Hunter Community Expansion Revamp Project

Purpose & Method

To make reasonable suggestions for the revamp of Hunter Aspects in a way that is aligned with Blizzard’s design philosophy.

This article may include my own ideas, but they are not just my ideas, and are pulled from various members of the community that I have spoken to through this site or on the Hunting Party Podcast.

Lowest Common Denominator (LCD)

The LCD is, hopefully, the “bottom line” that we can all agree on. The details and specifics will differ, as will our opinions on them, but if we can agree on the general premise, it helps us move forward.

Aspect LCD: Hunter Aspects are worth saving. They can provide utility and choice in a variety of environments. The current Aspects offer little to no choice, so several changes and/or additions need to be made before they are a fun and useful part of our class.

Aspect Ideas

This list was originally inspired by Kheldul’s article on his hunter blog. One thing I disagree with, though, is his use of specific numbers and percentages. Those are balancing issues, and we lack the information to ensure that our suggestions will be balanced. Instead, we can talk about WHAT the aspects do, just not how powerful they are.

I also often suggest a penalty to accompany a buff. These, like anything else, are suggestions. There are other ways to balance each of these.

Travel: An aspect that increases the hunter’s run speed (like the current Cheetah) but without the stun penalty. This could be the same as passive run speed increases that we’ve seen in the past on meta gems and enchants. And to balance it, it wouldn’t stack with those bonuses.

Water Travel: Increases swim speed. Maybe Aspect of the Shark or Fish.

Group Travel: Aspect of the Pack, no stun penalty. Balance might be tricky here – enough to potentially remove it from consideration – but the fear of lost dps from another aspect will keep many away from it.

Healing Aspect: Increases healing taken or increases health regeneration (like Spirit Bond).

Aspect of the Sniper: A max range increase, possibly by 5-10 yards. It would be very situational, but might also have PvP use.

Pet Tanking and Soloing: Pet do more damage and take less damage, but the hunter’s own damage output is reduced. The idea here is that it’s a dps loss, so raiders won’t want it. But it will be useful in particular situations.

Damage Reduction: The hunter (and pet) take less damage, but movement speed is reduced.

DPS Aspects: See “The Dps Aspect – Problems & Solutions” below.

PvP Aspects: I’ve listed several suggestions below from WHU readers:

  • Make Scare Beast fear all enemies for {x} seconds.
  • Something similar to the old Aspect of the Monkey, increasing dodge (or perhaps resilience)
  • An increase in fear resistance. Depending on how strong the buff is, it could be paired with, say, a loss in healing taken.

Aspect Dancing – Problems & Solutions

Blizzard doesn’t want us aspect dancing. They don’t want us macro’ing aspects to certain shots or having to manage it constantly in encounters.

Solution #1: Lock us into an aspect once combat starts. A bit brutal, sure, but it solves the problem.

Solution #2: Make a longer cooldown on Aspects, so that we can’t macro them. What’s appropriate? 10 seconds? 30? A minute? I don’t know, but any of those would serve the intended purpose of stopping the frenetic dancing we saw in the past.

The “DPS Aspect” – Problems & Solutions

Say we keep an aspect like our current Aspect of the Hawk. It would, automatically, trump nearly all of the above ideas in raid environments. Thus, an aspect that only increases damage is potentially problematic.

Solution #1: Remove flat dps increases from aspects. Make aspects utility-based.

Solution #2: Provide two choices for dps aspects, that offer a tangible choice. I’ll give you an example that a podcast listener suggested:

…DPS Aspect #1 provides a flat damage increase (like Hawk). Dps Aspect #2 reduces major cooldowns by X% (or the timer ticks down X% faster, if that’s easier to code and balance, instead of a bulk reduction). So imagine you’re in a fight. Is it a Patchwerk fight? Take the flat increase. Does is have a lot of intense burn phases that would benefit from increased burst? Take the cooldown reduction. In this way, one aspect could be the “right” choice for the most dps, but both would have uses.

