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WoWJun 4, 2015 7:00 pm CT

Totem Talk: Taking a look at major Enhancement glyphs

Enhancement glyphs

I made my shaman a scribe back when Wrath of the Lich King came out, and for a long time that seemed like a good basic idea. These days, glyphs are a bit less useful and it means that I can’t make much use of my big crafted weapon.  But I stick with it, chiefly because I still think glyphs are really neat.

Unfortunately, I also think that Enhancement gets a kind of boring selection. Still, if you think about it another way, it’s a good thing that Enhancement doesn’t need a whole lot of later modification to be really cool.  All in how you frame things, in other words.

The only real update we’re getting to our glyph layout is a new minor glyph, and while I really like Glyph of Ascendance it doesn’t dramatically alter our major layout.  So assuming you have Glyph of Totemic Encirclement, which is absolutely vital, let’s take a look at the major Enhancement glyphs you can slot in while you’re hacking away.

Glyph of Capacitor Totem: This is more of a nice trick to pull out in PVP than anything; in PVE the time difference isn’t too appreciable in the rare cases you’d want to use it. Pretty safely worth skipping, much like Capacitor Totem itself.

Glyph of Chain Lightning: Chain Lightning isn’t Lightning Bolt, but with the importance of our AoE toolkit this is a nice trick to spread the damage around a little further.  Worth it for heavy area fights or if you just want to spread the love on every pull.

Glyph of Ephemeral Spirits: This is fundamentally a glyph to give you more buttons to hit more frequently; your total uptime for Feral Spirits remains pretty much equivalent to what it was before, it’s just for shorter bursts more frequently. The one benefit is for fights wherein you expect to really need a whole lot of on-demand burst rather than sustained damage, as it helps to ensure Feral Spirits is up whenever you need it.

Glyph of Feral Spirit: A solid option for solo play, I’d argue this probably has a bit more utility than Ephemeral Spirits, but not much.  Still, more healing is more healing.

Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem: Another “more buttons” glyph, but this one hurts a little more since we’re usually trying to keep our Searing Totem up. If you’ve talented to make heavy use of your elementals, it might be that the extra reliability makes this an overall advantage, but I’m not a fan.

Glyph of Fire Nova: Oh, here we go. Look, you may or may not want to play around with swapping Chain Lighting vs. Lightning Bolt, but as long as there are two targets on the screen you’re already going to be using Fire Nova.  I would be remiss in not pointing out that Echo of the Elements allows you to bank up charges on your large Fire Nova.

That's right, mages!  You aren't so special any more!

Glyph of Flame Shock: Another soloing talent, and a bit more useful in big AoE fights since you’re trying to keep that Fire Nova up on everything at all times. It’s not huge healing, but it’s enough to be a nice tick of incoming health.

Glyph of Frost Shock: With Frost Shock replacing Earth Shock as a go-to tool for Enhancement, this is actually a fair bit more useful for single-target fights. I wouldn’t say that it’s likely for those two seconds to make a huge difference, but it can’t hurt.

Glyph of Frostbrand Weapon: Nice for PVP, not so much for elsewhere, and you have several tools for reducing mobility or catching up with targets as it stands.

Glyph of Ghost Wolf: Ditto above, really.

Glyph of Grounding: If you really love good old Grounding Totem, this is the more defensive option for it; the functionality remains unchanged, you just get to use it more often. Nice for sucking up nasty spell effects or ruining the days of casters in PvP.

Glyph of Grounding Totem: Our own portable Spell Reflect! It’s a fair bit slower to use, but this is a nice spoiler option, and it can be fun to play around with it on caster-heavy fights.  Personally, I prefer this a bit over Glyph of Grounding just because the amusement factor when it does work beats out the difference in activation time; not much requires Grounding Totem these days, but I will forever love watching enemies smack themselves in the face with fireballs.

Glyph of Hex: Timewalking dungeons are possibly going to care more about crowd control, and on that day, Hex will be king. Or maybe not even then.  But it has some utility.

Glyph of Lava Spread: This is the logical extension of Fire Nova’s glyph up above — it means that you turn into a constant nexus of flaming destruction, so like a Fire Mage but with axes. About the only time that it’s not useful are fights wherein you need to keep a close watch on your AoE damage; everywhere else it’s a great tool to make your damage more reliable.

Glyph of Lightning Shield: About as useful as Lightning Shield gets these days, sadly.

Glyph of Purge: Unfortunately, this does not globally revoke all laws for a short period of time, it just makes Purge a wee bit more powerful at the cost of a longer cooldown.  These days, buffs are a bit rarer and less extensive, so I tend to think that this is a bit of gilding the lily.

Glyph of Purging: By contrast, I rather like this glyph, as anything that allows me some control over Maelstrom Weapon makes me very happy.  It’s still arguably not great, since it only gives you that control when there are buffs to kill, but situational slight increases to control beat out absolutely no control.

Glyph of Reactive Shielding: Wow, I could hurt someone striking me in combat for scratch damage slightly more frequently? How can I say no?  Oh, wait, like this: no.  No, no, no.

They're having an argument right now.

Glyph of Shamanistic Rage: Back in the day, Shamanistic Rage was the go-to tool for getting your mana back, and boy did it ever live up to that.  These days, it’s just a durability cooldown, and I’ve got to say that being able to make yourself just a little more durable and useful when you use it is a good thing.  Especially useful for PVP as a way of getting out of bad situations.

Glyph of Shamanistic Resolve: Still chiefly a PVP glyph, this is going to come down to a question of how you like to handle cooldowns in a PvP match. Personally, I like to have my cooldowns as short as possible, because I never know when I’ll need them again and I don’t want to blow one too early just to find that I should have waited. I am also not great at PVP. If you feel confident when crossing blades with other players, that extra damage reduction is substantial.

Glyph of Shocks: Yawn. We have tools to handle being at range, and the fact is that it’s rare we’d want to be at range in the first place. It’s not a terrible glyph in theory, but in practice it does very little to help out, and if you’re in situations where you really need that extra five-yard range you might have bigger problems.

Glyph of Spirit Walk: Another PVP centric ability, since that’s when you’ll be using Spirit Walk most often. Considering my stated preference to have my cooldowns up more frequently, I’m a fan, and more tools for getting out of things is a good thing for Enhancement survival.

Glyph of Wind Shear: It’s worth noting that while it doesn’t sound like it, the net lockout for Wind Shear actually increases with this talent by a very small percentage. I actually like this for several situations, because while it means a longer cooldown, there are scenarios where an extra second of lockout can make a big difference, such as sniping down healers in battlegrounds or dealing with enemies that have particularly annoying spellcasts. Its biggest problem is just finding space to fit among other less situational glyphs.

Speaking from personal experience, I generally opt for Shamanistic Rage, Wind Shear, and Purging in PVP, Lava Spread, Chain Lightning, and Fire Nova for most trash fights, and Frost Shock, Flame Shock, and Grounding Totem on very single-target fights when I think it’s going to matter.  Out in the open world, I opt for Flame Shock, Lightning Shield, and Frost Shock, possibly swapping in Feral Spirit instead of Frost Shock if I feel particularly vulnerable on that day.  Everyone’s going to vary a bit, though; we might have some rather boring glyphs on the list, but we have several solid ones even in there.

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