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DPS in levelling dungeonsFollow

#1 May 06 2011 at 6:24 AM Rating: Decent
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I've been questing through the post-Cataclysm world, but am about to head into Outland and rather than do all the quests again for the nth time I thought I'd start on the dungeons - I mostly skipped them anyway on previous alts so they're not too stale for me.

BUT - my dps is terrible in dungeons. I've been levelling as Frost and only tried one or two instances along the way but stuff is dying before a Frostbolt cast finishes. I don't want to be the guy starting on the next pack just to get some casts in; my main is a tank and it always annoys the **** out of me.

So really I'm looking for some advice. Are you guys just using Ice Lance / Fire Blast and any other instant spells or procs on trash to get some hits in? I have an Arcane off-spec I played about with a bit, or I'm happy to change that to Fire if the consensus is to go with one of those two.

Appreciate your thoughts.
#2 May 06 2011 at 11:12 AM Rating: Decent
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The main concern in dungeons is keeping your mana up. It's not necessarily hard, but if you get stuck in a spot where you have no mana and the group just keeps on going your numbers are gonna drop.

You should be able to dungeon fairly well as any spec, it's just going to require a different playstyle. Fire should work well, but you should be using Fireblast and Scorch, as well as Blastwave/Flamestrike much more often than you would in solo play. Scorch allows you to move while you cast and costs no mana, so despite its lackluster DPS it's not bad for quick groups. If the group is slow, instead, then the time to wind up Fireballs may be worth it, but still use Fireblast on cooldown.

Frost play is similar to that of solo play. Frankly, pick a target nobody else is hitting much and go to town on it using your solo play tactics. There is a segment of play, around 55-65 where Frost completely dominates not only the other Mage specs but every other class except Fury Warriors and Unholy DKs. It's just gonna require an aggressive playstyle.

Arcane wants to move as little as possible. Sure for early levels, Barrage is amazing, but for anywhere past 40ish your still gonna net better results with an ABlast spam - and when I say spam I mean spam. Keeping those stacks up will deplete mana quickly, but Arcane Flows gives you the opportunity to use Evocation much more often.

It really boils down to just aggressiveness. There is very little to be afraid of in Dungeons - barring bosses or huge packs - and with all the tricks up a Mage's sleeves, playing the safe and passive route isn't going to net you top damage. What will is being quick and consistent.

Edited, May 6th 2011 1:12pm by tzsjynx
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#3 May 07 2011 at 12:25 AM Rating: Good
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tzsjynx wrote:
It really boils down to just aggressiveness. There is very little to be afraid of in Dungeons - barring bosses or huge packs - and with all the tricks up a Mage's sleeves, playing the safe and passive route isn't going to net you top damage. What will is being quick and consistent.
There's quite a bit of truth to this, though at Outland levels(pre-78), you are lacking the two most powerful aggression allowing tools in your **** Still, with Ice Block, you can afford to be a bit aggressive. Just be ready to twitch cast Ice Block as soon as you pull aggro so the tank doesn't have to come after the mob and be a bit more cautious when it's on cooldown.

Also, if you're finding that you don't use your On Use trinkets enough, macro them.
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#4 May 10 2011 at 5:22 AM Rating: Decent
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Thanks for the advice. I think my worst experience was in Uldaman but now I can't remember if the troggs in the early part are actually non-elite. That would explain why they weren't lasting long!

Anyway, in Hellfire dungeons the dps has been fine - I've stuck with frost for now and I have to say I haven't noticed my mana dip at all really.

One other question - is Blizzard ever worth using? For some reason I really like the spell animation / effect but I'm not sure if it has much use apart from **** off the bear tank we had...
#5 May 10 2011 at 6:01 AM Rating: Good
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Viidred wrote:
One other question - is Blizzard ever worth using? For some reason I really like the spell animation / effect but I'm not sure if it has much use apart from **** off the bear tank we had...
Depends on the tank. If the tank doesn't feel comfortable holding aggro on that many mobs(a bigger problem early on) while you AoE, then Blizzard is a no-no.

As you get higher level, the tanks will start to feel more comfortable holding multi-aggro and Blizzard becomes a powerful tool. I'd say once you're in Burning Crusade or higher dungeons, you should ask the tank how they feel about it(DKs* and Paladins you really don't need to ask, just wait one tick after their ground effect has been under the enemies) on larger packs. Anything above three enemies is a potential blizz target. And, as always, if you seem to be pulling aggro with a tactic, adjust.

