The Mage Leveling Guide for Mists of Pandaria
Updated for Mists of Pandaria patch 5.4.8 with Warlords of Draenor notes.
Mages are a tricky class in which to gauge performance, particularly in leveling speed. Put a mage with the best gear possible in the hands of an noob and you will have to work. On the flip-side, with an experienced player behind the class it becomes a pretty efficient leveling machine.
None of the changes in patch 5.4 make much difference to the leveling mage, other than a couple of spells (for Frost) that now do more damage. See our post on the Mage 5.4 patch Changes for details.
Warlords of Draenor is coming on Nov. 13, 2014. Here are the Mage Changes coming with WoD.
The WoW Mage: Contents
It used to be that a large amount of the blame for this could be placed on the relatively complicated talent trees of Cataclysm and earlier. With Mists of Pandaria Mages of all specs have their tools as abilities and the “perfect talent choice” is less essential.
Being a “glass cannon,” especially at earlier levels, you will need to develop some skills in “kiting.” Learning to manipulate multiple mobs is also a nice skill, especially with Fire.
So, that’s why this guide is here to help. In addition to overcoming the hump of what talent build and general progression to follow, I’ll also be covering what statistics you want to aim for to truly maximize efficient damage output.
Buffs and Nerfs: With the various patches, expansions, hotfixes, etc. it’s hard to predict where Mages will be at any given time. Most likely they’ll be throwing out lots of damage, but may or may not top the damage lists in raids. On this page we’ll just focus on how to level your Mage and leave the “Flavor of the Month” info for another time and place.
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Mage Changes for Mists of Pandaria
Here’s a sort list of changes heading into Mists of Pandaria.
- Prime Glyphs are dead and gone.
- Talents as we knew them in Cataclysm are dead.
- Each spec will have their own set ten or so abilities unique to their spec.
- The “talents” consists of six tiers of three talents each. Any Mage has access to any of the talents. You will pick one from each tier (tiers are accessed at levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90) for six total talents at 90.
- There are no longer points to be spent in any talent or ability. Once you acquire either you will have it at its full value.
- There have been some interesting changes to the general abilities that all mages get. For one, any mage can now Shatter, not just Frost. Note that this means that a 25% crit rating gives you a 100% chance to crit frozen targets of the same level as you.
The Warlords of Draenor changes are along the lines of ability pruning. Classes have too many abilities, so Blizzard has removed a few. As far as how Mages stack up as killing machines, that remains to be seen It probably won’t change much from previous expansions, meaning a bit fragile at first, then picking up. Lots of damage at the end-game.
- A number of ability are being completely removed, others are being restricted to one or another spec.
- Few new abilities are being added and all of those either replace an existing ability or are passive.
- You’ll get “Perks” instead of new abilities. Perks are gained at 91+ and are enhancements to existing abilities, such as +20% damage to one ability.
- Level 100 talents.
- Items are being squished. For example, that nice gem from Mists that gave you +160 Int now gives you 10. Enemies are being squished the same way. The end effect should be little change in “feel,” and only a change in the actual numbers.
- Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and reforging are all dead in Warlords.
- You have two new stats:
- Multistrike: Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to 2 additional times, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing.)
- Versatility: Increases damage, healing, and absorption done. Reduces damage taken.
- Other than the above, the mechanics, glyphs, talent system, etc are all unchanged.
- All of the Magey details are here.
The Quick Mage Leveling Guide
This is the short version of this guide. There is much more detail below this section. All of this is appropriate for Mists of Pandaria 5.4.8 and beyond.
Race: It doesn’t matter much. Note that any racials dealing with Hit or Expertise will be gone in WoD.
Expertise in weapons that you can use adds in to your Spell Hit number, if that weapon is in your hand.
- Pandarens can be either Horde or Alliance and get better food buffs.
- Alliance PvE: Draenei (for the +1% Hit)
- Alliance PvP: Human (escape, sword expertise) or Gnome (mana pool, sword expertise, & escape)
- Horde PvE: Orc (Blood Fury) or Troll (Berserking, beast slaying)
- Horde PvP: Orc, Troll, or Undead (for the escape & drain life.)
Spec: All specs level just fine. The builds linked to also include glyphs.
