Could changing the debuff cap be worth it?

Classic Discussion
Now I know that posting any suggestions on this forum is like taking a swim in radioactive waste produced by some kind of nuclear power plant, but I am posting this as a suggestion to make a minimal change with huge positive impact overall.

I have a background in game design education and basing this on that experience.

The debuff slot cap in vanilla was 8/16 depending on the patch. Now this is completely fine in most content, there is generally no problems in 5 man dungeons, solo content or even pure PvP (excluding AV here).

Ok so where is the problem? Well I honestly think that most of the classes is fairly balanced(with some outperforming others ofc), works fine in most content and getting a group playing unconventional specs works fine outside of the raiding scene.

But here is why I think changing the debuff cap is a positive and logical change:
Firstly there is many classes and specs that revolves around doing damage by using debuff slots, there is also a lot of talents that feed into this gameplay. Now these talents and specs can perform acceptable(they usually bring other utility to compensate for lower damage) in any scenario there debuff cap is a non-issue. Important note here, many specs and talents is balanced around these talents and gameplay styles.

Secondly opening for using debuff slots will make rotations for many classes more enjoyable and fun. It will also bring up many specs and reduce stigma around lots of specs that players find fun without actually making any change to any specs and talents.

Thirdly, and maybe the most important part. It makes raiding more in line with dungeons, how? Well that's easy, because leveling, doing dungeons and PvP will be more similar to raiding in terms of how you do damage, what rotation you use, what kind of talents you can run and generally a lot of experimentation will be allowed due to this. Example: Warlock uses dots in dungeons, they are not allowed to use dots in raiding, this disparity makes raiding a completely different, and possibly less enjoyable thing to do for warlocks

Specs that I can think of that will push into the realm of being viable with this simple change:
Enhancement shaman can run Stormstrike and can do acceptable enough damage to warrant the totems.

Potentially boomkin druid(don't have the data to backup but the use dots
Elemental shaman can use flameshock and can potentially be usable
Feral druid can do acceptable damage and bring enough damage to warrant them for the crit buff and utility (innervate and ress and faeirie fire)
Destruction warlock and affliction warlock will do more damage with debuff possibilityShadow priests can potentially be viable.
Assassin rogue (maybe?)

It will also make more items viable since they use up debuff slots that is not acceptable in raids, quick examples: Brain Hacker, Sulfuron hammer and probably others.

Quick note:
There may be some balancing that this change would need, so raid bosses could potentially have a small (unknown how much) increase to their health pool to weigh up for the damage increase.
This is not something that is easy to predict.

I will be reading what you guys think and I think that there is a lot of things I have not thought about.
There's loads of small changes like this you could make. Each one makes sense by itself, but then the question becomes "why not the other one?". Eventually it stops being truly "classic". Better to just not.
Boomking or Elemental would struggle with mana anyway. Shaman "elemental" DPS doesn't benefit from lock (?) debuffs as they do nature damage. Making one such change triggers a flood of other changes that have to be done or would be "requested". That's not the goal here. And don't expect that everyone will want to raid.

And the whole point of WoW Classic is to give vanilla experience - and people want that. They want that imbalance as it was back then. They want to level a priest with shadow talents and then go holy for raid or be that one raid shadow priest when slots grow to 16... or just stay at shadow and have fun with PvP. People that played vanilla or on private servers are very keen on itemization and patch progression. People want explicit state of the game.

Thirdly, and maybe the most important part. It makes raiding more in line with dungeons, how? Well that's easy, because leveling, doing dungeons and PvP will be more similar to raiding in terms of how you do damage, what rotation you use, what kind of talents you can run and generally a lot of experimentation will be allowed due to this.

Not really. Leveling build is usually vastly different than end-game or PvP or Raid oriented. Priest will level with shadow talents, Shaman with Elemental/Enhancement and so on - and they still will be able to heal dungeons while they level. Then you get pre-raid bis and forget about dungeons and your leveling build. There is no M+ in vanilla and some leveling guides even skip dungeon quests to level faster as they see fit.
1. this could have unpredictable changes to the raiding ( even mby AV ? ), ie. overpowering some specs.

