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 Mage builder guide

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Posts : 53
Join date : 2012-10-06
Age : 33

PostSubject: Mage builder guide   Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:36 am

Meet Your Mage- Basics

Mage is a Ranged Caster Damage Dealer. We shoot magic at our enemies from far away, but we also feature AoE (Area of Effect) and CC (Crowd Control) skills. We do Fire and Wind damage. Mages wear cloth armor and are quite squishy. How hard we hit is determined by our Magical Damage (mdam), which comes mainly from our Staff, along with modifiers like magical attack and critical hit (crit) etc. Stats we love are Intelligence (int), Magical Attack (mattack or ma), Stamina (stam) and Maximum Hit Points (HP). Some of us also like to stat Wisdom (wis) and Defense (pdef).

Skills- General
Skills marked with a * are worth leveling with Talent Points, skills marked with an x are not, skills marked with ** should be leveled FIRST and are very important and skills marked with a o cannot be leveled. Your mileage may vary.

NB- the tag system is geared to max-level players. As you level, you will want to allocate your tp differently. Choose Flame, Fireball and Fire Knowledge first, if you pick a Fire build (which I personally recommend). Eventually you will become a well-rounded mage and level both Fire and Wind, and you'll use both seamlessly, but if you prefer the Wind skills, level Plasma Arrow, Lightning and Electric Bolt with Wind Knowledge.

Don't bother putting any tp into Discharge til you get higher level- you will be using it primarily as a stun and not to do damage, and the stun time is the same at level 70 as it is at 0, so save your tp.

*Fireball- Instant with a 6 second cooldown (CD).
*Lightning- Root which does some damage, 20 sec CD.
**Wisdom- Badly-named passive skill which actually increases int by a percentage.
*Intensification- 20 sec self-buff which increases mdam.
*Silence- Prevents the target from casting magic spells.
xFire Ward- Highly useless Fire Resistance buff.

Skills- Class Specific

oElemental Catalysis- Between level 1-65 this skill is not worth using, after 65 it's a mage's most important buff. Adds 20% to mdam and reduces cast speed time by 50% for 20 seconds. 5 min CD.
**Flame- 3 sec cast. Mage's number one skill.
*Electrostatic Charge- Shield which absorbs damage based on %HP, 2 min CD.
*Plasma Arrow- 2 sec cast. Adds a short term crit buff.
oEruption- Passive. Allows Flame and Fireball to potentially hit twice.
*Electric Bolt- Damage over Time (DoT) spell.
xDischarge- 5 sec short-range AoE stun. 15 sec CD.
xMeteor Shower- Channeled instant cast, low damage.
xElectric Explosion- 2 sec cast.
xPhoenix- Frontal AoE.
xElectric Compression- First part of an unnecessarily complex 2 step root.
xStatic Field- Second step, the breakable root.
**Wind Knowledge- Passive, adds to Wind Damage.
**Fire Knowledge- Passive, adds to Fire Damage (level both, they stop at 50).
*Purgatory Fire- Instant short range spammable AoE.
*Energy Influx- self-buff, increases crit damage, 2 min CD.
xEnergy Well- decreases mana costs
*Elemental Weakness- Decreases magical defense for 30 secs.
*Thunderstorm- Ranged channeled AoE. Cannot be used until Lightning is at least level 15.

Spells in Rotation

Ok, now that you've decided what class combos to choose- what spells go together easily in a rotation?

That will depend on the combo you choose, of course, as you will have elite skills that may be very useful. However, the most basic rotation for mages is simple: Flame (3 second cast, hardest hitting spell), Lightning (roots the target so it cannot attack you) and then Fireball (instant cast, finishes them off). This rotation will kill almost any regular mob in the game. Poof, dead. This is what mages do. We nuke at a distance and then we pin the baddies down like darts in a dartboard and nuke them more if we need to.

Now, when you go up against a large group of mobs, different tactics are needed. Then AoE's come into play. The most basic multi-target rotation is Discharge (stuns for 5 seconds) followed by Purgatory Fire until all are dead. Pop Electrostatic Charge, run into the mobs, stun and purg. This basic model can be followed even in instances, with multiple mages timing their stuns so that they keep a patrol (a moving group of elite mobs) stunlocked while killing with Purg.

