As I mentioned in my previous post - I went ahead and respecced to fire mage. I took the cookie cutter fire-raiding build that was recommended on Wowhead/Wowwiki. (basically most of the fire tree, excluding dragons breath, and enough arcane for clearcast.)
What neat little tricks did it provide?
There were dots. Lots of dots.
There were nice debuffs that upped my fire damage (courtesy of scorch)
When the target hit 20% health, my damage output against them increased by some 20% I believe it was.
My attack cycle against trash was generally:
Occasionally I chucked a scorch in there for the debuff or if I didnt have time to get off a fireball before the mob died. I popped my +damage trinket and Combustion whenever they were cooled.
The first thing I notice with this is that:
a) I burn through a LOT of mana. I can use half a mana bar fighting a single trash mob. The rotation does not allow any of what I will call for clarity, Whiteout time. (Time outside the 5s rule that allows improved mana regen.) I get some nice mana returns with the amount of crits that were applied (25% crit rate for fire) though.
b) Agrro! I only use Iceblock to block out spells that I dont want to be hit by, or for when the tank dies in my arcane spec - in fire, I was using it everytime I got a big crit to keep the aggro on the tank till my aggro dropped below his. Invisibility was also used in abundance.
This had a two fold effect, firstly I would not be doing damage when waiting to drop below the tank on Omen and second I used the cooldown so it was not available in an emergency.
Another point to note is that my primary attack school (fire) was about 6% hit rating under the cap, whereas in arcane I was 25 +spellhit in excess of the cap. (All according to http://be.imba.hu )
Finally, despite spending some 4 hours experimenting with my shot rotation whilst we tried to clear kara trash, prince (who went down first try with 9 players) and netherspite (trash respawned when we were learning him so called it a night.) my DPS only averaged about 550. This is in boss fights with 5 stacks of scorch, and a hefty period under the 20% health margain... As arcane this DPS average was about 750.
I had a late night discussion with the tank and another guild mage who is not playing at the moment - and got some good feedback from them.
According to the tank, I scared him. Often. He reported my DPS as we went, and he also noticed that whilst before I was never on his Omen - I was always up there with him now. That extra threat and risk of screwing up for the drop in DPS... hmm.
The other mage agreed, back to arcane for me!
One thing that made me giggle though was that whilst my arcane spec averages some 750DPS, when fighting arcane immune mobs my dps dropped to 450... This is not a far punt from the 550 I was pulling as a constant fire damage dps. Yikes!
Oh - and I tried some dailys as fire... OMG eww! Those infernals just outside the village on quel'danas... immune to fire. And all my other spells would be interrupted - I had to run, almost every time...
I will wrap up this post now with one last thing I noticed. In my research of a fire spec - I looked at the spell rotation that is recommended for builds similar to my arcane.
Apparently its AB-->AB-->AB-->AM-->Scorch and repeat.
My shot rotation is AB-->AM-->Fireblast-->AM--> and repeat - throwing in my POM pyro whenever it was cooled down for a free 4-7k damage. Im going to give the Arcane Blastx3 shot rotation a try, but I get the feeling that it will be significantly less mana efficient than my rotation, and wont put out as much DPS. (+45% arcane missile damage is one of my talents)
I currently get something along the lines of:
AB = 2.5k
AM = 750x3 1200x2
FB = 3k
Clearcast proc (crit rating goes from about 30% to about 55%)
AM = 750x1 1200x4
the cycle takes
5s >enter whiteout for cycle restart for a tick of high mana regen. (usually enough for a couple of free ABs) - especially if the arcane missiles is mana-free.
The replacement cycle I expect:
AB = 2.5k
AB = 2.5k
AB = 2.5K
AM = 750x1 1200x2
scorch = 750
Time for cycle: (note im not sure about the AB reduced timings)
5s (enter whiteout)
1.5s then repeat.
Ill ignore the mana consumption for this, but that dps estimation means that
initial cycle = 14 second for 15,700 damage (1121/second damage on average)
replacement cycle = 12.5s (approx) for 13,800 damage (1104/second on average)
Humm - with the theorycrafting it would appear to do about the same DPS - but there is less whiteout time (including less chance of a Clearcast on an arcane missiles which guarantees some mana regen) The second and third arcane blasts proably equal the same mana as an arcane Missiles - I like the fireblast more than scorch.
Bah, Ill try it - and report back if it makes any noticeable difference. I apologise for any headaches, but take no responsibility in your choice to read through the tangle of theorising above :p