A giant gulf exists between a newly minted level 70 Mage and a level 70 Mage decked out in sweet sweet purples. Hitting level 70 is a little like graduating from high school and beginning college. You've worked your way through years of educational hell to reach the pinnacle, spend what feels like about thirty seconds at the top of the heap as a mighty Senior, only to enter your university of choice and discover you've descended all the way to the bottom of the totem pole yet again. Hitting level 70 essentially turns the 69 levels of advancement that came before it on their head. Your long climb to reach the highest experience level has only taken you to the bottom rung of yet another long ladder. Discouraging? You could say that, yeah.
To further complicate matters, level 70 opens up what many consider to be the "real" game. There is more to do after reaching 70, more opportunities to pursue, more choices to make, more freedom to explore and evolve, than there ever was during the leveling process. This freedom can be exhilarating, but also extremely daunting.
So let's make the process easier. What follows is an attempt to distill the vast expanse of opportunity presented to you at level 70 down to a few important first steps. These are a few quick, relatively easy ways to quickly beef yourself up, to close the gap between you and that gnome wandering around Shattrath with all the uberness.
- First: Choose a direction
The straight and narrow path you've followed through 70 levels forks quite suddenly when you ding that final time in Blade's Edge Mountains
or Shadowmoon Valley
. You need to identify your endgame goals, if you haven't already. Do you want to take your Mage into the endgame raid
content? Do you want to focus on PvP
? These two main routes are not mutually exclusive, but excelling at them requires very different choices.
- For PvP: Get your tier 0.5 gear
is likely better than anything you already have, even for PvE. You can equip it the instant you hit level 70, and picking it up requires only that you be honored with a few of Outland's factions
. Plus, it looks spiffy. Here are the specifics:Evoker's Silk Amice
This requires honored reputation with Honor Hold
if you're Alliance or Thrallmar
if you're Horde, and can be purchased from the quartermasters in those towns for just less than 14 gold. Go do a daily quest and you've paid for it. Chances are you've already hit honored with these factions, just through the leveling process. If for some reason you haven't, go run the Hellfire instances
, or complete the daily PvP quest
a few times. Honored rep doesn't take long.Evoker's Silk Cowl
Honored with Lower City
is only a few Arrakoa Feather
turn-ins away, if you aren't there already. Fork over around 13 gold to Nakodu
in Shattrath and this beauty is yours.Evoker's Silk Handguards
You'll need to be honored with The Sha'tar
to purchase these. If you need to improve your standing with this faction, you can easily do so by turning in Scryer
items, as those net you reputation for both factions until you hit honored. If this isn't appealing, you can make a few runs through any of the Tempest Keep instances. To pick this, up you will need to provide Almaador
in the center of Shattrath with a little less than 9 gold.Evoker's Silk Raiment
The Keepers of Time
will provide you with this once you become honored with them. If you aren't there yet, run any of the Caverns of Time
instances once or twice. Alurmi
, located near the entrance tunnel to the caverns, will sell this to you for about 17 gold.Evoker's Silk Trousers
Pick these up for around 17 gold from Fedryen Swiftspear
in Cenarion Refuge
once you've hit honored with the Cenarion Expedition
. If for some reason you haven't managed that reputation level yet, it can very easily be obtained by turning in a few Unidentified Plant Parts
, by running a Coilfang Reservoir
instance, by killing a few naga
, or by doing a few of the quests
you should have already done while leveling in this zone. Seriously, you barely have to log into the game to get to honored with the Cenarion Expedition. They just about hand it to you when you walk into town. It's sort of like an A for effort.
If you want to start working toward the juicy PvP epics
out there, I don't blame you. I'd advise against jumping into Arena
until you've upgraded some of your gear. The tier 0.5 set is a good start, but you may also want to farm some honor until you can afford a piece of Vindicator's
gear or two. You can contribute in the battlegrounds
, even with sub-par gear, so farming honor is far easier and less painful than jumping immediately into the Arena and losing 10 matches a week. Just please, don't go the AFK route. People who go AFK in battlegrounds are horrible, horrible people. They are parasites
, worthless individuals who leech off the efforts of others. They are of no value as human beings. If you feel I'm being too harsh, well good. That's what I was trying to do.
With no diminishing returns and various daily PvP quests
available, honor comes quickly these days. A day or two of concentrated work in the battlegrounds can realistically net you a very nice PvP epic. Once you've geared up a little, and have gained some resilience, you can enter the Arena and be slightly competitive as you begin your weekly quest not to embarrass yourself
to gain arena points.
