I was lethargically browsing MMO Champion this evening when something about Acid Spit (the worm ability) caught my eye. Turns out Blizzard posted a long informational post today about some changes they will be making in Patch 3.0 to buffs and debuffs and how they stack.
In short, Blizzard wants you to raid with your friends, not with a mathematically optimal set of classes and specs. So they are adding more ways to get various effects and reducing the stacking between those effects. For example, there will be more classes and specs that can reduce armor so you don’t have to worry about bringing the one guy who can do that, but those armor reductions won’t stack with each other so you also can’t bring the eight guys who can do it and just wallop the bosses.
You can read the entirety of the post yourself, but I’m going to try to pull out the bits that affect hunters and their pets.
There are thirty or so different categories into which buffs and debuffs fit. Here you will find a comprehensive list of the changes made broken down by category and which spells/talents are in that category.
- Armor Debuff (Major): Acid Spit (exotic Hunter pet), Expose Armor, Sunder Armor
- Armor Debuff (Minor): Faerie Fire, Sting (Hunter pet), Curse of Recklessness
- Attack Power Buff (Multiplier): Abomination’s Might, Trueshot Aura, Unleashed Rage
- Ranged Attack Power Buff: Hunter’s Mark (only Hunters benefit, so no need to exclude against other class abilities)
- Percentage Damage Increase: Ferocious Inspiration, Sanctified Retribution
- Melee Hit Chance Reduction Debuff: Insect Swarm, Scorpid Sting
- Healing Debuff: Wound Poison, Aimed Shot, Mortal Strike, Furious Attacks
In each category, you can only benefit from the most powerful spell granting that effect.
If I’m understanding this, it means that Sting will stack with Acid Spit (for example), since they are in different categories, but not with Faerie Fire. Note that there are a lot more listed in the full post, along with a much better explanation of what Blizzard is doing and why.
In addition, in the same post Blizzard discussed some abilities that are changing their behavior in conjunction with this new stacking system. Again, I have quoted only a part of the post and you should really read the entire thing.
Below you will find a list of the changes to abilities which exhibit new behavior regardless of the exclusive categories.
- Hunter’s Mark: No longer increases attack power bonus from attacks against the target.
- Improved Hunter’s Mark: No longer grants melee attack power.
- Sting (Hunter pet): Now acts as a minor armor debuff.
- Hunting Party: Grants Replenishment mana regeneration buff to up to 10 raid members on specified shots.
- [edit: missed this one]Expose Weakness: Buffs only self.
I’m not entirely certain I understand what that means for Hunter’s Mark and Improved Hunter’s Mark, although I will say that I will be very disappointed if my pet can no longer benefit from Improved Hunter’s Mark.
At any rate, I’m looking forward to seeing what more experience raiding hunters think about this new stacking system.
(By the way, you have my continued apologies for being mostly missing. I hope to be back in the swing of things — instead of just dropping in to post once a day — soon.)
 Just to confuse matters, I missed a line about Expose Weakness (added above) and also this paragraph about mana batteries that includes Survival Hunters:
In addition to this change, we also needed to address the “mana battery” roles in a raid. The mana regeneration effect they grant is no longer limited to their own party, and it no longer depends on the amount of damage they deal. Each time they trigger the mana regeneration effect, 10 people in their raid group will receive a buff which causes them to regenerate 0.5% of their maximum mana each second. This buff, Replenishment, will be given preferentially to raid members with the lowest mana, but will re-evaluate which raid members receive it each time it is fired. Replenishment is provided by Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins.
As I said above, your best bet is probably just to go read the original post because goodness knows I lost any coherency I had. *grin*