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2.02 Stacking Guide

By Forlong - 13th March 2009 - 22:22 PM

The initial release of BFME II contained a highly-flawed system of leadership and buff stacking, filled with inconsistencies and exceptions, which was unsuitable for competitive players. (The system, which is now used only in the official 2.01 patch for RotWK, is described in Thorin's Leadership and Buffing Guide.) It was so difficult to understand that many of the most knowledgeable players in the game still do not truly understand how it works. MaDDoX solved this problem for BFME II by introducing a new leadership system in his patch 1.05, but his system was not brought over to RotWK, which continued to utilize the initial flawed system until the release of patch 2.02d. This new system is far more similar to the original than it is to MaDDoX's world of defensive and offensive leaderships, but it is different enough to merit a separate guide.

Mastering the stacking system is critical to success on any patch: if you don't know what stacks and what doesn't, you will needlessly waste powers believing them to stack, or not use them when you ought to for fear of them not stacking. For example, I recently watched a 2.02b replay in which a very skilled player cast the Eye of Sauron on his units when they were under the debuffing effects of Cave Bats, believing the Eye to cancel out the effects of the Bats, whereas in actuality the units under both the Eye and Bats were no better off then they would have been without the Eye; what a waste of a power! Or imagine casting War Chant on units fighting on Tainted Land, believing them to stack: another wasteful mistake. The situation existed because in the old system, it was completely impossible to tell what was stacking and what was not.

Fortunately, you will find the 2.02 system to be extremely easy to understand. Every modifier fits into a standard category, and all modifiers of a certain category act in certain ways, all of the time. Consistency is key here - there are no exceptions anywhere - so if you take ten minutes to finish this guide, you'll understand the new system as well as the patch designers themselves.

First, we'll explore the six categories of modifiers, what they do, and how they stack. We'll go through a couple examples, then look at how we can tell exactly what's stacking from the in-game visual effects. Lastly, and very importantly, we'll discuss exactly what happens when you stack bonuses together - they don't add up like you may think.

Mini Hero Hordes
Remember that mini hero hordes are, since the original 2.02 patch, totally unaffected by buffs that they do not cast on themselves. For example, the only modifier that can affect Noldor Warriors is their Weapon Song. The most important effect of this is that it prevents Knights of Dol Amroth with Rallying Call from destroying a Fortress without support.