Ion Hazzikostas on Aspect of the Fox

Staying true to his word, Blizzard designer Ion Hazzikostas took to the forums to answer many of the questions he didn’t get to during Saturday’s Q&A.

This included an explanation of why Aspect of the Fox was removed in Patch 6.2. In short, he felt it made ranged classes too mobile and gave them an unfair advantage over melee classes in raid encounters. He also noted that chaining Aspect of the Fox only compounded the problem.

Additionally he stated that Hunters were given this ability because there was concern they would have trouble securing a raid spot if they did not provide something other than DPS. Something that has not held true.

My raid usually has four to five Hunters and we rarely take advantage of Aspect of the Fox. It’s never fun to have abilities like this removed, but I do agree that it wasn’t necessary to secure a raid spot for Hunters.

A compromise would have been to give Aspect of the Fox a heroism like cooldown, but instead they opted to remove it outright. I predict that it won’t take long for raiders to forget that this ability ever existed.

The big tragedy coming in 6.2 is not the removal of Aspect of the Fox, but the removal of Survival. Ba dump bump!

You can see his full explanation below.

Ion Hazzikostas

Q: Will hunters and mages get a new raid utility in 6.2? – @Garfurion
A: No. At this point, while we may still be making numerical adjustments, I wouldn’t expect new abilities or class functionality in 6.2. We removed Aspect of the Fox from hunters because they simply did not need it to be unique, viable, and in fact highly desired. It also contributed to elevating ranged classes above melee in many cases, by offsetting one of most casters’ main weaknesses. One of the strengths of melee classes is that they can move along with their target and continue to deal full damage while on the move, while most casters’ throughput suffers if they can’t stand still. In encounter design, we create mechanics and phases with this constraint in mind, with the expectation that a ranged-heavy raid will have its throughput suffer during something like Hans’gar and Franzok’s Stamping Presses phase, or Blackhand’s Massive Demolitions. Each additional Aspect of the Fox eroded this natural melee advantage, and contributed to raid composition and balance issues.

Even without Fox, Hunters are unique in that they are the only ranged DPS that can do nearly everything while on the move, which naturally makes them well-suited to specialized roles on a number of encounters, aside from naturally thriving in high-movement environments. On top of that, Deterrence, Feign Death, Misdirection, and Disengage all allow them to assist with handling mechanics in ways that many other classes cannot. As for Mages, Amplify was not nearly as impactful, but neither was it necessary to justify the inclusion of a class that already brings a versatile toolset, burst damage, control, and useful immunities. A particularly odd feature of both Aspect of the Fox and Amplify Magic is that neither ability had any apparent use whatsoever when solo, which contributed to their awkwardness.

In short, we added those abilities in 6.0 because we were concerned that mages and hunters might not be well-represented without some new and unique raid cooldown, but having observed how they have played out in practice, those concerns were likely unfounded, leaving us with two new niche abilities at a time where we have otherwise been trying to streamline the contents of class spellbooks. Thus, we’re removing them in 6.2.

3 comments

  1. we have it setup in angry assignments so we dont overlap them but we use it on every fight. it will be missed but the 20% nerf to foundry & highmaul makes it kinda not needed although some of the achieves will be interesting without it

  2. It will be interesting to see if/how mythic raid group compositions will change as a result of AotF removal. It could lead to more spots for hunters☺

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