Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Once again, I'm going to take a moment to apologize for my lengthy absence. I've already given the reasons, so I'll just go ahead and plow on to today's topic.
Anytime you log on to do your Arena-ing for the week, it's rare that you'll run into a Tankadin during your battles. We simply aren't built for handling Arenas; all the defense rating we built up is going to be next to useless, and if we don't have resilience gear, we'll be as easy to push over as a clothie against the more serious teams. However, this doesn't mean you can't do it, and even more importantly, that you can't have fun doing it.
First off, if you're going to do it at all, know now that you CANNOT take it seriously. Do not expect to get a high rating, and if you breach 1500 points after the first couple weeks of a season, consider yourself lucky. Being a Tankadin in Arena is a serious detriment to your team, so make sure the people who have invited you (or that you have invited) know beforehand your intentions. It's not going to be easy.
Personally, I do it for good old "S&G's." I think it's kind of hilarious when the warriors or rogues charge me from across the map and end up killing themselves on all my defensive abilities because they thought I was a Holy paladin. I also have a hell of a lot more survivability than my rogue counterpart does in my 2v2, or even than the feral druid in my 3v3. Mostly due to sheer hit points, dodge, parry, and block rating. (Ardent Defender is really aggravating for an opponent too.)
Now for the actual advice part. Let's break this down into equipment advice, abilities, other class compliments, and tactics.
-Stam, stam, and more stam. This is what you have going for you. Stack stam and resilience gems in any slots you might have if you're going to be taking this "seriously."
-Arena gear: Get the "prot" set. I haven't done this myself yet (what can I say, I'm lazy and don't PvP often), but with the availability now of Season 1 gear, you might as well go grind out the honor and stack yourself up. The resilience will only increase your survivability, and that's the game you're playing in Arenas. The extra spell damage will be nice too, since you'll actually be able to dole out some damage on those foolish enough to actually come after you.
-Prioritize a little more Int: This won't be hard with the arena sets, since they provide Int, but remember that it's unlikely someone's going to be healing you in arena (and if anything, you'll be the back-up healer), so your mana regeneration is going to suck (or be non-existent). Given that you can say "screw it" to defense and a lot more of the mitigation abilities, this will be relatively easy to do.
Blessing of Sanctuary - This, in my honest opinion, will be your strongest blessing for Arenas. What you want to do is draw people TO you. A good 90% of teams will not realize that you are, in fact, protection-specced unless they take a real good look at your buffs and are familiar with protection paladins themselves. (Though they likely will notice something is up when they see how small your mana pool is, and may deem you Retribution instead.) The trick of the game is to get them to hit you and for you to survive it, so stacking all your passive damage effects is a must.
Retribution Aura - Again, stacking passive damage. Use it; all your other auras will be relatively useless unless you're in a 5v5 with a group of casters (Then go ahead and use Concentration Aura). Devotion won't give you enough damage reduction to be worth it, and the resistance auras generally don't seem to help much. Crusader Aura is kind of fun to toss up if you manage to get mounted; I've had a lot of infuriated opponents chase me around the arena trying to get a lock on me.
Righteous Fury - If you're prot specc'd and understand the spec, you know why you should have this up. Obviously it's not for threat generation, but the 6% less damage against EVERYTHING will be your best friend, especially against those spell casters who you have so little defense against. Costly to put back up in battle, though, so I'd only cast it at the beginning, or later if you have a lot of mana or are getting a lot of heals. It's also nice to have as a dispell buffer so your opponents wipe that out first rather than your blessings or any other buffs your team might have given you.
Avenger's Shield - This is mighty useful in Arena, especially when your enemy decides you (or your other teammates) are a force to be reckoned with and try to run away. Again, the element of surprise is key; not only does it look like a heal spell while you're casting it (for the whole 1.5 seconds), but no one's really going to expect to be hit with a flying shield in an Arena match, so they probably won't have anymore cooldowns to blow when running away, leaving your daze in effect. If you have a lot of spell damage stacked, this can also be one hell of a hard hitter, especially if you can manage to bounce it off multiple opponents. Very nice.
