Which Mage tree is best for leveling now?

61 Gnome Mage
800
The Question: Haven't played this guy for about a year, but I'm thinking about starting him back up again. Which tree is best for solo leveling now?

The Personal Anecdote: Back when I used to play this Mage, he was specced Frost, for the survivability. After Cataclysm hit, I decided to try out the starting-area for Gnomes and also see what playing a low-level Mage is like. So I made a Gnome Mage the other day, and ran him up to the mid-teens. I went Frost, and found out-- I didn't really enjoy having a Water Elemental. Aside from the obnoxious noise, he had a tendency to stand on top of my character or otherwise obscure my camera, since he's so much bigger than a Gnome. And I don't care that much about playing another pet class (I have a Hunter and a Warlock).

The Bottom Line: I'm willing to try out whichever tree seems to be best for solo-leveling a Mage. Even if it's Frost, I can work with it. Is there a clear answer as to which tree is best to spec in for my purposes? If not, what are the dis/advantages of the three trees for soloing?

THANK YOU for your help!

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85 Blood Elf Mage
4530
Same as it ever was... frost. But levelling is easier than it was, so it doesn't make too much difference.
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85 Troll Mage
5090
With all the enhancements to talent trees, removal of spell ranks, and the level in which you get spells combined with the overall nerf of leveling difficulty any spec will work just as well as any other. Play what you think is fun.
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Frost. I'm leveling as it now and it's going fast and very smooth, so much CC and damage you can't beat it. I've got 15 hours played and i'm level 28, that's not too bad. Id say about 2-3 hours of that is afk.
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61 Gnome Mage
800
So that's two votes for "Frost", and one (or two) votes for "Play whichever you like". So to answer my second question,

01/14/2011 7:27 PMPosted by Grubbleman
what are the dis/advantages of the three trees for soloing?


That will help me make an informed decision.

Thanks again!
Edited by Grubbleman on 1/14/2011 7:47 PM PST
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85 Goblin Mage
6750
Frost, all the way. I have tried all three specs, in my attempt to find my sweet spot and I have decided to take frost to 85. The CC for adds, the controlled crits and the added pet to "tank" if needed all made my choice a no brainer.
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85 Blood Elf Mage
4530
I'm not sure there's a lot of difference.

Frost has its big blue buddy and slows and snares, but killing stuff takes a little longer (but only a little). Still, in theory frost mages should experience fewer trips to the lady with wings.

Fire and arcane are just a matter of nuking stuff until it glows, but frankly that's pretty effective in a solo questing environment. To be completely honest, there's not a whole lot of difference between solo questing as fire and arcane, except the names of the spells. It's only in instances that the differences between fire and arcane really begin to stand out.
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61 Gnome Mage
800
Thanks, Elanthos, that's the kind of analysis I was looking for.

Looks like Frost is leading in the polls for leveling, but only by a margin. So it's very helpful to have an idea of what the trees are each able to do in Cataclysm.

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61 Gnome Mage
800
So I'm thinking about going Arcane. Back in the day, that was probably the worst spec, but it sounds interesting to me. I've already explained why Frost isn't as appealing to me (glub-bubble-glub), and Fire-- well, I don't like heat, so the feel of throwing fire around all the time is less appealing. Yeah, kind of a silly reason, but there it is. So if they truly are fairly even...


Anyone want to try to talk me out of it?

Edited by Grubbleman on 1/14/2011 8:35 PM PST
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85 Goblin Mage
2785
You can go arcane if you want, but I still think frost is a bit better/easier. BTW you can get rid of the elemental's sounds.

[NOTE THAT ALL FOLDERS AND FILES ARE CASE SENSITIVE!]

Step 1: File Structure

Go to your World of Warcraft/Data folder, check for a folder named "Sound" if no folder exists make one.

Now go inside the Sound folder you created (or if one already existed) now you are going to make another folder inside Sound named "Creature" (If for any reason one already existed leave it) go into your Creature folder.

Now the last folder you will make will be "WaterElemental"

Your folder structure should now look like this: World of Warcraft/Data/Sound/Creature/WaterElemental

......................................

