Tamriel Foundry

Magicka Recovery vs. Cost Reduction - a healer point of view

 Have you ever wondered if you should go with magicka recovery or with cost reduction glyphs on your jewels on your healer ? I will discuss here the benefits of one or the other and compare them for the different healing classes. :) On a quick glance, you could think : well, a magicka recovery enchant brings 169 magicka recovery, and ticks every 2s, while a cost reduction enchant reduces your spell cost by 204, so if you cast a skill every ~1s, you would save 408 magicka in 2s, and hence this will be better. However, this simple analysis forgets two things :

  1. Your magicka recovery glyph will be amplified by a lot of different multipliers.
  2. Your cost reduction glyph will be applied before all the cost reduction multipliers (and therefore be less efficient).

Let's analyze on this post how things will actually be when all the multipliers are taken into account ! If you like this type of content, please check my website :D www.tabatta.eu

1. Magicka Recovery multipliers

The little math needed : the thing you need to know concerning magicka recovery is that all your "increase your magicka recovery by x%" bonuses will be additive.

effective recovery = base recovery x ( 1 + magicka recovery bonuses ).

What this means is that if you get, say, a 20% magicka recovery increase, you will not get effectively 20% more than what you had before but rather

20/(1+all previous magicka recovery bonuses).

That being said, let's list all bonuses that increase your magicka recovery.

  • Arcanist (Champion points, in the lover tree) : +14% with 75 points.
  • Recovery (Light armor passive) : +28% with 7 light pieces. 
  • Magicka Aid (Alliance war support passive) : +10% with one skill slotted.
  • Supernatural Recovery (Vampire passive) : +10%.
  • Major Intellect (From potions) : +20%.
  • If High Elf : Spell Charge (racial passive) : +9%

NB : We could also have Minor Intellect (+10%) or the Flourish passive (+12% if we are a Warden), but let's not take them into account for this analysis. :) Taking into account all the bonuses listed above, one legendary magicka recovery glyph would give you, effectively :

  • 308 magicka recovery if you are a Breton or an Argonian.
  • 323 magicka recovery if you are a High Elf.

2. Cost Reduction multipliers

The little math needed : the thing you need to know concerning cost reduction glyphs is that the cost reduction will be applied BEFORE all your "reduce the magicka cost of your ability by x%" bonuses, and these bonuses themselves will be additive. Therefore, the cost reduction you will get will not be the value 203 given by the glyph, but rather

203 x ( 1 - cost reduction bonuses ).

These bonuses will therefore make our cost reduction glyph less potent than the tooltip value. As before, let us list the cost reduction bonuses we have :

  • Evocation (Light armor passive) : -14% with 7 light pieces.
  • Worm (If worm is provided in your group) : -4%.
  • If Breton : Magicka Mastery (racial passive) -3%.

Taking into account all the bonuses listed above, one legendary spell cost glyph would give you, effectively :

If you are a High Elf or an Argonian :

  • 166 cost reduction with worm.
  • 175 cost reduction without worm.

If you are a Breton :

  • 160 cost reduction with worm.
  • 168 cost reduction without worm.

3. Comparison depending on the race 

With all the values we got before, the only information we are missing is the number of spells casted per second, on average. In order to get this value, I checked a large number of healing parses I had on different trial bosses, and just did the fraction

number spells casted/total fight time.

Little tip : to get the number of spells casted in a fight, you can check in Combat Metrics, in the "Magicka +/-", the consumption of magicka that each spell required and the number of time you casted these spells. The result was that on all these fights, I always got between 0.75 and 0.85 spells casted per second. This number is of course an average and also includes moments where I was heavy attacking or moving because of a mechanic and so on. What's interesting is that this range is quite low compared to global cooldown (0.9s between each skill, so in theory you could go up to 1.1 spells casted per second). The important part : In order to compare the effect of one magicka recovery glyph vs. one cost reduction glyph, I plotted as a function of the number of spells casted per second the magicka gained (if using a magicka recovery glyph) or saved (if using a cost reduction glyph) in 2s. That is, for one magicka recovery glyph, we just have a flat line because the recovery will tick every 2s and bring us a flat magicka return. For one cost reduction glyph, we will have a straight line because the magicka we save in 2s using a cost reduction glyph will be proportional to the number of spells we cast in 2s. I showed on these pictures two vertical dotted lines (at 0.7 and 0.9) to show a realistic range of number of spells casted per second you could expect. Keep in mind that in my own parses, I didn't go above 0.85. I made one plot for each "classic" healing race, given that they have different racial passives, and considered with and without worm.

a) Argonians

Argonians have no magicka recovery or cost reduction bonuses coming from their racial passives. The results show that without worm, cost reduction becomes better than magicka recovery when you get close to 0.88 spell casted per second (and after), however, if we consider that I didn't get a parse with a number of spells casted per second higher than 0.85, it seems that a magicka recovery recovery glyph will bring better sustain.

b) High Elves

High elves have a +9% magicka recovery bonus (Spell Charge) but no cost reduction bonuses coming from their racial passives. From the plot, we can see that a magicka recovery glyph will bring more sustain than a cost reduction glyph.

c) Bretons

Bretons have a -3% cost reduction bonus Magicka Mastery) but no magicka recovery bonuses coming from their racial passives. From the plot, we can see that a magicka recovery glyph will bring more sustain than a cost reduction glyph, also they get close when you reach ~0.9 spell casted per second.

4. Conclusion

It seems that for all three "classical" races, a magicka recovery glyph will bring you more sustain than a cost reduction glyph, in a typical range of spell casted per second. This will be even more true if you get minor intellect or if you are a warden with an animal companion skill slotted, or if you have more alliance war abilities slotted. If you are not a vampire or if you don't have Magicka Aid leveled up fully, I believe the results will still be true. This result is, however, in average over an entire fight. A cost reduction glyph will be more potent in a short period of a fight where you spam spells. However, if you can sustain these short periods with a magicka recovery glyph, you will get overall a better sustain with this magicka recovery glyph. I hope this was helpful, as always feel free to ask questions ! :)

About Tabatta:

Aelynia High elf Magsorc (DC), Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen Breton Healplar (AD), Shadowbinder Khajiit Stamdk (AD), Aemma Blackfyre Imperial Warden tank (AD), Saerenaï High elf Magblade (AD), Amaelia by the Shadow Breton Magden (AD)

Core healer in Ordo and Arkadium. (EU)

5 Replies
  1. #1


    Moderator1298 Posts

    Thanks for sharing your analysis.

    The conclusion is expected and already in line with most endgame PvE healer setups; but your logical breakdown will definitely help others see the point and understand why it is so.

    e pluribus unum

  2. #2


    Member46 Posts

    Thanks for the insight

  3. #3


    Member32 Posts

    That is a great analysis... 

    I had this discussion many, many, many times with my guildmates and, when we do the math, Recovery always wins.

    The issue is, in my personal experience and of a few guildmates (not all), 2 Cost Reduction just "feels" so much better, even on a Breton Healer. I can never pinpoint exactly why, but I always end up switching back to 2 Cost Reduction over 2 Recovery when I try to switch.

  4. #4


    Member53 Posts

    @Latin @Tasear Thanks :)! 

    @CalmFury I think that what you describe comes from the fact that most healers have a playstyle where they cast really quickly skills for a short "burst" period of time, then "relax" and regen for another period of time. During the burst phase, cost reduction is indeed better because you will cast skills at a fast rate. For example, I used to run 2 cost red+1 mag recovery (yes, I was afraid of running out :D), and in vSO hm, I couldn't burn my magicka if I was at more than 80% max magicka. After switching to 2 recovery, I could burn much more easily. But then, outside this bursty phases, magicka recovery is more beneficial.  During the "relax" phase, magicka recovery will be more better, tho.Personally, I now run 2 spell damage + 1 recovery, and I have no issue sustaining bursty phases, which is why I prefer keeping that magicka recovery glyph :).

  5. #5


    Member8 Posts

    Thank you for this amazing guide


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