Recently, I’ve been spending some time developing my level 80 Paladin towards a dual spec of Retribution and Protection.
Along the way, I’ve made some observations that I wanted to share with you. For Paladins, these will come as no surprise. For Bears, this might bring you to a closer appreciation of your class.
Gearing a Protection Paladin for heroics, to be blunt, sucks.
If you do research, then you are told, up front, that it don’t matter how great any of the rest of your gear is, if you don’t hit 535 Defense for heroics, or 540 for raiding, then you are still crittable, and you suck.
Well, have fun getting there with quest rewards, because to reach that goal, you need gems. Big, fat expensive +Defense Rating gems. And guess what quest rewards mostly don’t have on them?
Best bet is to run as a different spec, like Ret, while someone else tanks, and you pick up heroic drops with sockets along the way.
Well, great. So what we’re really saying is, if you want to tank as a Paladin in heroics, someone else has to tank for you first. Blech.
Oh, there are certainly crafted items, but good lord….
For Bear tanks, all you do is make sure you’re fully specced in the talent Survival of the Fittest. You throw any old feral agility/stam gear on from leveling as a kitty, and boom, automatically uncrittable. Is your gear optimized for tanking? Of course not. Will it be perfectly feasible for tanking with a decent team? Yes, absolutely. No special stat requirements of any kind. If you’ve got gem slots or enchants, go with Agility or Stamina. There, done.
My hats are off to the Paladin tanks out there. God, did you get screwed.
I’m sure Warriors and Death Knights are in similar positions, but I don’t play either, so I never had it rubbed in my face before.
Another difference, is Paladins have tons of abilities, each having a special situational use. I’ve tried to get them all on my button bars layed out in fancy formats, and holy crap, that’s a lot of confusing shit. Practise of course improves reaction time in using just the right thing for the right situation, but when you’re tanking a pug of crazy people that attack anything that moves, it’s amazing watching the mobs run past you thinking, “Which shiny button among these dozens of buttons do I press?”
Bears, on the other hand, have single target Growl, and Challenging Roar. And if the target is being passively pulled from healing threat, ranged Feral Faerie Fire, or a good old Feral Charge.
Okay, not a good example, Bears do have lots of situational tools as well. I just know in my gut how to use ’em. Nevermind.
Anyway, I’ve been working on improving my Paladin as best I can in the hopes of doing some tanking and making a laughing stock of myself. After dinging 80 just barely a week ago, I’ve finally managed to get a set of gear that hit 540+ Defense.
It took spending a ton of money and time crafting gear, buying gems (or having them donated by a friend), and the complete and utter destruction of Icecrown in pursuit of a quest chain that led to my getting a main hand tanking weapon. A weapon that, of course, was immediately replaced by the Argent Tournament axe. /sigh.
I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the sources I found for information that made it possible for me to have any kind of tanking plan at all.
First, Honor’s Code.
Seriously, my single most referred to website during all of my researches was Honor’s Code. I may not have followed his suggestions and advice slavishly, because he is thinking towards raiding success and I just wanted to do the best as a 5 person group tank in heroics as I could, but for Paladin Tanking thoughtfulness, suggestions and resources, this is simply the awesomesauce.
In particular, not only is Honor’s Code excellent in his analysis, but he also presents information in a fashion that should be the standard for blogs that want to help out new players of a class wondering where the hell to start. I know that I’m going to use his style of Protadin 101 sticky as the basis for a new one on my site, because it did indeed give me one hell of a solid place to start from.
Second is Pink Raid Frames, for helping me understand some of the whys and wherefores, and making Protadin sound so much fun! The description and video Pink Raid Frames put together really helped me visualize the 969 rotation in a way that made it easy for me to learn what each ability did, and arange them so that I used them not only in the proper cooldown-efficient fashion, but also knew how to change up order of activation depending on what I most needed at the time, such as a Consecrate to hold threat instead of a Judgment at a critical initial moment of a pull.
Pink Raid Frames looks to be taking a break since Blizzcon… why does this always happen when I start grooving on the awesomeness of a blog?
Third would have to be Maintankadin… but not really in general, more the work of Petrus in particular. Petrus is a genius. I love his cut and dried ranking posts, sometimes you just want to know, no bullshit, what are my options? And damn, does he have an answer.
Petrus’ Gear List, even though it hasn’t been updated for a while, gives a solid place to look for what you could get and from where, and for the newer stuff, well, you should be able to look at the stats on what you’re curous about from Atlasloot or MMO Champion, and compare them to things on his list, and figure out where it would fall from there.
And his Gem and Enchant list… well, that’s just damn spiffy.
What I’ve ended up with, in the most general terms to start out, is the following setup for turning on tanking when switching from Retribution spec to Prot;
- Activate Devotion Aura
- Seal of Corruption (Blood Elf)
- Righteous Fury
- Blessing of Sanctuary
- Use Divine Aura at all times when off cooldown, work it into the rotation.
I setup the button bar for the 969 rotation, with the two ‘6″ second cooldowns on the left, Hammer of the Righteous (whack primary target plus 3 extra) and Shield of Righteousness (whack your main target with your shield). Needless to say, I generally pick Hammer for group threat first if I pulled a bunch of mobs.
Setup the button bar with the three “9” second cooldowns on the right. Holy Shield to provide boosted Block (and my first actual activated ability in the 969 sequence), and to deal Holy Damage per block while there are charges up, Judgment of Light or Mana depending on group, and Consecration for AoE threat.
The biggest thing, as I said, was knowing what to use, and when.
There are, as I said, tons of other situational abilities, but I’m slowly getting on top of them.
My biggest concern right now is mana. I stop and drink all the time, and I’ve run out of mana on long fights more than a few times.
So, how’s it been going?
Well, let me put it this way.
Last night, I main tanked my first ever heroic instance. It was also my first ever main tanked regular instance.
I main tanked Heroic Trial of Champions.
We had no issues until the last Black Knight phase, when three of the party died on the last phase from the damn AoE deathbolts from the ghostform. We still won, we just had three dead on the floor.
At the end, I felt wrung out. Usually, Bear tanking leaves me bouncing around and happy to go grab another tail to tweak. Tanking on my Paladin left me wanting a margarita and a nap.
Noth that I’m complaining, you understand. But still. That was an expensive upgrade, and I didn’t even get a chance to wear out that “New Upgrade” smell from the upholstery.
Wanna see the face of evil tankitude?
Ain’t he a handsome cuss?