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Thread: The Unofficial Mage Guide

  1. #1

    Post The Unofficial Mage Guide

    What is a Mage?

    Mages are the arcane base class. All arcane prestige schools (Sorcerer, Wizard, and Conjuror) must generally start with at least twenty levels of mage. Because it's a base class, there are no prerequisites to join mage. They also gain skill in all five arcane spell lines. This makes the mage class more versatile when compared to its prestige counterparts. Because mages have tremendous offensive capability, they play an important role in group combat. A mage's primary group role is to deal out damage, while at the same time trying not to draw unnecessary (and potentially fatal) aggression from enemies.

    What Race is best for Mage?

    Generally speaking, the races which start out with high power and focus will make good choices. But in actual practice, the racial differences are almost irrelevant. That being said... Fiends, Dryads, Gnomes, Humans, Elves, Satyrs, and Sslik are probably be the most common choice for a mage, or any spell casting school in general. (Listed in no particular order.)

    Why become a Mage?

    If you like a character that can do some major damage to enemies in a short amount of time, mage might be your choice. If you want to melee or heal well, mage is not the best choice. Above all, mage provides challenging and entertaining spell casting.

    Important Skills and Statistics

    Spell casting skills

    Skills like flame, ice, and energy are important for three major reasons. First of all, skill marginally adds to your damage with the respective spells. For example, a flame bolt cast with 1300 flame skill will hit a little harder than one with 1000 flame skill. Secondly, it marginally increases your chance to hit with those spells. For example, an ice bolt with 1100 skill behind it will generally hit more often than one with 900. Finally, spell skills dictate when you can use and scribe certain spells, because they are almost always a requirement for use.

    Combat statistics

    A mage's two most important combat statistics are power and focus. Power greatly increases the damage you do with all of your spells. Focus greatly increases your chance to hit with all spells. Unlike spell skill, small increases in power and focus make a large difference in how much damage you do, and how often you hit... for every single offensive spell your character has.

    Other skills

    This is not to say that the other skills mage gets are worthless, they just do not have as much influence overall.

    Noteworthy Abilities

    Burn Armor
    Gained at level(s): 3*, 34*, 54, 74, 94
    Burn armor is a quick casting debuff that lowers an enemy’s flame resistance. Using burn armor early in a battle can noticeably effect your flame damage overall. Each level increases the debuff amount.

    Gained at level(s): 4*, 24*, 44*, 64, 84
    Engulf is a great damage over time ability. It is great for boosting your overall damage, and it also is good for killing an “almost dead? monster that you are running away from. Each level increases the damage per tick.

    Mage's Maddening Trick
    Gained at level(s): 6, 26, 46, 66, 86
    Maddening trick is one of the best mesmerize abilities in the game. It can be a lifesaver in many situations. Each level of maddening trick increases the mez duration.

    Perfect Spell
    Gained at level(s): 9*
    Perfect spell is arguably one of the most useful level 9 abilities in the game. Once activated, offensive spells (and some abilities) are guaranteed to hit for 30 seconds, so long as the enemy is not immune to the spell.

    Gained at level(s) 10, 50, 90
    When active, this ability makes all your flame spells hit for 25% more damage. It is excellent for gaining an edge against difficult monsters. Each level of burnout increases the duration by 20 seconds.

    Gained at level(s): 18*, 58, 98
    Once activated, your next spell will have a chance to hit for 2, 3, or 4 more additional times, depending on the respective level of the ability. Multicast is great for putting up big damage numbers, fast.

    Magic Umbrella
    Gained at level(s): 30
    Magic Umbrella is a group aura that increases the magic evasion of all party members by 12%.

    Fusion Burn
    Gained at level(s): 36*
    All flame spells cast while fusion burn is active will ignore the target's armor. This ability is devastating when combined with burnout.

    Spell Barrier
    Gained at level(s): 70
    Spell barrier doubles your magic evasion for 30 seconds. You will not become totally invincible to spells, but a large majority spells directed at you will miss.

    * indicates that the ability is masterable, and can be used in other active schools. Example: perfect spell can be used in any other school once you hit 18 mage. You need twice the level you attained it to master it. (9 x 2 in the case of perfect spell) For this reason, no abilities above level 50 can be mastered due to the level 100 cap.

