6. Glyph of Inner Fire
Let's take a moment to appreciate the value of Inner Fire. As shadow priests at level 80, we know to keep it up at all times for the spellpower buff. We don't get that spellpower buff until we hit Northrend though, so when leveling, we appreciate it for it's ability to reduce the damage we take instead.
The Glyph of Inner Fire is all about survivability. Since the glyph boosts our armor only, though, deciding whether or not to take it requires a little bit of thought. The facts:
- The Glyph of Inner Fire is a huge boost to Inner Fire but a small boost to your damage mitigation. The 50% figure makes for a sexy tool tip. In practice, though, a glyphed Inner Fire will only give you an additional 5% or so damage mitigation. That's nothing to sneeze at, but it's important knowing the "real" number before you make an informed decision.
- The armor bonus only matters against physical attacks. If you're running instances or raiding, the bulk of the damage you're going to be taking probably won't be physical. That severely hampers the value of the glyph at level 80.
7. Glyph of Dispersion
Glyph of Dispersion at number seven? Talk about underrated!
Granted, this glyph does little to help your DPS. In fact, using Dispersion more often could even reduce your DPS. But it does provide a huge boost to your survivability and your mana regen ability. Considering whether or not to take this glyph requires you to consider the benefits of being able to use Dispersion more often:
- More casts of Disperse means fewer out-of-mana moments. This shouldn't be much of an issue in raids (though it can be!) as it is in five-man instances where tanks seldom stop for DPS casters to regain mana. Being able to Disperse between pulls is a great way to keep the blue bar topped off. It's also a good way to reduce downtime while soloing -- just pop dispersion on your way to the next pull.
- Being able to use Dispersion more often adds survivability. This can be key in raid fights like Sindragosa (to reduce a nasty hit of Unchained Magic, or to reduce Asphyxiation damage) or Professor Putricide (sneaking through slime when you get trapped). It can also be great if you accidentally grab aggro in a five-man group.
- Dispersion is they key to recovering from an accidental death. If you just got a battle res, you're in dire straits -- you come back to life with precious little health and mana. Hitting dispersion immediately after you pop back does two key things: it wards off death long enough for healers to restore your health, and it regenerates 36% of your max mana so you can actually cast spells again.
8. Glyph of Fade
Okay, um. Yikes. Glyph of Fade is number eight? I mean, I know we're starting to reach the bottom of the barrel at number eight, but ... really?
Let's not get the wrong idea here -- Fade is a great spell. It's good for shaking off accidental aggro and it's good for messing with pets' heads and breaking movement imparing effects (with Improved Shadowform). But considering the benefits of this glyph ... do you really need those eight seconds of cooldown time? Are you really spamming Fade that badly?
Let's just remind ourselves: Fade doesn't erase aggro permanently, it just sweeps it under the rug for a few seconds. The aggro you built up will come back when Fade is over, so unless you stop DPS on whatever's attacking you, you'll probably grab aggro right back once Fade's duration is up. And Fade will never shake a target off you unless someone else has at least some aggro on it first. That considered ... why are you grabbing this glyph again?
Final verdict: Useless while soloing.
9. Glyph of Flash Heal
Glyph of Flash ... wait, what? Are we serious? It's a ten percent savings on a spell that kicks us out of Shadowform.
- Come on.
- Don't you dare.
10. Glyph of Mind Control
I like the idea of the Mind Control spell, and Glyph of Mind Control does take mitigate one of my key gripes about the spell -- it breaks too easy. Still, unless you're going into battlegrounds with a really specific strategy about throwing your opponents off cliffs ... I'm sorry, I just don't see how anyone can justify taking it over some of the other great glyph choices.
Maybe if Mind Control gave you the ability to blow your adversaries' cooldowns? Oh man, how sweet would that be? (Hint to Blizzard developers: do that.)
Final verdict: Potentially useful in PvP, but not much useful anywhere else. Maybe the Instructor Razuvious fight in Naxx? But when was the last time you were in there?
The runners up
So, that's the top ten. The presence of some of those glyphs bothers me, but what I think bothers me most is that a few decent glyphs were left off the list. It's a travesty that Glyph of Flash Heal made the list and Glyph of Dispel Magic (#11) didn't. Granted, it's really only going to be useful in PvP, and the 3% healing isn't huge, but when is Glyph of Flash Heal ever going to be useful?
Oh, and can we also give a shout out to the Glyph of Mind Sear (#12)? Without any kind of buff, the AoE aspect of the Mind Sear spell extends in a ten foot radius from the target. With the glyph, it's increased to fifteen feet. That means the glyph effectively increases the area of the spell's effect from 314 square yards all the way up to 706 -- more than double. That could prove exceptionally useful in Northrend heroics and when you're making giant pulls when soloing (again, great for Loremaster or for soloing old school five-man instances).
Rounding off the list of glyphs I could conceivably see someone taking as a shadow priest is Glyph of Psychic Scream (#14). It strikes me as something of potential use in PvP, depending on strategy. In exchange for 8 extra seconds of cooldown, you get 2 extra seconds of effect. In PvP terms, 2 seconds is a lifetime. Even more situational would be the Glyph of Fear Ward (#18), another PvP-type glyph.
One thing is clear while looking at the list -- there's a lot of dissent about glyph choices out there. And that's because there really are an awful lot of "right answers" when creating a build. You just need to measure each glyph against your play style, and just choose what seems like the most useful and fun set.
Are you more interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? Think it's neat to dissolve into a ball of pure shadow every few minutes? Hunger for the tangy flesh of gnomes? The darker, shadowy side of Spiritual Guidance has you covered (occasionally through the use of puppets).