Podcast Redux: Aspects

On this week’s podcast we covered a lot of recent blue posts regarding Hunters. One of the more interesting statements came from Ghostcrawler regarding aspects.

Now if I were a betting Dwarf, I’d say Apects will be removed in the next expansion. It’s not that Blizzard couldn’t sink some time and effort into improving them, but given that Mists dwindled the number of Aspects down to three, it seems unlikely that this mechanic is where they would focus their efforts.

The current implementation is boring. We have Aspect of the Cheetah, Aspect of the Pack and Aspect of the Hawk/Ironhawk. Two movement buffs and a dps buff, and given their functionality, there is no reason, other than Hunters have always had Aspects, to keep them as Aspects.

Over the lifetime of WoW, Hunters have had many aspects. There was,

  • Aspect of the Monkey which gave us dodge.
  • Aspect of the Beast which boosted the attack power of pets.
  • Aspect of the Viper which regenerated mana.
  • Aspect of the Wild which provided Nature resistance.
  • Aspect of the Dragonhawk, which combined hawk and monkey.
  • Aspect of the Fox, which regenerated focus and allowed Hunters to fire certain shots on the run.
  • Aspect of the Cheetah, which gave Hunters a personal speed boost.
  • Aspect of the Pack, which gave the party a speed boost.

Many of these were situational and hardly used, and as Ghoscrawler pointed out, none of them were all that interesting. Still there are a lot of Hunters out there who like the concept of Aspects and would like to see them evolve. Kheldul did a nice write-up on ideas he had for Aspects in 6.0.

It sounds like part of the focus in 6.0 will be to make the three specs feel unique. Aspects could be a part of this; however, in order for Aspects to work they need to remove any DPS enhancing functionality and make them be pure utility. The reason I say this is, anything that enhances DPS becomes the default the Aspect, and leads to great resentment when having to sacrifice DPS to provide some sort of utility. I can’t name one Hunter who didn’t weep a little bit when they were asked to use Aspect of the Wild.

I like the idea of Aspects and I like the idea of making spec specific ones, as well as some that might aid the group, but again the focus needs to be utility. For example, bring back Aspect of the Beast, but give the functionality of the old Eyes of the Beast spell which gave us control of our pet. It should be noted that a recent blue post stated that some of the Eyes of the Beast code was excised from the game, so it would have to be recreated from scratch. I guess they don’t use source control at Blizzard.

Another aspect could provide the damage mitigation that Ironhawk provides now, or has been suggested, an Aspect that increases healing received. There are lots of possibilities, but as I stated in the beginning, I think Aspects are on the chopping block for 6.0, and their existing functionality will be incorporated elsewhere in the Hunter kit.

Assuming Aspects will remain, what would you guys do to change them?