Consecration - The Stealth finder. Down-rank this and have fun walking around finding the stealthers before they find you. You stop caring about the damage when it's only costing you about 100 mana per cast.
Seals: Generally, I'll judge Crusader and go to town with Seal of Blood (as a Blood Elf) or Seal of Righteousness. Judging Seal of Light can be fun, especially if you have some quick melee hitters on your team (like rogues, feral druids, or fury warriors). Usually, though, you're not worried about doing anything else but providing support. Holding up Seal of Justice and judging it can be good times too; slow down their movement and stun casters. Seal of Wisdom I've only used in one fight ever, and I'll explain that one later.
Hammer of Justice: Your one and only stun (barring Seal of Justice, but it's so unreliable it doesn't really count). Know it, love it, use it for interrupts. Seriously, the best thing you can do to support your team is keep casters busy. They'll likely be after you anyway once they figure out you're not what you appear to be, and shutting down the healer is the most important part of any Arena match. Doing it when they're about to get a big heal off is just a little self-satisfaction icing on the cake.
Hammer of Wrath: Too much fun, really. Try to spam this as much as possible if your opponent gets under 20%. It's one of the few ways for you to do a lot of damage really quickly.
Avenging Wrath: This is for going all out on someone, but it's not something I use all that much since it instigates the Forbearance cooldown. I'd avoid usage, especially early on, as you'll likely need to bubble later once they figure out you're spell vulnerable.
Racial Abilities: As I'm a Blood Elf and I've never played a paladin of another class, I'll be sorely lacking in this information. Arcane Torrent is, by far, the most useful racial you could have as a paladin in PvP. It gives you another interrupt, and against all-caster arena teams, you will be the bane of their existence (Well, every 2 minutes anyway). The Drenai's Gift of the Naaru ability is really nice to toss up, though I'd always expend healing on your teammates before yourself (you should have the hit points to deal with it anyway, and it's likely anyone else on your team will be squishier than you). A Dwarf's Stoneform is amazing for cleansing yourself of those nasty bleed effects you normally can't get rid of otherwise, so save it for the Rogue/Warrior/Druid abilities that stack up. Lastly, there's the Human Perception ability; yet another way for you to catch stealthers, and let you place perhaps a full-rank consecration on top of the unsuspecting ones.
In all reality, since you're likely not taking this seriously anyway, play with whomever you want. The point is, after all, to have fun with it. One way or the other, you're going to end up with silly stories and a lot of interesting memories. But, for those of you wanting to maybe accomplish a little more, I'll tell you what's worked for me.
My 2v2 partner is a rogue, and this works out quite well. He's hemo-specc'd, and everyone assumes I'm Holy and charges after me. During the confusion and frustration where they discover I am not a healer, he'll have already toasted a clothie or at least stun-locked their healer. If I can keep the melee busy, he'll sneak up and kill the ranged, and that works out rather lovely.
I would therefore then assume that a feral-specc'd druid in this role would function equally well. If you're playing the decoy game like I do, you want a stealther in your group.
I haven't tried out much else (there's no one else in our 2v2, and I can't blame them; our rating was terrible last season XD); if you have an obvious healer, they'll go kill them first. The theory could work with a warrior. They'll probably still assume you're Holy and go after you. If you have any ranged, though, it's probably likely they'll try to kill the ranged guy first; even if you WERE a healer, the ranged person is a helluva a lot squishier and likely to get burst-down. At this point, blow what mana you have on keeping them alive (or Blessing of Protection them). You want them coming after you; end of story.
Again, I keep stealthers about me. We're a Feral druid/Hemo rogue/Prot pally combination, and boy does it work out nicely. With both of them in stealth, everyone comes after me and they have the opportunity to sneak up and just utterly tear apart one of their team. Once we get them down to 2 opponents, the win is pretty inevitable.
