A Guide to Creating and Developing a Mage
Greetings fellow Azerothians! This guide is dedicated for players who are planning to roll a mage. This doesn't mean that I discourage the existing mages to read this guide since I think there is always stuff out there to learn and no one can claim himself to be complete. I will try my best to improve and update this guide after every WoW patch. I have to thank all the mages who helped me writing this guide, mentioning many of your great posts in Mage Forum as well since at least half of this guide is based on your posts. Please feel free to post your comments, corrections to flaws or if there is anything unclear in this guide. Finally I hope you find this guide useful and wish you to have the greatest moments with your mage. Before I start, you need to realize this is not a 1-80 leveling guide, it's just a guide that will help you in developing a mage, if you need a leveling guide, the best one is Dugi's 1-110 Legion leveling Guide.
Zahak 60 Mage (EU-Shadowsong)
II: Getting Started: Choosing Your Race
III: Mage Talents and Builds
VIII: Macros, AddOns, Mouse, Keyboard and Key Bindings
X: Useful Links
XI: Other sources and links
What is a mage? The Mage class is primarily a magic damage dealing support class with three separate schools of magic available: Arcane, Fire, and Frost. The three different forms of magic schools available to the Mage make it a very flexible class to deal damage to almost any type of creature in the game. The Mage also has the strongest multiple target area of effect (AoE) damaging spells in the game. Other support functions that a Mage can provide include single target control (Polymorph), and short-term crowd control (Frost Nova, chill effects). The Mage class is also the only class that has the ability to conjure food and drink (to compensate the long downtime of mages) and also teleport; this saves a great deal of cash and time for the mage and his/her group. Mages are always in high demand for groups, raids, and instance dungeon crawls.
Choosing your race: To me, choosing your race is just how you like your mage to be. Although Racials and Starting Attributes are important, but you shouldn’t roll a race you don’t like because racials don’t make a huge difference generally. The races available to mages are:
Humans: 22 Stamina, 20 Intellect, 21 Spirit
Perception (active): Activate to increase stealth detection radius by 10 yards - lasts 20 sec - 3 min cooldown - Useful to see rogues, Druids etc.
The Human Spirit (passive): Increase Spirit by 5%
Diplomacy (passive): 10% bonus to faction point gain - Faster reputation :)
(The other two Human racials don’t have much use for a mage, so I leave mentioning them here)
Gnomes: 21 Stamina, 24 Intellect, 20 Spirit
Escape Artist (active): Activate to break out of a Root or Snare effect - 1.5 sec cast - 1 min cooldown - More escaping abilities are always nice for a mage, short cooldown as well.
Expansive Mind (passive): Increase Intelligence by 5%
Arcane Resistance (passive): All Gnomes get +10 Arcane Resistance
Technologist (passive): 15 skill bonus to Engineering
Trolls: 23 Stamina, 16 Intellect, 21 Spirit
Berserking (active): Activate when "Wounded" to increase melee and spellcasting speed by 25% - lasts 20 sec - 2 min cooldown
Regeneration (passive): 10% health regen bonus, 10% active in combat
Beast Slaying (passive): 5% damage bonus to Beasts
(The is another Troll racial which don’t have much use for a mage, so I left mentioning it here)
Undead: 23 Stamina, 18 Intellect, 25 Spirit
Will of the Forsaken (a.k.a. WotF) (active): Activate to become immune to fear, sleep, and charm effects - lasts 20 sec - 3 min cooldown - One of the best racials in the game (if not the most useful). Effective mostly in PvP against Warlocks and Priests.
Cannibalize (active): Increase health regeneration by 200% while consuming a corpse - lasts 15 sec - 3 min cooldown - While mages can summon their own food, Cannibalization can be useful to regenerate health while you are in combat. Also cannibalizing your foes’ corpse after killing them while they are still watching you is really cool :P
Underwater Breathing (passive): Underwater breath increased by 4x - It may have not much use for a ‘lock, but sure it is a good racial mage-wise.
Shadow Resistance (passive): All Undead get +10 Shadow Resistance - Nice racial against Warlocks and Priests in PvP.
Basically, you will gain one talent point each time you level up, starting at level 10. So overall, you will have a maximum of 51 talent points (at level 60). Note that you can't redeem your talent points once you spend them unless you'll have to visit a Mage Trainer and pay gold to him/her to unlearn your talents which can be expensive. The first talent reset will cost 1 gold, the second 5 gold, the third 10 gold. Each subsequent talent reset will cost 5 gold more than the previous until the cap of 50g is reached. Most of the mages try a build for levelling up, and once they hit 60, they unlearn their talents and build their talents the way which is the most suitable for their high-end playing style, whether they want to PvP, PvE, or a combination of both.
Mages, like other classes, have 3 talent trees. However each of their talent trees refers to a source of magic: Arcane, Fire and Frost. Arcane is mostly known by mages as a utility tree, Fire is the primary source for dealing damage and Frost is a survivability-based secondary DPS tree.
The daze is essentially
a 50% snare. This spell might shine in Battlegrounds, but it's very
situational and since it has a 45 second cooldown, you'll pretty
much only get to use it once a fight. Still, another instant is
always handy and the snare is useful for getting away from melee,
even in 1v1 confrontations. Do note however, that if you get Blast
Wave, you won't be able to get Arcane Power, therefore an
Arcane/Fire Mage can out burst DPS a Fire/Arcane mage. That said,
Blast Wave+Combustion is painful.
Also removes DoTs,
makes it very useful against Shadow priests and Warlocks (don't
forget Warriors’ Hamstring). Furthermore, it can be used to make
your PvP enemies stop hitting you and target someone else.
A chance to proc a root
off of any chill effect (including your Ice Shield!) which you can
then Shatter off of. Another core talent of the Frost line.
Incredibly fun to have this proc on a melee that attacks you, since
they essentially freeze themselves (Frost Armor), allowing you to
step back, cast on them, etc. Can be mildly annoying if you're solo
PvE AE farming since it'll randomly proc on some mobs but on others,
but this talent shines in PvP.
Well, now that you know all about talents, better use this Talent Calculator to try some builds yourself before you spend your talent points on your character:
You can save your templates and show them to other mages (probably in the Mage Forum) or your guildies. Always consider your playing style when specifying you talents rather than what people tell you to spend your talent points on since it is YOU that are eventually playing your mage, thus your build should suit YOU :)
Now that you know your talents, let’s see some popular talent builds. My friend Charde (EU-Bloodhoof) has made a very nice post called Common Talent Builds on the European forums with the help of some other mages. As it was very complete, I didn't bother to write the same thing again and breaking the copyright law :P Here’s the link: http://forums-en.wow-europe.com/thread.aspx?fn=wow-mage-en&t=80305&p=1&tmp=1#post80305
PS: I couldn't find my precious build in the post, here's mine:
To start with the mage and its primary role in PvP, I describe mage as the canon of the group. The mage is the class that does more ranged damage than any other class and has powerful AoE and crowd control spells. However mages are a very fragile class. Using their abilities, they should take enemies one by one before they hurt the group. To do this, mage should better get ranged. Other than damage, mage has great Crowd Control (CC) spells and chilling/freezing abilities which become very handy in Battlegrounds (BG's). Suicide AoE runs are also very famous, doing a lot of damage to a crowd of enemies in a short time, but usually ending up with a dead mage. In addition, mages are given escape abilities unlike other MMORPG’s “glass cannons” and therefore, they are not a class to be easily killed. With Blink, Frost Nova and chill/freeze effects, a mage can leave his/her enemy with nothing and run away when he/she feels that he/she can’t overcome the enemy(probably except for hunters where you can’t easily run away from them).
If you have rolled your mage on a PvP realm, you should be aware that you’ll come across enemies from the other faction in the world when grinding/levelling etc. Gurubashi Arena is another place where you can fight against everyone (including the players from your own and your enemy factions), regardless to your realm type. This type of out-of-the-box-PvP is usually known as Outdoor PvP. You’d better prepare to encounter enemies at any level when you are not in a group.
Duelling (1vs.1 PvP): Duel a lot!
Duelling is a fun way to learn your abilities, spells, knowing other classes' abilities and getting stronger in 1vs.1 PvP. Duelling will make you quicker and more experienced in order to control your enemies better in real PvP situations. However, duelling is not all about fun. What I mean by duelling here means 1vs.1 outdoor PvP: you against an enemy. Mages are not the best 1vs1 PvP class, however, they are not necessarily a "loser". They can’t dish out loads of damage to their enemy in a short time and have escape abilities which make them be able to run away from their foes before they get killed.
Anyway, these are some tips I've gathered from my own experience and from other people's which may become handy fighting versus certain classes:
The first thing you should know is you don’t have to kill your enemy. Whenever you feel like losing, you can easily escape.
Druids are of course one of your toughest targets as a mage. First of all, they attack you while they are stealth - like a rogue. So when a druid starts to attack you in stealth mode, the first thing you should do is to Blink away from them. Whenever you notice the presence of a druid, have your Mana Shield up. Frost Nova doesn't work for druids much, because as they shapeshift, the Frost Nova will be gone, sadly. However, Frost Nova-ing is not useless. It will make them shapeshift again and back, giving you the time to cast a Frostbolt, or a Fireball etc.
Mana Shield is a very useful shield against feral druids, but you should use it as rarely as possible, because it takes twice mana as it takes damage. So make sure you don't overuse it, but use it in the appropriate time e.g. when your HP is low but your mana pool is about full.
Druids can go into Bear form, making them as tough as warriors. However, their armor and Health Pool won't quite match the warriors, but still, you should be ready to take a lot of Health Points down.
The other thing is, druids are not useless when they are out of mana, unlike the other casters, thank to their ability to shapeshift: You can easily take down priests for example when they have no mana, but if you think an out-of-mana druid would be as easy kill as priests, you are wrong. However without mana, they can't heal themselves, but they can gain mana while shapeshifted especially if they have a lot of +Spirit.
Counter Spell has a very important role against casters, including druids. Try to Counter Spell them whenever their hands become green- which means they are healing themselves. Casting Arcane Missiles and Arcane Explosion will slow their healing significantly.
Cone of Cold and Frostbolt are very useful to take a feral, shapeshifted druid down, but as I said before, if they go to caster form, all the chill effects i.e. slowing down effects will be removed from them. PoM-Pyroblast can be used as a nice "finisher" here, while druids are very low in HP and are healing themselves, make sure you don’t waste your PoM at the start of the fight.
Oh yeah, droods are tuff!
Hunters are one of the most powerful classes against casters. They have recently got some nice abilities after their revamp, for example they got an extremely powerful ability called Bestial Wrath, with 2 minutes cooldown, which is known as a free Honor Kill against casters by clothies.
