I’m in no way an expert at WoW, let alone in group play (be that instances, or raids). My mage, Tanarel, got to 70 only a few weeks ago, and I’ve been fortunate enough to land myself in a casual raiding guild that is helpful and flexible.
I’ve been to Karazhan three times. The first time was just for Prince Malchezaar, the second for llhoof, Chess, Prince, Nightbane and Netherspite. The third time, I was able to see some of the starting bosses (Attumen, Maiden and Moroes) and The Wizard of Oz Opera event.
I’ve learnt something valuable in those 3 runs. The role of the mage is <b>NOT</b> to go nuts. BigRedKitty says that the role of the Beast Mastery Hunter is <i>to provide sustained range DPS</i> (to paraphrase). I would like to put forth that the role of the Mage is <i>to provide <b>controlled</b> range DPS</i>. Not the emphasis on controlled. It is very easy for a Mage to do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Not as much as say, a Warlock, but when the crits start flowing, it can mean a lot of aggro very quickly.
The single-most challenging skill I have realised I needed to learn was how to <i>not do damage</i>. As a predominantly solo player, my aim is to kill the mob before it kills me. So I let fly with Pyroblast, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Fire Blast, Ice Nova, Frostbolt+Ice Lance. Rinse, repeat. Three or four mobs later, I drink up.
Raiding requires mana conservation, timing and awareness of threat. When I first raided, I started with my normal rotation, and quickly realised I was pulling the boss from the tank. Woah! Ice Block for the not-loss! In subsequent fights, I’ve toned it down, and resisted the urge to press “1” with wild abandon. In my last Kara raid, I waited until the Tank had a full 4k of damage down before I even touched the keyboard.
I tell you, that 10 seconds seems like an eternity when its your job to do damage. For the longest time I felt like I wasnt contributing because in that 10 secs I could have put down close to 5k in damage. But that time is critical for the success of the raid, it allows the Tank to poke the bosses attention away from the DPS.
This information is likely not new to many people. But it was new to me. I dont PUG, I rarely do instances. Changing my play style to fit in with a group is a skill I’m working on, and I’m thankful that the “NZ Gamers” are rezzing me while I learn it.