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Comprehensive World of Warcraft Fire Mage PVE Build Guide

Credits: This is a guide written by Coopthefat on World of Warcraft forums to help those who are looking for a PVE build guide for Fire Mage in the game. Special thanks to Coopthefat for sharing this very comprehensive Fire Mage PVE Build Guide.

Before I begin with the rest of the guide, I want to address some of the main things that changed with WoD:

1. Fire Mages have a new passive ability called Incineration that increases the Crit we get from all sources by 5%.

2. We no longer have access to a few different bomb choices; in Tier 5, Frost Bomb and Nether Tempest were replaced with Unstable Magic and Blast Wave, leaving Living Bomb as one of the talent choices. Arcane can choose Nether Tempest, and Frost can choose Frost Bomb instead of Living Bomb.

3. Hit, Expertise, Dodge, and Parry have been removed from the game, while Multistrike, Leech, Versatility, and Avoidance have been added as new stats. Leech and Avoidance are not really worth mentioning, as they do not directly contribute to dps.

4. We've lost multiple abilities, since with the WoD patch, Blizzard decided to remove abilities from most classes in order to simplify the game, since the number of abilities we ad was a bit out of hand. The main abilities we lost were Arcane and Frost spells, especially the ones that tended to be in other specs' rotations. We still have Frost Nova, and most of the utility spells such as Blink and Ice Block.

5. Related to #4, we've lost Mage Armor and Frost Armor. Additionally, Molten Armor is now passive, and it increases our crit by 5% and reduces damage taken by 6%.

6. To help with our raid utility, mages now have an ability called Amplify Magic, that increases healing taken for all group/raid members by 10% for 6 seconds.

Abbreviations

Mages also have a set of abbreviations used for commonly used phrases:
AoE- Area of Effect. Basically any ability having effects on more than one target.
BL-Blood Lust (Time Warp/Heroism/Ancient Hysteria, depending on which class applied it).
CD-Cooldown
DPS- Damage Per Second (should be interpreted differently than just Damage).
FB- Fireball (also means Frostbolt, but that spell won't be used often by Fire Mages, could also be Frost Bomb).
GCD- Global Cooldown (the clock-spin after using a spell that forces to wait a time interval before using another ability).
IB- Inferno Blast
ICD- Internal Cooldown (for example, an ability may only be able to proc once every 40 seconds; that would be its ICD).
LB- Living Bomb
Pyroblast!- The instant-cast version of Pyroblast you receive from Heating Up.
RNG-- Random Number Generator (If something is described as "RNG", it means random; out of ones control)
ROP - Rune of Power


1. Talents & Glyphs

The talent system involves 6 tiers, with 3 choices in each tier. Each tier usually has a unifying theme to it, such as survivability, dps CD's, etc.

There are no cookie-cutter specs for many fights: if you want the most optimal set-up for your mage, you will be switching around some talents throughout the raid (Use Tome of the Clear Mind to change out talents and glyphs).

Tier 1 (Level 15)

The movement tier

Evanesce – Acts like Deterence with a 45s CD, allowing you to avoid some attacks/abilities. Main downside is that it replaces Ice Block. This talent is recommended if your healers need help/survability is an issue, and if you would get negligible dps gain out of the other two talents (such as fights involving little movement).

Blazing Speed- This talent could be very helpful for fights involving moderate movement, especially emergency/haphazard movement requiring fast speeds over a short time span. This will be useful in overcoming various mechanics and allows one to recover from mistakes, depending on the situation.

Ice Floes- This talent is most useful for fights with moderate movement that happens fairly often, especially for encounters with predictable mechanics and movement. For these cases, Fireball can be cast instead of using Scorch, meaning a dps increase. This seems to be the best talent in this tier for the average encounter, where Blazing Speed will win over if you need the faster movement speed, or if survival is of utmost importance.

Tier 2 (Level 30)

The Survivability tier

Alter Time- This spell snapshots your location and health at the time of activation, and returns you to the same location and health after 10 seconds (or upon second use). This is best if you need a "heal" after taking in predictable damage, and for mechanics where you need to move out of bad stuff/activate something or move somewhere else, and need to quickly return to the same spot. Alter TIme is also off the GCD, meaning no net dps loss with using it. This will be the default talent of this tier.

Flameglow- Best for low periodic damage while saving a GCD since the ability is passive, and does not require activation to use, so it doesn't affect dps. Due to raid damage usually being high, I wouldn't recommend this talent for most situations.

Ice Barrier- This talent is best for damage dealt over longer periods of time, or to keep you alive. It's just a pure shield. Especially a good option on fights where damage tends to be sporadic or gradual, and where none of the damage is predictable.

Tier 3 (Level 45)

The CC tier

Ring of Frost- Is useful for situations requiring CC, such as CCing in dungeons or CCing adds a tank is kiting, etc.

Ice Ward- The only time I see this being better than RoF is if you place it on a tank when he or she has to move away from the group, or needs to get away quickly.

Frostjaw- Frostjaw is only useful for freezing non-elite mobs, and in a raid environment, this is almost never necessary.

