The Hottest Online Game

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mage Grinding Guide

Horde Grinding Spots:

  • 0-15 - Questing fastest possible exp.

  • 15-20 - The Barrens - Harpies *

  • 15-20 - The Barrens - Bristleback(s) *

  • 20-25 - The Barrens - Bael Dun Exavs *

  • 20-25 - Hillsbrad - Hillsbrad Farmers (etc)

  • 22-26 - Thousand Needles - Galak Scouts (etc) *

  • 26-30 - Hillsbrad - Mud Gnolls *

  • 25-30 - Thousand Needles - Grimtotems

  • 30-38 - Shimmering Flats - All monsters. *

  • 38-40 - Dustswallow Swamp - Very North East Islands, Murlock Warriors/Oracles.


Horde And Alliance Grinding Spots:

  • 40-46 - Ferales - Woodpaws (stay away from the ones that disease for slow
    casting speeds) **

  • 46-48 - Ferales - Frayfeather Skystormers *

  • 48-50 - Ferales - Harpies

  • 48-51 - Southwest of Gadgetzan - Thistleshrubs *

  • 50-54 - Western Plaguelands - First 'field' to the left, assorted monsters.

  • 54-60 - Western Plaguelands - Scarlet Lumberjacks

* = Recommended

EXP Rates:

  • Levels 30-40 = 18-20k exp/hour

  • Levels 40-60 = 20-30k exp/hour

Spell usage and order:
Typically, you don't want to use spells such as Arcane Missiles, Frost Bolt,
Cone of Code, and other horrible DPM/slow spells. Your basic spell order should be
something similar to; Fireball, Fireball, Fireball, Frost Nova + Strafe Away,
Fireball (Until low HP), Scorch (Until dead). Of course, this doesn't work for
everything, but you get the general idea.

Tip: Strafe SIDEWAYS away from monsters, instead of
just backing up. Backing up is 70% movement, Strafing sideways = 100% Movement.
I've seen LOTS of mages just back up. Getting optimal distance helps a lot -
especially if you're using intelligence gear.

Tip: Loot fast! Shift + Right click the body of the monster to auto-loot everything.
So many people don't know about this feature, it's amazing. I admit, I didn't
even know about it for a very long time.

Knowing your mage:

Knowing how much damage your spells do helps A LOT. This doesn't only help in
grinding, but with PVP too. I would suggest getting a UI that displays the
opponents (monster/player) HP as a percentage. This makes it easier to
familiarize yourself with damage. I suggest using either Nurfed's UI or CT Mod.
Personally, I use CT Mod and some of the Nurfed add-ons together. The general
point to knowing your mage's damage, is optimizing your mana use. You don't want
to cast a fireball when the monster has only 10% health left - because your
fireball's normally do around 20%. Get the idea?

UIs and Add-ons:

As I just previously said, I personally use CT Mod with some of the Nurfed
Add-ons. However, there are some other good UIs out there, such as Gypsy that
lots of mages use.

As for add-ons, I also use the following:

  • CastAway: Spell Sequencer with adjustable reset timer

  • Spell Alert: Notifies you when an enemy monster/player starts casting, and includes what spell they're casting.

  • CoolDownHud: Displays transparent icons on screen of the spells that are on cooldown, along with how long is left on each.

  • StatusBars: Displays your HP/MP at the bottom of the screen.

  • Decursive: Lets you bind a hotkey to decursive, which will cast remove curse on you/your party/your raid, if they have a curse on them.

Mage Gear:
Initially, I would suggest all mages get any * of intelligence gear possible.
Max your mana out as much as you can. If not, settle for Eagle/Owl gear. You
don't want to start having eagle gear equipped (as a priority) until 40+.
Meaning, every time you go to AH, check out gear for levels 40+, because eagle
gear gets harder to come by.

What about AOE leveling?
Lots of people claim AOE leveling is the best possible way to level at all
times. I haven't found this to be true. However, there are certain spots/levels
when AOE grinding is the best and easiest way to level. I
haven't find many other AOE spots in which I consider viable. It's important to
note that dying decreases your exp/hour rate A LOT, so if there's a good chance
of you dying, it might not be worth the trouble at all. However, I must say that
if you have a priest, then AOE leveling becomes a much better possibility.
However, designing your talents around AOEing slows you down for obvious reasons; you
always will need a priest to level at maximum speed, and it's not solo.

