A Mage is a powerful casting class capable to do immense amounts of damage and control the enemies.
While using Arcane, Fire and Frost a Mage is definitely one of the best damage dealing classes in WoW. Mages are known to do great Area of Effect (AoE) damage with several great abilities and be able to control both enemy NPCs and players with Polymorph, Frost Nova and the like.
The downside of a Mage is that one usually has low hit points and his cloth armor doesn’t help with his survivability. He does have spells to keep enemies at bay though or to cast an Ice Block which makes the Mage immune to any damage for a period of time.
A mage is incapable to heal or tank so damage dealing is his main purpose. The Mage does have other abilities that make him wanted in many groups and PvP teams. Like said before, the Polymorph ability is great to control mobs because it turns a Humanoid or Beast enemy NPC or Player into a Sheep, Turtle, or Pig. A Mage can also teleport to other cities and even make portals so others can benefit from his ability. Another reason why a Mage is always welcome in a group is his ability to conjure food and water which is especially welcomed by healers that otherwise would have to buy their mana drinks.
These abilities also come in very handy while leveling. Being able to teleport will save a lot of time on the long run and making food and drinks whenever one pleases is also a time and money saver.
The Mage can also buff himself with Arcane Intellect and has several magical armors he can choose from. He can also cast Arcane Intellect on his party or even entire raids.
One nice thing that is nice to know is that Dalaran, the capital of Northrend, is a Mage city. The Kirin Tor is a faction of Mages and all the Mage players start with Friendly reputation towards this faction.
The Mage class can be played by Gnomes, Draenei, Humans, Trolls, Blood Elves, and Undead players.
Mages have three talent builds namely Arcane, Frost and Fire. You will run into mages that have specialized in any of these talent trees because they all have pros and cons. It is up to your own preferences to whatever build you would like. I would advise you, if you intend to make a Mage, to try out several builds to see what you like best and not just follow anybody else’s opinion.
I can tell you though that the Frost Build is quite nice to level because it doesn’t burn your mana away that fast and you have several nice abilities like the Water Elemental and Ice Barrier which absorbs damage. At 80 this build is still nice and can be seen quite often in PvP.
Then there is the Fire build which focuses mainly on single target damage, even though also two AoE spells become available in this tree.
It was never really worth it to go 100% Arcane until the WotLK arrived. With some new talents and a bigger variety of damaging attacks this build has become a lot better and is now also a great build for PvE and PvP. Arcane is also often used for Hybrid builds (Frost/Arcane, Fire/Arcane).