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 a bit.
On the flip-side, with an experienced player behind the class it becomes a pretty efficient leveling (and killing) machine.
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 gear and statistics you want to aim for to blast through the levels as quickly as possible.
So get out there, kill some stuff, and get to the level cap. Now.
The WoW Mage: Contents
Legion changes are similar to those from Warlords, in that some abilities are gone, others are added, talents are changed, and there’s more of an effort to make the specs (specializations) look and feel different from each other.
One thing that didn’t change is that Mages can still throw out a lot of damage and make short work of the opposition.
Mage Changes for Warlords of Draenor
Legion changes coming soon. Abilities below that have been lost in Legion are crossed out. Updates will be coming soon.
Here are all of the Mage Changes in WoD. Patch 6.2 didn’t change anything important.
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.
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 Warlords and will change greatly in Legion.
Talents will vary depending on exactly how you’re leveling. If Ferd Gobstomper is carrying you through the dungeons then you don’t need any talents. Pick talents that give you more damage and mobility. If you’re PvP leveling then you’ll want talents which control/slow/stop the other guy.
Glyphs are mostly gone in Legion. A bunch of what used to be called “minor” glyphs are still around, but these are almost entirely cosmetic.
Race: It doesn’t matter much. Note that any racials dealing with Hit or Expertise are gone in WoD. Humans are best if you’re really into PvP, otherwise…
- Pandarens can be either Horde or Alliance and get better food buffs and longer lasting rest XP.
- Alliance PvE: Draenei (Int & Heal)
- Alliance PvP: Human (escape, Versatility) or Gnome (mana pool & escape)
- Horde PvE: Orc (Blood Fury) or Troll (Berserking, beast slaying)
- Horde PvP: Orc, Troll, or Undead (for the escape & drain life.)
- More detail on race, here.
Spec: All specs level just fine. The builds linked to also include glyphs.
- Frost, especially if you’re on a PvP server, due to more freezes (crowd control)
- Fire or Arcane: Whichever suits your game. Fire’s more random, but lets you indulge your inner Pyromaniac. Arcane has a bit of a ramp up time, but hits hard when at the peak.
- More detail on specializations, here
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
- Fire likes Crit, a lot.
- All mages like Haste.
- Multistrike is dead in Legion.
Gems & Enchants:
Keep in mind that you’ll level out of your gear quickly, so only get expensive gems if you’re rich. The highest level enchants can be added to the lowest level item, so go ahead and add Mists or Draenor enchants to your heirlooms.
- You can sometimes find cheap enchants on the Auction House. Get: Stam, Int, Spellpower.
- Heirloom gear can take any enchant as of 5.4. Yes, you can put level the 100 enchants on your level 1 items.
- Note that the Draenor enchants are only for secondary stats and only for rings, neck, cloak, and weapons.
- All profession “self only” enchants gone with Warlords.
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Race choice for the Leveling Mage
With 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 Warlords of Draenor. 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.
In Warlords all abilities that had Hit or Expertise are now gone. Some abilities were added. Now all races have something that adds to their damage.
- 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 and Warlords both introduced even more factions. This will save you some time in getting friendly with them.
- Legion: “The Human Spirit” now increases your secondary stats (Haste, etc.) by 2% each.
- 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, especially in Warlords at level 90+
- Nimbleness adds +1% to Haste,which is a good stat for any mage.
- 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. )
- Having a bit of harder to hit is also occasionally useful while leveling or in PvP. Also general movement is 2% faster.
- Faster movement while dead is an interesting perk. Hopefully you’re not finding too much use for this ability.
- Touch of Elune gives you +1% Haste by night, +1% Crit by day.
- 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.
- Underwater breathing is indefinite.
- 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.
- +1 to Crit chance
- Orc: Big, mean, green… the perfect Mages.
- Goblin: Terminally cute. And if you go Goblin you’ll get rich, right?
- Tauren (nope)
- Bovine discrimination? Racism? General Tauren policy? No mages here. Giant, war-stomping, furry Tauren things can’t be mages at this time.
