Mage Class Guide for World of Warcraft Classic

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Introduction

Do you like being the top DPS from the early stages of WoW Classic and until Naxx? Do you like having the best AoE damage in this game version of Vanilla WoW? Do you like being among the first to reach the level cap of 60? 

Do you like being invited in raid groups and dungeon groups because on the top of everything else you offer immense utility? No? Then play a balance druid, enhancement shaman or a shadow priest. If, however you are a born winner or want to pretend to be one, this article is for you. Because here we will discuss the Mage class and offer you an in-depth guide about its advantages and disadvantages in the current state of WoW Classic.

Races and Factions

The eternal question is not “To be or not to be”. It is “To Horde or not to Horde”. Both factions offer decent choices for playing a mage. 

The Alliance has humans and gnomes. As we have discussed before, due to the Alliance having paladins with Blessing of Salvation, you’ll be able to break your keyboard while spamming damaging abilities on your mage without being concerned about overaggroing. 

Of this faction the humans offer 5% more spirit and the gnomes 5% intellect and Escape Artist. The spirit is absolutely useless for mages. For it to have value as a mana regen tool, you’ll have to not cast spells for 5 seconds (a.k.a. the five seconds rule). 

Since constantly casting spells is what you do as a mage, you can see where this is going. The gnome however, has extremely valuable racials for a mage. The Expansive Mind racial gives 5% intellect. 

This means that with the improvement of your gear, you’ll get even more intellect. This, when combined with some talents from the Arcane tree, e.g. Arcane Mind or Arcane Resilience, boosts the racial’s value even more. Additionally, every 59,5 points of intellect provide you with 1% increase of your chance to get a critical with spells. Lastly, you can use your Escape Artist when your Blink is on cooldown and you have to move away from a boss mechanic or from an angry member of the opposite faction. 

The Horde has undead and trolls

The undead have some more base intellect and spirit than the troll. By more we mean 2 more intellect and 4 more spirit. Wow! Apart from this obvious “advantage” the undead have the Will of the Forsaken. This is ok-ish for PvP, especially in the initial Vanilla phases, where the PvP trinket with the same effect is unavailable.

However, you are going to use it only in open world pvp, since , again, the battlegrounds are not going to be available. The trolls have the Berserking racial ability. Essentially it will boost the casting time of your spells by reducing it, depending on your current HP when you use it. 

When used at full health, it gives you 10% reduced casting time. To better explain this, we will give an example. If you are Frost and if you have picked the Improved Frostbolt talent, its casting time will be 2.5 seconds. 

The global cooldown in WoW Classic is 1.5 seconds and you cannot reduce it as in retail, because the conception of “haste” is missing. So in the time frame of 10 seconds, you’ll be able to cast 3 frostbolts, when the last spell begins its cast at the 8th second and finishes it at the 10.5th second. 

With only 10% increase from the Berserking racial you cannot fit a fourth frostbolt in those 10 seconds that you have from your racial. For you to be able to use it properly, you’ll need to be at very low HP in order to get the 30% increase and be able to cast a fouth frostbolt. This has its disadvantages. 

Firstly, if you get that low as a squishy mage, you are anyways as good as dead. Secondly, when in a raid group, your healers will most likely keep you at a relatively high HP during most of the encounters. 

After discussing the disadvantages, let’s check the best case scenario too. It is when you communicate with your healers not to heal you until you are low and you use your racial. Then when the healers top you up, you’ll retain the casting speed of the Berserking according to the HP you were at when you used it. 

If a discipline priest also buffs you with Power Infusion, you’ll be able to cast 4 frostbolts in 10 seconds with 20% increased damage from the priest’s buff. As we saw, the troll racial is not as great as it is at first glance. So, it purely depends on what you prefer. We at mboosting.com will go with the undead, so we can have two damage trinkets in battlegrounds. 

Specializations, talents and rotations

In Battle for Azeroth and probably in the upcoming game expansion World of Warcraft: Shadowlands the specializations of the classes vary. Some have only two evolution paths (Demon hunters) and some have four (Druids). In Vanilal WoW however, all the classes have three specialization paths. The way the talents work now in retail was introduced in Cataclysm. 