- For PvE: Craft some epics
If you have chosen a profession
that offers any powerful, epic, bind-on-pickup gear for Mages, farm the materials and craft them. Tailoring
, and Jewelcrafting
all offer very nice caster gear. Refer to the last couple Arcane Brilliance
columns for specifics, but the Tailoring sets especially are well worth the effort. They can provide you with enough fire-power to begin truly bridging the gap between being a new level 70 Mage and being a level 70 Mage who warrants a raid spot. Here are a few examples:Shadow's Embrace
setWrath of Spellfire
setDestruction Holo-GogsFigurine - Crimson Serpent
By spending the time it takes to put together the materials for these crafted epics, you can significantly improve your standing as a level 70 Mage, and prepare yourself to enter your first raid.
- Get some spell hit rating
This is the single most important stat to have before taking your Mage into a raid, and chances are you have none of it when you hit 70. Refer to Arcane Brilliance's earlier column
on this vital statistic for lists of gear that has spell hit on it, and analysis on what it does. The bottom line here is that if you wish to go raiding with your Mage, you need to start scraping together spell hit rating whenever you can, with the goal of reaching the cap of 202 as soon as possible. If you need to sacrifice other stats to get spell hit, do it. Once you've gotten enough spell hit rating, you can shift your focus to other important caster stats, like spell damage, spell haste rating, intellect, or spell critical strike rating.
Not only is this good practice for learning your role as a Mage in a level 70 group, you can land yourself some very nice blues to fill holes in your gear. Instances you should hit and some of the gear you should hope drops to follow:Shadow Labyrinth
Considered one of the easiest of the level 70 instances, this may be a good place to start. You can pick up a couple nice pieces here, including a neck item and a very nice sword that grant some of that all-important spell hit rating.Wand of the NetherwingSilent Slippers of MeditationBrooch of Heightened PotentialGreatsword of Horrid DreamsThe Caverns of Time: The Black Morass
Another fairly simple and extremely quick instance, there are quite a few nice drops here, including a few opportunities for spell hit rating. Bloodfire GreatstaffKhadgar's Kilt of AbjurationMana-Etched CrownMantle of Three TerrorsStar-Heart LampCoilfang Reservoir: The Steamvault
This is a more challenging instance, to be sure, but several nice drops are available here.Incanter's Gloves
and Incanter's PauldronsSash of SerpentraScintillating Coral band
Vermillion Robes of the Dominant
Hellfire Citadel: The Shattered Halls
I hate Shattered Halls, but there are definitely a few nice items to be procured inside.Bands of NethecurseHortus' Seal of BrillianceNexus TorchRunesong DaggerTempest Keep: The Mechanar
Lots to hope for here, from a part of the Incanter's set to a nice one-handed sword and a decent off-hand to go with it.Baba's Cloak of ArcanistryIncanter's CowlMana WrathManual of the NethermancerWarp Engineer's Prismatic ChainTempest Keep: The Botanica
A lot of goodies in this dungeon, including a few more opportunities for gear with spell hit rating on it.Arcane NetherbandDevil-Stitched LeggingsEnergis ArmwrapsIncanter's RobeWarp Infused DrapeWarpstaff of ArcanumTempest Keep: The Arcatraz
A few interesting possibilities here, including a wand with spell hit rating on it, which is a rare sight indeed.Lamp of Peaceful RadianceMana-Sphere ShoulderguardsNether-Core's Control RodRyngo's Band of IngenuityShiffar's Nexus-HornMagisters' Terrace
This is a very difficult instance for a new level 70 character to endure, so you may want to gear up a bit before entering it, but there are some very nice drops here, especially on the spell hit and spell haste rating fronts. This instance offers what amount to the best pre-raid drops available (including a good chance for an epic!) and is a perfect place to gear up prior to entering Karazhan
.Sun-infused Focus StaffDuskhallow MantleCloak of the BetrayedBindings of Raging FireBand of Arcane AlacrityGloves of Arcane Acuity
One of the easiest, but longest ways to get epic gear prior to raiding is to embark upon a few of the long reputation grinds various end-game factions have to offer. Just about every Burning Crusade
faction offers very worthy epic rewards for Mages, and because I've already been far wordier than I should, I'll let you look up the rewards on your own
, and make your own choices as to which factions you wish to devote time to. As an example, I'll note a pair of examples you can get from the newest faction grind, the Shattered Sun Offensive
. This is one of the fastest grinds out there, due to the copious amounts of quick, easy daily quests
associated with it, and offers a couple of very nice rewards for Mages.Archmage's GuileShattered Sun Pendant of Acumen
We'll actually go over this in detail next week. At level 70, it becomes far more vital that you solidify your talent spec and choose gear that supports it. When Arcane Brilliance returns next week, we'll discuss a few popular build choices for end-game Mages, go over the talents that make those builds so effective, and explore some ways you can tweak your spec to fit your playstyle.
Every week Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of Mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our two-part look at Mage match-ups with other classes in PvP, or our recent look at the new caster gear in patch 2.4. If you're sick and tired of all this Mage-talk, there's a veritable treasure trove of guides and tips related to all of the other aspects of WoW over in the WoW Insider Directory. Until next week, keep the Mage-train a-rollin'.