[Mage] Sky's Fire Mage Raiding Guide

[Mage] Sky's Fire Mage Raiding Guide

Skynightwolf' Fire Mage Raiding Guide

Welcome! This Guide is intended for Mages who are interesting in raiding in Fire Spec, and covers a variety of topics fairly in-depth, please comment with any changes you believe should be made, your own comments and suggestions are always appreciated!



Please note that this is a work in progress and revisions shall be made as I come across new details, as well as making discoveries through my own Raiding Experiences. I am also adapting to the coding system as well, as I have little experience using any sort of Coding.

Here is the link to my Armory Profile

Table of Contents
This Guide will contain the following content.

First things first-General Notes and Observations about the Mage Class

The Mage Class is basically considered a "Glass Cannon", meaning your pretty squishy, but can pump out not only massive "DPS" (Damage Per Second), but also a large total of Damage Done (which in my mind, is more important). We have a variety of abilities spread out over 3 trees, each with it's own purpose. Mages are not only good for damage output, but also for kiting, and applying Crowd Control to mobs. We also carry several abilities that prove beneficial to Raids, such as our Arcane Brilliance spell, and the ability to perform a Ritual of Refreshment I have come to observe that mages are an excellent dps class, with quite a few options to adapt to ones play style. I have observed (and myself) seen mages go to the bottom of the charts simply due to a lacking rotation, and top the charts over virtually every other class. With some good attention paid to the way you "Gear Yourself", as well as a lot of attention paid to your Rotation, and learning your Class, you won't be disappointed choosing a Mage. Unlike some classes, such as Paladins, Priests, and Druids, we are a class with 1 main purpose...blowing things up, we are considered a "Pure DPS Class", and it is my belief that if played correctly, we should be able to out dps any hybrid.
But as I stated before, Mages have several other useful things to contribute. Smiling

I also advise you to look at your raiding roster, and see the kind of Group Make-up you have, and ask your fellow raiders about their talents as you begin adjusting your gear for fire. Elemental Shamans, and Moonkins are both great for your DPS, as well as a fellow mage with Focus Magic (More on this later).

Let's move on...



Why Fire is now seen as the Primary Raiding Spec

I know many, myself included have raided the first Part of the Wrath Expansion as Arcane. The spec performed very well in Naxx, EoE, OS, and the like, and I enjoyed playing it, but sadly, the itemization (stats on the new Gear) and the t8 set bonuses aren't really what I would call "good for arcane". Let me explain why

As a simple reference point, let's view the Mage T8 Chest,and the Mage T7 chest the Conquerors Kirin Tor Tunic and the Valorous Frostfire Robe

The 2 set bonus for the t7 set: You gain 40% more mana when you use a mana gem. In addition, using a mana gem grants you 225 spell power for 15 sec.

The 2 set bonus for the t8 set: Your Arcane Blast, Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, and Fireball spells have a chance to grant you 350 spell power for 15 sec.

While the spellpower on both is excellent for arcane, the +40% Intellect from our Mana Gem is a pretty large boost, seeing as how mana is sometimes in short supply for arcane mages, this set bonus is very nice. However, I suppose it's not a complete deal breaker.

Now let's observe the 4 set bonuses.

The 4 set bonus for t7:Your offensive spells gain an additional 5% increased critical strike bonus damage.

The 4 set bonus for the t8:You have a chance for the effect of your Missile Barrage, Hot Streak, or Brain Freeze talent not to be consumed when you cast the spells which benefit.

This is where things become tricky. Rotation wise, this is mostly a Fire based proc. Why? Because frankly, you want your Arcane Blast to be stacked 1-3 times at least for Missile Barrage proc to be useful, and there's a Very high chance this will proc anyway. While as with fire, depending on your crit/luck, this can be more useful. Back to back Pyroblasts could easily pop out 20k+ dmg in a matter of seconds.

I've spoken with quite a few Mages on my server, and while it looks like Arcane can be done in Ulduar, your really going to see the higher numbers with Fire. I have also been told in short...the mana for it to keep the highest numbers isn't really there.

Also note that while fire may have a harder rotation, mana is much easier to manage, and will become even more so in 3.2. Due to the following "Buff" to our talent tree.

Empowered Fire: In addition to its existing effects, this talent now also grants a 33/67/100% chance to regain 1% of base mana each time the Ignite talent deals damage-Source

Please note that I am not saying that Arcane isn't viable at all for Ulduar, but that Fire will most likely be preferred in the end by most Raiders. If you feel more comfortable as Arcane, by all means, roll with it. These "tests", and opinions are just that, I encourage you to challenge them, and post the info here for all to see. On to our next topic.


