Area of effect damage has long been a thorn in the side of enhancement shaman. Through all of The Burning Crusade, we had no Maelstrom Weapon. Any Chain Lightnings we wanted to use had to be hard cast, which also meant giving up our auto-attacks for 1.5 seconds. Magma Totem was our premiere form of AOE damage, even though it was a stationary totem that ticked for extremely lackluster damage over 20 seconds.
To make things worse, until Wrath of the Lich King's patch 3.2, our Fire Nova ability was actually Fire Nova Totem. This was a totem you dropped that waited 5 seconds and then exploded and despawned. The only time this was ever not a DPS loss was if you dropped it 4 seconds before adds reached you and it exploded as they got into range. Magma Totem was higher damage per second during those 5 seconds than Fire Nova Totem, but it still rendered us the lowest area of effect damage-dealer in the game.
When patch 3.2 hit, we got Fire Nova. With a talented 6-second cooldown and the ability to be activated off any of our fire totems, it seemed to be the answer to our prayers. Unfortunately, it had pathetic damage. This was mainly due to its being used as a single-target DPS spell and an AOE DPS ability; since we used it anytime everything else was on the global cooldown on single-target fights, Blizzard couldn't buff the damage to be competitive in AOE fights. As a result, enhancement AOE spent the first three expansions of World of Warcraft being as mediocre as Fox Van Allen's writing ability.