Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Warlock Trinkets Explored

I wanted to delve a bit deeper into what seems to be a popular issue around here: Warlock trinkets. It seems many of us are getting to the point where we've opened Firelands vendors from the dailies, and an assortment of new gear is offered to us.  For folks who have dabbled in raiding, the choices seem to be more side-grades than upgrades, complicating the decision.

For many piece of gear, you need only consult some simulations or gear lists and you can probably make a reasonably informed choice.  Trinkets, however, have been notoriously hard to quantify.  Even in an isolated sense, you have procs to try and calculate.  Procs that everyone may not use in the same situations or equally as often.  In the most complicated scenario, you have interactions of stats and procs with other stats, skills, and spells.

For instance, currently for Demo 'locks, the word on the street is that if you pop the Chalice before popping Meta, you will receive the benefit of the mastery stat bonus throughout your purple demon phase, even when the trinket timer runs out.  For as long as there have been Warlocks, there have been little idiosyncrasies like this.  Rolling Corruption was one of the big ones.  More recently (and perhaps "working as intended") we have the Shadow and Flame crit boost that seems to be taken into account at time of application, and not updated with each DoT tick.  Thus, many guides will suggest you lead off with a Shadow Bolt to be sure Corruption benefits (refreshing via Haunt does not cause a recalculation of Crit currently).

This is all very complicated and confusing, at least from where I'm sitting.  Those of you who read here regularly will know that I'm not a huge theorycrafter.  I dabble just enough to try to come up with a solid approach to playing my class.  I'm not a bleeding edge kind of guy, so I don't need to play perfect.  I do, however, desire to play well, and that requires a bit of research from time to time.

Back to the trinkets.  The current issue is whether or not to pick up and use the Moonwell Chalice.  I think many people, like me, have been able to pick up solid trinkets from previous content.  In my case, this means the Stump of Time and Soul Casket.  Neither are drops, so they're attainable "in the long run."  They're also both 359 ilevel and the Chalice is 365.  In my guides, I've advocated trusting Ask Mr Robot for direction as far as gearing is concerned (and don't really pay attention to ilevel).  So far, it has been a great tool.  For the effort/time I put into it, I get way more in return.  I could spend hours with a simulation tool trying to make gear lists and such, but Mr. Robot makes it easy.

The conundrum here comes when Mr. Robot lists the Chalice below the Stump of Time and Soul Casket.  Usually, I have a lot of faith in the gear listings there.  However, it's trinkets.  For all the reasons mentioned above, I realize that trinkets are one of the hardest slots to math out.  Ergo, a robot might not be the best choice to use in making the best choice.  Some Human Brain might need be applied.

Generally, what this means for me is that I'm going to give them each a run under practical circumstances in real raids.  See which seems to perform best.  It's not really scientific because there are a myriad of other variables that could be affecting me, but if I'm on the fence, it's a good way to make a personalized decision.  Also, quite frankly, they're probably so close that it really doesn't matter.  If I were really worked about a moderate DPS increase, I should probably work on being smoother with my rotation.

Still, I like to make good decisions.  I threw up a quickie post on Monday saying as how I wasn't planning to buy the Chalice.  I got several responses that may have changed my mind.  One of the most helpful included a link here.  If you follow, you'll see that it's a google shared document that contains a link to several shared spreadsheets.  These spreadsheets contain a rather complex and involved mathification of the current trinket offerings.  It even covers more than just the Warlocky angle.

The lead-in document explains how the author does all of these calculations.  It seems to be a good overall approach.  It also gives a much higher value to the Chalice.  It's food for thought for some of you more theorycraft inclined out there, and I wanted to share.  Credit goes to commenter Dl3mk3, who found the spreadsheet in a post by Faelkin on the Mr. Robot forums.  I'm not sure if Faelkin is the author, nor how to contact him... but if this is your work, feel free to contact me if you'd like additional credit (or if you don't like my posting it and want me to take it down).  I think it's good work and deserves recognition.  Also, it can be helpful if you're like me and agonizing (perhaps needlessly) over your trinket choice.

What the information tells me is that the Stump of Time is pretty darned good, and the Soul Casket not as much.  I'll plan to sub the Chalice in for the Soul Casket when I go through my next round of reforges and see what kicks out.  I'm pretty confident the Chalice will be a better choice in the long run, but even if I'm wrong... it is pretty much rated the same as the Soul Casket for me on Mr Robot, and the Chalice is a higher ilevel (meaning more overall "points" by design).  I doubt I'm sacrificing anything, and it may be better.  Seems like a win-win.