- Frost, especially if you’re on a PvP server.
- Fire or Arcane: Whichever suits your game.
- If you need to blast to 90 as fast as possible then check out our favorite leveling guide.
Stats and Gear:
- Stack as much Stamina as you can at low levels
- After that, Int above all else
- No Spirit, no Agility, no Strength.
- If you find direct damage gear (eg: +fire damage for fire mage) then use it.
- At higher levels
- Hit is always good (You need 6% for same level mobs/players, 15% for raid bosses.)
- Fire likes Crit, a lot. Even in M of P.
- All mages like Haste.
- Resilence and PvP Power only if you PvP. Since, as of patch 5.4, all player have 40% Resilience before level 90 (77% at level 90) to start you can probably skip that stat even if you DO PvP. Resilience is dead in WoD.
Gems & Enchants:
Keep in mind that you’ll level out of your gear quickly, so only get expensive gems if you’re rich.
- Int gems only (Brilliant gems.) M of P gems require item level 417,
- You can sometimes find cheap enchants on the Auction House: Stam, Int, Spellpower.
- Heirloom gear can take any enchant as of 5.4. Yes, you can put what used to be level 90 enchants on your level 1 items.
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Race choice for the Leveling Mage
Wtth the arrival of the Cataclysm expansion the various classes were opened to more races then ever before. However, the Tauren were left out of Magery, and they still are in Mists of Pandaria. Bovine discrimination? WoD does not change this.
Really, the best choice for race is to pick the one that fits your game. If you want to get every last bit of efficiency then some choices have advantages as mages. Orcs and Trolls are probably best for raiding, with Draenei being next. For PvP Orc (Enrage & Stun resist) or Human (escape ) though Gnomes & Undead have their uses.
Skill counts for more than race, though. Much more.
- You can stun enemies with a quick strike of your hand. This is a great way to get away from something that’s a bit too close.
- Rested (as from an Inn) XP is improved for faster leveling. You will literally get XP faster than other races, as long as you’re logging out at an Inn.
- Increased benefits from food buffs, is a nice perk to have in any aspect of the game.
- Good at Cooking, naturally, given your race’s love of good food and drink.
- “Bouncy,” so take less falling damage, just in case you don’t cast your Slow Fall.
- WoD: No Changes
For the Alliance, the Draenei may be best for Raiding (with their +1% to hit chance,) while Humans and Gnomes are best for PvP
- Good for PvP with their Escape ability. Also allows the use of two “do more damage” trinkets. This ability will have occasional use in PvE and leveling, as well. It’ll break you free of any stun or snag. Nice.
- Diplomacy is nice if you are going to be gaining faction at any point and since so much past level 60 is a faction grind… Mists of Pandaria introduced even more factions. This will save you some time in getting friendly with them.
- Spirit is not for mages, and neither is the Human’s 3% increased Spirit.
- Mages have no use for the expertise with mace, but the expertise with Sword will give you a +1 to your Spell Hit, if you have a sword equipped. Find a one handed sword with Int and/or spellpower on it and use it.
- WoD: “The Human Spirit” increases your versatility, so will be quite nice for you.
- WoD: The Expertise ability is gone.
- As is true for Humans, Gnomes have an Escape Artist skill and their small size is not to be scoffed at. It makes them a bit harder to see in the heat of a (PvP) fight and a bit harder on people who click om their targets.
- Gnomes have an increased mana pool, which is certainly of interest to any caster. This is true even if Mages generally don’t have to be concerned about mana.
- Engineering skill doesn’t help casting, but that skill can make some nice gadgets which will help. Many of those are fun and several are actually useful.
- Also, as with Humans, Gnome Mages will get a +1% to their Spell Hit if equipping a sword.
- WoD: The Expertise ability is gone.
- A minor heal is always handy for a class that has no heals. Also usable on others.
- Draenei get a self-only + 1% hit chance with spells. Useful for leveling and nice for for raids, where every little bit helps (since you’ll want a total of 15% hit.)
- Draenei are good gemcutters and love their bonus to their Jewelcrafting skill.
- WoD: Your Heroic Presence now Increases your Strength, Agility, and Intellect, instead of adding +1 Hit.
- Night Elf
- Their Shadowmeld ability has its uses while leveling or PvPing, such as lurking in wait for unsuspecting targets. In instances and raids it will drop the aggro you picked up until you unmeld. Hopefully the tank has picked the mob(s) up by then. (Popping out of hiding to blast away has definite PvP value. )
- Being a bit harder to hit is also occasionally useful while leveling or in PvP.
- Faster movement while dead is an interesting perk. Hopefully you’re not finding too much use for this ability.
- WoD: +1% Haste by night, +1% Crit by day.
- WoD: general movement is 2% faster.
- Stone form is nice in PvP and is of occasional use elsewhere. It washes away bleeds and such and also reduces damage by 10%, which is of some benefit in those “Oh Rats!” situations.
- Ranged weapon expertise is of no use to you, you are a ranged weapon.
- Dwarves are good with Archeology
- WoD: Critical strike bonus damage and healing increased by 2%.
- WoD: The Expertise ability is gone.
- Worgen (Cataclysm)
For PvE? Troll or Orc
For PvP? Troll or Orc for offense, or Undead for “Will of the Forsaken.”
- Will of the Forsaken is a nice PvP ability, but much more situational outside of PvP. Still, there are times when you will have use for this ability.
- Cannibalize is useful every now and then, especially if you need to heal while in combat or “rub it in” to some player you just killed. It frees up a bag slot that would otherwise carry food.
- Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that drains life and heals you for a small amount. Any heal is always nice and it does add a bit to your damage numbers.
- WoD: Underwater breathing is back and it’s now indefinite.
- Berserking increases casting speed by 20% for a few seconds. Very nice, drop it into a macro and use it when you need to ‘blow him away.”
- Beast Slaying is a nice little bonus for leveling and useful in PvE content when the opposition is classed as “beast.” Unfortunately no one in PvP counts, not even Worgen. With all the beasts in WoW this will speed up your leveling just a bit.
- Voodoo shuffle is a help in PvP, but situational elsewhere.
- Ranged weapon expertise is useless to you.
- WoD: Beast slaying adds to XP gained from slaying beasts, not damage done. Nice for leveling, not so hot for DPS.
- WoD: Expertise is dead, not that you ever cared about it.
- Blood Elf:
- An increase to Enchanting skill is of no direct use, but ‘chanters get some self-only ‘chants which are nice.
- Arcane Torrent is of little use, since it doesn’t return much mana and the opponent has to be close to you for the silence to work and casters will rarely be that close (though DKs might be…) On the other hand, if you’re bouncing in to drop a Frost Nova then an AT might not be a bad thing to throw in along with it.
- WoD: +1 to Crit chance
- Orc: Big, mean, green… the perfect Mages.
- Blood Fury adds to spell power as well as attack power. Put it in a macro and use it when you want a burst of damage.
- No useful mage specific abilities, though the increased resistance to stun does have some general use.
- Expertise with axes is of no use, but Wands apparently count as “fist or unarmed weapons” and so Orcs DO get expertise with the wands. This gives you a +1 to your Spell Hit if you are equipping a wand. Wands are pretty decent these days, so if you find a good one you should equip it.
- WoD: Stun resistance is nerfed a bit.
- WoD: The Expertise ability is gone.
- Goblin: Terminally cute. And if you go Goblin you’ll get rich, right?
- Increased Haste is generally useful.
- Vendor discounts are always nice, esp. if you’re always broke.
- Your spells are far more damaging than the rocket launcher, though it might be fun at times.
- Rocket leap is a useful escape ability, like an extra Blink.
- An increase to Alchemy skill.
- WoD: No real changes
- Tauren (nope)
- Bovine discrimination? Racism? General Tauren policy? No mages here. Giant, war-stomping, furry Tauren things can’t be mages at this time.
Abilities, Talents, and a Mage Leveling Build
At level 10 you get to decide on your specialization (your “spec.”) You get your first talent at level 15. In Mists of Pandaria, the talents work like this:
- You get them at levels 15, 30, 45, 60,, 75, and 90. Each “tier” has three choices, you get to pick one.
- Any spec of mage can pick any one talent from any one tier.
