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Tyrian

Cataclysm Fire Mage Compendium

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Now that we know for sure that scorch weaving will be integral to our fire rotation - how much dps benefit to we get from saving our fireball mana for use during trinket procs and MF phase? Do the current sims take these variables into account (I'm not the best at reading the input code, but at first glance it doesn't look like simulationcraft takes these events into its priority list).

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what haste levels gain you an addition Dot tick.

Can somebody prepare/compile this information and post it in reply here, or send in a PM to me? This isn't my strong area, hopefully somebody else with a forte in this area can help out. Once its sorted, it will be edited into the OP.

With regards to the stat weights, i've seen (and been using) Simulcraft and that diagram for reference. But have been waiting on a final all-clear from the Simulcraft people first, before repasting pictures and direct links to it. Are you all happy with its accuracy now? Simulcraft has been heavily updated recently to fix bugs, improve modelling, and improve accuracy. Is it good to go, or are there any outstanding modelling issues?

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Can somebody prepare/compile this information and post it in reply here, or send in a PM to me? This isn't my strong area, hopefully somebody else with a forte in this area can help out. Once its sorted, it will be edited into the OP.

With regards to the stat weights, i've seen (and been using) Simulcraft and that diagram for reference. But have been waiting on a final all-clear from the Simulcraft people first, before repasting pictures and direct links to it. Are you all happy with its accuracy now? Simulcraft has been heavily updated recently to fix bugs, improve modelling, and improve accuracy. Is it good to go, or are there any outstanding modelling issues?

With the latest update to simcraft mastery is looking higher than haste for 359 and 372 geared sim's (double check this).

346 Shows haste very high(Extra LB tick seems like the obvious reason) and the rest have crit >mastery > haste.

Simulationcraft Results 346

Simulationcraft Results 359

Simulationcraft Results 372

Here is a chart made by nemex on MMOChampion for haste Plateaus for extra LB ticks.

http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/8325/hasteplateaus.png

edit: oh and this was posted under his chart

"Bolded are haste values easily approachable in raid-quality gear. When you're close to any of these you should prioritize Haste over Crit until you reach it. You should not be itemizing towards Combustion's Haste Plateaus."

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Thanks for the links. I converted nemex's table to something more attractive for the EJ forums. We just need a few people to look over the information here and give it the all-clear on accuracy first. It's easy for me to update/change numbers if you see mistakes on the table, just point them out.

[table=head]Name|Notes|||||

Additional Ticks|+1 Tick|+2 Ticks|+3 Ticks| + 4 Ticks||Notes:

Default Haste %|12.5%|37.5%|62.5%|87.5%||NP = Netherwind Presence (3/3)

+Nothing|1601 Haste|4802 Haste|8004 Haste| 11205 Haste||Troll BS = Troll Berseking Racial

+NP|1181 Haste|4289 Haste|7397 Haste|10506 Haste||Goblin = Goblin 1% Haste Racial

+NP + Raid|516 Haste|3476 Haste|6436 Haste|9396 Haste||Raid = Standard 5% Haste Buff

+NP + Raid + Heroism|-|-|1996 Haste|4283 Haste|| Heroism = Heroism / Timewarp / Bloodlust

|||||

+Goblin|1458 Haste | 4628 Haste|7798 Haste|10967 Haste|

+Goblin + NP|1043 Haste|4120 Haste| 7197 Haste|10275 Haste|

+Goblin + NP + Raid|383 Haste|3314 Haste|6245 Haste|9176 Haste|

+Goblin + NP + Heroism|-|-|1849 Haste|4103 Haste|

|||||

+Troll BS|-|1867 Haste|4535 Haste|7203 Haste|

+Troll BS + NP|-|1440 Haste|4030 Haste| 6620 Haste|

+Troll BS + NP + Raid|-|762 Haste|3229 Haste|5695 Haste|

+Troll BS + NP + Raid + Heroism|-|-|-|1425 Haste|

[/table]

(Edit) - Following Roywyn's comments below, the table used in the OP is more compact than this one. We'll leave this full table here for reference for any Goblins / Troll Mages who might be interested. My understanding is that this table applies to Living Bomb, Pyroblast (DOT) and FFB (Dot). Not Combustion or Ignite.

