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Mage Leveling, Grinding and AoE
by Jpy • 1st December 2018

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Mob Grinding Locations
AoE Farming Locations
Dungeon AoE Farming
Talents
Professions
Tips and Tricks
Addons
About Grinding:
The primary reasons for grinding while leveling can be simplified into two simple benefits: experience and gold.

The former is much more obvious; you will see many mobs along your questing routes that aren’t a part of the quests you’re trying to complete. Since you’re passing them anyway you can kill them along the way and effectively increase your experience per hour.

The latter might not be as commonly appreciated. The benefit of having your mount as soon as you hit 40 is tremendous and questing gold income is a finite amount while grinding has the potential to be much more profitable. I’d recommend all classes focus primarily on quests to at least level 20-30, while transitioning to specific profitable mob farm before level 40 to acquire the 90g (honored 10% discount) for your mount.
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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 always be no more than 2 levels lower than the mob you're killing, especially for AoE farming. In some level ranges you may grind a specific mob quite a few levels past the mob's level, especially if you can get the farm consistently uncontested. This is a big deal for both single mob grinding and AoE farming: make sure you always have a backup plan. If you're having to compete with too many other people at a single spot then it's time to consider another.

Just because I've only listed one mob in an area doesn't mean you can't consider the surrounding mobs. Some mobs have special abilities that pose more of a problem for a specific build. Other builds might be able to handle some abilities better, so try them out as you go.

Some mobs are listed as gold farming options, which is especially the case for all listed Elementals and Dragonkin. That doesn't mean that these mobs can't provide a good source of experience through grinding. If you hit these mobs at ideal levels based on their own levels, you'll be more efficient grinding experience. If you hit them at a higher level, you'll be more efficient grinding gold.

Mob names are clickable which will bring you to a classic.db page for the respective mob showing spawn location, mob health, damage, armor, loot tables, and abilities among other things. Some spells have tooltips too.
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Levels: 16-23
Southern Barrens
Various Bristleback, Bael'dun Excavator, Bael'dun Foreman
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Levels: 23-27
Stonetalon Mountains
Various Bloodfury, Burning Destroyer
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Levels: 25-26
Wetlands
Crimson Whelp
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Levels: 28-29
Thousand Needles
Thundering Boulderkin
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Levels: 31-32
Hillsbrad Foothills
Daggerspine Siren
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Levels: 33-34
Alterac Mountains
Elemental Slave
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Levels: 33-35
Arathi Highlands
Boulderfist Ogre, Crushridge Ogre
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Levels: 34-37
Swamp of Sorrows
Adolescent Whelp, Dreaming Whelp, Swamp Jaguar
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Levels: 37-39 (Elite)
Desolace
Maraudine Scout
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Trying to AoE farm too early is really putting all your eggs into one basket as far as talent choices. The respec cost is so hefty that you'll essentially be stuck with AoE talents and severely gimped single target efficiency. For someone just starting out on a fresh server or with no funds, I'd recommend questing with grinding until 30. If you have funds and are making an alt Mage, feel free to experiment with AoE farming potential earlier. At the very least, make sure you have 3/3 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12488 and 3/3 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12571 (level 22).

At 30, you can start AoE farming the Starving Bonepaw which come in packs of 5 with less HP than other mobs their level. These can be handled easily with your single target spec using max rank Flamestrike/CoC. 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.

Same as with grinding, 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 better than one. If you can AoE farm with another Mage you will really be able to push your efficiency and have a much easier time AoEing at earlier levels.
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Levels 22-26
Hillsbrad Foothills
Hillsbrad Farmer
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Levels: 30-38
Desolace
Starving Bonepaw, Rabid Bonepaw
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Levels: 38-41
Badlands
Giant Buzzard
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Levels: 53-56
Western Plaguelands
Rotting Cadaver, Scarlet Lumberjack
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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.
Reset Instance/Camp Macro:

Code: Select all

/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
You will need to lessen your pull size for lower levels, but I would try to run this dungeon from 46-52. Prior to 51 I also hit the turtles slightly ahead of the second snake pull. The concept is the same, try to group them together then rank 1 Frost Nova -> max rank Blizzard x2 and repeat.

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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.
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Getting 5/5 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12985 and 5/5 https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=15053 is your priority for single target grinding. 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 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 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 CoC before Blizzard slow falls off. You will not be able to refresh like this with 3/3 Imp Blizzard. You can also swap https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12606 and https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=28574 from the Dire Maul spec for https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=12469 if you can survive coming out of Block and being hit by the 3 pack pull without them.

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If you want to further your leveling efficiency, your professions should maximize gold earned and minimize gold 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 Gromsblood and 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.

Classic WoW Profession Guides
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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.
Planning: Being ready and avoiding having to run back to town for anything. Always buff and restock food and reagents before leaving town.
Mana Regeneration: Mana regen provided from Spirit (outside of Mage Armor and Arcane 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 Evocate 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 hearthstone 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 CoC/Blizzard will still apply its full slow and radius. When you reach Arcane Concentration, 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 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 Frost Nova. You can Ice Block while waiting for the mobs to stack and prevent damage but make sure to have 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. 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.
Supplemental Grinding: Just because you’re questing doesn’t mean you can’t make use of the abundance of mobs around you. Try to farm mobs while moving from one objective to the next and always continue to progress in the direction of your next objective, even while killing a mob.
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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:

WoW Vanilla Addons Collection
Outfitter - Improves management of item swaps, useful for Spirit gear
EnergyWatch - Can be used to show tick counter for food/water/Evocation
Questie & Vanilla Guide - The standard classic leveling addon duo
pfUI - Complete UI rehaul with many addons' features baked in
Modui - More "blizzard-like" UI rehaul with many improvements with a more subtle approach

Yng - 58 Undead Mage, Northdale PvP
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Very interesting, thanks for this [mention]Jpy[/mention] :)

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

Image  Check out my Engineering Guide for WoW Vanilla / Classic 2018!
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Syturio wrote:
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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!

   Jpy
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teebling wrote:
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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:
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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:
1 week ago
TheZhevra wrote:
1 week 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

   Syturio
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TheZhevra wrote:
1 week 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.

   TheZhevra
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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:
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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?
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

   Jpy
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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.

   Authiel
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10/10 guide fren :)

   Jpy
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@Markone thanks! Still adding more!

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