Welcome to our mage leveling guide for WoW Classic! Mages are the premier spellcasters of Azeroth, using their superior intellectual knowledge to overpower their foes. Not only do they have a variety of frost, fire, and arcane spells, but they also have several special abilities that offer unique utility, like portals and conjured food/water.
One thing that makes leveling a mage slightly different from other classes is that their playstyle is extremely similar to how you’d play at max level. Frost is the most popular leveling and raiding specialization, offering plenty of damage with one of the simplest rotations in the game. The key difference between leveling and raiding is the talents you choose. The talents you’ll select are crucial to helping you level as a mage as they significantly increase your power.
Leveling your mage is fairly simple, but there’s still some good information to know if you want a smoother, stress-free leveling experience. This guide will cover some general leveling tips and will also go in-depth on how to build and play a mage. We’ll cover your stat priority, rotation, optimal talent build path, essential abilities to train, and professions that will make everything a little better!
Very easy to play.
Excellent at kiting and keeping enemies away.
Plenty of utility in the form of portals, crowd control, and free food/water.
Fantastic survivability and mobility.
Great at area-of-effect damage.
Naturally has spell hit rating through talents.
Can feel repetitive and boring to play.
Very dependent on procs to freeze enemies for significantly more damage.
Extremely squishy when all cooldowns, escapes, and crowd controls are unavailable.
Vulnerable to interrupts and silences.
General Leveling Tips
Getting to level 60 is definitely a long journey in Classic WoW. Much of the beauty in Azeroth is in the sense of gradual progression you feel. Each new level and ability you earn makes you feel a little bit stronger. Every new piece of equipment you find helps too. Simply rushing to max level is great if you’re strictly interested in raiding, but this will cause you to miss out on the beauty of growing your character. Play however feels most fun to you, but definitely consider taking the time to enjoy each moment your character gets just a little bit better!
You certainly won’t need these on a mage, but here are some helpful gameplay tips if you want a smoother ride:
Try to plan out what level zones you’ll go to in advance. Some zones are great for either faction, but others are specifically designed for horde or alliance. All of them have an unspoken level requirement, considering that you’ll find different leveled monsters depending on the zone.
Related to picking the right zone, make sure you’re fighting monsters that are the exact same level as you. Creatures that are higher or lower level than you will give reduced experience.
Mages definitely have an advantage in this department, but make sure to at least have plenty of water and possibly food too. You can Conjure Water as a mage, but this isn’t very helpful if you’re already out of mana and didn’t make any water in advance!
As a mage, you really don’t need to group up. You have fantastic survivability and damage, letting you easily solo elite monsters and clear groups of mobs. If you do join a group, you make a fantastic member by providing water and an intellect buff.
Unless you’re actively trying to aoe mobs down, do your best to fight enemies one at a time. This will give you the best chance to freeze a target, which gives you a 5 second window of serious damage.
Consider fighting enemies you see when you’re running to and from quest objectives. Quests alone won’t get you to level 60, so naturally fitting in some grinding will leave less for you to do when you’re higher level.
Try taking a break from questing all the time to run some dungeons every few levels. Not only are these good for experience, but you can get powerful equipment upgrades that will make things much easier for you.
Mage Specific Gameplay Advice
While leveling, there are two main buffs you have. You’ll want to keep them applied at all times, but fortunately they last for a long duration. This includes Arcane Intellect for extra intellect, and Ice Armor to make you beefier while also slowing attackers.
Once you’re level 40, you’ll also want to apply Ice Barrier before every pull, reapplying it whenever it comes off cooldown.
You have multiple useful cooldowns for keeping yourself alive. Ice Block is great for emergencies, encapsulating you in a block of ice for 10 seconds, but it does prevent you from taking action.
Evocation can restore almost your entire mana bar, but does have an 8 minute cooldown. You can also use Cold Snap to reset the cooldown of both Evocation and Ice Block, so make sure to manage your cooldowns properly to get the most effectiveness from them!
Try to do your best to kite enemies as much as possible. This is fairly simple to the natural chilling slow applied by Frostbolt, but you also have a few other abilities to help you out. Frost Nova freezes all enemies in place, but does have a 25 second cooldown. Cone of Cold is another option that slows enemies hit by 50% for 8 seconds.
Don’t be afraid to Polymorph an enemy if you don’t feel confident fighting a whole pack. This will heal your target, so don’t waste a Polymorph on an enemy that is almost dead.
Spell/Frost Damage – Your highest priority for stats is what will result in the greatest damage increase. There’s nothing better than spell damage and frost damage, which both directly boost the power of your spells. Both are fairly uncommon, but don’t be afraid to go out of your way to find equipment with this.
