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A debuff is the contrary of a buff. It is an effect that while it persists hampers the target in some way. Among other effects, debuffs frequently lower attributes, hinder the effectiveness of the target's actions, or cause damage over time.[1]

Sometimes the term debuff is also used to describe the act of removing buffs on hostile targets, but it is better to refer to such an action as a dispel or cure after the common spells that remove such effects. Another popular name for removing debuffs is decurse.

A good example for a multi-function debuff is the Hunter's Mark. All attackers on that target gain increased ranged attack power; additionally the target cannot hide from the Hunter, no matter if they stealth, turn invisible, or morph into beast form. Hunter's Mark, being in the Arcane school, is removable with Cloak of Shadows and other skills and talents which remove magical debuffs.

Debuffs come in many varieties and most of them are race/class specific spells or abilities.

Debuffs are also color coded, with poison debuffs having a green border, magic debuffs a blue border, physical debuffs a red border, diseases a brown border, and curses a purple border.

Limitation Edit

According to an forums post by Daelo, the Lead Encounter Designer, there is no effective limit on the number of debuffs that may be applied to a creature at one time.[2] Prior to the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, a single target could have at most 40 debuffs at one time.[3]

Similar debuffs generally do not stack with eachother. [4] One prominent exception is damage over time debuffs, multiple copies of the same damage over time debuff from the same character generally don't stack with eachother, however multiple damage over time debuffs from the same character and multiple copies of the same damage over time debuff from different characters will generally stack.

Examples of Debuffs Edit

Dispelling DebuffsEdit

A list of types of debuffs, the classes that can remove them and the earliest level that class gains the ability.

  • Poison: Paladin (8), Druid (14), Shaman (16),
  • Disease: Paladin (8), Shaman (22), Priest (22)
  • Magic: Priest (18), Warlock [Felhunter] (30), Paladin (42)
  • Curse: Mage (18), Druid (24), Shaman (Resto talent, 40)

Examples of Abilities that Cure or DispelEdit

Unclassified DebuffsEdit

Some debuffs are not classified in any way, and as such can not be dispelled by any class. There are some exceptions to this - some Bleed effects, which are unclassified, can be cured by using a Luffa or the Dwarven racial ability Stoneform. Also, Paladins can dispel nearly any debuff on themselves by using Divine Shield, as can Mages by using Ice Block.

