Thursday, August 28, 2008

Buffs and Debuffs Changes

Major Blizzard post on the future of buffs and debuffs. A snippet:
For the most part, what this change means is that many buffs and debuffs which were previously allowed to stack together no longer can, and that many buffs and debuffs which only a single talent specialization could bring can now be brought by multiple different specializations.

Essentially, there are about 30 categories of group buffs and debuffs. The buff/debuff in each category can be provided by different classes, making raid construction much more flexible.

For example, Devotion Aura will now provide the same healing bonus as a Druid's Tree of Life Aura. So if you don't have a Resto druid, you can still get the same effect with a paladin. This change also extends to mana batteries, with Shadow Priests, Retribution Paladins, and Survival Hunters providing a similar mana regen buff to the raid.

I think that, on the whole, this will be a good change for the game. There are some posters at EJ however, who feel that this will lead to a new form of raid stacking. Essentially, you figure out the minimum number of characters to cover all the buffs and debuffs, and then stack the rest of the raid with the flavour-of-the-month DPS class.

This is a possibility. However, in my view, there are essentially two types of raiding guilds: guilds which have access to multiple characters of every class and spec; and guilds which don't. Maybe the first type of guild will stack, but they would have stacked anyways. But this change will make life a lot easier for the second type of guild, allowing much more leeway in recruitment and raid make-up.

There are still some issues to be resolved, including mana regen for Retribution paladins, Blessing of Wisdom, and how Judgements (especially Judgement of Wisdom) will be affected.

Edit: Also, just eyeballing the list, Blizzard might want to consider baselining Blessing of Kings. It looks like the only category with a single buff that is a talent.


  1. If buffs provided by different classes are functionally equivalent, does that mean that they wouldn't stack? To use the example given, will a Paladin's Devotion Aura stack with a Druid's Tree of Life Aura?

    Also, baselining BoK is something we've been suggesting to Blizzard for years. I don't know why they won't do it (aside from it being arguably the strongest single buff in the game)

  2. @ Negativezero
    If two buffs give the same benefit they will not stack, however it remains to be seen if Tree Aura affects only druid healing on the target, and Devotion Aura only pally healing on the target; if that is the case then yes they would stack (as I understand it anyway)

  3. I go with the spirit of the change, as outlined by Blizzard: it will allow players to play with who they want to, rather than who they should because of a particular buff.

    What a BIG BIG BIG relief that will be. I'm very happy about it.

    If some guilds choose to min/max it anyway... well, thats a pretty extreme way of playing the game, and tbh, I doubt many guilds are in that category; even if they are, I very much doubt that approach is needed for competitive endgame success.

  4. Min/maxing is part of raiding. It always has been, it always will be.

    If you want to do something more than farm kara for 2 years you have to do some form of min/maxing. That is the way the raiding metagame works. You can't do a raid with 25 boomkin druids and expect to succeed.

  5. I'm sorry? They've killed JotW. It's now a much much much much much much much much less impressive buff. (Or rather, much less impressive solo).

    The brief days of the blue rage bar seem to be gone. Instead we'll regain 4% of our mana bar between judgements (0.5x8). And with a probable total lack of intellect, that's not fun.

    PS. The sky is falling. Aaah. ;)

  6. Dazanna, taking any point and running it to the extremes will always yield an absurd result. Look, I can do it too: a guild that spends 24 hours min/maxing will never have any time left to raid!

    The point of the change is not to remove min/maxing. In fact, any guild that relies on a strong min/max system will still use it. However, the guilds that are mostly a ragtag band of people who are months behind and take suboptimal specs can now benefit. How?

    By virtue that buffs/debuffs don't stack, fights can be balanced around that. So instead of losing 10 unique buffs, those raids might only lose 3-5 non-unique buffs and still be within killing distance.

    To sum up, it's either business-as-usual for the min/maxers and a leg-up for the rest.

  7. Negativezero:

    The intent given by the list, from what I read it, is that all of the buffs in a single category (such as Percentage Increase Healing Received Buff) do not stack. However, that also does not mean all of the bonuses are equal, though I imagine most will be. In the cases where the buffs are not completely equal, the superior one will overwrite the other, like they do now.

