WotLK Classic Mage Leveling Guide

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Welcome to our Mage class leveling guide for WotLK Classic! Mages are the masters of Frost, Fire, and Arcane spell schools. As a Mage, you can use the Frost school to chill enemies until they can’t move anymore, the Fire school to barbecue all who oppose you, and Arcane to blast all those in your way. All three schools of magic provide different utility to the mage’s toolkit, allowing them to burst enemies down or kite them from one end of the map to the other end.

Mages excel at any fight length — Arcane magic dominates short fights, the flames of the Fire school excel in longer conflicts, and Frost dominates fights that move at a glacial pace. This allows each spec to be useful in some regard! Leveling for mages is one of the best places to show the potential you have as a mage especially in the AoE (area of effect) area, allowing you two different styles of leveling.

If you’ve never played a mage before, then I suggest strapping yourself in, as we have a lot to cover! To navigate to a specific section, use the Contents button at the top of this guide.

Throughout the guide, you’ll see buttons — click them to see details on the topic in question!

Should I Play Mage?

Pros

  • Doesn’t require gear while leveling.
  • Reliable and consistent leveling experience.
  • Great damage over an extended period of time.
  • One of the best movement abilities in Blink
  • Very quick leveling speed (after level 20).
  • Free Food and Water to reduce downtime!
  • Can travel between cities starting at level 40

Cons

  • Rotation can feel repetitive
  • Constantly asked for food and water (can be a pro as well!)
  • Very squishy class

General Leveling Tips & Gameplay Advice

Getting to level 80 is usually quite a challenge, but mages have several tricks up their sleeve to race to the top. With our ability to kill up to 10 mobs at once we have a massive advantage over many other casters and even some melee; Mages also have a couple of ways to escape from sticky situations!

  • You’ll probably do this naturally, but try to kill enemies anywhere and everywhere you go. If you have full health and mana try pushing your class a bit further and only stop when you’re fully out of mana with no methods to regenerate it except through water.
  • Make sure to visit the class Trainer regularly to improve your spells to then make leveling easier.
  • Unlike other classes, you will almost always want to fight 3 or more mobs (past level 20) at once in order to speed up your leveling experience.
  • Try to fight enemies that are the same level as you as they grant the most XP.
  • Remember to use your Hearthstone to get around quickly, if you’re under level 10 you can also use the graveyards as well to save time running back and forth.
  • While grouping will definitely increase how fast you level and is recommended for solo target leveling, AoE grinding is faster without being in a group with others.
  • Mages have several Buffs, one of which is Arcane Intellect which should always be on as it provides more mana, crit, and mana regen. Other useful buffs include Frost Armor, Ice Armor (a better version of Frost Armor), Mage Armor, and Molten Armor. Each one provides a unique buff specific to either level or leveling strategy. The last 2 buffs would be Amplify Magic and Dampen Magic with these two having very niche uses.
  • Once you have Mana gems, make sure you never start combat without having one already made!
  • If you are ever worried about dying, you can always Frost Nova mobs and run away. Alternatively, if you’re at level 70 you can use Invisibility to drop combat and escape.

The rotation for Mage is as follows; note that it depends both on what level you are as well as your leveling strategy:

Each spec has a different way of leveling after level 60:

Talent Path & Training Abilities

Talents

Depending on what school you’d like to focus on, your talent path will vary dramatically:

  • Leveling as Frost revolves around using Blizzard for AoE, water elemental, and frostbolt to kill mobs. It is generally the best spec to choose for leveling as it has the most survivability out of the 3 specs.
  • Leveling as Fire revolves around Living Bomb for AoE, Fireball and Pyroblasts for Single target, while also getting Pyroblasts with Hotstreak. Fire, while weaker early on without the survivability of frost or aoe potential, catches up once you acquire living bomb and are able to place it on 10 mobs at a time and burst them down.
  • Leveling as Arcane (level 64) revolves around Arcane Blast and Arcane Missile. This spec has the most burst potential of the 3 and can be useful for killing solo mobs the quickest.
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Frost Leveling
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Frost Progression
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Fire Leveling
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Fire Progression
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Arcane Leveling (after level 64)
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Arcane Progression

Abilities to Train

As mages have an abundance of abilities, most of them are worth picking up, and very few aren’t needed (Amplify Magic and Dampen Magic). Therefore, you should train all the spells you can when you visit the trainer.

Gearing

Knowing what stats to prioritize, and what sort of gear you should be looking for, can go a long way toward making your time leveling easier.

  • Try to use a one-hander and an off-hand item for a better combination of stats. While Staves can look cooler, the one-hander and off-hand combo tend to do better overall in terms of the combination of stats it can give you.
  • Mages can do well without major upgrades (you can get to level 80 in Westfall blues and greens) but anything with Spell power, Intellect, Spirit, and Stamina on it will help a lot when it comes to killing mobs faster!
  • Always have a decent wand with you, as you may need a couple of wand hits to finish off an enemy at lower levels.

