This thread is our consolidated resource for Cataclysm Fire Mages. It will be updated over time. Many generous members of the EJ Mage community lend their time, knowledge and skills to make it possible to present this information to you.
This link uses the current values of each Combat Rating for a Level 85 Fire Mage to calculate an overall Item Score. This score can be used to quickly compare items. These stat values are current as of the latest Simulationcraft results, but may be subject to tweaks / improvements in future. Notice that some items on the list have Spirit. Although this is useless for Mages, it's included in case you have no other non-spirit equivalent gear to wear.
For a greater understanding of Combat Ratings, and why items such as Crit are valued so highly by Fire mages, read the rest of this post.
The EJ mage forum has one central resource for all information pertaining to: Combat Ratings, Gems, Enchants, Raidbuffs, Consumables, Arcanums, Profession Bonuses, Racial Bonuses. Visit the thread below for discussion and analysis on all this and more:
Flame Orb is a new Cataclysm Mage Fire spell. All mages learn Flame Orb at level 81. The Tooltip reads, "Launches a Flame Orb forward from the Mage's position, dealing X Fire damage every second to the closest enemy target for 15 secs. 1 minute cooldown, 40 yard range."
Flame Orb has a high spell coefficient, which makes it a powerful 1 minute cooldown.
Flame Orb does not AOE as it travels, instead it attacks the single closest target. At the end of its travel path, it can be talented to explode via Fire Power. The Flame Orb spell is more accurately described as a single target DPS cooldown which can provide a single AOE pulse at the end of its duration.
When cast, Flame Orb travels directly forward 40 yards then dissappears if no target was in range to attack. Although the Flame Orb travels forward very fast initially, it slows down greatly when it begins attacking an in-range target. The Flame Orb takes roughly 5 seconds to travel 40 yards. If cast with an object in the way, such as a wall, Flame Orb will exist for the same 5 second duration, but will still dissappear if no target was in range to attack.
The 15 second duration timer for Flame Orb begins when it starts doing damage. If your Flame Orb takes 3 seconds to move to a location close enough to begin attacking an enemy target, it will still attack for a full 15 second duration. It will not subtract the initial travel time from the spell duration (15sec duration - 3sec travel time) and only attack for 12 seconds.
Can now be used as an alternative to Fireball as the Primary nuke for the Fire rotation. You must use Glyph of Frostfire when doing this. The base spell no longer leaves a DOT on the target, but Glyph of Frostfire will modify the spell to leave a +3% additional damage over 12 seconds DOT (stacks 3 times)
Living Bomb can only be applied to 3 targets. The explosion from Living Bomb will only hit 3 targets. Living Bomb can be refreshed before the timer expires, but doing so will cause the current Living Bomb to be removed with no explosion. When using Impact with Living Bomb when 4 or more targets are close, Living Bomb will be removed from your current target completely (with no explosion) and spread to another 3.
Notice the "!" at the end. Pyroblast! is a different version of the spell with the same name. Hot Streak and Improved Hot Streak allow you to cast Pyroblast! It's instant cast and has 0 base mana cost.
Is now a targettable, range casted AOE. No longer knocks back, instead snares targets for a short duration. Can be improved via the Improved Flamestrike talent to provide an additional, free Flamestrike when cast on 2 targets.
Optional. Impact can only be spread via Fire Blast, which has a base 30 yard range. Other Fire spells have a 40 yard range. Whether you feel more range is needed for Impact, to being it closer in line to the range on other Fire spells, is subjective. Some players will skip this talent completely, others will put a single point in.
First point Optional. Second and third point skip. This talent is a minor DPS upgrade. The DPS value of the first point of Arcane Concentration is much higher than the other two, check the Additional Talent Notes section for more detail.
Skip from standard builds. Using Counterspell as a spellock interrupt is sufficient for Raids. However, if you're terrible with catching interrupts, and you're doing a fight where interrupts are crucial - you could consider temporarily speccing into this talent as a crutch to assist you.
Not recommended. Living Bomb is not as strong as the other Prime Glyphs. Living Bomb comprises a smaller portion of your damage output compared to Fireball or Pyroblast, yet this Glyph only adds +3% damage to that (Compared to Fireball and Pyroblasts' Glyphs giving their respective spells +5% Crit)
Recommended. This also reduces the cost of conjuring Mana Gems. For any Cataclysm fights over 6 minutes, where you'll need to resummon a Mana Gem, this seemingly innocent minor Glyph will save you a chunk of mana.
Recommended. The is recommended because people will frequently die on new fights in Cataclysm. After receiving a Combat Res, you may need to rebuff them with Arcane Brilliance. This Glyph will save you a chunk of mana.
All other Glyphs not listed here are too situational to mention. Pick and choose from them as necessary.
The value of combat ratings for a Fire Mage is, in descending order:
The strongest stat by far.
You need 17% hit (1742 rating) for Tier 11 boss mobs. Aim to your cap hit as soon as possible. This is more difficult to do in early Cataclysm content compared to what you may remember from WOTLK. You may need to consider: Hit enchants, Gems with hit, Reforging items for more hit.
Crit is strong because the Fire spec is built around it. Hot Streak relies on crits. Flashburn is more effective when spells crit (They leave an Ignite, which Flashburn can amplify). Crit rates boost the amount of mana restored by Master of Elements, which in turn allows for more Fireballs to be cast. Combustion is a more powerful (and more easily used) cooldown when spells crit often. Crit is the heart of the Fire spec, so it should be no surprise it's such a strong combat rating.
Mastery and Haste are both considerably weaker than Crit. Mastery is slightly better than haste.
Mastery and Haste are both considerably weaker than Crit.
