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Wow Classic Mage Leveling: Early Gold Grinding and AoE
by Jpy • Last Updated 2/5/2019

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Disclaimer:
I'd just like to clarify that my experiences with classic Mage are exclusively on private servers. There are of course some differences between Vanilla and private servers but for the most part they are minimal. It's also hard to speculate how much different Classic will be than Vanilla as we've only seen a very unpolished version of two zones and a few levels from the Blizzcon demo. If Blizzard intends to stay the course of what they've expressed as their plans for how Classic will be handled, the majority of everything discussed here will carry over to their servers. I'd also like to point out that my Mage was leveled as Undead so some spots and ideas may favor Horde Mages due to inn proximity to farming spots etc. I also do not know for sure which dungeons will be available at launch, which could pretty drastically effect the most ideal route for hitting 60. From what we know now Dire Maul should be available at launch, which makes it hands down the most efficient place to level (from an experience and gold viewpoint) for 53-60. I'll try to list as many alternatives at various levels as possible as it's always good to have a backup plan: contention for your mobs is a very real thing and this will cripple your effectiveness. Sometimes the best course of action is to just move on to another spot or go back to questing.
About Grinding and AoE Leveling:
There are quite a few variations of "grinding" but essentially they all share the same idea: killing mobs that aren't necessarily tied to a quest in a fairly densely populated spot for either experience, gold, or both. The most common method of grinding, which is the method that is most ideal for most classes (and Mages as well at earlier levels), is to kill a particular mob one by one over and over. This method is most commonly used to acquire gold, particularly the 90g (Honored discount) cost of your first mount at level 40. It can also be used as a temporary alternative while waiting for a quest objective to become available. This may be a "Mage" focused write up but the mobs listed for gold grinding can be put to use by other classes. From an efficiency viewpoint, I think some grinding before level 40 will be most beneficial to Mages, Warriors, Rogues, and Priests as these classes do not have as good of mobility options pre 40 or a free mount at 40.

Mages are unique in that they are the only class in the game that can adequately kill large pulls of mobs simultaneously while leveling due to inherit AoE potential and extremely effective slow application. This method is more commonly used while leveling to push experience gains and can even compete with/surpass questing efficiency under ideal situations.

It's important to understand that each method, including questing, should be used to reach 60 as fast as possible. I'd highly recommend questing with mob grinding in between your questing objectives until at least somewhere in the 30-39 level range. This is around the time you should start considering investing in gold farming to have your mount by 40. I would advise against trying to level with AoE before 40 (or at the very least late 30s, when you already secured gold for your mount/skills at 40 through grinding) for fresh servers or Mages without funds from another character as it severely cripples your single target efficiency through talents. Competition for mobs may be greatly exaggerated when the entire server is still leveling and respec costs can quickly scale up. For Classic launch in particular, AoE leveling before 40 is going to be nearly impossible for 99% of Mages because of the enormous expected population. Keep this in mind when considering your talent choices; the longer the server has been up (or more specifically, the less people that are actively leveling), the better your chances are to be successful with AoE leveling.

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Levels listed are the level range of the mobs themselves. With 3/3 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=29440 you will reach "hit cap" (you will always have 1% chance to be resisted with spells) with frost and fire spells against monsters up to 2 levels higher than your level. For mobs 3 levels higher than your level, even with 3/3 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=29440, you will still have 11% chance to be resisted. With that in mind, you want to try to always be no more than 2 levels lower than the mob you're killing.

The goal here is to acquire gold for your mount by the time you hit 40. Questing until 40 when you can start realistically attempting to AoE level will be better use of your time if experience is your only desire. Some mobs (generally Beasts) will provide most of their gold supply through vendoring items. Beasts also further supplement your income via skins if you have Skinning. Others (Elementals, Dragonkin) are more dependent on the Auction House. Auction House farm has more potential for big profits but for fresh servers there will be a near non existent market so you may have to bank your materials for later sells once the market stabilizes or focus on Beasts if you're leveling very quickly/have a lot of time to play. Even though you are well above some of the listed mobs' levels by the time you start farming them they can still provide quite a bit of gold per hour if the market is stabilized. This also gives you more options for gold farm if the mobs that are closer to your level are heavily contested. If it's still really early in the server's life, I'd recommend trying the Beast mobs closer to your level (preferrably with Skinning) if you want to have your mount by 40 and keep a good pace of experience/hour.

