So basically what I would like to explore within this thread are the options people feel are the best for mages to use given the gear selection available assuming full clearance of tier six instances (Black Temple and Hyjal). Although some loot may have yet to be discovered, the vast majority of what is available has been revealed.
Personally, I feel a setup going along these lines might be one of the better if not the best setup:
Although at first glance this set of shoulders is inferior to Blood-cursed Shoulderpads (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=32338) in a direct comparison, the tier six itemization leaves one with a great deal of room in terms of +hit rating placement. I have found that piecing together an ideal set of gear will place an individual at the hit cap easily (16%), thus rendering more +hit rating useless on many items. As such, the two sockets and high spell damage create a very nice piece, provided you're at the hit cap.
No cloaks have been discovered within Hyjal and Black Temple, thus leaving the only options within older instances. While Kael'thas Sunstrider has a decent cloak (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=29992), the Ruby Drape provides a great deal of +spell hit, stats, and damage.
The reasoning for the selection of these robes are twofold. Primarily, the lack of sockets allows for one to more easily activate the Mystical Skyfire Diamond, due to the fact that the comparable chest pieces (Vestments of the Sea-Witch (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=30107) and Robes of the Tempest (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=31057)) violate the "more blue gems than yellow" rule of the Mystical Skyfire Diamond. The stats on the BP are comparable enough to select this piece over the others.
Once again on an individual piece by piece basis, Cuffs of Devastation are no doubt inferior to Focused Mana Bindings (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=32270). However as before, the hitcap is easily attained, therefore rendering the Focused Mana Bindings largely useless. In addition, the yellow gem socket provided can easily be ignored, due to the poor socket bonus provided.
These two items coupled together, in my opinion, far surpass the quality of the other options available, namely Zhar'doom, Greatstaff of the Devourer (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=32374). More critical strike rating, more hit rating, and more raw spell damage simply outweight the amount of haste provided on the staff from Illidan.
Not many wands are available for casters within the instances, leaving the options limited to wands from Karazhan, Magtheridon and Gurtogg Bloodboil otherwise. Once again, the hit provided on the wand from Gurtogg (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=32343) is largely useless in the ideal gear setup, due to the hit cap.
Trinkets: I am going to leave this section of the setup blank, namely due to the fact that almost no trinkets have been discovered within Black Temple and Hyjal, and of course due to the fact that the debate still rages as to which trinkets are truly the best that are currently available. The Ashtongue Talisman of Insight (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=32488) is garbage from experience, unfortunately.
This ring has been changed since the publishing of the link, however presumably it only got better. High damage and critical strike rating in addition to a trinket-like proc create one of the best rings ever concieved.
Hit cap reasoning aside, these are one of the only sets of boots available with high damage, critical strike rating, and two sockets allowing for maximized use of the epic gems, such as the Potent Pyrestone (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=32218).
A grown-up version of the Spellstrike Leggings, these legs have a nice amount of hit,crit, and damage along with three sockets and a nice socket bonus. The Leggings of the Tempest (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=31058) are somewhat comparable, however the lack of two sockets create a less desirable piece overall.
Belt of Blasting (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=30038) probably would be a better choice on an individual basis, however once again the hit becomes less desirable given the tier six itemization and the easy acquisition of the cap. Anetheron's Noose provides a nice neutral socket combination in terms of satisfying the Mystical Skyfire Diamond requirement, and also provides a nice socket bonus.
Simply put, these are the best gloves available for mages. No other set of gloves rival this piece on an individual basis, and even if the hit is not desirable on the item, the amount of stats lost in choosing the Spellfire Gloves (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=21847) simply does not seem worth it.
The main issue that I am seeing in using this particular setup of gear is TOO much +hit. With the aforementioned outline, one sit's at 217.8 hit rating including Elemental Precision, which is just overkill. The plausible options that I saw in order to just rest right around 16% hit and maximize crit and damage involved swapping out the Ruby Drape for Ancient Spellcloak of the Highborne (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=30735), or swapping out Gloves of the Tempest for Spellfire Gloves. Both of these options seem a bit silly, however I simply don't know what else to tweak.
Please feel free to submit what you think are the ideal tier six setups, in addition to any critiquing/agreement. Curious to see what other mages think!
Assuming you wanted to stick with 10/48/3, have you taken into account the 4 piece tier 6 bonus for 5% damage increase on Fireball?
There are Bracers, Belt, Ring, Belt and Weapon with haste rating. These 5 items (well 6 since you can wear 2 of the rings) give you a total of 215 haste rating, which would come out to a 10.24% (215/21) increase in you're casting speed. Considering mana is not an issue with the 10/48/3 spec is haste rating a viable stat?
Any ideal Mage setup simply has to include 4 pieces of Tier 6 gear.
(2) Set: Increases the duration of your Evocation ability by 2 sec.
(4) Set: Increases the damage of your Fireball, Frostbolt, and Arcane Missiles abilities by 5%.
Those set bonuses are simply amazing. Another tick of evocation is an extra 2k mana back and the 5% flat increase to our nukes is better than anything except maybe the 2-piece Tier 5 bonus. I'll go through sometime today and put together my ideal list.
4/5 T6 is equivalent to 91 damage/healing with my current gear (tai/T4, some T5 level gear), so it'll be around ~100 dmg/heal at T6 gear level.
Trinket wise, I feel that Icon of the Silver Crescent and Darkmoon Card: Crusade / Neltharion's Tear will go a long way for me. A long long way ...
Edit for Celboom:
I assume you're taking about 3k hits raidbuffed/debuffed, 5% set bonus would be 150 more damage.