  1. Xayíde@GurubashiJuly 27, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    It all depends on the spec you're talking about really, I think you forgot to mention that in the post. I'm assuming it's Affliction, since you've mentioned in previous comments that's the spec you're currently raiding with.
    Any trinket with mastery procs or on use effects are usually not very good for either Affliction or Destro (emphasis on usually). I'm surprised you mentioned the Soul Casket since my impression was that that was a bad trinket for Warlocks. The Stump of Time is also usually used only when you're gearing up and need that amount of hit. The Bell of Enraging Ressonance from Atramedes and Theralion's Mirror from Valiona are better than both of those AFAIK.
    I'm not sure how rich you are, but I would strongly advise getting the DMC: Volcano. Its price has dropped a little with the patch and it's still BiS for both Affliction and Destruction (specially Destruction), even considering Firelands heroic loot. Its proc is that strong and you can always reforge that mastery away into something else.
    I would also recommend playing with Simcraft a little if you've never done it. It's actually not difficult at all to use, it surely does not take hours to determine if trinket 1 is better than trinket 2 as you seem to think, just a few minutes. It might take more than Mr. Robot, but it surely gives more reliable results.
    I can only say how awesome that Chalice is for Demo. I've changed my main spec from Destro to Demo recently right after I got the trinket and I've been doing quite perceivably more damage. I wouldn't be able to say how strong it is for other specs, but I would wager it is not that good.

  2. Yes, I'm mainly talking about affliction.

    The problem with the two alternatives you've mentioned are that they're raid drops. Quite simply, I've been using the two I have because I believe they're the best you can get THAT ARE NOT DROPS.

    With regards to the Stump of Time in particular: the hit is great because it allows you to reforge hit in other places. Before reforging I might have agreed that it's a "gearing up" piece... but with the ability to reforge, I think it has a high value even in "geared up" warlocks.

    I'm not rich enough for the Volcano card. Also, I have a hard time spending that much money on any gear. Gear is so transitory. Even best case: it's obsolete by the next expansion. I'd rather buy mounts and stuff because those will last as long as you play. That's a personal preference though, and the DMC is certainly a great non-drop item.

    If you've looked at the spreadsheet I linked, the Chalice get's high marks for Affliction specifically. Most of the raid drops are slightly better, but it certainly beats Soul Casket.

    If I get a drop, a lot of this may be moot, but I've just not been fortunate with trinket drops. (Also, we probably don't raid enough to have given me a good shake at them either).

  3. I wouldn't discount the value of Stump of Time so quickly. EJ proc rankings ( have it being a very good trinket. The flexibility that the large hit gives to reforging other gear is huge to me (a non engineer-so no big hit head piece).

  4. Right. That's what I said too, isn't it?

  5. Ha. K cool, just checking. Sometimes I write things and forget I've written them. Other times, it's the other way around; I remember things I've never written. Maybe I should lay off the Dwarven Stout? :-)

  6. Originally i had a longer post using EJ proc rankings and scale factors to show that Stump was better than Bell of Resonance and Theralions Mirror, however given that ranking trinkets with any kind of certainty is why you have this post in the first place and the feeling that i wasn't clearly conveying my thoughts i apparently just rehashed your previous comments on the value of the Stump. Personally i was running Stump and Bell until 4.2 and then gave in and bought the Darkmoon Trinket. Running Stump and Volcano until i get enough rep for Rune of Zeth or else obtain enough hit to make Chalice more appealing. Keep up the good work, i enjoy the discussions.

  7. Xayíde@GurubashiJuly 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I think the whole problem with the Stump is that you can get hit from somewhere else. If you need all the hit in it (or exacly 60% of it), perfect, it's a nice trinket. If you don't, however, it's not guaranteed that you can reforge the extra hit away effectively, i.e. reforge to haste in case of Affliction and Destro. And by effectively I mean getting the most haste out of your whole gear set by reforging and still be as close to the hit cap as possible. Bottomline, it all depends on the rest of your pieces.

  8. Xayíde@GurubashiJuly 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    To be more clear, optimal use of the Stump would be reforging its hit to your next best stat and reforging your lesser stats in other pieces to hit as you need it, preserving the most of your second best secondary stat overall. Of course, that is only optimal if your other pieces allow it.
    For Destruction specially, it's very difficult to reach the haste threshold for the 7th tick of Immolate without reforging both your trinkets to haste, something that's not possible for Intellect trinkets for instance.

  9. Right. And that's why I generally trust Mr. Robot, because takes your other gear into account.

    In terms of "value per point," hit is actually pretty high... until you're capped.

    I'm sure I could get way deeper into my reforges... but I wanted to keep it simple. In fact, I almost was going to not even do reforging until I discovered Mr. Robot. Obviously it can have a huge impact... but I didn't like having to math out EVERYTHING with each new piece.

  10. Incidentally, I believe I have my Stump reforged just so this time. The issue will probably pop when even if you have 60% of all hit reforged away... you're still overcapped. That would make for an interesting problem.