Glyphs in Mists of Pandaria saw a complete revamp not just in their interface panel but also in their utility. Prime glyphs were completely removed and most of Major glyphs got a significant nerf in terms of the advantages they offer. While some still offer a straight off bonus (sometimes not even significant enough to justify occupying a Major glyph slot), most of them introduce a trade-off faction which most of the times is hard to calculate. Glyph of Water shield has already caused a lot of controversy between shamans.
Water Shield gives you a passive 2138 Mp5, but every time a hit will trigger it you will also gain 2928 mana. If triggered every time on ICD, it would give you an average of 4880 mp5. This is unrealistically high, however. Water shield comes with a glyph that reduces its passive mana regen by 15% reducing it to 1817 mp5. On the same note it will increase its on hit regen by 50% making it 4392 per hit amounting to 7320 mp5. In any fight where water shield reliably triggers more than 2.63 times every 1 minute, this glyph will give you a significant boost in mana regen.
Here comes the interesting part and what causes the controversy among Restos desperately seeking for some extra mana. You would think that Water shield glyph would be mandatory since it only needs to be activated 2.63 per min in order to provide better mana regen. It does right? Right?? Wrong answer. This has been a question I have been asking myself since beta came out. The times WS needs to be activated seem very few, however the number of attacks that actually do that was significantly lowered for Mists. And while still supposedly no AoE will proc it, some still does. And while also supposedly direct damage will proc it,some doesn’t. Blizzard is being very liberal with its boss abilities and the categories they fit. The only way to reliably calculate Water Shield gains ( glyphed or not glyphed ) is by analyzing logs. and therefore putting down once and for all the conundrum of whether Water Shield glyph is useful or not.
For my analysis I used World of Logsand an array of what is mostly my kills and top ranked resto shaman kills. While the number of times that WS activates will vary from fight to fight expect that in the table below the numbers show what is mostly the most efficient way to deal with any boss fight , meaning avoiding all the bad. Some we can’t avoid but for those we can consider for the most part they were avoided for calculating purposes. I want to make the table as fair as possible in respect of boss fights and incoming damage. If you have been hit twice as much in a specific fight shown below, you just tanked the floor for more than you should have. It’s by no means an excuse that Water Shield glyph is better in that specific fight or in general. Getting hit just to activate your WS will get you some mana back but you will most likely be spending it in order to get your HP back up.
There are 2 columns, one for Normal Mode encounters and on the far right one for Heroic Mode encounters (I will update the post once I have data for the last 3 bosses). Results for MP5 and Spirit columns are tailored for each fight according to its duration. From left to right:
1. Number of times shield was activated
2. Duration of the fight
3. Total mana gains while WS is not glyphed (ticks and passive)
4. Total mana gains while WS is glyphed (ticks and passive)
5. Mana difference (always subtracting Unglyphed WS from Glyphed WS. This means that when the number is positive Glyphed WS is favorited and when it’s negative Unglyphed WS is favorited)
6. MP5 (based on the difference)
7. Spirit (based on the difference)
The results of the table are very surprising and prove that Water Shield glyph not only is not a necessary glyph but in fact in most of the fights it will result to mana loss rather than mana gain. What is most interesting is fights were the difference is very little and using either will result in almost similar results. For readers that might be wondering “Well a gain is always a gain why not just use it for the fights where using the glyph is marginally better? ” I have one answer. Just don’t. Plainly and directly. Don’t. Assign another glyph in its place instead. Anything will be more useful than gaining or loosing 30 or 5 points of spirit or even 150. Remember for the fights where it seems that we are gaining 200spirit (which someone might argue is a useful gain ) ,it only takes a little bit more awareness and either getting hit 2 or 3 times less or the fight to last 15 seconds less to reduce the difference to a point that is again completely irrelevant. There is no point whatsoever in using this glyph other than The Stone Guard and Amber Shaper and even for those fights consider that using the Glyph of Totemic Recall will reward you full mana upon retracting your HST. HST costs 14100 mana and spending 2GCDs throughout the whole fight will award you more theoretical mp5 and spirit than Glyph of Water Shield would ever reward even in its highest mana back.
We can plainly see that in every single occasion it’s better to run without Glyph of Water Shield. Not all glyphs in Mists of Pandaria are supposed to give you an advantage however I have to admit this is one glyph that most of the times puts you in disadvantage. You can safely disregard it and forget of using it as results and continuous testings in all bosses of this tier prove that it’s almost obsolete. I would be willing to say that unless it’s buffed in some way for the next patch we will probably reach the same conclusion also. Personally I am just happy that we don’t have to refresh it anymore. I have already forgotten we can Glyph it.