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Warning, massive nerdery inside! UPDATED FOR 3.3!

I'll start this off by saying I don't know everything about pallies, so please forgive any errors. Some if this will be my opinion since there are things in the pally community that aren't agreed upon by all.

Basics:

What spec do should I take? 3.1 brought nice things to all the pally spec's allowing us more freedom by forcing less talents to be taken in the primary trees. Basic Prot Talents This is the most basic spec you can get. It has everything that we want, and 3 of the points are yours to play with. I'll talk about them in the next section.

The Good Talents: Most of the tanking talents are self explanatory, but some aren't. Let's go through the ones that aren't as obvious. 

Divine Strength ups your block value as well as your AP, higher block value means more damage is mitigated when you do block.

Ardent Defender, while this looks kind of crappy because you think you'll never be below 35%, reality says yes you will, and this will save your life when it happens. -3.2 UPDATE- This talent is now godlike and actually heals you back to 30% of your health when a hit normally would have killed you. If you don't take this talent, I swear I'll find you and cut you.

Touched By The Light is actually a great talent, even though it doesn't look like it on first glance. Spell Power, wtf? Well as a pally most of what we do is a spell, even more so as protection spec, this talents makes our abilites do much more damage.

Reckoning: Formerly the bastard stepchild I loved to make fun of, this is now a good threat talent. Updated so it works with SoV (or SoC for you horde pallies) this is now a good choice to take to bump you further into the protection tree.

The Bad Talents: These are the tricky talents that Blizzard put in that may on first glance look great, but in reality aren't, or are PVP talents, as most of these end up being.

Stocism is pretty much a pvp talent, I can't remember the last time I got stunned as the tank in a situation that wasn't scripted.

Imp Hammer of Justice is situational at best. You can take it, but its use is so rare that I didn't bother.

-3.3- Update With the changes to Divine Sacrifice, Blizzard has made an excellent talent dead in the water. RIP.


The Other Talents:
In Holy is Seals of the Pure. This will up your threat quite a bit. Very helpful.

The Retribution tree provides quite a few choices that you will have to play with and decide what you want to do. I'll point out the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Benediction is ok, but not great. You don't really run out of mana while tanking.

Heart of the Crusader gives you 3% more crit against the mob you put it on. Very nice if you don't have another pally with you.

Imp Judgements. Anymore I put 2 points here just because A: I have no where else to use the point, and B: It's handy for trash packs when my rotation doesn't need to be so tight.

Heart of the Crusader puts a debuff on the mob giving everyone a 3% higher chance to crit. Very nice.

Imp Blessing of Might is nice for the other members of your raid.

-3.2 UPDATE- Vindication is now a really nice PVE talent, and totally worth getting. It's basically demo shout, and it really helps against melee mobs.

Conviction is base crit rate, certainly doesn't suck.

Seal of Command....pvp talent, nuff said.

Pursuit of Justice is actually pretty handy. You can and will get disarmed so having that last 50% less is pretty great, and being a tank you end up running around a lot both the get the mobs in the correct place, as well as picking up adds, things like that.

Eye for an Eye, you shouldn't be getting crit, so this is pretty pointless.

Sanctity of Battle is nice, but there are better choices.

Crusade gives you 3% base damage increase over 90% of the mobs you'll be seeing in raids and instances. Very nice talent.

Currently I am using this build.

Glyphs:

There is only 1 glyph that you absolutely have to have. Glyph of Divine Plea  With the changes to our talents to make Divine Plea perma, this is probably one of the best glyphs for any tank in the game.

Other good choices are Glyph of Seal of Vengeance, Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous, Glyph of Judgement, and Glyph of Salvation  The first 3 are good for higher threat, the last works as another damage reducing cooldown, and we have enough threat to overcome the negative effects of the glyph. For Icecrown I have found that I never ever want to miss a taunt, so I have dropped my SoV glyph in favor of Glyph of Righteous Defense .

There are no required minor glyphs, so choose whatever you want.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What seal should I be using?
 Seal of Vengeance is the tanking seal. This is the highest TPS tanking seal out there, the math has been proven over and over so ignore people who tell you otherwise.

Q: What should I judge?
 Whatever the other paladin in the raid isn't judging, or really whatever you feel like. I usually stick to wisdom because so many other paladins use Light.

