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Paladin Leveling: 50-69 Protection

Now it’s time for our next-to-last guide on leveling your Protection Paladins. This time we’re going to finish up Vanilla, blow through the Burning Crusade content, and get started the Wrath of the Lich King content as well.

Up to this point you have all of the primary tools required for tanking, though you’re still missing some of your defensive cooldowns. At the end of this guide you’ll also have those cooldowns that you’re missing and you’ll finally reach the final talent point in your tree, allowing you to finally be able to branch out into the Holy and Retribution trees.

Playing a Protection Paladin
There’s not much change at all in how you play your Paladin in this level range compared to how you played it in the last. You now have both of your Holy Power generating attacks as well as both of the spells you’ll primarily dump your HP into to use. You’ve got all the tools you need to be an AoE grinding fiend, and you’re virtually immortal so long as you don’t over-pull.

While you’re getting ready to go to Outlands at level 58 I suggest you go ahead and start testing those boundaries to see just how far you can go. Pull five or six mobs and see how you do. Any problems? If so, then you know that your limit is below that. If not, then go pull a couple more and see if you can still survive it. Keep on doing this until you find out where your boundaries are so that you don’t find yourself in situations that you can’t handle. Know your strengths, and utilize them.

As you move into Outlands itself you’re going to end up in a gear reset though, so be prepared to get hit harder once you get there and likely you’ll find you can’t pull nearly as many mobs as you could in Vanilla. Well, not until you get your gear upgraded at least. Once you’ve got the gear upgrades you can start finding those boundaries again.

Prot Paladins truly are a power trip. You have some of the best defenses the game has to offer coupled with some incredible healing and survivability skills, and great damage thrown in as well. You’re not going to kill things as fast as a DPS character will, but you’ll kill more things in shorter time than they could. You also excel in areas filled with Undead or Demon mobs, which is what much of Outlands is all about.

Protection-Specific Tips
The first thing you need to know about this level range is that level 50 opens up your Plate Specialization. Since you’ve chosen the Protection spec, this means that you get a 5% bonus to your Stamina for wearing Plate armor in all of your armor slots, so make sure you’re not still carrying around any Mail pieces that might have been left over; upgrade them as soon as possible. You can probably drop under 50g on the auction house to replace any Mail pieces that you’re still holding onto.

The next thing you need to know is that at level 62 you get access to Crusader Aura which increases your mounted speed by 20%. You’re probably going to have this ability turned on all the time when you’re out running around the world, especially if you have a gathering profession. But remember, you can only have one aura active at a time and having this active while running dungeons is a complete waste. So don’t be a nubcake by leaving your Crusader Aura on or else you’ll make me a sad panda, and I don’t want to be a sad panda. :(

Important Spells & Abilities
There are a lot of spells and abilities that come with being a Paladin, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and limited to only the most important ones for a Protection spec. There are other spells that you’ll get in this level range as well, I leave them out only because I do not find them critical to playing a Prot Paladin.

Level 50-69:

  • Hand of Freedom: Places a Hand on the friendly target, granting immunity to movement impairing effects for 6 sec. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Blessing of Might: Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing attack power by 10% and restoring 326 mana every 5 seconds for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Crusader Aura: Increases the mounted speed by 20% for all party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  • Hand of Salvation: Places a Hand on the party or raid member, reducing their total threat by 2% every 1 sec for 10 sec. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time.

Hand of Freedom is by no means a critical spell, unless you’re a big fan of PvP. However, there are going to be some mobs that start to use some slowing effects on you in this level range were before it was very rare. If you find yourself slowed or rooted in place, then this is the spell that you use to free yourself (or another friendly target). I use this a lot when I’m body pulling several mobs for an AoE grind, especially when there are casters using Frost spells on me.

Blessing of Might is our second blessing. Generally speaking I like to use Might when I’m soloing, and Kings when I’m in a group (unless there’s a Druid in the group, then I’ll Might). It’s an Attack Power buff and it also restores mana, making it a very useful buff, especially when you don’t have any DPS there to provide you with extra firepower.

Crusader Aura, like I mentioned above, is a fantastic buff that gives you an extra 20% mounted movement speed, which makes Paladin an excellent gathering class, and that movement is very useful when you’re leveling by cutting down your travel time between questing hubs and locations. Just don’t forget to turn it off when you’re in dungeons since it does nothing for you there.

Hand of Salvation is a spell that you need to get familiar with as soon as you get it. It reduces threat over time of the target you cast it on, lowering their threat by 2% every second up to a maximum of 20%. If you see someone getting close to you on threat then you want to cast this on them early to be sure they don’t steal it from you. If you’re in a dungeon and you find someone who’s consistently pulling threat, just get used to casting this on them before it becomes an issue each time. Different classes build threat at different speeds so it’s hard for me to tell you when to cast it, so just pay attention and adjust as needed. If they’re stealing it early then cast it right when they start to become an issue, if it takes them a few moments to get it then cast it at the end of your rotation or something to knock them down before it becomes an issue.

Leveling a Protection Paladin
Buffs List: Righteous Fury, Seal of Insight/Truth, Blessing of Might/Kings, Retribution/Devotion Aura
Multi-Target Rotation: Avenger’s Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Wrath, Hammer of the Righteous, Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous
Single-Target Rotation: Exorcism, Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous
Boss Rotation: Avenger’s Shield, Judgement, Divine Plea, Shield of the Righteous, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous

Not much change here except that I’ve added in the Boss Rotation and the Buffs List.

The Buffs List contains the buffs you should have up at all times. You’ll notice that most of those have a This/That option as well. I tend to use Seal of Insight at all times while I’m leveling. Most mobs aren’t going to live long enough to make SoTruth worth it, and it’s better to keep your life and mana topped off instead. For Blessings I generally use Might when soloing and Kings when I’m in a group or a Battle Ground. The Aura is up to you, though I lean towards Retribution unless I’m taking a ton of damage.

The reason why the boss rotation changes from everything else were doing is because you want to start off as strong as possible on the threat front. Avenger’s Shield and Judgement give you a decent start on threat but the real kicker is using Divine Plea which your talents trigger to give you 3 Holy Power and Shield of the Righteousness burns those three for a big burst of threat as well. Doing this should put you far enough ahead of all your DPS that you won’t have to worry about them pulling off of you. Also, if you have your Avenger’s Shield cooldown reset from your talent procs go ahead and fit it in whenever you have a moment to do so.

Talent Spec: Protection 69

  • Vindication 1/1: Your Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous reduce physical damage done by their primary targets by 10% for 30 sec. In addition, your Hammer of Justice will interrupt creatures that are immune to stuns.
  • Guarded by the Light 2/2: Increases your Word of Glory by 10% when used to heal yourself, and allows your Word of Glory to grant Holy Shield. In addition, any overhealing will create a protective shield equal to the amount of overhealing that lasts for 6 sec.
  • Reckoning (+1) 2/2: You have a 20% chance after blocking an attack for your next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec to generate an additional attack.
  • Shield of the Templar 3/3: Reduces the cooldown of Avenging Wrath by 60 sec and Guardian of Ancient Kings by 120 sec. In addition, your Divine Plea will generate 3 Holy Power.
  • Sacred Duty 2/2: Your Judgements have a 50% chance of making your next Shield of the Righteous a critical strike. Lasts 15 sec.
  • Ardent Defender 1/1: Reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. While Ardent Defender is active, the next attack that would otherwise kill you will instead cause you to be healed for 15% of your maximum health.

Vindication reduces the damage we take from the primary target of our CS and HotR attacks by 10%. It also turns Hammer of Justice into a spell interrupt for us to use against targets that are immune to stuns, which are typically elites and dungeon bosses, but also some mob types who are generally immune to stun as well. The main thing though is the damage reduction.

Guarded by the Light is another great defensive tool, increasing the healing we receive from Word of Glory and also allowing WoG to proc Holy Shield for us, so that we can get the defensive buff from HS even when we’re in AoE grinding mode and spending our HP on heals rather than single target DPS from Shield of the Righteous. It also has the added benefit of providing us with a bubble whenever we overheal ourselves with Word of Glory, allowing us to dump HP for addition defense in cases where WoG heals you to full but your other talents make that WoG cast cost no HP, you can cast it again to get a bubble if you need one.

Reckoning we already had one point in, and now we’ve just finished it off. It’s purely a Threat/DPS increase, giving us a chance to get free melee attacks after we block an enemy attack. The best way to (ab)use this talent is by fighting multiple melee mobs at once, so always strive to do so when it’s convenient.

