Yesterday, Ghostcrawler gave us a peek at the plan for buff and debuff distribution in MoP. However, the blog format makes it tough to get a clear picture of who’s bringing what, and how evenly the buffs and debuffs are distributed amongst the different specs.
To help with this, I’ve whipped up a quick Google Docs spreadsheet to display the buff/debuff matrix. In this format, it’s much easier to see the overall distribution. You can click on the image below to get a full-sized version, or check out the generated HTML version. If you notice any mistakes (which is possible, I whipped this up in about 30 minutes), please let me know in the comments and I’ll update the doc.
Green means a buff is brought independently by that class – in other words, they can always apply it, regardless of what else they do. Orange means a buff or debuff is mutually exclusive with another buff or debuff in that same row, like Blessing of Kings (Stats) and Blessing of Might (Mastery).
Buff distribution - looking at columns
For the moment, I’m going to ignore Slow Cast and Mortal Wounds, since those are pretty situational debuffs in PvE. They’re obviously quite important in PvP, but I’m not really qualified to comment on PvP balance. Also note that the commentary is more focused towards 10-mans, because in a 25-man it’s fairly reasonable to expect you’ll cover all of these buffs and debuffs.
Overall, there are a couple buffs that seem conspicuously sparse. Magic Vulnerability is only brought by two classes, for example, and for Warlocks it’s mutually exclusive with Slow Cast (Curse of Elements vs. Curse of Tongues). Physical Vulnerability is another sparse one, even though it’s brought by three different classes – in this case, it’s because all three classes contain a tank spec, and that tank spec cannot bring the debuff. If you’re bringing tanks of those classes, you’re unlikely to be doubling up with a DPS spec of that class.
Spell haste is another one that seems lacking. While three classes bring the buff, it’s only one spec within each class, and again, all three of those classes also have healing specs. The combination of healer/DPS overlap (if you bring a healy priest, you’re less likely to bring a dps-y priest) and spec scarcity makes this one stick out.
Melee/Ranged haste is also a bit screwy. It’s brought by Rogues, non-Tank DKs, and Enhancement Shamans. Again, the tank/healer overlap issue will reduce the representation of DKs and Shamans bringing this buff. It feels like another one of the melee classes should bring this (may be a good one for Ret paladins, actually, instead of physical vulnerability, as it synergizes better with their new haste scaling).
Class distribution – Tanks
Paladin and DK tanks seem to get 1 raid buff and the Weakened Blows debuff – the difference is that DKs are locked into AP, while we get to choose Stats (Blessing of Kings) or Mastery (Blessing of Might). Warriors get to choose their raid buff (Stamina or AP), and also get to bring the Weakened Armor debuff (Sunder Armor). Bear druids get to bring crit (Leader of the Pack) and Weakened Armor (Faerie Fire), which gives them a bit of an edge.
Overall, I don’t think that’s horribly unbalanced. The versatility of being able to choose between two buffs is a decent advantage. I still think Bears and Warriors are in a strong position, but I’m not sure it makes sense to take away Faerie Fire, Leader of the Pack, or Sunder Armor since they have been core spells for each of those classes for a very long time. For slightly closer balance I’d probably drop Sunder and Faerie Fire, or give DKs and Paladins another debuff (Magic Vulnerability, maybe, since that seems under-represented and both classes have a decent bit of non-physical damage).
Class Distribution – DPS
I’m ignoring Slow Cast and Mortal Wounds again, and in addition I’ll ignore Weakened Blows since we can assume that’s provided by the tank.
Most of the DPS classes seem to bring either 2 buffs + 1 debuff (DPS DKs, Feral/Balance Druids), or 1 buff + 2 debuffs (Rogues, Warriors). Mages and Hunters both bring two buffs and no debuffs (though both classes have Heroism, and Hunter pets can bring a variety of other buffs making them quite versatile indeed). Shamans are unique in that they bring 3 buffs and no debuffs, but also bring Heroism. That said, my understanding is that Haste and SP are pretty crappy for Enhancement, so Enhancement is actually a little weaker than average. Other than the poor Enhancement shamans (sorry Quirk!), I think the DPS specs of all of the above classes are in good shape.
Enhancement could be buffed by taking away Haste and giving them AP or one of the debuffs (Weakened Armor or Physical Vulnerability, probably – maybe even both since they’re stuck with SP).
DPS-y Monks (I’ve forgotten the spec name) only bring two buffs and no debuffs, so they’re a little weak. They should probably get some sort of debuff, or another buff. Haste would be a good choice here, since they’ll be a melee, agility-leather-wearing spec. Physical vulnerability would be another good choice, possibly a better choice since they already bring two strong buffs.
Ret paladins only bring one buff and one debuff at a time, but they do get the choice of which buff to bring (Kings or Might). That versatility is definitely worth something, but I’m not sure if it’s worth a full buff slot. I feel like they’d be a good choice for bringing melee/ranged haste or magic vulnerability based on their spec mechanics. If it were up to me, I’d probably give them both physical and magical vulnerability (so 1 buff + 2 debuff) or just take away physical vulnerability and give them Haste (2 buffs with choice + 0 debuffs).
Shadow Priests are also in the 2 buffs + 0 debuffs boat with Mages and Hunters, but they don’t get a choice in the matter and don’t bring Heroism. I feel like they could use another effect, and this would be a very good spec to give magic vulnerability to.
Warlocks are in a bit of a sticky situation, in my opinion. They bring 1 buff (2 choices) and 1 debuff (2 choices). Since Curse of
Tongues Enfeeblement is not always necessary on bosses, it’s probably safe to assume they can choose to bring Curse of Elements. But their buff isn’t really a choice, per se. The buff they bring is tied to their pet, and thus, their spec (note that this is still an assumption at this point – that’s how it works now, and the MoP talent calculator still shows Blood Pact as an Imp spell, but Fel Intelligence and Demonic Pact don’t show up anywhere). So while I’ve shown the two as mutually exclusive for all specs, it’s more likely that Affliction and Demonology will bring Spellpower (if that’s tied to Felhound or Felhunter) and that Destruction will bring Stamina (tied to Imp). I’d probably give them another buff to compensate for that illusion of choice, and since spell haste is under-represented, that seems like the most logical one to give them.
<edit> As Poneria mentioned in the comments, spellpower is now an always-on buff for all warlocks via the redesigned Dark Intent. That changes things a bit, insofar as they bring the very potent combination of SP + magic vulnerability. They may also bring Weakened Blows via Curse of Enfeeblement, but it’s not clear from the tooltip (and since tanks bring that by default, it’s also mostly irrelevant for raiding).
That said, the haste buff is still pretty sparse, so it wouldn’t hurt to give them the option of Stamina vs. Spell Haste by tying spell haste to a different pet, like the Felhunter. It might be interesting if the choice of demon was more like a hunter’s pet choice. One demon could be a “max personal DPS option” (say, Felguard for Demo and Succubus for everyone else) assuming all raid buffs are provided. But the warlock could swap to the Felhunter if the group lacked spell haste, the Imp if it lacked stamina, and so forth at a slight personal DPS loss.
So, taking all of that into account, here’s my 5-minute fix to the Buff/Debuff matrix. This is what the matrix would look like after I tweaked it:
These matrices are also available in PDF form if you want them: