RSS

Category Archives: Leveling

Paladin Leveling: 50-69 Protection

Now it’s time for our next-to-last guide on leveling your Protection Paladins. This time we’re going to finish up Vanilla, blow through the Burning Crusade content, and get started the Wrath of the Lich King content as well.

Up to this point you have all of the primary tools required for tanking, though you’re still missing some of your defensive cooldowns. At the end of this guide you’ll also have those cooldowns that you’re missing and you’ll finally reach the final talent point in your tree, allowing you to finally be able to branch out into the Holy and Retribution trees.

Playing a Protection Paladin
There’s not much change at all in how you play your Paladin in this level range compared to how you played it in the last. You now have both of your Holy Power generating attacks as well as both of the spells you’ll primarily dump your HP into to use. You’ve got all the tools you need to be an AoE grinding fiend, and you’re virtually immortal so long as you don’t over-pull.

While you’re getting ready to go to Outlands at level 58 I suggest you go ahead and start testing those boundaries to see just how far you can go. Pull five or six mobs and see how you do. Any problems? If so, then you know that your limit is below that. If not, then go pull a couple more and see if you can still survive it. Keep on doing this until you find out where your boundaries are so that you don’t find yourself in situations that you can’t handle. Know your strengths, and utilize them.

As you move into Outlands itself you’re going to end up in a gear reset though, so be prepared to get hit harder once you get there and likely you’ll find you can’t pull nearly as many mobs as you could in Vanilla. Well, not until you get your gear upgraded at least. Once you’ve got the gear upgrades you can start finding those boundaries again.

Prot Paladins truly are a power trip. You have some of the best defenses the game has to offer coupled with some incredible healing and survivability skills, and great damage thrown in as well. You’re not going to kill things as fast as a DPS character will, but you’ll kill more things in shorter time than they could. You also excel in areas filled with Undead or Demon mobs, which is what much of Outlands is all about.

Protection-Specific Tips
The first thing you need to know about this level range is that level 50 opens up your Plate Specialization. Since you’ve chosen the Protection spec, this means that you get a 5% bonus to your Stamina for wearing Plate armor in all of your armor slots, so make sure you’re not still carrying around any Mail pieces that might have been left over; upgrade them as soon as possible. You can probably drop under 50g on the auction house to replace any Mail pieces that you’re still holding onto.

The next thing you need to know is that at level 62 you get access to Crusader Aura which increases your mounted speed by 20%. You’re probably going to have this ability turned on all the time when you’re out running around the world, especially if you have a gathering profession. But remember, you can only have one aura active at a time and having this active while running dungeons is a complete waste. So don’t be a nubcake by leaving your Crusader Aura on or else you’ll make me a sad panda, and I don’t want to be a sad panda. :(

Important Spells & Abilities
There are a lot of spells and abilities that come with being a Paladin, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and limited to only the most important ones for a Protection spec. There are other spells that you’ll get in this level range as well, I leave them out only because I do not find them critical to playing a Prot Paladin.

Level 50-69:

  • Hand of Freedom: Places a Hand on the friendly target, granting immunity to movement impairing effects for 6 sec. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Blessing of Might: Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing attack power by 10% and restoring 326 mana every 5 seconds for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Crusader Aura: Increases the mounted speed by 20% for all party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  • Hand of Salvation: Places a Hand on the party or raid member, reducing their total threat by 2% every 1 sec for 10 sec. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time.

Hand of Freedom is by no means a critical spell, unless you’re a big fan of PvP. However, there are going to be some mobs that start to use some slowing effects on you in this level range were before it was very rare. If you find yourself slowed or rooted in place, then this is the spell that you use to free yourself (or another friendly target). I use this a lot when I’m body pulling several mobs for an AoE grind, especially when there are casters using Frost spells on me.

Blessing of Might is our second blessing. Generally speaking I like to use Might when I’m soloing, and Kings when I’m in a group (unless there’s a Druid in the group, then I’ll Might). It’s an Attack Power buff and it also restores mana, making it a very useful buff, especially when you don’t have any DPS there to provide you with extra firepower.

Crusader Aura, like I mentioned above, is a fantastic buff that gives you an extra 20% mounted movement speed, which makes Paladin an excellent gathering class, and that movement is very useful when you’re leveling by cutting down your travel time between questing hubs and locations. Just don’t forget to turn it off when you’re in dungeons since it does nothing for you there.

Hand of Salvation is a spell that you need to get familiar with as soon as you get it. It reduces threat over time of the target you cast it on, lowering their threat by 2% every second up to a maximum of 20%. If you see someone getting close to you on threat then you want to cast this on them early to be sure they don’t steal it from you. If you’re in a dungeon and you find someone who’s consistently pulling threat, just get used to casting this on them before it becomes an issue each time. Different classes build threat at different speeds so it’s hard for me to tell you when to cast it, so just pay attention and adjust as needed. If they’re stealing it early then cast it right when they start to become an issue, if it takes them a few moments to get it then cast it at the end of your rotation or something to knock them down before it becomes an issue.

Leveling a Protection Paladin
Buffs List: Righteous Fury, Seal of Insight/Truth, Blessing of Might/Kings, Retribution/Devotion Aura
Multi-Target Rotation: Avenger’s Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Wrath, Hammer of the Righteous, Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous
Single-Target Rotation: Exorcism, Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous
Boss Rotation: Avenger’s Shield, Judgement, Divine Plea, Shield of the Righteous, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous

Not much change here except that I’ve added in the Boss Rotation and the Buffs List.

The Buffs List contains the buffs you should have up at all times. You’ll notice that most of those have a This/That option as well. I tend to use Seal of Insight at all times while I’m leveling. Most mobs aren’t going to live long enough to make SoTruth worth it, and it’s better to keep your life and mana topped off instead. For Blessings I generally use Might when soloing and Kings when I’m in a group or a Battle Ground. The Aura is up to you, though I lean towards Retribution unless I’m taking a ton of damage.

The reason why the boss rotation changes from everything else were doing is because you want to start off as strong as possible on the threat front. Avenger’s Shield and Judgement give you a decent start on threat but the real kicker is using Divine Plea which your talents trigger to give you 3 Holy Power and Shield of the Righteousness burns those three for a big burst of threat as well. Doing this should put you far enough ahead of all your DPS that you won’t have to worry about them pulling off of you. Also, if you have your Avenger’s Shield cooldown reset from your talent procs go ahead and fit it in whenever you have a moment to do so.

Talent Spec: Protection 69

  • Vindication 1/1: Your Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous reduce physical damage done by their primary targets by 10% for 30 sec. In addition, your Hammer of Justice will interrupt creatures that are immune to stuns.
  • Guarded by the Light 2/2: Increases your Word of Glory by 10% when used to heal yourself, and allows your Word of Glory to grant Holy Shield. In addition, any overhealing will create a protective shield equal to the amount of overhealing that lasts for 6 sec.
  • Reckoning (+1) 2/2: You have a 20% chance after blocking an attack for your next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec to generate an additional attack.
  • Shield of the Templar 3/3: Reduces the cooldown of Avenging Wrath by 60 sec and Guardian of Ancient Kings by 120 sec. In addition, your Divine Plea will generate 3 Holy Power.
  • Sacred Duty 2/2: Your Judgements have a 50% chance of making your next Shield of the Righteous a critical strike. Lasts 15 sec.
  • Ardent Defender 1/1: Reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. While Ardent Defender is active, the next attack that would otherwise kill you will instead cause you to be healed for 15% of your maximum health.

Vindication reduces the damage we take from the primary target of our CS and HotR attacks by 10%. It also turns Hammer of Justice into a spell interrupt for us to use against targets that are immune to stuns, which are typically elites and dungeon bosses, but also some mob types who are generally immune to stun as well. The main thing though is the damage reduction.

Guarded by the Light is another great defensive tool, increasing the healing we receive from Word of Glory and also allowing WoG to proc Holy Shield for us, so that we can get the defensive buff from HS even when we’re in AoE grinding mode and spending our HP on heals rather than single target DPS from Shield of the Righteous. It also has the added benefit of providing us with a bubble whenever we overheal ourselves with Word of Glory, allowing us to dump HP for addition defense in cases where WoG heals you to full but your other talents make that WoG cast cost no HP, you can cast it again to get a bubble if you need one.

Reckoning we already had one point in, and now we’ve just finished it off. It’s purely a Threat/DPS increase, giving us a chance to get free melee attacks after we block an enemy attack. The best way to (ab)use this talent is by fighting multiple melee mobs at once, so always strive to do so when it’s convenient.

Shield of the Templar reduces some cooldowns that we don’t even have yet which is kind of wasted for right now, but it also provides us with 3 Holy Power instantly when we cast Divine Plea. You can either turn that into an “oh crap-heal!” opportunity to get a full powered WoG cast (or as a bubble from the talent above), or you can use it offensively by popping Divine Plea before you rush in to attack a boss and start the encounter off with a full powered Shield of the Righteous (see the Boss Rotation in the section above).

Sacred Duty is another potential Threat/DPS increase. Every time you cast Judgement on the target you have a 50% chance to ensure your next Shield of the Righteous is a critical strike. The buff lasts for 15 seconds, so if you’re about to cast SHoR and your Judgement is off cooldown, but you don’t have a Sacred Duty proc, start with the Judgement cast first for a chance to score a free crit with your most damaging spell.

Ardent Defender is purely a defensive cooldown. You want to use it when you think you’re about to die. It provides a 20% damage reduction so it’s good to cast at any time, but it’s best used when you really are going to die because it will stop you from dying and instead heal you back up to 15% of your maximum health. If I’m going down I try to pop this when I know I’m a few seconds away from dying and I’ll follow up the Ardent Defender heal when I “die” with either a Lay on Hands for a full heal, or a Divine Plea-fueled Word of Glory heal to try to get myself back on my feat as best I can.

Glyphs
Now that we have access to two of each glyph slot I’m going to include a third option for you to choose from in each category. Glyphs are listed in the order I would suggest you take them.

Prime

Now that you have two slots to fill you need to decide which two are going to be the best for you. I suggest Hammer of the Righteous no matter what. Of the other two I suggest Shield of the Righteous if you’re going to do a lot of dungeon running, and Crusader Strike if you’re more focused on solo questing.

Major

Dazing Shield is the one I suggest you get first as it has the most potential for being useful. Holy Wrath is a close second since you’re going to start running into more Dragonkin and especially Elementals as you continue on. As I’ve said before, Consecration is quickly becoming a thing of the past, so I’m not too fond of it. As my 85 Prot Paladin is currently AoE grinding the crap out of mobs left and right I’m actually using it more and more, but that’s really the only situation where it’s a big deal. Pick up Dazing Shield and then go with whichever of the other two appeals to you more, or pick another one that I didn’t mention if you don’t like the sound of either.

Minor

Pick two and go with it. Since seals only have a 30 minute duration where Blessings are 60 minutes, I suggest you take that as one of them just because you’ll cast it more often, but otherwise it really doesn’t matter.

Protection Macros
Only one new glyph this time, and it’s up to you whether or not you use it.

#showtooltip
/castsequence reset=10 Judgement, Divine Plea, Shield of the Righteous

This macro is one I use when I’m charging in on a boss. Rather than pressing all the buttons I need to cast the spells individually, I just spam this one while I’m running in to face the boss until SHoR goes off. I’ve played around a bit with adding Avenger’s Shield either before or after Judgement, but I prefer to just have it off on it’s own to add it in when I want it or leave it out otherwise.

The idea here is to use Judgement hoping for a Sacred Duty proc to force SHoR to be a crit, then using Divine Plea to get 3 Holy Power for free, and following that up with the actual SHoR cast. It’s the single best way to establish threat on a boss early on. The only thing you can do to improve it is to throw Avenger’s Shield into the mix as I said, though I’d probably start off with it and then spam this one. Whether or not you need that much threat starting off is something you’ll have to decide on your own.

I only use this on bosses though, as it’s not really needed during trash pulls or when soloing.

Gearing Up as Protection
As a melee class we’re looking for stats that impact our melee performance such as Strength, Attack Power, Hit, Crit and Haste. As a tank though, you also want to look for survival stats such as Stamina, Dodge and Parry.

Stat Priority: Strength and Stamina, Dodge and Parry, Other melee stuff

In short, we’re going to stack Strength and Stamina first and foremost, followed by our avoidance stats of Dodge and Parry, and then on to any other DPS stats (attack power, hit, crit, haste, etc). Most of the stats that you want to cap at end game are still rare for us to find even in Outlands (though not as bad as Vanilla was), so this is really all you need to watch out for for the time being.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Melee, Paladin

 

Tags: , ,

Professions Leveling: Skinning 1-525

Today I’m going to continue my series on Leveling Professions with a gathering guide – Skinning.

Skinning is the primary gathering profession of Leatherworking, and it provides mats which are often used in Blacksmithing, Engineering, and even Tailoring as well.

Gathering professions is where I tend to venture away from the guides at WoW-Professions.com, because I have my own paths I like to travel to get specific items that I know sell for more or are used for more items that what the guide tells you. You can click on this link to find their Skinning Leveling Guide.

I’m going to go through the leveling guide and give you the information that you don’t find at WoW-Professions. I’ll go over how/where I personally go about leveling them (where I deviate from their guides), and some things I like or dislike about the profession. I’ll also give a few tips on how I make gold with the profession, or ways that I might put it to use that aren’t apparent to everyone.

Getting Started: Materials
As a gathering profession, Skinning doesn’t need anything in the way of actual mats. However, it does require you to devote one item in your bags to be used as a Skinning Knife. You can get the actual Skinning Knife item from basically every trade goods vendor in the game as well as any leatherworking supplies vendors and some blacksmithing supplies vendors as well. There are also some items that act as a Skinning Knife, chief among them being the Gnomish Army Knife which acts as the basic gathering and crafting tools for basically every profession.

Special Note: One way that Skinning stands apart from every other profession is that even mobs that show as Orange do not have a 100% chance to skill you up when you’re skinning. Another way it differs is that you’re not guaranteed to get any leather or any other items when you skin something either. Sometimes you’ll skin orange mobs and get nothing at all for it. It’s more rare that you’ll get no items than it is that you won’t get a skill point, but both of them happen.

