Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back when I was young, I used to be a fire mage.

Back then, fire mages used to dominate in PvP, and an AP PoM Pyro was about the most scary thing to have flying at you on the battlefield.

How times have changed! The pre-bc talent tree revamp, with the changes to ice barrier and the introduction of the water elemental, amongst others, made that frost tree very attractive. I was still raiding against a whole lot of fire-resisting mobs in those days, so the decision was easy. Deep frost all the way.

... Then I had an extended break from the game, only to return and discover that fire now sucks for pvp, and frost isn't the most popular raiding spec. In fact it's not even close. I hardly see another frost mage these days.

Of course I toyed with the idea of going back to fire, all kinds of dps calculators indicate that it is the highest damage output raiding spec. Unless, of course, you happen to be toting a frozen shadoweave set, as I was shortly after hitting 70.

I figured that I'd hang in there until I replaced those +frost damage items and then I would have a crack at a fire spec, and maybe an arcane spec, and see what happens.

Well that day came and went, and with much trepidation, I visited the mage trainer. I actually downgraded my shadoweave boots to the veterans PvP ones, which wasn't a massive nerf and I figuered would be worth it for the extra super uber fire dps I was going to be doing. Since I lost my ghost hit, I had to use the scryer bloodgem for extra +spell hit. Another nerf that would be worth it right?

I have also picked up both the Tymbals focusing crystal from H MgT (I know I said I wasn't going back but a guildie asked nicely, and what could I say?)... and then as I hit exalted with scryers and SSO on the same day and bought the Shattered Sun pendant of accumen.

I chose fire with icy veins (2/48/11), stolen from the most powerful mages in my guild, then headed out to area 52 and started pounding away on that mob with the bombs who you can test your dps on. I was looking forward to my trinket and neck proccing all over town and adding huge amounts to my DPS. As the trinket only procs of periodic damage it's useless to a frost mage, and scoring this little guy had a lot to do with my decision to respec. So - testing time!


Like totally, not happy. Fireballs take AGES to cast. Like FOREVER. Even with icy veins it's slow, and then they go and crit for less than my frostbolts used to. What the hell? I kept clearcasting, but still managed to use a mana stone and go out of mana in no time at all. That trinket does one tenth of next to nothing in terms of DPS from the proc, and the neck is equally worthless.

Damage from arcane bolt and shadow bolt (procs from the trinket and neck) accounted for not more than 2% of my overall DPS by the time I ran out of mana (which wasn't particularly long)

Previous tests as frost had me spamming away for what seemed like 10 minutes, using my elemental and cold snap to full effect, popping crit after crit after crit and generally carving it up.

Not so as a fire mage.

Something was definitely wrong here.

So I went back to the drawing board, and realised I had forgotten about scorch altogether. Oh right. Fire mages have to do that dont they.

Ok lets try that again. DPS was better. Crits were bigger. Ignite does a lot of damage, but I still wasn't happy, it still felt weak, and I still went OOM in no time at all.

Since that trinket isn't worth respeccing fire for, I'm going to do some more testing, try it out in some raids, then respec back to frost and demonstrate the superior nature of the frost spec :) I'll post my damage meter breakdowns for all to see later this week.

According to magegraf and the theory-craft-omatic, the fire spec gives me a smidgen more damage, something like 3% or 50 dps depending which calculator you ask. They all agree that that extra damage is going to cost me a huge amount of mana. Have a look at the graphs above. Surely no shield, no elemental and no mana isn't worth such a minor damage increase? If I run out of mana I'm not doing much damage at all am I?

So go on, convince me fire doesn't suck!

Aside from that did I mention I now get totally pounded in PvP? No ice barrier is just horrible. Even in raids I am completely reliant on the healers to keep me up, i'm used to having my shield available at any time to keep me alive, but no such joy with this spec.

One thing I like about this spec.... I do rather enjoy setting people on fire.

Oh and the arena winner, my water elemental, is now retired.

R.I.P. squirtle.


Anonymous said...

Can't say I have dropped in on Dr. Boom.

Slightly surprised by results.. but not much.

I think I see the same potential difference between classic raid fire spec and Ivy Veins... which is why I haven't bothered respecing.

What did you use to record & graph your results?

Zupa said...

go go gadget mage graph!

dropping in on dr boom is a nice way to get real life answers to your DPS questions ;)

I use recount damage meters to get a breakdown of which spells did how much damage. I'll post some of those soon.

Larísa said...

Sooo... the little war gnomeaggedon has initiated has moved into this place as well. You to own me when it comes to theorycrafting and making your points.

However, I must say that I agree with you about that the fireballs are SLOW. I always felt I was kind of lagging when I threw them. I had the feeling there was something wrong about the casting times.

And Dr Boom is one thing, real play another thing. I mean... because of the aggro problems I always found myself standing doing NOTHING at all in periods when I was fire. That doesn't accomplish much, does it?

krizzlybear said...

@lar: from my experience, at least when you raid as frost (kara counts as raiding right? unless you're an elitist top-tier raiding butthole or something) you can throw a couple of ice lances to get your winter's chill up with practically little chance to do any serious jumps in threat. Every little increase in your crit chance definitely helps the overall dps.

as a spectator, i'm really enjoying this battle of wits between mage specs. it's things like this that makes me feel good about being a mage, rather than qq about how pathetic we are (which is a total lie btw)

Larísa said...

Spectator, Krizzlybear? What makes you think you're allowed to be a mere spectator? You're totally in it, like it or not.

You've just joined the Biggest Mage Battle ever! Magerac Valley, here we come.

Tomorrow another post is upcoming at The Pink Pigtail Inn. You just wait and see what I've prepared for you. You'll be... surprised at my latest tribute to a somewhat overlooked talent in the arcane tree. :)

krizzlybear said...

YAWN, lar.

fine, i'll go make some crazy 20/20/20 triple hybrid spec and pwn the lot of ya, dr. boom style.

Anonymous said...

What about the synergy between multiple fire mages? Faster application of imp scorch debuff, faster progression to fireballing. This may also help other fire damage dealing casters if you happen to have say, an affliction lock (why? I dont know, but this is just theory craft).

Also consider that several fights out there are very pet unfriendly.

The bottom line is that while you use mana faster as fire, your raid (assuming youre raiding since youre speccing pve fire with IV) should have enough buffs and party synergy to complement your spec and your mana needs. Chain up your mana gems, get a shaman buddy and local friendly shadow priest buddy and maybe even a boomkin and go to town. Ignite will love you. This is why top fire mages chain pot destruction potions to get the most damage... because they know their raid can support their mana needs. (reference arcane mages if you want to see mana problems)

Zupa said...

Ah mister Anonymous you have a point. a few points even.

At the time of my last fire respec, just before this post, I was downgrading a couple of my items as they were no good for a fire spec.

Since then I have happily upgraded said items, and realise I possibly didn't give the good old fire + IV spec a proper chance in a raid. I only used it during a couple of boss fights in BT, one of them was shade of loot as well so that hardly counts.

So. I am going to give it another crack after seeing some inspirational DPS coming out of the other Vision mages during our Kael attempts last week.

I was surprised to see our arcane / fire mage absolutely tearing it up in that fight, as generally the deep fire or IV fire mages top the charts.

I can't wait to get a couple of pieces of T5 to give arcane a proper go.... but I don't know if that will happen before expansion.

Fingers crossed.