I admit that I don’t have a ton of really groovy screenshots from Outlands because, as far as I am concerned, most of the really cool stuff to do in Burning Crusade was the end-game content. I’m impetuous and wanted to hit 70 as fast as possible so I could do the worst bout of leveling content directly after that. I’m a sucker for pain and torture, mea culpa. Look at that clown suit. Look at that. That is quintessential clown suit. Illidan was right, I was not prepared.
The last bracket of leveling was easily the last time you will get a boatload spells across ten levels. Between 60-85, updates to your spellbook will be a little more sparse. It might be good on your wallet as well as your brain. This means that most of your “core” abilities are locked in place with additional end-game functionality and quality of life spells coming down the pipe. That being said, you get Teleport: Shattrath and Portal: Shattrath at 62 and 66 respectively. Six levels and you get transportation options! Are you quivering with excitement yet? I bet you are. Mage Armor shows up at level 68; this is actually rather crucial for arcane mages. Mage Armor is your armor, for the rest of us it is something we throw on occasionally during downtime for the mana regen or resistances, but arcane mages must use this all the time. Consider it the combustion engine of your DPS bus. Why Blizzard is giving arcane mages this so late is beyond me as I noticed some mana challenges earlier in the game playing as arcane, but I digress. At level 70, you get your last spell for the bracket: Spellsteal. This is an intensely powerful offensive dispel. Blizzard’s knocked the mana costs up over time to keep us from spamming it in PVP, but that’s not stopped any mage who wants to try and put pressure on a resto druid or shaman. Besides PVP, spellsteal comes in handy in PVE as well. Many mobs in dungeons and across the land often cast powerful buffs on themselves that stealing will not only be useful to you, but also help smooth the fight along. You can also just get silly with what can be spellstolen – Shadow Labyrinth anyone? As for macros, here is what I use personally to get the best bang for your buck on Spellsteal:
#showtooltip Spellsteal /stopcasting /cast [@target,mod:alt] Spellsteal /cast [@focus,exists,harm] Spellsteal; Spellsteal
What this does is that it allows you to stop your cast to Spellsteal something on the fly (crucial on raid boss fights, see Maloriak) and then cast Spellsteal at either your mouse-over target or your actual target. Having a mouseover function allows people to Spellsteal off of arena frames, raid frames or boss frames available via some user interfaces.
I blame my newness to the frost spec as the reason why I didn’t tell you guys to take Piercing Chill sooner. At the advice of faithful reader Dave Signal, I recommend this for your spec after you fill in 2 points into Improved Freeze. Piercing Chill is what Frost Mages essentially do to “cleave” – like fire mages and Living Bomb splash/Impact, Piercing Chill applies a chill effect to other targets and gives you more Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost procs in the process. Last point, after spending the four between Improved Freeze and Piercing Chill, goes into Deep Freeze. This is a very strong part of your DPS as well as overall control. Deep Freeze can only be cast on frozen targets (such as things rooted with Frost Nova) – however, you do remember that Fingers of Frost is your proc that pretends that the target is frozen, yes? This means that you can cast Deep Freeze while FoF is up. It behooves you to cast Deep Freeze on cooldown and having continuous FoF procs helps with this. On targets that can be frozen, it will actually stun them inside of a giant block of ice. On things like bosses, Deep Freeze loses the stun portion and just does extra damage. (0/0/31)
Fire goes in a similar fashion (0/31/0) of filling out talents to get to your 31 point ability – drop your points into Molten Fury and Critical Mass until you get Living Bomb at 69. Now, Living Bomb is one of those iconic spells of the tree, in my opinion. Living Bomb is your only hard-cast DoT as fire, unlike those applied by spells or crits like Pyroblast or Ignite. It caps at 3 targets (unlike the days of LB spam in Icecrown Citadel) but can be nearly infinitely spread outwards if via Impact. Living Bomb ticks do not trigger Hot Streak because it is periodic damage but it is very important to have Living Bomb going on any target that you wish to use Combustion on. In addition to the damage that Living Bomb does on a target when it is ticking, it will also splash fire damage outwards on any targets in range if it reaches the end of its duration and isn’t refreshed. This can be very nice on a boss with adds. If the boss does not have other mobs around it, it is sometimes better DPS to “clip” Living Bomb to keep it rolling with a new application. A very nice Living Bomb macro that can be used in PVP or raiding with arena/boss frames is:
#showtooltip Living Bomb /cast [@mouseover,harm] Living Bomb; /cast [@target,harm] Living Bomb;
This means that Living Bomb will cast on whatever harmful target you have your mouse hovering over (say another boss frame) unless you just have something targeted; it will apply there instead.
