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Mage Leveling Final: 68-80 (Frost & Arcane)

Part I: Beginning
Part II: 21 – 39
Part III: 40 – 58
Part IV: 58-68 (Frost & Arcane)
AoE Grinding: Frost Mage Edition

Last time we got you up to level 68 in Outlands, so now it’s time to move it on up to Northrend. If you recently read the other guides up there you may remember that I mentioned that you can still pretty well solo all of the old world content, but that Outlands Group Quests really did require a group. In Northrend we go back to the way things were, with group quests not necessarily always requiring groups to complete at level. Some of them certainly require help, such as the Amphitheater of Anguish and such, but those are the exceptions not the rule.

The big change that you’re going to notice about Northrend is the amount of health that mobs have. Frost is going to notice that more so than other specs because of it’s lower damage. At least, that’s what I noticed when I took my Frost Mage there. Since then there have been some buffs to Frost that might make it a bit easier on you, but I found myself running out of mana frequently simply because of how many spells I had to cast to bring down the mobs.

Another big change you’re going to see is that you no longer get to use your flying mount(s). If you already have a level 80 character on the server then you can buy a book with your 80 that you can send to any of your own level 68+ characters that will teach them Cold Weather Flying to allow them to fly in Northrend. If you do not have an 80 on that server, then you’re screwed out of flying until level 77. Why? Because Blizzard said so, that’s why.

My first Mage made it to level 74 as Frost before I switched him over to Fire to level to 80. My most recent mage made it to 66 before I decided to try out Arcane for the first time and I never bothered looking back to Frost until it came time to make a PvP dual spec.

Important Spells
General Spells
Invisibility: Become invisible over 3 seconds, reducing threat each second; effect is cancelled by taking any* action, or after 20 seconds.
Ritual of Refreshment: Perform a ritual to summon a table. Requires 2 additional party/raid members and summons 50 stacks of Conjured Mana Biscuits.
Spellsteal: Steal a beneficial magic effect from the target, lasting a maximum of 2 minutes.
Teleport: Dalaran: Congratulations, you can now set your hearthstone wherever you want to and still be able to hit Dal at any time.
Portal: Dalaran: More grats, now you can actually make gold selling portals again!
Mirror Image: Creates three copies of the caster nearby, which cast spells and attack the mage’s enemies for 30 seconds.

Invisibility is your agro dump. If you cast it then your threat gets dumped over the 3 seconds it takes you to fade to invisibility. If you happen to be an Arcane Mage then you can make this an instant cast spell so that your threat is instantly gone. When you turn invisible all of your threat goes away. It also works fine as an Oh Crap! button as well, which is what you’ll use it for while questing, but it’s best use is as an agro dump.

The Ritual is what’s referred to as a “Mage Table” or just “Table” in case you find people asking you for one. There are 50 stacks available for people to take, but each character can only hold 4 stacks, and most players don’t bother taking more than one, so a single table will generally last all players through an entire raid.

Spellsteal, while great for PvP, has a lot of different uses. Now is when you really want to start paying attention to the buffs that are on the mobs you’re facing, both in solo questing and in running through dungeons/heroics/raids. There’s nothing like stealing a haste buff off of a mob and finding your 3 second cast now fires off in 1.2 seconds or using a single spell to snag +350 Spellpower and 50% Haste. You’ll also find mobs that have something like “Heals the caster for 30% of the damage they deal” which you want to steal just to prevent the mobs from healing, or other buffs that provide no value to you but that you need to remove.

The Teleport/Portal: Dalaran are pretty self explanatory. If you don’t know by now what they do then you’ve clearly purchased your account on eBay…

Mirror Image is an excellent spell for increasing your DPS, even if they do cast nothing but Frostbolt. With the set bonus from Tier gear this is a huge bonus to your DPS. You’ll probably use it more in dungeons and raids than anything else since you don’t get it until level 80 anyway, but it’s great for casting while questing, farming, or whatever.

Frost Spells
Frostfire Bolt: Launches a bolt of frostfire at the enemy, dealing Frostfire damage, slowing movement by 40% and causing additional Frostfire damage over time.

That’s right, I’m listing a “Fire” spell in the Frost section. Why? Because Arcane doesn’t give a crap about this spell, and while Frost didn’t care about it before it’s a bit more important to them now that their Brain Freeze talent allows it to be made instant cast and mana free when it procs. The good thing about FFB is that “Frostfire” damage counts and either Frost or Fire damage, whichever your target has the least resistance to. So if you’re fighting something that’s immune to Frost spells it will deal Fire damage instead. If it’s immune to both, then…why aren’t you running away?

Playing as Frost
There’s no reason to bother mentioning rotations here, you know that as a Frost Mage you’re going to Frostbolt the holy, ever-loving crap out of everything, and if you need to you’ll finish it off with Fire Blast, Cone of Cold, or Ice Lance. If you used the Glyph of I Wanna Be a Warlock (wuss) then you also have the option of just letting your pet finish them off.