You can also get several bonuses to your Skinning skill from items and enchants in the game.
Enchant Gloves – Skinning: Permanently enchant gloves to increase skinning skill by 5.
Enchant Gloves – Gathering: Permanently enchant gloves to increase Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning by 5. Requires a level 60 or higher item.
Finkle’s Skinner: Equip: Skinning +10. (Also counts as a skinning knife.)
Zulian Slicer: Equip: Skinning +10. (Also counts as a skinning knife.)

I keep a pair of white-quality Cloth gloves that have the enchant for each of the gathering professions (the individual enchants for each, not Gatherer) on them to pass around to toons while leveling. Skinning typically doesn’t need it, but if you’re going to power level it then being able to move on to the next stage a bit early can save you some time.

The Zulian Slicer is no longer in the game, so if you don’t already have one you’re just out of luck. Finkle’s Skinner can still be found in Upper Blackrock Spire, and you can use two of them for +20 Skinning if your class is able to dual wield. Both of these items count as a skinning knife as well, so you can get rid of your regular one if you have these, or your gnomish army knife if you don’t need it for your other professions.

If you are looking for a guide to farming specific leathers, WoW-Professions has a guide for that as well: WoW Leather Farming Guide.

From WoW_Professions:

Up to skinning 100, you can find out the highest level mob you can skin by: ((Skinning skill)/10)+10. Example: ( 50 / 10 ) +10 = 15

From skinning level 100 and up the formula is simply: (Skinning skill)/5. Example: (175 / 5 = 35)

Trouble Areas
Skinning doesn’t really have any trouble areas, it’s basically about as straight forward as you can get since it’s keyed off of mob levels. If you find yourself in a zone that doesn’t reward you skill points for skinning then you simply move on to another zone that does.

However, if you’re Skinning for the sake of doing Leatherworking then there are definitely some bottlenecks.

The problem is that it’s so easy to level Skinning. If you skin everything while you level you’ll still find that you’re short on certain leathers if you’re using them for LW because you spent so little time in areas that give you the kind of leather you need in the quantities that you need it.

So while Skinning itself doesn’t have any bottlenecks, I am going to tell you which leathers you want to spend a little extra time farming. If you’re interested in leveling Leatherworking or in selling the leather for profit, then you’ll want to take a look at this list. If you’re just interested in getting to max level as fast as you can so that you can focus on Cataclysm leathers, then just disregard the list and move on to the next section.

Heavy Leather: While you only need 180 of these to level your Leatherworking, the level range that these drop in are generally gone through so quickly that you won’t have near that amount even if you skin while you’re leveling your character. If you are leveling your profession with your toon then the best place to farm this on your own is in Feralas. However, I prefer to farm it via dungeon, particularly Uldaman.

In Uldaman you’ll find three (four?) little pits filled with scorpids that all have a great drop rate for Heavy Leather. You’ll also find several bats and basilisks in the instance that can also be skinned for Heavy Leather. You will end up scoring some Medium Leather and Medium/Heavy Hides from them as well, but the Medium Leather can be combined by a Leatherworker to turn it into Heavy, and the Heavy Hides are often hard to come by and sell pretty well on the AH, so they’re an added bonus.

Thick Leather: You need 410 Thick Leather for Leatherworking, and while you’ll find plenty of it while you’re leveling a toon, you probably won’t find the 20.5 stacks worth before you’re ready for Outlands. If you’re going to farm them solo while leveling then your best bet is to head over to Badlands and kill the dragon whelps northwest of New Kargath. You can also go kill the Ravasaurs in Un’goro Crater.

Because you need so much of this one and so much of the Rugged Leather as well, I like to farm these in a place that gives me a nice mixture of both of them: Sunken Temple. If you’re a high enough level to solo this place then I highly recommend it. There are a ton of dragonkin in here and almost every mob in the instance is skinnable (save the one wing filled with trolls). You’ll find Thick and Rugged Leathers in almost exact proportions each run. You will end up with some Green and White Dragon Scales as well which aren’t used for much, but sell reasonably well on the AH.

The two skinners that I recently leveled to 525 both went here, and I farmed it a third time to help my wife with her Skinner/Leatherworker a couple of weeks ago as well. The instance is a fraction of the size it used to be now and it’s full of skinnable mobs in a fairly small area. Reaching my five dungeons per hour limit I got an average of 185 of each of these leathers per hour.

Another decent place is Blackrock Depths. You can kill all of the hyena/dog things there for Thick Leather. There are a fair number in the first room and then there’s a boss right down the hall that’s surrounded by them. You can get a decent amount here, but not as much as Sunken Temple. The side benefit of running BRD for the leather is that you can also get a bit more profit if you also take the time to go upstairs to take down the Pyromancer for a chance at the Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon recipe which you can sell for 50-150g.

Because it takes 410 of these to power level Leatherworking, Thick Leather is a decent option to grind for profit. Thick Leather prices are always all over the place any time I look at getting into them. They’re either incredibly high or ridiculously low. Watch the market and find a decent time to jump in. And in case you didn’t know, right now is a good time. Currently Leatherworking is one of the top raiding professions in the game and people are powering through it.

Rugged Leather: You also need 410 Rugged Leather for Leathworking, and it’s a bit harder to come by than the thick in general leveling. The reason for that is because you’re generally going to leave for Outlands at level 58 and it’s pretty likely that you’ll manage to get a least a level or two into the 50’s while questing or running dungeons in areas where the mobs are still dropping Thick Leather. If you want to solo farm these at level then you want to head to the Blasted Lands, farming the boars and hyenas that inhabit the northern half of the zone.

As I said above though, I prefer farming these in Sunken Temple alongside the Thick Leather. The level range of the mobs in Sunken Temple is great for being able to double-dip into two different level ranges of leather at the same time. You need the same number of both types for LW, and you’ll find them at almost the exact same rate in the instance, so you might as well skin two birds with one sunken stone.

If you have all the Thick you need/want already, then you can also head into Blackrock Spire to farm these. There are a lot of mobs there that can be skinned for Rugged Leather, but I don’t care for the layout of the dungeon and you have to run through a lot of humanoids to get to the areas where the farming is really good so it’s kind of a pain.

Again, with 410 of these required to power through Leatherworking, Rugged Leather is a great option for farming if you want to make some gold on the AH. Rugged Leather is typically the top seller for Vanilla leathers, because so much is needed and so many people are eager to get into Outlands as soon as possible which means they miss out on farming opportunities.

Borean Leather: This is your biggest road block in the whole leveling process. If you’re leveling it along with your toon then it won’t be such a mindnumbing grind (yes it will), but it’s still going to suck. You need almost 1,000 Borean Leather to power through Leatherworking, so you’ll be here for a very long while if you want to farm it all yourself and for that purpose. Arctic Furs can drastically reduce the number of Borean Leather someone needs to level, but with the number of people in Northrend dwindling, it won’t be long before the supply disappears.

When you first get to Northrend you’ll start with the Rhinos in Borean Tundra (my preference) or the Shoveltusks in Howling Fjord. Once your skill reaches 390 you’re off to Sholozar Basin for some monkeys. (I resisted the urge to put a joke in there, so you should thank me.) The Gorillas there are your farming spot of choice for the rest of forever as far as Northrend is concerned. If you get tired of farming the monkeys, or your competition picks up, then you can kill the mammoths, worms and proto-drakes in Storm Peaks, the mammoths, raptors and cats in Zuldrak, or the Nerubians in southeastern Ice Crown.

If you feel like running dungeons your best bet for the leather is going to be Violet Hold. Almost everything in there is a dragonkin that can be skinned. The only exception being most of the bosses.

Psynister Preferences
I break away from the guide on Skinning quite a bit because I have my own way that I just prefer to use. I don’t really use the guide much at all until it’s time for Outlands, honestly.

Following the WoW-Professions you’ll be skinning mobs that are generally always either orange or yellow to you, so you have a higher chance of skilling up per skinning attempt. I prefer to level mine with quantity over quality, so I often farm large packs of mobs using AoE that are only green to me because I can get more skill points in a shorter period of time without having to do excessive amounts of travel to get to new zones just to get orange/yellow mobs when I could just as easily the same skill level by spending another 10-15 minutes right where I am.

1-100
To start off, I start leveling all of my skinning at the farms south of Goldshire. I don’t care whether they’re Horde or Alliance, I’m going to the Human’s capital zone to start my skinning because it is hands down the best place to do it. The pigs at these farms have a forced respawn, meaning that when you kill them you force others to spawn. The fastest way to farm them is to find a Mage that’s high enough level to one-shot them with Ice Lance and just have them run circles around the farm killing everything that moves. Set the loot to Free For All and you loot/skin while they kill.

Don’t worry about the bodies despawning before you get to them because there’s literally an endless supply here and you’re just going to skin your little heart out until you hit 75. Personally, I hit 50-60 and then go to the trainer north of Goldshire to train the next level and then I go back and farm them again until I reach 90 skill. After I hit 90 I run around the zone on the eastern or western edges to kill the packs of wolves and bears until I hit 95-100.

100-150
From there I generally skin the wolves in northern Duskwood since they’re right there just south of me, but the real sweet spot is the Wailing Caverns instance. That place is filled with raptors and snakes that can be skinned from skill level 95+ and so is the cave outside of the instance. There’s also the added bonus that every Druid of the Fang in the place has a chance to drop Gloves of the Fang which sell on the AH for 45-175g. My current record is four pair of the gloves on a single run.

There are also two rare spawns in the cave outside of the instance portal, one who drops a two-handed axe that sells for 50-125g and the other which drops a mail belt that I’ve sold for 175g. They won’t be there all the time of course, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look when you’re in the area.

The Barrens itself is a great place to level your skinning as both North and South Barrens are just filled with beasts. What you don’t manage to get skilled up in Wailing Caverns can be done by farming the plateau just north of Ratchet which is filled with raptors, zhevra and and lions (and two rare spawns), or in the packs of lions and hyenas that are spread all over the zone.

150-225
Once you reach skill 150 it’s time to go down into Southern Barrens where the level 30+ mobs are. Here you can skin the raptors and hyenas that are spread along the northern border as you make your way to the mountains west/northwest of Northwatch Hold (on the eastern shore). There you’ll find a pack of raptors set back into the mountain. There’s an Alliance quest that sends you in there to get supply crates or something now, and I don’t recall what the quest was before the Shattering. Skin all of these until you reach skill level 165 or so and then it’s time to hit another instance.

Razorfen Kraul has two wonderful spots for skinning. The first is the trench that’s typically considered the end of the dungeon, though you can easily reach it from the entrance, and the other is the cave near the middle/end of the dungeon filled with bats. The first time I run it I usually run the dungeon as it’s meant to be run, and just skip all of the humanoids that aren’t in my way. I kill and skin all of the bats and the big piggy boss that’s in the cave as well, and then I drop down where the final boss is and clear out the trench full of boars. Then I leave and reset the dungeon and go run it again clearing out just the boars and skipping the rest of the instance until everything has gone green to me or I’ve reached the next level of skinning and have to train.

Again, I go for quantity over quality, so I’ll often give RFK at least one more run after I train, just hitting the boars real quick and then heading out to Dustwallow.

225-260
At 225 it’s time to head over to Dustwallow Marsh just east of the Southern Barrens. There are beasts all over this zone, but three areas in particular interest me. The first is in the mountains west of Muddsprocket; there’s a small area filled with annoying trees where you’ll find a pack of raptors. That’s the first place I clean out because of how many there are in the small area, they’re very easy to AoE.

The second spot is north of Muddsprocket, near the center of the map, called the Stonemaul Ruins. This area is covered with dragonkin that can all be skinned. The ruins themselves hold a lot of dragonkin, and so does the area around it. You’ll also find a lot of crocs in the swampy area all around the zone which are also great for skinning. There’s also a cave between the raptor area I just mentioned and the ruins that is filled with these same type of dragonkin, so I’ll move from the raptors to the ruins killing everything in between.

The third area is east of Muddsprocket, surrounding Onyxia’s Lair. This place is also swarming with dragonkin just waiting to be skinned. There are some drakes that fly above you too, so if you have a ranged attack you can pull those down from the sky and kill/skin them as well.

Each of these three areas is great for skinning, but most of what you’ll find is going to be Heavy Leather with a little Thick Leather mixed in. While that’s great for your skinning skill, it doesn’t do a whole lot for the massive quantities of Thick/Rugged that you’ll need if you’re a Leatherworker, and that’s where the next part comes in.

260-300
Once you reach 260-270 though it’s time to move on to yet another instance: Sunken Temple.

Here you’re going to kill dragonkin by the dozen. While you can skin two of the three bosses in the instance, they don’t drop any special type or special amounts of leather so I suggest you just skip them if you’re only here for the leather. Kill all of the dragonkin, leave the instance, kill the three dragonkin right outside the portal, reset the instance, go back inside and repeat those steps until you reach 300 skill.

If you get close to 300 and you aren’t getting skill points as often as you’d like, go ahead and move on to Un’goro Crater and kill the ravasaurs there to finish it off. Some of the mobs in Sunken Temple will go grey before you get to 300, so you might just leave for Un’goro a little early if you don’t need any more Thick Leather and finish your skill levels with better mobs.

300-525
I didn’t find any better options for 300-525 that what WoW-Professions suggests, so I stick to their guide pretty much from that point on.

Power Leveling List

1 – 60 Durotar, Dun Morogh
60 – 110 Barrens, Loch Modan
110 – 185 Ashenvale, Wetlands
185 – 205 Dustwallow Marsh, Hinterlands
205 – 265 Thousand Needles
265 – 300 Un’Goro Crater
300-360 Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand
360-450 Borean Tundra, Sholazar Basin
450-525 Mount Hyjal

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Guide, Leveling, Professions

 

Tags: , , ,

Priest Leveling: 30-49 Shadow

My Shadow Priest reached level 51 last night, so the time has come to implement the second part of the Shadow Priest leveling guide. If you’re just getting started on a Shadow Priest of your own, or considering one, then I suggest you take a look at the previous guide, Priest Leveling: 1-29 Shadow.

