Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Resto Shaman Glyphs: What Works for You?

Glyphing is a very interesting method of character improvement. Gear, Enchanting, and Gems are all designed to improve your stats (tier bonuses notwithstanding), which in turn benefit every spell in your arsenal by a small amount per point. Glyphs, on the other hand, are designed to improve a single spell by a significant amount. They are the only enhancements you can choose from that work this way. Since you only get three major glyphs to choose from at any given time, it's important to choose the right ones that work for you.

Glyphs never cease to amaze me in the Auction House. As an Inscriptionist, I know that making glyphs is easy and cheap. For the cost of one to two inks (It doesn't matter which, Jessica Sellers will trade you any of the lesser inks for one Ink of the Sea) and the cost of the parchment, you can have your choice of just about any glyph you want. Yet, there are glyphs selling on the Auction House for far more than the cost of a few inks and some parchment.

The best thing to do if you're looking for some glyphs is to find a scribe and have them make it for you. You know a scribe. They won't mind making you a glyph. Why pay exorbitant amounts when you don't have to?

As you may know, I condone individual play style 100%. There is no single way to successfully play your character. As long as the raid doesn't die, you probably did your job. That being said, there really isn't a single glyph that all Resto Shamans need. Since glyphs enhance a single spell, it all depends on what spells you feel would be best enhanced for your how you play.

I am not here to tell you what glyphs to choose. Rather, I am here to provide a simple, math-free reference guide to what each Restoration-oriented glyph does, and how they can be utilized.

There are nine possible choices for Restoration glyphs:

Glyph of Chain Heal: Chain Heal heals one additional person per cast. You get to heal four party/raid members instead of three. Shamans may no longer be the be-all and end-all of group healing, but Chain Heal is still a staple of Shaman raid healing, and it's still what we are best known for.

Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave: Your LHW will heal for 20% more if your target has Earth Shield on them. That includes ES's from other Resto Shamans. It's a great glyph for 5-man and tank healing.

Glyph of Healing Wave: Whenever you heal someone other than yourself with Healing Wave, you heal yourself for 20% of that value. It's a great glyph if you use Healing Wave extensively, and you are taking a lot of damage. Unfortunately, Healing Wave is too expensive to use very often and, as a healer, you probably won't be taking enough damage to warrent using glyph space for this self-heal. A better alternative is the Glyph of Healing Stream Totem, mentioned below.

Glyph of Riptide: 6 more seconds of Riptide's HoT. If you're a Riptide juggler, popping the spell on a different target every time the cooldown is up, this glyph will allow you to keep an extra riptide up. If you want some extra buffer time to cast an empowered Chain Heal, this is also a good glyph.

Glyph of Water Mastery: Boosts Water Shield's mp5 by 30%. With a max rank shield, that's an additional 30 mp5 that stacks with any other mp5 buff you may have. That's a lot of mp5, but no bonus to healing. If you need or want that extra mana regen, this is a great glyph. Otherwise, a glyph that increases your healing would be a better option.

Glyph of Earth Shield: Your Earth Shield heals heal for 20% more. A lot of Shamans may not be tank healers, but every single one that specs into Resto should have a 100% uptime for Earth Shield. It's 8 free heals per application. No matter how you heal, you will always get the benefit from this glyph.

Glyph of Earthliving Weapon: This will make your Earthliving Weapon 5% more likely to proc, giving it a 25% chance to HoT your healed target. Your EL HoT won't make up a large portion of your healing, and an extra 5% proc chance won't improve it much.
An anonymous tipper has notified me that the 5% extra proc chance on this glyph is currently 5% of the 20% the spell usually gives, which means that if you choose this glyph, you will have a 21% chance for Earthliving to proc. Apparently this is a bug in the glyph (or a misleading tooltip), but it hasn't been changed yet either way.

Glyph of Healing Stream Totem: This gives your Healing Stream Totem 20% more healability. Tack on the Restorative Totems talent, and you have a totem with some serious heals. A Restoration shaman will generally use either Healing Stream or Cleansing Totem for their water totem. If the enemy doesn't give a destructive poison, the choice is obvious. It's like a 5-minute hot for any party member within 30 yards of it. It may not heal the entire raid, but it should keep yourself and the rest of your party topped off throughout most of the fight, making raid healing much easier for everybody.

Glyph of Mana Tide Totem: Every tick of your Mana Tide refunds an additional 1% of your mana pool with every tick of your Mana Tide, from 6% every 3 seconds to 7% every 3 seconds. In total, it will refund 28% of your mana pool instead of 24%. 4% more mana is certainly nothing to blow off, but in the big picture, that's only an extra 4% every 5 minutes, assuming you pop it as soon as it's off cooldown. If you're having mana issues, Glyph of Water Mastery is the better glyph to take.


Minor glyphs are aptly named, especially for a Resto Shaman. They are helpful, but not necessarily useful. You'll want them, but more often than not it's convenience over enhancement.

There are seven choices for minor glyphs:

Glyph of Water Shield: Adds an orb to your Water Shield. This is the only minor glyph that I would suggest over any other. It's not going to improve your healing or mana regen, but it will save you a GCD every time you need to refresh your shield.

Glyph of Astral Recall: Reduces the cooldown of Astral Recall by 7.5 minutes. You can hearth twice as often.

Glyph of Ghost Wolf: Whenever in Ghost Wolf form, you will regenerate 1% health every 5 seconds. It's...well, it's a glyph alright. I guess it'd be better than the others in PvP, but who cares about PvP?

Glyph of Renewed Life: You no longer need a reagent to Reincarnate. It'll save a few coins and free up a space in your inventory. If you're like me and consistently forget to buy Ankhs, you'll definitely benefit from this glyph.

Glyph of Thunderstorm: Thunderstorm? Lolwut?

Glyph of Water Breathing You no longer need those damn Fish Scales you hate to farm, but hate paying the 36 copper per stack for.

Glyph of Water Walking: You no longer need that damn Fish Oil you hate to farm, but hate paying the 2 silver per stack for.


  1. A nice write-up, but your numbers are wrong with the Earthliving Glyph. It increases the 20% base chance by 5% for a total of 21% chance to proc Everliving (20*1.05). This is a weak glyph.

  2. O_O Ouch, it's even worse than I thought. Thanks for the correction, though!

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