Mage Class Overview
During all of World of Warcraft's History, Mages always were a sought after class, be it for their excellent damaging capabilities or their supportive powers such as putting up portals, providing buffs, turning enemies into sheep, or conjuring food and water.
In The Wrath of the Lich King, Mages culminate in their ability to please raid leaders, PVPers, and most importantly, the player. Get ready to delve deeper into the Arcane arts and enjoy an introduction to playing Mage in the most popular expansion World of Warcraft has ever had.
Mage in WotLK is an absolute DPS (Damage Per Second) machine, so DPS is what they are played for. With Wrath release, all three talent trees have been reworked to be a lot more interactive, engaging, and more fun to play. Arcane and Fire are more tailored towards PvE, while Frost is more geared towards being a PvP and farming spec. In PvE, their need for more raid support than other classes has been greatly eased (compared to The Burning Crusade), and Arcane Mages provide more raid support and utility. In PvP, Frost Mage's rule Northrend's Arenas with their mighty Frost tree.
Mage uses the resource Mana to cast their spells. Each spell they cast costs a small amount of their base Mana. Mana is increased each level (base Mana), or by increasing the Intellect stat. Some enchants also provide Mana without providing Intellect, however they are mostly irrelevant in WotLK. Mana can be restored by drinking water, Mana potions, passive Mana regeneration from their Spirit stat, or by some raid buffs, such as Innervate or Replenishment. The Mage PvE guides provide you with information, which spells you should cast to spend your Mana in the most optimal way, while dealing most damage possible.
Mages' talents and abilities Arcane Empowerment, Remove Curse, Counterspell, Focus Magic, Arcane Brilliance, Polymorph, Ritual of Refreshment, and portals to all major cities in the World of Warcraft are what makes Mage a sought-after class for PvE and PvP content.
The talent trees you already know from TBC have been extended and refined. These specializations are commonly also referred to as "specs", and they are summarized as follows.
- Arcane Mage — Mana-hungry, high burst and single-target damage, low threat, capable of turning Mana into DPS. Meta spec for the beginning of WotLK (Phase 1), for single target damage and for short fights.
- Fire Mage — Less Mana-hungry than Arcane, can do decent single target damage that scales better as item level increases. Meta spec from Phase 2 onward. Fire Mage has the most versatile and highest amount of AoE burst damage. Fire has the sub-spec Frostfire (FFB) that is used for speedrunning raids with many trash mobs, as FFB has low Mana cost and the best AoE.
- Frost Mage — Overall decent PvE spec, but not the meta spec. Has best PvP and Crowd-Control (controlling enemies) potential, provides good raid support and can also burst really well in short fights. Incredibly Mana efficient, one of the best of farming specs.
For single target DPS, Arcane will be ruling the DPS meters, followed closely by Fire. However, as soon as AoE (Area of Effect) damage is involved, Fire will outperform Arcane in overall damage, as Fire just has absurdly high AoE DPS and versatility, while Arcane has very high single-target DPS. Right at the start of WotLK, when raids do not provide good gear yet, Arcane is the best spec, as it has a higher Hit Chance from talents. Which spec is best for PvE generally depends on how much Trash and AoE damage needs to be done and on encounter design. From Ulduar on, Fire takes over as the most practical spec to play. The Mana-efficient Frost tree is the best for PvP and farming.
What Specialization Should I Play?
Both Arcane Mage and Fire Mage are viable and very strong specializations for PvE. Which one you play will largely depends on the availability Arcane Empowerment equivalent of Retribution Paladins. If you do not have Retribution Paladin in your raid, you should play Arcane for the Arcane Empowerment buff. If your raid already has an Arcane Mage or a Retribution Paladin, you should play Fire from Phase 2 on.
Frost Mage is more of a PvP spec with it's good survivability and crowd control effects. Frost Mage in PvE is not abyssmal, but since Arcane and Fire do so much more damage, you should not spec Frost outside of casual raiding. There are situations in which the crowd control effects Permafrost, Improved Blizzard and Frostbite might come in handy, such as the boss Faction Champions in the raid Trial of the Crusader. However, this is such a niche use of Frost in PvE, that it will most likely not be a meta thing.
What are the Best Playable Races for Mage?
- For PvE
- Alliance — Draenei for the racial ability that provides your group (even in a raid, the buff is only group-wide) with 1% hit, unless you have a Draenei in your group. If you have a Draenei in your group, Gnome is the second best choice.
- Horde — Troll for the racial ability Berserking, which provides you with 20% haste for 10 seconds.
- For PvP
Mage is only able to wear Cloth armor. They are able to use one-handed swords, off-hand frills, daggers, staves and wands. Most of the time, using a one-handed weapon and a off-hand will be the best possible option for DPS. However, this is the case for most other caster and healer classes in World of Warcraft, so staves are usually without competition. Since the DPS difference between staves and one-handed weapon with off-hand is, in some cases, a small margin, and with a staff you only need to get one item instead of two, it can be a compromise to use a staff instead.
Mage Addons and Macros
Addons and Macros are a solid way to help improve your gameplay and experience throughout Wrath Classic, whether it be while leveling, doing dailies, dungeons, or raiding. Both of the pages below provide information and recommendations on some of the best addons you can use.
Mage Leveling Guides
For those of you wishing to level a Mage to Level 80, you can check out our spec-specific leveling guides below. Mage is one of the best leveling classes, thanks to their early ability to AoE level. Portals allow them to navigate through the world with ease and Invisibility, or the combination of Frost Nova and Blink, can be a lifesaver in dangerous situations. Frost will give you the most consistent and fastest (especially Frost AoE) leveling experience, but all three Mage specializations are powerful for leveling.
Mage Trainers can be found in every major city but Shattrath. Ask the guards of a city for a class trainer and they will show you the location on the in-game map.
- 18 Jun. 2023: Updated the layout of the page to be more in line with other class guides.
- 15 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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