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Mage PvE guide

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The mage's purpose in PvE content is primarily DPS. They can offer utility in the form of the crowd control spell [Polymorph], the party/raid-wide buff [Arcane Brilliance], and the caster buff [Focus Magic]. In addition, Arcane, Fire, and Frost mages can utilize [Arcane Tactics], [Critical Mass], and [Enduring Winter], respectively.

[Conjure Refreshment] and [Portal] shall not be treated as raid utility as they are conveniences and can be bought or otherwise attained in ways that do not include spending a raid slot. They also provide no benefit to raid progression/performance over their alternatives (vendors, [Hearthstone], walking, etc.).

Things Mages want Non-Mages to KnowEdit

  1. Do not attack the sheep and do not put a DoT of any sort on the sheep. They can stay sheeped for up to 50 seconds when polymorphed by a high level mage. If you accidentally attack the sheep, the mage will usually re-sheep it when his or her current spell finishes, so go ahead and let it attack you unless the mage has already sheeped something else.
  2. When pulling a group with multiple CCs, attack sapped mobs before sheeped ones. Mages can re-sheep in the middle of a battle, but rogues can't re-sap.
  3. If you are the tank, and a mage starts running toward you, it means they have aggro. Stop what you're doing and take the aggro from the mage; he or she will usually cast [Frost Nova] and back away, allowing you to regain aggro.
  4. If you have a choice between two targets in front of you, and one of them is frozen, hit the other one. Frozen targets will remain immobilized but still be able to melee or shoot for up to 8 seconds. Once the mob is unfrozen, aggro it as soon as possible. Since [Frost Nova] deals damage, that means the mage who used it has some threat built up with that mob.
  5. If the tank wants the mage to use AoEs, he or she should try to keep the mobs in one spot once they are pulled. If the mobs are moving around too much, they may move out of the mage's [Blizzard] or [Flamestrike].
  6. Mages will be happy to give you food and water, but please don't just scream at them and expect them to just because you think you're more important. Sharing is caring, but manners won't kill you. Simply ask, and you'll get what you need. If the mage misses a request, whisper them.
  7. When out of mana (OOM), mages can't do their job properly. The downtime might get tiresome, but wait it out - it's even more tiresome for the mage. Yes, mages can use [Evocation] to replenish their mana quickly if needed, but it has an 2 minute cooldown. Let them drink between fights so they can save it for when they need it. They deal a lot of damage, and that damage requires mana. If a mage expects to encounter a long battle within 2 minutes, he or she will likely need need Evocation for that battle.
  8. AoE is a perfect recipe for breaking [Polymorph]. If you have a sheep right beside you, don't use abilities like [Thunder Clap], which will break the spell. Try pulling the mobs that you're already fighting in a safe direction and use your AoE there.
  9. Don't expect mages to save you when you're low on health. They have some rooting abilities, but they are neither healers nor a support class in general. The best they can do is try to pull the aggro off of you with lots of damage, which usually results in the mage dying instead. Generally, they will only do this to save you if you're a healer.
  10. Most mages have [Counterspell], so they can pull single casters really well. When it is used, the mob will stop casting and come into melee. Beware - it causes a lot of aggro, so be prepared to save the mage!
  11. Don't buff mages with spells that cause damage when they get hit, like [Thorns]. It's hard enough for mages to keep their threat down with all the damage they cause, let alone buffs like Thorns!
  12. In a raid or instance, if you need a refreshment, please send a tell to the mage asking for exactly what you need before you open trade. On a side note, please do initiate the trade. Mages shouldn't have to keep track of the exact orders of 8 or 9 different people.
  13. Although mages have [Remove Curse], this does not mean they can dispel everything. For example, the [Hex] spell used by mobs (not the one used by players) is a magic effect, not a curse. So, please don't yell at your mage when you are turned into a frog. This may result in loss of a mage in your group.