If you're not going this option, then I'd take people who can disable others; a mage and a warlock with a prot pally would be interesting, with Polymorph on one guy and a Fel Hunter on a caster. But again; you're likely to be a detriment. You don't do a lot of damage, and if your casters are the ones doing everything, the other team's going to catch on pretty quickly.
I have the least experience here. I've only done a few, and I respecc'd Holy for a couple of the matches. There honestly isn't a whole lot of room for a Prot pally in 5v5. The chaos is ultimate, though you may benefit your team by taking a lot of the crowd control from the other side, or being single targetted first (earning your team a little head start on killing someone), forcing them to burn through your massive amount of hit points.
5v5's are so varied that I can't honestly offer much support advice; after all, you *are* the support. I'd say start out as a healer in 5v5 (even in Prot gear; just spam Flash of Light), and with two healers on whoever is being single-targetted, or you being forced into crowd control over your true healer, you'll have done a lot right there.
I've offered a lot of my tactics already, but here's a quick run-down again, as well as advice on what classes will screw you up and who to look out for.
-Be the Decoy. This is going to be your best bet; your job in Arena is to soak up the damage that could otherwise be directed onto your teammates. It's like tanking in that regard; except your enemy has a wild aggro bar that you can't hold. Play the healer for a while, get them on you, and let the passive damage do the rest of the work.
-Stack spell damage. If you want to be dealing damage, stack spell damage over everything else. Your passive damage abilities will be dealing the most when you're in the ideal situation, and there's nothing quite like throwing 800+ Avenger's Shields on a regular basis. (I keep hoping I'll crit for 2k someday. =O )
-Toast Warlock Pets. ESPECIALLY succubus pets. Most others will tell you to leave them be, but this is what'll kill you in Arenas as a paladin. Succubi in particular have a lot less health than other Warlock pets, and your Exorcism will make quick work of them. And if you happen to have a Fel Hunter against you, drag it away from the rest of your casters in the group and take it out yourself. It's better to have you spell-locked than your healer or your major burst damage mage spell-locked.
-Leave Hunter pets alone. If there's a pet to leave alone, it would be the hunter's. The damage they do in the long run is negligible and a the hunter himself is a lot more dangerous (especially if he has Silencing Shot).
-Buff your party members. A no brainer, but hey, I guess it couldn't hurt to mention. Don't bother with greater blessings; Arena matches shouldn't last longer than 10 minutes, and if they do, rebuffing in combat isn't hard if you have the Pally Power add-on (WHICH EVERY PALADIN SHOULD, RAWR, ).
-Have fun. Don't get frustrated if you don't win; you shouldn't be expecting to win! Prot is entirely inferior in arenas, and my advice is only going to help you aggravate the other side and maybe win every once in a while a little more often. Prot paladins are a PvE spec, and you should never expect them to excel in anything other than what they are good at; tanking.
I'd like to leave everyone with a hilarious little treat; sometime last week before Thanksgiving, I popped on to do my 2v2 with my good buddy Kaitou. I'm still wondering if I set a record or something, because one of our matches lasted an hour and six minutes.
Best 7 point win EVER
There's the screenshot. It was basically about an hour of me and a feral druid running around in circles, disabling the other so we could heal, then running around in circles some more. Finally, the druid thought he might be able to burst me down by exiting combat, stealthing, and pouncing me. So I worked my way over to Kaitou, bubbled, and rezzed him. We won shortly thereafter.
Remember, Prot paladins aren't GOOD in arena. But... they aren't always bad either. ;)
Friday, November 23, 2007
I just wanted to make a note that I am taking a temporary break and will be back Tuesday with more WoW goodness. The past week or two has been very hectic between my two part-time jobs, final exams, the holiday, and a convention this weekend (I'm actually typing this while half awake after the first day of 14 straight hours of Dungeons & Dragons).
