Tuesday, October 6, 2009
What are the two best trinkets in the game?
Is it worth grinding for x?
Should I spend the money on y?
Should I wear x and y, or y and z? Or is x & z actually good?
The thing is, none of these questions make any sense to me. I read them and am often really confused. Why am I confused?
Because they're incomplete sentences. They don't contain nearly enough information to validate most of the time.
For example, someone could ask me whether it's worth running Naxx 25 over and over to get Defender's Code. And you'd think that'd be an easy one - Glyph of Indomitability is better in every way, so you should just get that, right?
Except you can use them both. And you might want to.
Before I start on this, I should also mention a quick and dirty macro that is awesome:
What this does is it shows the tooltip of the trinket in your first slot and when activated, uses both trinkets at once regardless of what they are. This is important to the rest of the concepts here; you don't want to normally have a macro that uses one specific trinket; you want a macro that uses a trinket slot. Now, there are plenty of times that you want to have a macro to only use trinket 1 or 2 - but again, don't do something like '/use juggernaut's vitality'. Just /use 13 and /use 14.
Anyway question about what trinkets to use always - always - comes down to situation. Good tanks swap gear out all the time, and by far the easiest pieces to swap are the trinkets. They tend to have only one giant stat, one on-use ability, and otherwise aren't the lynchpin that you base your entire set around.
An aside: this concept was a very big reason why resilience was so strong back in BC days. With resilience you didn't have to wear defense trinkets if you didn't want to; you could have both trinket slots have whatever you wanted whenever you likd. Double avoidance use trinkets to give yourself bearvasion? Sure. Double stam? Awesome. Armor and stam? Great. This alone made resilience a great stat for bears.
Anyway, the first and most important rule about trinkets is this: always keep trinkets. Always get more.
The only time to throw out a trinket is when you have two that are direct upgrades in all ways.
Another example: recently on our 10-man the Eitrigg's Oath (heroic) dropped. It's not a great trinket. It might not really even be that good of a trinket. But at the same time, I took it simply because at some point, there might be a boss where it's the best choice.
I still have Living Root of the Wildheart, for crying out loud. (haven't tested recently if it works still, but I bet it still does - and I bet it's awesome).
Anyway, this applies to all tanks. All good tanks I've ever known covet trinkets. They keep them around, whip them out here and there, and use them situationally. They may have two that they use in their vanilla set, but they're not wedded to them.
And aside from the weapons, what do tanks look for most when new loot lists come out? Trinkets.
Okay, that's the first rule. The second rule is to understand the encounter. This is really important. Every boss fight you should ask yourself, what do you need the most? This is sort of my checklist; yours will differ depending on your gear and your party.
1. Do I need an extra cooldown - and if so, what will work the best?
2. Do I need more health, mitigation or avoidance?
3. Are there tank swaps?
4. Do I need a fear/stun break?
5. Will I need to DPS at some point?
That's basically it. I'll run through each one.
Do I need an extra cooldown? This one's the most important in my mind. Sadly gone are the days where double avoidance trinkets could push your dodge past 100% and make you go bearvasion, but having two trinkets with on-use dodge abilities (such as Heart of Iron or Defender's Code) is still very good for making another mini-cooldown with the shit hits the fan. Dodge is my favorite version of cooldown normally, but again - depends on the encounter. There are health cooldowns and armor cooldowns too. Follow #2 and use what makes the most sense, or at least try.
Do I need more health, mitigation, avoidance or threat? This seems like a duh question, but it really seems to be avoided by people. On a fight, what is more important? Do you personally need more health? If you know you're going to need more health for whatever reason (big hits, magic soaking), you should use a stam trinket or two. Do you need more mitigation? Passive armor trinkets are great for this. Is avoidance more important on a fight? (don't laugh, there are some fights that this makes a difference) Then go for passive dodge. Note that this means the passive on equip effect; you don't want procs here as much as you want reliable stats. And if you really need threat, this is a place to put on that hit/expertise trinket and go to town.
Are there tank swaps? This seems like an odd question at first, but the reason I bring it up is that it makes some trinkets much more powerful - namely, the proc trinkets like The Black Heart. Normally these trinkets aren't quite as good as on use trinkets because they go off every so often - but you can't control when. Typically they go off as soon as they can and then go on cooldown for a while; the Black Heart goes off for 10 seconds and has a 45 second CD. For a fight where you're just constantly tanking, this means you get the proc about 20% of the time - which is good, but not great.
But on a fight like Thorim, you're only tanking for 26 seconds at a time normally. That means it's up 10/26 seconds, or 40%. Now it's looking much better, no? And it's up almost immediately at the swap, which is usually where there is a lot of risk as healers swap over - and the proc nicely overlaps with the tank swapping time. The same is true on Gormok as well.
Do I need a fear/stun break? This isn't as important as it used to be, but there are still a few fights where fears are annoying and or wanted to be broken. The best example I can think of currently is Faction Champs - the second might be Onyxia if she was at all hard.
Will I need to DPS at some point? There aren't many trinkets that can pull double duty for a bear, but the best is Darkmoon Card: Greatness. If you know that you're going to go cat at some point (and more importantly that your dps actually matters) you should try and use at least one trinket that will aid you here. There aren't many fights that none of the above matter but this does, but it's always something to keep in mind. I use this on Jaraxxus when tanking adds, for instance; I'm not in bear all the time, and I don't need to have maximum mitigation on the adds.
Those are the rules on how to pick trinkets. Now here's the rules on how to prioritize what trinkets to get.
