Monday, January 2, 2012

Rift Mage: How to do it all wrong and win

To skip ahead a bit in my Mage tutorial, let's talk about Parcholock Glass Cannon. I don't want this series to be about me telling you how to play, so consider this an object lesson, rather than "the answer". Really, what this post is about is the idea that a viable build is more about your ability to play and enjoy it than it is about theorycrafting numbers.

This is my primary single-target, dps raiding build. I call this article, "how to do it all wrong and win" because the theorycrafting says: don't do this. The thing is, it works very well and does the most important thing that you can do for any raider: increases situational awareness. I've given up a lot of rotation complexity for simplicity in order to know what's going on around me.

If you're not familiar with the standard pyrolock build, see Bluedot's coverage of the topic. I break nearly everything he suggests, below, and I'll concede that if I had the ability to master my priority casting the way he does and still pay attention, I'd be a better raider. The fact is, though, that you need to focus on staying alive and not wiping the raid first and only then think about doing more damage.

The Build

My Parcholock Glass Cannon build trades lots of mobility and forget-about-it casting for theoretical dps and some survivability (though in fights where I take a lot of damage, I can always use Life Leech to even things out a bit).

Macros (Single target)

I'll talk about AoE macros another time, but for now:

Macro 1: Masher

#show Heat Wave
cast [ctrl] Sacrifice Life: Damage
cast [ctrl] Heat Wave
cast [ctrl] Fireball
cast Inferno
cast Flame Bolt
cast Leeching Flames
cast Fireball

Macro 2: Combusticate

#show Withering Flames
cast Countdown
cast Withering Flames

Macro 3: There is no macro 3


First off, understand that the Masher macro is the heart of this strategy. Press it (without holding control) any time you feel off-balance, have to move or otherwise get put off your game a bit and don't know what to press. It's your filler for all situations. The Masher knows...
  1. Pillaging Stone (get 5 stacks and re-cast as needed)
  2. Searing Flames (up at all times)
  3. Combusticate macro when Withering Flames is up (press twice and wait for channel to end, don't do this if you have to keep moving)
  4. Internalize Charge (whenever you're at full charge and leave it up until you run out)
  5. Cinder Burst when it procs (don't worry about opportunity)
  6. Heat Wave When heat wave is up, you stop everything, hold down control and press the Masher macro key until heat wave shuts off. If you feel you have everything under control and have lots of spare attention, wait for the first fireball after this macro pops Heat Wave and Sacrifice Life: Damage, and pop Internalize Charge.
  7. Masher macro (bang on that key until something above comes up)
  8. Win
kalert config

I use the kalert addon. It takes some getting used to, but it's probably the most important addon out there (Boss mods and a damage meter being key as well). Here's what I have configured:
  • Name: "Heat Wave", import string:
    Heat Wave;1;T;player;2;T;T;F;Heat Wave;a0000000078B02215;0;1;F;F;0;0;Rift;Data/\UI\ability_icons\;825;918;96;96;2;0.7;;CENTER;1;;1;1;1;30;T;F;CENTER;30;T;6;F;0

  • Name: "Heat Wave Active", import string:
    Heat Wave Active;1;T;player;1;T;T;F;Heat Wave;a0000000078B02215;0;1;F;F;0;0;kAlert;images\Aura-3.tga;825;374;512;512;4;0.8;;CENTER;1;;1;1;1;30;T;F;CENTER;30;T;6;F;0
  • Name: "Pillaging Stone", import string:
    Pillaging Stone;1;T;player;1;T;T;F;Pillaging Stone;a00000000472E6EC8;0;5;F;F;0;0;Rift;Data/\UI\ability_icons\;1026;925;96;96;2;0.5;;CENTER;1;;1;1;1;30;T;T;CENTER;30;T;6;F;0
  • Name: "Searing Vitality", import string:
    Searing Vitality;1;T;;1;F;T;F;Searing Vitality;a000000001ADB0C76;0;1;F;F;0;0;Rift;Data/\UI\ability_icons\;1125;923;96;96;2;0.5;;CENTER;1;;1;1;1;30;T;F;CENTER;30;T;6;F;0
  • Name: "Withering Flames", import string:
    Withering Flames;1;T;player;2;T;T;F;Withering Flames;a000000001302F091;0;1;F;F;0;0;Rift;Data/\UI\ability_icons\;927;922;96;96;2;0.5;;CENTER;1;;1;1;1;30;T;F;CENTER;30;T;6;F;0
I don't bother trying to compute the x/y locations. Instead, I enter all of my alerts and then press "edit layout" and drag them around to where I want them.

What's the result?

I get about the same dps doing this as I have with more complex rotations, and much more than I get with, for example, bluedot's priority casting strategy. Theoretically, I should do more with bluedot's setup, but I get lost and press the wrong button whenever anything happens around me. When I can always fall back on my Masher macro, which carries the bulk of my dps, I don't have that problem.

What I'm doing wrong
  • I'm not casting any non-fire dots, ever.
  • I'm using Withering Flames, a fairly low-dps tool, in order to give me time to think
  • I only cast countdown with the Withering Flames macro, sacrificing theoretical dps
  • I'm dropping some key talents from Warlock in order to gain massive mana regen so I never have to worry about mana.
  • I'm taking extra damage because I don't max out Improved Glyphs of Power (the only thing I really don't want to do, but Spark is just too important, and 2/5 Dark power is substantially better than 2/5 Improved Glyph)
  • I'm not optimizing Internalize Charge around dots and high-damage instant-cast spells. Why? Because it frees me up to think about other things, and the net effect isn't that big a hit in the long run.
So, here's to doing it wrong!
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