Leveling as a Mage — Levels 31-40

Leichi floats in Maraudon.

 

Spells

Welcome to the 30-40 bracket, where all the mage spells you start to get tend to be less about your primary use nukes and cooldowns, but rather what I like to call “quality of life” spells. Things that make your time spent as a mage relaxing, enjoyable and frankly, kick ass over other classes. You got a taste of this when you got your Teleport spells last bracket, but now that you’ve come this far, prepare for the magical equivalent of riding around in a Bentley, waving over your shoulder at the warlocks and rogues crying on the side of the road. (Okay, maybe not like that, but come on, we’re pretty awesome.)

At 32 you get Slow Fall, which may seem like an unusual and frankly unnecessary spell, but as any veteran mage can tell you, will literally save your life. If you are a mage that spends any amount of time exploring the world or going into battlegrounds, the ability to descend gracefully and not hit the ground with a caster-shaped crater (preferably while popping off several instant cast spells) is beyond useful. Slow Fall does just that – it slows your falling speed. You float off at a diagonal towards the ground until you land on something solid. This spell can be cast on other party members or yourself, as well as used while mounted. Just make sure you are targeting the right person.

Molten Armor (level 34)  is the first time in leveling that you get one of your class-specific armors.  Much like a warlock’s armor or a paladin’s aura, an armor defines certain benefits and defenses. Molten Armor grants you extra critical strike chance and reduces your chance to be hit. Fire mages will value this more than arcane mages later on in the game, but for right now it is your only armor and you should wear it!

At level 36 you get your third installment of spec-specific spells. Arcane gets Slow. This is one of the spec’s few CC-like abilities. It slows one target’s movement by 50% (25% if it is against another player) and their casting speed by 25%. Now, if you use Glyph of Slow, all of your Arcane Blasts apply the Slow effect and you don’t need to cast it separately. But it might still be useful for having on your bars if you do any soloing or PVP.

Fire gets Critical Mass, which is a passive effect that multiplies the critical strike chance of your main Fire-specific spells. It’s one of the indications that Fire prefers crit overall as a stat. Your fire spells will start to rely pretty heavily on crit at the endgame to do respectable damage.

Icy Veins is what Frost gets, which is one of your major cooldowns. It is a 20% increase in spell haste and reduces pushback to your spells by 100%. This is like a little Time Warp all for yourself and should be used often, particularly during big fights.

Now for the moment I’m sure you’ve been waiting for – the ability to conjure food. That’s right, at level 38, you gain Conjure Refreshment. This is your ticket to reducing incoming costs for your budget and never needing to grocery shop ever again. Granted, conjured food is slightly behind the best available food for your level but if you forget to buy things like I do, it will work in a pinch. As well as being good for returning mana and health, this food turns into a new kind of sweet treat as you level up. (Right now, your conjured food is cookies! Yum!) Other players will love your food too – so much in fact that they will ask you for it four pulls into a dungeon. *facepalm*

 

Leichi picks out some new gear.

I want this one!

Gear

Matching colors and items! How novel! That is what you can expect during this portion of leveling – many quests in zones help itemize you sensibly as well and look snappy.  You’ll starting seeing more choices in head-gear as well as all your slots. Darkcleric’s Veil/Veil of Aerie Peak is a great blue quest reward from a quest in the Hinterlands (and it looks like a face mask, so cool.) Whitemane’s Embroidered Chapeau is also a classy choice for a head slot!

The only problems I really ran into with gear in this bracket was between some overlapping quest items or slots covered by dungeon drops having wildly different stat allocations. One example of this was two questions offering me two belt choices – one had +11 INT, one had +8 STA, +4 INT, and gave me a bunch of hit. Which seems like the better choice? Lots of intellect is great, but so is hit? This sort of stuff can get really confusing. Typically, even though HIT is my best stat for not missing on mobs, more INT should win out. It just is a flat DPS boost no matter how you slice it. A good way of determining which piece of gear is better when it has identical kinds of stats on it is which has more if you added all the “numbers” up. Hit is better than crit, haste is better than crit in a lot of ways.

Still, 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/stamina gear is fairly plentiful from quests, however. Secondary stats like haste are starting to become more plentiful, especially if you do dungeons. Now that you might be seeing this, let’s explain what haste actually does.

Haste is what speeds up your casting. It sounds simple but it can mean a few things – casting faster means technically more DPS. It also means you run out of mana faster, as you have less time to regen while casting. It also can speed up ticks of some DoTs and reduce your global cooldown by a small margin. Haste also only goes so far, especially when you get to the level where Heroism/Time Warp/Bloodlust is concerned. You can only speed up your casts down to 1 second. Under one second and you will be effectively locked out by the global cooldown between all your spells. That is what most casters that are working around a lot of the time when they talk about racials, cooldowns in regards to a “haste cap.” Early haste gains in leveling tend to be talented or profession cooldowns like Lifeblood.

Helpful Tips:

  1. Making food for healers in low-level dungeons or in battlegrounds now is considered polite and generous
  2. Slow Fall, Blinking as well as Ice Block can save your butt if you jump or fall off something high.
  3. At level 40, you can buy your 100% speed ground mount training.