Category Archives: Talents and Glyphs

On Mana and the Glyph of Illumination at Level 85

My original post on mana regeneration for Mists of Pandaria was focused on level 90. I try to post content that is useful beyond today, but the apparent interest in the new mechanics told me many people want something useful for the time remaining before they run off to punch monkeys and bunnies. So let’s look at mana regeneration again and play with the math for the Glyph of Illumination as it applies to level 85.

Level 85 casters and healers have 100,000 mana with very few exceptions. If you find yourself running out of mana then you’re either spending too much or you lack sufficient regeneration, which now means you lack sufficient Spirit.

Spirit Economics

Just like your finances, always look at your spending first. Are your teammates taking unnecessary damage? Are you casting efficient spells or setting new records for overhealing? Are you using your cooldowns, which let you save mana when you do not need them for output? Are you using your regeneration spells frequently and appropriately? Are you selecting appropriate talents and glyphs to fit your play style and the expected encounter? Have you reevaluated your stat priorities? Haste break pionts have changed and more Crit or Mastery could increase the efficiency of your healing.

For Paladins, spells are now more expensive when compared to other healers. Paying this cost ahead of time means Holy Power spells are not really free. Paladins must choose to pay more or less for each point, magnifying the effects of good and bad decisions throughout a fight. The way you spend your mana will be greatly affected by your familiarity with the changes to your class. Simple things, like broken addons not alerting you to Divine Plea coming off cooldown, can also have a big effect.

When considering your income, reevaluate the following aspects of your character.

  • Reforging: Make sure you’re not sacrificing any Spirit. Discipline Priests were noted for their low Spirit requirements.
  • Enchants: Heartsong provides a great deal of Spirit while Power Torrent is purely a buff to output.
  • Gear: Change to regen trinkets and consider replacing other pieces which did not come with Spirit already. The two-piece bonus from Tier 12 is a strong option for healers, though Blizzard may ‘fix’ this later.
  • Buffs: It’s easy to forget, but there is food and a flask which increases your Spirit.

The Glyph of Illumination

The math for level 90 directly applies to level 85. The major differences are the details of maximum mana and available gear. In my last post I described a situation where lower gear levels (with lower Spirit) could make the glyph a good choice but eventually it would be outgrown. For the next few weeks we get to experience how the glyph could perform at Tier 16 gear levels.

Let’s start with the spreadsheet and tweak it. Please make yourself a copy or download it to enter your own values. The first change is “Total mana” now reads 100,000. The second change is the addition of a “Shocks per Minute Calculator”. Choose a fight you’ve completed (longer is better) and enter the following numbers:

  • Crit rate of your Holy Shock, as a percentage (40% enters 40)
  • Number of Holy Shocks cast during the fight
  • The length, in seconds, of that fight.

Recount or World of Logs provide easy ways to find this information. The table and graph will update and give you a verdict. For example, here is what the graph looks like based on a fight lasting 3:36 where I cast 25 Shocks at 44% crit rate.

Level 85 Example of Glyph of Illumination

Not looking so hot.

Based on this fight performance the crossover point is at 2,200. The glyph is a good choice if I have don’t have that much Spirit. Remember to include procs and raid buffs! The conclusions I can reach for myself are:

  • I need to cast Holy Shock more frequently.
  • Glyph of Illumination is a horrible, horrible, horrible choice for me because I have nearly 5,000 Spirit during a raid.
  • You might say I have too much Spirit but I’d call you a big meanie who hates Spirit. And freedom.

After you do the same analysis for your own character, the simple thing to do is to wash our hands and be done with it. If you’re within a few hundred Spirit of where the crossover occurs then his would be wrong. Though Spirit is the strongest regen stat, it is worth your time to fully investigate the potential for Crit as well. That’s why you’re here, right?

Head over to chardev, load up your Paladin and maximize your Spirit followed by Crit. Find the difference in Crit percentage from the WoW Armory and your changes at chardev. Increase the crit rate found from your combat logs by this difference. The first graphing process told you if the glyph was a good choice right now. This second graphing process tells you if increasing your Crit will make the glyph a good choice. Based on my first example, if the crit rate were 10% higher it would push the crossover point to 2,700 Spirit.

Conclusion

I don’t want to sound enthusiastic about a glyph which looks downright horrible, but I am intrigued by the potential of Crit doing double duty as a regen and throughput stat. Hopefully this will prove useful if only to warn people away from a bad choice. Or maybe this will help convince Blizzard of the need to change or remove this glyph.

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MoP Mana Regen: Theorycrafting Paladins’ Options

Note: This post focuses on level 90. See here for further discussion on level 85.

Note 2: The level 90 spreadsheet has been updated to account for a potential change to the 4-piece t14 bonus and expanded for higher Spirit values. You may not have edit rights, but you can always save your own copy from the File menu. The spreadsheet, as usual, is found here.

With Mists of Pandaria (MoP) in Public Beta and the pre-expansion 5.0 PTR going live soon, our friendly neighborhood theorycrafters are swarming about trying to determine stat weights, rating conversions, and rotations. In the healing realm we are especially concerned with mana regeneration.

New Ground Rules

To make sure everyone is aware of where we’re starting, I’ll list the major changes to mana use in MoP:

  • Intellect will only increase the power of spells and no longer increase the size of a caster’s mana pool.
  • All casters have the same amount of mana at any given level. At level 90 this is 300,000.
  • With very few exceptions, nothing will change a caster’s maximum mana. Gear upgrades, in particular, have no effect on mana levels.
  • Spell costs are still calculated from base mana, but caster-only classes have 300,000 base mana while Paladins and others have 60,000. Classes without modifiers appear to have wildly cheaper spells but end up about the same. See Flash of Light at 37.8% of base mana while Flash Heal is at 6.6%.

HOLY PALADIN MANA REGEN

The Paladin’s Holy Insight is one of the new specialization-specific grab bag spells used by tanks and healers in Mists of Pandaria. In Vanilla terms it would have been at least four different multi-point talents. In MoP it comes free when we choose Holy. It includes increased healing power, mana pool size, and combat mana regeneration as well as additional Hit chance for our damaging spells.

Building off Derevka’s work at Tales of a Priest, we have the formula for Holy Paladin mana regeneration in Mists of Pandaria as expressed in the common terms of Mana per 5 seconds (Mp5).

Combat Mp5 = Total Mana *0.02 + (1.1287 *Spirit* Holy Insight%)

This can be used to calculate the value of gear and buffs. It can also be used to compare non-Spirit regen mechanics, as Derevka also did here for racial bonuses.

The Glyph of Illumination

The new  Glyph of Illumination presents another regen option. It is worth investigating for a few reasons:

  • We want to cast Holy Shock often because it is a mana efficient heal and generates Holy Power for more mana-free healing.
  • Shock crits proc Infusion of Light for faster heals.
  • Shock has a built in 25% crit bonus.

Can something we’re already doing also increase our mana regeneration or is this glyph just a bad idea?

The glyph changes two things. It reduces Holy Insight from 50% to 40% and it makes each Holy Shock crit return 1% of our total mana. The formula above provides an easy way to account for the reduction by adjusting one variable. Then we just need to add on the regen from Shock crits. We can use the following formula to calculate the expected Mp5 returns:

Shock Mp5 = Total Mana *0.01 *Shocks per Min *Shock Crit% * 5/60

We can use the following values in both formulas:

  • Total Mana at level 90 is 300,000
  • Use the Spirit value from our character sheet and be sure to include stacking (Solace, HoU, etc), periodic (Heartsong, etc), and raid buffs (food, flask, etc).
  • Figure Shocks per Minute from combat logs or we can start with an estimate of 8. The maximum possible is 10. The maximum with the 4-piece bonus for tier 14 is 12.
  • Shock Crit% will be our character sheet’s Crit% (including other buffs as we did for Spirit) plus 25% built in to Holy Shock.

We can plot the mana returns, both with and without the glyph, onto a chart for a comparison based on selected stats. This helps us determine if the Glyph of Illumination is a good choice. I have the calculations displayed on the first tab of this spreadsheet and we’ll look at one example of what we might expect early in tier 14 raid progression by estimating 8 Shocks per minute and 35% Crit.

Comparison at 8 Shock/Min & 35% Crit

The most important information shown by this graph is the steeper slope of 50% Holy Insight means the glyph will always be outgeared as we increase our Spirit. In this example the yellow line of our expected regen with the glyph is outperformed starting between 6,000 and 7,000 Spirit.

Wowhead’s character profiler easily produces a character with over 7,000 Spirit when equipped with tier 14 Heroic Dungeon and Raid Finder equipment. The usefulness of the glyph appears limited to stat ranges seen while leveling and gearing up through 5-man dungeons.

To avoid testing hundreds of stat combinations we can make our formulas equal to each other, do a little algebra, and create something more useful.

50% Holy Insight Mp5 = 40% Holy Insight Mp5 + Holy Shock Mp5

*Insert math you never thought you’d use outside of school.*

Equivalent Spirit = 2214.9375 * Shocks per Min * Shock Crit%

Now we can create a graph for varying numbers of Holy Shocks per minute. I’ve calculated all of this on the second tab of this spreadsheet where we can also experiment with non-integer values for casts per minute which might better approximate actual encounters. Here is a graph showing several cast rates to help everyone get a rough estimate.

Thresholds for Glyph of Illumination

After selecting a value for Shocks per minute, any range of stats under the matching line should regenerate more mana with the Glyph of Illumination. We can plot actual or theoretical stats onto any point and quickly determine if the glyph is a good choice.

CONCLUSION

For players prioritizing Spirit, the charts deserves a look if we find ourselves with a lot of Crit or if we wear four piece tier 14 with a lot of lower level gear. Even then, reforging out of Crit is always an option. If the glyph ever becomes a good choice then it is worth auditing logs frequently for cast and crit rates to make sure we continue getting the best deal.

