Sick of questing now? Still only level 70? Tired yourself out from camping baby murloc cages in Borean Tundra, or opening crab traps in Howling Fjord?
Need to make some money?
If you’re a mage, all of this can be answered, and then some, with my frost-tastic Northrend AoE guide! In this post, I’ll teach you the ins and outs of gathering up a bunch of mobs and absolutely murdering them! And by the end, you should have the know-how to blizzard your way to 80!
Part the First: The level 70 Build!
This build picks up ALL of the necssary talents required to maximize your AoE grind. Let me break it down to you Talent by Talent.
Frostbite – Combined with shatter, allows for blizzard crits pretty much all the time.
Ice Floes – Gets your Frost Nova sooner, so you can use it just in case something goes wrong. If you’re lucky, you won’t even have to use it at all!
Ice Shards – Makes blizzard crits absolutely ridiculous.
Elemental Precision – guarantees that Frost Nova hits everybody. Just in case you have to grind on mobs 1 level above you, you don’t have to invest as much in Hit rating to achieve 100% accuracy.
Permafrost – Makes them go as slow as possible, giving you more time to hit with blizzard.
Piercing Ice – Increases blizzard damage.
Improved Blizzard – Makes them go even slower, giving you more time to hit with blizzard.
Arctic Reach – Lets you freeze more mobs with frost nova/Shattered Barrier. Also lets you blizzard after a blink.
Frost Channeling – Ensures that you don’t go OOM sooner than you need to. Also lets you do more pulls without having to eat/drink.
Cold Snap – Your panic button, in case something goes terribly wrong.
Cold As Ice – Gets your Ice Barrier back sooner, just in case you really need it.
Winter’s Chill – Increases the crit chance of Blizzard. Each blizzard tick applies a stack of debuff, so by the time you cast your second blizzard, you essentially have 10% increased chance of critting each tick.
Arctic Winds – Increases your blizzard damage. Also increases your dodge slightly, making your Ice Barrier last a tiny bit longer.
Fingers of Frost – Proc increases crit chance of Blizzard ticks by 50%, thanks to Shatter. It procs ALL THE TIME.
Summon Water Elemental – Take him only for the free ranged frost nova. Keep him on passive, so that he doesn’t aggro some random mob from one of your pulls.
Chilled to the Bone – Increases chill effect of your blizzard by another 10%, bringing the total to a disgusting 85%.
This minimal build is good enough to start grinding in outlands, but since we’re talking about Northrend, you have another 10 talent points to spend. If you are looking to do other things besides AoE grinding, I suggest putting the remaining points into Improved Frostbolt, Improved Water Elemental, and either Brain Freeze or Empowered Frostbolt.
If you want to really go pure AoE from 70-80 (although I really advise against it), go down the Fire tree and pick up World in Flames, which increases your crit chance of Blizzard by another 10%!
Part the Second: The Gear!
The most important stats for AoE grinding are Stamina, Intellect, Spell Power, and Critical Strike Rating. Stam and Int are important for staying alive long enough to cast your blizzard spells, and to make sure that you don’t run out of mana in the middle of a pull. Spell power increases (albeit slightly) the damage done by blizzard. Not as important as the other stats, but it’s very good to have. Besides, most quest reward gear give adequate amounts of spellpower anyways. Critical Strike Rating is good too, now that blizzard can crit.
Now for Trinkets, there are two items in the game that I’m glad that I saved up and/or quested for. The Lightning Capacitor and Thunder Capacitor. The Lightning Capacitor drops from Illhoof in Karazhan. Alliance-side, the Thunder Capacitor is a quest reward from a quest chain in Dragonblight given by the NPC Zivlix, located at 54,23, just north of Galakron’s rest. Anybody who knows details on how to get it horde-side feel free to drop off a comment.
Why I mention these two trinkets in particular is that they have stacking effects. Each tick tha crits will add a charge to BOTH items. Since Blizzard is going to crit A LOT, you’re going to have charges proccing left and right, dealing a whole ton of damage in the meantime. Testing naked on 6 theramore combat dummies, The two capacitors alone increased my DPS by about 800, compared to using the badge trinket and its brewfest equivalent.
Part the Third: The NEW AoE sequence!
Thanks to new features in 3.0, such as Blizzard critting, as well as Shattered Barrier, it’s easier than ever to take down multiple mobs. Just follow these easy steps!
1) Cast Ice Barrier. Wait for the cooldown to run down a bit.
2) Run around and gather some mobs. Make sure to just get into their aggro radius, rather than walking right into them, to minimize their damage done to you.
3) When Ice Barrier’s cooldown is up, cast it again as you wait for the mobs to gather around you.
