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Here's the skinny....
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...im 79, bout to ding 80.
ive been arcane in groups since about level 70 or so, just because its fun to level, high damage, and in pvp i instant-cast rape on allies and they die. yay :D
but ive been stuck at only a little over a k dps, which was quickly remedied when i got geared up. i payed a tailor to craft me a full set, which is SP n haste stacked. now i can push (obviously only on fights where im not aggro-dodging or having to run around, or stop and aoe) about 1.5, which isnt the greatest ever, but its not bad-- im not really worried about my dps at this point.
then i re-specced to frostfire, and my dps dropped by a little, about 200 or so, but all of the sudden im killing the overall damage, and still having if not the absolute highest dps, then up there. really, thats where i want to be lol
BUT as i progress into heroics, suddenly the standard for gearing change, and with that standard, the performance of any particular specc changes.
personally i was thinking of going straight frostfire through heroics, because i like topping the chart, not just having the highest dps, but i dont know if suddenly when the bosses and such are checking skulls, if my frostfire will die because it has some super-high requirements for gear.
more than anything, im just asking if even when not geared i can still rock the heroics, or if i should maybe swap to a less gear intensive spec for the time being til im rockin those pimpin purps.
/em counts the number of posts til hes redirected to a sticky ><
Look at your recount for the boss fights and don't worry about the trash. That's going to skew your DPS when you go from build to build.
Also, if you're breaking 12-1300 dps, you're fine for heroics.
Seriously. It's the single greatest program ever written for players of WoW. You can check which talent build and rotation will maximize your DPS with your current gear, and then you can swap out some of your gear for upgrades and recheck the results. My Armory link is in my profile, and with my current gear/gems/chants, 57/3/11 spec can land me right at about 3k DPS.
in all honesty, the easiest spec to gear for is arcane.. it requires the least amount of hit, benefits from spell power and haste much more than crit (Which frostfire is heavily reliant on).
basically, an upgrade is going to be an upgrade for almost any spec just because of the way things are itemized for mages. with arcane, intel raises your SP as well.. you have a built in 6% hit rating, and you any gear with spirit raises your crit percent (but that's true with any spec).. a lot of the good mage gear from heroics/naxx 10 comes with haste which is much more important for arcane than it is other specs.. The problem with arcane is, as i'm sure you've noticed, it's RIDICULOUSLY mana intensive. If you know the rotation well, and can manage your mana well, then once you get some good gear in you'll be able to top dps AND damage charts.
and i don't think we'd redirect you to the stickies because the questions you asked are a little more vague and opinion-reliant. for farming heroics, frost is a great spec because it still puts out pretty decent damage, and it's the LEAST gear reliant... after that, it's probably going to be arcane.
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