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.
The anti-undead themed abilities were cool though, in my opinion. I guess the question there that had to be answered was what happens when there's a zone or dungeon with no undead? Or an entire expansion without undead? Those skills essentially became useless.
The class can mean different things to everyone, so there's no right answer. Not trying to troll here btw, just personally curious on these points. :)
Also, updated descriptions of each class and spec were provided in the Legion Class Preview series, and you can find the Paladin one here: https://worldofwarcraft.com/en-us/news/19955661
I don't think it's anything close to "shots fired", I think it's a perfectly reasonable explanation.
I feel like the nerfs that came to them were a move in the direction of making it to where bringing a Paladin didn't feel necessary to the group because of the buffs they provided, which is much the same with Shaman totems. Though I understand the sentiment a bit more with Shaman totems (its never felt the same since they were removed in Mists), as I've played my Shaman longer than my Paladin. Even now, the auras are given off at a much reduced range, with different effects for the most part, which isn't so much akin to how it was previously.
My concern there is that there is probably a better and more involved way of bringing that theme of an "inspiring presence" to the battlefield than what auras were/are. Personally, I think the way they are now may not be a good "fantasy" of this, and there are probably improvements that could be made to the overall theme, but I'm not too sure which way they could/might go. This is more the reason I ask why you want it back.
Fun is subjective, sure, but in that vein its good to note that the game's population has very much diversified since the days where auras were as you remember, and there is a much wider audience who might not look at it in the way of "turning on this passive buff really felt like I was inspiring my group and creating a meaningful difference". Its hard to see when looking at the forum community, as most posters here are some of the longest-time players, and don't always represent, I feel, a super wide berth. Creating a skill that lasting and memorable for that greater group seems like a better direction, philosophically, (albeit a harder one) and creating something feels like auras did way back when, but has an impact that adheres to more modern design is something I can see us doing more than just giving auras back as they were.
I don't necessarily have answers to these questions, and I don't necessarily feel there is a "right" answer. Also worth saying: what I say isn't necessarily our design direction, FYI.
Same thing really. I think my explanations would be the same along the lines of Warrior Stances, Mage Armors, Shaman Tomens, etc etc.
I can agree that the flavor these things gave did provide fantasy depth, for sure. I just wonder if we can't provide that same depth in a more intricate and exciting way in the future.
I don't have direct answers on why we made "x" decision or removed "y" spell, this is all just some personal musing on the topic.