Archive for the ‘ Paladin ’ Category

Status report, Mr. Spock – also, how do I use this cooldown?

I’m aware I haven’t posted here in what feels like forever, but that’s just the way things are, I’m afraid. I’m not the kind of blogger who can assure you they’ll have something to rant about at least once a week. I’m steadfastly dedicated to ensuring this blog stays on the topic of World of Warcraft, with possible deviations for other related MMOs, so if I’m not feeling the “itch” to talk about something, then there’s only so much I can put here.

To recap what’s happened between then and now, we’ve successfully crossed the bridge into the realm of 4.2 – aka, the Firelands. Far Riders successfully downed Cho’gall pre-patch, and on our first day post-patch, we downed Nefarian and Al’akir (despite it being our first attempt at Al’akir at all). On our last raid night, we got the pat from hell (also known as Shannox, I hear… but I prefer my name for him) down to somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-2mil HP. I admittedly wasn’t paying his health as much mind as I was systematically popping all the cooldowns I had for myself to level out any incoming damage and to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic death for my companions. I obviously didn’t succeed in that regard ^_^’

How exactly do I use cooldowns?

But the “systematic popping” of my cooldowns brings me to a topic that’s been bugging me lately. I’ve recently been assisting a guildie with their tankadin alt, and on several occasions, the topic of rotation for both spells and cooldowns came up. I gave her my opinions relating to spell rotation (and also pointed her to Rhidach’s site, since he was a big help to me when I first began as a paladin tank), and in regards to cooldowns, I provided a simple answer: “Just be sure you’re not using Ancient Kings and Divine Prot at the same time.” In reality, the truth is much more complex, and the proper use of cooldowns can make or break you as a pally tank. In my personal opinion, the sheer variety of CDs we have is what makes us the most versatile tank on the market, but too often, I see folks using these skills post-damage instead of in anticipation of a huge hit. This article sums up the topic I feel, but to put it in my own words, we have the toughest job in the raid: being clairvoyants. We need to know the fight, and I mean know it well! While there will always be a degree of flexibility to fights, thanks to our good friend RNG, there’s an underlying flow to how fights work, and tankadins need to use that to pick where there CDs will have the most effect, and then put them into play.

A good example (that most people know by now, I’m sure) is Nefarian’s Electrocute – otherwise known as “crackle.” The activation of this ability is easy to anticipate, as long as your raid’s dps is steady, and there are numerous things pally tanks can do to help their healers out here. For the raid itself, we have Divine Guardian, and while 20% doesn’t seem like much, you can easily prevent ~25k damage to your nearby raiders; this naturally requires some positioning on the tank’s part, but that’s half the job, I’m afraid. For ourselves, we again have Divine Protection, but more importantly we have Ancient Kings. Like I mentioned above, the key is to NOT use these abilities together, as their damage reduction doesn’t stack. And while many tankadins would argue that we should be using Divine Prot on CD, I’d argue this isn’t the case in some fights. Following the example of Nefarian, it can be awfully tempting to use the ability on CD for many portions of the fight, but you can smooth out your incoming damage (and make your healer’s life easier!) if you focus it’s use. I tank Ony in phase 1, and I find the best time to use Divine Prot is for her breath attack and/or when you have her turned for her lightning attack. The breath is massive damage and during the turn, it can be more difficult for your healer to keep you up, so using this CD for either will help them immensely. Another applicable CD for the breath, if you have the correct trinket, is to pop your Mirror. This provides a large magic resistance boost, which can easily be the difference between life and death, if the situation is dire.

Paladins also have several abilities that many wouldn’t inherently call a “cooldown” but can certainly serve in that capacity, given the right situation. One such ability is Avenger’s Shield, due to it’s interrupt capability. Yes, we still have Rebuke, which should be our “go to” interrupt, but on fights where interrupts are important and interruptable spells occur often, we need to manage when we use AS. Cho’gall’s Conversion is an excellent example of this because most of the classes that have long range interrupts don’t have one that has a measly 15sec cooldown (less, if Grand Crusader procs). Besides the interrupt ability, we also need to be sure to use a grand crusader proc’d shield AFTER we use Crusader Strike/Hammer of the Righteous. After all, if you miss with CS/HotR, then you’ll get no holy power but can fill the 3sec gap with the AS (which gives you holy power even if you miss, or so I’ve seen). If you used the AS first and followed with a missed CS/HotR, then you’ll have 3sec that you have to fill with a non-HP generating ability.