Your Mage’s Abilities
At level 10 you get to decide on your specialization (your “spec.”) You get your first talent at level 15. In Mists of Pandaria through Legion, the talents work like this:
- In short: You get seven. Pick ’em now.
- You get them at levels 15, 30, 45, 60,, 75, 90, and 100. Each “tier” has three choices, you get to pick one.
- Any spec of mage can pick any one talent from any one tier. Notes that some talents are exclusive to one flavor of mage.
- 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.
- With Legion you are not restricted to one or two specs. You can change from Frost to Fire to Arcane and back again any time you are in a “rested XP” area, such as an Inn or big city. In addition, you can change talents anytime you are out of combat. No reagents are needed.
Any Spec will do just fine for leveling. Frost is generally “best for PvP,” Arcane for PvE. Fire does well in all areas.
Mists of Pandaria changed things, Warlords rearranged 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.
Mage Abilities by Specialization
Each spec of Mage gets a set of unique abilities that they gain as they level. (Only Arcane Mages get Arcane Blast, for example.) These spec abilities are in addition the regular abilities that all mages get.
Perks are gone in Legion (in Draenor they were mods to certain abilities.)
|Arcane Spec||Fire Spec||Frost Spec|
||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|
|New in Warlords:
||New in Warlords:||New in Warlords:
|Create and spend arcane charges to build more power and to drive Arcane Barrage. Usually tops of any class and spec in the DPS charts (for raids and such.)||And there was much burnination. Crit happy. Chance for free Pyroblasts. Lots of Dots.||Chance for free spells, lots of freezing and slowing and shattering. More damage against frozen.|
Talents for Mage Leveling
The image shows the Arcane talents, but that only matters for levels 75 and 100. The markups should be clear.
Level 15 Talents:
- Avoid effects: Evanesce – Avoid all attacks for three seconds and replaces your Ice Block. It does not remove any effects that are already on you, such as periodic effects (DOTs.) Terrific any time you need to avoid serious incoming damage or effects, such as a big boss hit. Not much use when questing.
- Extra movement: Blazing Speed is fine for PvP, or wherever a burst 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. It saves your blinks and adds another movement ability. I do like to use it when questing.
- Cast while moving: Ice Floes isn’t much use while leveling, but it has use in scenarios which involve a lot of movement. Those are mostly in PvP or after you hit level 100. Gotta run and gun? Then this is your pick.
Level 30 Talents
- Instant… something: Alter Time – Reset up to the last ten seconds of time. Does not replay your buffs or effects, it will only move you in position and/or wash away that last (up to) ten seconds of damage. More use in PvP or certain PvE situations, such as when the boss targets you for some reason.
- Passive dmg reduction: 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, so you don’t have to think about it.
- Shield: 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. Nice when the opposition gets too close. Put it up and burn ’em down.
Level 45 Talents
Note that in WoD: Shatter is Frost only
All of these are nice talents, “the best” is a tough choice, though Ice Ward is probably best for questing.
- Area freeze: 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.
- Passive melee Freeze: 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,” which you will often be doing anyway. Note that it fires off a Frost Nova even if you take one of the level 75 “Nova” talents, all of which “replace” Frost Nova.
- Let There Be Silence! Frostjaw – Silences and freezes the target in place for a few seconds. Lasts half as long versus Player targets. Nice for setting up shatters, if you’re Frost. Pick your target, freeze it, drop your long cast time spell and get the bonus shatter damage and follow up with a second, faster cast.
Level 60 Talents
- Drop everything: 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.
- “One Shot” avoidance: Cauterize – An attack which would otherwise kill you will instead bring you to about a third of of your maximum health, and you will burn for most of that 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.
- More Spells: Cold Snap – Finishes the cooldown of your Ice Block, Frost Nova, and another spell depending on your spec. It also instantly restores 22% 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.
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.
- Set up us the Bomb:
- Arcane: Nether Tempest – Damage to the target over 12 seconds, plus damage to all enemies within 12 yards.
- Fire: Living Bomb – fire damage over 12 seconds, exploding at the end.