    For more basic information on mages, see the mage GamersInfo page at:
    torvos: shadow to chaos shard

  2. #2


    For this guide, I have chosen to break up combat into two major categories: Solo combat, and Group combat.

    Solo Combat

    Roughly the first 30 levels of mage can be called the beginner stage. In this stage, you get the tier I versions of all the spells you will use as a mage. Now is the time to practice spell combos that work, get to know the various mob nuances, and just plain figure out how to be a successful mage. The learning curve is steep, but once you master the basics the remaining skills will all fall in place with a little practice.

    Beginner Soloing

    Soloing at this stage can be both easy, and hard. The key to being successful is picking your battles. Mages are a frail class... you cannot take a beating very long and hope to win a fight. Explore around, and find out which creatures you do best against. The main priority is to keep the enemy at a distance, while blasting away at its health with your nuke spells. Often times you may be tempted to beat on a mob with your staff that has gone into melee range. My advice is to not get used to that. It may work great for the first 10 levels or so, but it's a habit that must be broken fast.

    Mid-level Soloing

    From about level 30-70 could be called mid-level soloing. I found the mid-level soloing to be the most difficult. The main reason it's harder is because the mobs get tougher as you get into the higher tiers. They have much more health, more armor, and will take more time to bring down. There is also a disproportional amount of melee mobs in the game, almost all of which can take down mage types really fast. Fortunately, there are some tricks that help ensure victory. The first is to chain cast different tiers of certain spells. Take binding crystals for example. An extremely necessary spell for a mage, that keeps mobs rooted through damage. Start the battle with tier I, when it breaks cast tier II, and when it breaks cast tier III... all while nuking away at the mob. Then repeat the process if necessary. Chain casting should limit the amount of time one melee mob can hit you to almost zero. (Currently, the timers on almost all of the tiered spells are not linked. This may change someday... so be ready for it.) Most big damage spells can be chain cast too: you could start with flame wave II, and follow it up with flame wave III.

    Another thing to master at this stage is the "just in case..." tactics. If a mez misses, if your control spells are on cool down, if your key abilities are on cool down, if you're low on health, if adds come... etc, you NEED to know your options (plural!) for these scenarios. The great thing about a mage is you have the flexibility to win a battle many different ways, with (or without) many different spells. Find easier mobs that provide some room for error, and practice things on them. Try killing them without any ice spells or without any mezzes. Try to kill 3-4 at once. See how long you can kill enemies without waiting for your health to regenerate. When it becomes easy, try it on stuff your level, or above.

    Learn some cool spell combos. By combos I mean more than 2 different spells/abilities that when cast in order accomplish more than just damage. Burn Armor + Debase + Engulf + Flame Wave, for example. And if debase misses... now what? I think you get the picture.

    End-game Soloing

    Past level 70 is the end-game stage. This is where you really have some fun posting huge damage numbers and destroying anything in your way. Once you get your entire tier IV and tier V, you can almost stop chain casting entirely, since the higher tier spells get the job done on their own. The only challenge to overcome is the considerable grind it takes to get to 100.

    Group Combat

    Group combat is naturally very similar to soloing, but there are a few new challenges. The primary challenge is not drawing aggro off the tank. You have to limit your damage output. Huge spikes of damage will draw aggro fast, and will create problems. The easiest way to keep aggro off you is to go "gentle" on the mobs from the start. Let the tank get the first few hits on the mob, hit the enemy with a debuff or DoT, and begin using a repeater spell (energy bolt is my favorite). Once the mobs health is low, switch to high damage and blast away to finish it off.

    Another huge aspect of grouping is crowd control (CC). Rarely will a full group be fighting just one monster at a time. It is a mage's duty to help control the masses of monsters for a smoother combat round. Mages have mez, root, and slowing spells to achieve this. A huge thing to keep in mind is that mezzes break on ANY damage! Therefore, you must let the group know which mob(s) your mezzing so they do not break the mez! You must also not try to mez monsters that have DoTs on them, since the mez will be broken by the DoT. Macros can be very helpful in alerting the group about mezzes. I cover macros later in the guide.

    Here is a list of some group combat priorities for a mage. I tried to order them by importance, but that is really dependent on the situation.

    1. See that the tanks have all the aggro. If they do not, use your CC to help keep stray mobs at bay, until they can re-establish it.

    2. Always see to it that healing classes are safe. Control any mob that threatens this.

    3. Throw the damage where it counts. Find the primary targets and go for them, because you don't want to damage the targets the tank is not hitting.

    4. Keep tabs on targets that you controlled. Mezzing and rooting targets will make them aggro you. When the group gets around to killing those targets, make sure you have some distance, and let the tanks take the aggro. Also be aware of the spell timers and re-apply control if needed.

    5. Always watch for adds. Mages are good at controlling them, so it should be your job to watch for adds, and keep them immobilized.

    6. Make sure you're always in range of the healer. If you have to run from a stray mob, try to run in circles around the healer or tank.
    torvos: shadow to chaos shard

  3. #3


    Spells are the bread and butter of being a mage. The more you know about them, the better you will become. Because you get five different spell skills, there are quite a few spells at your disposal. Exactly which spells you can get, when you get them, etc... I will leave for another guide, as it is a very extensive subject on its own. This guide will focus on more specific things about spells.

    Teching Spells

    One unique aspect of spells is their ability to be teched. Spells can be teched many different ways, and each way makes that spell work a little differently. You could add more range, more damage, debuffs, a DoT component, stuns... there are dozens of possibilities, and some better than others depending on any given situation. Each tier has a limit as to how many techs can be applied on a spell:

    Tier I and II spells can have one technique added to them.
    Tier III and IV can have up to two.
    Tier V gets up to three techs.

    So which techs are "best"? The question is very hard to quantify, but there are several teching schemes/combos that have been proven effective. I will list them by spell type.

    Here are the techs that can be applied to the offensive flame spells:

    Accuracy – gives a bonus to your chance to hit
    Range – increases the range of the spell as well as increasing the recycle duration
    Combust – adds a % chance to hit for extra damage. The extra damage ignores armor mitigation (base 10% chance)
    Flame Damage – increases the base damage of the spell
    Gale/Romp/Pierce – adds a % chance to do extra slash/crush/pierce damage (base 25% chance)
    Cinder - adds a % chance to lower fire resistance for a short amount of time (base 25% chance)
    Burning Damage – adds a DoT to flame spells
    Critical Damage – adds a % chance to do critical damage (base 10% chance, slash damage)

    A very important thing to mention is that % chance procs are affected by cast time. That is, your % chance to proc an effect will be higher on spells that take longer to cast.

    As you can see from the list, flame spells have many good techs to choose from. Before I outline some teching strategies, there are a few things to mention about a few of those techs. Burning damage will break mezzes! Remember that. Also, most of the % chance techs will not stack with each other. So you can only have one of them on any spell.

    I will only outline tier V teching strategies, since all you do in the lower tiers is just pick one or two out of the three that work best

    Scheme 1: Repeater spells, Nukes, AoE
    -Combust/Pierce/Gale/Romp/Crit (pick one)
    -Flame Damage

    I personally prefer combust over the other procs, since it deals massive damage, which ignores armor. However, for more consistent boost in damage, Gale/Romp/Pierce is the way to go. It will proc far more often (for less damage, and on some melee mobs their armor will reduce its effect to nil.)

    Scheme 2: Repeater spells, Nukes, AoE
    -Burning Damage
    -Flame Damage

    This would make a spell that hits for less damage, but it would add a DoT effect. It is worth mentioning that the DoT isn't a lot of damage. It will also make the mob pretty much un-mezzable for the next 20 seconds. The plus side of the DoT is when you and the mob have about 40 health left… you can run and let the DoT work.

    Scheme 3: Opening spells
    -Flame Range
    -Flame Damage

    Sear and Immolate are great candidates for this scheme. At the highest tier, you can pull a mob from over 50 meters away.

    Scheme 4: Economy version
    -Flame Damage

    If the added skill requirement is straining (generally the case with multiclassing) just do one tech. Damage is a solid tech on its own.

