Updated Wed, Jul 20, 2011 by Xerin
When gearing up your Mage in World of Warcraft you’re going to want focus on just one thing, damage. You’re going to want to smoke your enemies with your arcane wrath as fast as you can snap your fingers or do that funny looking casting animation. I seriously would think that it’d be awesome if Mages could cast spells while snapping, but I’m digressing from the topic.
Everything you need to pick up for a Mage should contain Spell Power, Critical Strike Rating, Hit Rating, and to some extent Haste. The most important thing when you’re gearing up for raiding is to focus on your hit rating. Hit rating, until the cap, is the biggest DPS boost you can have because it removes the chance to hit. When you have a lengthy cast time and miss then you lose A TON of DPS.
When you go to pick up gems and enchants be sure to look in your purse. You do not have to use epic quality gems which often sell for 200gold or more on items that aren’t truly epic quality.
While leveling up you’re going to want to focus on snagging gear with Intellect. Towards TBC when gear starts branching off between healing (spirit and haste) and damage (intellect and hit) you'll want to go for damage. Both sets have critical strike rating and for the most part neither bit of gear is bad unless you’re running random dungeons and taking the healing specific gear from the healer.
If you get any pieces of gear with gem slots then feel free to add in the superior quality Spell Power gems into them to make them beefier than ever.
The caster heirlooms are by default the best ones. Dreadmist Mantle, Dreadmist Robe, Headmaster’s Charge, and the Discerning Eye of the Beast are the ones you’ll want as a Mage, if you have a level 80 and a lot of time to farm ‘em up.
While gearing up you’re going to want to focus on Intellect, Spell Hit (you can find the cap in our basics guide), Critical Strike Rating, and Haste. Spirit is a concern too, because Molten Armor gains a benefit from it and mana regen is important, but Spirit heavy items with Haste go to healers because they gain much more of a benefit from it than you do. Never stack Spirit. However, don’t be adverse to Haste, just look for it on critical strike heavy pieces.
You can get 4 pieces from tier 9 by grinding dungeons and find yourself at an excellent starting point. You can get the trinkets from ToC and The Frozen Halls along with some offset 219 pieces. So there isn’t a lot to worry about when you first hit 80. With four pieces of 232 tier 9 gear and the rest 213s you can easily get into 10 man Icecrown or 25 man Trial of the Crusader.
The best gems are red spell power gems. That simple huh? If you’re in full epics and don’t hit the hit cap then consider gemming for hit. You can also gem Haste, which is close to spell power, but not quite there.
Chaotic Skyflare is the best option for your meta.
Reckless Ametrines are pretty popular giving 12 spell power and 10 haste rating.
Trading Up – Professions
The best profession, in my opinion, is Tailoring with Lightweave. The rest all offer the same benefit. Of course, Jewelcrafting comes out on top but Enchanting doesn’t require any sacrifices. You can go to our basics page to find out more.
That’s pretty much it for enchants. Nothing too difficult to work out here since you’ll just need Spellpower where you can get it.
You can use a mana potion if you’re having mana issues, but speed potions are the biggest DPS boost. Wild Magic potions work, but not nearly as well as speed potions.
It’s important to note that you can pick up the glyph for Improved Scorch for your weakest Glyph if you raid, have scorch, and are expected to keep it up. If you don’t raid, don’t have scorch, or don’t have to worry about it then these glyphs should be sufficient.
Spell Penetration – WHERE IS IT? Or
Most melee classes focus heavily on armor penetration. The reason is because enemies have massive amounts of armor and armor penetration is the only way to beat through their scaly skin. Magic users though do not compete with armor. They instead compete with resists. Luckily, most bosses have little in the way of resists. As a matter of a fact, the theory goes that every boss has 15 resistances to all schools. That isn’t affected by spell resist.
So, where does spell penetration come into play? In PvP of course, where players will stack resilience and spell resists in order to negate your damage. So for PvP, stacking Spell Penetration is like stacking Hit Rating for PvE.
The only other PvP-centric stack is resilience, but of course that comes built into every PvP piece of gear.