Shield of the Templar reduces some cooldowns that we don’t even have yet which is kind of wasted for right now, but it also provides us with 3 Holy Power instantly when we cast Divine Plea. You can either turn that into an “oh crap-heal!” opportunity to get a full powered WoG cast (or as a bubble from the talent above), or you can use it offensively by popping Divine Plea before you rush in to attack a boss and start the encounter off with a full powered Shield of the Righteous (see the Boss Rotation in the section above).

Sacred Duty is another potential Threat/DPS increase. Every time you cast Judgement on the target you have a 50% chance to ensure your next Shield of the Righteous is a critical strike. The buff lasts for 15 seconds, so if you’re about to cast SHoR and your Judgement is off cooldown, but you don’t have a Sacred Duty proc, start with the Judgement cast first for a chance to score a free crit with your most damaging spell.

Ardent Defender is purely a defensive cooldown. You want to use it when you think you’re about to die. It provides a 20% damage reduction so it’s good to cast at any time, but it’s best used when you really are going to die because it will stop you from dying and instead heal you back up to 15% of your maximum health. If I’m going down I try to pop this when I know I’m a few seconds away from dying and I’ll follow up the Ardent Defender heal when I “die” with either a Lay on Hands for a full heal, or a Divine Plea-fueled Word of Glory heal to try to get myself back on my feat as best I can.

Glyphs
Now that we have access to two of each glyph slot I’m going to include a third option for you to choose from in each category. Glyphs are listed in the order I would suggest you take them.

Prime

Now that you have two slots to fill you need to decide which two are going to be the best for you. I suggest Hammer of the Righteous no matter what. Of the other two I suggest Shield of the Righteous if you’re going to do a lot of dungeon running, and Crusader Strike if you’re more focused on solo questing.

Major

Dazing Shield is the one I suggest you get first as it has the most potential for being useful. Holy Wrath is a close second since you’re going to start running into more Dragonkin and especially Elementals as you continue on. As I’ve said before, Consecration is quickly becoming a thing of the past, so I’m not too fond of it. As my 85 Prot Paladin is currently AoE grinding the crap out of mobs left and right I’m actually using it more and more, but that’s really the only situation where it’s a big deal. Pick up Dazing Shield and then go with whichever of the other two appeals to you more, or pick another one that I didn’t mention if you don’t like the sound of either.

Minor

Pick two and go with it. Since seals only have a 30 minute duration where Blessings are 60 minutes, I suggest you take that as one of them just because you’ll cast it more often, but otherwise it really doesn’t matter.

Protection Macros
Only one new glyph this time, and it’s up to you whether or not you use it.

#showtooltip
/castsequence reset=10 Judgement, Divine Plea, Shield of the Righteous

This macro is one I use when I’m charging in on a boss. Rather than pressing all the buttons I need to cast the spells individually, I just spam this one while I’m running in to face the boss until SHoR goes off. I’ve played around a bit with adding Avenger’s Shield either before or after Judgement, but I prefer to just have it off on it’s own to add it in when I want it or leave it out otherwise.

The idea here is to use Judgement hoping for a Sacred Duty proc to force SHoR to be a crit, then using Divine Plea to get 3 Holy Power for free, and following that up with the actual SHoR cast. It’s the single best way to establish threat on a boss early on. The only thing you can do to improve it is to throw Avenger’s Shield into the mix as I said, though I’d probably start off with it and then spam this one. Whether or not you need that much threat starting off is something you’ll have to decide on your own.

I only use this on bosses though, as it’s not really needed during trash pulls or when soloing.

Gearing Up as Protection
As a melee class we’re looking for stats that impact our melee performance such as Strength, Attack Power, Hit, Crit and Haste. As a tank though, you also want to look for survival stats such as Stamina, Dodge and Parry.

Stat Priority: Strength and Stamina, Dodge and Parry, Other melee stuff

In short, we’re going to stack Strength and Stamina first and foremost, followed by our avoidance stats of Dodge and Parry, and then on to any other DPS stats (attack power, hit, crit, haste, etc). Most of the stats that you want to cap at end game are still rare for us to find even in Outlands (though not as bad as Vanilla was), so this is really all you need to watch out for for the time being.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Melee, Paladin

 

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Paladin Leveling: Protection 30-49

Today we’re going to take the next step in leveling a Prot Paladin, moving through most of the remaining (revamped) vanilla content and pushing ever closer to the world of crappy looking gear known as Outlands.

You get to go through this level range with the majority of your primary tanking tools. You don’t get your defensive cooldowns just yet, but most of the other things will be yours in this level range. The most welcome tool, in my opinion, is Shield of the Righteous which will finally allow you to spend your Holy Power on something other than just Word of Glory heals, which in this case is a bashing your target’s face in with your shield.

Playing a Protection Paladin
A Protection Paladin in this level range will play much like you did in the lower level range (1-29) except that you can now get much more aggressive in combat and you can likely handle larger pulls as well. This is the level range in my questing where I stopped trying to gather 3 quest mobs at once and instead bumped it up to 5-10.

With some better defense spells opening up as well as some more powerful attacks and moving into areas where you’re more likely to find undead mobs, you’re able to get a lot more aggressive and really enjoy the total power trip that only a Paladin can truly be.

Protection-Specific Tips
I already covered the basics such as Holy Power usage, Judgement and Seals, Auras and so forth in the 1 – 29 Guide if you feel you need a refresher on that, so this time we’re going to look a little closer at what you do to actually embrace the tanking spec.

First thing’s first – USE RIGHTEOUS FURY!!! If I see one more Paladin “tank” without RF on I’m going to go into an Unrighteous Fury of killing rabbits and squirrels all over the world. Do you hear me? Cute, fluffy animals will die all over Azeroth if you don’t have your Righteous Fury active! Do not test me… *cough* Alright, moving on then.

You have two abilities that generate Holy Power: Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous. If you’re tanking a single target then you use Crusader Strike, otherwise you use Hammer of the Righteous. That part of the equation is really that simple (though you may prefer to use CS on 2-3 targets depending on the sitation, always an exception, so on and so forth). These general rules apply regardless of where you’re at or what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter if you’re tanking in LFG or if you’re solo questing or AoE grinding to farm mats – that’s how you do it.

At level 39 you finally have to start making a choice for how to spend your Holy Power. Just like building the Power, you have two abilities that spend the power too. You can either get a very nice heal from Word of Glory (WoG), or you can deal a very solid amount of damage to a single target with Shield of the Righteous (ShoR). Which you use, and how often, are going to depend entirely on your situation. If you need a heal and there’s not a healer with you then WoG is the obvious choice. If you need additional AoE threat then WoG can be a better solution than ShoR, even if you don’t actually need the heal. If you’re trying to burn down a particular mob, then ShoR is your best bet if you’re not in danger on the health front.

When pulling a group of mobs I follow one of two basic strategies: Body Pulling and Avenger’s Shield. Since I like to do a lot of AoE grinding the Body Pull is my most common method because I’ll body pull several groups of mobs at once. The key to successful body pulling is knowing when you can just run and when you need to strafe or back pedal. If you’re just running and mobs are trailing behind you then you lose all of your avoidance and just let the mobs spank you as you go. If you strafe away from them or walk backwards towards other mobs, then you don’t lose all of that extra protection. Pulling with Avenger’s Shield loads some threat right away as well as silencing the targets which is the much safer route in LFG.

If you’re doing LFG, don’t pull mobs with Hand of Reckoning. Never throw away your taunts to pull additional mobs before you know how the other people in your group play. You do get a second taunt in this level range that gives you a little more forgiveness if you do, but while HoR dealt damage to mobs not targeting you in previous patches it’s now just a typical taunt that sets you back on top of the threat list. Pulling with it is a waste unless you’ve got complete control of all mobs. Regardless, it’s a bad habit to get into, so save yourself some trouble later in your career by not getting into that habit early on.

Important Spells & Abilities
There are a lot of spells and abilities that come with being a Paladin, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and limited to only the most important ones for a Protection spec. There are other spells that you’ll get in this level range as well, I leave them out only because I do not find them critical to playing a Ret paladin.

Level 30-39:
Divine Protection (30): [1 minute cooldown] Reduces all damage taken by 20% for 10 sec.
Seal of Insight (32): Fills the Paladin with divine power for 30 min, giving each single-target melee attack a chance to heal the Paladin and restore 4% of the paladin’s base mana. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time. Unleashing this Seal’s energy will deal Holy damage to an enemy and restore 15% of the Paladin’s base mana.
Righteous Defense (36): Come to the defense of a friendly target, commanding up to 3 enemies attacking the target to attack the Paladin instead.

Divine Protection is one of your best defensive tools in this early stage. It also has the wonderful added effect of not being tied to the global cooldown, meaning that you can (and should) macro this to one of your attacks so that it’s active as often as possible. I use a macro to cast this on myself when I cast Crusader Strike so that I don’t waste any of it’s uptime while I’m not engaged in melee combat.

