An in-depth guide to leveling as a fire mage. Note that this is not a guide to AoE leveling or AoE builds. This is a standardized build, designed to take single mobs swiftly and safely.
NOTE: For those of you who read the “Leveling Frost” guide, there is a fair amount of repeat information in the first couple sections here.
As a brand new mage, your only offensive spell is Fireball. Learn to love it now, you’ll be using it for a very, very long time. You don’t have frostbolt, frost nova, or any of the fun tools the deep fire tree offers yet, though hopefully that fireball will be dealing enough damage to cope.
Buff yourself up with Arcane Intellect and Frost Armor, and head off into the big bad world of everything-wants-to-kill-you.
The battle strategy as a fire mage is very simplistic. Cast Fireball at your target. Then, cast Fireball at your target.
Fine, fine; always with the demands…
Ok, so. Pull with fireball, repeat until dead. You can even use your stupid little autoattack to finish off mobs. If you want to get in some early practice in kiting, after the mob has hit you once, immediately turn and run away from it. Frost Armor provides a 30% snare and lasts 5 seconds. This gives you enough time to get a little ways away, and then whirl around and get off another fireball.
At level 4, you get frostbolt. Don’t worry too much, you should only require it’s services for the first few levels here.
Until you get Pyroblast, it is highly recommended you start every fight with frostbolt.
Alternatively, if you can somehow get ahold of some serious spellpower for these first few levels (i.e. at least four pieces of gear adding raw spellpower) you can ignore frostbolt as of level 10, and go back to pulling with fireball.
Level 6 gains you a new rank of fireball, and fireblast. Learn this early: treat fireblast as an emergency spell. It is far too expensive to cast with any sort of regularity and should be treated as such. If you need to finish a mob fast, or if something gets into your face and you need to take it down fast; that is where this spell shines.
You can change your rotation at level 8 to include arcane missiles, if you wish. Frostbolt, then fireball, then arcane missiles. AM is a fairly expensive spell, but it does deal a lot of damage very quickly for the level. However, don’t use it against ranged or spell casting mobs, only on mobs haplessly attempting to run towards you.
BIG AWESOME HUGE DISCLAIMER
This is not the only way to level. This is not the only way to spend your talent points. This is my idea of the ideal, single target leveling spec. If you want to go the AoE route… go for it. Want to swap over to Frostfire at 75… go for it. Want to do this, that, or the other thing; go for it. There is nothing stopping you.
I highly encourage you to toy around with things however you see fit, your gold pool allowing.
Try not to treat this guide as gospel. Instead, try to treat it as a starting point or suggestions, designed to get you to think about the class and what works with what. The whys and hows of being a mage.
I highly doubt any of you will need this guide all the way to 80. I’m sure by the time you hit Outlands, maybe part way through, you will have figured out how to play a mage with some competence.
Level 10-14 – Improved Fireball.
Fireball is, and always will be your primary attack spell. Shaving off half a second from that is absolutely invaluable
Level 15-19 – Ignite.
Sadly, you won’t be able to get much use of this talent at this point of the game. That said, once your mage gains higher crit chance, via gear or other talents, this talent comes into it’s own very nicely, and will likely become one of your favorite talents as a mage.
Level 20 – Pyroblast.
Once you have this, feel free to remove frostbolt completely from your action bar. You don’t need it anymore. Pyroblast is now your opening spell. Enjoy the flaming boulder!
It has a long cast time, and should not be used once combat has actually started. It is best used as a way to front load a lot of damage into a target, before said mob even knows the mage is there.
If a mob manages to get the jump on the fire mage, a quick polymorph functions as a combat reset. Sheeping (or penguining, or whatever) the mob, then running off and charging up Pyroblast from there is a perfectly viable strategy.
Level 21, 22 – Flame Throwing.
More range means you can start the fight from further away, meaning the mob has to run farther, meaning you have more time to cast, etc, meaning a larger margin for error, meaning… well, actually that was it.
Level 23-25 – Impact.
A 10% chance on any damaging spell to stun your opponent for 2 seconds. At this stage of the game, fire does not have nearly the level of control over an encounter that frost has. Fire does not have a proper snare, it relies on other abilities to render snares redundant.
Enter Impact, stage left. While it is only a mere 2 seconds (and suffers from diminishing returns), it is still very handy for leveling. At this point of the game, it is merely “good”. Once you get your little pyro fingers on Molten Armor, this talent ratchets up to “sheer awesome”. But I’ll get to that. :) You don’t even have Blastwave yet. On with the show!
