Inscriptions, a new profession in Wrath of the Lich King, allows for the creation of tradable Glyphs that can enhance your spells and abilities. Recently a number of these glyphs were released into a beta build and Inscription was announced to be apart of the new pre-Wrath patch.
As you'll see in the list below, Rogues get a wide variety of both lesser and greater glyph options, and in a lot of cases can greatly effect your talent choices in a way that gemming or enchanting never did.
There are a total (at this point) of seventeen Rogue centric glyphs discovered in the 8820 pre-release build, each expressing a different talent or ability improving skill. I should note, however, that I do not have any details around a few pieces of data that will most likely be very important once the Inscription profession has been released. They are: How to create the glyph, which glyphs are tradable and which are not, what Inscription skill-level any particular glyph requires.
I've split up the glyphs into two categories: Utility and Damage, with utility being either group or individual survivability buffs.
As of this build (8820) there are five glyphs that I would categorize as "utility". These glyphs generally increase the duration of talents you already have, but do not strengthen the effect in terms of power. Leading off is Glyph-SAP, which can increase the duration of your Sap by 10 seconds. Overall not too bad when tacked on a level 71 accessible rank 4 Sap (which lasts up to one minute). I haven't really found too many situations where I've wished for, say, ten more seconds on my Sap though. And really, Rogues do not excel at PvE crowd control and aren't typically brought to raids with this in mind.
Next in line is Glyph-Evasion. Evasion, if you recall, makes you harder to hit by increasing your dodge chance by 50% and reducing ranged hits by 25%, on top of whatever dodge stats you have already. This glyph add an additional five seconds of evasion time, which can be crucial in fights where the tank or off-tank dies or becomes "unavailable" (e.g. "brb, I have to wash my steve"). I've evasion-tanked many mobs down from 1% (the one I recall best was Instructor Razuvious) and an extra five seconds is win.
But what about when you really really don't want to be the one tanking the boss in those final seconds? Well, Glyph-Feint will reduce the cost of your Feint ability by 10 energy points, knocking it down to 10 energy. PvE Rogues already (should) know to use Feint every time it's available on boss fights, and this just makes it that much more usable, especially deep into fights when energy management is crucial.
The next two are more PvP in nature, IMO, than the others. Glyph-Expose Armor and Glyph-Sprint, increase the ability duration by ten and decrease the cool-down by sixty seconds respectively. I routinely use Expose Armor on targets in battlegrounds and making Improved Sprint available one full minute earlier can be a lifesaver. With two points into Endurance you can utilize Sprint 105 seconds earlier, taking a five minute cool-down to 3.25 minutes.
Damage glyphs typically add either a percentage damage modifier or increase the range/duration of the skill. The best place to start is with my favorite Rupture. The Glyph-Rupture will increase the duration of a Rupture by five seconds. At level 79 Rupture rank 9 will last sixteen seconds with five combo-points, doing (217+0.0375*AP)*8 damage over that entire time. Now though you can have it up for twenty-one seconds, increasing damage by 1.3% (based on 1800 AP you get 2276 points of damage vs 2987 with the additional five seconds).
Similarly, Glyph-Garrote, an opener from stealth will increase your periodic, or DoT, damage by 45%, but will decrease the duration by three seconds. At level eighty a rank 10 Garrote will last eighteen seconds and cause (119 + AP * 0.07) * 6 damage. Using a sample calculation, rank 10 Garrote with 1800 AP will do 1470 points of damage over eighteen seconds, or 81.67 points per second. When you bump that up with the glyph you move to 118.4 points of damage per second, giving you 1776 points of damage with the 3 second decrease. Not too shabby.
The other excellent finisher is Slice and Dice, which would gain three seconds, over the five point 21 second duration, additionally modified by Improved Slice and Dice by 45% (total of 30 seconds without the glyph, 33 with). A possibility of 33 seconds of 30% increased attack speed is a fine improvement, but nothing as special as the Rupture and Garrote glyphs. Don't get me wrong, SnD is excellent in so many ways, and three seconds added to it make it somewhat more special. But with limited glyph slots, I'm not convinced I'd take this one.
The last one we'll talk about today is the Eviscerate glyph, which will increase your critical strike chance of the skill by 10%. Critical damage buffs are in vogue for Rogues these days with both Prey on the Weak and Unfair Advantage, getting you various increases. However, with most Rogues relying on SnD/Rupture cycles as the primary source of damage, is a critical damage modifier to Eviscerate really all that important? Without a doubt more damage is good, but again, if I had to choose between this glyph and the Rupture one, I'd have no problem going with Rupture.
Next week we'll take a close look at glyphs for Backstab, Shiv, Deadly Throw, Hemorrhage, Adrenaline Rush, Gouge, Ambush and Ghostly Strike.