2. this is basicly same change as rebalancing classes, atleast that's your most important point in here, and we all know how that went.

3. this will eventually lead to further changes ( this is inevitable, if you remove debuff slots ), such as rebalancing raids and even classes / specs.

other than that what can i say... we want classic with all the good and all the bad. #no changes.
Well the debuff limit was a technical limitation at the time just like server caps. While I do think it's a good idea since it must mostly a major annoyance as a raid leader would we be at risk to get larger servers too?
I think I'll play devil's advocate here. Not saying this change should be made, but, AFAIK, debuff limit was a result of hardware limitations, not a design choice. This is a change Blizzard would have liked to do back then.

Also, elemental shamans would need an enhancement shaman with stormstrike. Two dps shamans in a vanilla raid is... unlikely, TBH.
I'll just quote a forum post from my previous guild. Read it carefully:

Highest Priority Debuffs

1 Curse of the Elements Warlock +10% Frost and Fire damage taken
2 Curse of Shadows Warlock +10% Shadow and Arcane damage taken
3 Curse of Recklessness Warlock Armor is reduced by 640
4 Shadow Vulnerability Warlock +20% Shadow damage taken
5 Sunder Armor Warrior Armor is reduced by 2250 (450 per stack)
6 Annihilator Warrior Armor reduced by 600 (200 per stack)
7 Nightfall Warrior +15% spell damage taken
8 Faerie Fire Druid Armor reduced by 505
9 Winter's Chill / Fire Vuln Mage +10% crit-chance with Frost spells / +15% Fire damage taken
10 Ignite Mage Periodic fire damage ranging up to 6000 damage per 2 seconds
11 Crystal Yield Any Armor reduced by 200
12 Shadow Vulnerability Priest +15% Shadow damage taken


Some Fights Only

Thunderfury (1) Warrior
Thunderfury (2) Warrior
Curse of Tongues Warlock
Mana Drain Warlock
Detect Magic Mage
Viper Sting Hunter
Thunder Clap Warrior
Demoralizing Shout Warrior
Immolate (chrom vuln) Warlock
Flame Buffet Arcanite Dragonling
Icy Chill Any


Unavoidable Debuffs

Taunt Warrior
Mocking Blow Warrior
Challenging Shout Warrior
Deep Wounds (dot) Warrior
Growl (taunt) Druid
Fireball (dot) Mage


Debuffs We Avoid Using

Rend Warrior
Shadow Word: Pain Priest
Vampiric Embrace Priest
Devouring Plague Priest
Hunter's Mark Hunter
Expose Weakness Hunter
Serpent Sting Hunter
Screech (pet ability) Hunter
Immolate Warlock
Corruption Warlock
Curse of Agony Warlock
Curse of Doom Warlock
Shadowburn Warlock
Siphon Life Warlock
Insect Swarm Druid
Hemorrhage Rogue
Rupture Rogue
Garrote Rogue
Deadly Poison Rogue
Wound Poison Rogue
Mind-numbing Poison Rogue

Any debuff listed above are not to be used unless asked for by the raid leader. That also means that items that put up debuffs (such as the Lobotomizer and Gutgore Ripper) are also not to be used. Items like Dark Edge of Insanity is accepted as bosses are immune to the effect, and therefore it doesn't take up a debuff slot.


So in my guild we aimed to optimize our dps on raid bosses, to kill them faster. We discussed about what debuffs should be used in the 13th to 16th slot. It's how we had fun. As a team. There were guilds that didn't care about this. They also had fun. But none of the players put their own fun above that of the guild or the raid.

