Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spec dancing. Have I found the one?

A couple of nights ago, I went on a heroic Botanica run with an ex-guildy friend, one of his guild mates, my wife and a rogue from our guild. The run went pretty swiftly, and fairly smooth. The guild mate of the ex-guildy friend used a very similar talent spec to mine... One that I feel stupid as hell for not thinking of.

What are my two favourite specs?

Arcane + Ice.

I completely bypassed the spec he uses - its basically arcane, that uses Frostbolts instead of Arcane Missiles. As an added bonus the spec has Icy Veins and Cold-Snap...

That means that ever 3 mintes: Arcane Power, Presence of Mind, Icy Veins, Trinket Instant frostbolt and damage spamming...

Direct unenhanced DPS is about the same as my previous spec which relied on empowered arcane missiles and Pom Pyro's + arcane power periods for burst DPS. I visited Dr Boom to test this.

60 seconds spell burst:

Arcane: 685 DPS, about 6.6k (out of 12k) mana left and about 42k damage done.

Frost: 704 DPS, about 9.5k (out of 12k) mana left and about 44k damage done.

The damage boost to direct damage is not really noticeable - and there are clear good and bad things about each.

As Arcane: I seem to pump out a lot more mana (naturally, Empowered Arcane Missiles means I use more mana for a boost to the DPS) BUT the arcane missiles do not suffer Knock Back when hit.

As Frost: Mana use is a lot more conservative, theres a slowing effect on the mobs but if I pull multiples it means my actions are limited as the frost spells get knocked back when I am hit.

What does this mean? It means using the frostbolts makes it trickier to solo with. With the use of trinkets or my AP-POM-IV-Trinket macro I can nuke down most things before they get close (hey, chain casting 5.5k frost bolts every 2 seconds is quite impressive...) and with icy veins going (either through macro, or cold snapping for continued haste boost and knock back immunity) I can pretty much spam out damage without a lot of trouble.

The specs are pretty much on par for soloing - the frost really comes into its own when raiding...

20% spell haste is basically a straight up +20% DPS for 20s (with Arcane Power on the go, this is immense) in addition I have the survivability of a second Ice Block available, and that mana being consumed at half rate? Yeah, its nice. The ONLY drawback I have found with this frost spec, is purely down to the amount of damage it does - agro management is required. you get almost the same reduced aggro that you get using the arcane missiles - but the damage boost means that its quite a challenge. Thankfully my learning curve was done with salvation on, so I got to learn the effective way to use this new spec, witout pulling aggro every spell (just ever third spell instead!)

Here is a brief summary of each of the specs:

Arcane/Pom Pyro (old spec) 44/15/3

Soloing: 7/10 - You do good DPS, you dont suffer knockback - but you dont have a lot of control. Just straight out nuking

Raiding: 7/10 - Decent sustained DPS, Low Aggro, good mana consumption/balancing

Burst damage: 8/10 - Pom Pyro can provide anything from 3k-7k crits (with my +1000 spell damage) and arcane power provides a nice period of arcane missile nukage.

Arcane/IV 40/0/21

Soloing: 8/10 - Unless using burst damage, you do the same DPS as above, and you suffer knockback, but you have more control of the mob with straight nuking. You do have two ice blocks too.

Raiding: 9/10 - Excellent sustained DPS, moderate Aggro control, Excellent mana balancing. for example, I used 2k of mana by the time the first boss in Underbog dropped... Thats insane as far as im concerned. Increased survivability through two ice-blocks is also a bonus.

Burst Damage: 9/10 - With Icy veins you basically have an extra 20% dps on top of the burst damage Arcane/pyro does. You miss out on the Pyroblast niceness - but Frostbolt is a good substitute - I usually hit for about 5 to 5.5k when I launch off the Pom Frostbolt. I have not tried it with a fireball yet, but that could also be pretty if you can afford the aggro twitch.

When all is said and done: I noticed a marked improvement in my DPS in the two heroics I done yesterday, and I done a batch of dailys with a significant speed boost.

typically: In kara i pull 750 DPS average, in 5 mans, I pull about 550.

Ill find out the Kara dps tonight (assuming I am draughted) and in 5-mans Im averaging 850 DPS. Thats a marked 300DPS improvement - almost 40% more DPS!

Velks recommendation: Give it a go!

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