Mob names are clickable which will bring you to a classic.db page for the respective mob showing spawn location, mob health, damage, armor, full loot tables, and abilities among other things. I've listed the desired drops for all Dragonkin and Elemental. For Beasts, you will have to copy/paste the code provided into your search bar as I couldn't figure out how to link it directly without breaking the search filter criteria.

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Levels: 28-35
Thousand Needles

Various Beasts
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http://classicdb.ch/?npcs&filter=type=[1];minl=31;maxl=35;zone=[400];rank=[0];

Thundering Boulderkin
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=2838/heavy-stone 27%
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=7067/elemental-earth 6%
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Levels: 33-34
Alterac Mountains

Various Beasts
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http://classicdb.ch/?npcs&filter=type=[1];zone=[36];

Elemental Slave
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=2838/heavy-stone 32%
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=8150/deeprock-salt 22%
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=7067/elemental-earth 8%
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Levels: 30-38
Desolace

Various Beasts
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http://classicdb.ch/?npcs&filter=type=[1];minl=30;maxl=38;zone=[405];rank=[0];
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Levels: 34-40
Swamp of Sorrows

Various Beasts
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http://classicdb.ch/?npcs&filter=type=[1];minl=36;maxl=40;zone=[8];rank=[0];

Adolescent Whelp
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=4402/small-flame-sac 9%
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=4234/heavy-leather 40% (Skinning)

Dreaming Whelp
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=4402/small-flame-sac 10%
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=4234/heavy-leather 40% (Skinning)
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Levels: 35-41
Stranglethorn Vale

Various Beasts
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http://classicdb.ch/?npcs&filter=type=[1];minl=35;maxl=41;zone=[33];rank=[0];

Venture Co. Shredder
https://classic.wowhead.com/item=7191/fused-wiring 6%
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Sticking to the never more than 2 levels lower than the mob you're killing rule is even more crucial for AoE farming than mob grinding. A few mobs resisting your Frost Nova and pushing back your channeling can complicate things and cause you to abandon your pull or worse. At lower levels (particularly pre 40) you will be really stretching your mana as far as possible and have very little room for mistakes. Prioritize getting your mount as soon as possible. This and https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=11426 will drastically improve your ability to pull multiple mobs safely and really open up your options for AoE farming in Tanaris. The goal here is to reach level 46 so that you can begin AoE farming solo in Maraudon without competition. Again, I highly recommend you stick to questing with mob grinding in between your quest objectives until somewhere in the level 30-39 range. Once you've safely ammassed the gold needed for your mount and skill at 40 you can begin to consider AoE farming.

Just because a mob isn't listed here doesn't mean it can't be considered. I often pulled other mobs close to these just to increase the pull size. Always be aware of caster mobs that are spawning near your pull, these will ruin your attempts to AoE. It's also worth noting that two is probably better than one. If you can AoE farm with another Mage you will really be able to push your efficiency, spread your pulls out to include more mobs, and have a much easier time AoEing at earlier levels.

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Levels: 38-41
Badlands

Giant Buzzard
Elder Crag Coyote
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Levels: 40-44
Stranglethorn Vale

Jungle Stalker
Ironjaw Basilisk
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There are two dungeons worth investing your time in, in regards to solo AoE farming: https://classic.wowhead.com/zone=2100 and https://classic.wowhead.com/zone=2557. You will be farming 2 different non elite mobs in the second part of Maraudon and one in Dire Maul's East wing. Both dungeons offer very good rates of gold and experience and probably best of all they offer you uncontested farm. You can do no more than 5 runs in one hour due to the lockout mechanic so plan accordingly. For both spots, portal to https://classic.wowhead.com/zone=1638 will put you at a relatively short flightpath to the dungeon's closest town. This leaves your hearthstone open for other farming options during lockout downtime. For Maraudon farm it's almost certainly better to just set your Hearth at Shadowprey Village because it's difficult to finish 5 runs before lockout and nearly impossible with Skinning. You'll probably want to invest a bit of gold for some AH upgrades (look for cheap Stamina/Intellect cloth pieces) before farming Maraudon as well as it's quite difficult at 46 if you want to manage big pulls. I'd recommend just setting hearth to Camp Mojache for Dire Maul farming as well but you can definitely finish 5 runs before lockout there.
Reset Instance/Camp Macro:
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/script ResetInstances();
/camp
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Levels: 46-48
Maraudon

