The mage (plural: mages, magi) is a common magical class found in almost every game that includes classes. It is very similar in kind to the wizard or warlock.
The mage is often hard-hitting, but with poor defense. It uses magical attacks from afar, often in the form of things such as fireballs. Often uses these varied elemental attacks to exploit weaknesses in the enemy. As a magic class, in games that have such systems, the mage may require mana to use skills. The most common elements in a mage's arsenal are ice and fire-based attacks, although they may also often have electric or water abilities. Area of damage attacks are also very common in mages.
Most mages will not use weapons, and rely upon intrinsic magical ability alone. This is due to the fact they usually must hit from far away, and weapons are almost always close range. The primary exception to this is magic weapons, which are more likely to be able to hit from a distance.
Overall, the mage is very varied, usually possessing many different types of magical attacks of different elements in games where applicable, and of different uses to a team; some mages may be best at dealing heavy amounts of damage, but in other cases, a mage may be best at hitting from afar, and thus best shielded by other members of the team.
A high defense (or in games where it is a separate statistic, magical defense) is good to have when dealing with mages to counter their high attack. However, since a mage usually attacks from far away, being able to hit hard from a distance is valuable. If said attacks used are physical, this may provide even more of an advantage, as a mage is most likely to have low physical defense in a game where magical and physical defense are separate statistics.
Since most mages are low in defense, in a team, the other members should usually defend them while they attack from afar. Sending a tank ahead before them is often a good strategy.
Some mages may also be able to heal, making them very valuable. If they are hard-hitting, they may do well to focus primarily on healing themselves. If they are not, they should focus on other players (although still heal themselves occasionally, to prevent death.)
A mage, if of strong magic capability, is useful for attacking from afar and thus avoiding getting hits. If they also possess healing abilities, they can use these when they are hit, provided they maintain a distance from the enemy, and avoid their attacks. In a game where the player can move while using abilities, the mage may prove to be more useful, as they can heal while running away from any attacks thrown at them.
If the mage has many AoE attacks, they are likely to be useful for farming. However, AoE is more likely to be close-ranged, allowing enemies to get a chance to attack the mage, reducing its usefulness as a farm if it has the low defense typical of a mage.
Usually, the mage will be wearing robes that are white, or another bright color. They may be holding a staff or other magical weapon by default which serves no purpose to the user.
They may also levitate, in which case, they may be surrounded by a magical glow. This is a trait that is seen more in the psychic, however.
The mage tends to uniformly be a wise sage character type. They are usually quiet, reserved, and thought of as giving advice to other characters. If the mage is an NPC, they are likely to be a village elder, someone who leads the player through the tutorial or beginning stages, or both.
The mage is most often a sort of Lawful or Neutral Good, fighting for the path they believe to be righteous. If not, they are likely a bloodmage, deathmage, or some such other mage associated with the 'dark' arts.