Fire Mages can cast either Fireball or Frostfire Bolt as primary nuke in their rotation. The DPS difference is trivial, but Fireball is superior by a very small margin: Less than 1%. Why's the difference so small?
- Fireball and Frostfire Bolt cost the same amount of mana
- Fireball and (Glyphed) Frostfire bolt do the same amount of damage
The only other notable difference stems from Glyph of Fireball and Glyph of Frostfire. Glyph of Frostfire Bolt adds a 3% damage DOT (stacks 3 times) whereas Glyph of Fireball adds 5% crit. The periodic damage of Glyphed Frostfire Bolt can crit, which will leave an Ignite for additional damage.
For Tier 11 levels of gear and combat ratings, the 5% crit from Fireball's Glyph is very slightly superior to the extra damage DOT from Frostfire Bolt's Glyph. There's no other difference, aside from aesthetics. Therefore we can sum up the primary nuke debate by saying:
Fireball as primary nuke is better, but only very slightly. The difference is small enough such that you could even opt to cast the spell you find most pleasing visually.
- No points in Improved Fire Blast were taken. This means you'll need to be within 30 yards to use Impact, which is the base Fire Blast range. Whether players deem this range to be unacceptably low for AOE fights is highly subjective. If you take one point from Netherwind Presence to place into Improved Fire Blast, you'll suffer a minor (~1%) DPS loss. Alternatively, you could drop points from Cauterize instead. But before you consider dropping Cauterize, make sure you're mindful of just how useful / powerful that talent can be.
- Molten Shields and Blazing Speed are skipped completely. These are PvP talents that will find very limited use in raiding.
- Cauterize is included. During new Heroic and Progression content, this talent will prove extremely useful. Cauterize is not only passive, but on a 1 minute cooldown. Remember that Cauterize can also be aggressively used for DPS, even if situationally, in addition to its survival benefits.
- Pyromaniac is included, but be mindful that it's still very situational. You could drop Pyromaniac and spend the points instead in Arcane Concentration - resulting in a very minor (~1%) DPS gain for single target fights, but a large DPS loss for fights with AOE potential. An example of this type of situational build is Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft. It's ideally suited for "Patchwerk style" fights, which are the minority of encounters. You may see mages using this build occasionally for single target fights, but for any fight with AOE, those mages will respec back to the standard build listed above.
Hot Streak VS Improved Hot Streak: What's the difference?
How does Tier 3 Hot Streak work? The non-mathy answer: It 'smooths' Hot Streak out, by making sure it's not too rare at low levels of crit, but isn't too common at high levels of crit. The bonus from T3 Hot Streak scales inversely with your crit. For example, if you have a low 10% crit chance, "Hot Streak" may have a 60% chance to proc on a single crit. But if you have a high 45% crit chance, "Hot Streak" may have a 0% chance to proc on a single crit.
As your Crit rate increases (Via upgrades, raid buffs etc) this bonus from Tier 3 Hot Streak is reduced, and eventually hits 0 when you reach a threshold Crit rate. This is a hidden mechanic, neither the game nor talent pane tells you "Hot Streak" scales dynamically like this.
Although the T3 Hot Streak bonus scales down with increasing crit, the chance of a T4 Hot Streak scales upward with increasing crit. The two talents complement each other, working together to "smooth" Hot Streak out for all levels of crit. For more information regarding Hot Streak, click the spoiler tag below:
Pyroblast VS Pyroblast! - What's the difference?
Pyroblast! (With the "!" at the end) is another version of the spell with the same name. Pyroblast! is what you cast when under the effects of the the Hot Streak or Improved Hot Streak talents. Pyroblast! has a 0 mana base cost and is instant cast. Two important points to note:
1: Because Pyroblast! has a 0 mana base cost, it gives no mana back via Master of Elements.
2: Pyroblast! does not consume Clearcasting (via Arcane Concentration)
If you attempt to hard cast the 3.5 second version of this spell, you're casting "Pyroblast" instead.
Pyromaniac is a highly situational talent. It's very good for encounters where you have 3+ mobs present, and completely useless on encounters with 1 or 2 mobs only. Therefore, Pyromaniac can prove subjective when assessing whether it should be included in a standard talent build.
This is why you'll sometimes see builds or players suggesting Pyromaniac be skipped from the standard talent build. Those are builds which essentially say the talent is too situational for standard consideration. However, for any fight where Pyromaniac can be applied, those builds will need to respec: The Pyromaniac talent is very strong when 3 mobs are present for any meaningful period of time.
Cauterize can be extremely useful. The first use is obvious: It can save you from Death, like Guardian Angel. A one minute cooldown is very short for this type of effect, and useful during difficult heroic and raid progression encounters. Being passive makes it even more powerful.
The other, perhaps surprising use of Cauterize, is for DPS. You can use the talent aggressively for a surprisingly large DPS gain. Three examples of where this is possible are Algalon, Festergut and Sapphiron. All of these fights have 'Big Bomb' type mechanics which will instantly kill you, unless you perform various mechanics (Enter Black Holes on Algalon, get Spores on Festergut, LOS behind Tombs on Sapphiron). However you can use Cauterize to ignore all of these mechanics completely. On Festergut, there are 2 Pungent Blights, and you could Iceblock one and use Cauterize for the other. On Algalon, there are several Big Bangs and you can ignore them all and just let Cauterize save you while you continue to DPS. Even fights such as Sapphiron (Back in Naxx) you can ignore every Frost Bomb and let Cauterize handle your survival, and continue to happily DPS while everyone can't - because they must perform survival mechanics dictated by the encounter. On Kel'thuzad, don't bother moving from Void Fissures - let Cauterize handle it. You'll still want to use Mage Ward and/or a Healthstone to help survive afterwards, as Cauterize will take you to low levels of health as you burn.
