Welcome all you mages, and people who are interested in the ways of the magi. this is my lil blurb on how to raid as a mage. here's the list of important things that you should consider.
1) your spec
2) not dying
3) your itemization for your spec
4) watching your threat
5) your rotation
6) not dying
7) knowing the boss fights and what a mage is supposed to do
8) not dying
10) and finally.. staying alive
but seriously the most difficult thing to do as a mage in raid is staying alive.
1) so.. first off... your spec. Im also gonna talk about itemization here.
this is important, it defines who you are, and how you like to play mage. I'll let you all figure out what you like to do, but there are three trees, arcane, fire, and frost. ALL three have viable good dps raid specs. each one. some do a lil more, but they are all within 5% with proper itemization. the first thing i'll talk about is arcane
the arcane tree is about power. you get great buffs to your stats, and you make your int contribute to your dmg, this is good. so there are a few arcane builds out there for raiding, but to be honest there is one that works better than the otheres and that is arcane with frost. some people go for cold snap at the cost of some talents, like slow. slow is useful on some fights, and worthless on others. I'd reccomend go for cold snap, that is twice as many ib's and it is 5 IV in the space of 3 on a 10 min fight.
here is my recomended arcane build- (how much hit you have will require a little tweaking with a few talents, im assuming you can get 12% spell hit, which is very easy at T5 level)
Itemization- once hit capped, the stats that increase your dps in order are....
-haste, dmg, int, crit, pen. seriously pen is next to useless, any more than 30 is horrible, and you'll get it on T6 shoulders.. i konw it sucks.
and as far as haste is concerned... with all mage specs, you only want to stack haste when you get over 1000 dmg. If you have mana issues dont' stack it.
the best red gems are pure dmg, the best blue ones are dmg and stam or haste and stam depending on your gear, and the best yellow are haste and dmg (if hit capped... from now on im assuming you are), or the int and dmg gems from some heroics (trust me, int is really really really important for arc mages, it helps mana regen like woah, and gives you an amazing mana pool, which maximizes your dmg output). arcane is also has 40% less threat which is huge
are the int/dmg gems, it will require some farming, but is worth it imo until you get the nice stats from T6 gear.
enchants- spell dmg enchants, end of story. subtlety on cloak and stats to chest, the rest is dmg everywhere
and for your weap you would do well with a staff with lots of stats on it to help your mana pool and get the most benefit from your int.
-spell rotation. for arcane your spell rotation is pretty much arcane blast with some frost bolts. since the three stack of ab debuff drains your mana really fast, you have to use your judgement to decide how long to stay on ab, and when to frostbolt. i would reccomend 3ab then 2-3 frostbolts depending on how much haste you have. if you are going for max dmg/mana you'll want to start a fresh ab just before your ab debuff goes away and finish your ab after the debuff goes away. this way you get the haste bonus, without paying the huge mana penalty. you want to finish a boss off with ab spam so you run out of mana when the boss dies.
also your really gonna want the T5 2 piece bonus to be competetive at the T5+ lvl
pros-high int/spell dmg
-the highest possible dps a mage can do (ab with 3x debuff spam)
-coldsnap and Iv is really really nice
cons- requires full attention to your mana pool, very mana intensive.
-you are 100% relient of having an sp in your group
-gets zero benefit from T6 4 piece set bonus
The fire tree is about raw dmg and aoe. every talent is dmg or aoe related. ignite makes fire mages get more benefit from critical strikes than any other class in the game 2.10x dmg on a crit! (as a note if any other class gets more than 2.10x dmg on a crit let me know so im not a noob, somehow i think retadins get more bonus out of crit, but idk if the crit itself is 2.10x dmg).
there are 2 specs for a fire mage. one involves clear casting, and the other involves IV. at the top gear level, fire with IV is the highest Damage mage possible. at the T5 level this isnt the case, arcane has a nice buff, but it is comperable and has some benefits that arcane does not. I personally would reccomend running fire with IV. you will want mage armor up to help mana regen, although if you have an SP you can run with molten for the crit bonus ( i run with molten cuz i like mana, and spell resist). I am only going to link the fire IV spec, if you want CC instead, you must keep ele prescision, and then put the points to get CC and you get an extra talent point
Itemization is similar to arcane, but int isn't something you are as concerned about. its important for your mana pool, but for dmg output it is not, only sustainability, which is very rarely a problem.
haste>dmg>crit (ima ignore pen) the same thing applies here, don't bother for gemming for haste until you are over 1000 dmg. also, haste ads dps but not dpm. i would reccomend stacking all dmg in every gem slot, unless it has a good set bonus, then throw in haste and dmg and haste and stam gems to fill yellow and blue slots.
-stack scorch, and spam fireball. keep scorch up, because thats 15% more dmg. its usually 8x fireball 1x scorch after you have the 5 stack up. some fights i would recomend throwing a scorch up sooner, like ones when you have to move regularly.
i personally would recomend this build, i like it a lot and i seem to throw my max dps with this, ignite is amazing etc.
-easy to maintain
-good balance between dps and mana efficiency
-stacking scorch is annoying
-requires the 20% more dmg while target is under 20% to really out dmg the other specs (but when a boss has 4 or 5 million health, there is almost 1 mill dmg to be done under 20%)
frost is typically though of as teh pvp spec. its great for that and shatter is a lot of fun. for raiding however, shatter is next to useless. frost is the most mana efficient mage there is. you get a fun pet, that it is important to manage to get the max dps, ie it can get heroism if its up when heroism is popped. you get cold snap, so 2 more IV in a 10 min fight, which is very nice. It is also very easy to maintain the rotation. Frostbolt. thats it. you only use ice lance if you have to move and keep the winters chill effect up. winters chill is nice, all frost spells at the target get 10% more chance to crit, its nice, you get double crit dmg, so you get 2.0x dmg from a crit, which is very high.
there are 2 thoughts on this. i'll link both specs because i think they are equally important. one allows for much better aoe dmg, which is important (you can do as much as a fire or arc mage with this one).
the next one sacrifices a little aoe dmg for the best mana efficiency for a dps caster in the game (it pwns aff locks imo).
this gives you arcane meditation, which is 30% mana regen while casting. this is huge, end of story. with this build you get maximum performance out of it if you stack 10% or more haste.
itemization- the same as fire, but you can put more emphasis on haste then spell dmg cuz dpm isn't as big of an issue.
pros- easy to master
-you can kite stuff
-you get a pet which has cool stuff
-good for alar fight
-slightly lower dps than fire always, and less than arcane until T6 4 piece
- the pet will make up a large chunk of dmg so managing him so he doesn't die is good.
i like frost, its fun, but alas i like fire more
Now the other fun stuff about mages
im assuming you know all about these, if your not, you need to find out on your own i can only hold your hand so long.
knowing the boss fights is your responsibility, however, if you have questions, feel free to ask me, i try to be as helpful as possible, however my teaching abilities are well, pretty weak from time to time. if you have questions about gear and such, i can do it. I'll come up with a gear slot itemization thingy, but you should just look at maxdps.com thats what they do. however, as a mage you have to be at your hit cap, any more and its wasted stats, any less, and you are heavily hurting your dps. btw, hit cap for fire/frost mages is 164, for the arc build i linked its something rediculously low, like 102, which is a struggle to get that low at the T5+ gear lvl.
If i left anything out, lemme know, but i covered all the important things... oh btw, you have an oh shit button, its called ice block, use that instead of getting your face pwnd.
"i don't care if you can do 3000 dps if you can't stay alive for more than half the fight, a dead mage does 0 dps. "