The following list is a general guideline for what stats you should prioritize getting from gear, gems, and enchants (and even potions!).

  1. Spell Power – This stat can increase your damage by nearly double for some spells, and affects everything besides wands and weapons.
  2. Intellect – Increases our mana pool, our mana regen, and gives us passive crit. This is a very nice stat to have, as mages can quickly run out of mana while leveling.
  3. Spirit – Helps with Mana regen as well as converting into Crit with Molten Armor on.
  4. Stamina – Helps us survive longer and allows us to pull more mobs before dying, need I say more on this amazing stat?

Class Quests & Rewards

When completing class quests, it’s important to pick the best rewards!

Professions

The professions you want to choose are going to depend on your goals whilst leveling. Do you want to be as fast as possible, do you care about endgame, earning gold, etc. Whatever your goals are, you should level First Aid as a Mage, but your other choices are up to you:

  • Speed leveling: Only get First Aid. All other professions will cut into your time, even something as simple as skinning adds up to several hours until you reach level 80
  • Fast leveling + Gold generation: Here you can take Skinning. It will add some time, but also a nice flow of gold.
  • Max two professions: If you want to max two professions at once then Skinning paired with either Herbalism or Mining is a good start.
  • Endgame: Start with Engineering and Mining, then drop mining to grab Tailoring. These professions can take a while to max out and get the items you need out of them, but doing this ends up with you having the two best-in-slot professions for a mage.

Useful Macros

Iceblock + Cancel Macro

#showtooltip
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cast Ice Block

Force Pet Attack

/cast Frostbolt
/use Waterbolt

Aggro Wipe or Mob Resetter

#showtooltip Invisibility
/cancelaura Invisibility
/cast Invisibility

 

About the Author

Amery

Hey guys! My name is Amery and here is a little something about me: I've been playing WoW for about 15 years now. With that experience, I wanted to share all the things I have learned over the years.
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Oakenshield
Oakenshield
11 months ago

Frost is indeed the best path for levelling, and the most fun !
Here is the path I used on every mages I levelled up (I will explain why I go this way) :

https://www.warcrafttavern.com/wotlk/tools/talent-calculator/mage?t=C1111166677aaa79ccdddh000emmmeepqqqqttuuqwww88EEEEE8444iiiB0011166644444&g=l-413

First of all, we want to reduce the time of casting of our most used spell, so we naturally take Improved Frostbolt. Of course, we want to hit with it and every other spells so we take Precision (with the extra reduced cost). Then we can put 2 points in Permafrost, increasing the time our target needs to come to us.
At level 20, we unlock our great aoe blizzard so we put 3/3 on Improved Blizzard to give us an incredibly powerful aoe, allowing us to take down 3+ enemies if placed correctly. To increase again the slow effects value, we then put the final point in Permafrost, and we can now grab Icy Veins : chaining frostbolt on 1 or 2 strong enemies with more speed is amazing, and no pushback with our Blizzard against 3+ of them is just insane early on.
With a frost mage, you want to increase at maximum the time it takes to the enemy to come to you : Arctic Reach is the right tool for that, since you want to frostbolt at max range. You also put 3/3 on Frost Chanelling, because why not save 10% mana on every spell ? The reduced threat is also great in dungeons !
We now unlocked Cold Snap : we take it. It’s a great way to cast two frost nova if you need to leave an area without trouble, or two cone of cold if you face multiple targets with low health. It’s also super effective if you need to ice block again shortly after your first one.
Okay, we reduced by a lot the probability of an enemy to hit you at melee range with the slow effects, but we can do better : 3/3 on Frostbite will block the opponents for now, and will later increase or damage output. Now that we can effectively freeze without our frost nova, put 1 point in Shatter to unlock the next row and give us an extra boost against frozen targets. Winter’s Chill is a nice addition to our collection, increasing the damage potential of our frostbolt. Complete 3/3 Shatter to unlock the next row and to give us an amazing +50% chance to crit against frozen targets !
Ice Barrier is a miraculous defensive tool, take it next : we can cast our Blizzard even if we are surrounded by opponents without pushback as long as the barrier holds (like Icy Veins) and without damage ! 4/5 Arctic Winds is the next step : a good increase for all of our damage and a good defensive ability.
We now put 2/2 on Empowered Frostbolt and 2/2 on Fingers of Frost, wichever order you want (I prefer Empowered Frostbolt because we gain time on our casting, so we gain time on our levelling), and complete 5/5 Arctic Winds.
3/3 Brain Freeze gives us free fireball from time to time, a great way to save mana and casting time ! I personally don’t like Water Elemental because I don’t think of summoning it, so why bother take the talent (again, it’s personal). We can now put 2/3 in Piercing Ice. We would have liked to put points there earlier, but every other talents were more efficient for our play style so we simply couldn’t.
We unlocked Chill to the Bones, again a superb addition which reduce even more the speed of the enemies : we are now almost untouchable ! 5/5 in it.
If you level up more in solo contents than in dungeons, Deep Freeze is just not a good talent : frozen targets don’t need to be stunned, and we don’t encounter many targets immune to stun, so I skip the talent.
We take the final point of Piercing Ice, increasing our damage again.
Now that we are in Outlands and at level 61, we probably found good gear with a bit of critical chance on it : we can finally go 3/3 Ice Shards ! BUT WHY DON’T YOU TAKE IT EARLIER, THAT’S JUST DUMB ? Simple : we don’t have enough crit for it to be effective. Yes, we have our Shatter ability to increase by 50% the chances on frozen targets, but keep in mind that Fingers of Frost and Frostbite have 15% each to proc, so not that often… Generally, you will kill your enemies with one or two spells max with these procs, so we don’t need extra damage YET. However, in Outlands and later in Northrend, enemies have more resistance and this extra 100% damage from crit will be superb. These are the areas where you will find gear with critical chance on them.
At level 62 you will also have Molten Armor available. A great spell to increase your damage, however you will have to drink from time to time to keep your mana up. You can also stay with the Mage Armor : you won’t ever need to drink but you will do a little bit less damage. Choice is yours !
We are now level 63 with our main talents active, congratulations !
You have now 16 levels to go before respec (17 if you count level 80). If you want to go for the Arcane Tree like on the guide for Torment the Weak, go for it (you will have to sacrifice talents from the Frost Tree). However, it is almost the only reason you go on the Arcane Tree and it will only be available at level 78, it seems too far away… Arcane Concentration may be a good talent along the way but we don’t need it : with our Evocation spell and the experience you now have of the spells, you shouldn’t have mana issues especially if you choose to keep Mage Armor up instead of Molten Armor.
For this 16 talents left, I go this way : 3/3 on Improved Cone of Cold because facing 2 or more opponents, the cone finish the job nicely.
2/2 on Improved Fire Blast : it gives more mobility, if I have to move I can still do damage more often.
3/3 Incineration : more damage potential from cone of cold and fire blast.
3/3 World in Flames : more damage potential from blizzard and arcane explosion.
If you know you’re going to respec for a Frostfire Mage build at level 80, buy the Glyph of Frostfire : it will increase your damage output, thus reducing the time you spend leveling.
Finally we reach level 75 and can now replace our fireball by our frostfire ball, which will benefit from our frost talents. From 75 to 79, I take 5/5 Ignite simply to increase the damage of our critical frostfire ball : if you see your opponent’s health drop drastically after a critical frostfire ball, why should you cast a spell on him again ? Ignite will kill him for you so you can now target another enemy and gain time !
At level 80, respec !

