[Mage] Kwaice's Mage Leveling - Talents and Tips - (1-80)
(This is the first version of the guide.
I'll soon add spell icons, wowhead links and finish all the sections.)
First of all, i'll ask you to be nice with my english, i come from Belgium and french is my primary language. This is also the first guide i write myself
This guide is here to help you leveling up your mage, not by telling you where to go and which quest to pick up (there are very nice leveling guides on wow-pro for that) but by giving you some piece of advice with the talents you should choose, the gear to aim for and some useful macros as well as addons.
It only aims to help you during the leveling process, it will not cover pvp, dungeons nor raids.
So let's get started.
The mage is a caster. 99,9% of the time, you will want to keep the ennemis as far as possible from you.
Until 75 and the poweful Frostfire bolt, the deep Frost spec is, in my opinion, the best spec to pick up while leveling.
It offers much more control over your ennemies than fire and arcane and can dish out very nice damage.
The spells you will use most of the time as a frost spec mage are Frostbolt, Frost Nova and Ice Lance (at 66). You'll also use Fireblast quite alot.
- Frostbolt : 3 sec cast time damaging spell that slows down your enemy's walking speed. This is your primary nuke spell, not as powerful as fireball (damage-wise) but it will let you solo more easily without worrying much about enemies getting close to you.
- Frost nova : Roots the enemies in place, allowing you to get some distance if they managed to get close to you. Useful against any melee mob and even caster type for the burst it offers with the Shatter talent (see Talents section).
- Ice Lance : Instant low-mana spell that does 3 times its initial damage if the enemy is frozen in place. Can deal HUGE damage and is instant cast. It only comes at 66 though. Also useful to tag a mob.
Also, the following armors will be available depending on your level :
- Ice armor : Slows your enemy when they hit you in melee. Not really the best armor for leveling. It can be favored over mage armor/molten armor if you play on a pvp server and are often attacked while questing.
- Mage Armor : Increases your resistance to magic and allows 30% of your mana to regen while casting. In my opinion, this armor is better than ice armor for leveling, since it will lower your overall downtime.
- Molten armor : Increases your critical chance by 3% and inflicts 75 fire damage when you’re hit in melee. The critical chance is neat, it means you will kill faster. I personaly used this armor once i got it (level 62).
Let's review the frost tree and the talents that will help you the most. A star (*) next to a talent means that you should ABSOLUTELY take the talent.
- Frostbite* : Extremely useful talent. It allows your chilling spells (frostbolt, cone of cold, ice armor, improved blizzard, frostfire bolt) to have a 15% chance to root your ennemies in place, like a mini frost nova. Sometimes, you'll be unlucky and it will never proc during the battle, but when it procs, it basically means your ennemy is going to die very soon (See Shatter). It lasts like 5 secs.
- Improved Frostbolt* : Frostbolt will be your primary nuke spell until you get Frostfire bolt at 75. You'll cast it more than any other spell and you'll even dream about it too (ok maybe not). Improved frostbolt shortens the cast time of your primary spell by 0.5 sec when maxed. While this may not seem much, it will speed up the leveling process and improve the overall damage you deal to your ennemies. Beside, you'll be glad to have this talent maxed when you will need to Shatter your ennemy and won't have much time left on your Frost Nova or Frostbite proc timers.
- Ice Floes* : There is "Survival" written on this talent. Maxed, it shortens the cooldown of your :
- Frost Nova by 5 secs.
- Cone of Cold by 2 secs
- Ice Block by 60 secs
- Icy Veins by 36 secs
- Ice Shards* :
Core talent. Improves the damage of your critical spells by 100%.
In short, a spell that does 50 base damage for example will, without Ice Shards, crit for 75 (50% more damage).
With Ice Shards, the same spell will actually crit for 100, so double damage.
Improves your burst damage tremendously.
- Elemental Precision
3% hit when maxed means that you will have less "missed" spells when fighting mobs. This talent is really only useful if you're often taking on enemies that are higher level than you. You shouldn't really have much use of it while leveling but if you growl each time your spells miss, then i guess it wouldn't hurt to take this talent Otherwise it's not really mandatory. The mana reduction alone isn't really worth 3 talent points.
