First, it’s a warlock ability. As this is a priest blog, you usually come here for discussion of priest abilities (with a few notable exceptions). Today is not a day I plan to consume theorycrafting anything other than my main character, so let’s get that out-of-the-way first.
Second, it does not exist in-game yet. This is a beta ability, first available to warlocks at level 83. As a beta ability it is subject to change. We will be exploring the current (and so far stable) iteration of the spell.
Third, you might have already written this ability off as a Focus Magic clone, tradable between warlocks and irrelevant to your shadowy path of destruction. Not so.
You care about this ability because despite being cast by warlocks, these dark intentions are for us. In terms that a warlock can understand, I’m going to give you the ammunition you’ll need to fight off all competitors and receive this buff.
How Does it Work?
Dark Intent is a 30 minute buff a warlock will cast on another player. It does two things. First, it gives both players a flat 3% haste. This effect stacks multiple times with additional buffs. Second, every time your linked friend crits with a periodic ability, you receive a flat 3% increase to periodic damage and healing. This stacks up to 3 times. Likewise, if you crit with any periodic ability, the warlock receives this stacking buff. This effect does not stack with multiple Dark Intents, so it is unwise for warlocks to trade this buff.
Who is the Warlock going to Use this Ability on?
A smart warlock thinks about three things:
- How can I increase my personal DPS?
- How can I increase the overall power of the raid?
- Can somebody make me a sandwich?
In terms of personal DPS, he’s wise to trade with a class that grants maximum uptime on the +% damage part of the buff. This requires a high number of constant critical periodic effects. Critical hit chance effects this, but it is not a complete picture. Likewise I’ve seen analysis that looks at the number of periodic effects one class has active versus another class. This is also an inaccurate method of assessment.
The metric for puzzling out uptime on the +% damage buff is periodic critical strikes per second. While harder to measure than flat crit rate, only a class with more than one periodic critical every 7 seconds is going to keep maximized uptime on Dark Intent. Here shadow reigns king.
The second aspect of your warlock’s little “who should I give this too” puzzle is raid power. The buff should be handed out to the class that makes the best use of it. This means a class that appreciates haste and makes use (primarily) of Over-time effects such as Hots or Dots. In the category or non-warlock damage classes, shadow priests are the only class with three DoTs and a periodic effect as a spam-able nuke. This puts us high up enough on the list to not be completely ignored.
In Conclusion: Why Us?
With the highest number of periodic effects of any class–and an unrivaled rate of periodic critical strikes per second–shadow priests are a perfect choice for raid success and the personal DPS of your warlock friend.
If your warlock is a mouth-breathing lowlife who looks like the picture below in real life, consider forgoing all advice and just making him a sandwich. In my professional experience, sandwiches buy you a lot of love.