Running away from a hunter is not a very good idea and won’t necessarily save your life. As Marksmanship hunters have more range than mages, and have the ability to run faster than normal, plus they have a pet which can chase you forever, not mentioning that they have shots that can slow you down (Concussive Shot). Also, your range is not a pro to hunters because of the reason I just mentioned. So my idea is running away from a hunter ends to a dead mage.
Against hunters you should mainly use your AoE's and instants. Why? Because their pets and shots can slow your spellcasting a lot. Thanks to their "Dead Zone", casters will have the “pro” to them. The Dead Zone (DZ) is the region about 8 yards away from the hunter, where the hunter can't use his/her melee abilities, neither he/she can shoot. Fireblast is a good instant against a hunter, Cone of Cold is another useful one, not only does damage to the hunter and the pet, it slows them down, too. Polymorph is your first defence, maybe the first thing you should do on their pets, however it doesn't work on a "BW"ed pet. Improved Arcane Missiles are very useful when you counter a Beast Mastery hunter, where you can't simply sheep their pet. Therefore even though the pet hits you, you can cast an Improved Arcane Missiles on the hunter but you won't lose any casting time while hitting the hunter, plus, Arcane Missiles itself has a good range. Frost Nova is a powerful spell to stick the hunter in the Dead Zone, making you free to blow spells into their faces or it can be used to trap their pets. When using your Frost Nova, try to position yourself between the hunter and the pet and then freeze them. Improved Arcane Explosion is a good instant AoE which does a nice damage but uses too much mana. Use Arcane Explosion (or other instant cast spells) especially when you are running towards their Dead Zone. The hunter usually tries to go backwards in order to shoot you, and what you have to do is to move towards him and position yourself in his "moving DZ". Fortunately, since you are moving forwards and he is going backwards, your speed is faster than his/her and you can always get yourself in the Dead Zone. The problem arises when the hunter comes towards you to hit you with his axe, instead of trying to keep an efficient distant form you. In that case you should use your slowing spells, preferably Cone of Cold, because it is an instant spell. Then you keep on moving backwards, positioning yourself in their "moving DZ" and spamming instants on him.
Blink is a good way to reach the hunter after he/she goes too far away (e.g. after you finish channelling Arcane Missiles or after being a victim of a Concussive Shot). Mana Shield is a good defending shield against hunter’s physical damage but you will lose too much mana using it, so use it efficiently.
Be careful when using AoE, it unsheeps (the pet) if it hits the sheep.
Fighting a mage mostly depends on how your gear/build/luck compare to each other. Open with a Counterspell, sheep as fast as you can, Counter Spell as many times as possible (basically whenever it’s available to you), and finally nuke’em up! Don’t forget to wear your Mage Armor as well as Frost/Fire Shield depending on which type of mage you are fighting to. It is not hard to find out, if the mage casts a Frostbolt against you, he/she sure is a frostie. However, since even Frost mages use Fireblast and Scorch, it won’t be a dumb idea to buff yourself with Fire Shield even without knowing what spec he/she is.
Use instants (like Arcane Explosion) and Arcane Missiles to interrupt his/her casting. If you mainly use your instants, better get close to them to avoid their Fireballs/Frostbolts by passing through them.
Unfortunately I haven't really fought a paladin in PvP since I am a part of the Alliance faction. What I found from duels is fighting versus paladins is very much like fighting warriors, less damage but with healing spells. Basically, you have to rely on the “kiting” strategy. If you are a frost mage, you’ll have a fairly easy time kiting the paladin. Kiting paladins is not as easy as warriors though since they can come out of your Frost Nova and also be immune to your slowing down effects using Blessing of Freedom. Also remember to Counter Spell the paladin when he tries to heal himself. Always open with a Polymorph when they have full HP or have just healed themselves to 90%ish HP (e.g. after they use Lay on Hands) and strike a big nuke. Also as they heal and have a big health pool, you should consider that you may run out of mana before they die. So, make the battle as quick as possible.
I keep this part reserved for further updates when I gain more experience fighting vs. paladins.
A good priest can be a nightmare for casters. First of all, they have powerful DoTs, and they can heal themselves, so virtually they have as twice as big Hit Points you can see. Priests you will encounter in Azeroth are usually two types: Holy (main) or Shadow (main) priests, both usually with some talents in Discipline.
Shadow priests are your hardest priest opponents and a good shadow priest can kill you by placing some DoTs on you and casting a bunch of Mind Blasts if your gear lacks Stamina. They can Silence you (so you'll be unable to cast any spell), they can put Magics on you and burn your mana using Mana Burn. Since Magics are not Curses, you won't be able to remove them using "Remove Lesser Curse" - However, Ice Block removes all the DoTs on you, but it’s only available to Frost and Elemental mages. The best way to take a shadow priest down is to first sheep him. He may shield him/her self before you sheep him. If he did so, you can either chain sheep until the shield is gone and then cast a DPS spell like a Fireball or Pyroblast or just attack the shielded priest. If you have Improved Counter Spell, silence the priest immediately after your spell lands the priest. Make sure you Counter Spell them when they hand goes yellowish, which means they are trying to heal themselves. Fighting a shadow priest and having spent your talent points on Improved Counter Spell will help you a lot. Make sure you use it whenever its cooldown is over. One thing you should consider is when they have a purple dusty thing around them, they are in Shadow Form, and they can't heal themselves in that condition. So it is better to finish them while they are in Shadow Form. Shadow Priests are mainly depend on their DoTs, and don't use many channelling spells.
