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Paladin glyphs and Blizzard's direction for the class


Inscription is shaping up to be one heck of a profession. After seeing the interesting Druid and Mage glyphs in an earlier build of Beta, this latest build pushed yesterday revealed some Paladin glyphs and gives us an inkling of where Blizzard wants to take the class. Unlike the Mage and Druid glyphs, there are no cosmetic ones just yet -- what spells could be cosmetically upgraded, anyway? Avenging Wrath, perhaps? Here are the functional ones:

Glyph of Seal of Command
Increases the chance of dealing Seal of Command damage by 20%.
From how I read this, it seems like the glyph increases the proc rate of Seal of Command by 20%. Since Seal of Command currently works through a PPM or Proc Per Minute, mileage may vary depending on your weapon. With an optimal 3.8 speed weapon, Seal of Command can proc around a whopping 64% of the time. Note that PPM calculations for SoC are done after haste is factored in. It's a definite increase in DPS and provides a slightly more consistent burst.

Glyph of Hammer of Justice
Increases your Hammer of Justice duration by 1 sec.
This glyph extends the stun duration to 7 seconds -- still not enough to deal dual Judgements. Pure PvE Paladins might want to skip on this glyph, but it's a particularly powerful glyph for PvP especially when specced and geared for the 20 second cooldown (3/3 Improved Hammer of Justice + PvP set bonus). Taking advantage of the stun even without the glyph every 20 seconds subjects it to diminishing returns, so longer stuns won't necessarily go the full duration against a single target. However, this works extremely well with the Glyph of Crusader Strike, slimly allowing 2 Crusader Strikes against a stunned target.

Glyph of Blessing of Wisdom
Your Blessing of Wisdom causes your target to also regenerate health at the same rate as mana.
The wording on this is a bit confusing. Does the health regeneration tick at the same rate as the mana that Blessing of Wisdom confers? Or all mana regeneration as the wording can imply? I'm betting on the former, which translates to 71 health and mana every 5 seconds at the current highest rank in Wrath Beta. This makes it a highly desirable raiding glyph. If it works with all mana regeneration, then it's pretty broken as it reworks spells like Innervate and Evocation.

Glyph of Hammer of Wrath
Increases the range on Hammer of Wrath by 5 yards.
Always a situational spell, Hammer of Wrath is essentially a PvP spell because it actually lowers Paladin DPS in raids as it resets the swing timer. In the old scaling and coefficients, at least. That said, PvE Paladins rarely need the extended range as Paladin DPS is melee-based (yes, even Shockadins). With only 6 glyph slots to fill, this is pretty low on the list of glyphs to get.

Glyph of Crusader Strike
Your Crusader strike deals 20% more damage when your targe is incapacitated or stunned.
With the removal of the Judgement refreshing aspect of Crusader Strike, it seems clear that Blizzard wants Retribution to be a PvP-favored tree. This glyph is simply begging Retadins to stun their target at every possible opportunity and unleash crazy burst DPS. Because many dungeon mobs and virtually all bosses cannot be stunned, this is for PvP. And it's delicious.

Glyph of Consecration

Increases the radius of Consecration by 1 yards.
If there were an ugly, unwanted stepchild of glyphs, this would be it. A 1 yard increase to Consecration is fairly small. The spec that uses it the most right now, Protection, works off being close to their target. Multiple mobs stack on or near the Paladin, rendering the extra 1 yard next to useless. It has limited use even in PvP, where it is often used in close quarters. Blizzard revised it to scale with both Spell and Attack Power, which is enough of an improvement for now.

Glyph of Righteous Defense
Increases the chance for your Righteous Defense ability to work successfully by 8% on each target.
A taunt that works better? Yes, please. This is a must-have glyph for every Paladin tank, specially with the new and improved, no-cost Righteous Defense. The worst thing to see in a raid is a mob resisting just as it's about to lay the smackdown on your squishy friends.

Glyph of Avenger's Shield

Your Avenger's Shield hits -2 fewer targets but for 100% more damage.
The multi-target design of Avenger's Shield was designed primarily for multiple mob pulls. It was never intended to be part of a DPS spell cycle with a 0.5 second cast time and 30 second cooldown. With increased damage and fewer targets, however, it becomes more tailored for PvP than PvE. Not a fantastic glyph, by any means, but a purely preferential one.

