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. ;)
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
As for macros, I only have one to suggest at this point.
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.
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
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.
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 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
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.
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).