A not so brief guide on where to put your talent points (suggested by me, anywho) while leveling up your mage for those first 50 levels. By level 50, I just kinda assume you’d have figured out, at least a bit, how the class works, so you should be able to make your own decisions at that point.
Always remember: as a mage, you want to be attacking from range. Don’t be in melee. Thus, talents that let you stay at range longer are a must for leveling up your mage.
You have two routes to choose from while leveling. You can pick fire or you can pick frost.
Fire offers rapid killing, as it will do more damage in less time. However, you will have serious trouble taking down multiple mobs at once. There is very little room for error as a fire mage; if you mess up even once, you are in all probability looking at a corpse run. Pulling five mobs at once will land you in extremely serious trouble.
Frost offers great control over any given encounter. It does less damage than the other two, meaning it will take you longer to kill any given mob, however, you will have no trouble taking down multiple mobs at once. There is a great deal of room for error as a frost mage; if you mess up a couple times, no big deal. Pulling five mobs at once can be done on a regular basis without worry.
Take your pick. Rapid killing with no margin for error, or slower killing with plenty of errors allowed?
Please note that Arcane is terrible for leveling. Arcane does not become good until much later in the game, and even while leveling, is best suited in support to either fire or frost (combining Arcane with Elemental is just silly). Arcane does not have any inherent kiting ability, which fire gets very early and frost always has. It cannot match the damage output of fire, and frost once you’ve stuck a few points into Shatter. It also runs out of mana much faster than any other spec. Save yourself some grief. Say no to Arcane!
YOUR FIRST 40 TALENT POINTS: FIRE
Level 10-14 – Put your first 5 points into “Improved Fireball”. This is your base attack spell, and you will be using it constantly. Cutting down its cast time means you get more damage off in less time. Combine this with…
Level 15, 16 – “Flame Throwing”. This increases the range of your fire spells by 6 yards, and you will adore this. Mages do best attacking at range; you’re hurting the mob while it’s not even touching you. Imp. Fireball and this combined means you get an extra fireball off before the mob reaches you. This opposed to Impact, which gives you a 10% chance that you’ll get an extra fireball off.
Level 17-19 – Put three points in Ignite here. You may not crit that often at this low level, but when you do, the extra damage helps you a great deal. And you’re a mage, get all the damage you can get.
Level 20 – Many suggest putting your next two points into Burning Soul, so you don’t get your spells interrupted anymore. I say, at this stage of the game, you shouldn’t be letting mobs beat on you anyways. You already have a 41 yard range and frost nova, why are you letting them hit you? At this point in leveling, your spell rotation should be something like : Fireball, Fireball, Fireball, Frost Nova, Fireball until dead. No mob should survive 5 fireballs. Maybe six if you’re taking on something 4+ levels higher than you. In case of unlucky resists, thats what Fireblast is for. You don’t need to pick up Burning Soul right this second.
HOWEVER, Pyroblast is an excellent spell at this stage in the game. It won’t stay this way forever, but in your twenties, Pyroblast is vastly more powerful than fireball. Open every fight with it, attacking at maximum range. Pick it up at 20, it will give you a very nice damage boost at the start of fights.
Level 21, 22 – This is where you pick up Burning Soul. Now you have an amazing opener ability, and an ability that will let you keep right on casting in the face of adversity.
Level 23, 24 – Finish off Ignite. Now your spell criticals will do almost half the damage again whenever you crit. If your opening Pyro crits, you will be seeing a tremendous amount of damage at this stage in the game.
Level 25-29 – Now you’re going to want to pick up Impact. Incinerate and Improved Scorch are just not that useful when leveling. Nothing will stay alive long enough for Imp. Scorch to stack, and you should only be using scorch/fireblast at this stage of the game as an “OH SH!T” button. Fireball is still your best spell. Impact will give you a 10% chance to stun a target upon being hit with a fire spell, and it is an excellent talent for leveling. It will keep your target at range that much longer, giving you time to fire off more spells before your target can do anything about it.
Level 30 – Pick up Blastwave.
Level 31-33 – Put 3 points into “Critical Mass”. This is where we start seeing some more powerful abilities in the fire line. With an increase of your crit chance, you will be seeing Ignites far more often, which means even more damage.
