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WoW Archivist: The long fight for debuff rights

Warlock casting corruption
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Debuffs help us beat bosses, but not all debuffs are created equal. Over WoW's eight years, debuffs have dealt extra damage, prevented damage, healed us, given us mana, slowed boss attacks, sped up our own, and helped us to hit harder.

Some are more powerful than others, but today those concerns are meaningless. Applying every possible debuff and keeping it active is a critical component to success.

Believe it or not, however, there was a time when your raid leader would yell at you for doing exactly that. Your weaker debuffs weren't just considered useless -- using them was a dire liability.

Eight is not enough

Vanilla WoW had an interesting, longstanding, and highly criticized technical limitation. A raid of any size could only apply a maximum of eight debuffs to a boss. As you can imagine, forty-player raids had many, many debuffs at their disposal, but only eight could ever be active at one time.

To make things worse, the game didn't differentiate between debuffs. The latest one that was applied would knock off the oldest one, regardless of type or power. It's not difficult to figure out how this could become a huge problem.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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