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Focusing Your Magic- Focus Magic

March 28, 2010

Deathbringer Saurfang, my nemisis, we shall meet again someday!

After a few name changes, Crando’s weekly Mage miniguide is ready to serve its purpose. Educating YOU in the magical field of the Arcane!

Alright students, to recap we have spoken recently about two things. The different viable specs in PvE (Player vs. Environment) and the stats that best suit them. Before we dive deep into gear choices and other things, we should learn a crucial ability in all of the specs spellbooks-Focus Magic!

Okay, so you may be thinking now, “if someone can’t comprehend this ability and use it to its maximum potential they should just roll a Warlock”. In which case, fine, go roll a Warlock, but we are still going to do a quick review on the subject!

What Does it Do!?

First of all, the spell Focus Magic is a buff that does two things. If you read the tooltip it will say that once you put it onto a player it gives them an additional 3% chance to crit with their SPELLS. In addition to them getting a bonus, you also get a bonus 3% to crit with your spells whenever they crit with any of their spells.

Confusing, eh? Sort of. Basically what you have to do is buff a player in your Group/Raid that you know adores crit so much that they will give the 3% spell crit part of the buff to you almost 100% of the time. It’s ideal to have a Class that a) uses spells and b) crits a LOT!

Is it hard finding someone who can crit a lot with their spells? Unless you are the only Caster in your Raid/Group, then no it is not. So, now that we have the basic idea of how FM (Focus Magic) works, let’s look at who has priority for your FM!

Who get your buff?

This decision should be made carefully as it is the equivalent of naming your newborn child. I’m not even joking. You don’t want to name your boy Nancy regardless of the humor at his expense as you would not want to give a Tank your FM! Focus Magic is serious business!

  1. Other Mages- All Mages enjoy a delicious amount of crit, and since all of our abilities are spells it helps us 100% of the time. However, other Mages also can give you THEIR FM and with 100% up time you both get 6% crit rather than the 3% you both would have if you gave it to anyone else.
  2. Warlocks- Set aside the sibling rivalry we share and figure it this way. Warlocks like crit, they sling as many spells as we do so we can ensure that the 3% crit is used to its fullest potential. Sure, they can’t put a Focus Magic back on us, but they are a close 2nd if there are no other Mages in your Group/Raid!
  3. Ele Shammy/Boomkin/Spriest- I’m not sure whether to put the rest of the Caster DPS with the Warlocks or not. I suppose it does make a difference if you are friends with a Spriest/Boomkin/Ele Shaman/Lock and there are no Mages in the group. In which case it would be best to give it to a friend, or the most geared person. It’s your decision I guess, but I’ve always preferred: Mages > Warlocks > The Rest.
  4. Holy Pallies/Disc and Holy Priests/Resto Druids/Resto Shamans- Alright, if there are no other Caster DPS in your group (if you are the only Caster in a Raid be afraid) then you may as well give it to a Healer. They will not crit as much as an equally geared Caster, but they at least use spells so the buff will be up an acceptable amount of the time.

Basically who you give FM depends on a series of questions:

1. Are there any other Mages? If yes, then give it to them. If no-

2. Are there any other Casters? If yes, decide between them. If no-

3. Are there any Healers? If yes, give it to them. If no-


It’s as simple as that. You do not give this to anyone else as those people are the only people that use spells, or enough of them to allow us to get as much up time for FM as possible. It’s plain and simple!

Edit- As Sheildbreakr and Anexxia pointed out in the comments it could be a better decision to give the FM to an Afflic Warlock or Spriest if you are deciding not to FM trade with other Mages. Like they said, a Spriest/Afflic Lock’s DoTs can keep the FM up time to a very high percentage of the time. It’s personal preference more than anything!


Just one more thing before I let you all go, when you are in a Raid or Guild with a bunch of other Mages (probably a 25 man Raid) you should consider setting up a FM “rotation”. Each Mage only has 1 FM to put on someone else, so having more than 2 Mages in any given Raid can be a bit of a pain to figure out who gives who FM.

To set up a “FM Rotation” you will want to first figure out how many Mages are in the Raid. Let us say 4 for good measure- Their names are Crando, Mage 1, Mage 2, and Lenny. Yes… I rather like Lenny.

Anyways, they each have a Focus Magic because they are good little Mages and didn’t spec 71 points into Frost like oh so many people in my Random Heroics. The dilema is having everyone getting a FM so ALL of the Mages can get a 100% up time of both their own FM and another Mage’s FM making 6% crit for all of them.

There are multiple ways to do it, but here’s my solution: Crando gives his to Mage 1, Mage 1 proceeds to give his to Mage 2 who gives theirs to Lenny, and finally, Lenny gives her FM to Crando. Everything is solved. It takes a bit of coordination in a PUG (pick up group), but for a Guild you can easily inform the Mages before the Raid in Guildchat, or make a post on your Guild’s forums (assuming it has forums).

Yes, Lenny is a girl’s name. What is the problem with that?

Exactly, no problems.

Anyways, good job today, I will see you all back here next Sunday for another lesson on Focusing Your Magic!

Happy Wowing!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. krizzlybear permalink
    March 28, 2010 2:41 PM

    there’s an addon called magefocus or something like that. if one mage has it in the group, he can automatically assign the rotation and announce it in raid chat. it’s quite nifty!