Arcane has two directions you can go and I tended towards the one that would give you the most bang for your talent point bucks. Since you filled out Nether Vortex last time, you could spend 3 points into Torment the Weak. I went towards dropping one point in TtW, then used the remaining 4 points for Improved Mana Gem (which turns your mana gem as a DPS cooldown), Focus Magic, and then finally your 31-point talent Arcane Power. (31/0/0)
Does this group of talent acquisitions seem a little too much all at once? Here’s a brief explanation about how they all work together:
The upshot of AP is that it increases your damage by 20 percent, but it comes with a price. It also makes your spells cost a lot more mana, meaning it is a cooldown with a slight penalty and as an arcane mage, this factors into the length of your burn phase. You don’t have to worry about this as much as a level 60 or 70 mage since you have much shorter fights. Just use it like other DPS cooldowns for now.
Focus Magic is a unique reciprocative mage buff that only Arcane mages get and it definitely pairs nicely with Arcane Tactics in terms of overall buffs you give groups. There’s a lot of math that’s been tossed around about priorities for who you should give FM to (because it will also buff your own DPS), but outside of a raid situation it is sometimes rare that you will even be paired with another caster. I usually stick Focus Magic on a healer in a 5-man dungeon group. If you are in a 10-man setting, Focus Magic typically goes on Fire Mages (need to help our fiery friends out), then boomkins or elemental shaman. Certain warlock specs and shadow priests are also nice too, but not as fundamentally good. The key is to give it to someone who would a) benefit from the crit and in turn b) make sure the crit buff stays up on you most of the fight duration.
Improved Mana Gem
Just imagine this is giving you an extra motivation to use your mana gem! Arcane Mages use theirs all the time, but using one strategically to give you mana as well as a nice little DPS boost is awesome. Treat it like a trinket and drag your mana gem (the item itself, not the conjure spell) onto your action bars for easy use! Getting into good habits this early in your mage career will make you better when you hit 85.
The way you use your cooldowns at 85 is pretty straightforward as well but features heavily into something called a burn/conserve rotation. For now, popping Arcane Power, your mana gem, Mirror Images and any trinkets you have should suffice at the beginning of a fight. Presence of Mind can be used to cast an Arcane Blast on the go or getting 4 stacks of Arcane Blast up in a hurry. Beware though, it does share a cooldown with Arcane Power!
Outlands sets most of the progress we’ve been making with gear back by a ways. This is for several reasons; most of it has to do with the fact that Burning Crusade was the second expansion in WoW’s development cycle but has largely been un-updated since then. When it was relevant, a lot of players first ran into something called “gear inflation” – greens that they were getting from their first few quests and drops outstripped the amount of basic stats like intellect and stamina that they had on even high-level raiding epics. You will run into this. However the secondary problem is that this gear also suffered through the initial +healing/+spellpower merge (which made +healing to just flat +spellpower) then later the +spellpower —> +intellect conversion. A lot of an item’s stat weight that had just spellpower as its “green stat” got turned into spirit to compensate.
This means that in order to survive the beating you will take wearing good level 40s/50s blues, picking up STA-heavy, SPI-laden gear isn’t such a bad idea. There’s some greens and blues you get early on in Hellfire Peninsula questing and dungeoning that will be a boon to you all the way to 70s, especially if you do not use heirlooms.
PS: Sorry no ding shot here, I missed it while leveling.