Things will be back to normal on Tuesday, and I'll go back to my regular Tuesday/Saturday updating schedule. To give you something to think about, my next post will be about the amusement, but ultimate futility of playing a Prot-specc'd Tankadin in PVP Arenas. There will be much mischief-making and amusing stories to be told, so please do stick around.
Again, I apologize for the delay, but everyone gets burned out every once in a while; I'm just sorry it happened so early in my blogging career.
Be back soon!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
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.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I'm sure this is a constant question that goes through people's minds when they talk to me, especially right after finding out my gender. Why on Earth would a woman go out of her way to play a male character, and even moreso, partially obscure the fact she is in fact female?
Well, beyond the fact that I find it highly entertaining (Oh, come on, like you wouldn't enjoy the shock and reactions from people if you did the same thing), I do have some rather valid reasons. Let's plow through these one by one, shall we?
-If men can use the excuse, so can I.
By this, I mean that when men are asked the same question ("Why aren't you playing your gender?"), they tend to retort "Well, I don't want to stare at a guy's ass for 70 levels of grinding." Okay, I give them that. I can agree. While I am, in fact, bisexual and can't use the exact line of thinking, I do overall prefer men to women. So yes, I would rather stare at a nice looking male than I would a nice looking female. But that's my personal preference.
-To avoid being treated unfairly.
I don't think anyone will disagree with me when I say women are treated differently than men are in an MMO. Either telling people you're female gets you a flood of tells akin to "A/S/L plz!" or gets you the ridicule of "gurlz dun play gamez, lulz." Neither of which I particularly care to read or deal with. I'm not going to argue the FACT that I am female; you're not going to believe me anyway, so what's the use?
Say they DO believe me though? What does that get me? It gets me put up on some pedestal I didn't asked to be placed on. The entire reason I even play an MMO is for the sense of accomplishment I get from earning my place in the virtual world. Suddenly, by being female, I'm instantly privileged and treated better than everyone who doesn't have a vagina. I don't want that. Sure, I receive a little of it regardlessly from time to time, and sometimes it's nice (mostly the people being more courteous to you than anything else), but on a whole, I don't want to be treated different because of a trait I have that's irrelevant to the game. It's stupid; let me earn my keep, damnit!
-It's something different
Yeah, this reason is simple in itself. It is something different. All my previous characters on all my other servers were female. It gets tiring doing the same thing over and over. It was a very refreshing change, and it continues to keep me more amused than my female characters ever did.
-Wanted to be a Paladin, but didn't like my other option
Female blood elves are a terrible example of women to begin with. They're even MORE sexified than the other female races, and they perpetuate the "perfect woman" ideal. Why would I support an ideal I don't agree with or enjoy a walking pop culture reference that I absolutely loathe? I understand the male blood elves aren't much better, but the males rip on one of my own personal favorite fandoms (the anime fandom), tearing up the idea of the bishounen (or "pretty boy," for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term) which will always amuse me to no end.
I will continue to advocate my hate for the Napoleon Dynamite dance though. That's just dumb.
Oh, in addition, I didn't roll Alliance because all my friends roll Horde on a PvP server. So... yeah.
I had to bring this up again. It's just damn entertaining to masquerade as a male, even if it's inadvertent. Most people assume I am male until I slip up in conversation, or they hear me in Vent. Sometimes, this can lead to hilarious conversations.
Such as the one where I mentioned my roommate was cooking dinner, and therefore she was awesome.
"What, you live with a girl? Is she your girlfriend?"
"No, no, she's just my friend; All three of us get along really well though,"
"Three of you? Does her boyfriend live with her?"
"Nah. Both my roommates are single. They're both really cool girls though,"
"YOU LIVE WITH TWO GIRLS?!"
