The Mage Guide for Mists of Pandaria
This page has been updated for Mists of Pandaria 5.4
Students gifted with a keen intellect and unwavering discipline may walk the path of the mage. The arcane magic available to magi is both great and dangerous, and thus is revealed only to the most devoted practitioners. To avoid interference with their spellcasting, magi wear only cloth armor, but arcane shields and enchantments give them additional protection. To keep enemies at bay, magi can summon bursts of fire to incinerate distant targets and cause entire areas to erupt, setting groups of foes ablaze. Source
Other Mage Guides
Mages are the arbiters of Fire, Frost, and the Arcane. They are wielders of mystical energies beyond all natural comprehension, and sheep-happy, deep freezing, arcane blasting PvP maniacs if my battlegrounds experiences count for anything. But, above all, mages are clean and simple fun.
Mages are cloth wearers, much like Warlocks and Priests, however unlike both these classes we do not possess the adequate survivability to make up for our lack of armor, no healing and no massive health pools. Instead we rely entirely on ‘not getting hit,’ either by constant movement, blinking, invisibility, crowd control, and massive burst damage. We’re truly Glass Cannons
Mage Patch Notes
All of the official patch notes are here.
Frost got some interesting changes, Fire got less, Arcane nearly nothing. Also see our post on the 5.4 Mage Changes.
- Ice Lance damage has been increased by 43%.
- Combustion on targets affected by the Fire Mage’s Mastery: Ignite now deals additional damage equal to 20% of Ignite’s damage per tick (down from 50%).
- Mastery: Frostburn has been replaced by Mastery: Icicles. When the Mage damages an enemy with their Frostbolt, and Frostfire Bolt (16% + 2% per Mastery) of the damage done is stored as an Icicle for 15 seconds. Mastery: Icicles also increases the Water Elemental’s Water Bolt damage by (16% + 2% per Mastery). Up to 5 Icicles can be stored at once. Casting Ice Lance launches all stored Icicles at the target.
- Frostbolt now deals 10% less damage and no longer increases the damage of any spells. The damage for those spells have been increased instead.
- Water Elemental – Waterbolt damage has been increased by 25%.
- Frost Bomb now deals 70% damage to players (up from 60%).
- Ice Floes now has 3 charges (up from 2 charges) and has a 20-second cooldown (down from 45 seconds.) The changes are perhaps because no one was using it?
- Living Bomb now deals 85% damage to players (up from 70%).
- Nether Tempest now deals 85% damage to players (up from 70%).
- Rune of Power now has an increased effective range. The Mage can remain up to 8 yards away from their Rune of Power and still receive benefits to mana regeneration and spell damage (up from 3 yards).
- Temporal Shield now also reduces damage taken by 15% while active in addition to its existing effects. This is a pretty nice change if you use this talent.
- Glyph of Ice Lance has been renamed to Glyph of Splitting Ice.
- Glyph of Splitting Ice Ice causes Ice Lance and Icicles to hit 1 additional target for 50% damage.
- Glyph of Invisibility has been replaced with Glyph of Rapid Displacement.
- Glyph of Rapid Displacement gives Blink two charges, gaining a charge every 15 seconds, but no longer frees the Mage from stuns and bonds. This will likely be much more interesting for PvE, when mobility is required, and PvE where the “break from from effects” aspect will be missed.
- Glyph of Remove Curse now increases the damage dealt by 15% after successfully removing a curse (up from 10%). This is especially nice when fighting Curse using types, such as Warlocks. Remove Curse has an 8 second cooldown and the buff has a 10 second duration.
- Glyph of Spellsteal now heals the Mage for 5% of their maximum health after successfully stealing a spell (up from 3%).
- Glyph of Blink now increases distance travelled with the Blink spell by 8 yards (up from 5 yards).
New Minor Glyphs
- Glyph of Condensation: Increases the size of the Mage’s Water Elemental.
- Glyph of Evaporation: Reduces the size of the Mage’s Water Elemental.