Also, once you're in Cata level dungeons, you might wish to switch back to some single target.

*Edit: I should point out that DKs don't get DnD til level 60, so don't go AoE nuts on them before that.

Edited, May 10th 2011 6:10am by Poldaran
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#6 May 10 2011 at 8:36 AM Rating: Good
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A few things.

1. Change the meter to read Damage done - Not DPS. This will allow you to see who's really doing the most for the group. At the end of the day, you need to move through X trash packs and Y Bosses. You shouldn't be having issues with tanking or healing - so DPS as a pure stat is a horrible gauge.

2. AOE is your friend. Don't be an A$$hole about it. But Blizzard is good on trash. Your main goal is to burn things fast while not going OOM.

3. Pots/Buffs/flasks/food. Most people don't use them and I'm often guilty of this too. But I also have multiple alts. Someone, somewhere in my lineup either needs to work on their cooking, alch, farming, etc. Taking 20 minutes to fish up some Outlands level fish - then cooking it - then mailing it over... It can add up quickly. The same goes for flasks. Those regular instances were never tuned for you using Raiding Flasks/pots/etc. If you have easy access to the mats - you can quickly gain a big edge. (Perfect example of this is the Pot made from Pygmy fish. I believe it was 2 fish to an Oil and two oils to a POT. Pot increases all stats by 15 or 20 --- That is a super easy thing to farm up)
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#7 May 10 2011 at 12:34 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm going to go against the grain as the local 'frost guy' and say that Blizzard, even after the buff, is a waste of your time and you should take it off your bars. The only thing it's good for is getting a few FoF procs up.
Single target DPS will almost always outdo AoE when it comes to Blizzard. You need packs of 8+ to make Blizzard's damage outweigh your single target damage.
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#8 May 10 2011 at 12:54 PM Rating: Good
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jaysgsl wrote:
I'm going to go against the grain as the local 'frost guy' and say that Blizzard, even after the buff, is a waste of your time and you should take it off your bars. The only thing it's good for is getting a few FoF procs up.
Single target DPS will almost always outdo AoE when it comes to Blizzard. You need packs of 8+ to make Blizzard's damage outweigh your single target damage.
At higher levels, I can believe it, but has blizzard really changed so much that it's not as good as it was in the TBC/Wrath level range?

Even as Arcane, Blizzard put out some solid AoE DPS for me.
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#9 May 10 2011 at 4:59 PM Rating: Decent
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When was this? When I leveled Cico, it was around a month, maybe two after Cata came out, and Blizzard was so useless I was using the fire AoE instead. Until I got FFO, of course, then the whole game changed.
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#10 May 10 2011 at 7:12 PM Rating: Good
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I'm speaking completely from past experience and not looking at any numbers (Something Pold has said, in the past, that I do focus on)....

But when it comes to Old (read "Dead") content - I've found the fastest way to put damage on target was the best way to spike your own damage. It's completely inefficient. It's a horrible idea in current content. But I would be VERY interested to see you prove that Frost Bolt Spam (Essentially) + A FoF proc every once in a while is greater than Bliz Spam for anything less than a 3-pack. (Meaning Blizzard on 3 or MORE mobs... I admit <2 = Single target.)

Shtuff at that level dies SO fast... I can't imagine a true "rotation" at modern levels would work. Please - if I'm wrong, show the math... As they say "Math don't Lie"

It just, to me, seems like the simple solution to Blizz (Or Flamestrike/etc) the area is the fastest way to DPS on MOST pulls. On bosses --- Yes - FB, FOF, etc......
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#11 May 10 2011 at 7:28 PM Rating: Decent
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The problem is Blizzard's low damage overall. When a frostbolt takes the cast time of a tick of blizzard and does 4-5x the damage....
Again, this is speaking of the past, before the Blizzard buff, but I'm talking LITERALLY a double DPS / damage difference. Blizzard is / was really that bad after 4.0.
Numbers? Not totally sure how to pull those up without rolling ANOTHER mage, which I'm not too interested in doing.
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#12 May 10 2011 at 8:30 PM Rating: Good
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my understanding was....

