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WoWSep 4, 2020 4:00 pm CT

Raid buff scrolls are going away and buffs are being nerfed in Shadowlands

I’m rare in that I’ve never liked having consumables give the effect of class buffs. Whether it’s the scrolls that grant a weaker form of Warrior, Priest and Mage buffs or the drums that grant a weakened form of the various raid-wide Haste buffs granted by Hunter pets, Mages and Shaman, I’ve never been a fan. I understand that not every raid comp is going to include every class that grants a buff — or a debuff, for that matter — but I still feel like it’s not great design to have the effect of a signature class ability like Battle Shout added to a consumable item.

So the news that we’re not likely to see any such consumables in Shadowlands for level 50 and up content doesn’t upset me overmuch. I don’t feel like those buffs are necessary for any but those guilds that are pushing Mythic first content. Even so, I’m not really thrilled that we’re seeing all buffs and debuffs reduced to a 5% level in Shadowlands, with Battle Shout, Arcane Intellect and Power Word: Fortitude all seeing reductions to that 5% threshold. These changes seem aimed at reducing the impact of losing those buffs for guilds that can’t — or won’t — recruit players of those classes. I can understand that — a 5% buff to Attack Power, Intellect or Stamina is nice, but it’s not likely to break most guilds that don’t have it, and you can tune content so that a solo player won’t feel the drop from 10% to 5%.

The nerfs to the various Drums that granted 25% Haste to 15% seems to be in line with this design. The Drums still exist — you can still get a buff to Haste raid-wind by dropping them, it’s just reduced to be half as good as the Haste you’d get from Ancient Hysteria, Time Warp, or Bloodlust/Heroism, meaning that you’d be better off getting a Hunter with the right pet, Mage, or Shaman if you’re really pushing content. I’m not sure why they didn’t leave Battle Shout, Arcane Intellect and Power Word: Fortitude at 10% and leave the scrolls in at a 5% buff, considering the Drums are being retained — it would have ended up letting raids still get the 5% buff if they wanted it. Maybe they felt they needed to encourage raids to recruit more Mages, Warriors, and Priests, but that feels like an odd design choice to me.

I’m not sure what effect this will have on raids that are more casual. Hardcore or progression raids will simply arrange their comps to get the buffs and debuffs and Haste buff they need. But your group of 12 friends and whatever assorted other folks you rope in for weekly raiding may or may not have the flexibility to make sure you’ve got a Demon Hunter and Monk for the Physical and Magic damage debuffs, a Priest, Warrior, and Mage for the various buffs they provide, and a Haste buff — at least that Mage will pull double duty, providing a buff and Haste. As much as I don’t like an item stealing a class ability, I’m not sure this will end up working out for all groups.

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