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Haste and DoTs

Your DoT spells get their first extra tick when you have an amount of haste that would theoretically grant you only half an extra tick. For every extra tick after the first, you need the additional amount of haste which would grant you an extra DoT tick. As an example, a DoT that ticks 5 times would in theory require an additive 1/5 = 20% haste for every extra tick.

For Fire Mages, Living Bomb and Pyroblast tick 4 times. That means they require 12.5%, 37.5%, 62.5% haste for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th tick. However, you'll have 5% haste from any caster hybrid, 3% haste from Netherwind Presence, thus you'll get your first extra tick at 516 haste (Goblins 384), your second extra tick comes at 3476 haste (Goblins 3315). Being a Goblin or being able to keep Pyromaniac up will change those values of course, as will any kind of temporary haste buff. The first step is trivial, the second step too high for current gear.

Those are the major thresholds. Combustion ticks 10 times, Flame Orb ticks 15 times, so they get ticks in smaller steps of 10% and 7% and the spells are on a cooldown timer, so the their steps are small compared to Living Bomb and Pyroblast's thresholds. Ignite doesn't change with haste.

[Edit]: Posting the whole table above seems overkill for an introduction, most of the listed values are completely out of reach anyway.

[Edit]: Tyrian how about this for gemming/gearing in a nutshell (assuming CSD goes back to easy requirements like announced)?

"Use the Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond - Item - World of Warcraft. Pick gear with hit rating or reforge other ratings into hit rating to reach the hit cap. Focus on red INT gems, use some orange/purple gems when the socket bonus is good and for the meta requirement."

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I would question whether Glyph of Blink actually makes the spell flat out better. Often when I was blinking during a raid boss I would overshoot my destination slightly and have to double back. I'd more classify it as situational, obviously if you are covering large distances it's great but if you're just quickly getting out of some fire it could be counterproductive.

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[table=head]Rank|Name|Notes

2|Hit|You need 17% hit (1742 rating) for Tier 11 boss mobs. Aim to cap your Hit Rating early. This is difficult to achieve with Cataclysm level combat ratings without consciously trying. You'll need to consider ways to get additional Hit Rating on your gear via: Hit Gems , Hit Enchants, Reforging

[/table]

You should should be more precise in the part I bolded: you do not want to reach hit cap with hit gems in fact. Even below hit cap, you should gem for as much Intellect as you can (within the meta requirement restriction).

So the advice should be: to reach hit cap, first use just enough hit gem to activate the meta, then get the hit enchants when they give as much rating as the other enchants, and finally, if you have not reached hit cap yet, reforge you weakest rating into hit rating.

If you're interested, here are the latest scaling factor for a fire mage with ilvl 359 epic gear. I just computed those with the latest version of Simulation Craft from the repository (Release 5998).

Mage_Fire_T11_359 ( 10 000 iterations, margin of error : +/- 0.05 )

Int=3.6299

Hit=2.7328 (this is below cap of course)

SP=2.4052

Crit=2.0084

Mastery=1.1919

Haste=1.1463

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Thanks for the feedback. Points from each of the above posts above were edited into the appropriate section of the OP. The "Gearing a Fire Mage" section was improved, and now should be a better resource (both in accuracy and ease-of-reading) to both new and old players alike. Please continue to repy with corrections or suggestions as necessary.

Eager to include a (brief) overview of the more common / popular techniques Fire Mages employ to elevate their level of play. So far these are:

1 - Combustionhelper. Mentioned already.

2 - Mouseover Living Bomb macro

3 - Powerauras (To display an alert when Living Bomb is not on / drops off your current target)

Do players use other special Mods or Macros which we should be aware of? Any special mods to manage mana more closely?

