Hunter Pets and Raid Stacking

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.)

[edit] 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*

48 thoughts on “Hunter Pets and Raid Stacking

  1. Guthorm

    well pretty cool on updates, and we forgive u =D im so happy right now, just checked my email for no reason and found out im in beta, a little late but still…i can play =D

  2. Temper

    Hunter’s Mark: No longer increases attack power bonus from attacks against the target…by pets?

    Cuz otherwise, what is Hunter’s Mark good for other than debuffing rogues?

  3. Kristy

    That’s okay Mania.

    I saw this Blizzard post earlier tonight. Anyways for worms are they gonna benefit from it? Or is it a “nerf” to them too?

  4. Seidouyumi


    First of all, you guys just had a tropical storm dump a lot of water on your state and things are a mess of epic propotions (has vision’s of Mania’s Ark). Between that, the beta, work, and you said something about a cold, don’t worry about it.

    As for the raid thingie, I’m not surprised by this. It sounds like they’re codifying something that’s already happening anyway, but in a much more helter-skelter manner. I noticed, though, that they talked about major and minor buffs and debuffs. I get the impression that you can have a major and minor debuff on a single target, but not two major ones. I think, if I have this right, that means that Acid Spit will stack with Faerie Fire but not with Expose Armor. Right now, you cannot do both Sunder Armor and Expose Armor. This actually makes sense. What they are doing is making it so that this isn’t applied in a manner that’s all over the place.

  5. Seidouyumi

    Kristy (and sorry about this double post),

    What it could mean is some flexability in raiding.

    Ok, say you want to have an armor reduction, but your main tank is a Paladin and you have a Fury Warrior running with you. Well, Paladins don’t have an armor debuff and you don’t want your warrior doing the debuff or he’ll pull aggro (Sunder Armor is a high threat ability). In steps your Worm to give the armor debuff.

    What they also stated is that the way this will work is selective. Debuffs and Buffs will select what gets applied and what doesn’t. For instance, you have a Warrior using Sunder Armor and a Worm. Right now, the Sunder Armor would take precidence over the Acid Spit debuff and the Worm wouldn’t be allowed to use that ability. Now, the damage portion of the debuff will apply, but not the armor reduction.

    I hope this helped. It isn’t really a nerf to any pet, but a great help to them using skills. The same to players too. It basically smooths out the whole process.

  6. Elenion

    While this change makes raid make up more flexible, it pretty much limits Pure DPS classes to one specific spec that allows them to do best personal DPS.

    For example, survival hunters are no longer unique and bring exclusive buffs for the raid: hunting party won’t stack with spriest buff, expose armor is self only. Therefore, there is no real reason to spec survival for raiding.

    While this is a good change overall, it limits your choice greatly regarding your specs for DPS.

  7. Palladiamors

    I think all improved hunters mark does now is give the mark a thirty percent chance to not be dispelled. I hope not, but thats how thats worded, and that sucks if its so. I think the change to the mana regens on classes is a load of crap. It sucks for what they’ve with it to hunters, and it sucks with retribution paladins. Other wise, I think the changes are a good thing, mostly. It means a lot more classes have a much better chance of being taken into raids. Really, its nice to have a balance issue taken care of for PvE instead of PvP or arena.

  8. Pike

    Dang, I may have to say farewell to my Improved Hunter’s Mark which I stuck with all this time even in the face of Efficiency.

    Veeery interesting stuff indeed.

    Get better soon Mania!

  9. Dvorkin

    Regarding Hunter’s Mark (and Improved one). Right now, the effect is:

    “Places the Hunter’s Mark on the target, increasing the ranged attack power of all attackers against that target by 110 and by an additional 11 each time they are struck by a ranged attack, up to a maximum of 440.”

    My understanding is that they’re just removing this “by additional X each time”, so HM will give only flat improvement to ranged attack power (and Improved one – flat addition to melee AP as well).

    Is it a nerf? looks like one (unless they’ll up the numbers of this flat increase), but not the change that make IHM useless.

  10. Jaedenkaal

    I’m guessing they’re removing the melee AP function of IHM because Mark is in its own category of “ranged AP buff”. Its also possible that they’re removing the extra AP after more attacks in favour of changing hunter’s mark to be +X%. Just a guess.

