Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The glyph shuffle, shamanic version.

3.1 brings a lot of changes. Dual-spec, for example. Personally I'd prefer a Quadruple-spec (Healer PVP, Healer PVE, dps PVE, dps PVP), but I'll take Dual-spec over single-spec any day. When dual-spec hits the "shelves", I'll have at least one of the builds as a resto-PVP build. I'm debating whether to have elemental PVP or resto PVE as my second build.

But it's important that you also get two set of glyphs. Because of that, I'd like to take a closer look at the various glyphs that can be useful to resto builds. For all of the glyphs, I'll rate them either 1 (rarely/hardly useful), 2 (handy), 3 (very handy/critical) for each of these purposes:

  • PVE Chain Heal: Where Chain Heal contributes 90% of your healing done. Mostly translates to 25-man raids, some 10-man and rarely 5-man.

  • PVE Mix: Where you use a mix of various heals and not only chain heal.

  • PVP Arena: Where you'll meet a limited number of enemies who usually are well coordinated, and their objective is to keep you from breathing. Mana is a secondary problem compared to just staying alive.

  • PVP BG/WG: Where you'll meet lots of uncoordinated enemies, and the objective isn't nescessarily to kill you. Running out of mana is a concern.

The newcomers

Glyph of Earth Shield: A straight-foward buff offering +20% more healing on Earth Shield. I'd consider it pretty stupid to take this glyph without also speccing Improved Earth Shield and Improved Shields, as they stack together. Buffs each charge of Earth Shield by something between 300 and 500, depending on spellpower. This is what I'd consider a handy ability for all purposes, but nothing critical for either. Check your recount values. Find how much effective healing Earth Shield provides (discarding overhealing), and multiply the number by 0.2. This is a rough estimate of the increased healing done by this glyph. Score: 2 all around.

Glyph of Riptide: 3 more sec on the Riptide HoT. Each tick of Riptide heals for something between 600 and 800, depending on spellpower. On a non-crit, this increases Riptide's total output by about 11%. on a crit (with Ancestral Awakening), about 8% more output. For this to be useful, the target must actually have less than full health at this final tick, which is 18 seconds after you initially cast Riptide on someone. In PVP, chances are high that you have to overwrite the buff early because you need the instant potion of Riptide right NOW. The glyph doesn't really convince me. There is one redeeming feature, though. Extending the HoT also extends the window in which you can cast Chain Heal on the target and get a 20% buff. But still... meh. Skip this. I'm 90% certain we'll see this glyph buffed sooner or later. A simple +5% crit rate on Riptide would be better, or perhaps "lowers the global cooldown after casting riptide by 0.5 sec". Current version: 1 all around.

Glyph of Hex: Increases the damage a hexed target can suffer by 20% before hex breaks. Similar to Glyph of Entangling Roots and Glyph of Frost Nova. I can't actually see who would want this. In any sort of group PVE, it's in 99% of the cases broken by the tank (often through AoE) and while it's a bit more incoming damage on the tank, it's nothing really bad. After all, by breaking it, the tank is sure to have aggro on it. In PVP I find that the most common reason for hex breaking being the PVP trinket. The second problem is that the target simly runs away, if it has any kind of intelligence between it's ears. With a 45 sec cooldown, it's a poor return for a glyph. 1 all around.

Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem: Shields you when you cast Stoneclaw Totem. According to a poster on wowhead, this shield aborbs 4340 damage no matter how much spellpower you have. On current PTR, the shield amount is unaffected by Earth's Grasp. In effect, another instant heal spell, but with a few limitations. 30 sec cooldown like the totem. Probably range-dependant meaning it stops working if you move more than 30 yards away from the totem. Possibly disables you from using Earthbind Totem or Tremor Totem for the same time the shield lasts without loosing the shield. The bright side is that being a totem, you can use it despite being counterspelled/silenced. It also has the other advantages of shield spells. And 4k extra health on demand isn't such a bad deal. Handy in PVP. There are few cases where I see the need for this in PVE, versus just healing yourself up. PVE: 1. PVP: 2.

The old fellows

Glyph of Chain Heal: Makes Chain Heal hit four targets instead of three. This has two effects. First, it improves Chain Heal's average throughput by 1/14 or 7%, given that it's always a fourth (wounded) target in range. Second, and harder to measure, it provides another target that potentially can proc Earthliving. If you're raiding 25-man (and possibly even if you only raid 10-man), Chain Heal will usually contribute most of your healing done. This will provide a nice increase. PVE Chain Heal: 3. PVE Mix: 2. PVP: 1. The effect of this glyph is further amplified by...

