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The Light and How to Swing It: Glyph of Inquisition and the myth of the no-brainer

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Back in October, the blues issued a challenge to themselves, a goal for their new talent system in Mists of Pandaria -- there would be no mandatory talents, zero "no-brainers" or similarly choiceless situations. The same has been said for glyphs in the past, straight from the mouthparts of the head crab himself.

Now we all know that there has always been a chasm of varying width separating what the designers intend for a system and what we as players experience. Sometimes the devs do really well and the gap is but a crack in the sidewalk, while others look more Springfield Gorge, and others still like Valles Marineris on Mars. Even so, we can hardly blame them -- we players, as a whole, are a fickle bunch. It is only natural that a group numbering in the millions would have diverse opinions on what works and what doesn't, particularly when it pertains to how each of us play the game.

Taking a page from forum rage

To put all of this in a retribution context, let's look at a recent thread on the beta forums about the Glyph of Inquisition:

inq glyph is a dps loss in every single case scenario; from players that barely use inq(brain-dead bads) to players that have 100% inq uptime(hardcore raiders).
inq glyph will be only useful to spot and kick bads from pugs; any ret with inq glyph will be kicked.
the glyph is just a bad design, creating something that will be a dps loss in every case scenario is a waste of resources that could be used to fix bugs(fix the 25 day judgement bug please) or
creating new things(new pets, items, skills).
could we have useful and cool glyphs like 'gag order' or 'icy touch' please?

Let's see if we can rehash the original poster's argument here (maybe with some proper capitalization this time). The poster believes that the Glyph of Inquisition (GoI) is a universal DPS loss, providing no incentive for anyone to take it, and is therefore a hallmark of poor design decisions and a waste of resources.

On my best day, I'm not sure I could intentionally write something so very misguided. To determine exactly where Frajola went wrong, we could simply read Ghostcrawler's response, but I feel this situation can serve as an example of a broader message here.

First, let's clear the air about the "waste of resources" comment. Unless you work for Blizzard and have a keen understanding of how it divvies up these projects amongst its design teams, we cannot pretend to know that the same person or group of people that created the glyph would also fix bugs or create pets, items, or skills, nor do we know how much time (i.e. the "resources") GoI actually took to implement. Comments like these represent a lack of understanding for how game development works in as large a company as Blizzard. That's not to say that I disagree with the sentiment (I feel the same way about Pet Battles, honestly), but let's find less presumptuous ways of expressing our dissatisfaction.

Anyway, even without doing the math, I am willing to concede the point that GoI would be a universal DPS loss. When we see some damage numbers being chiseled into stone near the end of the beta, all we would need to do to determine whether the glyph is a total loss in terms of DPS would be to compare the damage of a single Templar's Verdict with an average of 15% of our holy damage from the span of one minute of combat. Common sense tells me that the latter will win out over the former almost every time.

Redefining the system

Then what is it? Why is Frajola in the wrong here? Simply put, he has missed the entire point of the new talent and glyph systems. There should be no clear winners for every scenario, no universal DPS boosts in any of the glyphs. We saw the inverse of this with prime glyphs in Cataclysm. As a ret paladin, if you went into a raid without Glyph of Templar's Verdict, it didn't matter how eloquently you could state your reasoning for doing so -- neglecting that glyph resulted in a universal DPS loss. As such, it became mandatory and no longer within the realm of choice. Prime glyphs that are never replaced do not sit well with a system that encourages players to easily swap out glyphs on the fly.

Of course, as long as there are glyphs affecting our damaging abilities, there will be ways to use these to maximize our DPS. For example, some great glyphs for an AoE-heavy encounter would be Double Jeopardy, Mass Exorcism, and Divine Storm. Even when they're not affecting our damage, those affecting our survivability will contribute to our DPS by keeping us alive. High raid damage encounters might favor Exorcism, Avenging Wrath, and possibly Divine Protection given high amounts of physical damage.

Go ahead and take a look through our major glyphs. Of those we can use, there are still a number that I'm not sure I'll ever use. Blinding Light, Protector of the Innocent, Rebuke, Turn Evil, and yes, Inquisition -- none of these really appeal to the way that I play the game, but I'm sure there are plenty of paladins out there who will take their fill of them. And that, my friends, is the entire point.

The Light and How to Swing It teaches you the ins and outs of retribution paladins, from Ret 101 and how to gem, enchant and reforge your retadin, to essential ret pally addons.

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Mists of Pandaria

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