Playing a Shadow Priest
As I said in the 1-29 guide, while the Shadow Priest shares similarities to other classes such as the Affliction Warlock, playing a Shadow Priest is really only like playing a Shadow Priest. At least, that’s what it’s like if you keep it to game terms. If you broaden your mind a bit though, it’s actually a lot like playing a Sith Lord. “Hello, I am Darth Psynister, and I’m here to flay your mind! /cast !Mind Flay”

You want to talk about Jedi mind tricks? Then you better go roll yourself a Shadow Priest, because you’ve got some minds to start controlling. Granted, we can’t wield cool looking lightsabers, but who needs a 3 foot sword that can cut through anything when you’ve got a 40 yard Mind Flay that can cut through brains? We might not be able to jump fifty feet into the air with a triple front flip, but we can walk on air and hover over water with nothing but the sheer power of our minds (and levitate spell).

Shadow Priests do an excellent job of combining spells that deal damage, restore health, and hinder opponents into a very appealing package wrapped in shadowy goodness.

Shadow-Specific Tips
The first thing to know is that if you’ve been having mana problems then today is a day of rejoicing. Well, it is if you’re in this level range at least. During this span of 20 levels you get three tools that help you keep your mana topped off during and after every fight.

Up to this point playing a Shadow Priest is all about maximizing damage while minimizing mana costs. Now that we have the means to control our mana replenishment it’s time to fully embrace the shadow and start doing what we do best – melt faces.

The most important tip I can give you about playing a Shadow Priest is to learn how to ninja kills. If you’re playing solo then you don’t have to worry about the ninja’ing part so much, but if you’re in a group then you should get as much practice as you can at stealing the killing blow on every target possible. Shadow Word: Death is the key to keeping your mana high. In this level range you’ll have both a glyph and a talent that allow SW:Death to restore your mana on use.

The reason why mana is so important is because now you can also start to cast your DoT spells much more frequently. You’ll see an increase in your kill speed as well as how fast you can burn through kill quests by spreading DoT’s across several mobs at a time. By getting spells and abilities that also grant you and your party healing based on the damage you deal you’re also able to stay alive in situations that most other cloth-wearing casters would have a trip to the spirit healer.

Shadow Priests aren’t designed to burn things down with massive bursts of damage, instead they’re meant to overwhelm their targets with so much damage from so many different sources at once that they can’t even get to you before they’re dead. And when a Shadow Priest tells someone to die, they list.

Important Spells & Abilities
There aren’t all that many new spells that get introduced in this level range. The spells that do get introduced though, are a pretty big deal.

  • Shackle Undead: Shackles the target undead enemy for up to 50 sec. The shackled unit is unable to move, attack or cast spells. Any damage caused will release the target. Only one target can be shackled at a time.
  • Shadow Word: Death: A word of dark binding that inflicts Shadow damage to the target. Deals three times as much damage to targets below 25% health. If the target is not killed by Shadow Word: Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.
  • Levitate: Allows the friendly party or raid target to levitate, floating a few feet above the ground. While levitating, the target will fall at a reduced speed and travel over water. Any damage will cancel the effect. Lasts 2 min.
  • Mind Vision: Allows the caster to see through the target’s eyes for 1 min. Will not work if the target is in another instance or on another continent.
  • Mind Control: Controls a humanoid mind up to level 41, but increases the time between its attacks by 25%. Lasts up to 30 sec.

While you won’t use Shackle Undead on a frequent basis at all, it’s important to be aware of what forms of Crowd Control you have available in your class. This spell effectively removes one undead target from the fight for 50 seconds, or until damaged. As Discipline spell you can cast it in Shadowform safely.

Shadow Word: Death is the most important spell for you to get familiar with in this bracket. A lot of people get a little freaked out by the part where it deals damage to you too if you don’t kill the target with it, but that’s why you’re going to practice using it on every mob you face. You’ll lessen the damage you take with talent points, though it’s not anything to worry about in the first place, really.

Levitate is one of those spells that’s just plain useful. In relation to combat about the only time I use it is when I’ve got some great terrain I can take advantage of where I can DoT the mobs and have them chase me up a cliff and then I can just off and Levitate down slowly while they continue to chase me and my DoT’s kill them off without me ever getting hit. Otherwise it’s useful in getting around pre-flying mount and for fishing if you like to fish on the water where mobs won’t (usually) attack you.

Normally I wouldn’t even bother mentioning Mind Vision, but its usefulness in PvP is worth mentioning. You can follow people just about everywhere with this spell so you can either use it on your own teammates to be an extra scout for them or you can cast it on the enemy flag carrier to know exactly where he’s hiding or the path he’s taking if he’s running away. It’s a sweet spell to have in PvP even if it’s usefulness in dungeons or solo questing is pretty limited. If you’re trying to find a special mob that you can’t see though, you do have the option of using a “/target MobName” to target them and then using this to see where they actually are.

Mind Control is the reason I got interested in Priests in the first place. Being able to take control of your target and make them do what you want is a lot of fun, especially in PvP. The only thing I like more than knocking people off of cliffs is making them jump off “voluntarily”. It’s especially fun when the target is in PvP and knows the effect and what’s about to happen, and then the spell breaks because of damage and they don’t take control back immediately because they expected to die, and then you grab them again just as they find hope and fling them off the cliff anyway. I love this spell.

Leveling a Shadow Priest

  • Questing Single Mob: Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word:Pain, Mind Flay, Shadow Word:Death
  • This is my rotation right now for killing single targets. Prior to level 49 when you actually learn Vampiric Touch, just substitute it with a Mind Blast instead. The point here is to start the damage on the target with the DoT’s/MindBlast, use the Mind Flay to help speed the drop the target to 25% Health or less and then finish them off with a SW:Death cast.

    If the target isn’t at 25% by the time Mind Flay finishes you need to make a judgement call. Either you Mind Flay them again because they’re way over 25% health, or you just sit there and wait a few seconds for your DoT’s to get them there, and then you finish them with SW:Death.

    If my target isn’t high enough for another Mind Flay I usually just go grab another target and start doing the same thing to it while I wait for the previous target to get within SW:Death range, then I’ll switch target to them, SW:Death, and then back to my current target. I suggest you use a Name Plates addon if you’re not using one already. My addon of choice for this is called TidyPlates/ThreatPlates because it also makes the nameplates show agro so I know when I need to back off to let my tank get agro back.

  • Questing Multi-Mob: Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague (first target) – Vampiric Touch, SW:Pain (second target) – SW:Death to finish targets
  • The way this one works doesn’t necessarily come out in listing the spells, so here’s the deal. Pick a target and cast Vampiric Touch followed by an immediate Devouring Plague. Remember, you can only have Devouring Plague on one target at a time, but having all three of your DoT’s on a non-boss is typically overkill. So the first target gets Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague and then your additional targets get Vampiric Touch and SW:Pain.

    Whenever you see one of the mobs getting close enough that SW:Death can finish them off, use it. Once your Devouring Plague target dies, use it in place of SW:Pain on the next mob you pull. Two DoT’s should be all you need to kill the mobs, or at least get them close enough that SW:Death can finish them off. If you find that you aren’t doing enough to kill them with that go ahead and add in Mind Blast first (because it will trigger Replenishment from Vampiric Touch to restore 10% of your mana) and Mind Flay when Mind Blast is on cooldown.

    I also suggest you go ahead and bubble yourself after pulling the first or second target just to on the safe side. Kill off all the targets you can with SW:Death to trigger its mana regeneration as well, and don’t worry if it doesn’t kill them since Masochism will kick in at that point to reward you with 10% of your mana anyway. Just be sure to keep an eye on your health when pulling several mobs and using SW:Death because it does have the chance to be deadly if overused when you’re already taking heavy damage.

  • LFG Trash Rotation: Shadow Word: Pain (all targets), Vampiric Touch (one target), Mind Blast/Mind Flay (as needed), SW:Death when possible
  • For LFG trash I like to go ahead and spread SW:Pain around to all of the mobs first because it’s an instant cast. After all of them have their DoT’s I’ll go ahead and Vampiric Touch one of them just to trigger Replenishment with my next Mind Blast, and then I’ll just switch between Mind Blast and Mind Flay to finish everything off.

    The point is to get some damage rolling on all of the mobs from your DoT and then burn them down one at a time with your direct damage spells (Blast/Flay), using SW:Death to kill them off whenever possible.

    Remember, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, if you get the chance to kill something with SW:Death – do it. Priests and Warriors are the only classes that I know of that have a special ability that triggers off of landing killing blows that’s actually significant. For Priests it’s mana regen via the Spirit Tap glyph and for Warriors it’s additional damage and healing via Victory Rush (I love that spell). Stealing killing blows from other Priests and Warriors is kind of mean, so at least consider whether or not you’re sure you want to steal a kill from one of them, but for all other classes just remember – you’re a Sith Lord, not some code-following Jedi.

  • LFG Boss Rotations: Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Blast, SW:Death, Mind Flay x2, Mind Blast
  • This is the rotation I prefer to use with a boss fight. You start it off by applying all three of your DoT’s, then a Mind Blast to trigger the replenishment effect for your party. SW:Death comes next to deal some instant damage and also give you back 10% of your mana form the Masochism talent followed by Mind Flay casts until Mind Flay comes off of cooldown.

    Refresh your DoT’s as needed and cast Mind Blast when it’s not on cooldown both for the damage and for the replenishment effect. SW:Death will help you keep your own mana topped off, but feel free to skip casting it if you feel like you’re dealing too much damage to yourself to justify casting it. Sniping a boss kill with SW:Death is a lot harder than normal mobs because so many different people will be hitting it at the same time that you’ll usually end up casting it too early or the boss is dead before you get the cast off.

    Talent Spec: 49 Shadow Priest

    • Improved Mind Blast (+2) 3/3: Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Blast spell by 2 sec., and while in Shadowform your Mind Blast also has a 100% chance to reduce all healing done to the target by 10% for 10 sec.
    • Improved Psychic Scream 2/2: Reduces the cooldown of your Psychic Scream spell by 4 sec.
    • Vampiric Embrace 1/1: Fills you with the embrace of Shadow energy, causing you to be healed for 6% and other party members to be healed for 3% of any single-target Shadow spell damage you deal for 30 min.
    • Masochism 2/2: When you take a damaging attack equal to or greater than 10% of your total health or damage yourself with your Shadow Word: Death, you instantly gain 10% of your total mana.
    • Silence 1/1: Silences the target, preventing them from casting spells for 5 sec. Non-player victim spellcasting is also interrupted for 3 sec.
    • Mind Melt 1/2:
      Increases the damage done with your Shadow Word: Death by 15% on targets at or below 25% health, and when you deal damage with Mind Spike, the cast time of your next Mind Blast is reduced by 25% lasting 6 sec. Mind Melt can stack up to 2 times.
    • Vampiric Touch 1/1: Causes 540 Shadow damage over 15 sec to your target and causes up to 10 party or raid members to gain 1% of their maximum mana per 10 sec when you deal damage from Mind Blast.

    The first thing on the list here is to finish off Improved Mind Blast so that we can get that cooldown reduced and use it more often. If you already spent points here then I suggest you put those two points into Twisted Faith instead so that you can turn your Spirit into Hit Rating.

    Improved Psychic Scream by itself isn’t all that great unless you’re really using Scream a lot, but the reason we’re taking it is to open up access to Silence further down the tree. If you don’t want either of these two talents, which I know some of you will not, then I suggest putting 2 points into Harnessed Shadows to increase your Shadow Orb generation and move the point in Silence over to Mind Melt to max it.

    Vampiric Embrace is an excellent buff that causes your direct damage spells to heal you and your party for a percentage of the damage that you do. You want to keep this buff active at all times.

    Masochism is the moon to our mana pool’s sun, otherwise known as Shadow Word: Death. It causes you to restore 10% of your Total Mana any time a single attack hits you for at least 10% of your health or when you damage yourself with SW:Death. So if you cast SW:Death and it doesn’t kill them, then this talent restores 10% of your mana, but if it does kill them then the Glyph of Spirit Tap will restore 12% of your total mana. It’s a win-win situation.

    Silence is an excellent tool. If you’re just solo questing then you can probably skip this one because casters aren’t going to be a huge threat to you. If you’re doing LFG or PvP though, then you want to be able to use this. The main reason I took it was to get the casters to close into melee range on the ignorant tanks I was running with who didn’t know to pull melee mobs onto the casters so they would stop trying to kill our healers.

    Mind Melt has a couple of really cool effects, though we only benefit from one of them in this level bracket. Increasing the damage that SW:Death deals to targets below 25% health helps to ensure that you get your 12% mana returns from the Glyph of Spirit Tap when you kill targets with SW: Death. I only have one point in it for now, but the next talent point we get outside of this bracket I placed here to increase it further.

    Vampiric Touch is the final touch we were waiting for to solidify the end of our mana issues. This spell is a DoT with a cast time, but we can put it on any number of targets. It also has the added benefit of causing a Replenishment effect on up to 10 raid/party members in your group when you cast Mind Blast. Replenishment causes the targets to restore 10% of their maximum mana over 10 seconds. Once you get this spell it becomes the one you’ll use to pull from here on.

    Glyphs

    Prime Glyhphs

    Even though mana issues melt away in this level range and you can more freely use your DoT’s, I still think that Mind Flay is the best choice here because of how often you’ll end up casting it, especially on boss fights. Using SW:Pain will increase your DPS on trash in LFG if you’re spreading your DoT’s around, but you’ll have to decide how important that is to you. I would freely support the use of either one, though.

    Major Glyphs

    • Glyph of Spirit Tap: When you kill a target with your Shadow Word: Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 sec.
    • Glyph of Fade: Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.
    • Glyph of Psychic Scream: Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.

    Without a doubt, your major glyph of choice is Spirit Tap. This glyph is what causes you to stop having mana issues. I’ve recently found that I’m pulling threat like crazy, so I’m pushing Fade up a bit in the priority list. Psychic Scream is a decent option, especially if you’re going to run LFG, but I generally cast this when soloing or in PvP where I would prefer the targets flee.