  2. March 28, 2010 2:49 PM

    I have to disagree with the prioritization of mages over other casters in this setup. While warlocks lack the higher crit percentages that we enjoy, their dots do activate FM. By placing FM on one of my fellow guild aff-warlocks, I generally enjoy 96-99% uptime on FM. Figure an arcane mage is casting 9 spells every 15 seconds and an affliction warlock is rolling 4 dots + 5 spells per fifteen seconds, the extra dot ticks (~12 of them) almost doubles their chance to produce FM uptime for us.

    Similar results can be gleaned from good S.Priests and Elem.Sham.

    • March 28, 2010 3:07 PM

      I know the mages in my guild will usually toss it on me (shadow priest) unless they feel compelled to FM swap with another mage. Since every tick of my many DoTs can crit, I keep it pretty active as well.

      • March 28, 2010 3:12 PM

        Excellent points, I wasn’t quite thinking about the DOTs keeping FM up. I’m going to have to edit this a bit, thanks!

  3. March 31, 2010 9:13 AM

    If I have another mage there who also has FM I’ll typically trade with him regardless of the rest of the party since we’re doing eachother a favor. If they don’t have it then I move to a priority system.

    For priority, the spec of the caster plays a large role. Some specs just crit more often, or more easily than others.

    AMage > ALock > FMage > SPriest > DLock > BDruid > ElShaman > HPally > RDruid > everything else.

    With the crit-happy FoL Paladin not nearly as common as it used to be I would probably swap them with Resto Druids now, actually but leveling two mages to 80 has instilled that priority into me to the point that I don’t even consciously think about it any more.

    • Wyatte permalink
      April 7, 2010 2:18 AM

      Yeah I was reading the posts about focus magic and found it interesting that some were suggesting that focus magic be put on a lock and a shadow priest over a mage. I haven’t been in a raid with an affliction lock for a while now and I don’t imagine too many locks would want to raid as affliction over destruction anyway. The benefit of giving focus magic to mage is a little less now because arcane empowerment isn’t triggered from crits anymore, but it is still a benefit for one class to have 6% increased crit compared to only 3%.

  4. Maker permalink
    April 1, 2010 3:46 PM

    Before I start, I’d like to say that I’m an elemental shaman.

    While I understand the point of putting FM on another mage before any other caster, I’ve come across far too many mages who will insist on putting it on each other and not break the circle regardless of how many casters are topping them on the meters.

    Wouldn’t the loss in dps experienced by the mage be more than made up by the person who is already significantly ahead of them? My GM is unfortunately a mage and he can’t seem to bring himself to accept that reality. Two out of our three raiding mages are consistently beaten by at least two other casters. Sometimes all three of them are soundly beaten by others, but they refuse to break the chain.

    I’ve recently managed to convince one to break the chain and give me FM. Depending on the fight, the results appear to be cut and dry.

    What are your thoughts on this? Am I looking at this from the wrong perspective?

    • April 4, 2010 9:38 AM

      After reading the comments I have to say I’ve taken to a new understanding of FM. I look at a few things now before I go ahead and put my FM on a Mage over another caster.

      1. Is the Mage in the top 5 DPSers?
      2. Does the Mage stay alive? (no point putting it on an idiot who dies)

      I’d much prefer put my FM on a Caster in the Top5 that isn’t a Mage over a Mage in 10th place so I guess it does depend on many variables.

      From the general perspective (myself included) you would figure “3% crit + my 3% crit proccing from them = 6% crit”, but if the Mage is dead or is just plain bad then you will still only be getting their 3% crit.

      Number-wise for yourself it doesn’t “matter” as 3% crit from their FM Buff on you is exactly what you would get if you put it on a SPriest or a Affliction Warlock just giving you 100% up time, however they aren’t really using your part of the buff as well as another skilled Caster could.

      From Mages putting FM on other Mages in a chain someone always has a 3% additional chance to crit from someone else’s FM plus a chance for 3% more from your own FM proccing, but in a setting like yours when FM isn’t being used to the best of its abilities they should break the chain and try something new.

  5. Daryl Wiest permalink
    April 25, 2010 10:37 AM

    A little known fact is that Rogue’s Poisons are considered spells. I haven’t tested it since 3.3.3 dropped, but putting FM on a rogue will give you full uptime on the buff, as we hit with both weapons very frequently, and have a high crit rate as well.

  6. magey permalink
    May 18, 2010 10:24 AM

    Just for reference…mages SHOULD NOT ‘circle jerk’ FM since we get far better results from the list compiled by Elitist Jerks 🙂

    Via SimulationCraft data, mostly T9 gear but T10 mechanics.

    Spec Crit Scaling DPS-neutral Scaling
    Frostfire 1.8613 26.585
    Fire 1.6858 22.873
    Shadow 1.5419 21.995
    Elemental 1.3957 19.033
    Balance 1.2512 17.273
    Affliction 1.2487 15.851
    Arcane 1.1548 14.899
    Demon 1.1272 14.856
    Destro 1.0391 13.519
    Frost 0.7932 12.113

    Most of the bulk of the center of the list are pretty close together in value, so ignoring specs you basically never see, a good rule of thumb is fire mages first, then shadow priests, then elemental shamans, then balance druids or affliction locks, then anyone else. The typical arcane circle-jerk philosophy is very much suboptimal. These scaling factors already take into account normal well-geared dps per spec (balance druids should get about the same dps per crit% as affliction locks even though their base dps is much lower), but if your particular potential target does significantly lower dps than even the theoretical average due to lack of gear or skill, that’d need to be factored in to your situation as well.



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