In response to your 3 arguments:

1. Classes may use and center around specific debuff slots. However, compared to other classes and specs they are inferior. So their debuff slot usage is an issue for guilds that care about it, since it reduces raid dps on the boss, not just by 1% no we're talking an 50-100% increase in dps by using the right debuffs.

2. Original WoW frankly wasn't designed for all classes and specs. The hybrid classes don't become dps viable by removing the debuff limit. Those players will still perform at half the dps level of warriors, rogues, mages or warlocks. This was designed that way on purpose, so dps only classes would be selected for dps roles preferably. And thus hybrid classes as healers.

You see, original WoW was meant to be played by a team of players, not just you. So it wasn't just about your fun, it was about the fun of the guild and the raid as a whole. Now that depends on your guild. If they're fine with you going Boomkin, by all means do. But if they're not, remember that in this game it wasn't about you. It was about overcoming limitation and frustration, and despite that, still defeat the game. As a team.

That's a more powerful design philosophy than 'keeping everyone happy', which is what it became later. In Classic WoW, you can be a part of something larger than yourself, for which you may have to delay or even sacrifice your personal fun. In retail WoW, you as a paying customer are treated as a king and you are showered in gifts and praise. You deserve it because you paid Blizzard money. You are entitled to fun, because it's a game. The truth is however, that it doesn't feel rewarding if something is given to you easily. That's why classic wow is better than retail wow.

3. Check the post I quoted above. Warlocks have the highest debuff priority on many of the debuff slots, i.e. curses. Not only warlocks are forbidden to use dots, so are all other classes. The only classes that do not get any debuff slots are the hunter and the rogue. Raiding is very different from dungeons. Not just the debuff slots.

If you overaggro in a dungeon, you can survive. If you overaggro in a raid, you're probably dead. Your CC in dungeons is optional, in raids it's often mandatory like banish. You can tank certain bosses as a warlock in a raid. There are no bosses you can tank as a warlock in a dungeon. In dungeons, your CC spells like fear often work. In raids, they are often immune. I can go on, but I hope you get the picture.
the raids are already going to easy, let's not make them more trivial please
vanilla debuff cap is OK. It is part of the game that makes vanilla Vanilla and it would change core game experience. It makes you "know your place" in party and encounter, raid and guild.
Man you purists are pure cr*p.

Its called CLASSIC, not VANILLA. It may just be a remake of the original VANILLA. Ever heard of Resident Evil remakes ? ever realised they fixed many buggs, upgraded graphics etc ? cuz its a REMAKE ? Classic is NOT Vanilla. If you want to play Vanilla go stick to private servers.

Let blizzard do LOGICAL IMPROVEMENTS to the game such as debuff slot removal,tier set upgrades... you are in no position to say what will happen with classic, infact the game would be much better if none of you private server pros (the whole 10k of you salty goldbuyers and bug abusers) ever come to classic when its released.

Jesus christ, you ditched the game when it got interesting and now you wanna waltz back like a champ...
Poster is troll... #nochanges
05/01/2018 18:36Posted by Nosturikuski
Poster is troll... #nochanges


YOU are the real problem here, YOU people basicly want a FRESH PRIVATE SERVER RELEASE from blizzard. PERIOD !
04/01/2018 04:59Posted by Mailan
You see, original WoW was meant to be played by a team of players, not just you.


Do you actually believe that if a hybrid class had viable dps that the game now is no longer designed around teamplay? Are you this deluded? Do you think that you can solo content like raids and mythic+ in current retail wow? Do reality, at any point, come in contact with your opinions?
Raiding should be about finding people you enjoy spending time with, good players that know how to handle the encounters with their favourite specs and classes.

Not about how many of x class we can fit in due to x number of debuff slots. It was a hardware issue back then and nothing more, and if Blizzard had the capacity of buffing the bosses and removing the debuff limit back then they probably would have.
You would rocket launch warlocks into the top dps caster by far with this change. Why the would anyone go with an ele shamans or a boomkins when warlocks can use dots as they please with this change.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum