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Arcane Brilliance: Glyph-hanger

Christian Belt

Each week, Arcane Brilliance inscribes a glyph into the greater glyph slot of your Saturday afternoon. It's called the Glyph of Mageosity, and it Mageifies the entire rest of your day. A few words of warning, once your day has been Mageified: you may find fire bursting from your fingers at inopportune times. You might discover that certain nearby people who were formerly human may now be sheep. Also, for the rest of the day, you may want to avoid any contact with Rogues or Warlocks.

As you may have noticed, build 8820 has touched down in beta land, and with it we Mages finally have our first real taste of how Inscription will affect us as a class. There are still a great many things we don't know about these glyphs, but just having a list and knowing that Glyph of the Penguin won't be our only reason to track down an Inscriber in the expansion is newsworthy. I mean, I'm as excited to turn a Warlock into a penguin as the next Mage, but I'm glad to finally have some idea what our other glyph options will be.

Now, I'm still not one of the fortunate few who've gotten into the beta, so sadly I have no first-hand information to pass on to you. I'm sure that a goodly number of Mages more blessed than I are logged into the beta, busy testing out damage numbers as we speak, and I look forward to reading their euphoric and/or rage-filled forum posts later on...reading and dreaming and plotting to kill them and steal their beta keys. For now, though, you'll have to make do with my own uninformed and hastily formulated analysis of these forthcoming glyphs. Frankly, I wouldn't offer you anything less.

Join me after the break for the full list of Mage glyphs, and as much hyperbole and bias as you can shake a Chilly Slobberknocker at.

Glyph of Fireball: Increases the initial damage dealt by Fireball by 5%, but removes the damage over time effect.

It looks as if the philosophy Blizzard is working with is that in most cases, if a glyph adds damage to a spell, there will also be a trade-off of some kind. In this case, the trade is absolutely worth it. A flat 5% damage increase, and in return all I have to give you is one of the weakest DoT effects in the game? Where do I sign? For a Fire Mage, in a raid encounter where the Mage is spamming Fireball, each Fireball will overwrite the DoT of the the last, allowing each spell to tick only once. This means you're only losing a very negligible amount of damage per spell. My math is terrible as always, but 5% of the initial damage of a max rank Fireball is quite a bit more than the first tick of a DoT that does 116 damage over 8 seconds. You're losing around 30 damage per cast and gaining around twice as much, assuming that the "initial damage" the wording refers to is the untalented, unaffected by spellpower portion of the spell. If the 5% applies to crits, or is calculated after spellpower and talents are applied, then this is an even larger buff. Fire Mages will want this, I'll wager.

Glyph of Fire Blast: Increases the critical strike chance of Fire Blast by 50% when the target is stunned or incapacitated.

Another nod to elementalist builds, this glyph will work quite well with talents like Impact, Deep Freeze, and any of the multitude of freezing effects the Frost tree offers, especially in PvP. Of course, this begs the question: what qualifies as "incapacitated?" Does a daze effect count? Does a freeze effect count? Honestly, I feel like I could be considered "incapacitated" any time I play with one of my kids on my lap. Does "babylap" count? It should.

Assuming this applies to as many loss-of-control effects as it could, This will be a powerful PvP glyph. I can see it being coupled with Shatter combos and Deep Freeze to great effect.

Glyph of Frost Nova: Your Frost Nova targets can take an additional 20% damage before the Frost Nova effect automatically breaks.

The question I have here is whether or not this will only work on the freeze applied by Frost Nova, or if it will also apply to the freezing effects of your Water Elemental and procs like Frostbite. Regardless, this will be another nice talent to be sporting in PvP situations, or when soloing in PvE. The ability to deal more damage before that nasty mob (or Warrior) can come after you means more hurt for your opponent and less hurt for you, and that's always a good thing.

Glyph of Frostbolt: Increases the damage dealt by Frostbolt by 5%, but removes the slowing effect.