Step 2: Creating the File

This part is extremely simple, open up notepad, go to file/save as, save the file with the name "WaterElementalLoop.wav", save it where ever you like (also you must put the .wav after the name). Make sure you select "All Files" for Save As Type or it will actually make a file called "WaterElementalLoop.wav.txt" which won't work.

Now just move your new wave file into your WaterElemental folder, enjoy! To revert, just delete the "WaterElementalLoop.wav" file
Edited by Wërth on 1/14/2011 8:48 PM PST
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61 Gnome Mage
800
01/14/2011 8:47 PMPosted by Wërth
BTW you can get rid of the elemental's sounds.


Yeah, I saw that post earlier today, and have already done what it suggests-- even if I don't go Frost, I find being around other Mage's Water Elementals to be irritating. Thanks for the link and the helpfulness.

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85 Goblin Mage
2785
I'll just put it this way. I leveled this mage in WotLK, so things have changed. I was frost until I hit Northrend at 68, and finally had the spare 1,000 gold for dual spec, and picked up arcane. I've been primarily arcane ever since. Thank god dual spec is 10 gold and level 30 now.
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61 Gnome Mage
800
Well, it does sound like (for leveling at least) there isn't as much of a disparity as there used to be between the trees. Maybe I will try Arcane; I can always re-spec if I find I don't have the survivability I need.

Thanks again, Mages.

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72 Blood Elf Mage
590
Arcane is awesome for solo leveling.

The single target damage is awesome, arcane blast combined with slow is awesome, 2 minute evocation is king for mana and health regen when you need it.

If I get into a pickle with adds, I just pop mirror image and acrane power to demolish all in my path.

Fire is pretty fun for groups though.

edit: tried frost for about a half hour and hated it. Effing boring spec imo.
Edited by Kelithar on 1/14/2011 9:56 PM PST
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85 Worgen Mage
14050
I'll put it this way, I got my most recent feat of strength as arcane. I don't think any of the other mages above me have one of their own. Take that with your own grain of salt.
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61 Gnome Mage
800
Hmm... Arcane is starting to sound pretty good to me, might be a good match for my play-style.

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85 Goblin Mage
3185
once you have mage armor it makes almost zero difference which spec you choose. fire kinda sucks until you have crit tho, so i'd say stick to frost or arcane.
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70 Goblin Mage
770
Leveling frost. Duoing with a balance druid. We aoe when we can. I had a 70 mage at BC. The game is so much easier now. You really need to try hard to get killed in questing areas.
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64 Undead Mage
510
~15 hours played time, level 50 (although I do have a lot of heirlooms).

I mostly leveled as arcane and dabbled into fire. I tried frost a few times, but it seems like before you get some deep talents in frost, mana efficiency isn't as good as arcane, where you get loads of Arcane Missile procs (basically free spells).

Also, 2 min Evocation is pretty win.

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88 Blood Elf Mage
4695
Fire and arcane can solo just fine, the only difficulty is that they're much easier once you get to higher levels. Once you pick up frostfire bolt fire spec can solo fine...lead with FFB for the slow and nuke it before it gets to you (spamming scorch works most of the time). Hot streaks are just gravy.

Arcane can solo fine once it picks up slow (and the improved talent, not require, but makes it even easier). Then just AB mobs down, using AM when it procs. Prior to picking up slow, however, it makes fighting mobs without a snare...well, not difficult, but you'll be taking much more damage than you would otherwise. The problem with taking damage is that you'll have to drink more often for the health, which makes leveling slower. Arcane is actually the second best for soloing after you get slow because you can also use glyph of evocation (which you should get regardless) to heal 40% of your life every two minutes, making it so you rarely have to drink even.

Overall frost is still going to be the fastest for soloing, not because of the water elemental, but because of the snares and shatter combos. They're just extremely efficient for quickly killing mobs without taking much, if any, damage, and the spells are cheap enough that combined with replenishment or mage armor you'll rarely have to drink, if ever.

Before FFB fire can still use frostbolt for the initial snare then switch to scorch and arcane can do the same before slow. It just isn't until after you get those abilities that arcane and fire approach the speed and efficiency that frost has.

Your title question was "Which mage tree is best for leveling now?" and the answer is still "Frost." A bit later on, however, the other two come close enough that you can safely choose whatever you want as a matter of preference.
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