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Final Edition: Prot Paladin AoE Grinding (Part 1 of 2)

25 Jan

The last installment of the Protection Paladin AoE Grinding Guides has waited quite a while for the final piece of the puzzle. It has been asked for several times by my readers and while I took the request seriously I’ve certainly failed to deliver on that promise. At least until now. Well, sort of.

I am going to start off with some updates from the previous guides as recent patches have changed the way some things work. After the updates we’ll get into the juicy part and start talking about the portion we’ve left uncovered so far; AoE Grinding in Northrend.

As you read, keep in mind that the whole point of this post is tell you how to AoE Grind. This isn’t a tanking guide to tell you how to tank Heroics and Raids. Even once we reach level 80 and I begin discussing that, I’m still focusing the information here on AoE Grinding whether it be for mat farming, reputation farming, gold farming, elite mob solo thrill seeking, or showing off your greatness to those around you.

Part 1 here is going to cover the technical side of things, what you need to do with your character. Part 2 is going to cover specific areas for you to grind in. I’m splitting this post into two because I’ve had this portion written for weeks now, waiting only for me to get together a full list of specific locations across all of the zones in Northrend for you to grind. Rather that keeping you in the dark even longer, I’m just going to give you what I have right now and then write another post for the rest of it at a later date.

Update: Glyphs
In the AoE Grinding: Glyph Edition post I gave you what I felt at the time to be the best glyphs for helping you while you leveled. Since that time though, we’ve had some changes that definitely impact those choices.

I will break down the glyphs by level here, listing Majors first, then Minors, and each of those sections will have glyphs listed in the order that I would recommend them. Also, take note as you read this section that these glyphs I recommend primarily for the sake of solo leveling, not necessarily for raiding.

Level 15 1 Major: 1 Minor
Major Glyphs Minor Glyphs
Glyph of Consecration Glyph of Lay on Hands
Glyph of Judgement Glyph of Blessing of Wisdom
Glyph of Divinity Glyph of Blessing of Might
Glyph of Exorcism



If you like using Exorcism to pull at low levels then you might want to go ahead and use it’s glyph over Consecration. With Exorcism now having a cast time where before it did not, I’m not sure how much I would use the spell while leveling up, and so I’m not sure I could justify devoting a slot to a spell I use once per encounter instead of one such as the Glyph of Consecrate which will be used constantly.

Level 30 2 Major: 1 Minor
Major Glyphs Minor Glyphs
Glyph of Consecration Glyph of Lay on Hands
Glyph of Judgement Glyph of the Wise
Glyph of Divinity
Glyph of Exorcism



By this point the only Blessing you should be casting on yourself is Blessing of Sanctuary, so the glyphs for Might/Wisdom are now worthless. You probably aren’t going to have to recast Seal of Wisdom (SoW) very often, but just in case you find yourself cycling through SoW/SoL during combat, this is the best way to save your mana through the use of your Minor glyphs.

Level 50 2 Major: 2 Minor
Major Glyphs Minor Glyphs
Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous Glyph of Lay on Hands
Glyph of Consecration Glyph of the Wise
Glyph of Holy Wrath Glyph of Sense Undead
Glyph of Judgement
Glyph of Exorcism



I’m slipping Glyph of Sense Undead into the mix here because during your run through Eastern/Western Plaguelands you’re finally going to start fighting enough undead that having this increase in your damage is going to start paying off. Using this glyph prior to level 50 is going to be a bit of a waste in most cases, but where you level is what decides that. At the same time it’s usefulness takes another dip when you get to Outlands, but surprise surprise it picks back up in Northrend.

If you don’t like the idea of buying and replacing glyphs, then go for GotW over GoSU until you hit Northrend.