Frost isn’t hard to play, it’s simple and it’s safe. You’ve got the best survivability and crowd control available to any spell caster in the game, and you’re a crit-tossing fool too. The same basic principles apply at this level that we’ve been seeing all along, keep yourself away from the mobs, keep the mobs slowed down so they can’t close the distance, AoE everything you can, spam Frostbolts like they’re going out of style (they’ve been out of style for a long time, but they still hurt so we’re good), and take advantage of any opportunity to freeze and then crit the mobs that you’re facing.

And when all else fails, Frost Nova, Blink away, and then run like the a pansy until you’re out of combat.

Playing as Arcane
Arcane Option 1: Arcane Blast, Slow, Arcane Missile, Arcane Barrage, (Fire Blast)
Arcane Option 2: Frostbolt or Slow, Arcane Blast x2, Arcane Barrage, (Fire Blast)

I’m going to leave these rotations up here in Arcane since I’ve only mentioned them to you one other time. This rotation doesn’t change from 64 up through 80 for leveling purposes except that you’ll eventually just drop all the slowing business for the sake of killing things faster. Taking the safe road is what Frost excels at; killing things before it matters is what Arcane is there for.

The two rotations listed up top there are for your solo questing. If you’re in a dungeon and you have a tank that’s going to hold agro for you then you can drop the silly business and move into what is going to be your true rotation for heroics and raiding at level 80:

Arcane Dungeon Rotation: Arcane Blast x4, Arcane Missile

There you go, you end up mashing two buttons for the rest of your life as Arcane.

Now, if you don’t have a Missile Barrage proc after the fourth Arcane Blast then go ahead and cast a fifth. If you did get a proc during or after the four casts, then go ahead and fire it off. My personal preference is to cast AM after no more than the 5th AB regardless of whether or not I get a proc from it. The reasons for that are mana conservation, since AB increases mana costs, and sustained DPS. It’s better to spend more mana on an AM cast without a MB proc than it is to keep on casting AB repeatedly.

If you get a Missile Barrage proc before you’ve built a full stack of 4 from AB, then hold off on casting AM until you have the four stack unless you’re either going to lose the stack of AB that you have already or your MB proc is about to wear off. Otherwise just hold off and make the most of what you’re given. If you read raiding forums and sites you might find people telling you to fire it off at 3 stacks or to fire it whenever it procs regardless of stacks, and so on, but I’ve tested it out with every configuration I’ve been able to and I always find more consistent DPS when I stick to four stacks, bar none.

Leveling in Northrend
The first decision you need to make when you move on to Northrend is which zone you want to level in. You basically have two choices if you go right at level 68: Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord.

If you look at the quest rewards for each you’ll see that BT has about 15x the number of Blue quality items as quest rewards than HF. For that reason, I personally prefer BT for my first zone. But, I’m a min/max styled player and I want the best that’s available to me. My personal opinion of the two zones is that HF is the more enjoyable zone to level in. Of the few blues that HF does offer as quest rewards, there are some nice caster trinkets you may want to pick up where BT blues are mostly armor and weapons.

If you want enjoyable, go with Howling Fjord. If you want good quest rewards, then go to Borean Tundra. Either way, it’s merely a suggestion on my part so do whatever you want.

General Tactics
Frost
AoE grinding is still your fastest, most efficient method of leveling, but it’s a bit harder when you first step into the frozen lands of Northrend. For that reason I suggest you start off with single target combat until you’ve gotten a feel for the mobs and hopefully a few item upgrades as well, and then move into AoE mode once you’re comfortable.

Other than that it’s simply business as usual.

Arcane
Arcane is all about burning down single targets. When you first reach Northrend you’ll want to use a slowing spell first and then DPS the targets down, and make use of your CC spells such as Polymorph if you happen to pull multiple mobs. After you’re more comfortable with your spec and facing the mobs that are there you’ll eventually move away from using a slow in favor of quicker kills. You’ll get to the point where your health just doesn’t matter anymore so taking a hit here and there is just part of the job.

Arcane is the most mobile Mage spec because it has more potential for significant, instant-cast damage. Arcane Barrage (ABarr) isn’t the hardest hitting spell out there, but it sure trumps Ice Lance. ABarr also has the chance to proc your Missile Barrage (MB) talent that makes your Arcane Missiles super-speedy missiles of doom, so you can stop to fire off the MB to get whatever casts you have time for out of it and then get back to moving if necessary. It won’t happen often, but at least the option is there for you where it’s not for others.

Talent Points and Glyphs

Frost Spec

Brain Freeze 3/3: Your Frost damage spells with chilling effects have a 15% chance to cause your next Fireball or Frostfire Bolt spell to be instant cast and cost no mana.
Incineration 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your Fire Blast, Scorch, Arcane Blast and Cone of Cold spells by 6%.
World In Flames 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your Flamestrike, Pyroblast, Blast Wave, Dragon’s Breath, Living Bomb, Blizzard and Arcane Explosion spells by 6%.
Frost Warding 2/2: Increases the armor and resistances given by your Frost Armor and Ice Armor spells by 50% and gives your Frost Ward and Fire Ward a 30% chance to negate the warded damage spell and restore mana equal to the damage caused.

