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Focusing Your Magic: Stayin’ Alive

April 11, 2010

How do you measure a successful Mage? Is it that they know what they are doing? Do the best DPS? Is it that they are helpful to others?

Well, no matter how you measure the level of success in another Mage it always will come back to one thing in particular- do they manage their threat well and do they avoid death as much as possible. Figure it this way, a dead Mage will do no DPS and is absolutely no help to his Guild/Raid, to top it all of they probably do NOT know what they are doing if they are dieing often.

Do you see my point?

Keeping yourself alive as any DPS is a crucial, and sometimes challenging part of playing the role. It’s fairly accurate to say that if a DPS dies it’s most likely their own fault, no the healer. Think of it, if you pull of the Tank you aren’t watching your threat, and standing in fire is your fault because you DIDN’T MOVE! Sure, there are instances that the Tanks die due to lack of heals/their own stupidity, but we generally call that a wipe at that point.

So, today we will be going over the “art” of not being suicidal maniacs. Yes, the fantastical world of staying alive for the entire encounter!

Threat

I’d recommend that you get some sort of threat meter such as Omen to start off. What addons like Omen do basically tell you how much threat you have/everyone else has on the targeted mob/boss. This is one meter that as a DPS you do NOT want to be winning since once you “win” at threat the target generally decides he would like to kill you.

Remember, we are trying NOT to die here, so threat management is crucial. How does one pull this off?

First of all, be aware of your threat and how much the Tank can do. If it is an exceptional Tank then you most likely will not have to worry about threat, but if you find yourself climbing the meter at a rapid pace get ready to click one of two of your evasive maneuver buttons. The first (and better of the two) being invisibility and the other being Ice Block.

Invisibility does just as it says, it is basically a vanish using the “mystical arcane” in which only other invisible players (Mages) are able to see you AND you can see them. Tricky, eh? Yes, but what it does for us in a PvE setting is it drops ALL threat you have on ALL enemies. This does have to be timed a bit, however as it takes 3 seconds of you not doing damage as you “phase in” to the invisible plane. Basically you have to play “fortune-teller” for 3 seconds thinking if it’s worth it to not do DPS for a few seconds in order to go invisible. Short, sweet, very fun!

Ice Block is generally used in situations where you are taking massive damage that is unavoidable. Think of it as the button for 1) Unavoidable obstacles or 2) Adds/boss is on you and you can’t get it off. It negates all damage you take as well as freezes you in place unable to cast spells. Also the target immediately switches to player #2 on the list of threat which hopefully is the Tank. Basically your Tank has 10 seconds to regain his threat position over you before you are forced out of the Ice Block. It’s a hell of a lot more risky than Invisibility, but is not a bad second options for when things are ACTUALLY HITTING YOU.

TL;DR- Invisibility is for when enemies could/will switch to you and will be used as a threat drop, and Ice Block is for when you are taking heavy damage and/or have the enemy/enemies on you.

Fire/Poison/Purple Circles/Whatever else

There is less decision-making made when you are standing on fire, but nonetheless many people can not even handle this. Hopefully this is merely a reminder to most of you, but in case it’s not let’s go over the insane difficulties of getting out of fire/other obstacles.

Blink is for getting out of high-damaging areas swiftly. What it does is teleports you 20 yards in front of where your character is facing which is hopefully somewhere that is not consumed by fire. The cooldown is only 15 seconds so it should hopefully be available every single time that you find yourself in fire making it our ace in the hole for getting out of obstacles. However, with our relatively small HP and natural squishiness you need to think FAST when avoiding obstacles with Blink!

Ice block is another viable option, but in all honesty, it’s best saved for times when you are taking massive hits from adds/boss damage. Determine what is best for the current place and time, and at that point figure out if it’s even worth it to use Ice Block as opposed to running out of fire/blinking out!

Mana Shield is one of your best friends when it comes to taking damage in general. Although it does drain your mana quite a bit, it will give you a few seconds to avoid whatever obstacle is currently in your way. Figure it this way- an OOM Mage and a Dead Mage both do not do any damage, however the OOM Mage will hopefully be able to evocate another day!

TL;DR- Use your judgement as to what is the best way to avoid the current obstacle that is separating you from DPSing and living. Whether it’s Ice Block/Blink/running away do what will keep you alive!

Great job, class, I hope to see you all here next Sunday same time, same place for your next lesson on Focusing Your Magic!

Happy WoWing
-Craig

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