- Glyph of the Unbound Elemental: The Mage’s Water Elemental is replaced by an Unbound Water Elemental.
No changes specific to any particular spec, no major talent changes.
- Arcane Brilliance had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
- Dalaran Brilliance had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
- Arcane Explosion now deals 40% more damage.
- Blizzard now deals 40% more damage.
- Flamestrike now deals 100% more initial damage. Periodic damage remains unchanged.
- Mirror Image creates copies that no longer cast Fire Blast, but their Frostbolts do 10% more damage.
- And in the most impressive buff of all – Teleport: Vale of Eternal Blossoms and Portal: Vale of Eternal Blossoms now have new icons.
- Flameglow now absorbs damage from each attack made against the Mage equal to 15% of their spellpower (down from 20%).
- Incanter’s Ward now allows the Mage to gain up to a maximum of 15% increase to spell damage, down from 30%, but the effect now lasts 25 seconds, up from 15 seconds.
- Living Bomb‘s periodic damage has been increased by 121%. Its explosion damage has been reduced by 78%, but now scales with additional periodic ticks added by haste, and hits all nearby targets (up from 3).
Tier 1 talents:
- Scorch is no longer a talent, it is now a Fire specialization.
- Blazing Speed is now a level 15 talent, replacing Scorch.
- Ice Floes now has a 45 second cooldown (was 1 minute) and its duration have been increased to 15 seconds (was 10 seconds.)
Tier 2 talents:
- Flameglow, a new talent, is available at level 30 and replaces Blazing Speed. The passive ability encases the Mage in fiery energy, absorbing damage from each attack made against the Mage equal to 20% of their spellpower, up to a maximum of 30% of the attack. This is probably much more useful than Blazing Speed was.
- Temporal Ripples from Temporal Shield can no longer be dispelled.
Tier 3 talents:
- Ring of Frost cast instantly through Presence of Mind now has a 2 second arming period before the Freeze effect is activated against targets in the area of effect. The 2 second arming period can be reduced by Haste.
Tier 4 talents:
- Greater invisibility now has a 90 second cooldown (was 2.5 minutes.)
Tier 6 talents:
- Invocation now removes Evocation’s cooldown, and reduces its channeling time and duration by 50%. A completed Evocation now grants 15% increased damage for 1 minute after an Evocation is completed, instead of 25% increased damage for 40 seconds. Passive mana regeneration is reduced by 50% only while Invoker’s Energy is active.
- Incanter’s Ward can now be removed by magic dispels.
- Rune of Power increases the Mage’s mana regeneration by 75% (was 100%) while standing inside the rune.
- Frostbolt cast by Mirror Images now deals 50% more damage.
- Deep Freeze now stuns the target for 5 seconds (was 4 seconds.)
- Glyph of Fire Blast has been replaced with Glyph of Inferno Blast. Glyph of Inferno Blast causes damage-over-time effects spread by Inferno Blast to spread to 1 additional target.
- Glyph of Deep Freeze still removes Deep Freeze from the global cooldown, but now also reduces its duration by 1 second.
- Glyph of Evocation now causes the Invocation talent to restore 10% (was 20%) health after completing an Evocation.
- Mage PvP 2-piece bonus now requires Counterspell to successfully interrupt a spell before applying the 4 second cooldown reduction to Counterspell.
- For Arcane Mages, Evocation now restores 40% (was 60%) of total mana over 6 seconds, and consumes all Arcane Charges. For each Arcane Charge consumed, the total amount of mana regenerated is increased by 10%, up to a maximum of 80% over 6 seconds. Evocation remains unchanged for Fire and Frost.
- Arcane Blast’s damage has been reduced by 22.9% and mana cost has been increased to 1.66667% of base mana (was 1.5%.)
- Arcane Charges now stacks up to 4 times (was 6), increases damage by 50% (was 25%), and increases mana cost by 150% (was 75%.)
- Arcane Missile‘s damage has been reduced by 22.1%.
