Wrath Will Make Spell Rotations More Fun (part 2)


Credit for this amazing picture goes to whoever the talented artist is!

Okay when I say WotLK is going to make Spell Rotations “more fun”, what I meant is that you won’t be half-awake spamming one or two buttons over and over again. Your Spell Rotations will be more interactive and less monotonous. I guess you could say, WotLK will make Spell Rotations require “more work”.

Last time I talked about the current Spell Rotations for three of the main raiding Mage Specs for The Burning Crusade. Now let’s take a look at what our Spell Rotations are going to be, for potential raid specs in the near future.

Deep Arcane:
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Deep Arcane looks to be a very good potential raiding spec for WotLK, and it looks like Arcane will still demand the most attention out of the three talent trees for Mages. The main concern for Arcane will be Mana management.

Rotations:

Arcane Blast -> Arcane Barrage -> Frostbolt -> Arcane Barrage

That is just a regular rotation, if we only look at cooldowns, and not add in any buff timers, or procs. As Arcane, your Spell Rotations will pretty much be a huge list of “if, then” statements. If X procs, then Y. If Y is on cooldown, then Z.

As Arcane, you will base your Spell Rotations around Spell cooldowns, and around on procs. So you have to be keeping an eye on a lot timers on top of other raid stuff you happen to be doing (moving out of fires, decursing, etc…).

Spells/Procs/Cooldowns:

Arcane Blast will be changed when Wrath hits, if you thought it killed your Mana before, the new version will drain your Mana dry. It now increases the Mana cost by 200% per debuff (stacks 3 times), and now you don’t even want to cast the Spell more than twice in a row. The debuff lasts for 3 seconds.

Arcane Barrage is your 51 point talent spell, which will be one of your main nukes as an Arcane Mage. It is an instant cast Spell with very good damage. It has a 3 second cooldown.

Arcane Concentration will be one of the procs you will be looking out for, since you will get a Clearcasting buff. Again, 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 will be used. It has a 10% chance to proc.

Missile Barrage is another proc you will be looking for. You will have a chance proc this while when casting Arcane Blast, Arcane Barrage, or Frostbolt. When it procs, it will reduce the channeling time of Arcane Missiles by 2.5 seconds.

Slow will actually have potential to be thrown into your Spell Rotation now! Thanks mainly to an Arcane talent, Torment the Weak. Slow is an instant cast spell with a 15 second duration.

Arcane Power and Presence of Mind I will both be affected now by Arcane Potency, and will be used more often in your Arcane arsenal. They both have a 3 minute cooldown, but can be reduced to 2 minutes with Arcane Flows.

Slow -> Arcane Blast -> Arcane Barrage -> Frostbolt -> Arcane Blast
*Use Arcane Missiles on Clearcasting or Missile Barrage*
*Use Arcane Power on Clearcasting*
*Use Presence of Mind on Arcane Blast and adjust rotations*
*Refresh Slow on target*

If you factoring in all the buffs, procs, and cooldowns, you will be left with an always different, always changing Spell Rotation. Not to mention using your Trinkets and paying attention to their cooldowns as well. Argh we didn’t even start mentioning Haste yet either.

Haste:

Haste is still a mixed bag for Arcane Mages since it will make you change your Spell Rotation quite a bit. Especially Arcane Blast and Arcane Barrage. Arcane Blast because you don’t want too many stacks of the debuff, and eventually want it to fall off, and Arcane Barrage because you would like to throw in filler Spells in between the Arcane Blast cooldowns.

You will also have Netherwind Presence which gives you a 6% passive Spell Haste, and Icy Veins which gives you a 20% on use Spell Haste.

Thoughts:

I chose Frost over Fire for the Arcane spec because I felt Elemental Precision, Ice Shards and Icy Veins was more useful than Ignite and Pyroblast. That and because Scorch and Pyroblast weren’t affected by Torment the Weak and Missile Barrage.

Raiding with the spec looks to be very complicated, but has very good potential to do good DPS and be fun to play. You will also see your Spell Rotation change and evolve as you get more and more Spell Haste.

Deep Fire:
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Deep Fire with Icy Veins is a whole lot less demanding on the Mage’s attention as Arcane. Your Spell Rotation will be very similar to the current Burning Crusade rotation, with a few additions from the Fire Talent tree.

Rotations:

5 x Scorch, 7-8 x Fireball -> 1 x Scorch

Just like the old rotation, Fire Mages will still 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.

This time, just like Arcane Mages (to an extent), you will be keeping an eye open for procs, and on your Spell’s cooldown timer.

Spells/Procs/Cooldowns:

Scorch is what you will need to be casting to refresh your Improved Scorch debuff up on your target. The debuff has been changed to match the Frost Mage’s Winter’s Chill debuff, and they do not stack. It has a 30 second duration.

Combustion will be a buff you will be activating pretty much every time the cooldown is up, except when you are saving it for when the target gets low on heath and in Molten Fury range. It has a 3 minute cooldown.