    Minor Glyphs

    I don’t find Levitate to be nearly as useful as a Mage’s Slowfall spell, but it’s not a bad substitute so I like to be able to cast it without having to worry about a reagent. Fortitude is a great option if you like to chain LFG runs for quick and easy experience as it will cut down on your mana consumption. You shouldn’t have problems with mana, but there’s no reason to waste it, right? Fading isn’t bad, especially if you find yourself pushing your tank’s threat a lot. Where Fortitude reduces your mana spending outside of combat, Fading does so during combat so you might find it more useful.

    Gearing Up Your Priest
    At this level range you should have enough of your mana returning spells and effects that Spirit isn’t quite so important now as far as mana is concerned. Spirit is still a good stat to have, especially with points in Twisted Faith turning it into Hit Rating, but at this point I wouldn’t bother stacking it above other stats that are more important to your DPS.

    Stat Priority: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit

    So I’ve changed up the priority list just a little bit, dropping Spirit down a couple of notches because it’s not as important anymore. Intellect is always the top priority for DPS casters as it provides mana, spellpower, and spell crit. I have Haste ranked next because it can increase your DPS in multiple ways, but it’s especially good for classes that make use of DoT’s. I bumbed Crit up in the list mostly because of the drop in Spirit’s importance, but also because watching all of your DoT’s crit and taking a target from 85% down to 14% is a wonderful sight to see, and makes excellent SW:Death fodder for refilling your mana pool.

     
    10 Comments

    Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Leveling, Priest

     

    Tags: ,

    Priest Leveling: 1-29 Shadow

    I covered Shadow Priests just a couple of months ago, but a lot of the feedback I got was from people who were having a much harder time than I was leveling their Priests. So rather than continuing on I deleted my Priest and started over to take another look at it with a special focus on watching my mana and my downtime.

    What I found was that I did in fact have a lot of mana issues at various stages of play if I stuck to a specific rotation. I also found that I naturally change my rotations based on my mana without actively thinking of doing so. So I changed how I did that and tried to stick to specific rotations and watch my mana to see what works and what doesn’t in various situations.

    Playing a Shadow Priest
    In the past I’ve linked Shadow Priests to Affliction Warlocks as both classes/specs focus on using DoT’s and Drains for the majority of their damage, with some direct damage spells thrown in to help speed up the killing process. While the similarities are there, the classes actually play much differently while leveling. For example, on my Affliction Warlock I simply cast my DoT’s on my current target and then go find another target while I wait on the first one to die. With the Shadow Priest I can’t rely solely on my DoT’s because the biggest part of my damage is actually my drain (Mind Flay).

    So basically, playing a Shadow Priest isn’t really like playing a Warlock, it’s like playing a Shadow Priest.

    Shadow Priests have more survivability than any other DPS caster. You have defensive spells such as bubbles and heals, you have spells that heal you while you deal damage with them, and the spell you cast more than any other applies a slowing effect that means you’ll rarely have a mob close in to melee range before it’s dead. And if that wasn’t enough, you also have fear effects to send them all running away (or cowering).

    Shadow-Specific Tips
    In my previous Shadow Priest guide I mentioned that you have two types of DPS spells, but really you have three: channeled spells (Mind Flay), direct damage (Mind Blast), and DoT’s (Shadow Word: Pain). Knowing how those work and how/when to use them determines how effective you are at playing the class. The most important thing to do early on is to learn your spells.

    Right now Shadow Priests have more trouble with mana issues than any other class in the game. Healers can run out of mana in no time if they cast the wrong spells, but Priests can run out of mana in no time even casting the right spells. The key is to know your spells. You need to be aware of how much damage your spells can deal, and how much mana it takes to cast the.

    DoT = OOM: The first thing you need to know about playing a Shadow Priest is that even though DoT’s are a big deal for you, casting them is a complete waste of mana if they don’t have time to deal their damage. If you cast Shadow Word: Pain on a target and then promptly kill it within the next 2 seconds then congratulations, you just wasted your mana.

    • Mind Flay: 9% base mana
    • Mind Blast: 17% base mana
    • SW:Pain: 22% base mana
    • Devouring Plague: 25% base mana

    Channel Time = Up Time: The next thing that you need to know is that Mind Flay is your best friend. The more you use Mind Flay, the less time you’re going to spend drinking in between pulls. Mind Flay deals great damage, it slows the target’s movement speed, and it has the cheapest mana cost of all of your damaging spells. You can cast Mind Flay 2.5 times for the same mana cost of a single Shadow Word: Pain, or 2.8 times for the same mana cost of a single Devouring Plague.

    Important Spells & Abilities
    Priests have a fair number of spells and abilities at their disposal, so it’s always good to know which ones you have available to you. I’m not going to list every spell that you get here, I’m just going to point out the ones that you’ll use at least fairly often while leveling. Number in parenthesis after spell names indicate the level at which you can train the spell.

    Level 1-10

    • Smite (1): Smite an enemy for 33 to 35 Holy damage.
    • Shadow Word: Pain (4): A word of darkness that causes 66 Shadow damage over 18 sec.
    • Power Word: Shield (6): Draws on the soul of the friendly target to shield them, absorbing 177 damage. Lasts 30 sec. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage.
    • Inner Fire (7): A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, increasing the armor value from items by 60% and spell power by ??. Lasts 30 min.
    • Mind Blast (10): Blasts the target for 50 to 52 Shadow damage.
    • Mind Flay (10-Shadow Spec): Assault the target’s mind with Shadow energy, causing Shadow damage over 3 sec and slowing their movement speed by 50%.

    Smite is your starting spell, and your primary nuke for your first 10 levels. Typical Priest leveling involves Smite-spam where you just cast this over and over until things are dead (2-3 casts in most cases). I would tell you not to get used to casting it since this is the only guide you’ll see it in, but you really don’t have any choice at this level. As a Holy spell, you cannot cast Smite in Shadowform.

    At level 4 you get Shadow Word: Pain which is your bread and butter DoT (damage over time) spell. You’ll use this one for the rest of your shadowy career, so get used to it, but it’s also one of the highest mana costs, so don’t just fling it around carelessly.

    Power Word: Shield is your “bubble” spell, absorbing damage for you so that you don’t actually take damage. It’s a great spell while you’re leveling in this bracket or when you need to act as a healer. You’ll use it quite a bit while leveling, especially when you’re doing it solo. PW:S is a Holy spell, but it falls under the Discipline tree so it can be cast while in Shadowform. Use it on yourself when soloing, or on your tank when using LFG (unless your healer is a Priest, then leave the bubbles to them).

    Inner Fire is your first real buff, and one you want to keep up at all times. It provides you with a bonus to your Armor which will make you take less damage in combat, and it also provides you with a nice Spellpower boost. While Inner Fire is a Holy spell, it’s listed under the Discipline tree so it can be cast while in Shadowform.

    Mind Blast is your first shadow nuke, dealing decent damage with a fairly short cast time. The 8 second cooldown on it prevents you from spamming it, but if you wanted to just constantly nuke things to death then you would have rolled a Mage, right?

    For choosing to become a Shadow Priest at level 10 you’re awarded use of the Mind Flay spell. Mind Flay is a channeled spell that deals a lot of damage over 3 seconds and also slows the target by 50% while it’s being channeled. This is your most mana-efficient spell, and the slowing effect is one of your best defensive tools by keeping melee mobs away from you.

    Level 11-20

    • Power Word: Fortitude (14): Power infuses all party and raid members, increasing their Stamina for 1 hour. If the target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected.
    • Psychic Scream (14): The caster lets out a psychic scream, causing 5 enemies within 8 yards to flee for 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    • Holy Fire (20): Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cause 45 to 55 Holy damage and an additional 14 Holy damage over 7 sec.

    Power Word: Fortitude is another buff that you want up at all times, which will increase your party’s Stamina for 1 hour. PW:Fort is another Holy spell found in the Discipline tree, so it can be cast while in Shadowform.

    Psychic Scream is your version of crowd control and/or emergency button. It causes up to 5 targets around you to run away in fear for 8 seconds or until damaged. I like to use it while questing by casting SW:Pain on several targets to draw them to me and then using Scream to send them running away where I’ll pick them all off with either spells or my wand (assuming SW:P isn’t enough to kill them by itself). Just remember, the damage from your DoT’s will break the effect, so it’s best used before you start spreading SW:P, or when you’re taking a lot of damage and need a chance to escape.

    I list Holy Fire here only because it’s a good spell to use in this leveling range when you’re pulling a boss or an elite mob with a lot of health. It does good damage and has a longer cast time than all of your Shadow nukes, and it also has a DoT effect for extra damage. You won’t use it anymore once you get Shadowform at 29, but until then it’s a decent damaging spell. Once you reach level 29 and pick up Shadowform you can forget that this spell exists.

    Level 21-29

    • Fade (24): Fade out, temporarily reducing all your threat for 10 sec.
    • Dispel Magic (26): Dispels magic on the target, removing 2 harmful spell from a friend or 2 beneficial spell from an enemy.
    • Devouring Plague (28): Afflicts the target with a disease that causes 88 Shadow damage over 24 sec. 15% of damage caused by the Devouring Plague heals the caster. This spell can only affect one target at a time.

    At level 24 you get Fade, to reduce your threat generated. If you’re solo questing then it doesn’t do much of anything for you. It has some small amount of value in PvP against player pets if used properly, but it really shines in dungeons so that you don’t draw agro, or to lose that agro if you do happen to draw it.

    Dispel Magic is how you’ll get rid of debuffs that hit you, or how you remove buffs from enemy targets. You’ll probably use that one more for PvP in this level range, but it’s good to know you have it. If you do a lot of dungeon runs you’ll start to see debuffs around the level 30 range that are worth clearing off with this. As a member of the Discipline tree, Dispel Magic can be cast while in Shadowform.

    Last up we have our other Shadow DoT for this level range, Devouring Plague. The great thing about this one is that it also heals you for 15% of the damage that it deals. While that might not be a huge amount of healing by itself, when you combine that with the 15% damage reduction from being in Shadowform and the ability to bubble and/or heal yourself you can really start to see just how powerful a Shadow Priest can really be. But just so you don’t forget, Devouring Plague is the highest mana cost spell you have so don’t cast it when it’s not needed.

    Leveling a Shadow Priest

    • Questing Single Mob: Mind Blast, Mind Flay, Mind Flay
    • Questing Multi-Mob: (First target) Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain – (Adds) SW:Pain, Mind Flay
    • LFG Trash Rotation: Shadow Word: Pain (all targets), Mind Blast/Mind Flay (as needed)
    • LFG Boss Rotations: Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Blast, Mind Flay x3, Mind Blast

    The rotations I had in my last guide suck. They didn’t suck for me, but they sucked for a lot of my readers. Why? Because not everyone loads their toons with enchanted gear from level 1. My level 1 toons generally have around 760 Mana, and I usually top 1,000 by level 8-10 to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

    So if you were following the previous guide, please accept my apologies for leading you astray. Now, on to rotations that actually work.

    I’ve got a few different rotations here so that you can find one that fits your play style. The rotation I don’t mention is the one you use prior to level 10, which is simply spamming Smite until everything is dead. Once you get to level 10 these options start to open up for you.

    The first rotation up there is what I typically do. It costs 35% of your base mana in total. It will basically kill any mob you come across while questing. If you find that it’s not enough then you can either use your wand to finish them off or add either a third Mind Flay or a second Mind Blast.

    The second rotation is one I use when I know I’m going to pull more than one mob just because of how close they are to each other. It costs 39% of your base mana to kill the first target, and another 31% for each additional target. The damage from SW:Pain is almost enough to kill any mob you find while questing, but you don’t want to sit there taking damage from multiple sources while you wait the 18 seconds it takes for SW:Pain to do its full damage. So by loading another damage spell into the mix as well you significantly lower the amount of time it takes to kill them. If you’re facing more than 2 mobs, be sure to cast SW:P on all of them before you cast the Mind Flay on your second target.

    When it comes to trash in LFG you need to make a decision based on how quickly the group is killing the mobs. If the mobs die quickly then just use the single mob questing rotation instead. If it takes more than 10 seconds for the mobs to start dying though, go ahead and use the LFG Trash Rotation, which is to spam SW:Pain on all of the targets and then pick one of them to start burning down with Mind Blast and Mind Flay casts. I’ll generally Mind Blast one of the targets with less health to speed its death, and then I’ll start the Mind Flays on the mobs that have the most health.

    Also, when using LFG I like to cast Fade before it becomes an issue, so I’ll cast it right after spreading SW:P to all targets during trash. Boss fights are based on how well my tank has done with threat so far. If he’s good on threat then I’ll Fade after the second Mind Blast, otherwise I’ll do it after the first Mind Blast.

    Talent Spec: 29 Shadow Priest

    I’ve got two talent specs for you to choose from here. The one that I prefer is the one on the left which puts two points into Twisted Faith for a 2% increase to Shadow Damage and counts all of my Spirit as Hit. The second option uses those two points to max out Improved Mind Blast which reduces its cooldown by 2 seconds and reduces healing on the target by 10%. I don’t like to miss, so I prefer to get Twisted Faith early, but if you would rather get more Mind Blast casts in then feel free to choose Option 2.

    • Darkness 3/3: Spell haste increased by 3%.
    • Improved Shadow Word: Pain 2/2: Increases the damage of your Shadow Word: Pain spell by 6%.
    • Twisted Faith 2/2: Increases your shadow spell damage by 2%, and grants you spell hit rating equal to 100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects.
    • Improved Mind Blast 1/3: Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Blast spell by 0.5 sec., and while in Shadowform your Mind Blast also has a 33% chance to reduce all healing done to the target by 25% for 10 sec.
    • Improved Devouring Plague 2/2: Your Devouring Plague instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its total periodic effect.
    • Shadowform: [Instant cast] Assume a Shadowform, increasing your Shadow damage by 15%, reducing all damage done to you by 15%, and increasing all party and raid members spell haste by 5%. However, you may not cast Holy spells while in this form.

    I decided to switch things up a little bit this time and I found in leveling the new Priest that it was better for me to start with Darkness for the increased Haste and then fill in with Improved SW:Pain after. You can do them in either order, but I like how good that Haste is at low levels.

