Going to Valdemar Regnum (the "invasion map that disup was talking about) is mandatory to level to 70. You can only get to about 61 or 62 in Skulleron (more commonly called Pando). You might be able to get EXP after that in Cryptic Throne, but it won't take you al the way to 70 for sure. VR can quite often be peaceful though so you could have plenty of time to level up there without needing to worry about the other faction killing you. When they're invading the map you could just leave. lol
As someone else suggested, you really need to make a hard mode. Easy mode is just pointless. In my opinion, you might as well learn with hard mode because easy and normal mode are pointless. So since you'll be starting a new character anyway, you could go to another server if you wanted.
I'm on the server Teos. If you happen to stop by, whisper me. My name is TLA_pRotECter (a hard one, I know, just remember the letters for "REC" is capitalized in "protecter"). I'd be glad to help you in any way I can. I know quite a bit about mages myself and might also have some old gear you could have.
Easy mode is pointless, agreed. Normal Mode has became pointless since you now can start with HM. Right.
I still believe that NM, even EM, had a place in the game design. Nowadays the game is full of n.oo.b.s. which are UM but have no glue about basic gaming.
I have a NM lv 58, but still do better in PVE parties than many HM/UM, many player tell me so. I know, that this one is weak compared to a HM/UM pvp toon, but thats not the point here. I just suggest to learn the game mechanincs, read the forums not just rely on the HM/UM stat points.
For ginding / leveling, I would suggest Pando up to level 56 (just turn your mage into a water mage with a appropriate water weapon) and go for upper fire mob there. Then you may go after fire mob in jungle too.
Unfortunately there is no fire mob after that, so for level 58-60 I'd suggest wind mob in dd1-dd2 with a fire staff or against water mob with earth staff. Ele lapis level 1 are cheap nowadays, so just take what ever you need.
I guess after lv 60 is leveling in Regnum the best, like tiamats4esgares suggestet.