Q: What are my stat priorities?
 The most important number is 540 defense, this is about 689 defense rating. This keeps you from being critted by bosses. If you are just doing heroics, you can go for 535 and pick up some other stats. After 540 defense you want to work on a few different sets of gear. The first is an avoidance set. Stack as much dodge, parry and block percentage as you can, while keeping uncrittable. Second you want to work on a Effective Health set. Stack stamina, stamina, and more stamina on top of your 540 defense. Finally you want a set of gear for Threat. Your priorities are strength, +hit and block value. In general before you start doing heroics you should have around 24,000 hitpoints, and around 23,000 armor. Any less than this, and your healer will probably have a very hard time keeping you alive.

Q: I'm running out of mana, what can I do?
 There are a few things you can do. Put an extra point into Spiritual Attunement, pull more mobs, stop using concecrate so much.

Q: How do I up my threat?
 Get more strength. It makes us hit harder and gives us more block value, which makes Shield of Righteousness hit harder.

Q: Hit or Expertise?
 Hit. Gearing for extra expertise is a waste as a prot pally. Exactly 1 spell of ours is affected by it and that is Hammer of the Righteous. Yes it does also affect our white damage and by proxy applying our seals. +Hit affects everything else we do. Most importantly taunts. You do not want a taunt to miss when it counts. The expertise we get off of gear, and if you are using the Seal of Vengeance Glyph, is plenty without gemming for it.

Q: What trinket should I use to help reach 540 defense?
 You have at least 14 choices Some require you to be a jewelcrafter. Check them out here.

Q: How should I enchant/gem my gear?
 Defense until you reach the cap, after that stamina, except for that 1 red gem needed to activate our meta. That should be a purple dodge or agility gem.

Q: Should I use a fast or slow weapon?
 It doesn't matter anymore. I still prefer a fast one, but I won't whine if I get a better drop that is slow.

Q: Parry versus Dodge?
 Take dodge over parry. You get more dodge point for point over parry due to parry getting killed with diminishing returns very quickly. Parry itself isn't a horrible avoidance but there is still some concern with getting parry gibbed.  When people refer to it as such they are basically talking about a situation where you parry and get a faster swing, and then the boss parries that and hits you as I believe mobs always hit after a parry, and therefore you take damage. The chances of this are small however, and only decrease with expertise rating.
It's not really that much of a problem in WotLK due to lack of crushing blows, but some of the raid mobs hit really hard and getting popped back to back hurts.

Q: Dodge -vs- Agility in gemming?
A: This comes down to a personal choice. Dodge gives you more pure avoidance. Agility gives you slightly less dodge, but also gives you armor and crit. In the past I have been a big proponent of being more of an avoidance tank, but with the introduction of Icecrown it's all about the Stamina and Armor. I personally use a purple agility gem, and enchant agility on my weapon and cloak. Sadly, we have to soak the damage now, as opposed to not getting hit with the ICC dodge nerf aura, and every point of armor helps.

Q: What is the block cap?
 102.4....wtf? It's beyond my math skills to explain this, so I found a cool macro that tells me where I am as far as how much avoidance to get. Copy the following into a macro in game. /script dr=function(x)return 1/(1/16+0.9560/x)end;DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage("Need 102.4 combat table coverage. Currently at: "..string.format("%.2f", GetDodgeChance()+GetBlockChance()+GetParryChance()+5+dr(GetCombatRating(CR_DEFENSE_SKILL)/122.962)))

Q:Say what?
 Basically that is a check to see how close you are to being un-hittable with a full blow from a mob. When you hit 102.4 you will never take full damage. It also means that once you get there, stop getting more block rating, it won't help you anymore. Paladins are the only tanks that can stay block capped 100% of the time. That means that we have more predictable incoming damage and are easier to heal. Quick example of how block capping works. Mob A hits for 10000, you have 1000 block value (easily obtained), mob only hits you for a max of 9000. You have effectively shaved off 10% of his damage Over the length of a fight this becomes a large amount of damage you have mitigated.

Q: Sacred Shield?
 Use it. It absorbs 600 damage each time it procs, which I think is every 3 seconds. Make it easier on your healers. I cast this before every pull, there really isn't a reason not to. Unless your healer is a holy paladin, and then let them do it. They don't stack

Q: When should I use Divine Plea?
 Every time it's up. With our talents as long as you hit a mob once every 15 seconds it gets refreshed. If you pull fast enough you can keep it going all the time. 3% less damage with the glyph means you never run out of mana, and your healer has an easier time.