And here we have the converse of Blizzard's glyphing philosophy. This will increase Frost Mage DPS in raiding encounters, but take away a lot of the control they're valued for in PvP situations. Raiding Mages will consider it, while PvP Mages will avoid it like the plague. In fact, anyone even remotely concerned about utility will think hard on taking this one.

Glyph of Ice Armor: Your Ice Armor and Frost Armor spells grant an additional 20% armor and resistance.

Meh. I suppose a PvP oriented Mage might consider this for survivability purposes, but I have to believe there are better glyphs out there for this slot. At max rank, this will add an extra 186 armor and 8 frost resistance to the spell. Whoopity-doo.

Glyph of Ice Block: Your Frost Nova cooldown is now reset every time you use Ice Block.

While not exactly over-powered, this will be a decent glyph for survivability purposes. It'll be nice to know that when you Ice Block you're guaranteed to have your Frost Nova waiting for you when you decide to pop out of it. For Frost Mages, the cooldown is already so short that it'll likely only save you a second or two of waiting, but for other builds, this will be a good option, especially in PvP.

Glyph of Ice Lance: Increases the range of your Ice Lance by 5 yards.

What can I say about this, really? If you found that your Ice Lance's range was too short before, well here you go.

Glyph of Icy Veins: Your Icy Veins ability also removes all movement slowing and cast time slowing effects.

Sexy. Getting this glyph is giving yourself a free way to dispel two very frustrating effects once every three minutes, attached to a spell you will already be casting as often as it comes up anyway. I'm not opposed.

Glyph of Improved Scorch: The Improved Scorch talent now generates 5 applications of the Improved Scorch effect each time Scorch is cast.

Raiding Fire Mages, rejoice. Never again will you have to spam Scorch at the start of every encounter to apply the full Improved Scorch debuff. Just apply this glyph, cast Scorch once, and reapply when needed. And if, God forbid, you forget to keep the debuff up, you can recast Scorch just once and all five applications pop right back up. Very nice. It won't have a huge effect on your overall DPS, but for the sake of convenience, you can't argue with this glyph.

Glyph of Invisibility: Increases the duration of the Invisibility effect by 5 seconds.

The potential usefulness of this seems very limited. Do you have trouble, after casting Invisibility, with getting to where you were trying to go before the effect wears off? You don't? Neither do I.

Glyph of Mage Armor: Your Mage Armor spell grants an additional 20% mana regeneration while casting.

For prolonged fights, Mage Armor is the armor of choice, and this will make it significantly better. For builds with good mana regen talents, this will help significantly. I really can't see a problem with this glyph...

Glyph of Mana Gem: Increases the mana recieved from using a mana gem by 10%.

...though this is the one I'll probably take instead. At max rank, it'll add around 350 mana each time you use a mana gem, and with three charges, over the course of a long fight, it'd be worth the slot. If your mana regen is better than mine, perhaps you'd get more mileage out of the Mage Armor glyph, but for me this is the best choice.

Glyph of Molten Armor: Your Molten Armor spell grants an additional 2% critical strike chance.

I could get behind this one, since Molten Armor is my DPS armor of choice, and since I love big fat crits. 2% is a sizable number, and will translate to a significant DPS boost for any Mage using this particular armor, without taking anything away in return. I'd take this one.

Glyph of Polymorph: Your Polymorph spell also removes all damage over time effects from the target.

At first glance, this may seem like a bit of a waste, since if everyone is doing their jobs, no DoTs will be anywhere near your Polymorph target. It only seems that way until you remember that everyone is a moron. This glyph is a stupid-prevention measure. The more stupid people in your group, the more you'll want this glyph. Also, in the chaos that is PvP, this will be a godsend. If only it also removed all retarded Hunters from the target...

Glyph of Remove Curse: Your Remove Curse spell also makes the target immune to all Curses for 6 sec.

Debatable, this one. Certain fights would make this a nice would any PvP situation involving a Warlock or Shadow Priest. 6 seconds doesn't seem long enough, especially considering that you'd have to already be afflicted by a curse to even cast the spell. It certainly makes it more worthwhile to waste mana on a Remove Curse spell you wouldn't otherwise even consider casting, but perhaps not worthwhile enough.

