Posted 14 October 2010 - 02:04 AM
Some key rules of thumb concerning the "Burn" phase
There are a few factors you will want to consider when thinking about "When should my next burn be?" or "What cooldowns should I wait for before I burn again?". These are:
How long is my "burn" phase
The time it takes for you to burn from 100% to ~40% mana will dictate whether you should start burning as soon as Mana Gem comes off of cooldown vs. waiting out for evocation to get closer to coming off of cooldown. A decently geared 80 mage should not have an issue starting his next burn as soon as Mana Gem is available, since, due to the warped stats and mana cost ratios, his burn phase will last a considerable amount of time.
This will not be the case at 85, where you will have to more closely manage the your evocation cooldown, and time the ending of your burn phase to precisely the moment evocation comes off of cooldown.
At which moments during the fight can I safely Evocate without interruption
This is probably the single most important factor when deciding when to burn. It is imperative that your "regen" phase executes successfully. Due to this, it is completely acceptable holding off on a burn phase while you wait for a moment in time where you know "X seconds from now, I will be able to successfully evocate" (where X = how long your burn phase takes).
Barring 'special' cases, you will want to start your 'burn' phase with Mana Gem
The only times you should not wait for MG to come off cooldown to start a burn phase is if the fight will end very soon and/or some fight specific mechanic's timing can justify it (e.g. a boss is vulnerable every 1.5 mins and the timings just don't sync up). In all other cases, using mana gem is your trigger to start the burn phase (AP will be available by default).
The Arcane Mage's burn phase contains a considerable portion of Arcane's overall damage. It is as critical to successfully pull it off as it is for, say, a Fire mage to ensure LBs uptime, or a Frost mage to ensure he is maximizing the use of his FoF procs. Due to this, the other two phases are just as critical since all three phases are inexorably linked together (one phase's failure will cascade into the next phase, which then starts a chain reaction).
As a general rule of thumb for Arcane, you do not want to be in the position where you are casting for a significant portion of time at low mana (i.e. you never want to be at a low mana % trying to wait out evocations cooldown). The critical aspect of this rule that you must consider, is that a failure in any one of your three phases can lead to this undesirable situation.