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Mage Advice (Off-Spec for Single Target Fights?)
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masquedwriter wrote in wow_ladies
Hello ladies,

I've been playing frost this expansion and have really enjoyed the spec. I think the AoE capabilities are pretty amazing and like the many instant cast abilities that come with our procs. My damage seems to have been competitive in my raid so far. I especially excel in fights where there are multiple bosses (ie. stoneguards, Wind Lord - though only done him on raid finder so far.)

Anyway, I'm just wondering if fire or arcane might provide better single target results. It seems logical to me since all of the abilities that proc fingers of frost (which is also related to our two piece bonus with ice lance) depends on how many targets you hit.

I've done a bit of reading on the subject and many resources cite frost as exceling in both single target and multi-target fights over the other two specs. This just hasn't been my experience in game.

I've seen arcane really rocking single target fights in LFR. I don't care for that spec that much but have played fire before for most of Cata. I'd be willing to experiment with specs, however.

Anyway, basically, would I be better off with fire or arcane for single target fights and would the difference be worth setting up the off-spec and getting the gear and all that?

Thank you for any responses. :)

One thing I'll say first. Stuff like Noxxic's DPS ranking typically comes from either stuff like SimCraft or actual raid logs. Both are problematic for comparison purposes, though. Sims are far more reliable and useful in doing things like comparing reforge schemes or prioritizing upgrade targets than they are at doing the apples-to-oranges-to-livestock comparison that is, say, a fury warrior vs. a shadow priest vs. a feral druid, and looking at, say, rankings of theoretical maximum DPS doesn't tell you anything about what, say, the gearing curve looks like, or how various specs scale or change as you climb it. Raid logs, from places like World of Logs, are highly prone to sampling bias -- there's a sort of feedback loop where sims or logs show, say, frost doing more 0.783% more DPS than fire, so all the top raiding mages switch to frost, which means that frost mages are going to look even better compared to fire than it actually is, under the hood.

Anyway, my first bit of advice: play what you have fun playing. You'll spend more time playing that spec, which means more practice, which means better play. If you didn't like arcane when you tried it last... well, I'd say try it now, if you haven't tried it since 5.0.4 dropped, since all three specs got hugely revamped that patch. (In Cata, I loved frost, liked arcane, hated fire. Now, I like fire a great deal, like arcane nearly as much, and found frost not at all to my tastes.) But, if you don't enjoy the spec, you won't be motivated to practice and learn the rotation -- you'll probably do worse DPS regardless of coefficients or whatever.

Moving on, I've seen fire do pretty scary things in single-target fights -- my guild, on an American server, has one player from the UK, who therefore runs with more noticeable latency than those of us in the lower 48. His main is a mage (as of Cataclysm -- when he started playing on our realm in Wrath, his main was a holy/ret paladin), and he's been playing fire as his main spec since the expansion dropped. His main frustration is that fire doesn't do cleave-type fights very well, but I'm not sure how he sets his talents up for those (he's constantly switching talents and glyphs around, depending on the boss fight). If you do go for fire, remember that crit is your bestest friend ever -- currently, it has increasing returns to scale (get it high enough, and the spec starts to feel like Pyroblast! spam), and is better than intellect for fire mages, even before you account for the primary vs. secondary stat gemming differential.

Well, not so much even what I've read on sites such as Noxxic as my experience in game. In my raid group, multi-target fights, I'm pretty beast. ALWAYS top DPS by a considerable margin with frost. But in single target fights I notice a considerable drop in the rankings and usually end up near the bottom which is why I'm suspecting another spec might be more competitive. We're not 'elite' players and typically every bit helps. I just want to be able to help push my group through as much as possible and with my role that means putting out as much damage as possible to avoid those enrage timers.

I played fire all through Cata and really enjoyed it. To be honest, I got scared off at the beginning of MoP because fire is (IMO) VERY gear dependent. With my sad gear my damage was dismal because I just couldn't get the crit from my gear necessary. I started playing with frost and found not only was the damage better but it was a great deal of fun. VERY mobile spec. All but two of my spells (well, three with evocation for the invocation buff) are instant casts. So I can run around and maintain a decent amount of DPS. Like I said, I REALLY like frost for stone guard. lots of movement and multi-target fight. I'm thinking fire might be better for the next three fights though.

I'm in a situation where other than my sha weapon (grr, won't drop!) I've outgeared LFR on my mage. But I still do it because I cap valor on that toon second and it ends up being 135 valor a pop which is pretty big with the valor buff. So I'm thinking that I can start getting gear that way toward an off-spec.

Thanks for all the input. You're always very helpful and knowledgeable.

Fire and Frost have both gone through some nerfs the past few hotfixes, so maybe the surge in Arcane has to do with players not feeling pigeon-holed into a single spec. Regardless, Arcane does seem to be performing pretty well for single-target fights. I know the mechanics for that spec has changed a bit since Cataclysm so maybe you'll enjoy it a bit more now.

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