Modus Operandi – Why I Frost, and Why I Won’t Take Anyone’s Crap

One of my most uplifting experiences as a Frost Mage came during a ToC-25 pug.  I was in the instance with a few other individuals from very high-ranked guilds on the server.  Somehow, Winterhoof has the unfortunate quality of having a large number of elitist douchebags and ignorant scrubs in it, belonging to guilds high and low.  This one mage in particular saw me summon my squirtle, and having the audacity to point out that “frost mages don’t even deserve to be in raids.”

Let me repeat that for you.  Frost Mages don’t even deserve to be in raids.

Regardless of whether or not he was trying to troll me, or simply waving around his arcane e-penis, he certainly raised the valid issue of how Frost is behind on potential DPS compared to the other two trees.  Not that it mattered for this particular fight.  It’s only ToC-25, not progression content or anything.  He wasn’t even raid leader, so he had absolutely no say in who should and should not be included in the PuG.

Needless to say, I could have very well up and left, deciding not to even bother with idiots like him.  I only did the most sensible thing to me at the time.  I put him on ignore, and proceeded to perform spectacularly on the charts.  I believe I was doing about low-to-mid 6k DPS, and placing a respectable 3rd on the recount list, behind two other mages, one being the original guy who mocked my spec of choice, and the other a mage who was also clearly overgeared for the instance.

I snerked at my results, showing the fool that I deserved the spot I was given in this PuG, and that I was not going to let myself be carried by superior players.  I even un-ignored him out of spite, just to hear how he was reacting to the rest of the pug, who had more than encouraging words to say.

“Who was that who said Frost was worthless again?” said a random PuG member.

“Whatever.  This pug fails anyway for getting out-dps’ed by a Frost Mage.”  the guy responded.

It’s moments like these that cement and validate my choice of spec.  I look back at it, and take pride in the fact that despite my shortcomings as a less-than-optimal spec, I put 100% effort into optimizing the performance that comes from it.

I don’t look at Frost as an excuse to do “shit dps,” but rather as a challenge to do excellent dps with a “shit spec.”  I don’t only play the game to win and to be the best, but I do so under my own terms.  No way am I going to bend around and play something I hate just so I can eke out extra points.  I have a voice.  I have passion for what I do.  And I am going to be damned sure that my passion shows in my output.

I won’t be able to back up my choice with math, but I can guarantee you that I will back it up with performance.

It is my goal in this game to turn heads, to make people realize that Frost is adequate in the right hands, in the right guild.  It’s not a casual choice.  It’s a dedicated lifestyle.

That said, my choice is something that commands a great deal of open-mindedness and respect.  While I respect those who accept my abilities for what they are, I am also well aware of those who have their own beliefs and policies regarding optimization.  To them, I say that they are missing out on an opportunity to raid with someone as dedicated as I am, but I will not hold it against them.  I am out to find like-minded individuals who prefer performance over potential, rather than butting my head against the wall and crying at night over how I was unable to get into Leetist McLeet’s uberguild because I wasn’t arcane.

I accept the terms and conditions that, under the situation where I’m not performing to the best of a mage’s ability, I have the option to either respec or go home.  I choose to go home.  I choose to go home and one day return with better gear, tighter rotations, and more familiarity with the mechanics of a fight encounter.  But I will not respec.  I will do what it takes to make the grade, and I will do it as Frost.

No, I won’t frown when people close doors, but I will smile when I can make people open them.  To convert the former into the latter is something that I wish to do, and that I take immense amounts of pride in being able to do.

I am the underdog.  I am here to stay.  I am here to perform.  I am here to succeed.  I will never give up.  And I will never, ever take anyone’s crap.

53 thoughts on “Modus Operandi – Why I Frost, and Why I Won’t Take Anyone’s Crap

  1. Good on ya, bro. Good on ya.

    As for assholes like that. Most of them, even with irrefutable evidence showing them that they are a fuckhole, still won’t be able to figure it out that it’s “them” and not “everyone else”.

    Keep on representin’ the Frost! (because I’m not doing so well in that department! :P)

    • I hope to chronicle further my experiences as a Frost Mage, as to help enlighten those who wish for tips and tricks in that department. If I can do it, you can too.