By the way, if you got anytime before or during the battle, wear you Mage Armor to increase the resistance against shadow spells.
Holy priests: Holy priests are excellent healers. They can heal themselves many times, wasting your mana and making you frustrated. Basically if you let the fight take long, you’ll die since they outheal your damage. Try to be quick at doing DPS spells on them, have your Counterspell ready when they heal, and finish with a big DPS spell (like PoM Pyro) before they can heal themselves.
Although Holy Priests are still Priests, but they are not half hard as a Shadow one.
1-Whenever you see a priest healing him/herself, use Counter Spell. If Counter Spell is on cooldown, use Arcane Missiles, interrupting the priest's casting time to heal him/herself. Arcane Explosion can do the same thing too.
2-A priest with no mana is a dead priest.
Against rogues, the first hit is very important i.e. whoever hits first, is most likely to win the battle. A non-stealth rogue riding his mount (usually seen in PvP videos) can be a good HK for a mage. The mages are given an ability to have the first strike: Polymorph. Basically what you should do is to get close to the rogue riding his/her mount, cast polymorph, and you are done if he/she doesn't use his/her Insignia of A/H (a.k.a. PvP Trinket).
When having the rogue sheeped, cast a Fireball or a Pyroblast on the rogue. This will put a DoT on them, so that they won't be able to Vanish and go stealth again. At this point the rogue will come out of the sheep form and probably he will run to you to hit you. So you will freeze him using Frost Nova. Now its your time to get ranged. Go back and cast a chilling (slowing) spell, probably a Frostbolt. The rogue may now have the DoT on him/her gone, and will get stealth again by Vanishing. You have to cast some instant AoE's, such as Blast Wave or Arcane Explosion or even Frost Nova quickly at where he/she had vanished. A little hit on the stealth rogue will make him appear again. As Vanish has a long cooldown, he won't go stealth again, and now its your time to begin nuking the poor rogue. Use abilities which have the chill effect, making the rogue impossible to reach you. If the rogue uses Sprint, you have to use freeze or chill effects to slow them down, Polymorphing would be great if they have full health in this case, oh and don't forget Ice Block or Ice Barrier if you got them.
However, you don't always see a rogue walking around in visible mode. The "pro" of a rogue is stealth:
A rogue will usually gank you when you are busy fighting a mob, while you have 50% HP or less, or while you are sitting peacefully to eat/drink (remember, if a melee class hits you while you are sitting down, they will have a 100% chance to hit a critical strike on you, so ... beware!). This will make the rogue a guaranteed first strike. You have to quickly Blink out when you take the first hit and Polymorph the rogue quickly (that would be a good time to bandage yourself when the rogue is sheeped). If he/she vanishes/blind you before you finish sheeping, cast some instants (Arcane Explosions preferably, better keep you Frost Nova since it has a cooldown). If you got him, then sheep again, if you didn’t, better Mana Shield yourself and be aware that the rogue will strike again, or just get your mount up and run away.
When you feel a rogue is around waiting for you, or at the start of a duel, wear you Frost Armor and Mana Shield as soon as possible before he/she strikes.
Skilled Shamans are almost impossible to kill at levels 1 to 59, but they get easier at 60's.
Shamans have many instant casts, they do damage, they can slow you, they can interrupt your casting etc. They also have some tiny drops called Totems. For those who don’t know, these Totems can throw damage, increase shaman’s resistance against a magical school, heal, regenerate mana, and make the shaman immune to Polymorph. The last totem is very important to be destroyed as soon as possible (it is called Grounding Totem, and it is Blue in colour). Unfortunately using AoE spells on the totems is useless because AoE’s won’t destroy them. To destroy the totems use your wands (make sure you read the Macro section).
Against a shaman, use your instants. A good shaman won’t let you cast many spells and will Earth Shock frequently. Counter Spell (especially their heals) as frequent as possible and try to keep distance from them. Whenver they try to melee, kit’em.
Warlocks are one of the best 1vs.1 PvP classes in WoW. They are very hard to kill. A good (Soul Link) warlock can beat any class at 60's.
Against a warlock, you better rely on your instants because they have many abilities to stop your casting (e.g. Death Coil, Seduce, Spell Lock, Fear) except when they use Shadowbolt, you’ll possibly have the time to cast a Fireball or Frostbolt. Arcane Explosion is a good spell to interrupt and slow their casting. Don't forget counter spelling the warlock or his/her minion at the right time. Sheeping the warlock isn't a bad idea, but never sheep them when they have their Felhunter out. Staying close to the warlock and spamming AE is a good way to slow their casting time. When you are close to the warlock, you can also avoid their Shadow Bolts by passing through and getting behind them. Having a Decurse macro will save your life from their curses, but you can't do anything about their magics (such as Corruption). Have your Fire Ward up, it can reduce the damage of their Imp's Firebolts and the warlock's fire spells (mainly Immolate).
Against a Soul Link Warlock (you can use Detect Magic on the warlock to see whether he/she is SL or not) with his/her Felhunter out, you basically have no chance to win if your gear is not way better than the warlock. In those situations, just Counterspell the Felhunter, sheep the warlock and Blink and run away. Always bear in mind: When you are unable to kill someone, run away. Fortunately we have many abilities to escape from many classes.