Becoming a Fire Mage-Your Talents.

The first step when you begin looking at your Mage is to observe your Build, it's the very foundation of everything you do. It boosts your damage, increases various stats, provides extra range, as well as special spells and abilities. Your talent tree also allows for personalization in a few areas to better fit your own game play style (see below). Like most other specs for the various classes of WoW, there's a "Cookie Cutter" Spec. Basically, this spec is the most popular, and is used for a base for most mages to start with and modify to their own taste. Let's take a look at it.

Fire Cookie Cutter Spec

Notice this spec doesn't place talents in spells such as Blast Wave and Dragon's Breath . This is because these are considered talents for either PvP(Player versus Player Combat), or Kiting (More on that later). These will not bring you any major (if any true dps increase in raid), and while they may look pretty and do cool effects, I suggest keeping them out of your raid spec.

This build takes into account everything you'll need for raiding, and provides you with with 12% increased crit for the spells you'll be using most, as well as as 13%+ actual spell damage, it also includes the Torment of the Weak, which is a buff that gives extra damage to targets who are snared, or something similar (Dk's Icy Touch and Warrior's thunderclap are both "activators" of this spell, and are found in most raids). It also includes Focus Magic, which is a very useful spell for increasing your DPS, as well as a party members, as well as Improved Scorch, which is another raid wide dps boost you can provide.

I will provide further information on Focus Magic, and Improved Scorch, and some ways to make the most use of their application later in this guide.

Tree Adaption
Please note that the above Spec given is not the end all be all, and it is completely open for your own adaptation. I, for example chose to drop the Talent Flame Throwing, which provides additional range for your spells, and place those 2 points in Arcane Meditation, which provides me more mana regeneration. I have taken part in virtually all of the Ulduar (Minus General and Yogg, due to real life interference), and range has NEVER been a true issue. There's much speculation over this however...it's mainly a personal choice. This is a good example of how you simply need to come into your own with your Spec, spend a few hundred gold switching it around, testing, until you find something your comfortable with.

If you have a Fire Build of your own you'd like to share, I encourage you to do so. Smiling Comment Links are a beautiful thing.



Building Your Gear and Stats

This is where things get interesting. In my own personal experiences, I found that when I first started raiding as Fire my numbers simply weren't up to par, so I went arcane. (I wasn't to happy about switching back, but with my own research about Ulduar, I thought it was the best option) My gear-set was much better than my first time around, and so were the numbers. My rotation was the same for the most part however. I think I can say that Fire is a more gear-dependent spec than arcane, but I also think that with the proper starter gear, you won't see any issues. Let's talk about your Stats first, then your gear. I will include enchants and gems that are useful for all these stats, note that I am in the process of including "Hybrid Gems" to these lists, which are in essence..gems that fit slots of multiple color, and have 2 different stats.

Quick Note about Gem Slot Bonuses-A good general rule when choosing whether or not to place a gem of the "correct color" is to see if you really need that stat.
Bonuses that provide small amounts of hit, or intellect are usually not worth it, and anything that provides less than +7 Spellpower usually isn't as well. You will see a greater DPS increase placing a Runed Scarlet Ruby in that slot. Just because it has a certain color does not mean you need to fill it with a gem that's the same. Smiling

Stats to Look For

Hit Rating, HIT RATING.I can say this avidly for any DPS class, if not tanks as well, being Hit Capped will pay off when you see your DPS. Why do we need hit? Hit is what ensures that our spells don't "Miss" and actually hit our target.
For fire, the Hit Cap is 17% or approx. 385 Hit Rating. However, there are exceptions.

For one, if your raiding only with your guild, you can be fairly sure that your raid composition will include a Draenie of some sort or another, this grants you 1% hit you don't have to worry about. Also, having a Shadow Priest in your group is a Huge hit Boost, since their Spell Misery provides you 3% hit on any target on which it is applied. I don't worry to much about being hit capped for trash, but for bosses, it is crucial. If you have both of these in your raid Composition, you only need 13% Hit Rating. So if you know you Raiding roster is set, ask your fellow Raider's about their talents, it can save you a lot of time, and headache trying to be hit capped. (It's also a good idea to have a hit heavy piece of gear that you can swap out for Pugs). Also note that the 1% hit rating racial from Draenie is only available on the Alliance Faction side, so Horde Faction Players can not calculate in this buff.

