Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sharing the buff love

The other day WoWInsider had an interesting article about Heroism and the homogenization of buffs in Wrath. Very few raid buffs were missed, and I'm torn on how I feel about this. On one hand, we have a lot more flexibility in the overall raid makeup. No longer is a spriest required for mana regen, or a boomchicken for crit. On the other hand, some very powerful buffs are still limited to a single class, and in the case of my guild - a class that's very under-represented.

What's not shared

Blessing of Kings is arguably one of the single most powerful (long lasting) buffs in the game. Giving a flat 10% increase to all stats not only scales, it scales extremely well when coupled with Trushot Aura or Shamanistic Rage. In 3.1 this was made a baseline spell for all paladins, and if your runs are like mine, you've got more of them than you can shake a stick at. With only four buffs (maximum) that can be passed out, getting BoK on your raid should be fairly straight forward.

Fortitude is still a priest only spell, and it stacks with Blood Pact and Commanding Shout, giving the raid a healthy bump in Stamina - 215 (ok, 214.5) if it's talented. It's all that more impressive (like every other stat buff) in that it recieves that extra 10% when BoK is on the raid. That's a serious chunk to miss if you don't have a priest available.

Mark of the Wild is another single class buff. Talented it hands out 51 points to all stats, as well as a sizable chunk of armor and resistance. Scaling with BoK, MotW is not a buff that is missed lightly. Even the resist gives a touch of extra if your other resist providers are slow on the ball.

Heroism. Good golly Miss. Molly, talk about one insanely powerful buff. 30% increased speed for 40 seconds is so powerful that guilds in BC would stack this across the raid. Even now, we finally got the achievment "A Close Shave" because for the first time, we had a shaman available. With the ammount of DPS needed for many of the hard mode encounters, Heroism is a game changer.

Mana Tide shouldn't be discounted either. Returning 24% of max mana, this is an extra Divine Plea for the Paladins, without the pesky heal reduction. No matter which mana using group gets this totem, it's a big buff to throughput. It's only limitation is range, so you have to gather up to really benifit.


Scorch brings a 10% Spell Crit Debuff to the fight, and can only be applied by mages. I haven't seen this in action yet, as I think all our mages are Arcane, but I know our Doomchicken would love it. Now that we have an elemental shaman in our guild, we might see this pop up again.

What's left?

Every other debuff or buff is represented by multiple classes, even though it may not be even.

For example, Sanctuary lost some of it's luster when it was changed to only provide mana back to the tank; as opposed to mana/rage/runic power. The 3% damage reduction is nice, but a discipline priest does a good job of keeping that buff up on the raid as well. The improved healing from Improved Devotion aura is nice, but it doesn't stack with your resto druid.

A warlock's Fel Hunter can provide both Sprit and Intellect, but with a 20 yard radius and a smaller base value, Arcane Intellect and Divine Spirit are preferre

What it means

None of the buffs listed as being class only are, in my opinion, REQUIRED buffs for completing the current content in a normal/heroic mode. Sure, we've had some 1% wipes where heroism would have potentially pushed us over the top, but tightening up our gameplay did the same thing. In all honesty this type of thing is fine for those guild and server firsts, but on a regular basis, this type of buff shouldn't be necessary.

Hard mode attempts are supposed to be exactly that - hard. Blizzard has stated that only the top guilds will be completing them, and even then it's going to require raid stacking. Last night we did Hodir in six minuts - twice the alloted time for hard mode. We had three tanks and seven healers however, and an elemental shaman who'd never seen the fight and was only cranking about 2,500 DPS (we just picked him up, so I'm cutting him some slack while we evaluate him). This fight obviously will require fewer tanks and healers, and a lot more DPS to crack that three minute mark.


I'm glad Blizzard has left some buffs with specfic classes. Sure, it'd be nice to see another DPS class with Heroism for raid purposes, but they have an entire game to balance. I'd also like a smart AoE heal while they're at it. And a pony. Oh, and to shoot lazor heals from my eyes (that really should have been a bonus for the T7/7.5 helm).

In short I think the game is very close to being well rounded. We're not required to min/max raid stacks for normal bosses (keyword: normal), and more buffs are covered by a wide variety of plaerys than ever was before. Here's to keeping some individuality in the classes. If you want to play with just three classes, I think Dungeon Siege is still free.

*note about Dungeon Siege - the gnome that picked up your loot and then shat out piles of gold and epics was a genius idea.


  1. I think that Warlocks can do the spell crit debuff as of 3.1, if they are specced for it. They've slowly been squeezing out the unique buffs. I wonder how far they will go with it. For instance, I could imagine BoK and Mark of the Wild being merged somehow.

  2. Hmm - you may be right. I know they share the 13% damage debuff with Boomkins. We haven't had a full time warlock since...well, ever really, so I can't be 100% certain. I agree that I can see BoK and MotW merging, maybe in the next expansion, but it would be sad.

  3. "Scorch brings a 10% Spell Crit Debuff to the fight, and can only be applied by mages."

    Improved Scorch was actually nerfed to 5% in 3.1, (as was Winter's Chill, an equivalent debuff in the Frost tree), making it the same as the Warlock debuff from Improved Shadow Bolt which was introduced at the same time.

    So, the debuff's slightly easier to get in a raid, and half as effective. If the cost of spreading buffs around is reducing their effectiveness, I'd rather they stay unique. It's a lot more fun to see a powerful buff sometimes than a mediocre one constantly.

  4. @eirlas - In part I agree, simply because it's fun to see the big numbers flash on your screen (even I play DPS from time to time). The problem is on that Blizzard has stated before, if they count on a buff being there, they have to build the bosses around that because they have to assume that smart raiders will bring that buff.

    This may be another situation like Heroism where it's not 'needed' for non hard mode encounters, but rather extremely beneficial - especially for non-melee friendly fights like Thorim (current achievment, 6 melee killed in one lightning blast).


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.