Q: What is the 969 you spoke of earlier?
Our abilities can be broken into two categories. 9 second cooldowns and 6 second cooldowns. When weaving them together into a 969 rotation you will end up with the absolute minimum time that everything is on a GCD giving you the highest possible TPS. Here is how to do it.

0.0 Holy Shield (9)
1.5 Hammer of the Righteous (6)
3.0 Judgement (9)
4.5 Shield of Righteousness (6)
6.0 Consecration (9)
7.5 Hammer of the Righteous (6)
9.0 Holy Shield (9)
10.5 Shield of Righteousness (6)
12.0 Judgement (9)
13.5 Hammer of the Righteous (6)
15.0 Consecration (9)
16.5 Shield of Righteousness (6)
18.0 Holy Shield (9) ... and repeat.

Q:3.3 Update! Why do mobs sometimes go immune to taunts in the middle of a fight?
 Blizzard changed taunt mechanics this patch. Creatures will not start to hit diminishing returns on taunt until 5 have landed. In addition, the DR rate has changed to 35% less effective from 50%, and most mobs don't suffer from these DR at all. Tanks unite and rejoice!

Q: What about our bubbles?
 We have 3. But when you tank you can only use 1, if anyone else is alive. Divine Protection is our version of shield wall. Talented we can use it every 2 minutes. Hand of Protection can be used on a healer to save them from aggro, or to force melee to back off if they are riding your threat too hard. It also drops aggro off whoever has it on them. Divine Intervention will immediately drop all aggro so I would't use it except for the lulz.

Q: What are some good websites to find out more info?
www.failsafedesign.com/maintankadin/index.php
This the the number one place to find out how to be a pally tank.
elitistjerks.com/f76/t37172-protection_paladin_field_manual_wow_3_0_wotlk/ Another good place to get info, in a much less nice atmosphere.

Elements of  UI



I'm posting my old UI so I can explain what I feel you are probably going to want in your tank UI. I have a threat/damage addon that does both for me, but Omen never sucks. The ugly bar right in the middle of the screen? It pulls my eyes up so I can keep my situational awareness, instead of staring at the bottom of the screen. I use Clique to cast Hand of Protection and Hand of Salvation on my group members as needed, as well as Righteous Defense for those aggro happy dps.

Thanks to Knaughty at Maintankadin who wrote the best pally faq I've seen, my old guild who let me learn how to tank on them, all the people in DotH who have run instances with me and let me kill them in new an inventive ways, and all you poor bastards in SHP who have to suffer through my raid leading while trying to keep aggro off you insane people.
.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
almostgold
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
thumbs up for macro inclusion! must read when I have time to digest. Not that it would help me and my poor pathetic pally alt...
;)
dboverdrive
Jun. 12th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
It took me a while to figure out how to understand what the macro was telling me too, and I still haven't capped it out unless Redoubt procs, but it's a good measure of your survivability.
oftwominds
Jul. 17th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
Ok, here's some really noob questions ...

1. Can you talk a bit about pulling / pre-pull casting? ~ Or is it primarily Consecrate, Divine Plea, Avenger's Shield?

2. Do you ever pull with Hand of Reckoning (like, if you have to pull a single mob and want to save 1K mana?)

3. Some of the places I've been reading / looking at use Shield of the Righteous before Hammer. I'm curious why, as using Hammer first (as in your list) seems better for building threat on multiple targets - or does it really not matter?
dboverdrive
Jul. 18th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Sure.

1 and 2. Before the pull I always precast Divine Plea, if it's up, and Sacred Shield if I don't have a pally healer. Then I either throw Avengers Shield if I want a whole group, or if I need to be more selective I use Hand of Reckoning or Exorcism to pull a single mob. Generally I don't pre-consecrate so I don't waste ticks and while I use it a lot, I don't always use it on groups unless I miss a hammer or something.

3. Shield of the Righteous is our biggest threat building spell, so that's probably why. If you are referring to a 969 rotation, you can start it however you want to, but I prefer hammer because a single target pull is so rare in this expansion.
villalobos108
Sep. 11th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
I am totally confused about SoV...I have Seal of Corruption. What gives?
dboverdrive
Sep. 12th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
The alliance has Seal of Vengeance, the horde is Seal of Corruption, both spells do the same thing, and the glyph for both is referred to as Seal of Vengeance. Because of that, I chose to use SoV as my shorthand.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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