Deep Borer and Stolid Snapjaw
Ideal Professions: Skinning (all beast mobs), Herbalism or Mining (nodes)
Prerequisites: Scepter of Celebras, 1x https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=3448 for each run
Recommended Character Levels: 46-53
Testing this Dungeon on a closed server, findings TBA!
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Levels: 53-54
Dire Maul: East

Whip Lasher
Ideal Professions: Herbalism (nodes)
Prerequisites: None
Recommended Character Levels: 53-60
Testing this Dungeon on a closed server with the correct scripting, findings TBA!
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Getting 3/3 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=29440 ... -precision, 5/5 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12985, and 5/5 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=15053 is your priority for single target grinding. https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12497/frostbite is also a really nice PvP and single target talent but unfortunately it really messes with AoE farming. If you intend to AoE farm at all, skip it.

As always, some talents boil to personal preference. For the AoE specs listed, https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12473 ... -frostbolt could be moved over to https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=28332. The extra armor is a welcome addition, I just still found ways to use Rank 1 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt for pulls in dungeons and it's nice for PvP when needed. https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12842 is a superior choice to https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12592, which does virtually nothing for you while leveling. Points in https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12840/arcane-focus past 3/5 are only marginally useful (it will really only help you land Polymorph more reliably against targets more than 2 levels higher than you) but it's better than the other options. 2/3 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12487 may be more suitable to first time Mages or people who haven't experimented with AoE farming before as it will allow you to refresh your slow with https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=10/blizzard before it falls off. You will not be able to refresh like this with 3/3 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12488 ... d-blizzard.


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If you want to further your leveling efficiency, your professions should maximize gold earned and minimize gold/time spent to further assist with mount purchase as soon as you hit 40. Gathering professions are your best bet to achieve this. Skinning offers gold through vendoring, so this is good income even on a fresh server and you’re naturally farming a lot of Beasts if you’re grinding. Mining and Herbalism nodes can both sell well on the AH but may require you to bank them for later sells if you’re playing on a fresh server. It’s worth noting that Herbalism is more useful for DM: E as you can weave between the patrols and pickup extra https://classic.wowhead.com/item=8846/gromsblood and https://classic.wowhead.com/item=13463/dreamfoil, which sell for quite a bit. Alchemy can be considered as well, but I’d recommend doing so only after you’ve purchased your first mount. This will allow you to be self sufficient with potions but will cut into your Herbalism profit. There are other options of course, but I think these are more suited for post 60, which is not a topic for this guide. There's also the option of not using any professions at all, which can definitely save some time early on but overall investing some time in Skinning to be able to afford your mount by 40 will be more efficient. Try to minimize the amount of time you're spending with Skinning early on. You don't need to skin every beast you kill but you should try to keep the level high enough to always be able to skin new mobs as you're progressing through zones. As you get closer to 40 you can increase the volume of mobs you're skinning to acquire the last bit of gold you need for your mount. First Aid is also an extremely useful leveling profession. Try to save your cloths to advocate towards bandages as needed.

