New to Mage

Hello fellow mages!

I humble myself before you today as a novice seeking the wisdom of those more knowledgeable than I, that I might strengthen my grip of the arcane. In other lifetimes, I have served Azeroth with a sword and shield or a bow and a trusty companion. There is time and place for all things, and I have sheathed my sword and stabled my companion, that I might don the robes of Magi past, and commit myself to the ways of the mage. I have read various texts on the topics of Frost, Fire, and Arcane, but lack the practical understanding of each discipline. I am looking for some instruction regarding each of the disciplines and their various implementations in both theory and battle. (Enough of the RP, and get to the questions) :sweat_smile:

#1: I noticed most of the guides online like IcyVeins and Wowhead, and even some youtubers always reference Frost as the best leveling spec. Is there a reason for this? I’m in my mid 20’s and I’m aware I don’t have my full toolkit to make use of, but Frost seems underwhelming damage wise and take longer to kill mobs (all the content I’m referring to is for open world/leveling). Fire seems to feel very good when you get the free Pyro or Flamestrike and has additional AOE abilities like the phoenix one and dragon breath for slight larger pulls (frost only has Blizzard right now, I know they get more later). Arcane seems to be good with the AOE at least from my experience you can kind of freeze and kite mobs while you arcane explosion everything till it dies or you do lol. Arcane managing mana I’m not good at as I just started mage, understanding the charges and whatnot. If I pull like 3-5 enemies and AOE down, I sit afterwards, oom and low on health.

#2: Relating to playstyle, I used to play paladin and hunter as I said, and larger pulls were the normal. I’m just wondering what kind expectation I should have for mage? Should I be able to pull a big pack and live if I’m skilled or specced correctly? Or is the class as a whole less designed for big solo pulls? (I know for dungeon AOE, mages are usually very good, but in this case I’m referring to whether larger open world pulls are doable)

#3: How often are you supposed to use the generic mage abilities that are out of your spec? Example: Will I ever use Frostbolt in Arcane or Fire specs? Or, arcane explosion is seems really good for its instant cast, but is it worth it to use outside of Arcane or use the spec specific AOE abilities(some have long-ish cast times)?

Those are the questions I could use some help with. Any advice is appreciated for a new mage.

TLDR: Looking for advice on the best leveling spec for mage. Frost doesn’t seem to fit, just wondering if it gets better or should I switch specs? Can mages do big pulls in the open world and live or should I try to pick off single targets faster? And, should I use generic mage abilities like Frostbolt and Arcane explosion out of spec for uses like slow for Frostbolt or the instant cast AOE Arcane explosion?

Schmendrick the Magician :mage:

Frost is better than the other two at kiting large aoe pulls which is technically more efficient for leveling, but I would really just play whatever is fun for you. Personally when playing a new class I level as the spec I want to play at max to get used to it.

Yes mages can do huge open world pulls as you described but not if you let anything touch you. Not letting things hit you may be the biggest adjustment for you.

There are niche uses for the generic spells. I personally bound them because I use them enough (though really arcane explosion gets more use than anything for me) but if it’s overwhelming to you you could get away with never thinking about them.

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Not sure what level you get water elemental, but the ranged frost nova(freeze) really helps with kiting while leveling. Cold snap gives you an additional ice block…. Not sure on the level of that either…. But frost definitely has the best survivability. None of the specs are going to do big damage.

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I wasn’t aware the pet had a freeze because I chose the Lonely Winter talent suggested by most of the online guides, which removes the pet. From what I’ve seen so far most people have recommended Lonely Winter to buff the damage of Frostbolt and Ice Lance. I’m still learning, but would choosing a different talent in the 1st row and having the pet make a difference in open world survivability due to its freeze utility over the Lonely Winter talent?

I went back and tried a few pulls with around 5 or so enemies. I think part of the problem I had was that I wasn’t grouping things up very well and I didn’t position myself properly with my blinks so I could line up my Blizzards without mobs hitting me. I have at least a base understanding to work with and with more practice should get better. However, you were right as far as the larger AOE pulls being easier on Frost than the other specs. I had tried a few AOE pulls in Fire and Arcane and quickly lost health or even died in some cases where I screwed up and pulled too many (not sure if I was even playing either of those specs correctly either, but Frost was still better to kite the mobs when I did it right, hardly losing any health). The lack of Blizzard and the slows caused mobs to run up and hit me which quickly burned up my shield, putting me into panic mode.

Thanks for the suggestions btw. I’m continuing to read up on different guides and then putting things to the test. Mage is just a bit of an adjustment from other classes I have played, and it’s been fun learning something new that has been more challenging for me.