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  1. #1

    Mage specs, Pro's Con's and What should you pick

    Hello there fellow MMO-Championers
    In this thread I would like to say my own opinion on the three mage specs we have at the moment and why/when you should pick each one.
    My main Character is Elynae located in Auchindoun EU and I am a 574 Frost mage

    Arcane Mage:
    This spec is a very easy spec to learn, but very tough to master. If you are kind of a newbie as a mage you shouldn't progress with your raid using Arcane. It has the stigma of being a 2-button spec, but it is the spec with the highest skillcap (maybe Feral Cats have a higher skillcap but ohwell). To master this spec you must master your mana management and you need to have excellent reaction times. Your rotation changes a lot with the 4-set from Siege and to be competitive you need to practice alot.

    The pros to this spec is that it has a very strong burst and single target damage, and you can time things perfectly in order to instant cast Arcane Barrage and deal +- 850k damage to one target + the inherent cleave. It can be very rewarding to play and currently is certainly within the top 5 dps in single target damage.

    The negatives of this spec are it's mobility. As you are forced to use Rune of Power to perform well, you greatly diminish your dps when moving. It is also a fairly difficult spec to master and can cause a lot of frustration when you cast one extra Arcane Blast when you shouldn't do so.

    You should pick this spec if you are in a 25man Guild and you can fulfill the role of a turret. That means that you stay immobile during the fights and just focus on pulling maximum dps. You shouldn't use this spec while on low gear (Be at least 555+). Make sure you have trained on dummy's and LFR (yes people i know life sucks) and then use it on progression raiding. In general the more you learn the fights as arcane, the more prepared you shall be and the more dps you shall do in each pull. It is certainly worth a try but can be very frustrating to play when the whole raid decides to re position right after you dropped your rune.

    Fire Mage

    The Fire mage is a spec that has multiple pro's and con's and is currently the trend for most end game mages in this day. Fire has the trademark skill of Combustion which has been nerfed to the ground since MoP yet still remains a very powerful spell. The spec certainly feels "fiery" and is also very rewarding to play.

    The pros of a Fire Mage is his extremely good scaling. The more gear you get, the more Crit you get which means that you get more Pyroblasts more ignite etc etc. It has a very strong burst and cleave (with the Burst on F.E Protectors reaching 1.5 million dps) and when you have the gear for it it has some nice big numbers with those instant Pyro's.

    The RNG factor of the Fire Mage is one of the reasons I personally don't like the spec. It does get better the higher your item level is, but it is still very annoying to cast 3 Fire Blasts with 50% crit and get fucked by the gods of RNG. Inferno Blast does fix this inconvenience with ensuring some hits, but the sad truth is that at one time you can do everything right rotation wise and get mediocre dps, and the other time to have no idea what you are doing and top Methods meters.

    You should only play Fire if you have the gear for it. It is a mobile spec and it has very nice burst, but in low gear it's garbage. Certainly worth a try but make sure you have some Heroic Siege pieces before you go for it

    Frost Mage

    This is the most stable spec you can play, especially if you just dinged but it's also very rewarding in End Game Content. (I am using it on Heroic Blackfuse progress). It is very underrated especially because of the low skillcap necessary to play it. It's a see the notification and react kind of spec with only involving dot-clipping and smart use of Ice-Lance + Icicles for burst. Still a very rewarding spec to play and the only competitive way to go up untill 550+ item level.

    The mobility of a Frost Mage is unrivaled by the other specs. We have a wide array of instant casts and for SoO there are almost no fights where you have to be on a constant move (considering then Fire becomes better due to scorch). We also have the best consistent damage of the 3 specs and a consistent cleave through our Glyph of ice Lance. I have beaten a competitor Fire Mage on Fallen Protectors with my cleave, purely because mine is so consistent and his is much more Bursty. We excel in longer fights rather than short/bursty ones. Also the extra stun and pet freeze are nice.

    The negative of the frost mage is the numbers and the burst. We do not produce hard hitting spells so you will never see something hit for 850k like in arcane. This doesn't mean we don't do high dps, but instead of f.e 1 hit every 2 seconds for 850k, we do 2 hits every second for 425k.
    Another huge negative factor is the fact that our RNG is completely random and we have control over it through 2 spells where one is situational. Fingers of Frost proc at a flat 15% rate and only Frozen Orb can guarantee a FoF proc. Brain Freeze does proc more often due to the extra dot ticks you get, but it's still a flat %based chance.

    You should definatelly use this spec when under 550 item level, but after that it's on par with the other 2. It has a low skillcap so if your mage is an alt and you want some time to learn how to use him to the fullest potential frost is a viable spec.