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    • Can’t get the imagery out of my head, but thanks! It’s also the support that I get from this blog that drives me to continue on this path.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed that imagery. But it is true, you do make a strong case for those who have wanted to, or are Frost Mages. I currently have a second account (turned off) from a friend that has a frost mage on it… may be time to take advantage of that free 10 days I’ve got on it.

    • I criticize the game for letting its community shift towards particular paradigms about how the game should be played. But rather than pointing fingers at others, I encourage others to look at themselves, and to take a proactive approach in changing those paradigms by example, rather than force it upon others through meaningless arguments and personal attacks.

  3. I have to say I agree with your post. These are the same issues I faced when I told my guild back in BC that I was switching to my moonkin over my hunter. They weren’t happy at all to even let me raid, thinking that my dps would be garbage. Somehow I managed to convince them to give me a trial run in Kara just to prove them wrong. Needless to say there was a lot less doubting after that run when I topped the charts in my all blue gear as a moonkin and cemented myself a spot in all future raids.

    You keep proving them wrong and changing perceptions!

  4. This is exactly how I feel about playing Beast Mastery. Nothing gets the competitive drive fired up like someone saying before start “Lol your spec is for noobs” or “Your spec sux”. ;)

    • I will admit it’s a great fuel for that sort of competitive drive. I often wonder if I receive enough of a challenge in the guild that I am in. I simply wish for them to continue pushing me so I can become more masterful at my spec and in result, help them reach their goals as a guild.

  5. While I generally agree and also use that argument myself often enough, for a large fraction of people switching the spec might make a huge difference.

    On your premises only “skilled” and experienced people play with “gimped” specs, while in reality most of the time it’s really people without a clue. Same goes for the opposite, of course no one can tell you how to play, but there’s a possibility that you’d perform even better as Arcane. Myself I’ve had a really hard time switching to Axes (Combat) from Daggers (Assassination) on my main, but hell, the Axes were 205 dps each, while my daggers were 180 – this shows.
    I’m not really happy as Combat, but happy enough to work as hard as possible for a boss kill – incl. using a spec I don’t like. (And yes, I know I would have to be Subtlety by choice to qualify for a real comparison).

    • “On your premises only “skilled” and experienced people play with “gimped” specs, while in reality most of the time it’s really people without a clue.”

      My goal is to be the exception, not the rule.

      “but there’s a possibility that you’d perform even better as Arcane.”

      There’s no doubt that I perform better as arcane (I’ve tried, the playstyle is as simple as frost, if not moreso), but I choose not to, because it’s a playstyle that I do not enjoy. This game is about having fun, and I will defend that belief to the very day I hang up my mageboots.

      “And yes, I know I would have to be Subtlety by choice to qualify for a real comparison”

      For me, it’s not about choosing the gimped spec. It’s about choosing the one you love the most and sticking to it, regardless of optimization, and doing your best at it so you can be a contributing member to your team.

  6. I ran Survival for my Hunter back when it was the “crap spec” and everyone wanted to be Deep Marks or BM. I was never great but I refused to play by someone else’s decision on MY game! Frost’em up!

    • It’s about personal enjoyment first and foremost. If you wish to share your enjoyment with others, it is best done when shared with those of similar mindsets and goals. I hope everyone plays with people that they enjoy playing with, regardless of of their beliefs regarding how the game ought to be played.

  7. Gah. Right now I curse dual spec for allowing me to have a second spec. If I only could have one, it would be Beast Mastery all the way! But since I have the option, I find myself raiding and even doing heroics as Marksman. I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but there are times when I miss my lovable hunk of a Devilsaur. A jewel in a world of wolves. *sigh*

    • I said nary a word about BM or Subtlety in this post, but y’all have my sympathy. I had always seen the great BM debate in WotLK as the poster child for the other pure dps classes and their own red-headed stepchild specs.

  8. Dbags with mindsets like that guy are the reason that everyone feels compelled to play a class/spec/gear combo exactly the same as everyone else all the time. They’re the ones who feel that if you don’t play the way EJ says to play, then you’re doing it wrong. Of course, the people who compile the info on EJ do so by trying things different ways to work out what they deem to be the best rotation/spec/gear etc.

    Anyway, my mage is frost spec because it’s a lot more fun for me than fire or arcane. Me likey.

    • Bless many of the people on EJ for going above and beyond to be in the forefront of theorycraft. While I have my criticisms that they tend to focus solely on particular specs BECAUSE they’re the best one in the class, the intent behind their work is admirable. They wish to provide a source for information for those who wish to understand the information they provide.

