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WoW Mage Guide: Basics of Playing a Mage

Updated Fri, Aug 26, 2011 by Xerin



Mages are just one of many excellent class choices in World of Warcraft. As you may have picked up from the main page, Mages are a purely DPS class. However, this class comes equipped with more than a few utility spells that will keep the Mage an interesting class to play for the extent of your stay in Azeroth (and beyond). You can be sure that a well played Mage will be welcome in almost any group.

In this section of our Mage Guide you will find all the basic information a brand new Mage needs to understand the class. This includes; why you should play the Mage, profession information, important statistics, and even which race is best for the Mage. Enjoy!

Getting Started: The Mage

Why should you play a Mage?

With all the other amazing classes one can choose from in World of Warcraft, you may find yourself wondering if the Mage is the right class for you. Below you will find a list of several of the most positive aspects of the class, if they appeal to you…then the Mage just might be for you! Remember, it never hurts to try out any class. You should be able to tell by level 10-20 if it is the one for you.

  • Mages are able to polymorph enemies to take them out of the battle.
  • Use mana to call upon the powers of fire, frost, and arcane to deal ranged damage to enemies.
  • Are powerful single target casters who can also dish out massive AoE damage.
  • Mages are able to open portals and teleport to transfer themselves or their allies to various locations.
  • Able to conjure up tasty food and water to restore health and mana.
  • Can cast a powerful Intellect buff that benefit’s the Mage and his or her allies.

Mage Race Selection

What is the best race for the Mage?

One of the first major decisions you will make once you have chosen to play a Mage is what race you will be. To start (and to narrow it down a bit) you should first decide which faction you wish to be a part of; Horde or Alliance. Your choice of faction will dictate which zones you spend the most time in, where you major cities are located, who your comrades will be, and who you will consider your enemies to be.

Remember, that the ultimate decision of what race you choose should be based on your personal feelings rather than stats, this will ensure that you love the race you are playing. If you choose your race in this manner you will likely never regret the choice. If your still looking for a more technical way to choose your race, you may wish to check out the various racial abilities attributed to each. Check out the listing provided below to see the racial abilities of each race:

Horde
Blood Elf Blood Elves racials provide them with an increased resistance to Arcane effects, increased Enchanting skill, and Arcane Torrent; a silencing ability.
Forsaken Forsaken racials provide the race with an increase in Shadow resistance by 1, the ability to breathe underwater for longer than normal, the ability to gain back health and mana through cannibalization, and Will of the Forsaken; an ability that removes any movement impairing effects from the player.
Goblin Goblin racials provide them with the best possible gold discount at vendors, regardless of faction, an increase in Alchemy skill, a 1% increase in attack and casting speed, and the ability to use their belt to launch rockets at enemies and jump long distances from time to time.
Orc Orc racials provide an additional 3 points in expertise with Fist Weapons, Axes, and Two-Handed Axes, increased damage dealt by pets by 3%, a reduction in the duration of stun effects by 15%, and Blood Fury; an ability that increases spell power for 15 seconds.
Troll Troll racials provide this race with 5%  increased damage verses beasts, 20% increased attack and casting speed, a 1% increased chance to hit with bows, a 10% health regeneration rate, an 1% chance to critically hit with throwing weapons, and a 15% reduction to the duration of all movement impairing effects.

Alliance
Draenei Draenei racials provide an increase in Jewelcrafting skill by 10 points, a 1% increased chance to hit with all spells and attacks, increased resistance to Shadow effects by 1, and Gift of the Naaaru; an ability that heals the player’s target.
Dwarf Dwarven racials provide a 1% increase to critically hit with Guns, expertise with Maces and Two-Handed Maces increased by 3, an increased resistance to Frost effects, the ability to find additional fragments when looting arcaelogical finds and the ability to survey faster than other archaeologists, and Stoneform; an ability that removes all poison, disease, and bleed effects, and increases the player’s armor by 10% for 8 seconds.
Gnome Gnome racials provide an increase in resistance to Arcane effects by 1, a 15 point increase in Engineering, a 5% increase in the player’s mana pool, a 3 point increase in expertise with Daggers and One-Handed Swords, and Escape Artist; an ability that allows the player to escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect.
Human Humans have an increase in Spirit by 3%, a 10% increase in reputation gain, an additional 3 points of expertise in Maces, Two-Handed Maces, Swords, and Two-Handed Swords, and Every Man for Himself, an ability that removes all movement impairing effects which cause loss of control of your character.
Night Elf Night Elf racials provide a 75% increased movement speed while dead, a 1 point resistance increase to Nature effects, reduces the chance that melee or ranged attackers will hit you by 2%, and allows the player to meld with the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence.
Worgen Worgen racials provide a 15 point increase in Skinning and allows the player to skin faster, increases critical strike chance by 1%, allows the player to shift between Worgen and Human form, a 13 point increased resistance to harmful Nature and Shadow effects, the ability to drop to all fours to run more quickly, and Darkflight, an ability that allows the Worgen to transform into their true form, increasing movement speed by 70% for 10 seconds.