"Yeah. They're pretty hot, too,"
Okay, so yeah, by the end I was totally intentionally jerking their chain, but it's funny how easily people jump to conclusions. I started going out of my way, eventually, to hide the fact I was female from guilds I was applying to until I appeared in Vent. I have a very soft, feminine voice, so at that point it becomes near-impossible to fake it.
Though I will always be eternally entertained that even while my guild application to Merciless stated my quite feminine name at the top, people still didn't figure out I was a girl until the first general guild meeting when I spoke up about paladin tanking. =3 It will forever be a fond memory.
-So why the name?
Ahh, yes, I didn't cover that one specifically, did I? I picked the name "Prettyboi" for two reasons. One, the name "Prettyboy" was taken already (lol), and two, I knew going into rolling a blood elf was entitling myself to be a walking stereotype. I knew hundreds upon thousands of people were going to be rolling blood elf paladins in particular. I could have tried to be different and come up with a creative name like I do with my other characters (Melna the Orc Warrior, for instance, who's named after a Dominic Deegan character; or Nishta, my Troll Priestess whose name simply screamed "troll" for me). Instead, I chose to run with the hole I was digging myself, and dig it a little deeper.
And you know, with how much fun I've had with it in the end, I have never, and doubt I will ever, regret it.
Incidentally, yes, I do know the connotation for having "boi" spelled with the i. For those of you that don't, it generally announces a level of ambiguity or even outright homosexuality. I'm fine with this; especially when I flirt with my male guildmates anyway, and even more so when it's in general chat in the middle of Shattrath or Orgrimmar.
I consistently wonder what people think about that. Either way, it leaves a goofy mischievous smile on my face, and isn't that all I need to make it worth it?
I hope this has shed some informative light on myself, as well as on possibly other females who roll male characters too. Next time you do find out there's a ZOMG GIRL on your server, treat them with the same level of respect (or hell, the same level of disrespect XD) you give your male players. I guarantee you that they'll appreciate it.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
This has been posted on the Blizzard forums, but because I had many wonderful replies over there, I went through and edited it a third time and feel it's ready to release again. I hope to post this over at my guild's website someday, but I'm waiting to do so until I get permission from either my Class Officer or from one of the higher ups. It's an interesting read, but do keep in mind that this is designed not for Tankadins themselves, but for other people who interact with Tankadins. It's basically a list of do's and don'ts and what you can do as your class/spec to best compliment your Tankadin.
If there are any continuing errors, please leave me a message and let me know! I'm always trying to improve what I've written, so it's good to hear from people. =)
Prepare for the wall of text right about now:
Prettyboi’s Guide to Having a Pally Tank (v3.0)
First off, I want to say I’m no expert, but I’ve learned quite a few things. I want to share my knowledge with everyone so that when I am in a group with other people, I don’t have to repeat or explain myself a billion times. And who knows, hopefully some day I won’t be the only active Pally tank in our guild. =) This will also be immensely helpful for if you snag a Pally tank in a run outside of the guild. Without further ado, here we go.
To all DPSers, in particular off-spec Warriors, please remember that Paladins need time to generate aggro as much as any other tank. Yes, we are quick aggro generators, and you’ll likely have to wait a shorter amount of time. However, we also have spell hit to worry about, so if something gets resisted or missed, we fall behind. Wait for the aggro! Especially given the fact that we have much fewer ways to pull than other tanks (our only distance pull we can use on any mob bounces to two additional targets, which with crowd control being mandatory in some places, makes it difficult to consistently use). Paladins dealing with crowd control will generate MUCH less aggro since they’ll likely have to body-pull. For most pulls, let us get about 2-3k. For bosses, like most tanks, allow for 10k.
As well, ALWAYS watch your aggro generation. This should go without saying no matter what kind of tank you have, but this is especially important with Paladin tanks! We have Blessing of Salvation for a reason. We give it to you because it’s part of how we generate aggro; by slowing down your aggro generation. We have a need for both physical +hit and +spell hit, neither of which consistently comes on the gear given to us to tank (read: Warrior gear). Thus, it is likely we miss, get dodged/parried/blocked, or get resisted A LOT. Blessing of Salvation is like aggro generation for us, so if we have problems keeping up with you and you know this, just take the blessing. You’re helping your fellow players by lowering the chance that you pull aggro off us and kill yourself or wipe the rest of the group.
