Glyph of Shadowfiend
WoW is a game where every little bit counts, and even the most seemingly insignificant variables can make a difference over the long run. Minor glyphs are no exception to this, which is why it frustrates me to no end when I see a raiding priest with the Glyph of Shadowfiend equipped. Why? Because the Glyph of Shadowfiend is terrible for raids and most group PVE. Let me explain why.
The effect of the glyph is quite simple: If your Shadowfiend somehow dies in combat, you will immediately gain 5% of your maximum mana as a consolation for losing out on the mana your Shadowfiend would have provided you. Not a bad trade-off, right? That is, until you realize there are few ways for your little Shadowfiend to die in a raid.
You see, at the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King, all pets were given Avoidance, a passive ability that allows pets to avoid 90% of all AOE damage from enemy NPCs. Enemy player AOE in PVP will still damage pets for the full effect, but not AOE from bosses. Since we're talking about Wrath anyway, think back to your final fight against the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel. Do you remember when the Lich King used Remorseless Winter and everyone in your raid would need to run to the edge of the Frozen Throne to avoid being killed by the damage in a few mere seconds? Remember how all the hunter pets wouldn't retreat with the group and actually stayed in melee range of the boss while he channeled Remoreless Winter? That's Avoidance at work, and Shadowfiends have it just like every other pet. (You learn these things from hanging out with uncommonly good-looking hunters, by the way.)
If a Shadowfiend isn't gong to die from boss AOE, the only way it can be killed is by taking direct damage from the boss or mob. But since a Shadowfiend's damage will never generate more threat than a tank or a damage class, it's unlikely that it will ever wind up with enough threat to be targeted with direct damage. The exception to this, of course, is if you start pulling bosses with your Shadowfiend. If you do this, mana is probably going to be your last concern, since you will almost certainly be the next dead person in the room after your Shadowfiend kicks the bucket.
So if you think about it, the only way for you to utilize the Glyph of Shadowfiend is if you act like an idiot in raids and carelessly send your beloved pet after a freshly spawned mob. Otherwise, it should never die, and you will never benefit from the effects of the glyph. In PVP and solo play, the glyph makes perfect sense, but in raids and dungeons, it's a waste.
What to get instead? Well, I personally pick up the Glyph of Fading, since I use Fade quite frequently in raiding, especially during phase transitions when boss threat resets or new mobs spawn. When healing as a holy priest, especially, I'll almost always have more threat than other healers, so the ability is a great tool for avoiding death if your tank needs a moment to pick up the baddie monster that wants to eat my face.
Other minor glyphs
Now that I've made a big fuss about a tiny little glyph, I figured it would be at least somewhat appropriate to point out that the other two recommended minor glyphs for a healing priest are the Glyph of Fortitude and the Glyph of Levitate. Sometimes I might even recommend Glyph of Shackle Undead, but it's very situational. As I said earlier, the best glyphs usually stand out, so I suspect most of you already have these glyphs equipped. If you don't though, let me explain their benefits.
A pre-BlizzCon questionaire
Hopefully, most of you will know that BlizzCon 2011 is right around the corner, and that means next weekend I'll be compromised in Anaheim having too much fun with my fellow nerds. I suspect plenty of WoW Insider readers will be in the same boat, so I like to write a fun post to follow up the weekend instead of something technical.
Glyph of Levitate doesn't tend to have a whole lot of actual utility in everyday raiding, but it's extremely useful in every other part of the game, so it just makes sense to use this glyph. Finding reagents is a big pain, and running out of Light Feathers when you're trying to cast Levitate is sometimes lethal if you were using the spell to cushion a fall.
Glyph of Fortitude makes buffing in combat a lot more cost-effective. As you know, group buffs are extremely taxing on mana, and if you have to rebuff the group because a player died during an encounter, casting Power Word: Fortitude can be devastating on your mana. Taking this glyph sands the pointy edge of the mana cost off and makes the burden of buffing a bit more manageable. (I still try to make the shadow priests do the buffing if I can, though.)
Glyph of Shackle Undead is the last minor glyph I'd recommend, and even then, I think it's overrated. If you find yourself in a dungeon of undead baddies, it's great; the rest of the time, it's useless and you shouldn't bother with it. I rarely used Shackle Undead in Icecrown Citadel, and when I did, it was usually on trash. I use it a lot more in PVP when dealing with death knights, and in that situation I do recommend this glyph over Glyph of Shadowfiend.
Last year, I asked a few priests I met about their experiences as a priest, and this year I want to do it again but with more preparation. Thus, I've written up a set of questions I'd like to ask the priests I come across. Take a look.
Readers, if you can think of other good questions to ask, leave them in the comments and I'll add them to the list. After that, if you'd like to participate yourself, come find me at BlizzCon. I'll obviously be at the WoW Insider party, so I should be easy to find then. During the rest of the weekend, I'll just be wandering around taking pictures and looking for priests (the ones in cosplay are the easiest to find, so make it easy on me by finding me). If you aren't going to be at BlizzCon, send me your answers in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before BlizzCon ends on Saturday night.
Tell us about your first priest. When did you start playing him? What race was she? Do you have any memorable stories about your early adventures as a priest?
What spec do you play most and why?
What's your favorite part about playing a priest?
What new ability do you want for priests in the next expansion?
What needs to be fixed about priests?
Have you ever cosplayed as a priest? If you haven't, tell us what armor you would wear.
Is there anything else you can think of about being a priest that you want to tell me?
See you soon!
Spiritual Guidance has the inside line on pre-raid, valor point and raid gear for patch 4.2, as well as priest healing guides for the early and final bosses of The Firelands. Newcomer to the priest class? Look into leveling a healing priest, plus our guides to Discipline Priest 101 and Holy Priest 101.