Warcraft: Glyphs are Boring, Part 2

I’ve often given thought to what I would do to change the glyph system that is in place. Rather, how I would change the glyphs themselves. Blizzard’s current idea is to add in another tier of glyphs between the current minor and major distinctions. These “medium” glyphs would be for abilities that are not used nearly as often but where glyphs would be appreciated. (As of July 16, the three types of glyphs will be Prime, Major, and Minor: Prime glyphs are the current Majors, Major glyphs will be the middle-range, and Minor remains the same.)

Again, a problem I have with the current glyph system is that you typically take the glyphs that increase the effectiveness of your ability rotation the most, and just use those. There’s no room for the utility glyphs that might keep you alive a little longer (unless you’re a tank, in which case there’s no room for the glyphs that increase your damage output), or the ones that are useful but only very situationally.

There are a bunch of glyphs as I’ve mentioned that are bland. They increase the damage of one ability by x%. What changes could be made to make them more interesting?

Adding a category of glyph between the higher and lower glyphs is a good start. It gives players freedom to use those situational glyphs and the ones they like over the ones that will increase their damage the most. However, the three Prime glyph spots are going to end up being the same three for each spec unless there are changes in store I’m not aware of. (Note that the last time I logged into the beta, it was mentioned that the glyphs were undergoing a lot of changes (and that some of them may simply not work)…so my hopes are up.)

My opinion: Blizzard should give the playerbase more flexibility. I understand the need for balance but surely there are some things they can do.

The ideas I’ve come up with are typically ways to fill holes in buffs/debuffs in a 10-man raid:

* Glyph of Plague Strike (or Glyph of Blood Plague) – Causes the disease to reduce attack power, like Demoralizing Shout, granting Death Knight tanks the ability to reduce the attack power of many mobs in the absence of a warrior or druid. Alternatively, causes the disease to reduce spell power. (Current: increases the damage dealt by the strike by 20%.)
* Glyph of Obliterate – Reduces the armor of the target by something like 2/3 of the amount a full stack of sunder armor for 15 seconds, but does not stack with sunder or expose armor from rogues. I’ve always felt that the name Obliterate was too cool to be applied to an ability that was just a simple weapon strike. (Current: increases the damage dealt by 20%)
* Glyph of Lightning Shield – Casting Lightning Shield causes a small-ish AoE around the caster. Alternatively, adds the damage to lightning spellcasts, consuming charges, enabling its use by elemental shaman. (Current: increases the damage dealt by 20%)
* Glyph of Frostfire Bolt – Casting Frostfire Bolt reduces the cast time of your next Fireball or Frostbolt by 20%, stacking up to 5 times. Mages haven’t been chain-casting the same one spell for the entire duration of a fight for some time, but this should spice things up for Frostfire mages anyway. (Current: increases the critical strike chance by 2% and the damage by 2%.)
* Glyph of Death Coil – Resets the cooldown on Demonic Teleport, Howl of Terror, Shadowflame, and Shadowfury. (Current: increases the duration by 0.5 seconds)

I admit, the above are just as similar to talents as they already are in-game. However, they would affect gameplay far more, in my opinion.

Another aspect to glyphs could be added efficiency, but with some drawback. This was implemented with a number of glyphs when Wrath of the Lich King shipped and granted them greater distinction from talents, but most (if not all) of the disadvantages on these glyphs were removed in later patches to encourage use.

Glyph of Death Coil (Warlock), for instance, could read something like: “Increases the duration of Death Coil by 5 seconds, but reduces your movement and casting speeds by 50% for 5 seconds as well.” Or, “Increases the healing you receive from your Death Coil ability by 300%, but removes the horror effect.” The second one would be great for PvE. The hindrances added to the first may be too severe…they are both just examples.

Another example could be a glyph for Hand of Freedom: “Increases the duration by 6 seconds, but does not remove existing movement-impairing effects when cast.” Or Glyph of Shield Slam: “Increases the damage dealt by 40%, but reduces chance to block by 20% for 6 seconds after casting.”

Another option for glyphs could be to change the system entirely; instead of class-specific ability-modifying glyphs, they could affect far more general attributes, as the (now-scrapped) Path of the Titans system was to do. The entire reason they scrapped the project was because it was too similar to the glyph system.

The Path of the Titans was a character enhancement system funneled down from the Archaeology secondary profession. You’d have like 10 slots, and each would be a minor boost to some aspect of your character. I do not remember a lot of the details, but individual slots had buffs such as “Reduces damage taken by 4%.” Each one had another effect as well, I believe with the intent of the player choosing one or the other.

Regrettably I do not think we will see significant changes to the glyph system. But time will tell.

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