The Mage Tower

The isolated tower inhabited by the mage, is a common staple of fantasy literature, yet it is somewhat rare for characters in RPGs to inhabit them.  Give one PC a tower, and they all want one, and by occupying different bits of real estate they all end split up (in this case probably minimising rather than maximising their search effectiveness…).

So, I had an idea, based on a vague recollection of the classical memorisation technique of method of loci (or memory of place).  From wikipedia:

In this technique the subject memorizes the layout of some building, or the arrangement of shops on a street, or any geographical entity which is composed of a number of discrete loci. When desiring to remember a set of items the subject literally ‘walks’ through these loci and commits an item to each one by forming an image between the item and any distinguishing feature of that locus. Retrieval of items is achieved by ‘walking’ through the loci, allowing the latter to activate the desired items.

Given that vancian mages are supposed to be good at memorising spells, it stands to reason they should be good at memorising other things as well.  What my idea is, that the mages create a mental image of a tower, and by embedding this in their memory, they create the tower in an otherworld location.

As the mage grows in power, so to does their tower.  At first, the tower is little more than a safe place to store the spells the mage knows (so the first room created in the tower is the ‘library’), but as time goes on and the mage grows in power and knowledge, so too does their tower.  As the tower gains more rooms and features, it gains additional functions.  Brainstorming yesterday I managed to come up with the following (but I don’t think its an exhaustive list by any means):

  1. The Mage is able to take shelter inside their tower, removing the threat of mundane dangers, although now they may have to deal with ‘visitors’ in the otherworld.
  2. The mage is able to leave physical items in their tower, making it a place of storage.
  3. The Mage gains the ability to invite other people into their tower.
  4. The tower gains additional rooms: kitchens, storage, sleeping, entertaining, cells, laboratories, etc.
  5. The Mage is able to place protective wards, or traps, to improve defences against otherworld threats.
  6. The tower gains a gaurdian or servant: butler, ghost, golem, undead, demon, etc.
  7. The tower gains windows, that have the ability to scry out over particular parts of the otherworld, or the mundane world.  Perhaps the mage can send ghostly messages to people in the places the window opens up onto, or other forms of communciation.
  8. The tower gains additional entrances, in odd places around the mundane world or the otherworld – perhaps it links back to the tower of the master who trained the mage, or a university where they studied, or the fortress of their employer. The tower gains a use as a means of transpotation.
  9. If it gains a mundane entrance/presence, do the locals become protective of the tower, or do they turn into a pitchfork and torch weilding mob whenever the strange lights are seen on the crenallations?
  10. The mage gain keys, or passwords used in unlocking the tower, or its inner sanctum.
  11. A mighty tower of an archmage begins to twist and change the nature of the world around the tower.
  12. Indoor plumbing!  All the comforts an old cranky mage could want…

The care and feeding of mages

My cliff notes on the role Mages will play in raiding in Cataclysm.  I know Fire/Arcane the best, so I may have it all wrong for frost.

General Buffs

Time Warp at Level 85, a 30% haste buff for 40 seconds.  Arcane Brilliance, mana and spellpower boost.

The Good: Arcane mages bring steady single target DPS and a phenomenal burst DPS that can be deployed in a bosses moment of weakness to make them QQ warlock tears. They bring a single target +3% crit bonus, and a raid-wide +3% to damage done.

The Bad: If they screw up their evocation, they lose a major component of their burst DPS.

How to spot a good Arcane mage: they have Mage armour equipped and glyphed and keep their mana at 85-100% until evocation/mana gem come off cooldown, then they pop the gem and go nuts on DPS for 10-20 seconds, then back to maintaining 85-100% mana.

The Good: a fun spec with good single target DPS and the potential for amazing AoE damage. Even stronger when the boss is below 35% health, just in case you were wondering who deserved the battle rez. Provides +5% spell crit chance for the raid.  Cauterise gives amazing survivability, and improved mobility will increase contact time. Better yet, you can go OOM and still do damage with a combination of mana free Scorch and mana free Pyroblast.

The Bad: Ignite is still buggy, and the spec is very dependent on crit (and luck) for damage. Living bomb only hits up to 3 targets, can be accidentally overwritten for major DPS loss and interacts with Impact procs in counterintuitive ways (impact spreads damage to adjacent mobs, see the 3 target limit for why this is a problem).

How to spot a good Fire mage: it’s all in the use of the Combustion cooldown, which combines all existing DOTs into one mega-dot, so a good fire mage will wait for all three of their DOTs to be rolling on a target before pushing this cooldown.

The Good: a permanent pet! Mana replenishment for the raid. Competitive PvE dps for the first time since A’lar in Tempest Keep.

The Bad: Frostburn can be too bursty, so some threat generation issues on pulls (yes, thats right, frost mages can now do too much damage, inconceivable!). Almost no useful off-spec talents to spend points on. Pet is so awesome it may have mana issues from doing too much damage…

How to spot a good Frost mage – they cast in the following priority list:
1.Frostfire Orb, if cooldown is up.
2.Deep Freeze, if cooldown is up and Fingers of Frost is active.
3.Frostfire Bolt, if Brain Freeze is active and Fingers of Frost is active.
4.Ice Lance if Finger of Frost is active.
5.Freeze, if cooldown is up, Deep Freeze cooldown is up, and Finger of Frost is not active.