You beat me to this thread so I’ll just post what I was going to post here xd. There’s a few elements to these external damage buffs.
On one hand, in theory they are awesome. You as a player choose to buff an ally and make them stronger. For progression oriented guilds it offers a minor strategy element to buff certain classes that excel in moments an example being venthyr balance druids to help push that crucial burn phase. For friends, you get to watch your friend do big damage and get high parses. On another hand, a portion of guilds control the buff and who it goes to, some classes will never see the buff because it’s minor dps gains for them even if it’ll make them feel better. In almost all instances of external buffs the player of the class has to give up something to provide said buff. Balance druids have to give up Venthyr, or Shadow priests have to give up Power infusion for themselves, both of which are massive personal DPS losses.
One of the things that people will end up doing on farm after a certain point is trying to “parse” or do the most damage possible in a fight to high ranks either on all star points, or just to get a rank 1 on overall dps for their class on certain fights. The issue is that with how strong cooldowns are in WoW currently, some specs just gain monstrous amounts of damage from giving them as much juice from externals as possible. Some examples being Fire mage with Sunking has to get PI to really get benefits from the legendary. Demonology is another one, as is Venthyr balance druid since these specs are so focused on these very small damage windows juicing them at certain times is just unmatched damage. So with the original intent of “buffing your friends” and giving extra utility to certain specs has turned into “this cooldown has to be given to X player at this time of the fight because his class just uses it the best”.
On logs right now there’s 94 out of 100 demonology sylvanas logs that are given at least one external buff, for Boomkins there’s 74 who receive at least one buff, for both specs this is usually power infusion. For Fire mages, there’s 42 who receive at least 1 buff. On the very top of these specs especially they are receiving an absurd amount of external juice just skyrocketing them in damage, and sometimes buffs you’ve never seen somebody use. Some fights players will get Kyrian empowerment, Fae blessings, Power infusion, Night fae blessings from a paladin, AND conqueror’s banner. Not only is this discouraging to players who don’t 10+ external buffs because their raid team decided “this week we are giving x player all of the juice” but this also creates a lot of tension at times with clashing egos from people arguing “this person doesn’t deserve these buffs”. Now as stated earlier, there are positives when it comes to externals as it lets classes like Enhancement shaman, or less popular covenants such as Night Fae paladins still bring benefit to the raid, but personally the drama surrounding externals and how much it turns comparing yourself to other players for DPS into less of a “how good is this player at their spec” into a game of “can I convince my raid team to play sub-optimally to give me all these externals”.
Another issue with externals in general is that all of them come at a pretty hefty personal cost. Shadow priest players in Castle Nathria had to argue with raid leaders just to be able to use their own cooldown on themselves, specs like balance or feral druid have to go a numerically weaker covenant just to give buffs to other people. A few years ago when starting Battle For Azeroth Blizzard removed the option of master loot due to the fact that it’s not a great feeling when an item drops for your character and you are told to give it to somebody else because “it more damage for somebody else” or you are potentially a trail in a brand new guild and maybe you haven’t proven yourself enough to be given loot over a veteran guild member. Whether or not I agree or disagree with this sentiment, the exact same train of thought can be applied towards external buffs. Joining a new guild and being told “give this personal DPS gain to somebody else because they are better with it” is not a great feeling. While I personally like externals there are a few issues that should be ironed out moving forward. An example of a type of change I would like to see is make power infusion apply to yourself, AND your target. Shadow priests players are now able to buff themselves for big damage, while also buffing a friend and watching them do big damage, rather than being pressured into giving it to somebody else because your GM said that this person is better for it. If something like this is changed I think it’s fair to also make it so they are a little less powerful so it doesn’t feel insurmountable to increase your overall damage in any other way than getting the same juice that somebody a higher rank than you was getting.
As stated earlier, buffs are a good thing, the fact enhancement shaman performs pretty middling but a lot of high end guilds right now are really trying to fit enhancement shamans into their raid rosters is great, and they benefit from the buff themselves as well as others. The ugly part of raid buffs dpes exists and I think there are pretty simple ways to help this moving forward.