In Practice

The fight begins. It’s two phases. The first is a steady dps burn. You start in Hawk (or its equivalent). Phase II occurs, with alternating bouts of intense raid-wide damage and burn phases where the boss takes extra damage. You enter Aspect of the Reduce Cooldowns (name pending) to get as much uptime on cooldowns for the burn phases as possible. But you switch to Aspect of the Damage Reduction for the heavy damage phases. Three different aspects, all providing function, but any “aspect dancing” isn’t a fast-twitch endeavor, but is spaced out by at least 30 seconds each.

That’s one example. There are others. But hopefully you see the potential in this model, and how it could be implemented.

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  1. Agamsi says:

    An aspect that shifts dps from hunter to pet or pet to hunter might be useful.

  2. Ian says:

    * No english speaker here

    1. About the aspects ideas:

    1.1. Aspect of magic resistance & aspect of damage reduction: since Blizzard removed resistances, the magic resistance aspect would be one that reduce magic dmg, and it would be a limited version of the aspect of damage reduction (only working with one kind of dmg, while the other works with all of them).

    1.2. Travel/Group Travel: to group travel, could be created a glyph to the travel aspect like “when you casts Travel Aspect, your group/raid in Y yards benefits of it for X seconds” working like a burst speed buff.

    1.3. Pet/Tanking aspect: if the pet damage is increased while decreases the one of the hunter it would create a buff of the BM hunter over the others specs while in the aspect, and theorycraft could reach a point where with W% Mastery it would be a damage upgrade to BM, going against the purpose of the aspect. So in my opinion there shouldn’t be a damage increase. Or even an aspect, they could just make our Tenacious pets as strong as the Warlock tank demon pet.

    Pvp aspects: I dont think there should be a division like this, many described in the article are good for pvp as much as for pve, but could be aspects like “Aspect of the Lion, while in this aspect, your scare beasts also work in humanoids and something else”, “Aspect of the Bat: Detect invisible and hidden creatures at X yards.”
    IMHO evens talents like the Narrow Scape, crouching tiger (with modifications) could be made in aspects.

    2. Aspect Dancing
    IMHO 1 minute is a good value to give the hunters the need of plan the aspect switch.

    3. Dps aspects
    They should remove de dps from the aspects and bake them in the hunter’s habilities. Your example in the sugestion 2, would create the same problem that the aspect of the hawk, you would almost all the time use one of the 2 aspects, leaving the another ones without use because its a dps loss, ppl would complain “Do I have to lose my damage for 30 seconds to use dmg reduction aspect?” “WebsiteZ said to never get out of the Aspect Dps 1 to be competitive.”

    • Arth says:

      Some good points, thanks.

      I removed the magic resistance one for the time being, while I give it more thought.

      I think you’re overstating the problem with Mastery a bit. If a pet does, say, 5-10% more damage, and the hunter’s dps is reduced maybe 15-20%, the amount of mastery you would need to stack in order to receive a net benefit would be gigantic and likely wouldn’t be possible at any gear level.

      Keep in mind, that aspect would also reduce pet damage taken. The actual dps of it would just be one part of it.

      Also, some good ideas on PvP aspects. I’ll give them some thought and may include 1-2 of them. Thanks.

    • Arth says:

      Also, on dps aspects, you might be right that the best solution is to eliminate them. That’s why I included it as an option.

      However, I don’t think it’s a bad thing if hunters use 1-2 aspects most of the time…as long as there is still choice and strategy. And for those who might complain about switching to a dmg. reduction aspect for 30 seconds, I’d yell “Pay Yer Dues!” because doing what is best for the raid often requires sacrifice.

      • Garfurion says:

        I think we need a DPS aspect if for no other reason than having a DPS penalty for using one of the other aspects as well having a default aspect.

        Maybe a damage reduction aspect would be too similar to deterrence which already gives a dps loss. Of course you could change deterrence into Aspect of the Direhorn ;)

      • Oricc says:

        I disagree that we need a DPS aspect to punish us from being in a utility aspect. if we have to choose between which of say, 3 utility aspects is best for a particular situation then the penalty for being in one aspect is not having the utility the other two offer.

        Here’s my suggestion, make aspects a talent choice with a passive and an active component, we already have a defensive talent option, why not bake aspects into that?