Level 34 – Put a point into “Master of Elements”. It will add to your mana-efficiency, which is a very good thing while leveling. The higher your crit chance, the better this talent gets. And you’re crit chance will only go upwards as you level, so get it, and enjoy a little extra mana.
Level 35-39 – Shove all five points into “Fire Power”. 10% more damage from fire spells. Not getting this is a sin.
Level 40 – Get Combustion. Do yourself a favor and remember to use this every cooldown. Even if you don’t need it, watching a massive Fireball crit makes you feel better.
Level 41-43 – Put 3 points in Pyromaniac. You get a little bit of mana efficiency, and even more crit chance. You’ll be pumping out a lot of damage at this point in the game.
Level 44 – Put a second point in Master of Elements.
Level 45-49 – At this point in the game, you should have bonus spell damage on your gear. At bare minimum, have at least 100 of the stuff. Shoot for 200+. As such, pick up Empowered Fireball, and get all the more damage out of your main spell as you can.
Welcome to level 49. By now, you should have at least a foggy idea of how Fire works. Feel free to mix it up, put ten points into Arcane for clearcast if you want. Whatever works!
YOUR FIRST 40 POINTS: FROST
Level 10-14 – Put your first 5 points into Improved Frostbolt. Same reasoning as Imp. Fireball; you use this spell a lot, so use it even more, and get even more damage out of it.
Level 15-17 – Your next three points should go into Frostbite. 15% chance on any chill effect to freeze the target. So thats… 15% chance on every spell you cast to root the target. Frost is all about control and leeway while leveling, this makes your time even easier.
Level 18, 19 – Improved Frost Nova. The number one killer of Frost Mages this early is Frost Nova resists. This will let you attempt to reapply the effect much sooner.
Level 20 – Pick up Icy Veins. Immunity to spell push back and 20% more spells shoved out? Just try and argue how this isn’t great.
Level 21-24 – Put points into Ice Shards. You won’t be critting very often at this point in the game, but when you do, it will hurt a lot. Most importantly, this talent is going to come into its own in a huge way in a level.
Level 25-29 – Put all 5 points into shatter. This is a godly talent, and seeing as you freeze your target in place a lot, you will be critting quite a bit. And remember that Ice Shards we just took? Yeah. You will be critting very hard, and often.
Level 30 – Cold Snap. This will help immensely with those Frost Nova resists, and more importantly, allows you to have Icy Veins up more often.
Level 31, 32 – Put 2 points into Arctic Reach. You don’t need the range as much as fire does, thats why we left it until here. But add the range, and this will give you even more maneuvering room when taking on random mobs. You already have a chill effect, a faster casting time than fire’s main spell, a 15% chance to outright stop your target, and now you’re adding even more range. Life is good. Mobs shouldn’t even be able to touch you.
Level 33 – Finish Ice Shards.
Level 34-36 – Put 3 points into Piercing Ice. Its 6% damage, it’s kind of a no-brainer. We didn’t take it earlier, because we need to turn you into a god of kiting. Which you are now, so go ahead and take the extra damage.
Level 37 – Put a point into Frost Channeling. This is the best mana cost reduction talent that exists in any mage tree, so naturally points should be spent here. I recommend only one, because you’re going to get Ice Barrier soon, which is an absolute must spell for those serious Oops moments. In preparation for that, we want…
Level 38, 39 – Put 2 points into Ice Floes. Feel free to cry that it doesn’t reduce the cooldown on frost nova even more. I know I did.
Level 40 – Get Ice Barrier. When you really need to stay alive, this will help you.
Level 41, 42 – Finish off Frost Channeling.
Level 43, 44 – 2 points into Arctic Winds, to add some much needed damage to your frost spells. You’re probably jealously looking at fire mages and their large damage output at this point. Go ahead and treat yourself to a little more damage.
Level 45-49 – All five points go into Empowered Frostbolt. Like the fire side of things here, you should have at bare minimum 100 + spell damage. Make your main spell even more powerful. The fact that it also increases the crit chance of frostbolt by 5% is just free candy on the cake.
And grats, you have reached level 49 as a frost mage. Now hurry up and ding 50 so you can get your Water Elemental. Then rejoice, for you have become the best class in the game at destroying stuff that can be slowed/rooted.