All mage combos need to have those rotations in their arsenal.

There are more advanced techniques that can be used for crowd control, such as kiting groups of mobs with Thunderstorm *Paz Paz, do you still have the link for your video of Tstorm kiting?* You can also take on individual tough elites with a rotation that involves Flame, Lightning, Silence, Flame, Fireball, Discharge, Flame and then Fireball (if it doesn't die by then, you will unless you can kite it with Shot or a combination of instants).

Get to know your mage's skills, and you will soon master nuking and CC.

Damage, Stats and You: How to Hit Harder

Firstly, you need to understand a little bit about what makes you hit harder. As a dps class, our job is to do damage, and since we wear cloth, our best defense is ensuring that the enemy is dead before it can reach us.

A mage's damage is based on the magical damage that is on their staff (and sometimes small amounts are present on gear or added as a set bonus). It is flat damage, and for that reason, the best way to increase your dps (damage output per second) is usually by getting a staff with the highest mdam available, and then by increasing your casting speed. Unlike mattack, you can't stat mdam, so the only way to increase it is to plus and tier your staff (and any armor bits that have mdam).

The general rule is to tier your weapon (using dirty mana stones) and stat your gear (using purified fusion stones). For more information on using the Arcane Transmutor to do so, see this guide As of this writing, the average endgame weapon is tier 10 and +16.

Then you factor in Magical Attack. Mattack works by measuring how much you have and pitting that against the amount of Magical Defense that your opponent has. If you have less mattack than they have mdef, you will be penalized and do less damage. If you have more mattack than they have mdef, you will hit for full damage. Therefore, you want to have more magical attack than the bosses or mobs that you typically fight. This will vary depending on what level you are and what content you are attempting, but as a general rule, more is better.

Once your mattack exceeds the mdef of the highest level boss in the game, you reach a point called the "soft cap"- this is the point of diminishing returns. You won't do much more damage to the boss even if you added more mattack. It's not a number that anyone can calculate with any accuracy, hence the "soft" in soft cap. As of this writing (Chapter 4, max level 70), the soft cap for magical attack is believed to be around 130k.

You can get mattack a few different ways. You get 2 mattack for every point of int that you have, and don't forget that your general skill Wisdom increases your int by a percentage. Int and mattack can both be added as stats to gear. Int and mattack ghost stats are also common on mage gear. Int is the most important stat a mage can get. Int is the "mother" stat, you could say, as it gives you mattack, whereas stats that say "Magical Attack" are referred to as "raw" mattack. If you look at two stats side by side- Intelligence vs Magical Attack, you will see that you actually get a few more mattack from a raw stat vs an int stat. Let me demonstrate:

Demon of the Hero: 116 Int/290 Matt (all stats with the same "of the" have the same value, regardless of what actual stats are on them, so all combinations will have 116 int or 290 mattack)

So, 116 int x 2 = 232 mattack. Raw gives you 290 instead. However, you get bonuses on that int stat that you do not get from raw mattack. The mage general skill Wisdom gives you a 7% bonus (at level 70), so now you get 248. Add a Hero Potion and you get 20% more. Now you get to a value of 297. Add on extra bonuses like the Aoth bonus, and you can see the value of Int. That's why it is important to have both.

Other Stuff:

Wisdom- adds MP, Magical Accuracy and Magical Defense. Typically, mages have few mana issues. We get enough wis from ghost stats on our gear that we usually do not need to stat for it. Set skills like Recover Magic (from the Elemental Flame set) help, as do food and pots like Magic Fruit Pies and Mana Source. There are only a few situations where you'll need to use any of those or suck down a mana pot- usually long purg-intensive fights like the Centaur in NJF or Naylodas in RT- he sucks mana from you. Otherwise, mana is not an issue for mages.

Magical Accuracy keeps you from missing or being resisted. Most mages get enough of this from ghost stats on our gear, so usually you don't need to stat wis to get more. Generally speaking, we don't miss often, unless we're pushing endgame content. In that case, having a druid or x/druid in party to buff you with Concentration is handy.