Intellect – Intellect is also a nice stat to have as a mage. This will increase your overall mana pool while also giving you some spell critical strike chance. Without mana you won’t deal much damage, so pick up some intellect to minimize your downtime.
Stamina – You’re also going to need at least a little bit of stamina. Hopefully you shouldn’t be getting hit much in general with all the slows at your disposal, but if you do, this will give you some cushion to soak a few blows before spells are available again.
Spirit – The last stat you’ll want is spirit. As a mage, you’ll constantly be casting spells, meaning you won’t be able to benefit from spirit unless you’re using Mage Armor, which isn’t a great idea. This will help you regenerate out of combat, making you spend less time drinking water.
The rotation for leveling your frost mage is extremely simple and won’t change much on the way to level 60. While your rotation is simple, the way you execute it might not be. To be most effective, you’ll constantly need to run away from enemies in between Frostbolt casts. This will allow you to keep them at a distance while also damaging them.
All you really want to do is cast Frostbolt, with the goal of still being out of melee range of your target when the cast finishes. To make kiting simpler, you can also use Frost Nova to freeze enemies in place. As a last resort, when enemies attack you with Ice Armor applied, they’ll be slowed once again, giving you a good window to Blink away.
As soon as you get Ice Barrier, keep it up at all times. This basically serves as a free shield and will prevent enemies from slowing your Frostbolt casts if they do reach you. If you encounter multiple enemies, immediately use Frost Nova and run away to give you a moment to assess the situation.
If there are less than 3 enemies, use your single target rotation after using Polymorph on one. If there are more than 3 that you can confidently handle, use Blizzard until it is no longer hitting your targets. Use Cone of Cold and then run away to channel another Blizzard. Once enemies are attacking you, start spamming Arcane Explosion.
Leveling a mage often comes to choosing between frost and fire, but frost is undoubtedly the stronger choice due to more consistent damage and great survivability. With 3 points in Frostbite and 5 points in Shatter, you’ll have a 15% chance for Frostbolt to freeze your target for 5 seconds. When your target is frozen, you’ll have a 50% increased spell critical strike chance. Combined with 100% increased critical strike damage from 5 points in Ice Shards and it’s easy to see how frost is an effective leveling specialization!
Abilities to Train
Level 1-20 – Simply train every skill available to you.
Icefury Wand: Once you’re level 30, you’ll unlock access to a chain of quests that will reward you with one of three wands. Each wand offered increases spell damage by 9 for a specific tree of mage spells.
Icefury Wand is the choice that increases your frost damage, making it a fantastic upgrade you should aim to obtain as soon as you can. You’ll need to do some adventuring, but the hardest part of the quests involves delving into the Library wing of Scarlet Monastery. Although the quests may take a while, the wand makes the effort well worth it!
Mages can only wear cloth. The only type of armor you’ll ever be able to wear is cloth. Because of this, you should always prioritize the stats equipment has over the armor it provides.
Tailoring gear is fantastic for leveling. Tailoring gear is actually great while you’re leveling your mage. Around the mid 30s you can wear the Azure crafted set for +50 frost damage when you’re wearing every piece. In your 40s, the Dreamweave crafted set is an upgrade for you that will last all the way to level 60.
Aim for a sword or dagger and offhand item over a staff. The three types of melee weapons a mage can use include a staff, one-handed sword, and a dagger. Staves typically will have higher stats on them, but the combination of a sword/dagger and an offhand held-item will generally result in higher spell damage, making them a better option for a mage.
If your only goal is to reach level 60 in the quickest time possible, then professions are only going to slow you down. Having said that, they’re still an excellent way of making leveling more enjoyable. With professions you can make stronger equipment or powerful consumables for your character, or you can also sell them to other players for a great way of farming gold. At some point, you’ll probably want professions, so it’s a great idea to start them while you’re leveling.
Here are some great professions to train while leveling a mage:
Tailoring – Without a doubt, tailoring is your best profession option while leveling. This is because you can easily make the Azure and Dreamweave sets, which will significantly boost your damage once you have them. You can also use tailoring to make and sell bags, meaning it is a good gold-generating profession.
Enchanting – If you’re going to take tailoring, then you should also grab enchanting. This is another profession that doesn’t require a gathering profession, but it is also useful when combined with tailoring. When you’re leveling up tailoring and need to make armor you don’t need, you can disenchant it for extra enchanting materials.
Herbalism – Another good option is herbalism. It can be used alone to gather and sell herbs, but it is better when paired with alchemy.
Alchemy – Alchemy is fantastic for a mage because you can make several different potions and elixirs that will increase your spell damage. The one downside is that these bonuses are temporary compared to permanent robes worn from tailoring.