In WoW Classic and up to WoTLK the classes had the so called “talent trees”. Those available for mages are the Arcane, Fire and Frost. All of them are viable in a different way and there are many useful combinations between them, depending on the game world’s phase, on the content you are focusing on (e.g. PvE, PvP, farming or something else entirely). 

The arcane specialization is mostly utility focused, with potential for big bursts, followed by long periods of mediocrity. The fire specialization is focused around stacking critical strike rating in order to be the first to apply the Ignite debuff. 

However, up to and including Blackwing Lair (BWL) most of the raid bosses are immune to fire damage. The frost specialization is good for almost anything. However, its damage falls behind the throughput of the fire mages in the latest phases of the game(e.g. Naxxramas). In the following couple of paragraphs, we’ll discuss in depth each and every mage spec and will give you the best talent choices for each of them.

Arcane/Frost PvE (31/0/20)

This is the best PvE mage spec during the game phases 1-4. This is so, because, as we already noted, most of the raid bosses in Molten Core and BWL are immune to fire. Also, with this specialization you will be more than capable of grinding monsters 1 by 1 in the open game world.  The nature of this mage build is to focus on spamming Frostbolt with maximum damage on a single target, while also having access to cooldowns such as Presence of Mind and Arcane Power. 

Rotation: Wait for 5 stacks of Winter’s Chill on the target. Cast Arcane Power. Cast Presence of Mind(PoM). Cast your instant Frostbolt. Continue spamming Frostbolts. For AoE damage use Arcane Explosion, due to the Improved Arcane Explosion talent. Beg your discipline priests to buff you with Power Infusion.

Winter’s chill Frost PvE (19/0/32)

This build has less throughput than the 31/0/20. However, it revolves around the crucial talent Winter’s chill. Essentially, when fully stacked on the target, it buffs all frost damage that target receives by 10%, boosting not only yours, but all the other mages’ DPS. 

This works in the same way as the shadow priest’s Shadow Weaving talent, which boosts all shadow damage that the target receives. With the 19/0/32 talent build you’ll also have a bit more survivability, due to talents such as Cold Snap, Ice Block and Ice Barrier. Lastly, this build is far superior for AoE solo farming big groups of mobs when you are not in a raid or a dungeon group. 

Rotation: Spam Frostbolt. Try not to fall asleep while doing so. Use Blizzard for multitarget DPS.

Fire PvE (12/36/3)

This will be your go to build in Zul Gurub, AQ40 and onwards. This build requires better gear in order to be effective. This is due to several reasons.

Firstly, a big portion of your damage will come from the Ignite talent. When you critically hit with a fire spell, you put a DoT on the target, which equals 40% of the damage you dealt with your spell. There can be only 1 Ignite on the target, so typically the mage with the most critical strike rating will get it and it will shoot his DPS to the skies. 

Secondly, the Fire specialization is far more mana intensive than frost. This means that with the better gear your mana pool will be bigger. Also, let’s talk again about having lots of crit chance gear. Due to the mana intensity of the build, you’ll need the Master of Elements talent, which refunds 30% of the mana used for a spell, if that spell critically hits. 

Rotation: Use Combustion. Cast Scorch until you critically hit or until you get 5 stacks of the debuff on the target. Then spam Fireballs. Use Flamestrike for AoE. 

Elemental Mage (0/24/27)

This build focuses on tremendous AoE burst from both the Fire and the Frost talent trees. It is good for AoE farming and in some PvP situations. It gives most of the survivability and the AoE of the frost tree and lots of area of effect damage from the Fire tree. In raids, however, this build performs poorly. In dungeons, it may very well shine if your group pulls big and you can utilize your amazing AoE damage.

Rotation: Use all AoE spells. Drink or use Evocation. Repeat. 

PoM Pyro PvP (31/20/0)

This build is also known as the “3 minutes mage” due to the time that you need for your cooldowns to refresh. But, oh boy, aren’t you a one-shotting machine with all your cooldowns up! The build focuses on one-shotting someone with Arcane Power, Presence of Mind and Pyroblast. 