Scorch is a part of Fire's rotation at 85. You could be forgiven for thinking this talent is optional due to its placement in the tree, but it's actually required for raids. Every time you cast Scorch, this talent saves you spending any mana to cast it. That 's mana which can be used to cast Fireball instead.
Arcane Concentration can be considered a minor DPS subspec talent for Fire mages. Any talent that improves Fire's mana efficiency, such as Arcane Concentration, will allow Fire Mages to tweak their Scorch VS Fireball casting ratio in favour of more Fireballs. Fireball is higher DPS than Scorch, so the more you cast the higher your DPS will be.
Furthermore, the DPS value for each point of Arcane Concentration is not equal. The first point can improve DPS by up to ~1%, whereas the second and third are much lower. The first point of Arcane Concentration is of comparable DPS value to Netherwind Presence for subpsec points, the second and third though are not.
Impact and Improved Fire Blast
Impact spreads DOTs with their current remaining duration. If you have 1 second left on your Ignite and Impact Fire Blast spread it, all affected targets will also receive an ignite with 1 second left.
Most Fire Spells in Cataclysm have a 40 yard base range, except Fire Blast, which is 30 yards
Impact relies on Fire Blast to spread DOTs
You need to be mindful of what range you deem is acceptable for Impact usage. If you place 0/1/2 points in Improved Fire Blast, you'll need to be within 30/35/40 yards to take advantage of Impact. Both points in Improved Fire Blast are required if you wish to bring Impact use range in line with other Fire spells.
You'll notice that some talent builds will place any of 0, 1 or both points in Improved Fire Blast. When talking about range talents: what players deem necessary will be very subjective.
Combustion - How does it work?
The tooltip states, "Instantly deals X to Y Fire damage and creates a new periodic fire effect on the target, lasting 10 sec and dealing the same damage per time as all your existing periodic fire effects".
Combustion sums up the individual DPS of all your existing DOTs on a target, creates a new debuff with that value, and has the new debuff tick every second for a 10 second total duration. Remember that the wording in DOT tooltips, or what a DOT ticks for, is not necessarily its DPS value. If a given DOT does "1500 damage every 3 seconds" or "5000 damage over 10 seconds" - they still both tick for value: 500 DPS. This DPS value is what Combustion combines when consolidating DOTs, and to calculate the new consolidated DOT's value. Example below:
Combustion example. If you have:
- Ignite ticking for 500 dps
- Pyroblast ticking for 200 dps
- Living Bomb ticking for 300 dps
= Combustion would create a new DOT which ticks for 1000 dps over a 10 second period, for 10 000 total damage.
Combustionhelper is a small mod that makes it easier to manage Fire Dots and Combustion. Getting a strong Combustion is very important to Fire mage DPS. You can download this mod here: CombustionHelper - Addons - Curse
Combustion can be spread via Impact. Combustion consolidates DOT's from: Pyroblast, Ignite, Living Bomb, Glyphed Frostfire Bolt. The damage-over-time portion of Flamestrike does not leave a debuff on affected targets, therefore it does not interact with Combustion. The upfront damage of Flamestrike however, can (as it can Crit and leave an ignite).
When should you use Combustion? Use it when Living Bomb and Ignite are on your target at the very least. The ideal Combustion however will have Living Bomb, Pyroblast (Dot), Frostfire Bolt DOT (If FFB is your primary nuke) and a big Ignite from Pyroblast. However, at level 85 with lower crit ratings, it's much more difficult than level 80 to get this ideal scenario to occur. Sometimes it just won't happen for a long time, and you might not have the luxory of being able to wait.
With this in mind: Latest findings suggest it's always worth waiting to cast Combustion - until Living Bomb and Ignite are on your target at the very least. Avoid using Combustion only with Living Bomb, even if it means you cast fewer Combustions over the course of the fight. Ignite and Pyroblast DOTs are what make Combustion worth casting, even if you need to wait a while after each 2 minute cooldown to do so.
[top]Mana Management: Scorch Weaving & Other Techniques
Fire Mages in Cataclysm need to manage their mana very carefully. Gone are the level 80 days where mana was irrelevant. Attempting to cast chain cast Fireballs will result in you running OOM around ~3-4 minutes into an encounter. You can't do this anymore.
The new technique Fire mages employ is Scorch Weaving, whilst using Molten Armor, in conjunction with the Improved Scorch talent. Scorch is free to cast, and cast frequently in rotation alongside Fireball. Think of Fireball as a high damage, yet unsustainable nuke. Scorch is the lower damage, yet infinetely sustainable nuke. If you get the balance right - you'll make your mana last a long time and avoid going OOM - and still be able to deliver competitve DPS. If you get the balance wrong, by casting too many Fireballs, you'll go OOM and need to cast excessive Scorches afterwards while you regain mana, reducing DPS.
There are two other ways you can attempt to approach mana at 85. Neither of these are optimal from a DPS standpoint, but we'll note them here for the sake of thoroughness:
1 - Don't use Fireball at all. Only cast Scorch in rotation. Despite sounding like a ridiculous thing to do, it could actually provide up to ~90% of the DPS your normal Fireball/Scorch rotation would ordinarily deliver. Surprised at how strong it is? The big reason is Hot Streak: Scorch is a fast casting spell, and casting it more often means you get many more opportunities for Hot Streak Procs. Those Pyroblasts are big DPS. Ultimately, attempting this style of play will be a DPS loss, even if not quite as big as you might initially suspect.
