Wednesday, 8 April 2009

3.1 tanking part 3: glyph analysis

This is the last post in the series. I will now look at glyphs purely from a survival perspective.

1) threat is not a problem
2) you need to do everything you can to maximise survival

MMO-champion's talent calculator

The big three

In a previous post I stated that a DK tank can be defined by which 36 point talent he takes. In addition to being very strong tanking talents these cooldown abilities also each have an excellent glyph associated with them.

To evaluate these bear this in mind: duration is the most important aspect of a cooldown after the length of the cooldown itself. Generally speaking you will survive a spike if your cooldown is up in time and making a cooldown 20% better won't change this. Duration on the other hand means that your cooldown can cover more big hits, for example more of Sartharion's Flame Breaths.

Glyph of Vampiric Blood: increases duration by 10 secs.
The best glyph for one of these abilities by quite a long way. It moves VB to an uptime of 30 secs in every 120 second cycle. In other words even after the 3.1 DK cooldown nerf this ability alone covers you for 25% of the fight. With Anti-Magic Shell, Icebound Fortitude and cooldowns from Priests and Paladins you can be under a cooldown continually.

Glyph of Unbreakable Armour: increases the amount of damage absorbed by Unbreakable Armour by 20%
I honestly think that if the base 5% damage absorbtion from the skill won't save you then 6% absorbtion won't either. It's mathematically possible of course but in practice it will be very rare that the extra tiny amount of absorb makes the difference.

Glyph of Bone Shield: adds 2 charges to your Bone Shield
This is a buff to Bone Shield's duration. How strong this is depends on your evasion. For most tanks 6 charges of Bone Shield will not last 30 seconds against most bosses. A boss usually has an autoattack at about 2.5 speed, will get extra attacks when it parries (mitigated by your expertise), will have special attacks/breaths. In addition if an add hits you it will reduce Bone Shield.

Winner: Blood

Other Blood glyphs

(minor) Glyph of Blood Tap: Your Blood Tap no longer causes damage to you.
I Blood Tap a lot. According to the MMO Champion skills list Blood Tap does 6% of base health. My orc, naked, is 10 061 so this is 604 health. However the tool tip says 487 health and when I use it my health goes to 9 574, a cost of 487. So it's 487 health per minute saved by using this minor glyph, averaging 8.1 health per sec.

Glyph of Rune Tap: Your Rune Tap heals yourself for an additional 10% of the effect, and also heals your party for 10% of their maximum health.
The effect is 20% every 30 seconds with 4 talent points spent so this glyph gives 600 health per 30 seconds to a 30K life tank. 20 health per second seems pretty small but that is the average amount this glyph will give you if you can Rune Tap on cooldown without overhealing. The group heal is a nice extra.

Other Frost glyphs

Glyph of Icebound Fortitude: IBF always gives at least 30% damage reduction regardless of your defence skill.
Normally your defence skill will give over 30% so this is pointless to tanks wearing + defence gear. The one exception is Thorim, a boss in Ulduar who reduces defence. You may wish to swap this glyph in for that fight.

Other Unholy glyphs

Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell: increases duration by 2 seconds.
As I've said above duration is the best way in which cooldown abilities can be improved by glyphs after cooldown reduction. This glyph takes this cooldown from an uptime of 5 secs every 45 secs to 7 secs every 45 secs. It's a significant improvement to a very good ability.

(minor) Glyph of Death's Embrace: Your Death Coil refunds 20 runic power when used to heal.
This is only useful in conjunction with Lichborne. By turning yourself undead you can dump RP into self-healing Death Coils and this glyph almost doubles the effectiveness of this. If you want to survive tough situations as a tank and are taking Lichborne this is probably the best minor glyph.

Glyph of Death Strike: increases your Death Strike's damage by 2% for every 2 runic power you have to a max of 25%. The runic power is not consumed.
Death Strike should be your main 2 glyph attack on a survival fight. Damage directly boosts the size of the heals making this a very useful survival tank glyph. Death Strike is presumably a reasonable threat ability because both the damage part of the attack and the heal add threat. So possibly you should use glyphed Death Strike over unglyphed Obliterate not just in survival situations but also in threat situations. (Needs testing).

Glyph of Raise Dead: your Raise Dead no longer requires a reagent.
Being able to cannibalise your ghoul for life with Death Pact is a significantly useful survival tank move. If you're so well organised that you never forget corpse dust then this Minor may be redundant. For the rest of us this is a potential life-saver.


The glyphs I recommend to survival tanks are as follows:
Major: one from Glyph of Vampiric Blood, Unbreakable Armour, Bone Shield
Glyph of Death Strike
Glyph of Anti-magic Shell

Minor: Blood Tap, Death's Embrace (if you have Lichborne), Raise Dead (if you're occasionally disorganised).

1 comment:

  1. This is a very useful well thought out post. I don't tank on my DK's (I use them as solo gatherers), still I find the information useful. I have enjoyed what I've read of your blog, keep it up!