Your chill effects last 3 sec longer and the walking speed of your enemies is decreased by another 10%.
Not that useful for leveling in my opinion. It allows you to kite the enemies longer but by the the time your enemies get to you, they should be already half dead anyway. It is pretty useful in pvp.
- Piercing Ice*
6% more damage on your frost spells, i think it speaks for itself.
- Icy Veins
Activated, this allows you to cast your spells 20% faster without suffering pushback. It is nice when you need to burst down your enemy but i never really used it while leveling up. It is very useful in raids and dongeons though.
- Improved Blizzard
Depending on your playstyle, this could be a must get. Improved Blizzard adds a chill effect to the base spell allowing it to slow your enemies. Coupled with Permafrost (+3 secs chill and +10% slow), this means that the enemies taken in your blizzard are slowed by 75% for 4,5 secondes AND that Frostbite can proc, rooting them in place.
Also note that Blizzard can now crit since patch 3.0.2 (not too sure which patch).
If you like to take on many mobs at once and aoe them down, then this talent definitely is for you. It all depends on your playstyle.
- Arctic Reach*
This talent can seem weak but it is very useful while leveling. Being able to cast your opening frostbolt on the enemy from x yards instead of x yards results in more frostbolts launched before it gets to you. It can save you a frost nova that could be useful when fighting the next mob. Also more range on Cone of Cold and Blizzard and a higher Frost Nova radius is very nice, allowing you to avoid hits more easily.
- Frost Channeling*
All your spells cost 10% less mana. This means less downtime while leveling. Also the -10% threat can be nice if you like to do dungeons from time to time.
THE core talent of the frost tree. If you don't put points in it, you'd be better just respecing fire or arcane.
This talent allows you to burst down your enemies everytime they are frozen in place. Your crit chance against them will raise by 50%.
Enemies frozen in place are the ones affected by the following spells : Frost Nova, Frostbite, Hungering Cold (Death Knight) and Frost Trap (Hunter).
Chill effects will NOT affect Shatter. Enemies slowed by a frostbolt won't make your crit chance go up by 50% but if frostbite procs, then it will.
- Cold Snap*
Very nice talent that resets all your frost cooldowns. Can save your life if you need to frost nova an enemy chasing you when you're at 5% hp or so, or pop an ice block that was on cooldown to give you some fresh air. It is also a required talent point to unlock the very useful Ice Barrier.
- Improved Cone of Cold
Not really needed while leveling. Beside the “I-hope-frostbite-will-proc” Cone of Cold that you should use while leveling, you'll only use Cone of cold to slow a pack of enemies that are close to you or to kite one enemy while your frost nova is on cooldown.
Cone of Cold can be nice when it procs Frostbite but it's not reliable enough. We don’t really use the spell for its damage, so 35% more damage for 3 talent points isn’t really worth it imo.
- Cold as Ice*
Maxed, it shortens the cooldown of your :
- Cold Snap by 1 min 36 secs.
- Ice Barrier by 6 secs
- Summon Water Elemental by 36 secs
- Winter's Chill*
+3% crit on your main nuke. Beside, each time your damaging spells hit, you have 1% more chances to crit. Stacks up to 5 times to make it 5%. Allows you to crit your enemies more often. Take this.
- Shattered Barrier
I personaly don't really like this talent for leveling. I didn't find much use for it. More of a pvp talent imo.
- Ice Barrier*
Your personal shield, that prevents pushback on your spells while it's active. Very useful against those annoying ranged mobs and against a pack of enemies that are too close to you. It takes a % of your spell damage to absorb more. Core talent that will make leveling easier.
- Arctic winds*
+5% damage on all your frost spells. It doesn't seem like much but it will make you kill mobs faster. Also the chance to be missed by melee and ranged attack can be very nice. You'll love seeing missed ranged hits
- Empowered Frostbolt*
Your Frostbolt gains an additional 10% of your spell power. Your primary nuke is now even stronger. You also gain 0,2 sec casting time. Core talent, don't level without it.