From your damage/healing gear, Fireball gets 105% benefit, another 13% from FP/PWF, 5%+13%+15% from mob debuffs. So 100 damage from gear turns into around 150 damage for hits, no including crits. Numbers seem to fit at first glance
A pure 5% increase in your fireball damage coming to only 91 +damage seems to be a little light to be honest. Averaging 3k fireballs, 5% is a nice flat 150 more damage per cast and that's without including crits. So even a conservative 3500 damage per cast yields a gain of 175 damage per cast or a rough equivalent of 125ish +damage (depending on debuffs, talents and such of course). I suppose if you model latency aggressively then it may well drop down some.
Napkin math I know, I'm too lazy for a full workup right now and I'll earn any grief I get for doing so. Still, that's not a bad set bonus at all and I am naturally inclined towards loving percentage scaling bonuses in general.
Tier 5 set bonuses are still the best (especially for an arcane mage, obviously). Getting more evocation is nice, but not essential.. compare that with the 2 piece tier 5 bonus of +20% damage to arcane blast....
The 4 piece tier 6 bonus is 'meh' at best to arcane mages. Since on an agressive dps fight we are pushing most damage through arcane blasts. In order to get this 'meh' upgrade to our missiles we have to lose 20% damage to arcane blast by removing our 2 piece tier 5 - which overall means we are going backwards in DPS, even tho we are 'upgrading tiers' in armor.
Blizzard we have a problem: The 2 piece tier 5 bonus is good.. too good. I love it now while it lasts, but when i have access to tier 6 its not going to be fun having to permenantly keep my 2-piece tier 5 bonus, even when bosses start dropping 'superior gear' that just wont be desirable if it means breaking up the huge 2 piece bonus.
To the OP - I havent done as much research on Hyjal/Black temple items as you, but for a heavy arcane mage I think keeping 2 piece tier 5+selection of items you said will provide the best results.
It seems to me that Robes of the Tempest with 3x Runed gems (+27-+36 damage depending how many Crimson Spinels you can get your paws on) would be preferrable to Robes of Rhonin if you are drowning in hit rating.
If the 4 piece bonus was bumped up to 7% that should be enough to make wearing it competitive with the off-set gear. At least for those of you who are not male Trolls.
I did the same excercise a week or so ago, and yeah, 4pieces T6 definitly seems too good to pass up, especially considering the alternatives arent that big of upgrades. On the other hand, there are a couple of spell haste items which, I'll admit I did not take the time to compare.
Cowl of the Tempest
Mantled of the Tempest
Robes of the Tempest
Cuff of Devastation
Gloves of the Tempest
Leggings of Channeled Elements
Slippers of the Seacaller
Tempest of Chaos
Chronicle of Dark Secrets
Ring of Captured Storms
Ring of the Eternal Sage
Wand of the Forgotten Star
Enchanted and gemmed(with Potent Pyrestone and Glowing Shadowsong Amethyst) works out to be a total of :
1218dmg (1269fire) (note that i consider the DM:Crusade trinket as a flat 80dmg)
As an undead mage with a 10/48/3 spec, 8386hp 9188mp 1269firedmg 15.54%hit 33.1%crit 48pen
We never run with an elemental shaman sadly so i aim for 16% hit talented :/
Regardless, if we were blessed with an elemental shaman, the only thing that would be worth swapping is the cloak, for the Brute Cloak of the Ogre-Magi. A net change of -40hp -15mp +1.1%crit -2dmg.
I would love it if somebody could shed some light on how much additional benefit arcane mages stand to receive from the spell haste items/4 piece tier 6 bonus. Havent done the math or research myself yet ;( The 4 piece looks good for fire/frost but what about a heavy arcane mage usually using abx2->am rotations? +5% dam on my 'filler am' in the rotation isnt exactly very exciting when you consider to achieve it we have to lose 20% damage from our ab (by removing tier 5 pieces)
All in all, unless im missing something.. it appears going from tier 5->6 for a heavy arcane mage is actually going a few steps backswards... because of the set bonuses??
Well I actually have been considering the 4 piece bonus from tier six as well, and there were a few issues that I encountered in trying to piece together a suitable set:
1) Meta-socket activation:
When putting together a gear set of the Tempest set, many of the pieces are heavy on yellow sockets. As such, if one does follow the socket order, which is preferable in many cases (such as the Robes of the Tempest for the +5spelldmg bonus), then the meta-activation becomes an issue.
Of course, when you desire the four piece bonus of the Tempest, you are locked into that combination, which isn't a bad thing if the overall net benefit is positive. However the offset pieces that I presented earlier give a bit more breathing room, since you easily surpass the hit cap. The outline has about 16 more +hit rating than necessary, and as such one can toy around with things like using the Spellfire Gloves instead of the Tempest Gloves and putting in 2 +12dmg gems, giving gloves with +74dmg. Alternatively, the cloak could be switched out and the Gloves of the Tempest could be used in order to gain 6 more damage and 19 crit rating.
The Tempest setup does seem very good, however I guess "non-ideal" factors come into play as well, including the competition involved in obtaining set pieces.
The difference between a Tempest setup and the non-set came out for me to be:
19 hit rating 36+dmg and 24 crit rating.
The bonus seems to outweigh this difference; I guess it just comes down to "non-ideal" factors.
Thats with my current gear, and unless I'm mistaken, the "rating required for 1% dps increase" values will increase as I upgrade, meaning this 9.5% will decrease in value, especially when getting close to the hit cap (very easy if you normally raid with an elemental shaman).
I'd say thats a net win for haste, but in the end it will likely only be by a few percent, and I'm sure there are some individual haste pieces that won't necessarily be worth it versus their 'regular' damage counterparts, so a mix is probably best, especially because +haste will have an effect on the above numbers, making everything else more valuable as your haste increases.