So, a while ago I finally broke down and respecced from Frost (10/0/51), which has been my spec for I think pretty much since I got to 60, to Fire (10/48/3).
There were two reasons for this:
- I wanted to improve my DPS standing in the guild, at least relative to other classes. I don't mind other mages being higher than me, but I don't want the raid leaders to think "oh I better take that hunter, Solidstate does crappy DPS". Not that my DPS was so low, it just wasn't very high. In a 25 man raid, say 6-8 are healers and 2-4 tanks. So let's say at least 13 are DPS. To be 7th or 8th place out of 13 isn't too good, especially as of those not all are DPS-ing all the time (except for Gruul fight, but even if all 13 are nuking, 8th place is low for a mage).
- I want to raid with my mage. That's his main point. Looking at TBC raid instances, Fire is a good spec to have, except for Al'ar. Since I want to contribute the most to my guild and be the best raider I can be, it makes sense to switch to Fire. Frost made sense pre-TBC since MC and BWL were bad for Fire. But now, keeping Frost just doesn't make sense. Not that Frost can't do do high damage, especially if you have good gear and maybe coupled with some points in Arcane - but Fire simply makes it easier to get those high crits and high overall DPS.
Well my DPS has increased, I am now regularly in the top 5, sometimes top 3 of the DPS-ers. Of course not for every fight, sometimes I die, sometimes the fight requires that I keep a mob sheeped all the time... But when I DPS, I rock.
Yesterday I upgraded my damage even more, making and equipping Spellfire Robe and Spellfire Belt. With some nice +dmg gems, I now have even higher +dmg and expect to climb even higher in the DPS list. My Mana and Health both took a hit, but that can't be helped and I think I still have enough. Health is a bit low and that worries me, but except for instant +8k dmg hits I should be okay in a raid setting, with buffs and pots bringing my health up to an acceptable level. I still haven't raided with the new gear, am looking forward to it to see what it is like. My biggest problem will probably be agro.
However, questing and killing mobs are harder now. As a Frost Mage, it was much easier to keep the mob away from me. Even when it reached me, I had Ice Barrier to soak up a few hits and Ice Block as a panic button.
Playing a Fire Mage is very different. for one thing, I can't slow the mobs, so they reach me quickly. For someone used to watching the mobs run to me in slow-motion, seeing them suddenly barreling at full speed can be disconcerting. Also, I have no Ice Barrier, so until I can kill it, I have almost no way of keeping the mob from hitting me. Frost Nova and Dragon's Breath both last almost too little time to make a difference. The result is that I get hit a lot more and spend a lot more time eating.
Worst was doing the "Wrangle More Aether Rays!" Daily Quest - since I can't kill the Ray, I have to ever-so-gently DPS it down below 20%. With my huge crits and the Ray's small health-pool, I've killed several Rays by mistake. On the other hand, I've had a single Ray take me down to 50% life... :(
The good news is, the higher your DPS, the better being a Fire Mage becomes for killing mobs. With my new items, I can usually kill the mobs in the Netherwing Ledge Mines (typical level 71 mobs) either before they get to me or before the manage to hit me a lot. Add the T4 two-item set bonus that prevents me from loosing Fireball casting time from damage and the result is I had a fairly easy time killing mobs, as long as I can open with a large crit and from a distance.
I think the change was well worth it overall, even the massive gold expenditure to buy the mats for the Spellfire items. For now I don't plan on getting the gloves, I'd lose I think too much from giving up my T4 gloves, even though the Spellfire set bonus rocks (more damage ftw :)). Fire is definitely a spec that works better the more spell damage and crit chance you have.
My biggest problem will be farming Primal Fire in the future. As a Frost Mage, I could farm Primal Water from the elementals below Halaa, those aren't immune to frost. But all mobs that drop Motes of Fire are immune to Fire :(
Oh well, you can't have it all...