    The post also says (or, at least, strongly suggests) that both Tree of Life and talented Devotion Aura increases -all- healing on affected raid members.

    Overall I really like this change, and it only makes me look forward even more to 3.0.2.

  8. I feel sorry for any 'off-spec' which shares a utility buff/debuff niche with a Healing class. Blizzards continued confidence in the 8 Healing Class minimum requirement for raids means that it is highly unlikely that said off-specs utility would be useful.

    The obvious winners in this change are Shaman and Druids who each bring boat-loads of utility covering a wide variety of buff/debuff classes. The losers? Well, obviously those classes who share utility with those two classes, or those whose previously stacking utility now no longer stacks.

    It will be very interesting where Judgement Debuffs (as opposed to JotW or HotC) fits into all this. It may be that if JoW/L continue to exist and function as they did in the last working Beta build they are real assets to the raid. As a Ret Paladin though I don't feel confident in my utility and DPS being up against a BM and Survival hunter. Take 2 hunters (who won't be taking as much splash damage), and a Ret Paladins utility is negated.

    Bah, I should put this down more coherently elsewhere.

  9. Meh, I was livid last night when I first read that Blue post but now I don't really care anymore.

    Primarily, I see that Blizzard is on their way to delivering what they had promised, to make it so everybody and their brothers are capable of experiencing ALL of the content of WoW.

    I'm pretty sure you can go back at 80 to beat up on Ony, not like people aren't doing so at 70, or go back and do BWL or AQ or any of the older content but going forward, Blizzard is making it so that a group of people will not be handicap by the characters that they play in experiencing the "current" end-game. The beef I have is how it changes the way I "know" my characters. What they are doing will be great if I'm starting WoW fresh of the boat when Wrath launch but we all have defined values we identified with our toons so it's going to be hard for me to swallow this pill.

  10. My #1 hope for Wotlk is trainable Kings! It's fairly ridiculous at this point that a buff we're all expected to have is 11 points into the prot tree.
    I'm looking forward to the new buffs/debuffs system - my guild is fairly casual and this will help us and similar guilds quite a bit.

  11. I agree that they should either make Blessing of Kings baseline, or better yet, get rid of it completely. It's basically the same as Salvation; raid encounters are all balanced assuming everyone has kings, so the net result is everyone has to have it, and it's really not a buff at all.

  12. Given the name of my blog, I would have to object to removing Kings from the game.

  13. I still find it humorous that when a different class was "required" to spec 11 points down an off tree to bring a major buff (Mages with the old 11-point arcane Evocation) they went ahead and made it baseline. After almost 4 years of whining we've gotten Kings moved from 31-point ret to 11-point prot.

    An improvement to be sure, but I still have yet to hear a good reason why it isn't baseline.

  14. I dont believe that in the example that was given..that say devo auro and the druid healing aura stack.

    heres a better example. BoM and Battle Shout both give the same amount of ap. They dont stack. But you'd want them to have might because it lasts 30 mins compared to 2 mins for Battle.

    No one even mentioned the "nerf" to bloodlust. 5 min exhaustion is huge. This is a really needed step as it is really retarded that you can rotate shammies to maxamize bl and bl after bl. Of course you take tons of shammies because of their group healing in sunwell, but this is a huge thing that no one has even mentioned.

    Overall..these changes are a GOOD thing for the game.
    Alot of people need to let their ego's go and realize that they arent super precious because they bring this or that buff to the raid

  15. macawber:

    The slight difference is that you can easily "bake" (to use the term they do) the threat reduction into inherent tank abilities and other class talents, but you can't just "bake" in a 10% stat increase.

    Not to mention that you could make the same argument about any buff, not just Blessing of Kings. 25-man fights are balanced assuming the majority (if not all) of the class buffs are present.

  16. They can "bake" in whatever they want.

    They can make the 10% buff a baseline buff, they can balance the encounters around having 10% less on stats, or they can just raise stats by 10%.