- Arcane Barrage‘s damage has been reduced by 16.1%.
- Scorch is no longer a talent and is now available to all Fire Mages as a specialization.
- Pyroblast has its direct damage reduced by 10%
- Fingers of Frost now has a 15% (was 12%) chance to activate from Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, and Frozen Orb, and a 5% (was 4%) chance to activate from Blizzard.
- Glyph of Ice Lance now causes Ice Lance to deal 50% damage to 1 additional target, up from 40%.
- Frostbolt now deals 32% more damage.
- Water Elemental Freeze no longer does damage and only provides Fingers of Frost on a successful freeze.
What Race Should Your Mage Be?
With Cataclysm, the only race that cannot be a mage is the Tauren. This is also true in Mists of Pandaria. Yes, that means that Pandarens can be mages.
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 & stealth detect,) though Gnomes & Undead have their uses.
Skill counts for more than race, though. Play what you like.
Is there Zen in Magery? We’ll find out in Mists of Pandaria. Pandarens are listed here since they get to choose, once they leave the starting area, whether they will join Horde or Alliance.
- Can stun enemies with a quick strike of their hand. Might have situational use for a Mage, allowing an excape from melee range.
- Rested (as from an Inn) XP lasts longer for faster leveling.
- Increased benefits from food buffs
- Good at Cooking.
- “Bouncy,” so take less falling damage, just in case you dont cast Slow Fall.
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 DPS trinkets. This ability will have occasional use in PvE and leveling, as well.
- 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 will introduce even more factions.
- Spirit is now useless for mages, and so 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.
- 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 their targets.
- Gnomes have an increased mana pool, which is certainly of interest to any caster.
- Engineering skill doesn’t help casting, but that skill can make some nice gadgets which will help.
- Also, as with Humans, Gnome mages will get a +1% to their Spell Hit if equipping a sword.
- Night Elf
- Their Shadowmeld ability has its uses while leveling or PvPing, such as lurking in wait for unssupecting 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 use while leveling or in PvP. Again, not much use in raiding.
- Faster movement while dead is an interesting perk…
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.
- 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.
- Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that drains life and heals. It will add a bit to your damage numbers.
- Berserking increases casting speed by 20% for a few seconds. Very nice, drop it into a macro.
- 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.
- Voodoo shuffle is a help in PvP, but situational elsewhere.
- Ranged weapon expertise is useless to you.
- 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.
- Blood Fury adds to spell power as well as attack power. Put it in a macro.
- 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 you DO get expertise with the wands. This gives you a +1 to your Spell Hit if you are equipping a wand.
- Tauren (nope)
- Bovine discrimination? Racism? General Tauren policy? No mages here. Giant, war-stomping, furry Tauren things can’t be mages at this time.
So far as tradeskills go, it’s a fairly obvious choice as to what you’ll be picking up if you want to maximize your gear levels the instant you hit max level, and that would be Tailoring. Tailoring gives us not only consistent and useful upgrades in the lower levels, but increasingly rewarding instance level gear upgrades once you venture into Outland and beyond. On the other hand, if you’re decked out in heirlooms…
Multiple sets of cloth armor are better than instance gear of the same level and more accessible even for a brand new 60, 70. or 85. All it takes is a high, if not maxed out, tailoring skill by the time you reach the appropriate level. Since tailoring doesn’t possess any specific synergies tradeskill wise, you can always grab mining or some other gathering profession to aid funding your primary crafting abilities. Enchanting will let you disenchant tailored items that you don’t want to try and sell or otherwise dispose of. You can then use or sell the Enchanting mats.
Keep in mind that all the crafting skills are very expensive to level up. If you’re going to work on the expensive tailoring or brutally expensive Enchanting then you will need to have a pretty solid gold stash. If you don’t have that, then you may have to skip them, but drop Enchanting first.
Another option is to spend some time farming appropriate materials.
