Re-Kindling an Old Love-Hate Relationship: Mage Levelling
Whatever could I mean, you ask? Well, I’ve decided to level another Mage. Not because I need one, but because it’s been freaking forever (that’s a metric measurement) since I played my own Mage and to be perfectly honest I’ve been forgetting all of the tools that a Mage has to offer. Some may say its like riding a bicycle (obvious cliche), and perhaps it is, but the problem is that the good ole red bicycle I learned how to ride two years ago is a bit different now. Blizzard’s gone and changed it a bit. You know, taken away the handle bars, one of the wheels. Oh, and the comfy cushion seat it used to have. Ya, its just a pine board now.
All the changes they did to the class way back in 3.0.1 and in the tweaks in the patches since have obviously changed the class. I mean, a Mage will always be Mage, the same as a Unicycle still has a wheel and a seat and you can ride it around. It’s just a different experience. So I wanted to go back and relearn some of the stuff that I learned a long time ago, and get the new changes in slow increments.
That being said, there are a few more reasons. The new RP project I’ve been working on. Its going to be a long continuous tale about characters from both the Horde and Alliance and so in order to tell some of that story, I need to level some alts up so that they can appear proper in screenshots and whatnot. In addition, its much easier to me to create a history and personality and weave a story around a toon if you’ve actually played them and have been able to say ‘How would he/she react to that?’ So I’ve decided to combine that project with this alt.
The other thing, I’ve continued to read Critical QQ even after I stopped playing my Mage (Among other Mage Blogs). Euripedes is not only hilarious, but he posts excellent Mage information on a regular basis. Lately, he asked the question: Has anybody leveled arcane? If so, what was it like?
Story time. Way back when, in Eversong Woods, when Fikkle was a little ‘ole level 10, I had a choice to make. I had some strange new thing-a-ma-bob (technical term) called a talent point. Having, at some point in the past, received a Kindergarten diploma, I could count that there were three trees. /OhNoes, decisions. Well, what did I know? I was a nublet at the time. My highest level character was a 20-something huntard running around with a staff. No joke, I have screenshots.
He probably had spirit gear as well. But my Mage, well, he was a Master of the the Arcane. So, point one into Arcane. /OhNoesAgain, moar decisions. There is different talents. Well Arcane Missiles I could understand. I can’t remember if the talent has changed since then and if so what it did back then, but I knew what Arcane Missiles did. It shot really cool glowing energy at bad guys that reminded me of one of these:
/Turbolaser? Yes Please. So I started speccing into the Arcane Tree and continued doing so until about level 20-something-ish. I absolutely remember getting asked by a level 30-something-ish mage what my spec was. I was standing just outside Tarren Mill and he said:
“What spec r u?”
“lol u suck. Fire is best.”
And then he ran off, never to be seen again. So what did I know? I mean, this guy was a level 30 something!!!(-ish) He was like, a super high level guy. That must mean he knows lots. (Oh, to be young and naïve again…)
So, sure enough, I respec’d Fire. Although, I’m pretty sure I still didn’t know what I was doing. How do I remember? Cause I can also remember my first pvp experience. I took a break from leveling at level 39 to do battlegrounds. Sy was there, on his rogue, as well as a Warlock and a Hunter and probably a few others. Either way, I had Pyroblast at the time. I loved that spell too. It was really cool to burn stuffs. Except, Fireball just wasn’t Burn-ey enough. I needed bigger and better. I needed Great Balls of Fire. (/CueNimSinging). While I solo’d, I used Pyroblast as my opener since the cast time was atrocious. But I also remember then immediately hitting PoM and casting Pyroblast again. I said BALLS of fire, not ball of fire.
Ya, I was a PoM/Pyro spec in the 39 BGs. Not sure exactly ‘how’ noob-ish that was at the time, except that I know that I tried to hide in bushes in AB and get off an opening Pyroblast. I usually ended up as an ornament on the pointy-end of a Rogue’s daggers, however. But my trick was thus. Stay out of sight and let others engage the Alliance in battle until they appeared sufficiently occupied to allow a 6 sec cast time. /cast Pyroblast. /cast Fire Blast. /wtfpwndPoMPyro.
