Well our argument goes as this: you point out the similarities, I point out the differences. It will not end and the argument is about as pointless as it gets, so lets just agree to disagree.
Just because the spells are slightly different, ( and I do mean slightly, demon armor is the mages ice armor, used when getting completely shit on or about to be, fel armor and mage armor both serve a purpose in playing offensively ) doesn't change anything about their gameplay mechanics. To say warlock don't control or set up damage ( succubus comes to mind here, if you want to argue that, then felhunters are excellent for controlling caster teams by stopping their CC and shutting down their damage, they're also amazing for offensive play when used to double spell lock healers upon going for kill attempts )
Lileith, while your post is too long to quote, and I couldn't easily find bits to snip out, it was a very nice argument and I find myself agreeing with you over lots of the points. I think you are somewhat correct in that a damage reduction would be an incorrect direction to take for the mage.
There were some holes in your logic though, you presented an either or scenario for mage balance where it is either, "be CC'd 50% of the time and have ridiculous burst abilities" or it is "be CC'd 20% of the time and have more consistent damage". While under those circumstances it would always be desirable to go for the latter, things are not always so clear cut.
To elaborate further, mages have a lot of the supplementary tools to make a kill- deep freeze, counterspell. In Cataclysm they will also have the improved sheep which looks like it could be important in engineering kills. To the opponents team, shutting down the CC is just as important as shutting down the damage, this makes the mage very dangerous in that regard. To summarise, there is much more to a classes effectiveness than bare damage.
On the topic of damage, I hope mages will have damage very similar to that of other casters. With the changes to resilience (no longer reducing crit % chance) and to shatter, hitting into a deep frozen target will be almost guaranteed crits, which is comparable to the chaos bolt/ lava burst. While I hate those abilities and personally think the reliable burst of shatter is far easier to balance (compared to CB/ LB which if everything crits can wotlk people).
Damage is also supposed to go down relative to health bars in Cata, this will reduce the chance of the aforementioned abilities to gib people, and lessen there effectiveness closer to simply the damage they provide. In this situation it closes the gap in "dangerousness" between an un-CC'd mage and an un-CC'd caster, lessening the need for mage armour.
With the introduction of time-warp, not being able to effectively CC the mage will be very penalising for the opposite team and will probably present a plethora of balance problems. Since we are familiar Blizzards approach to this, they may just as easily may tackle mage burst and damage (hurting mages a lot outside time-warp), as they would tackle the source of that particular problem, mage armour.
I have said this already, so it is dredging up old arguments:rolleyes:, but I said that mages already do have lots of ways to avoid and remove CC. All healers will have a magic dispel as well which will lessen the overall impact, in a sense mages wont be so reliant on running with a priest.
My last point is that mage armour's initial conception seemed (to the community at least, better us not knowing Blizzard's intentions) to be as mages defence against dots! It was only this expansion that it was implemented, and if people are changing their tune about it where the same balance rules apply as to when it was implemented then it suggests that it was not doing its job properly. Mages weren't especially affected by CC in TBC and I doubt it would become too much of an issue in Cataclysm with MA changed. If CC does become an issue then it would be better in exploring solutions in other ways than simply providing a passive ability that affects every CC. The underlying problem is that there is no counter to mage armour. It will always be there and there is nothing the opposing team can do about it other than ignoring the mage (which is pretty appalling balance design).
I really liked your argument though!