2 - Use Mage Armor. Using Mage Armor makes mana largely trivial again. However it comes with two key problems. Firstly, you lose DPS mobility. Firestarter allows Scorch to be cast while moving, when Molten Armor is active. There are many Cataclysm encounters where you need to move, and move often. Using Mage Armor will prevent you from DPS'ing effectively during these periods. Second: It's lower DPS. Simulations show that using Molten Armor (With Scorch Weaving) is simply put, the better thing to do. You can attempt to use Mage Armor instead, but you're putting yourself at a disadvantage.
This section is intended to discuss current issues Mages have, regarding the state of Cataclysm Fire.
Casting Frequent -1.5sec Spells in Rotation: Fire weaves Scorch into its rotation, a lot. Scorch is a fast casting spell and has a GCD locking feel when spammed. Casting Scorch this often makes Mages question whether the resulting button-mashing gameplay is detrimental to the overall spec. Wasn't this sort of GCD-spamming gameplay what Blizzard wanted to steer away from for Cataclysm?
Luck: Fun VS Frustration. Fire mages absolutely love Crit. However, getting crits equates to getting lucky. A little luck here and there is fun, it gets you excited when that Hot Streak pops up, and you love the high MoE returns from your constant crits. But there's an ominous balance between loving crit, and relying on crit so badly that it's what makes the tree not only functional - but fun to play. Well, Combat ratings have been substantially reduced at lvl 85. You just won't be critting that much anymore. This has several major repercussions for Fire as outlined below:
Master of Elements: MoE is much less effective at level 85, due to lower crit rates. Should the talent be buffed, or given a Fire only improvement talent (deeper in the tree) that makes it more powerful to Fire mages?
Hot Streak: Is become a much rarer occurance. Rare enough such that Critical Mass can start falling off your targets, unless you Scorch Refresh it.
Fun Factor: Although "Fun" is subjective, many mages will agree that Hot Streak Pyroblasts are a hallmark fun element in the Fire tree. Given that Hot Streaks will be much rarer at 85, we'll need to be mindful whether the playstyle will become too boring in their relative rarity. Tier 3 Hot Streak was designed to help combat this, but whether it does enough remains to be seen.
Combustion: Getting a strong Ignite (via Crits) is needed for an optimal Combustion. But with lower ratings, this is more difficult to pull off (Takes more time, requires more luck). Combustion has a 2 minute cooldown: But are you prepared to wait a considerable amount of time after that to actually use it, because you want to get a worthwhile Ignite up first? Do you consider that interesting or frustrating design? Having a big Ignite isn't "Icing on the cake" for Combustion, it's the whole damn cake!
Living Bomb has several issues, outlined below:
Refreshing LB on a target will remove the current LB without an explosion. If you clip your LB reapplication, even if by only by a split second, you lose the explosion completely. Very frustrating.
Living Bomb Target Cap. LB was given a cap of 3 targets during Beta. This was due to how ridiculously OP Impact could be when used with an uncapped LB. However, the cap now causes frustration when Living Bomb interacts with Impact, as outlined in the next point. Simply increasing the Living Bomb cap to 4 or 5 would alleviate this from occuring in most realistic circumstances. This is because pulls with 4-5 mobs are common, but 6 and above aren't. Having the Cap set at three just seems a little too low, when 4-5 would make much more practical sense.
Living Bomb + Impact Interaction. Awkward and very frustrating. If you have 4 mobs, with LB on one, using Impact will result in Living Bomb being spread to the other 3 targets - and Living Bomb will actually get removed completely from your primary target. This occurs whether you wanted it to happen or not. Furthermore, there is no explosion when it's removed.
Ignite Muching. Ignite has been plagued with bugs for a long time. That hasn't changed, but in Catalysm DOT's are more important than ever to the Fire tree. Even our new mastery is directly tied to them. Anything involving Ignite munching is a more pressure issue than ever
Improved Scorch. Is Scorch Weaving really intended to be the way Fire manages mana? We have to do it, but did the designers really want Scorch to have such a big role for Fire mages?
Pyromaniac. Thematically, this is a great talent on paper. The problem is: Pyromaniac swings on a huge pendulum, alternating between extremely powerful and literally useless. Pyromaniac is excellent when it's up (3 targets present) and useless if you isn't. How is Blizzard going to balance this talent?
Mana Management. Fire needs to make extensive use of Scorch Weaving to survive. Without it, Fire struggles to go the distance on longer fights, even with smart Gem/Evocation/Pot usage. Many mages feel that this extent of mana management should be an "Arcane thing to do" - and not be such a strong part of the Fire mage playstyle.
Number of Fire AOE Talents. Fire has a few AOE orientated talents. These range between mildly to very situational. Improved Flamestrike, Blastwave, Pyromaniac, Impact. There's concern these AOE talents take up too many points in the Fire tree. If AOE is getting pushed somewhat into a niche role in Cataclysm, we simply don't AOE as much, why have so many Fire talent points dedicated to improving it?
Combustion: Combustion can deliver impressive damage over the 10 second duration, with proper planning, time and a little luck. Mages are concerned because getting the essential Combustion DOT's up not only takes time (GCD's) but also a little luck (Ignite). Combustion isn't as easily used at level 85 as a cooldown, compared to level 80. Some players feel this reflects poor design - and would prefer Combustion to be a more traditional burst damage cooldown.
I'm pretty concerned about Fire being reliant on adds/aoe during bossfights to maintain the 10% haste buff from pyromaniacs. This 10% haste buff can be a pretty huge loss when we will have to fight for top dps spots against classes who don't have to think about managing aoe and single target dps. It remind me of TTW, in the way of something devs have to take in account when balancing encounters and classes. TTW was more easy to deal with as every tank had something to trigger it.