If your opponent is still breathing, finish him off with a couple of Scorches or a Fireblast. Here you will also benefit from the Impact talent, with gives you a 10% chance to stun your target with your fire damaging spells. It can proc from any periodic fire damage, such as Ignite, Fireball’s and Pyroblast’s DoT. 

The reason this build is OK for PvP and not so great for PvE is because of its bursty nature, which falls far behind the rest of the PvE specs in terms of sustained damage. Also, due to its cooldown dependency, this build is superior for duels and other 1v1 situations or open world PvP. In Battlegrounds, you’ll often face multitude of enemies, where other specs fare better. 

Rotation: Cast PoM. Cast Arcane Power. Cast Pyroblast. Finish your victim with any instant spell or a Scorch or two. Take a 3 minutes break and do it again.

Frost PvP (17/0/34)

This is probably the best PvP build, which is also viable throughout the whole WoW Classic game content. It focuses on both survivability and control. Enigmatic talents for this build are Improved Counterspell, Arcane Resilience and Shatter. 

With this set of talents you’ll be able to control large portions of the battlegrounds by using Blizzard Rank 1, which can also proc the Frostbite effect and root your opponents in place, because of the single point in Improved Blizzard. Which leads us to discussing the Shatter talent. 

With 5 points in it, it gives you 50% increase to you critical chance against frozen or rooted targets. It can proc not only from Frost Nova but also from Frostbite. With these talents, you also gain access to Ice Barrier and Cold Snap, which both increases your survivability and gives you even more control over your opponents. Lastly, the Improved Counterspell will act like a shadow priest’s silence and not only prevent your opponent from casting spells from the school you counterspelled, but will silence him for 4 seconds. 

Rotation: In battlegrounds spam Blizzard rank 1 or max rank depending on the situation. 

Rank 1 may be used to reveal stealthed people in Warsong Gulch while defending the flag or the flag carrier. Max rank may be used in mass PvP scenarios, such as fighting large groups of people in the field in the middle of Alterac Valley. 

In a 1v1 combat use Frost Nova and Frostbolt, combined with Cone of Cold when necessary. Have your Ice Barrier constantly active and in some intensive fights you may also use your Mana Shield for some extra survivability. Use Ice Block if you get swarmed, then Frost Nova and Cone of Cold. 

Blink when you have to. You can do whatever else you think is appropriate in your situation. The 17/0/34 build is just so amazing at what it does, that we can’t really think about all the possible scenarios you may find yourself in. Just use it and own in PvP is what we can surely recommend. 

Frost levelling (19/0/32)

Jokerd reached the level cap of 60 on his frost mage in just a couple of days and was the World First player to reach level 60 in the current version of the game. His talents focus on heavy AoE while using Improved Blizzard and Improved Arcane Explosion talents. He didn’t take Shatter, because of the maximum slow of his Blizzard. 

Furthermore, this build starts truly shining at level 22, when you will have all 3 points in both Permafrost and Improved Blizzard. Of course, with Jokerd’s build you can also kill mobs 1 by 1 but why do so when you can kill a whole field and move to the next one. This way the experience keeps flowing and the levels come rapidly one after another. 

Rotation: Pull as many mobs as you can. It becomes easier when you get a mount at 40 level and onwards. Use Frost Nova to keep them in place. Cast Blizzard. When they reach you, do it again. Then finish off with a couple of Arcane Explosions. 

We have already covered the leveling experience for both Horde and Alliance in our levelling guides. Go check ‘em out! 

Mage Class quests

Just like everyone else, the mages have their class quests, granting them unique rewards. The best reward for such an endeavor is the Sunken Temple quest line, which will however become available in phase 4 of the game. 

There you will be able to get Glacial Spike (dagger with mana regen proc), Arcane Crystal Pendant (neck with some flat spell damage) or Fire Ruby (Mana restoration and fire spell damage trinket). 

We are going to cover this quest chain in one of our future guides. There are some mage quests, that you can just skip, since the rewards are not great and are easily replaced by other dungeon drops, with less hustle and in shorter time. For example, Celestial Staff is one of those rewards. You can very easily replace it with e.g. Zum’rah’s Vexing Cane or with Prophetic Cane and skip the long and pointless quest chain. 

