Nightwatch Gear and Glyph Guide
There’s already a lot of good information out there on the Internets about gear, glyphs, and how to acquire it. Most of the posts about it are highly technical, throw a lot of numbers around, and generally don’t tell you exactly what to do and how to do it. With that in mind, this guide will consolidate and reference much of that data and spell out the details in simple English so everyone from casual to hardcore can get the most out of their nightmare dungeon runs.
To summarize it quickly, the very best gear you can get as of patch 1.1 is found on the Nightwatch vendors in your faction headquarters coupled with a Nightwatch glyph. Read on for the explanation of why and how obtain and maximize the gear.
Figuring Out the Numbers
If you don’t want to read about contributing numbers, percentages, and stat allotments, skip down to the Planning Your Gear section.
There are in particular three websites that have gathered the very important information about stat contributions, gear stats, and glyph stats. These websites, operated by Yokai and Dulfy, among others, have consolidated most of the information needed to determine what gear will have what stats, and where to find them. The websites are long, wordy, and/or have lots of numbers that are probably fairly imposing to most people. So I’ll summarize them here and then get into the actual process of acquiring and upgrading your gear.
Yokai’s guide spells out exactly how talisman stats work. The basic idea is that talismans are split into three tiers, with each tier contributing a certain percentage of your primary stat (attack, healing, or health), when all gear quality is equal. Essentially you have this:
Head talisman: 25% each
Major talismans: 15% each (45% for all three)
Minor talismans: 10% each (30% for all three)
This is the 25/15/10 rule (although Yokai’s calculations show it isn’t exactly this, but very close). Yokai states (without attribution) that the game is “designed around” the concept that people will have 30% of their health from gear, which would mean as a DPS you would want to create some combination of 30% HP gear, 70% AR gear. However, in nightmare dungeons, I’ve been perfectly fine running 100% AR gear (aside from a rare few fights), so I’m not seeing this “design” being true in the game. Perhaps in raids? We shall see.
In any case, it boils down to this: if you want to swap out attack rating to gain some health, you’ll want to swap a minor talisman. It will result in the least amount of health gain, but also the least amount of lost AR.
Glyph stats are merely a matter of collecting data and putting it in a chart. As you know, a glyph may contain any two secondary stats at varying magnitudes. Based on data being collected on the TSW Notes site, glyphs gain at 25% per rune. This means, if a glyph with a “substantial” gain (ie. 4 of the same rune) has 100 of a stat, it will have 75 at major (3 runes), 50 at moderate (2 runes), and 25 at minor.
It gets a little more confusing when taking into account the talisman tier. A glyph with a “substantial gain in hit” in a head talisman will not provide the same amount of hit in a major talisman, and a minor talisman will gain even less. The rough amounts are:
Weapon and Head talismans: 100%
Major talisman: 90%
Minor talisman: 58%
As an example, at QL10, a Nightwatch glyph made from 4 Wheel runes will result in 202 hit when placed in a head talisman. The very same rune, placed in a major talisman, will have only 182 hit, while a minor talisman will have just 117 hit. The amounts vary among different stats (for example, a crit power rune starts at 238), but the scaling between talismans remains the same.
Planning Your Gear
Now that we’ve got the number crunching out of the way, let’s get into planning your gear.
First, here’s a chart from Dulfy. This chart shows you how much of each primary stat you’ll see on all the Nightwatch gear and each quality upgrade. As you can see, each upgrade is actually quite significant, jumping at least 20 points per talisman upgrade. This chart is a reference to Nightwatch (and the Venice PVP gear that caps out at QL10.3), and in general also covers any nightmare dungeon drops that are QL10.1 or higher.
Second, nightmare dungeon drops cannot be upgraded. They are temporary holds to help you clear more nightmare bosses to get the Black Bullion to buy and upgrade Nightwatch gear. Also, the QL10 purple dropped gear is inferior to the QL10 Nightwatch gear – think of it as an intermediary between blue and Nightwatch gear. Here’s an example:
Third, you’ll want to collect at least 9 Nightwatch glyph kits – one for each talisman and both weapons, since you’ll be buying a Nightwatch piece for every slot.