- Talents can be changed like glyphs, one at a time, using one dose of powder/dust/tome that you get from your inscription supply vendor. You can change them at almost anytime. Your trainer can always wipe all of your talents for you. He can also teach you how to have a second specialization.
- You will have six talents at level 90.
- You do not need to see the trainer when you level, you will automatically acquire the new abilities and open up the new talent slots.
You can see the Mists of Pandaria skills, talents, glyphs, etc., here.
- Mists of Pandaria changed things, but not so much for just leveling. All mage specs are fine for PvE, while Frost is still the PvP king (though many do Fire and a few do Arcane.) All are fine for leveling.
- Our Generic recommendation for the new mage? Go Frost, for the survival skills, though Fire or Arcane will level just fine and often destroy the opponent before it gets to you. They’re just a bit less forgiving of mistakes so you have to be a bit more careful.
Mage Abilities by Specialization
With Mists of Pandaria each spec of Mage gets a set of unique abilities that they will gain over time. Only Arcane Mages get Arcane Blast, for example. These spec abilities are in addition the regular abilities that all mages get.
** = Removed in Warlords
|Arcane Spec||Fire Spec||Frost Spec|
|Arcane Charge||10||Fireball||12||Summon Water Elemental||10|
|Arcane Barrage||12||Inferno Blast||24||Fingers of Frost||24|
|Arcane Missiles||24||Critical Mass||36||Icy Veins||36|
|Arcane Power||62||Dragon’s Breath||62||Brain Freeze||77|
|Mastery: Mana Adept||80||Combustion||77||Mastery: Icicles||80|
|Coming in Warlords:||Coming in Warlords:||Coming in Warlords:
|Create and spend arcane charges to build more power and to drive Arcane Barrage.||And there was much burnination. Crit happy. Chance for free Pyroblasts. Lots of Dots.||Chance for free spells, lots of freezing and slowing, more damage against frozen.|
Talents and Glyphs
Level 15 Talents:
- Presence of Mind – Causes your next spell, that has a cast time, to be instant, such as Pyroblast or Ring of Frost (but R of still has a 2 second “arming” time.) Open a fight with your long cast-time spell then use POM to drop a second spell. Crunch.
- Replaced by Evansce (3 sec damage immunity, replaces Ice Block) )in WoD. POM becomes an Arcane Only ability. It’s still likely to be the #1 choice for most situations.
- Blazing Speed is fine for PvP, or wherever a burts of speed is needed. Note that it only lasts 1 second and has a 25 second cooldown. Nice for burst movement in dungeons. Not a travel talent, but it will help you escape from stuff.
- Ice Floes isn’t much use while leveling, but it might have use in scenarios which involve a lot of movement. Those are mostly after you hit level 90.
- In WoD Caster movement while casting is being somewhat nerfed. Ice Floes might become a bit more interesting then.
Level 30 Talents
- Temporal Shield requires anticipating incoming damage. Nice to throw up while you’re stunned, though.
- In WoD this talent is dead, it’s replaced by your Alter Time ability.
- Flameglow stays up and knocks a bit off of all incoming damage. Useful if you’re taking constant damage, which you generally won’t be while leveling. It’s a good pick if you’re dungeoning, since it just stays up and deflects enough damage to be useful. It’s also one less button to push, since it’s passive, which is nice.
- Ice Barrier – Instantly shields you, absorbing some damage and lasting for 1 min. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be delayed by damage. Keep this up, it’s a pretty nice spell.
Level 45 Talents
Note that in WoD: Shatter is Frost only
All of these are nice talents, “the best” is a tough choice.
- Ring of Frost – Summons a Ring of Frost at the target location. Enemies entering the ring will become frozen. Cast this, then start blasting. Enemies will run into it and freeze and you’ll Shatter them. Terrific for bottle-necking areas, such as cave tunnels or bridges. 2 second cast time. While questing you set off ROF, zap a mob, he and his buddies come running across the ROF, freeze, and you pick them off.
- Ice Ward – Places an Ice Ward on a friendly target (or yourself.) When an enemy strikes the target, all nearby enemies within will become frozen in place for a few seconds. Nice if you like to kite things and do the “run and gun.” Nice for “just questing” as it lets you more effectively kite things.