      As you eloquently said, me likey :D

  9. As an Arcane Mage from 60 – 80 through BC and WOTLK, I can say I usually had envy over the OP Frost Kiting Mage, they can AOE grind better than mostly any class except a Prot Paladin and are a bitch at PVP.

    I think I’ll respec to Frost when I get home and try it out for once (yes 4 years of playing and I have never tried frost)

    Cheers and Dont let the bastards grind you down.

    • I ain’t going down without a fight, that’s for sure. Just gimme a chance, and I’ll prove that I’ll belong.

  10. This is why I play a Metamorphosis using, Demonology spec’d Warlock. I want to show the douchebags that I can hang with them in DPS in a sub-optimal spec. I was pretty much in a similar situation with an afflock and destrolock telling me demo wasn’t a raid spec.

    My entire WoW gaming experience has been met along the way with folks telling me what I could not do based on my playing style and spec. Then me showing them that I could. I love it.

    • Demo has some excellent unique raid buffs that make them a very attractive choice to bring to a 25-man composition. While their DPS may be sub-optimal, their DE aura makes up for some of the damage that they are reported to be lacking compared to the other specs and classes.

      But Meta in particular is a very captivating and interesting playstyle. It isn’t very hard to not like being able to turn into a giant demon-like thing and rip things to shreds.

  11. You hit the nail on the head with the point that frost is a lifestyle choice. I, too, care more about an individual’s performance than their spreadsheet & simulation value. Some of that is my own personality (I prefer frost on my mage, but will arcane if i feel the difference matters), and some of that comes from raiding with people who are marginally nontraditional (we’ve got a great BM hunter in our guild, our DK prefer blood and frost to unholy, and our FFB mage who respeced frost for replenishment decided he’s staying there). However, a lot of it comes from the parses. I’ve seen too many people with a spec which isn’t the FotM “best” top the charts to care much about what people do so long as they bring the numbers. Anyone who says that Frost mages, BM hunters, or to a lesser extent Sub rogues aren’t viable is behind the curve. The spreadsheet math might not justify it, but the actual damage output has justified them in their choice of lifestyle.

    More broadly, choice-of-lifestyle explains a lot. You don’t see the dps meter whores even considering a spec which sims 5% below, because that’s their choice of lifestyle. They have chosen that they will make any sacrifice because what is fun to them is the largest possible number. For a person who has made that sort of choice about the game, there isn’t any other option but to respec from unholy with a blood sub-spec into a frost sub-spec even at marginal gains. Playing anything but an arcane mage won’t satisfy them. Likewise, when guilds of such people gather, and they banish from their ranks the BM hunters and so forth, that’s their choice-of-lifestyle. However, what they can miss is that other people choose other WoW lifestyles, and that in something like a pug and in many of the guilds out there, it is a valid choice to use a spec which sims 5% behind.

    • Which reinforces Blizzard’s philosophy this entire expansion: “Bring the Player, not the Class.” In this case, they also mean spec. They’ve done an excellent job to bring all these different trees reasonably close to each other compared to previous expansions.

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  13. I know exactly what that feels like — I myself enjoyed proving jerks like that guy wrong with my ret pally back in BC, when *everyone* knew that retribution could only match the DPS of other classes if the group buffs were set up just right in places like Sunwell. I never got to Sunwell, I just ran heroics with my badge/crafted gear and beat the pants off of everybody else. And it felt great.

    • I’m glad Wrath was designed the way it is. To think that frost/mm/sub would be able to raid sunwell at all during the BC era is completely laughable. Now look at the game. The final instance in the expansion is puggable, for crying out loud! It’s a sight to behold, no doubt, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that Blizz has given everyone this time around.

  14. Good work on out-dpsing people with Frost. However, it has been proven empirically and through simulations that Frost puts out lower DPS than Arcane.

    Sure, you’re in a ToC25 raid and the extra DPS probably doesn’t make much of a difference. And also, your spot in the raid is not for the other mage to decide, but the raid leader.

    So, don’t let anyone tell you what to do. But as you said, be prepared to accept the consequences of your choices.

    • Empirically, I am doing well for myself considering the content that I wish to do. I do enough to pull my weight for fester-10, and with the right gear upgrades, I will eventually be able to do fester-25 as well. The ICC damage buff helps out as well!