Classic WoW Profession Guides
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By far the best way to figure out all of the small things that go into furthering your leveling efficiency, on any character, is to practice. Nothing will make you better at leveling than actually playing and trying out different things. With that said, there are some things that you can think about before hand and try to keep in mind during your journey from 1 to 60:

  • Minimizing Spending: A very important point to reaching 90g by 40. Try to respec as little as possible. Don’t spend gold ranking up unnecessary abilities for leveling. Stay far away from the AH in regards to item upgrades, they're not needed for leveling pre dungeon farm and probably not even then.
  • Planning: Being ready and avoiding having to run back to town for anything. Always buff, repair, and restock food and reagents before leaving town.
  • Mana Regeneration: Mana regen provided from Spirit (outside of https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=6117/mage-armor and https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=18462 ... meditation) will only be active when you haven’t casted for at least 5 seconds. Make sure you are using mana to frontload damage, using it in bursts. You can finish mobs with wand to begin the mana regen ticks before actually finishing combat. Spirit gear can be swapped in during downtime or before https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12051/evocation to maximize regen but this will occupy bag slots.
  • Mana Gems: You can have one gem for each rank. This can save you in some situations and is a good habit to form for raids.
  • Resources: Spell cooldowns, potions, and even https://classic.wowhead.com/item=6948/hearthstone and Teleport should be constantly considered for use to help maximize your experience gains. While it can be a good idea to be conservative with these in some situations (particularly on PvP servers), and I do like saving potions for when they’re needed to avoid spending too much gold on them, it’s generally better to have these on cooldown as much as possible.
  • Spell Ranks: As mana is such an important part of a Mage being able to do anything, using lower rank spells to trigger their effects without a hefty mana cost is a great way to extend your mana pool. Rank 1 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=120/cone-of-cold and https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=10/blizzard will still apply its full slow and radius. When you reach https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=11213 ... centration, you can use lower ranks of AoE spells to “fish” for a clearcasting proc to dump on a max rank spell.
  • Ice Block/Ice Barrier: These are obviously great defensive tools but they are also invaluable for tagging. Mounted you can quickly gather many mobs that are spread out and https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=11426/ice-barrier will prevent you from taking too much damage or getting dazed off your mount. Consequently, because you’re pulling mobs so spread out they tend to stagger and you have to wait for them to stack before using https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=122/frost-nova. You can https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=11958/ice-block while waiting for the mobs to stack and prevent damage but make sure to have https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=11426/ice-barrier up before blocking to avoid all the mobs hitting directly to your small HP pool.
  • Potions: While it’s important to minimize gold spent until you at least have your first mount, potions can be extremely helpful. Especially for AoE grinding, it gives you a slight extension on your mana pool to help if you make a mistake. Try to hold on to the ones you find and use them only when needed.
  • Bags: Maintaining and increasing bag space when possible can be a huge help. Having to stop your farm because your bags are full or spending too much time managing items can be bothersome. Try to get your bags from the AH, as they’re generally cheaper than vendor prices. The very first bag vendor can be utilized for a minor bag upgrade if you don’t have luck with drops early. Sort through your bags and throw away items that won't yield much profit to keep going without returning to town.
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While no addons are truly mandatory there are some things that can help quite a bit. These are the ones that come to mind for particular usefulness but I'll also list a n addon collection that can be sorted through for something particular:

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Very interesting, thanks for this [mention]Jpy[/mention] :)

   Jpy Frost Shock
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If you need any help to re-design your guide, similiar to: Lv 19 Rogue Twink Guide let me know.

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Syturio wrote:
8 months ago
If you need any help to re-design your guide, similiar to: Lv 19 Rogue Twink Guide let me know.
Yes, I will be making some improvements to formatting soon. I wanted to get the backbone of the post out of the way so people could look it over and give feedback. I’m sure I’ll message you in the future, thanks. Work has been busy and I’m actually still leveling my Mage on Northdale so improvements will come when I can find time.

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Excellent work Jpy! The detail in this is outstanding.

[mention]Syturio[/mention] would you be able make our boy here a nice splash image similar to your engineering guide? I can do the goldtext titles and BBcode then we can move it into Guides.

Nice one!

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teebling wrote:
8 months ago
Excellent work Jpy! The detail in this is outstanding.

@Syturio would you be able make our boy here a nice splash image similar to your engineering guide? I can do the goldtext titles and BBcode then we can move it into Guides.

Nice one!
Thanks! Any help from you guys would be greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, I’m quite useless when it comes to graphic work.

