Mists of Pandaria Buffs/Debuffs Matrix

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.

Proposed changes

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:

Announced version
Tweaked version

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23 Responses to Mists of Pandaria Buffs/Debuffs Matrix

  1. Flex says:

    If they keep hunter pets able to bring buffs/debuffs it does a lot to help distribution. My hunter currently carries Agi/Str, 5% crit and 8% magic pets and uses the one that is best for the group.

  2. Joe Ego says:

    Spell Haste does seem to be tough to find consistently in a 10 man format and I noticed that issue right away when reading GC’s blog post. I would love to bring it as a Holy Paladin.

    I hadn’t considered the comp issues when accounting for tank and heal specs either. Great catch.

  3. kalbear says:

    Nice. Was thinking about this as well.

    I think they really need to have more classes bring more buffs, period. The standard right now is 3; I think that each spec should bring 4. Two should be global to the class, 2 should be specific to at least one of those specs.

    Because honestly, I just don’t want to think about whether or not a 10-man has all the requisite buffs and debuffs, and it just shouldn’t be that hard.

  4. Dan Paladin says:

    Taking into account the previous post, I wonder if Blizz makes getting all the buffs difficult in 10 man on purpose so that they can point to that as a reason why dps checks must be easier on 10-man.

    Right now, my ten man has every buff in the game, and that is with extreme difficulty, forcing one guy to go from warrior to warlock, and using a hunter pet for a buff.

    With the new system, unless the hunter pet would be helping out, my team would be missing out on spell haste and physical vulnerability. This is silly because we have a shaman, a priest AND a druid, but they are all healers. Because none of them are dps, we would be missing 5% spell haste, which is really quite crippling on the healers, the mage and the lock.

    One possible solution would be to make haste and spell haste 1 buff.

    • mike says:

      The spell haste stood out to me right away as well, especially since it has a such a huge impact on healers. The only way my 10 man has been keeping it was through our resto shaman. I think we would be much better off if sham/druid/priest brought the sp haste buff as healers AND dps.

      It should not be overly difficult to get all the buffs, since blizzard will be balancing around having all the buffs. The goal should be though, that you cant stack one class heavily and still have all your buffs, but assuming you have any combination of say 6-7/11 classes, you will still be ok. I think 7 is a reasonable number when you consider classes that fill multiple roles.

      For instance, my raid group has 7/10 current classes, and we currently miss out on the spell damage debuff because we don’t have a warlock, asn Rogue, or hunter. We arnt stacking any thing on purpose, The only classes we have 2 of are DK (tank and a dps) warrior (tank and a dps) and 2 mages. Would i like more diversity in my group? Sure, but i have what i have to work with, and they are all decent players. It shouldnt be that i need to tell people they have to play a spec they really don’t like, or have to choose between a spec that’s behind (I’m looking at you BM) or they are bad at vs a group buff.

      This new matrix alleviates some sore spots currently in the game, but creates a few new ones.

      I also dislike the argument some are making about 5% SP haste that its to encourage groups to bring boomkins/ele/SP. I don’t think they are currently rare because of lack of buffs, they all currently bring great buffs/debuffs as a mater of fact. It’s more that most people who roll those classes end up either not likeing ranged dps, or are pushed to heal, or simply rolled the character to heal in the first place. Not to mention that it also has something to do with boomkins and elementals being pretty low right now, i’m not sure where SP is sitting. Bringing a class for its buff if its performance is sub par is a poor way to get them in raids over fixing the classes core issues, and again can corner people into playing a spec they don’t enjoy just so the raid gets its buff.

      I’m not freaking out yet though, its not even beta, and blizzard has time to correct this if they listen to player feed back.

  5. Poneria says:

    You got the debuff side of warlocks correct, but not the buff side. Dark Intent changes from a complicated haste buff to a straight spell power buff, which is independent of spec. (So, you had to read Dark Intent’s tooltip to know it had changed.) So the stamina buff is still provided by the Imp. It won’t be mutually exclusive with the spell power buff since a destruction warlock can have an imp out and cast Dark Intent, but it won’t be guaranteed since not every warlock will be destruction.

    Also, Fel Intelligence just provides mana and mana regen currently; it is half mage buff (mana) & half Might buff (regen), and has never been all mage buff (mana + spell power). Demonic Pact is going away in favor of Dark Intent’s new function and I assume Fel Intelligence is gone too, considering how other mana regen things like totems are disappearing.

    The other annoyance I have was made not by you but by the devs as they didn’t list warlocks under physical damage done, yet we will have Curse of Enfeeblement, which combines Tongues (spellcasting speed debuff) & Weakness (phys dmg done debuff). The tooltip on Enfeeblement says “less effective against dungeon and raid bosses,” but I imagined that’s because it said 30% and most phys damage done debuffs are 10%. You don’t have to put this one in your matrix since it’s murkily unofficial, but I wanted to point it out.

    I would love to bring spell haste as an affliction warlock. :3 If only, if only.

    • Theck says:

      Thanks for the corrections. My “main alt” is a warlock, but I haven’t been keeping up on the MoP changes as well as I should have, obviously. I didn’t even notice Dark Intent had changed.

