But I Don’t Wanna Jump Off the Cliff

Peer pressure is an odd thing and works many ways.

I’ve always been an odd sort of bird when it comes to peer pressure in that it usually backfires and drives me away from the new hot things. I take pride in being the black sheep.

Except Peggle. Damn the developers of Peggle to the 9th circle of hell. No, give them their own circle. Dante could not have foreseen the evil that is Peggle.

In high school, my standard response to the parental question of, “Would you jump off a cliff if all your friends did it too?” was usually along the lines of, “Depends. Does it look like I would have fun? If yes, then I would. If not, then no, I’ll enjoy the view from the top of the cliff. But why the hell am I on a cliff in the first place?”

In my pursuit of personal improvement on my mage I’ve been poking around EJ, WoW Heroes, WoW Meters, and whatever other flotsam comes my way via the interwebz.

And I have come to a conclusion. Yes, it’s the same one that everyone came to ages ago. Sometimes I’m a little slow, leave me alone.

Arcane has enjoyed the view from the top of the cliff, but fire came along and shoved it off. Blizz can say that they are comparable all they want but it’s not showing.

Even my mage buddy has hung up his frosty robes and pulled out the bag of marshmallows to roast over his opponents.

I leveled as fire, and it wasn’t too bad. But I don’t *feel* like a fire mage. I dunno, it’s just not me anymore.

It’s not “me” to just switch a spec because everyone else is doing it. And because everyone else is doing it, I’m even less likely to switch. I don’t want to follow the crowd and copy what’s already being done a thousand times over. I’m all for not re-inventing the wheel, but I think there should be some variety allowed in the game.

If I were in a top-end raiding guild I would go fire. I would have to in order to maintain a position in a top-end raiding guild.

But if I were that kind of player, I probably wouldn’t even be concerned with the hairstyle my character is sporting (fox tail FTW!), I would be driven exclusively by the numbers.

I think I’m a little afraid of being that kind of player. Where the game ceases to be an enjoyable thing and becomes more of a contest of wills against the developers.

“Ah ha! You thought you won by nerfing arcane! I will show you! I will spec into fire! And do damage beyond your wildest dreams! Mwahahahaaha! Until you nerf fire! And then I will spec into whatever is the new flavor of the month!”

(I’m totally seeing a Speed Racer-type animation where the character is stuck in a triumphant pose, fist raised and isn’t moving, except the mouth, horribly synced to the words and the background is just flashing lights.)

So I stand proud and tall (or broken and bloody at the base of the cliff that fire pushed me off of) and continue in my arcane ways.

The spec isn’t horrible, I’m still posting respectable numbers and I’m improving almost every time I return to a fight.

But then…

I’m discussing my peer pressure obstinance with a friend, someone that was previously my supervisor. He knows all my fucking buttons. He popped back with:

It’s not about flavor of the month. You are limiting your own dps and more importantly that of the raid. You have no idea how many <5% wipes I have had over the years because someone did not have the right spec/flask/etc that they were supposed to. YOU could be helping YOUR team in a bigger capacity… ;-)

So of course, we get a 2% Maexxna wipe on 10 Naxx last night… would me having been fire made a difference there? (Report at http://wowwebstats.com/unyvdiojmxbhm for the next 15 days or so, the fire mage wasn’t there for the first wing and still almost caught up with me and the rogue.)

I am now actually considering making my second spec fire, just to play with it. I’m not doing arena at the moment, so it’s really just sitting there… but I HATE roasted marshmallows.

Anyone else sticking to a spec even though it’s not the greatest thing out there? What motivates you to change a spec? To not change a spec?

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13 comments on “But I Don’t Wanna Jump Off the Cliff

  1. I think you said it best. You are in a guild that enables you to play the way you want. If you wanted to min/max you’d be in a min/max guild.

    As for those <5% wipes? There are at least 4 additional dps in 10-man, maybe 5. If the ONLY thing keeping you from downing the boss was your spec, you've got other things to worry about. If you are the bottom of the dps, you MIGHT want to consider a change. If you are top 1, 2 or 3…then you shouldn't worry about it. It's not your spec that is causing the wipes if other people are doing less dps than you.

    My spec is something I came up with. I looked at EJ & other sources, but my spec is mine. I use what I think I'll need. It's not the cookie cutter tank spec. It gets the job done though.

    Lastly, at 2900 in Naxx10…your dps fine.

    Like

  2. Berry says:

    I’m a FOTM hunter. Whatever brings the rain the most is my new favorite spec. BUT, it isn’t just about damage. To actually decide which spec most benefits the raid, you have to look at extra buffs as well. As a Survival hunter, I bring replenishment to the raid. As a marksman, I bring true shot aura. So if the other hunters are all SV today, it usually worth overall raid damage for me to go MM for the night. I have dual spec so that I can switch back and forth between fights to use the spec that helps the most in any given fight.

    Spec is a tough choice. On the one hand, Arcane is neither top damage nor does it bring any little extras beyond the standard mage int buff. So it is kind of useless if your focus is the success of the raid. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy playing your toon, you quickly decide that this isn’t fun and your guild loses a raider.

    The real question is identity. My identity as a hunter is a bringer of damage, not as a specific spec. Whatever spec and pet brings me the most damage is the spec and pet I will use. My friend the elemental shaman identifies himself as a utility toon. He rarely gets top damage, not because he can’t, but because he’s the toon on top of FL, he’s the guy shooting coocoons off the wall, he’s slinging that vital extra heal spell when Kologarn is about to off the tank or squeeze the hand. My friend the resto druid has no desire to do anything other than heal, ever. He identifies deeply with being resto.

    What’s your identity? What’s most important to you?

    Like

  3. Millea on Bloodhoof says:

    I leveled my warlock affliction despite being told demo was the way to level. I kept affliction as my end game spec despite being told destro was where the numbers were.

    Suddenly affliction was where the damage was being done. Everyone was changing to affliction.

    Just as quickly affliction was nerfed to the ground and destro jumped up as the FOTM again.

    I can’t see playing a warlock any other way than affliction. THAT is what warlocks are known for, DoT spells. To me, shooting giant fireballs is a mage thing.

    As it is, self buffed (no food, flasks or other buffs) I am doing 2k dps. This is in gear that is for Naxx 10 man and being a player that does not have a lot of raid experience. Could I go into Uld? Hell no! But I make a great showing in Naxx and OS. In our guild runs I am consistantly #2 or #3 on the dps meters. I usually lose to our overgeared boomkin and mage. To me that says that as soon as I get some better gear I could be beating them.

    All of this, in a spec that no one wants anymore.

    TLDR – Play the way you want. Fiddle around with your spec until you can push out that extra dps. There is a way for each spec to do reasonably well on the meters and help out with that last little bit on the boss. Dont switch to fire out of the misconseption that you cant top the meters as arcane

    Like

  4. Ben says:

    I play a PVE Frost Mage. I once dual-specced into Arcane so I could try out the major dps improvement, and while it’s kind of cool and fun, I just don’t like it as much. Our guild is big on ‘play how you want’. If that means top dps, then sure, see what EJ has to say for your class. If that means lots of goofy talents for utility, or fun effects, or whatever, go for it! I’m one of the top geared mages on my realm(#53 currently), and I tend to easily pull top 3 dps in any run I’m in, all the way up to 25man. At the same time, I’m providing replenishment, winter’s chill, and my own survivability via Ice Barrier which gives the healers a bit of a break. I improve the raid as a whole, and bring good dps. If I were to go fire, I wouldn’t be happy and would have to reL2P.

    I would say that the wipe on Maexxna listed in WWS might have something to do with only having 9 people. Is that just an error with WWS, or did you really only have 9? If that’s the case, I’d say it wasn’t your fault. Also, you out-dpsed the fire mage on both the first attempt and the kill. Could you throwing fireballs make up 50k damage? That’s a big maybe. If you really want to increase your dps without switching specs, I suggest a potion of speed. Those things kick ass. That can easily make up any perceived difference in dps, and you don’t need to change your play style.

    Finally, it’s a game, and if you’re not having fun, why are you playing?

    Like

  5. Dark/Soth says:

    If you really like Arcane, stay as arcane. I really enjoy playing as frost, but its not that it was a little behind, like arcane, its currently a LOT behind, like 20%. Its huge, its not even close. Fire is my second favorite spec. If frost ever gets buffed to within 5% of fire, I will switch back, guaranteed. Unfortunately, because of the damn Arenas, that’s never going to happen.