Talents, what's the best?!
I've leveled 3 mages past level 40, in retail. Two of them being 60, and the last one
being 40. This doesn't include any of the betas. I can safely tell you from what I've experienced, a pure fire
build is the fastest way to level initially. This doesn't mean being pure fire at level
60, however. As many know, talents such as clear casting are very good. I've
toyed with this a bit. I've noticed clear casting doesn't start making a good
amount of difference until around 40-45. So, I would suggest picking a pure fire
build (please stay away from some of the less-used fire talents, such as flame
strike), and have it planned out in a way that when you hit 45, you'll have 16
arcane and the rest into fire. Why? 16 arcane is IAM, Clear casting, Evocation,
and IAE. All the necessary and supporting spells a mage needs.

Tips: Read Alcaras's thread on talents, located

Plan your build in a way that meets what I said, but conforms to one of the arcane/fire // fire/arcane builds. This might save you some cash in the long run, while giving you the opportunity to test out one of the best viable builds in the game.

Manage your time away from grinding:
WoW is a very easy place to waste time in. From constantly checking AH to doing
professions, you can find yourself with a huge amount of wasted time on your
hands if you don't pay attention.

  • When checking AH, check for gear for later (but not too far off) levels too.
    Doing this will save you AH trips in the long run.

  • Know what spells you get every two levels. Typically, it isn't worth
    interrupting your grinding if the spell you receive isn't going to increase your
    grinding time. If, for example, you're getting a new fireball spell, that's
    definitely worth the trip.

  • WoW is WoW. There is no getting around it. Traveling in WoW takes a huge
    amount of time. I've seen a huge amount of people go looking for better pits,
    for an extra 1-2k an hour, instead of just sticking it out and getting that 20k+
    for that amount of time the other guy wasted LOOKING for a place to level. Even
    with teleports, don't fool yourself, try to limit your traveling as much as you

  • Professions. Professions are a very popular time waster. STOCK UP. Instead of
    turning clothe into bolts, and bolts into gear, every time you get materials,
    STOCK UP. Do it all in big bundles. Keep the materials in your bags if you don't
    need the space (some spots don't drop so much, some do), if not, stock it up in
    a local bank.

  • Instances. Lower level instances are such a waste of time for a mage. The
    equipment received from doing them doesn't increase your performance like melee
    classes. I suggest skipping the lower level instances and head straight for the
    ones that matter; the end-game ones.

  • Dying. As I said earlier, if
    you're dying a lot, it might be best to chose an alternative pit. Dying reduces
    your exp/hour rate a lot. It pretty much is equivalent to AH trips as a mage.

Best professions for a mage:
This is typically different for the type of server you're on. The best options
for a PVP mage are Alchemy and Engineering (I cant confirm Engineering myself,
but there's a large amount of mages that think so, so I'll go with that for
now). Other options would be Enchanting and Tailoring. I wouldn't suggest
tailoring, I consider it quite useless. I've had 260 tailoring on one of my
mages, maxed tailoring on another. There's very few items you can make that
you'll find useful, mainly bags. Tailoring is probably a lot more useful on a

Mage Armor or Ice Armor?
It really depends on the monsters you're grinding on. You'll want to use Mage
Armor when you can. Although the spell does very little, that little might be
the 20 mana you need to caste a scorch or fireball to finish a monster up. If
the monsters do quite high damage, use Ice Armor. An example of this, would be
(from experience): Woodpaws in Ferales don't hit hard if you level on them
correctly (the basic spell order I stated at the beginning of this guide), but
the Stormers (initially) after Woodpaws hit faster/harder, so I had to use Ice
Armor to grind there (only the first level).

