Second up in the class Q&A (Shamans were first) are Mages, those lovable glass cannons. Or are they? The Q&A opens with Ghostcrawler discussing public perception of the class, with a prompt of "a lot has changed since the days when the 'glass cannon' description was applied."
GC describes the mage as "the iconic caster:" deals magic damage from range. They should be versatile enough to do single-target damage, AoE damage, and crowd control, and every group should want one. (I'm noticing a trend here -- GC also described Shamans as a class every group should want. I guess every group should want all classes.)
They like the different feel between the three trees is in a good place, with Frostfire possibly providing a fourth aesthetic. They have decided that "king of AoE" is no longer a good niche to put any class in, so now they're trying to give both AoE and single-target to all DPS specs (with "extra effort" to make sure mages do good AoE).
Why has Mage seen fewer changes than other classes during Wrath? "By and large, the class works." Not that it's perfect, but it's in pretty good shape.
This is something that's never occurred to me before. GC says one thing that makes Mages unique is that each spec is centered on one spell (like Fireball). Procs and cooldowns keep this from getting boring.
Mages are still a glass cannon (compared to the other cloth classes), and they're meant to be - escape abilities should be your main way to keep alive.
People are concerned that itemization supports Fire over Frost. GC responds that the design isn't to have Frost use vastly different items than Fire; they feel that some work is required here. They're making "a big pass" on talents and stats to try to help this for all classes.
Will mages get robes or the option of robes over tunics going forward? Answer: "this is not a huge priority for us at this time" (translation: we don't care).
Broadly speaking, the philosophy is that healers might run OOM if they're undergeared or misplayed, but DPS players should not run OOM. To support this, they are "likely" to lower the mana costs of the major mage nukes.
Is mage AoE too expensive? Well, they don't want casting Blizzard on one or two mobs to be attractive; efficiency is still good on many mobs. Some other mage spells could use boosts to make them as efficient as Blizzard.
This doesn't really fit into mana efficiency, but: they're considering making Spell Steal only steal spells that are beneficial to the mage.
Arcane is "a little bloated." The Warrior Prot tree and the Paladin Ret tree are good examples of talent trees they like - fewer required talents, more points to spend on "fun play-style choices."
They are not concerned that Torment the Weak is considered a mandatory talent for all mages; they don't think it's needed for Frostfire, and they don't think it's a problem for Frost or Fire to sub-spec into Arcane. Oh, mandatory Arcane points, will you never leave us?
There are plans to improve Fire in PvP, though the think it's "more important" to fix classes that have "no viable specs" for Arena. They do want to improve Dragon's Breath for PvP.
Fire's threat does concern the devs; they want to fix it through Invisibility (which they are changing to be uninterruptable in patch 3.2).
As ever, they want to make Frost PvE viable, but without over-buffing it in PvP. Ice Lance is a target for a buff, though they're not sure how to do that yet.
The Q&A wraps up with a question about Blink, and its many failings. GC recognizes that one of the places it seems to fail the most is in the WSG tunnels; they're working on it. They say if you have a Blink bug, the most helpful thing is to report it on the Bug Report forum with specifically where it was that the failure occurred, so they can hopefully fix the maps.
That's the end of the mage Q&A. Not a whole ton of substance here, but this fits with GC's assertion that Mages are mostly alright. Next up? Mages' arch-rivals, Warlocks.
Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. WoW.com will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!