    Here are the offensive energy techs:

    Accuracy – same as above
    Concentrated – adds a % chance to increase your accuracy with energy spells by 50% for 30 seconds
    Range – same as above
    Energy Damage – same as above
    Gale/Romp/Pierce – same as above
    Junction – adds a 25% chance to lower the energy resistance of your target for 30 seconds
    Shocked – adds a % chance to slow an enemy’s attack speed by 15% for 30 seconds
    Stun – adds a % chance to stun the target for 3 seconds
    Critical Damage – same as above

    There are a few things to note about the energy techs. The stun tech only has three tiers (I, II, III.) This is a good thing, since it will lower the skill needed for scribing. The concentrated tech is similar, it stops at tier IV. Stun is considered one of the best techs in the game, for the obvious reason that it can stop an enemy’s actions.

    Scheme 1: Repeater spells, Nukes, AoE
    -Energy Damage

    This is probably the most common layout for energy spells. Stun on a repeater is amazing.

    Scheme 2: Repeater spells, Nukes, AoE
    -Energy Damage

    And this is another common layout. This build favors the chance to hit, instead of the increased damage from procs.

    Scheme 3: AoE, Nukes
    -Energy Damage

    This scheme is really three in one, since you can pick stun, shocked, or junction. Each has their merits, especially on the AoE energy bomb. Junction on an energy bomb is great for groups because your energy bomb will lower energy resistance, thus helping out others with energy attacks. Shocked will slow attack speed, which can be very useful on multiple creatures with fast attacks.

    Scheme 4: Economy version
    -Energy Damage

    If having those two techs is still too much skill-wise, I would drop the damage tech. Stun is too useful to pass up.

    I will now omit listing accuracy, gale/romp/pierce/crit, range, and damage since they are the same regardless of spell type. Here are the unique ice techs:

    Chill – 25% base chance to lower ice resistance for 30 seconds
    Freeze – % chance to root the target in place for 5 seconds
    Ice Snare – ice spells with this tech will slow the target’s movement speed
    Numbing – ice spells with this tech will lower the target’s evasion

    The numbing tech will conflict with the spell stinging cold since they both lower evasion. Also, the chill tech will interfere with the freeze spell. The freeze tech only has three tiers, and its effect will break on damage.

    Scheme 1: Repeater spells, Nukes, AoE
    -Ice Damage

    Applying freeze makes ice bolt almost as good as a stun teched energy bolt. Freeze is also great on nukes because it will stop a mob in their tracks after getting hit for big damage, which sets you up for a much easier second attack.

    Scheme 2: Repeater spells, Nukes, AoE
    -Ice Damage

    Here is the more accurate version of scheme 1. Naturally it has less damage, but more reliability.

    Scheme 3: Nukes, AoE
    -Ice Damage
    -Ice Snare/Numbing

    This scheme is pretty good for the opener spells like freeze. The snare is great since it will buy you a little more time on melee mobs, and the numbing is great for lowering their evasion. Ice snare and numbing are also wonderful on AoE.

    Scheme 4: Crowd control
    -Ice Damage

    This is a great scheme for binding crystals. It will give big damage and good chance to hit, which is very important for this spell. Additionally, the enemy’s evasion will be lowered, or their ice resistance will be lowered. It is absolutely devastating when followed with other ice spells.

    Scheme 5: Crowd control
    -Ice Damage
    -Ice Range

    Use this scheme for rooting enemies far away. As noted earlier though, adding range will increase the recycle on this very important spell.

    Scheme 6: Economy version
    -Ice Damage

    Here is the only tech that goes on mind spells:

    Derange – gives a % chance to lower power and focus by 15%

    Since there are four mind spells that lower power and focus by default, there are conflicts with this tech. The only spell it could be useful on is daunting mist, and numbing haze. But with so many melee mobs, lowering power and focus is really a wasted effort. My advice at this time is to leave mind spells unteched.


    Summoning has no unique spell techs. Summoning also has just two tech-able spells. They can take Gale/Romp/Pierce/Crit and Accuracy. It’s worth noting that summoning spells have very long cast times, and the % chance techs will proc more often. When coupled with the inherent two hit chance the spells have, summoning spells can be very devastating. One spell cast has the chance to have three damage components.

