I haven’t been paying enough attention lately to hunter gossip, so I know I am really late to the party on this one. But I was intrigued to learn today about some of the interesting side effects of Scorpid Poison– and how you can use those side effects to your advantage.
Basically, it goes like this: Scorpid Poison (known as SP in this post, so I don’t keep misspelling it every sentence) is a pet ability that only scorpids can learn. It’s a damage-over-time (DoT) effect that can stack up to 5 times on a single target. Each time the applied spell ticks, it does damage for each poison in the stack – so if your target has SP stacked five times and a single SP would have done, say, 10 damage (a completely made up number, by the way) then the entire stack will do 50 damage this tick.
The interesting thing is that, even though you can think of the stack as being made up of individual applications of the poison, the entire stack actually acts as a single entity in most ways. For example, when a new posion is added to the stack the time left on the entire stack is reset.
It might just be the late hour, but I am confusing myself already. So let’s use a concrete example. Say your scorpid has SP1, which lasts 10 seconds and has a 4 second cooldown. On second 0 he applies the first poison. On second 4 he applies the second poison, creating a stack of two. Now at this point the first application only has six seconds left — it would have worn off at second 10 — but because a new posion has been applied the timer on the entire stack has been reset. If your scorpid doesn’t apply any more posions then the stack of two poisons will last until second 14 (ten seconds after the second poison was applied) and then both with wear off at the same time.
Of course, you can never stack more than five poisons (because the skill says so), but it is this behavior that let’s you get to a stack of five. If the timer didn’t reset, then you could never have more than three posions stacked at once.
A little confusing, but simple enough. But here’s the trick: it’s not just the timer of the stack that acts as if it were a single entity. The damage also behaves this way. In other words, if the first poison that was applied did a different amount of damage than the second poison (say, 12 and 8), then the stack doesn’t store those two damages and add them together (which would be 20) – no, it grabs the first one and multiplies by two (which is 24)! And that damage number will persist as long as the stack persists, even if the particlar application of the poison that did that damage is long past. (With those example numbers, you will do 12 damage for each poison in the stack so long as you can keep the stack going — even though the new poisons you are applying would only do 8 damage normally.)
How is that useful? Well, it means that if you put everything you’ve got (namely Bestial Wrath and AP trinkets) into play before your scorpid lands its first SP, then you can jack up the damage of that first poison. Then if you can keep the poison stacked continuously, without any breaks at all, you can keep the extra damage to SP from Bestial Wrath and your trinkets going as long as the stack persists, even after the buffs themselves wear off.
This also explains why a lot of people are training SP4 these days, even though they are high enough level to learn SP5. Rank 4 of the skill lasts for 10 seconds with a 4 second cooldown, but Rank 5 for some reason only lasts for 8 seconds (still with a 4 second cooldown). If you are trying to stack posions for as long as humanly possible, that extra two seconds counts for a lot.
Now I strongly suspect that this behavior is not completely intended — although I also suspect that ‘fixing’ it is going to give some poor coder a major headache. But this is something that it seems Blizzard might want to change at some point in the future, so I’d be careful about coming to rely on it too much. But I’ve been seriously wrong before, and I’m sure I will be again. :>
And that’s what I learned today!