Finally, you’re going to need a lot of Black Bullion. A lot! Find yourself a set group of people who can run at least 5/6 in Polaris, Hell Raised, and Darkness War every night, and jump over and grab the first boss in Ankh. This nets you 22 Black Bullion per night. Obviously, if you can clear 6/6 that’s 31 Black Bullion and one piece of gear per night – a much better proposition but the final bosses can be quite tough. Here’s the breakdown of Black Bullion per boss:
Bosses 1-3: 1 BB each (net gain of 3)
Bosses 4 & 5: 2 BB each (net gain of 7)
Boss 6: 3 BB (net gain of 10)
How It’s Made
Nightwatch gear costs 30 Black Bullion per piece. Talisman and glyph upgrades cost 20 while weapon upgrades cost 40. Each piece of gear can be upgraded a total of 4 times. Each glyph can also be upgraded 4 times. Each upgrade kit works only once, meaning you have to buy 4 upgrade kits per piece. All upgrades are applied directly to the talisman or weapon – including the glyph upgrades; you do not upgrade the glyph until it has been slotted into the gear.
In total, you’ll need 1870 Black Bullion to get all your gear and glyphs to QL10.4:
Initial purchase: 270 BB
9 pieces at 30 BB each = 270 BB
Each QL upgrade: 400 BB
7 talisman upgrade at 20 BB each = 140 BB
2 weapon upgrades at 40 BB each = 80 BB
9 glyph upgrades at 20 BB each = 180 BB
At 22 Bullion per night, that’ll take 85 nights; bump it to 31 and it’ll take you a mere 57. Now, you can upgrade gear and glyphs in whatever order you want but you should start by planning out your stats allocation. How much of each stat do you want to gain from your gear? Which stats are more important to your build? Figure these out before you start your upgrades. Here’s my opinion:
- Get your hit rating to 600. For the most part, this will reduce your glance chance to around 5% and in most cases eliminate glancing altogether.
- Get your penetration rating to 600. As with hit, this will all but eliminate your enemy’s chance to block your shots.
- Build your crit chance and crit power. With glances and blocks mitigated, work on increasing the frequency and power of your crits. It’s your call on whether frequency or power is more important; in practice it will likely even out either way.
Attack rating will always be the biggest bang for the buck, so I recommend upgrading weapons and talismans at least to QL10.2 before moving to glyphs. Getting a single stat to 600+ is simple if you utilize the head talisman and weapon; at QL10.4 these two slots alone will net you 638 hit or penetration. At QL10.4, two minors and a major will net 658 hit or penetration.
So What’s My Plan?
My gear plan revolves around hitting the stat marks listed above. My goal is to start with my hit and pen as close to 600 as possible; at QL10 that limits any real chance to stack any kind of crit – in fact it leaves only one minor talisman available. It isn’t until I have five glyphs at 10.4 that I can even start using more crit glyphs. My plan also calls for 2 extra Nightwatch glyphs, as I have two “temporary” glyphs slotted. However, I plan on upgrading my weapons, head, and major talismans to QL10.2 before I start in on glyphs. Here it is laid out:
- Purchase all 9 Nightwatch pieces. (270 BB)
- Upgrade every piece of gear to QL10.2. (440 BB)
- Upgrade weapons to QL10.4. (160 BB)
- Upgrade five glyphs to QL10.4 to reach hit/pen goal. (400 BB)
- Upgrade head and majors to QL10.4. (160 BB)
- Upgrade minors to QL10.4. (120 BB)
- Upgrade remaining glyphs (4) to QL10.4. (320 BB)
My glyph upgrade plan is laid out in this spreadsheet.
Choose Your Own Adventure
If you are a very casual player and don’t bother yourself with the elitism of min/maxing, the grind to collect 1870 Black Bullion may not be up your ally. If that’s the case, nightmare dungeons can still yield you some top-notch gear. The 10.1 and 10.2 drops from nightmares aren’t necessarily optimized (in terms of glyph stats), but they have the same attack rating as a Nightwatch gear of the same quality; in other words, you aren’t limiting yourself using them, so don’t feel like you absolutely need to replace them with Nightwatch pieces. As a casual player, I suggest you spend some time running nightmares and stack up some Bullion while picking up as many 10.1 and 10.2 pieces you can get from drops. Then fill in the gaps with Nightwatch gear.
The same holds true for hardcore players, albeit the dropped gear will simply be temporary stop gaps to make collecting Bullion easier. Don’t feel the need to quickly replace a 10.1 or 10.2 drop with an inferior 10 or 10.1 Nightwatch piece – wait to get that piece upgraded before swapping it out, even if the glyph isn’t optimal.
For anyone in between, it’s really all about getting your “30 bits” a day. Try to get that steady group that can kill all 6 bosses in the easier nightmares every day, or at least pug your way through 5/6. It does seem like it will take forever, but as a several month investment in time, it keeps you busy while you wait for new content. Grab gear when you can, start building up that Nightwatch gear, and when it comes time to raid, you’ll be ready for the fight.