#1 - 2013/09/21 06:52:00 PMWelcome to my Arcane guide for Patch 5.4
This guide has been written in a simplified sense to keep it terse but as accurate as possible; as such I've left out mathematical formulas where appropriate. I may have made a mistake, if you spot one please let me know in the replies and I'll rectify it, so long as you can provide actual proof of why you are right and I am wrong.
Changes in 5.4
Arcane has not had any changes in 5.4 directly, but there has been changes to several talents that are of key interest to the spec.
- Ice Floes now has 3 charges (up from 2 charges), and has a 20-second cooldown (down from 45 seconds).
- Rune of Power now has an increased effective range. The Mage can remain up to 8 yards away from their Rune of Power and still receive benefits to mana regeneration and spell damage (up from 3 yards).
- Glyph of Blink now increases distance travelled with the Blink spell by 8 yards (up from 5 yards).
- Glyph of Rapid Displacement gives Blink two charges, gaining a charge every 15 seconds, but no longer frees the Mage from stuns and bonds. Replaces Glyph of Invisibility.
The change to Rune of Power is an important one and is among the primary reasons why Arcane might be a more feasible spec to you as a player now. Glyph of Rapid Displacement is one that is very important too, giving us a lot of mobility over fights without sacrificing too much time.
General Outline: Why Play Arcane & Why To Not Play Arcane
Mostly due to Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm there is still a strong stigma against the Arcane spec, people think it is an one button spec, brainless and very easy to play. While it is true that Arcane is by far the easiest Mage spec to learn and pick up, it is also one of the most difficult to truly master thanks to our Mastery.
Here are the reasons why you might want to play an Arcane Mage in raids...
- Consistently high single target DPS that does not overly rely on procs.
- Pretty good at cleaving fights where one target has to be DPSed down primarily, but you still want to hit the others too.
- Reasonably strong AoE (better than Fire, worse than Frost).
- Easy to learn, difficult to master.
- Mana Adept (mastery) is one of the most interesting masteries in the game.
And here is why you might not want to bring an Arcane Mage to a raid...
- Suffers heavily on fights that frequently interrupt combat. If you end up losing control of your character often or have to move a lot, Arcane will plummet down the meters. Fights with movement every now and then are alright, however.
Playing an Arcane Mage is pretty simple, we have a very strict rotation. Mastering an Arcane Mage mostly involves learning how to play around with your mana, when to burn it and when to conserve it. Timing your cooldowns right for maximum effect is also a key component to doing exceptional DPS.
Arcane play style revolves all around accumulating and spending Arcane Charges. All your Arcane spells either build or consume Arcane Charges. You can have a maximum of four Arcane Charges and they all affect your spells in different ways. The way they affect your spells in listed in the following section.
Arcane rotation is all about dealing correctly with your charges, and the spell you cast depends on how many charges you got active. I will discuss this in greater detail later on in the section about Arcane's spell rotation.
Abilities & Their Usage
Here is a list of our primary abilities and cooldowns. Talents are not described here, but in the following section.
- Arcane Blast: Your bread and butter cast spell. Generates 1 Arcane Charge. This spell hits big and costs a lot of mana.
Arcane Blast's damage is increased by 50% per charge, and its mana cost increased by 150% for each charge.
- Arcane Missiles: Your only proc based spell, this channeled spell fires 5 sets of Arcane Missiles at your target. Generates 1 Arcane Charge. This spell costs no mana, but you need a charge of Arcane Missiles to cast it, Arcane Missiles charges are generated by all spells and stack up to 2.
Arcane Missiles' damage is increased by 50% per Arcane Charge.
- Arcane Barrage: This is the spell you use to drop Arcane Charges, it deals a high amount of damage and costs very little mana. Consumes all Arcane Charges.
Arcane Barrage's damage is increased by 50% per Arcane Charge, in addition it will hit 1 additional target for 50% damage per charge consumed nearby the target.
- Arcane Explosion: Your primary Area of Effect spell. Hits all targets within 10 yards (15 with glyph) and deals a moderate amount of Arcane damage.
Refreshes all your charges, has a 30% chance to generate a charge if it hits at least 1 target.
These are our primary DPS cooldowns.
