Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has been talking with hunters on twitter again, this time on the topic of Aspects. There is an ongoing problem with hunters, what's called button bloat, where they simply have too many abilities on their bars. One player asked whether aspects were really needed, or whether they could be baked in.
@SamSykesSwears They were never that interesting IMO. Keep pack as a toggle and lose the rest I say. #notanannouncement - Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) August 19, 2013
While this is not an announcement of the removal of aspects, it is a reasonable discussion point. There's pack, cheetah, and hawk right now, Aspect of the Fox was removed a little while back in patch 5.1. They were concerned at the time that constant hunter movement would be too strong, but preferred it to aspect twisting, where you would swap between Fox and Hawk to do more serious damage.
The simplification of things like Auras for paladins, totems for shaman, and aspects for hunters seems to be one of the top things on Blizzard's to do list right now, and the question is, are these abilities really interesting enough to warrant being kept? Personally, I always liked them. In the instance of hunters, switching from Fox to Hawk and back again was fun, I liked the additional consideration of paladin Auras along with Seals, although I know from explaining them to people that they were confusing.
Is this dumbing down? If so, is it really a bad thing? Or is it simply reducing unnecessary bloat? Is it really that interesting a gameplay decision to set an aspect any more, or is leaving Pack active just another way to justify yelling at hunters?