Useful gems and enchants for hit rating are
Rigid Autumn's Glow
Rigid Dragon's Eye(Only applicable if your a Jewelcrafter)
Enchant Gloves-Precision

Spellpower-This is what gives your spells the damage, the higher your spellpower, the higher your going to hit for. Once your confident that your hit rating is solid, look for spellpower, particularly in the form of enchants and gems. This is your second most important stat...make sure to build it as much as you can without gimping yourself in other areas. Once you find your gear able to provide your hit, most of your gem slots will be filled with Spellpower gems, regardless of stat bonuses.

Useful gems and enchants for Spellpower are
Runed Scarlet Ruby
Purified Twilight Opals (These are to receive your Meta Gem Bonus. Note that the Prismatic Gems Jewelcrafters can replace these. (As of 3.2 this will no longer be applicable, and you'll have to use two blue or purple gems.)
Runed Dragon's Eye (Once again only applicable if your a JC)

Enchant Gloves-Greater Spellpower
Enchant Gloves-ExceptionalSpellpower
Enchant Bracers-Greater Spellpower
Enchant Bracers-Superior Spellpower (I'd just using this enchant for your higher end bracers only, unless your just wallowing in cash or enchanting mats)
Leg Armor-Brilliant Spellthread. (I chose the Spellthread with spirit over stam due to the fact that it gives us extra crit and some additional mp5, which is never a bad thing)

Also to be noted is +50 Spellpower to Weapon, +63 Spellpower, and the Staff counterparts. Once again, the lesser versions of these enchants are much more affordable than the "greater" ones, and they will suffice for starter weapons. (I didn't bother with +63 until I had Life and Death from 25 Man Naxx)

Haste and Crit-Your next two stats to build are Haste and Crit. At the moment this is sort of a tossup, I have seen lots of mages trying to stack more crit, but I have also seen many mages stacking haste. Let me first say, NEVER GEM FOR EITHER. When looking to increase your haste or crit, do it through gear. The Mage T8 has quite a bit of crit, along with most ulduar gear, so Haste will most likely win out as the more vital stat. I personally am looking for more haste in my gear, though you may choose crit. Don't forget that knowing your raid composition will affect your crit (not so much for haste, mainly your only help there is the Shaman Totem).

When you have a Yellow gem slot that's in need of filling with a Gem color that corresponds I would suggest the Reckless Monarch Topaz, over the Spellpower/Crit version.

Let me break things down for you real quick...

Moonkin Aura=5%
Elemental Shaman Aura=5%
Focus Magic=3-6% (If you have another mage casting it on you, and you've cast it on someone, then 6%)
Scorch Buff/Shadow Mastery=5%
Wrath Totem (Provided by Elemental Shaman) is also another 3% crit.
Molten Armor=5%+

Not to mention Kings, Divine Spirit (Which provides crit as well long as your using Molten Armor.

So there in itself is 24%+ crit. I end up with 50% plus when it's all said and done, so I look more towards Haste. But once again...it's up to you. I'd say anywhere upwards of 40% is decent, and achievable even in some basic starter gear, but you could most likely do with less.

For a More Mathematical Breakdown of the Stats you can visit the Fire Mage Thread at elitistjerks.com here.

I would also suggest getting a Program called Rawr that is usually pretty reliable and is in use by a lot on end-game raiders for making decisions regarding which gear pieces to choose, what gems to place in slots, etc. It's pretty configurable, you simply need to set down with their tutorial and work with the settings. ElitistJerks and several other sites have lists of settings they've used you can find in their Mage Threads, so check those out as well.

Onto our next topic!



Glyphs&Meta Gems

Part 1-Glyphs
A newer addition by Blizzard, Glpyhs are very useful items! They allow us to tweak our spells, and our abilities, in some pretty nifty ways... And add a very nice DPS increase in some cases. There's not to much Detail to go into here, so I'll jump straight to the list of Glpyhs your most likely going to wish to include in your Arsenal.

Fire Mage Major Glyphs
Glyph of Molten Armor-This Glyph in essence, add's to your Crit Rating, and makes Molten Armor a great thing to have, we will talk about the use of Molten Armor later on.
Glyph of Fireball-Very straightforward, surprisingly, the extra crit is considered much better than the D.O.T effect.
Glyph of Living Bomb-Once again, straightforward. Add's a decent amount of DPS.