List of shared (non-stacking) debuffsEdit

Armor reduction
  • Minor (stacks with major)
    • <imagelink>IconSmall_Druid.gif|Druid</imagelink> [Faerie Fire] / [Faerie Fire (Feral)]: -5%, also prevents stealth.
    • <imagelink>IconSmall_Hunter.gif|Hunter</imagelink> [Sting]: Wasp ability, -5%, also prevents stealth.
    • <imagelink>IconSmall_Rogue.gif|Rogue</imagelink> [Expose Armor]: -20%.
    • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warlock.gif|Warlock</imagelink> [Curse of Weakness]: -5%, also reduces melee attack power, each warlock can only have one active curse per target.
  • Major (stacks with minor)
    • <imagelink>IconSmall_Hunter.gif|Hunter</imagelink> [Acid Spit]: Worm (Exotic Hunter pet) ability, -10%, stacks twice.
    • <imagelink>IconSmall_Rogue.gif|Rogue</imagelink> [Expose Armor]: -4% per application, stacks up to 5 times.
    • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warrior.gif|Warrior</imagelink> [Sunder Armor]: -4% per application, stacks up to 5 times.
  • Unknown
    • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warrior.gif|Warrior</imagelink> [Shattering Throw]: -20%, known to stack with Sunder Armor, unsustainable.
Attack interval increase (melee)
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Deathknight.gif|Death knight</imagelink> [Frost Fever]: Caused by [Icy Touch], [Hungering Cold], glyphed [Howling Blast] and glyphed [Scourge Strike]. Can also be caused by using [Pestilence] on a nearby creature that already has Frost Fever. Increases casting time and melee and ranged attack intervals by 14% (20% fully talented with [Improved Icy Touch], a tier 1 Frost talent with 3 ranks).
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Druid.gif|Druid</imagelink> [Infected Wounds]: Tier 8 Feral Combat talent, 3 ranks, causes [Mangle], [Maul] and [Shred] to apply the Infected Wound debuff, which stacks 2 times, and increases melee attack interval by 10% per application @ max rank, also reduces movement speed.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Paladin.gif|Paladin</imagelink> [Judgements of the Just]: Tier 9 Protection talent, 2 ranks, causes Judgements to increase melee attack intervals 20% @ max rank.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warrior.gif|Warrior</imagelink> [Thunder Clap]: Reduces melee and ranged attack intervals by 10%.
Attack interval increase (ranged)
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Deathknight.gif|Death knight</imagelink> [Frost Fever]: Caused by [Icy Touch], [Hungering Cold], glyphed [Howling Blast] and glyphed [Scourge Strike]. Can also be caused by using [Pestilence] on a nearby creature that already has Frost Fever. Increases casting time and melee and ranged attack intervals by 14% (20% fully talented with [Improved Icy Touch], a tier 1 Frost talent with 3 ranks).
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Mage.gif|Mage</imagelink> [Slow (mage)]: Tier 7 Arcane talent ability, increases melee and ranged attack intervals by 60%, also increases casting time.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warrior.gif|Warrior</imagelink> [Thunder Clap]: Increases melee and ranged attack intervals by 10%.
Attack power reduction (melee)
Casting time increase
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Deathknight.gif|Death knight</imagelink> [Frost Fever]: Caused by [Icy Touch], [Hungering Cold], glyphed [Howling Blast] and glyphed [Scourge Strike]. Increases casting, melee and ranged speed by 14% (20% fully talented with [Improved Icy Touch], a tier 1 Frost talent with 3 ranks).
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Mage.gif|Mage</imagelink> [Slow (mage)]: Tier 7 Arcane talent ability, +30%, also increases ranged attack intervals, each mage can only have one Slow spell active at a time.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Rogue.gif|Rogue</imagelink> [Mind-Numbing Poison]: +30%, each weapon can only have one poison applied to it at a time.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warlock.gif|Warlock</imagelink> [Curse of Tongues]: +30% @ max rank, each warlock can only have one active curse per target.
Critical strike chance increase (general)
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Paladin.gif|Paladin</imagelink> [Heart of the Crusader]: Tier 2 Retribution talent, 2 ranks, causes judgements to increase critical strike chance against the target by 3% at max rank.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Shaman.gif|Shaman</imagelink> [Totem of Wrath]: Tier 9 Elemental talent ability, 3% to attacks and offensive spells, each shaman can only have one active Fire Totem at a time.
Critical strike chance increase (spell)
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Mage.gif|Mage</imagelink> [Winter's Chill]: Tier 6 frost talent, 3 ranks, gives frost talent spells a 100% chance to apply the Winter's Chill debuff @ max rank, increasing spell critical strike chance by 1% per stack, stacks up to 5 times.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Mage.gif|Mage</imagelink> [Improved Scorch]: Tier 4 fire talent, 3 ranks, gives [Scorch] a 100% chance to apply the Improved Scorch debuff (or applications of the Improved Scorch debuff if glyphed) @ max rank, increasing spell critical strike chance by 1% per stack, stacks up to 5 times.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warlock.gif|Warlock</imagelink> [Improved Shadow Bolt]: Tier 1 Destruction talent, 5 ranks, causes [Shadow Bolt] to increase spell critical strike damage against the target by 5% @ max rank.
Damage increase (bleed)
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Druid.gif|Druid</imagelink> [Mangle (Bear)] / [Mangle (Cat)]: Tier 9 Feral Combat talent abilities, +30%.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warrior.gif|Warrior</imagelink> [Trauma]: Tier 6 Arms talent, +30%, triggered by melee critical strikes.
Damage increase (magic)
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Deathknight.gif|Death knight</imagelink> [Ebon Plaguebringer]: Tier 9 Unholy talent, 3 ranks, requires 3 ranks of [Crypt Fever]. The death knight's diseases cause [Ebon Plague] instead of Crypt Fever, in addition to Crypt Fever's disease damage increase, Ebon Plague increases magic damage by 13% @ max rank.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Druid.gif|Druid</imagelink> [Earth and Moon]: Tier 10 Balance talent, 3 ranks. Causes the druid's [Starfire] and [Wrath] spells to apply the Earth and Moon debuff, which increases magic damage taken by 13% @ max rank.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warlock.gif|Warlock</imagelink> [Curse of the Elements]: +13% @ max rank, also reduces Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature and Shadow resistance.
Damage increase (physical)
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Rogue.gif|Rogue</imagelink> [Savage Combat]: Tier 9 Combat talent, 2 ranks, causes the rogue's poison debuffs to increase physical damage caused to the target by 4%.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warrior.gif|Warrior</imagelink> [Blood Freny]: Tier 9 Arms talent, 2 ranks, causes [Deep Wounds] and [Rend] to increase physical damage caused to the target by 4%.
Healing decrease
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Hunter.gif|Hunter</imagelink> [Aimed Shot]: Tier 3 Marksmanship talent ability, -50%.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Rogue.gif|Rogue</imagelink> [Wound Poison]: -50%, each weapon can only have one poison applied to it at a time.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warrior.gif|Warrior</imagelink> [Furious Attacks]: Tier 8 Fury talent, 2 ranks, gives whit melee attacks a chance to reduce healing by 25%, stacks 2 times, higher proc rate @ rank 2.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Warrior.gif|Warrior</imagelink> [Mortal Strike]: Tier 7 Arms talent ability, -50%.
Hit chance decrease (melee and ranged)
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Druid.gif|Druid</imagelink> [Insect Swarm]: Tier 5 Balance talent ability, -3%.
  • <imagelink>IconSmall_Hunter.gif|Hunter</imagelink> [Scorpid Sting]: -3%, each hunter can only have one sting active on each target.
Hit chance increase (spell)

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. Blizz Blizzard. Spells & Abilities. Retrieved on 2009-06-12. “A debuff is a buff with negative effects, such as Curse of Tongues. Spells like these do damage over time, or modify your character in a negative way.”
  2. Blizz Daelo 2008-12-03. The Debuff Limit and You. Archived from the original on 2008-12-03. Retrieved on 2009-06-12.
  3. Blizz Vaneras 2006-08-14. 14/08 New debuff limit. Retrieved on 2009-06-12.
  4. Blizz Zarhym 2008-08-28. 3.0.2 - On Debuffs, Buffs, and Raid Stacking. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved on 2009-06-12.
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