- Frost: Frost Bomb on the target for 12 seconds. Your Ice Lances will cause a pulse that damages both the target and nearby enemies. Note that Frost Bomb does no damage unless you’re hitting it with those Ice Lances.
- Passive: Unstable Magic (all specs:) 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.
- Nova Smash: #3 varies by spec, as with the bombs, all are instant, damage enemies within 8 years, and have two charges on a 25 second recharge. All hit quite hard.
- Arcane: Supernova. Blow up enemy target, knocking all nearby opponents upwards.
- Fire: Blast Wave. Blow up enemy target, slowing all nearby enemies.
- Frost: Ice Nova. Blow up enemy target and freeze all nearby targets for 2 seconds. Fire them off back to back and the second shot gets the Shatter effect from the freeze (of the first shot.)
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.)
- Burst: Mirror Image – this is the same as the original ability. You summon up three copies of you which then start blasting away. Massively buffed over the original spell, this is a very nice burst cooldown.
- Stand and blast: 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. Drop two runes and travel between them as necessary.
- Constant buff: Incanter’s Flow – You have a ten second cycle, five seconds to a peak of +20% damage, then 5 to drop to +4%, then repeat. The cycle continues until stopped. Launch a Pyro blast proc (or similar) and a couple of Novas at the top flow and that’s a lot of damage. You can constantly move, as Flow is a passive ability. This is the way to go is staying in one place is not really an option, such as in PvP or instances where the enemy causes you to move a lot (more in raids than in dungeons.)
Level 100 Talents
Gratz on 100! Pick whichever seems to fit your style. They’re all good.
- Talent #1 is….
- Prismatic Crystal – All specs – puts a crystal at the targeted location. Only you can attack it and it takes 130% damage from your attacks. Any time it takes damage it instantly releases that damage, splitting it evenly among all enemies within 8 yards. This makes your single target attacks into area attacks. The only issue is that your targets have to stay put, which is sometimes an issue. Against a single target you’ll be doing significantly more damage while the crystal is up, so it’s great for burst.
- Talent #3 is pretty nice:
- Arcane gets Arcane Orb: Your Arcane Orb travels up to 40 yards doing damage to everything it passes through and it generates an Arcane Charge every time it does damage.
- Fire gets Meteor: Drops a fraggin’ meteor!! Doing damage to an 8 yard area, also burning the ground doing continuous damage to all who remain in the fire.
- Frost gets Comet Storm: Comets! 7 icy comets bombard the target area, each damaging all enemies withing 4 yards of the impact point.
Mage Leveling Glyphs
Glyphs are mostly gone as of Legion. You do have access to some “minor” glyphs which are just cosmetic and directly modify the appropriate spell, rather than get added to a glyph window.
Minor Mage glyphs
There are pretty much just cosmetic, but a couple have some utility.
- Glyph of Sparkles – want to be even more sparkly when Slow Falling? Now you can!
Stats for the Leveling Mage
In short: ( ‘>’ = “greater than.” )
- Int > all
- Crit and more crit for Fire
- Otherwise: Spellpower and Haste.
The most important statistics for any leveling 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 nothing else. Int is your 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 –
- Do not sacrifice Int to get any of these stats and don’t worry about them much while leveling (Fire might be an exception, with Crit.)
- 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.
- Lev 80+: Mastery – This stat appears at level 80 and it improves some aspect of what you do. It’s not necessarily your best stat.
- Lev 90+: Versatility adds to your damage and also to your damage reduction.
Buffs, Armor, etc.
Early on you will have to rely on foods and potions/flasks/elixirs for any buffs.
All are passive and each is only for one spec of Mage.
- Molten Armor, at level 34, Fire only, increases your crit and reduces the damage you take.
- Frost Armor, level 54, Frost only, more Haste and enemies that strike you are slowed.
- Mage Armor, level 80, Arcane only, Increases Mastery and reduces the damage of spells that come your way.
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. Mists and Warlords gems have level requirements, enchants do not.
