Sunday, February 6, 2011

Raiding in Catacylsm as a Fire Mage

Table of Contents:
Single Target Rotation
AoE Rotation
Fireball Vs. Frostfire Bolt
External Links


In the fire tree, there really isn't a "cookie cutter" spec. Specs can change to be more viable in different situations. However, I feel as if this is a good spec for a mage to begin with:

The fire tree has a lot of optional talents. These are talents that can be chosen based off of a players play-style. They are listed below:

Cauterize: A mages cheat death. The debuff can be healed through, cleared by Iceblock, or ignored if you cast Mage Ward/ Mana Shield. A very handy talent.

Pyromaniac: This talent is very situational. During single target fights, this is completely useless. During multi target fights, this is one of the strongest talents in our tree.

Improved Fireblast: All fire spells have a 40 yard range EXCEPT Fireblast. With two points, this talent will put Fireblast at a 40 yard range. Some mages decide to put 1 or 2 points into this talent.

Arcane Concentration (Arcane Tree)- A few fire mages decide to spec into this talent. Much like arcane, the more mana you have as a fire mage, the more damage you do. I'll talk about this more later.

Netherwind Presence: Haste isn't our best friend, but a free 3% doesn't hurt.


As a fresh 85 fire mage, these are the glyphs you should use.

Glyph of Pyroblast
Glyph of Molten Armor
Glyph of Fireball

Major: These glyphs aren't that great, but there really isn't much better for a fire mage
Glyph of Polymorph
Glyph of Evocation
Glyph of Blink

Glyph of Conjuring
Glyph of Arcane Brilliance
The third glyph is your choice. I use Glyph of Slowfall so I don't have to worry about reagents.


As a Mage, your stuck with cloth gear. That's the gear that no one else wants because it's less protective than a Kleenex at an emo convention (also known as the Warlock Q&A at Blizzcon. Zinga!)

The primary stat for all casters is Intellect. This is the stat that mages live and die for.

Next in line is Hit until the Hit cap. Hit increases your chance to... well.. hit. At level 85, 17% (16% for Draenei) hit will cap you against raid bosses. Thankfully, only 6% hit is required to be capped on Heroic Dungeon bosses. Being hit capped means that you will not miss a boss (unless some fight mechanic forces you to do so.) The interesting thing about hit, however, is that as soon as you're hit cappped, it becomes worthless. As a side note, it will be extremely difficult to become hit capped before raids.

After hit, it gets very fuzzy. Rawr and Simulationcraft give different results, though the general consensus is this:



Haste: Haste will become BETTER than mastery (and arguably even crit) as you near the haste soft cap. For more about this, see the Haste section below.

So, a recap:
Intellect>Hit to Cap>Crit>Mastery>Haste

As for spirit: Spirit has NO value to a mage. It no longer provides us with in-combat mana regen. Unlike some other classes, it does NOT convert to hit, either.


Arcanum of Hyjal
Arcanum of Burning Mysteries If you're still working torwards revered with the Guardians of Hyjal, you can get this Wrath head enchant instead.

Shoulders: Questing most of Deepholm will be enough to become Honored with Therazane for the Lesser enchant.
Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone

Enchant Chest - Peerless Stats
Enchant Chest - Mighty Stats

Ebonsteel Belt Buckle

Powerful Enchanted Spellthread
Enchanted Spellthread

Enchant Boots - Lavawalker Though this may not be the biggest dps boost, all the movement required in Cata encounters make this enchant a MUST.

Enchant Bracer - Precision Only use this enchant, and other hit enchants in general, if you will use the FULL hit value of the enchant. In other words, don't use this enchant if only 25 hit is needed to be capped.
Enchant Bracer - Greater Critical Strike
Enchant Bracer - Critical Strike

Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery
Scroll of Enchant Gloves - Exceptional Spellpower

Enchant Cloak - Greater Intellect
Enchant Cloak - Intellect

Enchant Weapon - Power Torrent
Enchant Weapon - Hurricane : Not as good, but much cheaper
Scroll of Enchant Weapon - Mighty Spellpower

Enchant Off-Hand - Superior Intellect


Meta: Chaotic OR Ember Shadowspirit Diamond

Red: Brilliant (+Int)

Yellow: Potent (+Int,+Crit)

Blue: Veiled (+Int, +Hit)


Blizzard has done a great job balancing out professions for Cata. The benefits between each profession are fairly minimal. However, if you are a true min/maxer, we'll break down the professions here.

Alchemy: +80 Int (Mixology with Flask of Draconic Mind)
Blacksmith: +80 Int (two extra gem sockets with Brilliant Infernos)
Enchanting: +80 Int (two Intellect ring enchants)
Engineering: +96 Int (the average Int received from Synapse Springs)
Herbalism: +480 Haste and roughly a 3K heal to self on a 2 min CD (Lifeblood)
Inscription: +80 Int (Felfire Inscription vs. Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone)
Jewelcrafting: +81 Int (3 Brilliant Chimera's Eye vs. Brilliant Infernos)
Leatherworking: +130 Int; -50 Crit (Replacing Greater Crit with Embossment-Int)
Mining: +120 Stam (Toughness)
Skinning: +80 Crit (Master of Anatomy)
Tailoring: +143 Int (Replacing Greater Int with Lightweave average)

Single Target Rotation

In my opinion, Fire mages have one of the greatest rotations in the game.

