Note: With the release of 4.0 and Cataclysm, this information is now OUT OF DATE. Thanks!

So, you want some tips on being an Arcane mage? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This post will have all sorts of great info for the polymorphing, strudel conjuring magic flinger!

*This guide will focus mainly on level 80 PvE characters. Arcane is a terrible hassle to level with and I do not recommend it.

The Spec

According to wowpopular.com57/3/11is the most popular mage spec in World of Warcraft right now.

You don’t necessarily need to grab Slow or Student of the Mind, and could put those talent points elsewhere, such as Magic Attunement and Arcane Stability. More range means you reach casting range sooner, and cast sooner, which means more DPS. Or so I have read.

In Patch 3.3.3, Incanter’s Absorption will be nerfed to work only with Mana Shield, Ice Barrier, and Fire/Frost Wards, so our beautiful partnership with Disco Priests shall be no more. I’m pretty sure this is a big nerf, so the talent will be less appealing to take.

Also in Patch 3.3.3, Arcane Empowerment is being changed to a constant +3% damage aura, instead of a proc off crits, so it’ll take a load off of the combat log and hopefully cut down a bit on lag.


You should always use these three glyphs as an Arcane Mage:

  • Glyph of Arcane Blast – Increases the damage from your Arcane Blast buff by 3%
  • Glyph of Arcane Missiles – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of Arcane Missiles by 25%
  • Glyph of Molten Armor – Your Molten Armor grants an additional 20% of your spirit as critical strike rating.

These three glyphs are the best glyphs you can use and should always be the glyphs filling your major glyph slots.

Minor Glyphs don’t do nearly as much as Major Glyphs, so you can take whichever you feel suits you.

Things to Know

The spec above comes with a few cool abilities you should use when you need to boost your damage and give you an edge on the fight.

  1. Presence of Mind – Activating this spell makes your next spell with a cast time less than ten seconds instant cast. Perfect for when you need to get cast a quick polymorph or arcane blast.
  2. Focus Magic – Cast this on another spell casting class to increase their spell crit chance by 3%. When they crit with a spell (which can be either damage or healing), you gain a ten second buff that also increases your crit chance by 3%.
  3. Arcane Power – This ability increases the damage your arcane spells deal by 20%, while also increasing the mana cost by 20% as well. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Icy Veins – Icy Veins is important too! It’ll give you a buff that increases your casting speed. Learn to love it and use it often.

Note: Arcane Power and Presence of Mind can NOT be active at the same time.


Arcane mages have a very simple rotation.

  1. Cast Arcane Blast
  2. Keep Casting Arcane Blast until the Arcane Blast Debuff reaches 4 stacks.
  3. If Missile Barrage is up, cast Arcane Missiles.
  4. Repeat until the target dies.

If Missile Barrage doesn’t proc, you have to choose whether to just cast Arcane Missiles anyway, or continue to cast Arcane Blast until it does proc.


  1. Spell Power – Spell Power is the most important stat an arcane mage can have. Unlike other stats like haste and crit, Spell Power does not lose value the more of it you have.
  2. Haste Rating – This makes your spells cast faster. Pretty darn important. And way more fun.
  3. Crit Rating – Arcane doesn’t rely on crit rating as much as Frost or Fire does, so you don’t have to worry about it as much.
  4. Hit Rating – Hit rating is your most important stat to get capped, but is utterly useless afterwards. If you have the talent spec above, you will need 289 hit rating to hit a raid boss 100% of the time.

So hit > spellpower > hate > crit

Intellect will generally be on all your stuff, as will spirit. Avoid Mp5 when possible, because it is mostly useless. Kings > Wisdom!!


I think that’s all the basics you’ll need to know right now. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out