Brain Freeze we’re taking for more instant casting goodness. It’s not a huge benefit to us, but it allows us to be a bit more mobile and FFB/FB will generally hit harder than your Frostbolt, especially if it crits. Incineration we’re taking to increase the crit chance of Cone of Cold, but also to allow us to move deeper into the Fire tree.

World in Flames is all about increasing our AoE DPS against trash packs or while grind-questing by increasing our chance to crit with Blizzard. The two points in Frost Warding can be moved if you want, but with Frost damage being present in Northrend dungeons and raids it’s what I’d suggest.

Special Note
This is the talent build I prefer when leveling as Frost because of my focus on AoE grinding. If you are going for a Frost Raiding spec, then you’ll need to do a respec to change up a lot of what we’ve done in Frost up to this point because Frost was not viable as a Raid spec when I started writing these guides. If you do want to raid as Frost, then I will refer you to the masters of such: SpicyTunas and Frost is the New Black.

Arcane Spec

Frost Warding 2/2: Increases the armor and resistances given by your Frost Armor and Ice Armor spells by 50% and gives your Frost Ward and Fire Ward a 30% chance to negate the warded damage spell and restore mana equal to the damage caused.
Icy Veins 1/1: [Instant Cast] Hastens your spellcasting, increasing spell casting speed by 20% and reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting by 100% for 20 seconds.
Incineration 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your Fire Blast, Scorch, Arcane Blast and Cone of Cold spells by 6%.
Mind Mastery +2 (5/5): Increases spell power by 15% of your total Intellect.
Prismatic Cloak 3/3: Reduces all damage taken by 6% and reduces the fade tie of your Invisibility spell by 3 seconds.
Arcane Meditation 1/3: Allows 17% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting.

The points Frost Warding can be moved if you want to, but be sure they stay in the Frost tree so that we can get Icy Veins which is a huge boost to our DPS by cutting the cast time of Arcane Blast and reducing the channel time of Missile Barrage. IV is brutal, trust me.

Incineration is more important to Arcane than it is to the Frost build up there because it increases the crit chance of our main nuke, Arcane Blast. Mind Mastery is just finishing of the talent for the extra spell power which we can never get enough of. You can stop stacking spell power when you can one-shot Arthas on 25-man with an Ice Lance.

Prismatic Cloak is somewhat optional, but making Invisibility instant instead of fading over 3 seconds is a huge benefit in my opinion. It’s great for PvE as well as PvP, and reduced damage on top of it just makes it that much sweeter for me. Arcane Meditation is completely interchangeable if you’re not a fan. I personally use 3/3 Arcane Meditation and only 1/3 Student of the Mind which I have reversed in this guide. As for which is actually better, I haven’t decided yet.

Glyphs for Leveling
Major Glyphs: Frost
Evocation: Your Evocation ability also causes you to regain 60% of your health over its duration.
Ice Block: Your Frost Nova cooldown is now reset every time you use Ice Block.
Ice Barrier: Increases the amount of damage absorbed by your Ice Barrier by 30%.
Water Elemental: Reduces the cooldown of your Summon Water Elemental spell by 30 seconds.
Eternal Water: Your Summon Water Elemental now lasts indefinitely, but your Water Elemental can no longer cast Freeze.
Molten Armor: Your Molten Armor grants an additional 20% of your spirit as critical strike rating.

The Glyph of Evocation is invaluable if you are soloing. You can get by without it, but it goes a long way towards reducing your down time to have it.

If you are going to do a lot of AoE grinding, then I suggest you go for Evocation and Ice Block as those will be the most helpful to you at this point.

If you want to do more leveling via dungeon runs, then I suggest you go for Eternal Water and Frostbolt instead, as they will provide you with the largest boost to your DPS. Eternal Water removes one of your best AoE grinding tools, but you can deal with that if you need to. You may also want to swap Frostbolt for Ice Barrier if you plan to solo quest as well as run dungeons to give you more survivability.

If you want to increase your DPS you may also consider Molten Armor at level 62 for increased Crit Rate, though you’ll probably get more use out of that at higher levels than you will right now.

Major Glyphs: Arcane
Arcane Blast: Increases the damage from your Arcane Blast buff by 3%. (Requires Level 64)
Arcane Missiles: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of Arcane Missiles by 25%.
Mana Gem: Increases the mana received from using a mana gem by 40%.
Molten Armor: Your Molten Armor grants an additional 20% of your spirit as critical strike rating.

Arcane Blast being your primary nuke and a buff to other Arcane spells, having another 3% damage from the buff can add up real quick. You’ll use it at 80 if you stay Arcane, so you might as well get it now.

Arcane Missiles is your second most common nuke spell, and considering the high crit rate that Mages generally have, an extra 25% damage when it happens is great. This is another one you’ll use at 80, so grab it now.

