Friday, August 29, 2008

Buff and Debuff Stacking in WotLK

Hot off the Blizzard Presses:

Changes to Debuffs, Buffs, and Raid Stacking.

I'm not going to quote it all, but it's well worth reading. I'll write up a better summary when I'm not so tired, but I think it's safe to say that this list will have a huge impact on raid makeup in the 25-man game. The interactions of buffs, from Totem effects to Shouts and Auras, whilst not complex is at least headache inducing. Here's a list of the effect groups:

There are thirty or so different categories buffs and debuffs fit into, and I will list each category and which spells/talents are in that category.

Armor Debuff (Major): Acid Spit (exotic Hunter pet), Expose Armor, Sunder Armor
Armor Debuff (Minor): Faerie Fire, Sting (Hunter pet), Curse of Recklessness
Physical Vulnerability Debuff: Blood Frenzy, (2nd Talent Spec TBA)
Melee Haste Buff: Improved Icy Talons, Windfury Totem
Melee Critical Strike Chance Buff: Leader of the Pack, Rampage
Attack Power Buff (Flat Add): Battle Shout, Blessing of Might
Attack Power Buff (Multiplier): Abomination's Might, Trueshot Aura, Unleashed Rage
Ranged Attack Power Buff: Hunter's Mark (only Hunters benefit, so no need to exclude against other class abilities)
Bleed Damage Increase Debuff: Mangle, Trauma
Spell Haste Buff: Wrath of Air Totem
Spell Critical Strike Chance Buff: Moonkin Aura, Elemental Oath
Spell Critical Strike Chance Debuff: Improved Scorch, Winter's Chill
Increased Spell Damage Taken Debuff: Ebon Plaguebringer, Earth and Moon, Curse of the Elements
Increased Spell Power Buff: Focus Magic, Improved Divine Spirit, Flametongue Totem, Totem of Wrath, Demonic Pact
Increased Spell Hit Chance Taken Debuff: Improved Faerie Fire, Misery
Percentage Haste Increase (All Types): Improved Moonkin Aura, Swift Retribution
Percentage Damage Increase: Ferocious Inspiration, Sanctified Retribution
Critical Strike Chance Taken Debuff (All types): Heart of the Crusader, Totem of Wrath
Melee Attack Speed Slow Debuff: Icy Touch, Infected Wounds, Judgements of the Just, Thunderclap
Melee Hit Chance Reduction Debuff: Insect Swarm, Scorpid Sting
Healing Debuff: Wound Poison, Aimed Shot, Mortal Strike, Furious Attacks
Attack Power Debuff: Demoralizing Roar, Curse of Weakness, Demoralizing Shout
Stat Multiplier Buff: Blessing of Kings
Stat Add Buff: Mark of the Wild
Agility and Strength Buff: Strength of Earth Totem, Horn of Winter
Stamina Buff: Power Word: Fortitude
Health Buff: Commanding Shout, Blood Pact
Intellect Buff: Arcane Intellect, Fel Intelligence
Spirit Buff: Divine Spirit, Fel Intelligence
Damage Reduction Percentage Buff: Grace, Blessing of Sanctuary
Percentage Increase Healing Received Buff: Tree of Life, Improved Devotion Aura
Armor Increase Percentage Buff: Inspiration, Ancestral Healing
Cast Speed Slow: Curse of Tongues, Slow, Mind-numbing Poison.

In each category, you can only benefit from the most powerful spell granting that effect.

Hrm... that rather negates the value of Improved Devo Aura for 25-mans considering that having a Resto Druid will likely be a given. Blessing of Sanctuary is being changed to a flat 3% Damage Reduction Buff... which is still fairly underwhelming compared to Kings. This may force a lot of Holy Paladins out of a Sheathbot Spec I guess, with one 51/11+10 and another 50/21 so Kings and Sanctuary are available to the raid, but that depends on how Grace works.

Also of interest are the changes to the mana-battery effects:

In addition to this change, we also needed to address the "mana battery" roles in a raid. The mana regeneration effect they grant is no longer limited to their own party, and it no longer depends on the amount of damage they deal. Each time they trigger the mana regeneration effect, 10 people in their raid group will receive a buff which causes them to regenerate 0.5% of their maximum mana each second. This buff, Replenishment, will be given preferentially to raid members with the lowest mana, but will re-evaluate which raid members receive it each time it is fired. Replenishment is provided by Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins.

[With build 8962 Replenishment has been reduced to 0.25% of maximum mana per second]


Vampiric Touch: Grants Replenishment mana regeneration buff to up to 10 raid members on dealing damage.
Hunting Party: Grants Replenishment mana regeneration buff to up to 10 raid members on specified shots.
Judgements of the Wise: Grants Replenishment mana regeneration buff to up to 10 raid members on Judging.

The new version of JotW in particular could spell real mana issues for Ret Paladins. Also, unless the Replenishment effects stacks (which I doubt from the wording) this effectively means that Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters and Ret Paladins are mutually exclusive for the purposes of mana replenishment, changes to Judgement of Wisdom notwithstanding.

The changes are supposed to provide more room for 'Hybrid' class specs, but I'm not convinced that they don't put even more pressure on them than exists currently. Maybe we should learn to live with only two non-healing Hybrids per 25-man in the Expansion, but that seems like a sad state of affairs.

I'd expect to see a new build, possibly tomorrow or possibly next week, reflecting all these changes.

More later. Possibly.


Galoheart 29/08/2008, 03:15  

All those buffs, buffs, debuffs, stacking buffs, nonstacking buffs, etc is just enough to give me a migrain. Hate when that happen as well.

Seems like a bit of changes here so just catching up on this one with latest changes especially that BoS one.

This might be a topic for you to revisit in the future when things are set instone for the expansion.

2ndNin 29/08/2008, 10:44  


Silly Blizzard, making this stack this way lets create a minimal spanning set of buffs for your core raid, and the raiding guilds will work it out quickly.

From that spanning set the remainder of the slots get spent on high dps classes, where as if they do stack, then suddenly a second sub-par dps class is useful for the buff making it a trade off :(.

Suicidal Zebra 29/08/2008, 13:49  

I think you're right Galo, this change definitely warrants revisiting once the changes are set in stone. At the very least addressing the changes based upon the principle of having 8 healers in a raid seems sensible, and given a cursory glance it may well be something that Blizzard has failed to consider.


Yep Nin, I had much the same impression. 'DPS Stacks, Utility doesn't' will be a significant feature of the new Wrath game. At the very least so-called 'off-specs' will need to have a baseline DPS level competitive with 'Pure' class specs otherwise they would rightly be overlooked in a min-max environment.

2ndNin 29/08/2008, 14:36  

In my mind it should be separated like enchants, short and long term buffs.

Classes like Paladins, Priests and suchlike are your long term buff classes, and typically fall into the defensive category. Warriors, Rogues etc fall into the short term offensive / big defensive bonuses, but on cooldowns, lock outs etc.

Really the spanning set should cover a number of classes but retain flavour, and most certainly not rule out taking a class, if you can at the moment provide more utility than another class you reduce that classes reason to be there if they are not in the top dps classes anyway (or synergistic). We need different but same role buffs to make it viable to take any of a class.

So a Paladin gives:

+ X attack power and X/y mana regen

A Shaman might instead give X+y attack power.

they can both stack, or both be separate (though I am inclined to stack all buffs under the principle that there should not be a "we need 1 Ret paladin", if what fits your raid then 3 ret paladins all stack and its no longer 1 is worthwhile, and the other 2 are sub-par, or rather 2 are par, and 1 is op.

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