Log in

View Full Version : Playing as Fire (Part 2)

02-11-2007, 03:56 PM
So, I've been playing as a fire mage for a few weeks now. Trying some various flavours of fire build. I've found (at least for me) it works fairly well in BG (don't know any PvP players, so no-one to arena with anymore). My alliance mage has about 612 spell damage and around 130 resilience (or something) with 8k health. My horde mage has around 520 spell damage and about 160 resilience with slightly less health. But they both seem to perform fairly similarly "in the field". I was bored and started writing a "Playing PvP as Fire" article, which is far from finished but I thought I'd ask peoples opinions on it so far (remember, not finished!!!). Just wondered if anyone had things to add or just completely disagreed with.

Gives us something to talk about though, huh? Other than the hypothermia nerf :o.

02-11-2007, 03:57 PM
I have two level 70 mages, one horde and one alliance. For a long while now I have played as a typical frost mage, however I recently respecced fire simply because I wanted a slightly different playing experience. I thought I would write some things I've noticed over the past week for anyone else who may be interested :) This is PvP oriented though, so these builds and the discussion might not be so appropriate if you are mostly interested in PvE playing.

First of all, I must say, when it comes to arena's frost is, unfortunately, much better than fire. At least in my experience so far. Simply with ice-barrier and ice-block + water elemental, you can be extremely hard to bring down as well as a much more effective defensive player with all the slows available to you. While a fire mage does not rely on critical strikes entirely, their damage is large even without them, resilience will reduce their crit rate. Frost mages have shatter and a well timed shatter combo pretty much guarantees critical hits even against high resilience opponents.

This post is mostly from a typical BG viewpoint because I don't know many people who actually pvp that much. So I struggle to find friends to play proper arena with :) There is also the fact that no-one likes me :~(

When I first respecced I didn't really know any of the subtle differences between playing as fire or frost. There were some obvious things ofcourse, like I knew there wouldn't be any ice-block, but I wasn't entirely sure how I could manage to change my playstyle to counter this.

In fact, my first attempt at a fire build was a 0/40/21 (http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/basics/talents/mage/talents.html?0000000000000000000000050523201030033 125311000510323010005010000000) build simply because I didn't want to live without ice-block and I thought, combined with shatter my damage may be huge! This build seemed to work quite well actually, the frost talents were chosen simply for utility and for shatter critical hits. I would use ice-armor on the offchance of frostbite proccing and the permafrost talent ensuring they were slowed as much as possible. Although Improved frostbolt was taken this was mainly for me to use the rank-1 frostbolt for a fast slowdown on a target. Maximum rank frostbolt was never used.

When I rolled my first mage, I never realised the first few ranks of frostbolt (and fireball, though fireball doesn't have such a useful effect on the target) have a shorter cast time. I guess everyone knows this now, but someone new to the game might not (are there any these days? :)). It's just worth stating it in-case someone hasn't realised yet.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed this build. But it felt like I was only half a fire mage. I didn't have dragons-breath, but taking that talent would mean losing ice-block! I thought about it for a little while then decided I will try, just for fun... :) My new build was something along the lines of 1/53/7 (http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/basics/talents/mage/talents.html?1000000000000000000000055523201032033 125311512030020000000000000000) which now gave me dragons breath.

The first thing I noticed after changing to this build is that my range of valid targets immediately changed! A frost mages (typically) easiest targets Warrior and Rogue (though, I would argue, a well played rogue can still be tough) become much tougher as a fire mage. A frost mage can usually defeat a warrior that easily outgears the mage depending on the ability of either player. As fire, these two classes become much tougher due to the lack of ice-block, cold-snap, water elemental and ice barrier. However, other classes that were typically more difficult for a frost mage... hunters for example, paladins or priests... become much easier. Even warlocks are a bit easier depending on their build (destro locks can be a pain but there are few of them these days), warlocks can still be tough though unfortunately :)

Rather than ice-armor, this build expects the mage to use molten armor. Because of the impact talent from the fire tree, molten armor can now stun anyone who tries to melee you giving you a chance to get away. In some ways its even more useful than ice-armor because it also reduces the opponents critical strike chance and this reduction applies to all attacks (melee and spell). Combined with decent resilience gear it can be hard to critically hit a fire mage.

The one point in arcane seems a little strange, but it's there simply because there was nowhere else to put it and reduced resistence in pvp is better than 0.1 sec less casting time on a spell you never use, or 1% increased chill when you never chill anything. You could choose to put it somewhere else, however, such as Master of Elements or Burning Soul. Elemental precision is taken to help fill out the top tier row and to reduce the mana cost of the fire spells rather than any +spell-hit (will help for pve though). I then took improved frost nova, as this spell is still useful for fire mages because it doesn't share any cooldown with anything else.

