Arcane Missiles
Spell nature starfall.png
  • Arcane Missiles
  • 30 yds.  range
  • None cooldown
  • 31% Base Mana at max rank
  • Channeled
  • Launches Arcane Missiles at the enemy, causing X Arcane damage each second for Y sec.
Usable by
Casting timeChanneled
Improved Arcane Missiles, Empowered Arcane Missiles, Arcane Subtlety, Arcane Focus, Arcane Instability, Arcane Potency, Arcane Power, Spell Power, Playing with Fire, Molten Fury, Shatter
Other information
As mage spells go, this one isn't the showiest. Nonetheless, you'll find it quite effective.[1]

Arcane Missiles is a channeled mage spell that shoots a series of missiles at the target, one each second over a period of time, dealing direct arcane damage.

Rank table

Rank Base Mana Cost DPS Seconds Total Damage Level Cost
1 37% 24 3 72 8 2s
2 37% 36 4 144 16 15s
3 37% 56 5 280 24 40s
4 37% 83 5 415 32 1g
5 37% 115 5 575 40 1g 80s
6 37% 151 5 755 48 2g 80s
7 37% 192 5 960 56 3g 50s
8 37% 230 5 1150 60 4g 20s[1]
9 37% 240 5 1200 63 5g 70s
10 31% 264 5 1320 69 8g 70s
11 31% 280 5 1400 70 10g
12 31% 320 5 1600 75 15g
13 31% 360 5 1800 79 15g

Talent improvements

Arcane Missiles' full potential in PvE is only fully achieved when used by an Arcane Mage under the effect of Missile Barrage. The buff triggered by this talent halves AM's cast time, making it the Arcane Mage's highest DPS spell temporarily.

The Improved Arcane Missiles talent will reduce the chance that damage taken will interrupt channeling. At max rank, Arcane Missiles will never be interrupted by damage.

The Empowered Arcane Missiles talent will increase the amount of spell damage that applies to Arcane Missiles.

The Arcane Subtlety talent will reduce the amount of threat caused by Arcane Missiles, and Arcane Focus will reduce the chance that the spell is resisted.

As with all mage spells capable of critical hits Arcane Instability, Arcane Potency, Arcane Power, Spell Power, Molten Fury, Playing with Fire and Shatter can increase the effective damage output of this spell.

Impact from the Fire talent tree now works with Arcane Missiles. Each tick of damage is capable of stunning its target, and with 5 ticks of damage per cast, the proc has a good chance of taking effect on a target who receives all ticks of the spell.


While you stand and channel, Arcane Missiles launches bolts of arcane energy at your target, dealing the given damage each second. Unlike other channeled spells, each second (or "tick") is considered a separate direct damage missile which passes through the normal direct damage checks (crit, resistance). Furthermore, both the initial cast of Arcane Missiles and each Missile are considered spell hits, resulting in a maximum amount of 6 hits per cast.

Like all channeled spells, the mana is deducted before channeling starts, so the full cost is paid regardless of how many missiles are actually launched or needed before the spell is interrupted or the target is dead.

Tips and tactics

Though a powerful spell, Arcane Missiles is often overlooked by many players due to its many weaknesses. Primarily, it is very mana-inefficient and unlike all other mage spells, the full mana cost is used at the beginning of the spell, as opposed to when the spell is actually cast. Thus, if you cancel the spell halfway through or are silenced or counter spelled, you pay for the full cost of the spell, despite the fact that you only output half the damage. Another large disadvantage of the spell is that it requires you to stay in one space for the 5 second duration, making you a sitting duck in PvP (well, a sitting duck that's shooting very large amounts of damage at its enemies, anyways) and keeping you from gaining space between you and your enemies.

With the right talents, however, Arcane Missiles can be somewhat useful. With Arcane Subtlety, it also has a very generous damage to threat ratio. A full talent upgrade makes it immune to pushback by regular damage, though abilities like Kick and Shield Bash will still stop the casting. It also receives 142% of your bonus spelldamage (and as high as 188% with Empowered Arcane Missiles).

Arcane Missiles' full potential in PvE is only fully achieved when used by an Arcane Mage under the effect of Missile Barrage. The buff triggered by this talent halves AM's cast time, making it the Arcane Mage's highest DPS spell temporarily.

An often overlooked PvP benefit is the rapid speed with which it hits opponents causes regular spell interruption. Between this and Slow, an Arcane mage can make it exceedingly difficult for an enemy player to get off spells with a cast time.

Another helpful talent is Arcane Concentration. A common tactic in groups when so talented is to cast a fast, cheap spell (like Scorch or an upgraded Frostbolt) until clearcasting is achieved, then cast a free Arcane Missiles.

A notable effect of the fact is that "on spell hit" abilities, such as Mark of Defiance, can proc off each missile, similar to "on spell crit" abilities. However, "on spell cast" abilities, such as Mystical Skyfire Diamond, only have a chance to proc on each casting of the spell, not on each bolt.

This spell can also be useful against rare enemies who are immune/resistant to both Fire and Frost damage. One example of those is the Boiling and Scalding elementals in Thousand Needles, immune to Frost and highly resistant to Fire.

Known bugs

There is a bug that prevents base mana regeneration when using the Clearcasting effect for Arcane Missiles.

Past changes

World of Warcraft Patch 2.1.0 (2007-05-22): Spell haste now affects channeled spells such as Arcane Missiles, reducing the overall channeling time but still doing the same amount of damage, thus increasing the DPS.
World of Warcraft Patch 2.1.0 (2007-05-22): A bug was fixed where Arcane Missiles would fire an inconsistent number of missiles. This was fixed so that ranks 3-11 would always fire 5 pulses.
World of Warcraft Patch 2.2.0 (2007-09-25): A bug was fixed where some procs such as the Eye of Magtheridon would not trigger properly.


  1. ^ TCGDP, 43