  11. Wolfwarg

    “…hunting party won’t stack with spriest buff…”
    Good point. I had a different read on it though.

    From the Blizz post under the section about mana battery roles…
    “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 [...] . Replenishment is provided by Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins.”

    So the way I read that is that Hunting Party will have its ‘restore 2% mana’ component changed to this new replenishment buff mechanic. Dunno if that’s right but I hope so.
    Sure.., if someone else’s replenishment buff goes off before hunting party does, then in a raid of 10 people this effect will not apply. However I think that the energy, rage, and runic power buffs will still apply (unless of course other relevant buffs in the raid have those covered). Therefore I still think this talent is useful, and survival as an overall tree is still one you could raid with effectively if you enjoy it over BM or MM.

    The other consideration is that with replenishment affecting only 10 people, perhaps another characters replenishment will be allowed to apply to another block of 10 people in a 25 man raid. And a 3rd to the remaining 5. I haven’t really seen any confirmation if that is the case or if the 10 man limit is capped, but am interested to find out. In this case bringing a shadow priest and a survival hunter is cool with no crossover in buffs.

    Also, who’s to say that given two players with talents that offer identical benefits, the 10 man raid leader wouldn’t pick a survival hunter over a shadow priest purely because the hunter is a better player or more fun to be around ;)

  12. valky

    Seidouyumi: Any warrior can just spam sunder armor between their attacks. It’s mostly the def.-stance + defiance which causes such a high amount of threat (1.45x mutliplier and a raw sunder ‘d produce ~150-170 TPS if you just spam it in zerk or attack stance) + imp zerk stance -10% threat!
    e.g. a well equiped T6 def ‘d be around 1200-1400 or more TPS (and that’s the minimum)

    But on the other off warrior ‘ll waste their rage :Þ as they just need their big numbers 4 their epeen.

    (playing def 4 my self so i should know + a hunter ^^)

  13. Bradagore

    Small notes but:

    They don’t mention Sporebats’ Spore Cloud for armour reduction (presumably a minor debuff, not stacking with Wasp)

    They don’t mention Carrion Birds’ Demoralising Screech for AP debuff (in the original blue post).

    Hopefully these are simply errors of omission rather than these abilities being removed from the pets

  14. Elenion


    yes, survival hunter does most dps out of 3 mana battery classes when you play/gear right.
    however, that is the ONLY reason to have a hunter spec into surv after the patch, and no, it does not replenish energy or rage. Now it gives a “mana regen buff” you don’t get your mana back as if you are getting HOTed.

  15. Thoreau

    I was under the impression that Hunter’s Mark affected all ranged attackers, not just hunters. Usually that would only be a caster using his wand to conserve some mana, but still. Was I mistaken there, did Hunter’s Mark not affect them or is that a change?

    It’s noteworthy that the Blizzard poster calls it “a comprehensive list of the changes made broken down by category and which spells/talents are in that category” and yet fails to mention several pet abilities. Bradagore mentioned a couple and how about Furious Howl? I couldn’t see that on the list either.

  16. Seidouyumi


    Well, some of my understanding about Warriors is a bit out of date, I haven’t had one passed lvl 20 in a long time. Still, the point is well made. One way or the other, that buff could be very valuable in a raid when the main tank isn’t a class with a major armor debuff :)

  17. Elenion


    Hunter’s mark never did anything other than increasing ranged attack power (physical damage/ melee as well if you got imp HM)
    This change will basically roll back to old hunter’s mark, you just get a flat amount of attack power after casting on a mob.

  18. Seidouyumi

    Oh yes, I checked, unless it is to be changed in the next build, Improved Hunter’s Mark will do two things- one is improve Melee Attack Power and the other is to make it harder to dispell.

  19. Rudda

    I for one am actually going to try to spec for pet tanking 5 mans. It was doable in Ramps and BF and it was done by others through SP and UB. With Imp, hunter’s mark not being as important for the pet or the raid, that is a few personal talents I can put else where. I know trying such a build may not make me “best personal dps” but many a healer has been saved by my gorilla’s Thunderstomp. Just imagine what he can do with intervene etc…
    Healers living is always a benefit to raids.

  20. Dmok

    Well, as a SV hunter I’m a little sad about the change to Expose Weakness. I loved being that “guy” who brought over 250AP to the raid through the debuff. Sure, the mana regen component is nice for LK but I was just as happy about it.

