Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dark Intentions Revealed

Dark Intent is, quite possibly, the first widely useful Warlock buff that's been seen in a while. Locks are not really a buffing class in spirit, but I'm a huge fan of this new spell.  It makes us... helpful (/gag), without being too... helpful (/cough).  I've been fiddling around with its use in heroics and I wanted to reiterate some that's already been said, colored by my own preferences and opinions.

First, what's been said:  Nibuca has a great post up right now.  A lot of what I'm going to say is based on what she's already written, so obviously I agree with it.  It's key to note that her advice is a bit different from the message I've seen delivered by more theorycraft-heavy sites.  The meat of the discussion can be found here, on MMO-Champion, if you're interested in delving further.

Perhaps, I'm getting ahead of myself though.  Most people, especially if they don't have a 'lock, don't even realize we have a new buff.  I feel like I need a clever macro that whispers someone to let them know I've DI'ed them.  Even then, I'd get mostly blank stares and grunts.  "Buffed me with something? A Lock?  Thanks... I think."

So what does DI do?  Well, the base is a 3% haste buff for you and the target.  Good stuff.  You get that no matter what.  The tricky part, then, is the little bonus that doesn't show up on an icon mouseover.  Very simply put, every time a DoT or HoT tick crits for either of the DI'd folks, you will gain an additional stacking buff (up to three stacks).  This bonus buff simply increases DoT/HoT tick size by 3% per stack.  So either your heals get bigger or your dot damage gets better.  

What this means, though, is that there is clearly a need to choose wisely in our buff target.  As Affliction locks, we're already in a good place due to our extensive use of DoTs, but not every class is so fortunate.  The old adage "two heads are better than one" certainly applies here.  The more DoT ticks, the better your chance to engage and stack your bonus buff.  Thus, we want to maximize our chances.

It would seem very simple then: pick the biggest DoT/HoT user available.  Indeed, that is what the advice from theorycrafters seems to center around.  Yet, what Nibuca (and now I), argue is that we need to be smarter than a mere table.  All fights are not created equal.  All groups are not created equal.  Depending on the roll of the dice, we may need more help healing on one fight, and then DPS'ing on the next fight.  Or, maybe we're consistent through one run, but not night to night.  The bottom line is, we'll need to judge for ourselves.

Nibs advises that we look to DI a healer first, until DPS becomes a problem.  As such, she lays her priority out like this:
  1. Resto Druid
  2. Holy Priest on the Raid
  3. Resto Shammy
  4. Holy Priest on the Tank
  5. Other healers.
If DPS becomes and issue, then one would look for this order:
  1. Shadow Priest
  2. Fire Mage
  3. DPS Druids (Kitty, Boomy)
Now, I can totally get on board with this approach.  It's a solid one.  However, I don't think I'm nearly as magnanimous as Nibuca.  I'm willing to help healers out, but only to a point.  I will take an almost reverse stance in saying that I will only put it on healers if healing becomes a problem.  After all, my first job is to kill stuff.  I want to give us the best DPS possible, and this means choosing the best target possible for DPS, not healing.  It's a petty difference, because I'm totally in agreement that if a fight is heal-intensive, we help the healer out.  Similarly, if it's a clear DPS race, then your choice is made simple.  However, I sit on the other side of the "help a healer out first" fence.  They already have bloated egos as it is.

Therefore, my priority looks something like this (All things being equal.  That is to say, when there is not a clear deficit in either healing or DPS'ing):
  1. Shadow Priest - This should be our best bet with our dotting brethren of the shadow.
  2. Resto Druid - Is anyone hottier?
  3. Fire Mage
  4. Boomkin - They call them Crit Chickens
  5. Kitty Druid
  6. Holy Priest - I'm not going to bicker over assignments.
  7. Resto Shammy
  8. Survival Hunter - I often run with one of these.
  9. Frost Mage - They have a DoT from Frostfire bolt.
  10. ???
If you get to 10 without having one of the above, then I'd look mostly at who could benefit from haste and not worry so much about the DoT thing.  For me this generally means lobbying with the resident Disc Priest for Power Infusion.  You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours... 

Also, you're notice that nowhere on that list is another warlock.  That would be a waste, since the buff does not work to the fullest extent on one another lock.  They just don't play well together right now.  Don't do it!  Just like when a guildy whispered me last night that he was running with a lock that was making extensive use of his blueberry in a dungeon... I will facepalm at your expense.

Whether you prefer the more healer-friendly approach of Nibuca or my more selfish approach, you should most definitely give it due consideration.  As you learn raids and boss fights, you'll want to note which ones the healers tend to struggle on, and which ones you could benefit from increased DPS.  Make an informed choice, first! 

I feel I must also add that if a Mage is ever beating me on the charts, I will purposefully withhold DI from them out of spite.  Not that such a thing has ever, or will ever happen. Nope.  Nevah.


  1. I rarely run with a s. priest, so I usually hit up the weakest resto drood. I NEVER see the buff wear off, it's pretty hot.

  2. Interesting. I've gone through a few pug'd 5-mans and i usually grab the healer. Feel it as returning the favor for keeping me alive. Then after a few minutes of play, I haven't had DI proc regularly, I grab another caster. Never would have thought to throw it on a kitty.