Glyph of Turn Evil
Reduces the cooldown on Turn Evil by 5 sec.
This glyph doesn't make any sense right now because Turn Evil in the Beta doesn't have a cooldown (as opposed to 30 seconds on live realms). Because of its situational nature, I expect it to remain that way, similar to Warlock Fears. Either Turn Evil or this glyph is likely to change soon. At any rate, this should be a minor glyph.

Glyph of Exorcism
Your Exorcism also interrupts spellcasting for 0 sec.
The long-clamored for spell interrupt! Except it only works on Undead and Demons... that actually cast spells. Or maybe also against Lichborne- or Metamorphosis-specced Death Knights and Warlocks. This looks like another candidate for the minor glyph category and is likely to change when glyphs finally go live.

Glyph of Blessing of Kings

Your Blessing of Kings also increases attack power on affected targets by 3%.
Another DPS bent for the Protection tree, although inferior to Blessing of Might with the new scaling and coefficients. It also indicates that Blizzard intends for Blessing of Kings to lean towards melee classes, making the bonus useless to casters, on whom the buff is also applied to.

Glyph of Flash of Light
Your Flash of Light heals for 50% less initially but also heals for 200% of its initial effect over 0 sec.
Huh? Presumably, the 0 seconds in the spell refers to an actual time (MMO Champion lists it at 1 second), making Flash of Light some sort of mini-Lifebloom. This actually changes the nature of the spell from quick heals to a mitigating Heal-over-Time. I'm not too sold on this one because Flash of Light is one of the most efficient heals in the game in its present form. You want the full heal after a 1.5 second cast, not some HoT-wannabe.

Glyph of Holy Light

Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 5 (yards) of the initial target.
If glyphs were girls, this would be the most beautiful girl in the room. It seems like a no-brainer glyph for all healing Paladins, who have traditionally had difficulty with mutiple targets. 10% of Holy Light spread over 5 targets is rather small, and the 5 (presumably yards) range is short -- but every bit helps, particularly when it doesn't incur any additional cost to mana.

Glyph of Blessing of Might
Your Blessing of Might also grants offensive spell power equal to 10% of the attack power it grants.
This glyph turns Blessing of Might into Sheath of Light's less talented cousin. It's also one of the most desirable glyphs for a DPS-oriented Paladin, particularly Retadins. Because several Paladin spells scale off both Spell and Attack Power, this glyph grants a definite improvement to DPS.

Glyph of Lay on Hands
Your Lay on Hands also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.
Blizzard already polished Lay on Hands to blinding shininess with the reduction to the cooldown and removal of the mana penalty... and this glyph makes it even brighter. This 'uh-oh' button becomes dual purpose allowing the Paladin to heal himself or an ally, buying time, and gaining mana to continue healing (or tanking, or killing...). An awesome glyph that improves an already newly-awesome spell.

Glyph of Seal of Wisdom
While Seal of Wisdom is active the cost of your healing spells is reduced by -5%.
Finally! A reason for healing Paladins to throw up a Seal. This has been my gripe about the seal system, where it didn't make any sense for healers to keep a Seal active. This is an excellent Seal for longevity encounters, working hand-in-hand with Blessing of Wisdom to conserve and regain mana. In the new Potion Sickness-infected world, it just might be what the doctor ordered.

Glyph of Seal of Light

While Seal of Light is active the effect of your healing spells is increased by 5%. Another awesome glyph for healing Paladins that takes the place of Blessing of Light, except that this applies to all healing targets. Many healers could opt to get both this glyph and the Glyph of Seal of Wisdom, considering how both contribute greatly to healing efficiency. It also allows healing Paladins to actively toss up different Seals to get different benefits depending on the state of an encounter. These glyphs are exactly the sort of glyphs that make for involved gameplay.

Currently, it seems that Blizzard isn't quite done with the Paladin glyphs and we're only looking at a portion of what's in store. Some of the glyphs don't make sense under the current build, but at the same time we can get an insight into what Blizzard is planning for the class. They're building more efficient healers who heal better and last longer, more frightening Retadins who'll stun you and proceed to do unspeakable things to you, and to a lesser degree, more workable tanks who, um, can taunt better and say 'uh-oh' with more confidence. I'm sure we'll see more glyphs that help tanking a bit more, as this is what seems to be the most glaring hole. Perhaps a Glyph of Blessing of Sanctuary or Glyph of Holy Shield is in the cards. I'm looking forward to more glyphs as they come.

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

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