Seal of Insight is the seal that I prefer above all others for most of my play. If you need additional threat you can get that from Seal of Truth which you get at level 44, but otherwise this is your main source of keeping your health and mana high.

Righteous Defense is the other taunt I mentioned up above. It pulls up to three mobs off of one of your party members and redirects them to you. A lot of Paladin tanks like to use this with what’s called a mouse-over macro so that you don’t have to target someone to actually cast it (thereby losing your current target), but I prefer assigning it to my Healbot addon which shows me when someone has threat. There are a lot of ways you can use this with macros and addons, so find one that works for. If I see the mobs leaving me soon enough I’ll also just cast it on one of the mobs heading towards the target and it works as though I’d cast it on the person instead, so whatever works.

Level 40-49:
Divine Plea (44): You gain 10% of your total mana over 15 sec, but the amount healed by your healing spells is reduced by 50%.
Seal of Truth (44): Fills the Paladin with holy power, causing single-target attacks to Censure the target, which deals additional Holy damage over 15 sec. Censure can stack up to 5 times. Once stacked to 5 times, each of the Paladin’s attacks also deals 9% weapon damage as additional Holy damage. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time. Lasts 30 min. Unleashing this Seal’s energy will deal Holy damage to an enemy, increased by 10% for each application of Censure on the target.
Hammer of Wrath (46): Hurls a hammer that strikes an enemy for 442 to 488 Holy damage. Only usable on enemies that have 20% or less health.
Divine Shield (48): Protects the paladin from all damage and spells for 8 sec, but reduces all damage you deal by 50%. Once protected, the target cannot be targeted by Divine Shield or Hand of Protection again for 2 min.

Divine Plea is another great tool for restoring your mana, and one that I’ll often use during boss fights if I switch to Seal of Truth. It’s not as useful now as it will be later on, but it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with it early. It only restores 10% of your mana, so it’s not great, but it can help. It has the drawback of reducing your healing spells by 50% which can hurt in soloing situations, so while I have my WoG set to cast in my HealBot as well, I also have a WoG macro on my action bar that cancels Divine Plea before it casts the heal so that my healing isn’t nerfed when I seriously need it.

Seal of Truth is for when you’re dealing with single targets and need to firmly establish threat. It can help while soloing group quests as well if you really need the extra damage, though I tend to use Seal of Insight for the healing and mana restoration for those personally. If you’re having threat issues on a boss though, this is your answer.

Hammer of Wrath is your execute spell. If a mob drops to 20% health or below you chuck this sucker at them to finish them off. It’s not going to kill every single target you use it on (particularly bosses), but if you use it on trash mobs or questing mobs while they’re low on health you can pretty well count on them being dead.

Divine Shield is the notorious Paladin bubble used for the bubble-hearth of old. It doesn’t last long enough for bubble-hearthing any more, but I never really used it for such anyway so I couldn’t care less. The good thing about this bubble though is that you’re immune to everything the game will throw at you outside of PvP. It’s total immunity to just about everything. You do take a 50% cut to your damage dealing while it’s active, but the only time you’ll really cast this is when you’re about to die anyway. Cast the bubble, heal yourself to full, and then go right back to laying the smack down.

Leveling a Protection Paladin
Multi-Target Rotation: Avenger’s Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Wrath, Hammer of the Righteous, Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous
Single-Target Rotation: Exorcism, Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous

While you’re questing you have two options. The first is to just keep on doing single target like it’s going out of style (it’s already out of style), the second is to do multiple mobs at once. I’m still a huge fan of AoE grinding, so I like to have at least 3 mobs on me at all times.

If you’re facing a boss in LFG then you might want to switch from Seal of Insight to Seal of Truth for the additional damage and threat that goes with it, but if you’re doing single-target questing I’d stick with Seal of Insight since SoT isn’t likely to stack high enough to matter on a mob that’s not going to live long anyway. Better to keep the health and mana topped off to keep going than to save yourself 2 seconds if you’re lucky.

The one exception to ShoR being primarily used on single-target is that once you reach level 49 and place a talent point in Holy Shield, ShoR triggers Holy Shield to provide an additional 10% damage reduction from shield blocks for 20 seconds. If you’re doing very large pulls or are facing hard-hitting melee opponents, spending your first Holy Power on ShoR to trigger Holy Shield is a good way to help keep you alive. You’ll get a feel for when to cast it, and how early/often as you play more and more.

Talent Spec: Protection 49

  • Sanctuary 3/3: Reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by melee attacks by 6% and reduces all damage taken by 10%. In addition when you block or dodge a melee attack you gain 3% of maximum mana.
  • Wrath of the Lightbringer 1/2: Increases the damage by 50% of your Crusader Strike and Judgement and increases the critical strike chance by 15% of your Holy Wrath and Hammer of Wrath.
  • Shield of the Righteous 1/1:
  • Slam the target with your shield, causing Holy damage. Consumes all charges of Holy Power to determine damage dealt.

  • Wrath of the Lightbringer (+1) 2/2: Increases the damage by 100% of your Crusader Strike and Judgement and increases the critical strike chance by 30% of your Holy Wrath and Hammer of Wrath.
  • Grand Crusader 2/2: When your Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous deal damage to your primary target, they have a 20% chance of refreshing the cooldown on your next Avenger’s Shield.
  • Reckoning 1/2: You have a 10% chance after blocking an attack for your next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec to generate an additional attack.
  • Holy Shield 1/1: Using Shield of the Righteous or Inquisition increases the amount your shield blocks by an additional 10% for 20 sec.

Sanctuary is all about keeping you alive and keeping your mana topped off. It’s one of the best talents in the tree and one you definitely don’t want to pass up. Wrath of the Lightbringer is one that a lot of Paladin’s go back and forth on whether to take it or leave it. It’s purely a DPS increase, which in turn is a threat increase, so it’s nice but not required. I take it because I like to kill stuff, but you may prefer getting more points into either Reckoning for some free melee swings or perhaps Divinity back up on the first tier for increased healing if you want more survivability.

Shield or the Righteous has a higher damage potential than everything else available to you, and it’s where you’ll dump your Holy Power when you don’t need to heal. It’s also the key to triggering another one of important defensive talents, Holy Shield, which we’ll talk about in just a second.

Grand Crusader is a lot like Wrath of the Lightbringer in that it’s all about giving you additional damage, but this time in the form of resetting your Avenger’s Shield cooldown so that you can cast it more often. Since you’re leveling in this bracket I strongly suggest it as a leveling talent, though if you’re going to be a raider you’ll likely not bother with it once you reach level cap. For leveling though, especially with AoE grinding, this talent is excellent.

Reckoning is a talent I go back and forth on, I’m not sure yet whether I love it or hate it. Free attacks are free attacks, but it doesn’t appeal to me as much as it used to . I’ll leave it to you to decide whether you want to spend more or less points in this one.

Holy Shield wraps it up for this level range, providing an extra 10% damage reduction on shield blocks. While ShoR is a single target attack, Holy Shield makes casting it when fighting groups of trash worth it. In AoE grinding you might want to spend your first Holy Power on ShoR just to trigger the extra damage reduction and then refresh it every 18-20 seconds so that Holy Shield stays up as often as possible.

Glyphs
I’m going to list at least two options for each glyph type that you can choose from, and below each section I’ll mention why I choose them and under which circumstances I might change from one to another.

Prime

These are your two best choices for threat and damage. Do you want to have better threat against trash (HotR) or better threat against bosses (CS)? That’s the question, and your choice of glyph is your answer. I prefer to go with HotR because I like to AoE while I’m questing as well, so it’s just more valuable for me to take it over CS.

Major

The more I play as Prot, the more I think Consecration is a thing of the past. I just don’t need it. I do go ahead and use it when I’m doing some serious AoE grinding and pulling way more mobs than I really should be, but otherwise it’s really just a waste of a cooldown and the mana that goes with it these days. It’s good to use in LFG if you’re having threat issues, but otherwise it kind of sucks right now. If you need the threat, take it, otherwise go for Dazing Shield.

Minor

As with most classes, our minor glyphs kind of suck. Most Paladin minor glyphs right now just reduce the mana cost of spells that you’ll likely only cast outside of combat anyway, where casting your buffs and then drinking to restore your mana would negate the glyph’s use, not to mention we don’t care about mana much to begin with. But, these are the main glyphs we can use at this level range, so there you have it. If you’re going to do LFG a lot, then go with Kings since you’ll cast it more often, but if you’re going to solo/quest more then Insight will give you more “savings” in the long run since it’s duration is half as long as Kings.

Protection Macros
I don’t use a whole lot of fancy macros on my Paladin just yet, but I do have a few that are particularly useful.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cancelaura Blessing of Protection
/cast Crusader Strike [same for Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous, etc]
/cast Divine Protection [only on the Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous]

This is the one that I mentioned up above that cancels my BoP right before I attack. BoP gives you immunity to physical damage, but at the expense of not allowing you to attack. Generally you want to cast this when you need to heal yourself (if you’re targeting yourself), so after you’re finished healing it’s time to get back to combat rather than just waiting for it to end itself. Basically this one saves me the trouble of canceling the buff myself.

I use a version of this macro for all of my primary attack spells as I mention in the macro text itself. The one difference is that I only apply the Divine Protection cast to Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous. I’m more likely to take a lot of damage once I close in to melee range than I am from max range for Avenger’s Shield, so I don’t want to waste some of the protection time while closing the gap. Using it on my melee abilities means it’s going to cast at the most important time and give me the most protection possible.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast [modifier:alt] Consecration
/castsequence reset=combat/9 Holy Wrath, Consecration, Holy Wrath

This macro I use for my AoE, just to save space on my bar. I don’t cast Consecration as often as I do Holy Wrath, and if I have an option between the two I generally go with HW unless the fight is going to last long enough for Consecration to be worth it. So using this you’ll cast Holy Wrath and for the next 9 seconds or until you cast it the button will change to cast Consecrate instead. For long fights with lots of AoE I have it cycle to another cast of Holy Wrath. You also have the option of holding Alt to force a Consecrate cast if you can’t or don’t want to use Holy Wrath.

I actually modified the version of this that I use to just be a simple HW cast by default, or a Consecrate cast if I hold Alt when I activate it just because I almost never cast Consecrate now. Consecrate used to be the spell I looked forward to getting the most, but now it’s just another crappy spell taking up space in my spellbook.

#showtooltip
/cancelaura Divine Plea
/cast Word of Glory

This is the one that I mentioned I keep on my action bars even though I have a healing addon that casts most of my heals for me. Divine Plea cuts your heals in half, so if you’ve used it to get your mana back but find yourself in sudden need of a heal this will cancel your Divine Plea, meaning you don’t get any more mana back but your heals will work fully.

Gearing Up as Protection
As a melee class we’re looking for stats that impact our melee performance such as Strength, Attack Power, Hit, Crit and Haste. As a tank though, you also want to look for survival stats such as Stamina, Dodge and Parry.

Stat Priority: Strength and Stamina, Dodge and Parry, Other melee stuff

In short, we’re going to stack Strength and Stamina first and foremost, followed by our avoidance stats of Dodge and Parry, and then on to any other DPS stats (attack power, hit, crit, haste, etc). Most of the stats that you want to cap at end game don’t even exist in the early stages, so this is really all you need to watch out for.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Macro, Melee, Paladin, Play Styles

 

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Paladin Leveling: Protection 1-29

I was playing a Prot Paladin when I first started blogging, in fact it was the Paladin that got me started on it in the first place. It took my AoE Grinding game to a whole new level, allowed me to solo content that I otherwise would never have been able to, and it’s really what kick started the whole process of writing the leveling guides for me. You can thank my first Paladin, Lexington, for everything this blog has become.

But all of that happened several patches ago. I got my Prot Paladin to Northrend and hadn’t tanked a single instance that I can remember. I was a group quest soloing fool, doing my best to mass pull entire zones full of mobs just to see how far I could push it. Then came the nerfs. Then came my dislike of Northrend. Then came my new found love for twinking. Then my wife decided Horde was getting old and she wanted to try Alliance – on a new server. Then I met Cynwise. Then I found a home server I could really love. Then I found a great guild. All that added up to Lexington being left sitting on an abandoned server at level 74, doomed to not see the light of login for over a year.

When I did finally log back into him I found a new purpose, which was grinding reputation for enchants I wanted on the server that had changed with the 4.0.1 patch. I dropped his Prot spec for Ret and started laying waste to instances, and it was fun. I decided to grind honor to buy him a good two-hander and when I finally got it I just couldn’t spend it. That much honor could also buy me a sword and shield. Cool two-hander, or tanking toys… and so it was that I switched back to Protection and with the changes of Cataclysm my love for Prot was reborn. I rolled a new Prot Pally to level with my wife on a RAF account and found that I like it even more, even from a low level perspective.

Playing a Protection Paladin
Paladins play differently than they used to now that we have Holy Power thrown into the mix. In many ways they’re the same, but there are enough differences that the class will not feel the same leveling it up this time that it did prior to 4.0. Paladins have been “overpowered” for a while now, having some of the best defensive skills backed powerful healing and some great damage potential as well.

Paladins used to be incredibly boring to get through the first 30-40 levels with because they had almost no attack spells at all. You used auto-attack and Judgement and that was about it. Luckily 4.x changed that for us by giving us both Crusader Strike at level 1, and also bringing in Avenger’s Shield at level 10 when you choose the Prot spec. Now not only do you have attacks that you can use all the time, but you’re also dealing some significant damage with them.

The days of boring leveling are over. A new age of overpowered has begun, and Paladins are leading the charge.

Protection-Specific Tips
To start this section off, we’re going to look first at the perks of choosing the Retribution tree. The keystone ability you get for choosing Prot is Avenger’s Shield, an instant ranged attack that throws your shield at the target dealing Holy damage, silencing, and interrupting spell casting for 3 seconds, and then bounces to up to two more additional mobs within range of the target. You also get Vengeance which converts the damage you take into Attack Power (5% damage converted to AP, up to 10% of your health). These two really help you in your tanking, both with damage and threat.

You also get Touched by the Light granting you a 15% Stamina boost, +8% spell Hit and bonus Spell Power equal to 60% of your Strength. Finally, there’s Judgements of the Wise which causes your Judgement to grant 30% of your mana over 10 seconds. “Touched” helps ensure that your taunts always hit as well as giving a sweet Stamina boost and a buff to your Spell Power based on your primary offensive stat (Strength) so that your Avenger’s Shield and Consecrate (in particular) deal enough damage to matter.

Holy Power
Our new mechanic, Holy Power, is similar(ish) to a Rogue’s combo points. You build Holy Power by using certain abilities, primarily Crusader Strike, but they build up on you rather than on your target and they expire with time or when consumed by another ability. You can store up to three Holy Power at a time, and the abilities that use it increase in power with each point. At level 29 you get your other HP building attack, Hammer of the Righteous which you’ll use in place of Crusader Strike when fighting multiple targets.

Rather than having finishing moves, Paladins can burn their Holy Power with either healing spells or additional attacks, and since the HP stacks on you rather than the target you can kill one enemy by building up your HP and then kill another by spending the HP built on the first target. When soloing elites or fighting bosses in a dungeon, you can also contribute a great deal of instant-cast healing by using your HP with Word of Glory. I’ll get into the details of that further down.

For this level range your HP is going to be spent on Word of Glory heals, and that’s it. Heal yourself or heal somebody in the group. It doesn’t matter what you do with it, just be sure to spend it if there’s a need for it. I ran a random dungeon with my new Paladin at 38 and the healer asked why I kept healing. WoG is the only HP dump we have at this level so you either use it or lose it.

Self Healing
There’s one thing you’re going to need to be aware of at end game just as much as you are now at low level, and that’s healing yourself. With the Prot talents you have a chance to make your Word of Glory consume no HP, meaning you can cast it and then recast it and potentially re-recast it at times. If you’re in a group you can do this to help your healer by throwing heals to people who are low now and then, but you can also cast it on yourself which is what I tend to do most often.

When you finish a pull though, whether you’re in a dungeon or just questing, take a look at your health. If you aren’t topped off then go ahead and spend any excess HP you’re holding onto for a WoG cast to refill. If you don’t have any HP to spend then take a look at the ground around you. Do you see any critters? If so, go use Crusader Strike on the critter get in a charge of HP and then use it on WoG. The good thing about Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous is that they give you HP when you cast them, regardless of who/what you cast them on. Save a tank, kill a squirrel.

Seals and Judgement
A Seal is a Paladin-specific buff which typically adds some sort of extra bonus to your attacks. In this level range our only Seal is Seal of Righteousness which adds some Holy damage to each of our attacks. The Seal in use also determines the power of your Judgement spell, which in this case is just extra Holy damage.

There used to be multiple forms of Judgement, and they used to do different things based on your seal, but now it’s all an amount of damage. Seal of Righteousness provides the single highest Judgement damage of all the Seals at this time. Note that Judgement can only be cast if you have a Seal active, so always make sure that buff is up or else you lose access to one of your most useful attack spells.