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Welcome Jpy! Love this - it’s specific and to the point well dome. Just one suggestion..

...can you make the links to classic.wowhead.com pages? That way those hover tooltips will show for zones, npcs, spells etc.

I thank you on behalf of the zhevras for saving us from the killing list.

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TheZhevra wrote:
8 months ago
Love this - it’s specific and to the point well dome. Just one suggestion..

...can you make the links to classic.wowhead.com pages? That way those hover tooltips will show for zones, npcs, spells etc.

Also welcome!
It's better to keep classicdb, because wowhead doesn't show a map with the location of the mobs.
For talents, he could use wowhead ye.

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Syturio wrote:
8 months ago
TheZhevra wrote:
8 months ago
Love this - it’s specific and to the point well dome. Just one suggestion..

...can you make the links to classic.wowhead.com pages? That way those hover tooltips will show for zones, npcs, spells etc.

Also welcome!
It's better to keep classicdb, because wowhead doesn't show a map with the location of the mobs.
For talents, he could use wowhead ye.
oh shit my bad thats important. maybe when wowhead classic gets better? I admit its a bit patchy in comparison to classic db atm

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TheZhevra wrote:
8 months ago
Welcome Jpy! Love this - it’s specific and to the point well dome. Just one suggestion..

...can you make the links to classic.wowhead.com pages? That way those hover tooltips will show for zones, npcs, spells etc.

I thank you on behalf of the zhevras for saving us from the killing list.
Thanks! To be honest, I didn’t know wowhead had a dedicated classic database. I searched a while back when I started up on Northdale and the best one I found for what I needed was classic.db. In fact, that site is one of the main reasons I decided to start taking notes on different mobs for grinding and aoeing because of how convenient it was to have all that information. Anyway, I’ll check out wowhead’s classic database and see if there’s things to incorporate.

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I actually had tooltips for classicdb enabled on here a week or two ago, but unfortunately the site is http only (no secure connection with https) so chrome users were getting warnings about loading unsecure scripts and leaving.

I’m sure wowhead will catch up eventually but like TZ says right now its very rudimentary.

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Jpy good write up - are there any quests or items you find work well with this build while levelling up? Also which race do you think is best for a horde or ally mage?

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Tol0th wrote:
8 months ago
Jpy good write up - are there any quests or items you find work well with this build while levelling up? Also which race do you think is best for a horde or ally mage?
As far as items:
Intellect > Stamina >= Spirit

“Of the Eagle” is your ideal gear piece (Intellect/Stamina) but Spirit definitely has its uses. If you’re willing to constantly manage bag space and use an item swap addon you can get a lot out of swapping in Spirit pieces when out of combat/using Evocation.

The WC quest reward staff is also really good. If you invest the time for it it’ll probably last you into the 40s lmao. In general, gear is rather unnecessary for early leveling. It can definitely be helpful for Maraudon/Dire Maul leveling, though.

Racials are highly preference based IMHO.
If I had to choose:
Horde PvP: Undead
Horde PvE: Troll
Ally PvP and PvE: Gnome

My Mage is Undead for what it’s worth ;)

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Amazing guide @jpy its good to have people here posting from real experience on private servers. I am sure 99% of this will translate to Classic

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Hunter and Mage have been my most heavily debated class picks for Classic so a huge thanks for this guide!

One quick question, do you think sacrificing the 5% Intellect bonus from Gnomes and rolling a Human Mage would make a huge difference performance wise? I'm not and don't plan on being one of the highest of highest end raiders but I still do like pushing numbers and the potential of my character. So if the 5% Intellect loss isn't as big as it seems I'd much prefer a Human Mage over a Gnome.

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@Ravenheart
Thanks! There will be some differences of course. Hard to speculate on how much because we know so little about how close to Vanilla Classic will be. I liked what I heard from Blizzcon in regards to their intended direction but the demo that was linked to the virtual ticket was extremely rough. Much work to be done but in beta we trust I suppose.

