Friday, January 18, 2008

Battleground's Holy Warriors

Cross-Posted from Gathering Gamers.

So naturally, as soon as I say I'm going to do something, I get sick and don't touch a computer for a few days. Naturally. Now that I'm feeling better though, I'll put up what I intended to have on Tuesday. So here we go.

You've heard everyone else say it before: Protection is not a PvP spec. And to an extent, I agree. In arenas, we have no competitive place. But in Battlegrounds, a whole other beast, there's a time to take up your shield and laugh in the face of your enemies.

Let's start with Warsong Gulch. There are three roles any player can take: Offense, Defense, and Flag Running. As a Protection Paladin, you can fulfill two of these three roles.

As Defense, while your damage is sub-par, you have a few good tools to keep a flag runner slowed down enough to have your teammates clean up. Avenger's Shield will slow their movement speed, Judgement of Justice will halt their speed boosts, and of course Hammer of Justice will stop them in their tracks. In addition, standing atop the flag and keeping a Rank 1 Consecration down will alert you to any stealthers trying to snag the flag without wasting much mana.

As a flag-runner, while you're not going to have a speed boost from your class (unless you've taken Pursuit of Justice in the Retribution tree), your Cleanse and Blessing of Freedom will almost guarantee you won't be stopped or slowed down. Even if you're being chased down by half of the opposing team, if you have a competent healer following you, you'll be fine. Sheer hit points and a high amount of armor means they have a lot to plow through before you go down.

Next, we have Arathi Basin. Admittedly, this is my least favorite battleground (when once upon a time, it was my favorite), mostly because it seems to be the most frequently pre-rolled. There are only two roles for an individual to fulfill here: Offense and Defense. A tankadin really can only act on one of these.

Naturally, this would be defense. Down-ranking Consecration again proves useful to keep people from snatching nodes, and even if you have 4 or 5 people on you, you'll have enough survivability to hold them off until reinforcements arrive.

As for the other role, the best you'll likely provide in offense is a huge annoyance or a good distraction. Toss some heals around; if the enemy's on you and not on the actual healers or damage dealers, then you're being effective. Just never expect a lot of killing blows when all is said and done.

Next is everyone's old favorite, Alterac Valley. For a long time, I had no experience with this battleground, as I never had a character of level. And yet, once Prettyboi could participate, leveling up to seventy was so much more important. Once the battleground dailies came about, I finally had a reason to explore it. I found that this is, hands down, the best place for a Protection Paladin.

While you could play the defense card like in the other battlegrounds (and be just as effective as in those places), there are other things you could be doing on the offensive where you will prove the most useful. Whether it's consecrating points and holding off the guards while someone else captures it, or tanking the commander NPC's, you are *needed* on the front lines. And it's wonderfully refreshing! AV, dare I say, has the most situations for a Paladin tank to shine. Not just any tank, either; having many patrols of 3-4 NPCs roaming around should be hint enough.

Finally, we have Eye of the Storm. As a hybrid of Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin, you'll find all the same jobs here. Flag carrying, node guarding, flag guarding... Though by far, the most unique (and personally satisfying) experience is sniping with Avenger's Shield at the Blood Elf Tower. No, really. Try it sometime. It's hilarious.

While people will argue (and generally accurately) that Protection is not a PvP spec, that does not mean we lack a place within the PvP realms. As I said when I talked about Arenas, no, you're not going to be some PvP all-star, and don't expect that. However, don't let people tell you that you're useless, either.

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