Level 26, 27 – Burning Soul.
Pushback resistance! Woop woop woop woop! Instead of losing .5 seconds of cast time when you get hit by something, you will lose 0.15 seconds per hit. This is a total of 0.3 seconds if you get hit both times for the knockback on a single spell.
Note that some cast bars can’t display decimals past that 0.1, and so will sometimes dipslay it as 0.2 or 0.1 Regardless, these will still add it up correctly to 0.3.
Level 28, 29 – Master of Elements.
Mana efficiency? What is this heresy!? Don’t fret too much, only drop in two points here for now. There are big crits to be had in your future, this is just a little preparation.
Besides, where else are you going to drop two points? Molten Shields? Pfeh, not for another thirty levels, you aren’t.
Level 30 – Blastwave.
Thanks to it’s knock back effect, Blastwave is simultaneously an excellent emergency button and… emergencier button. Similar to fireblast, it’s one of those spells you bust out when things start going sour. Currently, you can still use it effectively on hills and other inclines to knock mobs back further than they would ordinarily go.
Level 31-33 – Critical Mass.
Remember that ignite talent you took all those levels ago? Critical Mass wants to hook up with ignite and make babies. You should probably let it. Critical Mass has a funny look to him… see that glint in his eyes? Frankly, I don’t trust him.
Oh god he’s walking this way ACT NATURAL ACT NATURAL.
Man, that guy is weird. Did you see what he was holding? He was fondling a dead chipmunk. Seriously, who does that?
Level 34 – Playing With Fire.
Daddy told me not to play with fire. I didn’t listen to him, and burned the house down. It was pretty! Then I burned the orphanage down. That was pretty too!
I like burning things. Do you like burning things? You do?! Yay! Wanna be my friend? Lookie, I made this tiny doll of you.
Look! It’s so sad. I’m going to burn it to make it happy. Look how happy it is now!
Aww, it’s head fell off.
Level 35-39 – Fire Power.
The key difference between frost and fire leveling is a fairly simple one. Frost specializes in controlling the situation, via snares and roots and the like. Fire, on the other hand, specializes in setting the situation on fire, and throwing more fire at the situation until the situation is a pile of ash.
Fire Power is key to any fire build, as it provides an absolutely massive boost to damage.
Level 40 – Combustion.
Essentially, Combustion is a way to force crits to happen. By now, you should have seen the awesome might of a few powerful fire crits. For that reason alone, Combustion is a very strong ability.
Just don’t forget to activate it.
And, in a few levels, it will serve to give you nearly on demand instant pyroblasts. Neat, huh?
Level 41-43 – Pyromaniac.
Burn, baby, burn!
What else is there to say, really? More crit, and a little extra mana efficiency thrown in for the hell of it. I won’t go so far as to say it’s a must have… yeah, I will. This is a must have.
Level 44 – Master of Elements.
Finish off this talent, and hurry up about it. Dragon’s Breath is so close you can smell it…
Why not Molten Fury? Quite bluntly, that talent isn’t worth it… yet.
Level 45-47 – Empowered Fire.
An extremely strong talent, if you remembered to get spellpower. You did remember to get spellpower… right?
Level 48, 49 – Molten Fury.
The reason why I don’t recommend taking this sooner is because the mobs you are coming across simply don’t have the health, relative to your damage output, for this talent to come into it’s own.
However, moving forward, the tail end of Azeroth has many mobs that are stronger, and moving on into Outlands, having this talent to burn down weaker elites will be a blessing.
Level 50 – Dragon’s Breath.
The pimp daddy of the fire tree. That yeti tramp all up in yo grill? Slap da beyotch! That’ll show ‘em who’s boss!
Dragon’s Breath is a powerful spell. It hits like a truck, and features a 5 second disorient that only breaks on direct damage. This means any DoT effects (such as Ignite) can tick freely.
In nearly all solo content, Dragon’s Breath is an instant I Win button.
Try using it instead of Frost Nova. See what happens. At the very least, you’ll be entertained.
Level 51-53 – Hot Streak.
Mages complained that they weren’t able to use Pyro very much. So now we have this. Get two crits in a row with your main fire nukes (except Pyroblast, obviously) and you get a “free” Pyro. Sweeet.
Hot Streak is a little smarter than it looks, in that it can count to three.
If you crit twice with fireball, you get the Hot Streak buff. But if you somehow miss it (lag, sneezing), and cast fireball and that one crits too, you don’t have to worry about missing a Hot Streak counter. The first two will count, you get the buff, then the counter resets to zero.