Tier 4 (Level 60)

Survival tier

Greater Invisibility- This talent will be valuable for mitigating damage in raids, and is more proactive. Lets us absorb really dangerous mechanics without having to move, removes one debuff, and is the best talent to use once you know you won't get randomly gimped during a fight due to damage. I'd say this is the best overall if you know what mechanics there are that you can use this for to mitigate damage.

Cauterize- This is an upgrade from the previous iteration of Cauterize in Cataclysm, where you’d die without receiving heals. This talent is very good for learning encounters and is better for reactive damage situations in general. However, if you take damage equal to double your given health, you die instead of being brought back to life.

Cold Snap- Provides a second ice block and heals for 30%, which is really nifty for avoiding debuffs being applied to you if timed properly. Resets Ice block, Dragon's Breath, and Frost Nova, so in this senes it can be a dps gain if you can fit in a second Dragon's Breath during AoE situations.

Tier 5 (Level 75)

DPS Tier

Living Bomb- A DoT that lasts for 12 seconds, has a 1-second GCD regardless of Haste, and once it reaches its final tick, deals explosion damage to all enemies within 10 yards in addition to the tick occurring at 0 seconds. If you refresh it between the second to last tick and penultimate tick, it replicates the explosion effect, so should be refreshed before it falls off. LB can be put on three total targets. For every additional tick reached with Haste, the explosions damage is increased by 25%. Currently the best option for non-single target situations.

Unstable Magic- This is the best choice for single-target fights.

Blast Wave- Best when a lot of burst AoE damage is called for. Otherwise, the other two talents are superior.

Tier 6 (Level 90)

DPS tier.

Mirror Image- This ability is best used for single-target fights, as the images only cast single-target spells. *I'm not sure yet how much health they will have relative to mobs in WoD, but will be helpful in taking all your aggro, and may even live a while if they have enough health.*

Rune of Power- You can have two of these runes on the ground at any interval of time. However, you do not gain extra effects by stacking the two runes on top of each other. This is the talent that will be taken the most, unless there is a lot of movement going on.

Incanter’s Flow- This option becomes very viable when movement becomes a major concern, and when it gets difficult to stay near your RoP and to keep casting RoP. Incanter's Flow is also easy to use, due to it being passive, so you never really have to worry about it.

Tier 7 (Level 100)

Kindling - Causes Crits from some of our spellds to reduce the CD of Combustion. This talent is currently not worthy taking, though in future tiers it could become viable as we obtain more Crit.

Prismatic Crystal - This talent is currently only worth taking if you have the T17 4-piece.

Meteor - This talent is the best choice of the tier, and should be taken if one does not have the T17 4-piece. However, this talent should still be taken if there are a lot of adds that need to be dealt with.

Glyphs

Glyphs are passives that can be added to affect your play, and you can only have 3 major glyphs and 3 minor glyphs active at any given time. Only Major glyphs really affect your dps.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Combustion- Only reason I can think of to not take this glyph is if there's a situation where the targets won't live long enough for the glyphed combustions to have full effect. Otherwise, the longer duration of combustion will really sync when lined up well with CD's, especially during the opening sequence when trinket procs are virtually guaranteed.

Glyph of Inferno Blast- Highly recommended for any fight involving 5+ enemies at once. This glyph spreads all of our DoTs except for Mage bomb to up to 4 other enemies, for a total of 5 (without the glyph it's 3 other targets, or total of 4).

Glyph of Dragon's Breath- increases Dragon Breath's damage by 100%. For adds that won't live long, or if being used in the AoE rotation, then this glyph becomes valuable.

Charred Glyph- Increases the distance of your Blink spell by 8 yards. Overall, this only equates to ~ one extra GCD, sort of nice if you need a filler glyph.

Charred Glyph- Decreases the casting time of Frostfire Bolt. Only pick up this glyph if you plan on using Frostfire Bolt as your main nuke instead of Fireball.

Glyph of Counterspell- If there's room for it, this glyph is helpful on fights involving interrupts, and saves having to interrupt your cast in an emergency.

Glyph of Rapid Displacement- Very nice for moving around if you can fit this one in. No longer removes stuns or bonds, but I don't think that's a big issue for raiding.

Glyph of Ice Block - Good for survivability if can make use of the spell immunity it provides. One thing to note is that Blast Wave will not activate, even though it replaces Frost Nova.

Glyph of Regenerative Ice- Good source of heals if it's necessary: it will heal up to a maximum of 40% health (4% health every second) if you remain encased for the full 10-second duration.

Glyph of Remove Curse- The damage boost is nice, but it's not a dps gain even if you do decurse for a fight.

All other glyphs don’t provide any meaningful advantages in the majority of PvE encounters. One thing I want to note is that, along the same lines as your Talents, you might be shifting your Glyphs a couple of times throughout a raid night, though it’s not as likely as it is for talents. All in all, the decision would realistically be between 4-5 glyphs.

Minor glyphs serve only as quality-of-life changes, or are meant to be fun additions to the Mage class.

2. Stats

1 Intellect=1 Spell Power 1 Intellect=0.00039% Crit 55 Mastery Rating=1% Mastery 110 Crit Rating=1% Critical Strike 66 Multistrike = 1% Multistrike 100 Haste Rating=1% Haste 130 Versatility = 1% Versatility

Intellect- Our best stat. Intellect increases the amount of Spell Power we have, which in turn makes our spells hit harder, and converts marginally into Spell Critical Hit (ie. Crit). This stat should be sought out whenever possible for gems, enchants, etc.