Players might choose, instead, to prioritize Crit over Spirit with the goal of boosting output and relying on cheaper spells to extend our mana. Glyph of Illumination would help offset the regen lost from sacrificing Spirit. To justify one build over the other also requires modeling their potential output, which is beyond the scope of this post. I will say sacrificing other stats for Crit makes our output unreliable. We would dread a streak of non-crits making fights harder or even leading to player deaths.

The biggest hurdle to using the glyph is the prevalence of Spirit on gear and how well it scales for regen. Upgrades which increase Crit usually also come with Spirit. Unless something changes in the future, the Glyph of Illumination looks like a dead end and a reduction to our mana regeneration in most foreseeable circumstances.

So I was dueling a Priest the other day…

… and I have no idea what spec he was running, but it wasn’t shadow. We were just herp derp’ing around at the stone before a Baradin Hold raid. I had the foresight to run my solo/questing spec, which is also what I use while looking really bad in some weekly 2s Arena. I lost the first 3 (4?) matches while I was figuring stuff out and before we gave up on the last match I was turning it into a real game. Between his Drain Mana and my aggressiveness I was usually near empty on mana and spending a lot of time under half health. What kept me in the game? Rebuke to lock him down a bit, Denounce for free dps, dirt cheap Holy Shock heals, Blessed Life for extra Holy Power, a self-Beacon with Tower of Radiance for even more Holy Power, and Word of Glory (often with only 1 or 2 charges). He could not believe I could be healing myself so well with basically no mana. I admit I felt a little Overpoweredtm!

Efficient direct heals have always been key to the Paladin style and, as much as Blizzard says they want to avoid overspecializing the classes into particular healing niches, they know nobody would appreciate copy-pasting the same toolkit across every spec. So I really appreciate the new Paladin experience and Blizzard’s experimentation with some new and unique mechanics.

Did I say ‘experiment’? Well, in case you haven’t been MPQ-diving or reading the fine print on the Holy talent panel, there’s been a little ‘b’ for ‘beta’ next to each version number since The Shattering. Posts like this and this in my feed reader provide confirmation. Doesn’t that just suck all kinds of *nasty and horrible things you don’t want near your face*? Sure this change by itself isn’t game breaking and I’m sure I’ll heal pretty well next week, but it’s all getting a little bizarre. This recent comment from Nathera, combined with the 4.0.6a change, reveals how unstable the entire Holy Power system is for healing. Blizzard doesn’t quite have a handle on it but, worst of all, it looks like their right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

I enjoy Holy Power, but what was once a interesting and situationally powerful mechanic is slowly becoming a minor bump to healing output that only makes a difference in the long run. No matter how much crap I used to give my guild leader about padding with Judgement of Light, I’m not a meter whore and neither is any good healer. I play a Paladin because I save people and because, when it comes down to it, I’m one of the best at keeping that one special player alive; whether he’s the tank, the debuff target, or just “special”. Spending Holy Power for a little extra output just isn’t interesting or even very relevant to the way I play as a healer.

Glyphs in 4.0.3a for PvE Holy

*Updated late in the day for the change to Glyph of Lay on Hands.

According to Wowhead, there are a few minor cosmetic zone changes along with another small round of spell and glyph changes.  The most important Holy changes look like this:

  • Beacon of Light now lasts for 5 minutes.  The glyph now makes the spell free to cast.
  • Lay on Hands no longer grants mana to your target.  The glyph now grants you 10% of max mana when you cast the spell.
  • Light of Dawn loses its cooldown and mana cost.  It now uses Holy Power and becomes a smart heal for 5 targets.  The glyph now adds a 6th target with no other adjustments to the healing output.

Not only does this obsolete my very first Random Raid Tip, it changes your glyph choices – especially in the Major slots.  Follow along here.  This is how I break it down:

Continue reading

Random, possibly helpful, raid tip #2

For many fights in ICC the Glyph of Divine Protection is your newest and bestest friend.  Festergut’s exhale?  Kologarn’s Shockwave?  Maybe some InstabilityDivine Protection no longer causes Forbearance, so use it!  Go find a nice, cozy patch of Coldflame and heal the raid while Divine Protection and Protector of the Innocent keep you alive.  Don’t forget to macro /cackle.

Wait a second.  You’re not getting hit in raids, are you?  If you are then first make sure your tanks are alive (and awake) then consider an off-spec incorporating Blessed Life.

Random, possibly helpful, raid tip #1

For AoE damage arriving on a timer, such as Infest on Lich King, take a look at your own AoE healing toolkit and plan around your own cooldowns.  Continuing with Infest as our example, it has a 20 second cooldown and a 2 second cast time.  Light of Dawn is on a 30 second cooldown that can come down to 20 seconds with the Glyph.  This makes LoD usable for every Infest and, at least on normal modes, it is an easy way to heal the debuf off the whole raid – if positioning is in your favor.

(Since patch 4.0.1 and changes to the Glyph of Light of Dawn, this no longer applies)