Other useful skills and min/maxing:
Note that in Mists of Pandaria the profession bonuses are around 320 Int, and that Blacksmithing with its two gems slots gives you a bit more versatility than the other professions. For example, you’ll be able to socket 640 Crit instead of 320 Int, if you like.
- Alchemy will keep you in mana and healing potions, as well as all sorts of other potions, elixers, etc. You get about 30% more effect and an hour extgra duration from your flasks and elixirs. Alchemists can also create a pretty nice trinket which provides additional healing and mana from effects which restore those.
- Inscription has several “off-hand” items that are very nice, as well as staves and the high-end shoulder inscriptions. You’ll get 520 Int and 100 Crit.
- Jewelcrafting has some nice, self-only, gems. These provide and additional 160 Int each and you can load two of them.
- Blacksmithing – The two additional sockets (Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves) allow you to socket two more really nice gems. Otherwise you have little use for the weapons and the plate armor. You can make keys to open locks, however.
- Engineering – Engineering enchants do not overwrite the Enchanting enchants. Engie gadgets suffer from the occasional “interesting” side-effects. Keep this in mind if you go with this skill.
- Synapse Springs: 1920 Int for 10 sec on a 1 min cooldown – This is a cooldown and not a random proc, so fire it off in those burst phases.
- Nitro Boosts have their crit bonus removed and are applied to your belt.
- Lightweight head armor with special engineering sockets. You can choose from different tinker’s gears, each granting 600 pts of some secondary stat, such as Crit.
- Enchanting – 2x Enchant Ring – Intellect for another 320 Int total.
- Leatherworking – 500 Int from a bracer enchant.
- First Aid is essential, keep it maxed at all times.
- Cooking is very useful with all the healing and buffing foods it provides.
- Herbalism is a nice cash creating skill and also fuels Inscription and Alchemy. It will also give you a small heal ability, Lifeblood: 2,880 Haste for 20 sec on a 2 min cooldown. Not bad at all.
- Mining and skinning are good skills to have for gold creation. they also offer 480 Stam and Crit respectively.
Mage Specs and Talents
As I mentioned near the start of the guide, mages are great fun at high level, it’s getting there that can sometimes be a tiny bit painful. It’s the combination of being squishy and having too many mobs in melee range. Especially on the PvP server with that rogue tracking you. Sit to drink only to find yourself being subject to a stealth attack that wipes out most of your health before you can stand. (There’s a reason that you see so many mages jumping about, spamming Frost Nova and Arcane Explosion. )
Mana is thankfully no longer a real issue, which is a big help. It used to be that you’d kill a mob or two then have to get that mana back.
Gear always helps, but it’s not as essential as with some classes. I found myself many times completing quests with every last piece of gear broken without having any really noticeable slowdown in killing speed, it can be just that easy for mages as unlike every other class they are almost completely self-supporting. Naturally, on a PvP server or for the end game you will want to have better gear.
Mists of Pandaria brings with it a totally new talent system. The old talents are all dead, long live the new talents. They’re pretty simple. And mage of any spec can pick any one talent from any of the six rows for six talents at 90. Arcane Mages can take Cauterize (previously Fire only,) for example.
A nice change from before is that you can change your talents, one at a time, on the fly. You’ll need one does of Vanishing Powder, Dust of Disappearance, or Tome of the Clear Mind (depending on your level) to make the switch. Glyphs work the same way. Get the dust (etc.) from your reagents vendor or an Inscription Supplies vendor.
This is the talent page you’ll see on your mage. Descriptions are below the image.
