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WoW Classic Mage Starter Build and Leveling Guide

WoW Classic Mage Starter Build and Leveling Guide

Check out the best Leveling/Starter build for the Mage class in World of Warcraft Classic

Mage Leveling Guide
for WoW Classic

Mage

If you are planning on joining the World of Warcraft Classic adventure make sure to check out our other related Guides below:

And Starter builds/Leveling Guides for all other character classes:

DruidDruid Leveling Guide HunterHunter Leveling Guide
PaladinPaladin Leveling Guide PriestPriest Leveling Guide
RogueRogue Leveling Guide ShamanShaman Leveling Guide
WarriorWarrior Leveling Guide WarlockWarlock Leveling Guide
Or if you are done with the leveling process make sure to check our Best WoW Classic Builds for level 60 characters!


Odealo is a secure trading platform for MMO gamers. Here you can buy, sell, and trade WoW Classic Gold with the use of real cash.

 

Mage Class Overview

Mages utilize a wide range of very powerful Frost, Fire, and Arcane Spells in combat and their utility kit is more than impressive. These spellcasters specialize in Crowd Control, AoE Damage dealing and Bursting down their enemies with powerful ability combinations. They can also conjure Food and Drinks, which saves them some valuable Gold in the long run but also turns them into Vending Machines in Raids (Just imagine 39 People asking you for some free Food and Drinks...). 

A mage can pull and kite multiple mobs at a time for a very long time (as long as he has mana pretty much) and finish them off very efficiently with his potent AoE Spells. This ability makes him the best Class for mass mob grinding in both Open World and Dungeons. However, any interference during the Open World kiting or during the mob execution phase, from a hostile Player, will lead to a very swift and premature mage's death.

In PvP, Skilled Mage is a true nightmare for any opponent. The best Frost Mages can make even the most experienced PvPers look very silly. This coin has the other side as well, however. Mage players who do not have the full knowledge about their Class and are not able to capitalize on their abilities and PvP advantages will get obliterated in seconds.

This guide will aid you and your Mage on your journey to level 60; it will help you choose a Race, present you with an optimal leveling Talent build, point you towards Dungeons and Quests that award worthwhile Wands, provide some tips & tricks, and more.

Mage's Strengths and Weaknesses

 Pros  Cons
 Great Crowd Control options  Can die very quickly when caught off guard, or after making a mistake
 The ultimate Mob-Grinding machine thanks to strong CC and AoE Damage spells  A rather long downtime caused by high mana-dependancy - Mage Drinks A LOT
 Can save a lot of Gold by Conjuring Food and Drinks  Some people treat Mages like living Vending Machines
 Very good group utility makes finding Dungeon Groups very easy  Slow to start - Mage will lag a bit behind the pack before he gets access to all his tools
 Can create portals to Capital Cities  Lacks any Self-Healing abilities
 Low Gear dependance  Low Sustain - Evocation is pretty much Mage's only mana-regen tool and it has a long Cooldown
 One of the best Classes for Open World PvP  Can have a hard time in PvP against Classes that can Dispell his abilities


Statistics Priority

  1. Intellect - Increases total mana pool and raises Spell Critical Hit chance. It also increases the rate at which a character learns Weapon Skills. Intellect is the most valuable stat for a Mage as he needs a lot of Mana to fuel his spells and ensure that he has enough resources to Sustain himself during combat.
  1. Stamina - Improves survivability by increasing the character's total Health pool. High Stamina enables Mage to survive after making a mistake during the AoE mob grind and allows him to shrug off at least some of the incoming Damage. Moreover, you will want to capitalize on the 5-second rule and Wand mobs to death from time to time. This means that you will trade hits with them, and higher Health pool will allow you to do that for longer which will translate to higher Mana gains and lower Downtime.
  1. Spirit - Increases Mana and Health regeneration in and out of Combat. Stacking Spirit allows Mage to benefit from the 5-second rule more and reduces his Downtime. While Spirit does not affect Mage's Damage output or total Mana Pool, the additional Mana Regen that it provides cannot be overlooked as it adds up to great time savings in the long run.
  1. Agility -  Increases Armor, provides additional Dodge chance and a Weapon Critical Strike chance. Agility will improve your defenses by a little bit, which means that it is not as useless as Strength, but it should be avoided if possible, nevertheless. 
  1. Strength - Increases Melee Attack Power and the amount of Damage that an Off-Hand Shield can block. Mages can't use Off-Hand Shields and they do not rely on bashing mob's heads with their Staves or slicing them with their Swords or Daggers (outside very early levels), so this statistic is literally useless to them. 