    As for mana batteries, unless spriest dps gets a HUGE buff in LK I expect SV hunters to completely replace them. Once geared, SV hunters were one of the highest dps classes in BC and combined with a mana regen mechanic there wouldn’t be much room for a “utility” mana battery spec in raids.

  21. Elenion

    “Healers living is always a benefit to raids.” “a healer has been saved by my gorilla’s Thunderstomp”

    Does not compute.
    First of all, if healer need a saving in the raid, someone’s doing something wrong. They’ll likely to get 1 shotted by a raid instance mobs and yea.. 5 man != raid

  22. Ketari

    I understand what they’re trying to do. But.

    It’s going to be easier to bring along certain specs (Moonkin, Retri Pala , Fury Warrior, Shaman (any)), a mix of healers, however many tanks you need and then fill the remaining spaces with the highest DPS specs.. and there’s a strong bias for melee and caster DPS from the way the stacking works out. (i.e. Rampage vs LoTP (range!))

  23. Mezuera

    “…As for mana batteries, unless spriest dps gets a HUGE buff in LK I expect SV hunters to completely replace them.”

    The reason blizz limited spriest dps the way they did before was exactly because Vampiric Touch and Embrace were both directly linked to that dps. Now that it’s a flat .5%/second, they can buff it to be more inline with other dps classes without trivializing mana as a finite resource.

    I’m just wondering if they’ll change Vampiric Embrace’s health regen effect (and maybe Imp. Leader of the Pack) to be something more akin to the DK’s Blood Aura: “All party or raid members within 45 yards of the Death Knight are healed by 2% of the damage they deal.”

  24. Hellshot

    Kill shot suffered a major nerf in the latest build, if any of you are in beta then please feel free to QQ on the hunter forums about changing it back. Kill Shot went from a 6sec Cooldown to a 35 sec cooldown, & it now stuns the hunter (by knocking him down) Kill Shot in my opinion = Exectute most classes will now have a way of dealing more dmg when the target is anywhere between 20-30% health with no stuns to them of course & they receive a dmg increase of about the same & for them its with anything they cast on the target seeing the increase, no cd, no stuns. Hunters will have a longer CD before we can use it again, & get stunned for using it. Warriors execute @ level 80 Attempt to finish off a wounded foe, causing 1665 damage and converting each extra point of rage into 38 additional damage. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
    (15 Rage, Instant, 5 yd Range) after using this, they only have to hit the target 1-2 more times to use again for 1600 dmg that is scaled with AP. There is no cooldown they just need 10(Fury Talent) or 15 rage to use continually. Hunters in Beta please complain about this since new change, its ridiculous I would settle for a 10-15sec cooldown as long as they remove the stun, or make the execute for warriors stun them.

    Sorry about the rant, I’m very upset by this change as I feel it is very stupid on blizzards part & makes a once great skill worthless. As for Hunters Mark, I believe that its going to now be an AP increase across the board. That it will affect both Ranged & Melee Attack Power (Since Blizz seems to want us to focus on pets & having our effects benefit them as well) I also believe another thing we will see is that it will now only effect the hunter not the entire party/raid. We’ll just have to wait for future builds to see what will be in store for it.

  25. Dmok

    One can only hope. I felt bad enough for spriests as it was after the spirit regen buff. I can only hope they get the love I feel they deserve.

  26. Nimizar

    @Hellshot: don’t worry, the PvP crew (Megatf, Levidian, etc) already gave the Kill Shot change a thorough working over

    Regarding the raid stacking changes – I wouldn’t get too worried about them just yet. Blizz have made it perfectly clear that they want 30 raid viable specs (in contrast to previous approaches) and they’re prepared to tweak abilities and talents until they achieve that.

  27. Ihlos

    They are making sweeping changes. This makes me nervous because we are the odd man out being both ranged and physical dps. We always seem to get left behind when it comes to broad changes. I do have some hope as blizzard does seem to finally be giving a good hard look.

  28. Seidouyumi


    I pointed out something that seems to have gotten lost in this, yet again. What they’re doing is a lot of categorizing and codifying what is right now a haphazard set up. A lot of debuffs have always been considered in the same category, but not all of them have been treated the same. The same goes for buffs. This will be a solid, codified system instead of a scattered, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t set up.

