A few PM's from readers saying the "Use Scorch Rotation" section still wasn't written clearly enough. It was thus rewritten again for better clarity. We're trying to explain that both types of rotations (Pure Scorch and Burn Rotation) have a time and place. Players shouldn't feel dirty for "Resorting to using Scorch", but should embrace the rotation when the time calls for it. And also to be mindful that there are times where the Burn Rotation is strictly superior and preferable, too.
Pure Scorch Rotation|This refers to only casting Scorch in rotation, not casting Fireball at all. Doing this could still provide comparable DPS to the Burn rotation. Why? The reasons are movement and Hot Streak: Scorch is a fast casting spell, and casting it more often means you get many more opportunities for Hot Streak Procs. Pyroblasts are big DPS. The other big reason is you can cast the Pure Scorch rotation while 100% moving. For stationary Patchwerk style fights: A Burn Rotation is, in a vacuum, still higher DPS than a Pure Scorch rotation by a margin of up to 10%. However, in practise, the difference may end up being much less: Burn Rotations get boosted support from the Glyph of Fireball and the 4-piece Tier 11 bonus, whereas Pure Scorch rotations do not. You may not have 4 piece, nor use the Fireball Glyph (See the Glyph section for more info). Furthermore, there are several additional factors to consider which can reduce the theoretical DPS difference:Fight with frequent unexpected movement penalise a Scorch Rotation less (You keep casting while moving)Fights with knockbacks penalise a Scorch Rotation less (You keep casting while knocked back)Adds or AOE Fights may favour Scorch Rotations (Scorch produces more Impact procs than Fireball. Also means you will have more mana available to AOE instead)In many encounters you'll find yourself casting Pure Scorch rotations during these periods. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Players might know a theoretical "Patchwerk" fight places Burn Rotation as superior DPS - but need to to take all this into account - before blindly making the assumption that Burn Rotations are always superior. They aren't. Both rotations have a time and place to be preferable, and optimal. It comes back to, again, the unique needs of each encounter.
I'll try to convert all this into something more tangible (and practical) players can relate to.
Here's a log for my kill of Atramedes (10) earlier tonight: World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis
The relevant information to look at is not my dps, but spell damage sources: Scorch and Fireball. Atramedes is a textbook example of a fight where players need to embrace Scorch - and shake off the idea that "I should always cast Fireball where possible". This is why the appropriate sections of the OP are being rewritten, to make this clearer.
There are some periods in the Atramedes fight (Air phases) where you are moving nonstop for an extended period, and stopping to ever cast Fireball is often not possible, nor worth the risk. Other sections of the fight you may squeeze in Fireballs occasionally, but again, the large amount of movement required (Discs, Sonic Breath) will often quickly force you into Pure Scorch Rotations.
For this fight, i'd recommend players initially treat it as a Scorch fight. Once you become intimately familiar with mechanics, and won't fail them due to trying to cast Fireballs more frequently (aka standing still more often), start shifting into Burn Rotations where possible. But if you try to do this in reverse, chances are you'll be failing sound mechanics more often - which is a much bigger problem in the grand scheme of things. As you could tell via the Scorch damage in my log, I simply wasn't able to burn enough mana due to the constant movement required and number of Scorches therefore cast. Ending the fight at 0 mana just wasn't really possible - and I even used Evocation either - despite this being a 8.5 minute fight. These are all things we know we should aim to do, but sometimes it just isn't possible due to the unique needs of each encounter. In hindsight, I probably Scorched too much and should try to squeeze more Fireballs in, instead of playing it safe by constantly moving. But, being the first raid on Live with him, we wanted to play it safe in general.
You can see Elluminae doing this fight as Fire also here: World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis
Notice that Fireball was the main contributor for him/her. The difference in results comes down to various factors such as: strat, positioning (very important), skill, natural spec DPS variance, raidcomp, practise and experience with the fight, familiarity with the spec in general - and so on.
This particular fight also solidifes why Fire is king when it comes to choosing a Mage spec which favours Mobility.
Edit - I could go on writing about the various problems of Fire being exposed in current raid fights. High DPS variance, dependancy on Crit, Combustion being frustrating and awkward to use. But i'll skip those (for now) and keep this post strictly about Scorch, until more people are doing said fights and can relate first hand. All these points were documented well before release, during beta, and can be found in threads such as this one: Fire Mage: Lvl 80 vs Lvl 85 Comparison - Forums - World of Warcraft
Edit 2 - To the below poster, that's true. I rewrote that line to be:
Your goal is to end each fight with exactly zero mana. However, it's not always possible to achieve this in practise. This doesn't necessarily mean you've failed or done something wrong: Unique encounter needs might mean the optimal way to end a fight is indeed with excess mana, simply because you had no other way to burn it off.