Spellpower- Makes our spells hit harder. A very useful stat, one can only obtain this through acquiring trinkets and weapons, as well as from Intellect. Can’t be obtained through enchanting, gemming, reforging, etc. Each spell has a Spellpower coefficient, so Spellpower will affect some spells more than other spells.

Hit- The best secondary stat you can actually acquire through gemming, reforging, etc. Most often, you ideally want 15% hit. It’s okay to be a little over or under 15%, since reaching exactly 15% Hit can become unwieldy. Once you reach 15% Hit, any additional Hit becomes useless. We need 5100 Hit in order to be Hit capped.

Crit (Spell Critical Chance) - Whenever a spell crits, it does 100% bonus damage to a target. Obtaining Crit rating increases the chances of obtaining Critical Hits. This stat is always valuable to a Fire Mage, especially for obtaining juicy Combustions, and getting more instant-cast Pyroblasts via Heating Up. Crit is very useful for the way our mechanics operate. At the moment it's our best secondary stat other than Hit, and Crit is worth more than one half the value of Intellect. The significance of this is discussed in the Gemming section.

Critical Mass multiplies your crit by 1.3.

Haste- Haste serves two purposes as a stat:

1. It increases casting speed, meaning more casts within the same time interval, as well as reducing the time on the GCD (can only reduce the GCD to 1.0 seconds).

2. In discrete amounts, Haste can also add more ticks to a DoT within the same DoT duration. What this essentially means is that at certain values of Haste, you can add extra ticks to your DoTs.

The dps value of Haste increases as you reach Haste breakpoints (plateaus), and then decreases slightly after you obtain these thresholds. Usually, it’s best not to worry about reaching thresholds unless you’re close to the values. Mastery becomes better than Haste after one of our plateaus, 5036 Haste. A neat tool for finding these plateaus if interested is https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsDL8HE-bGDVdFFVWlIzbzQ5RFJJZGFyQ25xZmFYa0E#gid=39

Mastery- Our Mastery has been remodeled from the Cata version. Now, our Mastery is the Ignite DoT, a DoT that’s put on the target with 12% of the damage of the spell that applied it. Ignite is put on a target after Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, Scorch, Pyroblast, and Inferno Blast does damage. Obtaining more Mastery increases the % of damage the DoT derives from the spell that applied it. This is a good stat to have, but is currently not as valuable as Crit or Haste.

Multistrike- Gives two chance to proc extra attacks that will do 30% damage of the spell that applied it> *Need to check whether it's spell applied, or just normal damage the spell does*.

Leech- Heals you for a portion of all damage and healing that you do.

Versatility- Increases damage and healing done and decreases damage taken.

Avoidance- Reduces damage taken from AoE abilities.

Since Leech and Avoidance appear as "extra" stats on gear and do not directly contribute to dps, I will most likely not mention them for the remainder of the guide.

TL;DR: Crit >Mastery>Haste>Multistrike>Versatility

*Though our stat priority remains more stable than it does for, say, Arcane and Frost, I'd still recommend to sim yourself, whether via Simcraft or AskMrRobot, in order to determine your best stats for your particular gear setup.

3. Enchants & Gemming

Enchanting

Cape (Back)
Enchant Cloak - Gift of Critical Strike
Enchant Cloak - Breath of Critical Strike (cheaper)

Neck
Enchant Neck - Gift of Critical Strike
Enchant Neck - Breath of Critical Strike (cheaper)

Ring
Enchant Ring - Gift of Critical Strike
Enchant Ring - Breath of Critical Strike (cheaper)

Weapon
Mark of the Thunderlord (Hidden)
Mark of the Shattered Hand (Hidden) (cheaper)

Gemming

The main change to gems this expansion is that there are no colored sockets anymore. Each socket is now a prismatic socket, and it is not possible to gem for Intellect. Therefore, we can now gem for Crit.

Prismatic Socket - Greater Critical Strike Taladite Critical Strike Taladite (cheaper)

Gear

When gearing up your mage, it can sometimes be useful to look at a list of most-wanted gear pieces, so you know which pieces to go after. Icy Veins provides a very nice and elaborate BiS gear list for each gear slot, and tons of viable alternatives ranging from quest greens to heroic raid epics:

http://www.icy-veins.com/fire-mage-wow-pve-dps-gear-loot-best-in-slot

4. Professions and Consumables

In Warlords of Draenor, most dps gains that were provided by each profession were removed entirely from the game. Now what profession you choose is entirely up to you. Garrison profession buildings do not even require you to be trained in said profession; for example, you can plot a tailoring building and make your own cloth gear, all without needing the tailoring profession itself. The same can be said for Enchanting, Inscription, etc.

Consumables

On any PvE fight, you're able to consume various items in order to get buffs. You can consume food before combat, flasks before combat, and potions both pre-pull and once during combat.

Flask: Greater Draenic Intellect Flask
Draenic Intellect Flask (cheaper)

Potions: Draenic Intellect Potion Be sure to use one right before you enter combat, and then use another one at the same time as Time Warp/Bloodlust +any other CD's are used.