    I read through the post, and it’s a little hard to follow what all is happening. I honestly don’t believe that we’re going to see a lot of major problems with this. I did notice that they mentioned that some buffs and debuffs will over ride only PART of a buff instead of all of a buff or debuff.

    I feel like this is kind of like the uproar about the mana cost changes. Everyone was up in arms for such a long time because they were changing the mana costs to a percentage of the base mana. It took ages until people realized that the change really was to the BASE mana instead of the total mana.

  29. Ketari

    Nimizar – And they’re achieving this by genericising playstyles, yes.

    Seidouyumi – Blizz’s fault for releasing half a change again.

    As for the % mana change, between 3.0 and WoTLK is going to suck for Hunter mana (because we have really, really high base mana and Blizz are only using whole percentages – 20% rise on some shots!). Once you hit 80, the coefficients mean that you’re not paying much more than you did pre-BC, but you *are* at 70.

  30. Mania Post author

    My apologies for missing some of the Survival hunter stuff. I’ve added it to the post, such as it is. Let me know if I’ve missed anything else.

  31. Rudda

    Correction on Gorilla saving healers and raids. I’ve never used my gorilla for that role in raid. Why? because gorilla’s aren’t known for bringing “best personal dps” or much real utility atm to a raid. However, my comment meant to express that if the gorilla could save a healer when the “tank lost a mob” or “CC broke” etc. . . during a 5 man, perhaps (I’m hoping) that with all of the changes a tenacity pet may actually have a place in a raid setting. And even though Ghostcrawler has said that they want tenacity pets to be able to tank some 5 man quests, I’m hoping that in practice tenacity pets may do more than that. I envision some creative use of “eyes of the beast” to help with pet management/movement on “tricky” pulls and for phase changes on boss fights etc. . .

    It may not work that way at all. But a hunter can dream can’t she?

  32. Palladiamors

    Sei, that change, and all of those changes listed, are in an up and coming build.

    As for pets saving healers in raids, sure, I’ve done that before. Intimidation on a mob thats running at shouldn’t be is often all it takes for the tank or an off tank to get the aggro back, or give the priest time to fade.

    Pet tanking is difficult, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. A well used gorilla or sometimes even on live anything with screech can help, but you really need to be on the ball. I don’t think thats going to change a whole lot in Wrath. I just think they’ll be a lot less likely to die while you fumble around getting aggro.

  33. Seidouyumi


    Right now, some of the buffs won’t let you double stack them. Expose Armor from a Rogue won’t stack with a Sunder Armor from a Warrior on a target. What I’m saying, and what got lost in there, was that it’s codifying something that’s sort of there right now. It’s more streamlining than anything else.

    What I’m trying to say is that this is sort of already there now, but that this is going to put an end to the ‘is it or isn’t it’ set up that’s there now.

    I hope that makes sense. There are a lot of times when buffs and debuffs aren’t allowed simply because ‘a more powerful spell is already in place’. This is going to do a lot of things and I think that the changes might boost things for more maligned spells and builds. We will have to see, however. I don’t think it’s going to be a nerf for anyone. Optimum word here is still ‘think’. I’ll wait and see.

  34. Seidouyumi


    Sorry, I had a durh moment. I just found the changes to those skills, and I’m not even sure what they’re doing to Hunter’s Mark.

    I thought you were responding to something else I wrote.

  35. Nimizar

    Yeah, Sei, I agree that this is really just streamlining and codifying a system that already exists in a haphazard fashion in TBC. I think it will actually make for a better raiding game overall. While some classes will lose their OMGWOW! synergies (notice that all spell or spell school-specific buffs are now either self-only, or in the specific case of Hunter’s Mark, only of benefit to one class with the ability), the huge benefit of removing those is that Blizzard don’t need to tune fights on the assumption those synergies are present – instead, they can tune them based on the assumption a raid has one buff out of each category, then go from there.

    Also, people should expect to see Blizzard cracking down much harder on mechanics which deliver excessive DPS to any one class or spec – they’ve made it pretty clear that they want the differences in max theoretical DPS to be less than the variance you see from differences in players’ ability to maintain good attack rotations and respond to events in the raid environment.

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