This 'guide' will explain the upcoming mage changes in cataclysm as well as anything I have figured out or have assumed from some research. Enjoy!
Flame Orb (81): Similarly to Taldaram's Conjure Flame, Mages will be able to conjure a ball of flame that flies in a straight line. Enemies near the path of the ball will take damage. It is possible that there will be a Fire talent that makes the ball explode when it reaches its destination.
Curtain of Frost (83)Creates a 30-yard wide curtain of frost somewhere in front of the caster. The curtain will slow down enemies that try to trespass it, and will do damage on them
Time Warp (85)Grants a passive haste buff to party and raid members. The buff will be similar to Bloodlust/Heroism and will be exclusive with either one, sharing the Sated/Exhaustion debuff. Time Warp will also give the Mage a temporary movement speed boost, which can still be gained while Sated or Exhaustion.
Personally i love these new spells, they add a new role for mages with the Time Warp (85) spell, as well as adding AoE a little more interesting rather than just blizzard spamming.
Flame Orb (81) adds a great new AoE because in those instances when mobs must be apart from each other we can still hit everything by just getting in line with them.
Curtain of Frost (83) just made mages a little more deadly in PvP... not only do we have frost spells to slow people down with this spell we can cast it and blink away and nuke that fool as he/she is stuck running through that, absolutely awesome for kiting especially because we dont have to channel it. That mixed with Time Warp (85) makes us probably the best class for PvP (although i have to see the full arena rules for cataclysm to kow if this spell is even allowed).
With the specs becoming smaller and simpler it makes for easier spec making, personally i think fire will become the new raid dps as arcane seems to have drifted more into a pvp style spec and frost still maintains its leveling potential. With this spec Here you spec into many talents that cause damage over time and cause you to increase your haste for quicker attacks while not being forced to add uselss talent points into things just so you can reach a lower teir in the spec, however looking into the arcane tree into a spec like this you see were forced to spec into things like Improved Counterspell and Prismatic Cloak just so you can reach the bottom of the teir, you can also see that many of the universally good points are at the top thus stating that other specs should possibly be used. as well as none of the other points in the other trees are good for the arcane tree which forces us to put it into something that doesn't give us much benefit.
Now if you look into the frost spec you'll see a lot of things that are useful for leveling but not much for raiding or instances ... many slow effects, survivability, decreased cool downs, and not many damage increases or raid buffs clearly making this the leveling spec.
Arcane Missiles is being redesigned to become a proc-based spell. Whenever the Mage does damage with any spell, there is a chance for Arcane Missiles to become available, similar to how the Warrior’s Overpower works. The damage and Mana cost of this spell will be reworked to make it very desirable to use when available. This change should make gameplay more dynamic for the Mage, particularly at low levels.
Mages will be unable to conjure food and water until level 38, with Conjure Refreshment you will be able to summon food that restores both health and mana.
Both of these things don't exactly effect the higher level mages but rather the lower level ones because if i am right and arcane is not the desired raiding spec then Arcane missiles become a useless spell, also the food conjuring doesn't effect us at all unless we are below level 38... so to all you wanna be mages i suggest you level up past 38 before you get gypped into buying your own food and water like those other classes
Mages have become much more desirable now because of our new skills, Damage output, and new mechanics. I believe arcane is the new PvP spec because of these reasons:
1. The spec clearly screams pvp with its:Nether Vortex
, Improved Blink, Improved Polymorph, Incanter's Absorption, Prismatic Cloak, and Improved counter Spell. Which makes the spec look somewhat like this depending on what the kiting abilities are like.
The Arcane missile mechanic also adds to it because it sounds like any damage caused could trigger arcane missiles.
The new spells also allow for some nice kiting strategies like mixing imp Polymorph with imp blink and curtain of frost plus Nether vortex adds for some really nice and easy kiting 1v1 or even 2v1 if you just poly one guy and focus down the other not to mention that fact that you'll have partner(s). And to top it all off Time Warp makes things that much easier with the imp haste and allows you to nuke even quicker!
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts assumptions and new tactics for cataclysm mages, leave your thoughts on mages or this guide in a comment if you want.
*Information from WowHead"