Friday, January 30, 2009

Examining Ret Glyphs

After finally giving in to better judgment and replacing my Glyph of Seal of Command with Glyph of Consecration, my attention turns to my third glyph. Currently, I have Glyph of Crusader Strike equipped, which decreases the cost of Crusader Strike by 20%. Let's do a little math, shall we?

The cost of Crusader Strike is 6% of the paladin's base mana, which at level 80 works out to 351 mana. With the glyph, the cost drops by 20% to 281 mana, saving 70 mana per strike.

Over a 5 minute fight, a paladin can do a maximum of 50 Crusader Strikes - that would be if the paladin used Crusader Strike on cooldown, every cooldown, with no interruption and no latency. Unglyphed, those 50 Crusader Strikes would cost 17,550 mana. With the glyph, however, those same 50 strikes would cost 14,050 mana - a savings of 3500 mana, half of a raid-buffed mana pool.

But wait! There are other glyphs to consider! What about Glyph of Hammer of Wrath? This glyph reduces Hammer of Wrath's mana cost by 100%, making it free to spam your Hamxecute. At 527 mana per Hammer, you only need to cast Hammer of Wrath 7 times to have the mana savings from this glyph surpass that of Glyph of Crusader Strike in a 5 minute fight. That would mean that the boss's under 20% phase would need to last about 45 seconds so that enough hammers could be thrown to get that much of a benefit - that's 15% of the total fight.

I'm not convinced that a boss would only die 5% faster with warriors Executing, paladins Hamxecuting, mages throwing Molten Fury-empowered spells, and everyone going "full burn." However, as the "under 20%" phase gets stretched out and the paladin can use Hammer of Wrath more and more, the scale tips toward Glyph of HoW. For every Hamxecute used, that's 527 mana saved, versus 70 mana per Crusader Strike with Glyph of CS. So, if you experience long-ish fights (be it because the boss has tons of health or your raid DPS is low), Glyph of HoW is better. But, if you burn down bosses quickly (be it because the boss has low HP or your raid is uber), Glyph of CS is better.

There is also Glyph of Seal of Blood, which Alex uses and likes. I am not sold on its usefulness at first glance, but I am willing to entertain the thought. This glyph ups the mana return from Spiritual Attunement by 10% while Seal of the Martyr /Blood is active. 10% of 10% is 1%, so while a paladin has this glyph equipped and Seal of Blood going, he will receive 11% of the heal as mana instead of 10%. Now, I don't have numbers to validate how much a paladin will receive in healing over a 5 minute fight, as this varies wildly depending on the encounter, encounter length, and the damage output of the paladin. Let's consider the same 5 minute fight as above - to achieve the same mana gain/savings as Glyph of Crusader Strike, the paladin would need to take 35,000 healing from outside sources. That 35,000 healing would yield 3,500 mana returned from Spiritual Attunement, unglyphed. With the Seal of Blood glyph, that 35,000 healing would return 3,850 mana, a gain of 350 mana. For encounters with a lot of raid damage, or for paladins that tend to wander into non-lethal environmental hazards, this glyph might prove more useful than either of the ones mentioned above. This is, of course, a very contingent glyph - you must take an immense amount of damage to get the benefit.

However! There is also Glyph of Spiritual Attunement, which increases the mana gain from Spiritual Attunement by 2%. This is an additive effect - it increases Spiritual Attunement from 10% to 12%. So, no matter what, this glyph is superior to Glyph of Seal of Blood. It has the same stipulations as Glyph of Seal of Blood (must take enough damage and get healed by other people to make it work), but it's flat-out better at its job.

Despite the fact that a paladin will get a flat 1% more mana from Glyph of SA over Glyph of SoB in all situations, I still remain skeptical of using it. To be in the same realm as Glyph of CS or Glyph of HoW, a ret paladin would need to take 30k damage over a 5 minute fight and be healed through HoT's or direct heals from other people.

Now comes some more math, hold on to your hat.

Let's say a paladin does 4,000 DPS over a 5 minute fight. And lets that 25% of his damage was from Judgement (33% kickback), and 15% from his Seal (10% kickback). That would come out to 300,000 damage from Judgement (99,000 kickback), and 180,000 from his Seal (18,000 kickback). That works out to 117,000 kickback damage. Spiritual Attunement would return 11,700 mana if someone else healed that 117k damage. With Glyph of Spiritual Attunement, the heals would return 14,040 mana. That's 2,340 mana extra from kickback damage, but that's just over half the savings that Glyph of Crusader Strike would provide over that same period. To get the effectiveness as Glyph of CS, with a 5 minute encounter and 4k DPS out, the paladin would need to take well over 200,000 additional damage over the course of the fight to trigger enough Spiritual Attunement gains.

I don't know about you, fair reader, but I think that there's way too many strings attached to Glyph of Spiritual Attunement. Sure, it scales with your damage and your damage taken, but I don't have the computational skills or the data available to chart out when Glyph of SA would overtake Glyph of CS or Glyph of HoW. For Glyph of SA to be worth it, the following criteria would need to be met:

  • High personal DPS
  • Appreciable raid damage taken
  • Low/no self-healing

... and I can't give numbers at present for threshholds for either of the first two bullets.

Last but not least, there's Glyph of Avenging Wrath, which drops the Hamxecute cooldown from 6 seconds to 3 seconds while wings are up. Again, this is very conditional - a paladin will need to have an additional 2,100 mana (enough to throw 4 more Hammers) in reserve above and beyond the mana to sustain the rest of the rotation, and have his wings off cooldown, and be assured that the boss will be alive for the next 20 seconds to get full benefit from Avenging Wrath. That's a lot of criteria.

So, wrapping it all up: Glyph of Judgement, Glyph of Consecration, and then your choice of Glyph of Crusader Strike (well geared, shorter fights) or Glyph of Hammer of Wrath (undergeared, longer fights) are your safest and most dependable glyph choices for retribution. Glyph of Avenging Wrath is good if you have absolutely no mana problems. Glyph of Spiritual Attunement is acceptable if you take *a lot* of raid damage - and when I say a lot, I mean possibly fatal. Glyph of Seal of Blood is inferior in every way.

That's the scoop on ret paladin major glyphs - choose wisely, and Light be with you.

EDIT: Typo in Glyph of Seal of Blood section fixed.


Tonic said...

I can't believe Glyph of SoB is working as intended (rather, there's no clear intention for it at all) - If they're gonna change it to reflect the tooltip (and common sense) correctly, they obviously need to make sure SoC is more attractive than SoB in PvP, they've proven they don't want Pallies running around with infinite mana in PvP.

Personally, I'm using Glyph of SoC in the 3rd slot which CS/HoW glyph are suggested for. Their effect is quite minimal to be honest, and there's quite a few fights where I may be better off using SoC instead of SoB. The SoC glyph has it's PvP applications as well, obviously.

Algorython said...

That's why I still have the Glyph of Holy Light from my last re-spec to Holy. That third Ret glyph just isn't very attractive, and I can save time, money and hassle if I have to re-spec right before a raid again by keeping my errrr hybrid glyphing. The Holy Light glyph is also a very nice oh sh*t button for when a healer is incapacitated or when someone pulls a second or third group of trash unexpectedly.