Although warriors are very though against other casters, rogues and hunters, they are one of your easiest target as a mage.
The “pro” of mages against warriors is range, as against other melee classes. Frost mages have a quite easy time with warriors, because of being able to cast Frostbolts in a shorter time, having Cold Snap and you are able to do two CoC’s and Frost Novas in a fight (likely to crit with Shatter). PoM can be very handy here to cast an instant Frostbolt to slow them down. If you got Hamstered by a warrior, kiting gets difficult. Cast an Ice Block to remove the effect.
This doesn’t mean Fire and Arcane mages have a hard time dealing with warriors. Fire mages have a very nice damage output and also Impact (talent) stops the warrior reaching them (10% chance though). Blink does a great job in keeping the range, and is available to every mage. It also removes Stun effects and therefore very handy after they Charge/Intercept you. Frost Armor slows the warrior down if they hit you, but try to avoid the warriors reaching you. Mana shield can be handy when they Charge or Intercept. Since the damage of Charge/Intercept isn’t too much, you won’t lose too much mana. Use Mana Shield when you have too much mana but not too much health. When warriors charge, they do Hamstring straight after. Just remember to Blink out as fast as possible just when they start to charge to avoid getting hamstred. You can usually predict when they want to Intercept you, they keep distance and move away from you.
Group/Mass PvP is where the game is balanced around. A mage might not be the best solo PvP class, but he/she shines in group PvP. Group PvP is usually happens in Battlegrounds nowadays, unlike the first few months after the release of WoW (still missing those massive Ogrimmar raids). In this part I will try to give you some tips and how to use your mage in Battlegrounds.
Warsong Gulch a.k.a. WSG:
The role of mages in WSG is very dynamic. They can defend their flag using their crowd control spells such as Polymorphing the healers or the flag carrier. Also Frost Nova and Frost spells are great for stopping/slowing the flag carrier and/or his team mates. Using Blink, they should take the "Speed!” boots before the enemy's flag carrier. Counterspelling priests or warlocks who can fear more than one target at a time (especially priests) is very important too. I've seen many priests Insta-Fearing all the people in our base, making an easy flag-pick for their team.
Mages can also hold the middle while in a group. They can AoE, CC and nuke the enemies. One of the other tasks mages can be given is taking the flag or support their flag carrier. Mages can Frost Nova in the enemy's base, freezing the defenders to the ground and let their ally flag carrier to take the flag more peacefully. Also Frost spells can slow the enemies to reach your flag carrier, especially CoC and PoM Frostbolt can be very useful here. Also polymorph helps a lot to take an enemy out without any difficulty. Counterspelling/Plymorphing the enemy crowd controllers is another job which can be assigned to mages. Sometimes, mages can assault the flag, Blink helps here a lot. Mana shield can save your from physical attacks in many occasions, don't forget using Ice Barrier if you have it btw, and crowd control spells are extremely effective here to take an opponent out temporarily. You may use speed potions such as Swiftness Potion etc. as well as healing or mana potions while carrying the flag. However, due to the lack of survivability of mages, bringing the flag to your home base isn't very easy and even if you could reach your base, you better swap the flag to a druid or paladin etc.
Be careful when using Ice Block (perhaps for removing your DoTs?) while you are carrying the flag as the flag will be dropped.
Arathi Basin: a.k.a. AB:
Arathi Basin is probably the toughest BG in the game for me as a mage. A mage can't defend a resource node on his/her own in many cases. So usually mages should be grouped with a non-mage class in defending a place. Mages are good delayers though: they can interrupt the enemies who are taking the flag with the help of their instants and also Arcane Explosion is a very nice interrupting spell. During this time, when the mage tries to annoy the enemies, he/she calls for more help in that node. This saves the flag uncaptured but you'll die most of the time in these situations (sometimes you hate to do this for the sake of your group).
The basics of the PvP nuking is range. A good mage steps back or even hides behind his/her group and then starts to nuke. When the enemies have targeted your tanks, this is your time to shine and nuke. Try to nuke from different places behind your group, because after two-three spells, you are most likely to be targeted (if not earlier). Trying different targets may save your life since you won't have your enemies’ attention, but isn't a perfect idea. It is better to take your opponents one by one i.e. everyone should better focus on one target and take him out as fast as possible (like strategy games). You should better try to hit those enemies warriors and hunters have already focused on to take them down faster. Hitting the targets which are already fighting reduces the chance of being focused by them as well.
The editted post below is the originally written by Iskander (EU-Argent Down) and contains very good information about the survivability and the role of mage in group PvP:
[quote]With the focus
of many complains being PvP survivability in group PvP, I thought
I’d put down some of the hints and tricks and general tactics for
improving Mage survivability in group PvP.
PS (originally by Mustard from EU-Burning Legion): Out of mana? kill yourself (a mage with no mana is like a warrior trying to fight with a fishing pole). A good way to do this is to 'pull' enemies out into the middle of nowhere, on the promise of an easy kill. You were going to die anyway, but you take them out of the action at the same time, and away from their flag, if you're lucky, allowing your teammates to get the advantage.
