Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Zupa, Control Freak

Warrior Friend: Hey Zupa, didn't you respec fire the other day? What's with all the frost bolts?

Zupa: Yea fire is nice and all, and dont get me wrong, setting people on fire in battle grounds is wicked, but you just can't be as pro unless you are frost.
To help explain what I mean't by this... Take a quick look at an inspiring article written by Euripedes the other day about The Nature Of Stuff, where he looks into the essence of what it is to be a mage.
"A mage doesn’t work with the elements, he enslaves them. Rather than work with fire, a mage subjugates it and uses it for whatever purposes the mage desires..."
For a Frost mage, this is only the beginning. Not only does a frost mage manipulate ice for his own ends, he manipulates his opponents. It might be a beast, a demon, a goblin or even a gnome, but rather than a simple "my gun is bigger than your gun" style shoot out, a frost mage will take his opponents gun away, in a metaphorical sense, and do whatever he wants after that.

For a frost mage, it's all about control!

Let's take a look at how some of my favourite vertically challenged mages take on their opponents, and then I'll shed some light on my manipulative side and some of the talents that make that possible.

As Gnomeaggedon explains, his best defense is offense. To that end he will stand 41 yards out thanks to Flame Throwing, and do his best to set his foes on fire before they have a chance to squish him. Ignite helps a lot here, and if that last fireball doesn't finish someone off chances are good they will burn to death before causing him any trouble.

Well I disagree. In my opinion, the best defense is not to be there!

Meanwhile Larissa is concentrating very hard to get the best out of her Arcane Mind, making full use of clear casting and putting the arcane smackdown on enemies large and small. Her Arcane Potency yields a fearsome amount of damage, delivered with a deft touch, causing minimal threat in the process.

With the right support, the Arcane mage is an absolute powerhouse. Left to their own devices, however, the Arcane mage might be in trouble. Not only do they have to get up close and personal with a max range of only 30 yards, you won't catch the Arcane mage slowing their opponent, or setting them on fire... Unless they connect with a massive PoM AP Pyroblast, the single highest DPS spell in wow.

Lets forget about damage for the moment. After all, which spec can pump out the most DPS varies completely depending on someone's gear, and even play style. Obviously if you have +frost or +fire damage gear, that tree is going to work out better for you. If you have two pieces of Tier 5 and lots of mana, then an arcane spec would probably reign supreme... It all depends.

Regardless of your gear, however, the frost tree will always give you more control over your enemy. This ability to manipulate your opponent is what really makes the frost tree stand head and shoulders above the others in PvP, as well as for technical fights in general.

Frost is of course the tree of choice for both kiting and AoE grinding, two pursuits which require complete control of the fight in order to succeed. So lets have a little look at two of the talents that make all this possible.

Possibly my favourite frost talent, even though I don't get to use it as often as I would like. Frostbite!

When fully talented, Frostbite gives your chill effects a 15% chance to freeze your opponent for 5 seconds. This freeze looks just like a frost nova, albeit a slightly different shade of blue. 15% may not seem like a lot, but keep in mind this applies to your Chill effects. Chill effects are triggered by oh I dunno, just about EVERYTHING a frost mage is likely to use in battle. Frostbolt. Ice Lance. Cone of Cold. Ice Armor....

So it tends to crop up all the time. You can spam level 1 frostbolts until it procs when kiting, then casually position yourself, and wind up a full strength frostbolt + ice lance combo in your own good time. After all you have 5 seconds before they unfreeze...

Not long enough for you? Never fear, permafrost is here!

Nice! Not only do all those chill effects now reduce target speed by an additional 10%, freeze effects now last an additional 3 seconds! You now have a grand total of 8 seconds to run away from your enemy and cast some spells when you proc a frostbite... and if it's broken early, no problem. Just use frost nova... it freezes your enemy in place for 8 seconds by itself, however permafrost will make that 11 seconds.

Feel in control yet?


Anonymous said...


LarĂ­sa said...

I think you'r right. We obviously have different kinds of mindset in the different schools. Actually I was thinking about making some kind of post about that when Critical QQ came with his. (I guess I'll trash mine. I'll see.) I just wanted to point out that arcane mages actually CAN slow enemies down. (Not I though, I'm not that deep into the tree).

Anyway... well done in your argumentation. You chilled me on the spot for a while. I hope I'll get lose somehow. Use escape artist perhaps?

Anonymous said...

As a raiding Fire mage I find the best way to win in pvp is to run for the hills like a virgin in a men's club the second I see ANYTHING that looks remotely like a Horde player. Unless, of course, there are other Alliance players around. Preferably a dozen or so. Then, maybe, I'll consider casting a Fireball.

Of course it could just be that I'm the wrong spec, with the wrong gear and I utterly, utterly suck at pvp.

And what is it with those damn Warlocks? I swear every Horde Warlock in a Battleground has their own private chat channel, which they use for the sole purpose of keeping each other informed as to where I am?

"Anyone see Calli?"
"Yeah, she's approaching Iceblood Tower right now"
"Cool, I'm almost there, keep her feared until I get there."

I hate warlocks. But they just drain my hate and kill me with it.

Zupa said...

I've been playing with specs lately and have found myself in many a BG with a 2/48/11 raiding spec.

I can't even begin to describe how much harder it is to stay alive long enough to do anything worthwhile with this spec!

It is SO frustrating! If you only ever PvPed as a mage with this spec, you would probably find yourself hating every minute of it.

On the other hand, when Im specced right for PvP, with 17/0/44, I am REALLY difficult to kill. That gives me heaps more time to dish out the pain, which makes it harder to get killed... so I live longer... and of course I have my watery friend to back me up when things get hectic.

Try it if you haven't already! Also if you aren't a respec junkie, you can try it out for a while and then go back to PvE for the price of a few dailys.