Because I didn't have ice-block or ice-barrier, I took both Improved Fire Ward and Frost Warding. As these wards will be used very often now (or at least, your choice of ward can affect the outcome of a fight more than it used to). Whilst the reflection ability doesn't seem to proc very often to make them must have abilities, they can still be very useful and there aren't many other talents that scream out for the points instead.

Dragons Breath
At first I assumed dragons breath was a replacement for cone of cold, however because it has a longer cooldown and a different effect, you must use it more carefully than CoC. Dragons breath does not slow the opponent down like CoC does, however it does disorient them. When you use dragons breath on someone, immediately start casting scorch and as soon as scorch finishes, begin to move away and cast fire-blast. As soon as the global cooldown has finished cast blast wave. This gives you an immediate and free fire-vulnerability stack on the opponent plus some (not insignificant) damage and they're also now slowed because of the blast-wave. It is important (as any class, not just mage) to save your cooldowns for when they are going to be most effective and I've personally found saving blast wave for this combination has worked well so far. Other times blast wave is useful is when there are many opponents and you need to get away.

02-11-2007, 03:58 PM
Also, because of the disorient, dragons-breath can also be used as a spell interrupt. I tend to interrupt a heal attempt with the combination described above, this seems to make most healing classes begin to panic and their next heal attempt is less likely to be a fake cast (though still not impossible) making it easier to counterspell. I also usually use it when the target is under 50% health, otherwise they will not die before your counterspell has expired.

As a frost mage, it is possible to take on multiple opponents with the difficulty varying depending on their class makeup. This isn't quite so easy with a fire mage because you don't have the necessary crowd control. Though they will most likely all be hurting after you are dead :) You must make intelligent decisions on when to attack, running into a group of five opposing players will leave you dead because your escape abilities are simply not as good as a frost mages.

Whilst it may seem Fireball will be your main nuke, I typically only use fireball when joining a fight that is already in action. I will arrive and stand far back and begin launching fireballs. The cast time is, unfortunately, so long that it isn't of much use in one on one fights or when the enemy has selected you as a target. Once they decide to engage you (and the damage you're dealing with those fireballs usually means you become a high priority target fairly quickly) switch to scorch and fireblast along with dragons breath when needed.

Insignia\Medallion PvP Trinket
Whether you have the standard PvP insignia trinket or not already, the medallion should be your first choice in saving honor points for. The 2 minute cooldown as opposed to the 5 minute cooldown is a life saver (not even taking into account the 20 resilience). When I first reached level 70, I didn't really want to save all that honor for a trinket that effectively does what the trinket I already had did. But once I had it I can't imagine how I ever survived without it, whether frost, fire, arcane or even if you're a different class. Get the level 70 medallion. The two minute cooldown on the medallion means it is available almost every fight you have. For every two times you can use the Insignia trinket, you could have used the medallion 5 times!

I'll describe some tips for fighting certain classes next, these aren't definitive but just some thoughts that you may like to apply. These are for single target fights 1on1, for group battles the two class matrices fighting is so varied you must apply your own combat experience to it :)

PvP Fire Builds
Full Fire: 2/56/3 - http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/basics/talents/mage/talents.html?2000000000000000000000055523201232033 125312512010000000000000000000
Big damage, but low survivability. This is my current build.

Fire Shatter (Elemental Build) : 0/38/23 - http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/basics/talents/mage/talents.html?0000000000000000000000005523201030003 125312000510323010205010000000
Strong Damage with some survivability as well as ice-block. Fireball is used very infrequently here.

Elemental Build : 0/30/31 - http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/basics/talents/mage/talents.html?0000000000000000000000005523201030003 123000000510323210205013201000
Slightly Less Damage, but with enough points in frost to get Ice-Barrier. Also improved cone of cone for big shatter crits.

PoM Pyro Build : 21/40/0 - http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/basics/talents/mage/talents.html?2300252010230100000000005523201230003 125312000000000000000000000000
Another big damage build with the added ability to launch an instant pyroblast every three minutes using presence of mind.

Arcane Fire Build : 31/30/0 - http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/basics/talents/mage/talents.html?2050252010232100320100005523201030003 123000000000000000000000000000
This extends the points in the arcane tree to obtain arcane power, pretty much the 3 minute mage of the fire variety.

