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Encrypted Text: Rogue glyphs in the Cataclysm beta


Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the rogue class. This week, we discuss the new glyph system and talk about which glyphs look good so far.

Back in the day, before Wrath was even released, I had incorrectly speculated that there would be three tiers of glyphs in the expansion. It was my very first post on, and my mistake was clearly pointed out to me by some of the helpful commenters. It turns out that I was actually right -- it just took Blizzard a few years to get around to adding the extra tier of glyphs.

There are now three types of glyph: prime, major and minor. Prime glyphs aren't necessarily fun; they just buff us. Major glyphs are sort of the utility glyphs that give us a measurable benefit, but they're not necessarily mandatory. Minor glyphs are just for fun things that make our lives easier. Luckily for us, many of the new Cataclysm glyphs are available on the beta, complete with the shiny new glyph interface. While scribes may be complaining about their business models going out the window, I'm busy drooling over some of the new glyph options we have available.

You can view a complete list of available glyphs in this earlier news post, but I'll be reviewing the ones that are most likely to see use by rogues. Right now, most rogue specs use a pretty simple glyph formula. You start with the glyph for your primary combo point generator, add in the glyph of your 51-point talent, and then typically pick up the glyph for one of your finishers. That paradigm may shift in Cataclysm, especially after seeing some of the rebalancing that our current glyphs have seen.

Sorry assassins, still no Envenom glyph

With assassination rogues moving to a two-generator rotation in Cataclysm, featuring Mutilate to open and Backstab to close, it's likely that glyphing for both will yield a significant return. This is assuming that using Backstab when Murderous Intent is active yields a DPS boost, which it should be on a boss fight. With two prime glyph slots taken by CP generators, we're left with a choice between a finisher and a 31-point talent.

After seeing Venomous Wounds, it's clear that Blizzard intends for assassination rogues to use Rupture. There's still no Envenom glyph, so we can pick up Glyph of Rupture or Glyph of Vendetta. Which one is better remains to be seen, though I may favor Glyph of Vendetta for the simple fact that it helps to negate the assassination tree's lack of DPS cooldowns.

Combat's glyphs come two by two

Combat has an even more interesting list of possible glyphs. With two CP generators, Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike, we could potentially glyph for either. We're also not sure if combat rogues will be moving to a three-finisher rotation, since there aren't any talents that buff Rupture in the tree like there are in subtlety and assassination. That still leaves Slice and Dice and Eviscerate open for glyphs. Both of combat's DPS cooldowns have glyphs, so Killing Spree and Adrenaline Rush are also on the table.

With at least six potential glyphs to choose from and two from each category of ability, we'll probably end up choosing the strongest from each category, as we do today. Haste's effect on our energy regeneration will be an important factor, as it's possible that glyphing for both Rupture and Slice and Dice may allow us to transition to a new, higher DPS rotation with enough incoming energy. None of the glyphs are awful, and I look forward to testing different combos at level 85 to find the optimal configuration.

Subtlety gets my favorite glyph

Hemorrhage is a move that's undergone so many changes, I can never remember what incarnation came when. In Cataclysm, it was assumed that it would simply be used every so often to keep up "the Mangle effect," aka the bleed damage debuff. The glyph for Hemorrhage changes that and gives the ability some unique flavor that it has needed for some time. The tree is all about bleed damage, and so adding in another bleed will come as a welcome change.

Obviously, Backstab will work its way towards the top of the glyph pile as our main CP generator, and Eviscerate will be the finisher glyph of choice. With Eviscerate now refreshing Rupture for sub rogues via Serrated Blades on a regular basis, the Rupture glyph really isn't worth it. The Shadow Dance glyph only lets us squeeze out one extra Ambush, and the Slice and Dice glyph is just OK. The competition between the SnD and Hemo glyphs will depend on our exact balancing at level 85, so there is still some speculation as to which third glyph we'll be using.

Major glyphs: Batman's utility belt

I am really loving many of the glyphs that were moved to the major tier, since they're things that we've always wanted to have but didn't want to waste a prime glyph on. The Tricks of the Trade glyph both boosts our DPS by saving us energy and makes it simpler for us to use the ability. I can see the Blade Flurry glyph getting heavy usage on any fight with multiple targets, while the Fan of Knives radius bonus will be nice for using Tricks to get adds to a tank. The Expose Armor glyph will make it so trivial for an assassination rogue to keep up Expose Armor that DPS warriors can take Sunder Armor off their bars.

There's a plethora of PvP major glyphs as well, like an increase to Ambush's range to help alleviate lag issues and a Gouge glyph to give us a way to stop runners without spending Kidney Shot. The Vanish glyph also looks fun, since I'm assuming it extends our "guaranteed" stealth time from 3 seconds to 5 seconds. There's a major glyph for just about every situation, and I can't wait to see what else they come up with.

The absolute best minor glyph

Glyph of Poisoning is far and away the best minor glyph. I should also mention that it's also the worst minor glyph you can use. Since it's the only minor glyph for rogues so far, it gets the luxury of being the best and the worst at the same time. While I rarely re-poison my weapons while in combat, this may be nice for a quick swap to a particular poison in PvP. Let me say now that if Glyph of Pick Lock doesn't make it into the final release, I'm going to start asking for mandatory tips for unlocking boxes on top of the Orgrimmar bank. Hopefully a few of our old minor glyphs make it back, like Glyph of Blurred Speed. Although how would that work in Vashj'ir? I'll leave it up to the devs to figure out the details!

Check back every Wednesday for the latest strategies in Encrypted Text! Get ready for Icecrown Citadel with our rogue guide, part 1, part 2 (Plagueworks), part 3 (Crimson Halls) and part 4 (Frostwing Halls). Just hit 80 and need information? Try Combat 101 or Mutilate 101.

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