The 1-2 levels before a new fireball spell:
These levels can be VERY painful. What I found to help a lot is saving all
quests for these levels. Even if, for example, it's quests you complete by
simply grinding on monsters (Shimmering Flats), don't turn them in until they're
going to turn gray or you're on one of the levels before a new fireball spell. I
do NOT suggest doing purely quests, but knowing which quests are easy/grind-able
on helps a lot. Also, a higher level friend might be more willing to help you,
if they know it's the level (or two) before a new fireball spell, and they know
you've stacked up quests so they have a wide selection to help you from. If you
cant do this, simply keep grinding and deal with the extra couple hours or so of
how long it takes to level. Personally, all I did was not turn in grind-able
quests as long as I could hold out - until these levels came up.

Dealing with the boringness of grinding:
There's no way to get rid of it. There's ways to deal with it, fortunately. The
basic ways are to simply play music while grinding, or position your TV to a
location where you don't have to turn much to watch it, or chatting in game.
Grinding doesn't require you to watch your screen 100% of the time, even on a
PVP server, so watching TV isn't too hard. A method I personally like is talking
to friends, RL or on team speak, both are good choices to help you forget about
what you're doing. One thing I urge everyone NOT to think about is how long it's
taking to level, it'll make you extremely bored/frustrated.

Why do people grind if it's so boring?
A simple, yet complicated question. The simple answer is that we're power
gamers/PVPers. We want to get as strong as possible as fast as possible. The
part where it gets complicated is where casual gamers and such are reverting to
grinding, too. With the current state of WoW, there's very little reason to do
quests. One of the only reasons is that you get more involved with the
story/history of WoW. Another is that it is more entertaining than grinding.
While I'm not going to try arguing with either of those, I will tell you the

There's very few rewards to doing quests, one of them being able to buy mounts
from other races in your faction. This, funny enough, isn't very possible. The
other being you get discounts. I'll let you know now that you can easily obtain
an honorable status by questing from 1 to 14-15, which is what I did. Grinding
rewards better than questing, more materials, more gold, more of a chance to
receive rare drops (blues that bind on equip), and most importantly,
faster/better exp. Also, you can grind to 60 and then proceed to do instances,
which means you end up with the same gear as everyone else, but faster.

There are different types of power leveling.

Grinding - Single target grinding, which is
what this guide is based on. Some quests are done, but only the ones that can be
done while grinding. This is -the- most boring form of power leveling.

AOEing - Killing multiple monsters at the same time
with AOE spells. Sounds better than it is. Some quests are done, but only the
ones that can be done while grinding. More entertaining than normal grinding.

Power AOEing - AOE grinding with outside support.
This outside support is usually a support class healing you, which enables you
to AOE a larger number of monsters and not have to worry about your health or
survivability. Survivability is why solo AOE grinding is flawed. Little quests
are done. Probably the best form of leveling. Fastest and most entertaining (you
have someone to talk to, joke around, etc). The only downsides are finding
someone to preform this task for you. Note: Outside support means you're
not partied, IE; you're getting all of the experience.
Well, which is that fastest?! Power AOEing -> Grinding -> AOEing

How long did it take you to max, using these methods?
7 days 7 hours. However, I did it while the DM AOE grinding spot was still
viable. This was recently nerfed. This took off a bit of the time it wouldve
normally taken me to max out. This guide gives you the luxury of already having
all of the spots listed out for you, and if you follow the guide, it should
shave quite a bit off the time for you to max out. So with those changes, you
should still be able to each a 7-8 day marker.

Mage Macros:
Here are some macros for mages. They work great for their purpose.

  • Polymorph Macro:

    Announces the gender of the target, as well as their level.

    /script if UnitSex("target") == 1 then
    SendChatMessage("Sheeping Female " .. UnitLevel("target") .. " %t","say") else
    SendChatMessage("Sheeping Male " .. UnitLevel("target") .. " %t", "say"); end
    /cast Polymorph(Rank 4)

  • Counter-Spell:

    It will cancel whichever spell is casting and cast counter-spell. Works GREAT in PVP.
    /script SpellStopCasting()
    /script CastSpellByName("counterspell")

  • WOTF:

    When you get feared in PVP, you automatically lose your target, this will automatically target the last person when using WOTF.
    /cast Will of the Forsaken(Racial)
    /script TargetLastEnemy()

  • Reparty:

    This will leave the party and reparty the person of your choice, resetting the instance. Replace "Person" with the players name.
    /script LeaveParty()
    /invite Person