I posted last week about my initial experiences with the owlbear, writing that while many people have complained about how the hire is "useless" in higher-end content, especially with a party, that I found it useful for soloing.
I've now stopped summoning it even for my "mini-army" when I solo: I just use a humanoid hire and the panther. The reason? It was sucking down too much of the healer's mana for the amount of damage it was dishing out. (This is the level 17 one; I'm not high enough level for the epic one yet.)
There's clearly something wrong with this hire -- it just takes way, way too much damage relative to the stats it is supposed to have.
I find the lack of direct response from Turbine on this matter both disappointing and hard to understand. This was one of the reasons I preordered and got the extra package, and I currently don't feel like I've gotten my money's worth, which has soured me a bit on my purchase. As a result, I can't recommend that package to anyone else I know, which is a sentiment I've seen others also express. So Turbine is missing out on sales and money to pay for the expansion.
Based on my experience as a programmer, it seems likely that the flaws with the owlbear could be addressed relatively easily. I find it puzzling that this hasn't already been done, because a tiny bit of extra effort here would yield immediate financial rewards.