    Also, that WWS is awful. Not my best performance. Look at my Living Bomb uptime on Maexxna. Just awful.

    Like

  6. Ten'nen says:

    Frost consistently lags about 25-30% behind in DPS compared to both Fire and Arcane if they are incomparable gear. Which is really sad. I enjoy frost, and I love frost, but it just can’t keep up these days.

    But I am much like you–I hate cookie cutter specs and doing things because everyone else is doing it and that’s the way it should be done. I’ve always created my own specs that had a playstyle for how I wanted. It’s my $15 per month, and I’ll damn well play how I please. However, I think Blizzard should make more of an effort to allow specs to have competitive raid benefits, be it through dps or buffs (i.e. replenishment).

    The other problem with “testing” other specs is gear–are you in the right gear set for fire? For me, I could *never* successfully raid as fire, because I stack haste gear. I currently have a little over 600 haste, which is great for Arcane, and works fine for Frost. But for fire, I need crit gear. I should be landing crits every other spell I cast–I could never do that in my current gear set. Sure, my fireballs would cast faster…but that’s about it. For fire damage, the faster cast time would not make up for the huge bonuses I would get from landing a huge crit.

    @Dark, I literally *just* made a post with a spell idea that would buff Frost mages in PvE and do virtually nothing for them in PvP. Check it out :-)

    Like

  7. Heps says:

    I am a huge supporter of doing what makes you happy in life. A team setting however warrants that you balance that with how you can make the team successful too. It’s all around balance. Who knows? Maybe topping meters, killing bosses, and collecting phatty epics might bring happiness as well? Maybe striving to max your toons potential might motivate others in the raid setting to step up? Motivating yourself to your full potential in a team environment can be contagious. A quote from the Yogi…

    “The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

    P.s. To Ben about being top 3: You are either talking about 5 mans or your raid dps is on life support. Either way, may the Iceblock be with you!

    Like

  8. jong says:

    I like this post a lot.

    Unpretentious. Well-articulated. Wildly entertaining.

    Yeah, my commenting theme for this week is “NY Times movie critique.”

    Like

  9. Dark/Soth says:

    @ Arioch

    /Palpatine

    Yessssss. Come to the Dark Side.

    Like

  10. telanarra says:

    Hey Ari

    Frost/Fire/Arcane/Frostfire/some crazy hybrid of all three. IT DUN MATTER. I’ll prolly still heal the Lock’s pet first :)

    Although if u do go fire it will save us having to make campfires to burn the trees with

    As for specs and the fotm. FUCK EM spec how you want to spec not how some mathmatically smart person says you should spec in order to maximize your dps. You are usually in the top 5 and even then its more the top 3 every time i run with u. And that includes Sapph fights where u are the only mage who seems to know WTF decursing is. Any mage who is not at least in the low 20’s on decurse should A) go back to EQ or B) just go away period.

    Like

  11. gnomeaggedon says:

    I am Fire, Fire is me… I feel guilty being Frost Fire… but then I am enjoying it.

    I am dual specd into Arcane and don’t really enjoy it, and aren’t seeing significantly better numbers…

    The FOTM spec may make the difference, but then so will 9 other non-fire standing, follow the strategy players.

    As you read, my group of 8 mates decided to go the LF2M Naxx battle this week, and 8 manned the place… 1st full clear. 3.5 DPS, 2 Tanks, 2.5 Healers… Sapp & KT with 3DPS 3 Heals. Which sort of suggests the 2 pugs have traditionally been a handicap.

    So I wouldn’t worry about the spec being the difference… Maybe you just need to bend the strategies to make it work… we tried 3 different strats on Maexxna… the 3rd one prevailed on the night.

    Like

  12. Gnomejitsu says:

    I found myself having the same reservations with my mage. Back in Vanilla I refused to spec frost for MC or BWL, even though it was a “better dps spec” and still managed to hold #2 slot… next to the Frost mage.

    It’s frustrating sometimes playing a spec you don’t really like just for the sake of dealing some extra DPS, but unfortunately that’s the price you pay for being a team member :P

    Like

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