Saturday, August 10, 2013

Making Hunter Aspects Great in WoW 6.0

Current State
The current state of Hunter aspects is meager.  There is not a clear need for them.  We have our Hawk/Iron hawk attack aspect and we have travel aspects that are not normally of any use during PvE or PvP encounters.  We also have an aspect we can glyph for: Aspect of the Beast.  It would be a fairly simple matter to get rid of aspects; Hawk could be our default baked-in state and the remaining travel "aspects" could just be spells.  There isn't a need to toggle off Hawk while in a travel state.  This makes me sad.

In the past, we had other aspects which made choosing an aspect meaningful.  We had Aspect of the Fox.  We had Aspect of the Wild.  And long ago, we had Aspect of the Monkey.  Aspect of the Wild provided a large amount of Nature resistance as an aura and had a PvE use in about 1/5th of boss encounters.  Aspect of the Fox was short-lived.  It allowed for casting many cast time spells on the move and provided greater focus regen.  Aspect of the Fox wasn't successful as a design because people macro'd it into Steady Shot or Cobra Shot and then macro'd in a switch to Aspect of the Hawk before signature shots.  This was a predictable automated form of "aspect twisting" and not in any way desirable, so it was retired and SS/CS were redesigned.  Aspect of the Monkey was an early defensive CD hunters got long ago.  You could flip to Monkey mode and it greatly increased your Dodge percentage.

General Principles
I believe hunter aspects are an interesting part of being a hunter, but they should be meaningful again.  I believe aspects should allow a hunter to make a choice in their gameplay that doesn't require a re-spec or re-glyph, and which can be chosen while in combat.  I believe aspects shouldn't be something that is switched to often and should be a manual effort, such that they don't make sense to do within any form of rotation or regular activity.  Generally, I believe hunters should want to be in their normal Hawk aspect because when they are not, they should not be able to do as much damage.  Each hunter specialization should provide access to one unique aspect to increase specialization identity.  Glyphs affecting aspects should be changed.  Level 45 talents should be tailored to improve a particular aspect.  Only one aspect can be active at any time.  And finally to reduce aspect twisting, there should be a minimum three second cooldown on changing aspects.

Kheldul's New Hunter Aspect Dream Lineup
Hunter aspects can be great.  Below, I start with the basics and work my way up to the specialization-specific aspects.  Your comments and ideas are definitely welcome.

Aspect of the Pack
Party and raid members within 40 yards take on the aspects of a pack of cheetahs, increasing movement speed by 30%. (No daze effect exists anymore.)  Imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Cheetah
Removed.  (A personal travel aspect is no longer required.)

Aspect of the Hawk
The hunter takes on the aspects of a hawk, increasing ranged attack power by 35%.  (Not being in this aspect will greatly diminish your damage output.) Imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Prowl
The hunter takes on the aspects of a stealthy cat and becomes untrackable.  (Previously known as the rarely used Aspect of the Beast.)  Movement speed is reduced by 40%.  If the hunter is under the effects of Camouflage, their movement is in stealth. (Folds a Glyph-for-only ability into a situational ability.)  Imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Spirit
The hunter takes on the aspects of the natural interdependent web of life, increasing his and his pet's health regeneration by an additional 2% every 2 seconds.  Imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Protector
Party and raid members within 15 yards of the hunter take on the protective aspects of the turtle, reducing damage taken by 20% but also reducing movement speed by 40%. This aspect may be used until canceled, but has an activation cooldown of two minutes and imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Monkey
Available only to Survival hunters.  The hunter takes on the aspects of a monkey, reducing the cooldown of Counter Shot by 12 seconds, increasing agility by 10%, and increasing dodge by a total of 10%. (The agility increase should always be worse than the Aspect of the Hawk RAP increase, including when under most proc effects.)  Imposes a ten second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Beast
Available only to Beast Mastery hunters.  The hunter loses themselves in their pet acting as one, taking on all aspects of the current pet, improving all forms of pet damage by 40%, and increasing run speed by 30%.  If the pet dies, the hunter is stunned for five seconds. (The hunter mounts the pet like a vehicle and controls all pet abilities similar to the old spell Eyes of the Beast.  Tenacity pet abilities like Taunt should work on bosses.) Imposes a ten second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Eagle
Available only to Marksmanship hunters. The hunter takes on the aspects of an eagle, increasing ranged attack power by 50% but increasing all damage taken by 10%. (A glass cannon that will irritate theory-crafters.) Imposes a ten second aspect-wide cooldown.