Concerning Mage ServicesEdit

  1. Outside of an instance, mages are not obligated to make refreshments for you. Don't get ornery because a mage refuses to make you food or water.
  2. If you want a mage to help you out with refreshments, offer a tip. This will have nearly every mage eating out of your hand. On a side note, "tip" means a meaningful tip, not 40Copper for 4 stacks of refreshments! Just because the mage made the food for you doesn't mean he or she can't walk away with the extra food and refuse a bad tip.
  3. Mana Gems are soulbound and unique, so mages can't give them to you.
  4. [Portal] and [Teleport] are completely different abilities. If a mage can teleport to a location, this does not mean that he or she can port you to that location.
  5. Politeness will get you everywhere; don't send a tell to the mage saying, "water kthx." Many will laugh and then /ignore you.
  6. When you do ask for refreshments, try to spell entire words. Typing "plz" instead of "please" could be the sole reason the mage turns down your request. As several mages famously put it, "If you say 'plz' because it's shorter than 'please', I'll say 'no' because it's shorter than 'yes'."
  7. Don't ask a mage for refreshments in all caps. It's just plain rude.
  8. Confusing a mage with a warlock and consequently asking for a summon may end up in your being sent to the other side of the world, so make sure you're talking to a mage!
  9. If the price the mage asks for from you for any of his services is too much, do not get angry. Instead just ask another mage, who may provide the same service cheaper.
  10. Do not ask a mage to give you refreshments if you are too far away (e.g. you are in Ironforge and the mage is in Stormwind. Mages are not waterboys.

Why You Should Tip a MageEdit

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Note: This only applies when the mage is not in your group.

Some people wonder why should they pay mages for something they can make. Do you tip an enchanter when they give enchant an item for you? Do you tip rogues when they open lock boxes for you? If you don't you might end up on everyone's ignore list. Remember, mages did have to pay to learn to make refreshments. They are not vending machines. High level mages spend a good portion of their time in-game fending off people's requests for refreshments and portals. Mages also like to play the game, too; so a tip for their services isn't too much to ask.

Don't worry, though, most mages are not misers; they will not charge obscene amounts for refreshments. A good tip is around 1Gold and usually will get what you need. Ports should be the cost of the reagent plus a tip, but remember that the mage is wasting his or he time just to port you there, so a few extra gold doesn't hurt. If you're not willing to tip a couple gold, expect to be ignored.

If you still decide that you don't want to pay for these services, you can:

  • Walk and/or take a boat.
  • Buy your own food and water.

Both of these, in the end, might even result in larger investments of money.

Things Non-Mages want Mages to KnowEdit

  1. Announce when you are out of mana and need to drink. Saying "OOM," using the /oom emote, or using a raid warning (/rw) are all viable options.
  2. If you pull aggro, stop, cast [Frost Nova], and step out of melee range. Do not hit the mob(s) again until the tank has regained threat. If you do pull aggro, the last thing you should do is run away or use [Blink]. [Ice Block] is also a viable option, and you can also lose some aggro with [Invisibility] as long as you aren't already being hit.
  3. Do not make a macro saying "Sheeping [Name of Mob]" (or anything similar) that executes each time you sheep something. It gets annoying very quickly.
  4. Keep out of melee range whenever possible, and run into the arms of the main tank or a deft off-tank if you are getting beat on by a mob.
  5. Don't sheep any mob with a DoT on it unless you're using [Glyph of Polymorph]. Otherwise, it's a waste of mana and time.
  6. Know when to sheep and when to back up and AoE all of the mobs. Usually, just concentrate fire on the one mob that is currently being tanked.
  7. Don't AoE groups of elites unless the tank gives you permission to do so.
  8. Don't start casting your huge aggro fire spells as soon as the pull is made. You will pull aggro and likely die. Let the tank build some aggro, and then let your spells loose. You will also most likely not get a [Winter Veil Gift] from the tank if you constantly make them chase mobs, as funny as you may find it at first. Above all, do not open with [Pyroblast]. If you do, apologize and don't repeat it, or you can expect to be kicked. Remember, it's usually the tank you're making unhappy, and they're usually the group leader.
  9. If a rogue is fighting a mob on the loose, do not sheep it, and certainly do not attempt to continue to resheep it! The rogue has made a decision to either tank the mob until the tank can grab it or to kill the mob (this is often easier than you think with casters). Plus, there may be poisons and even DoTs on the mob from other group members who believe the mob is next to be killed.
  10. If you're in a 5-man instance and draw aggro, be wary of where you use [Frost Nova]. You might freeze a mob right next to your group's healer or fellow squishy DPS class, who will promptly get pummeled unless he or she has got some mighty reflexes.
  11. If you do pull aggro, you are squishy, so depending on the situation, it may be the best choice for the healer to let you die. This is almost always your own fault, not the healer's or the tank's. Remember, threat management is crucial as a DPS.