        Aspect of the turtle:
        passive: reduces damage taken by 10%
        active: shield yourself for 25% of AP for 10 seconds, 1 minute CD

        Aspect of the Cheetah
        passive: increase movement speed by 8%
        active: gain 50% movement speed for 4 seconds, 1 minute CD

        Aspect of the Wild
        passive: regenerate 2% total health every 5 seconds
        active: heal yourself for 50% of your total health over 3 seconds, 1 minute CD

        numbers are all placeholders, just to give an idea

  3. Flint says:

    The intended purpose of Aspect of the cheetah or Pack is to get back to an area that you died in. I really do not see the need for it as a Raid or Instance Utility. We already have Disengage (jump Disengage) to move us quickly out of the shiny.

    Aspect of the Bear – Pet takes on the abilities of the Bear – Pet Tank Aspect

    Aspect of the Tiger – (PVP) The Hunter attacks ignore X% of the targets resilience. Scare beast now fears all enemies within X yards for X seconds.

    • Flint says:

      Oh an for Aspect Dancing 10 second CD would be good. The reason is raid and combat situations change.

      • Arth says:

        I tend to agree with 10 seconds, but that’s also one of those things I’d be happy leaving up to Blizzard instead of suggesting only one thing.

        I like the Tiger aspect idea. I’ll try to find some way to incorporate it.

  4. Garfurion says:

    I hadn’t completely workout my aspect ideas but here is what i have so far.

    I think one of the problems of todays aspects is that we only really switch them out of combat.

    To solve that my solution would be to have utility aspects with an in combat (IC) and out of combat (OOC) version.

    Aspect of the Cheetah: OOC like it is now. IC it could be more like dash giving you a short but significant runspeed boost (wihtout stun) followed by a X sec cooldown.

    Aspect of the Pack: OOC like it is now. IC it would be like Stampeding Roar which gives the whole group a significant boost followed by a X sec cooldown. This would also give hunters some more group utility.

    Aspect of the Wild: OOC it would slowly increase health and focus. IC it would regen health and focus faster for X secs followed by Y sec cooldown.

    Aspect of the Prowler: basically camouflage but now on the aspect bar. Another idea for camouflage would be to have it affect Aspect of the pack (making the whole pack camouflaged)

    In the water Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Pack would change into Aspect of the Seal and Aspect of the Shoal respectively. Increasing swim speed and the duration of underwater breathing. (this could be nice for an underwater themed expansion)

    As for an DPS aspect I think we need one (or rather more than one). Basically we need a default aspect (per spec0 which increases dps so that switching to another aspect trades survivability/utility for dps.

    Some potential DPS aspects, each inspired by one of the hunter specs (similar to how DK have a presence for each spec)

    Aspect of the Hawk: Increases direct damage and range. The range increase isn’t too important but adds some flavor.

    Aspect of the Viper: Increases damage over time and/or magic damage.

    Aspect of the Beast: buffs your pet based on it’s spec
    - Tenacity pets take less damage and generate more threat
    - Ferocity pets do more damage (incl. Kill Command)
    - Cunning pets have increased movement speed (maybe hunter as well)

    The trick of these DPS aspects would be to make them such that in certain situations SV/BM would switch to the MM inspired aspect or vice-versa.

    If you go for a steady dps and burst dps aspect then how would you prevent people from starting in burst aspect and then switch to steady aspect once they have used up all cooldowns.

    As for a PvP aspect. I think having one could solve some of the PvE vs PvP problems we’ve had in the last few patches. The problem will be to make a PvP aspect attractive enough for PvP but maybe adding resilience or pvp power to it could do the trick.

    Aspect of the Fox: reduces ranged attack power and range but increases movement speed slightly (same as the enchant) and focus regeneration .Basically reducing RAP will reduce burst but increase focus regen which limits the need for steady/cobra shots.

    Alternative:

    Aspect of the Monkey: increases stamina, resilience and dodge.

    I don’t think we need a damage reduction aspect which reduces movement speed. We have abilities like deterence for that.

    I also considered an aspect which could reduce some/all cooldowns but I fear it may be nigthmare to balance.

