This is one of the subtle changes to be made in WotLK which I am looking forward to. No longer will you be spamming one or two buttons over and over again during instances, while watching a movie, or while playing Bejeweled. Yes your Spell Rotations will actually require you to be awake now, and require you to be aware at all times. If you don’t, you will fall behind on the damage meters.
First lets take a look at the current spell rotations for each of the main raiding specs we normally see today. Each with their own unique feel and playing style.
Arcane Frost is the most demanding of a players attention out of the three main raiding specs. You have to constantly pay attention to your Mana bar, and adjust your Spell Rotation based on how much Mana you have left, versus how much Health the boss has left.
3 x Arcane Blast -> 3 x Frostbolt
This rotation allows you time your Arcane Blast debuffs in a way that when you repeat the rotation again, your first Arcane Blast will benefit from the Haste, but not the Mana increase.
Towards the end of fights when you find yourself with a lot of Mana left, you will find yourself spamming Arcane Blast until the target is dead.
8-9 x Arcane Blast -> 1 x Frostbolt
This rotation is used when a Mages find themselves with an excess amount of Mana left over after every fight. With increase in Mana regeneration with better gear, more Arcane Blasts can be thrown into the rotation to increase DPS.
With this rotation, you must be aware of your Mana pool at all times, and adjust your rotation by using less Arcane Blast, and Frostbolt more when you find yourself running low on Mana.
Haste is a mixed bag for Arcane Mages, since it will increase your DPS, but also affect how your rotation is. Kind of how Haste affects Shadow Priests.
During most situations of being Hasted (Bloodlust/Heroism, Icy Veins, Power Infusion), Frostbolt will be spammed.
Clearcasting will be the only proc you will be looking for as an Arcane Mage. It will increase the critical strike chance of your next Spell by 30% and it will cost no Mana. This is due to the Arcane Potency talent. At this time usually Arcane Missiles is used.
- Arcane Power
- Presence of Mind
- Icy Veins
Popping cooldowns is different for Arcane Mages, and are usually saved for when Clearcast procs. Using Arcane Power and Icy Veins is likea double edged sword. Increasing Spell Damage but at the same time, increasing Mana cost. Increasing DPS, but also changing your Spell Rotations.
Deep Fire with Icy Veins is probably the least demanding of a players attention out of the three main raiding specs, but the easiest to sustain high DPS. You only have to be on your toes to refresh the Improved Scorch debuff which lasts 30 seconds.
5 x Scorch, 7-8 x Fireball -> 1 x Scorch
Fire Mages have a fairly simple Spell Rotation. After five Scorches to stack the Improved Scorch debuff on your target, you go into Fireball spamming mode. After 7-8 Fireballs (depending on your Spell Haste), you need to throw in a Scorch to refresh your debuff.
Keeping an eye on the Scorch debuff is very important since it will give the target a debuff which increases Fire Damage taken by 15%. By having the debuff fall off, will drop your DPS a lot since you will have to re-apply the stacks again.
Haste will only increase your DPS, and will allow you to throw in more Fireballs into your Spell Rotations before having to Scorch again.
The only thing you have to worry about is having too much Haste, and not enough Mana efficiency to support the extra amounts of Fireballs you will be casting.
- Icy Veins
The timing for cooldowns differs depending on each boss. Fire Mages usually makes sure to have all their cooldowns up and ready, for when Molten Fury kicks in.
Deep Frost has the easiest Spell Rotation, but requires quite a bit of cooldown management in order to DPS at a high level. You should never have a problem ever keeping Winter’s Chill up all the time, since any Frost damaging spell will refresh the debuff.
Frostbolt -> Frostbolt -> more Frostbolt
Frostbolt to stack the Winter’s Chill debuff, Frostbolt to maintain the debuff. Very simple to chaincast as a Frost Mage. The only exception is on aggro sensitive fights where you can use Ice Lance at the beginning to apply the Winter’s Chill debuff.
You won’t have to keep an eye on the debuff timer unless it is a fight which requires a lot of movement. In that case you could always just throw up an Ice Lance before the Winter’s Chill debuff falls off your target.
Haste is always a good thing to have as a Frost Mage, and you normally won’t have any problems with Mana efficiency even after stacking a lot of Haste. Haste will also have no effect on your Spell Rotations either.
- Water Elemental
- Icy Veins
- Cold Snap
Managing your cooldowns is the most important part of being a Frost Mage. Also managing and keep your Water Elemental alive is important since he does a nice percentage of your DPS. You will need to time your damage trinket cooldowns with the Water Elemental’s cooldown.
For the most part, Frost Mages use their cooldowns early, and often. This is including Cold Snap when the fight doesn’t have the need for Ice Block to keep you alive.