You'll want to start your fights with Scorch. This will put Critical Mass on the target, which increases your chance to crit by 5%. Next, throw out your Flame Orb. Followed by Living Bomb. Keep both Living Bomb and Critical Mass up on the target at all times. (Remember: Pyroblast! will also put Critical Mass on your target) In an ideal situation, you would then spam Fireball until the end of eternity. However, you'll find yourself going OOM fast... very very fast. This is where Scorch Weaving comes in.

Scorch Weaving: This is the reason we spec 2/2 into Improved Scorch. Our Scorches cost us 0(!) mana. It makes Scorch our most mana efficient spell by far. However, Fireball does more DPS. In order to keep our mana pools at a constant level, we must Scorch Weave. That is alternating between Scorch and Fireball. Therefore, mages do something like this, during a fight:

Fireball to 80ish % mana, Mana Gem, Fireball to 30% mana, Evocate, Fireball to 50% mana, Scorch Weave. All of this while keeping Living Bomb and Critical Mass on the target and using Combustion (see below for more details on Combustion)

Keeping your mana at 50% allows you to burn down the boss with Fireball if necessary. This could happen if a boss has a mechanic increasing it's damage taken or if an add needs to be burned.

However, keep this in mind: You do NOT want mana left over during the fight. Left over mana is wasted DPS, since you could have (possibly) casted one more fireball instead of a scorch.

Combustion: Finally, I'll talk about Combustion. Combustion is the Fire mages 2 minute cooldown. It has a very interesting mechanic. Let me explain it with an example:

Your Living Bomb is ticking for 300 ever 3 seconds on the target. =100 DPS
You just got a Pyroblast! You cast it on the target and its DoT is ticking for 75 every 3 seconds. = 25 DPS
The Pyroblast crit, and the Ignite from the crit is ticking for 150 every 2 seconds. =75 DPS

This would be the ideal time to use Combustion. The Combustion would tick for 200 damage per second (Please Note: these numbers are completely made up)

AoE Rotation

Fire mages have the ability to put out large amounts of AoE damage. A lot of our talents are designed torwards AoE.

There are a TON of different ways you can AoE DPS

Here are some tips to help out:

  • Keep Living Bomb up

  • Blastwave+Flamestrike= Impact (Most of the time, a Blastwave cast WILL net you an Impact proc

  • Try to save Impact until you have the most DoTs on your target, but don't let it wear off

  • If you're running low on Mana, use Scorch

  • Laugh at all the other classes puny AoE DPS

  • Edited by Frostedblaze on 2/3/11 4:41 AM (UTC)

    The exact value of haste is kind of in a state of confusion right now. It is believed that the value of haste is behind that of crit, but the value spikes around the soft caps.

    Soft Caps:
    It takes 12.5% haste to get ONE extra tick over the duration of a Living Bomb or Pyroblast!
    It takes 37.5% haste to get TWO extra ticks. This is impossible to achieve at this time.

    How much Haste is needed for the soft cap?

    3/3 NP, 5% Raid Buff:
    4.03% haste required
    516 haste required

    2/3 NP, 5% Raid Buff
    5.05% haste required
    646 haste required

    3/3 NP
    9.23% haste required
    1182 haste required

    Fireball vs. Frostfire Bolt
    Fireball and Frostfire Bolt are very identical spells. The mana cost and casting time are exactly the same. After tests done by Elitist Jerks, it has been found that the DPS of the two are VERY identical if both spells are glyphed, with Fireball being slightly better. Keep in mind, the difference is VERY minimal. Therefore, if you like the way Frostfire Bolt looks, go ahead and use it.

    This is a link to Larcix's stickied guide to all three mage specs. If you're looking for a guide to your arcane/frost offspecs, or just want a second take on the fire tree, this guide should have what you're looking for.
    Elitist Jerks is THE spot for up-to-date information. However, if you're not a fan of number crunching, beware.
    This is WoW-Insiders Arcane Brilliance thread written by Christian Belt. It's a great read. It's updated once a week.
    This website will convert percentages to ratings, and rating to percentages. Wanna know how much rating is needed for 5% haste? It'll tell ya!


    1. Thanks haha, just getting started :)

    2. That's some serious information, lol. I'll let my friend read over this, he's into WoW.

    3. @silverson Thanks man, just like to get out some info to people that dont know as much haha.
      @xazbaschboss World of Warcraft? lol

    4. Wow...That was a seriously long post.

    5. Ah, it's been ages since I've played WoW. Curse you for making me want to get back into it!

    6. I had to stop playing WoW. I would play for days at a time and forget to feed my cat. I still wonder how well I would do if I got back into it, though.

    7. Great blog, about to start my first mage soon so thanks for the tips.

    8. Fire-spec mages were always my favorite type in World of Warcraft, especially the PvP. Even though the survivability of it was horrible, I loved doing Pyro-PoM-Pyro combos. Was the greatest thing in the world to me for the longest time.

    9. a lot of great information. thanks buddy!

    10. Alot of time on my hands lately, kinda

    11. wow... i probably only read about an eighth of that.. and only understood about half of that.

    12. So all about WoW, huh? Do you play on other games/MMORPGS? (Like guildwars etc)

    13. Sounds like a blast of a game, will have to give it a try.