|Level 15||Presence of Mind – Causes your next spell, that has a cast time, to be instant, such as Pyroblast of Ring of Frost.||Blazing Speed: Activating this suppresses movement slowing effects and increases your movement speed for 1 sec.||Ice Floes – Allows you to move while casting and channeling the next 2 Mage spells that have a base cast or channel time less than 4 sec. This spell may be cast while a cast time spell is in progress and is not on the global cooldown.|
|Level 30||Temporal Shield – Envelops you briefly in a temporal shield and damage taken while shielded will be healed back over a few seconds. This spell is usable while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared or asleep.||Flameglow replaced Blazing Speed in this tier, as of Patch 5.2. Flameglow absorbs some damage from all attacks.||Ice Barrier – Instantly shields you, absorbing some damage and lasting for 1 min. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be delayed by damage.|
|Level 45||Ring of Frost – Summons a Ring of Frost at the target location. Enemies entering the ring will become frozen, which is nice for your shatter. Casting R of F right after Frost Bomb can be interesting.||Ice Ward – Places an Ice Ward on a friendly target. When an enemy strikes the target, all nearby enemies within will become frozen in place for a few seconds.||Frostjaw – Silences and freezes the target in place for a few seconds. Lasts half as long versus Player targets. Nice for setting up shatters.|
|Level 60||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. Invisibility is cancelled if you perform any actions. Damage taken is grealty reduced while invisible and for 3 sec after coming out of invisibility.||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.||Cold Snap – When activated, this spell finishes the cooldown of your Ice Block, Frost Nova, and Cone of Cold spells. Instantly restores 30% of your health. This spell is usable while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared or asleep, and is not on the global cooldown.|
|Level 75||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.||Living Bomb – The target becomes a Living Bomb, taking Fire damage over several sec. When this effect ends, or the target dies, it explodes to deal additional Fire damage to up to 3 enemies within 10 yards.||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. All affected targets are greatly slowed for a brief time.|
|Level 90||Invocation – Reduces the cooldown of Evocation to 10 sec, but you passively regenerate 50% less mana. Completing an Evocation causes you to deal increased spell damage for 40 sec.||Rune of Power – Replaces Evocation. Places a Rune of Power on the ground for 1 min. While standing in 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.||Incanter’s Ward- Places a magical ward on you, absorbing damage for 8 sec. Absorbed damage will restore a portion of your maximum mana. When this effect ends, you gain increased spell damage for 15 sec, based on the absorption used.Also passively increases spell damage by 6% and increases mana regeneration by 75%. This effect is deactivated while Incanter’s Ward is on cooldown.|
Remember, you only get to pick one form each row.
Here’s the scoop on the Specialization (spec) Abilities
Each of these groups of spells are unique to the particular spec. Only Arcane Mages get Arcane Blast, for example. The following section is for abilities common to all mages. All mages get Shatter at level 16, and see below for the other abilities. This is a great excuse to get your crit rating up and to freeze things.
At level 10 you will pick one of the three specializations and you will be locked into that spec. With the Mists of Pandaria changes your abilities define what you are. The talents add flavor.
Mage specs are divided into three primary elements, Arcane, Fire, and Frost, each possessing far more than simple visual difference.
|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: Frostburn||80|
|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.|
Arcane is seen by some as a raiding tree, largely due to the high mana constraints placed on raiding mages (from 5-10 minute long fights) as opposed to PvP, where high burst is favored over consistency. The squishiest of mages, Arcane PvP is challenging. Still, they can do a lot of damage and if you are part of a decent team, or really know what you’re doing, then PvP can be great fun. In Mists, with the new talents system, Arcane might just be much more PvP viable than before.
Arcane Mage Leveling
Arcane is a spec that was simply not designed for leveling, prior to 4.0. With 4.0 it became lot less painful than it used to be and Arcane is a viable and fun leveling spec with big numbers and cool stuff. Arcane mages do very well in instances (Dungeon Leveling) and it looks like they may be Ok in PvP.
The original Burninator.
Fire is the burst tree, boasting massive amounts of damage including more than a few incapacitation abilities/augmentation. This comes from Abilities such as Pyroblast (procs from crits,) and Dragon’s Breath, a frontal cone disorientation spell. With 4.0 fire became be the “burn everything in sight” and “run and gun” mage spec. With certain talents in place the Fire Mage can cast a lot of damage while constantly moving.
With Mists of Pandaria Fire is a bit less “run and gun,” but not a lot less. Damage is fine and the new talents can add more survivability than before.