I hope you liked this version (again it’s my personal opinion after levelling a few mages), let me know your thoughts (without trash talk if possible)

Sorry for my english if I wrote something wrong, that’s not my mother tongue 🙂

dezzodog
dezzodog
Reply to  Oakenshield
11 months ago

do you have guide on how to level as a fire mage or do you prefer only frost… i am new and I heard fire mage is more fun to play

Oakenshield
Oakenshield
Reply to  dezzodog
11 months ago

Hi, it heavily depends : if you want to level up in solo content you will struggle with fire and arcane mage, at least until you reach your final talents. You should go with something like this

https://www.warcrafttavern.com/wotlk/tools/talent-calculator/mage?t=B2222266644a88bbfff44ihhhgkkmmmoooqquuupmxwwyyEEEEEIymgg4A11100666669995

because fire mages relies on crit proc, and you will have a bit of controlling spells which will allow you to cast free flamestrike at level 52. It is way harder to level up in solo content with fire or arcane, even if they do more damage than frost.
HOWEVER, if you plan to level up almost exclusively in dungeons, go for it !!! Fire mage is indeed the most fun of the specs in dungeons in my opinion with the big explosions of your pyroblasts and bombs 🙂 if you do that, you should go for the talents of the TTW fire mage spec which is described on this site (not the leveling spec above but the guide on fire mage at level 80 one)
Note : the increased range of your fire spells should be your last talent to take if you do this levelling strat in dungeons (79 and 80), or you can go with 3/3 in Student of the Mind (79 and 80 also)

Oakenshield
Oakenshield
Reply to  Oakenshield
11 months ago

Don’t ask me for an Arcane Mage guide however, I never liked or played the spec (for levelling or at level 80 for that matter) so I can’t say anything good or bad about it (except that early on, you will encounter the same difficulties as Fire Mage) 🙂

Meta
Meta
1 year ago

In the frost tree, you pick up Fingers of Frost before Shatter which doesn’t make any sense. Shatter should be taken ASAP not withheld till 54.

Noah M
Noah M
1 year ago

The arcane talent points in this build are 100% wasted, spend your points in the frost tree those arcane talents are horrible.

your mom
your mom
Reply to  Noah M
1 year ago

get bent lol

Py Black
Py Black
Reply to  Noah M
1 year ago

Thats horrible advice, and will make you run out of mana before you finish a pull.

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