    Cheers to Akraen for making me a passionate Frost mage
    Last edited by Berlinia; 2014-04-16 at 04:28 PM.

  2. #2
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    As someone who plays both fire and frost at very high (577) item levels - I disagree about the extra mobility of frost. It's not as mobile as fire, largely because you cannot do the entire rotation while moving. It's maybe "easier" to be mobile (i.e - you don't change your rotation and just throw out procs while moving as opposed to swapping to scorch from fireball for fire) but it's not as strong on any high movement fight, such as doing belts on Siegecrafter, etc

    I do prefer to play frost for 10m though, simply because I find the on demand utility to be better and you don't have as many other classes to care of things such as slows, stuns and the like. Having trouble AE'ing down adds on Immerseus HC? Dump an orb into them and help cleave. Norushen HC big adds globalling healers? Pet freeze + deep freeze them on demand. Grunts on Galakras HC or mages/shamans on Nazgrim HC need extra attention? Same thing. And throw an instant FFB onto the ironblade to make your melee happier. Etc. I find the utility of frost in 10m to be worth the loss in DPS.

    In 25M? Fire or arcane (in my case fire, I simply prefer the playstyle over arcane) all the way. It's just simply about numbers, and fire / arcane at high gear levels consistently tops frost - and with many more members of other classes to handle the utility stuff (maybe even another mage who is playing frost) frost loses a lot of it's added value.

    I will say, I find frost the easiest spec to play - and one of the easiest specs in the entire game to play. If you keep up invocation and your bomb, and simply use procs as they appear - you'll be doing well on the meters. Both fire and arcane (especially arcane) have higher skillcaps, in my opinion.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by vadya View Post
    As someone who plays both fire and frost at very high (577) item levels - I disagree about the extra mobility of frost. It's not as mobile as fire, largely because you cannot do the entire rotation while moving. It's maybe "easier" to be mobile (i.e - you don't change your rotation and just throw out procs while moving as opposed to swapping to scorch from fireball for fire) but it's not as strong on any high movement fight, such as doing belts on Siegecrafter, etc

    I do prefer to play frost for 10m though, simply because I find the on demand utility to be better and you don't have as many other classes to care of things such as slows, stuns and the like. Having trouble AE'ing down adds on Immerseus HC? Dump an orb into them and help cleave. Norushen HC big adds globalling healers? Pet freeze + deep freeze them on demand. Grunts on Galakras HC or mages/shamans on Nazgrim HC need extra attention? Same thing. And throw an instant FFB onto the ironblade to make your melee happier. Etc. I find the utility of frost in 10m to be worth the loss in DPS.

    In 25M? Fire or arcane (in my case fire, I simply prefer the playstyle over arcane) all the way. It's just simply about numbers, and fire / arcane at high gear levels consistently tops frost - and with many more members of other classes to handle the utility stuff (maybe even another mage who is playing frost) frost loses a lot of it's added value.

    I will say, I find frost the easiest spec to play - and one of the easiest specs in the entire game to play. If you keep up invocation and your bomb, and simply use procs as they appear - you'll be doing well on the meters. Both fire and arcane (especially arcane) have higher skillcaps, in my opinion.
    As I said in long highmovement fights fire rules frost out, but with Frost Orb up, Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost you have higher short mobile dps as they are within your rotation. Casting Scortch is not in Fire Rotation but is very strong if you have to be on constant move. So yea Fire is More mobile in high movement but i believe frost is better in short movement.

  4. #4
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    The other comment to make on this is I have never understood the mage communities seeming need to define themselves as a single spec within the class. Hunters aren't exclusively BM or Survival, rogues aren't "I AM ONLY ASSASSINATION" etc.

    I play a mage, and I play the best spec for the fight / my raid with the gear I have any current time. If it's frost (which again, I prefer for 10m) then I play frost. If it's fire, then I play fire. If I felt that going arcane for specific fights or tiers was the best move, that's what I would do.

    I play a mage. We have 3 very good specs right now. Really good mages can play (and do play) multiple specs as needed.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by vadya View Post
    The other comment to make on this is I have never understood the mage communities seeming need to define themselves as a single spec within the class. Hunters aren't exclusively BM or Survival, rogues aren't "I AM ONLY ASSASSINATION" etc.

    I play a mage, and I play the best spec for the fight / my raid with the gear I have any current time. If it's frost (which again, I prefer for 10m) then I play frost. If it's fire, then I play fire. If I felt that going arcane for specific fights or tiers was the best move, that's what I would do.

    I play a mage. We have 3 very good specs right now. Really good mages can play (and do play) multiple specs as needed.
    Because mages have 3 specs that each use a very different gem/reforge. Swapping about isn't easy and the playstyle of Fire, Frost or Arcane differs immensely.