Yes, you can put the highest level enchants on your white titled, level 1 dagger. Why? Just to do it. Your level 1 heirloom would be a better choice. Note that the Warlords enchants are only for neck, cloak, rings, and weapon and they do not add to Int, only to secondary stats.
Enchants made by other professions, such as the tailoring leg enchants or the Inscription shoulder enchants, require a level 85+ character to apply, though a level 1 can use them.
Assuming that you’re not in heirlooms (perhaps you’re new to the game,) note that 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. You will generally level out of your gear quickly enough to make buying the expensive ones pointless.
If you are in heirlooms then go ahead and enchant the heck out of them.
If you are PvPing in competitive BGs then some enchants, especially Stamina, can be desirable.
If you need the gold to guy this stuff, or the gear below, check out Zygor Gold.
How Much of a Challenge do you Want?
This guide assumes that you’re in Easy or Moderate mode, but you can make it harder, if you like:
- Easy mode: Full heirlooms, or the best dungeon/pvp gear you can get, on a PvE server.
- Moderate: Same as above, but on a PvP server.
- Hard: Only use the gear you earn from quests. No heirlooms, no gear bought from vendors or the Auction House or other players.
- Ironman: Only white quality gear. No, you don’t get to buy gear from that Tony Stark Gnome. No Auction House gear, no potions, scrolls, enchants, gems, etc. Only buffs that you can cast on yourself are allowed.
- Hardcore: Like Ironman, but no talents, no glyphs, no groups, no professions, no enchants or gems, your only gold comes form what this character earns. Oh yeah, if you die you reroll. Just like the Diablo game.
Completely Nuts: Hardcore on a PvP server.
A note about Heirlooms: These can be purchased from your guild vendor as soon as you get “Honored” rep with them. Even if you’re brand new to WoW you will be able to pick them up if you have the gold. Buy a guild tabard early and figure level 25 to 30 or so to get to “honored” and around 4500 gold for the three available items (which is expensive for a new player.) Check out our gold tips for info on how to easily get that much gold.
You can now buy the rest of the heirlooms, for 500 gold each, from a special vendor.
- For Alliance it’s Krom Stoutarm in the Library of Ironforge, which is found on the north-eastern edge of the outer ring.
- For Horde it’s Estelle Gendry in the south-western side of the Rogue’s Quarter of Undercity.
The 500 gold gets you an heirloom that automatically levels with you to level 60. More gold will upgrade that to one that will get you to 90 and still more gold to 100.
The heirlooms are better than almost any gear you will get until you hit the level max for your ‘looms. Epic gear, should you be so lucky, will be better for 4 or 5 levels.
- 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. If you’re wearing heirlooms note that this stuff is better and will be for around 5 levels.
- At 75+ put your better heirlooms back on. If you don’t have them then the PvP gear will be fine until 80.
- 81+ Mist of Pandaria gear starts appearing on the Auction House. Some of it’s pretty nice.
- 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 through Pandaria that much easier. Also, 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, which will be fine if you don’t have the better stuff.
- At 90 (Congratulations) you can buy a crafted PvP set or collect Timeless isle tokens for 496 gear. This will get you started on your 90-100 leveling in warlords.
- 91+ – If you have way too much gold there are item level 640 crafted items available the require only level 91. The armor pieces can be upgraded to 715 and the weapons to 705. These items can be crafted or bought, as can the pieces to upgrade them. The upgrades will cost far more than the original item.
- Otherwise look for rares and WoD treasures, which will sometimes have nice gear. The Handy Notes addon will help you find both. It also works for Mists of Pandaria.
- 100 – Congratulations!
How to Kill Stuff (Your “Rotation”)
Scroll down a bit for “how to” videos.
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 (run or blink) away. Fire.
- Fire Blast does decent damage, but has a longish cooldown, so you can’t spam it.
Frost nova and blink will help keep you out of range.
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.
Fire will start getting Pyroblast! “procs” from level 10. These procs allow you to instantly fire off an enhanced Pyroblast. Use them as they pop up. 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. Note that this does mean you want as much crit rating as you can get. On the rare occasions where you might have a choice between more Int or more Crit, seriously consider going with more Crit.
