The ultimate PvE guide for Mages. Find out about the best spec, optimized rotations, macros and desirable gear to become the best DPS Mages in Classic WoW.
Welcome to all to this Mage PvE guide for WoW Classic! You want to become the strongest mage in your guild? Look no further!Mage is one of the best ranged DPS classes, and is very polyvalent. Aside from its dazzling DPS, mages possess a wide array of useful spells: multiple crowd controls, movement spells (especially if you include portals), slows…Because of these, mages can be self-sufficient and do pretty much anything they want (dungeons, gold farming, elite monsters…).
That being said, high level PvE mage gameplay isn’t exactly thrilling. Basically, playing a mage in raids is spamming one button, and early phase gameplay is pretty much just mashing Eclair de givre.
This is because the first few raids contain monsters that have a high fire resistance, making Frost the mandatory spec.
This changes at the end of T2 (for Ahn'Qiraj & Naxxramas), giving young wizards the possibility of using Fire specs. From this point, Boule de feu will blast away any doubt about the Mage’s DPS.Then comes the necessity to worry about threat, if you don’t want bosses to look at you sideways and crush you like a bug.
As previously said, mages can only Frost for high level PvE, because monsters tend to have a high fire resistance (or are straight up immune). There are 2 different Frost specs for the first raids:
For the good of the raid, at least one mage (although having 2 is recommended) must be using this build. Although this is a decent build DPS-wise, your main role is a support and helper because of the mandatory talent (to optimize your mages’ damage) Winter’s Chill.
In Classic WoW, there is a 16 debuffs limit on monsters. Consequently, the Winter’s Chill debuff must be one of the debuffs approved by your Guild Master/Raid Leader.
Because raids are (mostly) 40-man, don’t hesitate to talk amongst yourselves to know who’s going to sacrifice some dps to help the raid be more optimized.The gameplay doesn’t change at all, your DPS will just be a bit lower (but still higher than a Retribution Paladin or an Enhancement Shaman).
Despite its name, this template is based more on Arcane talents than on Frost ones. Indeed, the goal of this build is to allow you to last longer (by increasing your mana regen) as well as maximizing Eclair de givre damage.
Note that the Arcane Tree doesn’t really have any « useful » offensive spells in Classic: the specialization only becomes interesting from BC onwards, but that’s another story.
This build gives you burst talents which are sometimes necessary, for example increasing your damage by 30% for a short duration Pouvoir des arcanes (make sure you keep track of your threat during this!) or to instantly cast any damaging spell Présence spirituelle.
If you’d rather focus on survival rather than DPS you can drop some burst and pick Bloc de glace.
Frost Mage gameplay isn’t really a rotation; it’s using buffs & procs to maximize your DPS.
Frostbolt : Your loyal companion
Regardless of which Frost spec you picked, PvE gameplay for mage in Classic WoW is spamming Eclair de givre. You might want to bin dit to multiple keys or have spare keys for your keyboard…
As soon as 5 stacks of Froid hivernal are applied on the target and that the tank’s threat is stable, you can use Arcane Power to gain a lot of damage and watch the boss’ health melt (which is a bit of an odd thing to do since you specialize in Frost damage).
Your second best friend: Blizzard (the spell, not the developpers)
While mages have multiple AoE spells (Choc de flammes, Explosion des arcanes, etc.), casting Blizzard on mob packs should be a second nature for Frost Mages. This is a very expensive spell that can’t always be spammed, but this channeled spell will cull your enemies’ ranks.
Monitor your threat so a mob doesn’t come and hit you, preventing you from finishing the full channel! This AoE spell is especially useful in Molten Core on Magma Hounds packs before Magmadar
About the "Pure Frost" spec
This spec is for fire aficionados for the Zul’Gurub raid, even though it will only be available during phase 4 of the game.
In theory, the Fire spec requires significant gear in order to unleash its full potential. However, this build allows you to do good DPS without burning down your mana bar immediately.As for the Pure Fire spec, this build doesn’t require stacks of Brûlure améliorée. If such stacks are present, perfect, but at this level of gear, 3% damage isn’t going to do that much difference.
Unlike Frost specs, Fire specs are more about pure DPS but devour a lot more mana. Beyond the T1/T2 monsters’ immunities (and Onyxia), these specs require very good gear to be worth using.
Fire specs don’t use Frostbolt but Fireball and Scorch instead (meaning fire is a 2 spell rotation) :
The Combustion spell is Fire specs’ burst spell. You need to use it along with active racials and trinkets to show off on damage meters. Carefully monitor your threat and start bursting at the right time in order to be able to maximize your damage.Explosion pyrotechnique and Vague explosive are situational spells. Vague explosive is to be used when adds show up, while Pyroblast is more of a precast, meaning you start casting it before the pull or during the end of a boss’ immune phase.
Here are the stat priorities for PvE mages.
You can find here lists of the best possible equipment your Mage can use in PvE thanks to our « Best-in-slot » tool below :Mage BIS Gear Guide
Spell Hit Chance is very important in WoW Classic.
No matter your spec, talents and race, you will always have 1% chance of missing your spells (regardless of enemy resistance). To reach that minimum, you need to get spell hit chance:
This is why spell hit chance is very important to be effective in high level raiding.
Spell damage is calculated on each spell as a function of how long it took to be cast. The formula is: Casting time / 3.5 * 0.95.
shall not curse !
/use [@mouseover,help,nodead][help,nodead][@player] Remove Lesser Curse
If you’re a fan of mouseover, this is a good macro for you! Mages can dispell curse effects from allied targets thanks to Délivrance de la malédiction mineure.A few bosses in Molten Core will have you dispell curses all fight long, you will barely have time to cast a Frostbolt or two!
it go, let it go !
This macro allows you to cast Bloc de glace and to cancel it with one key. This spell makes you immune to damage for a few seconds but prevents you from taking action. You can cancel it when there is no more danger so you can resume DPSing.
Cast or not to cast ?
This is an example macro you can use for all the spells that don’t have a casting time (obviously, replace SPELL with an actual spell’s name, like Blink for example)This is mostly for PvP and allows you to be more reactive, notably to interrupt a target with Contresort or to get out of dodge with Transfert, immediately stopping your current cast.
Big Damage Macro
Power, Berserking (If you play as a troll)
This is a burst DPS macro you want to use when you need to deal a lot of damage quickly to a boss (like an enrage phase).
Consumables are extremely important in Classic WoW, especially in the beginning or when a new raid is released. Alchemy and Cooking bring a lot of value to a raid, we recommend you follow our guides to level these professions. Careful however, some of these consumables will take a long time to gather or be very expensive at the AH.
You will find below a non-exhaustive list of some necessary consumables for raiding.
Magical Protection :
Weapon oil :
are many more consumables that can be useful for specific encounters or hard
Thanks to all our contributors as well as the following sources for helping to create this guide: Gryma of the guild "Maelstrom", Lolonzo, site contributor, Wowhead, Elysium Forum, classicwow.live, vanilla-wow.fandom.