If one add die too early, then we are bound to do less dps than expected (in the case of a fight with no more than boss+2adds of course).
I'm not saying we should have a rotation set in stone during fights but i can imagine in advance the trouble of being forced to check/maintain dots on 3 targets, dealing with fire/dark/poison zones, dpsing the boss all at the same time...
On the lower rotation/scorch mana-free thing, i think that a free cost spell would be something more in line with Arcane spec. Sure we could use a mana saving rotation but this is not really in line with Fire theme (dots, burn, crit and so on). On the opposite, being able to cast while running is perfectly themed with blazing speed (fire that sparks and burn).
And finally about Pyro being less often available as in Wotlk, this is strangely something that would ease our job on maintaining theses 3 dots that pyromaniac need. Less proc based spells means we can focus a bit more easily on dealing with Pyromaniac instead of being constantly torn between "should i pyro now" and "should i refresh dots".
Last edited by angayelle : 09/07/10 at 12:19 PM.
Reason: New ideas as i re-read
As most fire mages I'm pretty excited about the current state of Fire. It feels very involving and rewarding of smart play, but some of the concerns listed do resonate with me.
It's hard to estimate what kind of uptime on Pyromaniac blizzard currently factors in for fire mages. 10% is indeed a big buff. If we're balanced around having it up all the time, then we need ways to ensure that we can keep it up even on single target (perhaps instead of the current "you need to have fire dots on 3 or more targets, it should simply activate if you have 3 or more dots up on any number of targets?) If we're not balanced around it, then everytime we can keep it up for prolonged periods of time, we might edge on the overpowered side.
With ratings being gutted, and raid buffed levels of crit not coming close to what they are today, we're not going to be casting instant pyroblasts left and right. It concerns me that we might become a little bit too RNG-ey. I've always been a big fan of mechanics with flat %s to proc, because over time I think they tend to even out well. I suppose it all depends on how much of our dps pie the pyroblasts are supposed to be, and what realistic crit level will look like. Nevertheless I think it's something of a concern.
I think we can safely sort pyromaniac among the aoe talents. 10% is simply way to much from two talent points to be anything but situational. Pyromaniac makes perfect sense if intended for allowing firemages to shine in aoe situations. It matches the original mage class design and it matches the fire tree theme. It would make no sense at all as a single target DPS talent simply an account of 10% being to much haste to be provided from a single tree besides what gear adds on. (and the fact that every fight in an expansion simply won´t have three available targets all the time)
Regarding hot streak pyros it´s to early to tell how frequent they will be. Blizz designing cataclysm stats to not get out of hand during the later parts of it is a good thing and people having sucky critrating before gearing up to cataclysm standard is part of that. Remember the start of TBC? How we all equiped [Humiliating Pink Ogre Panties] simply because any crap green blew the old purples away, long story short ICC gear = crappy gear at lv 85. A full set of lv 85 purples will most likely grant a decent number of hot streaks if balanced correctly.
Plopp plopp kaboom! This is an intelligent signature.
One thing that we need right now is a concise and exhaustive list of all of Fire's DoTs as well as a map of these DoTs and which talents they effect. Coupled with some clearer information on the actual DoT modifying mechanics we are getting in fire.
It would be immensely helpful if some beta mage(s) (*cough* Zaldinar *cough*) can run through and help us clear up and consolidate the information on fire's DoT mechanics. Ideally, we want want to be able to answer simple questions like:
* Which DoTs count towards Combustion/Pyromaniac? Which don't?
* Does Impact work on Combustion?
* Does flamestrike's DoT work with Pyromaniac/Combustion/Impact?
* How exactly is Combustion combining the damage?
I would hope that it is all intuitive, and that we can just assume that if a spell has a DoT component that it will work well with all the new DoT modifying mechanics Fire has at its disposal now. Or that there is no complex set of rules of what Impact/Combustion/Pyromaniac affects and what they don't.
Either way, I do think it would be worthwhile to consolidate the information on fire's new mechanics into this one thread.
As far as my overall impressions of the fire spec is concerned.
Currently, I think it is easily a contender for the best designed specs in the new expansion. The entire tree works together as a cohesive whole. The talent selections make you make meaningful, hard choices which will impact your playstyle (do you emphasize on AoE? or emphasize on mobility? or a combination of the two?).
The spell selection is varied yet simple enough to remain very interesting (you have DoTs, you have fast casts, you have long bolts, you have interesting AoEs).
Best of all, there is a lot of potential in the spec. Potential that can be exploited by good players who use Fire's mechanics in a unique way in a given encounter. This is probably the single best part of the spec right now, imho. The fact that instead of just having talents and abilities that do something passively, the tree instead gives the mage a lot of mechanics to play with. It is then up to the mage to make the most out of them, hence, really letting skilled mages shine.
I have long been a believer that the representation of skill is the ability to know when and how to use the tools at your disposal (rather then, say, attempting to get your tools to work in the first place). Fire seems to embody this idea somewhat (even though Hot Streak is RNG). [*]
And all of this is even before we get to the "cast mana free scorch while moving" part, which, I think we all agree, will be awesome!
Overall, I do think the new Fire tree will be the tree of choice for a lot of mages in Cataclysm.
[*] While I do say "knowing when and how to use your tools for maximum effect" is a core tenant in 'the representation of skill', that doesn't mean that the "knowing what to do when a tool has failed" is not a 'representation of skill', but instead, I assert that if "knowing what to do when a tool has failed to work" is the only thing you have to do, then it can't be a 'representation of skill', due to its inherent RNG-y nature. If, however 'knowing what to do when tool failed' is a small part of a larger theme of "knowing when and how to use your tools maximally" then it can still be considered a 'representation of skill'.
