One of the more interesting spells introduced for WOTLK was the Blood DK buff Hysteria, which buffed physical damage by 20% for 30s. It is no longer ingame (it has been replaced by the Unholy DK spell Unholy Frenzy), but when it was available, it was amazing. Since a feral’s damage is 100% physical, we were typically the best target for the buff from a rDPS perspective (though convincing the blood DK to give it up wasn’t always easy) and it allowed for crazy numbers if you could stack it with Berserk.
Well, RIP Hysteria (Unholy Frenzy’s nice but we’re definitely not a prime candidate for it), but there’s a new buff out there for Cataclysm that ferals should be aware of.
(fake announcer voice)
Introducing the new warlock buff, Dark Intent! This powerful level 83 spell IMMEDIATELY grants you and your selected friend 3% haste…but there’s MORE! When you gets a critical from a DoT or HoT, you immediately increase your friend’s DoT/HoT effectiveness by 3% for 7 SECONDS! This can STACK up to 3 TIMES! Best of all…it works both ways! When your friend gets a DoT/HoT critical, YOUR DoT/HoT effectiveness goes up! EVERYONE WINS!
*cough* Er, right. This one’s a bit more complex than Focus Magic. The optimal buff target for the warlock is based on two factors:
- Target class’s % of damage/healing that is periodic. All other things being equal, the lock would rather give the buff to a class that does 50% damage via periodic effects vs. one that does 30%. (Of course, if your 30% guy does double the DPS of your 50%’er, then give it to him.)
- Number of periodic effects target class has, their tick speed, and their crit rate. All other things being equal, the lock would rather give the buff to a class that is more likely to have a DoT/HoT crit at least every 7 sec, to keep the buff up on himself/herself. An elemental shaman, for example, would be a poor choice, since they only have Flame Shock. (If I’m wrong, let me know.)
So, where does that leave us? Well, the first decision is whether the upcoming encounter will demand more healing or more dps. If healing is necessary, a resto druid’s HOT-based healing style is clearly the best choice (and probably the best overall choice). If dps is necessary, the best receipient of the buff is clearly Shadow Priests. They have 4 DOT’s, and those DOT’s do the large majority of their damage.
“What’s that have to do with us?”, I hear you asking. Well, if there’s no spriest, I think we’re clearly the best 2nd choice for Dark Intent. We only have 2 DoTs (Rip and Rake), but they have very high uptimes, we have a naturally high crit rate due to agility, and we derive almost half of our total damage from them. I’d be interested in hearing arguments about what other dps class would be a good recipient- my intuition would tell me that moonkin (IS/MF, heavy damage), frostfire mages (Pyro, LvB, Glyph of FFB, lots of ticks, but not a large part of their damage) are also good choices. If those aren’t available, perhaps an unholy DK (3 diseases, not a large part of their damage) or a survival hunter (Explosive Shot, Serpent Sting) would work.
(Oh, and warlocks shouldn’t trade it, as the 9% increase in periodic damage doesn’t stack x2.)