So I'm looking for help to try and up number for DPS as a fire mage. My mage is currently my #2 alt, and actually the only toon I've played on and off since vanilla. I enjoy the class greatly, and until recently I've played almost exclusively frost. A very talented mage on my server told me that the 4 piece bonus I just got is a huge DPS boost for Fire, which should be making it the strongest DPS spec once you're geared. Naturally, I thought I'd give the spec a try. I picked up the shoulders off Seigecrafter last night, and immediately set to work on a new spec.
During ToT I always felt like I'd do 40-50k less dps in Fire than I would in Frost, but the ability to chain crit pyroblasts really got me feeling nostalgic for the twin trinket arcane fire mage I played in PvP for vanilla. I respeced, regemmed etc last night, and have done some Flex and LFR raiding today to try and get my rotation down. I tried posting my profile here, but forum rules won't let me since this is my first post. I'm not 100% sure how I want to gem and enchant yet, but I'm pretty sure that crit should be my primary stat.
The problem I'm having is I once again feel like I do less damage in fire than I do as frost. I'm positive I don't have the rotation right, so I thought I would come to you knowledgeable people and ask for help.
What I'm currently doing:
Currently I'm spamming fireballs to get Pyroblast! procs. If I get Heating Up I will use Inferno Blast to ensure the Pyroblast. I'm not sure if I should be saving Inferno Blast for when I have a Pyroblast! or a Heating Up to take advantage of the Tier16 100% crit Pyroblast to chain 2 pyros. I've tried both and they both seem to yeild similar DPS numbers.
I maintain my fight-appropriate mage bombs for the Pyromanic damage boost. I have PoM macroed to Alter Time. I usually hold Inferno Blast for my first natural Pyroblast! then get the Heating Up, pop my Alter Time/PoM macro and Pyroblast until the chain ends after 3 or 4 pyroblasts. I try and time this so that this whole combo will also occur during Bloodlust, whenever that is during the fight. Then I alter back, and start the chain again. I'll use Inferno Blast on cooldown in the middle of this. When my chain of spells from the cooldowns ends I'll combustion then Inferno Blast again, and pyroblast if I can. When I don't have Alter Time up I'll get a Pyro/Heating Up, use PoM, throw in inferno blasts and combust at the end of the chain.
I'm trying to work out how to post logs but what I do remember is in a given fight I would cast about 80% as many Pyroblasts as Fireballs. On Protectors as frost I would pull close to 220-30k DPS when gemmed for haste. I feel like even that I could improve on if the computer I play on wasn't a toaster. I'm pretty sure that ping/fps lag etc cause me to get 10-20 less casts in the time of a fight. As fire I was doing maybe 150-160k damage.
Should I ever stop casting fireball? When I get a natural Pyroblast! I'll be spamming fireballs, so by the time I have the proc I'll be halfway through the cast of the next Fireball. If Inferno Blast is off cooldown should I cancel the cast, Inferno Blast and double Pyroblast? Often I feel like I've been completing the cast, then Inferno Blasting, and immediately losing the Heating Up to a non-crit fireball that was in the air.
When there are just a few targets how should I go about my AoE? Keep Nether Tempest up, single target for a big chain then spread the dots with Inferno Blast?
I feel like this spec should be strong, but I just can't get it to work. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I don't mage a ton anymore, but as far as I know you shouldn't be losing Heating Up procs if the Inferno Blast is launched immediately after a Fireball. As long as you're hitting it or the Pyroblast! proc immediately after firing off a Fireball, you should be okay in terms of not needing a /stopcast. But I could be way off now, it's been a long time since I mained my mage.
In T16 your number one priority is to keep the 2 piece buff stacked and up as much as you can. Track the stacks with an aura mod. The 4 piece bonus makes it a little easier to keep the stacks up. Also if you dont have approx. over 50 percent raid buffed crit ( 75 percent or more crit with coefficient - you can check this with Dr. Damage mod ) on fireball and pyroblast then its going to be even more difficult. You need to have close to 100 percent up time on your bombs pyromaniac buff during an encounter. the buff last a few seconds longer after your bomb times out. IMO if your not in top end gear (HTF T15 gear or BIS SoO crit / haste gear ) fire isnt a viable spec. Frost is more forgiving. Oh and I forgot to add your bombs snapshot your haste so if your @ 5 stacks of 2 piece bonus and you know its gonna drop off, refresh your bomb.
I assume you've got the 4set since you mentioned switching specs after getting the shoulders and the 4set 100% pyroblast crit bonus. I feel like you can be pretty fluid with your 'rotation', with regards to how important you think it is to keep up the 5 stack haste buff (2set bonus).
Here was the rotation before the T16 2set/4set:
No procs at all: Fireball
Heating Up: Fireball + instant cast Inferno Blast as your fireball cast finishes
Heating Up and Pyroblast: Fireball + instant cast a pyro as your fireball cast finishes
However the T16 2set means that each instant pyroblast will give you a stack of 750 haste, stacking five times. Ideally you will be following the old rotation as closely as possible while keeping up your 5 stacks. At 0/1 stacks I'll follow the old rotation to get a Heating Up and Pyroblast proc, then I'll chain fireball + instant pyros for as long as I can to get to and stay at 5 stacks. If you're at 4/5 stacks and you're being unlucky with crits, then you throw the rotation out the window and try your best to keep your buff up (it expires after 4/5 seconds I believe?) - use inferno blast more often, fire pyros as soon as you get them unless you have time to scorch or fireball before using it (because a crit from a scorch or fireball + a crit from your instant pyro will result in another instant pyro).
The key thing to remember is that you should only be firing off an instant pyro at the end of a fireball cast, and only because you already have a pyro proc and a heating up proc (and therefore to not use the pyro would be a potential waste). The exception to this rule is when you have 4/5 stacks of the haste buff and you want to keep it up by firing off a pyro.
As for your question about DPSing a few targets, you should DPS one target and spread the ignite/pyroblast dot using inferno blast every time it's off cooldown. Nether Tempest would do more damage than Living Bomb in the scenario that a few targets are within 10 yards of each other, and yes keep the dots up (they apply the Pyromania debuff). The only fights I would use Nether Tempest on are Protectors or Spoils - it's not effective DPS on any other fight (as far as I can remember right now).
Have to strongly second what zaanny said, if your 5 stack haste buff is about to fall off, always refresh your bomb (if you have ~10k haste that's 1 extra tick on Living Bomb).
Edit: Use AskMrRobot for gem / enchant /reforge suggestions. I use it, it's very good at the moment.