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
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
This potentially crosses over into PvE woes as well, with the frequency
of AoE boss fights, in Wrath of the Lich King, dictating that we be a
little more careful in case the tank loses a few mobs to our superior
damage. To make yourself useful you’ll
need to possess enough skill to make your positive qualities shine above
being a simple damage machine.
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.
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
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, especially in Cataclysm and beyond. 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 will be much higher.
Alchemy will keep you in mana and healing potions, as
well as all sorts of other potions, elixers, etc. You get more effect
from consuming your own potions. The top buffing potions that you
make will provide an addition 80 Int. 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 high-end shoulder inscriptions. Felfire Inscription adds 80 Int over Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone, which also saves you some reputation farming
Jewelcrafting has some nice, self-only, gems. These provide
67 Int each and you can load three of them. Patch 4.3 introduced epic gems providing +50 Int each, which seems to discount JCs value somewhat, but those gems are very expensive.
Blacksmithing - The two additional sockets (Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves) result in 80 Int (+100 with the patch 4.3 epic 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: 480 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 Bio-Optic Killshades with special engineering sockets. You can choose from different cogwheels, each granting 208 of a different (yellow-gem) combat stat (eg: Resilience, Crit.)
Enchanting - 2x Enchant Ring - Intellect for another 80 Int.
Leatherworking - Draconic Embossment - Intellect: Provides 130 Int instead of 65 Crit or 65 Haste.
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: 480 Haste for 20 sec on a 2 min cooldown plus the HoT.
Miningand skinning are good skills to have for gold creation. Skinning offers +80 crit rating, mining offers 120 Stam.
What Race Should You Be?
Wtih 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.
“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.
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 increased
Mages have no use for the expertise with axe and mace.
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 have no use for Expertise with daggers and swords.
A minor heal is always
handy for a class that has no heals.
a self-only + 1% to hit chance with spells. Not
so useful for leveling, but nice for for raids, where
every little bit helps (since you'll want a total of 17% hit.)
Their Shadowmeld ability has its uses while leveling
or PvPing. 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
Being a bit harder to hit is also occasionally nice while leveling
or in PvP. Again, not much use in raiding.
Faster movement while stealthed is great for your fellow Rogues,
but you don't do stealth.
Stone form is nice in PvP and of occasional use elsewhere. It
also reduced damage by 10%, which is of some benefit in those "Oh
Again, we don't care about the weapon expertise.
Can periodically move quickly, which is a generally nice ability.
Crit chance increased, which is nice, especially for Fire.
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.
useful every now and then, especially if you need to heal while
in combat or "rub it in" to some player you just killed.
Underwater Breathing is useful for some
quests, especially in Northrend.
Berserking increases casting speed by 20%
for a few seconds. Very nice, even though many of our spells are instant.
a nice little bonus for leveling, but pretty useless elsewhere.
a help in PvP, but situational elsewhere.
An increase to Enchanting skill is of no direct use, but 'chanters
get some self-only 'chants which are nice.
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
No useful mage specific abilities, though the increased resistance
to stun does have some general use.
Expertise with axes isn't interesting to us.
Increased Haste is generally useful.
Your spells are far more damaging than the rocket launcher.
Rocket leap is a useful escape ability, like an extra Blink.
An increase to Alchemy skill and increased results from healing
potions has its uses.
Bovine discrimination? Racism? General Tauren policy? No mages
here. Giant, war-stomping, furry Tauren things can't be mages at
With 4.0 there is no hybridization worthy of the name. At level
10 you will pick one of the three specializations and you
will be locked into that spec until you have spent 31 points, after
which you can pick talents from the other specs. There are 41 talent
points to be had at level 85, 36 at 80, which means that your most
hybridized build will be something like 31/10/0.
Also, each spec (for any class) has some abilities unique to that
class, once such being Mastery, which is trainable at level 80 and improves some aspect of your spec. For example, Fire's Mastery Flashburn increases the periodic (Damage over Time) effects of their spells.
Mage specs are divided into three primary elements, Arcane,
Fire, and Frost, each possessing far more than simple visual difference.
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.
Arcane used to be something of a utility tree, however
when maxed out the arcane abilities also extend to massive burst damage
with talents such as Arcane Power, and a variety of other mixed
damage increasers/mana regeneration abilities.
The Arcane Spec abilities are:
Arcane Barrage - Launches bolts of arcane energy
at the enemy target, causing Arcane damage.
12% of base mana, 40 yd range, Instant cast, 5 sec cooldown
Mastery: Mana Adept - Increases
all spell damage done by up to 12%, based on the amount of mana the
Mage has unspent. Each point of Mastery increases damage done
by up to an additional 1.5%.
Arcane Mage Leveling
Arcane is a spec that was simply not designed for leveling, prior
With 4.0 it's a 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.)