Glyph of Earthliving: Increases the chance to proc Earthliving by 5%. Notice, though, that there are several cases where this does nothing. First, Earthliving never procs if you heal a target at full health. It can proc if the direct heal brings the target to full health, though. Second, with Blessing of the Eternals you will have a 100% chance to proc Earthliving on a target at less than 35% health without this glyph. Finally, earthliving doesn't stack, but merely refreshens the duration of the last earthliving if it procs again on the same target, making it less useful if you spam heals on one target (like the tank). But still... I think this is a rather solid glyph. Most of the cases you will be healing people at between 35% and 100% anyway, and it can proc on any direct heal, making it an work just as well in 5-man and 25-man. It's nice for PVP too, since there's a chance that the last earthliving was devoured/spellstolen/purged/dispelled/whatever. I rate it 2 all around.

Edit: As drug pointed out, Earthliving is a minor part of healing done for a priest mainly relying on Chain Heal. I agree with his comment, there's probably better glyphs for a chain-healer.

Glyph of Healing Wave: Heals you for 20% of the amount Healing Wave heals your target for. I have sometimes, but not every time, experiened that this extra heal triggers even when I'm the target of my own HW. Possibly a bug. Personally, I love this glyph. Since I favor using Healing Wave as much as possible, I rarely ever worry about my own health in PVE groups. In fact, between this glyph and ancestral healing, I often heal area damage without using Chain Heal at all. Of course, it does rely on you using Healing Wave. Since shorter casttime = less chance to be interrupted/kicked/silenced/etc, not to mention higher chance that my target is alive when the heal hits, I mostly favor using Lesser Healing Wave in PVP. However, there are times when I can use this, and I try to maximize those. PVE Chain Heal: 2. PVE mix: 3. PVP BG/WG: 2. PVP arena: 1.

Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave: Increases the amount healed by Lesser Healing Wave by 20% if the target has Earth Shield. This is *the* PVP resto shammie glyph. Don't leave home without it. It both increases throughput and mana efficiency of your most used PVP healing spell, but only if the target has earth shield. More handy in arenas than in BGs, but it is always handy because you can earth shield yourself and spam Riptide -> LHW -> LHW -> move/root until Riptide is ready again for maximum chance of survival. It does have some use in PVE as well, but since Earth Shield will almost always be up on the tank and HW is preferable to LHW as a tank heal if you've got the talents to support it (mainly Imp Healing Wave, Imp Water Shield and Healing Way), it's usually better to stick to HW. However, if the tank needs heal right NOW, he may not have the extra second it takes to cast HW. PVE chain heal: 2. PVE Mix: 2. PVP BGs: 2. PVP arenas: 3.

Glyph of Healing Stream: Increases the amount healed by Healing Stream Totem by 20%. It makes little sense to take this without Restorative Totems. I'm a personal fan of Healing Stream totem in 5-mans myself, as it provides a nice steady return to health for everyone, meaning I can just ignore everyone with less than 2k health missing. However, since it's party only (unless I've been missing something, which reminds me: WTB raid-wide Healing Stream totem), it is significantly less effective in raids, especially 25-man. I rarely ever use it in PVP. PVE chain heal: 1. PVE Mix: 2. PVP: 1.

Glyph of Water Mastery: Also called glyph of 30 mp5, at least as long as you have Water Shield active. A solid glyph if you ever run into mana problems. PVE: 2. PVP BG: 2. PVP Arena: 1.

Glyph of Shocking: Reduces the global cooldown of all shock spells to 1 sec. This one is for the PVPers, especially at higher levels of arena. Of course, it does require that you rely on shocks as a source for interrupts/snares/burst in the first place. PVE: 1. PVP: 2.

Glyph of Frost Shock: Increases the snare effect on frost shock to 10 seconds. PVP glyph without doubt. Without Reverbation, which few resto shammies have, Frost Shock has a duration of 8 seconds and a cooldown of 6 seconds, meaning you technically can perma-snare someone. This is easier said than done, and another two seconds help a lot. But more importantly, pretty much every melee'er who would want to stay on your face beating you have access to some talent that reduces the duration of snare effects by 30%. That reduces the duration of non-glyphed frost shock from 8 to 5.6 seconds, meaning you can't perma-snare someone. With the glyph, this increases to 7 seconds. Like the glyph of shocking, this is a good glyph if you can't find any other for a PVPer. PVE: 1. PVP: 2.