For PvE my concern is also that we will end up being balanced around the 10% haste, only to be faced with boss fights where there isn't always 3 targets around. I realize we're not supposed to do full dps on every single encounter, but this could potentially be the big hidden elephant in the room if they're not on top of things.
HS procs is also in a weird place. They said they want to make it more like a bonus when it's up rather than a penalty when it refuses to proc, which goes along with the reduced crit rates. The current WotLK fire PvP is so RNGish when it comes to burst for this very reason.
I'm not sure what to think of this. They also said they wanted to use scorch in our rotation, and the +30% crit was probably the result of that train of thought, but I guess it had us go back to constantly having to cast instant pyro land.
The way I visualized it (with the previous timed HS where you didn't have to score consecutive crits), we were going to be spamming fireball/lb and whenever you crit with fireball you'd weave in a scorch to force a hot streak. Not sure how it works in practise though, but the intention seemed good as it would knock down two birds with a single rock.
Now it will be a once in a blue moon scenario I believe. I rather have a controlled way of proccing it, than have to cross my fingers. Kinda like a destro lock can pull off his immolate > chaos bolt > conflag > incinerate combo. Even if stuff doesn't crit it is still a solid and very fast combo for PvP. The key to burst for PvP is reliability, and this hot streak is not it.
It feels like having a machine gun where every 9th bullet is a live one.
I think improved scorch might be the key to both getting scorch into the rotation and also controlling hot streaks without making them ever present. Free scorches is cool and all but it is not exactly a necessity, but it is very nice for PvP. I realize the HS RNG factor is a good thing for a PvE rotation, but there must be a way to meet in the middle as a PvPer longing for reliability.
Oh, and as a pvper I'd love to see combustion dot become undispellable. Or at least make conflagration dot dispellable.
About Scorch being part of the rotation to force an Hot Streak after a fireball, i'd say that i don't see how it will be practical in a boss fight. Taking a standard scenario : when my FB is in the air, i'm already casting another one, if the first one crit should i weave a Scorch after my second fireball ? Because if my second fireball crit, i would have used a lower dps spell for nothing. Of course then the crit will be used on the following Hot streak sequence but will my next fireball will crit or not ? Add in Living bomb crit on top of that and you'll end with many useless Scorch at the end of the fight.
Moreover, as it had been said alot of time, including a sub 1.5secs spell in a rotation will end with clipping quite often.
On the 10% haste buff to be considered as Aoe talent, i don't really agree. For me haste buff are not that useful used with mostly instacast spells. In the fire Aoe toolset, we have as instacast : Living Bomb, blastwave, Dragon breath, Flamestrike (talented) and Curtain of frost (though this one may not be part of our aoe rotation). This leave only Flame orb to be cast with a sub 1.5secs cast and probably won't be used in aoe.
- Is Fire a little too reliant on movement and/or encounters with Adds/AOE, to take advantage of many of its fun mechanics and talents? Pyromaniac isn't exactly a small buff. Would the absence of said Raid Encounters heavily change current opinions of the tree?
I think fire is inherently fun, encounters with adds/AOE simply make it even more fun. The absence of those encounters wouldn't heavily change my opinion of the tree. Don't forget the current implementation of Fire is already more fun than what we had in WotLK because of stuff like improved Blink and the new Combustion.
- Numbers on beta are currently subject to change, but mana problems for fire are widespread. Is Scorch intended to be used as a Lesser Fireball type mana management tool in normal rotations, and not just something that's cast on the run? Or perhaps more actively switching between Molten and Mage Armor during combat?
I do see this as a bit of a problem, I thought the idea was that dps casters wouldn't have too much mana issues. I don't like the idea of using Scorch as mana management, I think that kind of playstyle suits arcane better. I wouldn't mind switching between armors during combat as long as the armors themselves don't cost mana.
- Combat ratings are being slashed in Cataclysm, and Hot Streak will become a much rarer occurance. What impact will this have to something many people consider a fun, pivotal element to the current Fire rotation and playstyle?
I love Fire's playstyle currently with 57% crit, because it requires a lot of Hot Streak interaction and makes Fire great on movement fights. The fact that we will be able to cast Scorch on the move more than makes up for it. I get that with the reduced crit rates Hot Streaks will be decreased, but the way I see it, that's more of a start-of-expansion syndrome that will sort itself out automatically once we get let's say 35% crit in Deathwing gear.
I might have phrased that a bit sloppy. The 10% haste might not make a huge difference on massive tightly packed mobs in a classic aoe scenario. You can however activate it the very seccond dps is called for since a blastwave hitting three targets = 100% certainty of a dot on all of them via mastery. So first a blastwave and then lots of living bombspam. 10% faster aplication is enoughe to notice a clear difference onless the pack is gone very fast. Imagine doing something like mount hyjal, that´s 10% nearly all night that will definetley make you shine.
But this is just "classic aoe" the real gain with pyromaniac as I see it is something that mages traditionally have not been as strong with. As long as there´s enoughe targets huddled up properly our damage is fine. But as soon we can´t hit three or more targets we´re back at single target DPS even if theres lots of targets present but spread out. What pyromaniac really does is make us better att dpsing lots of targets in a huge area. Now we don´t need a horde of enemies to start a nice fire. As soon as there more than two we grow noticably stronger.
Now I agree it would be sad if blizzard feel they haveto tune firemages general damage down for their ability to start a really big fire if there´s enoughe things to light. But I really doubt they will cripple the spec on every single target fight to pay for pyromaniacs existance. That about sums up why I think they classify it as an aoe talent and not a static 10% haste to balance firemages by.
