We are living some crazy times right now folks. Since patch 4.01 hit, everyone and their grandma has been scrambling around to make sense of the changes or to simply make as much gold from glyphs and gems as possible. Me, I'm ashamed to say that I've put aside development on my new site for a while so I can get my fill of the new goodies.
I didn't make a lot of gold compared to others but I am richer by 20K since Tuesday. Most of that is from glyphs but I was unprepared and didn't have any glyphs in stock, merely a bunch of herbs which are now mostly gone. What I regret most is that I didn't stockpile uncut epic gems, due to the failed assumption that cooldowns would be removed from epic gem transmutes. Oh well...
Moving on, I actually spent the most time leveling my new mage. I had started a new mage the previous weekend and took him to level 8, then parked him in an inn to wait for 4.01. I wanted him to be my first character to experience the new level 10 leveling... experience.
Well, color me impressed. I played him Tuesday and Wednesday, for 6-8 hours combined and he gained 14 levels, with 1 more level yesterday. That makes him level 23. Wow! This is the fastest leveling character ever!
He is obviously wearing a full set of heirlooms, including a +30 spell power enchant on his staff and dual trinkets. Nonetheless, while questing, my mage feels overpowered.
At level 10 I specced into Fire and got Pyroblast. At level 10 I was critting easily for over 300. At level 23 I'm critting often for over 500. Those heirlooms sure do help with the damage. One weird thing was that at level 10 my character screen was showing over 25% crit chance. Which is out of this world for such a low level. It might have been a glitch though because after 10 it dropped sharply and now at 23 it's around 10% which is the norm.
I could barely wait until I turned 15 so as soon as I hit that mark I jumped into my first dungeon. From there on I queued for dungeons constantly, while questing.
The first problem with my fire mage in dungeons was that people seemed to be twinked up in heirloom gear and they killed any mob before I got the chance to launch my lazy-ass Pyroblast. I attempted to compensate for this by starting to cast before the tank pulled the mob. It kinda worked but sometimes I grabbed aggro from the tank due to the huge burst damage. While Pyroblast starts at level 10 with a short casting time of about 2 seconds or so, at level 23 it now has it's usual time of 3.5 seconds.
The second problem is that although I was sure I did top damage, looking at the damage meters showed I was lackluster. WTF. I had to work really hard to stay ahead of enhancement shamans, hunters and even the tank. Word is that fire mages are overpowered in this patch. Well, unless everybody else is also overpowered, I don't see how that's possible. Sure, my mage IS overpowered for questing but that's normal when you're wearing all that twinked gear.
So by level 23 I'd been in most low level dungeons: Ragefire Chasm, Wailing Caverns,, Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep. I got a few blue items and things are looking good so far.
As far as my rotation, well at this point I'm trying to pre-cast Pyroblast, then follow immediately with a Fireblast, then depending if Impact or Arcane Missiles proc, I'll use those. Frost Nova is very handy when I grab aggro and I've started using Arcane Blast on multiple mobs, which is cheap to cast (and instant), to proc Arcane Missiles and Impact.
In regards to mana, up to level 20 or so my mana never dropped below 90%. I know that Blizzard gave a huge boost to mana/health regen up until level 15 or so. Still, in dungeons I haven't been mana-drained so far. I've only used Evocation twice. I was a bit bummed that they removed mage water and food but now I see that there isn't much need for them at such low levels.
I'm gonna stick to a combination of questing and dungeoning, in other words queuing up while questing. That's the fastest way to level for a DPS class IMHO. At 40 I think I'll dual-spec into Arcane. It's looking might attractive.