I’ve been in a weird place since 4.2 mentally. It might be the unbearable summer heat or maybe frustration with trying to get a new set of progression bosses down, but I’ve been feeling like my mage DPS wasn’t up to par. I know that I am not a top guild progression mage, but in the guilds I’ve ran with I’ve always been near the top of the DPS meters. Lately it was slipping to fourth or fifth. This is personally disappointing as I think of myself as reasonably geared to my Effing DPS peers. So a little over a week ago I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back into magery shape.
Finding a Spec
First thing I did was re-evaluate my specs. I had been going Fire spec primarily and decided to try out arcane as most people seem to be getting better parse results with that. I read up on Elitist Jerks and saw that Fire just wasn’t scaling as well into the new tier. Yes you can still do quality DPS, but there will not be the consistency you’d expect from Arcane. I toyed around with Frost which can be viable, but you sacrifice output for what you gain in control.
Tweaking my Gear
Next I downloaded Rawr and started getting my enchants, gems and reforging in line with where I should be for optimal DPS output. I followed the suggestions and regemmed and reforged my gear to maximize for my arcane spec. I kept fire as my second spec simply for AoE DPS situations. Arcane’s emphasis on mastery works well with Fire’s DoTs, though my gear is not optimized for Fire at this time.
Worked on My Rotation
I needed a baseline to figure out where my DPS should be. I figured I cannot control what buffs and debuffs will be in play from week to week with our revolving roster, so I should try and find what my self buffed (minus food and flask) should be. I downloaded Simulationcraft and played around with it to make sure I was getting an idea for how much damage I should be doing at teh practice dummies. Then I went there and practiced a lot. This led me to make an arcane burn phase macro. The core component of the Arcane burn cycle is timing your cooldowns to all stack when you have 4 stacks of the Arcane Blast debuff. You follow the burn phase with Evocation and go into conserve phase until they all line up again. My macro:
#showtooltip Arcane Power
/use Mana Gem
/cast Arcane Power
What this does is makes sure I use my on use trinkets as well as my mana gem for maximum DPS output. I also make sure I have the mana gem and DPS trinket visible on my bars as wellto make sure everything is off cooldown when I pop Arcane Power.
Take Myself Out for a Spin
On Saturday I was on standby for our Firelands raid. I felt pretty good about my DPS on Friday’s raid, but my situational awareness on Shannox was pretty bad. So while the Effers were off I ran some heroics, did my dailies, and got into a Baradin’s Hold 25 man raid PUG. I don’t pug raid often, but I find it kind of interesting because here is a group that has no knowledge of you, and in many ways you find yourself needing to prove yourself not an idiot by standing in the fire or they will verbally berate you and kick you from the group.
In the 25 man I didn’t stand in the fire. I stacked properly and I finished 6th on the recount I had running. I was significantly over similarly geared mages in the same spec, and the difference in the top 8 DPS was just a small amount. I didn’t get any loot, or recognition as a great player for anything. But I felt coming out of that thing that I had done really well. It was like going for a run and realizing you did 3 miles in 25 minutes. Yeah you could do better, but maybe you aren’t in suck bad shape as you thought.