Leveling Through Misandry – Levels 60 to 70

Misandry stands in Zangarmarsh in her clown outfit. Levels 1-10
Levels 11-20
Levels 20-30
Levels 30-40
Levels 40-50
Levels 50-60

I admit that I don’t have a ton of really groovy screenshots from Outlands because, as far as I am concerned, most of the really cool stuff to do in Burning Crusade was the end-game content. I’m impetuous and wanted to hit 70 as fast as possible so I could do the worst bout of leveling content directly after that. I’m a sucker for pain and torture, mea culpa. Look at that clown suit. Look at that. That is quintessential clown suit. Illidan was right, I was not prepared.

Spells

The last bracket of leveling was easily the last time you will get a boatload spells across ten levels. Between 60-85, updates to your spellbook will be a little more sparse. It might be good on your wallet as well as your brain. This means that most of your “core” abilities are locked in place with additional end-game functionality and quality of life spells coming down the pipe. That being said, you get Teleport: Shattrath and Portal: Shattrath at 62 and 66 respectively. Six levels and you get transportation options! Are you quivering with excitement yet? I bet you are. Mage Armor shows up at level 68; this is actually rather crucial for arcane mages. Mage Armor is your armor, for the rest of us it is something we throw on occasionally during downtime for the mana regen or resistances, but arcane mages must use this all the time. Consider it the combustion engine of your DPS bus. Why Blizzard is giving arcane mages this so late is beyond me as I noticed some mana challenges earlier in the game playing as arcane, but I digress. At level 70, you get your last spell for the bracket: Spellsteal. This is an intensely powerful offensive dispel. Blizzard’s knocked the mana costs up over time to keep us from spamming it in PVP, but that’s not stopped any mage who wants to try and put pressure on a resto druid or shaman. Besides PVP, spellsteal comes in handy in PVE as well. Many mobs in dungeons and across the land often cast powerful buffs on themselves that stealing will not only be useful to you, but also help smooth the fight along. You can also just get silly with what can be spellstolen – Shadow Labyrinth anyone? As for macros, here is what I use personally to get the best bang for your buck on Spellsteal:

#showtooltip Spellsteal
/stopcasting
/cast [@target,mod:alt] Spellsteal
/cast [@focus,exists,harm] Spellsteal; Spellsteal

What this does is that it allows you to stop your cast to Spellsteal something on the fly (crucial on raid boss fights, see Maloriak) and then cast Spellsteal at either your mouse-over target or your actual target. Having a mouseover function allows people to Spellsteal off of arena frames, raid frames or boss frames available via some user interfaces.

Talents

I blame my newness to the frost spec as the reason why I didn’t tell you guys to take Piercing Chill sooner. At the advice of faithful reader Dave Signal, I recommend this for your spec after you fill in 2 points into Improved Freeze. Piercing Chill is what Frost Mages essentially do to “cleave” – like fire mages and Living Bomb splash/Impact, Piercing Chill applies a chill effect to other targets and gives you more Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost procs in the process. Last point, after spending the four between Improved Freeze and Piercing Chill, goes into Deep Freeze. This is a very strong part of your DPS as well as overall control. Deep Freeze can only be cast on frozen targets (such as things rooted with Frost Nova) – however, you do remember that Fingers of Frost is your proc that pretends that the target is frozen, yes? This means that you can cast Deep Freeze while FoF is up. It behooves you to cast Deep Freeze on cooldown and having continuous FoF procs helps with this. On targets that can be frozen, it will actually stun them inside of a giant block of ice. On things like bosses, Deep Freeze loses the stun portion and just does extra damage. (0/0/31)

Fire goes in a similar fashion (0/31/0) of filling out talents to get to your 31 point ability – drop your points into Molten Fury and Critical Mass until you get Living Bomb at 69. Now, Living Bomb is one of those iconic spells of the tree, in my opinion. Living Bomb is your only hard-cast DoT as fire, unlike those applied by spells or crits like Pyroblast or Ignite. It caps at 3 targets (unlike the days of LB spam in Icecrown Citadel) but can be nearly infinitely spread outwards if via Impact. Living Bomb ticks do not trigger Hot Streak because it is periodic damage but it is very important to have Living Bomb going on any target that you wish to use Combustion on. In addition to the damage that Living Bomb does on a target when it is ticking, it will also splash fire damage outwards on any targets in range if it reaches the end of its duration and isn’t refreshed. This can be very nice on a boss with adds. If the boss does not have other mobs around it, it is sometimes better DPS to “clip” Living Bomb to keep it rolling with a new application. A very nice Living Bomb macro that can be used in PVP or raiding with arena/boss frames is:

