Are you feeling powerful yet mages? You should! Things are starting to get interesting in the world of magecraft. You’re getting stronger and better everyday now! Look at Misandry up there, showing off her big guns. Ladies.
*Some spells are faction-specific. Spells marked in blue are Alliance and red are Horde.
Remember how I said that eventually you’d be able to make money once you got high enough level? That time is now, my fine magely friends. Rush down to your local portals trainer at level 42 and get your reagents in hand. You’re going to learn Portal (with portals going to Darnassus, Exodar, Ironforge, Orgrimmar, Silvermoon, Stormwind, Theramore and Thunder Bluff) and therefore you can take most basic requests that people spout off randomly in Trade now!
The rest of the bracket has a couple useful spells for damage-dealing, especially if you’re going into being a full-time fire or arcane mage. Flamestrike is at 44 and Conjure Mana Gem is 48. Fire mages can talent Flamestrike to not only be instant-cast, but also apply after a Blastwave if it hits 2 or more targets. Conjure Mana Gem for arcane mages eventually becomes a DPS cooldown as well, via talents. For the rest of us, it is merely a way of replenishing our mana pools in and out of combat.
Back-tracking slightly, you get Mana Shield at 46. I have significant leeriness about this spell and have since vanilla. It’s useful when you have Incanter’s Absorption (as arcane) and a healthy mana pool. It will save your life in a pinch, but at the expense of your mana. Meaning that even if you live, you will have no ability to spellcast if the incoming damage is great enough. Just an old mage’s superstitions and you should definitely use it – but I believe Ice Block, Mage Ward and Ice Barrier are far more reliable spells.
Finally, at 50, you get one of your most fun mage spells (of which there are many): Mirror Image. It’s you, times 3! It is your own personal army! They are very fashionable! With a glyph, they will do more DPS casting spells that are unique to your spec. The real benefit of MI to me is not the extra AI DPS, but the threat reduction. When images are up, they consume all of your inherent threat for the time period that they are active or alive. This is twofold – it not only makes ramping up your DPS at the beginning of a fight easier now, but can be used in strange situations where threat is a problem or where you might want to get a mob off your back for a moment or two. I tend to reserve them for what they were intended for (during burn phases of a fight) but can also be very useful for soloing since even boss mobs will divert their attention onto them.
Lastly, along with Mirror Images, you also get something called Wizardry. It is a passive ability that gives you 5 percent more intellect. This is the analogue to what other classes get at 50 for wearing appropriate armor for their spec and class, but given that mages can only ever wear cloth (and therefore naturally aren’t ignorant enough to wear the wrong kind) we get the bonus naturally.
It’s been fun picking out talents as a frost mage so far; this time I used my 5 talent points (0/0/21) to pick up some additional proc talents (finished Fingers of Frost and then went onto Brain Freeze), as well as another “crucial” cooldown talent (Cold Snap). Like Fingers of Frost, Brain Freeze has its own unique graphic for when it procs for your character:
What it does is instead of you getting Arcane Missiles procs, you will get Brain Freeze procs (the fire version of this is Hot Streak) from casting your frost spells. This allows a Fireball or Frostfire Bolt spell to be cast instantly and for no mana. Right now you don’t have access to Frostfire Bolt, so use Fireball, preferably on a hot key that you can hit quickly. Cold Snap should also be on an easy-to-hit keybind because it will be at the end of an actual DPS cooldown shuffle that you will do at the beginning of boss fights. It resets all your frost cooldowns (that is to say Frost Nova, Ice Block and Icy Veins) and this will be awesome if you Cold Snap immediately after your Icy Veins ends the first time and use it again for the delicious hasted casting. There’s a long cooldown on Cold Snap, so make sure to use it when it is important.
Fire finally gets it’s first real cooldown – are you excited? Drop your first point into Combustion and revel in the powerful DoT. Now, Combustion is one of those cooldowns that’s easy-to-use but very hard-to-master. I wouldn’t worry about min-maxing your Combustion uptime just yet, but get a feel for it. I typically would suggest using it at the beginning of fights once you’ve cast Scorch and Fireball, especially if you have trinkets that boost any of your stats. Pop your trinkets and then go to town. What Combustion does is take all the damage your DoTs are ticking for (you have 3 possible DoTs right now – Fireball, Pyroblast and Flamestrike) and then applies a Combustion DoT that ticks for the combined damage of all pre-existing DoTs. So making sure you have a DoT up is essential. The next couple of points go into Improved Hot Streak. What Hot Streak and Improved Hot Streak do, interestingly enough, work in tandem to “even out” the spikiness factor of Hot Streak pyroblast procs. It means at lower gear levels your proc chance won’t be TOO low and at higher gear levels, it won’t be too high. Now that you also have Flamestrike, I’d approve finally taking Impact. Impact works to use your Fire Blast to spread any DoTs you have on a target to surrounding mobs. So casting Fireball, Flamestrike on a pack of mobs might force an Impact proc, then Fire Blast to spread your Fireball DoTs to those other mobs. In the end, your build should look like this now: (0/21/0).
I had to make some interesting decisions with Arcane (21/0/0) but in the end, I decided to finish out Prismatic Cloak, then move onto Arcane Tactics. Arcane Tactics is a very nice boost for your low-level dungeon groups (much like Enduring Winter later on for Frost mages in terms of buffs), especially if you don’t a hunter. After that, take Incanter’s Absorption. At high level raiding, using Mage Ward or Mana Shield is a bit risker due to how much your mana pool drives your DPS (and using spare GCDs, etc.) but the defensive ability giving you a spellpower boost as well as a possible knockback at this level is very useful. It will help your healer, it will help you solo, and it’ll give you a little boost on fights that have lots of elemental damage going around.
A note: most of the builds I will be presenting in the guides tend to be a good balance of solo talents that are great for questing and a little bit for boosting your usefulness in dungeons. If you wish to level straight via dungeons, you might want opt toward builds that you see closer to 85 as they usually provide slightly more group utility and buffs. Most of the “solo” talents as well tend to veer into PVP utility and may not be overall as useful for PVE soloing. Remember that there is some variance in specs when leveling and picking things that you feel help you overall might be good to experiment with. Remember, you can always go back to the trainer and relearn your talents. However, leveling/raiding specs that tend to be given as the “best” are because they are fairly tried-and-true to perform most optimally in most PVE situations.
Trinkets, precious trinkeeeeeetsssssssssss.
Ahem-hem. Got something stuck in my throat. That is the slot you will be filling now, finally. Trinkets are finally dropping from dungeons and quests, as well as being created by some of your crafting professions. Most right now are for flavor or are a temporary stat boost with a long cooldown, but let’s look at some fun and useful ones that you have access to now.
- Barov Servant Caller – Ever wanted to be a rich person with servants to do your bidding? No stats per se, but always nice to have summonable pets to help you fight.
- Cannonball Runner – A mage with a literal cannon. How ironic. No stats, but definitely incendiary!
- Essence of Eranikus – Quest reward from doing Sunken Temple. The haste is very nice and it has a poison cloud effect, also good for PVP and soloing. Also this version of the trinket doesn’t harm dragons.
- High-Powered Flashlight – Engineering-only trinket. It boosts your hit rating (great for you) and gives you a circle of light (not as great!)
- Piccolo of the Flaming Fire – Drop from Hearthsinger Forresten in Stratholme. Has absolutely no value to your DPS, but it annoys the living hell out of anyone standing near you.
- Ramstein’s Lightning Bolts – Provides you some hit and a nifty lightning AOE effect.
- Rhea’s Last Egg – Summons a red dragon whelp to help fight by your side. Quest chain that gives you this item is tears-inducing and will basically mean you never sell, trash or disenchant this item. Thank goodness for void storage.
- Chelsea’s Nightmare – +6 INT and deals nature damage on-use.
- Emissary’s Watch – Passive haste as well as an on-use haste bonus.
- Ruby Serpent – Jewelcrafting-only trinket. The recipe is a world drop, so getting this might be a touch difficult, unless it’s for sale on the auction house. However it has both INT as well as an on-use spellpower bonus.
- Horn of the Traitor/Horn of the Traitor – Summons a ghostly Cliff Watcher to help you fight.
- Philosopher’s Stone – Alchemist-only trinket. What was once just an item you had to keep in your bags for transmutes is now a useful trinket for everyone.
- Rainbow Generator – Come on, who doesn’t like summoning a rainbow? On-use critical strike.
- Tosselwrench’s Shrinker – +7 INT, gives you crit on-use, and makes you big and red! Neato! Also part of a really amazing quest chain in Badlands that everyone should do.
Trinkets are definitely some of your most powerful and strange items. At higher levels, they can and do make or break your DPS in a lot of situations. In PVP they can often mean the difference between life and death too. Why is this? They are some of the few items that have both passive stats as well as on-use and equip effects. Now, what does this mean? Let’s talk about that.
Items that have “passive” stats are most of your gear. They are the basic stats you see in white – armor, INT, STA, and sometimes secondary stats like critical strike and haste on modifier items (like “of the Moon”, etc.) They change your basic stats and increase them (as Blizzard has taken out most of the items that decrease your stats, helpfully.) They are stats that are always there and go up in a linear fashion. “Equip” stats are anything additional, written in green, on an item. They are most often secondary stat bonuses. However, when they come on trinkets, they tend to be a stat bonus or a proc, or some additional secondary effect. All you do to benefit from an equipped stat is to have the item equipped. “Use” is when you actually use the trinket and it grants you additional stats, a summonable or effect that occurs when you press the hotkey your trinket is located on or use the trinket in a macro.
Let’s look at my high-level trinkets on Apple Cider to illustrate:
Looki’dat thing, man! Ton of words on that bad mammajamma. This is what I was talking about in regards to trinkets being so unique. Your chest or head armor doesn’t look like this.
Passive: +406 INT
Equip: Every time I crit with one of my spells, I gain a little Electrical Charge buff. I can get up to 10 of these buffs, and then a little lightning bolt fires at my target for a variable amount of damage, based on my stats at the time.
Procs and on-use effects tend to carry a buff that your character will gain. Some people use mods to track this as it might be useful for your DPS but you can always see them along with your other buffs at the top of your screen (or wherever you have them located on your UI.)
Here’s my second trinket:
Passive: +340 INT
Use: A small moonwell appears, blessing you with 1700 Mastery for 20 sec.
I have this trinket on my hotkey bars and I press it when I’m doing a burn rotation as arcane. It pops out a little moonwell that douses me with moonlight and gives me a buff that is the 1700 Mastery (a stat I’ll talk about later.)
Most people keybind and hotkey trinkets with an on-use effect, but some use them in a “opening cooldown” macro. If you want to use trinkets while casting a certain spell, it will look something like this:
#showtooltip ExampleSpell /cast ExampleSpell /use 13 /use 14
13 is your upper trinket slot, and 14 is your lower trinket slot. You can use both trinkets at once or leave 13 or 14 out of your macro. You can also say /use ExampleTrinketName to name a specific trinket in your macro. Keep in mind you’ll have to change your macro if you get a new trinket.
And that is your exhaustive explanation of what trinkets do.