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  • T3 Hot Streak gives no benefit above ~45% Crit
  • T3 and T4 cross over at about ~34% crit chance. That is, below ~34% crit, T3 is more valuable, above that point T4 is more valuable.
  • Below ~19% crit, T4 HS gives you less than ~1% chance per cast for a HS proc, if you have T3 HS.
  • Below ~9% crit, T4 HS gives you less than ~0.1% chance per cast for a HS proc, if you have T3 HS.

I've had some questions from fellow mages who are presuming that they should drop points in improved hotstreak if their crit is below 34%. I asked where they read that, and the answer is "EJ". It's difficult to explain that you are talking about the crossover point and comparing T3 to T4, and not necessarily T4 to arcane concentration or other alternative options. I should direct them to your post where you answer the question "whether there's any niche builds for fresh 85 mages with low Combat Ratings, which intentionally skip T4 Hot Streak"? Your conclusion was that it would only be a niche spec based on interrupting that might benefit.

One of the mages I spoke to had 14% crit on gear and was looking to drop the talents until I pointed out that raid buffed it would be closer to 30% and therefore imp HS is about 5% chance. She is a fresh 85 and wearing blues/greens and 2T10-277. That leads me to conclude that it would otherwise be a very poorly geared 85 who should contemplate dropping the talent.

Therefore I was wondering if this section could be reworded at all? For example,

  • Below ~30% raid buffed crit, T4 HS gives you less than ~5% chance per cast for a HS proc.
  • Below ~19% raid buffed crit, T4 HS gives you less than ~1% chance per cast for a HS proc.
  • T3 and T4 cross over at about ~34% crit chance. That is, below ~34% crit, T3 is responsible for more then half of the hot streak proc chance, while above that point T4 contributes more to the proc chance.
  • T3 Hot Streak no longer gives benefit above ~45% crit

Perhaps also (before the spoiler tag) include a guideline, "Generally, once you are above average item level 305, you will have sufficient crit in a 25-man raid setting for Improved Hot Streak to be valuable."

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For further clarification, is it correct that T3HS is not affected by the Scorch debuff, whereas the successrate of T4HS is?

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I'm curious how [shard of Woe] (Sinestra) might affect Fire dps. The current non-heroic instances don't leave me hungering for mana with strong ffb use in my rotation, so this may be a moot point for now, but I'd like to know if this item might be worth it in 25 mans. I know haste is sub-optimal for a stat, but it's on a 1 minute cooldown. And 405 mana off your spell cost seems like a lot over the course of a fight.

Also, does Master of the Elements still return a % of the base mana cost BEFORE this trinket's mana reduction is applied? I would think so, but if it doesn't, then this trinket would be nerfing MoE.

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For further clarification, is it correct that T3HS is not affected by the Scorch debuff, whereas the successrate of T4HS is?

As far as we know, this is accurate. T3 Hot Streak is not affected by debuffs such as Critical Mass, and thus the proc chance of T3 HS is not affected by debuffs. T4 Improved Hot Streak is, by it's very nature, affected by debuffs, thus the chance of T4 HS is increased by debuffs.

In short, Critical Mass increases the relative value of T4 vs T3 HS.

* note: this needs/will receive more testing to confirm.

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Possibly worth adding to the OP: Flame Orb does not ignore CC in its target selection.

It also seems to be subject to a lot of the same terrain abonormalities as blink. For instance it seems to be impossible to get a flame orb to travel any distance in Slabhide's room (Stonecore). Blinking in this room seems to yield the same results.

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1 - Combustionhelper. Mentioned already.

On this topic, i added on the latest version a warning for early Living Bomb refresh along with recap of how many early refresh done for the fight, which is rather useful to improve playstyle.

Now if only i could get the formula of Combustion accurate enough to predict Combustion damage...

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That's a nifty feature, it'll come in very handy. I'd love to see Combustionhelper also get one additional feature which would be hugely useful: Ability to track which type of Ignite is on the target: Scorch, Fireball or Pyroblast. You mentioned you were working on this, but having difficulty implementing it?