These are not definitive builds, depending on your own playstyle you may prefer to move points around within each tree.

02-11-2007, 03:58 PM
General Tips:

Sounds obvious, but if you can get a polymorph on the opponent at the begining that's already a great start. Polymorph->Pyroblast will start you off with a lead against any opponent.

Assuming equal geared opponents (which, lets face it, is not usually the case. Typically you will outgear or be outgeared by the people you face), you must bear in mind that you are capable of some of the biggest single-target damage on the field. Most classes are going to crumple under the damage you deal but you are also very squishy in comparison.

Do not blink unless you have a good reason, but when that reason arises make sure you blink as instantly as possible. I have a five button mouse and blink is bound to one of the side buttons, right next to my thumb. So my reaction time for blink is pretty nice (IMHO, anyway :)).

Whilst mentioning mouse buttons, the second side button on my mouse is bound to 'reverse camera' which lets me look behind instantly at any time. This can be found in the key-bindings menu under ........... and is a useful action to have available.

Spell steal is incredibly useful, however it also costs a lot of mana. Only use it when they have an ability that makes your life much harder. It's all very well spell stealing rejuvenation, but was that heal actually worth the mana you spent?

Mana shield sounds great doesn't it? Stops you taking damage at the cost of some mana... Only use mana shield for specific reasons and dont keep it up when that reason has gone. Mana shield will suck your mana dry if you keep it up too long. You need that mana to kill your opponent. There isn't much any mage can do with no mana.

Mages (general)
If you counterspell the opponents attempt to polymorph you, they cannot do anything to stop you from polymorphing them back (unless they are fire and use dragons breath) because counter-spell belongs to their arcane tree. Frost mages may ice-block it but thats a bit of a waste of a powerful cooldown. If I were frost I would personally let you poly me then either trinket->counter-spell or ice-block just as you finish casting.

Frost Mages

Typical pvp frost mages are something akin to 17/0/44 (http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/basics/talents/mage/talents.html?2300252010200000000000000000000000000 000000000505321310205013241051) or some variation. They rely on their shatter crit from nova or pet freeze ability to hold their opponent in place while they nuke with frostbolt or ice-lance (or both). When fighting a frost-mage you must save your blink for when you are frozen in place and blink out of it *immediately* this is your main use of blink against a frost mage, dont use it for anything else. With this build, it is typical for the opposing mage to nova then immediately counter-spell-silence, forcing you to stand there unable to blink while he unloads a frostbolt\ice-lance combo. This is where you use your trinket instead, or if you are ever trapped in ice and are unable to blink.

Choice of spell school to counter-spell is also a decision you have-to make, counter-spelling their frost tree makes them unable to ice-block but means they can counter-spell you back.

If you have lots of mana, it is possible to spell steal ice-barrier from them too.

In general the number one tip against frost mages is to not stay frozen... *EVER*.

Fire Mages
Mirror fights can always be fun, against fire mages you need to make sure they have as little time to attack as possible. This means initially fire-blasting them then attempting the dragons-breath/scorch/etc combo described above which will leave them fairly low on health. But remember they're going to try similar against you also :)

Arcane Mages
There's not much you can do against a presence-of-mind-pyroblast except throw up fire-ward as soon as you hear PoM become active and pray it doesn't crit (at least he wont be able to do it again for another three minutes :P). If you're *really* quick you can try spell stealing PoM but I generally go for fire-ward instead, because you're unlikely to beat the Pyro unless he doesn't have it macro'd.

My favorite thing to do against arcane mages is to spell steal Arcane Power :)

Rogues become *much* tougher opponents when you're fire. If they outgear you, there wont be much you can do really. But run away as soon as cloak of shadows goes up, do *not* blink away as you become an even easier target for a rogue if your blink is on cooldown. Also try not to trinket the stuns, otherwise he is likely to blind you and restealth. I typically run away from cloak of shadows (which they usually apply after the dragons-breath combo described above) and try to frost nova as their CloS runs out. Decent rogues will vanish or use improved sprint from the nova, whichever, they will typically try to stun you which is where your blink comes in.

The dragons-breath combo doesn't work very well against rogues, whilst it will give them some damage it also uses up a lot of your cooldowns. If the above happens there isn't much more you can do against a rogue. Saving dragons-breath and blast-wave for after they have used CloS is much more effective. There are two types of rogues really, ones who use CloS late, and ones who use it early. I personally think the late users are the more dangerous type, CloS + Sprint means you're not going to be able to do much if you're already low on health.