    From there I suggest going Twisted Faith first to improve our hit chance. I used to not worry about Hit very much at all while leveling, but after leveling my Rogue I’ve seen the real value in hit while leveling, so I suggest you go ahead and pick this up now. Improved Mind Blast shortens the cooldowns for one of our nukes, and has a PvP’ish benefit to reduce healing as well. If you don’t like Twisted Fate, feel free to move it’s points over to this for now and then fill TF in at later levels where the hit will be more important. You’ll want 3/3 here eventually anyway so that choice is yours.

    Improved Devouring Plague won’t help you much when you first start putting points into it, because you won’t actually get the spell until level 28 though I’m suggesting you take the points in this talent at 25 and 27. Even though those points get “wasted” for a few levels it will pay off once you get the spell.

    At level 29 we get the signature Shadow Priest ability, Shadowform with a 15% damage increase, a 15% reduction of damage taken, and a 5% Haste buff that we grant to our whole party.

    Glyphs

    Prime Glyhphs

    In the previous guide I had SW:Pain listed first because I’m a DoT spreading fool. Taking another look at things while paying attention to my mana and all though, I have to say that Mind Flay takes the top slot because it’s going to be cast more often. I believe in Patch 4.0.6 they’re also changing the glyph so that it’s a straight damage increase, taking away the SW:Pain requirement. Shadow Word: Pain is still a great glyph though, especially if you’re looking at doing some LFG runs for those boss fights and large trash packs.

    Major Glyphs

    • Glyph of Psychic Scream: Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.
    • Glyph of Fade: Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.

    I have two options for your Major glyphs as well. I’m going to rank Psychic Scream above Fade here strictly because Fade has no use (at this level) while soloing. If you’re a solo quester, go for the Scream. If you’re going to do a lot of dungeon runs or if you like to PvP a lot, then I suggest you go with Fade first instead. Again, you’ll end up using both of them eventually, so you can’t really go wrong here.

    HOWEVER – If you’re low on cash or glyphs are really high in price on your server, ignore your Major glyph for right now and wait until you can use the Glyph of Spirit Tap at level 32.

    Minor Glyphs

    Two options for Minor glyphs too. Since you’ll use PW:Fortitude both soloing and in groups, it’s the clear winner for me. Fading will only be used when you’re in a group. Just from the frequency of casting them I’d go Fortitude over Fading, but either one will work. Minor glyphs are just that, minor, so don’t worry about screwing this one up as neither one really provides any significant benefit.

    Again, if glyphs are high priced or you’re low on cash, you might want to wait until level 34 and use the Glyph of Levitate to remove the reagent requirement from the spell.

    Gearing Up Your Priest
    As a typical caster you’re most interested in Intellect since it increases your total mana, your spellpower, and your spell critical strike chance. However, unlike most other DPS casters you also benefit from Spirit. If you put points in the Twisted Faith talent then your spirit counts as Hit rating which is a nice bonus, but Spirit is also the stat that determines your mana regeneration rate. As the class and spec with the most mana issues in the game right now, you can use all the mana returns you can get your shadowy fingers on.

    Mana Issues: Intellect > Spirit >= Haste > Crit
    No Mana Issues: Intellect > Haste > Spirit > Crit

    Intellect is the most important stat because it has a more direct effect on your performance than any other.

    I listed Spirit and Haste as being roughly equal because even though Haste is actually a better stat for your DPS, Spirit plays a big role right now in our poor mana regen and has the benefit of giving Hit if you’re specced for it as well.

    Now that all of our spells can score critical hits, including our DoT’s, Critical Strike Rating has become more appealing. I wouldn’t rank it higher than the others with the possible exception of Spirit if you’re having no mana issues at all, but it definitely has an impact and the more you have the better. I would take all of the other stats over Crit though, unless it’s truly an absurdly large amount of Crit for your level (not likely).

     
    15 Comments

    Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Leveling, Priest

     

    Mage Leveling: 1-29 Frost

    Today we’re getting back to the leveling guides, this time with the low level Frost Mage. I originally had the Frost and Fire posts combined, but decided that since the style of play really is different now that Frost has a pet that they deserved their own posts.

    Right now I plan on bouncing back and forth between the two specs until I get you all the way to the level cap and then whether or not I do an Arcane post will be decided by whether or not I roll an Arcane Mage… which isn’t very likely.

    But, first thing’s first:



    Playing a Frost Mage
    As I mentioned in the 1-29 Fire post, each Mage spec has it’s own focus or specialty, and for Frost that is control. Frost is the king of control and survival, taking me back to the days where I dominated Magic: the Gathering tournaments with something we called a Stasis Deck…

    .. oh, sorry. What were we talking about? Oh, Frost Mages. Yeah, sorry about that. It’s been a long time.

    So yeah, Frost is all about controlling your opponents, whether they be mobs or other players. Cataclysm actually increased our control capabilities by giving us more ways to freeze our targets and also by making the Water Elemental a permanent pet. They also did us the favor of providing one of our most effective damaging spells, Ice Lance, at level 28 rather than waiting until after level 60, so we’re now able to turn the defensive freezing effects into deadly offensive damage.

    But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because we have more control means that we deal less damage. Sure, our spells might be slightly lower in damage than the other specs’, but by combining control with the proper spells you can actually deal more damage in a single hit than either of the other two specs.



    General Mage Tactics
    Mages are known for two things: Being hard to kill, and being incredibly squishy. That’s right, we’re hard to kill because we’re so easy to kill. Why are we easy to kill? Because we wear t-shirts instead of plate armor. Why are we hard to kill? Because we’re often able to kill you before you can do anything to make our t-shirts matter.

    As a spellcaster your primary source of defense is to stay away from things that want to hurt you. That doesn’t mean avoiding combat, it means avoiding damage. You’re a ranged class, so don’t get into melee combat when you don’t have to. That doesn’t mean you have to run away from everything, but it does mean you don’t want to run up and hit things with your staff or stab them with a dagger when you could instead cast several spells at them before they can cause you any harm.

    Mages have more crowd control options than any other class, in general. Warlocks can beat us when it comes to using CC on certain types of mobs because they have spells that work on things that we don’t, but generally speaking we’re the kings of CC. We can freeze, stun, slow, and polymorph our targets and in some cases we can do those to multiple enemies at once.

    Mages also have a number of defensive spells that can either prevent damage or remove harmful effects. If you’re stunned or “rooted” (you can’t move because of a spell/effect) you can cast Blink and it will remove those effects from you. If you are poisoned or diseased you can cast Ice Block to remove all of those effects as well. And if you’re about to die you can always just jump off of a cliff…just make sure you cast Slow Fall before you hit the ground.

    While you won’t see it in this level range, Frost also has additional defensive tools that the other specs do not as well as offering talents that can lower the cooldown time of some of those abilities that allow them even more control and survival.

    Frost-Specific Tips
    Prior to 4.x being released the people who disliked Frost did so because they felt their spells hit for less damage, which was true. The trade off was that Frost spells also had shorter cast times and they did have to give up some damaging potential in exchange for their increased survivability. But the real problem was that so many people who played Mages were afraid of getting killed in melee that they overplayed their defenses to stay alive even if there wasn’t any real threat.

    So here are some things to keep in mind when you’re playing a Frost Mage:

    1. Use your pet – constantly.
    2. Use the terrain to your advantage.
    3. Use the extra time to cast additional spells.
    4. Take advantage of Crowd Control.
    5. Chill, there’s no need to hurry.

    Use Your Pet: The biggest mistake that Frost Mages are making right now is that they’re trying to treat their pet like a Warlock treats his, which is to say they just leave it alone and let it do its thing. The Water Elemental can do some decent damage with his attack, but his real value is actually in his special ability called Freeze. At level 10 when you get the pet this ability is mostly helpful in the form of defense by keeping mobs away from you, or in keeping fleeing mobs from bringing other mobs into the mix. Macro this ability. Use it. Love it. Embrace it.

    Terrain: As a caster you have the huge advantage of being able to use terrain to your benefit where melee classes cannot. If you’re fighting mobs that fight back with melee rather than ranged attacks or spells of their own, then make use the terrain. You can cast your spells through trees, or from the top of a hill or a wall. The time that it takes your target to reach you is time that you have to freely cast your spells. Casting from the opposite side of a tree makes the mob run around the tree to get to you, effectively making the distance between you longer. Doing the same from the opposite side of a fallen log has the same effect, for example. And you’re playing Frost which means that the mobs chasing you down are moving at a slower speed than usual thanks to your Chill effects. A good Frost Mage who’s able to abuse the terrain is virtually unstoppable.

    Time: I mentioned the travel time of your spells in the Fire guide, and Frost takes advantage of this as well, but in a different way. Rather than using the travel time strictly to queue up our second spell (which we do, but that’s not the only reason) we’re also doing it to use and abuse our Freeze effects. Our talents grant us extra benefits, such as an increased chance to Crit or additional damage, against targets who are frozen. When a spell is cast the game checks to see if there is a frozen debuff on the target and then if so it applies the buffs. One of Frost’s signature damage spells though is Ice Lance which is an instant-cast spell which does double damage (even more later on) against frozen targets and because it’s instant you’re able to take advantage of a Freeze with both a Frostbolt and an Ice Lance cast by taking advantage of Frostbolt’s travel time to cast an instant Ice Lance so that they both get to benefit from the target being frozen.

    Crowd Control: There are three types of CC to bring up here: Slow, Freeze, and Polymorph. Slow refers to any Chill effects you have that slow the target down, primarily Frostbolt. By pulling mobs with a Frostbolt cast you can slow the target’s movement to allow additional time for casting additional spells before they reach you. Freeze is similar, though it prevents movement from the target all together. Frost has the advantage of being able to freeze with Frost Nova, Freeze (pet ability), and Cone of Cold (via talent). You’ll have access to even more freezing abilities later on as well. Polymorph is just that, and typically used when you’ve pulled multiple mobs. If you’ve taken the time to sheep a mob then the best way to break that CC to get back into combat is to move out to max range and then make use of your long-cast time spells such as Fireball in the case of a Frost Mage, or a Frostbolt if you want to immediately apply a slow once Polymorph is broken.

    Chill: Yeah, I know, I’m so punny aren’t I? Like I said before, Frost might be the spec of control and survivability, but it’s still a very deadly spec as well. If a mob is hitting you, but you’re not in immediate threat of dying, then who cares? You can either Freeze them and then relocate for safety, you can Freeze and then lay on the extra damage, or you can just keep right on casting and kill them anyway. If you like to move a lot in combat (like me) then go ahead and do so. If you would rather stay in one place and cast until they die then do that. There are very few times outside of fighting elites or group quest mobs that you’ll actually be killed by a mob in a 1v1 fight in which you pull from range.

    Important Spells & Abilities
    Mages have such an amazingly useful spellbook that it’s really hard to narrow it down to which spells are important and which ones aren’t. Some of them aren’t useful in every fight, but under the right circumstances they’re your go-to spell of choice for the situation. But, I’m going to do my best to remove all of the “but what if…” questions and stick strictly to usefulness for leveling in general circumstances.

    All numbers are taken from the level 29 version (where applicable) of the spell. The number following the spell name is the level at which it becomes available.

    Damage Spells
    Fireball (1): Hurls a fiery ball that causes 63 to 79 Fire damage.
    Arcane Missiles (3): Launches a 3-5 waves of Arcane Missiles at the enemy over 2 sec, causing Arcane damage per wave. Each offensive spell you cast has a 40% chance to activate Arcane Missiles.
    Fire Blast (4): Blasts the enemy for 67 to 79 Fire damage.
    Frostbolt (7): Launches a bolt of frost at the enemy, causing 47 to 59 Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 40% for 9 sec.
    Summon Water Elemental (10): Summon a Water Elemental to fight for the caster.
    Cone of Cold (18): Targets in a cone in front of the caster take 53 to 57 Frost damage and are slowed by 60% for 8 sec.
    Ice Lance (28): Deals 25 to 31 Frost damage to an enemy target, damage doubled against frozen targets.

    I only mention Fireball because when you first roll your Mage you have no other option. You don’t actually get Frostbolt until level 7. Arcane Missiles I only list because up to level 29 it will be your main proc spell, allowing you to get mana-free damage; after level 29 you’ll never cast this again. Fire Blast is one of your most useful spells, dealing better damage on average than Fireball and as an instant cast as well; the only drawback being its cooldown. Fire Blast is one of the few spells that provides great utility no matter what spec you choose.

    At level 7 we actually get the bread and butter spam spell, Frostbolt which deals decent damage and slows the target by 60% for 8 seconds. At level 8 we get our first freeze effect in the form of Frost Nova, freezing the mobs near the caster. Level 10 gives us access to our Summon Water Elemental which provides our second freeze effect, called Freeze (creative, I know), which works just like Frost Nova except that we get to pick where its effect is centered. The details of the elemental’s Freeze spell can be found in the Utility section just below.

    Level 18 gives us Cone of Cold which is a decent spell in its own right being instant cast and dealing AoE damage in a frontal cone, but it also provides yet another freeze effect from the talent points we spend. Finally we have Ice Lance at level 29 which is the key to Frost’s burst damage. It’s an instant cast spell that’s fairly cheap and usually doesn’t deal a whole lot of damage. But, if you cast it on a target that is frozen it will deal double damage instead, putting it slightly ahead of Frostbolt in raw damage if the target is frozen.

    Utility
    Frost Nova (8): Blasts enemies near the caster for 26 to 30 Frost damage and freezes them in place for up to 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    Freeze (Pet 10): Blasts enemies in a 8 yard radius for 27 Frost damage and freezes them in place for up to 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    Evocation (12): Gain 15% of your mana instantly and another 45% of your total mana over 6 sec.
    Polymorph (14): Transforms the enemy into a sheep, forcing it to wander around for up to 50 sec. While wandering, the sheep cannot attack or cast spells but will regenerate very quickly. Any damage will transform the target back into its normal form. Only one target can be polymorphed at a time. Only works on Beasts, Humanoids and Critters.
    Blink (16): Teleports the caster 20 yards forward, unless something is in the way. Also frees the caster from stuns and bonds.