The OP will be updated later tonight after my raid with a section for Simulationcraft, looks like it's almost out of beta (DPS values are changing very little with each improvement now) and the page has been cleaned up nicely: Simulationcraft Results .

We also need to improve the section on good Flame Orb use. People who've done heroics or raids now will have noticed that sometimes it gets stuck on seemingly-flat terrain, or due to sudden boss movement or mis-aiming, misses the boss completely and despawns, break CC, and sometimes attacks things when you shouldnt (eg Tron Council Shields).

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On this topic, i added on the latest version a warning for early Living Bomb refresh along with recap of how many early refresh done for the fight, which is rather useful to improve playstyle.

I noticed this new feature last night, and it's pretty cool, but when there is actual AoE to do, then it tells me I'm refreshing even though I'm doing the LBs on different mobs. The Scorchio2 addon it's able to track separate LBs, maybe you can see how they do that and adjust CombustionHelper?

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That's a nifty feature, it'll come in very handy. I'd love to see Combustionhelper also get one additional feature which would be hugely useful: Ability to track which type of Ignite is on the target: Scorch, Fireball or Pyroblast. You mentioned you were working on this, but having difficulty implementing it?

How exactly would that work? How would you classify an Ignite that was started by a Pyroblast, but since then added a Scorch? Isn't the value of the Ignite ticks the only measurement of consequence?

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How exactly would that work? How would you classify an Ignite that was started by a Pyroblast, but since then added a Scorch? Isn't the value of the Ignite ticks the only measurement of consequence?

As for how it could work or whether it's even possible, I don't know. That's up to smart coders and the mod author to attempt to figure out.

But for us as players, it's a feature we'd love to see. (Ideally it would tell us how much Combustion would tick for, if used X moment). We'd love to know whether our current ignites on a target stemmed from (or included) Fireball or Pyroblast crits. Impact Combustion is incredibly powerful for AOE when you pull it off correctly, this will help make it easier for us to do that. In addition, even for single target DPS we'd ideally like to catch Fireball or Pyroblast crits when using Combustion.

If anyone notices raid encounter rooms where Flame Orb behaves incorrect or oddly, please note them here. They'll eventually be included into the OP.

I did several bosses tonight as Fire and Frost. Halfus Wyrmbreaker (With Whelps) is an excellent example of an opportunity to showcase Fires superior AOE power and Mobility. Impact, Impact Combustion and Pyromaniac all see extensive use - and allow Fire mages to excel on this encounter. Timing your Combustions perfectly is a big part of it. Omnitron Council has an opportunity (on Toxicron) for favourable AOE conditions when the Poison Bombs are up as well.

Vontre, should we be using Blastwave on CD (talented with Improved Flamestrike) whenever only 2 mobs are present?

I'm curious how [shard of Woe] (Sinestra) might affect Fire dps

This is going to be an important question to answer. Hopefully soon we can get an answer pinned down.

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Vontre, should we be using Blastwave on CD (talented with Improved Flamestrike) whenever only 2 mobs are present?

Pretty sure yes. I haven't paid a ton of attention to how that works but assuming you just add together the damage of Flamestrike and Blast Wave that would easily annihilate our single target dps rotation, timers and all. Assuming you get the dot ticks, anyway. Might even be one target, although there's some additional "cast time" to consider from the targeting reticule so probably not. I don't have Blast Wave in magegraf for some reason but I'll add it.

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Pretty sure yes. I haven't paid a ton of attention to how that works but assuming you just add together the damage of Flamestrike and Blast Wave that would easily annihilate our single target dps rotation, timers and all. Assuming you get the dot ticks, anyway. Might even be one target, although there's some additional "cast time" to consider from the targeting reticule so probably not. I don't have Blast Wave in magegraf for some reason but I'll add it.

Keep in mind that you need two mobs to actually activate the free flamestrike, unless you were referring to proccing it on two and then having one die straight away and only getting the dot on a single target.