#showtooltip Living Bomb
/cast [@mouseover,harm] Living Bomb;
/cast [@target,harm] Living Bomb;

This means that Living Bomb will cast on whatever harmful target you have your mouse hovering over (say another boss frame) unless you just have something targeted; it will apply there instead.

Arcane has two directions you can go and I tended towards the one that would give you the most bang for your talent point bucks. Since you filled out Nether Vortex last time, you could spend 3 points into Torment the Weak. I went towards dropping one point in TtW, then used the remaining 4 points for Improved Mana Gem (which turns your mana gem as a DPS cooldown), Focus Magic, and then finally your 31-point talent Arcane Power. (31/0/0)

Does this group of talent acquisitions seem a little too much all at once? Here’s a brief explanation about how they all work together:

Arcane Power

The upshot of AP is that it increases your damage by 20 percent, but it comes with a price. It also makes your spells cost a lot more mana, meaning it is a cooldown with a slight penalty and as an arcane mage, this factors into the length of your burn phase. You don’t have to worry about this as much as a level 60 or 70 mage since you have much shorter fights. Just use it like other DPS cooldowns for now.

Focus Magic

Focus Magic is a unique reciprocative mage buff that only Arcane mages get and it definitely pairs nicely with Arcane Tactics in terms of overall buffs you give groups. There’s a lot of math that’s been tossed around about priorities for who you should give FM to (because it will also buff your own DPS), but outside of a raid situation it is sometimes rare that you will even be paired with another caster. I usually stick Focus Magic on a healer in a 5-man dungeon group. If you are in a 10-man setting, Focus Magic typically goes on Fire Mages (need to help our fiery friends out), then boomkins or elemental shaman. Certain warlock specs and shadow priests are also nice too, but not as fundamentally good. The key is to give it to someone who would a) benefit from the crit and in turn b) make sure the crit buff stays up on you most of the fight duration.

Improved Mana Gem

Just imagine this is giving you an extra motivation to use your mana gem! Arcane Mages use theirs all the time, but using one strategically to give you mana as well as a nice little DPS boost is awesome. Treat it like a trinket and drag your mana gem (the item itself, not the conjure spell) onto your action bars for easy use! Getting into good habits this early in your mage career will make you better when you hit 85.

The way you use your cooldowns at 85 is pretty straightforward as well but features heavily into something called a burn/conserve rotation. For now, popping Arcane Power, your mana gem, Mirror Images and any trinkets you have should suffice at the beginning of a fight. Presence of Mind can be used to cast an Arcane Blast on the go or getting 4 stacks of Arcane Blast up in a hurry. Beware though, it does share a cooldown with Arcane Power!

Gear

Outlands sets most of the progress we’ve been making with gear back by a ways. This is for several reasons; most of it has to do with the fact that Burning Crusade was the second expansion in WoW’s development cycle but has largely been un-updated since then. When it was relevant, a lot of players first ran into something called “gear inflation” – greens that they were getting from their first few quests and drops outstripped the amount of basic stats like intellect and stamina that they had on even high-level raiding epics.  You will run into this. However the secondary problem is that this gear also suffered through the initial +healing/+spellpower merge (which made +healing to just flat +spellpower) then later the +spellpower —> +intellect conversion. A lot of an item’s stat weight that had just spellpower as its “green stat” got turned into spirit to compensate.

This means that in order to survive the beating you will take wearing good level 40s/50s blues, picking up STA-heavy, SPI-laden gear isn’t such a bad idea. There’s some greens and blues you get early on in Hellfire Peninsula questing and dungeoning that will be a boon to you all the way to 70s, especially if you do not use heirlooms.

Mantle of Magical Might
Mindfire Waistband
Shadowcast Tunic
Mirren’s Drinking Hat

PS: Sorry no ding shot here, I missed it while leveling.

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Leveling Through Misandry – 50 to 60

Misandry enjoys the view in Ogrimmar from her mount.
Levels 1-10
Levels 11-20
Levels 20-30
Levels 30-40
Levels 40-50

We’re growing up so fast, mages. It seems like just yesterday we were starting out at level 1 in a broken world. Now we’re going to be 60 and in an even more broken world, except this time the quest rewards and zone flow hasn’t really been updated in the slightest. But we’re still going to have fun, right?

Spells

The rate at which you learn new spells of significance is going to slow down once you hit 50 or 60 and get into the outer expansions. Still, as you move to Outlands-range, you’ll get a couple of helpful spells before you leave. First up at level 52 is Blizzard. Blizzard is the AOE you will be using exclusively if you’re a frost mage due to awesome talents you get, and the so-so AOE you use when you’re Arcane – pair it with Presence of Mind (when you talent into it) and then use the buff to make it stronger, then cast an instant Flamestrike. Later on, Arcane Explosion will be strong enough to use in most situations where you can survive being in melee. But I digress. Horde mages in particular also get Teleport: Stonard and Portal: Stonard at this point, meaning you can successfully pull off such hilarious mage games as Portal Roulette*.

Frost Armor comes in at 54 – this is an essential for low-level PVP, especially around melee. It applies a slow to mobs or other players that attack you, as well as makes them hit slower. It also gives you 15 percent damage reduction. Booyah! Frost Armor plus any of your shields can keep you from taking a lot of deadlier hits from an enemy. However, if you are just leveling against mobs, I’d suggesting using Molten Armor and blow them up faster instead. Frostfire Bolt is shortly after at 56. Don’t be confused by this spell unless you are Frost. You will never use it as Arcane or Fire except possibly on the very rare occasions you come across a Fire AND Arcane resistant mob. Frost mages use this spell exclusively when they get Brain Freeze procs – up until this point you’ve been using Fireball. Swap Fireball off your bars and put Frostfire Bolt there now for easy access when you get a proc.

And what feels like far too late in the game, you finally get Arcane Brilliance at level 58. It feels like other classes get their proper group buffs very early on, so I wonder why Arcane Brilliance gets pushed back so far. Is it a relic of pre-leveling changes? Who knows. But now you can buff yourself or your party members with extra mana and spellpower. This buff used to be straight intellect but when the SP/INT change went into the game that was seen as a little too powerful.

Unlike every other bracket where you’ve gotten a powerful spell at the end, 60 has no new spells. However, you do have the ability to learn new versions of Polymorph if you choose to track them down. Beware though – some of them are costly, hard-to-get-to, rare, or holiday-related (x2).

Talents

It feels weird to backtrack a lot with talents, but picking talents up when they become useful by the virtue of getting the spells they enhance is a good thing, so don’t feel bad if your talent acquisitions feel similarly non-linear. I pushed ahead in Frost to pick up Ice Barrier. Ice Barrier is the only shield you will use as Frost just because it outstrips Mana Shield on every conceivable level. 30 second cooldown, but it shields you for a minute if the damage doesn’t destroy it, and doesn’t burn through your mana doing so. Its cooldown can also be reset using Cold Snap as well. Once you get Blizzard at 52, you can put full points into Ice Shards. This helps as you gain enough momentum to grind out numerous quest mobs at once; being able to slow them significantly as well as extend your reach on Ice Lance is beneficial to the solo player. I dropped a point into Improved Freeze. Whether you do 2 points in this, or put your last point into Enduring Winter is your choice. I opted for one point into Enduring Winter because I felt like I was chugging a little hard on mana in dungeons. Having your elemental being able to generate Fingers of Frost procs by using Freeze is a big boost to your DPS, but having mana cost reduction and group mana regen in dungeons (with the GO GO GO attitude) is also nice as well. You’ll be filling Improved Freeze in full in your next bracket, so whichever your choose is whatever feels more comfortable for your style of play right now. Your spec should look like this: (0/0/26).

Fire seems to be geared a lot more towards group play when you get down the tree (0/26/0) and I found myself sort of up a wall considering people who do other things like PVP or solo quest. First point goes into Dragon’s Breath, naturally. It is your short-range instant cast cone spell for Fire, much like Cone of Cold. Instead of slowing a mob, however, it will disorient it. This has a nice temporary crowd control effect (like Blind for rogues) but also can interrupt spell-casting if your timing is exceptional. Next, fill out Improved Flamestrike, as the extra Flamestrikes while casting Blastwave are a nice boost to your DPS. However, Molten Fury is only really helpful to people who are pelting high health mobs that live a long while (see: elites/bosses) and therefore make this “Execute” mechanic work. I dropped one point into it for now and put one point into Critical Mass, which while is technically good for everyone in your group, will help your own personal DPS later on. It’s really a hard sell. If you strictly solo quest, you might want to just take the 2 extra points and put them into Blazing Speed for now. You’ll have to do more respeccing when you reach higher levels, but it might be worth it if you like having fun talents.

The way that Arcane plays out near the end of the tree is similar; however, you don’t get any fun group buffs until a little later. Slow is your latest talent acquisition and it works similar to how Frostbolt does in that it slows down mobs or players you apply it to, however, it is a separately casted spell. For those of you who do not PVP, dropping two more points into Nether Vortex seems to make more sense, even if it is redundant. This way you get the slowing effect on top of your arcane blast spell. Easy peasy. The last two points go into Arcane Potency, which is a flat critical strike buff to your spells after you use Presence of Mind (making PoM + Blizzard/Flamestrike a really nice AOE combo if you aren’t dedicated to using Arcane Explosion) or gain Clearcasting. Sure, boring talents for the most part, but definitely useful. (26/0/0)

Glyphs

If you were paying attention to the links I posted for talents this time around, you’d notice that I included what glyph choices you should be making now that you unlocked an extra set of glyphs at level 50. As always, my patterns for picking out glyphs for your Prime, Major and Minor slots tend to work thusly – Prime glyph should now boost your second-most powerful spell, Major should enhance your second-most useful utility spell, and Minor should be for fun or extra usefulness.

Prime Glyph

  • Glyph of Frostfire (Frost) – Additional damage as well as a DoT makes this a great choice for your Brain Freeze spell.
  • Glyph of Pyroblast (Fire) – Similar to why I chose Frostfire Bolt for frost, adding critical strike chance to Pyroblast makes this attractive for additional Hot Streaks.
  • Glyph of Arcane Missiles (Arcane) – It is your second highest casted spell and now it will crit for more. Arcane Barrage looks like an attractive choice, but overall, it is not worth it as you move into higher levels.

Major Glyph

  • Glyph of Ice Barrier (Frost) – Additional damage reduction from Barrier is a nice treat.
  • Glyph of Dragon’s Breath (Fire) – Reducing the cooldown on this spell not only is useful for CC, but makes a difference on some raid fights later on.
  • Glyph of Blink or Polymorph (Arcane) – Arcane does not have a lot of valuable Major Glyphs, so these are two solid options. Polymorph glyph is very handy if you do a lot of dungeons. Arcane Power is not available to you yet, so this is not a choice.

You can also substitute Blink or Polymorph for Dragon’s Breath with Fire, as well.

Minor Glyph

To use a glyph, click on the item in your bags. Then press “N” to open up your talents and glyphs panel (if you have not re-bound it, otherwise use the panel on your UI), and apply the glyph from your list to the circle slots.

Note: I am aware that glyphs, even ones for basic abilities, can be very expensive on some servers. As you are leveling, it is not as big of deal as it might seem if you don’t have glyphs right away. If you are short on cash, perhaps buy or gather some herbs and parchment and find a helpful guildie or person on your server to make it for you. Otherwise, you can wait until later to try and buy the glyphs you need. Don’t fret if you don’t have the big money in-game just quite yet. Save it for things like flying at level 60!

Gear

At this point in the game, gearing should be relatively intuitive and easy for you if you’ve been following my guides thus far. Intellect is still by far your best stat, with hit following behind it. However, remember the hit cap for most things you are doing at this point is only 6 percent, and most of the gear you acquire will not cap you. Don’t worry if you don’t, it isn’t a dealbreaker. Fire favors what little haste and crit you get on your gear (as well as Frost), and Arcane going with high amounts of intellect and crit would do just fine. The only problems you are going to run into is when you start using Outland gear, which hasn’t been itemized in the same way as revamped Cataclysm questing gear. A lot of it still includes Spellpower (which is in a 1:1 conversion with INT, however, SP does not increase your mana pool or your crit), as well as most of the item budget being given over to STA. Many pieces do not have secondary stats either. Make intelligent choices, but when in doubt, pick the gear that gives you the most INT or SP. You’ll outlevel it by 70, so don’t stress too hard about it. A smattering of gear from both the 50s and late 50s will carry you well into the 60s.

Some items to look out for before you hit Outlands though:

Hood of the Royal Wizard/Hood of the Arcane Path – Alliance and Horde versions of the reward from doing the level 50 mage quest. The quest requires you to go into Blackrock Depths (which you will be doing a LOT of if you do Dungeon Finder) and kill Pyromancer Loregrain and some of his cronies. The hood is a duplicate of the Tier 1 mage hat that you can get from Molten Core.

Circle of Flame – Rare epic drop off Ambassador Flamelash in Blackrock Depths.
Anastari Heirloom – Necklace from Baroness Anastari in Stratholme.
Band of Sacrifice – Quest reward ring from Blasted Lands.
Burst of Knowledge – Drop off Ambassador Flamelash in Blackrock Depths.
Essence of Eranikus’ Shade – Quest reward from Sunken Temple.

*Portal Roulette is the best mage game where you cast every portal you have all on-top of each other and people get sent somewhere randomly.

>> Levels 60 to 70

Leveling Through Misandry – Levels 11 to 20

Misandry runs with her water elemental and forsaken forces.

Levels 1-10

The best laid plans of mice and mages often go awry, and in my case, that means having to spec frost at the utmost insistence of some of my Twitter followers. They felt that the poll put me squarely back into my wheelhouse and that the point of a leveling guide was to learn something new. So here I am, with a loud bubbly friend. Frost has been fun so far and has made killing mobs a lot easier, but I suspect that is how it is now with every mage spec now. Back in my day, you had to wand and pray that you killed something. Now that we’re actually starting to get into the meat of leveling, I figured that I ought to break up the guides into sections for ease-of-use. Hopefully you’ll find this a bit more useful if you just need help with one specific part of leveling in each block.

Spells

11 through 20 gives you another block of very important utility and resource skills that as a mage; spells you should become accustomed to using. At level 12, you get Evocation. This is one of a mage’s main abilities to regen mana. If you eventually go on to become a full-time arcane mage, your rotation will basically rise and fall around this. As you gain the ability to use glyphs, Evocation will also be a nice way of regaining health in and out of combat. The only downside to this is that you have to stand still. Ticks of your Evocation will also shorten if you are taking prolonged damage (so try not to use it during an AOE ability from a mob.)

Polymorph is level 14 and is your first real crowd control. While Polymorph does tend to vanish at the drop of a hat if someone even so much as LOOKS at your sheep, it is considered one of the more prized crowd control abilities in that is it easily renewable and has no cooldown. A good mage will master the art of keeping a focus target sheeped and being able to polymorph on the fly and I will give you a great macro for how to do that:

#showtooltip Polymorph
/stopcasting
/clearfocus [mod:shift]
/focus [@focus,noexists]
/cast [@focus,exists,harm] Polymorph

This macro does a couple of things right off the bat – first, it stops your cast (meaning you can sheep on the fly if need be), secondly, it sets a focus if one does not exist already, and it casts Polymorph. It is going to set whatever you’re targeting and sheeping as your focus, so keep in mind that if you need to swap your focus/sheep target, you press the macro while holding down your modifer key (in this case is SHIFT). If you want to change your modifer key (to say, ALT or CTRL), you merely change the [mod:shift] part.  I also like to use my macro as a nice “set a focus” button as if you are out of range or a mob cannot be sheeped, it will just simply focus the mob you are targeting, provided it is a harmful entity. If you want to eventually use other spells besides just the flat Polymorph spell (like Polymorph: Black Cat, Polymorph: Pig), you can simply change the last line to this:

/castrandom [@focus,exists,harm] Polymorph, Polymorph(Rabbit), Polymorph(Black Cat)

The only problem you might run into is if you have other spells that work on a focus – such as Counterspell (like in our last guide). What I’ve done is used modifers in all my macros for those spells so in the fairly rare case I need to counterspell a non-focused target, while having a focus target polymorphed, I can shift-Counterspell the non-focus target and still keep my focus target sheeped. Glyphing Polymorph lets you turn your boring old sheep into a penguin or monkey as well, or allows polymorph to remove damage-over-time spells on a mob (a must for dungeons.)

The last utility spell you get is Blink, at level 16. Blink is easily one of the most live-saving spells you will get as a mage. It moves you quickly from place to place, it can get you out of places fast and it can move you over dangers that other classes have to muddle through. If you glyph it, it can even take you greater distances than before and Arcane has a talent that gives you a speed boost when you use it. In short, use it early, use it often, don’t Blink into a fire (as I have done many, many times.) Always have this key bound to something you can hit very easily.

Rounding this all out is Cone of Cold (level 18) and Arcane Blast (level 20.) Cone of Cold is a must-have instant cast melee range slow for Arcane and Frost mages (especially because you can talent it to be more effective), since Fire eventually gets Dragon’s Breath. CoC is good for keeping things that get right up in your face a little slowed so you can Blink back and pop off a well-timed Frostbolt or Arcane Blast.

Talents

From 11-20 you receive 6 talent points which means you begin picking talents from the top tier of your given talent tree. I am now frost, so my first six points (past the first one I placed in Early Frost) looks a little something like this: (0/0/6). When starting out on the first tier, or even as you are working down a tree, talents that give you a boost to how much damage you do, or make you cast faster, or give you more secondary stats are good things overall. Early Frost and Piercing Ice are great examples of these. Shatter is a little more obscure but it comes in handy later as you use more abilities that freeze a target and can be very handy when trying to kite a mob. As for fire and arcane mages? Your first seven points should look like this (0/6/0) and (6/0/0). Fire is a little less jazzy in terms of choices from early on; Master of Elements having a flat mana back from critical strikes (which are harder to come by at early gear levels) and Burning Soul giving you extra pushback protection is not very fun. Compared to the haste boosts of Arcane and Frost (Early Frost, Netherwind Presence), as well mana cost reduction (Arcane Concentration) and critical strike boosts (Piercing Ice), it feels a little blah. But never fear, Fire gets some fun toys later on.

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.

"Are we done shopping yet, Misandry? I'm tired."

Gear

Obviously this early on, gear will basically be whatever you pick up questing, in dungeons or off mobs. Always prioritize for intellect if you can. If you get some gear that has spirit on it, don’t fret. While spirit does zippo for mages, if it also has intellect on it, it is an upgrade. As more gear becomes diversified for healers versus casters, it’ll be considered better if you let healers in your group roll over you on spirit items, but for now, anything that has more intellect should be something you pick. Intellect and stamina gear is fairly plentiful from quests, however. Secondary stats like haste, crit or hit is very rare at this level, even if you do dungeons. Slots you won’t really see gear for  yet is shoulders (besides some white or grey ones), necklaces, head pieces, or trinkets. If you are an alt with heirlooms, this is largely meaningless to you!

At level 20, you get a class quest (Horde/Alliance) that takes you to Shadowfang Keep and gets you an awesome staff. Do this if you can!

Misandry dings level 20 with a cheer!

>> Levels 20-30

Leveling Through Misandry – Levels 1 Through 10

Misandry the mage runs through a field in Tirisfal Glades. The light is a murky green.

Blizzard’s done a really good job of trying to prepare mages early on with learning the sights and sounds of their class – this includes giving you a mixture of spell schools. You get arcane, fire and frost within your first ten levels.  For the first six, however, you only have 3 spells to your name – Fireball (which you start out with), Arcane Missiles (Level 3), and Fire Blast (Level 5). Arcane Missiles are a nice high-damage spell but you can only cast them when you proc – so sometimes a mob will not wait around for you run away and pew pew them in the face and you will die.  At very low levels, you are quite possibly just a glorified bag of meat that shoots fire out of your hands occasionally. I didn’t die too many times while starting out, but the possibility of being overwhelmed by more than one mob when you’re questing will ultimately kill you.

This all changes when you get to level 7; your first slowing ability, Frostbolt, is learned. Even now, getting this spell felt like a lot more of a game-changer to an old hat mage like me. Having the choice of keeping a mob crawling along after me makes it easier to keep them away. I can also pull more than one mob at a time if I don’t feel I’m going to get overrun. A really good set of skills to start practicing now, little mages, is how to cast while just barely facing a mob. It is an essential ingredient of kiting later on. You turn yourself sideways, just enough that you still have facing on whatever you are targeting and can shoot a spell. Then continue running, using instant cast spells (like Fire Blast) and Frostbolt again when you’re a safe distance. Immediately after getting Frostbolt, you get Frost Nova (level 8).  Your first snare! Huzzah. This makes kiting easier and will also help with AOE-mob-grinding at higher levels if you choose to go frost.

The first ten levels gets rounded off by Counterspell at 9. This is such a marked difference over leveling back in vanilla. You had no way to interrupt caster mobs (which there were many) early on in the game.  You just had to hope you could survive. Giving casters tools like snares and interrupts this early makes the game a lot more fun.

The macro I use for Counterspell basically just makes it so you can use CS whenever, even if you are casting. This is crucial because sometimes you will have to stop immediately what you are doing and interrupt something in dungeons and raids. It does lower your DPS if you have a tendency to “hammer” an interrupt like I do, but hopefully you’ll get used to it and have it as a reflex. Mages who can sucessfully interrupt make more money, lead better lives and have more friends (Maybe.)

#showtooltip Counterspell
/stopcasting
/cast Counterspell

When you hit level 10, you gain the ability to start using talent points. This will lead to gaining the bonuses for whatever specialization you choose. Since I went Fire (as picked by you guys), I am now allowed to cast Pyroblast. Frost gets their Water Elemental, and Arcane gets Arcane Barrage.

Misandry the mage cheers when she hits level 10.

Hopefully this series of guides will help you understand mages a little better as you are leveling them. It is pretty fast work these days to get a character to 85, so I don’t need to tell you necessarily where to go, but giving you some pointers on talents and spell choices, plus some mage tips might turn you into better “career” mages and make the leveling experience more fun.

>> Levels 11-20

Public Testing Realm – 4.3

Usually I have better things to do in-game on live servers than check out PTR – I tend to be of the sort where I hate to be spoiled on things before they happen and I don’t like to wear myself out on new content before it is even 100 percent done! 4.3, however, has been most attractive in terms of things I like about the game. New raid content, new gear, and new vanity stuff – pets, mounts, and especially transmogging. So when the PTR came up last week, I just had to try it out.

Transmogrification

After downloading the patch and getting all my mods and macros/keybinds set-up, I quickly ran over to the transmogging/reforging shop in Stormwind. It is located on the west side of the outer Cathedral shops, and in Ogrimmar, it’s down in the Drag across the way from the cooking quest NPC. Transmogrification is easily the one thing I am most looking forward to in 4.3. My only real problem right now is that I have such trouble really tapping into outfits that I want to wear that aren’t just straight tier sets – especially for my mage main. I love the look of progression raiding tier for mages usually, so I don’t know why I’d want to skirt around that. So at first, transmogging seemed to be a 3 second affair – while I have tons of gear saved in my bank for my own nostalgia, I didn’t want to change into it. So I picked something simple to start with:

Apple Cider and another mage standing outside transmog shop. They have only mogged their hats into a pair of pink goggles and a red hat respectively.

Gnome mages don't need transmogging, eh?

One of the upsides of doing PTR is they very often let you change races, names/features, or even faction on a whim to test out those services. Suffice to say, I took one of my mage clones and ported her over to Horde. This is tempting me pretty hard to roll Horde and never come back. Look how stylish these goggles are now:

Two goblin mage pictures: one of Cider posing with stylish pink goggles, on the right Cider posing saucily with a red witch's hat on.

All in all, goblin mages just look SO much better in my tier gear than I do. Eventually, when one of my guildmate’s and I did the End of Time dungeon (which I’ll talk about in a bit), I transmogged into something a little more timey-wimey, Furious Gladiator Regalia. Transmogrification isn’t too steep right now, so take some of your extra-fake gold on the PTR and try it out. I suspect this won’t be as much of a goldsink as…

Void Storage

While blues have said that the final costs of Void Storage are not set in stone yet, on the PTR they are definitely worth a pretty penny. It’s 1000G to unlock the service and then 100G per stack of stuff to place in your storage, or withdraw it (the “basket” is a 3×3 storage container.) There were some bugs when initially testing it, as I lost some of my prized possessions quite LITERALLY to the void, but they are back in there now. Some unfortunate drawbacks of the system so far:

  • No unique-equipped items.  This means anything with that label, including certain rep items, quest rewards or special pieces of gear. It makes me upset as MOST of the things I had hoped to shove in my storage fall into this category. I have a very large, nearly complete collection of boss quest reward items and none of them qualify. This is something I hope they fix.
  • No stackable items. That one Eternal Ember I have left over from the legendary quest step I was on will not be going in there.
  • No non-soulbound items. So all those strange grey or white items you have have to stay in the bank. I think the Ethereals just have a problem with Pet Rocks.
But I am anticipating sticking all the tier gear I collected (but would never ‘mog) into my Void Storage, so that’s all well and good. Looks like all those giant bags I got for my bank will finally be used for useful things, like new transformation items.  I have issues, don’t I?

New 5-Man Dungeon: End Time (Spoilers)
Nozdormu stands in front of a battered Wyrmrest Temple, with a gouged Deathwing on top.

Nozdormu guards the End of Time timeway.

End of Time is the only non-raid dungeon up at the time of this writing, and I must say, it knocks it out of the park. We return to the Bronze Dragonflight and their efforts to maintain the timestream, but this time, in the future, at the end of all things after Deathwing has “won” the battle against Azeroth. It has a very desolate, surreal feel to it, much like some episodes of Doctor Who. Players are given a random choice of four Dragonshrines, each with their own Echo (a faded version of a world leader), which serves as the end boss. You clear various trash mobs in the dragonshrine and then fight the Echo at the center. Most of the trash and their abilities (or various environmental) effects aren’t too hard for people who are 360+ geared and above, but some of the end bosses have neat abilities you still have to be careful of.

The choices for end bosses are Sylvanas, Tyrande, Jaina and Baine Bloodhoof and you go through two of those before getting to the final Dragonshrine – the Bronze Shrine. You fight Murozond, considered to be the Infinite Dragonflight version of Nozdormu (the letters of his name are rearranged, “that’s how you know he’s evil.”) You use one of most interesting fight mechanics so far to fight him – a giant bronze hourglass. Murozond scatters giant patches of flamey-wamey timey-wimey stuff on the ground and you use the hourglass to reset the fight. It doesn’t reset Muro’s health, but it reverses you backwards in time to your former positions and gives you a speed (haste and movement) buff as well as resetting your HP, MP and baseline class cooldowns. However, it also makes the boss cast his floor puddles faster, so it is literally a race against the clock whether you kill him or run out of the 5 hourglasses you are allowed to use for the fight. I really had a fun time doing this dungeon. The atmosphere is amazing and the structure of the dungeon is fast-paced and unique. I’ve always loved the Bronze Dragonflight and the sorts of fight mechanics Blizzard could use under the guise of “time travel” but this one really takes the cake.

New Baradin Hold Boss: Alizabal, Mistress of Hate

This seems like 4.3 is going to have the highest ratio of female to male bosses ever. I’ll let you know how the shivaan Mistress of Hate holds up, as Blizzard did not see it fit to allow both Horde and Alliance test the BH boss by holding the raid open, but rather you still have to win TB to have access to it, on the PTR. She reportedly had 10man health on 25man setting, according to my friend who did get to try it last night, but don’t expect that to last.

New Spell Effects

I play neither a boomkin nor an elemental shaman, but I do take some glee in the fact that the Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor’s lightning bolt effect uses the new spell effects on the PTR. It’s fun to be a mage and to shoot a giant arcing lightning bolt at something randomly.

What About You?

What are you guys most looking forward to in 4.3? Have you picked out transmogging outfits yet? What do you think mine should be? Does anything ACTUALLY match Branch of Nordrassil? Post your comments or pictures in the reply box and let me know.