Mage Leveling Guide From 1 to 80 for WotLK Classic
Welcome to the Wrath of the Lich King leveling guide for Mages. Here, you will learn how to efficiently level your Mage all the way to Level 80.
This guide will aim to provide you with a clear skill and gear path to max level as a Mage in WotLK Classic. We will focus on talents, skills to buy and spell rotation, as well as leveling gear and the class-specific quests you will find along the way.
General WotLK Leveling Advice
Providing non-Mage leveling advice is outside the scope of this article and is covered in our general WotLK leveling guide.
Mage Talents for Leveling in WotLK Classic
Mages have three talent trees: Arcane, Fire, and Frost
Frost is the recommended leveling build due to its consistency and flexibility when dealing with World PvP, as well as the strong defensive power of Frost's chill and freeze effects which will render most enemies unable to fight back. Other strong points in the Frost tree are the Summon Water Elemental and Icy Veins abilities, due to many changes that make good leveling talents require less points (for example, Ice Shards and Shatter now require only 3 talent points instead of previously 5). These abilities and talent changes further enhance the already-great Frost Mage capabilities.
Frost can be played with a focus on single-targeting enemies one by one, which is maybe one of the easiest specializations to play in WotLK Classic and extremely safe. The main downside, however, is that it can be slow to level with relative to the alternative.
You can also throw caution to the wind and specialize in pulling and killing 5+ enemies at once, the so-called AoE-Grinding. In order to do this you will require a specialized talent tree focused on Improved Blizzard and a lot of skill to consistently pull it off. It will also be required that you farm relatively uncontested spots, as otherwise you will not have enough enemies to pull in order to make the AoE Grinding worth it. Contrary to not having enough enemies to pull, the AoE cap introduced in TBC was changed in WotLK and will also make your AoE spells deal a maximum amount of damage which means you can also pull too many mobs and deal less damage to them. The AoE cap is generally set to start 10 at mobs. No matter if you pull 10, 20, or 100 mobs, you will do the same total damage per attack to 100, as if you would to the same attack to 10 mobs.
Another advantage of leveling as Frost is that it gets you acquainted with the spells and talents you will be using for farming and Dungeon leveling. Frost maximizes your ability to control enemies in 5-man Dungeons and delivers Summon Water Elemental as a great burst-damage tool. In addition to all that, Frost is the most Mana-efficient spec for leveling, raiding, and dungeons. Later on, when you have farmed your pre-raid gear and already have some raid pieces, you will be able to easily switch to Arcane or Fire spec if you choose.
Compared to single-target leveling, AoE leveling will always be faster. The new Fire talents make this task much easier than it was before in TBC with Fingers of Frost, Shatter, and Blizzard being able to crit being the main reasons. After reaching Level 80, at the most optimal pace, the AoE spec will only be useful for farming and 5-man Dungeons. If you plan to do anything beyond that, respeccing to a proper Arcane, Fire or Frost raiding spec is recommended.
If you are especially fond of it, Arcane has a flexible, strong, all-rounder tree which starts off slow but quickly grows in power once you approach Level 40 and beyond. Once you hit 80, the Arcane spec we recommend for leveling will have to be changed into a raiding spec.
Finally, Fire is a very powerful single-target and AoE leveling spec, having some of the best damage-increasing talents in the game on its tree. Once you hit 80 you will be optimized for Level 80 Dungeons and you may also go into Raids with this spec. However, a respec to a Fire raiding spec is recommended and generally Arcane will be less-dependent on Hit gear.
Fastest Leveling Talents and Strategy for WotLK Mages
The ultimate way to speed level in WotLK Classic is through gathering lots of enemies at once and killing them all at roughly the same time. This method is called AoE grinding and yields the highest XP per hour. On lower levels (before level 22), this can be done with a combination of Frost Nova, Flamestrike, and Arcane Explosion, but this is hard to pull off. From level 22 on, the preferred technique is to kill enemies with Blizzard and Improved Blizzard. The WotLK Frost Mage AoE Leveling Guide explains the process from level 1 to 80 in great detail.
A nice bonus of this approach is that by the time you are near Level 80, this method of leveling will have made you quite rich from the items the mobs you farm drop. While doing this AoE grinding method, it is recommended to set your Hearthstone to a nearby inn and have a bank alt you can send all your loot to quickly.
To get an impression of how AoE grinding for Levels 1 to 60 is done, watch this guide by Stretta. Nevertheless, a few things have changed since Vanilla, and we strongly recommend to check the Frost Aoe Leveling guide above for more AoE leveling locations and updated strategies.
Dungeon Leveling as a Mage — Spell Cleave
Leveling with a premade group in Dungeons is extremely fast in WotLK Classic, and you can maximize your experience-per-hour by pulling big groups using Improved Blizzard-based kiting strategies such as the ones we list in the Mage AoE grinding strategy guide.
While leveling the following way will not be for everyone, as it requires a group of people of specific classes doing specific pulls for maximum efficiency, feel free to give it a try with your friends. If doing so, we recommend Devilin's Prot Video as a demonstration of how this method works.
Even though this video is with a Paladin, you can also farm Dungeons in a similar fashion and make even bigger pulls with five Mages, taking turns on Ice Blocking pulls and using your Water Elementals and aggro-ping-pong strategies to kill bosses. There are no limits to your creativity when using this method.
Learning Professions early on is very useful, as you can naturally level them as you go and avoid extra work at max level. However, leveling professions during leveling also decreases your leveling speed because you will not kill mobs during that time and gain no experience. It is a decision you have to make on your own on whether you want to have maxed out professions when you hit Level 80 or not; the time investment stays regardless. Gathering professions, however, are great to level during your journey from 1-80, since they often increase with your natural progress through the different zones of World of Warcraft.
We recommend that you learn First Aid as soon as possible for easy self-healing. Skinning, Herbalism, and Mining are great primary professions for a leveling Mage, allowing you to make extra gold or accumulate materials that you can use to level crafting professions later. There is also a case to be made for leveling Engineering early on since its crafts, such as Iron Grenade, can make your leveling significantly easier
Mages are quite gear-independent while leveling. However, you should still aim to gather items with as much Intellect as possible, making your Mana pool last longer before you have to drink or wait for regeneration. Intellect further allows you to cast more spells against enemies before you are running OoM, which is especially important for AoE grinding.
Spirit is also a useful stat for leveling, as it increases your Health and Mana regeneration rates, but keep in mind you can only regenerate Health outside combat unless you are a Troll and Mana will not regenerate if you cast a spell in the past 5 seconds unless you use Mage Armor, making this stat mostly useful while traveling and eating/drinking, which you will do a lot.
Spell Damage will be very useful at maximum level, but its impact on the spells you will be using while leveling is low, and it has no effect whatsoever on wand damage which you will be using often to finish enemies off; do not go out of your way to get it on your gear for the lower levels. During higher levels past Level 50, and if you do a lot of single-target farming, the value of Spell Damage greatly increases, as it is free damage that does not cost you any Mana.
Stamina allows you to live for longer and can be useful in PvP situations and when gathering enemies up for AoE grinding, but for the most part you should aim to kill enemies from a distance, taking little damage in return.
Progressing your Mage at Level 80
By the time you hit Level 80 and want to learn how to play in PvE content, we recommend you to use the other Mage articles for guidance. Raid spots for Mages in WotLK are more rare than in other expansions of WoW, so gaining additional knowledge over your competition will help you getting in.
- 26 Sep. 2022: Changed the Fastest Leveling Talents and Strategy section.
- 19 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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