Relics, i.e. Librams Totems and Idols (and one presumes a Deathknight Relic Slot TBA), have a chequered history. They were first introduced in Patch 1.10 as a means of equalising the playing field for classes which were prevented from equipping any ranged weapon, and they have been by turns awful, good or necessary without ever really making up for that loss of a ranged weapons' stats.
Fast-forward to 2.4.2 and they remain the only item drop which is entirely class specific - Tier Tokens are shared between 3 classes and even the Warglaives are usable by both Warriors and Rogues. Given the gear homogenisation strategy Blizzard are pushing it seems strange to still have one boss drop dedicated to a single class, indeed often only a single spec of a single class. Badge-style methods are all well and good, but it leaves a significant gap in gear progression between Questing and 5-man instances to Raids. And it relies on the Relic being useful for your chosen talent spec or role, not a given by any stretch.
So, how do we solve this dilemma for 3.0? Enter the Inscription Profession, and specifically Glyphs. Glyphs in their current incarnation provide additional enhancements to Spells and Abilities rather than raw stat increases, pretty much the same purpose of a Relic. Their power varies greatly between the Major, Lesser and Minor flavours but provide a much wider range of effects than Relics currently allow for. So, why not provide some synergy between these two game elements?
My idea is to create a set of 'Blank' Relics of Superior (Blue) and Epic (Purple) varieties, where Superior Blank Relics could be Inscribed with Lesser Glyphs and Epic Blank Relics Inscribed with Major Glyphs for a particular class. In one stroke this collapses down class/spec specific drops in 5-mans/Raids and provides a much wider scope in quality and value for this slot. This is not to say that Conventional means of acquiring Relics would be removed, Quest Reward Relics would still be necessary as a stepping stone into Instance running and Badge Rewards could still be used to address specific class weaknesses or PvP effects not covered by Glyphs.
So far in the Wrath of the Lich King Beta only one Relic for each class has been unveiled. With any luck we'll see more, and a better indication of Blizzards' plans for this much maligned item slot. Will their final vision match up with the desires of Paladins, Druids and Shaman everywhere? Only time will tell.
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