I recently plunged the depths of the Internet reading various blogs, forum posts, and comments, and there seems to be some misconception on Hunter Aspects in Warlords of Draenor, especially in light of the new Aspect of the Fox. Let’s clear things up shall we?
Aspects are gone… Sort of
Let’s start with the patch notes which talks about the removal of Hunter Aspects in Warlords of Draenor.
The key takeaways are there is no more Aspect of the Hawk or Aspect of the Iron Hawk. Iron Hawk is a talent that when taken provides a passive 10% damage reduction. You don’t need to turn it on, and you can’t turn it off.
The damage increase from Aspect of the Hawk has been automagically baked into Hunters.
As the patch notes state, Aspects are now utility only and do not impact Hunter DPS.
You Can’t Dance if You Want to
Okay, so since we still have Aspects that does mean we still have Aspect dancing?
Currently in Mists of Pandaria there is no Aspect Dancing as the only things to toggle between are Hawk, Cheetah and Pack. Not something you’re likely to do in combat.
In Warlords there is no Aspect of the Hawk so the only one you’re really going to activate in combat is the new Aspect of the Fox.
The only other Aspects you could toggle into are Cheetah, Pack and Beast. Let’s say for the sake of argument that you felt like messing around with Glyph of Aspects, and wanted to summon a new animal companion every second. You can’t.
Aspects are now all linked together and they trigger a 10 second cooldown when activated.
There’s no need to Aspect dance in s, and you can’t to boot.
Aspect of the Fox, What’s in it for Me?
One of the complaints about Aspect of the Fox is that it does not benefit the Hunter since we can fire most of our shots while moving.
Blizzard has categorize this as a raid utility, meaning it’s intended to help your raid down bosses.
Raiding is a team effort. If you cast Aspect of the Fox, and it helps your raid defeat the boss, then you’ve just benefited from this ability.
Even if that’s all that was in it for you that would be okay, but as Bendak pointed out in this post, it’s not. I’ve included his great Aspect of the Fox video at the end of this post, and the featured image of this post is the pinnacle of awesome that he demonstrates with this ability.
What About DPS Scaling?
Traditionally Hunters have suffered from poor secondary stat scaling and Beast Mastery and Survival have benefited less from superior weapons due to key spells not using weapon damage.
Buffing Aspect of the Hawk was a nice band aid fix to adjust Hunter DPS as expansions wore on. It most recently happened in a 5.4 hotfix.
I honestly don’t know how Hunter’s will scale in Warlords, and whether or not having Aspect of the Hawk will hinder Blizzard’s ability to balance Hunter DPS later in the expansion. This is a question for someone like Delirium of Thrill of the Wild to answer.
I think Blizzard has taken some steps to mitigate this in Warlords.
I could point you to some articles written about this three and four years ago, but I don’t know how relevant they are anymore. Instead I’ll just leave you with Bendak’s Four Fun Things to do with Aspect of the Fox video.