    Frost Nova gets a special mention even though it’s not a Fire spell because it’s such an excellent tool for both offense and defense, often both at the same time. If a mob manages to get into melee range use Frost Nova to keep them in place, move away, and then use the time that they’re frozen to cast another Pyroblast. Evocation is your source of massive mana return, and once glyphed it also restores a good amount of your health as well.

    Polymorph is your primary crowd control (CC) spell, effectively removing the target from combat. If you pull more than one mob, use this on one of them to even the odds and then smack them upside the head with a Pyroblast once the first target is killed. Blink is another one of our signature abilities, a spell that no one else can duplicate save Subtlety Rogues to a much lesser extent. It allows you to teleport 20 yards away in the direction you’re facing and breaks any stuns or roots that have been cast on you.

    Leveling a Mage
    Questing Rotation: Frostbolt, Freeze (Pet), Ice Lance x2, Frostbolt, Frost Nova, Ice Lance
    Optional Rotation: Frostbolt, Ice Lance spam while kiting, Arcane Missile on proc
    Dungeon Rotation: Frostbolt spam, Ice Lance on proc, Arcane Missile on proc

    Frost is often seen as a somewhat boring spec to play, and the rotations up there are your reason why. There’s not a wide variety of damaging Frost spells, so you find yourself doing a whole lot of Frostbolt spam, especially in dungeons since we no longer get Blizzard until we get to the end of Vanilla content.

    The Questing Rotation can also be used in dungeons, but a lot of tanks tend to get pissy when you start freezing things in place with your pet or with Frost Nova. If you’re going to use these in a dungeon be sure to use them in situations where you’re not going to mess things up with the group. For example, don’t use your freeze effects until the mobs are gathered closely around the tank, and if you find that one of them is outside of the range that the tank can currently build agro on then you either need to focus on that target to kill them off quickly or do nothing else to them at all so that the tank doesn’t have to put extra effort into pulling threat.

    The Questing Rotation is going to maximize your Ice Lance damage by applying freeze effects as often as possible. It’s a great tactic for both PvE and PvP, and it allows you to stay fairly mobile with the Ice Lance casts.

    The Optional Rotation is how you’ll see a lot of PvP players utilize a Frost spec, which is slowing the target down and then kiting them around while killing them with Ice Lance casts. If the target does catch up to you just use Freeze or Frost Nova to root them in place, get your distance, bust the freeze with a Frostbolt, and then go back to IL kiting. It’s a “cheap” way to fight, but as long as you’re left alive and they aren’t then who cares, right?

    The Dungeon Rotation is what you’ll use when you have a tank. If you get a Fingers of Frost proc from your talents then switch over to Ice Lance to use the proc, but otherwise stick with Frostbolt spam unless you need to move.

    Procs: Unlike Fire, Frost keeps the Arcane Missiles proc for quite a while, so when you get an AM proc go ahead and use it so long as the target’s not frozen and you don’t have a Fingers of Frost proc to use instead. AM is a decent damaging spell, but Ice Lance takes priority if the target is frozen or if you have a FoF proc. Once you get to 29 and spend your talent point on Fingers of Frost you get your second proc which makes your Ice Lance treat the target as frozen even when it’s not, allowing Ice Lance to do additional damage and benefit from the x3 crit chance.

    Talent Points

    Solo Spec



    Shatter 2/2: Multiplies the critical strike chance of all your spells against frozen targets by 3, and increases the damage done by Frostbolt against frozen targets by 20%.
    Piercing Ice 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your spells by 3%.
    Improved Cone of Cold 2/2: Your Cone of Cold also freezes targets for 4 sec.
    Ice Floes 3/3: Reduces the cooldown of your Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Ice Block, Cold Snap, Ice Barrier, and Icy Veins spells by 20%.
    Fingers of Frost 1/3: Gives your Chill effects a 7% chance to grant you the Fingers of Frost effect, which causes your next Ice Lance or Deep Freeze spell to act as if your target were frozen. Fingers of Frost can accumulate up to 2 charges and lasts 15 sec.

    Shatter is one of your most important talent points. It’s one of the primary keys to your damage output as a Frost Mage. It triples your crit chance against frozen targets and also gives a 20% damage buff to Frostbolt against frozen targets as well. It’s the best DPS increase you can get at that level. Piercing Ice is one of those talents that basically every Mage will take at some point. Free crit chance is free crit chance.

    Improved Cone of Cold gives you a third method of freezing targets, and while you probably won’t have points in this talent at level 85, it’s an excellent addition to your leveling tool belt. The more you can freeze targets in place, the more you can abuse the increased damage, crit chance, and instant cast speed of Ice Lance. Ice Floes is a great tool, providing a faster cooldown of all of your most important spells, allowing you to make use of them more often.

    The final talent point goes into Fingers of Frost which gives your chill effects a chance to proc the Fingers of Frost buff which treats your next Ice Lance cast as though the target were frozen. So IL’s damage is doubled because that’s the way the spell itself works, plus you get triple your crit chance because your points in Shatter, so you’ve got a very high chance of dealing critical strikes every time you cast Ice Lance on a frozen target or when you have a FoF proc.

    Glyphs for Leveling
    You don’t get glyphs now until level 25, but at least you do get to use them a little bit in this level range.

    Prime Glyphs
    Glyph of Ice Lance: Increases the damage of your Ice Lance spell by 5%.
    Glyph of Frostbolt: Increases the critical strike chance of your Frostbolt spell by 5%.

    Ice Lance wins out for me because I primarily level solo so I use a lot more freeze effects which makes the extra damage to IL more appealing overall. If you’re not primarily a solo leveler then Frostbolt is also an excellent spell and you’ll see a better return overall if you use it instead. You’ll use both of these glyphs eventually, so you really can’t go wrong here, just pick the one that fits better for you.

    Major Glyphs
    Glyph of Evocation: Also grants you 40% of your total health over the channeled time of your Evocation spell.
    Glyph of Frost Nova: Your Frost Nova targets can take an additional 20% damage before the Frost Nova effect automatically breaks.

    Evocation is one of the most amazing glyphs that Mages have access to. If you can only afford a single glyph, make it Evocation because the ability to heal yourself on the fly like that for 40% of your total health is amazing.

    Frost Nova isn’t a great replacement, but it can help give you additional Ice Lance casts if you manage to not score crits with your Ice Lances when the target is frozen. Unfortunately the freeze from FN breaks pretty easy regardless, so while it has some potential benefit now and then overall it’s not all that great. It is much better while leveling than it will be at end game though, so it’s not a bad choice even though it’s not optimal.

    Minor Glyphs
    Glyph of the Monkey: Your Polymorph: Sheep spell polymorphs the target into a monkey instead.
    Glyph of the Penguin: Your Polymorph: Sheep spell polymorphs the target into a penguin instead.

    These are your only two options within the level range, and sadly they both essentially do nothing at all. They change the physical appearance of what you change targets into when you polymorph them, and that’s it. Of the two, I definitely prefer Monkey, so that’s my suggestion….or just wait until level 32 and use the Glyph of Slow Fall instead.

    Macro Suggestions
    Frost makes a bit more use of macros thanks to the Water Elemental. The best way to make use of his Freeze spell is to use a macro and add it to your action bars (or you can keybind it directly). You can either have it there by itself like I do, or you can tie it into other spells to make it easier for you to remember.

    #showtooltip
    /cast Freeze

    This macro simply calls up the Freeze spell to be cast and nothing else. This is the version that I use for any special abilities that my pets have, regardless of class. In fact it’s literally the exact same macro with a /cast for every spell that I have a pet that can cast, and I just use a default icon for it. But I’m lazy like that.

    #showtooltip
    /startattack
    /cast Frostbolt
    /cast !Freeze

    This is the version that I made for my wife to use on her Frost Mage. This is the first pet class where having the pet’s special ability activate on demand was especially important, so she’s not used to having to use them. This macro casts your own Frostbolt spell but also brings up the target icon for your pet’s Freeze spell. Many players tend to spam the button needed to cast their spells so the exclamation point in front of Freeze will prevent the target area for constantly going in and out while you spam it because activating it every other time cancels the cast without it.

    Gearing Up for Spellcasting
    Intellect > Crit > Haste > Hit > everything else

    You’re a caster, so Int is your top priority. Crit is number two because your DPS thrives when you manage to crit due to Hot Streak procs and Ignite DoT’s. Haste is good for helping you with those cast times, and it will improve your DoT’s later on when you actually have some. Hit really doesn’t matter while you’re leveling; it’s not a bad stat, it just isn’t all that great either. If you stumble onto some great gear that just so happens to have Hit on it, then grats on your bonus stat, but don’t turn down upgrades to the other stats in favor of Hit at this level.

    The Tailoring profession is a great source of gear throughout the various levels, especially if you plan on soloing your way to the top. You can generally find better gear in instances than you can from tailoring when you are starting out, but you can certainly weave that cloth to fill in any gaps you might have. Don’t discount quest rewards though, because Cataclysm brought a whole new set of quest rewards and some of them are fantastic for their level.

    Whether you use a staff or you go with a one handed weapon and an off hand item is mostly up to you. Use whatever will give you better stats overall and go with it. Typically the low level staffs will be better than other options, but just use whatever you have on hand that provides the most benefit.

    When it comes to Wands, it’s all about the stats. I haven’t used my wand for anything other than killing critters when I’m bored in a very long time. Look for Intellect and Crit above all others for your wand and ignore the damage it can do all together.

     
    8 Comments

    Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Caster, Guide, Leveling, Mage

     

    Professions Leveling: Enchanting 1 – 525

    Continuing on with th e Leveling Professions series, today I’m going to move on to what many consider to be one of the single-hardest professions to level – Enchanting

    Enchanting is a great profession, providing you with some of the most beneficial perks of any profession both while you’re leveling and when you’re nearing end game content as well. It’s also one of those great professions that every class and spec can benefit from as well.

    Just a reminder, the purpose of these guides isn’t to actually tell you what to make, because you can already find that at the same source I go to when it’s time to level professions: WoW-Professions.com. You can click on this link to find their Enchanting Leveling Guide.

    Instead, I’m going to go through the leveling guide and give you the information that you don’t find at WoW-Professions. Things such as bottlenecks in crafting or materials, how I personally go about leveling them (where I deviate from their guides), and some things I like or dislike about the profession. I’ll also give a few tips on how I make gold with the profession, or ways that I might put it to use that aren’t apparent to everyone.

    Getting Started: Materials
    The first thing you need to know about Enchanting is what type of materials you need to craft. Enchanting is its own material source. Almost everything that you do as an Enchanting requires you to get mats from other magical items by destroying them with your Disenchant ability (which you get automatically for picking the Enchanting profession).

    A good profession to pair up with Enchanting is basically any other crafting profession, though the typical pairing is Tailoring because it too does not require a separate gathering profession to fuel its crafting. But really any crafting profession can be of use. Early on Tailoring is definitely your best source, basically all the way through Outlands. Once you get into Northrend and Cataclysm crafting your best companion profession actually becomes Jewelcrafting and to a somewhat lesser extent, Blacksmithing. Though both of those require you to have a source of ore to craft the items that you’ll disenchant for your enchanting materials.

    If you’re looking to power-level the profession you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to find a list of items you want to gather beforehand. If you’re looking to purchase all of the items you need to power-level the profession then you’ll need to be prepared to spend anywhere from 4-12,000g as mats for Enchanting vary widely based on server.

    Trouble Areas
    Almost every profession has some sort of bottleneck, or trouble area where the mats are either hard to find or all of the recipes you have access to are either green or yellow and so only have a chance to skill you up. Enchanting is no exception to this and random numbers being what they are I actually tend to have worse luck with Enchanting than any other profession in this regard.

    As for particular mats that I’ve found through my own experience or from guild members as being trouble areas or bottlenecks, here are the top ones to be prepared for: Lesser Nether Essence/Greater Nether Essence, and Lesser Eternal Essence/Greater Eternal Essence. The good news is all of these are Vanilla mats, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find right now since we’re still early in a new expansion and there will be a lot of people leveling new toons.

    Lesser/Greater Nether Essence always turns out to be one of the bottlenecks that I hear from other people. The reason is that you only have a good chance of getting these essences from weapons that require level 41-49 to use and the 40’s is where gear really starts to ramp up for Vanilla content and where people start to level quicker as they push for Outlands. Armor always seems to drop more often than Weapons do because there are so many more armor slots than weapon slots, but Weapons have higher Essence drop rates and Armor has a higher Dust drop rate. Nether Essences are also used in a number of twink enchants so enchanters are more likely to keep them for their own use than they are to sell them on the AH.

    Lesser/Greater Eternal Essence has the exact same problem as the Nether essence, but it’s an even worse problem. The reason here is that Eternal Essences come from weapons in the level 50-59 range. The increased problem comes from the fact that so many people leave for Outlands the second they hit level 58 so there are two levels worth of content that is rarely farmed for enchanting mats, and people are looking for upgrades for the newer content more so than looking to profit from the mats. While Eternal Essences are also used for twink enchants you can often find them easier and at lower prices than the Nether Essences.

    Outlands, Nothrend, and Cataclysm all did Enchanters a favor because they only have one set of each type of Enchanting material. Outlands uses Arcane Dust, Lesser/Greater Planar Essence, Small/Large Prismatic Shards, and Nexus Crystals. Northrend has a similar setup with Infinite Dust, Lesser/Greater Cosmic Essence, Small/(normal) Dream Shards, and Abyss Crystals. Cataclysm also follows that patten with Hypnotic Dust, Lesser/Greater Celesial Essence, Small/(normal) Heavenly Shards, and Maelstrom Crystals.

    With Vanilla covering 60 levels worth of content instead of just 5-10 there are 5 different types of Dusts and Essences.

    Enchanter’s Special: Rods
    There’s one other thing you need to know about Enchanting in particular and that is that we rely entirely on another profession to profess our out, not for mats, but for tools. In order to progress your skill and make higher level enchants you need to craft various Rods as you go. These Rods are made by Blacksmiths and Blacksmiths alone, so if you don’t have access to one of your own or someone in your guild then you’re going to have to hunt one down in chat or search for them on the AH. The rods themselves are just a material that you’ll then use to create “enchanting” rods.

