I have a Death Knight alt (doesn’t everyone?) that I’ve been working on gearing up, and I’ve been surprised how easy it was to get an initial set of gear. My Death Knight is a tank, and within 3 hours of hitting 80 I was defense-capped with over 26k unbuffed HP without ever setting foot in a dungeon. These stats aren’t great, of course - but they are perfectly passable to start doing heroics and maybe even 10-man raids.
So, if a death knight can do it, a mage can too, right? Below is a list of items that mages who just hit 80 or who haven’t had good luck with heroics or getting into raids.
Keep in mind that this list includes NO items which comes from dungeons, raids, or emblems of heroism.
All that matters is that you have the gold - and no matter how good or experienced a player you are, you can ALWAYS make gold. Whether you want to do daily quests (which have the side benefit of helping your reputation) or just grind for hours, the only thing required to make a lot of gold is effort. That said, I’m not recommending anything here that should cost you a HUGE amount of gold (like the Kirin Tor rings).
So, without further ado, let’s look at some quality starter items that you can get without ever setting foot into a dungeon:
Cost: 40 Marks of Wintergrasp
Whether or not you’re a big PvP fan, playing in Wintergrasp is pretty painless. You can just sit in a corner if you want, and you’re guaranteed at least 1 mark, win or lose. Plus, you can play a bunch of times each day! Just ignore the resilience on these helms – they’ve got a very solid amount of spellpower, a nice amount of hit (if you need it) or haste, and a meta socket, which is crucial for mages. They are both straight-up upgrades over Hat of Wintry Doom, which you can have easily tailored for you if you are completely allergic to any and all PvP.
Cost: Depends on your server, but likely a 4-digit number.
A super nice BOE necklace that you should be able to find on your local AH. On my server, the price varies from about 1,000g up to 1,700g. Pretty reasonable for an item of this quality. You can also find a jewelcrafter to make you a Titanium Spellshock Necklace, which, depending on the cost of Dragon’s Eyes on your server, may be quite a bit cheaper.
Dark Runic Mantle
Cost: Probably 100g or so, depending on your server
A BOE drop from Halls of Stone. The price on your server will likely be lowest on days in which HoS is the daily heroic, because (at least for me) this seems to drop at least once per run. Very nice stats for a mage, including the nifty red socket. Quite frankly, it gives essentially the same benefit to you as Mantle of the Extensive Mind, which would probably cost about 20 times as much.
Cost: Probably in the 400-700g range for mats
The mats are a tad on the expensive side, but this cloak is the real deal if you’re interested in pure DPS (and you’re a mage, so you should be!). It can even last you into Ulduar.
Cost: A few hundred gold for the mats.
Choose one based on whether you need the hit rating or not (hint: if you’re a frostfire/fire mage, you probably do; if you’re an arcane mage, you probably don’t). It’ll probably be significantly cheaper just to buy the materials and find a tailor to make you one of these, but if you’re lazy and wealthy you can just buy one off the AH directly.
Wraps of the Astral Traveler
Cost: Hopefully under 1K gold on your server
This is a tough slot to fill, but these are probably your best option if your wealthy. Raiders with excess Emblems of Valor will put these on the auction house fairly regularly, and at least on my server they’re cheaper than the other bracers. If you can’t find them for under 1K gold, or if you’re having money issues, then Ancestral Sinew Wristwraps are decent if you put a red SP gem in them, and require you only be revered with the Wyrmrest Accord.
Cost: Probably in the 200-500g range
Like the robe, find yourself a tailor and figure out whether you need the hit rating or not. The material requirements for these are not bad, making them an easily-acquirable early upgrade.
Belt of Dark Mending
Cost: Requires you be Exalted with Knights of the Ebon Blade
Knights of the Ebon Blade has 6 daily quests and a ton of non-repeatable quests, so you can easily get exalted with them in a relatively short period of time without ever wearing their tabard in a dungeon. The belt itself is certainly nice enough to take into raids.
Very few good options for this slot. These pants are good enough for for what they are, though, and they can be had for relatively cheap materials.
Cost: Exalted with Wyrmrest Accord
These are awesome boots that you can take well into your raiding experience. Unfortunately, Wyrmrest only has three daily quests, so unless you’re running heroics they might take a little while to acquire (make sure you do all the non-repeatable Wyrmrest quests in Dragonblight!). If you need something temporary until you hit exalted, Silky Iceshard Boots are reasonable.
Titanium Spellshock Ring
Cost: Probably under 1K gold, depending on server.
An easy choice – Jewelcrafters make these and the mats are not killer. You can pop a +19 spellpower gem into this and take it into Ulduar!
Cost: Exalted with Argent Crusade
The Argent Crusade have a few dailies and a lot of non-repeatable quests in Zul’Drak and Icecrown to help you get your rep up. Ring of Northern Tears is a nice, cheap option until you get exalted.
Darkmoon Card: Illusion
Cost: Hopefully under 1K gold, depending on server
You can now buy these off the AH! Not an ideal item, but a ton of spellpower makes it attractive, especially as a starter trinket. The price seems to vary widely, at least on my server.
These are quest rewards – there aren’t a lot of good options for trinkets until you’ve got the 40 emblems to buy Sundial of the Exiled.
Gnomeragen Bonechopper (there is also a Horde version of the same weapon)
Cost: 25 Champion’s Seals from the Argent Tournament
Argent Tournament dailies are easy, quick, profitable, and can lead to this item! It’s a great weapon to start raiding with and very comparable to 10-man Naxx drops.
Faces of Doom
Cost: Probably a few hundred gold on your AH
Inscribers make this – the mat cost isn’t terrible and the stats are very nice. You can probably find a few on your AH at any time!
Cost: Revered with the Oracles
No great options here – if you choose the Oracles, this wand is just fine for the mage just starting out. You can also pick up Iceshrieker’s Touch from a quest in Storm Peaks.
So there you go! With some effort and gold, you can put together a pretty decent set of starter gear without ever setting foot in any kind of dungeon!
Tags: arcane mage, arcane mage guide, dps as an arcane mage, frostfire dps, frostfire mage, how to play arcane mage, how to play frostfire, mage dps in heroics, mage gear, starter mage gear, World of Warcraft