It seemed to work okay, although I was severely useless while PoM was on cooldown. But if I could get that first Pyro off, the Fireblast generally got there health to the point where PoM/Pyro would finish them off quite nicely with only one shot. And then I was sitting pretty. I mean, I just totally destroyed 1/15th of their team. How awesome was that. It wasn’t like I was a useless turd in a robe for the next few minutes til the cooldown was finished. Oh, wait…
Eventually, we moved on from the 39 bracket and continued leveling. I remember being in northern Felwood, fighting Furbolgs and listening to podcasts talk about Mages and the power of the Frost spec. What was this crazy mysterious thing they spoke of? I was intimately familiar with the Fire Spec, like a teenager and his date after the prom. I was kinda familiar with the Arcane Tree, like that really cool girl that you always said hello too as she passed you in the hall, ignoring your existence. But Frost. Well I don’t have some really cool teenager/highschool metaphor to relate it too, but lets just say it was like a stranger. We’ll leave it at that.
So I respecced to Frost in the 50s. Probably around 55-ish. That lasted about three levels before I missed my PoM/Pyro. Much like a junkey, I relapsed back to ye ole familiar Fire/Arcane spec. There I remained until level 70, when I decided to start pvp’ing again and I knew that I needed to go back to frost for survivability.
Since then, I since changed my main away from the Mage to a Hunter, then a Druid, then a Warlock, then a Shaman and then a Paladin. But the Mage just stayed Frost because I’m a cheap SOB who doesn’t want to pay respec costs.
“Pssst… Hey Fik, we’ve had a few free respecs since then…”
I’m also a lazy SOB. Since I wasn’t playing the Mage, I didn’t feel like researching what new and viable specs were out there and then having to redo my action bars and relearn my rotations and so on and so forth. So I stuck with Frost and continued to PvP the odd time, make bags, offer ports and chant stuffs. But after hearing Euripedes on the TNB and reading his blog on a regular basis, I’ve been getting the bug to go back to the Mage again. Especially since that hot girl I mentioned before, Arcane, she’s totally had a boob job since last semester and she’s looking even better. Err, okay, so this metaphor’s getting a bit weird. And I’m assuming I no longer have any female readers. But you get the point. Arcane has been getting a lot of lovin since I last played my Mage (even with the nerfs) and its looking like one of the best specs at the moment.
But its been so long since I played anything other than a Frost Mage, that I really don’t know what the heck I should be doing. I feel like back when I was level 20-something-ish getting told, “lol, go fire” and when I was level 39 playing a PoM/Pyro Mage in the BGs.
Okay, so I suppose that’s a really long winded way of saying that I want to relearn everything from the ground up. So, I’m going to be doing an ongoing segment between now and level 80 (on the new mage) where I’ll look at my talent choices and cover what happened over the course of 10 levels, starting with 10-19, 20-29, etc. Why am I doing this? I’m an altaholic. I’m a glutton for pain. As someone said on vent today, I am an alt-whore… An altitute… You get the idea…
One last thing about this whole ongoing project. I’ve posted about Jame’s Leveling Guides before. I used them to level through Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills (only the second time through, as it wasn’t ready when Brak leveled). I also used them when I was powerleveling my two AllyPallies with R-a-F. That was a bit easier as I could skip stuffs because the trip xp leveled me so fast. But there’s been some, lets call them upgrades, over at WoW-Pro. They’ve started to make a plug-in for an addon of all their leveling guides. The base addon is called Tour Guide. It’s like quest helper, but I find its much less ‘busy’. Their plug-ins take their leveling guides, and put them straight in the game, so no more tabbing out or looking at my other monitor to read what the next step is. Its right there on my screen, only a mouse-over away. Now, these are still a work in progress. I don’t know exactly how many of the guides are still not finished into add-on format, but the ones that are there are totally worth using. Jame’s work has always been top notch and as an uber-alt-a-holic I wholeheartedly recommend it. I don’t level without it anymore. Except after Grizzly Hills cause he hasn’t finished those yet. Hint, hint. The page where you can find the addon and the WoWPro Plug-in is here (both Horde and Alliance versions). If you want to go check out Jame’s Blog, he’s doing an ongoing series right now where he’s testing out the guides to see how long its taking per level. A great read.
So for the Arcane Mage levelling series, I’ll be putting them out periodically over the next several weeks as I complete the 10 levels required. I ding’d 19 on the Mage yesterday, so the first one should be out sometime this week.
May the Horde be with you