Things to note, decent rogues will not cheap shot you as an opener unless they've seen you blink recently. You will typically be garrotted which applies a silence effect on you, the dot can be nasty. If he cheap shots you can blink away with little to no damage (however, expect a deadly throw follow up as he has combo-points and will want to slow you down so he can catch up). If you do blink and want to attempt a polymorph on the rogue also be wary of the deadly throw follow up. Most rogues who pvp wear the pvp gloves (it maybe the blue honor reward gloves, or the season 1 or season 2 arena reward gloves) which add a short counterspell (3 second) to the rogues deadly throw ability.

02-11-2007, 03:59 PM
Warriors are also a much more dangerous target than they were as frost. Fire mages dont have ice-barrier so the warriors damage is going to hurt if they can stay close. Warriors will typically trinket the first nova you trap them with (if they're a gnome warrior they also have the escape artist ability, which will allow them to break two).

Typical stratagies for Mage-v-Warrior are well known and the standard suggestions still apply:

Warriors can charge at you at the start of the battle, they can only charge if they are not in combat. So if you can get an attack on them (using a counter-spell or ice-lance) you can prevent the initial charge. If you dont manage to prevent it do *not* blink from the charge stun. Warriors also have an in-combat 'intercept' with a cooldown (the cooldown length depends on their talent selection). I typically try to ride the initial charge and frost-nova (perhaps with mana shield, but only if I'm desperate).

Try to keep them slowed with frost-nova, blast-wave, dragons-breath. If you get some distance use scorch instead of any longer casting spells. If you're trying to get away, keep running and firing ice-lance at them to keep them in combat. If you go out of combat he can charge you again.

Depending on how the warrior plays, it may be worthwhile to apply a fire-ward during the fight. Some warriors will use spell reflect and the fire-ward will protect you from hurting yourself too much.

A tactic some warriors use is to switch to defensive stance just before you sheep them, they will then quietly sit there as you cast Pyroblast and, just as you're about to finish casting pyro they will trinket the sheep and apply spell reflect forcing you to start the fight by pyroblasting yourself. When fighting warriors, it is useful to note which stance they are in.

Paladins have two stuns that I'm aware of. Hammer of Justice and Repentance, I'm not entirely sure what the difference is other than a) You can blink of out Hammer of Justice and b) You can't blink out of repentance. Only use trinket on repentance, if you trinket HoJ then you've left yourself open for some hurt you can't get away from.

I've found most paladins fairly easy to bring down with fire, spell stealing blessing of freedom is nice if you have the mana. Counterspell heals and dragons breath have worked well so far.

I've found warlocks can be an unknown in battlegrounds. I've come across warlocks who appear to be very squishy and go down rather fast, and others who just wouldn't die.

Druids cannot be polymorphed unless they are in caster (humanoid) form, and if you do polymorph them they can simply shape shift out. It's sometimes worth trying, especially at the lower levels of playing. There's been a few times I've polymorphed a druid and they stayed polymorphed for the duration!! But, at level 70, I think just about every druid knows they can't be polymorphed these days :)

One of the problems frost mages have against druids is that you can't freeze them inplace, they can shape-shift out of frost nova or any movement impairing effects (such as any frost chill, hamstring, frostshock etc). As a frost mage, getting big damage on a druid is usually down to timing a pet-nova and shatter combo before the druid can react. Fortunately for fire mages we don't rely on shatter to make damage!

Three types of druid you're going to come up against:

Balance Druids
Balance druids are the equivalent of shape shifting mages. They deal most damage by casting spells, they're also not so good at healing themselves (though, they still can). Balance druids are typically noticeable because they run around in moonkin form. They can do a lot of damage to you if you dont stop them from casting. Basically get in close and apply as much damage as possible, most are fairly squishy and counter-spell can help you deny them their bigger nukes.

Feral Druids
Feral druids can be a problem, they can deal damage much like a rogue.

Restoration Druids
Resto druids can heal, and they can heal well. Even if you get them low they have an ability called natures swiftness that allows them to heal almost to full pretty much instantly. Whilst you're not likely to die from a restoration druid (their damage capabilities are far less than Balance and Feral varieties), they can take a long time and a lot of mana to kill. It's most likely they're also fairly close to friends who will come to their aid.

The biggest problem with restoration druids is that you're likely to run out of mana way before they are going to die.

Shadow priests, whilst not *easy* exactly are certainly a winnable opponent.

Holy priests, like restoration shamans, are difficult to bring down because.