- Arcane Power: Spells deal an additional 20% damage but cost 10% more mana to cast for 15 seconds. 1.5 minute cooldown.
Alter Time: Makes a snapshot of your current health, mana, buffs and debuffs, resetting them after 6 seconds or when you cast the spell again. 3 minute cooldown.
Mirror Image: Creates 3 images of yourself, casting Frostbolt (Arcane Blast if glyphed) at the target you attack (hopefully) for 30 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.
Time Warp: Raid wide cooldown that increases haste by 30% for 45 seconds. 5 minute cooldown. Applies a debuff that makes you immune to the effects of Time Warp, Bloodlust and Ancient Hysteria for 10 minutes.
Mandatory Talent/Glyph set up, use this as a template for your own:
Tier 1: Movement
These talents all involve letting you do things better while on the move, arguably.
Presence of Mind: Good 'ol Presence of Mind, allows you to cast a spell instantly every 1.5 minutes. This ability is off the Global Cooldown and as such works well for macros.
Blazing Speed: It is practically another blink, except you need to move. Can help in combination with the Blink glyph to still be able to escape roots and snares.
Ice Floes: Allows you to cast 1 spell while moving. This ability is off the global cooldown and can be cast while casting a spell. It has a 25 second cooldown and has 3 charges, allowing you to cast up to 3 spells while moving within 25 seconds. Recommended.
Ice Floes is the best option for almost all encounters. Blazing Speed is a good alternative.
Tier 2: Damage Reduction
These talents let you survive longer, hopefully.
Temporal Shield: You take 15% less damage for 4 seconds, all damage taken will be healed back over 6 seconds. Can be cast through almost all CC and is off the global cooldown. 25 second cooldown. Recommended.
Flameglow: Absorb up to 30% damage from an attack, up to a maximum of about 4.5k~ (varying on your gear). Great for fights with constant, low damage (f.ex: Will of the Emperor Heroic)
Ice Barrier: Absorbs around 100k~ damage (depending on gear). No pushback while the shield is up. Lasts 1 minute and has a 25 second cooldown. Recommended.
Temporal Shield can be cast without losing any DPS and is my preferred choice. Ice Barrier is great too, especially if you can anticipate big damage that you want to mitigate (Crush on Garalon, for example).
Tier 3: Crowd Control
Allows you to keep things in place. Irrelevant in most raiding content, take whatever you like.
Tier 4: Death Cheaters
Allows you to avoid death either defensively or aggressively to push out more DPS.
Greater Invisibility: Invisibility is now instant and without delay, reduces damage taken while invisible and for 3 seconds after leaving invisibility by 90%. Can be used to avoid death. Recommended.
Cauterize: When you die, you don't die. Instead your HP goes back to 50%, but you will lose 40% of your HP over the next 6 seconds. Recommended.
Cold Snap: Heals you for 30% of your HP and resets the cooldown of Ice Block and two other spells you don't care about. 3 minute cooldown, can be cast while in an Ice Block and can be used through almost all CC.
Greater Invisibility can be used to great effect to avoid death without stressing your healers, Cauterize is nice if you don't want to worry about that.
Tier 5: Mage Bomb Replacements
Awesome abilities that replace a boring ability.
Nether Tempest: Deals Arcane damage over 12 seconds, hits a nearby target for 50% of the damage. Best for cleave fights.
Living Bomb: Deals Fire damage over 12 seconds, when the buff expires or the target dies it EXPLODES. Dealing really weak damage to nearby targets. Best for single target or 2 targets that are out of range of one another.
Frost Bomb: Places a bomb on the target that explodes after a few seconds, dealing Frost Damage to the target, and 50% of that damage to nearby targets. Cast time, time till detonation and cooldown are reduced by Haste.
All of these are viable depending on the encounter. See Tips & Tricks for a complete list.
Tier 6: Mage Forum Drama Tier
Rune of Power is the only viable choice here. Rune of Power has been buffed significantly, increasing the range by 8 yards in which it is effective, giving you space to move and avoid things.
Rune of Power increases your damage by 15% and gives you 75% increased mana regen while in it. Lasts 1 minute, 1.5 second cast. You can have 2 Runes active at once.