Level 70 2 Major: 3 Minor
Major Glyphs Minor Glyphs
Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous Glyph of Lay on Hands
Glyph of Divine Plea Glyph of Sense Undead
Glyph of Consecration Glyph of the Wise
Glyph of Holy Wrath



Divine Plea is going to help keep your mana topped off while using the glyph will help keep your health topped off. Once you hit level 71 I suggest you finally replace GoC with GoDP. You are also going to finally have enough attack spells on your action bar that you will find using the 969 rotation is the smoothest way for you to grind, so having an extra 2 seconds on Consecration is going to throw you off instead of helping you out as it did before, so I suggest dropping it for Holy Wrath instead. While the 969 rotation is used to describe the preferred rotation for tanking, it’s use applies the same to grinding.

As for minor glyphs, I suggest you stick with those three until Blizzard introduces some more minor glyphs to us, but only LoH and SU have any real importance, and SU only when you actually activate the ability associated with it and with the assumption that there are Undead for you to fight in the area.

Level 80 3 Major: 3 Minor
Major Glyphs Minor Glyphs
Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous Glyph of Lay on Hands
Glyph of Divine Plea Glyph of Sense Undead
Glyph of Shield of Righteousness Glyph of the Wise
Glyph of Holy Wrath



HotR and DP are your two primary glyphs that you don’t want to give up at this point. SoR and HW are interchangeable here though based on where you are going to grind. If you want to grind undead mobs then you’re better off with HW, otherwise you’ll get more use out of SoR.

I want to emphasize once again that these glyphs are for leveling and grinding, specifically here at level 80. If you want to tank dungeons and heroics then you’re going to have a different setup on your major glyphs when you hit 80 so that you can maximize your threat generation.

Update: Talent Points
There hasn’t been a whole lot of change in the talent department, but to give you a single glimpse at how you should spend your points, here you have it.

Level 10-30
Divine Strength 5/5: Increases your total Strength by 15%.
Anticipation 5/5: Increases your chance to dodge by 5%.
Improved Righteous Fury 3/3: While Righteous Fury is active, all damage taken is reduced by 6%.
Toughness 2/5: Increases your armor value from items by 4% and reduces the duration of all movement slowing effects by 12%.
Improved Devotion Aura 3/3: Increases the armor bonus of your Devotion Aura by 50% and increases the amount healed on any target affected by any of your Auras by 6%.
Toughness (+2) 4/5: Increases your armor value from items by 8% and reduces the duration of all movement slowing effects by 24%.
Blessing of Sanctuary 1/1: Place a Blessing on a friendly target, reducing damage taken from all sources by 3% for 10 min. and increasing strength and stamina by 10%. When the target blogs, parries, or dodges a melee attack the target will gain 2% of maximum displayed mana.

Level 31-60
Toughness (+1) 5/5: Increases your armor value from items by 10% and reduces the duration of all movement slowing effects by 30%.
Reckoning 3/5: Gives you a 6% chance after being hit by any damaging attack tht the next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec will generate an additional attack.
Sacred Duty 2/2: Increases your total Stamina by 8%, reduces the cooldown of your Divine Shield and Divine Protection spells by 60 seconds.
One-Handed Weapon Specialization 3/3 Increases all damage you deal when a one-handed melee weapon is equipped by 10%.
Holy Shield 1/1: Increases chance to block by 30% for 1-0 sec and deals 274 Holy damage for each attack blocked while active. Each blog expends a charge. 8 charges.
Ardent Defender 3/3: Damage that takes you below 35% health is reduced by 20%. In addition, attacks which would otherwise kill you cause you to be healed by up to 30% of your maximum health. This healing effect cannot occur more than once every 2 min.
Reckoning (+1) 4/5: Gives you an 8% chance after being hit by any damaging attack tht the next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec will generate an additional attack.
Redoubt 3/3: Increases your block value by 30% and damaging melee and ranged attacks against you have a 10% chance to increase your chance to block by 30%. Lasts 10 sec or 5 blocks.
Combat Expertise 2/3: Increases your expertise by 4, total Stamina and chance to critically hit by 4%.
Avenger’s Shield 1/1: Hurls a holy shield at the enemy, dealing Holy damage, Dazing them and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Affects 3 total targets. Lasts 10 sec.
Touched by the Light 3/3: Increases your spell power by an amount equal to 60% of your Strength and increases the amount healed by your critical heals by 30%.
Guarded by the Light 1/2: Reduces spell damage taken by 3% and gives you 50% chance to refresh the duration of your Divine Plea when you hit an enemy. In addition, your Divine Plea spell is 50% less likely to be dispelled.
Shield of the Templar 3/3: Reduces all damage taken by 3% and grants your Avenger’s Shield a 100% chance to silence your targets by 3 sec.
Combat Expertise (+1) 3/3: Increases your expertise by 6, total Stamina and chance to critically hit by 6%.
Guarded by the Light (+1) 2/2: Reduces spell damage taken by 6% and gives you 100% chance to refresh the duration of your Divine Plea when you hit an enemy. In addition, your Divine Plea spell is 100% less likely to be dispelled.
Hammer of the Righteous 1/1: Hammer the current target and up to 2 additional nearby targets, causing 4 times your main hand damage per second as Holy damage.

Level 61-80
Deflection 5/5: Increases your Parry chance by 5%. (Retribution Tree)
Improved Judgements 1/2: Decreases the cooldown of your Judgement spells by 1 sec. (Retribution Tree)
Benediction 4/5: Reduces the mana cost of all instant cast spells by 8%. (Retribution Tree)
Vindication 2/2: Gives the Paladin’s damaging attacks a chance to reduce the target’s attack power by 46 for 10 sec. (Retribution Tree)
Pursuit of Justice 2/2: Reduces the duration of all Disarm effects by 50% and increases movement and mounted movement speed by 15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects. (Retribution Tree)
Crusade 3/3: Increases all damage caused by 3% and all damage caused against Humanoids, Demons, Undead and Elementals by an additional 3%. (Retribution Tree)
Reckoning (+1) 5/5: Gives you a 8% chance after being hit by any damaging attack tht the next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec will generate an additional attack.
Benediction (+1) 5/5: Reduces the mana cost of all instant cast spells by 10%. (Retribution Tree)

Update: Pulling Mobs for AoE
At level 16 you get your first taunt that you will also be using to pull mobs, called Hand of Reckoning. It will taunt a target for you, though it can miss, and if the target is not already targeting you then it will deal Holy damage to them as well. This should be your primary method of pulling mobs throughout the game in order to take advantage of the damage that it deals (1 + half of your Attack Power) to mobs that aren’t already targeting you. You can use this spell to pull additional mobs to you after you’ve already started your AoE grinding, but be sure to use it on mobs that do not already have you targeted so that it will deal damage to them.

At level 20 you get a spell that can be used to pull, called Exorcism. You will generally deal more damage with Exorcism than you will with Hand of Reckoning, but it does have a cast time and using it does remove your ability to damage mobs with HoR if they target you from your Exorcism cast. It’s a ranged spell with a 1.5 second cast, so it’s fairly easy implement its use for pulling as long as you don’t try to cast it during combat which removes all of your avoidance.

The best way I have found to use both Exorcism and HoR in a single pull is to cast HoR on the first target followed by Exorcism either on the same target or an additional target. Personally I would target a second mob for the Exo cast so that I had two mobs that had already taken damage before I start my AoE rotation, but you can do it either way.

At level 50 (assuming you’ve spent your talents as I suggested above) you get your big pull spell which is Avenger’s Shield which will hit up to three targets and dazing them in the process. If you spend talent points in Shield of the Templar as mentioned above, then you also silence those enemies when you hit them which will help you in pulling caster mobs which are usually the bane of your Paladin existence.

Both Avenger’s Shield (AS) and Hand of Reckoning (HoR) can be used while in combat without sacrificing your ability to dodge, parry, and block enemy attacks. HoR needs to be cast on mobs that are not already targeting you to be of any use, but AS can be cast on any mob that is within range and still be beneficial. You can either use it to help kill the mobs you are already fighting, or to pull additional mobs to you.

If you wish to use all three of your pulling spells in a single pull then the best way to do it is to cast HoR on the first mob followed by Avenger’s Shield on either the same mob or one close to it, and then take advantage of the Dazing property of AS to cast Exorcism on another target. If you can use each of the three spells on different mobs then you can get the best results for killing the group quickly. If you have three groups of mobs, or one or two groups along with a pathing mob or two then you’ll have the best setup you can get. It’s alright to cast Exo when you’ve only got one or two mobs on you and they aren’t hitting you hard, but any more than that and you’ll be better off sticking to just HoR and AS.

New Spells: 68-80
Alright, enough with the updates; it’s time to move on to something new. First up on that list is our new spells that open up after level 68.

Avenging Wrath (Level 70) Increases all damage and healing caused by 20% for 20 sec. Cannot be used within 30 sec of being the target of Divine Shield, Divine Protection, or Hand of Protection.

Divine Plea (Level 71) You gain 25% of your total mana over 15 sec, but the amount healed by your Flash of Light, Holy Light, and Holy Shock spells is reduced by 50%.

Shield of Righteousness (Level 75) Slam the target with your shield, causing Holy damage based on your block value plus an additional 390.

Sacred Shield (Level 80) Each time the target takes damage they gain a Sacred Shield, absorbing 500 damage and increasing the paladin’s chance to critically hit with Flash of Light by 50% for up to 6 sec. They cannot gain this effect more than once every 6 sec. Lasts 30 sec. This spell cannot be on more than one target at any one time.

Avenging Wrath is what is often referred to as our “Angel Wings” because that’s the animation put up when you use it; a couple of wings that pop up behind the paladin. It’s a 20% damage increase for 20 seconds that also cuts your healing spells in half while it’s active. If you’re just grinding then you might as well use this whenever it’s not on cooldown just to help you clear the mobs faster. The cooldown is only 3 minutes, which is pretty standard for a cooldown buff.

Divine Plea becomes one of the most welcome additions to your arsenal, providing you with a near constant resupply of your mana while in combat (25% of your mana over it’s duration). It has a 1 minute cooldown and a 15 second duration, but if you’ve spent talent points in Guarded by the Light then you will refresh it’s duration every time you make an attack. “Attack” in this case refers to a melee attack, not a spell. So Judgement of Light will not reset your cooldown, but a melee attack will. This spell should be on you at all times. Use it right before a pull, shortly after a pull, or whenever you are not in combat and need to get some mana back.

Shield of Rightousness is a strong single target attack spell that fits nicely into your rotation. Use it to take down the mobs that you’re fighting even faster, but as a single target spell it’s not as important as other attack options if you find yourself low on mana unless you have only one mob to fight.

Sacred Shield is our reward for reaching the current (as of 3.3) level cap of 80. It’s generally considered more of a healer’s spell than a tank’s, but since we’re soloing here and it does have a useful effect we’ll count it as another tool regardless. It absorbs 500 damage by default, and the amount is increased by our spell power. As I write this my own paladin is only level 78 so I have no personal experience using this spell. As I ponder it though, I don’t think that I would include it in my default grinding rotation, simply because I don’t take much damage right now as it is. It certainly still has it’s place as a damage absorbing spell, but with so many other options available to us for healing and damage prevention I’m not sure that it will matter. Perhaps one of my readers can enlighten us though. (I know Cassinni’s out there somewhere.)

Grinding Locations: Northrend
Once you reach level 68 you have two options open to you. You can either stay in Outlands where your best AoE Grinding will likely be found near the entrance to the Black Temple raid entrance, or you can head on to Northrend. You will have an easier time handling the mobs near black temple, but you will get better rewards overall if you just head straight to Northrend.

If you reach Northrend at 68 then either of the starting zones in Northrend will suffice, otherwise you will do better in Dragonblight though you may have have some gear issues if you’ve skipped questing in Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord.

I will get into further detail on where to go and which mobs in particular you should be grinding on in Part 2.

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Posted by on January 25, 2010 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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