two are more PvE ish though I do point out that both may have usefulness in PvP settings.

Of the three, Ring seems to be the most versatile in a raid environment, for CC.

Tier 4 TalentsTier 4

Achieved at level 60.  The theme here is "cooldowns".

Instantly makes the caster invisible, reducing all threat, and removing two damage over time effects. While invisible, you are untargettable by enemies.  Lasts 20 sec.  Invisibility is cancelled if you perform any actions.

Damage taken is reduced by 90% while invisible and for 3 sec after coming out of invisibility.

An attack which would otherwise kill you will instead bring you to 50% of your maximum health, and you will burn for 40% of your maximum health over the next 6 sec.

Cauterize cannot occur more than once every 2 minutes.

When activated, this spell finishes the cooldown of your Ice Block, Frost Nova, and Cone of Cold spell.  Instantly restores 30% of your health. This spell is usable while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared or asleep.

Cold Snap of course is a trusty cooldown from days of yore.  Greater Invis is an intriguing alternative due to its damage reduction and dispelling hooks.  Cauterize is an old friend to fire mages, and I must say that I find it quite attractive – enough so that I will probably take that over Cold Snap. Passive mitigation > active mitigation if you have a brain like a sieve.

Tier 5 TalentsTier 5

Achieved at level 75.  The theme here is scary, unpredictable AoE.

Places a Nether Tempest on the target which deals 2784 Arcane damage over 12 sec. Each time Nether Tempest deals damage, an additional 50% of that damage is also dealt to a random target within 10 yards.

The target becomes a Living Bomb, taking 1388Fire damage over 12 sec. When this effect ends, or the target dies, it explodes to deal an additional 1395 Fire damage to up to 3 enemies within 10 yards.  Limit 3 targets.

Places a Frost Bomb on the target.  After 5 sec sec, the bomb explodes, dealing 2791 Frost damage to the primary target, and 1396 Frost damage to all other targets within 10 yds.  All affected targets are slowed by 70% for 2 sec sec. Frost Bomb’s countdown and cooldown are reduced by haste.

I love AoE, but I’ve always found unpredictable AoE to be a loaded weapon on both ends of the barrel. Just ask a Warlock how many times Seed of Corruption has gotten him in trouble. Flora could go on all day ((No, really, she could. Please don’t get her started.)).  You just can’t use these things in crowded areas, around CC’d adds, and the like.

Of the three, Frost Bomb is the most intriguing to me, as well as the most apt for a Frostie.

Tier 6 TalentsTier 6

Achieved at level 90.  The theme here is replenishment.

Your Evocation spell no longer has a cooldown, but you passively regenerate 50% less mana.

Completing an Evocation causes you to deal 30% increased spell damage for 40 sec.

Places a Rune of Power on the ground, which lasts for 1 min. While standing in your Rune of Power, your mana regeneration is increased by 100% and your spell damage is increased by 15%. Only 2 Runes of Power can be placed at one time.

Places a magical ward on you, absorbing up to (1374 + $SPA * 1.320) damage for 8 sec. Absorbed damage will restore up to 15% of your maximum mana.

When this effect ends, you gain up to 30% increased spell power for 15 sec, based on the absorption used.

Hoo boy, this is a tough one. All of these look great! Invocation is perfect for a glass cannon spec. Rune of Power gives a frostie more group utility by having a little something for the healers to munch on. And Incanter’s Ward just looks like the perfect OHCRAP button.  These really give you something to consider!

Wrapping Up

There’s a fine line to be trod here between "interesting but not class-defining talents" and "doesn’t matter, vote the party line". In the end I’m worried that talents are becoming no more significant than glyphs in design, or, should I say, the new Prime Glyph of the game, now that those aren’t a part of the game any more.

I appreciate the concept – that rather than give you the illusion of choice knowing you’re always going to pick what is recommended, they take away the choices that aren’t choices and leave only the stuff that you have latitude to choose.

The balancing act, however, comes in when you try to balance each tier’s talents against each other so that the choices that you can make are for your own good, yet none becomes a non-choice due to clear superiority over the others.

Meanwhile, the obvious PvP choices have already been made for you, if you’re a PvP-er, so even before we get out of the gate, the point has been proven. Within each tier, then, the remaining choices are mostly based on play style.

It will be interesting to see how that balances out in a live environment.

Next up: the spellbook.