30 level:

At level 30 you will get your first quest of a chain that ultimately rewards you with one of the following wands: Icefury Wand (+9 to frost spell damage), Nether Force Wand (+9 to arcane spell damage) or Ragefire Wand (+9 to fire spell damage). 

We recommend you to take the first one, since you will probably be levelling with a frost spec. Otherwise, you can choose whichever fits your talents and preferences. Without further due, let’s see what tasks you need to complete for these lucrative rewards:

  1. Journey to the Marsh. Mages from both factions will receive the first part from their trainers respectively in Ogrimmar and Stormwind.  It requires you to go to Dustwallow marsh and speak to Tabetha. 

  2. Hidden Secrets. Tabetha will ask you to go to Thousand Needles and speak to Magus Tirth.

  3. Get the Scoop. Magus Tirth will send you to look for a chicken called “Plucky” Johnson. You will find it at 79,75. When you target him, type “beckon” and he will turn into a human, so you can speak to him.

  4. Rituals of Power. The Magus will then send you to Scarlet Monastery Library. There, you’ll need to loot the “Rituals of Power” book, which is located in the Athenaeum part of the instance. It is a big book, standing out from the wall to the left. 

  5. Items of Power. Tabetha in Dustwallow Marsh will send you to Arathi Highlands. Make sure to bring with you a single Jade. When in the zone, you need to gather 10 Witherbark Totem Sticks from the trolls there in order to create a Bolt Charged Bramble. When you are done, go to the Circle of Outer Binding and create the bramble. Afterwards go back to Tabetha and bring her the bramble and the jade. She will reward you with your mage wand. 

60 level Polymorph Pig:

At 60 level, head to Azshara. There you’ll start your quest for the cosmetic Polymorph: Pig. This will turn your opponents from baaing into oinking targets. To complete this quest chain, follow the next steps: 

  1. Go to Azshara and find Sanath Lim-yo. He will teleport you to Archmage Xylem. He, in turn, will give you the quest Warlord Krellian. To complete it, kill the Warlord and loot a Prismatic Shell from him. 

  2. Fragmented Magic. The Xylem will send you back in the ruins where you dealt with Krellian. Cast Polymorph on any of the naga there while still having the prismatic shell in your bags. Several seconds afterwards, your target will turn into a level 3-6 critter, which you can easily one-shot. Now repeat this 50 times. If you have the patience for this, you will be rewarded with the spell Polymorph: Pig afterwards. 

60 level water

The most important 60 level quest is that for the Rank 7 conjure water spell. It starts in Dire Maul, so if you don’t have the Crescent Key, make sure someone from your group has it. The given to you in the Dire Maul Library by Lorekeeper Lydros. It is called Arcane Refreshment. All you need t do is to go to DM East and kill Hydrospawn. He will drop Hydrospawn Essence. Bring the essence back to Lydros. 

Mage Tier Sets and Gear

First of all, let’s make something clear: not all class sets are Best in Slot for your mage and not all mage BiS items come from raids. Some set bonuses are plainly bad, some set pieces can be replaced by better gear while retaining the useful set bonuses. 

Without further due, let’s take a look at the different sets that mages can wear in Vanilla WoW. Fun Fact: at the time, Blizzard Entertainment’s employees who designed and named the mage tier sets obviously lacked a bit of imagination, since all sets are some type of Regalia. 

  1. Tier 0 and 0.5

The Magister’s and the Sorcere’s Regelias. The first one is the starting 50-60 level mage set, dropped exclusively in the level appropriate dungeons. The set bonuses are disgusting and the whole set lacks something crucial for your class role: it gives only 20ish spell damage. 

Since your primarily role is to deal damage (surprise, surprise) you don’t want to have anything in common with the Magister’s Regalia. The Sorcerer’s one is almost as bad as Tier 0. Furthermore it becomes available in Phase 5 and involves a chain of quests that will take you so long to complete that by the time you are done, you’ll probably be already looking for a kindergarten for your grandchildren’s children. 