Mana Gem I list specifically for leveling purposes, because it is amazing for restoring your mana and thus reducing your downtime. I suggest you pair it up with Arcane Blast if you do take it.

Molten Armor is the third glyph you’ll be toting around at level 80, and another worth considering now. Additional crit is never a bad thing. I usually save this one for my level 80 slot, but go with whatever works best for you.

Minor Glyphs: All Mages
Slow Fall: Your Slow Fall spell no longer requires a reagent.
Frost Ward: You have an additional 5% chance to reflect Frost spells while your Frost Ward is active.
Fire Ward: You have an additional 5% chance to reflect Fire spells while your Fire Ward is active.

Mages have crap for minor glyph selection (I know, “Who doesn’t?” right?), so the only one I really care for is going to be Slow Fall. Get that one for your first slot at 15 and then fill in the others as they open up with whatever you fill like sticking in there.

Gearing Up for Spellcasting
We’re finally going to change up our gearing priority a bit, but only once we hit level 80.

Prior to 80: Spell Power and Intellect > All, with Hit, Crit, and Stam being next up on the usefulness list.

Level 80: Hit (until capped) > Spell Power > Haste = Crit > Intellect > Spirit > everything else

The higher you get the more important Hit becomes, but once you start reaching the cap it’s useless. Arcane needs less hit than any other spec since they get 3% from both the Arcane tree and the Frost tree, so once you hit 80 and start getting badge gear in particular you’ll generally be overflowing with Hit before you know it. I was over twice as much Hit as I needed for a long time after I hit 80.

If you’re getting into raiding then you need to give Haste some love until you start getting to the haste cap and then focus more on crit. As long as your primary nukes aren’t being cast in under a second then you’ve got room for more Haste.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2010 in Guide, Leveling, Mage

 

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Mage Leveling Part IV: 58-68 (Frost & Arcane)

Part I: Beginning
Part II: 21 – 39
Part III: 40 – 58
AoE Grinding: Frost Mage Edition

Once you hit level 58 it’s time for you to make your way on over to the Outlands. The easiest route is to head to any major city of your faction and head towards the Portal Trainer. There you will fine a portal to the Blasted Lands (which only a level 58+ can activate) which takes you right outside of the Dark Portal that leads you to the Outlands.

You will still have excellent opportunities to put your AoE grinding skills to use in Outlands, and in some cases even more so than you did back in vanilla content (I’m looking at you, buzzards). You’ll also notice that when they tell you it’s a group quest now, they actually mean it. If you were able to wear plate then you might be able to ignore that little warning, but since you don’t, you can’t. If it’s a group quest, and not not PvP related, then you can pretty well rest assure that you aren’t going to solo it. At least not on level. If you would like to prove me wrong on that point, then by all means do it. Just be sure to take a screen shot if you want me to believe it. ;)

Important Spells
General Spells
Teleport: Shattrath at level 60 lets us port ourselves to Shat, which makes traveling quite a bit easier, and helps to solidify our ability to set our Hearthstone in whatever zone we’re questing in, knowing that we can now teleport ourselves to any city we want (except Dalaran) with our spells rather than our hearth. We also get the portal version, Portal: Shattrath at level 65 so that we can teleport our party members as well.

Molten Armor at level 62 provides us with the Armor spell that we will use for most of the rest of the game. It gives us a bonus to Crit Rate equal to 35% of our Spirit as well as reducing the chance that we will be critically hit ourselves by 5%. It also deals Fire damage to enemies that hit us which is a nice little bonus even if it’s not very much.

Invisibility in all its greatness shows up at level 68, allowing us to become invisible for 20 seconds so long as we don’t take any actions (with a few exceptions which note such, like Herbalism’s Lifeblood spell). It also has a wonderful little feature that removes all of our agro when we use it. So if you find yourself in a dungeon and you just pulled off of the tank, or you find that you’re getting close to doing so, use this and then cancel it off of yourself and get back into the action without having to worry about your threat.

Frost Spells
Ice Lance shows up at level 66 giving Frost an instant cast at long last that has a small mana cost and similarly small damage, unless the target is frozen in which case its damage is tripled (quadrupled if you have the glyph).

Arcane Spells
Arcane Blast finally shows its face at level 64, making the Arcane spec viable and able to stand on its own Arcane legs rather than relying so heavily on other spell types. It is the key and primary nuke of an Arcane Mage.

Frost Rotations
Frost Option 1: Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Fire Blast
Frost Option 2: Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Fire Blast – [Ice Lance x2 when Frozen]

There’s that same old rotation for Frost that we’ve been using for next to forever. You’re the king of spamming a single button, and that’s all there is to it. Sure we’ve got Fire Blast to finish of the mobs which is likely a separate button, and if we take Brain Freeze then we’ll have a third for the instant-cast Fireballs, but otherwise you pretty well eat, sleep, and breathe Frostbolt spam.

If you want to change things up just a little bit then you can switch over to using Ice Lance whenever an enemy is frozen, or when you use your level 60 talent, Deep Freeze. Ice Lance is an instant cast that does 300% damage if the target is frozen, so if you get Frostbite to proc you can usually get 2 casts in there, Deep Freeze allows 3 casts during its duration (or 4 if you have a healthy amount of haste, which you probably do not), and Frost Nova will allow 1-2 depending on whether or not it crits since FN is broken based on damage where the others are not.

If you do get into the habit of using Ice Lance, just be sure not to cancel a Frostbolt cast in order to use it or else you’re losing DPS. Send the bolt, and then follow it up immediately with an Ice Lance instead. If you aren’t already queuing up your spells, or don’t know how to, then it’s time to learn that. I may need to include a video about queuing up your spells to show you how to do it in case you don’t already know. If you’re doing it right, then your Frostbolt and Ice Lance will basically hit the target at almost the exact same time. If FB hits and then the IL launches, then you know you’re actually wasting time and losing DPS.

Queuing Up Your Spells: Chain Casting

Alright, first thing’s first – go download the Quartz addon (link to Curse.com). Doing so will give you a movable cast bar that will also display the latency on the server to you so that you know when your spell “should” actually happen as opposed to when your interface thinks that it will happen.

The Red part on there is the server latency. The Yellow strip in the bar is where your spell is actually going to cast. The Blue part is the progression of the spell you are casting and it will continue to move right until it hits the Yellow strip for the actual cast. The Grey portion is just the background of the bar, showing the portion of time you have remaining before the actual cast.

Now, the “SWEET SPOT” is where you can activate your next spell and put it in the queue. Even though just looking at the bar you would think you can’t cast anything yet because you aren’t finished with the current spell, the game actually lets you put your next spell in queue so that you start casting the next one immediately. Now, the Sweet Spot covers a range because it’s actually a little bit different for everyone and other things in the game that you can’t see can impact how large or small that section is as well. Generally it’s at about 85-90% of the current bar reaching hitting the left side of the latency area.

If you aren’t used to queuing your spells then I suggest you go find yourself a training dummy and start practicing to get the hang of it. The longer you practice it the more you’ll grow used to the look and “feel” of your casting that you’ll know when you hit the Sweet Spot and when you didn’t, but hitting it before the cast goes off is the key to maximizing your DPS through your interface alone.

Now, on to Arcane.

Arcane Rotations
Arcane Option 1: Arcane Blast, Slow, Arcane Missile, Arcane Barrage, (Fire Blast)
Arcane Option 2: Frostbolt or Slow, Arcane Blast, Arcane Missile, Arcane Barrage, (Fire Blast)
Arcane Option 3: Frostbolt or Slow, Arcane Blast x2, Arcane Barrage, (Fire Blast)

Requires Level 64: Why? Because you don’t get Arcane Blast until level 64, that’s why. Until then I don’t care how much you want to call yourself an Arcane Mage, you’re not. You’ve got two spells up to that point – Arcane Missiles and Arcane Explosion. Two spells does not an Arcane Mage make you. But three? Now that is a different story.

Don’t bother with Arcane until 64. You can do it, it’s possible, but you’re unnecessarily taking the hard road to get there. Level as Frost, and then if you want to switch to Arcane do so at level 64 or higher, though preferably not 80.

The (Fire Blast) on the end there is just to finish off any mobs that might still be up. They should be dead before then, but just in case they aren’t.

As far as spamming the same buttons goes, Arcane isn’t much better off than Frost is to be quite honest. The big difference is that you’re going to be killing things on a mostly individual basis rather than using AoE. The key to doing this effectively while also maintaining survivability, without that fancy Frost Barrier you’ve likely gotten used to, is keeping your targets slowed so that they never reach you in the first place.

Slowing targets also gives you the added benefit of increasing the damage of all of your primary Arcane damage spells spells by 12% because of your Torment the Weak talent. I found the Slow spell to be incredibly valuable while leveling because it’s an instant cast and it slows for 60% where Frostbolt is only 40%, and it also slow attack and casting speed as well.

Arcane burns through a lot of mana, not necessarily because the spells have a high cost, but because the spell you’re spamming, Arcane Blast, increases the mana cost of every spell that comes after it until you use the stacking buff that it gives you. I’ll talk about the specifics of using the spell in the Tactics section. Because of this you will want to make use of your Mana Gems as well as your Evocation spell. Another good thing about Arcane is that the talent points I have you take for it will reduce the cooldown of Evocation from 4 minutes down to only 2, so you will almost never run out of mana without being able to get it back quickly.

Leveling in Outlands
The first thing you’ll notice about leveling in Outlands is that mobs have a little bit more health than what you’ve been used to fighting in Azeroth. Not so much more that it really matters, but you’ll notice it. So if you’ve been comfortable enough with your class to know that “this” combination of 3-4 spells kills any mob you face, then you might get bumped out of your comfort bubble…at least until you level a time or two.

There are a lot of gear upgrades for you in Outlands, and a mage can replace a decent amount of gear in Hellfire Peninsula alone.

General Tactics
Frost
I still suggest that you AoE grind everything you can for questing and if you’re running instances where your tank generates some decent AoE threat then focus almost entirely on Blizzard for that as well.

Just keep in mind while grouping, that not all tanks are considered equals when it comes to AoE on trash. Give your tanks a few seconds to establish AoE threat before you start using AoE yourself. Until then just cast single target spells on the tank’s target. Always keep an eye on your threat.

Arcane
As for Arcane, you’re not going to worry too much about AoE, instead you’ll be focusing on burning down single targets in the blink of an eye. I switched to Arcane at level 66 on my current Mage, Belsynis, and I went from doing 600 DPS with Frost to 1500 DPS with Arcane with nothing but a respec. You might not be the King of AoE anymore, but you can definitely lay the smack down when it comes time to kill the bosses.

Arcane is going to survive by slowing down its targets, and then firing beautiful beams of Arcane ownage through their target’s face. Slowing opponents gives you a boost to your damage, so use whatever means of slowing you have available. I personally prefer the Slow spell from the Arcane tree, but others prefer pulling with a Frostbolt for the damage as well as the slowing effect. Do whatever suits you better.

The key to max DPS with Arcane is to build up your four stacks of Arcane Blast and then fire off a Missile Barrage proc to send your Arcane Missiles out at super speed. If you don’t get a Missile Barrage proc in the four casts you have two options. You can either cast ABlast again hoping for the proc, or you can cast another Arcane damaging spell to remove the stack and start over so that you can conserve your mana. It’s also acceptable during leveling to fire off Missile Barrage procs at less than four stacks, but hopefully you have 3-4 ready when the proc happens.

I prefer to go with a fifth ABlast before giving up on the proc at which time I will cast Arcane Barrage if I am solo questing, or Arcane Missiles if I am in a dungeon. The damage bonus from the Arcane Blast buff applies to the full spell you discharge the stack with, so if you use Arcane Missiles then the damage buff hits all of the missiles, not just the first one.

Macro Suggestions
As for macros, I only have one to suggest at this point.

#showtooltip
/cancelaura Invisibility
/cast Invisibility

This macro will cancel Invisibility if you already have it on, or it will cast it for you if you do not. You may also want to macro the “/cancelaura Invisibility” portion to other spells to make it easier on you. You don’t necessarily need this macro, it just comes in handy. I used it on my first 80 Mage, but I haven’t bothered with my new 80. It’s up to you whether you use it or not, my play style just doesn’t call for it so I don’t use it anymore.

Addon Suggestions
For Frost I suggest you grab the ShieldMonitor addon (link to wowinterface.com) so that you can keep track of your Ice Barrier’s remaining strength.

I also recommend the MageAlert addon (link to Curse.com) for audio queues that your procs are active. It will help with any mage spec you decide to go with. I have used this addon since I rolled my first Mage back in 2008 and it has served me very well the entire time.

And finally I suggest you grab TidyPlates and its companion addon ThreatPlates to visibly monitor your agro on all of the mobs in the area. When you’re using AoE spells it’s hard to know which mobs are getting close to coming after you rather than the tank, so these are a huge benefit and I really wish I would have had them while I was leveling.

Talent Points and Glyphs

Frost Spec

Here we’re building onto the talent tree we already established in Part III.

Chilled to the Bone +1, 4/5: Increases the damage caused by your Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt and Ice Lance spells by 4% and reduces the movement speed of all chilled targets by an additional 8%.
Deep Freeze 1/1: [Instant Cast] Stuns the target for 5 seconds. Only usable on Frozen Targets. Deals damage to targets permanently immune to stuns.
Chilled to the Bone +1, 5/5: Increases the damage caused by your Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt and Ice Lance spells by 5% and reduces the movement speed of all chilled targets by an additional 10%.
Precision +1, 3/3: Reduces the mana cost and increases your chance to hit with spells by 3%.
Improved Frostbolt 5/5: Reduces the casting time of your Frostbolt spell by 0.5 seconds.
Improved Fire Blast 2/2: Reduces the cooldown of your Fire Blast spell by 2 seconds.

We finish of Chilled to the Bone and Precision for their full effects. Deep Freeze is great for questing and killing single mobs, and it’s now also very good for fighting bosses since it damages targets that can no longer be stunned. I have not tried it out myself since I haven’t switch over to a Frost Raid spec myself, but I do plan on trying it out soon so I can come back and report on it later. We also finally get around to taking Improved Frostbolt since a lot of times we do get forced into fighting single targets and it’s better to get them down quickly.

I move us then into the Fire tree for Improved Fire Blast to reduce its cooldown and help us maintain our DPS a bit better for fights that require us to move a lot. The point of going into Fire is to get World in Flames here in a few more levels so that we can get an extra 6% Crit Chance on our Blizzard spells for grinding. Fire doesn’t really offer us much beyond that, which is why we’ll duck back into Frost afterwards, but again this is when you have AoE grinding in mind, or when you’re going to run a lot of dungeons that will make use of your AoE strengths. If you’re looking for better performance for end game, you’ll most likely be branching off into the Arcane tree instead of Fire.

Special Note
This is the talent build I prefer when leveling as Frost because of my focus on AoE grinding. If you are going for a Frost Raiding spec, then you’ll need to do a respec to change up a lot of what we’ve done in Frost up to this point because Frost was not viable as a Raid spec when I started writing these guides. If you do want to raid as Frost, then I will refer you to the masters of such: SpicyTunas and Frost is the New Black.

Arcane Spec

Arcane Focus 3/3: Increases your chance to hit and reduces the mana cost of your Arcane spells by 3%.
Arcane Subtlety 2/2: Reduces the chance your helpful spells and damage over time effects will be dispelled by 30% and reduces the threat caused by your Arcane spells by 40%.
Arcane Concentration 5/5: Gives you a 10% chance of entering a Clearcasting state after any damage spell hits a target. The Clearcasting state reduces the mana cost of your next damage spell by 100%.
Spell Impact 3/3: Increases the damage of your Arcane Explosion, Arcane Blast, Blast Wave, Fire Blast, Scorch, Fireball, Ice Lance and Cone of Cold spells by an additional 6%.
Focus Magic 1/1: [Instant Cast] Increases the target’s chance to critically hit with spells by 3%. When the target critically hits your critical hit chance with spells is increased by 3% for 10 seconds. Cannot be cast on self.
Student of the Mind 1/3: Increases your total Spirit by 4%.
Torment the Weak 3/3: Your Frostbolt, Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, Arcane Missiles, Arcane Blast, and Arcane Barrage abilities deal 12% more damage to snared or slowed targets.
Student of the Mind +2, 3/3: Increases your total Spirit by 12%.
Presence of Mind 1/1: [Instant Cast] When activated, your next Mage spell with a casting time less than 10 seconds becomes an instant cast spell.
Arcane Mind 4/5: Increases your total Intellect by 12%.
Arcane Instability 3/3: Increases the damage done by your spells and your critical strike chance by 3%.
Arcane Potency 2/2: Increases the critical strike chance of your next damaging spell by 30% after gaining Clearcasting or Presence of Mind.
Arcane Power 1/1: [Instant Cast] When activated, your spells deal 20% more damage hwile costing 20% more mana to cast. This effect lasts 15 seconds.
Arcane Empowerment 3/3: Increases the damage of your Arcane Missiles spell by an amount equal to 45% of your spell power and the damage of your Arcane Blast by 9% of your spell power. In addition, when you score a critical hit with Arcane Missiles, Arcane Explosion, Arcane Blast, or Arcane Barrage all party and raid members have all damage increased by 3% for 10 seconds.
Arcane Mind +1, 5/5: Increases your total Intellect by 15%.
Arcane Flows 2/2: Reduces the cooldown of your Presence of Mind, Arcane Power, and Invisibility spells by 30% and the cooldown of your Evocation spell by 2 minutes.
Mind Master 3/5: Increases spell power by 9% of your total Intellect.
Missile Barrage 5/5: Gives your Arcane Blast a 40% chance, and your Arcane Barrage, Fireball, Frostbolt, and Frostfire Bolt spells a 20% chance to reduce the channeled duration of the next Arcane Missiles spell by 2.5 seconds, reduce the mana cost by 100%, and missiles will fire ever 0.5 seconds.
Netherwind Presence 3/3: Increases your spell haste by 6%.
Spell Power 2/2: Increases critical strike damage bonus of all spells by 50%.
Arcane Barrage 1/1: [Instant Cast] Launches several Missiles at the enemy target, causing 936 to 1144 Arcane damage.
Ice Floes 3/3: Reduces the cooldown of your Frost NOva, Cone of Cold, Ice Block, and Icy Veins spells by 20%.
Frostbite 2/3: Gives your Chill effects a 10% chance to freeze the target for 5 seconds.
Precision 3/3: Reduces the mana cost and increases your chance to hit with spells by 3%.

You’ll see that a large portion of the Arcane tree is designed around increasing damage or crit rating, either directly or by increasing stats such as Intellect and Spirit which provide those bonuses as well.

We move into the Frost tree after level 60 for some key talents there. Frostbite doesn’t help us a whole lot, but since we do occasionally drop into Blizzard mode when running instances it’s better than Improved Frostbolt which we’ll never cast except to pull, and even then only while we’re leveling. Ice Floes on the other hand reduces the cooldown on some of our defensive spells (Frost Nova and Ice Block) and especially Icy Veins which is the whole reason we’re going into Frost to begin with, even if we don’t have it just yet. Precision provides us with an additional 3% Hit Rating which stacks wit

Special Notes
If you’re leveling Arcane from the beginning rather than switch to it at level 64 as I suggest, then you want take Arcane Stability 5/5 rather than Arcane Focus and Arcane Subtlety so that you don’t have any pushback on your Arcane Missiles, which is your only real source of Arcane damage up to that point other than Arcane Explosion.

