In the coming days I am going to release a series of articles I call 'Playing the Specs'. I will be dealing mainly with the classes I have played to high levels successfully. First installation: The Frost Mage.
Spec Details - This is the spec I have used or planned out for use.
Level Ranges - The level range of mobs I can take above or below me.
Primary Focus - What the spec is best at.
Main Spells - The primary abilties that are the most important with this spec.
Gear - Sample gear to use with this spec.
Playing the Specs: Frost Mage
Spec Details - 0/0/61 Full Frost
Level Ranges - Normal: +2-4 Levels, Elite: +2 Levels
Primary Focus - Maximum Mana Efficiency and Survivability
Main Spells - Frost Bolt, Frost Nova, Ice Barrier, Ice Lance
Gear - Gear that is +Frost damage and +Crit is, in my opinion, (and Tobold's) the best way to go. Throughout my levels I used the various craftable and auction-house obtained gear sets that focused on frost damage. In outland I swapped those items out with gear that focused on +Int/Sta and +Dmg/Crit.
While soloing the primary focus of a frost mage is doing steady damage and getting high crits. Your main tactic is to frost bolt repeatedly while deviating to use Ice Lance (once you get it) to go for high crits with low mana usage. I will routinely frostbolt first when the unit is locked down and immediately ice lance as soon as the frostbolt flys. 98% of the time this tactic will yeild a hit with both spells taking advantage of the target's frozen state. Make sure to have your Ice Barrier up at all times so you can take a few hits without interruption. Frost is also excellent for AoE farming if you get the spec right.
While most people will argue that the IWIN button used by fire mages is the best for PvP but I beg to differ. There is no 'perfect' PvP spec. Ice Barrier prevents you from getting the old one-shot in most cases while your efficient mana usage allows you to keep the damage coming constantly.
Being mana efficient helps and Ice Barrier (once again) is your friend. Your ability to dish out the hits with high crits will keep you at the top of the damage charts. In those long boss fights I was the only caster that did not end up using their mana potions up. Evocation helps here but efficient mana usage with high damage output is very useful.