Marking in a paladin's group usually isn't necessary if you pay attention, and remember this: DPS order should 80% of the time be healers>dps casters>slow melee>fast melee. Exceptions being when a specific mob has a nasty debuff, spike damage, etc that needs to be taken care of first. Whoever is group leader should mark in those situations.
In a similar vein as in addressed under the DPSers message, paladins have a much harder time dealing with crowd control, if crowd control is needed at all. If you are a CCer who can crowd control during combat, please do so after the paladin pulls. There’s no point in sheeping something if it’s gonna get hit with a shield. If you are a CCer who crowd controls before combat has started (looking at you Rogues out there), if it’s a large group, try to get the guy at the end. That way the Paladin can still use Avenger’s Shield and not hit the mob you CC’d.
While I’m not about to tell you healers how to do your job, if you have a full or near full mana bar after any encounter is absolutely wasted on a paladin tank. Just because we have good defense and don’t take a lot of damage does not mean you can stop healing us. Paladins, unlike Warriors or Druids, have a mana pool. Because we have to sacrifice a lot of our stats in favor of defense and particularly stamina, we have TINY mana pools. (Fully raid buffed, I currently have about 6k, and that’s likely only ever going to go DOWN.) Blizzard gave us this wonderful ability called Spiritual Attunement where we get a 10% return in mana from the amount we are healed by other characters. Therefore, a pally tank’s mana pool is only as big as his healer’s. We go through our mana in the blink of an eye (a typical rotation of abilities is Seal of Righteousness (~200 mana), Holy Shield (~220 mana), Consecration (~660 mana), Judgement (~180 mana), lather rinse and repeat. That’s approximately 1260 mana each rotation, which is roughly 8 seconds (the time it takes for Judgement’s cooldown to finish). This means that in less than 40 seconds, without heals, I would be entirely out of mana. For Kara, the amount of mana I use is much higher as I have more abilities (Exorcism, ~440 mana), and that gets added to the rotation. Bottom line, even if you see a pally tank at near full health, if their mana bar is low, toss them a little heal at least. The small amount we gain back can make the difference, even if we’re only missing a couple hundred points of health. Besides, shouldn’t we always be “topped off” anyway?
Most of the tanks I have run with side-by-side have been druid tanks. And I tell you what, I love me my druid tanks. They’re there for me when there’s a fight I can’t do because of my lack of stam ( ;-; 2.3 patch, where are you?). We have much the same relationship as a Warrior MT with a Druid OT. I have OT’d with both warrior and druid MTs, and the results have always been the same; I can grab and keep my aggro just fine, and sometimes a little *too* well, accidentally pulling the aggro off the MT and onto myself.
Thus, in my opinion, Paladins make, by default of their abilities, a better MT than an OT, and I’ll elaborate on why. If a Pally tank is not tanking in a fight, he or she is being wasted. Paladin tanks, unlike Warriors or Druids, don’t have something else we can do without a full respec. We can heal, sure, but about as well as a shadow priest can. It becomes entirely gear dependent and we WILL run out of mana, no matter how good our gear is. DPSing is a laugh as a paladin. The Retribution tree needs work as it is, and a paladin tank is not going to be optimized for dealing damage, he is optimized for generating aggro (which are two very different things to a paladin).
It’s not that we’re “taking your job,” other tanks. We’re just competitively working in the same field. I do not feel that a Paladin tank is any better or any worse than a Druid or Warrior tank. If you have better gear than me, than likely, by default, you are a better choice than I am. And that’s fine. Either way, there are situations where you will be better for a job than I am, and I respect that. I just hope you respect that there are some jobs I am better for than you are as well. =) (I’d love to see any group in Kara that isn’t over-equipped where they lack a pally tank and the AOErs don’t die from the groups before and after Moroes.)