Leveling stat priority:

Intellect ⇒ Stamina = Spirit ⇒ ⇒ Agility ⇒ ⇒ Strength

Note1:  Items with "Of the Eagle" Suffix are ideal for Mages, as they provide both Stamina and Intellect. "Of the Whale" (Stamina and Spirit)  and "Of the Owl" (Intellect and Spirit) items are strong second choices and you should Need on those, while in a group, as well.

Note2: If you have survivability problems caused by too low Stamina or sustain problems caused by too low Spirit, you should consider carrying 2 separate Gear Sets with you. One that you will wear during Combat (Stacked with Intellect and Stamina) and the second one that you will switch into during Downtime (Stacked with Spirit and Intellect) in order to maximize your out of combat mana regeneration. Doing this will reduce your Downtimes substantially at the cost of lowered inventory space (an Outfitter Addon or something similar will be essential if you want to do this).

 

The Best Mage Races for Both Factions

Each Race has unique traits and abilities, some of which greatly benefit a Mage, other - not so much. More competitive Players might even want to choose their Faction based on Racial traits of one of its member Races. We will take a closer look at all Races that can choose the path of a Mage and determine which are the best for PvP and PvE.

Note: Please remember that a good Player will make all races work well, and a bad player will not get any better thanks to a Race choice. In other words - pick your Race and your Faction as you please, because after all, Fun is the most important aspect of the Game.


Alliance Races
PvP

Gnome's Escape Artist Racial lets Mage keep his distance from enemies more easily while kiting them, which can be game changing against some Classes. This, combined with the Intellect bonus makes Gnome a top choice for PvP. Human's Perception is situationally useful and makes him better against Feral Druids and Rogues, while His Spirit bonus is not enough to eliminate Mage's Sustain problems, which makes it quite redundant.

Recommended choice: Gnome

Second choice: Human

PvE

Gnome comes out on top for PvE as well. His Intellect Racial is very strong as it provides additional Mana and Spell Critical Strike Chance. Escape Artist finds surprisingly many uses in PvE and can be a potential life-saver (just imagine being caught in a fire while slowed/rooted without this Talent...). Human's Racials do not boost Mage's PvE capabilities at all, making the choice even simpler than in the PvP section.

Recommended choice: Gnome

Second choice: Human


Horde Races
PvP

What would you rather have, an additional PvP Trinket-like effect that removes Fears and Charms or a Haste buff that is the strongest when you are about to die? The answer is not that simple actually, because Berserking gains additional value when there is a friendly Healer around, but for 1v1 and random open world skirmishes, Undead's Will of the Forsaken comes out on top very easily. Also, Undead gets bonus points for his ability to taunt beaten enemies with Cannibalize before they Release Spirit.

Recommended choice: Undead

Second choice: Troll

PvE

Out of two Horde Races that can choose the path of a Mage, Troll is the only one that has a magic DPS boosting Racial. His Berserking gives him a Haste buff that directly increases DPS for a short time, but if truth be told, it is not that great, and Undead's Racial abilities and the utility that they provide might turn out to be more useful overall. Will of the Forsaken can prove to be a higher DPS boost than Berserking in fights like Onyxia and Cannibalize can save your life in some situations.

Recommended choice: Troll

(Close) Second choice: Undead

Talent Build and Talent Allocation Order

Optimal Talent allocation is essential for smooth leveling. Here, we will describe the most optimal leveling spec and lead you through the Talent Trees level-by-level.

