Arcane Brilliance: Why we Mage

Christian Belt
C. Belt|02.09.08

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Arcane Brilliance: Why we Mage

Hi there! Yes, after a long hiatus, Arcane Brilliance is back. Snack tables all around! Anybody ninjas the biscuits, they get a Fireball in the face. Nah, just kidding. Even ninjas are welcome here. As long as they're mage-ninjas.

I've been a Mage since day one with WoW, and until a few weeks ago I had never really questioned my class choice. I liked the idea of being a caster, a back row fireballer with robes and a pointy hat. When I came over from FFXI I asked my WoW-playing buddy (the aforementioned shammie) which class I should be. He asked what I was into, and I said something like "I want to be a huge caster-tastic wizard in a dress who sets things on fire with his mind. Is there a mage-type class?" He said. "Yes. It's called...Mage." And that was it. I rolled my undead Mage and began conjuring flaming death and croissants. I happily leveled my Mage to 70.

And then...the bubbling, Healthstone-critting warlock happened.

After the jump: Shameful self doubt, soul searching, and finally...sweet redemption! And more Mage-talk.

My 2v2 arena team usually consists of myself (a PoM-Pyro Mage) and an Elemental Shaman. I know: wrong specs, wrong class combination for the bracket, and none of that matters because we have fun. Usually. Recently, we experienced a match that was the polar opposite of fun, unless your idea of fun is being confused, frustrated and then dead in the space of about 20 seconds. The whole scenario led to this post-match exchange:

Me: "Explain to me how that Warlock healed himself to max from almost dead?"

Him: "Healthstone."

Me: "Those heal, max, like 2500 hp."

Him: "Can you crit on a Healthstone?"

Me: "I...hope not..."

Him: "I feel violated."

Me: "Also, I'm pretty sure the lock bubbled. I hit him with a Fire Blast and then a Pyroblast and it said he was immune to it. Can locks bubble now?"

Him: "Sure...why not?"

Me: "I'm not sure what we could have done differently could we have won that?"

Him: "Re-roll Warlock."

Just like that, after 2 years of magery, I wondered for the first time if I had made a mistake. The experience got me thinking. Why a Mage? Why not a Warlock? Or a Shaman? Or a Shadow Priest? After all, what is a Mage but a Warlock without the demon? In fact, we don't have a pet, we can't use the big flashy weaponry or the giant looks-like-you-could-behead-yourself-if-you-turn-your-head-too-quickly armor, we can't shape-shift, or go into Shadowform, or stun-lock, or bubble, or heal, or bring the dead back to life, or decorate our yard with totem poles. There are a lot of things we can't do. Mages are largely generic clothies until they hit you in the face with a ball of fire. Oh wait, Warlocks can do that too.

Following my brief (and in hindsight, embarrassing) descent into self-pity, I started to think about all of the things we do have. And then I remembered that WoW isn't about comparing yourself to other classes. It's about having fun and doing what you want to do. Plus, the list of things mages can do is long. When I stopped being depressed about losing to a Warlock (which, as it turns out, happens to everybody) I reminded myself why I chose this class in the first place and then stuck with it through 70 levels. Frankly, when you think about it with a clear head and not in the painful aftermath of a Warlock beatdown, Mages are the absolute business.

I can clear Scarlet Monastery's Armory in 3 pulls, people. An Ice Mage properly specced for AoE grinding could probably do it in even fewer. There's nothing quite like the AoE Mages can dish out, and even though endgame doesn't provide many opportunities to use it, as a Mage, I think you owe it to yourself to go into a lowbie instance, pull a giant group of mobs, and then blast them all into the nether. And who else has the literal portability of a Mage? Need to go to Thunder Bluff from the final boss room in Uldaman? I hope you're a Mage. If not, I hope you like a long flight and a zeppelin ride and then another long flight. When you're a Mage, the world is suddenly very small. Ever turn a man into a pig? Ever turn a pig into a sheep? Ever turn a furbolg into a turtle? I have. Sometimes I do it just because.

These are the reasons why we Mage, my friends, and they are glorious. We rolled Mage to be the biggest, baddest casters out there. We picked them to hurl bolts of Ice and torrents of arcane energy and great big flaming orbs of death. We picked them because we want to crit you so hard your ghost takes damage. We want to blink behind you, Presence Of Mind--Pyroblast you, and then watch you burn to death. We almost never actually want to conjure a snack table for you, but we absolutely love the fact that we can.

Ok. I take back anything I may or may not have said while wallowing in self-doubt. I love being a Mage. If you need me, I'll be in AV. You won't have to look too hard for me. I'll be the zombie in the dress burning your face off.

Throw me some suggestions on what you'd like to see covered in this column in the coming weeks! Next week, I'm working on a year-in-review piece for the Mage class. Yes, I know it's already February. Better late than never, right? Until then, Blink on, my robed bretheren...Blink on.

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