Auras
Auras are another Paladin-specific buff, but these apply to your whole raid as long as they are within 40 yards of you. Our aura for most of this level range is Devotion Aura which provides a nice bonus to our Armor, which you may or may not replace at level 26 with Retribution Aura which deals damage to enemies whenever they hit you.

There are several auras to choose from as you get higher in level, but Retribution and Devotion are the two auras you’ll use most often while leveling. I generally run around in Retribution aura because the extra DPS appeals to me more than the extra survivability of Devotion, especially with Word of Glory in our tool belt now.

Devotion Aura doesn’t grant all that much armor so it’s not crucial, but Retribution Aura similarly doesn’t deal all that much damage to mobs that attack you. So use whichever one you like. If you find you’re taking more damage than you want, then switch to Devo, while if you’re not having survivability issues then Ret Aura will at least help you kill a little bit faster.

Important Spells & Abilities
There are a lot of spells and abilities that come with being a Paladin, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and limited to only the most important ones for a Retribution spec. There are other spells that you’ll get in this level range as well, I leave them out only because I do not find them critical to playing a Ret paladin.

Level 1-10:

  • Crusader Strike (1): An instant strike that causes 120% weapon damage.
  • Judgement (3): Unleashes the energy of a Seal to judge an enemy for Holy damage.
  • Seal of Righteousness (3): Fills the Paladin with holy spirit for 30 min, granting each single-target melee attack additional Holy damage. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time.
  • Devotion Aura (5): Gives additional armor to party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Hammer of Justice (7): Stuns the target for 6 sec.
  • Word of Glory (9): Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for 115 to 127 per charge of Holy Power.

Crusader Strike is your key to Holy Power generation until level 29, at which point it will share the load with Hammer of the Righteous. It also does a decent amount of damage and is your bread and butter attack against bosses or other single targets as you’ll cast it basically every other global cooldown. Once you get Hammer of the Righteous you’ll switch back and forth between the two depending on the situation.

Seal of Righteousness and Devotion Aura are the two buffs that you want to have up at all times. Auras have no duration and persist through death, so the one you have active when you die will still be active when your rez. Seals are only 30 minute buffs though, and must be active in order for you to use Judgement, so be sure to have your Seal active at all times, and if it gets dispelled during combat be sure to reapply it right away.

Hammer of Justice seems mostly PvP related, but it’s also great for questing and dungeons to either stop running mobs or to interrupt an enemy spellcaster. It’s also great for stunning a mob long enough to get off a Crusader Strike followed by a Word of Glory when you’re in desperate need of a heal, or to stun a mob and then use your Mining/Herbalism before somebody comes and steals your node.

Word of Glory is an amazing spell, one of my favorite additions to the Paladin. It’s an instant cast heal that requires no mana, instead healing you for an amount based on how much Holy Power you have available. Unlike most of your other HP abilities, WoG heals you for a flat amount, multiplied by the HP used. So if it heals you for 120 with a single point of HP, then it will heal you for 360 if you have three points of HP. So if you’re in a fight for your life then you can alternate Crusader Strike-Word of Glory, or you can build up a bigger stack if healing isn’t quite so time sensitive.

Level 11-19:

  • Flash of Light (16): A quick, expensive heal that heals a friendly target for 392 to 438.
  • Lay on Hands (16): Heals a friendly target for an amount equal to the Paladin’s maximum health and restores 160 of their mana. If used on self, the Paladin cannot be targeted by Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Hand of Protection, or self-targeted Lay on Hands again for 2 min.
  • Exorcism (18): Causes Holy damage to an enemy target. If the target is Undead or Demon, it will always critically hit.
  • Hand of Protection (18): A targeted party or raid member is protected from all physical attacks for 10 sec, but during that time they cannot attack or use physical abilities. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time. Once protected, the target cannot be targeted by Divine Shield or Hand of Protection again for 2 min.

I mention Flash of Light rather than Holy Light because enough though FoL cost 3x as much mana as HL, the cast time is significantly reduced, and if you need a heal badly enough that you’re going to spend a cast time on it, you want to make sure it’s big enough to be worth it. If you need to heal, and you need it now, then FoL is the way to go if Word of Glory won’t cover it and/or Lay on Hands is on cooldown. Our other big heal, the top dog of all heals, Lay on Hands appears at the same level. If you, or someone else is about to die, this is a literal life saver. The strongest healing spell in the game, even on a crit, can’t top the healing potential of this bad boy.

Exorcism isn’t used quite so often as Prot, but it is useful for ranged pulls or for killing fleeing targets. While leveling I’ll usually start off a boss fight with Exorcism for my pull followed by an immediate Avenger’s Shield so that I can front load my threat as much as possible. If you’re facing a group of trash with 4+ targets you can also pull with this targeting one on the far left or right side of the pack and then casting Avenger’s Shield on the target on the opposite end so that you can load damage only all of the targets.

Hand of Protection is one of the Paladin’s “bubbles”, preventing all physical damage to the friendly target that you cast it on. The good thing is, this will keep you alive against all forms of physical damage, including falling damage. The bad thing is, it does nothing at all against Magic damage and it prevents you for using any attack spells either. The best use for this, other than jumping off of cliffs, is to use it when you have no Holy Power, Lay on Hands is unavailable, and you’re being attacked by physical mobs. Pop HoP for immunity and then use your spells to heal yourself back to full. This is about the only time I bother casting Holy Light as I have the time to safely use it with its long cast time rather than spending additional mana on FoL.

One thing to note about HoP, if you’ve gotten the use out of it that you need (such as an emergency heal), you can right-click on the buff to cancel it, which will remove the restriction of attacking. I have a /cancelaura macro attached to my Crusader Strike for this purpose which I’ll have down in the macros section below. Another side note on this one, is that it will give you the Going Down achievement if you don’t already have it. Just get to a ridiculous height and jump, then wait until you’re a few seconds from hitting the ground to cast it.

Level 21-29:

  • Blessing of Kings (22): Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Intellect by 5%, and all magical resistances for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Consecration (24): Consecrates the land beneath the Paladin, doing Holy damage over 10 sec to enemies who enter the area.
  • Retribution Aura (26): Causes 9 Holy damage to any enemy that strikes a party or raid member within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Holy Wrath (28): Sends bolts of holy power in all directions, causing Holy damage divided among all targets within 10 yds and stunning all Demons, Dragonkin, Elementals and Undead for 3 sec.
  • Hammer of the Righteous (29): Hammers the current target for 30% weapon damage, causing a wave of light that hits all targets within 8 yards for Holy damage. Grants a charge of Holy Power.

Blessing of Kings is another buff that you want to have up at all times, increasing your main stats by 5% and giving you some magic resistance as well. The blessing changed in 4.0.1 so that they now hit your whole party and they last for 1 hour as regular and greater blessings were combined into one.

Consecration is a decent ability to use if you’re in a big group of mobs, but the damage isn’t as good as it used to be and the mana cost is ridiculous, not to mention the cooldown was increased. Prior to 29 this is your only source of AoE threat, so you’re going to use it. As you get higher in level you’ll be able to reduce the mana cost significantly, but for now use it only when you have to.

Retribution Aura is our DPS aura, allowing us to deal extra damage by getting hit. You’re now a metal porcupine, congratulations. Holy Wrath is our new AoE spell of choice. It used to only work on undead and demons, but now it works on everything and applies a stun to specific types of mobs. The damage works for everything though and the animation actually looks cool now compared to what it was in the previous version. If you want to spend mana on AoE, do it with Holy Wrath, not Consecration (for now).

Leveling a Protection Paladin
Starter Rotation: Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike
Questing Rotation: Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike
LFG Trash Rotation Pre-29: Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike
LFG Trash Rotation 29+: Avenger’s Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Wrath, Hammer of the Righteous, Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous
LFG Boss Rotation: Exorcism, Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike

The Starter Rotation is what you’ll use prior to level 10. Basically just switch back and forth between Crusader Strike and Judgement until everything is dead.

While you’re questing you have two options. The first is to just keep on doing single target forever, the second is to do multiple mobs at once. I’m still a huge fan of AoE grinding, so I like to have at least 3 mobs on me at all times. When you first get Avenger’s Shield you can one-shot three mobs at a time with it, and if some do survive by some miracle then you can easily finish them off with CS and Judgements. If you’re going single target then go ahead and lead with Avenger’s Shield, but if you’re doing multiple mobs then save the shield until you have at least three mobs grouped together.

