Arcane mage playstyle/viability
Hello everyone! I would like to start this discussion with the acknowledgment that some things are better than others in classic.
That said, the playstyle of mainly using arcane spells is under quantified, undertested, and to my knowledge not given proper comparisons to fire and frost. (I will explain this more in later sections)
TLDR: Arcane is much better than most people think at single Target/AoE DPS.
There are some spells and interactions that need to be tested/documented.
Arcane missiles should be changed to function in a better way with talents, Because IMO the best change to AM would not change TOO much within classic WoW in general or for mages.
I'm going to start posting and editing this thread regularly with my thoughts and testing in the hope of finding the best use of arcane spells and talents starting from the beginning of the mage in vanilla.
But Before that! I'll mention something I have heard nobody else mention. With the talent arcane absorption a mage can gain infinite Mana from lower-level caster mobs, (I'm a level 49 troll and can farm the Dalleran summoners that summon adds and lots of them with no downtime) I'm not going to say there aren't better ways and mobs to farm but that interaction alone is worth doing some research on.
Main theory: arcane was designed to be both a "tool kit" spec AND damage alternative to fire or frost, therefore it should be a viable choice for raids and PVP.
Theory: Arcane as a playstyle should be viable or (even optimal) for fresh LVL 60 mages going into MC or ZG. This is because of the higher hit rating arcane spells have being 10% Vs 6% for fire and frost among other reasons.
Theory: Changes Vs. bug fixes, it is no secret why a playstyle focused around arcane missiles spam for damage is not viable for much of anything MANA is the big problem as AM rank 8 costs more than 10% of your average base mana. Enter the clearcasting issue, AM SHOULD by the verbiage, also supported by patch-notes(1.9.0 Arcane Missiles - Will now be able to trigger procs based on dealing damage) have a chance PER-WAVE of missiles to affect the clearcasting state from the arcane concentration talent, however, this has never been the case except on P-servers. the biggest question, is this a bug that needs to be fixed? or is this a change that should not be made? I think we as a WoW community need to clarify this issue and determine what needs to happen if anything then bring THAT determination to blizzard. IMO this lack of synergy between AM and CC is NOT a bug but SHOULD be fixed based on what I have heard from the original Devs (Keven Jordan, from count down to classic ep.96) about AM.
Theory: for maximum arcane efficiency a human or gnome mage is best for the increased base stats also for anti-caster PvP paladins aruas+priest shadow resist buffs are easier to use.
Theory: Arcane absorption as stated above should allow for an anti-caster PVP playstyle (with the right gear)
Theory: spell penetration could be better than crit for an arcane missiles rotation.
Now let's get into the details.
So what is the playstyle? in one word anything, any way you want to play a mage IS the play from an arcane missiles spam to an AoE focused playstyle.
As arcane it is much more challenging to AoE and that's the reason that fire/arcane AoE is seen as less efficient then frost AoE. Frost style AoE adds the level of control that makes it much easier to accomplish thereby able to increase the number of mobs and that is the factor which gives Frost its efficiency.
Along with warlocks you can spec to fight caster mobs specifically AM is the best spell for caster pushback.
There is also battle mage specs for all three talent trees. I mean the list is almost endless! and there are different ways to play a mage and utilize arcane spells/talents for effective use.
So as far as mage history goes I will just reference countdown to classic episode 96 with Kevin Jordan ViV, very very good information and podcast you guys should check it out.
My big takeaway was that arcane was not fully flushed out from a design standpoint but the mages as hole we're very well designed and implemented.
Next up we have a lack of testing I mainly speaking of amplify and dampen magic mostly I'm interested in amplify as I'm not aware of any hard numbers regarding breaking points for the increased healing and how that would affect healing per mana for all healers as I personally won't be able to test this for some time in raids.
Of course, ALL feedback or suggestions are welcome...in fact please help me to make this thread and the arcane playstyle fully flushed out! And remember you cant spell damage without MAGE
One thing I saw someone theorize is a mana regeneration technique with arcane. Now that we have classic test it out and fill us in. The idea is that you can pair an arcane missile set with a pyroblast. On private servers mana only ticked at the beginning of arcane missiles, and of course at the end of pyroblast. So the theory went that if you did them together then you actually get outside of the 5 second window for two to three ticks. I think they called it arcane weaving to give it a name. The question with it is: does arcane missiles pull the mana at the beginning or does the channeling have the rule kick in only at the end of the cast like other spells?
@Taladril Arcane missiles takes its mana cost at the beginning so we can get a mp5 tick at the end just like pyroblast, sadly arcane weaving in this way I don't think will work. However using a PYRO and then casting AM will alow your mana from arcane meditation/mage armor to get a couple of ticks before casting AM which stops mana regen while casting. @Taladril thank you for your response this info should help in making a good rotation for Arcane Mage!!!
Ah I think that is how they used it. To double up the mp5 just makes it very interesting to see how you could leverage it.
@Taladril well that's going to be the best use of mp5 probably(unless we get our CC synergy) which means a mix of magisters and devout priest set for int and spirit but also mp5 gear? a big hit on damage but worth for consistent damg output? for anyone who does not know magisters set has the highest INT in the game not counting T3
GideonAI last edited by GideonAI
Well I'm still pretty low-level on my Mage, but I've been Arcane spec for solo single-target stuff and using the "melee macro" to good effect:
#showtooltip Arcane Missiles
/cast [nochanneling] Arcane Missiles
Lands 1 melee per cast, so the slow 2h Staff category deals the most melee damage. Scratches the battle-wizard itch for me, even if I wish it was better with Swords instead. Also, in my melee tests at level 58 on my Priest I get glancing melee hits 100% of the time, so the damage increase is only slight.
@GideonAI that's is super cool! I like the battle mage idea myself I have started to use a wand and alternate with a dagger its a lot of fun! arcane missiles till they get close then stab and shoot fire blast is really good for this as well.
Thank you for the info/macro
GideonAI last edited by
@ArcanemageFTW Dagger is useful with Fire Blast and other instant-cast spells, but you're sacrificing a decent amount of damage per-Arcane Missiles channel. Unless you're not using the pushback talent - then I would totally understand why you wouldn't want to keep chaincasting in melee with an enemy mob. What's your current talent spec?
@GideonAI I was going A more AoE build without imp Arcane missiles cuz I had a +4 AD dagger but now I got a lot more +AD gear so I'm going to have to find me a staff