- Frostjaw – Silences and freezes the target in place for a few seconds. Lasts half as long versus Player targets. Nice for setting up shatters. Pick your target, freeze it, drop your long cast time spell and get the shatter damage and follow up with a second, using Presence of Mind. That’s a lot of damage before it even gets close to you.
Level 60 Talents
- Greater Invisibility – Instantly makes the caster invisible, reducing all threat, and removing two damage over time effects. While invisible, you are untargetable by enemies. Lasts 20 sec. Useful as an escape or to sneak past enemies. Nice in PvP or in dungeons where the tank loses things.
- Cauterize – An attack which would otherwise kill you will instead bring you to 50% of your maximum health, and you will burn for 40% of your maximum health over the next 6 sec. Nice when you face stuff that can kill you with one or two shots. You won’t see much of that while leveling.
- In WoD it’s 35% of max health and you’ll burn for 28% of your max.
- Cold Snap – Finishes the cooldown of your Ice Block, Frost Nova, and Cone of Cold spells. It also instantly restores 30% of your health. This spell is usable while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared or asleep, and is not on the global cooldown. Very nice survival spell. This one is the most generally useful for leveling.
- Restores 22% in WoD.
Level 75 Talents
In WoD: all the bombs are moved into the first talent and each spec gets its own bomb; Living Bomb becomes Fire only, for example.
- Talent #2 is Unstable Magic: Your main bolts (Arcane, fireball, frost, and frostfire) all have a chance to explode on impact, doing more damage to the primary target and spreading to nearby targets.
- #3 varies by spec, as with the bombs:
In the Mists:
- Nether Tempest – Places a DoT on the target which deals Arcane damage over several sec. Each time Nether Tempest deals damage, an additional 50% of that damage is also dealt to a random target within 10 yards. Instant and easy to use, lots of damage, and that extra bolt can bring extra enemies into the fight.
- Living Bomb – The target becomes a Living Bomb, taking Fire damage over several seconds. When this effect ends, or the target dies, it explodes to deal additional Fire damage to enemies within 10 yards. Also a nice choice if you’d rather burn things. It was buffed in patch 5.4 and does not attack additional enemies until it blows.
- Frost Bomb – Places a Frost Bomb on the target. After a few seconds the bomb explodes doing Frost damage to the primary target, and also some Frost damage to all other targets within 10 yds. Your shatter abilitiy will come in handy if some of them happen to br frozen at that time. All affected targets (that are still standing) are greatly slowed for a brief time. Slow targets are easier to burn down. It has a cast time and requires a bit more effort to use well than the other two.
Level 90 Talents
Depends on what you’re doing. The first requires a bit of “set up” time, the second to stay in roughly the same place for the whole fight, the last if you need to move and you’re taking damage (such as in PvP.)
- Invocation – Reduces the cooldown and cast time of Evocation, but you passively regenerate 50% less mana. Completing an Evocation (Invocation) causes you to deal increased spell damage for 60 sec. Use it anytime that you have a moment to get up for your attack, and you’ll have plenty of that while leveling.
- Dead in WoD, replaced by your Mirror Images ability.
- Rune of Power – Replaces Evocation. Places a Rune of Power on the ground for 1 min. While standing in (or within 8 yards in 5.4) your own Rune of Power, your mana regeneration is increased by 100% and your spell damage is increased by 15%. Only 2 Runes of Power can be placed at one time. Great for fights where little movement is required. Drop runes and blast away. Better for blasting dungeon bosses than for leveling.
- Incanter’s Ward- Places a magical ward on you, absorbing damage for a few sec. Absorbed damage will restore a portion of your maximum mana. When this effect ends, you gain increased spell damage for a time, based on the absorption used. Also passively increases spell damage, while active, by 6% and increases mana regeneration by 75%. This is the pick if you need to move around and are taking pressure.
- Dead in WoD: Replaced by Incanter’s Flow.
Mage Leveling Glyphs
You get a total of 6 glyphs, 3 major and 3 minor, at level 75. You can learn all of them and swap them in and out as necessary. As with the talents the glyphs are easily swapped. You just need a dose of Vanishing Powder (or similar) from your reagents vendor.