      I wholehearted accept my fate, but I am not going to accept the fact that I as a person cannot do enough DPS. I will strive to improve through gear and skill until my performance is acceptable.

      I know the battles I can win, and I know which ones to avoid, so thank you for the reminder. I had hoped this post made sent a strong message that I am already facing the consequences, accepting them for what they are, and doing something about it through action instead of complaining.

  15. I haven’t raided in ages, primarily my choice.

    I am a Fire Mage, I like it, I am it.

    I did my time with Arcane… “because I had to”.

    It lasted 3 weeks, the last week was respecing between bosses because I knew that Fire and I clicked.

    but it isn’t enough for some.

    That’s fine by me…

    You are the hardest Frost Mage I know…

    Go Hard Kriz!

  16. Good for you!

    I really hate this brewing concept of mix/maxing that people are getting in WoW now. They assume they everyone needs to (and wants to) follow cookie-cutter molds so they can spit out a few extra DPS numbers on a chart plus they never consider that player skill has anything to do with results.

    The most ironic thing is that WoW, in most cases, doesn’t require the most perfect builds to succeed at because it’s designed to give players some freedom of choice.

    • It comes down to the players who pilot the characters, and how they work well together. Numbers are numbers, but teamwork and chemistry trumps all, IMO.

    • i’d counter that the min/maxing isn’t the problem, but that too many min/maxers feel they have the right to min/max other players.

      i have fun tinkering with specs and so forth, and above all working on my own technique more than anything, so that i do the best i can with what i currently have. however, i won’t put that onto anyone else, unless they are making some sort of major mistake, like a tank gemming parry, or a frost mage who leaves of the glyph of frostbolt since they think it will prevent FoF procs.

      there may be legit reasons why someone might want to leave off the FB glyph (it’s a good idea to take it off for DBS, for example, or any other situation where a snare is more important than a little bit more damage). however, there are choices about how someone wants to play, and there are actual mistakes people can make in trying to achieve a certain goal.

  17. I’ve been a fan of yours for quite a while now. You were an inspiration to me back when Frost was seen as the poor red headed step child.

    I’m lucky to belong to a guild that lets me be me (I gotta be me!!). My favorite story was one night, we were at Onyxia and a new arcane mage in our guild asked the RL “Why is Monkey in PVP spec?” Our RL said, “Monkey PVPs like a mofo.” And left it at that. At the end of the fight, not only was I above her in dps, I was alive. (Where she died several times.) She is no longer in our guild… but I look back on that moment fondly.

    I’m dual specced now, simply because I like arcane better for certain fights, but Squirtle and I will probably be together forever. TOC Faction Champions anyone?

    • It still is, to be quite honest. It’s up to us to represent well and turn that predisposition around.

      Faction champions are a total mess, if you ask me. Thank god for double (triple, even) ice block and Ice Barrier.

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  20. Inc. wall of text

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most people are ignorant morons. As a 4.7k GS frost mage, I EXPECT to outdps that 5k GS arcane mage. I don’t see why people think frost is so terrible; the only reasoning I see is that they’re just ignorant. Right now, I expect to get top 3 on the meters in a 10 man. Frost can output excellent dps (if i don’t get 5.5k+ on pretty much all fights i get frustrated). Now, does this mean I will be doing ICC25 as frost? well, I’ll just wait and see; the moment I can’t pull my weight will be the moment I make a change. But as I get better gear, I think I’ll be fine.

    Another thing that makes me mad is people saying “lolfaceroll frostbolt spam.” People don’t realize that frost is a REACTIONARY spec that uses priorities over rotation; a HUGE factor of your dps is your ability to run through a pretty complex system of “if, thens” in the space of a second. Since the brain freeze change, I use three spells; IMO, it is tougher than a set spell rotation because you always have to be on alert to what procs you have and how to make the most of them, along with managing CDs, which are another big chunk of your dps. It seems like people these days don’t want to do any mental work. Thanks for sticking up for frost!

    • Assuming a 2-healer setup, top 3 would be ideal, as it means you’re more than doing your share of the dps workload. It’s more than reasonable of a goal to attain.

      And amen on the reactionary nature of our playstyle. Missed Deep Freeze opportunities can put a serious damper on our DPS. I’m actually just as addon dependent as Frost than I am with a bunch of other DPS classes that I own at 80, notably my feral druid and shadow priest.

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