      So warlocks will naturally bring SP, and optionally bring Stamina if they use the Imp. We’re assuming that means they’re Demo, but that may be an errant assumption; For example, looking through the talent calculator for Affliction, there doesn’t seem to be anything that buffs Felhunter damage. So demon choice may not be as intimately tied to spec anymore. If that’s the case, we might be able to use the imp at a small personal DPS loss to cover for the missing buff.

    • Theck says:

      Oh, I nearly forgot – I assumed that Curse of Enfeeblement’s 30% damage reduction didn’t work on raid bosses. However, the “less effective on dungeon and raid bosses” line may mean that it’s a substitute for Weakened Blows. I’ll tentatively pencil that into the matrix just in case, Though with tanks bringing WB by default, and spell vulnerability being fairly sparse, it’s unlikely we’d ever use it.

      • Poneria says:

        Exhaustion I’d say never applies to bosses outside of the “it’s PvP-like!” bosses. Tongues & Weakness are hit or miss when it comes to PvE bosses, usually landing on the miss side. But I remember putting Tongues on Maloriak, and similarly, I recall doing Cho’gall 25 with one warlock on Elements duty and the other on Weakness duty, so I don’t want to rule Enfeeblement out just yet.

        If it doesn’t work on raid bosses in the end, I won’t be surprised, just disappointed.

  6. Nightwill says:

    Amzing post, love it. I did want to add that Ancient Hystaria (Heroism for hunters) Is tied to the corehound pet (BM only). It doesnt have a special attack because of the AH and instead has a slow cast effect. So its dps is a little under a normal BM’s pet. Unless MoP changes things tons (and it might :) no one will bring a BM just for their weak knockoff heroism.

    • Theck says:

      True, but hunters already have an incredible degree of versatility in which buff they bring. While they might be the least optimum way to get Hero, they *can* bring it to a group that has no mages/shamans. And if the group does have either of those classes, the hunter can bring whatever raid buff the raid does need at very little personal DPS cost. So I’d say that hunters are in pretty good shape – versatility is very powerful, especially in 10-man raiding (which is really all that matters as far as buffs go, it’s rare for a 25-man to be missing anything).

    • Esoth says:

      I disagree, that’s a valid reason to bring a hunter for a raid. I’m not sure what you are talking about with missing special attacks – pets haven’t worked that way since before Cataclysm. They all have a special attack and claw/bite/smack with the possibility of a fun ability (fox dance) and exotic pets having an extra, exotic ability – which is always utility. There is no difference between ferocity pets for BM in a raid other than the utility needed. Ancient Hysteria is also not weak – it’s the same strength and cooldown as for shaman and mages.

      • Theck says:

        Wouldn’t they still be a less optimum way to get Hero because they have to be BM to bring a core hound, and thus can’t play as one of the higher-DPS specs?

        That’s obviously subject to spec balance changes – maybe BM won’t be as far behind in MoP – but it certainly seems like it would be the case now.

  7. Esoth says:

    It seems pretty clear to me that they wanted spell haste and physical vulnerability to go to specific types. For the former it’s all “hybrid” casters and for the latter it’s all strength/plate DPS. Your fix breaks up the elegance for both of these into an odd mix.

    Debuffs for healers are a bad idea. Faerie Fire for druids is more of a relic and they’d be better off removing it from their control then giving a debuff to another healing role. Monk DPS do look a bit low on buffs (the vast majority of buffs/debuffs are for DPS, not for healers and tanks) so I could see giving them another.

    • anafielle says:

      “It seems pretty clear to me that they wanted spell haste and physical vulnerability to go to specific types. For the former it’s all “hybrid” casters and for the latter it’s all strength/plate DPS.” Huh that’s an interesting way to look at it in terms of what they want to encourage for building balanced raids.

      Esoth? With a good idea?! WHAT?!

      • mike says:

        i disagree, trying to shoe horn a specific set of specs into raid groups via buffs when you only have 10 spots is poor design. A class/spec should not be brought only for its debuff/buff. These are also underplayed specs, and its not because they currently lack buffs/debuffs, rather its a combination of people playing their other rolls, or that they are on the lower curve of dps. Fix the issues with their dps, not try to shoe horn them in.

    • Theck says:

      I think the problem with limiting those debuffs to hybrid specs is that you don’t build the raid around your DPS comp. Generally, you take care of getting your 2 tanks and 2-3 healers figured out, all of which are hybrid classes. Then you fill in with DPS according to what buffs you want/need.

      So if you happen to have a druid tank combo with shaman/priest healers, you’re going to have to double up on something to take care of the spell haste buff. Similarly with physical vulnerability if you have a Warrior/DK tank and Paladin healer.

      Maybe that’s OK. You’re less likely to have a DPS spec of any hybrid class in a raid, simply because those classes *have* to fill the tank and healer slots. So this might be an artificial way to tweak that representation, but it seems sort of unfair to pure DPS classes at the same time.

  8. Aaron Rolfe says:

    Poor old quirk, should have stayed with his rogue instead of swapping to enh shaman.

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  12. f1ncher says:

    Hunter Doesn’t have Crit (Hunter pets have all Buffs but Default Hunter only has AP nothing else)

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