Hello there fellow MMO-Championers
In this thread I would like to say my own opinion on the three mage specs we have at the moment and why/when you should pick each one.
My main Character is Elynae located in Auchindoun EU and I am a 574 Frost mage
This spec is a very easy spec to learn, but very tough to master. If you are kind of a newbie as a mage you shouldn't progress with your raid using Arcane. It has the stigma of being a 2-button spec, but it is the spec with the highest skillcap (maybe Feral Cats have a higher skillcap but ohwell). To master this spec you must master your mana management and you need to have excellent reaction times. Your rotation changes a lot with the 4-set from Siege and to be competitive you need to practice alot.
The pros to this spec is that it has a very strong burst and single target damage, and you can time things perfectly in order to instant cast Arcane Barrage and deal +- 850k damage to one target + the inherent cleave. It can be very rewarding to play and currently is certainly within the top 5 dps in single target damage.
The negatives of this spec are it's mobility. As you are forced to use Rune of Power to perform well, you greatly diminish your dps when moving. It is also a fairly difficult spec to master and can cause a lot of frustration when you cast one extra Arcane Blast when you shouldn't do so.
You should pick this spec if you are in a 25man Guild and you can fulfill the role of a turret. That means that you stay immobile during the fights and just focus on pulling maximum dps. You shouldn't use this spec while on low gear (Be at least 555+). Make sure you have trained on dummy's and LFR (yes people i know life sucks) and then use it on progression raiding. In general the more you learn the fights as arcane, the more prepared you shall be and the more dps you shall do in each pull. It is certainly worth a try but can be very frustrating to play when the whole raid decides to re position right after you dropped your rune.
The Fire mage is a spec that has multiple pro's and con's and is currently the trend for most end game mages in this day. Fire has the trademark skill of Combustion which has been nerfed to the ground since MoP yet still remains a very powerful spell. The spec certainly feels "fiery" and is also very rewarding to play.
The pros of a Fire Mage is his extremely good scaling. The more gear you get, the more Crit you get which means that you get more Pyroblasts more ignite etc etc. It has a very strong burst and cleave (with the Burst on F.E Protectors reaching 1.5 million dps) and when you have the gear for it it has some nice big numbers with those instant Pyro's.
The RNG factor of the Fire Mage is one of the reasons I personally don't like the spec. It does get better the higher your item level is, but it is still very annoying to cast 3 Fire Blasts with 50% crit and get fucked by the gods of RNG. Inferno Blast does fix this inconvenience with ensuring some hits, but the sad truth is that at one time you can do everything right rotation wise and get mediocre dps, and the other time to have no idea what you are doing and top Methods meters.
You should only play Fire if you have the gear for it. It is a mobile spec and it has very nice burst, but in low gear it's garbage. Certainly worth a try but make sure you have some Heroic Siege pieces before you go for it
This is the most stable spec you can play, especially if you just dinged but it's also very rewarding in End Game Content. (I am using it on Heroic Blackfuse progress). It is very underrated especially because of the low skillcap necessary to play it. It's a see the notification and react kind of spec with only involving dot-clipping and smart use of Ice-Lance + Icicles for burst. Still a very rewarding spec to play and the only competitive way to go up untill 550+ item level.
The mobility of a Frost Mage is unrivaled by the other specs. We have a wide array of instant casts and for SoO there are almost no fights where you have to be on a constant move (considering then Fire becomes better due to scorch). We also have the best consistent damage of the 3 specs and a consistent cleave through our Glyph of ice Lance. I have beaten a competitor Fire Mage on Fallen Protectors with my cleave, purely because mine is so consistent and his is much more Bursty. We excel in longer fights rather than short/bursty ones. Also the extra stun and pet freeze are nice.
The negative of the frost mage is the numbers and the burst. We do not produce hard hitting spells so you will never see something hit for 850k like in arcane. This doesn't mean we don't do high dps, but instead of f.e 1 hit every 2 seconds for 850k, we do 2 hits every second for 425k.
Another huge negative factor is the fact that our RNG is completely random and we have control over it through 2 spells where one is situational. Fingers of Frost proc at a flat 15% rate and only Frozen Orb can guarantee a FoF proc. Brain Freeze does proc more often due to the extra dot ticks you get, but it's still a flat %based chance.
You should definatelly use this spec when under 550 item level, but after that it's on par with the other 2. It has a low skillcap so if your mage is an alt and you want some time to learn how to use him to the fullest potential frost is a viable spec.
Cheers to Akraen for making me a passionate Frost mage