Fire is the burst tree, boasting massive amounts of damage including more than a few incapacitation abilities/augmentation. This comes from talents such as impact (chance to stun on fireball impact,) and Dragon’s Breath, a frontal cone disorientation spell. With 4.0 fire seems to 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.
Fire is the burst damage tree, massive damages, pyroblasts, etc. If you’re looking for anything from a
good leveling build to raiding, 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.
Fire is quite viable in PvP, especially with patch 4.3, though Frost is considered the PvP spec.
The FIre Spec abilities are:
Pyroblast - Hurls an immense fiery boulder for good damage. It was buffed in 4.3
Mastery: Flashburn - Increases the damage done
by all your periodic fire damage. Each point of Mastery
increases periodic damage done by an additional %.
The one catch with Fire is that it's very crit dependent. This is good when you're luck and frustrating when the procs don't happen.
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 Hot Streak procs.
Frost represents a combination of Fire and Arcane, less burst damage than fire andless sustained DPS than arcane, especially with shatter 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.
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.
Mastery: Frostburn - All your spells deal increased
damage against Frozen targets. Each point of Mastery increases damage
by an additional%.
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. This would be why you grab all the talents related to freezing opponents, as well as shatter and a few others, to make you a monster of massive critical strikes, rivaling fire burst damage when you hit lucky streaks.
Due to your increased survivability via ice barrier and so on, you can easily handle
multiple pulls of two-three mobs and through proper usage of abilities take them
all down quite a bit faster than a fire build as well. Again,
this is all about how well you control your mage.
As I mentioned near the start of the guide, mages are great fun at
level 85, 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 too then have to get that mana back.
Still, you have a lot of things going for you: portals to major cities, food and water summoning, and you can continue killing for an indefinite period of time due to the major lack of gear dependency.
I found myself many times completing quests with every last piece
of gear broken without having a noticeable slowdown in killing speed, it
can be just that easy for mages as unlike every other class they are almost
Intellect adds directly to your mana pool and
adds a small bonus to crit with your spells. You can never have a
mana pool that's too big. With 4.0 your Int also directly adds to
your spellpower and therefore Int is now the #1 stat for all mages.
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.
Crit rating - as with Spell Power you can never have enough, especially for
Hit Rating - Very important for raiding, less for PvP
and leveling. If raiding you will want to get into the 15-17% range, 4% is fine for PvP and leveling. Remember that Draenei get a free
17% is a 446 Hit rating at level 80
at level 85, 1742 rating is required.
The hit cap for raid bosses is 17%, or 1742 rating points
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
Resilience - reduces the damage caused by other players, but it no
longer reduces their crit chance against you. Essential for PvP, Res. has zero value outside
Spirit is useless for a mage.
Agility is useless for a mage.
Strength is useless for a mage.
Mage Enchantments - These apply to any spec of mage.
The top enchants are often expensive, feel free to drop down to something less expensive or just work a bit more to earn more gold. Enchants in Mists of Pandaria will be much more powerful.
There are times when having a wand is nice, though it's far from
essential. Get one with good stats, if you can, such as Int and Stam.
Learn to kite and constantly practice your snares and roots.
Make sure you have the biggest bags you can afford.
Keep an eye out for Rogues. ;) By the way, if you attack
the Rogue (while he's leveling or something) and you don't kill him
I don't recommend sitting to eat/drink unless you're in a safe place,
because he is tracking you. Many mages have made that mistake.
This section is only an overview of Mage leveling, check out our Mage Leveling Guide for more information.
Or, to get leveled really fast:
Mage PvP Builds
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 trees have less of the first two, but they also do plenty
of damage, making all three trees at least decent in PvP.
With patch 4.3 Fire got some buffs and is now more interesting. It doesnt have Frost's control and survivability, but it does more damage and can be a blast to play.
If you want to be successful in WoW PvP you must prepared for your opponent. This is especially important for Mages who 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.
Mage PvP Guides are almost all designed to tell you that you must focus on dealing as much damage as possible as early as possible to almost every class to be effective in PvP. As far as mana goes, a good talent selection and the use of Mage Armor should make that a non-issue.
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 for those who would rather be more deliberate
and strategic in battle this is the route to go.
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 PvP Guide 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.
One you have an idea of what to do then endless practice is the best
way to get good. At one point Frost might called the Faceroll
build, because it has all the tools and can work very well. Next week
may be different. If you have the skill to use all the tools,
not just Ice Lance, then you'll be that much better when the
"flavor of the month" changes to some other class/build.
The truth is that while a Mage can be highly effective in PvP, they
are among the hardest classes to master. There is less room for error
which makes mistakes that much more lethal.
Learn how your mage can start dominating the battlefield and achieve
much higher arean ranking, right
1-85 Mage Leveling Guide
Once you have the right build in mind for your Mage your next
step is to get a full blown 1-85
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, semi-automates the whole leveling path for your mage,
from start to finish.
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...). 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.
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.
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 hereand get leveled fast.