The mage is a DPS caster that specializes in burst damage and area of effect spells. Their primary role in a group at lower levels is damage dealing and crowd control through the use of Polymorph, temporarily changing humanoids and beasts into harmless critters. At end-game levels, mages' damage is supplemented with Counterspell, Remove Curse, and Spellsteal. Mages' utility spells also include conjuring food and drink and the ability to teleport to major cities and open portals for party members. In PvP, Mage deals ranged damage while using snare effects and Polymorph to control enemy players. As damage casters, primary stats are spell power, spell hit rating and spell haste. intellect, stamina, spell crit, and spirit also benefit mages, but to a lesser degree.
Mages, the most common of arcanists, are found all over Azeroth. They focus on magic that creates and that changes things, most often with the purpose of damaging their enemies and boosting the power of their allies. Such beings can obtain a familiar, which is a normal animal that gains new powers and becomes a magical beast when summoned to service by a mage, while others choose to become focused mages. Mages also understand the workings of arcane energy so well that they can counter most magic with great effectiveness. An adept mage who has dedication to and natural predilection for one of the schools of specialization becomes more entrenched. At this point the mage chooses either evocation or transmutation as a preferred school, and casts spells from his chosen school. The mages of the Kirin Tor first mastered the arts of casting spells using the elements of ice and fire. Mages are also known for being able to summon elementals, usually water elementals, but can also summon air, earth and fire elementals as well. The greatest mortal mage ever to live is the Naga Queen Azshara, who still lives. In fact, she may no longer be mortal.
Early kaldorei civilization was defined by direct manipulation of magic drawn from the Well of Eternity to create and sustain their society. The constant use of the well attracted attention from Sargeras and the Burning Legion, and their coming resulted in a massive war known as the War of the Ancients. The war had grave consequences, for even though the combined might of Azeroth's mortal races were victorious, the continent of Kalimdor was shattered, and a swirling, raging miasma of sea storms flowed into the vacant area where the Well of Eternity used to reside. This Great Sundering caused the Well's waters to be permeated into the atmosphere and spread magic all over the world.
This event convinced the majority of night elves to reject arcane magic and embrace Malfurion Stormrage's call for druidism. Many of the Highborne refused this lifestyle, and left in self-imposed exile to Lordaeron where they eventually founded their kingdom of Quel'Thalas and became the high elves. When their kingdom came under siege by the trolls of Zul'Aman the high elves agreed to teach one hundred humans the arts of magic in exchange for military aid from the human nation of Arathor. From these two races, the arcane arts have spread to various races all over Azeroth.
Once students of the Conjurers of Azeroth, this new order of mages had been forced to discover untapped magical forces to command in their war against the ruthless orcs. Although masters of their arts, the Conjurers who fell during the First War were unprepared for the rigors of warfare. Determined to avoid a similar fate, the mages began to undertake a regimen equally demanding on body and soul, thus dedicating themselves to the command of more aggressive and destructive magic. Whether in their sanctum at the Violet Citadel in Dalaran or on the many battlefields of Lordaeron, the mages are resolute in their efforts to defend the people.
The most powerful mages of the Eastern Kingdoms were perhaps the Archmagi of Dalaran. The city was transported to Northrend when the mages believed they were in danger. It now hovers in the skies over Crystalsong forest and is ruled by the Kirin Tor. The Kirin Tor are quick to recognize fellow mages as allies where outsiders must do more to prove themselves.
- Nielas Aran
- Kel'Thuzad (Now a Lich)
- Jaina Proudmoore
- Illidan Stormrage
- Kael'thas Sunstrider
- Main article: Mage races
The mage class can be played by the following races:
- See also: Mage sets
When first created, a mage is only able to wield staves and wands; one can later learn how to use daggers and one-handed swords from weapon masters in Stormwind, Darnassus and the Exodar for the Alliance, Undercity and Silvermoon for the Horde. Wands go in the ranged slot and will continue to shoot once manually started, and do not require any form of ammunition. A mage can only wear cloth armor.
