Last week WHH reported on a thread generating much discussion in the Beta Classes forum: Beta Classes: Aspects are Now on the Regular GCD (Hunter Discussion). Today, Ghostcrawler made several comments in the thread.
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Ghostcrawler: A great deal of this thread is just angry venting, so I don’t anticipate being able to see a nudge it into a good discussion. Instead, I’ll attempt to explain our logic and move on. Do with it what you will.
Having an ability that you always macro because you don’t want to think about when to use it is bad game design. If you build a macro because you want to use two abilities occasionally at the same time, we’re happy. Examples of this are two cooldowns you might want to pop at once (and you also might have separate keys to pop them individually) or a buff that makes your next spell better macroed with the spell itself (provided you aren’t macroing this ability into every ability so that you’re essentially using it on cooldown). In both of these situations, you’re making the decision about when to use the macro.
Aspects are supposed to be a decision. You should think about when you want to be in Hawk or Fox. If the answer to Fox is “anytime I’m casting Steady Shot,” then that’s not a choice. If the answer to Fox is “anytime I’m moving,” then that’s not a choice. If you’re thinking “I’m going to be moving a lot for the next few seconds, so I’ll go Fox for a bit,” then that is a choice. If you’re thinking “The next few seconds of DPS aren’t critical, so I’ll go Fox to build focus back up, and then switch back to Hawk when the boss hits phase two,” then that’s a choice.
With this change, we don’t anticipate hunters to be swapping into and out of Aspects frequently. That is the whole idea of the change. We don’t think the gameplay of swapping Aspects constantly is fun, and I suspect most hunters agree. I also suspect most hunters were hoping we’d just scrap Fox altogether, and that still might happen, but it would probably also come with never casting Steady or Cobra on the move.
We have changed Aspects many times since WoW launched, and I won’t claim they have ever been super compelling gameplay. I’ll further acknowledge that it’s entirely possible that it isn’t possible to have a strong design for them, and the game is better off without them. However, before we come to that conclusion, we want to try this iteration. As a precautionary tale, we scrapped paladin Auras because we didn’t think there was much gameplay there, but plenty of paladins rallied to their defense. They missed Auras. They didn’t necessarily like the Cataclysm or perhaps any version of them, but they liked the idea and didn’t want us to give up. You all posting here individually may not miss Aspects, but I have 100% confidence we’d see them requested constantly as soon as we removed them.
We have tried, without much success, with the generic design of “there are these exclusive modal options and you pick whichever one fits the situation.” The closest we have come to success is having a tanking vs. a melee mode for Presences and Stances, but any DK or warrior will tell you that it’s hard to justify having two DPS modes. There is nearly always a right answer. If they are too situational then one just gets neglected. If they aren’t situational enough, then you’re just constantly swapping in and out. Putting things on the GCD generally adds a moment of decision making because it’s a very real cost to change your mode. [link]
Bándet: And what about for PvP Ghostcrawler? Where we need to ALWAYS move and ALWAYS maximize our damage? Not, oh, I will have to move so I can swap to fox now… and then Oh, I won’t have to move for the next 20 seconds so I can swap back. Because, mostly the entire thread was PvP issues, not PvE. Why couldn’t you just make aspects like they were previously, where each one had a use?
Oh, now we are raiding AQ so we want nature resist.
Oh, I want to run faster and I’m not likely to get hit.
Oh, I am getting zerged by melee so I need to be more defensive.
Oh, I want aimed shot to crit higher.
That is what aspects should be. We shouldn’t be required to swap simply to move while casting. Mages don’t. Warlocks don’t. They have an ability that is designed to be casted while moving, whether is it instant or not. Why not just make steady/cobra baseline castable while moving, and make fox a defensive aspect? This would also solve the huge issue of not having fox until 83. You want us to have a DPS penalty while moving? Give Hunters as a class Sniper Training, instead of just SV. There, DPS penalty for moving is built in. [link]
Ghostcrawler: Movement should be terrible for a ranged spec. Full stop. All of the various mechanics we put in from Spiritwalker’s Grace to Aspect of the Fox are to make moving less terrible, but it should still be pretty terrible. (And if you think there are specs not penalized enough by moving, please let us know, though probably not in this thread. We felt that ranged movement got a bid out of control in Cataclysm so we’ve definitely made an attempt to scale it back.) If it helps, imagine Hawk and Fox as talents. You can have higher damage, or you can cast your focus-generating shots on the move. Which do you want? It probably depends. Try them both out and see which gives you more success. (And at the end of the day, they aren’t talents, so if you really can’t bear the thought of making an exclusive choice, you can switch it. Just not for free.) [link]
Spinnerdh: I think that most of us understand the reasoning behind the change, and I understand that such a thing as aspects are hard to change because you don’t want them to be constantly switched back and forth back or only have one ever used, like just fox in PvP and just hawk in PvE except for the occasional movement lasting longer than a simple few steps and disengage over to where we need to be. I feel like one of the reasons as to why aspects are hard to balance and why they are also unfun is because they each give one definite effect. Especially in the case of hawk giving us raw ranged attack power whereas things like warrior stances, presences and even armors instead grant indirect damage increases through raised resource regeneration, a faster cooldown on runes or a buff to a side stat like haste, crit or mastery, which usually all of which have effects beyond the limits of just flatly increasing damage.
Fox has one use and that is to cast steadies and cobras while moving while hawk has another which is to simply increase damage. The system would need an overhaul like multiple other similar things got, like stances, presences and armors once again. I’m not a game designer so I don’t know exactly what would work but to me I don’t think that swapping between a flat damage increase and an obligatory movement stance is very fun, compelling or effective in terms of gameplay. I know you don’t want them to just be the same thing as other similar abilities but as they are now there isn’t going to be much that can be done for them to make them better gameplay other than just revamping aspects completely. [link]
Ghostcrawler: Yeah, that makes sense. Off the top of my head (and not promising anything) it would be interesting to try a Spiritwalker’s type cooldown where for the next X you could shoot, perhaps anything, on the move. [link]