Glyphs, Major- this is where all your major mods come from. depending on which spec you choose there are other glyphs which can be useful. These three are generally useful for all Mages.
- Armors – increases the protective effect of your Armor spells by 10%
- Evocation – Regain 60% of your health while evocating.
- Frost nova – Reduces the Cooldown by 5 seconds.
- Glyph of Arcane Power increases duration and cooldown of your Arcane Power ability.
- Glyph of Water Elemental for a better, stronger water elemental.
Minor glyphs are pretty much just cosmetic.
- Rapid Teleportation – Teleport somewhere and then move quickly for a minute.
- Illusion – look like someone else for two min.
- Conjure Familiar – Conjures a Familiar Stone containing your beastie.
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Gear, stats, etc.
The most important statistics for any levelng mage are intellect and stamina. These two stats improve two things that no mage is ever satisfied with: health and power. Thankfully, it’s easy (at low level) to find cloth armor pieces that contain at least one, and often both, of these stats in ample levels. Higher level gear will, of course, always have those two stats.
Int and Stam, nothing else matters.
- Your Int determines your Spellpower, and influences your Crit Rating, but not your mana pool. Int is, by far, you most important stat, for any flavor of mage (and any caster.)
- Stamina – you need enough to stay alive. Pile it on at low levels until you’re happy with your life expectancy.
- Strength? For what? To hold up a heavy staff? Skip it.
- Same for Agility.
- Spirit, with 4.0 and later, has pretty much zero use for mages. Avoid it.
Secondary Stats -
Spell Hit is your most important secondary stat. If you can grab some then do just that.
- Do not sacrifice Int to get any of these stats and don’t worry about them much while leveling, though some hit might be nice, especially if you do dungeons.
- Hit rating is pretty important for all mages, especially in PvE, but it only really starts appearing on your gear at the high end. Your Spell Hit is determined by yoiur Hit + Expertise + appropriate racial bonus. Eventually you will want:
- 6% Hit for same level mobs or players (PvP.)
- 15% for raid bosses (+3 levels) but you won’t have to worry about that till 90.
- Expertise adds to your Hit rating to determine Spell Hit.
- Spellpower doesn’t appear much on gear until the high end, and even then it’s pretty much only on trinkets and some enchants. Nice when you can get it, it’s second only to Int for all specs.
- Some early gear has Fire/Frost/Arcane damage as a stat. This is good stuff.
- Crit rating – Crit is very important for fire mages since you will get free Pyroblast procs after two consecutive crits with direct damage fire attacks. Crit is less important, though still nice, for the other Mage specs.
- Haste – Another stat appearing mostly at the high end of the level range. Good for all mages, better for Arcane and Frost.
- Mastery – This stat appears at level 80 and it improves some aspect of what you do. It’s not necessarily your best stat.
- Resilience is your resistance to damage thrown at you by other players. With the 5.3 patch it was changed so that all players, even in their underwear, have 65% resilience. In 5.4 it goes to 72%. It was removed from most PvP gear, but if you PvP and you find some gear that has it then go for it. Do not gem or enchant for it. You have to punch the other guy’s 72%.
- PvP Power is another PvP (Player Vs Player) only stat. It increases your damage to other players. PvP gear will have a pretty fair amount of PvP Power, which is why it’s superior to regular gear for PvP. Nerfed hard in patch 5.3 it’s nice, but not worth gemming or enchanting.
Are you level 80+? Find a piece of gear that looks great, but has points in the wrong rating? Reforge it. Reforging lets you take 40% from rating A and change it to rating B. You won’t be able reforge before 80 and you shouldn’t worry about it until you get into end-game PvP and Instances/raids.
If you do decide to reforge while leveling, then…
- go for 6% Hit (Raid bosses will need 15%, mobs/players of the same level require 6%)
- Next: If Fire then Crit before anything else, otherwise Haste. If you like to swap specs and don’t want to swap gear, then Haste is a good overall good choice.
Buffs, Armor, etc.
Early on you will have to rely on foods and potions/flasks/elixirs for any buffs.
- Molten Armor, at level 34, increases your crit and reduces the damage you take. Use this at all times, at least until you’re level 54.
- Frost Armor, level 54, more Haste and enemies that strike you are slowed.