Glyph of Mana Tide Totem: Increases the amount restored by Mana Tide Totem by 1% per tick. It will now restore a total of 28% of total mana instead of 24% of total mana. Last time I checked, Mana Tide Totem was a very low part of the mana restored during a fight, and so I consider this a minor upgrade. However, redeeming trait that it affects all party-members. This glyph provides an additional 20% of total mana across all affected, which isn't bad.

To tell the truth, I don't like this glyph. I don't like any type of glyph that provides a buff to others (versus just your own healing), because the raid might end up forcing you to take it. No, I'm dead serious. Let's now say that Uldar really brings mana troubles for mana users. The raid leader might require that all priests run with this glyph because it helps with the mana trouble. While it's nice that the priest in question can help others, he has to sacrifice a glyph slot which could be used for some other glyph he'd rather want to have. It might cripple his own healing somewhat, while helping other healers.

But min-maxing, it's not a bad glyph for PVE. PVE: 2. PVP: 1.


For a PVE raider relying primarily on Chain Heal, the primary glyph is Chain Heal. Good choices for the last slot are Water Mastery, Healing Wave, Earth Shield, Lesser Healing Wave, Mana Tide Totem or Earthliving.

For a PVEer that relies on a mix of heals, especially in heroics, I'd strongly recommend Healing Wave. If you regulary user either, Healing Stream, Chain Heal or Lesser Healing Wave can make good choices. If neither are too much used, go with Earthliving, Water Mastery, Earth Shield or Mana Tide.

For a PVPer that stick mostly to battlegrounds, wintergrasp and other world PVP stuff, there are a lot of choices. If you have trouble with survivability, go with Stoneclaw, Earth Shield and Lesser Healing Wave. Mana trouble? Water Mastery. Neither? Healing Wave, Shocking or Frost Shock all make decent choices if you rely on those spells. Finally, Earthliving is always handy if you can't find anything else.

For an arena healer, I strongly recommend Lesser Healing Wave. As with BGs, if you have trouble with survivability Stoneclaw and Earth Shield could help you. Depending on what partners you run with, Frost Shock can also be tremendously useful, also in reducing incoming damage because you can slip away from your enemies slightly easier. Shocking is a solid choice if you're good at watching your enemies.

For an all-rounder, Earthliving and Water Mastery might be the best bets. If you use Healing Wave a lot, it's a good glyph, otherwise Lesser Healing Wave.


  1. Some additions from a PVE, mainly 25 man raiding perspective:

    Chainheal is indeed a fantastic Glyph. Not only additional healing, but an additional chance to proc earthliving. In fact the boost in eartliving procs you get from CH glyph is pretty close to earthliving glyph.

    And that's why I wouldn't really recommend earthliving glyph. If you check your healing in WWS you might find, that eartliving does a very very minor part of your healing, the glyph won't change that. Earthliving is a nice addition to shaman healing, but really nothing earthshattering.

    The glyph of ES I consider very strong. Every shaman should try to reach a 100% earthshield uptime. Earthshield does a good chunk of healing. And ES heals if a shaman has to run out of the fire and has riptide on CD.

    Water mastery is ok-ish. If you run oom often - take it, if you raid 25 man raids with replenishment, switch it out.

    Glyph of LHW is still a fantastic addition to shaman healing. Improved water shield was nerfed but sinlge target healing with LHW is still great, IF you have the glyph and the ES on the target. Especially if you like to heal with a very fast medium sized heal. If you single target heal with HW you of course don't need that one. Just take in mind, that if you have the tidal waves buff up, you'll burn through your mana very fast with HW.

    And don't forget a great utility glyph: Mana Tide. If you get often grouped with healers for Mana tide purpose, this glyph is really awesome, though situational.

    Additional reading:

  2. Thank you for the comments. If I'd known about your post before I wrote my own, I would surely have pointed to it. Though I see that you're very raiding oriented, while I have a much more mixed gaming experience.

    To reply to the spesific comments, I'm convinced about the earthliving logic.

    Earth Shield is indeed a nice glyph, but not so good that it's a clear choice above ex Water Shield, Healing Wave or Lesser Healing Wave.

    Water Mastery is nice fo a low-end raider, and allows you to change more gems and enchants to ex. crit or spellpower, depending on what you like.

    LHW is a good glyph as well, and I'm partially convinced by your arguments. However, I'm a pretty firm believer in the power of HW over LHW, given that you have the talents to support the HW way of healing (Imp Healing Wave, Healing Way, Imp Water Shield). The throughput with Tidal Waves is way better than LHW. I have tried using LHW for MT-healing (with the glyph), and found myself running out of mana faster than I was used to. However, it is a lot better than HW if you lack the talents supporting HW.

    Added Mana Tide after your suggestion.