Things Mages Want New Mages To KnowEdit

  1. Announce what your spec is. Fire mages are a lot different than Frost mages, and both are different from Arcane mages.
  2. Don't be a loot hoarder. If it is not an upgrade, don't roll "need" for it. If you want to farm for loot, then farm for loot, but don't do it while you have four other people with you. If everyone passes and then you want to take it (either for disenchanting or the auction house), go for it.
  3. As a mage, you are looking for gear with the following stats (in order of importance): spell hit rating, spell power, haste rating, spell critical strike rating, Intellect, and Spirit . Thus, you'll be in competition with other cloth wearers, as they look mostly the same. Some classes need Spirit more than you, such as healers. Also, not only cloth wearers wear cloth. Even paladins can use cloth as upgrades. In fact, while leveling, especially in Azeroth, cloth is the best option for most pieces for any healer. To be reasonable with other players, see what they have versus what you do. The roll timer is long for a reason.
  4. Learn to sheep. You will be often asked to sheep certain targets. If a situation could use a sheep, volunteer your services before the tank rushes in. Also, make sure you don't use AoEs near any sheep. This will break Polymorph, and you will have one very angry mob coming after you. Announce which targets you will be sheeping. Finally, make sure the target has no DoTs on it (unless you are using [Glyph of Polymorph]), or you will waste your mana.
  5. If you are in an instance or raid, ask if people want refreshments, and don't ask for a tip. It is okay to do that outside of instances/raids, but if you start asking for tips from the healer, who will probably be keeping you alive, it is considered bad form. The same principle goes for portals.
  6. Watch your aggro. As a DPS class (especially Fire mages), you will grab aggro easily, and your cloth armor will stop a sword about as effectively as you would think it would. Blizzard has added a lovely new feature that tells you how much aggro you have versus the tank. Keep an eye on this, and if you see a red border stop casting. A good way to avoid this is to focus on the tank's target; they'll keep the aggro on it, and you will help him or her put it down faster and move on to other targets.
  7. If you do draw aggro, cast [Frost Nova] (if that is on cooldown, cast [Ice Block] instead). Then, make sure to draw attention to your problem before your defense breaks. You can also use [Polymorph], but you can only polymorph one target at a time, and you may have already used it on an add.
  8. Don't use AoEs in instances unless the tank tells you it is okay. Otherwise, you are going to have a whole bunch of mobs coming to give you a lesson as to why mages don't tank. Also, use your brain - if the tank says to AoE, but you see you'll get additional adds, or he/she doesn't have enough aggro, say so. You could prevent a wipe. If you can use AoE, then do so, but keep track of your mana. AoE attacks use a lot more mana than simply spamming [Fireball] or [Frostbolt].
  9. [Ice Block] is amazingly helpful if used correctly. It nullifies most DoTs on you, and if you gain too much aggro, it will wipe your aggro long enough for the tank to regain it. It also makes you invulnerable. However, use it only when you need to as it will make you entirely useless for 10 seconds, and it is on a 5 minute cooldown (4 minutes with the [Ice Floes] talent.) Use [Mana Shield] (or [Ice Barrier] for Frost mages) if you simply have too much aggro. If that breaks, use Ice Block.
  10. Use common sense. You would not believe the trouble a lack of this causes (for any class). Don't use PBAoEs (like [Arcane Explosion]) if there are adds nearby. If a mob is immune to your spec (elementals are notorious for this), be prepared to switch. If you are Frost specced, remember that not all mobs can be slowed (such as constructs). Again, be prepared to think on your feet. [Frost Nova] paired with [Blink] is godsend while soloing, so use it well.