    As to aspect dancing I think the easiest solution is to give the in combat (IC) abilities limited duration and a in combat cooldown. As long as people don’t keep switching between DPS/PvP aspects there is really no problem.

    An alternative to pet dependent Aspect of the Beast idea would be to have an abiity which changes based on the type of pet is active. Ferocity would give a dps ability, Tenacity would give a damage reduction ability and Cunning would give a speed increase or heal.

    • Rapine says:

      • “Aspect of the Prowler: basically camouflage but now on the aspect bar. Another idea for camouflage would be to have it affect Aspect of the pack (making the whole pack camouflaged)”

      The same thing occurred to me when Arth first proposed this thread. The odd interaction between Camo’s duration and cooldown would be eliminated by making it an Aspect. The trade-off for a perma-pseudo stealth would be a DPS reduction, assuming that some form of AotH remains.

      I’ve been trying to think about how Aspects could be changed to bring a situational benefit. The one that’s stuck in my mind is:

      Aspect of the Sniper. If stationary for X seconds, increase your maximum range by X (5-10) yards. Movement cancels this effect.

      Essentially, I miss the old talented range increase that we had in Vanilla. There were times when it was possible to simply out-range boss mechanics. It was also possible to engage mages and warlocks in combat five yards beyond their maximum range. This would give us some of that flavor back.

  5. Kheldul says:

    A few quick things (I’m about to go pick up the kids soonish)…

    1) Aspects have been cool in the past. Everyone knows they suck now. Let’s make them great.

    2) There should be cooldowns on changing aspects so they can’t be macro’d and have to be a choice that is made that you’ll stick with for at least a handful of seconds. Three seconds, ten seconds, whatever. Jumping into an aspect may be a planned or unplanned event that you know you do for a particular phase or situation in PvE or PvP.

    3) I put numbers in my article so the ideas would be more easily conveyed. They’re just at an early idea phase. The numbers are probably less questionable than the ideas themselves. ;-)

    4) The Hawk aspect should be the standard DPS aspect. Moving out of that aspect should SIGNIFICANTLY HURT YOUR DPS, but it should be helpful to the raid or group.

    5) BM, MM, and SV should each have one aspect that is unique to the specialization. These aspects should be *part* of the defining characteristic of that specialization. The ideas I floated were:
    + BM: a pet-tanking aspect – jump on the pet’s back and fight as one with (pet) tanking abilities replacing your normal bar – think of it as your pet as a vehicle and the controls shifting from the pet bar to the normal based on the pet used — like eyes of the beast did
    + MM: a marksman / sniper glass cannon ability which would only be wise to use in somewhat rare circumstances (large BGs where you lay in wait, PvE phases where you don’t take damage and stand mostly still, etc.)
    + SV: an aspect to increase survival (+agil, +dodge, -CD on interrupt type stuff)

    …. and finally in the following, I suggest that we have something like aspects, except it is built around Ammunition. I actually edited this a bunch of times before publishing it. At this point, I think it’s pretty neat, but I’d go with real hunter Aspects instead.
    http://hunter-dps.dungeoneer.com/2013/09/hunter-ammunition-idea-for-wow-60.html

    • Arth says:

      Thanks for the suggestions Khel, and for your initial article on this.

      We differ slightly with ammo choices. I think there’s such a thing as TOO much choice. If we have pets, aspects, AND ammo choices, that’s 3 elements of customization that only hunters have. I doubt Blizzard will implement all of them. However, I’m planning on referencing your ammo article at some point, if only to give Blizzard another option to consider.

  6. Tormaline says:

    I agree that a cool down on switch aspects is the best solution. Although I play PvE, I imaging hunters on a PvP server would be especially against having the ability to switch aspects in combat. Imaging getting jumped in Cheetah and not being able to get out.

    As for ideas for new aspects…

    Aspect of the Orca – increased breath time under water and possibly swim time. I’m mostly a casual and/or solo player. And while I wouldn’t use it every day, I’d definitely use it.

  7. Marrax says:

    Pvp aspects
    The first one I though of is an aspect were the hunter becomes relentless and refuses to lose the target. All speed buffs and movement increases applied to a fleeing target are copied by the hunter. In effect you can match the speed an escaping flag carrier. Trade off is loss of dps aspect of course, but we could stick to the enemy no matter how they run. Our prey should fear us. We could call it Aot relentless hunter or just hunter, or predator.