Once that third fireball crits, the counter goes up to one again. You use Hot Streak, maybe cast Scorch afterwards, and that one crits too. The counter goes up to two, and you get another “free” Pyro.
Hot Streak cannot, however, count to four. If you crit a fourth time without using Hot Streak, the buff is refreshed, thus losing the first one. You don’t get two.
Thou hast been warned.
Level 54 – Playing With Fire.
Level 55-59 – Burnout.
Remember that strange thing that happened between Ignite and Critical Mass? Well… meet their equally strange child.
Yeah, he’s just as attractive as his daddy and has his mom’s eyes, but he brushes his teeth four times a day, has a pet rat named “Bernardo the Fantastic”, fantasizes about dating Spiderman and owns a pair of kukri that he is disturbingly skilled with.
Probably best to be his friend, if for no other reason than you don’t want to be found somewhere, excruciatingly dead.
Level 60 – Living Bomb.
This ability, while not quite the crowning jewel of the fire tree, is nonetheless a very powerful spell. It’s more situational than most of the other fire spells, but when you can make use of it, it is very well at what it does.
It doesn’t have nearly the level of AoE WTFBBQ potential that Blastwave and Dragon’s Breath has, but then again, that isn’t really the point of Living Bomb.
LB, you see, is a DoT, not an AoE. It is a single target DoT ability that just so happens to have a ‘splosion stapled on to the end of it.
If you treat it like a DoT, similar to how one would use, say, Shadow Word: Pain, Corruption or Insect Swam, you have the right idea.
That said, LB is closer to an emergency situation DoT, if that makes sense. While not useful for single target pulling, it is very handy against elites or any time when you pull multiple mobs at once by accident. Or on purpose.
Level 61, 62 – Molten Shields.
Have you heard of Molten Armor? It deals fire damage to people who attack you in melee. This fire damage can crit! And it procs ignite!
By now, you’re probably asking yourself: Gah, all these ranged mobs are pissing me off. Why can’t they try to attack me from melee like a man?
Friend, say hello to Molten Armor.
Remember impact? That spell that caused all of your damaging spells to have a 10% chance to stun?
Well, with this, now anytime anyone attempts to attack you with anything, they have a chance to get stunned. The faster they attack, the more stuns that go off. This is most valuable against enemy spellcasters, as the stun interrupts whatever spell they decide to cast after tossing one at you.
Oh yeah, and I guess the reflect thing is kinda cool. Not very useful, but neat.
Level 63 – Playing With Fire.
I promise we’ll go get clearcast after this! I swears it!
Level 64, 65 – Arcane Subtlety.
Points are mostly filler. Meh. Arcane Concentration is worth it.
Lvel 66-68 – Arcane Focus.
These two are a better option than Arcane Stability, as the use of arcane spells as a deep fire spec is very strange. Don’t go down that weird and creepy path. Stick with burning things.
Arcane Focus’ main attraction is the added hit to polymorph, something that can be very useful while leveling, if your leveling gear is sorely lacking hit.
Level 69-73 – Arcane Concentration.
You may remove the “” from “free” Pyro now. It truly is a free pyroblast.
Try to make the most of clearcast procs. Don’t waste it on something like Scorch; try to use the biggest, baddest spell you can when clearcast goes up. Obviously, the more mana you save, the more… well, mana you save.
Level 74-76 – Spell Impact.
Note this: “Increases the damage of your… Blastwave, Fireblast, Scorch, Fireball… by 6%”. Yeah. That’s right. Most of the spells you already use boosted by a further 6%. It’s all about the impact, baby. What! What! What!
Level 77-79 – World In Flames.
This will bring you to 80. Hope you had fun, enjoyed the damage and so forth. Grats! And hey, you even have a decent enough spec for standard 5-mans and heroics ready to go. Fancy that.
Don’t forget to respec to something a little non-levely for raiding or PvP, and keep in mind that this spec will remain awesome for solo content. You can spend that last point wherever ya want. Maybe Focus Magic?
Kill it with Fire part 1: scene from aliens. You know, the part where she killed stuff? With fire?
Kill it with Fire part 2: scene from Azumanga. You know, the part where she killed stuff? With fire?
Kill everything with fire: Unknown. Found in a folder on my computer labeled “Explosions”. Presumably a digital rendering of something from a news outlet of some sort.
Kill it with Fire part 3: Unknown. Some guy some where tossed some text onto a picture of some soldiers blowing stuff up.