after you upgraded your fireball or etc damage? seems like the rest just gives you some really minor stat bonus and a huge resistance at the end which seems kinda pointless.. --- oh admonishing melody, arise in the name of the necromancer!!! MYSTIC CAGE!!! - blast you into oblivion :P
I believe that the elemental magic skills are made fairly weak beyond the improved bolt perk to free up skill points for spellcraft. As for spellcraft, the sooner you get started, the better. Those willpower bonuses make a substantial difference in the long run. --- The most important thing to remember about sword-chucks is that they are almost as dangerous to your opponent as they are to you.
I did air skill until it gave me the party bonus. My first playthrough I was decimated by the wyverns shooting lightning, so I got an air mage to get lightning shield, and the wyverns are only there for like 2 lvls.... Seems kind of pointless to have a mage though..... unless its an ice mage.
in worse case, mages are there to cast enchant arrow so I can keep my dam to max :p
you could say mages are a little clumsy to work on, since all spells need you to press the runes to cast, but if you are fast, have a good memory, and know how to time right, you ahve a good utility class there to help or do damage, I also would say to no just keep one kind of spell raise one for at least cast the basic one so you can deal with ones resistant to your main spell line --- FOR HONOR, FOR FREEDOM.... and some money
Fast and good memory isn't always essential for using a mage. Just have your spell runes punched in advance so as soon as you see the monster you can unleash on them. Even the basic fire spell which requires only one rune is handy in a fight - especially against groups.
Given how powerful the upgraded fireball spell is, you often won't need to do much extra punching in runes since your enemy will die pretty quickly.