Optional Major Glyph (Usually replaces Fireball or Molten Armor Glpyh)-Glyph of Improved Scorch-This is useless if you have a lock that uses Shadow Mastery or another Mage in your raid roster that uses it. In essence...talk to your fellow raiders to find out whether or not you need it. It does make life a lot easier.

Minor Mage Glyphs
Glyph of Slow Fall-Saves you a lot of trouble, and a little bag space
Glyph of Arcane Intellect-Good if you need to rebuff someone midfight or if you forget it and need to toss Brilliance during a pull, etc.

The other spots are pretty much your choice, though these two are fun
Polymorph Polar Bear Cub
Polymorph Penguin


Part 2-Metas

Your meta Gem is sort of like an extra Glyph, it fills a special slot in your Headpiece. The meta gems we'll be using require 2 blue gems, or 2 jewelcrafting prismatic gems... I covered this earlier in the Guide.
There are several Meta options, but only one stands out among the rest as both the most common choice, and the most useful.

And that's the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond

Why? It gives you extra critical strike rating (it's really the only crit gem you'll ever need to use in your gear), and the Extra Critical Strike Damage is very nice as well. This basically means when you crit, your crit will do more damage than it would have originally. It's a pretty sweet gem.

We do have one other option, I used it when I was arcane, and had a PvP helm with low intellect(It's quite crappy trying to find a decent starter Cloth helm in Wrath). This gem is the Ember Skyflare Diamond. It provides a nice amount of Spellpower, and a decent amount of Mana. So I suppose it's a decent option as well.

On to the next topic!


Your Rotation

This is where things get fun. A bad rotation can make any good player bad, and vice versa (Usually). You would be amazed how much difference "tightening" up your rotation, or switching your spell order can make.

Let's begin with the spell you're going to find yourself casting quite a bit....Molten Armor....yep, this is the "Mage Armor" your going to be using for virtually every fight you take part in. Why? Because it gives an excellent amount of crit, and you don't usually need the Mana Regeneration provided by the other Mage Armor (though you may find times when it's nice, and in certain fights the Magic Resistance it provides is nice). Moving on...

I have heard many people say Fire has a hard rotation, when I, in essence, think it is quite simple...., here is the rotation your going to be using.

Cast Living Bomb
Spam Fireball
Until Hot Streak Procs
Then Cast Pyroblast (Instant Damage)

Once your Living Bomb has Exploded, reapply it, rinse and repeat.

You have the following Utility Spells/Items to use at your Own digression.

Evocation=Instant-ish 60% Mana, it's an amazing spell, with a not to shabby cooldown time. Though I rarely find myself using it, Fire is very mana friendly, especially as your gear builds. Note that this can be interrupted, so try and use it when you know your not going to need to move, be silenced, etc.

Ice Block "OMG the Main tank is down, the OT is coming, but the boss is headed for me"...Smack this spell and your Immune for 10 Seconds. Learn to love this button, you may be using it a lot. Learn to use it carefully, and at the correct times, and your survivability will go through the roof.

Invisibility Is amazing, and has many applications. Use it when your riding High on the Aggro charts, to escape mobs, and other players. Once again, learn to use this spell wisely.

Mirror Image-Mainly a pvp spell, but it does add a nice little dose of dps, and offers some Threat reduction for your own spells while they exist. I usually pop them during Heroism

Earlier in the Guide I told you a bit about Improved Scorch and Focus Magic, now we're going to go into detail about these Spells.

Focus Magic is a spell that allows you to place a Buff on another that provides them with 3% additional crit, and when they crit, your own crit chance is increased by 3%. It's a lovely DPS boost. Let's talk about it's application

Focus Magic can be given to any caster class (it doesn't work for Melee hits),and even to pally tanks to help them build threat (Our MT has me place my Focus Magic on him for certain fights in Ulduar). I would highly suggest working with other mages in your Raid and have them apply it to you as you apply it to them, as it works out for 6% crit for both of you almost constantly. If you have multiple mages, work out a simple Focus Magic rotation so that every one of them can get the buff. I have used this on virtually every caster class however, and each gives good result. Note this can also be used on Enhancement Shamans.

Improved Scorch
is a spell which allows your Scorch to place a de-buff on a MOB that increases critical strike chance against that target by 1%, stacking up to 5%. Note that this is overwritten by Warlock's Shadow Mastery. It's pretty straightforward... work with other mages in your run to get it applied.