Comments and ideas welcome!


  1. I like it. You're right the current crop of aspects are so boring. What sort of camapign can we get going to get Blizzard to listen to you?

    You really should apply to be a weekly hunter columnist on Wowinsider.

  2. That sounds like work.

    In a related story, I sadly had to drop off from Frostheim's farewell hunting party dwarf-a-thon after real-work intervened.

    I'm not sure a campaign is the right approach. But if you want to spread the word, get GC's eye, or contribute ideas, please do.

  3. I'd prefer that Pack be removed and only Cheetah remains but with a provision that Cheetah becomes raid-wide if out of combat. I also don't like Protector having a raid-wide slow.

    Basically, I don't like other players having control over my toon speed, especially in combat. I don't even much like the Druid's Stampeding Roar, or whatever it's called... I can get over that in premade content where I learn to rely on it but in random groups where you can't count on it being used consistently (or at all... there are buttons other than Auto-Attack??) I'd prefer the other plays have zero control over my toon's movement speed.

    I like the idea of more useful aspects in general, though, and some of your ideas would be worth considering for the live game. No way Eagle makes it to live, though... I don't think any abilities in-game increase the damage you take anymore now that Berserker Stance had that removed a while back.

  4. Hmmm. Regarding pack/cheetah, I feel that other classes with travel forms and move spells can effectively use them in combat. I don't feel stampeding roar or disc priest effects are bad even though they affect other players, but when they do lock out other abilities (like Sprint) it isn't desirable. I'd change that secondary side-effect instead of blocking out one case of many.

    The idea I am shooting for behind Turtle is that there needs to be a reason not to keep it active. More of a reason than just that the hunter's damage will be poor... since a 25man could bring one sacrificial player. It's also limited to a 15y zone with some probable visual Turtle-like effect. Thinking about it now 15y radius is too large. 15y diameter would make more sense.

    Interesting observation regarding Berserker Stance. Again, I wanted a reason to have the MM hunter not stay in that aspect. I envisioned a sniper as being more vulnerable to attacks, but instead of binding it to a passive ability like the old Sniper Training buff, it is something that is actively chosen with a downside.

  5. Yeah, I get that, but I get into rhythms in fights based on my toon speed. Anything external that interferes with that, especially ones that I don't have any control over, are jarring for me. I recall one time on Tortos (on normal) where the melee group was strafing from one side to the other after a Quake or whatever to avoid the rockfalls... for some reason the druid hit Stampeding Roar (he normally didn't) and I ran right into a rockfall, I wasn't prepared for the change. If you want a more extreme example of why it's a bad idea, imagine your implementation of Protector during the Durumu maze phase. Griefer paradise right there.

    At least Body & Soul (or whatever the priest talent is that speeds you up when shielded... man, I really need to be in front of the game when replying to these) is individual... it's jarring when it happens but usually if you're being shielded there's a reason for it. The AoE proximity ones, though, can't say I'm a fan.

    Make the negative effects personal and I'd be okay with them, I think. It would suck being the hunter who has to give up dps for group DR, though.

    The main issue with increased damage effects is that they don't penalize the player as much as they penalize the healers and the rest of the group if the player dies because of it.

  6. Just a few ideas:
    Cheetah: keep it(its helped me catch up to ppl in raids many times) and take away the daze for both

    Prowl: maybe change the name to "aspect of the night beast" sounds cooler AND it's a reference! and maybe make the first shot in prowl do bonus damage or stun(just to feed into the idea of pouncing)

    Spirit: increase the health buff or add nature protection

    Turtle: reduce threat too?(so you dont just stack them on the tank)

    Monkey:add a shrug off the first movement impairing affect ability to it(and give the shrug a 30sec cooldown or something)

    Eagle: increase range by like 10 yards maybe

    Beast:maybe drop the control aspect of it but add damage/healing sharing and maybe just put an aura on the hunter(like fur scales or the like)

    I dont know if this would make them op but i think it gives the aspects alot more life and meanig

  7. I don't like that Aspect of the Cheetah was removed, as I used it alot in pvp when I was in a jam and it gave me a burst of speed to get away. Or when in doing dgs, to keep up with the rest of the team who have burst of speed aspects such as the warrior and the monks.