    You’ll want to get the mats for all of these rods well before you start your crafting or else you might very well find yourself stuck and searching for mats that aren’t always easy to find. So here’s a list of each of the rods, where to get them, what mats you need to craft them, and where to find any special mats or recipes you’ll need for your rod crafting as well.

    Skill 1: Runed Copper Rod no special mats required
    Skill 100: Runed Silver Rod no special mats required
    Skill 150: Runed Golden Rod requires 1x Iridescent Pearl
    Skill 200: Runed Truesilver Rod requires 1x Black Pearl
    Skill 290: Runed Arcanite Rod requires 1x Arcanite Rod which requires 3x Arcanite Bar which are made by Alchemists
    Skill 300: Runed Fel Iron Rod no special mats required
    Skill 350: Runed Adamantite Rod requires 1x Primal Might which are made by Alchemists
    Skill 375: Runed Eternium Rod no special mats required
    Skill 425: Runed Titanium Rod no special mats required
    Skill 515: Runed Elementium Rod requires 6x Heavenly Shards

    While the Heavenly Shards required for the final rod aren’t really “special” mats, they are currently fairly expensive this early in the expansion. You get the shards from disenchanting Cataclysm level Rare (blue quality) items. These blue items will disenchant into either Small Heavenly Shards or normal Heavenly Shards, and you can right-click a stack of 3+ Small Heavenly Shards to turn three of them into a single Heavenly Shard. There aren’t a whole lot of blue quality quest rewards out there so you’re best bet is to craft them yourself or buy them on the Auction House.

    Two of these Rods require you to purchase the pattern to make them rather than being trainable. The first is the Runed Arcanite Rod sold by Lorelae Wintersong in Moonglade, and the second is the Runed Adamantite Rod sold by Vodesiin (A) in Hellfire Peninsula and Rungor (H) in Terrokar Forrest.

    The easiest way to get the pattern for the Runed Arcanite Rod is to roll a Druid alt if you don’t already have one, and get them to level 15 where they’ll learn the spell Teleport: Moonglade. The recipe is limited supply and only sells in a quantity of 1, but it has a decent spawn rate so you shouldn’t have to wait very long if it’s not available when you get there. This recipe also sells very well for 18-35g on most servers I’ve been to.

    The Runed Adamantite Rod has an unlimited quantity and can be most easily purchased by going through the portal in any major faction city to the Dark Portal and then flying from there to your location. Unlimited quantity means it’s easy for you to purchase several copies of it to sell some of them on the AH for 20-35g each.

    You cannot skip any Rods while you are leveling up. You have to move from one rod to the next and each new rod uses the previous level’s rod as one of the mats to craft it. Each higher level rod counts as all of the lower level rods, but you have to have each of the lowers to craft the highers, though only one of each. Everyone always asks me if they can just make the higher level rods or if they can be crafted for them, but you cannot as each “Runed” version of the rod binds immediately when you craft it.

    The only good thing about the Rods being this way really is that you can make some decent profit selling the recipes for those two rods on the AH. Otherwise it’s really quite a drawback if you can’t find the base rods that Blacksmiths craft on the AH and you don’t know any either.

    Notable Special Recipes
    These special recipes are ones that you want to try to purchase beforehand if you can to make your leveling easier. There are a lot of them, so I’ll just list them all below.

    The only recipe that you have to purchase with the enchanter themselves is the last one on the list there because it’s purchased from the Shard Vendor and is Bind on Pickup (BoP). The rest you can buy from vendors or on the AH with any character.

    Because these recipes are used for power-leveling the profession they’re also good recipes for you to pick up when you’re in the area that the vendors happen to be in if you want to list them on the AH for a decent profit.

    Specializations
    Just kidding, Enchanting doesn’t have a specialization.

    However, you will occasionally find Enchanters (like me) who personally “specialize” in a particular type of enchant. For example, I specialize in twink enchants and make a special effort to hunt down or grind any and every enchant I can find that is used for twinking. I have found other people who “specialize” in other enchants such as ones with cool graphic effects or ones for specific classes. They know exactly what kind of visual effect each of their enchants can give so if you’re on a RP server or just want to have a specific look at your character with a weapon with a purple glow (for example) on it, then these are the enchanters you want to seek out.

    The ones who specialize in classes are people who don’t like to “waste” gold learning patterns from the trainer that they will never use (Melee classes not buying Intellect enchants for example); while they probably don’t have anything special to offer over another enchanter, they generally have great advice on which enchants to buy and which to not waste your time on if it’s related to their “spec”.

    Since there’s not an actual specialization for enchanting you’re not going to find people that do this everywhere you go, but it never hurts to ask if you’re looking for something in particular.

    Psynister Preferences
    Enchanting is one of my favorite professions, and any time I move to a new server and actually establish myself there my first main character is always an Enchanter. I’ll have other toons who have gathering professions, but the first real focus on crafting is Enchanting. I like to make myself more powerful whenever I can by utilizing enchants, so I don’t like to stay anywhere without access to enchants. I’m a min/maxer, and Enchanting is the best min/max profession in the game.

    As far as making money off of Enchanting goes, your best bet is to make frequent use of Enchanting Vellums. These items can be purchased from any enchanting supplies vendor in the game for 10 silver each, or they can be crafted by Inscriptionists as well (I suggest you just buy them). I don’t suggest you use them for your initial enchants, the ones you use to get up to skill level 100 or so because you’re not very likely to get your money back them. Instead just enchant your own gear, gear from people you group with in random dungeons, guild members’ gear, or just random white gear that you can buy or cheap stuff off of the AH.

    If you’re teaming up with Tailoring then I suggest you use the gear you craft to disenchant as your enchanting targets before you DE it. If you have 15 cloak enchants and 15 cloaks you’re about to DE then just go down your inventory and enchant one then DE it, enchant the next and DE it, and so on down the line.

    Once you’ve gotten above 100 or so in your skill go ahead and use the Enchanting Vellums instead so that you can sell your enchants on the AH or use them on your alts if you’re an altoholic like myself. You may also consider putting them on white gear to use as Hand Me Downs (HMD Directory) if you haven’t heard of my practice of making them and would like to try it out for yourself.

    Two of the enchants listed on the leveling guide at WoW-Professions that are particularly good at making some extra money are Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect and Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina. Both of these are used by twinks and sell well on the AH. I suggest you don’t list more than 3-5 of them at a time to prevent undercutting, but I sell the Shield enchant for 12-15g and the Bracer enchant for 15-25g.

    There are a couple of other enchants that are “Enchant ??? – Greater Stamina” as well, which also use 5x Dream Dust just like that Shield enchant. Both of these are twink enchants too and they usually sell for 8-12g each. Dream Dust is one of the cheaper mats to find because it’s found early enough in the leveling process that people who are trying out new toons will often find a lot of it while running dungeons before they decide whether or not they want to keep the character.

    For several months at the end of Wrath I was buying stacks of Dream Dust for less than 2g and then turning that stack into four Greater Stamina scrolls that sold for 15g each. After several months someone decided to put an end to it by buying all of the Dream Dust and relisting it for over 80g a stack, but by that time I was already so tired of crafting and listing them that I really didn’t care and just left the market alone until it all went back to normal.

    The enchants from Burning Crusade will sell at a decent rate too, though most of the ones that bring any real gold in are drops from special tBC dungeons and raids. Northrend enchants are selling very well right now since people are using those on their new Cataclysm gear instead of investing in Cataclysm enchants, so be sure to put all of your Northrend enchants on vellums to sell on the AH.

    Cataclysm enchants right now are mostly selling for crap. Put them on scrolls but take a look at their AH price before you list them. If they’re ridiculously cheaper than the mats it takes to make the enchant then just hold onto them for now in your bank and sell them in a few months when they’re actually worth something. If you sell them now then you risk missing out on more gold at a later date, though if you wait then you do risk the possibility that they’ll drop even lower in price later on.

    Nobody can predict what the future holds for your server’s economy, but personally I’ve got all of my scrolls stashed on a bank alt ready to be listed when the market clears up a bit from all the people leveling their profession right now

    Power Leveling Materials List
    The following list is taken from the WoW-Professions website. To find a list of what to make with these items you’ll need to refer to their Enchanting Leveling Guide.

    This list includes the mats you need to craft all of the Rods as well.

    1 x Copper Rod
    125 x Strange Dust
    1 x Lesser Magic Essence
    1 x Silver Rod
    12 x Greater Magic Essence
    9 x Simple Wood
    25 x Lesser Astral Essence
    122 x Soul Dust
    1 x Golden Rod
    1 x Iridescent Pearl
    2 x Greater Astral Essence
    155 x Vision Dust
    1 x Truesilver Rod
    1 x Black Pearl
    20 x Purple Lotus
    2 x Greater Mystic Essence
    25 x Lesser Nether Essence
    15 x Lesser Eternal Essence
    230 x Dream Dust
    10 x Illusion Dust
    1 x Arcanite Rod
    8 x Greater Eternal Essence
    8 x Large Brilliant Shard
    1 x Fel Iron Rod
    330 x Arcane Dust
    14 x Greater Planar Essence
    13 x Large Prismatic Shard
    20 x Lesser Planar Essence
    15 x Nightmare Vine
    15 x Crystal Vial
    1 x Primal Might
    1 x Adamantite Rod
    1 x Eternium Rod
    1 x Titanium Rod
    633 x Infinite Dust
    37 x Greater Cosmic Essence
    8 x Dream Shard
    10 x Crystallized Water
    503 x Hypnotic Dust
    25 x Lesser Celestial Essence
    95 x Greater Celestial Essence
    5 x [Elixir's of Impossible Accuracy]
    7 x Heavenly Shard
    1 x Elementium Rod

     
    7 Comments

    Posted by on January 14, 2011 in Guide, Leveling, Professions

     

    Tags: , , , ,

    Mage Leveling: 1-29 Fire

    Alright, I admit it. I’ve been slacking on the leveling guides.

    But today that all gets to change, because I’ve been asked so many times for new Mage leveling guides that I have no choice but to do as the readers command.

    I’ve done a lot of Mage leveling in Cataclysm so far, trying out different specs across various level ranges. I’ve leveled my own Mages and I’ve leveled alongside Mages as well. I haven’t been so focused on Mages that I know the ins and outs of leveling as every spec, but I have done enough to know the two of them quite well. Arcane just doesn’t feel right to me while I’m leveling. It works, don’t get me wrong, but it just…I don’t know, but I don’t like it so I’m sticking with Frost and Fire.

    So today we start the journey down the leveling road of one of the two classes that are constantly locked in a never ending battle for the rank of Psynister’s Favorite Class, and this time we’re going to look at what is quickly becoming my favorite Mage spec, Fire.

    Playing a Fire Mage
    Each of the three Mage specs has its own way of doing things. Arcane is about mobility and speed, Frost is about control and security, and Fire is about melting your opponent’s face before any of the rest of that matters. Fire hits hard and though it doesn’t hit as fast as the other two specs, it definitely larger numbers (individually) than the other two.

    And in case your spec perk of Fire Specialization doesn’t spell it out clearly enough for you (+25% damage to Fire spells), you’re going to be casting a lot of Fire spells.

    Playing a Fire Mage is all about knowing your spells and taking advantage of opportunities. Fire has the longest cast times of all three specs, but their return for that is higher damage. In order to minimize the issue of long cast times you need to become familiar with how, when, and where to cast your spells.

    Some people find that playing a Fire Mage is boring because of all of the extra cast time, but Blizzard has done a great job of easing us into those longer cast times while also providing additional utility spells while we level that it’s easy to just build up a feel for it over time to the point that you just get used to it. Don’t discount the brutality of the Fire spec simply for it’s supposed slowness until you’ve given it enough time to make an honest impression.



    General Mage Tactics
    Mages are known for two things: Being hard to kill, and being incredibly squishy. That’s right, we’re hard to kill because we’re so easy to kill. Why are we easy to kill? Because we wear t-shirts instead of plate armor. Why are we hard to kill? Because we’re often able to kill you before you can do anything to make our t-shirts matter.

    As a spellcaster your primary source of defense is to stay away from things that want to hurt you. That doesn’t mean avoiding combat, it means avoiding damage. You’re a ranged class, so don’t get into melee combat when you don’t have to. That doesn’t mean you have to run away from everything, but it does mean you don’t want to run up and hit things with your staff or stab them with a dagger when you could instead cast several spells at them before they can cause you any harm.

    Mages have more crowd control options than any other class, in general. Warlocks can beat us when it comes to using CC on certain types of mobs because they have spells that work on things that we don’t, but generally speaking we’re the kings of CC. We can freeze, stun, slow, and polymorph our targets and in some cases we can do those to multiple enemies at once.

    Mages also have a number of defensive spells that can either prevent damage or remove harmful effects. If you’re stunned or “rooted” (you can’t move because of a spell/effect) you can cast Blink and it will remove those effects from you. If you are poisoned or diseased you can cast Ice Block to remove all of those effects as well. And if you’re about to die you can always just jump off of a cliff…just make sure you cast Slow Fall before you hit the ground.

    Fire-Specific Tips
    As I’ve said, cast times are often the thing that drives people away from playing Fire. So what are some ways you can get around that?

    1. Pull with Pyroblast.
    2. Use the terrain to your advantage.
    3. Use the extra time to cast additional spells.
    4. Take advantage of Crowd Control.
    5. Relax, there’s no need to hurry.

    Pyroblast: A lot of people seem to think that since this is the “signature” spell of the Fire tree that you’re supposed to be using it all the time, but that’s not true. Pyroblast can get up to a 5 second cast time, which in the middle of combat when you’re already getting pounded on by a mob is most definitely not a good idea. Until you reach level 29 you should only cast Pyroblast when pulling mobs or when breaking crowd control.

    Terrain: As a caster you have the huge advantage of being able to use terrain to your benefit where melee classes cannot. If you’re fighting mobs that fight back with melee rather than ranged attacks or spells of their own, then make use the terrain. You can cast your spells through trees, or from the top of a hill or a wall. The time that it takes your target to reach you is time that you have to freely cast your spells. Casting from the opposite side of a tree makes the mob run around the tree to get to you, effectively making the distance between you longer. Doing the same from the opposite side of a fallen log has the same effect, for example.

