Because my mage is already 80, I can't document the 1-80 experience as I go. Instead, I will try my best to give an overview of the experience as a whole, and what I learned about being a mage during this time.
From level 1, I knew that being a mage was going to require loads of patience. Patience is one of the things I don't possess in spades, so it was certainly painful. I would often joke to my friends that I felt Irish - drink, fight, drink, fight, drink, fight, catch the leprechaun - er, gnome - drink, fight... Endless drinking. It got worse once I was able to conjure water. The problem I discovered was that for five levels, your conjured water is lesser than purchased water! Very cruel. I didn't discover this, however, until my 30s. So for 20 levels or so I was drinking inferior water, and thus my downtime was much higher than my uptime.
Thankfully I noticed the discrepancy somewhere along the line. About at the same point, when my downtime vastly decreased, I noticed my second problem. I was taking a LOT of damage. And I mean a lot. I was eating more than drinking. So I decided to hit the web - and what I found was a little surprising. My philosophy when it comes to leveling is "kill it quick and move on", so I was attracted to the Fire tree. That's right, I leveled into my 30s as a Fire Mage.
The internet saved me. I found a very useful Mage leveling guide from the brilliant Christian Belt over at WoW.com. In the comments and the articles I discovered that the general consensus was to level as a Frost Mage. Slightly baffled, as Frost looked at first glance to be a PvP oriented spec, I decided to give it a whirl. And what I discovered was an almost complete lack of downtime. I was really impressed, and that's when the mage class became one of my favorites. Frostbite procs and giant Frostbolt crits were very, very satisfying. I blasted through the 50s and 60s, but slowed down in the 70s due to the Northrend blues. Snow? Really? Come on, Blizz. It's ok for a little while but after six zones of it I'm bored.
The only expanse where I had real trouble was the 40s. Sure, in my Frosty days I could quest very easily, but as the Old World is very outdated I had a lack of good zones to turn to. So I had to use the Dungeon Finder to some degree. And while I wasn't very keen on the prospect, it did get me to the 50s and eventually Outland.
Dungeon Finder experiences are very varied. You can get a very, very good group with nice people, or a horrible group with everyone calling everyone else horrible. Most groups I encountered were, unfortunately, the latter. One group that I still remember vividly was for Cathedral. There was a Warrior who signed up for Tank, but was mostly DPS specced. He told us that he was new to tanking and to bear with him. Thankfully, the healer was very good and was fine with it. So we move along, and the other mage in the group starts complaining that he's pulling aggro. So the tank says sorry, and that he'll pull less. So he pulls less. Then the mage complains that it's going so slowly. So the tank, clearly agitated, pulls most of the mobs in the Cathedral. The healer, a really, really good druid, is able to keep everyone except the other mage alive. The warrior is close to dropping though, so I run in, Frost Nova, Blink out, and start Blizzarding the mobs down. This was my first experience with massive AoE pulls, and seeing so many Frostbite procs and crits on my screen was VERY rewarding. The dead mage left the group, but everyone else survived and we four manned the rest of it.
What I Learned About Being a Mage
I learned that being a mage means:
- Doing whatever it takes to survive
- Being impossible to hit with melee attacks
- Getting huge crits that make warlocks cry
- Using Mana Gems as potions, rather than in place of a drink
- Using lots of AoE spells
- Using your conjured water 100% of the time
- Spamming Ice Lance
- Trying to solo 5-man quests
Long days and pleasant nights,