Assuming you’re attacking first, start combat with Pyroblast, continue with fireball if you don’t have to move, Scorch if you do. Fire off your Pyro! procs as they pop up. If you get a “heating up” proc you can use your Inferno Blast (lev 24) to boost it to a Pyro! proc.
At 62+ your Dragon’s Breath will help keep close opponents off of you. At 75+ add your Blast Wave into your rotation.
See the video just a bit below for more detailed “how to Fire.”
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.
Only the Frost spec has Shatter. It’s recommended that you abuse this. Freeze the enemy every chance you can, then blast away.
See the video just a bit below for more detailed “how to Frost.”
Arcane Mages will live off their Arcane Blast. Use your AB all the time. You will build up to four Arcane Charges every time you use AB and your power increases with the number of charges. A fully charges AB hits pretty hard. Consider getting as much Crit rating as you can. Even at higher levels a fully charged Arcane Blast crit will one shot most mobs and do a lot of damage to anything else, including players.
Try to get to the next mob before the 15 second time limit on your charges runs out. Your next Ab will refresh the timer, as will using your Explosion or your Missiles.
Use Arc. Explosion to kill off low health mobs, and Arcane Missiles (if you have missile charges) for a nice instant attack. Arcane Barrage is a nice attack to finish off that last mob, as it’ll use up all of your charges.
See the video just a bit below for more detailed “how to Arcane.”
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.
While these are aimed at level 100 characters, there is a lot that lower levels can use. They’re also oriented towards raids and/or tough targets. Just take what your level will let your use. Obviously quest mobs will go down a lot faster, but these videos will give you an idea of what to do.
A couple of definitions that you might need to know:
- Pre-pot or pre-potting – This has nothing to do with gardening or smoking. It’s taking your Draenic Int potion (or whichever Int potion you can use) slightly before the fight starts, so that you can do another at some point during the fight. Normally you can only do one potion per fight, this lets you do two. Lower levels fighting tough opponents can use similar potions.
- DPS macro – a macro that has your various buffs in it, so you can fire them all off with one click. For example, one macro that uses your troll/orc buff, your Arcane Power buff, plus your “on use” trinket buff, and any other “use me now” buffs that you might have, such as that Int potion.
Arcane Mage Awesomeness
Fire Mage Bunination
How to Kite the (Melee) Enemy
This is a PvP guide and the guy is Frost, but most of the techniques are at least somewhat applicable to questing and the occasional time when that dungeon mob takes an interest in you. (If you want more from Skill Capped (all PvP oriented,) their You Tube is here and their main site is here. )
- It’s a bit old (for example, Temporal Shield is gone and Presence of Mind is now Arcane only, but you won’t be taking that one anyway, ) most of the info is still good.
- Take the Blazing Speed talent.
- Communicate with any team you might have.
- A well timed Polymorph gives you more options.
- Ice block might give you the time you need to let Blink finish its cooldown. If you time it right you can block those large bursts of damage, then blink away.
- Note the use of the “safety” Ring of Frost (and similar spells.)
So something with a big axe is in your face, what do you do?
Staying Alive as a Mage
Pay attention to what’s around you. Obviously leaping into the middle of a bunch of enemies is a good way to get a quick trip to the graveyard, so what do you do?
Pick your fights – A tank can go barging in, you need to position yourself where you can burn ’em down in sequence. You can take on several at a time, with good gear and some practice, once you get your area effect abilities. At lower levels it’s easier if you can stand on a hill and blast ’em one at a time.
Learn to Kite – “Kiting” is simply the ability to stay out of melee range from an attacker while staying in casting range. So anything you can do to slow or stop him while you keep away and fire away is a good thing. Master this ability and you will be far more dangerous. See just above this section for a “how to kite” video.
Frost nova (level 3) is great for escaping or setting up the enemy. Lock ’em up, get range, blast away.
Counterspell (level 8) is not much use in questing because the caster mobs don’t hit very hard, though if you’re playing hardcore (no real armor, far fewer hit points) they hurt more. Zap his spell and he’ll run up to you. Dungeon mobs hit harder, but are (usually) focused on the tank. Zapping spells can be much more important and save someone from a fair amount of damage or bad effect.