Critical Hit and Critical Damage- are key. Critical Hit chance increases your chance of getting a critical hit. Critical Damage increases the amount of damage your crits do. Remember the mattack softcap? There's one for crit as well. As of this writing, the crit softcap is unknown, but it is generally believed to be around 70%. Usually you get the vast majority of crit from your accessory set. This is a problem for mages while leveling up, because the Vahtos accessory set has very little crit. Most classes get the most benefit from Vahtos between level 20 and 65, with the exception of m/w. M/W is all about burst damage and needs the crit most. Ifur is the best crit set pre-level 65. However- this is one of those things mages routinely fight about- your mileage will vary. Get as much crit as you can get your hands on.

As of this writing, the preferred statting for mages goes something like this:
3 x Int/Stam
3 x Int/Mattack
Some mages prefer to use Stam/mattack and/or Magical Attack/HP as well.

This varies mage to mage of course, but it's a well balanced place to start.

When you are leveling and gearing, it is perfectly acceptable to throw whatever you can get your hands on onto your gear, and dirty statting is efficient. Once you reach max level, and you start to get serious about gear, avoid bad stats like defense, magical defense or MP. None of those are terribly helpful. Defense can be gotten through tiering your gear, magical defense has no use in PvE and mages never need MP.

Aggro Management- You Can't DPS When You're Dead

Mages can generate mindbendingly huge amounts of aggro. Managing this is important. Wandering around in the open world questing you'll never see an issue. As soon as you start doing instances, it becomes a huge one. The first time you pull the boss away from the tank and he smacks you in the face, you'll be one very dead mage. The game has several ways to manage your aggro.

Reconciliation Runes- are your bestest buds. Some combos can have two of these (dual wielding m/r's and m/s) and they get a natural advantage because of it. Single-weapon mages need to work a little harder, but there are ways. As soon as you start running instances, you'll want to get a good Recon rune for your staff. While you're gearing and leveling, don't break the bank- but they are a good investment. Once you get to endgame you'll want a Recon between VII and X. Dual-rune people can usually get away with two VII's.

Other Stuff- There are Potions available that reduce aggro. Pacification Powder and it's stronger cousin Tranquility Powder are highly useful and cheap. The mage setskill Unharmed (from WA) is also invaluable. Get it as soon as you can, and use it, unless you are one of the lucky two-rune mages. Your tank will thank you.

Get a Threatmeter addon and use it. The old addon PB Info has a nice one, and I believe it is still available on Curseforge. Use common sense also. If you are having issues with pulling aggro from your tank and you're using all the anti-aggro things that are available to you there are a few simple things you can do to reduce problems. How much aggro you generate is directly proportional to the amount of dps you can output. Slowing down or letting the tank have a few seconds to generate adequate hate is just common sense. You can time your buffs to finish a few seconds after the tank runs in so that s/he can get a head start and you don't lose any burn.

Ideally, most tanks can hold aggro off the vast majority of mages without too many issues, as long as you are adequately runed. Some combos have more problems with this than others, and the two worst offenders are m/w and m/p. If m/w crits too many times in the first second or two of a boss fight, they can pull aggro off a tank better geared than God. M/P has the same issue if Outburst procs too many times right away. Those two classes need to be extra careful and always always use Tranq and Unharmed.

You'll get the hang of this, especially if you find yourself tanking things. Mages can tank- they just can't tank very long and live to tell about it.

Buffing 101: CAST FAST

A mage's damage is utterly dependent on how fast they can cast their highest damage spell, and that is Flame, regardless of class combo or build. While you are leveling and questing, you can get away with just the self buffs that your class offers, and you will use a neat rotation. Once you start doing instances, you will need to master the Art of the Buff.