Tips and Tricks
There’s a few things from classes that Pally tanks like to see. Here they are separated by class. Some are no-brainers, but I tossed them in there anyway.
-Food and water. Pally tanks are the only tanks who need copious amounts of water, and boy howdy do we ever need it. I typically down water after almost every pull because of how small my mana pool is. Don’t be surprised if at the beginning of Kara you handed a pally tank two stacks of water and he asks you for more later.
-Arcane Intellect/Brilliance. Then we’ll pester you for water a little bit less. =)
-Polymorph after the pull. Addressed in the Crowd Control section, but I’d like to reiterate it as I’ve had problems with this one before. In addition, the further away you place your polymorph, the happier your pally tank will be. If we can still Consecrate, you’ve done your job exceptionally well. If we can’t, well, it’s not the most desired, but we’ll survive. =)
-Polymorph Casters or Ranged Attackers. We hate dealing with them anyway. =P If there is neither, pick the slower swinging warriors over the faster hitting ones.
-Counterspell Casters. We find it highly amusing as well as helpful with the casters come charging blindly into our Consecrate.
-Air Totem. I found this one out on my own, but ZOMG does Air Totem rock! Any pally tank should gladly take Air Totem over Windfury Totem. It can double the amount of aggro we generate, or beyond that if your pally tank has low +spell damage to begin with (though admittedly, he shouldn’t). Any extra spell damage for a Pally tank is love.
-Windfury Totem. This is fine if we're in a raid group with nothing but other melee DPSers. I mean, then it just kinda makes perfect sense.
-Tremor Totem. If we are fighting something that fears at all, this is REQUIRED. Barring trinkets, a paladin's only way out of a fear is bubbling, and even when specc'd, that's once every four minutes (and it temporarily wipes aggro until we unbubble, so we try not to use it at all). If we don't have this, we're kind of boned, and I don't know about you, but I'm not terribly fond of armor bills.
-Commanding Shout. I know this is a spec thing, but DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN are those extra hit points nice. Anything which increases the survivability of your paladin tank is obviously a huge boon to your group, be it a casual run or a raid.
-Accept Blessing of Salvation. If you are not OTing, ask for Salvation because YOU NEED IT. Warriors, no matter what spec they are, generate A LOT of aggro. I don’t care who you are; if you’re “watching your KTM,” you’re going to see a lot of down time where you’re not DPSing AT ALL because you’re generating aggro so fast. Suck it up and take Blessing of Salvation. As I say to all DPSers, if I give you Salvation, it’s a compliment; it means your DPS is so leet that I can’t keep up with you.
-No Stunning. Please don’t charge and stun. What you are doing is causing me to lose valuable aggro. Pally tanks gain a lot of their aggro by being hit, so cut it out! If you want to charge and stun, please go back to being a tank and not DPS.
-Sap on the End. Stated in Crowd Control, but I felt the need to reiterate. Please please please please PLEASE always try to sap the END target of a group. If your tank is marking, this shouldn’t be a problem, but if for some reason he’s not, then this is a good rule of thumb.
-Accept Blessing of Salvation. Generally, I will give rogues the Blessing of Might they want. However, the MOMENT you pull more aggro than I do, you get Salvation. No ifs ands or buts about it. I know you want to do more damage; but overall, you will do more damage if you can have at it and unload on him without stopping yourself than you will by the extra attack power boost I’m giving you. Please stop whining about it when it’s only hurting your group when you die.
-No Stunning. I know it gets you combo points and happy fun-time damage, but you could be Eviscerating instead of Kidney Shotting. It hurts paladin aggro, and while it’s necessary to kick or stun some caster mobs, which is fine, just don’t stun in general, especially at the beginning of a pull.