Word of Glory is another spell that many wouldn’t consider a cooldown; in fact, many paladins felt it was nothing but a nerf, when Blizzard added the 20sec cooldown. Although I do agree that it nerfed are ability to be an “off-healer,” I want to point out that this makes it much more important to manage when we use the skill. If you know that a big hit’s coming up, then can use WoG; even if you’re at full health, you’ll put a shield on yourself thanks to Guarded by the Light.

Divine plea serves as a two-fold cooldown. It replenishes our mana, which is the same use it has for ret and holy paladins, but as prot, we have a bonus use thanks to Shield of the Templar: it’s a holy power cooldown. When fully spec’d into Templar, we get 3 holy power from activating Plea. What does this mean? If you need mana, then you should aim to use Plea when you have no holy power, giving you the maximum benefit of the HP gain – that saves you from having to generate it through CS/HotR/AS!

The most recent addition to our arsenal of cooldowns is the controversial Holy Shield. Patch 4.2 changed this from being a buff activated by CS and HotR (also WoG, if you specced into it) to being an activated CD. This article covers the topic expertly, but the quick and dirty explanation is to use this in the same way I mentioned above with Divine Protection. Although you CAN use it every 30sec, I’d argue the best method is to use it when you anticipate heavy physical damage coming up.

Last but certainly not least, we have Ardent Defender – aka, the “OH S#&%” button. This ability mirrors Divine Protection, but it’s added twist of saving you from a near-death experience means you should NOT treat it the same. The trick here is, once again, to anticipate how the fight works and to pop this ability when you know you’re about to die. Falling back to the example of Nef’s crackle, then you should use this ability if you know for a fact that Electrocute will kill you. Be sure to alert the healers that you used the ability (use a macro, call it out in Vent/Mumble, etc), so they know they don’t have to use their own CDs in an effort to keep alive through the crackle.

To sum it all up, tankadins have the cooldowns to survive nearly any bad situation, but we can’t use them effectively if we don’t know when to use them. Learn the fights by heart, know their ups and downs, and you’ll be an unstoppable force.

Wait, there’s more?

The other issue I see some paladins making (not just tanks, but holy and ret pallies as well) is the proper use of their seal. No one seal is a catch all, and like our cooldowns, having the right seal up is a matter of knowing each seal’s strengths and weaknesses. So, in the interest of helping my fellow pally tanks, here are the seals I use and when I use them:

  • Seal of Truth: The single target threat seal. Use this seal when you need sustained aggro on a single target. When this seal is glyphed, it’ll also add 10 expertise to your stats. This is one of the highest stat gains you’ll ever get from ANY seal, so unless you’re expertise capped and don’t need it (which I would argue you shouldn’t be, but that’s another topic altogether), then you should look into this glyph.
  • Seal of Righteousness: The multi-target threat seal. This seal works with any melee attack, which includes the physical component of HotR. Also, it works with seal of truth’s glyph as well, meaning it still grants the bonus 10 expertise.
  • Seal of Insight: The mana seal. This one is often overlooked or used incorrectly, so I want to clear the air here. If you’re starting to get low on mana, then the first thing you need to do is use judgment in a blank spot between HP-generating abilities, regardless of the rest of your rotation (never use it in place of CS/HotR though!). Next, you should use Divine Plea, both for the mana regen and the instant Holy Power. However! If you’re still low on mana after all of this, then swap seals to Insight (again, you’ll want to wait until you’re between HP-generating attacks like CS/HotR). Using judgment with this seal active restores MASSIVE amounts of mana, and you’ll be near full mana again in no time. Once you’re in an acceptable mana range, then return to either Truth/Righteousness as applicable.
  • Seal of Justice: I can’t think of any situations for dungeons/raids that you’ll want to use this seal as a tank. The few situations where you’re tanking only one add will usually be hindered by the add being slowed. Cho’gall’s Corrupting Adherent, for example, needs to get to the back of the room (or wherever your raid leads them) fairly quickly, so using Justice would be a bad idea.
As I said before, never switch seals in place of CS/HotR. Holy power is invaluable, so you’ll never want to lose a chance to get it! Otherwise, the key here is assessing the situation you’re in and picking an appropriate seal.
Good luck!
If you have any questions about anything I’ve written here or about something I failed to address, then please feel free to email me or leave a comment. I’ll answer as soon as I’m able!

/failcheck: Mitigation and Expertise Caps

There’s been a lot of forum posts about this and/or related topics, but today, I’m posting to say that I’ve actually managed to meet the mitigation and expertise cap simultaneously =D. Thanks to the Porcelain Crab trinket I acquired recently and copious amounts of testing various reforgings with test dummies, I officially have the following mitigation stats: 11.58% (dodge) + 11.61% (parry) + 53.5% (block) + 5% (base miss chance) + 21.47% (extra block from porcelain crab’s mastery proc) = 103.16% mitigation (the cap is 102.5%). When I first equipped and used my crab (doesn’t that sound wrong?), I was actually in the 106-107 range, so I cancelled any reforging of hit to dodge/parry, then based on the information at Elitist Jerks that expertise is the most important stat after mit cap, I reforged my hit to expertise. I was able to manage 16 expertise, so by using Glyph of Seal of Truth, I can reach the expertise cap of 26 as well!

In the couple of heroic runs I’ve done since reaching this goal (I haven’t had a raid yet, since I’ve had to perform in three concerts this week, preventing me from going), I’ve noticed that I seem to be taking in less damage overall, but it’s hard to tell, since I don’t maintain logs of my damage intake.  However, I do remember that I pulled just under 8k in regards to damage, which is between 1.5-2k better than previously, so that’s a very clear improvement. I would probably be taking less damage, if I were using Seal of Light still, but I’ve been using Truth to keep up 26 exp. Overall, I’m very pleased with where I am stat-wise, and I thought I’d pass on my results to you all!

Quick screenshot of Neh at (technically, just above) the blockcap.

/yeargh: How to Murder Massive Multitudes of Rapidly Respawning Pirates

As some of you may remember, I mentioned in a prior post that I was going to be raining havoc and death upon the Southsea pirates of Tanaris to build my Steamwheedle Cartel reputations up to exalted. At the time, I speculated I would need 14.5 hours of time grinding this rep to reach my goal, and so, I devised a simple, yet effective, method for attacking this hurdle in short, timed bursts – using my seals. As any paladin (or nearly any seasoned player, for that matter) could tell you, a paladin seal currently lasts for 30min. Since I need to have an active seal to use Judgement, I decided it would make my efforts easier to manage if I activated my seal when I was ready to start slaughtering helpless pirates and to continue until the seal had worn off. By limiting myself to these 30min sessions, I can easily make a commitment to do one per day, which will hopefully help stave off boredom while allowing me to slowly work my way towards having the four Goblin reps to exalted. Considering I’m now sitting on 12 hours remaining, this means that I have a maximum of 24 days (baring any unforeseen troubles) until the Goblins love me with their whole hearts (not sure if that’s good or not o.O).

Also, in an effort to make my sessions more effective, I respecced my second talent set to retribution. Now, thanks to Long Arm of the Law, I’m bustling over the sandy, blood stained dunes at a significantly faster pace than in my prot spec. And to top it all off, my Avenging Wrath is sanctified (that was a horrible joke, I know ^_^’), so I can gleefully throw hammers at my victims every 2min. The road to insanity is going to be fun, my friends =D

Failcheck: Stam or Mastery?

***Note: this article is geared towards paladin tanking, but may be applicable for other tanking classes as well***

One of the main tanking topics that’s still up in the air is how tanks should gem/enchant/reforge. While I’m newer to the tanking field than some of the tank bloggers and numbercrunchers out there, I think this is a prime opportunity for an experiment. The idea is that since the tanking mastery Divine Bulwark provide strong mitigation, it may be wiser to push our gear towards stats like mastery. Unlike dodge and parry, blocks don’t suffer from diminishing returns. Because of this, reforging dodge and parry on your gear into mastery results in more overall mitigation. As a bonus, I’ve noticed that mastery rating tends to result in more overall points than dodge/parry rating does, so this also contributes to greater mitigation.