    2. Aot Puffer Fish, or porcupine, or electric eel. Aspect reflects a large percent of all damage taken and all negative effects or debuffs . Loss would be that either you puff up, take on a spikey look, or an electric effect, respective to the name of the aspect and you can only move at significantly slower speed. This could be helpful in weakening an enemy team when they are turtleing. Might at least be fun when you find yourself outnumbered and about to be nuked by a group :).

    3. Aot Honey-badger. Hunter take on the fearlessness of the beast becoming immune to fear. Any fear effect will actually enrage the honey -badger increasing damage buy a percentage for a few seconds and removing all loss of control effects. Healing is reduced while in aspect.

    I can see these as either a choice from a talent or glyph, or spec specific. Like Predator for MM, Puffer for SV, and Honey for BM.

  8. LittleYeti says:

    I’ve never understood why blizzard dislikes aspect dancing so much. It’s something a casual hunter can mostly ignore while hardcore raiders can utilize it to the fullest. Macroing aspects into shots doesn’t really hurt game play in any way, and if you are trying to min/max, macros weren’t the way to go anyways. Though if Blizzard made aspects into a utility only thing, I wouldn’t complain. I really miss aspect of the monkey, beast, and whatever one gave the nature resistance.

  9. Adaon says:

    I think the writing is on the wall for aspects. You *might* be able to save it for solo utility, such as Cheetah, maybe a swim speed increase (I always wanted to call it Aspect of the Otter, and pet tanking, but all signs point to this being the swan song for aspects. Even the utility ones, while they would have some use while leveling, how often would they really get used at max level? I’m not saying you can’t think up uses, but they are very situational and you have to be practical in how developers are going to spend their time.

    Your DPS choices are just things that could easily be on a future new tier of the talent tree. No compelling reason for them to be aspects.

    If the choice should come between putting a lot of fight into saving aspects and spending that feedback capital fighting for other things, I’m not sure I’d draw a line in the sand on aspects.

    I’d personally trade them off for a Cheetah/Pack toggle and more developer time modernizing the specs themselves.

  10. Marty says:

    I agree that dps increasing aspects should be removed and aspects should serve entirely for utility. Here are few more suggestions that comes to my mind.

    What about a sniper aspect, which increases your fire range, but creates “minimal range”, like 10 yards. Could be useful on some fights.

    I also think that doing full damage on move is a problem and there should be some penalty. What about decreased accuracy on move? You run while shooting, you miss more. Seems logical to me. There could be an aspect then to solve this – allow you to move without penalty (new Aspect of the Fox if you like). If you had 30s cooldown on aspect switching, you think twice before turning it on.

    I konw, that many hunters wouldn’t agree with movement penalty, but I think, there is already one now. That Blizzard calculated this advantage to our overall dps and therefore, if we have movement restriction as other classes, we should do more dps while standing still.

  11. Hetman says:

    My suggestion is that all three spec’s keep both aspect of the hawk and aspect of the cheetah for the same reasons as they now have.

    but then each spec would have one other aspect specific to their specialization.
    also each specialized aspect would require your pet to meld with the hunter as you together “become” that aspect. And, if need be, they could have a time limit and cool down to prevent becoming overpowered.

    For SV, i would suggest the aspect should improve survival. It should be “aspect of the bear” . And with that, your pet melds with you and you become a freakish bear with the combined health of you and your pet. You would also see an increase of damage mitigation and threat, but, a considerable loss of dps. This would allow you to survive if solo you had pulled to many mobs. And it would allow you to possibly save a wipe if the tank goes down; or, even temporarily off tank for a specific fight.
    with the cool down preventing you from just being a tank.

    For Marks, it should be “aspect of the falcon”. which would meld you with your pet but increase the range of your vision and your attacks by a considerable amount, but greatly decreasing your armor, and , or, health.
    this could make you an effective marksman/sniper. you would be able to set yourself up at some distance on a battleground and take single click shots at the other side. for example, set up on the alliance side of a flag BG and shoot at the flag carrier all the way across the field. or take out someone on their way to your base.
    In pve it would be useful in allowing you to pull just one specific mob from a distance without taking any aggro from nearby mobs. so pull one at a time from a large group. On the other hand, most folks could one or two shot you in return.