Before you get Hammer of the Righteous at level 29 your LFG Trash rotation is basically the same as what you’ve used for questing. Make sure your groups know what kind of pulling method you’re going to use though, so they’re not charging ahead when they need to hold back, and they’re not holding back when you’re ready for them to charge ahead. Let them know how you handle things so that they can adjust accordingly. Feel free to switch Judgement and Holy Wrath in the rotation if you find that you’re having mana issues. It’s better to have too much mana regen going on than not enough. Hammer of the Righteous takes the place of Crusader Strike so long as there are three or more mobs to attack. I tend to stick with HotR until I’m down to just one, but that’s a personal preference.

Boss fights are pretty simple for us as we don’t have a whole lot going on. Paladins have a very simple rotation that’s easy to stick to. Don’t bother with HotR unless the boss spawns adds or something as CS gives you better damage against a single target which in turn is better threat generation. The Exorcism cast is really only for the initial pull, so don’t bother trying to keep it in an actual rotation as casting spells strips your avoidance and makes you easier to hit.

Talent Spec: Protection 29

  • Seals of the Pure 2/2: Increases the damage done by your Seal of Righteousness, Seal of Truth, and Seal of Justice by 12%.
  • Eternal Glory: Your Word of Glory has a 30% chance not to consume Holy Power.
  • Divinity 2/2:Increases all healing done by you and all healing effects on you by 2%.
  • Judgements of the Just 2/2: Your Judgement reduces the melee and ranged attack speed of the target by 20% for 20 seconds. In addition, increases the duration of your Seal of Justice effect by 1 second.
  • Toughness 3/3: Increases the critical effect chance of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Word of Glory by 15%.
  • Hammer of the Righteous 1/1: Hammer the current target for 30% weapon damage, causing a wave of light that hits all targets within 8 yards for Holy damage. Grants a charge of Holy Power.

We start off with Seals of the Pure because it’s the only damage increase you can get at that level so it’s the only thing that’s going to help you in questing which is your only option at this point. It’s not a lot of damage, but it’s more than you had before so you’ll take it. Eternal Glory gives your Word of Glory a chance to consume no Holy Power meaning that you can cast it back to back (to back) for lots of healing. Healing is a good way to generate AoE threat early on which is another reason why you should us WoG whenever you have a full three charges of HP just sitting there. The one point in Divinity is mostly just to get us to the next tier, but it does help our healers.

If you find that you have survivability issues, you may consider switching the two points from either of the other talents in the first tier to Divinity to give your healers an extra 4% bonus healing on you. Paladins seem squishy to me when I heal them in the 19’s bracket on my twinks, but I never had problems myself.

Judgements of the Just slows down the attack speed of mobs that are hitting you, so it’s a good survivability tool that also helps in PvP. For this level range that’s all it does for us. Toughness increases your Armor for even more survivability. You are a tank after all, so getting hit in the face is kind of your thing; you might as well make it hurt less.

And we finish up this level range with Hammer of the Righteous for some yummy AoE goodness. This used to hit only three targets (four if glyphed), but now it hits everything within 8 yards of your target. It shares a cooldown with Crusader Strike so you either have to use one or the other. When you have multiple mobs you want this, and when you’re facing just one you want to use CS instead.

Glyphs
I’m going to list at least two options for each glyph type that you can choose from, and below each section I’ll mention why I choose them and under which circumstances I might change from one to another.

Prime

These are your two best choices for threat and damage. Do you want to have better threat against trash (HotR) or better threat against bosses (CS)? That’s the question, and your choice of glyph is your answer. I prefer to go with HotR because I like to AoE while I’m questing as well, so it’s just more valuable for me to take it over CS.

Major

Using Consecration makes the high mana cost and short durability of Consecration a bit less painful, allowing you to make more use of it when tanking. I don’t like having threat issues, so I like to use Consecrate when I can afford it. Dazing Shield is useful, though not necessary as it slows down the targets that it hits. It’s great for kiting or for setting up really large pulls and such, but you probably don’t want to get into the habit of doing that too much if you’re not familiar with tanking. I always end up using this glyph because I like to get a little creative with my shield casts, but that’s me.

Minor

As with most classes, our minor glyphs kind of suck. Most Paladin minor glyphs right now just reduce the mana cost of spells that you’ll likely only cast outside of combat anyway, where casting your buffs and then drinking to restore your mana would negate the glyph’s use, not to mention we don’t care about mana much to begin with. But, these are the only glyphs we can use at this level range, so there you have it. You’ll at least be casting Kings on everyone in LFG and on yourself while questing, so you might as well pick that one up first.

Protection Macros
I don’t use a whole lot of fancy macros on my Paladin just yet, but I do have a few that are particularly useful.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cancelaura Blessing of Protection
/cast Crusader Strike [same for Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous, etc]

This is the one that I mentioned up above that cancels my BoP right before I attack. BoP gives you immunity to physical damage, but at the expense of not allowing you to attack. Generally you want to cast this when you need to heal yourself (if you’re targeting yourself), so after you’re finished healing it’s time to get back to combat rather than just waiting for it to end itself. Basically this one saves me the trouble of canceling the buff myself.

I use a version of this macro for all of my primary attack spells as I mention in the macro text itself.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast [modifier:alt] Consecration
/castsequence reset=combat/9 Holy Wrath, Consecration, Holy Wrath

This macro I use for my AoE, just to save space on my bar. I don’t cast Consecration as often as I do Holy Wrath, and if I have an option between the two I generally go with HW unless the fight is going to last long enough for Consecration to be worth it. So using this you’ll cast Holy Wrath and for the next 9 seconds or until you cast it the button will change to cast Consecrate instead. For long fights with lots of AoE I have it cycle to another cast of Holy Wrath. You also have the option of holding Alt to force a Consecrate cast if you can’t or don’t want to use Holy Wrath.

Gearing Up as Protection
As a melee class we’re looking for stats that impact our melee performance such as Strength, Attack Power, Hit, Crit and Haste. As a tank though, you also want to look for survival stats such as Stamina, Dodge and Parry.

Stat Priority: Strength and Stamina, Dodge and Parry

In short, we’re going to stack Strength and Stamina first and foremost, followed by our avoidance stats of Dodge and Parry, and then on to any other DPS stats (attack power, hit, crit, haste, etc). Most of the stats that you want to cap at end game don’t even exist in the early stages, so this is really all you need to watch out for.

If you have access to heirloom gear and want to know which ones to use:
Venerable Dal’Rend’s Sacred Charge or Venerable Mass of McGowan with the Crusader enchant
Polished Breastplate of Valor with the Greater Stats enchant (+4 all)
Polished Spaulders of Valor
Swift Hand of Justice two of these

If you don’t have access to BoA items then you want to look for gear via dungeons. Here is a short list of items that come to mind for me:

Ragefire Chasm
Subterranean Cape Cloak, +4 Str, +4 Agi
Cavedweller Bracers Wrist, +3 Str, +3 Stam
Stone Guard Greaves Legs, +4 Str, +5 Stam, +4 Crit [Horde-only Quest]

Deadmines
Cape of the Brotherhood Cloak, +5 Agi, +3 Stam
Cookie’s Tenderizer Mace, 13.5 DPS, +3 Str, +2 Stam, +2 Hit
Gold Plated Buckler Shield, 672 Armor, +3 Str, +5 Stam
Smite’s Reaver Axe, 13.5 DPS, +2 Str, +3 Stam, +2 Hit
Cookie’s Meat Mallet Mace, 11.7 DPS< +3 Str, +3 Stam [Quest]

Wailing Caverns
Cobrahn’s Grasp Mail Belt, +8 Str, +3 Agi
Kresh’s Back Shield, 700 Armor, +3 Stam, +5 Dodge
Mutant Scale Breastplate Chest, 164 Armor, +8 Str, +6 Stam
Savage Trodders Boots, 113 Armor, +5 Str, +5 Stam
Cleansed Pauldrons Shoulders, +5 Stam, +4 Int, +4 Spirit [Quest]
Pythas’ Vest Chest, +5 Str, +7 Stam, +5 Crit [Quest]

Shadowfang Keep
Phantom Armor Chest, +3 Str, +11 Stam, +5 Crit
Baron’s Scepter Mace, 14.1 DPS, +2 Str, +3 Stam, +2 Hit
Butcher’s Slicer Sword, 14.1 DPS, +2 Str, +3 Stam, +2 Hit
Comander’s Crest Shield, 700 Armor, +2 Str, +4 Stam, +3 Dodge
Rift Bracers Wrist, +3 Str, +4 Stam, +3 Crit
Silverlaine’s Family Seal Ring, +5 Str, +3 Stam
Breastplate of the Terrible Price Chest, +7 Stam, +5 Int, +5 Spir [Quest]
Deathstalker Pauldrons Shoulder, +4 Str, +5 Stam, +4 Hit [Quest]

