The Basics of Playing with Fire

So we live in the 4.0+ world. I already covered in flowchart form how to play Arcane.  I will now attempt to teach you the basics of playing a fire spec. Fire has had the same core mechanic (namely spam until proc) for a few expansions now, but they have added two major advancements in the fire spec which I think make it a lot more fun to play.

What Are My Best Stats?

Intellect is king. it is the main thing you should be gemming and enchanting for when modifying your gear. After that it is Hit until capped, then haste and crit are about equal and mastery is the least valuable stat. Everything else (Strength, Spirit, Agility etc etc are absolutely worthless).

While stat equivalencies vary as you gear, and at best are a guideline and not any sort of hard fast rules Mr Robot puts the stats like this:

  • Intellect =100
  • Hit = 73
  • Haste =44
  • Crit =42
  • Mastery =38

This means that you need 2.72 points of haste to equal 1 point of intellect. As you gear up reforging is your friend, turn mastery into hit as you need to, and if you should pass hit cap turn that mastery into haste or crit.

The Spec

The short list of what to take is take everything in Fire except Improved Fire Blast, Blazing Speeds, and Molten Shields. Pick up Netherwind Presence from Arcane for some haste, and grab Piercing Ice from Frost for some crit.

Here is a sample spec.

This will give you the fire arsenal in all of its glory. Key things to note:

The Rotation

Single Target DPS

For single Target DPS you have a series of spells that will take priority.

1. Living Bomb should have as close to 100% uptime as you can get without clipping it. Reapplying early will cost you significant DPS.

2. Keep the Critical Mass Debuff up as much as you can. The extra crit chance against the target not only helps the raid but feeds Master of Elements (mana refund) and helps with Hot Streak procs.

3. Flame Orb should be used almost every time it is up. I say almost because if there are targets you should not be hitting it is better to be safe than sorry.

4. When you get a Hot Streak Proc cast Pyroblast as soon as possible.

5. Know when to “Burn” and when to “Hover”.

  • “Burn” means that when you don’t have to do any of the above things you spam fireball.
  • “Hover” means instead of spamming fireball you mix in scorch to save mana.

So how do you know when to Burn and when to Hover? Well there are a few things you need to look at. First, can you evocate if you need more mana? If yes feel free to Burn. Is there a trinket or raid buff that is giving you extra spell power for a limited time? Feel free to burn. Is the target below 35% health? Burn burn burn!

When do you hover? When none of the burn rules apply. I recommend having a hover macro.  The basic guideline on when to hover is when you still have some mana left, but don’t have the optimal burn conditions, and can’t get the mana back easily.

Combustion

I’m breaking Combustion out because it is important you know when to use it. To maximize combustion you want to make sure that:

  1. Living bomb is up
  2. Ignite is on the target
  3. pyroblast’s DoT is on the target
  4. Critical mass is on the target

When all 4 of those things are happening you want to use combustion. Luckily there is a neat little mod that will help with that.

AoE DPS

AoE has a few different ways it can roll. If it is trash that will die fast, just spam Flamestrike.

If it will be around for a while tab target a few to get 3 living bombs up and use Blast Wave and then spam Flamestrike. If Impact procs, hit Flame Blast to spread any Ignites you have rolling on the target.

Glyphs

Prime: Molten Armor, Pyroblast, Fireball
Major: Evocation, Polymorph
Minor: Arcane Brilliance, Conjuring, and Slow Fall

Final Advice

Starting to play fire, when you have been playing another spec might seem overwhelming. And to start it is. It has a more complicated “rotation” than Arcane. And there are plenty of things that you have to manage to keep your DPS high. But it will come with practice. I find using Power Auras was very useful in my learning stage. It acted like training wheels on how to play. Now most of it is muscle memory, and I feel like I’m performing about where I should be. So spend some time, set up your UI and addons right, practice on dummies, then practice in heroics, and in time Arcane or Frost will be your backseat spec.

Comments

The Basics of Playing with Fire — 5 Comments

  1. Great guide, Gnoble!

    I’m going to have to snag that combustion addon. I don’t think my glancing to see if it seems like enough debuffs are up is really cutting it.

  2. I don’t know if this still applies and I haven’t played fire in awhile, but anyway:

    Is the timing of Pyroblast and the re-application of Living Bomb still somewhat important? Given that Living Bomb can proc Hot Streak, is it better to use the GCD for Pyro before reapplying LB to avoid the risk of getting another Hot Streak proc before getting to use your initial Hot Streak Pyro?

    • I think technically you are correct that Pyro>LB. But in practice I rarely see the two come into competition on choosing which to do. The important part I want people to take away from this is, keep your DoT’s and debuffs up.

  3. Tyvm this actually prompted my last blogpost XD

    The Final Advice paragraph in particular was nice and they were words I needed to hear (read) after the other night.