(Crossposted from http://myworld.creativegamingevents.com/blogs_view.php?id=583 )
First off, I apologize for this post being late. As such, there will be a second post going up later tonight; I try to keep to a Tuesday/Saturday posting schedule, and as a senior in college with finals this past week, this blog just fell to the bottom of the priority list. It's back up though, so don't expect me to miss much more in the coming weeks.
This post was meant to be up on Tuesday, which would have been wonderfully ironic given the release of patch 2.3. Patch 2.3 signifies the solidity of the paladin tank, and allows us one less argument as to why warriors and druids will always be "better" than us. That barrier, specifically the health barrier, no longer exists, and I am happy to observe such an important day in the history of WoW for the Tankadin.
However, not everyone looks at the new numbers. There are likely still many ignorant guild leaders, class officers, or other general players who will continue to insist that paladins are "priests in plate." So I still feel the need to finish this article. At the least, you can take this as a reflective post on the things I had to overcome to get to where I am today; it's all very relevant, as I know I'm not the only one who struggled to this spot, and I know I won't be the last either.
Now that that's all out of the way...
Being a paladin tank is only easy before 70. Before 70, anyone in plate (or bear form) is suitable for the job, regardless of what their spec or gear looks like. Lower level instances just aren't designed for the necessity of a dedicated tank. On the flip-side of the coin, it's just as easy for tankadins (or retadins) to be recruited as healers. And at low levels, there's no reason to say no. Your fellow holy paladins are probably being asked to tank from time to time, and there's no reason for them to say no either (well, unless they're walking around in cloth). It's just not a big deal until end game.
Which brings up the point. So you've hit 70! How do you prove yourself? There's two things you need to do:
-Gear yourself up. This includes solo-questing, rep-grinding, and/or profession grinding as well as running instances for lucky drops. Don't rely on your guild or on others to gear you up. You want to tank? Make it your responsibility to be where you need to be to do so.
-Run Shattered Halls. No, really. Shattered Halls is, hands down, the best place for a paladin tank to prove their worth. Admittedly, the first time you pull an entire group of elites and your group freaks out, it's pretty funny. But you really should let them know your game plan. Especially for the pulls that require you to run out of line of sight in order to get the casters and archers to come your way. Run an efficient AOE group through Shattered Halls (which can be done anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, though I average about 45 minutes), and you'll be frequently asked for return performances; I guarantee it.
Why is all this proof necessary though? There's a lot of reasons. There's the initial stigma, which seems to be worse on the Horde side than Alliance (at least on my server), there's the hybrid assumption, and there's the gear issue.
The initial stigma, of course, is that paladins, being related to Holy, are obviously only meant to follow that path. WRONG. Paladins are crusaders of justice, warriors of light, meant to serve and protect. If nothing else, the tree that describes that the LEAST is Holy. Prince Arthas himself was a Retribution paladin, fighting with a two-hander for the light until he lost his way. When the most iconic character of a class has their tree represented the least, there's a problem, wouldn't you agree? Holy was the first tree to be "fixed," and to date is the strongest tree the paladin has to offer. This is true; paladins are the strongest single-target healer in the game.
But they're the only tank that can handle 6-10 mobs and not allow themselves or others to die. And I'd put something interesting in here about Retribution paladins, but I honestly know nothing about them and don't want to say something ignorant or uninformed. But they're cool! XD
The hybrid argument, that being that all hybrids are meant to be healers, is the worst argument anyone can throw at you. If hybrids are meant to be healers, go tell that to the feral druids who are taking my job. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against people who like playing feral druids (until they whip me in arena, then they can DIAF), if that's how they like playing, more power to them. But I have issues with Blizzard buffing a leather-wearer to be a tank first over the other plate wearers. How does that make any sense?
The gear issue is the worst, though. There is, arguably, very little gear for tankadins, ESPECIALLY in the way of weaponry. Beyond our tier, you're not going to find stuff with much spell damage and defensive stats (though Zul'Aman brought some real nice goodies). Our weapons are total crap; we have to fight with the warlocks for the stam/spell damage swords, because they don't want to give us something like Crystalforged Sword, except, you know, epic.
Just the same, what it all comes down to is the amount of dedication you give the class and spec. Persevere! If you stick with it and you show people what you can do, no one can stop you. It will be hard. But in all honesty, I believe it's worth it in the end, especially if you get to play the way you want to play. I know it's possible.
After all, I did it.