You have two mages in 60 level instances.
Both mages are 60 - with similar gear.

Mage who is Blizz ****
Out damages
Mage who is Single Target - Frost Bolt ****

*on all fights where you have 3 or greater mobs


If i'm wrong - please use math to prove me wrong. (I won't be mad) But the simple solution is - as far as i'm concerned - to BLIZ BLIZ BLIZ.....
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#13 May 11 2011 at 12:04 AM Rating: Good
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jaysgsl wrote:
Blizzard is / was really that bad after 4.0.
I think this is where we're having a disconnect. I'm talking pre-4.0, and it seems Borsuk is as well. When running as Arcane(and toying with some Frost) both in TBC and WotLK(note that the dungeons for those are where I'm recommending use of Blizz), I found Blizzard was a no-brainer on any pack bigger than 3 mobs.

Aside from the dungeon model for newer dungeons(which reward CC and Focus Fire mentalities), what was changed in 4.0 that makes spamming Blizz less effective in the AoE friendly dungeons of TBC and Wrath?
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#14 May 11 2011 at 1:12 AM Rating: Decent
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I thought we were talking about situations the OP would come across today, not a year ago?
Again, if I COULD come up with data, I would, but I just don't know how to do it.
Even if I could find a simple "Frostbolt does between x and y at level z" with the same data for Blizzard, I'm sure it would be easy to math out.
I have an 80 mage, would her numbers suffice?
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#15 May 11 2011 at 2:46 AM Rating: Good
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jaysgsl wrote:
I thought we were talking about situations the OP would come across today, not a year ago?
I'm using experience from a year ago to extrapolate how things should theoretically work out in the same AoE friendly dungeons today. I'm not necessarily asking for numbers, myself. But since you're saying that things are different, I'm simply asking what's so different that single target rotations would be more viable in the rather short engagement, decent pack size fights of old than AoE.

I know that the Cata dungeons have fights that last long enough to make rotations more meaningful, but having a decent number of your spells hit dying mobs for no damage was a large problem in the days of previous expansions, thus mitigating their potential and further favoring spells that allowed you to beat on all mobs at once so you don't waste time being completely ineffective.
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#16 May 11 2011 at 4:45 AM Rating: Decent
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The main thing is the nerf to the damage output of AoE spells in general, especially so to Blizzard. In 4.0, AoE spells suffered a HUGE nerf that echoed loudly to the lower levels. 4.1 brought Blizzard's damage up by some 300% (Just to show how bad off Blizzard was!), but it's still pitifully weak.
I can't compare for low level as I've said, but even in Cata dungeons after the 'buff,' Blizzard on less than 5 mobs is a DPS loss compared to single target, whether the fight is 2 seconds or two minutes.
When Frostbolt is hitting for 16K and Blizzard is ticking on each mob for around 4000, at a 1.5ish(? Not sure on that) second interval, it adds up, especially when frostbolt is on a 1.8 second cast.
Now, all throughout leveling I was looking at around a 1.8 - 2.2 frostbolt due to haste on acquired gear and natural frost haste, as well as BoAs (not sure if there's actually any haste on them or not). So the damage of those frostbolts was piling on more quickly than the damage of Blizzard.

Please note that this is completely discounting the use of Icelance and either FB or FFB on brain freezes depending on level. Those bring up the single target damage even more.

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#17 May 11 2011 at 6:22 AM Rating: Good
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jaysgsl wrote:
The main thing is the nerf to the damage output of AoE spells in general, especially so to Blizzard. In 4.0, AoE spells suffered a HUGE nerf that echoed loudly to the lower levels.
Unmentioned patch note? I couldn't find it listed on Wowpedia's section on Blizzard. Also, they only list Blizz getting a 70% buff in 4.1.

jaysgsl wrote:
When Frostbolt is hitting for 16K and Blizzard is ticking on each mob for around 4000, at a 1.5ish(? Not sure on that) second interval, it adds up, especially when frostbolt is on a 1.8 second cast.
Am I remembering incorrectly when I say I believe Blizz is affected by haste? Also, I thought it was 8 ticks per cast at 8 seconds of channel. Wowhead lists it at 8 seconds and Wowwiki(didn't have the old info on Wowpedia) has the old table with the damage/tick and total damage, suggesting it has 8 ticks.

Assuming that's correct(I can't go in game for a couple days to check due to my CC being invalid after getting the old one replaced because of the Sony fiasco), your 4000 per mob is every 1 second(or less!), which means that my 4 mob recommendation comes to 16k a second compared to your 16k per 1.8 seconds on frostbolt. To be sure, Frostbolt gets more from Ice Lance and Brain Freeze weaving, but in dungeons that are friendly to AoE, Blizz still seems to hold the advantage on 4+ mob packs.
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#18 May 11 2011 at 8:39 AM Rating: Decent
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Thanks for all the input. Mainly I was getting at whether there is a minimum number of mobs where Blizz aoe > single target, or whether aoe really was nerfed to such an extent that it's not worth using at all. I'll keep trying it and see what effect it has, glad to see it's not a total write-off at least.

Poldaran wrote:
And, as always, if you seem to be pulling aggro with a tactic, adjust.

Absolutely - as I mentioned my main is a tank and I know the pain of trying to run in five directions at once!

Borsuk wrote:
1. Change the meter to read Damage done - Not DPS. This will allow you to see who's really doing the most for the group.

Yeah, I always do have the meter on damage done, but tend to use 'dps' as shorthand for this as well, which isn't always helpful to clear communication!
#19 May 11 2011 at 2:56 PM Rating: Decent
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That's the math I was looking for.
If Blizzard only got a 70% buff, that's lower than the original patch notes. Of course, I'm talking PTR here....
I'm not sure if it was mentioned, but it was a HUGE deal. In their rush to kill aoe tanking, they killed aoe damage as well, which is why for most of early 4.0, you just didn't see much AoE going down.
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#20 May 11 2011 at 5:20 PM Rating: Decent
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Don't forget though that almost all AoEs now (minus ones that are either actually mass single targets or ones that are ground effects) have a max damage, and once that number is hit that damage starts to get split up. Yet another idea in order to keep balance where balance is not needed.

As far as I know, the magic number for most classes was 4 all the way up to 4.0. In 4.0, the number was different for many, but for some classes it was as high as 12 - that is to say you need 12 friggin' monsters in order for AoE to be the better choice. That number was cut for most classes drastically in 4.1, and may be cut again for some (except hunters) again in 4.2. Thing is, AoEing by natural RPG principals is a bad idea because with FF you knock down incoming Damage quicker and with AoE everything stays up longer and dies at the same time. This was always the natural way masses of mobs worked and for truly hard encounters - Sunwell Plateau trash being a good example - so that true decision making had to be made, not simply making AOE so ungodly awful that no intelligent person would use it.

Now... now we're somewhere in the middle. For fire the magic number is 4. For Retribution pallies it is also 4. Both of these classes have elements of single target DPS in their AoEs though (which I think is fine), so I'm not sure how some other classes may fare. I'd guess the average is between 4-6 for most classes.

Edited, May 11th 2011 7:21pm by tzsjynx
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#21 May 11 2011 at 10:31 PM Rating: Good
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tzsjynx wrote:
As far as I know, the magic number for most classes was 4 all the way up to 4.0. In 4.0, the number was different for many, but for some classes it was as high as 12 - that is to say you need 12 friggin' monsters in order for AoE to be the better choice. That number was cut for most classes drastically in 4.1, and may be cut again for some (except hunters) again in 4.2.
Last I read for mage spells, the Area Damage cap was what the spell would do against 10 mobs without spellpower, so AoE works out to diminishing returns somewhere around 6-7 mobs with your spellpower included. Edit: After many days later coming back and reading what you said, you weren't talking about what I had thought you were at all. Smiley: laugh

Edited, May 17th 2011 1:32am by Poldaran
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#23 Jun 21 2011 at 8:42 PM Rating: Good
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...lol.
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#24 Jun 21 2011 at 9:17 PM Rating: Good
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"lackluster DPS"


I am going to slightly disagree with this. I play a Fire Mage, and Scorch, while not as powerful as Fireball, can be a very nice spell. Like you mentioned, it can be cast while moving. What I'd like to mention, is that Scorch can proc some very nice things; instant cast Pyroblast, and it applies Critical Mass, a very useful debuff.


Don't underestimate Scorch's potential is all I was trying to say, but in a long winded and probably irrelevant manner. Typical.
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