Food:
75 Crit: Blackrock Ham, Grilled Gulper, Feast of the Waters, or Feast of Blood
100 Crit - Blackrock Barbecue or Savage Feast


5. Single-Target Rotation & AoE Damage

Single-Target Rotation

Fire is more of a priority system than a rotation. The priority system is as follows, with the most important steps being at the top:

1. Combustion (with high Ignite DoT). 
2. Cast Pyroblast when the Pyroblast! buff occurs. 
3. Inferno Blast (if 1 crit is present and Inferno Blast is off CD) 
4. Spam Fireball 
5. Use Scorch if moving

For this rotation, I make the assumption that you'll be using Rune of Power as your Tier 6 talent (if you're using Mirror Image, simply use it on CD, and Incanter's Flow is passive). I also assume that you've chosen Unstable Magic as your talent in Tier 5 ( if you chose Living Bomb, then it takes priority after step 2, assuming it needs to be refreshed, and if you've chosen Blast Wave, it takes priority after step 3).

The tier 7 talents are also worth discussing. If Prismatic Crystal is chosen, then make sure you have both a Heating up Proc and a Pyroblast! proc banked before setting the crystal down and damaging it. If you choose Meteor, then it can be used to build up a strong combustion.

One mechanic that occurs during the rotation that warrants explanation is called Heating Up. You receive one stack of Heating Up after obtaining one crit, and obtaining another crit in a row will remove the Heating Up Buff and create the Pyroblast! proc. A 3rd crit will create a new Heating Up buff, and a 4th crit will remove the heating Up buff and create another Pyroblast proc; however, since Pyroblast! doesn't stack, gettting that 4th proc before casting Pyroblast! means you effectively lose one Pyroblast proc.

If possible, it’s a dps increase to pre-pull with a Pyroblast (ie. Begin casting Pyroblast 1-2 seconds before the tank pulls the boss), but if the way your guild handles threat is shaky, then I wouldn’t recommend this maneuver.

One trick is to save Pyroblast procs until a Heating Up proc occurs. Once this happens, cast Pyroblast right after casting Fireball. This essentially doubles your chances of getting a 2nd crit to get another pyroblast proc.

If the conditions are right, use Combustion. Then, use Pyroblast if the Pyroblast! proc is present. Next, use Inferno Blast if you have a crit present. After that, spam Fireball as filler. Use Scorch if you're unable to use Fireball.

Inferno Blast

Unique to the Fire spec, Inferno Blast is a guaranteed crit and should thus be used after getting 1 crit, in order to get Pyroblast! However, interrupting a spell mid-cast to use Inferno Blast is a dps loss (unless Combustion timing ends up being sensitive). When you’re able to use Inferno Blast also depends on your distance from the boss, as well as latency: the closer you are to the boss, the harder it is to fit in Inferno Blasts. It’s best to use it when you have 1 crit, and you just finished a cast. Then, use Inferno Blast before the just-casted Fireball reaches the boss in order to get your second crit.

Fireball vs Frostfire Bolt

For Mists of Pandaria, if ony used the glyph for Frostfire Bolt, then this spell could replace Fireball as your main nuke, which some players preferred simply for the cooler animations. This is still the case. The slow that Frostfire Bolt applies could potentially be useful in later boss encounters, so it’s something to consider.

Combustion

Combustion is a unique DoT in that it takes a snapshot of the current Ignite DoT on the target, taking any Haste and Intellect procs into account. Essentially, it looks at whatever the current damage of Ignite is over 8 seconds, and creates a new DoT that ticks once every 10 seconds, and is equal in damge to 8 seconds of the Ignite ticking. If glyph of combustion is chosen, then combustion will last 20 seconds instead of 10 seconds and will essentially do double the damage overall.

Combustion is neat in that it can essentially double-dip, as in for mechanics involving a percent increase on a target, not only the DoTs composing Combustion will be stronger, but after the Combustion DoT is created, it too takes advantage of the % increase in damage, after already taking into account the “supercharged” DoTs that compose it.

One piece of advice concerning Combustion: if you’re using the glyphed version, then depending on the length of the fight, you may have the luxury of waiting for a Pyroblast.

Remember that Ignite no longer requires crits to be applied to its target, so be extra careful as to keeping track of when you get ignites applied by crits, especially since Ignite stacks. In some cases, if you're getting lucky RNG, you may be able to keep building up Ignites for a bit before applying Combustion, but this can be risky play.

Other abilities

Some of the spells in the Fire mages toolbox are not explicitly meant to deal direct damage, are indirect damage abilities on a CD, or exist solely for utility and survival, but are still extremely useful to us.

Ice Block- Makes us immune to all physical damage and spells for 10 seconds, but we’re immobilized during that time, unless we cancel the Iceblock buff. Has a 5-minute CD.

Invisibility- Makes the mage invisible over a three-second interval, dropping our threat. This is our primary method of dropping threat if we’re ever in danger of stealing threat from the tank.

Alter Time- Takes a snapshot of your position and health on use. Once this buff wears off (or is removed by using Alter Time again, if you wish to do so), you are instantly restored to the state you were in when you activated Alter Time. For example, if you have 100% health when activating Alter Time, once it wears off, you are instantly restored to 100% health.