Polymorph is also a useful spell, and it has many raid implications, I chose not to go into detail on it because it's pretty straightforward.

As I just stated, all the above spells are all useful, especially if you can learn to apply them at the correct times. This isn't something I can teach you, you simply have to learn for yourself.

On to our next topic....



Add-Ons!

I am sure some questions will arise about Mage Add-ons. Add-ons are great for watching buffs, spell timers, debuffs, etc. And there are many to choose from. But I mainly use one, and one only. Why? Because my computer isn't the best, and I have it pushed to it's limits as it is...and I'm a simple kind of guy.

Scorchio! 2 Does everything I need, it puts a simple list dead in the middle of my Screen that has my spell timers on it. It show's me when polymorphs are going down, Living Bombs are about to explode, and so on and so forth, you can customize it to show what you wish, and it's simple and easy. (I recommend turning off Winter's Chill notifications...you'll see why). This add-on is great!

I also suggest turning on either Blizzard's Scrolling Battle Text or getting another Add-On that displays it.

For more information on add-ons you can check the mage area at Curse here, and the Mage UI and Add-on area at ElitistJerks here

It's up to you what you use, find what works, play around, and simply be comfortable Smiling.

Also, don't forget
Omen
Deadly Boss Mobs

They are both, in my opinion, required for both Heroics and Raids.

And if you'd enjoy tracking your Damage and DPS
Recount

....Onto our next topic.


Professions

I have had quite a few people ask me "What are the best Professions for a Mage", and quite honestly, I don't think there's a best or worst. Virtually every profession provides some sort of interesting Enhancement. I am simply going to list these, I think they're straightforward and don't really need wowhead links.

Alchemy provides the following
-Useful Starter Trinket
-Increased Times on flasks and elixirs (money saved)
-The ability to make your own consumables, if your an herbalist, or can find someone willing to either give, or sell herbs to you cheaply (money saved)
-Increased bonuses from Flasks, and Elixirs... that's never a bad thing

Blacksmithing Provides the following
-The ability to place a prismatic gem socket on your bracers and gloves

Enchanting
-The ability to place +19 Spellpower enchants to rings, these enchants are getting a boost in 3.2

Engineering Provides the following
-The ability to place speed enhancers on several items.

Inscription Provides the following
-Awesome shoulder enchants

Jewelcrafting Provides the following
-The ability to craft and place in your armor 3 Prismatic epic gems, the main contenders being ones that provide +32 Spellpower, and +27 Hit Rating, these are to lose their prismatic ability, but gain extra stats in 3.2

Leatherworking
-The ability to place a spellpower enchant on your bracers, which provides 63 Spellpower

Tailoring
-Lightweave Embroidery, this is supposedly the biggest dps boost out of any profession. It is a very nice proc.

The other various Professions such as Mining, Herbalism, Skinning are basically to supply mats for the above professions and make some gold Smiling.

Onto our last, and final topic for now.



Recommended Factions

There are several factions I consider you build your rep with as you run Heroics and do dailies. They provide useful gear enhancements, and some guilds even require you have them. When the next part of my Guide is released concerning Starter Gear I'll go into more detail. But for now, let's look at the main two you need.

Kirin Tor-Revered
The Arcanum of Burning Mysteries -This is your "Head Enchant", it adds 30 Spellpower and 20 Crit Rating... not to shabby, eh?

Sons of Hodir-Honored/Exhalted.

The following 2 Links are for your Shoulder Enchants, sadly, the Sons of Hodir do not have a tabard, and are one of the view Wrath Factions you have to do dailies for. You'll receive 1 enchant at honored, and 1 at exalted.

Honored-Lesser Inscription of the Storm

Exalted-Greater Inscription of the Storm

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This Guide is by no means complete, I am currently working on compiling a Starter Gear List for those who are newly 80 and wishing to choose the fire spec, and various other details, as well as some more in-depth calculations. Any and all comments are appreciated...I welcome you all to provide your own advice and tips. I hope you have enjoyed what I have provided so far. I will also be working to make the Guide more fluid, re-arranging the sections.

Also, anyone willing to help me add some color to the guide, and help me some with the coding would be in my dire debt.

Best of Luck,
Skynightwolf

Please also note that I am currently considering the following Guides, though I do believe some of them may be in the needed Section.

A Guide to Kiting
A Guide to Arcane DPS
A Guide to Mage PvP as arcane and as frost.

Note that these each will take several weeks, if not more to create, but I will more than likely place them here for the Community.