1. Equip effect. This is almost always the most important part of a trinket. What do you get all the time out of it? Stamina is sort of the standard for most tanks now, but there are plenty of dodge trinkets, an agility one, and quite a few armor trinkets. All have their purpose at some point. In general, the most valuable trinkets are the ones with the best on equip effect. This is one of the reasons that I don't like Eitrigg's Oath that much - while its on use is good (essentially it's a black heart on use), the equip effect is avoidance, which is at an all-time low in terms of value.
2. On use effect. There are a ton of trinkets that I love just for the on-use effect. Heart of Iron is still one of my favorite trinkets (over Juggernaut's Vitality) because I tend to value 10% more dodge much more than 3k health when the chips are down. But both are stellar. The best part of on-use effects is that they are user-controllable; you get a small ohshit button out of each one. This is very good for a druid because their ohshit buttons aren't so great, but they're good for any tank, honestly.
3. Chance when hit/chance on hit: There are a lot of proc trinkets out there, and in general I don't like them nearly as much. Black Heart's proc is stellar, but it's not nearly as useful as cooldowns most of the time. Darkmoon Card Greatness's proc is also great, but again - not up when you want it most. In general on procs tend to be stronger than on use (I'd rather have 300 agility on use than 400 dodge, wouldn't you?) and they happen more often, but the lack of control hurts them.
With all of that verbiage, what are some of my favorite trinkets? And what are some that I'm meh about? That's what you dirty bastards actually want, isn't it? Fine, fine. Let's go down my list of trinkets from the loot rank and talk about some of them.
The Black Heart has a decent equip effect - it's not as good as some of the later trinkets - but the on-proc armor is simply crazy. It's about a 5% reduction in incoming damage for most tanks, and the uptime is about 20%. For a tank& spank fight there's no better combination of health and mitigation; this will reduce your overall damage on average more than any other trinket. However, it is a proc effect, which makes it not great for everything. Plus they got rid of the most awesome part - the BoP effect. Sigh.
Glyph of Indomitability is just a good overall trinket. 1792 armor is the equivalent of 3 tiers of leather gear, all in one, and by itself is close to a 2% reduction in incoming physical damage. The on use is very strong too. This is about the ideal trinket for me; the only thing that would be better in my mind would be an on-use that gave resistances or an on-use that gave more armor.
Satrina's Impending Scarab/Juggernaut's Vitality is health, health, and more health. For a bear this is (I believe) 3500 health by itself after raid buffs. There aren't many fights that you won't be happy for this. The on-use is decent but not amazing for bears, given that it doesn't scale with all that health - but do note that it does get multiplied by survival instincts when that goes off. So if you really want to have 120k health for some wacky screenshots, that's how you do it.
Darkmoon Card: Greatness still rocks. It's still one of the better trinkets for both cats and bears. It is still the only trinket that provides avoidance, mitigation and threat. The biggest knock against it is that it isn't stamina, and the second biggest is that it has an on-proc effect based on hitting. It's a very versatile trinket and one of my standards when I don't need something particularly special.
Heart of Iron is right up there with Glyph in terms of awesomeness. Huge amount of health + a great use effect make it just all around good. Note that it doesn't share a cooldown with Juggernaut's Vitality, so it is likely better more often than not to use Heart of Iron instead and lose 300 health in exchange for 5-6% more dodge on demand if you have both the normal and the heroic versions.
Royal Seal of King Llane/Bitter Balebrew Charm/Bubbling Brightbrew Charm are all raw stam sticks. I don't like these nearly as much as other trinkets, but they do have their roles to play - especially in magic-heavy fights where on-use trinkets aren't as important. Or they're good for walking around with 40k health in caster form. Definitely would've loved these on Sarth3D at the beginning of the year.
Defender's Code is not nearly as hawt as it once was, but when you need maximum armor and are fine on stam, it's hard to go wrong. It also has a nice on-use effect that goes well with other trinkets. Keep it around for a while.
Eitrigg's Oath/Fervor of the Frostborn is still sorta meh. There are places where it could be useful; for example, if you definitely wanted to deal with a big hit at one point no matter what and weren't swapping tanks, this would be better than other options. But the avoidance on equip just isn't that interesting.
Okay, it's time for quiz time here. Which two trinkets would you use?
I'll give my answers in the next post I do, but let's see how much y'all have learned. I'll throw out 5 bosses from Naxx, ToC, and Ulduar along with what your role is on the fight and what your average level of gear is. Here are the 5 trinkets that you have to use:
Glyph of Indomitability
The Black Heart
Darkmoon Card: Greatness
Bitter Balebrew Charm
Here's an example:
Sarth3D 25-man (at T7 levels of gear), tanking Sartharion. For this, it was really important to get as much stamina as humanly possible, as the dangerous part of the encounter was entirely large single hits of lots of magic damage. I actually used Essence of Gossamer and Commendation of Kael'thas, but if I were doing it again, I'd use Satrina's Impending Scarab/Juggernaut's Vitality and a Direbrew trinket.
Boss 1: Kel'Thuzad (25-man) tanking the adds (at T7 levels of gear)
Boss 2: Hodir (25-man) tanking the boss at just starting T8 levels of gear. (bonus: does this change if you're trying for the hard mode?)
Boss 3: Heroic Northrend Beasts (25-man) tanking Gormok with one other tank, then tanking the stationary worm, then DPSing on Icehowl (at barely T9-levels of gear).
Boss 4: Heroic Anub'arak (10-man) tanking Anub'arak (at T8-levels of gear)
Boss 5: Mimiron (10-man) tanking phase 1, then tanking adds in phase 3, then tanking all parts in phase 4. (bonus: does this change in hard mode at all?)
I look forward to seeing what your answers are. :)