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The new technique Fire mages employ is Scorch Weaving, whilst using Molten Armor, in conjunction with the Improved Scorch talent. Scorch Weaving refers to casting Scorch frequently in your rotation with Fireball. Scorch is free to cast. Think of Fireball as a high damage, yet unsustainable nuke. Scorch is a lower damage, yet infinetely sustainable nuke. If you get Scorch Weaving balance right - you'll make your mana last a long time and avoid going OOM - and still be able to deliver competitive DPS. If you get the balance wrong, by casting too many Fireballs, you'll go OOM too early - and need to cast excessive Scorches afterwards while you regain mana, reducing DPS.

This is completly false.

Can you explain to me how how casting 50 fireballs till oom then 50 scorches is any different from weaving fireball, scorch,fireball, scorch, ect 50 times over?.

I suggest that the statment is rewritten.

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This is completly false.

Can you explain to me how how casting 50 fireballs till oom then 50 scorches is any different from weaving fireball, scorch,fireball, scorch, ect 50 times over?.

I suggest that the statment is rewritten.

The idea is that you should hover at the amount of mana that you would burn through from 35% boss health to zero.

Whether you scorch every other fireball or fireball five times, then scorch five times doesn't make a difference, but it does make a difference that you have enough mana to continually cast fireball while you have buffs such as Molten Fury up.

I agree that it should be rewritten, but only to include why that's desirable, and explaining that you don't need to weave scorches, you just need to hover at a certain % mana (that you know you'll burn through by the end of the boss by spamming fireball)

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This is completly false.

Can you explain to me how how casting 50 fireballs till oom then 50 scorches is any different from weaving fireball, scorch,fireball, scorch, ect 50 times over?.

I suggest that the statment is rewritten.

If you oom at the beginning of the fight, you won't have the mana to spam your main nuke during execute phase, trinket procs, or boss vulnerability phases. For those times, it is advisable to keep your mana up to some degree so you can switch to short term nuke spam.

The statement is fine, if a bit short.

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Can you explain to me how how casting 50 fireballs till oom then 50 scorches is any different from weaving fireball, scorch,fireball, scorch, ect 50 times over?.

It's different because, simply put, the latter is better in the grand scheme of things.

Now's a good time to really talk about why, so thankyou for the feedback and we'll try to make it clearer to everyone as a result.

It's the way the comment is being interpreted, but the intent behind it is correct. Perhaps "Scorch Weaving" isn't really the best word to describe it. Scorch weaving (in the OP context) simply refers to casting Scorch (with Fireball) during a fight, and not mindlessly spamming Fireball like in WOTLK. The snapshot is a raid encounter. Whether you cast 50 fireball in succession, then 50 scorches - or 1 fireball and 2 scorch repeating - you're still weaving Scorch into what you do.

The notion that you should just cast 50 fireballs then 50 scorches in this style, however, is inaccurate - and dare I say it, a bad behaviour trap to fall into.

Many raid fights simply won't let you stay stationary enough to attempt this. Some have heavy AOE periods (magmaw) where you're forced to spend your mana to AOE heavily, and won't have the luxory of something like this. Some have constant, extensive movement - where casting still to Firebal till OOM is simply not a practical option. Some have 'boss weakened phases' where you dont want to be OOM and casting Scorch, just after a 50 fireball spam phase. Some bosses (Omnitron Council) have +% damage void zones, which spawn at times beyond your control - and you want to be able to cast Fireball ideally while in them.

In short, specific encounters will force you using a ratio to various degrees, whether people like it or not.

You could indeed try the 50 cast thing on "Patchwerk style fights" like Argaloth, though their an exception, many other encounters will prohibit it to various degrees. While it's possible to play like this, it most likely will come back to bite players if that's all they know how to do - because there are simply too many encounters where a ratio style is needed (enforced by encounter mechanics) and people will need to be familiar with it.

I'll try to reword that section to better include the aforementioned points later tonight.

Edit - here's the reworded version.

Fire Mages in Cataclysm need to manage their mana carefully. Gone are the level 80 days where mana was irrelevant. Attempting to cast chain cast Fireballs will result in you running OOM around ~3-4 minutes into an encounter. You simply can't do it anymore.

