Mages are the quintessential wizards of World of Warcraft, masters of arcane, frost, and fire magic. They are capable of turning enemies into sheep, becoming invisible, and teleporting all over Azeroth. In Wrath of the Lich King Classic, they are top-tier damage dealers and bring excellent utility for group and solo content alike. That’s why in this guide we’ll go over everything you need to know for leveling a mage in WotLK Classic.
Best Mage Leveling Spec
We’ll be using the frost talent specialization for this mage leveling guide. Fire and arcane are both viable options, but frost offers the best control and survivability for leveling. From about level 25 on, you should be able to take on large packs of enemies with a little finesse.
Unlike in retail World of Warcraft, you will need to visit your class trainer in order to learn new spells as you level up. Trainers are located in every major faction city as well as each of the starting zones. You should train at least every few levels, because new ranks and new spells can make a huge difference to your damage and efficiency.
Gear and Stats
As a frost mage, here are the stats you should look for on gear, in order of importance:
- Spell Power increases the damage done by your spells and is your most important stat.
- Intellect increases your mana pool and also boosts your critical strike. Look for “of the Eagle” green pieces for easy Intellect.
- Spirit is useful for mana regeneration and makes your Evocation spell more effective.
- Stamina is important for your survivability. It should come naturally on your gear without needing to look for it.
- Haste speeds up your spell casts, increasing the amount of damage you can do over any given window of time.
- Critical Strike increases your damage by causing more of your spells to critically hit.
- MP5 boosts your mana regeneration, but isn’t worth taking above other stats.
- Hit will be much more important at level 80 (it moves to the very top of this list). You won’t see much of it as you level, but when you do, it’s good to grab.
Mages can only use cloth armor. For weapons, the options are daggers, one-handed swords, staves, and wands. Wands have their own equipment slot and you will always want to have one in addition to your primary weapon. If you are using a weapon other than a staff, you’ll want to use an off-hand with it. For your wand, look for a high DPS number. Your primary weapon is not used for damage, only for stats.
Best Heirlooms for Frost Mage
Heirloom gear is well worth getting if you have a level 80 character and are able to purchase it. They scale with your level so that you don’t have to keep replacing your gear as you go. Chest and shoulder pieces also provide a buff to your experience gained, increasing your leveling speed significantly.
These are the heirloom pieces you should look for if you are leveling a mage:
- Shoulder: Tattered Dreadmist Mantle
- Chest: Tattered Dreadmist Robe
- Trinket: Discerning Eye of the Beast
- Trinket: Swift Hand of Justice
- Weapon: Dignified Headmaster’s Charge
Guide to Leveling a Mage in WotLK
Now let’s get to leveling!
Rotation: You will start the game with one damaging ability: Fireball. You can learn Frostbolt at level 4 and should start using it instead. From level 1, you will also be able to buff yourself with Frost Armor and Arcane Intellect. You should get in the habit of keeping these up at all times. At level 8, you’ll learn Polymorph, which is a good ability to have ready when things get hairy.
Food and Water: You learn Conjure Water at level 14 and Conjure Food at level 6. It’s a good idea to make yourself some food and water at the start of every leveling session.
Wands: You can get your first wand as early as level 5. Lesser Magic Wand can be crafted with Enchanting or purchased from the auction house. At your first opportunity, grab yourself a wand and start using Shoot instead of Smite. Wands can do pretty decent damage for the first 40 levels or so and will help save your mana.
Talents: At level 10 you’ll be able to choose your first talent. Here are the recommended talents for this level range:
- Level 10-14: Improved Frostbolt (5/5)
- Level 15-17: Precision (3/3)
- Level 18-19: Permafrost (2/3)
Glyphs: At level 15 you will be able to use your first glyphs. Glyph of Frost Nova and Glyph of Slow Fall are excellent choices.
Rotation: For now you’re still spamming Frostbolts on one target at a time, but that’s about to change!
Mount: You can buy your first mount at level 20! The basic ground mount has a speed of 60% and costs five gold. Head to the starting zone or capital city for your race to purchase a mount as soon as you can – it really makes everything a lot faster and easier.
Portals: You can train your first Teleport spells at level 20. This will make getting around a lot easier, but first you have to hoof it to the Portal Trainer in each location. Here are the Teleport spells that are available at level 20:
Talents: You can now start taking talents that will improve your AoE damage and your Chill effects.
- Level 20-22: Improved Blizzard (3/3)
- Level 23: Icy Veins (1/1)
- Level 24: Permafrost (3/3)
- Level 25-27: Frost Channeling (3/3)
- Level 28-29: Piercing Ice (2/3)
Glyphs: You won’t unlock any new glyphs until level 30.
Rotation: On top of your portals, at level 20 you get some big new spells: Blink, Mana Shield, Evocation, and Blizzard. This combined with the Improved Blizzard talents at level 22 opens up a whole new approach to taking on enemies.
From here on out, your goal will be to pull three or more enemies at a time and AoE them down with Blizzard. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Maintain Arcane Intellect and Frost Armor on yourself.
- After level 28, make sure you keep a Mana Gem conjured for emergency mana.
- Use Mana Shield if your mana feels comfortable enough. (You don’t want to run out of mana to actually do damage.)
- Start pulling enemies by getting close to them. You can also use your wand to Shoot.