First, let's break down buffs by category:

Consumables: Foods and Potions

There are many foods and potions to choose from, and some stack and some don't. Generally, you can have one Food and one Dessert on at the same time, and one Memento food and a short-duration food on also. You can have one Potion, a medium-length Potion and one short-duration Potion on at a time. So, you can eat a Light Fluffy Bread (level 70 mattack food, 15 minute duration), a Magic Fruit Pie (reduces mana costs), Grassland Mix (Memento HP food, 15 minute duration) and Moti Blended Sausage (critical damage, 60 seconds) all at the same time. You can use a Hero Potion (+20% to all stats, 10 minute duration), Ancient Spirit Water (reduces cast time, 30 second duration) and an Arcane Potion (Memento, reduces cast time, 20 sec duration) at the same time.

In order to be sure everything you want to use stacks, you'll just have to try it. Those rules are very general- not absolute.

Generally speaking, you want to choose buffs that do the following things: decrease your casting time, increase either mdam, mattack or crit, and buffs that increase your defense and hp. If you have to choose between mdam and mattack food, you have to consider what your stats are relative to your target. If you outlevel the boss, chances are good that mdam food will work best. If the boss is your level or higher (bosses are 3 levels higher than the instance) then you will almost certainly want mattack food. Take a little of both and experiment.

As far as casting speed buffs go, stack all you can. Curse Rune (goes in your Staff only), Guitar, Ancient Spirit Water, Arcane Potion (codex) and Elemental Catalysis all reduce cast time and stack. About the only ones that do not stack are Clear Thought (doesn't stack with Ancient Spirit Water), the scout/priest buff Spiritual Leader (doesn’t stack with Ancient Spirit Water) and the m/r elite skill Shadow Protection (doesn't stack with much of anything).

These buffs all say they reduce casting speed by a percentage. However- casting speed isn't calculated additively (ie: 100 - 50% -25% -25% = 0). Each buff takes off a little bite and the next one takes off a little more (ie: 100 - 50% = 50, 50 - 25% =37.5, 37.5 - 25% = 28.1). So, you'll never really be able to go below .5 seconds on a Flame, no matter how many potions and foods you stack. This is why m/w's usually use a short duration crit pot instead of an Arcane pot- they already cast at .5 without the extra boost from Arcane, so it is a waste. You will get the hang of this.

Musical Instruments

There are two musical instruments that every mage will need: Guitar (reduces casting speed) and Tambourine (increases magical and physical damage). You will want to level Tailoring (for the Tambo) and Carpentry (for the Guitar) to level 33 so that you can craft these instruments. They are bound. Now is the time to do this. It's never too early. To get the recipes for the instruments, go to Logar and talk to Dimitar Windwhisperer. He will give you a quest to gather materials and the reward will be the instrument and the recipe you will need to craft them. Instruments last 3 days and you may play them as often as you like, but they have a 2 minute cooldown. They are a group buff, so you will only need one guitar and one tamb played per 6 man group.

NB- Lute (which is the instrument that melee classes use, as it increases their physical attack speed) will overwrite guitar and vice versa. You cannot play both in one group within a range of 100. To avoid angering your roguey and scouty friends, split your mixed party into two separate parties within a raid, or stand further apart than 100 range.

Friendly Buffs

There are a few really terrific buffs that your colleagues can cast on you. Mage/Priest can cast Essence of Magic, which increases Magical Attack. Priest/Scout can cast Embrace of the Water Spirit on your party, which also increases Magical Attack. Druid/Warden can cast Mysterious Grace on your party which increases Magical Damage. Druid/Rogue can cast Dark Moon on one person, increasing crit rate. Priest/Rogue can cast Shadow Fury on you, increasing magical crit rate, and also their Dark Fairy will buff you with Wraith Halo, which increases Magical Attack. All of these buffs stack, so make good friends with understanding priests and druids.


You will want to acquire and level a good non-cosmetic pet. In other words, a pet you buy or catch ingame, not from the item shop. Look for a good Holy Fire pet, which will increase your Int, Wis and Stam.

This guide will help you understand the pet system, but the biggest things to remember are Holy, Fire, and level it up. It takes a metric ton of gold to level a pet to 50 (which is what you want, the Crit skill caps at 50), so get started early and spread that pain out over a long time as you level if you can. The easiest and most cost-effective way to level you pet past level 20 is by feeding it Miller's Special Cakes, which you can buy from any pet vendor in game. Be sure to read that guide for details on merging and raising aptitude and skills.