Glyph of Water Elemental: Reduces the cooldown of your Summon Water Elemental spell by 30 sec.

Combine this with Cold as Ice and Improved Water Elemental and your big blue mana battery will be up more often than it's down, and the whole raid will want to perform sexual favors for you. In fact, assuming it isn't killed prematurely, your Water Elemental will only be down for less than a minute before you can re-summon it, while being up for exactly a minute, generating mana, DPS and Mage-centered goodwill the entire time. factor in Cold Snap, and you've got a friend who will spend enough time with you to start keeping a toothbrush at your house. Yes, please.

Glyph of Blink: Increases the distance you travel with the Blink spell by 5 yards.

I wholly understand that I'm being a bit unreasonable in absolutely loving this glyph. I do. I'm fully aware that Blink barely works as it is, and adding another 5 yards onto it will likely only exacerbate the problem. I know that an extra 5 yards isn't really a big deal anyway. I know the whole point of Blink is to get out of stuns and escape melee attackers, and a little extra distance doesn't help much in the large scheme of things. I know these things and yet I will be scribbling this little glyph down on my Blink spell as fast as I can find an Inscriber willing to inscribe it for me. Why?

Because buggy as it is, I love Blink. I love it like a child who misbehaves. Even when it's naughty I just can't stay mad at it. Given the chance to make it propel me a few yards further ahead (fingers crossed), I will give in like the enabling, permissive parent I am. And then I will give Blink my car keys and 40 bucks and hope it doesn't get anybody pregnant.

Glyph of Evocation: Your Evocation ability also causes you to regain 15% of your health over its duration.

Nope, I can't see myself wasting a slot on this one. If it regenerated more mana, then yes, but health? No sir, don't care about that.

Glyph of Arcane Explosion: Reduces mana cost of Arcane Explosion by 10%.

Arcane Explosion has always offered very good spammable AoE damage at very high mana cost, so this is a welcome glyph. I can think of quite a few trash pulls which would be made quite a bit less draining with this. 10% less draining, in fact. I'm not convinced I'd burn a glyph slot on it, but for a lot of Mages, this might be worthwhile.

Glyph of Arcane Missiles: Increases the range of Arcane Missiles by 5 yards.

For most Mages, this will be a waste. For a deep Arcane Arena Mage like me, though, this is pretty cool. Arcane Missiles, which ignores line-of-sight rules once cast, is a very nice spell in Arena combat, and many is the time when the Druid I've been casting it at cheetahs their way out of range after the first two missiles hit. that's a lot of mana to waste on two missiles. The extra 5 yards doesn't seem like much, but if it gives me time to get off one or two extra missiles before my target gets out of range, it might be worth a slot.

Glyph of Arcane Power: Increases the duration of Arcane Power by 3 sec.

I'm not sure this is worth taking, really, even though I use Arcane Power a lot. 3 seconds is really only enough extra time for one more spellcast, two at the maximum. That means at best you're getting two more spells every three minutes than normal that will be doing 30% more damage and costing 30% more mana. Nice, I suppose, but nice enough to use a glyph slot on? Maybe. For two Fireballs, you're talking about 600 extra damage every 3 minutes. That's...something, I guess. I'm not completely sold on this.

Overall, I find myself quite impressed with the glyphs we've gotten so far. It's clear some thought has gone into them, and by and large they seem to give a lot of customization options to our class. No two Mages will be alike after this, and we are all going to have to make some hard choices when the expansion hits. Frankly, I look forward to making them.

Every week Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of Mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our recent look at the potential of the new Frostfire Bolt spell, or our analysis of the WotLK beta changes to the Arcane, Frost, and Fire trees. If you're sick and tired of all this Mage-talk, there's a veritable treasure trove of guides and tips related to all of the other aspects of WoW over in the WoW Insider Directory. Until next week, keep the Mage-train a-rollin'.

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