Fire mages now manage their mana by extensively using Scorch during encounters. Molten Armor is used, and the Improved Scorch talent is essential. Think of Fireball as a high damage, yet unsustainable nuke. Scorch is a lower damage, yet infinetely sustainable nuke. If you cast too many Fireballs, you'll go OOM early. If you cast too many Scorches, you'll be doing less DPS (Fireball is superior DPS).

Somewhere between these two extremes you need to find the balance for a given encounter. If you get the balance right - you'll make your mana the necessary duration and avoid going OOM - and still deliver maximum DPS.

Player instincts might initially be to "Cast chain Fireball until OOM" then "Cast chain Scorch to regen". Then alternate nicely between the two. While this might be possible in specific scenarios, it's not practical (nor possible) for many others. Encounter mechanics will enforce you to adopt a mix-and-match casting Scorch and Fireball more frequently. You might need to move a lot, and simply can't stand still for long periods. You might have adds which spawn suddenly, which need to be nuked down immediately with your best DPS rotation. A boss might put put up a buff, at unpredictable times, and you'll need to be ready to spend ~4k mana to Spellsteal it at any moment. You simply cant plan around having the perfect rotation, so the solution is to mix Fireball and Scorch together when casting.

Mixing Fireball and Scorch together frequently can result in a rotation such as 2 Fireballs to every 5 Scorches cast, or similar. This style of play is referred to as "Scorch Weaving".

Scorch Weaving is optimal because it allows your mana to hover at a specific %. This is known as your Mana Reserve. You can then use your Mana Reserve to cast heavy (unsustainable) Fireball rotations for key periods. Examples where you'll want a Mana Reserve available for use at a specific time are:

- Boss Weakened Phases.

- Powerful On-Use or passive Trinket procs. Engineering Glove Tinker.

- Molten Fury range on bosses

- When you spellsteal a powerful buff ability from Bosses

- Encounter Specific +% damage mechanics. Example: Void Zones and Acid Clouds on Omnitron Council spawn and give you increased damage / damage done. When they spawn will vary between attempts, so you can't plan your rotation out perfectly in advance. You need to have a Mana Reserve on standby, ready for use on demand.

For the above reasons, many Mages will use Scorch Weaving on every encounter, once they have enough experience and practise at doing it. They are attempting to ensure their mana reserves always hover at a healthy percentage, ready for periods when Fire spam is optimal.

Remember that any leftover mana at the end of an encounter is effectively wasted DPS. Like an Arcane mage, you want to try to time your mana (with Fireball as your burn throttle) to run out just as an encounter ends.

There are two other ways you can attempt to approach mana at 85. Neither of these are optimal from a DPS standpoint, but we'll note them here for the sake of thoroughness:

1 - Don't use Fireball at all. Only cast Scorch in rotation. Despite sounding like a ridiculous thing to do, it could actually provide up to ~90% of the DPS your normal Fireball/Scorch rotation would ordinarily deliver. Surprised at how strong it is? The big reason is Hot Streak: Scorch is a fast casting spell, and casting it more often means you get many more opportunities for Hot Streak Procs. Those Pyroblasts are big DPS. Ultimately, attempting this style of play will be a DPS loss, even if not quite as big as you might initially suspect.

2 - Use Mage Armor. Using Mage Armor makes mana largely trivial again. However it comes with two key problems. Firstly, you lose DPS mobility. Firestarter allows Scorch to be cast while moving, when Molten Armor is active. There are many Cataclysm encounters where you need to move, and move often. Using Mage Armor will prevent you from DPS'ing effectively during these periods. Second: It's lower DPS. Simulations show that using Molten Armor (With Scorch Weaving) is simply put, the better thing to do. You can attempt to use Mage Armor, but you're putting yourself at a disadvantage.

While this ended up being longer than I expected, it's important we be thorough in this area: Mana Management is absolutely crucial for Fire Mages, and it needs to be explained such that everyone can understand the points easily and correctly.

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