January 31, 2009

WoW Mage Talent Spec And Gear

As most Mages will agree with the fact that fire and forst are two trees worth climbing up to for leveling. While fire gives you better burst damage and good single-target killing capabilities, frost Mages can control their opponents better and generally multi-target better. Fire is quite heavy on mana and will require more downtime, but you will also kill mobs faster so that makes up for it a little. On the other hand, frost takes a bit more time to kill the several mobs you're about to control, but frost spells are more mana efficient. Frost is also more reliant on spell cool-downs than fire.

So which one should you choose? That's not something anyone can be told, you're better off trying both types of specs first, at least for a couple of early levels (20+).

But if you really want someone to tell you what to do, you can try going fire for the first 40 levels and see how the burst-Mage type fits you, then do a respec to frost. Don't dismiss it after a few days, like most players that respecced to something new do, after they had their old build for some time. Give it at least 3-4 levels, get used to the talents, the new spells, the attack patterns and the playing style of a frost build. Once you're level 45, you already have a good knowledge of both specs, so you can pick one up now to use for leveling all the way to 70. Note that in a few levels, you will be eligible to take the 41-point main talent in each spec, so you'll have to decide now if you'll need the short-distance cone-damage Dragon's Breath from the fire tree, or the water elemental from the frost tree.

Arcane may be useful as a support build, but you shouldn't really put more than 10-12 talent points in it. Talents in Arcane worth taking include Improved Arcane Missles, Arcane Concentration for the 10% free-damage spell chance and Wand Specialization. You should bear in mind that your wand is your main non-spell DPS and a 25% increase in its damage for 2 points' worth is a fair trade, especially for Fire Mages that will find themselves out of mana and will require using their wand to finish the mobs they were grinding.

In the first instance, you won't find a lot of +spell damage or +fire/frost/arcane damage gear around Azeroth, so you'll have to choose between physical stats. Intellect and Stamina should always get priority over Spirit. For those Mages that say Spirit is equally important because it reduces downtimes.

At level 35, +spell damage items start to drop and you should prioritize this spell effect over physical stats. So the prioritization formula is +spell damage > Intellect > Stamina > Spirit. Specific tree damage such as +frost, +arcane and +fire can be used over spell damage, especially if your playing style doesn't involve using too many spells outside your main spec tree. For fire mages, +spell crit chance and Intellect gain more importance since they improve your burst damage and your build is all about focus fire burst damage.

Another gear-related mage question is that whether I should use a staff or a 1-handed sword + offhand combination. The answer is simple. You are able to use the one that gives you better stats overall, since it's not like you'll be using melee that often. Just add-up the stats and spell effects from your Sword/Offhand and compare them to the ones on the staff and you'll know what to use. One last note regarding this comparison: usually, staves have a lot of few different stats, whereas 1-handed/offhanded combinations have less of more stats/effects. Take that into account when comparing Mage weapons.

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