  1. Tier 1

The T1 is obtained in Molten Core. Before BWL enters the scene, the Arcanist Regalia isn’t entirely awful. With this said, it isn’t entirely amazing either. The 3 pieces set bonus gives 18 spell power and the rest are easily ignorable. Furthermore, you can and you will separate items both from dungeons and MC which are of a superior quality, compared to the Arcanist. 

  1. Tier 2

The Netherwind Regalia is dropped in BWL but the pants and the headpiece are dropped respectively by Ragnaros and Onyxia. The set bonuses are quite a sad affair. However, the 8 pieces set bonus gives an interesting proc: 10% chance for your next spell with a casting time under 10 seconds will be instant. But you will find some many and so better items to clothe yourself in, that this set bonus will be entirely useless and forgotten. 

  1. Tier 2.5

The Enigma Vestments (WoW! The single non-regalia set!) isn’t the best either. It is dropped in AQ40. The set bonuses are weird and don’t enhance your damage dealing neither do the enhance your survivability. Offset items from this raid will be far better than the Enigma. 

  1. Tier 3

T3 is collected in Naxxramas and is named Frostfire Regalia. This is the first set, which actually has useful set bonuses and very nice stats on it. Furthermore, it looks fancy. And as being the gear that’s obtainable during the last phases of the game it contains most of the BiS pieces for your class. 

  1. Weapons

The best weapon you can possibly obtain in WoW Classic is the legendary staff Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian. It is obtained in Phase 6 from Naxx. The stats and the damage on it are simply without any parallel in the Vanilla game world. 

Additionally, it gives 2% bonus to the spell critical chance of all party (not raid) members within 30 feet of its owner. Lastly, you can use it to create a portal for your group, which will lead them to Karazhan. The last bit is probably more useful in the early phases of The Burning Crusade (TBC) since Karazhan is the first raid available. 

Professions

The best gold making professions are probably a combination between Enchanting and Alchemy. However, levelling Enchanting alone can be a very expensive and time consuming endeavor. Also, not having Herbalism while levelling up Alchemy will be tricky too. 

However, in the latest phases in the game afer you have some capital, you can level both of them and become richer than tha goblins in Booty Bay. However, since phase 2 is just about to arrive in the middle of November 2019, we’ll set our eyes on more obtainable and realistic choices for professions.

  1. Tailoring & Enchanting

Both professions do not require a secondary one. The cloth for tailoring is generally dropped by the in-game humanoids. The Enchanting can be levelled via disenchanting quest rewards and dungeon drops. Both these professions require farming, especially Enchanting. 

Most people spend fortunes only on levelling the said profession waiting for ra return on their investment later on. Tailoring, however, is almost a “must have” profession for any cloth users, including mages. With it you can craft the Robe of the Archmage, which you will change probably in AQ40. The different types of bags typically sell well on all game servers. 

  1. Herbalism & Alchemy

This combination can be very rewarding. The skill in Herbalism you will get mainly while questing. The most important thing is to get your paws on all the flask recipies and all the fire resistance potions. All the way through the phase of BWL they will sell well and you’ll make tons of gold. 

  1. Mining & Engineering

Here you will mainly boost your damage with grenades. Making money with Engineering is not that great, since all you can sell are scopes for ranged weapons, some mediocre explosives and several BoE items. However, if you only wish to boost your damage and have a slightly PvP oriented profession, by all means be a miner/engineer.

  1. Two gathering professions

Actually this isn’t that great. In Classic WoW you cannot track 2 types of nodes at the same time, as you can in retail. For it to work, you’ll need a fancy macro, which will need to be constantly spammed. Also you’ll have little to no time for anything else, since your eyes will be constantly on the minimap.

Conclusion

As we have already discussed it, a mage can easily top the damage meters. The class is also very powerful one in PvP situations. Furthermore, you can level it rapidly and efficiently. 

After having that said, and after reading our mage guide, are your fingers already itching to play a mage? If yes, we at mboosting.com can help you with all your problems: levelling, gold making, farming reputations for your professions’ patterns, and many more. Our services are provided by professional World of Warcraft players and are completed in a timely fashion.

 

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Date published: 18-11-2019