Hot Streak will be the only proc you will be looking for, and will affect how your Spell Rotation goes. Hot Streak procs every time you score two critical strikes in a row using Fireball or Scorch. When proc’d you will have 10 seconds to throw in an instant cast Pyroblast. Proc chance based on your own Spell Critical Strike %.

Living Bomb has potential to be thrown into your Spell Rotation if you have the Mana to support throwing it into the mix. It is an instant cast DoT, but with a 31% Base Mana cost. It has a 12 second duration.

5 x Scorch, Living Bomb, 7-8 x Fireball -> 1 x Scorch
*Use Pyroblast on Hot Streak*
*Recast Living Bomb*
*Refresh Improved Scorch on target*

This is on top of timing your Combustion and Trinkets for Molten Fury. This is a lot more exciting than your usual Fire Spell Rotations.

Haste:

Haste will still only increase your DPS and not hinder your Spell Rotation much. It will allow you to throw in more Fireballs into your Spell Rotations before having to Scorch again. You will also have Icy Veins with this spec to give you a 20% Spell Haste on use.

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 and Pyroblasts you will be casting. Especially now with Burnout in your Fire spec build.

Thoughts:

Again, I felt that Elemental Precision, Icy Veins, and Ice Floes in the Frost tree, would be more worth getting than Arcane Concentration and Focus Magic in the Arcane Tree. Depending on your Mana Efficiency, you may go down the Arcane route, especially with the extra Pyroblasts you will be throwing into your Spell Rotation.

Deep Frost:
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Deep Frost won’t have the easiest Spell Rotation anymore, and will require a lot more attention and quick reaction time, to deal with your new procs. Cooldown management will still be very important in order to DPS at a high level.

Rotations:

Frostbolt -> Frostbolt -> more Frostbolt

The Winter’s Chill debuff is still the easiest debuff for a Mage to keep up. 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 will still be spamming a whole lot of Frostbolts, but this time you will be on the look out for a few new interesting procs.

Spells/Procs/Cooldowns:

Winter’s Chill debuff will increase the Spell Critical Strike chance of all incoming damaging Spells by 10%, and can be refreshed by any Frost Damaging Spells. It has a 15 second duration. Very easy to keep up.

Fingers of Frost is a self buffing proc, which will give your next two damaging Spells you cast to consider your target as “Frozen”. This is a very good proc considering the Shatter talent, and opens up many new Spell Rotation possibilities. It has a 15% chance of proc off of Spells with a Chill Effect.

Brain Freeze will be one of the procs you will be looking out for, which will give you a free and instant cast Fireball. An increase in DPS and DPM. It has a 15% chance on your Frost Damaging Spells (except Ice Lance!) to proc.

Summon Water Elemental will be even be more important with the new Improved Water Elemental talent. Not only does managing your Water Elemental increase your DPS, but returns Mana for the entire raid as well. Your Water Elemental will be doing more damage due to the new changes to its Spell Hit as well. It has a 2 minute 24 second cooldown with Cold as Ice.

Icy Veins is still a very powerful Frost talent, which even Arcane and Fire Mages will be wanting. IV will give you a 20% Spell Haste increase for 20 seconds, and at the same time, gives you 100% Spell Pushback resistance from damage. I has a 2 minute 24 second cooldown with Ice Floes.

Deep Freeze used to be good enough to be thrown into a Spell Rotation, but has recently had its damage removed. It still has some potential to be used in a Spell Rotation if your target isn’t immune to “Stun Effects”. Deep Freeze would have to be used with one of your Fingers of Frost charges, and if it lands on your target, it gives you a 5 second window of Shatter Combos. It has a 24 second cooldown, but can only be casted on “Frozen Targets”.

Cold Snap can be used to refresh the cooldown of ALL Frost Spells. The spell itself has a 6 minute 24 second cooldown with Ice Floes.

Frostbolt -> Frostbolt -> more Frostbolt
*Use Fireball on Brain Freeze*
*Use 2 x Frostbolt -> Ice Lance, on Fingers of Frost, unstunnable*
*Use 2 x Frostbolt -> Deep Freeze, on Fingers of Frost, stunnable*
*Use Frostbolt -> 2 x Ice Lance, on Deep Freeze*

More complex than a Fire Mage, but not nearly as a much as an Arcane Mage. Frost Mages will need to be on their toes with all the procs, and will be making some split second decisions for when they do proc. Usually Fingers of Frost will proc while you are already casting your next Frostbolt, which will also consume the first FoF charge, giving you about a second or so to decide what your next Spell will be.

Brain Freeze will be a no brainer (lol! sorry…), and the hardest decision for me happened to be where to pull my Fireball Spell on my keybindings. I think my “auto run” button on my mouse will be replaced, a sad day indeed…

Deep Freeze has been pretty much been a PvP only Spell after it has gotten its damage removed, but can still be used on Bosses which can be stunned, which there aren’t many. Then again, one could argue using up one of FoF’s charges to grant 5 seconds of Shatter, which is also more like 3.5 seconds after Deep Freeze’s 1.5 seconds of global cooldown.

