17 Mar 2010

Care For Some Cheese With Your Whine?

Since this is National Whine On Your Blog Day, I’m going to confront the amorphous entity known as Mage Hate head-on. There’s this general feeling I get sometimes that players think mages are scum. Yes we have our ongoing rivalry with Warlocks, but this feeling goes beyond it. It’s like the rest of the Warcraft-playing population think we’re all button-mashing maniacs that struggle with anything more complicated than “Nuke the target as hard as you can.” While some of this is fair, there’s a balance that needs redressing.

So pull up a chair while I go through the biggest gripes I have as an endgame mage. Fellow mages, don’t think you’re getting out of this either. Every time we group up with others we’re ambassadors of our class. We owe it to other mages to play well, play solidly and play as part of the team. If we stop doing some of the things we have a bit of a reputation for, perhaps we’ll get less hate and more love.

  1. I enter the instance and start my Summon Table ritual. I’m then waiting for the rest of the group to click the thing just to get the table to spawn. You no clicky, you no eaty. No point complaining ten minutes later – either click at the start or accept a couple of stacks of strudel in a trade window later.
  2. On the same table thing – if you’re going to demand a table and a buff, wait for me to get some mana back before you start pulling. Going “Table-buff-yum-pull!” just isn’t playing fair. Have a little give and take here.
  3. I know the priests that are getting fed up with mages rolling on crit-haste-spellpower gear. Some rightly think that we should be rolling on hit gear and only hit gear. In a perfect world you’d be right, but since the Arcane tree got buffed mages have been trying to offload hit heavily. This means that gear that was previously a priest exclusive is now very attractive to us. I don’t like having to regear, but I’m also not going to carry around a bunch of wasted itemisation points.
  4. If you’re a Paladin, Shaman or Druid and you’re rolling on cloth gear against cloth-only wearers, hang your head in shame. Get used to not having any mastery bonuses in Cataclysm due to your strange armour choices.
  5. Frostnovablinkinvisibility is not a cheater move. I understand that when groups wipe that it’s a pain to corpserun, but to have a go at me for using my spells to escape a repair bill is just stupid. I’m all for group solidarity, but for you to have a go at me for not eating dirt along with the rest of you is laughable. If you’re a hunter that died because you were too slow with your feign death button, yet have a go at me for being able to press three correctly in sequence, I will point and laugh at you.
  6. If you ask me to crowd control a mob, I will do so to the best of my abilities. I’ll put it on Focus, I’ll use my PoM-Poly macro and I’ll even offer you one of a selection of different animals if you really want. I’m not going to sit there and keep polymorphing if you keep on hitting the target, or if you drop a consecrate underneath it, or it gets dotted up. You spank it, you tank it.

Mages, I told you this part was coming and I’m not going to disappoint. But I think you’ll agree I’m being fair. Some of us are consistently letting the side down and need to raise our game a little. I’m going to say some unpleasant things, but it’s all for our own good. Really.

  • Learn that being able to AoE packs of mobs is a luxury that comes with having a highly geared tank with buckets of threat generation. If you start AoE early and you’re pulling mobs off the tank, pop your iceblock. If it happens again, pop invisibility. If it keeps on happening then throttle back – either put in a delay before opening up with Blizzard or switch to single target damage. Note that for three mobs or fewer you get more DPS from single target damage, so you’ll be doing yourself a favour as well.
  • Install Omen or another threat meter and pay attention to it. There is a fine balancing act between maximising your threat and pulling aggro. Pulling a mob – particularly a boss – off the tank doesn’t mean that the tank is crap. It means that you’re not paying attention to your threat generation and modifying your playstyle accordingly.
  • Don’t expect buffs in heroics. If you’re walking around in Tier 9 you outgear it anyway and won’t really benefit from buffs. Especially don’t wait for a paladin buff – they’re a pain to do and to refresh. The only time you should expect to be fully buffed is in raids, and even then only at boss fights. Anything else is once again a luxury.
  • Don’t obsess over recount in heroics. There is only one time where your DPS contribution is important, and that’s on boss fights. I really don’t care if you can pull 6K DPS on trash – it’s just trash and doesn’t really matter. If you think your performance isn’t up to scratch, talk to another mage in your guild or raidgroup. You can also try EpicAdvice – there’s a really helpful bunch of people there.
  • Don’t pull, EVER. There is only one person that should be pulling, and that’s the tank. If the tank asks you to polymorph something then that’s OK, but apart from that you should not be using Ice Lance to kite mobs over the tank’s consecrate. You have a job, they have theirs. Do it.
  • Learn to dance during fights. Mages are like one of those Martian tripod-death ray things, not a fixed turret that’s bolted to the ground. If there is The Bad under your feet, learn to move away from it. I don’t care if it hurts your DPS to take a couple of steps out of it, because it’ll hurt your DPS even more to spend the rest of the fight warming the floor. Heroics are no excuse to be lazy either – they’re practice for when you’re raiding.
  • Knowing when to stop DPS is just as important as when to go full-tilt nuke. If you’re fighting the Devourer of Souls, remember to stop DPS at the relevant times. If one of your group is mind-controlled, use crowd control instead of nuking them down. And if you die because of spell reflection expect to be laughed at.

So there you have it, a whine about both how mages are treated and how we treat others. While this has been fairly therapeutic, I’m not expecting much to change. My only hope is that other classes understand that not all mages are the same, and that some of us will try our best to play well with others.

Of course, there have probably been things that I’ve missed on both sides of the coin. If there’s something you’ve seen that really annoys you as a mage, or if it’s a particular thing mages do that really annoys you, feel free to share it in the comments.

(image credit: User:Arnaud 25 from Wikimedia Commons)

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