Magi gear primarily for spell power and haste. An appropriate amount of Spell hit is maintained to ensure no spells miss. Spell crit is inferior to haste point-for-point, but is desired by mages using a fire specialization (specifically those with Master of Elements and Hot Streak). Spirit is the typically the least desirable mage stat, providing mana regeneration and spell crit through Molten Armor (the talent Student of the Mind can also boost Spirit by as much as 10%).
- Main article: Mage abilities
Mages have a wide variety of spells which fall in to three schools of magic: arcane, fire and frost. All spell schools include damage spells. Arcane includes some crowd control and utility, and most Frost spells provide a movement-slow effect supplementing their damage.
Fire spells are primarily damage-dealing spells, including direct single-target damage and area of effect damage. Many Fire spells include damage over time effects. Fire mages trust heavily on RNG in raid situations to proc Hot Streak.
Frost spells are primarily single-target and area of effect damage-dealing spells, but with more emphasis on chilling effects. Nearly every frost spell has a chill or freeze effect that fully or partially immobilizes an enemy. This includes freezing it in place (called a root) or slowing its movement speed (called a snare). Frost specialized mages can further improve these chilling effects and increase frost damage output to respectable levels. Frost spells help the mage use kiting as a combat tactic.
Arcane spells include single-target damage spells and utility. Arcane spells allow the mage to remove curses, provide crowd control, absorb damage, teleport himself or others to major capital cities, Slow Fall, Counterspell, buff players' intellect stat, save mana for later use in the form of mana gems, conjure food and water for himself or others, and provide many other conveniences.
Arcane and Fire are the trees currently best suited to raid damage. Frost's snare effects and Ice Barrier make it the best leveling and PvP tree. Fire and Arcane specs lack the control and survival abilities crucial to leveling and PvP.
- Main article: Mage talents
The arcane tree's damage focuses on Arcane Blast and Arcane Missiles. Arcane can provide the greatest potential damage output mages can offer. The Arcane tree includes Slow, a powerful instant single-target slowing effect, and Arcane Barrage, an instant-damage ranged attack. Arcane mages can provide substantial burst damage with Arcane Power and Presence of Mind. Leveling as arcane is not recommended, since they learn their signature skills (Arcane Blast, Arcane Barrage, Missile Barrage) at later levels.
Fire's damage output is oriented around Living Bomb and Hot Streak. Living Bomb is an instant cast damage-over-time effect. Hot Streak is a triggered effect: whenever a Fire mage deals two critical strikes in a row, their next Pyroblast spell is instant. Fire is currently behind Arcane in single-target damage, but Living Bomb makes Fire vastly superior to Arcane in AoE situations. Fights in which players are forced to move frequently can also benefit Fire mages, as Living Bomb and Hot Streak-enabled instant Pyroblasts can fill the movement time which Arcane mages can only use for Arcane Barrage, Fire Blast and Ice Lance which is especially poor damage against bosses. The Fire talent tree provides few survival tools. This has historically made the fire tree a good choice for high-end raiders who seek to maximize damage output, but poor in PvP due to Resilience's reduction of critical strike chance and Arena's survival requirements.
Frost specializes in crowd control and snaring foes with its various chills, allowing for powerful kiting, and provides good AoE capability. It is the most mana-efficient spec. Frost also has very high survivability, making Frost very popular PvP tree. Frost's AoE makes it the spec best suited to five-player dungeons. However, it is far behind fire and arcane in terms of DPS. Frost is most effective in PvP, as Frost mages can learn Ice Barrier to protect themselves from damage and Deep Freeze to supplement their snare effects with a stun. Frost mages can also learn Summon Water Elemental, gaining a pet which has a Freeze ability similar to Frost Nova.
Notice that while all three trees of talents already have been given names, different talent-builds invented by players have also been given names.