General Class Oriented/Grouping Tips Edit

RogueEdit

Since Sap no longer removes the rogue from stealth, talk to the group if they expect you to sheep pull.

If the rogue is used to using distract just before his sap, begin casting right after the mob was sapped. Distraction+Sap combo consumes almost all rogue's energy and they'll appreciate that couple of seconds to regain it. Also remember that sometimes Sap can miss (5% chance) and rogue will need extra time to sap again.

They'll also be thankful for any and all food you supply to them. While they don't have mana, being able to vanish and eat is a boon to them.

WarriorEdit

Let him build aggro first, don't make him use his taunt right at the beginning, if you do, expect rightly, to get abuse.

The tank wants to make sure that mobs stay with him, and don't run past him to the back of the group where they'll then be able to kill you, or worse yet, the healer standing next to you. Time and select your spells carefully so you don't generate too much threat and pull aggro away from him, and he'll love you. If you do pull aggro, toss up Mana Shield and either stand there or go to the tank. Walking backwards away from the tank at 15% HP is a bad idea. If you decide to do this, don't brag about your 2,500dmg Frostbolt Crit.

Fire Mages 
Wait until the warrior has about 2-3 sunder.
Frost Mages 
Same as above, though you may be able to get away with a hit on the first sunder. Just hope it doesn't crit.
Arcane Mages 
Since Arcane Mages get 40% threat reduction to their arcane spells as opposed to Frost and Fire's 10%, 1-2 sunders is usually sufficient.

Although he'll accept food from you, he probably won't use it until he's out solo questing after the instance, since ideally he'll have a healer while he's in it. Don't be rude and turn him down if he asks.

PriestEdit

You're probably going to stand next to him (but in easy line-of-sight), in the last row. If he ever gets aggro from healing, you should frost nova the mobs going for him, to give the tank some time in retaking aggro. If the tank can't do anything about it, take aggro yourself and draw them away. He is more important than you. You can always be revived, but he probably can't.

You should give water and an Arcane Intellect buff, but you should get a Power Word: Fortitude buff, the occasional Power Word: Shield, and some heals out of it.

A mage is an aggroed priests best friend. You should try to be in a position to step in and take their bullet. Mainly because you can do it better (because of various snares, slows and spell interrupts) and free them up for healing you when you get into trouble.

WarlockEdit

Warlocks may ask for Food and Water, this is to ease up the strain on the healer, if they ask, please, give it to them.

Give them an Arcane Intellect buff, all Mana Users should be buffed with it.

Coordinate with the warlock so that both of your speccs are helped. You should ask them very very politely to lay down Curse of the Elements. As of 2.4.3, Curse of the Elements increases damage dealt by Fire, Arcane, Shadow, Nature, and Frost.

MageEdit

Alternate spells with him. Casting 2 frost novas at the same time is useless. Having an enemy running between 2 mages when he can't make a choice is funny. If you have improved scorch, use it, since as of 3.0, improved scorch now helps ALL magic damage and not just fire.

DruidEdit

You give water and an Arcane Intellect buff, but you should get a Mark of the Wild buff out of it. Do not get Thorns in instances; you do not want to create more threat. Balance druids can use their Tier 3 talent Moonkin Form. This aura will increase the critical hit chance of spells by 5% for the druid's party members within a 30-yard radius.

When there is a druid (healing) and a mage in a group they should stay close to each other in the back. If it happens that the druid gets aggro the mob approaches the druid and then the mage will cast Frost Nova so the mobs get stuck to the ground giving the tank/offtank chance to retake aggro.

If the druid is in cat, bear, or tree form, he can't remove debuffs. If you're not worried about mana and want to be a kind soul, help with the decursing. The druid will love you for it - especially if you let him know you're going to help before he switches forms.

HunterEdit

Hunters are, by design, able to take care of themselves just fine. As of Cataclysm-Logo-Small Cataclysm, Hunters don't use Mana, and therefore you can't really help them with buffs.