Alterac Valley: a.k.a. AV:
AV is where the mage shines at its most. In AV, the classes which can deal damage from distance are most favoured. Due to the high population of AV, AoE's work great here. You can do 10k damage every second due to your powerful AoE's, however, not very long lasting. The Frost spells shine here as well: the chill effect reduces the speed of melee classes, making them impossible to come close to your group. Blizzard is very useful in AV too. Channelling Blizzard (along with Warlocks' Rain of Fire) on bridges guarantees that no stealth rogues/druids can pass by. In AV, you don't have a very definate role as you had in the other two Battlegrounds maybe because of AV's high population. You can do the quests inside AV or join your allies in the conflict. Your major responsibilities are dealing damage- whether single target or AoE, crowd control, and conjuring food and water for your team mates.
Here’s a small guide for Alterac Valley, make sure you’ve read it before going to the valley since I think AV is the most complicated Battleground when you first enter it: http://www.wowwiki.com/Alterac_Valley
Mages are primary magic damage dealers when it comes to PvE. They are also invited to groups for conjuring water, food, crowd controlling and removing curses. Damage, as you know, is the primary thing mages do in groups since they can dish out damage very fast (only rogues can rival mages in dealing fast DPS), however, in long fights, warlocks and hunters (or even warriors) can do much or less the same damage as a mage can do. Mages’ concerns in PvE are aggro management and downtime. The aggro problem can be solved by a balanced line-up of your spells: you shouldn’t cast all those damaging spells at once. Having good tanks in your group is like having gems in your pocket. The downtime problem can be solved by drinking/Evocation talent, Mage Armor, +Spirit/+Intellect items etc. as I will explain in the Itemization section. Our damage, though, can be both AoE or single target. Since mages have a vast number of AoE spells, they can be invited to AoE on trash mobs etc. Just imagine you can do 3000 damage every second…nice isn’t it? :) To AoE in PvE raids:
1-Wear your Frost Armor when AoEing physical attackers: Not only increases your armor, but chills the mobs who attack you for a few seconds. Similarly, wear Mage Armor when AoEing casters to increase the regeneration and resistance to their magic.
2-Get buffed: Buff yourself with Arcane Intellect and get other classes to buff you too, Druids, Priests and Paladins have very nice buffs for you here. You may want to use scrolls (mainly Scroll of Protection) and/or potions or elixirs here as well (e.g. Nature Resistance Potion in Zul’gurub).
3-Get a priest: Ask a priest (or a druid) to put a HoT spell (Healing over time) and a shield on you. Tell a good healer to have an eye on your health while you spam AoE's.
4-Get a tank/rogue: Tell them to pull the aggro of some of the mobs which are attacking you. Inform them before AoEing.
5-Chain AoE: Two Mages are always better than one. Using Frost Nova and Cone of Cold one by one after the effect of each nova/CoC disappears makes the mobs always frozen or chilled, and therefore unable to hit you (if they are melee mobs of course).
6-Better use your casting time-required spells (e.g. Flamestrike, Blizzard) first. Use your spells which have cooldowns (e.g Blast Wave, Cone of Cold) earlier in the fight to be able to use them twice or even three times in an AoE run: The earlier you use them, the sooner their cooldown will be over.
7-Know your spells: Ice Block works great as a defensive spell while AoEing. Blast Wave dazes your targets, Cone of Cold and (Improved) Blizzard reduce their speed, Frost Nova traps them, Flamestrike puts DoTs on them etc.
Other than damage, polymorphing is probably our great crowd control spell, make sure you’ve warned your group before polymorphing (see the Macro List below). Here you go with this nice article about polymorphing: http://www.laggaming.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=389&Itemid=82
Solo PvE for levelling up and grinding is very easy. You will definitely find a great kiting spell/AoE combo after you reach level 15ish. You’ll lose mana too fast though, so have your conjured water and food always in your bags. Have a look at: http://www.mindimaging.com/wow/mage.html to see where the best place is to level up your mage.
Intellect: Intellect increases your mana pool, making you able to cast more spells in long fights. Each Intellect increases you mana by 15. It also increases your chance to hit a critical strike. At level 60, 59.5 Intelligence increases your crit chance by 1% (Note that there is no base crit-chance)
Stamina: Increases your health points (HP). Each Stamina increases your HP by 10.
Spirit: Spirit increases the rate of your Health and Mana Regeneration, no matter you are in or out of combat. However health will not regenerate in combat. Also mana will not regenerate after casting a spell for 5 seconds, by default.
The mathematic formula for how much regeneration you’ll get by Spirit is: 13 + (spirit / 4) mana per tick (what is a tick? see http://www.wowwiki.com/Tick )
For more information please visit: http://www.wowwiki.com/Spirit
Strength & Agility: Strength increases your attack power and therefore the damage of your staff or dagger depending on which one you have in your hand. However, as mages don’t generally use staves/daggers/swords for doing damage (expect they are out of mana, but wands are still superior to staves/daggers/swords in terms of damage), Strength is not an important stat for a mage. Agility on the other hand increases the damage of your wand and also your armor and your chance to dodge physical attacks. As you see, like Strength, Agility hasn’t got much use for mages, but I would prefer it to Strength.
+Damage (items which increase damage done by spells and healing up to x)
This Spell Damage Calculator shows how much DPS increase you will get for each of your spells.
Other Stats: Resistance, Mana Regeneration, Hit or Crit chance increase etc.
You can also enchant your items if you are an enchanter or ask an enchanter to enchant your gear. High-end enchants have a very wide range, from enchants which boost your damage to health/mana boosts. Very useful and powerful, but they can be very expensive, too.
You should consider +Damage items only add to the total damage of your spells. This means, for an AoE spell for example, they add to your AoE's overall damage, not single hits of your AoE spell.
