The last time we spoke, Arcane was the name of the game. Dealing with each of the types of mages is a challenge for me, seeing as how I play a blended spec myself. But more than simply talking about how one might considering speccing your mage (we'll get to that later) this series of posts is a discussion of the nature of the three types of mages themselves.
For a long while I was a Frost Mage, and I capitalize the term because it seemed like such a stiff, formal affair whenever I talked about my talents. All my damage was built into the frost spells on my bar, and I barely touched any of the others. While not the most imaginative when it comes to instance groups, the Frost Mage was definitely strong in the PvE realm of the game. Many of the talents available in the Frost tree include chill effects, those effects designed to slow your enemy. This makes this particular spec excellent for soloing, since you are able to freeze your enemies in place for longer periods of time with Improved Frost Nova, slow vast armies with Improved Blizzard, and Crit your way to victory with Shatter.
The first instance where I really saw the power of the Frost spec was Scholomance, that evil school for necromancers north of the Hinterlands. There is a zombie pull in that instance that is tough at the proper level, and even more difficult if you don't have Improved Blizzard. With this handy little skill I was able to Frost Nova the exploding zombies in place, hop down to the bottom floor and burn them down with my lovely AoE spell.
When they added the water elemental into the mix, I was totally in love. Squishy was by my side whenever the countdown was available. I loved having the added DPS, and a second long-distance Frost Nova came quite in handy, especially in instances. Control is the name of the game with the Frost spec, control of your resources, control of your enemies, control of your aggro. Adding a second player for a little while into the fight adds an additional level of control other mages simply don't have. Rest in Peace, Squishy, wherever you are.
In the history of the class, Frost was traditionally the PvE spec, being that so much of the talent tree was about holding off enemies while you drowned them into oblivion. However, with the addition of the arenas into the game, PvP mages swear by the Frost talents, with one in particular: Ice Block. Extending your life even for a little while in an arena fight is essential, and with Cold Snap as your instant reset button (a little nerfed recently with the addition of the Hypothermia debuff, but still viable for the longer arena showdowns) a Frost mage is a formidable opponent in PvP. For me this takes a little rearranging of my magey belief system, since I played so long in an Azeroth where Frost was exclusively a PvE spec. But times change, as so must our perceptions. PvPers out there, which are your favorite Frost spells for the slaughter of the opposing faction? I'd love to hear which pieces of the spec you find most useful.