Try not to let the 30s to 40s knock you flat on your magely butt. There’s a lot of challenges out there, but this is halfway-ish to the leveling finish line! I know that Murkablo was just grumpy that we only ever got Uldaman and nothing fun like Scholomance yet. Keep your pets in line, mages!
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. Keep in mind though two things – it costs a reagent (Light Feathers, which are not purchasable off vendors) and it only lasts for 30 seconds. However, you can cast it on other party members or yourself. Just make sure you are targeting the right person. It becomes a lot more handy if you use the glyph to improve the spell, but I’ll discuss that in our glyphs section this round.
Molten Armor (level 34) and Mage Ward (level 36) are really nice to get at this stage in your leveling. One thing that mages should always have on, no matter what they are doing, are their armors. Much like a warlock’s armor or a paladin’s aura, an armor defines certain benefits and defenses. They still have a limited time meaning you have to refresh them every 30 minutes, but that’s the only downside. Molten Armor grants you extra critical strike chance and reduces your chance to be hit. Fire and frost 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! As for Mage Ward, this is a very easy way to reduce a portion of any incoming frost, fire or arcane damage. Granted, it is using a global cooldown but you can’t really beat spell damage reduction. There are talents that make this better, and if you eventually move into raiding at end-game, using it will make your healers love you. It is definitely part of a conscientious mage’s arsenal against smear-age.
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 regening mana and health, this food turns into a new kind of sweet treat as you level up. (Right now, your conjured food is gingerbread! 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*
Five new talent points again, but where to spend them?
Since I jumped ahead tiers last time to take Icy Veins, this time I took two steps and filled out Icy Floes, now that I have a spell or two that actually benefits from it. Reducing your cooldown on both important DPS and defensive spells is always handy and means that you can pop them more often on longer fights. Now, do I continue along the second tier of talents or do I solidly move to the third tier? The effectiveness of the second tier’s talents (like Improved Cone of Cold and Piercing Chill) still feels like a side-grade benefit so I hopped down the third tier to Fingers of Frost. Fingers of Frost is a really powerful proc that treats your target as being “frozen” despite not literally so; this means that spells that boost damage against frozen targets should be your choice when you get the proc.
Your talent tree should now look like this: (0/0/16).
Fire definitely takes the cake in terms of getting the most interesting choices and additions to their spellcasting this time. With their five points, they not only can get Hot Streak (which is a instant-cast proc Pyroblast), but also movable Scorch that costs no mana (Firestarter and Improved Scorch), as well as Blast Wave, a great AOE ability that does damage and slows mobs. I chose Firestarter over Combustion (despite my similar choice for Icy Veins in Frost), as I felt movable scorch was more of a benefit to questing and BGs rather than a straight dungeon-based ability. You can pick up Combustion first however if you are dungeon grinding. Your talent tree now looks like this: (0/16/0).
Bringing up the rear is arcane at (16/0/0). You get one new ability (Presence of Mind) as well as finishing off another talent (Missile Barrage.) You pick up Arcane Flows (which is identical to Icy Floes for arcane) and begin filling out Prismatic Cloak. POM used to be a lot stronger of a talent when Pyroblast was a baseline mage ability and you could instant-cast it using POM as an arcane mage, but given that Arcane Power and POM share a cooldown, and Fire has it now as a talented ability, the days of PoM-Pyro is gone. It is now part of an arcane mage’s very limited toolbox for DPS mobility or conjuring on the fly. Prismatic cloak may seem unsubstantial now, but when you fill it out for all 3 points, it gives you instant, no fade Invisibility. Great, yah?
I stupidly neglected this little section for my last part of the guide, and for that, I am sorry. At level 25, you gain your first of three Prime, Major and Minor Glyph slots. The idea between each kind of glyph slot is that they focus on giving certain kinds of spells a little extra usefulness or flavor. Prime Glyphs augment your main nukes – additional damage modifiers are typical here. There’s very little choice here; most of your nukes are heavily spec-based, so it’s easy to pick out what you should be glyphing. Major Glyphs tend to play around with a lot of secondary spells or cooldowns, there’s a little more width of choice here depending on what kind of play you want to do. Lastly, Minor Glyphs are strictly for fun/flavor or adding bonuses to quality of life spells. There’s not many of them, so it makes choosing them a lot more for “fun.”
So what should you be picking for your first glyphs? For me, it was fairly easy. As my Prime Glyph, I went with Glyph of Frostbolt. No brainer, obviously, and Fire and Arcane should be going Glyph of Fireball and Glyph of Arcane Blast, respectively. At this point, however, the most useful Major glyph available to leveling mages is Glyph of Evocation, full stop. Having a mana and health regen during combat is so useful; everyone should take it no matter what. Lastly, I took Glyph of Slow Fall so I wouldn’t have to worry about having Light Feathers.
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 a mount!
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 Chapeau from Scarlet Monastery – Cathedral is a classy and classic choice.
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 makes your spell casting go faster. 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.
Remember that all these things are explained if you mouseover a stat on your character sheet, take a look there sometime. Just remember to look under “General” “Attributes” or “Spell” like in the graphic, Ranged/Melee is for other classes that do Ranged attacks (with their weapons) or melee attacks. “Resistances” isn’t really important right now.
>> Levels 40-50