4) Let the mobs pound on you until Ice Barrier breaks. Shattered Barrier will freeze all the mobs in on space.
5) As soon as it breaks, BLINK AWAY, RIGHT AWAY. Make sure you blink to a spot that’s not close to another mob.
6) Turn around and cast Blizzard, making sure that the farthest edge of the targetting circle is touching the frozen mobs.
7) Cast blizzard again when the channel is close to zero. Make sure to aim it so that they walk right into the blizzard as its being cast.
8) Repeat #7 as necessary. Thanks to the snaring talents, You can fit up to 3 blizzards before they reach you. With adequate gear, you should be able to kill them before they reach you as well. If not, then Frost Nova, Blink, repeat.
Alternatively, for #3-4, you can simply frost nova while your Ice Barrier is still up, but I prefer to save that for just in case you pull another mob to you while you’re in the middle of a sequence.
Also, If you have Water Elemental out before you start the pull, you can have it cast freeze during the first cast of Blizzard, so they stay in one place. They’re also good for protection, just in case a mob breaks free, or aggros you from elsewhere during the sequence.
Part the Foruth: Grinding on Yellows!
Some of the best mobs that can be AoE’d do not have an aggro radius at all, and will only attack if they are provoked by an attacker. These exist mainly in the form of animals scattered around the place. You can find some that noticeably travel together in formation, thus they can be AoE’d at once, without having to lure each to a particular spot.
However, there’s usually a “bull” version of that mob that does have an aggro radius, so it’s wise to grab that one and lure it to the rest of the pack. Once you meet up with the rest of the pack, use Arcane Explosion to aggro the entire group, and continue with the grind, either by Shattered Barrier or Frost Nova.
Part the Fifth: IDEAL GRINDING SPOTS!
Just remember, this method works ideally when you gather a group of mobs that are purely melee-class. You don’t want to be pulling any ranged classes or casters. Sometimes there are mobs that charge after aggroing, which completely disrupts the pulling process. So skip these. Here are a few of my choice favs.
Gorloc Waddlers and Gorloc Steam Belchers, Borean Tundra
These guys are scattered close to the coast, just south of the geyser fields. You can probably grab a good number of them and then lure them onto the main path, ensuring that you don’t aggro anything else. Just start at one edge of the stretch and work your way down to the other edge. When you get back to the first part, there will be respawns. Excellent group.
Iron Dwarfs, Howling Fjord
There’s a large line of them surrounding the excavation. You can pull a few of them, but don’t do too many, since their attacks leave a stackable DoT that is sure to kill you. A caster patrols the area, but you can pull it separately from the pack without too much trouble. Respawn is fairly good.
Wastes Diggers, Dragonblight
These guys have stackable DoT’s as well, so watch out and don’t pull too many at once. You can rotate between excavation pits and they should respawn by the time you get back to the first one. The Taskmaster is ranged, so be sure to pull him seperately when he patrols to the edge of the area.
Scarlet Onslaught, Dragonblight
Northeast of Wintergarde, there’s a large encampment of Onslaught mobs that are purely melee. there are so many groups here that you can have a field day with multiple pulls and respawns will occur when you go back to the beginning.
OH MAN. There are a few herds that gallop in groups of 8-10. These are the ones you want to go for. OH BOY ARE THEY GREAT TO GRIND ON. Remember. Arcane explosion to have the circle collapse on you, then Frost Nova in place. Highly Recommended!
Venture Corp., Sholazar Basin
JACKPOT! The entire Venture Corp Encampment on the northwest side of the Suntouched Pillar is made of melee mobs. Plan out your pulls, and be sure to stay a safe distance from the “boss” mobs. They’re not elite, but they have some nifty ablities that can throw off your pull by a lot. As you work your way through the encampment in a circuit, you’ll hit respawns again. As a tailor, I get about 3 or 4 stacks of Frostweave in 10 minutes of AoE’ing here. Great experience as well.
Skeletal Runesmiths, Icecrown
MEGAJACKPOT! Once you hit 77, you can start “attempting” to grind on these guys. All the mobs in the area are level 80, so you will need quite a bit of hit rating to ensure that Frost Nova never misses on a single person if you’re only 77. There are two elongated, slightly elevated platforms with mobs on each side of them. If you do a circle around one of them, you’ll grab mobs from three of the four sides. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can pull all four sides. With the large amount of mobs aggroed, your ice barrier will break early for sure, so remember to refresh it in the middle of the pull, and to give some time for your cooldown to go down somewhat before you start the pull. Ice Blocking before casting Nova is an asset, and highly advised for such a large number of mobs to pull.
The best part? The respawn timer here is ridiculously low. Once you finish the pull, loot, and run off to the side to drink, they will instantly respawn by the time you’re ready to start another pull.