- Mage Armor, level 80, Increases Mastery and reduces the damage of spells that come your way.
- Arcane Brilliance is a nice Spellpower & Crit buff (at level 58.)
- Dalaran Brilliance, level 80, is the same spell with a slightly different look. It’s obtained from Endora Moorehead (magical goods vendor) in Dalaran for 475 gold.
The better buffed you are the faster your leveling will go. Keep your Armor and Int spells up along with any other buffs appropriate to the situation.
Foods of certain types buff your Stamina at low levels and other stats at higher levels. Get cooking or keep an eye on the Auction House for interesting foods. Check WoWhead.com for current recipes appropriate to your level. Also, prices and availablility on the AH vary wildly, so keep that in mind when shopping.
Scrolls add to your Stam or Int and are generally very cheap to buy, but with 4.0 they are now considered “battle elixers” and won’t stack with other battle elixers or potions. So buy a bunch of the Auction House or talk to your friendly, neighborhood Inscription expert.
Potions can add to various stats as well as recover health and/or mana. Consider Herbalism and Alchemy to keep yourself in Pots as you level.
Quest Rewards – Every now and then (it’s rare) a quest reward will provide a buff or buffing item. Use these to good effect.
Gems, Enchants, Gear
You won’t see socketed gear very often, if at all, until 60+. If you have the gold to buy gems then stick to Int gems, otherwise skip them. If you’re gemming high end gear then be aware that Mists of Pandaria gems and enchants are much better that the Cataclysm versions. The gems require item level 417 gear, while enchants require iLevel 372 gear. You can hit 85, buy or make your iLevel 377 PvP set and enchant it with the new enchants (if you’re rich.)
You can sometimes find Mists of Pandaria blues at level 81, with an iLevel of 417. It generally does not come with gem slots, though.
Some enchants are handy, but they can be very expensive. How much gold do you have? At lower levels I look for really cheap enchants. Buying the expensive ones is pointless when you will be out of that gear soon.
If you are PvPing in competitive BGs then some enchants, especially Stamina, can be desireable.
If you need the gold to guy this stuff, or the gear below, check out Tycoon.
- From day 1 you want gear with Intelligence. If it also has Stam, then great.
- At all levels you will find better gear on the Auction House than you will be questing. Even in the dungeons you have to be lucky to get the right gear and really lucky to get a full set.
- If you can stand to run through a few battlegrounds before level 70, enough to accumulate about 2k honor points, you will be able to pick up the epic PvP set at level 70 from the legacy arena vendors, such as Blazik.
- At 77 start looking for Cataclysm gear, it’s far better than any other gear at that level. It’s even better than your heirlooms, which don’t level up to Cata levels until 81. How do you decide which is cata gear? Looks at two level 77 lieces, side by side. The cata gear will have much higher numbers. It also starts at an item level of 270, where the “regular” gear at that level will be 170 or so.
- At 81 put your better heirlooms back on. Mists of Pandiria gear is available for level 81s, so keep an eye on the Auction House.
- At 85 you can get iLevel 450 gear on the AH. If you’re lucky, and rich, you might get a full set, which will make your journey throuigh Pandaria that much easier.
- Vendors scattered around the Pandaria zones sell complete sets of green gear (starting at iLevel 377 or so) for any class and spec. And they sell it for very little money. This is an inexpensive way to get some decent gear.
- At 90 (Congratulations!) buy the Crafted PvP gear (Dreadful in 5.3, Malevolent in 5.4,) even if you don’t intend to PvP, to fill in any slots that don’t already have item level 450+ gear. The latter gear comes with gem sockets, so is definitely better.This will get you started towards whichever end-game you want to pursue.
How to Kill Stuff (Your “Rotation”)
Up to level 10:
- Spam Frostfire Bolt until the enemy dies. FF Bolt’s slow will help keep them away. Try to be at max range when you attack.
- Frost Nova comes very early. Lock up anything that gets too close, move away. Fire.
- Fire Blast does decent damage, but has a longish cooldown, so you can’t spam it.
That routine will, more or less, be what you do until top levels. Locking down your opponent buys you time to blast away.
- Frost nova and blink will help keep you out of range.