    Scheme 1: Nukes

    As noted above, this scheme will make summoning spells have three damage components. It will have the guaranteed spell damage, the chance for extra damage, and the chance for the teched damage. I have personally had ice hammers that hit for over 1000 total damage with the crit tech. It will be rare to get all three, but it’s a lot of fun when it happens!

    This may seem like all the teching strategies there are, but there is one more aspect that should be outlined. The above schemes are great spell teching schemes, but what are some good tier schemes? When you get into the endgame phase, you will often use tier IV and tier V spells together. What is a good way to increase the synergy between the tiers using techs?

    In my opinion, the best combo that can be achieved is to focus on teching the tier V with damage, and teching the tier IV with utility or debuffing. Here is an example of the concept using the binding crystals spell:

    Binding crystals IV
    -Ice Range
    -Ice Damage

    Binding crystals V
    -Ice Damage

    With this setup, the tier IV spell is cast first at range and when the creature gets closer, the tier V can be used. Utility on the tier IV and damage on the tier V.

    Here is one more example using energy strike:

    Energy strike IV
    -Energy Range

    Energy strike V
    -Energy Damage

    The ranged tier IV will debuff (attack speed, or energy resistance in this case) and the following tier V spell cast will take advantage of that.

    A great tool for playing around with spell techs is the HCC:
    Last edited by tjl; May 30th, 2006 at 09:03 AM.
    torvos: shadow to chaos shard

  4. #4


    Mage equipment falls into three categories:


    Armor – Mages can wear cloth armor. The damage mitigation from cloth is weak, so I would tech armor with spell casting in mind. Power, focus, and spell skills make great choices for techs. Any “holes? that those three things cannot fill should be teched with health, armor, and other defensive techs.

    Jewelry – The same goes for jewelry. I would get a set of power, focus, or health jewelry… and tech it with skills and stats.

    Weapons – You will almost never use a melee weapon for damage. Tech stats or skills, and add at least one crystal socket on a weapon. There are some crystals out there that proc on spell cast now, and they would be a great addition to a staff or dagger.

    And that is really all that there is to equipment. As an added note, it can be useful to have more than one set of jewelry or armor to maximize resistances or stats, but that can be costly.

    Again, the HCC program is great for making gear:
    torvos: shadow to chaos shard

  5. #5


    Every time you level up, you gain 12 training points to spend. Spending these wisely is important, since they can give you a considerable edge in combat. Mages are spell casters, so you will want to spend your points to augment magical combat. There are a few logical ways to go about spending the points:

    1. You can train heavily in the general spell casting stats such as Power and Focus, to give all your spells more damage and more chance to hit. (Recommended)
    2. You can train a mix of spell skill and stats, giving a more well-rounded approach. (Recommended)
    3. You can only train skills so you can receive teched spells sooner. (I do not recommend spending too much on skill)
    4. You can also train Health, Evasion, and Magic Evasion for more survivability. (I also do not recommend spending too much on these)
    As you can probably guess, I endorse power and focus over all others. My reasoning is that since mages are so oriented to spell damage, we should strive to hit as hard as we can, and as often as we can with our spells… even if we have to sacrifice survivability. It’s the "glass cannon" concept. As of the writing of this guide, my points are spent like option 2:

    600 power
    240 ice
    210 flame
    120 summon
    030 mind

    I put half of the points into power for a large boost to my damage. The extra points in ice, flame, summoning, and mind allows me to cast almost all tier V spells with techs on them. This is because I am multiclassed in all the mage schools. My weakness is low focus, which I feel I make up for in damage and spell versatility (and some luck )

    A pure mage (very fire oriented) would probably be best with:

    420 focus
    420 power
    360 flame

    This way you have all your tier V flame spells fully teched, and have a balanced chance to hit and great damage. You could change the power/focus ratio to be more damage oriented, or chance to hit oriented. It's all a matter of preference.

    600 focus/power
    240 power/focus
    360 flame

    Now go spend!
    torvos: shadow to chaos shard

  6. #6


    Multiclassing is one of the great features of Horizons. Unfortunately, the mage school does not mix with other schools extremely well. However, there are still many great multiclass builds available that feature mage. I will not get into the details of multiclassing in this guide. I will briefly discuss how a mage fits into the multiclassing picture as a whole, based on my experience.