- A mage with talent-points spent both in fire and frost is often called an "elemental mage" / "elementalist". Since Wrath of the Lich King was released, a mage with such a build is also usually aiming to specifically empower his/her Frostfire Bolt, becoming a "Frostfire Mage" (sometimes abbreviated to FFB mage).
- A mage with points both in fire and arcane is often referred to be a "three-minute mage" because this kind of mage often base(d) their damage on combining the fire-talent spell Pyroblast, which takes long time to cast yet provides powerful damage, with the arcane-talent-spells Presence of Mind and Arcane Power to create a instant-cast, long-ranged, high-damage spell. As the two arcane-spells both had a three minute cooldown, one would say the mage "functioned" (most likely in a humorous context) only every three minutes. However, since patch Patch 3.0.9 Arcane Power and Presence of Mind shares cooldown, which somewhat ruined the three-minute mage. Still, with the talent Arcane Flows which was introduced in Patch 3.0.2, the cooldown of both Arcane Power and Presence of Mind may be reduced to two minutes, changing the original Three-minute mage into a "Two-minute mage". This spec was championed during The Burning Crusade by the mage Pigvomit.
- A mage with points both in arcane and frost is sometimes called a "Arcane Shatter" mage. The name is likely to derive from the arcane-talent Arcane Barrage and the frost-talent Shatter. This talent specialization was popularized by the success of Abni, who obtained Gladiator titles for several seasons using this spec.
This is a list of the Mage's primary stats for level 80 raiding in order of importance. Not all stats have a min or a cap.
|Arcane Fire Frost||Comments|
With the introduction of patch 1.11, mages enjoyed a high degree of flexibility in the endgame. Previous to patch 1.11, it was expected that most mages would spend at least 11 talent points in the arcane tree for Evocation, as it is a quite powerful mana-regenerative spell. It was given free without the use of talent points. New changes to all three trees also made investing points into both the fire and the frost trees much more viable. This still holds true with the release of Burning Crusade. It should be mentioned that a build predominantly using the fire tree will usually contribute greater DPS in multiple-target encounters; those using a predominantly arcane tree will usually contribute greater DPS in single-target encounters; and finally, those using a predominantly frost tree will contribute a fair amount of control.
The endgame mage also acts as a utility class, providing drink, food, buffs and portals. Originally, when it came to providing drink and food, mages were by some considered equal to "vending machines" due to their unique ability to create food and drink and provide them with no cost except mana and time. In Wrath of the Lich King, Refreshment Tables may also be created at level 80 at the cost of five Arcane Powder; the table lasts for three minutes or 50 charges of Conjured Mana Strudel, whichever comes first. It is expected that a mage provides his party or raid with food and drink for free. A second (or third) table can sometimes be called for while mustering players at the beginning of a raid if the first expires before everyone has received their strudel.
PvP-wise, mages are considered "glass cannons" - a design philosophy which gives mages generous burst damage at the cost of generally low health and armor values. Aided by talents such as Presence of Mind and Arcane Power, they are one of the classes with the potential for dealing out the greatest amount of damage in the shortest amount of time. In group PvP, mages will stay back and focus on crowd control with Polymorph and pick off targets from range. Depending on the Battleground and the situation, mages typically AoE to prevent node captures or nuke flag carriers as fast as possible. In solo PvP, a skilled frost mage is a formidable opponent.
- The Wrath of the Lich King faction of Dalaran, the Kirin Tor, start with a neutral reputation standing with all other classes. Mages, however, are automatically friendly with the Kirin Tor, making it possible to purchase and wear the Tabard of the Kirin Tor at level 1.
- Dr. Bill Lee, a re-occurring character from the TV Series 'Stargate SG-1' and 'Stargate Atlantis,' states that he plays a mage, and makes multiple references to the game, including Elwynn Forest. While his character's race is not explicitly stated, it's assumed from that statement that he plays a human.
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