Blackfathom Deeps
Algae Fists Mail Gloves, +8 Str, +5 Stam
Tortoise Armor Chest, +9 Stam, +9 Dodge
Band of the Skull Crusher Ring, +7 Str
Dusk-Stained Cloak Cloak, +5 Str, +5 Stam
Scales of Aku’mai Legs, +10 Stam, +7 Int, +7 Crit
Shield Against the Evil Presence Shield, 891 Armor, +6 Str, +6 Stam

The Stockades
Skeletal Gauntlets Gloves, +8 Str, +5 Stam
Hogger’s Shiny Ring, +6 Stam, +6 Dodge [Ally-only Quest]
Rifle Commander’s Eyepatch Helm, +8 Agi, +11 Stam, +8 Hit [Ally-only Quest]
Shield of the Stockades Shield, 945 Armor, +6 Stam, +4 Int, +4 Spir

Gnomeregan
Grubbis Paws Gloves, +8 Str, +5 Stam, +5 Crit
Thermaplugg’s Central Core Shield, 917 Armor, +6 Stam, 5% when hit to deal 35-65 Nature damage
Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator Cloth Helm, +12 Int, +8 Spir, Use: 146-167 Nature frontal cone and Lightning Shield effect
Charged Gear Ring, +4 Arcane Res, +4 Nature Rez, Random Enchant (Eluding: +12 Dodge +5 Agi, Stamina: +10 Stam, Strength: +10 Str, Bear: +7 Stam +7 Str, Gorilla: +7 Int +7 Str, Tiger: +7 Agi +7 Str)
Barechus’ Greaves +7 Str, +11 Stam, +7 Crit [Ally-only Quest]
G-Team Belt Belt, +8 Stam, +5 Int, +5 Spir [Ally-only Quest]

The cloth helm isn’t meant for you of course, but that Use ability is quite tasty. Chances are high that if it drops it’ll end up going to a clothie (and rightly so), but if nobody wants it you can put it to go use for that ability.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Melee, Paladin, Play Styles

 

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Hand Me Downs: Paladins

So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Paladins.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Melee Weapons
Unlike casters, a melee class actually needs to look for good weapons in order to perform well. For a Paladin, we’re looking for good damage slow speed. We don’t necessarily want to stick with the same weapon from level 1-15 (or higher), because the damage itself needs to go up, so with melee classes you may want to consider multiple HMD’s to upgrade to throughout the first 20 levels or so.

Once the LFG becomes available to you I strongly suggest you run through The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, as well as The Stockade and Blackfathom Deeps. Those dungeons have the best weapons you can find for your level. While some may not always perform as well as your HMD’s, averaged out they most likely will. Remember that you’re looking for big damage, slow speeds, and bonuses to Strength and Attack Power.

While HMD’s are excellent at making your characters more powerful, when it comes to melee classes your weapons should be upgraded whenever possible, making HMD’s have much shorter lifespans for melee classes. I don’t bother with melee HMD’s passed level 11-12, and I wouldn’t suggest that you do so either unless you can’t stand LFG and for some reason can’t find a quest with a decent reward.

Melee Weapons (1H)
Fine Scimitar: [Lvl: -] 3-7 Damage (2.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Axe: [Lvl: -] 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Studded Blackjack: [Lvl: 5] 5-11 Damage (4.4 DPS), 1.80 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed
Cleaver: [Lvl: 15] 14-27 Damage (9.2 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Double Axe: [Lvl: 19] 19-37 Damage (11.2 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Left-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed
Right-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed

I don’t generally suggest leveling with one-handed weapons starting out because of their low damage compared to two-handers, but if you want to use a shield to help you level then these are your options.

Starting out I’d shoot for the Arcane Forged Axe since it’s a vendor item compared to the Fine Scimitar being a drop. At level 5 you may want to upgrade to a Studded Blackjack or similar item for higher base damage, though it’s not necessary if you have a decent enchant on the axes. For melee classes, I suggest Fiery Weapon as your initial HMD enchant, because it deals 40 Fire damage when it procs, and that proc can crit for 60 or 80 Fire damage instead. The damage from the proc is often enough to one-shot the mobs in your starting areas, and it quickly dispatches the mobs you’ll face up to level 10 as well.

At level 10 you need to make a decision on your spec, and that determines which weapons you pursue from there on. Holy will want a one-handed weapon and a shield, though you don’t really need to upgrade your weapons as often with Holy. Protection wants a solid one-hander and shield, and Retribution demands the nastiest two-hander you can find.

Melee Weapons (2H)
Bastard Sword: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.00 Speed
Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Vile Fin Battle Axe: [Lvl: 4] 12-19 Damage (5.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
Tabar: [Lvl: 9] 21-33 Damage (8.5 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Claymore: [Lvl: 10] 23-35 Damage (9.0 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Rock Hammer: [Lvl: 16] 37-59 Damage (12.5 DPS), 3.70 Speed
Battle Axe: [Lvl: 20] 46-70 Damage (15.3 DPS), 3.80 Speed

Here’s quite a list of two-handers for you to choose from. Remember to take your racial modifiers into account when choosing your weapons. If you have a bonus when using certain types of weapons then try to stick to those weapons to maximize your performance in combat. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just going with whatever weapons look cool either.

For my melee toons I generally get a weapon that I can use at level 1 and then replace at 5, or one that I can use a level 3 and then replace at level 10-12. If you’re going to stick to two-handers then I suggest upgrading to the Vile Fine Battle Axe or Frostbit Staff at level 5 and then the Claymore at level 10. You can probably last through most of your teens with the Claymore before replacing it with a dungeon drop or quest reward that offers more base damage and a decent stat boost to make giving up the enchant worth it.

If you aren’t using LFG to level and you aren’t having any luck with good weapons from your quest rewards, then you might consider upgrading to either the Rock Hammer or the Battle Axe as HMD’s. I would strongly urge you to run dungeons at this level though as there are some excellent weapons to be found.

Enchanting Melee Weapons
As a melee Paladin, you’re mostly interested in Strength enchants. Stamina is a good option as well, especially if you’re going Protection as they seem to be taking more damage than the other low level tanks at the moment.

Protection and Retribution Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Strength: +15 Strength
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)

The best source for Strength at low levels is Crusader with a +100 Strength proc. That’s 200 Attack Power plus a heal when it procs that’s going to have you one-shotting mobs left and right. If you go with a slow weapon, then Crusader is the one you want. If you’re going with fast weapons, then you want either +15 Strength or Fiery Weapon.

I don’t find Fiery to be quite as appealing for Paladins as I do the other melee classes, though I can’t say for sure why that it. Lifestealing is a good backup for Crusader, as is the +15 Strength.

Holy Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: +22 Intellect
Enchant Weapon – Spell Power: +30 Spell Power
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: +29 Spell Power
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: +9 Intellect

In 3.5 the +30 SP was the go-to enchant for casters, but with the change to spell power Mighty Intellect has taken the lead. It’s also the cheapest of the three options which makes it that much more appealing. You don’t get quite as much spell power out of the deal, but you’re trading 7-8 SP for 330 mana which is more than worth it for low level casters in my opinion.

Shields
Holy and Protection will both be using shields. Prior to level 10 I’d still us a two-hander for all three Paladin specs, but that’s just me. If you want to use a shield before then, here’s your list of HMD worthy shields.

Shields
Large Round Shield: [Lvl: -] 171 Armor
Dull Heater Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Standard Issue Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Wall Shield: [Lvl: 12] 480 Armor
Reinforced Targe: [Lvl: 19] 634 Armor

If you want to start off with a shield, then the Large Round is the one you want. The Dull Heater can be purchased at level 5, or you can do what I did and spend 18 seconds farming a pair of Standard Issue Shields outside of Scarlet Monetary. (Note: The area around SM changed from 4.0.3 to 4.0.3a, so these might not be available now.)

I’ve listed a couple of options for HMD’s passed level 10 if you’re going to roll as Protection, but you’re probably better off sticking with your low level shield until you replace it with dungeon drops or quest rewards.

Protection Shield Enchants
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

The best option from a leveling perspective is to go with the biggest, nastiest shield spike you can find to slap on the most interesting-looking shield you have access to and then go stab some eyeballs out with the shield spikes while you’re smashing faces with your weapon.

If you’re worried about your health then get the Stamina enchant, but otherwise stick with the shield spikes.