    Now, sorry, mages don't differentiate themselves well. Even if I wanted to, I'll probably DI the boomkin before the fire mage, just for simplicity.

  3. Yeah, Kitties have that bleed effect I believe that can crit. Makes me think about DK's but I don't see them mentioned anywhere. I'll have to look up, maybe their dots can't crit.

  4. On the healer versus dps debate, I could see the argument that when your group starts hitting the enrage timer, it's time to give those DIs to the dps. And maybe in the context of Wrath, I could see this argument further still.

    But in Cataclysm, nearly every raid encounter rests heavily on your healers. And need I remind you, my dear warlock friend, to whom you owe your infinite combat mana pool? So hand over the DI, nice a calm like, and I might just overlook your lifetapping at inopportune times. ^_^

  5. LOL, love it.

    However, repeated analysis of my raid performance via World of Logs and Recount shows that I routinely need the least healing of my DPS counterparts. Partly that is skill at avoiding The Bad, but another part is the hefty self-heals that Aff'locks sport. I use haunt combined with siphon life to easily off set life taps, plus there's always Drain Life. Yes, I've repeatedly told our healers to "not worry about me" since I know I can keep myself alive better than they can in their stressed out state of almost-OOMness.

    In short... Heals? We don't need no stinkin' Heals!

    That being said, I'll totally admit that sometimes my own life tapping makes me want to punch myself in the face. It's like... the button is so easy and so... there. And then there's a whirlwind of some kind. :-D

    In all seriousness, if the healer is struggling, I'll totally pop it on them... but I identify that they're struggling *before* they get it... it is not default for me. DPS is my first role, not healer's little helper!

  6. Thanks for all the great work, and writing, I am a long time reader, but first time poster. Two thoughts, one, does it change things if the following is true, which from MMO Champs I believe it is.

    – Can only be cast in a party
    – Gives you and your target each 3% haste.
    – When you (or the linked target) gets a dot/hot crit the other person gets 3% increased dot damage/healing which lasts for 7 seconds and stacks up to 3 times.

    The haste buff stacks. The increased dot damage doesn’t stack.

    Second, as a Destruction lock primary and
    Affliction secondary [although I am trying to gradually make the switch to the right spec, ;)] What do others think is the best way to get in on some of that self heal. I already make sure I use my nether shield right before a life tap if at all possible. Also I couldn't agree more about how tempting LT is, you summed it up so well.

  7. YW, and in response:

    First - Assessment of truth in descending order: I believe so; yes definitely; basically yes, but I'll clarify this in a second; and yes this is why we should never do it on another 'lock, this part only comes into play when you have lock on lock action (some people pay double for that).

    The clarification is that it's my understanding that BOTH toons get a 3% increased DoT damage if a single one of you gets a dot/hot crit. Both will get the stacks. I think the wording in that one can be misleading. It truly is double your pleasure, double your fun, though I suppose I could be misunderstanding this one as well.

    Second - In Affliction, it's pretty simple... spec into Siphon Life and make sure Corruption is up as much as possible (we should be doing this anyways). Try to time your LT's immediately after a Haunt refresh, as the spell will return health to you (nearly offsetting a tap on it's own). Those are the two big ones. If you get in trouble, use Drain Life. Don't forget about cookies either.

    For Destro, you lose both Haunt and SL, so I don't think you're going to be as hearty. That's just how the cookie spec crumbles. The self healing is really a tenant of Affliction.

    Glad to have had you reading for a while and glad to have you commenting now :-).

  8. Nibs also brought up that the succi is back to being top dps. This makes me sad because as I remember her DS isn't good. I personally will be sticking with the puppy for the raw Mp5 given to the group and the DS proc. Until someone shows that it is a HUGE increase, im not going to worry about it.

    As for DI, I tend to pop it on the healers. I was putting on our resto druid but I found the stacks stayed up better with our holy priest (who also happens to be my bf, lucky him!). When we do new fights (as the current raids are) I have been making sure the healer gets the buff. For easy fights (Algaloth or however you spell it) where you have a strict dps enrage and fairly easy healing, I pop that baby on a shadow priest.

    Shadow priest with DI is pure win! :D

  9. Yeah, I plan to stick with the pup too, especially if we get talent points refunded and denied access to the ISF talent. Then who knows? Might as well wait it out at this point, plus we love the silence provided by the pup (more than the CC of the Succy).

  10. I still will be using SF with my shard cool downs. There simply isn't anything else that is worthwhile to use it with.

    I honestly can't see the succi being THAT much more dps than the puppy. Just doesn't make sense to me.

    As for his interrupts I've actually had to turn them off during a fight in SFK because it was messing up the interrupt rotation for the rest of the group. Makes me giggle thinking about it.

  11. Ditto on the felpup interrputing what it shouldn't. Baron Ashbury doesn't like it when you bite him and kill the group because of the healing debuff.. >.>

    On the other hand, DI will always go to heals for me. Heals needs as much help as possible with most encounters now, and I feel it's just my job to help them out as much as I can. Which includes the fact that I tell them to NOT heal me, maybe a HoT every once in a while, if I'm REALLY low. I am routinely the only person in a raid or group that has full health/life at the end of a fight. Haunt -> LT -> Drain Life x2 -> Back to normal rotation. It's as if I had never even hit the LT button, hell, I've even gotten over 10% overhealing on a few fights... *chuckle*