If you were wondering where I had gone to yesterday, since no post was put up, I’m letting you all know that I had a huge hangover. A few lovely rounds of my favorite lagers was quite enough to get me into high spirits with a few close relatives.
Speaking of which, Spirit is a wonderful stat, ain’t it? Euripedes over at Critical QQ has gone quite a ways of doing the theorycraft that argues that Spirit is indeed a wonderful stat to have, even though you might not want to stack it as much as you do with Spell Damage, Spell Hit or Intellect. But it’s there, and it really helps you regen the mana during long boss fights, particularly with Mage Armor on.
But what’s that? Did my ears deceive me? Was Euripedes only discussing Arcane mages as the only viable subclass of our magic-wielding kin that would even consider grabbing some spirit? HA! I’ll show him…
As soon as I got home after sobering up from all that drinking, I really needed a reprieve from all things related to liquid refreshments. Heck, I think I went a little too far, even taking that philosophy straight into the game. Thus, the first thing I did when I logged on was give 35 gold to the class trainer in Ironforge. It was time I gave up drinking for a while.
Larisa, this respec is dedicated to you. Arcane Meditation FTW.
18/0/43: The Red-Headed Stepchild of the Raiding Frost Family
This spec is a variation of the 0/0/49+12 Frost raiding skeleton that dips into all the necessary talents; Elemental Precision, Water Elemental, Winter’s Chill, and all the Frost damage-increasing talents. The remaining 12 points usually defines what flavor of raiding Frost mage you will have in your group. In general, the Deep Frost build will put all 20 points into Frost, picking up Shatter and all the talents that increases their overall control. Some will spend 10 points into grabbing Arcane Concentration, like Tuna supposedly does.
But by going even deeper in the Arcane tree, and maxing out Arcane Meditation, we end up with a spirit-based regeneration buff that stacks with Mage Armor, resulting in upwards of 60% mana regeneration, in-combat. A feat that would make any Priest jealous, pugnacious or otherwise.
Let me emphasize this by quoting Euripedes again, regarding *cough* arcane mages *cough*:
“Lemme put it this way. An arcane mage (with Mage Armor up, of course), in T6-ish gear, raid buffed, can actually gain mana by chain casting Frostbolts.”
Guess what. Frost mages can do it too. And they can actually do serious dps by chain casting Frostbolts, all the while, their spirit regen becomes serious business with Mage Armor up. With that in mind, we end up with what theorycrafters consider to be the most mana-efficient build for any mage raiding spec, all the way up to Sunwell. Here’s a picture of the graphical comparisons regarding self-buffed mage dpm (damage per mana) made by Tachyon, of the subcreation Intelligent Mage Discussion forums:
To further show how DPM is such an important feat for a dps class, especially during long fights, let’s go into a bit of spiritcrafting here. Let’s assume a boss encounter that lasts for 10 minutes, and compare the mana efficiency of Deep Frost, Clearcast Frost, and Meditation Frost.
– A T4-equivalent mage with Mage Armor up, raid buffed up to 700 Intellect and 400 Spirit, will be getting an MP5 rating of 397, according to Resto4Life’s mana regen calculator.
– For a fight lasting 10 minutes, assuming 100% of that time spent in the 5SR, will return 47,640 mana.
– Compare that to a mage with Arcane Meditation talents, and the MP5 jumps up to a whopping 545, or 65,400 mana regenerated over 10 minutes.
– Note that with Frost Channeling, a Rank-13 Frostbolt costs 272 mana. Over 10 minutes, 240 Frostbolts will be chain-cast, consmimg 65,280 mana.
– With clearcasting, 24 of those frostbolts will cost 0 mana, lowering the total mana spent to 58,752.
Notice something there? The mana spent by Deep-Frost greatly outnumbers the mana regained, 65.2k to 47.6k. Thus, he will be going out of mana quite early into the fight. The Clearcast-Frost mage will spend less mana throughout the fight, but will still run out of mana sometime in the fight, since 58.7k is still higher than 47.6k. But the winner of the endurance test is going to be Meditation Frost, with an insane differential of 58.7k spent and 65.4k gained.
As a result, the first two mages are going to be oom’ing first, resulting in the need to Evocate or, Light forbid, wand down the boss while waiting for pot/gem cooldown to finish. That’s 0 dps during that time, almost as good as dead. However, the Meditation mage, with a mana differential of 6.7k for 10 minutes, can cast an extra 24 Frostbolts until he goes OOM, and that doesn’t even count clearcasts and mana regained during those extra casts!
Now wait a minute, some of you may be simply skeptical that there aren’t a bunch of boss fights that last for 10 minutes, particularly with regards to heroic instances. Well, guess what? I just pugged a heroic Black Morass with a Shadow Preist and a Resto Shaman. With mana gems and evocate, I only had to drink twice. TWICE. And that was just for the heck of it, too! Both times were after each of the first two bosses, and I could have probably regained mana passively outside of the 5SR, right up to full, before the next portal opened.
A mage that never has to drink. If that’s not going against the stereotype, I don’t know what is. Perhaps I’ll go off to meditate on this.
 I’m still having problems trying to find the alt+# combination to get that funky i, so bear with me while I continue using trial and error.