Fire is the burst damage tree, massive damages, pyroblasts, etc. If you’re looking for anything from a good leveling build to raiding to battleground PvP, then fire is one of the easier choices. Most styles of play can be compensated for by picking up the generally viable talents in this tree, it’s all a matter of how you use them.
By properly gearing yourself you can fit literally almost any situation as fire, it presents the range and damage efficiency required for raiding, the burst potential desperately needed in PvP, and with some good spell rotation becomes an extremely efficient grinding machine.
The one catch with Fire is that it’s very crit dependent and crits are random. This is good when you’re lucky and frustrating when the procs don’t happen. If you carefully look over the Fire abilities you might note that there will be more Pyroblast procs than you might otherwise think from your crit rating. More Crit rating = more free pyroblasts and those pyroblasts hit harder, too.
Fire Mage Leveling
Going fire as your primary talent line-up while leveling is probably the best idea for those new to the mage class, it’s simple, easily learned, and configured for any setup, and eliminates quite a bit of the problems you can run into when trying the alternative leveling strategies inherent in the other talent builds.
Start out with Pyroblast and, more often than not, you’ll never be touched. Especially when your crits proc the free shots.
Frost represents a combination of Fire and Arcane, less burst damage than fire andless sustained DPS than arcane, especially with shatter (which all mages now get) and a couple more increased critical damage talents. Additionally it has some of the mana regeneration of arcane, not completely as effective, but still enough to make it worthwhile. The survivability and crowd contral aspect of Front make it a favorite PvP and leveling spec. With the release of WoW 4.0 Frost was and is doing very well in PvP. With Mists of Pandaria Frost is looking like a viable raiding spec, too.
Frost is probably the best starting PvP build for an experimenting Mage due to how much more forgiving it can be. By possessing more than a few tools to increase your life-span you’ll find yourself in the possession of far more opportunities to, at the very least, live through a given fight, if not defeat the opponent outright.
Frost is also an equally effective leveling build comparative to fire, instead of killing monsters before they can get to you, you kill them via a small amount of kiting if necessary augmented by the frost spell’s snare effects.
Frost Mage Leveling
Leveling as frost will be likely similar speeds to fire, if not slightly faster, depending on your degree of skill concerning frost’s primary calling card, snares and roots. Frost mages are all about mobility, survivability, and in many cases AoE grinding as opposed to fire’s strictly “one at a time” kill scheme.
Frost deals maximum damage when the target is frozen, big secret right there, so obviously the more the target is frozen, the more criticals you throw out, the higher damage dealt overall, etc.
These abilities are shared by all mages.
These abilities are shared by all mages. Some of the old (Cataclysm) talents and glyphs have been rolled into these abilities, such as Improved Counterspell, at level 70. Other Mage abilities, glyphs, and talents are dead. Also note that the levels at which some abilities are obtained has been changed.
Symbiosis is a new Druidic ability. You gain a Druidic ability and the Druid gets one of yours. (see video for more info.) All Mages will get Healing Touch from the Druid and the Druid Guardian spec gets Frost Armor, Feral gets Frost Nova, Balance gets Mirror Images, and Restoration gets Ice Block
With the release of WoW 4.0 Frost became a superb PvP build for mages, combining crowd control, very good survivability, and major damage. The other specs have less of the first two, but they also do plenty of damage, making all three trees at least decent in battleground PvP. With patch 4.3 Fire got some buffs and is now more interesting. It doesn’t have Frost’s control and survivability, but it does more damage and can be a blast to play.
With 5.0 (Mists of Pandaria,) well, things are a bit more interesting. The talent changes evened things out a lot.
- Arcane mage PvP build - Lots of damage, but squishy. Lots of damage, though.
- Fire mage PvP build – Better at “Run and Gun,” solid damage, decent survivability and some control.
- Frostmage PvP build – Still the “Go to” spec for Mage PvP, though Fire isn’t far off.
