He's not talking about the mage mana system - he makes a good point, you're forced to attack normally to make any progress in skilling up as mage (i.e., if you nuke for a complete battle, the way it is now, you'll destroy the mob but you'll get 0 skill ups. Am I right? someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's how it works).
Your not restricted to doing only damage spells for skillups. If you nuke the mob to 0 in one spell its your own fault.
Also, the base attack works like melee, but technically its a magic attack. Just think of it as a crappy 0 MP damage spell.