- At some point you will start getting “procs.” Such as Pyroblast!. These procs allow you to instantly fire off an ability. Use them as they pop up.
- Frost mages will get their pet at level ten. This will add to your overall damage, give you an extra freeze, and take a bit of pressure off you.
In Warlords only the Frost spec will have Shatter. It’s recommended that you abuse this. Freeze the enemy every chance you can, then blast away.
Fire lives off the Pyro crits. Get a crit, use Fire Blast to get the proc, fire away. With your low crit rating you won’t see them too often, but they will happen.
Keep in mind that you’re squishy, have few defenses, and little “burst” at low levels. PvP will likely be painful, except maybe for skillfully played Frost.
Set yourself up, pick your targets, pay attention to other mobs on the area, and you’ll do fine.
The general routine is this: Keep the opposition at maximum range wherever possible and blast away. Use Frost Nova or Ring of Frost or Frostjaw when the mob gets too close. Blink, get some range and blast away to get that Shatter effect (starting at level 16.)
Also see our Top Ten Ways to get Leveled Faster post.
Something to show you the way as you level, where to go and what to do, helps alot.
Food – Keep well stocked. Regular foods are great if you need to recover a lot of HP. Beverages keep your mana up. Your Create Water & Create Food are free, use them. You can usually find beverages that will recover more mana than the spell in certain level ranges, so grab those when appropriate, but again… the spell is free.
First Aid – An essential skill (too bad there isn’t a “first aid for Mana.”) Keep this skill maxed.
Crafting- skip the crafting professions unless you have a ton of cash. If you want to go for it, and you don’t need to gather stuff to sell, then there are a couple of good combiniations:
- Herbalism and Alchemy – You’ll be able to create lots of very useful potions with the stuff that you gather, this keeps your costs way down.
- Skinning and Mining (or Herbalism) -is a great money making combo. Builds Stam and Crit rating, too.
- Tailoring and Enchanting – Enchanting is very expensive to level. You can use it here, though, to disenchant many of the surplus items that you make with tailoring. The mats created will sell for more than the items. Or save the mats and use them for the enchants. By the way, some clothing items sell for nice prices.
Gear – Stam, stam, and more stam. At least until 20 something. Get the biggest bags you can afford. Carry plenty of food and bandaids and beverages. Once your survival isn’t an issue start stacking as much Int as you can.
Bank alt- make a bank alt so you can mail your stuff and get back to leveling. Yes, you can ‘port to the city, but ‘porting back to your leveling area isn’t quite so easy.
Develop eyes in the back of your head, especially on PvP servers. It’s not that you can’t do damage up close, it’s that you can’t take it. See what’s coming before it surprises you and Learn to love the Frost Nova and Blink combo, especially when sneaky things are about.
- Always log out at an inn, to get that 2x “rest XP.”
- Pick your fights. If something to a bit tough then back down a level or two on the opposition.
- Learn your abilities and their limitations. For example, Frost Nova is not ranged.
- Bind your abilities to your keyboard. (Here’s a starter if you don’t know how.)
- Macros can also be useful. Here’s our “How to Macro” post.
- Guilds will often be happy to help, offer advice and tips, answer questions, and so on. Especially if they’re “leveling” guilds. Just ask around if you need to, it should be pretty easy to find a guild and help.
Get Your Mage Leveled, the Fast Way
Once you have the right build for your Mage consider a full blown Mage Leveling Guide for the most effective (fastest) leveling. Why? With thousands of quests and a million mobs to grind the trip to the top level can take a while. A long while. Grab an in-game leveling guide and you’re make that looong leveling patch a whole lot easier.
Start from any level and use Dugi’s to blast to the finish. Heck, you can even grab a few levels in the dungeons and/or battleground PvP. Dugi’s guide will figure out your new level and the best spot to continue your questing.
Pick your starting point and the guide will show you where to go and what to do. It automatically updates and advances as you complete tasks and quests, sets a waypoint arrow automatically (always showing you where to go next,) and includes all the important quest info. You will probably never need to look at your quest log again, much less stop mid-play to browse some website.
Note: Dugi’s is fully ready for all new patches and expansions, it’ll never be obsolete.
Grab your copy now and beat all your friends to the level cap.