Thursday, January 28, 2010

10 Factors that Make a Fun Mage Encounter

Spinks at Welcome to Spinksville wrote an interesting post about 10 things that make a fun tanking encounter.  As a tank, I can say that I wholeheartedly agree with every one of those points.  Naxx was filled with a lot of great tanking encounters and most of them had at least one or two of the things he mentioned.  I figured it would only be fair, now that my mage is my main, that I give a list of 10 things that make a fun mage encounter.  Let's make this shit a meme!

1. Target Switching
Despite the angst that many DPS get from fights with target switching, I love it.  It makes  me think a lot more about what I'm doing.  I like it when the switch is predictable in when it will happen, even if it's not as predictable where it happens.

Fights that do this well: Marrowgar (spikes), Cat Lady (Defender), Grobbulus (Slimes)

2. Multiple Targets
This is different than target switching.  I like fights where there are multiple things that all need to go down, whether they have a shared health pool or not.  It gives a larger sense of chaos to the fight, even if the mechanics are the same every time.

Fights that do this well: Four Horsemen, Iron Council, Blood Princes

3. Spellsteal
I am a mage, so I absoluetly love fights with spellsteal.  I know, you think I just want those amazing buffs.  I just having a major role.  I would even spellsteal a supposed debuff if it ment the raid could take down a boss.  Just give me a chance to play a part.  I am not including Jaraxxus as a fight for spellsteal, because I can never be proud of my DPS in that fight.  Others will simply say "Mages are overpowered ffs."  Although I once did over 35000 DPS in a short burst in that fight.

Fights that do this well: Lady Deathwhisper (Deranged Fanatic), High King Maulgar (Krosh Firehand),  Iron Council (Runemaster Molgeim)

4. Burn Phase
As a mage, our DPS can be increased by jacking up our mana consumption.  On top of that, we have a number of cooldowns that can be used to increase our damage for a short amount of time.  For those reasons, I love fights that actually have a time for a hard burn, whether it's a period of time with increased damage, a period of time where a certain amount of damage must be done, or even an enrage segment of a fight.

Fights that do this well: Twin Val'kyr (burn shields), Razorscale (landing phase), Prince (Phase 2 when tanks would get crushed)

5. Standing in Bad
I really don't mind fights that make me look around. They make things more interesting for me, so I can't complain. I just really wish that Blizzard would stop making some bad red and some good green. I'm red green colorblind, so sometimes I have trouble telling the difference between our friendly paladin's consecration and the face-burning flamestrike a mob just dropped on my head.

Fights that do this well: Really? Every damn fight in Wrath, save Patchwerk.

6. Positional Buffs
I've always been a fan of positive reinforcement rather than negative.  Occasionally, Blizzard will design fights where instead of being punished for standing in bad, they give you buffs for standing in good.  Yeah, you could just stick to your normal rotation wherever, but to get every last drop, you need to get to just the right spot.

Fights that do this well: Hodir (Everything), Loatheb (Spores), Iron Council (Runes)

7. Agro Free Phase
Sometimes you just want to unleash, or you would prefer not to have everything tanked.  I like phases where the boss either has no agro table or is completely random.  That way you can burn till your heart's content without worring about a tank being on the mob.

Fights that do this well: Onyxia (Air Phase), Faction Champions

8. Kiting
Just like when I tank, I could stand to do a fight once in a while where I have to do some kiting.  It mixes it up, as the skills I use in my max DPS rotation are no where to be found in my kite rotation.  For a class having tons of utility, it's refreshing to get to press more than 4 buttons every once in a while.

Fights that do this well: Deathbringer Saurfang (Blood Beasts), Gluth (Zombie Chow)

9. Click on Shit
Sometimes, doing stuff outside of the normal skill rotation can be tons of fun too.  I like fights that think outside the box with clicking on items and such.  Generally speaking, if I mouse over something and it has the little gear on it, that is a sign of a great fight.

Fights that do this well: High Warlord Naj'entus (Spines), Twin Val'kyr (Portals)

10. Tanking
Yes, I know I started my mage after Wrath came out.  I was absolutely heartbroken when Blizzard told us "We are not making fights class specific anymore," because I desperately wanted another HKM fight, where I got to tank.  I like thinking outside the box, and tanking as a mage is excatly that.  Blizzard has done a few fights since then with ranged tanks, so there is hope.

Fights that do this well: High King Maulgar (Krosh Firehand), Mimiron (Phase 3), Four Horsemen (two dudes in back)

I will note that one of the most dynamic and interesting fights thus far is not on the list anywhere, but I thought it would be appropriate to give props.  Anub'arak is sick as hell.  There are times where you DPS adds, there are times where you DPS the boss hard, there are adds without a real agro table, kiting, killing orbs, etc.  That is what I look for in a fun encounter.

What makes an encounter fun for you?

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