  6. #6
    Moderator Shangalar's Avatar
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    Berlinia I just wanted to say welcome to the forums your heart seems to be in the right place and I hope you plan to continue posting and helping people here. There are never enough people who want to be active in the community and you seem to understand the specs to a fair degree.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Shangalar View Post
    Berlinia I just wanted to say welcome to the forums your heart seems to be in the right place and I hope you plan to continue posting and helping people here. There are never enough people who want to be active in the community and you seem to understand the specs to a fair degree.
    Hello Shangalar
    Despite my Dextrocardia I do hope I can help people and discuss mage problems and funthings

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by vadya View Post
    The other comment to make on this is I have never understood the mage communities seeming need to define themselves as a single spec within the class. Hunters aren't exclusively BM or Survival, rogues aren't "I AM ONLY ASSASSINATION" etc.

    I play a mage, and I play the best spec for the fight / my raid with the gear I have any current time. If it's frost (which again, I prefer for 10m) then I play frost. If it's fire, then I play fire. If I felt that going arcane for specific fights or tiers was the best move, that's what I would do.

    I play a mage. We have 3 very good specs right now. Really good mages can play (and do play) multiple specs as needed.
    not without full gear sets for each spec, the only pieces you can use for 2 different specs would be trinkets

    - - - Updated - - -

    I carry 3 royal satchels full of gear, fire set, frost set, pvp set, and cm set.

    Also, arcane is not difficult to play ... not comparable to feral, or anything else imo, it's incredibly easy, but only works really well in a 25m where you have no responsibility except to be a damage cannon ... which makes it INCREDIBLY booooooring (but it does do significantly more than fire or frost if you are allowed to just stand there and flex your deeps).

    but it's without a doubt the easiest of the specs to play and imo is possibly the easiest spec in the game, very simple rotation, not hard to count arcane blasts at all.....

  9. #9
    Brewmaster durrtygoodz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiestatastic View Post

    I carry 3 royal satchels full of gear, fire set, frost set, pvp set, and cm set.
    Lucky you for being in a guild that gears up 3 of your specs.

    The vast majority of us are locked to one spec and gearset until farm

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by fiestatastic View Post
    not without full gear sets for each spec, the only pieces you can use for 2 different specs would be trinkets

    - - - Updated - - -

    I carry 3 royal satchels full of gear, fire set, frost set, pvp set, and cm set.

    Also, arcane is not difficult to play ... not comparable to feral, or anything else imo, it's incredibly easy, but only works really well in a 25m where you have no responsibility except to be a damage cannon ... which makes it INCREDIBLY booooooring (but it does do significantly more than fire or frost if you are allowed to just stand there and flex your deeps).

    but it's without a doubt the easiest of the specs to play and imo is possibly the easiest spec in the game, very simple rotation, not hard to count arcane blasts at all.....
    So I play frost and just switched to arcane with a 558 I lvl...in a 10man grp....does it really matter on size of raid for which spec u pick???

  11. #11
    Yes Chris is does, to reiterate the other posts arcane excels when you're at the bottom of the list to do any boss mechanic that requires movement.

    Having to drop a Rune of Power every 20 seconds or anytime not standing in your Rune of Power is not good for arcane dps

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherD87 View Post
    So I play frost and just switched to arcane with a 558 I lvl...in a 10man grp....does it really matter on size of raid for which spec u pick???
    It matters on the fact that you can't turret in 10man as you have alot more personal responsibility and dropping RoP every 3 seconds is sadly a dps loss

    Also, arcane is not difficult to play ... not comparable to feral, or anything else imo, it's incredibly easy, but only works really well in a 25m where you have no responsibility except to be a damage cannon ... which makes it INCREDIBLY booooooring (but it does do significantly more than fire or frost if you are allowed to just stand there and flex your deeps).
    Wowowow didn't say it's difficult to play. I said it's difficult to master and that it has a high skillcap. 2 different things

  13. #13
    So by what im reading, I shouldn't switch to arcane in a 10man setting??

  14. #14
    High Overlord Huevos's Avatar
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    You can play Arcane in a 10 man setting, but you are significantly more likely to need to perform some job other than simply nuking the boss in a 10 man raid, and Arcane suffers the most from needing to move. The ease of access to Deep Freeze as Frost also makes it attractive on a lot of encounters.

    And I'll mention this simply because I didn't see it earlier. The 16% physical damage reduction that you get with Glyph of Armors and Molten Armor makes Fire quite attractive for any fight with a lot of physical damage (magnet and sawblades on SCB for example).

