That’s right, it looks like hunter aspects are being removed from the game. The below video is from Blizzard’s recent press event for Warlords. It features someone playing a hunter who, frankly, has no clue how to play a hunter. It’s a little painful to watch at times, but there are a couple hunter things we can learn from it, and you get a good look at the new Shadowmoon Valley.
You might be thinking the player just forgot to use an aspect (after all, they don’t even use a focus generator), but careful examination will show that the hunter aspect bar is missing from the default UI. That’s pretty solid evidence for their removal.
I would have preferred it if Blizzard could have reworked the aspect system to be pure utility, but removing it is a better option than leaving it as it is. Aspect of the Hawk has gotten downright ridiculous with its 35% attack power buff. It provides way too much passive damage and there’s no choice involved. Whenever one of the choices is more damage, there is no longer a choice. It will be a lot nicer when that Hawk damage is baked directly into our active abilities. I just hope that Cheetah is kept in another form, perhaps as some kind of personal movement speed cooldown.
The only other things I could spot in here was some changes to shot numbers (e.g. Kill Shot is now only 320% weapon damage), and some oddities with Aimed Shot. In one frame Aimed Shot’s tooltip said 50 focus (what it is currently) and in another it was showing 30 focus. Thrill of the Hunt was active at the time, so perhaps Aimed Shot is affected by it?
In the meantime, the rumor is that we’re getting some kind of monster Warlords info dump tomorrow, so maybe we’ll get a confirmation on this soon. Oh, and how about those new bow sounds?
Update March 9, 2014: Cheetah and Pack show up in the spellbook of this video. There’s a possibility they have survived the cut and the aspect bar was removed because there’s no point to it anymore with Hawk gone (we’re now a lot more sure that Hawk is in fact gone).