- Fingers of Frost*
Your chilling spells (Frostbolt, Cone of Cold, Improved Blizzard) have a 15% chance to make your 2 next spells act like your target was frozen in place, even if they are moving. Shatter, anyone ?
Must have. It's basically a 15% chance to improve your crit rate by 50% for your next 2 spells even if your target is not frozen. You will definitely like it.
- Brain Freeze*
Burst damage. A free (zero mana cost) instant cast fireball, even untalented, hurts. Makes your killing even faster.
- Summon Water Elemental*
The Water Elemental is a VERY strong guardian. Its bolt hurts alot and its Freeze is basically a frost nova that you can cast anywhere, even 35 yards away from you. It allows very nasty burst damage on demand.
I suggest using the water elemental macro from the guide for your water elemental though, as it can be annoying to click on your pet cast bar. This is how the macro works:
-The first click makes you summon your water elemental on defensive mode and makes it attack your current target.
-If you click on the macro again, 2 things happen : It makes your water elemental attack your other target if you changed targets. It also activates the Freeze ability of your Water Elemental, you still have to target it around your enemy to make it work though.
As you can see, you become very powerful when your elemental is active. You can run to an enemy with your elemental, start casting Frostbolt and just when Frostbolt is about to be launched, use the Freeze ability of your elemental to root your enemy in place. That will make your frostbolt crit almost all the time, chuncking a huge amount of hp off the mob. Even more deadly at 66 when you get Ice Lance.
The elemental also takes a percentage of your spell damage, intellect and stamina.
Too bad it only lasts 45 secs >_<
- Improved Water Elemental
Mainly useful while raiding. Recovers the mana of your raid and your elemental now lasts 1 min. Not very useful while leveling, your enemies will be dead very quickly anyway.
- Chilled to the Bone*
Your Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt and Ice Lance do an additional 5% damage. What else can i say, still more damage on your primary nuke spell as well as Ice Lance. Your enemies also take more time to get close to you <3
We won't use this talent with Frostfire Bolt, i will suggest another spec for it
- Deep Freeze*
A 5 secs stun ability only available when your target is frozen in place (Frostbite, Frost Nova, you know the music). Pretty nice, this ability makes you untouchable and lets you solo elites without problems if they are not immune to stuns.
You can make solid combos that prevent your enemies from even moving, like Frostbolt > Frost Nova or Frostbite > Frostbolt + Ice Lance + Deep Freeze, allowing you to cast another full frostbolt while your enemy is stunned (if he isn't dead that's it).
Frost Nova is a spell you'll want available when one or more ennemies managed to get close to you. Same goes for Cone of Cold.
The shortened cooldown on Ice Block has saved my life many times, those seconds you gain with this talent can mean the difference between life and death when fighting mobs and especially elites.
Very useful, juste like Cold Snap and Ice Floes, it adds more survavibility and the shortened cooldown on Summon Water Elemental is very very nice to have while leveling (and anything else actually).
This is how i would put my talent points while leveling up. I'll also explain the cast rotation depending on which spell is available. I'll go up to 75 and then i invite you to read the Frostfire section of the guide.
10-14 : 5/5 Improved Frostbolt
15-17 : 3/3 Frostbite
18-20 : 3/3 Ice Shards
21-23 : 3/3 Icy Floes
24 : 1/3 Piercing Ice
25-27 : 3/3 Shatter
28-29 : 2/2 Arctic Reach
30 : Cold Snap
31-33 : 3/3Frost channeling
34 : 2/3 Piercing Ice
35-37 : 3/3 Winter's Chill
38-39 : 2/2 Cold as Ice
40 : Ice Barrier
41-44 : 4/5 Arctic Winds
45-46 : 2/2 Fingers of Frost
47-48 : 2/2 Empowered Frostbolt
49 : 5/5 Arctic Winds
50 : Summon Water Elemental
51-53 : 3/3 Brain Freeze
54 : 3/3 Piercing Ice
55-59 : 5/5 Chilled to the Bone
60 : Deep Freeze
Now we'll venture a bit in the fire tree until 75 and the Frostfire bolt respec. You can also put points in the frost tree wherever you feel like it.
61-63 : 3/3 Incineration (more crit with Fireblast and Cone of Cold)
64-65 : 2/2 Improved Fireblast (-2 secs on Fireblast CD)
(Improved Fireball is useless anyway, since we only cast it on Brain freeze procs)
66-70 : 5/5 Ignite (more damage on fire crits, even if it's not our primary nukes, it helpsl)
71-73 : 3/3 Impact (your spells have a 10% chance to stun your enemies for 2 secs, just to make you even more unreachable).
74 : Last point before the respec, put it wherever you like to. Burning Determination maybe.
75. Here we are, you can now learn Frostfire Bolt at your mage trainer. I strongly suggest respecing to take full advantage of this spell because it's simply monstruous imo.
I also invite you to head to the Frostfire section for more information on it.
Your cast rotation will vary depending on what level you are and what spells are available in your arsenal.
Note: You should always start at max range of your frostbolt.
Level 1-3 : Cast Fireball from max range and melee the mobs to finish them.
Level 4-5 : Just chain Frostbolt from max range and melee the mobs to finish them.
Level 6-11 : Same as before, but use Fireblast to finish the mobs. If they still live, just cast another Frostbolt / Fireblast or melee them down.
Level 12-25 : Start chaining Frostbolt until your enemy gets close to you. When it does, use Frost Nova (available at level 12) to froze him in place, take some distance and start chaining Frostbolt again.
Level 26-30 : You now have access to Cone of Cold. I like to use it whenever an enemy manages to get close to me because it can proc Frostbite. That will save me a Frost Nova, which has a longer cooldown, and allow me to cast another Frostbolt that will most likely crit, thanks to Shatter.
If it doesn't proc Frostbite, i will then use Frost Nova followed by a Frostbolt or i will use Fireblast to finish the mob, depending on its hp left.
The goal, with Cone of Cold, is to save Frost Nova as much as possible.
Level 30-39 : Same as before, excepted Cold Snap is available, meaning you can Frost Nova your enemies two times in a row to burst them even faster.
Level 40-44 : Ice Barrier is available. You'll have to worry less about being hit and will be able to cast your Frostbolt wihout pushbacks while the barrier is active.
Level 45-49 : You'll start criting even more. Fingers of Frost will speed up your killing tremendously.
Level 50 : Your Water Elemental is now available. I suggest saving it for tricky situations (elites, pack of mobs, etc..).
Level 51-59 : Now you have to monitor the Brain Freeze proc. When it does, launch the Fireball after your nukes. Don't interrupt your spells for a Fireball unless it can finish off your enemy.
Level 60-65 : Deep Freeze is available, meaning you can stun your enemies when they are frozen in place. I suggest stunning them when Frost Nova / Frostbite is about to break.
Level 66-70 : Killing machine : ON. Ice Lance is a crazy spell. It is instant cast, costs almost nothing and does HUGE damage if your enemy is frozen. As soon as you see the enemy frozen in place, be ready to launch an ice lance right after your frostbolt. Those 2 spells critting in a row will remove like 60% of your enemy's health.
Level 71-74 : Your spells can now stun, thanks to Impact. If an enemy manages to gets close to you, it means either that you were AFK or that he is immune to movement-imparing effects
Frostfire Bolt is a unique spell that takes the benefit from fire AND frost at the same time. It's like a fireball that can slow and that benefits from both fire and frost talent trees.
I will list the talents that benefit Frostfire Bolt.
- Ignite : +40% dot on crit
- Impact : 10% stun chance on hit
- Burning Soul : -70% pushback when casting and -10% threat
- Master of elements : 30% of the mana cost of the spell refund when you crit
- Playing with fire : +3% damage
- Critical Mass : +6% crit chance
- Fire Power : +10% damage
- Combustion : see the talent
- Pyromaniac : +3% crit chance
- Molten Fury : +12% more damage if your enemy is below 35% hp
- Empowered Fire : Your frostfire bolt gains an additional 15% of your spell power
- Hot Streak : When you score 2 cricital hits in a row, you get an INSTANT CAST pyroblast
- Burnout : +50% crit damage
- Frostbite : 15% chance to root the enemy in place
- Ice Shards : +100% crit damage
- Elemental Precision : +3% hit
- Piercing Ice : +6% damage
- Icy Veins : Only the faster casting time
- Frost channeling : -10% mana cost (note that FFB doesn't get -20% threat if you take this talent and Burning Soul, it only gets -10% threat max)
- Winter's Chill : +2% crit chance everytime it hits, stacks 5 times for a total of +10% crit chance.
- Arctic Winds : +5% damage
- Fingers of Frost : +15% chance to make your next 2 spells have a 50% more chance to crit (if you took Shatter, which you should)
- Chilled to the Bone : +5% damage and -10% walking speed
As you can see, the spell can benefit from many talents. I suggest going through the Fire path for Burnout, which is a huge dps boost and to take the essential Frost talents going with it.
This is the spec i used at 75 for leveling with Frostfire Bolt: 0/48/18
I then suggest putting your talent points like this :
76-77 : 5/5 Burnout
78-79 : 2/3 Frost Channeling would be my fav but the last 2 points are up to you
80 : Weeeeeeeee \o/ I suggest filling up Frost channeling if you plan on questing more with the spec.
Basically, your frostfire bolt (at 80) :
- has +9% chance to crit (critical mass + pyromaniac)
- does +19% more damage (31% more when the enemy is below 35% hp) (playing with fire + fire power + piercing ice + molten fury when under 35%hp)
- gains an additional 15% of your spell power (empowered fire)
- does +150% damage when it crits, refunding you 30% of its mana cost and also adding a 4 sec dot equal to 40% of the damage done by your crit (e.g. if frostfire bolt crits for 5000, it will also dot the enemy for 2000 in 4 secs. every 2 sec) (ignite + master of elements + ice shards + burnout)
- has +3% chance to hit (elemental precision)
- has a 10% chance to stun the enemy (impact)
- has a 15% chance to freeze the enemy in place allowing Shatter (+50% crit if the next spell lands) (frostbite)
- costs -13% mana (frost channeling + elemental precision)
Also, if you score two critical hits in a row with either Fireblast, Frostfire bolt or Scorch, your next pyroblast (which has a +6% chance to crit thanks to "world in flames") cast within 10 secs will be instant.
As you can see, the spell is very very sexy and benefits from soooooooo many talents at the same time that it is really worth a respec for the last 4 levels.
There are 3 useful stats that you will need while leveling and 2 less useful.
Let me start by saying that you should completely avoid STR and AGI unless you’re trying to be some sort of battle mage that likes to hit stuff with your staff (yo).
If so, i ... don't think mage is the right class for you ... but if you like it, hey, why not.. you'll just level slower than 90% of the server... make it 99% actually.
Anyway, the main stats you should aim for are :
- Spell power : Increases the damage of all your spells. You should always try to get more as it will improve your overall damage per second.
You won't find many items with spell power in the lower levels but you'll start seeing more and more as you level, especially when you arrive in Outland. The same goes with crit.
- Critical strike rating : Improves the chances that your spells will critically hit. Crit is as important as spell power is. A crit will improves your killing speed tremendously. If, for example, you loot an item that lowers your spell power by 10 but increases your critical chances by 1%, well, equip it but don't equip an item that increases your crit chance by 0.2% and lowers your spell power by 35. It's all about balancing the both.
- Intellect : "Int" increases your mana pool as well as your crit chance. The amount of crit you gain from int depends on your level.
(There is a nice addon that can tell you how much crit you gain from int, Rating Buster, i suggest it in the addon section.)