  15. #15
    Immortal Polarthief's Avatar
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    Short answer: Pick what you enjoy (because you can easily full clear Heroic Siege with any spec), but don't play Fire until you get a bit of crit.
    Long answer: Pick what you enjoy. If you're tied between a few specs, pick what you enjoy better...
    - Arcane: Bursts of damage, but completely tied to the ground (NO mobility) and the "mana management" nonsense.
    - Fire: High mobility and a huge ceiling for maximum damage, but very RNG reliant; damage is inconsistent and uncontrollable.
    - Frost: Stable, consistent, DPS, able to gear one of three ways, and moderate mobility, but is ball-and-chained to a retarded pet and doesn't really excel in a particular category (but is still competitive with Fire and Arcane)

    Retired Veteran Raider: [T14] 10/16H, [T15] 12/13H, [T16] 7/14H
    BTag: Polarthief#1411 (I'll only accept with notice/name is recognizable)

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherD87 View Post
    So by what im reading, I shouldn't switch to arcane in a 10man setting??
    You should always play whatever you enjoy best. Just you won't reach the maximum dps potential of Arcane in a 10man setting.

    Short answer: Pick what you enjoy (because you can easily full clear Heroic Siege with any spec), but don't play Fire until you get a bit of crit.
    Long answer: Pick what you enjoy. If you're tied between a few specs, pick what you enjoy better...
    - Arcane: Bursts of damage, but completely tied to the ground (NO mobility) and the "mana management" nonsense.
    - Fire: High mobility and a huge ceiling for maximum damage, but very RNG reliant; damage is inconsistent and uncontrollable.
    - Frost: Stable, consistent, DPS, able to gear one of three ways, and moderate mobility, but is ball-and-chained to a retarded pet and doesn't really excel in a particular category (but is still competitive with Fire and Arcane)
    Exactly!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Berlinia View Post
    Frost Mage
    It has a low skillcap
    No it certainly doesn't. I can't think of anyone who plays/played the spec perfectly.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Microchaton View Post
    No it certainly doesn't. I can't think of anyone who plays/played the spec perfectly.
    Keep in mind that a skillcap is defined relatively to that of other specs. Besides the normal rotation that you need to familiarize yourself with, the most difficult things to master in a Frost mage is correct DoT clipping (something all other classes have except maybe the Elemental shaman), Storing your Icicles for moments that you need a strong burst (Burial Urn in spoils) and having the best reaction times possible.
    Compare that to a Boomkin or a Spriest....

  19. #19
    Of the 3 specs yes Frost does have the lowest skill cap in my opinion but anyone who says Arcane is easy and boring i would go out on a limb and say they are only playing it at a mediocre level. Iv said this before in many posts but the challenge or "fun" in playing Arcane comes from the two mini games you play inside each fight, those being mana management and Rune placement. Arcane is a pretty unforgiving spec and i believe this has led many players to steer clear of it under the guise of "its so boring". Also people seem to be forgetting the fact that full mastery Frost is better single target and cleave than full haste, it only falls behind in multidot situations. I ran full mastery Frost from the day the Arcane T15 4pc got nerfed, this enabled my to switch from Arcane to Frost whenever i felt like it. I was ranked 9th via Proraiders as Frost and 30th as Arcane at the some time so its more then viable, i would recommend this to anyone who enjoys both specs. At about a decently well itemized 565 you should have enough passive haste to meet the haste break points and go full mastery. I have not raided in about 3 months as a disclaimer but i don't think anything has changed enough for this info to not be vaild.
    Last edited by Kenbud; 2014-03-09 at 01:11 PM.

  20. #20
    High Overlord Neoxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenbud View Post
    Of the 3 specs yes Frost does have the lowest skill cap in my opinion but anyone who says Arcane is easy and boring i would go out on a limb and say they are only playing it at a mediocre level. Iv said this before in many posts but the challenge or "fun" in playing Arcane comes from the two mini games you play inside each fight, those being mana management and Rune placement. Arcane is a pretty unforgiving spec and i believe this has led many players to steer clear of it under the guise of "its so boring".
    I agree 100%.
    People who say that arcane is boring / easy / does less dps than the other 2 specs either don't understand how arcane works or being too lazy to play everything properly. For example I see so many arcane mages without Ice Floes and I don't understand why anyone should not take this talent as arcane ever. Ice Floes and Blink are the 2 spells that make arcane viable on movement encounter, but people don't get it and believe arcane is garbage ...
    IMO there are only 2-3 bosses in SoO where playing arcane is a pain sometimes, but that's where you just go frost an be fine with your mastery gear.

    edit:
    I forgot to say that I agree with 90% of what you said in your post Berlinia.
    Good job.
    Last edited by Neoxx; 2014-03-09 at 03:02 PM.

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