Stamina: Because of the lack of survivability of the mage class, Stamina rich items are the prior items you should look for your PvP gear. Stamina makes you survive longer in the battles. Try to have at least 3000 HP unbuffed when equipped for your PvP gear.
+Damage: +Damage items are very useful especially if you are more into solo PvP, although it is useful in solo PvP as well. Aim for a minimum of 200-300 +damage on your gear.
Intellect: Intellect makes your Mana Pool larger and also increases your chance to “crit”. Useful if you are an AoE mage and don't want to run out of mana fast. Aim for at least 5000 Mana unbuffed.
Intellect/+Damage combination: As Intellect increase your mana, you’ll be able to cast more spells in during long fights (e.g. Boss fights, etc.) so your downtime decreases and you need to drink less frequently. +Damage items on the other hand increase your average damage and therefore your overall damage. I would personally go for a combination of Intellect and +Damage for my PvE gear. Beware of the aggro though ;)
Spirit + Mana Regeneration: Spirit items make you regenerate health and mana. Mana regeneration is well important in long fights and that is where Spirit can help a mage regenerate mana. While Mage Armor gives your 30% Mana Regeneration while casting, Spirit items boost this rate significantly. Spirit also increases the rate of Mana Regeneration through Evocation and Arcane Meditation (both require talents). +Mana Regeneration items make your regenerate mana while you are casting even if you are in combat and you haven't got your Mage Armor on. +Crit chance is also nice if you can manage the aggro properly.
If you are an AoE mage in your group, +Damage items won't really help you to increase your AoE's damage significantly. You better get more +Stamina (to survive longer) and +Intellect (to cast more AoE's).
Staff or Dagger+Off-hand? This question is asked from me many times, even by myself. To be honest it is all your choice. You should look at the stats they provide you with and see which one works better for your playing style. The hard decision is when you have a good staff and a much better dagger (or off-hand) but you don’t have a good off-hand (or dagger) to combine it with. In those situations, you better keep them both. Doesn’t make a genius: use the staff for a while until you get a good off-hand and then you can equip the Dagger+Off-hand combination and rule Azeroth.
Arcane Missiles: Has a long range which can be used for hitting fleeing targets. Arcane Missiles turns with respect to your target automatically. I frequently use it to slow down my enemy’s casting.
AP PoM Pyroblast: I usually use it as a "finisher". Don't lose your (AP) PoM (Pyroblast) at the start of the battle especially against healer classes since they heal themselves and become back to normal. I rarely used my AP PoM Pyroblast when I was Arcane/Fire because I always wanted to keep it for special occasions (blowing the last hit on the flag carrier for example in WSG), so don't lose it for nothing.
Ice Block: A spell with tens of uses, from breaking PvP/PvE focus to removing DoTs, Fear, Hamstring etc. Note that there's about a 1 second casting animation lag' between hitting the button and actually getting Ice Blocked, so don't wait too late to hit it. I play with about 50 ms latency (ping) and have seen the Ice Block animation go up and found myself dead anyway because of latency, so keep that in mind.
Frost Armor: Use it against melee classes , hunter pets etc. For PvE, always have it buffed on yourself.
Polymorph: Know that you can cast polymorph regardless to where your face is pointing to i.e. you can sheep a target while your target is behind you. This works extremely useful after Blinking, when you are most likely to be back-to-back to your target.
Frostnova: Remember it deals a little damage to your target as well as freezing them, therefore using Frost Nova would de-sheep the polymorphed targets.
Scorch: Scorch is a good “finisher” because of its short casting time when you have your instants on cooldown and you don't want lose too much mana. Also scorch is a mana-efficient spell in high-level PvE if you have Arcane Concentration as a talent. Statically you'll enter a Clearcasting state after casting 10 Scorches when you can then cast a mana-eating spell. This tactic is good during long fights in dungeons and you won't lose too much mana, therefore your damage output will be more stable than a Fireball spammer and you'll get less aggro.
Except for at the start of the BG, don’t buff yourself with Arcane Intellect, it costs too much mana.
Have your Rank 1 spells out: Rank 1 Fireball (Fireball's DoT on rogues make them unable to vanish, remember?), Rank 1 Frostbolt (chill effect) on your screen and/or key bindings. Rank 1 spells have less casting time than higher ranks but do the same job (DoTing and chilling), of course with less damage and mana cost.
A full list of spells available to mages, from level 1 to 60: http://www.thottbot.com/?c=Mage
Note: Don't know about professions?
Tailoring/Enchanting: This combo will help you a lot in having up-to-date gear while levelling up, up to level mid-60's. The cloth needed for making stuff by Tailoring are dropped by monsters you kill during your levelling process. Although you won't necessary be able to make very up-to-date gear for yourself because you tailoring skill is usually a bit behind your actual level (e.g. your level is 32, but the gear you can make by your tailoring skill are level 30). However, Tailoring is very vital for Enchanting, as you can simply disenchant the stuff you make by tailoring and use the enchantments to enchant your gear, or simply sell enchants/enchantments. You can also sell the stuff you make by Tailoring on AH, but don't expect a huge profit out of them.
Enchanting can be a very expensive profession, especially when you are leveling up your enchanting skill. This is because you have to disenchant (DE) the disenchantable items you get from drops or tailored by yourself which could have been be sold on AH for money. But don't look at Enchanting as a worthless profession. People always want to buy enchants on their items to make them powerful, and they sure pay loads of golds to enchanters for doing this, especially if you know a rare formula at higher levels. Also, selling enchantments on AH is a very profitable business.