Plopp plopp kaboom! This is an intelligent signature.
Could anyone post the current rating/1% conversions at level 85?
I've heard values of 100-180 rating for 1% spell hit. Which in turn means that you'll need around 9-10k intellect until 1hit<1int (for fireball; assuming the low value of 100hit/1%), which will likely take a while to gather. Until then, all raid gear should be the sta/int/hit/* gear, hoping that you're able to reach the cap. It feels quite strange, not wanting to cap spell hit with gems/enchants/1:1-conversions for quite a while.
WotLK had the same situation for a very short period of time as well, but it was pretty irrelevant since Naxxramas was extremely easy and gear from that tier brought you to the threashold where hit>SP. However, I don't see us reach 9k+ intellect in the first raid tiers yet to get there.
[Edit]: Values are a few posts down. It's 102 hit rating for 1% spell hit right now. So, the threshold for 1 hit > 1 int is when you reach 5 digit intellect values. Eep.
In an aoe scenario with adds spread all over the place, the only aoe worth casting will be Living bomb. This will ensure that we have 10% haste running but at the same time it would mean too that they are not closer enough to benefit fom LB splash damage. In addition, mana usage of LB spam is high and i doubt that we will be able to sustain it without the mana return of single LB multiple crits.
In a aoe scenario with adds clumped together, we will outperform anyone as we will be able to use every aoe toolset we have : Spam LB, FS, BW, FS(from BW) and DB. All that will casted under Pyromaniac buff.
One question, i have that will answered with theorycrafting is how many LB we should use before using the others spells and then resume to LB spam.
* Which DoTs count towards Combustion/Pyromaniac? Which don't?
* Does Impact work on Combustion?
* Does flamestrike's DoT work with Pyromaniac/Combustion/Impact?
* How exactly is Combustion combining the damage?
As of my last confirmation (which due to internet issues at the homestead is about a week old)...
- Pyromaniac is all debuff based DoTs except the FFB Glyph which wasn't working at the time. Likewise for Combustion. This means no flamestrike, no FFB glyph, but every other fire DoT work.
- You can spread it with impact if it is already present, combustion->Impact fireblast does not spread it to all available targets, combustion->Spell->Impact Fireblast does.
- No to all three.
- I need to spend some more time confirming this, but simple tests with just pyroblast and ignite indicated that it sums the DPS of your existing DoTs, then makes a new debuff at that DPS over a 10 second duration. I'm unsure if the LB kaboom is involved, or if this scales with the mastery yet. I'll post that information in the beta mage thread and here when I have a chance to gather it.
Originally Posted by angayelle
One question, i have that will answered with theorycrafting is how many LB we should use before using the others spells and then resume to LB spam.
One LB. Assuming the targets will live long enough and you have impact, Blastwave / Flamestrike for an impact proc, cast one LB, then impact fireblast spread it to every target in range. This assumes they don't remove the explosion from the impact spreading. The results are absolutely disgusting. More information is in the Beta Mage Thread
I really am slightly disappointed that our rotation is going to be exactly the same as it is now. If anything, with crit rates dropping, Fire's rotation is going to be even more spam-y. Living Bomb, then spam Fireball, and maybe you'll see a Hot Streak every now and then.
As things are on the beta right now, I see only one possible modification to our rotation. With Fire's mastery boosting DoT damage, it is possible that a glyphed Frostfire Bolt might be worth casting when its DoT is not on the target. However, given the nine-second duration of the DoT, we would most probably end up casting it right after Living Bomb.
Living Bomb-->Frostfire Bolt-->Fireball spam, Pyroblast when Hot Streak procs
This also assumes that the Glyph of Frostfire is more valuable than the Glyph of Pyroblast, which may not end up being the case.
Improving Improved Scorch
Moreover, the current state of Scorch, which has been relegated to a movement-only spell, makes me sad. I was excited to have Scorch as a part of my rotation again. I had an idea this morning that could get Scorch into the stationary, single-target rotation without making it disproportionately powerful during movement:
First of all, as awesome as free spells are, I'm not sure that it is truly necessary or thematic for Fire. Therefore, I would suggest that we change Improved Scorch to something that makes Scorch useful, rather than simply efficient. Secondly, a spell with a cast time equal to the global cooldown creates queuing issues. Therefore, I would suggest that part of this change be a reduction of Scorch's global cooldown. Thirdly, a simple damage increase would create balance problems in PvP and movement phases, given that we can cast this spell while moving. Back-loaded damage would allow us to cast the spell as a DPS increase, while simultaneously keeping us from spamming it. Therefore, I would suggest that the second part of this change be the addition of a DoT attached to Scorch that deals additional damage over six seconds. The DoT would tick twice--once at the three-second mark and once at the six-second mark.
Putting all of that together, we get:
Reduces the global cooldown of your Scorch spell by 0.25/0.5 seconds and your Scorch spell deals an additional 50%/100% damage over six seconds.
This change would cause Scorch to benefit from Mastery and give us a reason to want to cast it. However, spamming Scorch would sharply reduce the damage bonus of the DoT. And, while I know that 100% additional damage looks ridiculous, Scorch's coefficient is currently slightly less than half of Fireball's. With reasonable levels of Mastery, Scorch would be worth casting over Fireball if and only if you would be able to let the DoT tick for its full duration.
