Reading the Mage Q&A last week I couldn’t help but stop at this point and wag a finger in the air in a silent expression of agreement:
Ghostcrawler: We used to call the mage the master of AoE damage, but we’ve since decided that’s not a great niche for anyone. The “AoE class” feels mandatory in situations where you do have large crowds of enemies to contend with, but then the AoE class gets bored when everyone else is maximizing their single-target damage on a boss.
How long have I been preaching this, or at least something very similar, on the subject of the champion class in LotRO? How long have I been pointing out, that the ability to totally destroy X trash-goblins at once can’t be regarded even remotely crucial? How long have I been shaking my head at the “kings of AoE” notion, because it’s a trait that tends to become less relevant, the more challenging an encounter gets (hint: when “pull together and nuke” is a valid strategy, the encounter can be safely classed as “trivial”)? How much effort did I put into streamlining my skill rotation and gear to reach for unexpected levels of single-target DPS-output (all your right-side slugs are belong to me!)? How disappointing was it, when starting with MoM champs were more and more pigeonholed into a niche only justified by the lacklustre content? I’ll tell you: so disappointing, that I eventually quit the game (although that was caused by many, many reasons, not only this one).
See, I know Blizzard has their own track of questionable design decisions. But quotes like the above make me hope, that these guys at least understand what this thing is they’re working on. That, and when you move to a new garden, you always want the grass to appear greener than in the old one *grins*