Mining/Engineering: This is my PvP favourite. Being an Engineer, you can make bombs which can stun your target for several seconds or they can cause AoE damage to your enemies. You can also make loads of trinkets which help you during the combat a lot. For more information about Engineering, visit: http://www.thottbot.com/?t=Engineering
Remember, it is highly recommended to have Mining as your other profession, which can provide the materials you need to make engineering products, also you can sell you spare metal bars on AH and make a huge profit out of it.
Note: If you are an Engineer, you can buy potions from Auction House (AH) -they can be expensive though, or have a guildie to make them for you. (You can get mana/healing potions them from random mob drops or NPC stores such as the one for Knights/Bloodguards in Stormwind/Ogrimmar), but an Alchemist for example, can't use Engineering since Engineering products are limited to Engineers only.
Herbalism/Alchemy: This combo rocks for both PvP and PvE. While Engineering's use is mainly for PvP, Alchemy will work great for you in both PvP and PvE. Being an Alchemist, you'll be able to make yourself potions which can buff you with stats, resistance, instantly heal/restore mana, etc. Make sure you have Herbalism as your other profession. The pro of Alchemy to Engineering is you can sell potions on AH and make loads of gold, but as using Engineering products are limited to Engineers only, you won't make too much money from Engineering.
Having said that, both Mining and Herbalism (gathering professions in a larger scale) are very good for making money. There is always a high demand of metal bars/ores, herbs and skins in AH, so you can sell your extra raw materials on AH and make a good amount of gold by them.
To see what alchemy products you can make, have a look at: http://www.thottbot.com/?t=Alchemy
Make sure you learn and develop Herbalism and Fishing skills along with Alchemy since these two professions provide you with the raw material you’ll need to make potions.
Link: Handy Herbalism guide: http://forums-en.wow-europe.com/thread.aspx?fn=wow-tradeskills-en&t=39004&p=1&tmp=1#post39004
Mining/Leatherworking or Herbalism: Haven't got the money to buy an Epic mount? This combo will be the right choice for you. Mining and Leatherworking is a famous combo for making gold on AH. Leatherworking is a very easy profession since you just have to skin the animals you kill (most of them can be an objective of you quests too) when you're exploring the world. You get experience (XP) when killing those animals, so as you see, it is a great profession which helps you level up and make money fast at the same time. Mining and Herbalism can be a bit harder though, and you won't get XP for picking a herb, you know ;)
/Cast Presence of mind
You can replace Pyroblast(rank X) with Frostbolt(rank x) or Fireball(rankx)
Replace the “X” with the rank of your spell e.g. Pyroblast(rank 2)
ToEP+ZHC+AP: (won’t work after patch 10 goes live, shame!)
Dunst: An example of a good Frost/Arcane mage, using engineering. http://www.warcraftmovies.com/viewauthor.php?id=3621
Glass Canon: Arcane/Fire mage kicks butt. http://www.warcraftmovies.com/viewauthor.php?id=676
Sorrow Hill (Fire Mage): http://www.warcraftmovies.com/viewauthor.php?id=180
Elemantalist Mage: Quickest mage I've ever seen shows the power of elements. http://www.warcraftmovies.com/viewauthor.php?id=1866 and http://www.warcraftmovies.com/viewauthor.php?id=1910
Francis: The first PvP movie ever made by a mage http://www.warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=1880
How to get rank 14: A funny PvP video made by a creative mage! http://www.warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=1746
Mouse, Keyboard and Key Bindings:
Belkin Nostromo™ SpeedPad n52 http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=157024
Mouse Tip: It is better to turn around using right mouse button. This works much faster than using the Arrow Keys on your keyboard. Hold the right mouse button and move your mouse to rotate. Very useful, PvPwise.
Use key bindings/macros: Macros and Key Bindings will help you react much faster than normal mouse-clicking.
AB: Arathi Basin
AE: Arcane Explosion http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=22460
AH: Auction House
AoE: Area of Effect
AP: Arcane Power http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=12042
ASAP: As soon as possible
AV: Alterac Valley
BW: Bestial Wrath http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=19574
BWL: Blackwing Liar http://www.wowwiki.com/Blackwing_Lair
CC: Crowd Control
CoC: Cone of Cold http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=10161
CoE: Curse of Elements http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=11722
CoS: Curse of Shadow http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=17937
Crit: Critical stike
CS: Counterspell http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=20788
DoT: Damage over time
DPS: Damage per second
DZ: Dead Zone
FN: Frost Nova http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=10230
HP: Hit Points
MC: Molten Core http://www.wowwiki.com/Molten_Core
PoM: Presence of Mind http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=12043
PvE: Player vs. Environment
PvP: Player vs. Player
SL: Soul Link http://www.thottbot.com/?sp=19028
ToEP: Talisman of Ephemeral Power http://www.thottbot.com/?i=39255
WSG: Warsong Gulch
ZHC: Zandalarian Hero Charm http://www.thottbot.com/?i=51326
Other sources and links:
Pre Epic/ Blue items: Farmable
Tazdingo's Comprehensive AoE guide
World of War.net
WoW US Unofficial Guides
Brady Games: World of Warcraft Official Strategy Guide
World of Warcraft: Official Game Manual
World of Warcraft