    My current build is arcanist + some melee.
    100 mage, 100 wizard, 100 sorcerer, 100 conjuror, and 100 chaos warrior. I leveled those schools in that order. A build like this is very focused, yet flexible. Mage does get skill in all the spell schools, but a pure mage can't cast a lot of tier V spells due to lackluster gains in mind, summoning, and ice. By taking up the other mage classes, all your skills reach the tier V levels. It becomes easier to focus on one spell type. With 100 wizard it becomes very viable to just cast energy spells and almost nothing else.

    Some other great choices for mage:

    Battle Mage – Great offensive melee and can use mage spells
    Chaos Warrior – High damage output and can use mage spells. Chaos warrior mixes really well with mage because they both use two hand crush weapons.
    Knight of Creation – Great defensive melee and can use mage spells
    Healer – Gives a huge increase to focus statistic, provides great self buffs, and limited healing

    The main reason people take mage for their multiclass builds is the power. Mage gets the best power gains as they level. Additionally, there are a few low level abilities that greatly help other active classes.

    Craft classes also help when it comes to multiclassing. You can help your base dexterity and strength by taking weaver or fitter. Craft classes don't add any new abilities to your character, but they also do not affect your adventure rating.
    torvos: shadow to chaos shard

  7. #7


    If you right click a hotkey, you can choose “Edit hotkey? to make a macro for that hotkey. Macros are a list of instructions, actions, or commands that get performed when that button is pushed. You can do many different things using macros: text commands, cast spells, use abilities, equip or un-equip items, etc.

    To make a macro that announces to the group what monster is coming:
    From the “Add action type? dropdown choose text command, and enter:

    /g Incoming! Level %R% %T%! Located at [%L%]

    Once you have entered the text, click the + button to add the command. It should now be listed in the window. Choose an icon at the lower left, click on save, and you’re done!

    Let's say you had a level 7 maggot selected when you hit that macro button... it would say in group chat since we used /g:

    Incoming! Level 7 maggot! Located at [23420, 13900]

    The letters with the % are the main points of interest here. The %T% will display your current target, and %R% will show the rating of the target. Additionally, %L% will show the location. They are not case sensitive. %r% is the same as %R%.

    Another useful macro is one that notifies people what you mezzed, so they don't attack it on accident:

    First of all, do a few text commands:

    /g Mezzing level %r% %t%! Please do not break the mez and watch your AoE!
    /shout Mezzing level %r% %t%! Please do not break the mez and watch your AoE!

    (It's advisable to say it in more than just group channel. But don’t spam it too much.)

    Once finished with the text commands, find the use ability or cast spell on the dropdown (mezzes come in spell and ability form. Choose what is appropriate), and drag-and-drop your mez to the indicated location.

    After that, drag-and-drop the icon from the spell book or ability list to the icon square in the lower left. Doing this makes the button look the same as a regular non-macroed spell. You could also choose one of the pre-made icons if you want the button to look different. Access the pre-made icons by clicking that icon square in the lower left.

    It's worth mentioning that the macro option for text commands works for pretty much anything that you would need to type out. This includes /setprefs, emotes, /assist, /loot and so forth.

    You could make a button that turns off/on spell effects:

    /setpref effectson false
    (Add a 5 second wait, available from the dropdown)
    /setpref effectson true

    This makes a toggle button (sort of) that will turn off/on the spell effects. Click it and cancel the macro before the 5 second wait is over to turn them off, and click it and let the macro finish to turn them back on.

    To make a loot macro that selects the nearest corpse and loots it:
    Use two text commands.
    And add an icon.

    Here is a group invite macro:
    Add a text command
    /gi %t%
    And pick an icon.

    Here is the ever necessary “help me I’m a squishy mage? macro:
    Add the text commands for your message(s).
    /g Help me! I have aggro and can’t get rid of it.
    /g %t% will not leave me alone!
    And add the icon. The last thing you want to do while running from a monster is to type out a help message.

    It’s really simple, but effective. The possibilities with macros are limitless...
    torvos: shadow to chaos shard

  8. #8


    And that is it.

    Please feel free to add any feedback, suggestions, corrections, or other mage guides to this thread.
    torvos: shadow to chaos shard

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