@Authiel
Glad you got some use out of it. I was considering leveling a Hunter 1-60 next, so if I do I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on the leveling process! In regards to Gnome vs Human, I’ll say that Gnome probably has the best racials in the game for Mage because of how impactful 5% Intellect is for your mana pool but it certainly won’t break your Mage if you’re Human. If you plan to farm a lot of rep it’s a great choice.

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10/10 guide fren :)

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@Markone thanks! Still adding more!

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So I did a thing..

SpoilerShow
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A few notes on my time 1-60:
/played at ding: ~7 days, 20 hours
Gold for mount @ 40, gold for epic mount @ 60
300 Herbalism, Skinning, First Aid before 60
first ever classic 60 for me
I think sub 5 1/2 days is possible for a very efficient Mage as I spent a lot of time investigating farming spots (as you can see..) and some time/gold was definitely wasted.

I have a good ~15 spots to sort through and potentially add now that I'm done leveling and I intend to add videos for each spot.
Keep an eye out!

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Jpy wrote:
8 months ago
So I did a thing..
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A few notes on my time 1-60:
/played at ding: ~7 days, 20 hours
Gold for mount @ 40, gold for epic mount @ 60
first ever classic 60 for me
I think sub 5 days is perfectly reasonable for Mage as I spent a lot of time investigating farming spots (as you can see..) and some time/gold was definitely wasted.

I have a good ~15 spots to sort through and potentially add now that I'm done leveling and I intend to add videos for each spot.
Keep an eye out!
Awesome, you’re working hard on this!

   Jpy
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I am so going to roll a Mage now that this solid guide exists. Good to have reliable info from someone who plays on pserver.

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@Finesse Thanks, but you almost seem sarcastic..
I wanted to add a disclaimer at the top about the information and videos being private server but if Blizzard stays in line with their stated plans 99% of this should carry over to classic. All we can really do is speculate until beta, though.

I’ve heard something about Starving & Rabid Bonepaw in Desolace not giving XP in Vanilla, but couldn’t confirm. It would be a shame, though, as that is a very viable spot with good Beast density in between the hyenas that all classes can farm for 30-40.

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Hah I didn’t mean to come across as sarcastic!

No hate for pservers here man what would you trust more - the ramblings of some guy who last played vanilla over a decade ago or someone who is playing it right now?

Sure classic may have some minor changes here and there but that doesn’t stop, as u say, 99% of it being relevant. Especially on a macro level like this guide u have written!

   Jpy
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More updates!
-Tidied up formatting (fixed some spacing issues, finished linking classic wowhead abilities, moved some notes to different sections to better centralize information)
-“Finshed” adding mobs (10+ new mobs posted that made the cut, still need test 2)

To Do:
-Add 1-40 Wand Progression (planning to do Horde for sure, perhaps I’ll have time to add Alliance too...)
-Add Contention Notes for each spot (how likely you are to run into someone else farming a particular spot)
-Add Videos to showcase each spot’s mob density, redo dungeon videos
- Add Items of interest for each mob grinding location (perhaps I’ll have time to add AoE farming mobs’ drops of interest too..)

   teebling
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Levels: 53-54
Dire Maul: East
Whip Lasher
Ideal Professions: Herbalism (nodes)
Prerequisites: None
This will be the place to be as a Mage pre ZG and you can start here as early as 52 with little issue. As with Maraudon pulls, at lower levels you should try to avoid doing more than 2 packs at a time. There is a potential bonus Dusty Tome near the Southwest corner of the bottom level where the mobs are. You can see me check for it with my cursor at 2:37 in the video below.
A big portion of every DME guides are wrong because the scripting of this instance of private servers is far from accurate, here is a video I made a video about this issue:


As a bonus, this video proves that the server I'm playing on features the Blizzlike version of the instance:


Long story short:
  • There are Death Lashs along the walls, so you can't hug the walls to avoid patrols, you're gonna have to sneak your way through
  • Because of the patrols aggro range you can only start farming this place at level 53, not 52 (up to 60)
  • The upper part is actually Blizzlike, there are 2 packs of 7 Whip Lashers up, but there are 8 packs of 10 lashers down in the "garden" area, so that's 94 mobs total.


So anyway, the section about DME is not correct :P

   Syturio Jpy
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