You have a good point. But, the Major versions are broader so you get to use them more often. In that respect, if someone offered me a free Magical Focus I'd be inclined to go for the Major.
But it does raise a bugbear of mine and that is that the focus rules are a little wooly. We had the discussion here on whether a focus applied to the lab activity when enchanting an item that matched the focus (does the focus: swords apply when enchanting a sword with a CrAq effect?) and that wasn't as clear-cut as I thought it might be.
Personally, I would have preferred the breadth of the categories to remain constant (Wolves, Swords, Gold, Memories, Pictures, or whatever) but the scope to change from Minor to Major (rising from applying to Casting Totals to including Lab Totals with the step up).
I think it would have made it a little cleaner rather than trying to decide whether the breadth was right for the level and then deciding whether it applied to lab totals or not.
They are more caracterful for sure. I am designing a wolf mage for my (SG, so hardly ever played) ex miscellanea. He has appeared in a few occasions already, but he lacked hard numbers so far. I am having lots of fun with his spells, like versions of PoF using a momentary leaping wolf and mentem effects dealing with fear of the night and wolf howls.
The major versions are more number-crunching ones than to really add character to the mage.
I like Mark's version of it. Sounds extremely sensible to me
I think you are sometimes correct. Conveniently, Mythic Blood comes with a minor =)
I think what you suggest is true when it comes to basing a focus on a "thing" noun. When a focus is based on an "idea" noun, I'm not so sure. Consider these less interesting minors paired with better majors:
Necromantic Control (minor)
Metamagical Enhancement (minor)
Movement of Metals (minor)
Weather Control (minor)
Weather Effects (Major)
I think many of these minors are less fun. Of course, being an English teacher I had to base my analysis on some part of speech.
You can be more specific with a major focus and still make it pretty cool. When trying to come up with a minor focus I kept coming up with things that sounded great but were too broad for a minor focus. "Having to do with Odin" was my favorite one. Also, "Involving caves" got bounced since anything I do in a cave would apply whether it was a terram spell or not. Woulda been fun though.
See, I'm half of a mind that each and every magus should have a Minor Focus (possibly for free), unless they were to buy a Major one. Each and every magus should have something they are particularly good at.
You may have ONLY ONE major hermetic virtue.
It seems far better reducing the area of my focus because I get a COOL major hermetic virtue in exchange. I don't care how the name of the focus sounds.
Also better in some ways, because they leave room for a different major hermetic virtue at character creation.
Still, there is a lot of room for cool Major foci and potencies. One of my very favorites is aging--applied to anything (grow a seed into a tree, rust a sword into uselessness, kill something mortal and turn it to dust by aging it, preserve food from decay, turn grape juice into wine or milk into cheese...). Versatile, flexible and, best of all, tightly themed.