Single-Target focused Mage Leveling Build (10-59)
Single-Target Mage Build

  1. Levels 10-12 ⇒ 3/3 Elemental Precision - This provides you with a Spell Hit Cap for Frost and Fire Spells against enemies 2 Levels higher than you.
  2. Levels 13-14 ⇒ 2/5 Improved Frost Bolt.
  3. Levels 15-17 ⇒ 3/3 Frostbite - This makes your Frosst Spells randomly freeze enemies in place for 5 seconds, which can save you a lot of Health. This is also First of your Critical Strike-Freeze synergy Talents.
  4. Levels 18-19 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Frost Nova.
  5. Levels 20-24 ⇒ 5/5 Ice Shards - Second of your Critical Strike-Freeze synergy Talents.
  6. Levels 25-29 ⇒ 5/5 Shatter - Final piece of your Critical Strike-Freeze synergy. This will let you burst down frozen Targets very quickly.
  7. Level 30 ⇒ 1/1 Ice Block - Very powerful defensive tool. Remember to run away from mob spawn points before using it in PvE, or mobs will attack you immediately after your Ice Block ends (you can also Blink away and escape, of course).
  8. Level 31 ⇒ 1/1 Cold Snap - A Second Ice Block/Frost Nova on demand - very powerful in all kinds of situations, especially in Open World PvP.
  9. Levels 32-34 ⇒ 5/5 Improved Frost Bolt.
  10. Levels 35-37 ⇒ 3/3 Frost Channeling.
  11. Levels 38-39 ⇒ 2/2 Arctic Reach - This makes your Frost Spells more reliable.
  12. Level 40 ⇒ 1/1 Ice Barrier - Very solid defensive Tool that effectively lets you convert some of your Mana into Health. It can be used after a fight, before Drinking, which negates its quite high mana cost.
  13. Levels 41-43 ⇒ 3/3 Piercing Ice.
  14. Levels 44-48 ⇒ 5/5 Winter's Chill.

At this point, you will want to switch to the Arcane Tree:

  1. Levels 49-50 ⇒ 2/2 Arcane Subtlety.
  2. Levels 51-53 ⇒ 3/5 Arcane Focus - A rather underwhelming Talent for a Leveling Frost Mage, but there is no other choice, really.
  3. Levels 54-58 ⇒ 5/5 Arcane Concentration - A very solid effect that lets you save massive amounts of Mana (however, this comes online less often than Private Servers have led you to believe).
  4. Level 59 ⇒ 1/2 Wand Specialization.

Note: At this point, you pretty much are done leveling; you can allocate your last Talent Point into the Wand Specialization Talent or just switch to the Raiding Spec immediately.

If you prefer mob grinding more than Questing and/or are an experienced Mage player, you might choose the following, AoE-focused, leveling build instead.

Note: AoE Grinding is less viable on Classic than it is on Private Vanilla Servers, because of the Leeway mechanic that increases mob's effective melee attack range, and because of the fact that Mage's Slow effects are less powerful (mobs do not get Slowed on Classic by as much as they do on Private Servers). However, AoE grinding is still possible to some extent, but more difficult and less efficient.

AoE Grinding-focused Mage Leveling Build
AoE Mage Build

  1. Levels 10-12 ⇒ 3/3 Elemental Precision.
  2. Levels 13-14 ⇒ 2/5 Improved Frost Bolt.
  3. Levels 15-17 ⇒ 3/3 Permafrost - This Talent is essential for AoE Grinding as it allows you to keep your distance from slowed enemies much more easily.
  4. Levels 18-19 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Frost Nova.
  5. Levels 20-21 ⇒ 2/3 Improved Blizzard - This allows you to Blizzard Targets as they slowly crawl towards you.
  6. Level 22 ⇒ 1/1 Cold Snap - Even more powerful for AoE Grinding, as second Frost Nova can save your life after you make a mistake.
  7. Levels 23-24 ⇒ 2/3 Piercing Ice.
  8. Levels 25-26 ⇒ 2/2 Arctic Reach - This allows you to Blizzard Targets from a further distance, making grind much more effective.
  9. Levels 27-29 ⇒ 3/3 Frost Channeling - AoE grinding is very mana-costly, this will make the whole process more cost-effective.
  10. Level 30 ⇒ 3/3 Ice Block.
  11. Levels 31-33 ⇒ 3/3 Improved Cone of Cold.
  12. Level 34 ⇒ 3/3 Piercing Ice.
  13. Levels 35-39 ⇒ 5/5 Shatter.
  14. Level 40 ⇒ 1/1 Ice Barrier.

At this point, you will want to switch to the Arcane Tree:

  1. Levels 41-42 ⇒ 2/2 Arcane Subtlety.
  2. Levels 43-45 ⇒ 3/5 Arcane Focus.
  3. Levels 46-50 ⇒ 5/5 Arcane Concentration.
  4. Level 51 ⇒ 1/1 Arcane Resilience.
  5. Levels 52-54 ⇒ 5/5 Improved Arcane Explosion.
  6. Level 55 ⇒ 4/5 Arcane Focus.
  7. Levels 56-58 ⇒ 3/5 Arcane Meditation.

Note: At this point, the build is pretty much complete, the last two points can be allocated into Ice Shards.

After reaching Level 60, you should visit a Class Trainer, reset your Talent Points and spec into an End-Game Build.

Wand Progression

Wands are just as important for a Mage as they are important for every other Caster Class that can use them. They enable him to deal consistent Damage, essentially for free, while his mana regenerates in Combat (the 5-second rule and its importance yet again; front-loading your Spells and then finishing a mob with your Wand is a viable tactic at all level ranges and it allows you to preserve your mana and last longer without drinking).

It goes without saying that you should aim to upgrade your Wand as often as possible because it will speed up your leveling process and make experience grinds much more enjoyable (at least for the next few levels after getting an upgrade). Below, we present you a short list of Wands that you should try and get during your leveling journey. 

Note1: Listed Wands are not organized in a strict order and you don't have to go for every single one of them. The list is meant to be a raw guideline for Mage's Wand progression.

Note2: There are a lot more Wands than those described. We have mentioned just the easy-to-get and quite essential upgrades. BoE Wands were excluded from the list, as there is a lot of RNG involved in getting them.

Horde Alliance
Horde and Alliance Wand Progression
Lesser Magic Wand
Lesser Magic Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Enchanting (Requires Skill-Level 10 to create). 
  • Level Required: 5
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.50, 12-22 Damage, 11.3 DPS
  • Damage Type: Arcane. 
Spark of the People's Militia
Spark of the People's Militia
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "The People's Militia" Quest available from level 9 from NPC Gryan Stoutmantle, Sentinel Hill, Westfall.
  • Level Required: It is a level 17 Quest reward that can be acquired earlier easily, when in a group.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.80, 16-30 Damage, 12.8 DPS
  • Damage Type: Arcane. 
Greater Magic Wand
Greater Magic Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Enchanting (Requires Skill-Level 70 to create). 
  • Level Required: 13
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.80, 22-41 Damage, 17.5 DPS
  • Damage Type: Arcane. 
Smoldering Wand
Smoldering Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Wand Vendors in Capital Cities of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 15.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.60, 15-28 Damage, 13.4 DPS
  • Damage Type: Fire. 
Sizzle Stick
Sizzle Stick
  • Factions: Horde
  • Source: Dungeon Quest "Deviate Eradication", Wailing Caverns. NPC Ebru, Above the Wailing Caverns entrance. 
  • Level Required: This is a reward from Level 21 Dungeon Quest that can be completed around Level 18.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.70, 21-39 Damage, 17.6 DPS
  • Damage Type: Fire. 
Dusk Wand
Dusk Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Wand Vendors in Capital Cities of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 20.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.70, 21-39 Damage, 17.6 DPS
  • Damage Type: Shadow. 
Excavation Rod
Excavation Rod
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "Omer's Revenge" Quest available from level 22 from NPC Omer Ironbraid, above the Whelgar's Excavation Site, Wetlands.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 29 Quest Reward that can be acquired around level 25, or earlier when in a group.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.90, 32-60 Damage, 24.2 DPS
  • Damage Type: Fire. 
Gravestone Scepter
Gravestone Scepter
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Dungeon Quest "Blackfathom Villainy", Wailing Caverns. NPC Argent Guard Thaelrid, near the Blackfathom Deeps entrance. 
  • Level Required: It is a level 27 Dungeon Quest reward that can be acquired around level 23.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.50, 30-57 Damage, 29.0 DPS
  • Damage Type: Shadow.
Blackbone Wand
Blackbone Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Wand Vendors in Capital Cities of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 41.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.60, 39-74 Damage, 35.3 DPS
  • Damage Type: Shadow. 
Cairnstone Sliver
Cairnstone Silver

 
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "The Morrow Stone" Quest available from level 42 from NPC Equinex Monolith, located in the north-western part of Feralas.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 50 Quest Reward that can be acquired quite easily around level 46.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.80, 52-97 Damage, 41.4 DPS
  • Damage Type: Arcane. 
Nature's Breath
Nature's Breath
  • Factions: Horde
  • Source: "Dark Vessels"  Group Quest available from level 46 from NPC Primal Torntusk, located in the south-eastern part of the Hinterlands - Revantusk Village.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 50 Group Quest Reward that can be acquired quite easily at level 46 when in a strong group.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.40, 40-75 Damage, 41.1 DPS
  • Damage Type: Nature. 
Smokey's Fireshooter
Smokey's Fireshooter
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: "When Smokey Sings, I Get Violent" Group Quest available from level 54 from NPC Smokey LaRue, Light's Hope Chapel, Eastern Plaguelands.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 58 Group Quest Reward that can be acquired around level 55 with the help of a group. It is also soloable around level 58 with clever use of your Pet.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.90, 70-132 Damage, 53.2 DPS
  • Damage Type: Fire. 
Rod of Corrosion
Rod of Corrosion
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Shade of Eranikus Boss in the Sunken Temple. Entrance: Lake in the middle of Swamp of Sorrows. Drop Chance: ~31%.
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 51 to wield and the Boss is a level 55 Elite.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.30, 50-93 Damage, 55.0 DPS
  • Damage Type: Nature. 

 

Rotations

Mage's single Target rotation is incredibly simple and it revolves around not letting your Target get close to you. Moreover, it focuses on maximizing in-combat mana regeneration by implementing Wand Attacks. AoE Grinding does not follow any strict rotation and is more of an action and reaction type of deal instead.

Single Target Rotation

Pre-cast Ice Barrier (applicable from level 40 onwards)

The Rotation:

Spam Frostbolt  until the enemy gets close to you  Wand Attack if there is a room for it (mob is too close for a hard Frostbolt Cast, but far enough for a single Wand Shot) ⇒ Frost Nova ⇒ Create some Distance ⇒ Frostbolt  ⇒ Wand Attack until the Target is dead (finishing enemies with your Wand will allow you to take advantage of the 5-second rule and regenerate at least some of your man in combat)

AoE Grinding

As you can imagine, there is no concrete "Rotation" when it comes to AoE Grinding, because there are many factors that you have to react to. We will cover the basics of AoE Grinding, but we advise you to watch experienced Mages at work and practice it yourself (a lot).

  • Remember that AoE grinding will work only in places that have melee enemies exclusively (pulling multiple Casters will quickly result in a sad, dead Mage).
  • Pull mobs with your Wand and/or instant cast Spells (Rank 1 Fire Blast is a great pulling tool). From level 40, you can use your mount to pull multiple mobs, just remember to cast Ice Barrier first.
  • Manoueur in a way that will make pulled Targets gather close to each other (this will make AoE slowing possible).
  • Cone of Cold is your main AoE Slowing tool - Frost Nova should be kept as a backup in case of emergency and for the execution phase.
  • Create distance between yourself and pulled enemies; use Blink only if necessary, as it is very expensive and you may run out of mana if you use it too frequently.
  • Cast Blizzard on the path of your enemies in a way that will maximize the time Targets are affected by it (Place marker just before the mob pack).
  • Slow enemies with Cone of Cold or Frost Nova when they get too close.
  • Create distance and cast Blizzard again; repeat the whole process until all enemies are dead; you can also finish them off with Arcane Explosion.

Note: Do not, under any circumstances, put Talent Points into Frostbite if you plan on AoE Grinding. Random freezes will result in a large spread of pulled mobs and make AoE grind very annoying and inefficient.

Professions

Enchanting + Tailoring
Enchanting + Tailoring

As previously mentioned, Wands are essential for smooth level grinding experience and getting your first Wand early will enable you to take your leveling speed to the next level, by reducing your downtime. Without a Wand, you will be forced to spend more Mana per mob kill which will result in more time spent sitting down and drinking. This is why we recommend the above-mentioned Profession combination.

Tailoring enables you to get some Uncommon Items for Disenchanting, and Enchanting provides you with your first Wand at level 10 Enchanting skill (the Lesser Magic Wand). You should save all dropped Linen Cloths, craft some White/Brown Linen Robes and then Dust them. There is a ~20% chance for a Lesser Cosmic Essence, per robe, so ~5 robes should be enough to get you mats for your first Wand (Essences can also be bought from a Vendor, but they are in limited supply, so don't count on it). Craft it, use it, and try to level Enchanting up to 70 to get stronger Greater Magic Wand. After that point, feel free to respec into your desired professions or stick to this combination for some future Cloth Armor/Wand/Enchanting-related benefits.

First Aid
First Aid
Although First Aid competes for Cloths with our recommended Primary Professions, we still strongly advise you to get it, as it provides Mage with a very efficient combat Heal. One of Mage's CC effects chained into a Bandage is real life-saver in close call situations. Picking up First Aid early will allow you to level up more efficiently as it will enable you to pull mobs more aggressively and heal mid-combat if needed.

If you want to know more about all professions available in WoW Classic, please check out our WoW Classic Professions Guide.

 

Tips and Tricks for Mage leveling

  1. Always have a Rank 1 Frostbolt, as a handy Slow effect, on your Cast bar. Rank 1 Frostbolt has the lowest Casting time, its slow effect is on par with its higher Spell ranks, and if you just need a fast slow, the Damage does not matter.
  1. Rank 1 Fireball can be useful as a fast DoT applier. It is especially useful against Rogues in world PvP as it will counter their Vanish. It will also prevent opponents from fully Bandaging in duels/Open World skirmishes and so on. Having a handy DoT as an additional PvP tool is just great.
  1. Preserve your Gold. Ideally, you should be able to progress through levels without any Auction House purchases (if you spot a great Gear upgrade, do not hesitate if it is cheap, however). When it comes to Skills - you should learn just the essentials from Class Trainers, for example, spells used for their effect can be generally kept at Rank 1 (like the Frost Nova).
  1. Learn how to kite and kill multiple mobs at a time. AoE grinding can be very dangerous for inexperienced Mages (even more so on official Classic servers because of the Leeway mechanic), but learning it is the key for unlocking the real potential of the Class.
  1. Keep your Wand up to Date. Try to follow the Wand Progression route and remember that a lot of your Damage comes directly from your Wand (better Wand = faster kill times = faster leveling).


On Odealo dozens of sellers compete for your attention. You are guaranteed to find WoW Classic Gold and Items at the best price possible.  

 

END NOTE

Leveling process in the Classic World of Warcraft is different from leveling in the current game versions. This Guide should help you to prepare yourself for that legendary Vanilla Experience and allow you to progress through levels efficiently and with a good amount of fun.

We hope that you have found this Guide useful and informative.  If we have missed a piece of information that is important to you, please let us know! 

Please do note that this is an early version of our guide, and we will be happy to receive constructive criticism, that will help us improve it, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.