Since it restores your previous position, you could theoretically use Alter Time to quickly get across the map. This becomes extremely handy on some boss encounters where you're at position A, move to position B, then need to quickly move back to position A.

AoE Damage

One of the features of our AoE is that our DoTs can be spread to 3 other targets off your main one, so basically 4 maximum targets (Glyph of Inferno Blast adds 1 more target onto the cleave). This makes Fire a powerful cleave spec.

2-4 stacked Enemies:

Continue your single-target rotation on one target while keeping up Living Bomb and using Inferno Blast to spread DoTs.

5+ stacked Enemies:

1. Cast Flamestrike and Dragon's Breath on CD. 2. Continue with Single Target rotation while spreading DoTs.

*Whenever Combustion is cast on your target, the CD on Inferno Blast instantly resets, allowing you to instantly spread your Combustion to your enemies.

As is different than in previous expansions, whenever there are spread out enemies, it is a dps loss to try and multi-dot with Living Bomb. When there are spread-out enemies, it's better to maintain your single-target rotation on one of them, and possibly try to keep the pyroblast debuff on as many enemies as possible if you're getting lucky.

6. Resources & Addons

Streams/Youtube Videos of Mages

We can read theory all we want, but sometimes it helps to actually see mages in action. I've kept my youtube link on here, but I have yet to upload WoD videos. I will do so in the future, and I have a lot of videos from Cata and MoP if you're interested in seeing some dungeons and raids from the time (MoP is mostly Frost though, as a warning).

Youtube

Coopthefat- http://www.youtube.com/user/coopthefat1?feature=mhee

DeathDefier http://www.youtube.com/xdeathdefier

Streams

A lot of these initial streamers listed mainly play Fire as of the time of this edit, but many of the streamers also play Frost and Arcane.

Arold - http://www.twitch.tv/aroldthemage

Xiun - http://www.twitch.tv/xiun

DeathDefier 25H Wed 7-11PM EST http://www.twitch.tv/deathdefier

Myxel 25H Thursdays http://www.twitch.tv/myxeleu

Twïss Thursday 19:30 to 24:00 (cest) http://www.twitch.tv/twiss_nl

Fuyuri 10H http://www.twitch.tv/zkane

Preheet 25H http://www.twitch.tv/preheet

Cycobi http://www.twitch.tv/cycobi

Tergeron - http://www.twitch.tv/tergeron

Frenikk http://www.twitch.tv/frenikk

Hotpots http://www.twitch.tv/thetinymage

Vatti http://www.twitch.tv/vattitv

Glacius 25H http://www.twitch.tv/neogaming2013

Crabmodem Tues/Thurs/Mon 8-11pm US Central http://www.twitch.tv/crabmodem

There are a plethora of resources available to mages and raiders in general. These resources provide meaningful information pertaining to stat weights, general theorycrafting, etc.:

Altered Time- http://altered-time.com/forum/index.php Altered Time is a great forum for mages to discuss particular class mechanics in intellectual ways. It has guides for different types of content such as raiding and leveling, and just has a lot of general advice, some top mages post there, etc.

Icy Veins- http://www.icy-veins.com/

Icy Veins has guides and advice for all specs of all classes in different types of content, both leveling, raiding, etc. Just a good general source for WoW related things.

SimulationCraft- http://simulationcraft.org/ SimulationCraft is a simulation. It doesn’t help you with gemming or enchants, but there’s other uses for it, such as looking at damage spreads, stat values, priority lists, dps value per 1 usage of each ability, among other things. There’s other mechanics you can explore with it, but that requires knowledge of code (something I don’t have).

AskMrRobot- http://www.askmrrobot.com/

AskMrRobot is a tool where you can upload your character stats, such as by using armory, and it'll tell you your stat priority, if your enchants are the best choices, possible upgrades if you were to choose between certain pieces of gear, etc.

Haste Breakpoint Tool (Mage Bombs)

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsDL8HE-bGDVdFFVWlIzbzQ5RFJJZGFyQ25xZmFYa0E#gid=39

This tool is very helpful in showing you different Haste breakpoints for various spells.

Warcraft Logs https://www.warcraftlogs.com/

Warcraft Logs is essentially Recount, except you can upload your parses to this website for your guild & anyone else to see. Especially useful for evaluating the performance of other raid members, and more importantly, evaluating the performance of other mages around the world. Analyzing the data of other competent mages can serve to teach yourself where you could improve in your performance, but be aware of “padding”, ie. Unnecessary damage, such as using massive AoE on adds when it’s not necessary.

One thing that should be said about simulations: they’re meant to be optimal performances, completely perfect simulations and executions of mage mechanics. As such, occasionally some of the results produced by simulations should be taken with doubt. This is where your own knowledge comes in, and being able to determine what information is correct, and which information needs to be molded to adapt to a real-life scenario, is crucial.

However, even though real-world data such as Recount and Warcraft Logs can be accurate, you must be aware of some phenomena such as active time, padding, different raid strategies/different raider assignments, RNG etc. RNG is also why testing out mechanics on a target dummy isn't always valid, for there are not enough trials to properly rule out RNG. In other words, don’t blindly follow simulations or real-world data without critical thought.