You may also wish to replace the two additional points in Student of the Mind with two points in Improved Counterspell instead, to provide a 4 second silence on your targets. It may be more geared towards PvP, but it also has its uses in Heroics and Raids as well.

Glyphs for Leveling
Major Glyphs: Frost
Evocation: Your Evocation ability also causes you to regain 60% of your health over its duration.
Ice Block: Your Frost Nova cooldown is now reset every time you use Ice Block.
Ice Barrier: Increases the amount of damage absorbed by your Ice Barrier by 30%.
Water Elemental: Reduces the cooldown of your Summon Water Elemental spell by 30 seconds.
Eternal Water: Your Summon Water Elemental now lasts indefinitely, but your Water Elemental can no longer cast Freeze.
Molten Armor: Your Molten Armor grants an additional 20% of your spirit as critical strike rating.

The Glyph of Evocation is invaluable if you are soloing. You can get by without it, but it goes a long way towards reducing your down time to have it.

If you are going to do a lot of AoE grinding, then I suggest you go for Evocation and Ice Block as those will be the most helpful to you at this point.

If you want to do more leveling via dungeon runs, then I suggest you go for Eternal Water and Frostbolt instead, as they will provide you with the largest boost to your DPS. Eternal Water removes one of your best AoE grinding tools, but you can deal with that if you need to. You may also want to swap Frostbolt for Ice Barrier if you plan to solo quest as well as run dungeons to give you more survivability.

If you want to increase your DPS you may also consider Molten Armor at level 62 for increased Crit Rate, though you’ll probably get more use out of that at higher levels than you will right now.

Major Glyphs: Arcane
Arcane Blast: Increases the damage from your Arcane Blast buff by 3%. (Requires Level 64)
Arcane Missiles: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of Arcane Missiles by 25%.
Mana Gem: Increases the mana received from using a mana gem by 40%.
Molten Armor: Your Molten Armor grants an additional 20% of your spirit as critical strike rating.

Arcane Blast being your primary nuke and a buff to other Arcane spells, having another 3% damage from the buff can add up real quick. You’ll use it at 80 if you stay Arcane, so you might as well get it now.

Arcane Missiles is your second most common nuke spell, and considering the high crit rate that Mages generally have, an extra 25% damage when it happens is great. This is another one you’ll use at 80, so grab it now.

Mana Gem I list specifically for leveling purposes, because it is amazing for restoring your mana and thus reducing your downtime. I suggest you pair it up with Arcane Blast if you do take it.

Molten Armor is the third glyph you’ll be toting around at level 80, and another worth considering now. Additional crit is never a bad thing. I usually save this one for my level 80 slot, but go with whatever works best for you.

Minor Glyphs: All Mages
Slow Fall: Your Slow Fall spell no longer requires a reagent.
Frost Ward: You have an additional 5% chance to reflect Frost spells while your Frost Ward is active.
Fire Ward: You have an additional 5% chance to reflect Fire spells while your Fire Ward is active.

Mages have crap for minor glyph selection, so the only one I really care for is going to be Slow Fall. Get that one for your first slot at 15 and then fill in the others as they open up with whatever you fill like sticking in there.

I had some other glyphs listed here in the previous articles, but now that you’re getting ready to push on into Northrend I’m not going to bother with fluff that provides no real value, so these are the only Minor Glyphs I suggest as they’ll likely be what you use at 80. You’ll use Frost Ward in ICC for instance, and Fire Ward comes up in Ulduar a time or two, but at least they provide some lasting value at times where others generally do not.

Gearing Up for Spellcasting
Nothing new here at all. Spell Power and Intellect > All, with Hit, Crit, and Stam being next up on the usefulness list.

There are some specific quests I suggest doing for gear upgrades, and several of those are found in Hellfire Peninsula. You can replace most of your armor as well as your staff in Hellfire alone, and for this reason I suggest you go ahead and do almost every quest in the zone, at least until you get the achievement for questing. Overlord/Cruel’s Intention and Blacktalon are two of the key quests you want to be sure you complete.

For Nagrand I strongly suggest you get a group together or call on your guild mates to help you out with the Ring of Blood chain for another great staff upgrade. If you’re using a BoA Staff then you won’t need to upgrade it of course, but it’s still a great source of both experience and gold for doing the quest chain, and you can sell the weapon from the final reward if you want to as well.

Suggested Instances
Once you hit level 60 I suggest you run every instance you get the chance to in Outlands. Put yourself in the queue and then get right to questing. When the queue pops go run the dungeon and then put yourself right back into the queue and quest while you wait for the next one to pop. Do that over and over and you’ll find yourself hitting 68 in no time and likely a decent set of starting gear as you prepare to head into Northrend as well.

If you have rested experience then dungeons is the best way to burn through it and do so quickly. Not only will you get the rested bonus, you’ll also get the group bonus for doing it with a full group. That’s enhanced even further of course if you happen to be wearing the heirloom chest (+10% exp), shoulders (+10% exp), and/or ring (+5% exp).

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Mage

 

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