Mage Professions

What is the best profession for the Mage?

Choosing a profession can seem like a difficult task, but let me assure you that it is easier than you might think. Thanks to changes made by Blizzard, currently every crafting profession in game will offer a basic bonus to a player’s stats. These bonuses are designed so that none are better than the other. This means that players for possibly the first time in WoW history are able to pick a profession based solely on their own personal preferences. So feel free to pick the profession that appeals the most to you and go from there!

Mage Specializations

What are the different specs for the Mage?

Arcane - The Arcane tree is full of talents that, as you may have guessed, increase the power, or otherwise benefit the Mage’s Arcane spells, but, unlike other trees the Arcane tree manages to buff the two other schools of magic as well. This tree is also heavy on utility talents, such as mana restoration and PvP talents. When played with the proper skill and in part gear, can dish out insane amounts of both single target and AoE damage.

Fire - The Fire tree tends to be harder-hitting and provides much burst damage. The talents found in this tree will not only boost the player’s Fire based spells, but also many spells that will help keep the Fire Mage alive in a tough spot. This tree is an excellent choice for the player who likes to kill quickly and ask questions later.

Frost - Talents found in the Frost tree boost the Mage’s power with Frost spells. However, this tree exchanges some of the powerful DPS seen in the other trees to gain powerful snares to hinder an enemies progress. The Frost tree is ideal for the player looking for survivability above all.

Mage Equipment and Statistics

How should I choose equipment and stats for the Warlock?

Choosing gear for your Mage can be made simple by knowing which basics stats are best for you. Once you know which stats are best for your spec you can easily discern which pieces of gear you should pick up and which should be passed by. Because the Mage is a pure damage dealer, each spec will require the same basics stats. However, in the case of the Mage, stat values can vary depending on gear and situation, so while each of the values listed below are excellent choices, which stat is better than the other will be different for every Mage.

Arcane Fire Frost
Intellect
Hit (to cap)
Spell Power
Haste/Crit
Mastery
Intellect
Hit (to cap)
Spell Power
Haste/Crit
Mastery
Intellect
Hit (to cap)
Spell Power
Haste/Crit
Mastery

Understanding Spell Casting and Mana

Spells have a mana cost and a cast time. Cast time is affected by your spell haste (a stat that comes into play later in the game) and mana cost is often a percentage based thing (so even with more mana, it’ll still cost the same). You use a spell like any other skill. For example with Fireball you’d target the enemy (click on them) then use the “Fireball” skill from your action bar or spellbook. You’ll begin casting the spell and when finished the spell will complete and you’ll hurl a ball of fire at your enemy.

Spells can be interrupted if someone uses an interrupt on you (such as a stun or a Rogue’s kick). When you’re hit with an attack (other than DoTs or passive damage) then you’ll gain something called “pushback”. This will push the casting bar back by .5 seconds the first hit and .5 seconds the second hit. All hits after that will not cause pushback. Channeled spells will lose 25% of their casting duration each hit for the first two hits and nothing after that.

Some spells are channeled. This means that during their duration they’ll continue casting while giving a certain effect. Blizzard for instance will cause damage in a ground targeted AoE while Invocation will recharge your mana while it’s channeling. Some spells are instant cast and have no cast time.

Mana is not regenerated by Spirit like other classes but instead by various abilities, Mage armors, and talents. So it’s good to be aware of how fast your mana is regenerating and when to use your abilities to restore your mana to full. 



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