12 January 2010

The third glyph

For raiding, the glyph of shadow and glyph of mind flay are no-brainers. But since the third glyph slot was opened up with the base range increase of mind flay, options for the third slot are a little less cut-and-dry.

We have four key contenders. None will do a great deal for your dps, but there's probably a good argument for any one of them. This is just my view...

Glyph of shadow word: pain
This glyph returns one per cent of base mana each time shadow word pain ticks, which for priests at level 80 means 38.63 mana every three seconds (rounded up or down).

If we assume 100 per cent uptime of shadow word: pain, it will return 772.6 mana a minute on one target, or about 64 mp5. That doesn't seem like much, but when you review your in-combat mana regen, 64 mp5 is probably a significant percentage of what you are currently running with.

I think this glyph provides a reasonable amount of mana given that it's a passive drip you can set and forget, but as a base mana effect it doesn't scale, and it's small enough to question whether it is needed at all. It's a slightly better deal if you can keep more than one shadow word: pain rolling at a time, but the boss fights in which you can do that are few and far between. So the question is, do you need the mana?

The answer may well be yes, but I would not even consider this glyph until you are running with 2/2 veiled shadows and know that a three-minute shadowfiend is not cutting the mustard.

Best for: a reliable, passive boost to mp5
Misery rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Glyph of dispersion
This glyph, generally recommended by experts, reduces the cooldown of dispersion by 45 seconds, a huge chunk for a spell that already has a short two-minute cooldown. For that, you get more mana and more chances to cheat death. Or you might just forget to use it and get no benefit at all.

As an active ability that silences you for six seconds, the mileage of dispersion already varies wildly by fight to fight, and by player to player. Most players are naturally reluctant to cast it while they could otherwise be doing damage. So it becomes a useful mana pot while on the move and something to help you get out of trouble and give your healers a break when required.

On mana alone, the glyph is far more effective than the glyph of shadow word: pain, but only if it's used. With a mana pool of 20k, popping dispersion every one minute 15 seconds will net you 5760 mana per minute (480 mp5). But even unglyphed, dispersion provides a potential of 3600 mana per minute (300 mp5). Managed effectively, a talented shadowfiend and an unglyphed dispersion should be enough to keep you going under any circumstances.

Where this glyph really shines is in its damage reduction, and this again is something very hard to quantify. You're not going to need it every one minute 15 seconds like clockwork. Some boss effects even bypass dispersion (and one of these days I'm determined to find out which ones and tell you about them!) And in many situations, your healers are going to be on the ball and ready to keep you up no matter what. But it's a safety net for stupidity if you should find yourself in a tight spot, and with a shorter cooldown there is more room for error in popping it at the wrong time.

Best for: survivability, maximum control
Misery rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Glyph of shadow word: death
With this glyph, targets below 35 per cent health take an additional 10 per cent damage from the spell. It's a poor comparison to most other execute-style abilities in the game, but it's the best we have. So is it any good?

Well, no, I don't think so. In a five-minute fight, assuming no movement or interruptions to casting, you would be able to cast shadow word: death a maximum of eight times during the execute window — and that in itself does not allow for a much quicker burn below 35 per cent, which with mages and locks and shammies kicking around you can almost guarantee. Even on an eight minute fight, you're looking at only 14 or so opportunities.

But all things considered, this is the only option for the third slot that's going to boost your dps, and for some min-maxers that might be the most important consideration. If shadow word: death is something you cast frequently anyway, give it a go.

Best for: min-maxers
Misery rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Glyph of mind sear
This glyph increases the radius of mind sear by five yards. It certainly sounds like it would make spamming our killer aoe a little easier, but the conditions under which you would gain any benefit from this glyph seem so specific I'm not sure where I could use it. You need a boss fight which includes packs of four or more mobs that need dpsing down and which are close enough to be in range of the glyphed spell but not quite close enough for it unglyphed.

Well, to be fair, it doesn't have to be a boss fight, you might want to use it on trash. But who would choose a glyph for trash over one for bosses?

The glyph was introduced in a recent patch to rectify a clear dearth of glyph choices for shadow priests. Most of us were still gimped by the glyph of mind flay at the time and discounted it. Sadly, I'm not sure it's strong enough even now to justify the slot, but it might fill a very specific niche for a small number of shades. the best argument I can think of for equipping this glyph is if you were to swap it in and out like consumables where required — which is a perfectly valid strategy if you have access to cheap glyphs, but I usually have enough to think about before bosses without making sure I'm sporting the right glyphs.

Best for: trash
Misery rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Leigh said...

I'm using Glyph of Shadow because a lot of the time I am multi dotting and the mana returned is a god send. Take the Gunship battle, I normally stay on the home ship and multi DoT the 4 Axe throwers on the other ship as well as DoT and nuke the invaders on the home ship. It's tough to get SWP refreshing on all targets so I am losing mana if I don't refresh in time. I use Fiend + Dispersion in that fight and have to use one of them again near the end of the fight. I probably would be stuck for mana come the end if I wasn't glyphed. A shadowfiend gives me about 12k mana from looking at a recent WoL so getting roughly half that in a fight is nice enough considering the lack of viability of the other glyphs.

Would rather that glyph then silencing myself for 6s more often :P (despite the dmg reduction)

Ho Ho said...

Running with sear at the moment as there are very few bosses where I ever have to think about dispersing for mana and usually they have some points where there is DPS downtime due to running. On gunship SWP one might be useable on 10-man but on 25 there are too many mobs to be effective to put SWP on all. I just generally spam VT on all and sear someone who is close to lots of others. On 10-man I was killing them so fast I oftn had time where there was nothing in range to dps so dispersing was no prolem. Also sear glyph helps on Marrowgar to get the spikes down faster as we tend to clump up behind boss so all spikes are relatively close to the boss anyway sear hits them. Glyph makes it a bit safer in case someone is too far.

almoderate said...

Using Dispersion, but mostly for the survivability aspect. We use soakers for the heroic Twins fight, and Dispersion helps me to effectively survive the opposing color vortex. I can also stay out during Algalon's Big Bang and pop my "shield wall" more often during Faction Champions.

Akaran said...

I still use the SW:P one, but mostly because the alternatives striked me as rather...well...boring. I did pick up the Mind Sear one, as we are heading back for Anub 25m hc soon.

But nice work on the run trough of our options. Keep up the great work :)

Channels said...

I'm curious about you tagging the SW:D glyph as for "min-maxers". Does anyone who considers themselves a min-maxer of their dps ever cast SW:D? As far as I knew, it was out of the shadow rotation, even if you have it glyphed for execute range. Bad glyph, bad spell... cast it on the move, but nowhere else.

I've read several people advocating using glyphs as consumables, reglyphing depending on the fight. Given the situation benefit from each of our glyphs, why not carry a stack of each? SW:P if you're running low on mana, dispersion for progression/high dmg encounters and Algalon, mind sear for Anub HM.

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