- Group the enemies up and use Frost Nova to root them in place.
- Run away or use Blink to distance yourself for when Frost Nova wears off.
- Cast Blizzard. Keep casting it until most of them are dead, unless they are starting to get close.
- Move or Blink if you need to gain some distance again.
- Cast Frost Nova when it comes up or use Cone of Cold if you need to slow the enemies down again.
- Use your wand to Shoot stragglers and finish them off.
Portals: At level 30, you can learn your fourth Teleport spell. Alliance can get Teleport: Darnassus and Horde can get Teleport: Thunder Bluff. At level 35, both factions can learn a new Teleport spell as well as their first Portal spell that can be used by other players. For this, Alliance gets Theramore and Horde gets Stonard.
- Level 30: Piercing Ice (3/3)
- Level 31: Cold Snap (1/1)
- Level 32-34: Ice Shards (3/3)
- Level 35-36: Arctic Reach (2/2)
- Level 37-39: Winter’s Chill (3/3)
Glyphs: At level 30 you can use a second major glyph. You should pick up Glyph of Evocation.
Rotation: You’ll learn Ice Block at level 30, a powerful cooldown that you can use to stall when things don’t look so good. You’ll also learn Ice Armor, which you should start using in place of Frost Armor. At level 31, you should take the Cold Snap talent, which lets you reset the cooldowns for all of your important frost spells.
Mount: At level 40, you can upgrade your mount. An epic ground mount has a speed of 100% and costs 60 gold. You will most likely need to return to the same vendor you purchased your level 20 mount from.
Portals: Also at level 40, you can learn Portal spells to teleport other players to your faction’s main cities. These are the same cities you learned Teleport spells for at level 20.
- Level 40: Ice Barrier (1/1)
- Level 41-44: Arctic Winds (4/5)
- Level 45-46: Fingers of Frost (2/2)
- Level 47: Arctic Winds (5/5)
- Level 48-49: Shatter (2/3)
Glyphs: You won’t unlock any new glyph slots in this level range.
Rotation: You should start using Ice Barrier as soon as you take the talent. Use it at the start of a pull and anytime you find yourself taking damage. Otherwise, just keep doing what you’ve been doing.
Portals: At level 50, you can learn Portal spells for your last two faction cities – Darnassus for Alliance and Thunder Bluff for Horde.
- Level 50: Shatter (3/3)
- Level 51: Summon Water Elemental (1/1)
- Level 52-54: Ice Floes (3/3)
- Level 55-57: Chilled to the Bone (3/5)
Glyphs: At level 50 you can use a second minor glyph. Your minor glyphs are not game changers, and you can really use whatever glyph seems to fit best with your play style. If you can’t decide, opt for Glyph of Arcane Intellect.
Rotation: You can take the Summon Water Elemental talent as soon as level 50. Start using it on cooldown to maximize your damage.
Zones: Head to Outland as soon as you reach level 58. The items you can get there are much better than those in the lower level zones.
Mount: At level 60, you can purchase your first flying mount. A basic flying mount has a flying speed of 150% and a ground speed of 60%, and costs 300 gold total. The Flying trainers are located in Hellfire Peninsula and Shadowmoon Valley.
Portals: At level 60, you can learn Teleport: Shattrath to make getting back to Outland a lot easier. At level 65 you can learn Portal: Shattrath to help others get there too.
- Level 58-59: Chilled to the Bone (5/5)
- Level 60: Deep Freeze (1/1)
- Level 61-62: Arcane Subtlety (2/2)
- Level 63-65: Arcane Focus (3/3)
- Level 66-67: Arcane Concentration (2/5)
Glyphs: You won’t get any new glyph slots until level 70.
Rotation: There’s nothing new in this level range. Just keep AoEing and see how many enemies you can pull at once!
Zones: Head to Northrend as soon as you reach level 68. The quest rewards are much better and you can start working on the reputations you will need at level 80.
Mount: You can upgrade your flying mount at level 70 if you choose. An epic flying mount has a flying speed of 280% and a ground speed of 100%, and costs 5100 gold. But you will not be able to use it in Northrend until you train Cold Weather Flying. This can be done at level 77 for 1000 gold, or if you already have a level 80 character, you can purchase a Tome of Cold Weather Flight for your mage to use as early as level 68. Northrend flying trainers are located in Dalaran, Storm Peaks, and Sholazar Basin.
Portals: At level 71, you can learn Teleport: Dalaran to make getting back to Northrend easier. At level 74, you can learn Portal: Dalaran to help others get there as well.
- Level 68-70: Arcane Concentration (5/5)
- Level 71-73: Student of the Mind (3/3)
- Level 74-75: Magic Absorption (2/2)
- Level 76-78: Arcane Meditation (3/3)
- Level 79-80: Cold as Ice (2/2)
Glyphs: At level 70, you can use a third minor glyph. Glyph of Frost Armor is a decent option, but you can really pick any glyph that seems interesting. You won’t get the third major glyph slot until level 80.
Rotation: At level 68, you learn Invisibility, a very useful spell for getting around and away from enemies. At level 70, you’ll learn Spellsteal, which can have some very fun applications. Otherwise, you can just Blizzard and Blink your way to the endgame.
Congratulations on level 80!
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Thanks for reading! Hopefully this guide has helped you with leveling your mage through WotLK Classic. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!