02-11-2007, 03:59 PM
[edit] Ahh now I see why it was longer, got confused while cutting for forums and posted a part twice >.<

02-11-2007, 04:00 PM
omg, that's way longer than it looks in Word :(

02-11-2007, 04:18 PM

02-11-2007, 04:33 PM
wtf long

02-11-2007, 04:39 PM
Yea, I didn't realise it was that long :s Bleh. It's not even half finished yet either :(

02-11-2007, 05:54 PM

05-11-2007, 03:14 PM
I've read your post thoroughly and as a Firemage (2/56/3) I reckognize a lot of what you're writing. The only exaggeration in my case is that I have more dmg, most likely more crit, and WAY less hp and 0 resillience. Hence amplifying the effects described.

I found this build very good in situations where you can assist, AB and AB mostly while it's hard to take on 2 opponents at the same time.

A tip I found useful, try to polymorph druids as often as you can. Shapeshifting costs a lot of mana, polymorph does not and they will run out of mana quite fast this way.

I do arena's 2vs2 with a frostmage, and that makes for a nice combo, there are hardly any healers around that can nuke through the dmg/db/cs you can bring, while the frostmage generally keeps the dps busy, with an elemental to grab those pesky pillar-abusing ppl. Now I won't claim I'm good at PvP or anything, but we tend to win more often than we lose with this setup.

Also worth mentioning is that while doing WSG you can assist the flagrunner by using blastwave on the chasing enemies, it has a large range and the slow is amazing.

It's an interesting read, it was really a 'hey I play the same' kind of read, cheers for writing (must be a lot of work) and as a last note: Fire > Frost, it's certainly more interesting :P

05-11-2007, 04:01 PM
What happened to your 1 man team Jeth?

05-11-2007, 04:58 PM
0-100 was a good losing streak that need to end

05-11-2007, 07:34 PM
Haha, indeed getting my assed kicked everytime and getting a ~1100 rating was a bit crappy, now we're winning ~80% of the games and almost back at 1500 rating.

But that was not the point :)

06-11-2007, 10:05 AM
Rather than a guide to playing as fire, it's intended as an introduction for mages who want to swap from frost to fire, trying to point out major differences. I think Sylana has about 26% fire crit (including talents) and Nascent has close to 30% fire crit. I certainly need to work on spelldamage, but even with ~500 spelldamage Nascent does pretty well in his battlegroup as fire.

Though I should mention, I've personally found Cyclone battlegrounds have a better playerbase than Ruin. But there's also more servers and the tactics work about the same in either BG.

I was thinking of looking for a frostmage to play with too :)

And thanks for reading it! Tbh after seeing how long it was I didn't think anyone would and wondered if I should bother writing more otherwise I'd be getting lots of "too long, didn't read. lol" replies :)

06-11-2007, 12:50 PM
From having played as Frost since forever, also without having read what you wrote Ail.

Oogie in Frost, has about 15% crit i think, with around 800 spell damage (raiding gear with two bits Fire only)
In Fire, he has around 30% crit and about 950ish Fire.

Thought Frost is great for PvP (which I have been doing more of lately) I much prefer the wham bam thankyou ma'am of fire.

I know this lot may have already been said, but I wanted my PoV too :)

EDIT: I say since forever, I was asked to go Fire when our ten man entered kara, I was uncomfortable at first but then got very used to its play style. I enjoy it loads now.

16-11-2007, 04:33 AM
2.3 is win! I wanted to post this in the other thread but it was closed (due to drama I reckon).
My empowered Fireball is rly nice, I could use some ZA loving but for now I'm throwing quite powerful fireballs at my enemies. I even nuked a paladin before he could go bubble, and with horde-paladin skills that says something: I have no raiding gear whatsoever and I'm seeing 3500 fireball crits, no ignite included ofc. T-6 mages will prolly laugh at this dmg, but it works for me.

Also the new cast thing rocks, everything seems to go faster, which I like. no more waiting to push hotkeys. Constant spamming with whatever you got ftw says I!!!!

As a fire-mage I approve of the new patch!

16-11-2007, 08:38 AM

Dont have a computer with me :(

(flying home tonight :D)

16-11-2007, 11:59 AM
As a fire-mage I approve of the new patch!

Me too, it rocks so far!! :)

16-11-2007, 03:29 PM
I read the mage/rogue duel part, and the tips you gave seem quite correct.

Although you might include some tips against ze new lolstep mace or sword rogues

16-11-2007, 03:35 PM
we fought you last night shadowjan... Your a bit low rated for your gear, squished us :(
Leather Webcam (http://www.girlcamfriend.com/webcam/fetish/leather/)