Addons

Add-ons are neat tools that have been developed for various means in WoW gameplay. For example, there are add-ons that can provide visual cues for certain mechanics, make it easier to manage raid frames, programs that help your auction house experience, etc.

Many players like to use plenty of add-ons, and as such, I’ll post some of the popular ones that aid in raiding. Add-ons can never play the game for you, but some of them provide quality-of-life changes. I list the ones that are most relevant to dps:

Deadly Boss Mods (DBM)- This or a related add-on is required by many raiding guilds. Essentially points out when certain mechanics are occurring or will occur, warnings, etc.

Recount- Collects a lot of information about dps, healing, deaths, absorbs, etc.

Skada- Performs the same functions as Recount.

Note: If your raid uploads WoL parses, then using Recount and Skada aren't necessary, unless you like to stare at your dps mid-fight, or to check logs right after a kill or wipe.

Omen- Shows how much threat you and other people have. Is nice for knowing when to pop Invisibility in order to drop threat, but depending on the group, tanks getting threat could be a trivial matter.

Quartz- Gives a lot of customization for casting bar and accounts for latency in your casts.

Combustion Helper- Helps in calculating the damage of Ignite, and thus aids the player in timing the perfect combustions. Some Fire mages find this addon unnecessary to use Combustion, others absolutely love it.

MyBigIgnite- Just provides a number on your screen, indicating the size of your Ignite.

Bartender- Allows you to customize your action bars and move them around, resize them, etc. Also allows to remove Blizzard Art and to add more bars.

Power Auras- Powerful add-on that allows you to create visual images and or sounds to appear on your screen for just about any game mechanic, timers, DoT uptimes, etc.

WeakAuras- Performs the same functions as Power Auras.

Mage Nuggets- Can show your real-time stats, let you know when certain procs occur, can have timers on CD's and DoT's as well, among other functions.

Schorchio!2- As far as I know, performs the same functions as Mage Nuggets and similar addons.

I listed some of the more popular ones. There’s over 5000 add-ons available at http://www.curse.com/

7. FAQ

Q: Is Fireball or Frostfire Bolt better for dps?

A: Fireball and Frostfire Bolt are virtually equal in terms of dps, so use whichever one you prefer. Do note, however, that Frostfire Bolt is only equal to Fireball if you obtain the major glyph of Frostfire Bolt. Also keep in mind the slow that Frostfire Bolt can apply, though the slow will have limited use in typical raid PvE encounters.

Q: Is damage interchangeable with dps?

A: No. While the terms "damage" and "dps" tend to be used by players interchangeably, they each represent different concepts. Damge is pure damage, ie. how much damage one ability can do. DPS (Damage Per Second) is the rate of damage with respect to time. It is damage divided by time. For example, one Fireball over 3 seconds yields a different dps number than one Fireball over 6 seconds yields.

Q: Is Haste additive?

A: No, Haste is not additive; it's multiplicitive. When you're trying to determine how much Haste you have from buffs and gear, you must multiply all of these values together in order to find your true Haste. For example, lets say we wanted to determine how much Haste is needed in order to reach a certain cast time on one of our spells:

( Base cast time / Desired case time ) +1 = Total % of Haste needed.

However, what we're most interested in is the amount of Haste we need from gear. There's another equation we can make use of:

1.05 (Hybrid Haste Raid Buff) * 1.xx (Haste Required from Gear) = Total Haste needed (which we solved for via the first equation).

Remember that whenever you're dealing with Haste Rating, you need to convert it to % of Haste, so divide your Haste Rating by its conversion factor, 425 Haste Rating=1% Haste.

Through the above steps, we can see that Haste is indeed multiplicative.

Q: How can I determine how much Haste is needed to reach extra ticks on my DoTs and HoTs?

HoTs and DoTs are also governed by mathematical relations and Haste. The following equation pertains explicitly to DoTs and HoTs:

( 1 / base tick )/2 +1 / base ticks +1 / base ticks …… = Total % Haste needed.

To find the number of base ticks on a DoT or HoT, take off all of your gear to ensure you have no Haste, and cast said ability. That's the number of base ticks. For example, Living Bomb has 4, Nether Tempest 12, Pyroblast DoT 6, and Ignite 2 (Ignite does NOT gain additional ticks from Haste).

That solves for the total Haste needed. To find how much Haste is needed from gear, you can use the same equations from the previous question. For the first extra tick in this equation, you just take the inverse of the # of base ticks, and take half of that, and that number is the total Haste needed. For subsequent ticks needed, you simply add 1/base ticks to the first value determined, and follow that same process for X number of ticks.