As far as what kind of pet to get, the Parrot is the favorite one, due to it's skills which increase Int. It's quite hard to find a Holy Fire Parrot pet in the wild, and when they do get caught, they typically cost a small fortune. However, Parrot Transformation potions are regularly offered in the item shop as a special sale item; you can transform any old Holy Fire pet easily into a Parrot with a few diamonds, and the change is permanent. Other popular options are the Blue-Eyed Rabbit and the Ystra Snow Ferret. These have stam skills, and in my opinion the Parrot's int skills are superior, but as always, your mileage may vary.

Putting it all Together

Ok, so- you have food, you have potions, you have instruments, your pet is out and your party is done buffing you- now what?

Some buffs have a long duration, and you can pop them anytime. Grace of Life, Essence of Magic, mattack/mdam food, Grassland Mix (available outside HoS and DoD at the Black Codex memento vendors and worth every mento) and Hero Potions all have 15 or 10 minute durations, so put them on whenever and renew as needed. Other buffs last just a few seconds, so timing is everything.

The general rule is to pop the longer duration buffs before the shorter ones, so arrange them on your hot bar in order of longest to shortest. The buff section of my action bar looks like this:

Energy Influx, Tambourine, Guitar, Moti Blended Sausage, Intensification, Ancient Spirit Water, Arcane Potion, Fire Training (or Soldiers, Attack!), Elemental Catalysis.

What this does is allow me to cast Flames that take .5 seconds to cast for about 20 seconds or so. This increases my dps by a lot. Let’s do some math to see why:

20 seconds / 3 second Flames = 6.66 Flames. If Flame = 1000, I get 6,660 total damage and 333 dps (damage per second). Easy, right? No matter what Flame actually hits for, the equation stays the same.

Ok, so let’s try that with .5 second Flames and see what happens.

20 seconds / .5 second Flames = 40 Flames. Flame = 1000, and I get 40,000 total damage and 2,000 dps.

Holy Mother of Pearl, right? It's a huge increase. It's almost 600% more dps. That big burst phase, when you have all your speed buffs running at the same time, is when you do most of your dps.

Now, that's assuming ideal conditions. You will take some time getting all those buffs on, and that reduces your burst phase by a bit. Choose your buffing order carefully. Experiment.

Wrapping it all Up

Mage takes a lot of flack from physical dps classes simply because we look so easy to play- and to a certain extent that’s true. Mage is an easy class, maybe even the easiest class to level. And we make things look easy when we stand back at the boss and just cast Flame after Flame.

A dear friend of mine once said that mage was “the easiest class to play but the hardest to master.”

I think he’s very right. It’s challenging in PvP, because of the lack of instant casts that melee classes have in abundance, and also in PvE- simply because a mage who doesn’t learn how to CC effectively will find themselves eating floor tiles on a very regular basis. Mage is a glass cannon class- we hit hard, but throw a spitball at us and we fall over dead. Managing your cooldowns, as a mage, is every bit as complicated as what any melee class has to go through.

For a mage, as with any dps class, all of your burst phase dps is based on buffs- and that burst phase dps is really all the dps we have. We can’t sustain dps like a rogue or a warrior, or even a scout, simply because our damage calculation is flat, and we have so few hard-hitting skills.

Gearing can be very challenging, simply because mage gear doesn’t seem to drop as frequently as other classes, and also because we have so few good stats to choose from. Mage stats are usually the most expensive ones in the Auction House. It isn’t a class for the faint of heart. To be a good mage, all you need to do is show up, buff and spam the Flame hotkey. To be a great mage, you need to have a real understanding of how all these buffs and stats and damage calculations work- and you also need to be a magician on the trash mobs. Trash is where a mage can show off their real skills.

Don’t let the length of this guide put you off if you’re considering becoming a mage. It’s not any worse than any other class, and like people say- we’re a dream to level. If you are willing to spend time, effort and money on this class, you will become an asset to any party.
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