    Time: While your spells do have longer cast times, they also have “travel time”, which is the time it takes between when it’s cast and when it actually hits the target. By following a Pyroblast with a Fireball you effectively remove the majority of the cast time of your Fireball because it takes place outside of combat until the Pyroblast hits.

    Crowd Control: There are three types of CC to bring up here: Slow, Freeze, and Polymorph. Slow refers to any Chill effects you have that slow the target down, primarily Frostbolt. By following your Pyroblast pull with a Frostbolt instead of a Fireball you can slow the target’s movement to allow additional time for casting spells before they reach you. Freeze is similar, though it prevents movement from the target all together. Your only source of Freeze for many, many levels is Frost Nova. Once you’ve drawn a mob and he’s closed into melee range you can Frost Nova, move away and then utilize the time for either a Pyroblast or Fireball in safety. Polymorph is just that, and typically used when you’ve pulled multiple mobs. If you’ve taken the time to sheep a mob then the best way to break that CC to get back into combat is to move out to max range and then make use of your long-cast time spells such as Pyroblast.

    Relax: Like I said before, Fire is all about packing big enough punches that you don’t need a lot of movement or crazy control and survival skills. If a mob is hitting you, but you’re not in immediate threat of dying, then who cares? Cast another spell, kill them, loot them, and move on to the next mob. You’re not in a hurry as Fire, you’re there to nuke the crap out of things and then go collect all of your loot once the smoke clears.

    Important Spells & Abilities
    Mages have such an amazingly useful spellbook that it’s really hard to narrow it down to which spells are important and which ones aren’t. Some of them aren’t useful in every fight, but under the right circumstances they’re your go-to spell of choice for the situation. But, I’m going to do my best to remove all of the “but what if…” questions and stick strictly to usefulness for leveling in general circumstances.

    All numbers are taken from the level 29 version (where applicable) of the spell. The number following the spell name is the level at which it becomes available.

    Damage Spells
    Fireball (1): Hurls a fiery ball that causes 63 to 79 Fire damage.
    Arcane Missiles (3): Launches a 3-5 waves of Arcane Missiles at the enemy over 2 sec, causing Arcane damage per wave. Each offensive spell you cast has a 40% chance to activate Arcane Missiles.
    Fire Blast (4): Blasts the enemy for 67 to 79 Fire damage.
    Pyroblast (10): Hurls an immense fiery boulder that causes 91 to 115 Fire damage and an additional 60 Fire damage over 12 sec.
    Scorch (26): Scorch the enemy for 47 to 55 Fire damage.

    Fireball is your primary nuke spell, the one you’ll spam more than any other as Fire. Arcane Missiles I only list because up to level 29 it will be your main proc spell, allowing you to get mana-free damage; after level 29 you’ll never cast this again. Fire Blast is one of your most useful spells, dealing better damage on average than Fireball and as an instant cast as well; the only drawback being its cooldown. Fire Blast is one of the few spells that provides great utility no matter what spec you choose.

    Pyroblast is your signature spell, and the one you’ll use to pull all of your enemies while soloing. Once you hit level 29 this also becomes your mana-free proc as the Hot Streak talent puts it in place of Arcane Missiles. Scorch provides a reasonable, though weaker, alternative to Fireball as your spammable spell if you want to try to force Pyroblast procs more frequently.

    Utility
    Frost Nova (8): Blasts enemies near the caster for 26 to 30 Frost damage and freezes them in place for up to 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    Evocation (12): Gain 15% of your mana instantly and another 45% of your total mana over 6 sec.
    Polymorph (14): Transforms the enemy into a sheep, forcing it to wander around for up to 50 sec. While wandering, the sheep cannot attack or cast spells but will regenerate very quickly. Any damage will transform the target back into its normal form. Only one target can be polymorphed at a time. Only works on Beasts, Humanoids and Critters.
    Blink (16): Teleports the caster 20 yards forward, unless something is in the way. Also frees the caster from stuns and bonds.

    Frost Nova gets a special mention even though it’s not a Fire spell because it’s such an excellent tool for both offense and defense, often both at the same time. If a mob manages to get into melee range use Frost Nova to keep them in place, move away, and then use the time that they’re frozen to cast another Pyroblast. Evocation is your source of massive mana return, and once glyphed it also restores a good amount of your health as well.

    Polymorph is your primary crowd control (CC) spell, effectively removing the target from combat. If you pull more than one mob, use this on one of them to even the odds and then smack them upside the head with a Pyroblast once the first target is killed. Blink is another one of our signature abilities, a spell that no one else can duplicate save Subtlety Rogues to a much lesser extent. It allows you to teleport 20 yards away in the direction you’re facing and breaks any stuns or roots that have been cast on you.

    Leveling a Mage
    Questing Rotation: Pyroblast [Pull], Fireball, Fire Blast, Fireball x3, Fire Blast (Procs when available)
    Optional Rotation: Pyroblast [Pull], Fireball, Fire Blast, Scorch x5, Fire Blast (Procs when available)
    Dungeon Rotation: Pyroblast [Pull], Fireball, Fire Blast, Fireball x3, Fire Blast (Procs when available)

    At this level range there’s not a whole lot of options when it comes to rotation. Basically you’re going to do what I already covered up in the Fire-specific tips section by utilizing pre-pull time for your biggest spell casts and then follow it up with your make spammable spell.

    The “Procs when available” comment means to cast the spell associated with your proc when it comes up. Until level 29 you’re main proc is going to be Arcane Missiles which you learn the mechanics of at level 3. At 29 though you put a talent point into Hot Streak which chances the AM Proc into a Hot Streak proc, allowing you to cast an instant Pyroblast that costs no mana. Whenever you get one of these procs, stop the Fireball/Scorch spam and instead cast the spell related to the proc. You also have another proc from your talent tree which is Impact. Impact resets the cooldown on your Fire Blast spell and if you cast Fire Blast on a target it will stun them for 2 seconds and also spread any of your Fire DoT effects on the target to all other enemies within 12 yards of them. Right now the only DoT you have is Pyroblast, so that portion’s not especially important, but the rest of Fire Blast (instant nuke) and the added stun effect are really good.

    The two different variations you see up there are Fireball spam and Scorch spam. Fireball hits hard, but it has a long cast time. Scorch is weak compared to Fireball, but it’s got a faster cast time. The appeal of the Scorch spam is that you can try to cast more spells in a shorter period of time to have more chances to land a Hot Streak proc for those mana-free, instant Pyroblasts. I personally prefer Fireball spam over Scorch, but my wife found that Scorch fits her playstyle much better, so try them both and go with the one you feel more comfortable with.

    Talent Points

    Solo Spec Group/LFG Spec



    I’ve gone ahead and listed two different specs up there for you to choose from. The first is focused on solo play, where you spend more points in Burning Soul to reduce pushback and the other puts points into Master of Elements instead for mana conservation. Both of these talents are great, but while MoE can benefit any Mage, Burning Soul does you no good if you never get hit.

    Solo Spec
    Improved Fire Blast 2/2: Increases the critical strike chance of your Fire Blast spell by 8% and increases its range by 10 yards.
    Burning Soul 3/3: Reduces the casting time lost from taking damaging attacks by 70%.
    Impact 2/2: Gives your damaging spells a 10% chance to reset the cooldown on Fire Blast and to cause the next Fire Blast you cast to stun the target for 2 sec and spread any Fire damage over time effects to nearby enemy targets within 12 yards.
    Ignite 3/3: Your critical strikes from Fire damage spells cause the target to burn for an additional 40% of your spell’s damage over 4 sec.
    Hot Streak 1/1: Your spells no longer trigger Arcane Missiles. Instead, your critical strikes with Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, Scorch, Pyroblast, or Fire Blast have a chance to cause your next Pyroblast spell cast within 15 sec to be instant cast and cost no mana.

    The Solo spec is all about dealing extra damage whenever possible, and and getting additional functionality out of our spells early on. Improved Fire Blast helps us most with its additional crit chance which increases our chance to proc Hot Streak for free, instant Pyroblasts. Burning Soul comes next because it really helps with Fire’s long cast times. When a mob does close in to melee range and you don’t have any spells available to get distance again you’re going to have to cast while being attacked, and this does a great job of reducing the penalty you get from casting while being attacked.

    Impact serves a dual purpose, though primarily we’re taking it for the stun effect and the additional damage from having Fire Blast’s cooldown reset. It also spreads DoT damage to all other targets within 12 yards which is nice though it won’t do a whole lot for us at this stage of the game. Ignite is an excellent ability that gives us extra damage by causing all of our crits to deal additional DoT damage which really stacks up fast with a Fire spec, especially at higher levels.

    Finally, we add Hot Streak to the list, replacing the Arcane Missiles proc with a Hot Streak proc that allows us to cast Pyroblast instantly and without a mana cost. Hot Streak procs are the reason people play Fire, don’t let them tell you otherwise. Being able to deal that much damage as an instant cast spell is insane and you’ll cackle with glee every time you do it.

    Group/LFG Spec
    Improved Fire Blast 2/2: Increases the critical strike chance of your Fire Blast spell by 8% and increases its range by 10 yards.
    Master of Elements 2/2: Your spell criticals will refund 30% of their base mana cost.
    Burning Soul 1/3: Reduces the casting time lost from taking damaging attacks by 23%.
    Ignite 3/3: Your critical strikes from Fire damage spells cause the target to burn for an additional 40% of your spell’s damage over 4 sec.
    Impact 2/2: Gives your damaging spells a 10% chance to reset the cooldown on Fire Blast and to cause the next Fire Blast you cast to stun the target for 2 sec and spread any Fire damage over time effects to nearby enemy targets within 12 yards.
    Hot Streak 1/1: Your spells no longer trigger Arcane Missiles. Instead, your critical strikes with Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, Scorch, Pyroblast, or Fire Blast have a chance to cause your next Pyroblast spell cast within 15 sec to be instant cast and cost no mana.

    The Group/LFG spec is almost exactly the same as the solo spec except for two things. First, we take 2 points in Master of Elements to make our mana last longer by getting 30% mana refunds when we crit, and taking only 1 point in Burning Soul to pay for it since we shouldn’t get hit as often when in groups (hopefully you have a tank). The other is that I suggest you take Ignite prior to Impact because it will give you more damage potential in groups if you crit something and let Ignite burn it down while you begin attacking another target and begin to work on getting Ignite DoT’s on multiple mobs at once.

    Glyphs for Leveling
    You don’t get glyphs now until level 25, but at least you do get to use them a little bit in this level range.

    Prime Glyphs
    Glyph of Fireball: Increases the critical strike chance of your Fireball spell by 5%.
    Glyph of Pyroblast: Increases the critical strike chance of your Pyroblast spell by 5%.

    These are about as basic as it gets for prime glyphs, and they both do the same thing but for different spells. If you’re going to be a Fireball spammer then you’re better off with Fireball for now, but if you’re going to be a Scorch spammer then Pyroblast is the way to go.

    The good thing about adding crit chance to Fireball is that it gives you more chances to proc Hot Streak for instant Pyroblasts, but the good thing about adding crit chance to Pyroblast is that you’ll often end up one-shotting mobs from Pyro casts alone which gives you the powerful feel that Fire is supposed to have. If you’re not getting a lot of Hot Streak procs though, the Pyro glyph will only help on the initial cast when you pull the mobs, so you’ll get more use overall out of Fire.

    Major Glyphs
    Glyph of Evocation: Also grants you 40% of your total health over the channeled time of your Evocation spell.
    Glyph of Blast Wave: Increases the damage of your Scorch spell by 20%. [Req Lv 29]

    Evocation is one of the most amazing glyphs that Mages have access to. If you can only afford a single glyph, make it Evocation because the ability to heal yourself on the fly like that for 40% of your total health is amazing. Blast Wave is a decent option as well, though you can’t use it until you learn the spell by taking the talent, which you won’t actually do until level 31. If you’re not worried about your health though, it’s a decent option once you have access to the spell.

    Minor Glyphs
    Glyph of the Monkey: Your Polymorph: Sheep spell polymorphs the target into a monkey instead.
    Glyph of the Penguin: Your Polymorph: Sheep spell polymorphs the target into a penguin instead.

    These are your only two options within the level range, and sadly they both essentially do nothing at all. They change the physical appearance of what you change targets into when you polymorph them, and that’s it. Of the two, I definitely prefer Monkey, so that’s my suggestion….or just wait until level 32 and use the Glyph of Slow Fall instead.

    Macro Suggestions
    I actually don’t have any especially good macro suggestions for Fire at this level of play. Everything’s basically as straight forward as you can get. The only thing that even comes to mind here is the generic attack macro I use for all of my attack spells:

    #showtooltip
    /startattack
    /cast Fireball

    Gearing Up for Spellcasting
    Intellect > Crit > Haste > Hit > everything else

    You’re a caster, so Int is your top priority. Crit is number two because your DPS thrives when you manage to crit due to Hot Streak procs and Ignite DoT’s. Haste is good for helping you with those cast times, and it will improve your DoT’s later on when you actually have some. Hit really doesn’t matter while you’re leveling; it’s not a bad stat, it just isn’t all that great either. If you stumble onto some great gear that just so happens to have Hit on it, then grats on your bonus stat, but don’t turn down upgrades to the other stats in favor of Hit at this level.

    The Tailoring profession is a great source of gear throughout the various levels, especially if you plan on soloing your way to the top. You can generally find better gear in instances than you can from tailoring when you are starting out, but you can certainly weave that cloth to fill in any gaps you might have. Don’t discount quest rewards though, because Cataclysm brought a whole new set of quest rewards and some of them are fantastic for their level.

    Whether you use a staff or you go with a one handed weapon and an off hand item is mostly up to you. Use whatever will give you better stats overall and go with it. Typically the low level staffs will be better than other options, but just use whatever you have on hand that provides the most benefit.

    When it comes to Wands, it’s all about the stats. I haven’t used my wand for anything other than killing critters when I’m bored in a very long time. Look for Intellect and Crit above all others for your wand and ignore the damage it can do all together.

     
    7 Comments

    Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Leveling, Mage

     

    Tags:

     
    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 2,154 other followers

    %d bloggers like this: