Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Beginners Guide to Paladin Tanking: A.K.A The Great Wall of Text

 Welcome you bringers of the light, you crusaders of justice, you who proclaim in a loud booming voice, "Do whats right... or I will fucking kill you!"  Todays article is all for you, oh banana shouldered ones!  Today i will be discussing the basics of tanking with a bringer of the holy light.   Paladin tanking is relatively simple (as compared with other tanking classes) in that our rotation is for the most part fixed, we only have 1 true defensive cooldown, and most of what would be our other defensive cooldowns are passive (always on) abilities, or are side effects of the spells that are already in our rotation.

    As a tank you have 3 priorities.

  1. Build threat
  2. Stay alive
  3. Look good while doing it!

    I will not be going into deep theory-crafting, gearing, or chanting.  There are many other options for that kind of thing, though I may do posts on them at a later date.

Righteous Fury and You:

    The first and probably most important thing to do is ALWAYS have Righteous Fury active.  This is a buff that will increase your threat generated by holy spells (which is pretty much everything we have).  Without this you wouldn't be able to generate enough threat to hold a 2 year olds attention let alone the big nasty eyeballing the healer.

    Righteous Fury is a hit it and forget it ability in that it is always on once you use it, and does not have a duration.  Although it does not persist through death, and must be reactivated in the event you die.  Don't be that guy who pulls a boss after a wipe only to have it promptly walk over and bite the face off of the tank-healer.

The Rotation of Awesomeness:

    If you do a google search on paladin tanking you are going to inveriably read about something known as the 969 rotation. This refers to the cooldowns on our standard tanking spells.  We have two spells with a 6 second cooldown, and three spells with a 9 second cooldown.  These are "weaved" together to form a repeating, high threat per second (TPS) rotation.  The Spells are as follows:

6 Second Spells:

  1. Hammer of the Righteous (HR)
  2. Shield of Righteousness (SR)
9 Second Spells:
  1. Consecrate (CS)
  2. Judgement (Jud)
  3. Holy Shield (HS)
   After the initial pull you will want to lay down Consecrate as the mobs or boss is making their way over to you.  This is a damage over time (DOT) area of effect (AoE) ability that will effect all mobs within an 8 yard radius of where it was cast.  As soon as the mobs step into the area they will start taking holy damage, and because of our buddy Righteous Fury you will start building threat against any of them standing in it.  This is our highest TPS ability and should have a 100% up time.

    Since Consecrate has an 8 second cooldown it falls into the "9" category which means our next spell will be one from the "6" category.  I personally like to use Hammer of the Righteous next because it hits up to three mobs at a time and counts as a normal melee attack so it spreads our seal which I will cover later.

    Next will be a "9".  I prefer to use Holy Shield which increases your block chance by 30% and deals damage to the enemy each time you block one of their attacks.  This feeds directly into priority #2 in that when you block it decreases the damage you take by a significant amount if not eliminating it completely.

   Now for the other "6".  Shield of Righteousness is the paladin's Shield Slam.  It deals a lot of holy damage, and generates a lot of threat.  Also nothing seems quite as epic as beating something's face into a bloody pulp with an enormous shield!

    Now to the last "9".  We have three judgements, Judgement of Light (JoL), Judgement of Wisdom (JoW), and Judgement of Justice (JoJ).  Of these three only 2 are viable of tanking JoL, and JoW.  JoL has a chance to heal us for 2% of our maximum health every time we deal a successful melee swing (which includes HR if you remember).  JoW has a chance to restore 2% of our base mana on a successful melee attack.  Most of the time you will want to use JoW because for a mana using class our mana pool is pretty sad, and our base mana regen rate in combat is laughable. Welcome to being WoW's only melee caster.

    Once you have gone through the start of the rotation you will just continue to alternate your 9, and 6 abilities as they come off of cooldown until you, or whatever you're smacking on dies.  At the end of the article I will post a couple of really useful macros that will help out with this.

Seals, Not Just for Circuses Anymore:

    As a tankadin you only need to really concern yourself with two seals. 
  1. Seal of Command (SoC)
  2. Seal of Vengeance (alliance)/Corruption (horde) (SoV)
   SoC is going to be used for trash pulls, and any situation where you have to hold aggro against multiple mobs.  Any time you deal damage against a single target the seal will also deal damage to two other targets close to them, which as we all have learned damage = threat = not dead healer.

    SoV is going to be your go to seal for single targets that will take a while to kill the reason for this is that it stacks.  Each time you deal a successful melee attack it will apply a stack of SoV to the target up to 5 stacks, the more stacks it has the more damage SoV does to it.  The reason this isn't optimal for trash tanking is that it takes time to stack up to 5, and by the time you even get close in most situations the mobs are already dead.

Blessings, the Real Reason Pallys Still Exist:

    As a tankadin your only real option for yourself is Blessing of Sanctuary (BoS).  It reduces damage taken for ALL sources by 3%, increases your stamina, and strength by 10% thus increasing your survivablility and threat by a great amount, and returns mana to you when you dodge, parry, or block which should be quite a lot.  Whats not to love?

    So use BoS for yourself, and just give everyone else Blessing of Kings.  I would also highly suggest installing the addon Pallypower, as it will help with your blessing management especially when other, lesser paladins are thrown into the mix.

Aura's, Because You're so Awesome You Radiate: 

    Devotion Aura!  That is all. 

    No Retribution Aura is not an option.

    For the love of all that is good and holy don't be that guy sporting Crusader Aura in ICC.

The Art of the Pull:

    When pulling you will generally want to give your best captain america impression by using Averger's Shield.  This will strike your target and up to 2 targets close to it, three if glyphed by tossing your shield at them like a Frisbee from hell.  It also slows them, and will silence most non-boss mobs allowing you to group them up into a nice little pile so the DPS can burn them down easily.  Paladins really have leg up with this ability as it is the only pull ability that will perform the two previously mentioned effects as well as generating hard threat ( Hard threat is threat that is caused by damage).  

    When pulling a single target like a boss you will want to generate as much threat on them with the pull as possible.  Start by using Hand of Reckoning which is your single target taunt, then as you are running in toss your Avengers Shield at them just to add in that extra aggro.  You will want to make sure that you are using Hand of Reckoning first as it only works if the target is not currently targeting you.

Taunting. No Not Like That! Put Your Tongue Back in Your Mouth!:    

     Hand of Reckoning can, and should be used to reign in stray mobs that may have escaped the pull and force them to attack you instead of the rest of your group.  Hand of Reckoning can also be used to taunt a boss off of another tank to swap tanking for whatever reason.  Trading a boss between two or even three tanks is a very popular mechanism used in ICC and late game raiding in general so you should really familiarize yourself with this spell, and it's use. 

     Invevitably through your tanking career you are going to run into someone who wasn't paying attention and gets a little too close to a pack of mobs or a patrol walking around and gets aggro on them.  In this case you will have to cast Righteous Defense on that player which will force up to 3 mobs targeting them to target you instead.  This is a somewhat clucky spell that requires you to target the player to cast it.  I highly recommend either a raid frame addon (Tauntmaster, Grid + Clique, Healbot, Vuhdoo, etc) or a mouseover macro.

   Also you have Hand of Salvation.  While not a taunt it is good for a follow up, or to use on someone who is getting a little to close to your threat for comfort as it reduces their total threat by 2% every second for 10 seconds for a total of a 20% drop.  This also comes in handy sometimes for use on yourself on the boss swap fights where you don't have to swap really often like in the Festergut encounter.

Macros and Addons:

If you don't know how to make an addon you can find a tutorial here.

969 Macro:
This makes the rotation stupid easy.  I have the 6 macro bound to my 1 key, and the 9 macro bound to the 2 key, with consecrate bound to the alt+2 key, and Hand of Reckoning to the alt+1 key for easy taunting.  I start by hitting alt+2 for consecrate, then 1,2,1,2,1,2 infinitum.   

The 6 Macro

/castsequence [mod:alt] Hand of Reckoning; reset=5 Hammer of the Righteous, Shield of Righteousness

The 9 Macro

/castsequence [mod:alt] Consecration; reset=5 Holy Shield, Judgement of Wisdom, Consecration

Mouseover Taunt Macro:
This macro allows you to simply mouseover the target or raid-frame and hit a button instead of having to change your target.  Simply bind the macro to a key and then hit it and click on the target monster or raid frame.

/cast [@mouseover, help, nodead] [help, nodead] Righteous Defense; [@mouseover, harm, nodead] [harm, nodead] [] Hand of Reckoning

Useful Addons:

Pallypower: A blessing, aura, and seal manager for pallys, and raid leaders

Tauntmaster: A raid-frame replacement addon built specifically for tanks to help with taunting

Grid + Clique: Another raid-frame replacement addon with the addition of clique it allows you to set up whatever spells you want with a click.  It takes some getting used to, and I would only recommend it for those experienced with addons.

Healbot, and Vuhdoo:  While more geared toward healers, if set up correctly they can function quite nicely as a raid-frame replacement.

Whatever you decide on I highly recommend a raid frame replacement as it will allow you to quickly gage things like who has aggro across a whole raid, who has what buffs/debuffs, and health of raid members.

Omen Threat Meter: This is a threat tracking addon, and not really optional.  Go ahead... download it... I'll wait.

The Conclusion, Took Ya Long Enough:

    Now that you have read through the great wall of text you are ready to go forth, take punches to the face for the team, and hold up the most important priority which is #3; look good doing it!  Be sexy my young tankadins, and do me proud!




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