Haste:

Haste will actually help squeeze in the Spells you need whenever you get one of the procs, and with the increased amounts of instant cast Spells you will be casting, reducing your global cooldown with Spell Haste is always a good idea.

Like usual, you will have your Icy Veins for your extra boost of Spell Haste. Even more Icy Veins on fight where you can blow your Cold Snaps.

Thoughts:

For this spec, I went down Arcane for Clearcasting and Focus Magic, but I’m leaning towards just going Full Frost with the recent changes to Focus Magic, and since Frost has always been Mana Efficient even without Clearcasting. Either way, your Spell Rotations would remain the same regardless.

Mirror Image:

I didn’t go through this with any of the three specs above, but Mirror Image will be need to be thrown into your new Spell Rotations as well. There has been a few new changes to Mirror Image, the Images now scale according to your Spell Power. This also means popping Spell damage Trinkets prior to summoning them will make them hit harder. Mirror Image is on a 3 minute cooldown.

Frostfire Bolt:

I also haven’t gotten into any Frostfire Builds yet either. With Missile Barrage, Hot Streak, and Brain Freeze all effected by Frostfire Bolt, there is potential to be some very good Frostfire Specs you can come up with, each with their own unique Spell Rotations as well.


8 Comments

  1. Kadomi October 9, 2008 1:24 pm 

    That looks crazy complicated. I have a level 55 mage I never finished leveling, because deep frost was so boring, and deep fire so suboptimal for leveling. But I like more complicated playstyle.

    I think it’s a common theme with most classes for WotLK. Prot warriors are leaving the days of rotation behind and are watching S&B procs, e.g.

    Great stuff!

    Kadomis last blog post..Interface Changes

  2. Larísa October 9, 2008 1:45 pm 

    What do yo suggest as a spec after the patch next week if you want to keep on raiding?
    Raiding at lvl 80 is still months away… would really appreciate some advice about the recent future.

  3. Squirrelz October 9, 2008 2:52 pm 

    “*Use 2 x Frostbolt -> Ice Lance, on Fingers of Frost, unstunnable*”

    I haven’t been able to get the PTR to work, and this line confused me. Can you still squeeze in an ice lance at the end like that? From what I’ve read about Fingers of Frost, it’s a self buff that goes away after you cast 2 spells. Does it stay up, like frostbite does, until 2 spells hit a target? Very cool if it does.

    Also, love the picture at the top of the post.

  4. Tuna October 9, 2008 3:49 pm 

    @ Kodomi

    Deep Frost boring?! Blasphemy! Haha, everyone has their own style of playing. Weather it be blowing stuff up fast, kiting a mob to death, or… uh, arcane-ing the mob to death, you have your picks. If you like complicated, Arcane is the way to go!

    @ Larisa

    Hmm… my advice would be to stick with the spec you are raiding with now, and just upgrade that spec when the patch its. If you are Arcane, stay Arcane, and so forth. Of course you won’t have all the talent points to be able to pick up everything in the specs I have above, so you would be the Arcane and Fire spec without Icy Veins, and Frost without the Focus Magic.

    I tried out all three specs on Beta, and all three are fun to play with, and do around the same amount of DPS for me. 1600-2000 self buffed. Of course I did more DPS as Frost since I was a lot more comfortable with the spec, but a good Fire or Arcane Mage will be able to do as well with the other specs.

    Once Wrath actually hits, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more theorycrafting, and start seeing Wrath “cookie-cutter” specs. But until that time, I can only go with whatever I’ve tried out so far. I haven’t gotten a chance yet on Beta to “compete” with other Mage specs yet in a raiding atmosphere yet.

    @ Squirrelz

    On Beta, I have been able to squeeze off that Ice Lance or Deep Freeze at the last moment. The Ice Lance or Deep Freeze would get the “Frozen” bonus, and usually that 2nd Frostbolt wouldn’t crit. This is just due to server lag, and the game sees the Ice Lance/Deep Freeze hit before the 2nd Frostbolt, so they would receive the bonus.

    This is similar with Hot Streak, with Pyroblast “eating Ignites” you might be reading about lately. The instant cast Pyroblast would register BEFORE the previous Fireball, and that Fireball’s Ignites would be lost.

    So for Frost Mages (for now), you can get a Shattered Frostbolt + Ice Lance, and a non-Shattered Frostbolt in 5 seconds of casting by squeezing in the Ice Lance.

  5. Tachyon October 10, 2008 6:19 am 

    Whoa, that mage picture is amazing, absolutely love it (despite the choice of gnome), where have you found it?

  6. Tuna October 10, 2008 12:48 pm 

    I found it using google, and it was on some photobucket account. I don’t remember the search terms I used, but it was something along the lines of “Frost Mage, Fire Mage, Arcane Mage”.

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