If you want to be successful in WoW PvP you must prepared for your opponent. This is especially important for Mages who used to fight with their mana more than their health. When you run out of mana, you are incapable of mitigating damage any longer, crowd controlling, or doing much of anything else.
With the 5.0.4 patch mana pools became essentially bottomless. A mage wouldn’t use 10% of their mana much less run out. As of patch 5.4 this is still the case.
You must focus on dealing as much damage as possible as early as possible to almost every class to be effective in PvP, plus be aware of all of your own escapes, shields, and CC abilities. And you must be able to fire them off as you need them, which out looking for them or forgetting them. Put your abilities into keybinds and learn them. Then, once you have that down, an intimate knowledge of the other classes is very desireable.
But, there are exceptions to the rule – for Frost Mages especially you will find that there is a great deal more survivability in your spec because of the power of spells like Ice Block and Frost Nova. You can usually withstand almost double the damage as your counterparts – of course your burst damage potential is greatly diminished (barring flavor of the month effects,) but you have some interesting talents that make up for that.
Be aware of what your opponents can do. If you’re not aware of what a Subtlety Rogue can do then he’ll catch you by surprise and you’ll be way down in HP, silenced, stunned, and mostly locked up. If you are aware then you can plan your counters.
Unlike practice and trial and error, a good mage works with the expertise of past players to provide a complete outlook on the various methods you will use to effectively defeat any opponent in the game, even those such as the Warlock who are seemingly built to kill Mages.
Above all, practice. Blast the target dummies in your downtime so that you have a handle on your routines. Include you interrupts, CC, escapes, and any other useful abiltities you have. The more 2nd nature your spell-casting and escaping, the better off you’ll be.
Stats for Mages
In Mists of Pandaria the only real change to stats is that Int no longer adds to manapool and adds nothing to mana regen. Since all mages now have Shatter the Crit stat is a bit more valuable. 25% Crit rating gets you a 100% shatter chance. Take the Ring of Frost or Frostjaw talents and start dropping some crits onto frozen targets. You can check the individual spec pages to see more detail on stats.
While you’re leveling you won’t have to worry so much about the secondary stats (Hit, Crit, etc.) Just grab gear with Int and no Spirit and you’re good. At 90 you can start thinking more about those stats and gems and enchants and so on. (And check this out to get to 90 fast.)
- Intellect adds directly to your SpellPower and adds a small bonus to crit with your spells. With 5.0 Int no longer adds to Manapool, but it’s still your #1 stat.
- Stamina is more important for PvP than raiding or leveling, but you need enough to survive in any given situation. Stack it at low levels, at higher levels your gear will provide enough.
- Spell Power – you can never have enough, but it now only appears on some gear, such as trinkets and weapons.
- Crit rating – as with Spell Power you can never have enough, especially for Fire. Also see the Shatter note above.
- Hit Rating and Expertise - Very important for raiding, less for PvP and leveling. If raiding you will want to get into the 15% range, 6% is fine for PvP and leveling. Remember that Draenei get a free 1%. Any expertise you have, including from racials, adds dirctly to your Spell Hit.
- 6% for same level mobs (PvP)
- 9% for +1 level
- 12% for +2 level (dungeon bosses)
- 15% for raid bosses.
- Direct Damage – some gear has +X fire/frost/arcane damage. While you will give up Stamina or Int, it is a nice add to your basic damage type.
- Spirit is useless for a mage.
- Agility is useless for a mage.
- Strength is useless for a mage.
- Resilience is for PvP only and reduces incoming damage. It was greatly changed in patch 5.3. All players now have 65% resilience, naked, and the stat no longer appears on most gear.
- PvP power is for PvP only and increases damage (and healing) to players. More here. It was nerfed hard in patch 5.3, being cut in value by a third and also the amount of PvP power on gems was cut in half.
Gems for Mages
Unless a socket bonus offers a serious Intellect bonus, it’s generally much more effective to gem for pure intellect and ignore the bonus. Other gems are listed if you want to meet the socket requirements. This is true even though the gems with stats such as Crit have twice the value of the Int gems (320 Vs 160.)