Currently, I’m using gear that utilizes the following gems: Puissant Dream Emerald in green slots, Defender’s Demonseye in red slots, and Solid Chimera’s Eye (I’m a JC) in blue slots. Prismatic I fill up with what I can, leaning towards the emerald if I’ve already got all three JC gems in my gear. Now! As a quick, brief test, I purchased the recipe for Fractured Chimera’s Eye. As a JC, I found it frustrating that there was little to no information in regards to whether or not it was better to use stam or mastery JC gems, so this is my first test on the matter: I swapped an Emerald for one of my Solid JC gems, then replaced an Emerald that was in a yellow slot (+10 parry rating bonus from Gryphon Rider’s Boots) with one a brand spanking new Mastery JC gem. Here were the results, without Blessing of Kings or any other buff active – just wearing my gear:

Before: 144,217 HP / 10.27% parry / 12.16% dodge / 54.56% block / 81.99% total mitigation

After: 142,509 HP / 10.27% parry / 12.16% dodge / 55.41 % block / 82.84% total mitigation

Conclusion: Trading a Stam JC gem for a Mastery JC gem (aiming for socket bonuses) essentially trades 1,708 HP for a 0.85% mitigation increase.

Now, my blocks stop 31% of damage due to block enchants, so keep that in mind, but what this test ultimately means – in my opinion – is that JC paladin tanks should definitely use Stam JC gems over any Mastery equivalent (nor parry/dodge, since they provide less mitigation than mastery does). Does this mean we should not gem for mastery at all? I doubt this is the case, but whenever I can arranged for the funds to test this theory, I will. Until then, I hope this brief experiment will help you choose how to spend those hard earned Illustrious Jewelcrafter’s Tokens!

Got Boomie? Np

Although I hadn’t intended to mention my alts very much, I feel that today’s story needed to be mentioned:

One of the alts I’m currently leveling is named Nehmend, and she is a holy paladin that I’m leveling (currently level 37) almost exclusively through PUGs. Yesterday, I queued up and swiftly found myself entering the soon to be corpse-filled halls of the Scarlet Monastery’s library. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary from a quick glance at my Grid addon – I saw a druid, shaman, priest, rogue, and myself; we had all the workings for a successful collaboration of a tank, healer, and three dps. So, I rebuffed myself with Seal of Insight, gave everyone Kings (paladins don’t receive Might until level 56 now), and followed my fellow PUGers as they charged into battle. Right away, I could tell something was wrong. The party was taking very large amounts of damage (not a problem, considering pally heals are OP at this level, in my opinion), and I saw… A boomie?

While healing my druid party member, I saw that sure enough, it was a boomkin, and the little shield marker for the tank stood tauntingly next to their name. I hoped they had simply forgotten they were the tank, so I asked in party chat “who’s the tank?” The druid quickly repied, “I am,” so I asked them to please use bear form, which was promptly met by the druid laughing at me and the shadow priest saying, “just STFU and heal. Who cares?” Needless to say, I cared, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked, and after telling them as much, the priest replied, “these dungeons are a joke, and he has an armor buff anyway.”

Begrudgingly, I did just that; I shut up and continued to fill them with plenty of Holy Shocks and Holy Lights. As the dungeon wore on, I found that our party makeup was working after all, but something was still nagging at me – something was still wrong that I couldn’t quite place. After tearing through half of the dungeon, leaving mayhem in our wake, I realized the issue: if I, the healer, wasn’t effective, then they likely would have kicked me… and it probably would’ve worked. I say this because the druid and priest were clearly together on their shenanigans (as evidenced by their support of the idea and their shared server/guild name), and if people were dying from no heals, then a “Kick Nehmend?” prompt probably would be answered with a “yes” by at least one of the remaining dps.

Now, it wasn’t the threat of losing my spot in the party that bugged me (I was confident in my healing ability, after all), but rather the question of “what if a lesser experienced healer where in my place?” Most WoW players, myself included at times, forget that we may be playing with someone new to their class, to their party role, or even to the game itself. With that party, I realized that a new player to WoW likely would have been kicked from the party and likely without an explanation. That’s not fun for anyone and would highly discourage new players of the game. After all of this hitting me an instant, I knew what I had to do: I needed to attempt to send a message to this boomkin by getting THEM removed from party for doing the job the queued for improperly. I had already tried convincing them the normal way, so I knew that would not work, and I wasn’t about to launch into a discussion about inexperienced players (both because they probably wouldn’t have listened/cared and because that would have resulted in our deaths, since they were chain pulling everything), so I was left with only that option.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a vote to even occur due to their chain pulls (you can’t initiate a vote during or shortly after combat, for those who haven’t used this PUG feature before). I did make sure to /ignore them (the druid and priest), so I wouldn’t be partied with them again, but I’ve been left with disappointment that I was unable to do something about this duo of troublemakers. What do you think? I’m interested in hearing other players’ views on how to deal with situations like this.