Ice Block lets you take a pause while getting your head beat in. More use with a team as they can, hopefully, take some of the pressure off you. A couple of glyphs make this spell a lot more interesting if you use it often, such as Glyph of Ice Block.)
Polymorph (lev 14) lets you sheep the first while you kill the other(s.) If you have the Ice Barrier talent you’ll be able to cast it on that guy who’s beating on you, without his attacks slowing your cast. Then you get range or get away.
Slow (Arcane only, level 36) – Keep him slowed while you blast away. Or run and hide.
Invisibility (lev 56) will let you sneak past plenty of stuff, to get the right position. Or to get out of bad spots.
Your Novas – (level 75 talent) These replace your Frost Nova, though not the Frost Novas generated by your Ice Ward talent.
- Blast Wave (Fire) slows the enemy,
- Ice Nova (Frost) briefly roots them in place,
- Supernova knocks them upwards, stopping them for a moment.
Your Armors – use these at all times.
- Molten Armor (Fire, level 36) reduces physical damage taken.
- Frost Armor (Frost, level 54) bad guys who hit you are slowed. Nice for kiting mobs and players.
- Mage Armor (Arcane, level 80) your enemy’s magical effects on you don’t last as long.
Leveling Tips for the Mage
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 (if you’re Frost.)
- Always log out at an inn, to get that 2x “rest XP.”
- Pick your fights. If something seems to be 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.
- Some heirloom items come with +5 or 10% XP and you can get +25% total. If you only get a couple of heirlooms get these first.
- Keep your buffs up: Potions, flasks, your mage armor, etc.
- Get a guide to show you the way.
- Herbalism and mining both award XP each time you use a node, generally more than you’ll get by killing mobs.
- Grinding can occasionally (Ok, rarely) be fun, but questing provides a lot more XP.
If you’re 90+ and Questing:
You can buy +20% XP potions from your Garrison vendor: Excess Potion of Accelerated Learning
Some areas on in draenor are bonus areas. Do the quests there and get a nice bit of XP and gold (about 4 normal quests worth.) If you have HandyNotes (from Curse) they’ll be marked on your minimap.
Some of your garrison missions award XP and you get rest XP when logging out from your garrison. .
Gather as many quests in one area as you can, do the local ones first, hand ’em in. Save the ones that take you somewhere else for later.
You can start doing random dungeons from level 15. You’ll queue as “Damage.” Once in the dungeon find the tank and follow him around the place. Kill lots, get decent XP. Tanks have little to zero wait time for dungeons, so if you can buddy up with a tank you can do a series of random dungeons very quickly.
If you’re sharp and well geared you may be able to solo some of these dungeons that are a little lower than you level.
You have the battlegrounds and skirmishes to build XP and honor. Of course, you get a lot more if you win. At low level that will be challenging. The better your own skills the better your team’s chances. Skill-capped can help with that.
If you’re partnering with someone then use your headset and mic and Skype/Teamspeak/etc. for better communication.
More leveling Notes
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 Conjure Refreshment is free, use it. 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. Draenor 1st Aid will let you make some nice healing potions that are much better than bandages.
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 combinations:
- 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.
- 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.
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 Zygor’s to blast to the finish. Heck, you can even grab a few levels in the dungeons and/or battleground PvP. Zygor’s guide will figure out your new level and the best spot to continue your questing.
Boosting to 100 (for a measly $60?) In legion the level cap is 110, so you’ll still want to use Zygor to finish off those next ten.
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: Zygor’s is fully ready for all new patches and expansions, Shadowlands included, it’ll never be obsolete. Go with Zygor now and beat all your friends to the level cap.
Related pages and Stuff
- Mage home page for a general Mage overview
- Warlords changes and the 6.2 changes
- Fire DPS guide — Fire PvP – Burn ’em all down!
- Frost DPS guide — Frost PvP
- Arcane DPS guide — Arcane PvP
- All of our Mage specific posts.