Since Expertise adds to your Spell Hit there is some value in equipping Expertise gems if you need to top off your Spell Hit.
- Orange gems will fit red or yellow sockets
- Greens will fit yellow or blue sockets
- Purples are for red or blue sockets.
Your Mage bonus adds to any Int gem bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int. That bonus does not add to other stats.
|Various Mage Gems|
|Meta||Burning Primal Diamond: +216 Int & 3% Increased Crit Effect|
|Red||Brilliant Serpent’s Eye: 320 Int, self-only Jewelcrafting gem
Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int
Precise Primordial Ruby: 320 Expertise
|Yellow||Mystic Sun’s Radiance: 160 Resilience
Quick Sun’s Radiance: +320 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +320 Mastery
Smooth Sun’s Radiance: +320 Crit
|Blue||Stormy River’s Heart: +160 PvP power|
|Orange||Willful Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +80 Resilience
Potent Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Crit
Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 80 Int, 160 Haste
Tenuous Vermilion Onyx: 160 Expertise, 80 Resilience
Artful Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Mastery
|Green||Vivid Wild Jade: +80 Res, +80 PvP Power|
|Purple||Mysterious Imperial Amethyst: +80 Int, +80 PvP Power
Veiled Imperial Amethyst: 80 Int and 160 Hit
|Prismatic||Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int|
|Cogwheel||Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 600 Crit
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery
Pretty much the same enchants work for any Mage spec, though Fire will prefer Crit over other secondary stats. Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession.
The chest enchant is the only one for resilience, there are none for PvP Power.
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit: Sometimes increases Int by 1650|
|Shoulders||Secret Crane Wing Inscription: 520 Int and 100 Crit rating, Requires Inscription 550.
Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +200 Int and 100 Crit
|Cloak||Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect: +180 Int
Lightweave Embroidery – attacks can give 2k Int for 15 sec, requires tailoring
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Super Resilience: +200 Resilience
Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all stats
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +180 Int
Fur Lining increases Int by 500, requires leatherworking.
Socket Bracer – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste: +170-Haste
Socket Gloves – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem|
|Leggings||Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Crit|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Greater Precison: +175 Hit rating
Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +140 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
Enchant Boots – Greater Haste: +170 Haste
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Intellect: +160 Int, Requires Enchanting 550|
Mages in Mists of Pandaria
See the Mists of Pandaria talents and abilities here.
Here’s how the changes are working out in Mists of Pandaria:
- Prime Glyphs are dead.
- Talents as we knew them in Cataclysm are dead.
- Mages will share a set of core abilities, as they do now. (see above)
- Each spec will have their own set of around ten 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.
- The wand slot is gone, as is the third weapons slot for all classes. You can still use wands and wands are being buffed, so they just might make good main hand weapons.
- 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 gives you a soft Crit cap of 25%.
Below is the overview of the new Mage talent tree for Mists of Pandaria. This is from Bliz at Blizcon 2011. There have been quite a few changes since the announcement, so the details of the talents listed are not accurate, but the idea of how the system works is fine.
The Fastest Mage Leveling
Once you have the right build in mind for your Mage your next step is to get 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 highest levels can take awhile. A long while. An in-game leveling guide makes the whole trek a whole lot easier.
Pick your starting point and the guide will show you where to go, what to do, and keep track of your objectives (such as Kill X of…). Dugi’s Guide 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.
Dugi’s does this even if you’ve gained levels in the dungeons or PvP Battlegrounds. Leave off the questing to gain a few levels elsewhere, then come back and Dugi’ss will figure out where you are and show you the best place to go next, automatically. Whether you’re brand new to WoW or covered from head to toe in Heirlooms, Dugi will show you the way to get leveled as fast as possible.
Dugi’s is fully updated for the latest patches of every expansion. With it you will probably never need to look at your quest log again, much less browse some website. Grab your copy here and get leveled fast.
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