    Lastly, for BM, i would make it “aspect of the spirit beast”. This would meld you with your pet to make you a sort of shadowy figure like a shadow priest, but a light green or blue haze like a spirit beast. You would then lose all dps but your auto shot and in return have – one low focus cost Heal Over Time, one moderate focus cost heal giving more immediate healing and a modest short heal over time, and one high focus cost but strong immediate heal. this would allow us to take over if the healer goes down briefly. And/or we could help heal if a particular boss was too much for our healer.

    I think the amounts of boost and reductions could be worked with to find balance. The time limits could be put on those special aspects to prevent us from just filling a different role completely.
    then we would have three useful aspects for each spec, with one bearing the special flavor of that spec. It would increase utility but make us choose which utility we would offer by choosing our spec.

    I believe this would be fair and not overpowered because, i have seen how effective a warlock can be tanking five man heroics with his pet. so, why not allow us to do a little of fill in work as well. We could “support” the “support classes”, if you will.

    Also, a concerned question from a long time fan of the site and podcast.
    Do you think that people who play horde know that in the alliance common language,
    the word H O R D E,
    is spelled S U C K S ? Please feel free to enlighten them in another thread and to help Ali understand that on the podcast.

    while frostheim will always be missed; by god, love what you are doing with this site. Keep burning it up!

    • Hetman says:

      sorry for poor wording. meant for SV aspect of the bear that you would see increase in mitigation and also an increase in threat generation.

      your kind consideration is much appreciated/

  12. Canardo says:

    I like the cool features but is this not another hidden button bloat ?
    You have to execute your rotation, watch cooldowns and now also consider switching aspects during the fight, perhaps multiple times.

    I say “bring it” because it sounds like fun but please remove some other stuff to compensate.

  13. Oricc says:

    I think we should be careful about aspects adding button bloat, which is why a talent tier for aspects would be a good idea.

    Instead of having a button for each aspect, we would only have one aspect available during combat.

    I think we could basically take out defensive talent tier and turn it into an aspect tier:

    Aspect of % damage reduction and a shield on CD.

    Aspect of % move-speed and a sprint on CD

    Aspect of spirit bond with an exhilarate-like ability on CD.

    you pick one for each fight, there could be plenty of variance from fight to fight and even a variance in PvP but you’d basically be picking a cool passive with a cool defensive/utility ability.

  14. LittleYeti says:

    Here’s my personal suggestions:
    1. Keep Aspect of the Hawk as our main DPS aspect (or don’t. I wouldn’t cry if aspects became full utility).

    2. Get rid of the daze on Aspect of the Cheetah and maybe make it stack with other speed increases. Many classes now have speed boosting talents that are nearly has good (or better) than Cheetah. I think the daze is simply a relic of the past back when hunters were basically the only class with a speed boost that could last indefinitely.

    3. Return Aspect of the Viper for focus regen (it was mana regen back in WotLK). It would give you so much focus regen that you would not need to cast Steady/Cobra shots. The way I’m imagining it working is you sacrifice the damage increase from Aspect of the Hawk to have a simpler rotation. Hopefully my explanation makes sense.

    4. Make Aspect of the Beast a full-fledged aspect again (it’s currently only a glyph). It will still make the hunter untrackable, but with the added effect of making Camouflage a full stealth. The point of this suggestion it to just open of two glyph slots honestly.

    5. Add a swimming aspect.

    6. Return a revised Aspect of the Monkey. It would be like a buffed Ironhawk without the damage increase. It will reduce damage taken by X% for Y seconds, and maybe keep the dodge increase from the old Aspect of the Monkey for flavor. This aspect would need a cooldown because it’s basically like a weaker deterrence that you can still attack while using.

    Also I am highly against putting all Aspects on extended cooldowns. Anything over 4 seconds is obscene to me (excluding my suggestion #6) especially if Aspects become utility only. Alrighty, that was my last two cents.