8. General Tips & Tricks

Most of the following are meant to be general-gameplay tricks that can aid in raid performance.
  • Always Be Casting- Consider this the ABC's of raiding. As silly as it may sound, no matter if you're standing still, moving, or unsure of what is happening around you, unless your raid group has mentioned to stop damage at a particular time interval, you should be using every GCD possible towards something.
  • The most efficient movement possible is a combination of your WASD keys (or other keyboard keys) and your mouse. Using just your keyboard or just your mouse to move is both clumsy and inefficient. Also, never keyboard turn (using solely a key on your keyboard to turn); instead, you should attempt to strafe, and use your mouse to steer you. The easiest way to remove the bad habit of keyboard key is to simply Unbind your turning keys, and re-keybind them to strafing keys.
  • Do not click your abilities. By this, I mean pointing your mouse cursor and "clicking" on an ability on your action bars in order to cast spells. This is very inefficient, and while it could be viable on a purely tank-and-spank fight, once you add movement to the mix, your performance will drop drastically.
  • Instead, keybind all of your abilities to additional keys on your keyboard and/or mouse, and press those keys intead to perform the desired action. This ensures maximum performance while moving, especially when multi-tasking is involved. For example, I personally have my Mage Bomb keybound to "3", and my Iceblock keybound to "Q", and press those keyboard keys to activate said abilities.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and what's happening on a particular boss fight. Even if you perform at 100% maximum capacity with zero mistakes, if you have terrible raid awareness (ie. standing in fire, repeatedly dying to easily-avoidable mechanics, etc.), you're hindering your raid group. One easy way to accomplish this goal is to take off a lot of clutter from your screen. For example, if you use a lot of addons that aren't used during raids, but take up a lot of screen space, then you should probably disable them during your raids. Also,depending on a few factors, you can scale down your UI to any level you're comfortable with.
  • Macros can be useful at times. Basically, it's code that can mold several actions together, so that several actions can be done at once. For example, you could macro all of your CD's together into one button (as long as no more than one ability is on the GCD) allowing you several actions at the price of one action.
  • Dps is your most important function as a Mage in a raid or dungeon, but also keep in mind that dead mages do no damage. Therefore, you should be willing to sacrifice damage in certain situations if it means you get to live, especially mechanics dealing damage that you can easily avoid.
  • You can queue your next spell while still castng your current one. For example, if you're currently casting Fireball, you can press your Fireball again when your current cast is almost finished, and as soon as that Fireball finishes its cast, your just-queued Fireball begins its casting time. This should be done for nearly all of your spells, and it very quickly becomes a habit. (This is possible because of in-game latency, and having an addon such as Quartz will easily show you when to queue your next spell).
Update on Patch 6.0.3

Lots of changes have been applied to all mage specs, but since I main fire I thought I'd help you guys out with an updated PvP guide. Lots of people are unhappy with the changes, but over the week I've done some testing and have found the way to maximize my damage as a fire mage. Wanting to learn how to play fire effectively? Well stay tuned and I'll teach you the insides and outs of how this spec is supposed to be played, and how to follow the fire mage dream.

THE PLAYSTYLE

Alright first thing's first (No Iggy Azalea reference here), the playstyle has changed completely since patch 5.4 and there is much learning to be done for all of you pyromaniacs.

Let me start with the most important things we lost this patch: Shatter

  • Cone of Cold
  • Deep Freeze
  • Evocation
  • Combustion Stun

The removal of these abilities left me clueless on how I'm supposed to play this spec, however after a couple weeks of practicing and relearning I can now announce MY INFERENCE on how fire mage is meant to be played in season 16.

We will get to that later. Let's start out with the stat priorities and talents you're going to need in order to preform well.

STAT PRIORITY

The stat priority is one of the things that has remained the same. Critical Strike baby. Since we have no more way of having guaranteed critical strikes (a.k.a. shatter), having the more critical strike chance, the better. More critical strikes equal more Hot Streaks, which equals more damage indefinitely.

Versatility and Multistrike are also good stats too, but critical strike is where the money is.

TALENTS

Tier 1 
Blazing Speed, the extra mobility is necessary due to your self peel capabilities being nerfed. [UPDATE] After some testing, running ice floes is also a very good talent for healer / dps cleaves. More in depth later in the guide.

Tier 2 
Alter Time / Ice Barrier, both great talents. Personally I like using Alter Time in skirmishes especially against bursty teams. It allows me to basically have a second life if I use it correctly. The cooldown is a little lengthy, but 1.5 minutes go by fast in an arena. Ice Barrier is a better talents for duels or BGS. It's a more consistent damage deflector.

Tier 3 
Each of these talents are completely up to you now. Frostjaw isn't mandatory anymore since we can't set up deeps from it, however is still a blanket that can be used as an additional CC in 3s. Ice Ward is obviously a better talent for duels against melee classes, and Ring of Frost is the better talent for BGs/RBGS. I like using Frostjaw because our blanket silence from CS was removed, but this tier is completely up to you and situational.

Tier 4 
Cold Snap. A much better talent than the others, the same as patch 5.4.

Tier 5 
Blast Wave baby! Yeah, they brought this spell back. Blast Wave does massive amounts of damage and is a ranged slow. Having a ranged slow as a fire mage substitutes for the loss of CoC and is very viable. Living bomb and unstable magic don't stand on par with the damage capabilities blast wave has.

Tier 6 
Mirror Image / Incanter's Flow. Both great talents. Images are better for duels and BGS, while Incanter's Flow is an amazing talent for Arenas, WPVP. Incanter's flow allows for a more consistent burst damage rotation due to the stacks rotating so quickly during combat. While on the other hand Images each do about 2k a fireball each. Both great talents and again situational and your preference.