-Silence Casters. This is for the Shadow Priests out there. Like the mage’s counterspell, we enjoy seeing the casters charge blindly in to kill themselves in our consecrate and by melee-ing us. It’s helpful as well as hilarious.
-Stack Buffs. Another kind of “dur” statement, but talk over with your pally tank about what buffs they’ll be giving, and what buffs you’ll be giving. (Or install Pally Power which just kind of does it for you) My general rule of thumb is to let the Tank hand out Blessing of Kings and the other tailor to the needs of the raid. It just seems easier that way, especially since not all pallys besides Prot-specc’d pallys have Blessing of Kings and the first place. And everyone loves BoK.
-Judge Crusader. If you have the opportunity to judge, tack on another Crusader for us. It’ll increase the amount of aggro we generate, and even if you’re Holy, it’s a nice little boost at the beginning of a fight.
-Imps. Imps are love. They give Pallys much-needed stamina. We love Imps, and we love buffing Imps. If we don’t, set your pally tank straight on that. Imps being buffed makes the Warlock better, and makes us better too.
-Succubae. Succubae are also love (in more ways than one, of course =D). We rather like having a backup plan if an extra mob decides to wander off. A pally tank will always prioritize keeping as many mobs on them as possible, but sometimes we can’t get ‘em all. Succubae eliminate that need, so they’re a very helpful addition.
-Fel Guards. TURN OFF THE TAUNT. We don’t need the competition between your pet and ourselves for who’s tanking. Paladin tanks get half their abilities from procs that only happen when we get hit. If we’re not being hit, we’re a lot less effective. In addition, watch your Cleaving; if a Tankadin’s already suffering the loss of not consecrating because of crowd control, then you shouldn’t be cleaving things either.
-Voidwalkers. See Fel Guards. You’re better off using something else, though I have less problems with Voidwalkers.
-Fel Hunters. I like these guys. They take care of the mages so that they run stupidly at the group and I can begin to consecrate and have them beat the crap out of themselves by wailing on me. Fel Hunters are good in my book, though I rarely see them used other than in PVP. Really, I wouldn’t mind seeing more Fel Hunters around.
-Trap far back. This is also something your tank needs to pay attention to, obviously, but you also should do your part. The further away you trap, the better off your pally tank is. We like to use Consecration. It is part of our general rotation of aggro-generating abilities, like Sunder Armor is to a warrior. I’m more than willing to admit this is a two way street, though. We need to be paying as much attention as you do.
-Misdirect. I love Misdirect. Any possible chance you can Misdirect onto me, do it. Adding aggro to a paladin’s plate is a welcome thing. We never mind another mob beating on us, as it only makes our abilities proc more frequently, and thus, make us harder to kill.
-Pull the Clean Mobs. Meaning, go after and trap the mobs which either were not a target of Avenger’s Shield, or were missed by Avenger’s Shield. A good idea as to which ones were missed are the ones that are charging full speed, since they didn’t get slowed.
-Pets. TURN OFF GROWL. In the same vein as the Warlock’s Fel Guard, we appreciate being hit and being able to, you know, do our job. Please don’t make us have to compete with your pet. It’s just dumb.
-Insect Swarm. If you want to help your Pally tank take less damage against a nasty hard-hitting mob or boss, this is your best choice. Not that we dislike your HoT’s either.
-Run TO the Tank. We won’t bite you, we’re aiming for the mob that’s making you run away like a little girl anyway. Dragging it further away from us is only going to get you killed.
I hope you have found this guide useful and informative. I understand that there are some no-brainer tips and comments in here. For those of you who note they are such, obviously you’re already a smart player and I didn’t need to tell you that to begin with. For those of you that didn’t know some of this, then you’ve learned something new! And remember; all this doesn’t only apply to Paladin tanks, but to other tanks as well. Treat your tank nice, and you survive! Not a hard concept really.
Now, who wants to join me in Shattered Halls? =)