Frost Magery in MoP – getting started

In the following series, I’ll be looking at the way that the Frost Mage specialization has changed between Cataclysm and MoP  I’ll be handling this via a series of small posts. Today’s is regarding the initial impressions moving from Cata to Mop.  I’ll look at specializations and talents today, and do a quick test run on a level 80 target dummy ((I’d do it on a raiding dummy, but I never really got geared for raiding.)).

Character Screen

First of all, as Grimm mentioned earlier, the human character screen is different. I like it – it gives a better “feeling” for the city of Stormwind. While that may just be the newness of it all, possibly, I don’t really think so. It’s pretty!

Yes, that’s my squid on a stick. Told you I wasn’t geared! But here’s something that confuses me. I thought I read that we were losing our 2H slot and using Wands for our mainhand weapon. The slot for the wand is gone, but I still had it and can still equip it. I can also unequip my staff and reequip it, so I’m guessing it’s not being enforced yet ((Oddly, one of the spells in my spellbook is grayed out because it says it ‘requires wands’.)).  Or, possibly, we can choose between wands, daggers, staves, and one-handed swords.  That’s more than I was lead to expect!

Right, then. On to magery!

Spec SelectionSince my talents had been reset (there’s a surprise), I had to reselect my school of magic.

The Spec Selection layout is much improved, and makes it very clear what each spec brings to the table. I am somewhat amused that the secondary talent tab defaults to a Hunter spell’s icon (autofire?).

Arcane SpellbookOnce you select your school, your spellbook grays out the tabs for the other two specs.

The interesting thing is, all spells you can use are now collapsed to a single spellbook tab. Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten around to alphabetizing them yet, so you kinda have to hunt a bit for spells you’re looking for.

Frost Spellbook

Also noteworthy is that spells that are in principal from other schools, such as Arcane Blast, are on all tabs for all specs. For example, there is a portal and teleport spell on each tab, as well as Polymorph. This works well, I think, but maybe they should just get rid of the other tabs altogether.

On the other hand, it might make things clearer if all but the school’s spells were on a tab marked “common” or something like that.

Alter Time

Sadly, at the moment our only potential level 90 spell – Alter Time – appears to be a multi-school spell rather than specific to our spec.  That’s a shame. What a missed opportunity to make a serious spec statement.

Talent Spec Pane

The Talent Pane is reduced to six tiers from which you may select ONE talent each. That gives you a total of six talents by the time you hit 90. They are presented every 15 levels, starting at 15.

As you may be able to tell from the image, unlearning a talent no longer requires a complete respec. Instead, you can spend a Dust of Disappearance to unlearn, and presumably relearning is free. I haven’t tried yet because there is some confusion on my part as to what is and isn’t working in respec-land.

I’ll go into each tier in detail in the next installment, but here’s the upshot.  At each tier, you get to choose from one of three talents. Each is flavored just a little differently, presenting (usually) a real choice in how you play the game.  Some talents are clearly favoring raiding, or PvP, or that “fun” factor that Ghostcrawler loves to go on about.

Frostfire OrbAs I said, I’m going to go into detail in the next installment. For now, here’s an image that provides a look at the new Frostfire Orb graphics.  Well, the spell itself has been replaced with Frozen Orb, but it currently has the same icon, which is telling.

That’s the same graphic that Toravon the Ice Watcher used for his AoE attack.

Cool, huh?

Oh, Gumdrop, we hardly knew ye

I am shocked – shocked! – to find out that my dear water elemental has has his name revoked, and the macro I recently shared no longer works.

So, so long, Gumdrop, Dooshie, and  – my favorite – Moist. We will all miss you very much.

/Illume uncorks a fresh bottle of Kungaloosh and drains it

/Illume toddles off in search of moar

A funny thing happened on the forum

Updated to add: This no longer works, as of 4.0.1, so don’t waste your time. Thanks for your interest.


Updated (10/23/10) to add: link to Forum post, sorry for leaving that out. You, too, may go confirm that no Blues have weighed in on this, so if you’re worried about the banhammer, don’t do it!

Mostly, didn’t want anyone thinking that I was taking credit for something that I did NOT discover.


This may or may not work on Warlock pets, too.

Frost mages, target your elemental.

Type this into your chat pane:

/run PetRename(“NAME HERE”)

Where “Name Here” is the new name of your elemental.

Everybody, meet Gumdrop. His turn-ons are Otter Pops, coloring books, and chainsaws. His turnoffs are Hordies, mean people, and something called “Glembeck”.