With this change, the rotation would work out to something like:
Living Bomb-->Scorch-->Fireball-->Fireball-->Scorch-->Fireball-->Living Bomb-->et cetera
If Glyph of Frostfire proves to be worthwhile for Fire mages, the rotation would be:
Living Bomb-->Scorch-->Frostfire Bolt-->Fireball-->Scorch-->Fireball-->Living Bomb-->Frostfire Bolt-->Scorch-->et cetera
Personally, I prefer rotation without Frostfire Bolt, so either Glyph of Pyroblast would have to be made more valuable than Glyph of Frostfire or some other change would have to be made.
Making Hot Streak Hotter
Earlier on in the beta process, Hot Streak was in a constant state of flux. One week, it would be triggered by two crits within four seconds of each other. The next week, it would be triggered by three crits within six seconds of each other--including DoT crits. It was incredibly interesting and exciting and it looked to make Hot Streak more reliable.
However, after a time, Hot Streak was reverted to proccing on consecutive crits. This isn't a problem on Live, with the massive gear inflation, but crit ratings are set to plummet in Cataclysm--and there was talk a while ago of suppressing players' crit levels in higher raid tiers.
I am saddened by this. The idea of a more reliable Hot Streak meant less spam and more reaction. Additionally, more reliable procs would make Hot Streak more useful while leveling. However, the truth of the matter was that Hot Streak had become too reliable. With the Fireball DoT, Living Bomb, Fireball, and Scorch, it was possible to fit a ridiculous number of damage events into those six-second windows, meaning that Hot Streak procced all the time. It was clearly not what was intended, so the talent was reverted. The only change since then has been the extension of the duration of Hot Streak's effect to fifteen seconds.
However, I believe things were on the right track. Certainly, the talent did not work in that specific form, but the principle was sound. With the removal of the Fireball DoT, the capacity for a ridiculous number of damage events has been diminished. However, allowing both DoTs and direct damage spells to contribute to Hot Streaks is still messy. And only allowing direct damage spells to contribute leads us to the problem of unreliability and gear dependency. Additionally, having a time limit while including direct-damage spells makes Hot Streak more convoluted for PvPers. Therefore, I have come up with the following:
Your spells no longer trigger Arcane Missiles. Instead, whenever you score 3 critical strikes within eight seconds of each other with your Living Bomb and Scorch damage over time effects, you have a 33%/66%/100% chance the next Pyroblast cast within 15 seconds will be instant cast and cost no mana.
(Note: if my idea of a Scorch DoT is not implemented, this Hot Streak design would work just as well with the glyphed Frostfire Bolt DoT, which I believe also ticks on the three-second mark.)
With Living Bomb and the Scorch/Frostfire Bolt DoT, mages with 20% crit would have a 36% chance to end up triggering Hot Streak after a given DoT crit. Mages with 30% crit would have a 56% chance to end up triggering Hot Streak after a given DoT crit. Mages with 40% crit--which I believe is higher than Blizzard intends us to reach--would have a 75% chance to end up triggering Hot Streak after a given DoT crit. Remember that, with base crit, Critical Mass, and glyphed Molten Armor, a naked mage would still have 15% crit, so 20% is a reasonable assumption for a leveling mage who is high enough level to pick up Hot Streak.
I specify an eight second window because, while DoTs tick at constant time intervals, it is unlikely that the player would have them perfectly lined up. The extra two seconds give us a little wiggle-room while avoiding the nine-second mark, which could allow one of the DoTs to get off a third tick.
By tying the proc to DoT ticks, this version of Hot Streak provides an additional benefit to players who are able to maintain their DoTs effectively, as well as embracing the new theme of DoTs. Of course, given the new Impact, it could prove necessary to add an internal cooldown on the proc if there are a great deal of cleave fights.
RE: Living Bomb-->Frostfire Bolt-->Fireball spam: For such a simple "rotation", wouldn't making Hot Streak more reliable also make it more simple/boring?
In case it didn't get across, I really, really dislike Living Bomb-->Frostfire Bolt-->Fireball spam and I want it to die. Frostfire Bolt's DoT has a nine-second duration, so it will expire one second after Living Bomb does--or, in other words, during the global cooldown incurred by re-casting Living Bomb. I don't like the fact that we just add another button after Living Bomb and then continue spamming. The suggested Scorch change inserts something new into our rotation in a way that more or less eliminates spam. Of course, Scorch with a DoT and Frostfire Bolt could be one of the ugliest things ever. I feel like two active DoTs is a good balance, especially with twelve-second and six-second timers.
As far as the idea that making Hot Streak more reliable would make the rotation more boring, I think you're confusing "reliable" with "predictable." The thing about Hot Streak is that you don't know when it's going to light up. If Hot Streak comes up on average once every fifteen seconds, it's still going to be just as unpredictable as if it would be if it came up on average once every forty-five seconds. I find it more boring if I have to react less frequently to randomness. Certainly, I don't want it coming up every other spell, but I would like to see it more than once every forty-five seconds.
Also, bear in mind that those percentages I listed are the chances to end up triggering Hot Streak after the first DoT crit. A mage with 40% crit isn't going to have a 75% chance of proccing Hot Streak--it's going to be closer to 30%. Likewise, a mage with 30% wouldn't have a 56% chance of proccing Hot Streak, he'd have a 16.8% chance. And a mage with 20% crit would have a 7.2% chance of proccing it. And it's not as though each tick has that chance of instantly proccing it--each tick has that chance of leading to a proc. It would be conceivably possible for the proc to occur sixteen seconds after the first DoT crit. It would also be possible for it to occur four seconds after the first DoT crit. It's still unpredictable, but more likely to happen--especially considering that the current form of Hot Streak would give a mage with 40% crit a 16% chance of proccing it, a mage with 30% crit a 9% chance of proccing it, and a mage with 20% crit a 4% chance of proccing it.