PaladinEdit

You're going to love working with paladins, and they love mages. A Paladin has the greatest potential to ensure you don't die. Paladins are the perfect partner for AoE grinding, and a properly played paladin is second only to a frost mage when they AoE grind alone. Beware though, at lower levels paladins can't keep up with your aggro, so behave yourself if there isn't a fully geared/spec'd tank around. Paladins are casters. They want food and water. Also expect to share caster items, if they are holy, this may include cloth. Of weapons, you share swords, and they are rare, please don't take them over the paladin. Caster daggers and staffs are more plentiful and they can't use those.

Aura-- They can give either Devotion Aura which will probably approach doubling your total armor (probably beyond this, if you use Mage Armor or Molten Armor instead of Ice Armor). They also have concentration aura gives 35% chance for your spells to not be interrupted from damage (although you can still be interrupted by Shield Bash, etc.); with your burning soul talent, that winds up coming to 100%. (Only one can be active at a time, unless there is more than one paladin.)

Blessing-- You can ask for Blessing of Kings if you prefer extra intellect; or Blessing of Wisdom, which gives you a steady flow of mana regen throughout combat. If you expect to be mana short, you can also ask for them to judge wisdom so that you can receive mana when your spells or wands hit.

Tank-- They are in plate and whatever their spec can take hits better than you, can taunt and stun mobs off you.

ShamanEdit

Shaman, like Hunters, are able to take care of themselves quite well. All Shamans can benefit from water and Arcane Intellect, yet in groups Shamans act independently of mages. Mages and Shamans can interrupt spell casting with Counterspell and Wind Shear, respectively. Wind Shear has a 25 yard range and 6 second cooldown and also reduces threat. So, it's better to let the Shaman interrupt and save that counterspell for emergencies.

Shaman who've spent point in their elemental tree can buff the mage and their group with Totem of Wrath which provides a spell power and critcal strike chance bonus. Also, all shaman receive Wrath of Air Totem which will give their group 5% spell haste. On top of these great utilities, mages also greatly benefit from a shaman's Bloodlust/Heroism which will give the group an increased 30% melee, ranged, and spell casting speed for 40 seconds.

If your group has 3 or more physical damage dealers, your group is probably better served with a Windfury or agility buff. If a Shaman is acting as a secondary damage dealer in a well-balanced group, a shaman might be able to overcome a mage's aggro if said mage leaves him in melee range after a Frost Nova or Ice Block. If your Shaman is Restoration spec, then you're lucky enough to have Mana Tide Totem working in conjunction with Mage Armor, though the cooldown on the totem is a lengthy 5 minutes. If the Shaman you are grouping with is not Resto, you can still ask for Mana Spring Totem, which will grant you a cool 50 mana per 5 seconds at level 70.

Death KnightEdit

In groups you'll see Death Knights either Tanking or DPS'ing. As as mage, there's not much you'll be able to offer the Death Knight in the way of buffs as they receive no benefit from Arcane Intellect. As always food is helpful, especially after wipes or in pvp. Like everyone else Death Knights will get increased crit chance from Improved Scorch, and will also benefit from Winter's Chill as they have a few frost spells. Focus Magic should also help them out when casting Icy Touch or Howling Blast, however, other ranged casters (Mage, Warlock, Shaman, Druid and Priest) would see a greater benefit from focus magic.

Useful Buffs/Debuffs

  • Ebon Plaguebringer -- Talent that gives a debuff that increases damage taken by those affected by up to 13%.
  • Hungering Cold -- Enemies under this effect are considered frozen, therefore, this is useful for mages with Shatter.

Fighting Death Knights -- Things to watch out for

  • Mind Freeze -- Interrupts casts and locks out that school for 4 sec.
  • Strangulate -- Silences the target for 5 sec.
  • Death Grip -- Can be used as another way to temporarily interrupt your casts while you're flying through the air.
  • Anti-Magic Shell -- Self cast absorb shield will absorb 75% of spell damage for 5 sec.
  • Anti-Magic Zone -- Protects targeted area with a shield that absorbs 75% spell damage for 10 sec.

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