Last week, we talked about the core buffs just about every raid needs to get by. I included the 3% damage buff provided by some folks like retribution paladins. While ample raids get by without that buff, it's so straightforward that I felt it merited inclusion. It affects physical DPS characters, tanks, and magical DPS characters all alike, so is fairly universal.
Of course, I didn't mention a lot of other obvious buffs like Arcane Intellect. While I'll certainly admit I can't recall having been on a raid in while without that buff, I'm pretty sure at least a few 10-man groups have gone without a mage. But that's why, this week, we're picking up the remainder of the raid buffs that provide so much synergy for raids.
As Brian Wood pointed out, raid buffs are some of the most drastic increases available in raid performance. Every class's power soars while under the effects of raid buffs (and while their targets are getting debuffed), and it's this synergy that makes raids successful. That's by design: Blizzard wants us to be exponentially more powerful while grouping with other players. The power of two players in a group is greater than the sum of their parts.
With all that in mind, let's jump behind the cut and start going down the other important raid buffs.
Agility and Strength
Offensive and Stat Buffs
At this point in the expansion, everyone's been under the effects of Horn of Winter. What's less commonly known is that if a shaman has put points into Enhancing Totems, their Strength of Earth totem is actually a little more powerful by about 23 points of Strength and Agility. Caster classes obviously won't get much bang from an Agility/Strength buff, but any physical-based class (including tanks) will love it.
But since you can't swing a stick without banging it off a half-dozen death knights, you can always be assured of having the Agility/Strength buff.
Attack Power (Raw)
In what seems like an elegant design to me, warriors provide Battle Shout and paladins provide Blessing of Might. Both can (and probably should) be improved with talent points, but the only real difference is that a warrior has to proactively keep Battle Shout active. A paladin can cast Blessing of Might, and then forget about it for a half hour. If you have one paladin and one warrior, you might want to have the warrior go for Commanding Shout instead. Blessing of Might does have the advantage of not having to be near the warrior when the buff is cast, but Battle Shout has ample range that it should affect everyone who needs it.
Attack Power Increase (Percentile)
There are three methods to increase your raid's attack power by 10%. Blood death knights have Abomination's Might, marksman hunters have Trueshot Aura, and enhancement shaman have Unleashed Rage. 10% attack power can turn into a lot of damage for folks who are already stacking that stat, but it's important to remember that it's not a percentage increase to your damage. It affects attack power, which then affects damage. It also, obviously, does nothing for casters.
Critical Strike Chance
You have two sources of physical critical strike chance. The first is from feral druids. Leader of the Pack provides a 5% critical strike buff, as well as a bit of healing if specced all the way into Improved Leader of the Pack. Rampage does the same, although it doesn't have the healing benefit.
There are two sources of spell critical strike chance. Balance druids provide Moonkin Aura, which buffs spell critical strike chance by 5%. Shaman are the source of the second spell critical strike chance with their Elemental Oath.
There are two auras which provide 3% haste to characters. One is (like so many buffs) from retribution paladins, earned via the Swift Retribution talent. The other is from the masters of the laser-beams. Moonkin can provide 3% haste from Improved Moonkin Form.
Death knights who are specced a bit into the frost tree can give their raid Improved Icy Talons. The buff is a little tricky to maintain right now, thought there's some welcome changes coming in patch 3.3.3. Shaman can do similar with Windfury Totem, although it'll take additional talent points to make it as effective as Improved Icy Talons. Both of these two effect specifically buffs melee haste.
If you're looking for spell haste, there's only one real source. That's the shaman's Wrath of Air Totem.
Intellect and Spirit
The mage's Arcane Intellect is the standard intellect buff. Warlocks with a Fel Hound also sport Fel Intelligence, which also provides Spirit. Fel Intelligence's spirit does not stack with Divine Spirit, though. If you're short a priest and mage, warlocks can cover both with Fel Intelligence.
Damage Improvement (Spell)
The spell damage buffs are a little odd. The tooltips for them all read a little differently, but they don't stack. Your three buffs for increasing spell damage are Demonic Pact, Flametongue Totem, and Totem of Wrath. Ultimately, most people are using the warlock's Demonic Pact nowadays, since they have enough innate spellpower to make its percentile increase superior to the shaman buffs.
And you can't forget the Ebon Plague, brought to you by unholy death knights, which allows for 13% more spell damage. Earth and Moon does something similar. However, both the items are techinically debuffs less than buffs. (We'll do debuffs in another column.)
Incoming Damage Reduction (Physical)
Ancestral Healing (shaman) and Inspiration (priests) both reduce physical damage taken by the target of a critical heal by 10%. (Inspiration is admittedly a little more specific about which heal spells will create the effect.) These abilities will proc almost non-stop, although they won't stack with each other. A 10% damage reduction will move a boss's attack from being worth 10,000 points of damage to a mere 9,000. Hey, it might not sound like a huge amount, but every little bit counts.
Incoming Damage Reduction (Universal)
There are three buffs that provide a universal damage reduction of 3%. These are the protection warrior's Vigilance, the protection paladin's Blessing of Sanctuary, and the discipline priest's Renewed Hope spell. Of the three, Blessing of Sanctuary is the lowest maintenance, since Vigilance can't be be used on the tank who casts it.
Healing or Health BuffsHealing Received
The Tree of Life is not only a shapeshift form for druids, but it also provides a 6% buff to everyone's healing received. Improved Devotion Aura will do the same.
Mana regeneration is a little different than Replenishment. While replenishment provides an amount of mana based on your total mana pool, mana regeneration provides a flat amount of mana per second. The two sources of this "tick-based" mana regeneration are the paladin's Blessing of Wisdom and the shaman's Mana Spring totem.
There are only two sources of raw health. Commanding Shout and Blood Pact. Commanding Shout is more effective, but it requires more active maintenance by the warrior, and might cost you the benefit of Battle Shout.
One of the iconic abilities of shaman, the Bloodlust and Heroism buff probably does more to vastly ramp your raid's damage than anything else. It lasts 40 seconds, and increases melee, ranged, and casting speed by 30%. While you can only benefit from Bloodlust once every 10 minutes (barring death removing the Sated debuff). Bloodlust has been the subject of a little bit of controversy, since it can solely be found with shaman and is so darn powerful.
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