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Spiritual Guidance: Brainstorming the future of shadow priest glyphs

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On alternate Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration.

If you're anything like me, you've spend a good chunk of your time this week reading all the great coverage of the Mists of Pandaria here at WoW Insider and at our friends' sites, as well. There wasn't any shadow priest news to be found, but one thing definitely caught my eye: The Great Glyph Overhaul of 2012.

Wait, what's that? Another glyph overhaul?

To be sure, the glyph overhaul that came with Cataclysm was largely painless and uninteresting from a shadow priest perspective. But here's the exciting part of The Great Glyph Overhaul of 2012: It's all about fun. Blizzard is removing the boring, must-have aspect of glyphs by eliminating prime glyphs and making minor glyphs much more fun.

How? Well, Blizzard's super-cool treatment of druids offers a couple of clues.

Like a druid-only Christmas

Some druids have all the luck. First, one of them is gifted with the affections of America's #1 shadow priest. And then, the class gets some of the absolute coolest new minor glyphs in the game. Take a look at this list, pulled from Wowhead's coverage:
  • Glyph of Stars Moonkin Form ability is replaced with Astral Form, conferring all the same benefits but now appearing as an astrally enchanted version of your normal humanoid form.
  • Glyph of the Chameleon Each time you shapeshift into Cat Form or Bear Form, your shapeshifted form will have a random hair color.
  • Glyph of the Orca Your Aquatic Form now appears as an Orca.
  • Glyph of the Stag Your Travel Form now appears as a Stag and can be used as a mount by party members.
  • Glyph of the Treant Allows you to shapeshift into Treant Form. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of movement slowing effects.
  • The Moonbeast You can now cast Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, and Tranquility without canceling Moonkin Form.
None of the six new glyphs add a single point of DPS to a druid's meter. They're all just about fun. Indeed, shape shifting is the fun of being a druid, and Blizzard is just giving druids more of the good stuff.

But what about us? What's our good stuff? What kind of similar glyphs can we expect?

How about a new Dispersion?

Any time you say the word Dispersion, you'll bring out a shadow priest's fangs. We never really cared for it as the cornerstone of the shadow tree, even though it comes in pretty damn handy as a survival talent. And now that talent trees are being trashed, shadow priests have no reason to revile Dispersion anymore. In fact, I dare say it's time to make shadow priests fall in love with Dispersion all over again.

The best way to do that is by giving Dispersion some added visual impact. What would this new form be? Certainly we could devise something more visually interesting than a floating orb. x2 + y2 + z2 = r2 may be pretty easy to program, but it doesn't have a lot of flair.

Or maybe some more interesting Shadow Orbs?

We were first introduced to the concept of Shadow Orbs about two years ago during the development of Cataclysm. We were promised that they'd be visually unique, that Blizzard was working on new art for them.

Now, maybe Blizzard delivered -- I must admit that I'm just not good at telling one rotating ball of energy apart from another (say, the kind that rotate around our shaman friends). But I've never been a big fan of what we got, in terms of looks. It's safe. Boring. Not visually unique.

But there is another option -- one that doesn't require hours upon hours of art design. Shadow ravens. I know, you've probably heard me talk about these a lot since the idea was first brought up two years ago. But they're a favorite concept of mine. And based on what I've seen out of the comment section, you guys seem to like the idea, too.

So come on, Blizzard, don't let the Scarlet Crusade shadow priests have all the fun. Shadow ravens are a really cool concept. It's the perfect minor glyph.

Maybe a different Shadowform?

The shadow priest has a very strong background in World of Warcraft lore. As I understand it -- and as I've explained in my column on shadow priest lore -- Shadowform is the embodiment of ascension. Ascension is the apex of the shadow priest religion, the point where one transitions from his physical form to become the shadow itself. It's explained in the Horde Player's Guide as follows:
This form resembles their old form, but without facial features. Hair and body shape remains, formed of the stuff of shadows, and eyes remain as burning balls of unholy light. The Forsaken still has a body, however, and is not truly incorporeal as a ghost is. The ascendant's shadow body bears some substance, almost like an ephemeral, inky fluid, but it is so wispy that it almost doesn't exist.
Much of this sounds familiar, and much of this is represented perfectly in-game -- much, but not all. The key phrase here is "eyes remain as burning balls of unholy light." That just doesn't come across.

Is that a huge gripe? Of course not -- coding in a couple burning balls probably wasn't at the top of Blizzard's list over the last eight years. And it's probably not at the top of the list now. But the addition would be undeniably cool. I mean, who wouldn't be terrified to have an eerie pair of glowing eyes sizing them up in the darkness?

On fourth thought, how about ...

I'm hoping that this column will be the starting point of a discussion; the opening volley of page after page of suggestion and ideas. Obviously, I like my own ideas, but I think it's important we get out there and get vocal about the fun of shadow priesting -- what we want visually from our shadow priests.

So what kind of minor glyphs would you like to see in the game? Maybe one where you can name your pet Shadowfiend? One to change the color of our otherworldly purple glow? Sound off!
Are you more interested in watching health bars go down than back up? We've got everything a shadow priest will need, from the basics of shadow priest PvP and advice on gearing up for Raid Finder raids to the hottest trinkets and weapons for today's shadow priests.

Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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