Tier 7 
Meteor / Prismatic Crystal Both amazing talents that require excellent placement to maximize damage. I will get more in depth on how to increase your skill with these talents later in the guide. GEMS

WILL BE UPDATED SOON

GLYPHS

Major

Glyph Of Ice Block
A great glyph, the free frost nova and immunity to magic damage for 3 seconds is priceless. 

Glyph of Polymorph
Clears your dots from your focus target in a BG / Arena. Your dots spread easily so this is a necessity.

Glyph of Combustion / Glyph of Spellsteal
Both great glyphs in my opinion. You're probably thinking "Combust Glyph? Really?" and my response is, "Yes, really." After some testing I've realized that the damage capability of combustion is far greater in this patch than patch 5.4. If you can unload several pyros into an enemy and ramp up your ignite to atleast 2000 damage a second, combustion will be creating a copy of that dot that lasts 16 seconds and has a chance to crit. This glyph is not a joke anymore, Combustion is no longer viable for it's Hot Streak procs in deep, It's now viable for it's massive dot damage. The glyph of spellsteal is amazing, cleansing the enemy team while healing yourself is always an amazing trade off. 

Glyph of Regenerative Ice
Amazing glyph. Healing 40% of your total health is priceless, and this glyph is a necessity against melee comps in arenas. I recommend this glyph for world PvP / BGs, and the other ice block glyph for caster cleaves in 3v3 / 2v2. 

Glyph of Frostfire Bolt
Yes, I said it. Glyph of Frostfire bolt combined with ice floes is actually really great. Get three stacks of ignition and ice floes, and you can basically get a mobile burst set up. If you're going to run ice floes I strongly advise using this glyph with it for quick frostfire bolts.

Minor

There are no necessary minor glyphs you need in order to succeed, all are up to you.

THE ROTATION

Alright guys, let's jump back into this topic. In 5.4 our damage came from chaining pyros into our foes while they were frozen. Now that shatter no longer exists, our playstyle has changed drastically.

While it seems like the playstyle has gotten more difficult, it's actually easier in my opinion.

Fire is a spec that requires patience, I see frequently fire mages thinking that spamming scorch hoping for two crits in a row is the way to go. That's not the way you play this spec.

There are two ways to get that Hot Streak

  • Inferno Blast, wait 8 seconds and Inferno Blast again.
  • Scorch / Fireball until you get one critical strike, then Inferno Blast to get that second critical strike. 

Once you get that Hot Streak, then you must align a Scorch + Pyro combination while at 5 stacks of Incanter's Flow. Using your Hot Streaks at 5 stacks of Incanter's Flow will maximize the damage you do and will result in the death of your opponents faster. Incanter's Flow changes rapidly during combat, and during the period of time where you don't have 5 stacks you're going to fish for a Hot Streak proc by doing one of the two following methods listed above.

SCORCH SPAMMING FOR PROCS
Since our set bonus allows us to scorch and increase our fireball's crit chance, we can basically scorch three times and get a guaranteed fireball/frostfire bolt crit. This followed by an inferno blast is another way to get that Hot Streak.

USING COMBUSTION TO IT'S MAXIMUM DAMAGE POTENTIAL
You're going to want to use combustion when you have chained atleast 2 pyros into your foe. This will guarantee a strong combustion. The more pyros you have chained into your enemy, the juicier the combustion will be. Like most abilities, you're going to be wanting to watch your Incanter's Flow stacks in order to maximize your damage output. Try and align your pyros and combustion with 5 stacks of Incanter's flow to have the greatest result.

BLAST WAVE
Blast Wave is back, however it's different. It's now an ability that requires a target to cast. Blast Wave's damage is intense, and when you align this ability up with your five stacks of Incanter's Flow you will melt your enemies very quickly.

METEOR / PRISMATIC CRYSTAL PLACEMENT / UTILITY 
Both amazing talents that have pros and cons for using both. Prismatic crystal is basically a 30 % damage increase against single targets which is amazing. The thing I hate about Prismatic Crystal is that it is so easy to dodge. What I like to do is wait until I have 4 stacks of Incanter's Flow, Dragon's Breath, place my Prismatic Crystal, and double blastwave to melt my enemies. Meteor has the same type of strategy but I use meteor at 2 stacks of Incanter's Flow so when it lands I will be at 5 stacks of Incanter's Flow.

ICE FLOES VIABILITY.

After some testing in some 3s and 2s matches i've came to the conclusion that ice floes is actually really great for fire at the moment in some situations. Three stacks of ignition plus ice floes = Casting frostfire bolt on the run and getting a mobile burst set up. This combined with the glyph of frostfire bolt actually blew me away at how amazing this ability is. Ice floes can also help you out when you have a pillar humping healer that LoS your pollies all the time. Get a stack of ice floes, and poly around the pillar with them. I recommend this ability over blazing speed against certain comps, like dps/healer in 2s.

WHAT'S THE BASIC RULE?

You've probably gotten the point by now, but you're going to want to use your damage abilities when your Incanter's Flow is strongest. 20 % increased spell damage is your friend. The basic rule is : At all times, use your Blast Wave, Combustion, Hot Streak Procs, Meteors, and Prismatic Crystals on your target when you have 4-5 stacks of Incanter's Flow.