Why do you feel blessings and auras are fun? I can understand that it feels "nice" to help other players with buff spells, but, in general, they were just niche spells that actually didn't contribute much to meaningful game play (Seals are a different story, I guess). I never thought to myself on my Pally that turning on Retribution or Devotion Aura was going to result in an exciting change besides some passive armor or thorns-like-damage reflect.Buff spells are fun, but articulating exactly why is a bit of a challenge. They're not difficult decisions, which leads to the claim of "not meaningful gameplay." But not everything needs to be a difficult decision. The mere presence of a buff spell means that before the group even starts playing, people in the group are better off. Buff spells enhance the idea that the characters are stronger together.
It's also part of the ritual before starting something. Food, flask, buff up and then pull. When all decisions and actions occur in combat, I think something is lost. These actions in preparing for combat are important too.
I think buff spells might be most important to healer players. They're a concrete manifestation of your support. You buff your allies, you buff random people. I liked joining a group with a druid and seeing Mark of the Wild go up. I liked having Blessings and Auras.
Now, buff spells do have a lot of problems. The presence of buff spells mean that you want specific classes, rather than letting people play what they want. If the class was balanced around the buff spell, then the best plan was to only take one person of that class, and not multiples.
(Though, it seems that without buff spells, play what you want basically becomes "take the top parsing specs", so I'm not sure that we've truly gained anything.)
Blizzard tried to get around that in previous expansions by handing buffs out to every class. But that kind of watered down the whole concept. So in Legion, they've pretty much removed buff spells, or made them "interesting". Of course, it turned out that the new Blessing of Might was too interesting for Retribution paladins to handle, and so it had to be removed.
A Design for Class Buffs
Here's what I would do to reintroduce buffs:
- Three buff types - 5% damage increase, 5% damage reduction, 5% healing taken/output (numbers are subject to tuning)
- One cast buffs the raid.
- Buffs of the same type don't stack.
- Healing specs get the buffs
- Holy/Disc Priest - Prayer of Fortitude (healing)
- Resto Druid - Mark of the Wild (tanking)
- Mistweaver Monk - White Tiger statue (damage)
- Holy Paladin - Blessing of Might (damage), Wisdom (healing), Kings (tanking). Only one blessing at a time.
- Resto Shaman - Totems: Windfury (damage), Strength of Earth (tanking), Mana Tide (healing). Only one totem at a time.