Having a decent mana pool is also important. If you must sit to drink after every mob because you don't have enough mana, then something is wrong.
Having more mana also helps you taking on multiple mobs at once. This is the 3rd stat to aim for, but try to mainly aim for the first two. Usually, the cloth items with spellpower and/or crit have enough int to not have to worry about it.
- Spirit : Spirit allows you to regen more mana when you are not casting and even when you are casting IF you use Mage Armor. It's always nice to have some but you can level all the way to 80 without it. You shouldn't really focus much on it until raids.
- Stamina : Stamina improves your health pool. It's not really useful while leveling BUT if you play on a pvp server, then you might want to have more health to survive an ambush.
Overall, the important stats are spellpower / crit > int > spi > sta.
I recommand those addons while playing.
- Rating Buster : Rating buster converts stats into ratings and allows you to quickly compare two items to see which one is the best for you.
It can, for example, tell you how much critical rating an item with 57 int would actually give you and if that items will make you win or lose crit and spell power if you equip it. A must have in my opinion. It also works with any other class when properly configured.
- Range Display : Small addon that shows the distance between you and the mob. Very useful to know exactly when you are in max range for a frostbolt or any other spell. Easily configurable too.
- Food/Water macro :
/cast [button:2] Conjure food; nameofthefood
Replace nameofthefood in the macro by the exact name of the food you can summon (shift-click the food to copy the text in the macro).
For example, at level 6, you can start using the macro by right-clicking on it to summon Conjured Muffins. Replace then nameofthefood by Conjured Muffins in the macro to make it work. The macro will be :
#showtooltip Conjured Muffins
/cast [button:2] Conjure food; Conjured Muffins
Right-click on the macro to summon food.
Left click on the macro to eat.
Sames goes for the water.
/cast [button:2] Conjure water; nameofthewater
- Auto-trinket macro.
This macro will automatically try to use equiped trinkets when you cast frostbolt whenever they are available.
You can equip 2 trinkets at most.
Those trinkets go in slot number 13 and 14 in your character sheet.
Note: /use 13 and /use 14 can be placed individually in the macro or both at once.
If, for example, you have a spell power trinket in the first slot and your insigna of the horde/alliance in the second slot, then DON'T put /use 14 in the macro, as it will actually use your insigna every time you try to cast a spell, which you don't really want, do you ?
If you only want to use your first trinket, replace the macro by :
- Water Elemental macro
Ok, i can't live as a frost mage without this one. It makes life so much easier when you have your water elemental.
#showtootlip Summon Water Elemental
/cast Summon Water Elemental
As explained in the talent section :
The first click on the macro will summon your water elemental on defensive mode and make it attack your current target
Another click on the macro will :
- make your pet attack your other target if you swapped targets
- make your pet cast Freeze, which is a ranged Frost Nova that you have to target on the ground just like Blizzard
Until you get Frostfire Bolt, i'd use the following glyphs
- Glyph of Frost Nova : Allows you to deal more damage to the enemy before your frost nova breaks.
- Glyph of Evocation : Can be handy when fighting a pack of mobs and you need mana AND health.
- Glyph of Water Elemental : Reduces the cooldown of your water elemental by 30 secs. Need i say more. Only available at 50 though. You can maybe use the Glyph of Mana Gem until then.
- Glyph of Frost Armor : 30 more mins on your buff.
- Glyph of Slow Fall : You'll cherish this glyph when you'll need to pop Slow Fall, cause you never notice when you're out of feathers ...
- Glyph of Arcane Intellect : Reduces the mana cost of the buff. Can be useful. You can use other glyphs if you feel like it, minor glyphs aren't that important.
When you get Frostfire Bolt, i'd use those 3 major glyphs instead :
- Glyph of Frostfire : Frostfire is a crit-dependant spell, and 2% more damage as well as 2% more crit chance is a god send.
- Glyph of Molten Armor : 2% crit chance when Molten Armor is active, making it +5% crit chance.
- The last one is up to you but Glyph of Mana Gem is always useful and will reduce your overall downtime.