Holy Shield Enchants
Enchant Shield – Vitality: Restore 4 health and mana every 5 seconds
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

Holy doesn’t really have much trouble as far as mana is concerned at low level, so this one’s a little rough. Better safe than sorry – the Vitality enchant is probably the best one overall. If you’re going to do a lot of soloing then I would suggest a shield spike. The Stamina enchant isn’t a bad option, but Paladins have the best low level survivability of every class in the game, so 70 HP isn’t really all that important.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Mail Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Unadorned Chain Vest: 53 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Unadorned Chain Leggings: 47 Armor
Waist: Unadorned Chain Belt: 30 Armor
Bracer: Unadorned Chain Bracers: 23 Armor
Gloves: Unadorned Chain Gloves: 33 Armor
Feet: Unadorned Chain Boots: 37 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

No surprises here, again we have the Blood Elf starting zone’s vendor items. Warriors get better Rage if their armor is a somewhat slacking (at least they used to), and Paladins have plenty of self healing at their disposal, so I wouldn’t bother replacing HMD’s on either of them until you start to find superior dungeon drops or significant quest rewards.

I still get a little chuckle at the Haliscan Jacket/Pantaloons and Tuxedo Pants beat out even the best Mail options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth.

Holy Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: +100 Mana
Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime: Restore 7 Mana every 5 seconds [ilvl 35+]

The best choice here is +6 Stats which gives you 90 Mana and 6 Spell Power, though it can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket. The +4 and +3 Stats enchants are listed for the same reason, providing both spell power and mana. Mana isn’t nearly as big of an issue for a Paladin as it is for other classes, so the stats pull ahead here for me.

Protection and Retribution Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

The +150 Health enchant can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket because it requires a minimum item level of 35 and the Haliscan is one of only two items you can wear at level 1 that meat that item level requirement. The other is an expensive gown purchased in Moonglade which is limited quantity and has a horribly long respawn time. To give you an example of how hard it is to find, I’ve been looking now for almost 5 weeks and I’ve never even seen it.

The best option for offense rather than survival is the +6 Stats which still gives you 60 Health, but also a fair amount of Attack and/or Spellpower. Like the +150 Health though, it toon can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket.

The +4 Stats enchant is pretty hard to find and you’re going to pay a pretty copper for it if you buy it on the AH, so you may want to settle for the much easier to obtain +3 Stats. The +100 Health isn’t going to help you perform any better in combat, it’s just survivability, so it’s listed last.

Holy Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Healing Power: +15 Spell Power
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: +7 Intellect
Enchant Bracer – Mana Regeneration: Restore 5 Mana every 5 seconds

I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better now than it was before 4.0. You can either have 15 SP or you can have 7 SP and 105 Mana to go with it. It’s up to you really, I just like to have that extra level of power from the 15 SP for my personal taste. If you do find mana issues, then the Mana Regeneration enchant is there to help you along.

Protection and Retribution Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

Finally we come to a class that gets some real benefit out of that +9 Strength enchant. Unless you’re in dire need of more health, the Strength enchant is the way to go. If you need survivability then the Stamina is a very solid choice as well, and if by some freak occurrence you can’t find either of those, then the +1 Agility is better than nothing.

Holy Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Healing Power: +16 Spell Power
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Casters have a lot of really good options here. The generic enchant of choice is Healing Power for +16 SP to all of your spells. Haste can help you in a few situations, though mostly in your reduced cast times.

Protection and Retribution Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Threat: +2% Threat on all attacks

I generally prefer the +15 Agility enchant for my gloves, but the Strength classes don’t get quite as much from Agility, so +7 Strength is a very solid option. Given that the two mail-wearing classes who’ll be using your HMD’s both benefit the most from strength, I’d say +7 Strength is the way to go here, or just reuse the +15 Agility Leather gloves you use on your other toons. I wouldn’t bother enchanting both a leather and mail piece with +15 Agility unless you’re just trying to burn through your enchanting mats.

Haste will give you a slight boost to your attacking speed, and will give a small benefit to your Rend damage (at least, I think bleeds benefit from Haste the same way DoT’s do – could be wrong), and the +7 Agility is a decent substitute if you can’t find the others.

I also listed the Threat enchant which I definitely recommend if you’re going to be a tank. From what I’ve seen so far in low level LFG, Paladins have the best threat generation of all the low level tanks. That 2% Threat can probably solidify that for you if you find that you’re having problems. Note that I give advice on this enchant and this situation based on my healing of tanks on my Resto Shaman twink, not from my experience tanking.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Holy Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

Casters get the shaft on boot enchants, with nothing really standing out. I lean towards the speed increase for my personal use, but you might prefer the +5 Hit. Run Speed will help you quest and level faster, while Accuracy will help you kill faster, so the choice is yours. Accuracy will help if you’re using Holy Shock offensively or when you’re using Crusader Strike for additional Holy Power.

Protection and Retribution Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

Paladins still have nothing to help them close gaps when tanking and such, so I prefer Minor Speed for them to get whatever edge I can. The +7 Agility will give you better avoidance and also help with your melee crits, so it’s a good choice as well. Hit is there if you need it, though you probably will not, and +7 Stamina is something to consider if you’re going Prot.

Paladin tanks seem to take more damage than the others right now at low level, so I strongly recommend picking up extra Stamina where you can afford it if you’re going to be a tank.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility and +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

As I’ve mentioned in the other HMD posts so far, the Stealth enchant made a surprise leap of awesomeness in 4.0.3a by switching from a lackluster enchant to the best-in-slot cloak enchant for the majority of low level play. You want it more than the others and that’s really all there is to it.

If you can’t find Stealth then the +3 Agility enchant would be my preference for Retribution while I would probably consider +70 Armor for Protection. Retribution can lay down a lot of damage in a really short time right now, especially if they store Holy Power from one fight to use at the beginning of another. For that reason you may consider Subtlety for Retribution, but you likely have enough survivability to handle pulling threat from time to time anyway if you’d rather go with one of the others.

 
 

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Paladin Leveling: Retribution 1-29

It’s been a good, long time since I last blogged about Paladins. When I first really got into blogging about leveling it was because of my previous two Paladins (both Protection). At that point in time everyone was saying that you should level as Ret, no exception, but I went with Prot and did some crazy soloing and AoE grinding on my quest to level 80, and it was honestly some of the most fun I’ve had in game.

I managed to get my last Paladin, Lexington, up to level 78 before I switched servers and left him there never to be played again. He hasn’t seen any serious play time at all in over a year and a half now. People are always asking me to update the Prot Paladin guides and though I’ve said several times that I would I just never could manage to make myself get over there and leveling give him some play time love. So I’ll make it public here and now that there will not be a Prot Paladin guide or update until I decide to level another one, and at this point in time I’m not planning to do so until sometime in Cataclysm.

Last week I leveled a Holy Paladin to level 10 to twink him for PvP, and on Friday I had a crazy idea to turn his experience back on and raise him to 19 instead for additional healing spells. I wanted to hurry to 19 so I also gave him a respec (which cost only 40-some silver, btw) to Retribution just to hurry it along. What started as a 9 level blitz turned into 23 level joy ride of splitting heads with my axe.

As with my level 80 Druid, Hotstuffbaby, my twink names tend to bite me in the butt when I decide to level them instead. At least Hearmywords can be fun if I macro different sayings to my attacks or something, I guess.

/cast Crusader Strike
/y Can you hear me yet, %t?

/cast Templar’s Verdict
/y Can you hear me now, %t?

/cast Exorcism
/y I said… CAN. YOU. HEAR. ME.

Playing a Retribution Paladin
Ret Paladins play much like any other melee class, where you basically close in with your targets and proceed to bash their face in until they fall over and give you loot. Paladins got a change in play style from the 4.0 patch though in the form of Holy Power.

Back in the early days of 3.x I was able to solo a great deal of content with my Protection Paladin and I really did have an absolute blast leveling him up and soloing five man group quests below level and soloing at level dungeons. I’m not feeling the tanking bug right now though, so this time around I’m going for Retribution instead.

Playing a Ret Paladin in 4.0.1 is very similar to how that Prot Pally felt in 3.x – over powered. It’s even better than it was before though, because now we actually have additional attacks that we can use in early levels instead of waiting for level 30 before we had anything besides auto-attack. Solo play got even better because we now have a healing spell from level 9 on that is not only mana-free, but also instant to cast. While not as good as Lay on Hands (which we still have, and do get in this level range), it also doesn’t have a cooldown beyond the generation of Holy Power, so it’s very easy to use.

Retribution-Specific Tips
To start this section off, we’re going to look first at the perks of choosing the Retribution tree. The keystone ability you get for choosing Ret is Templar’s Verdict, an instant attack that consumes Holy Power for increased weapon damage. You also get Sheath of Light which increases your spellpower by 30% of your attack power as well as giving a 6% bonus to your Spell Hit, and Two-Handed Weapon Specialization which gives you a 20% damage bonus with two-handed weapons. And finishing off the Ret perks is Judgements of the Bold which restores 25% of your base mana over 10 seconds every time you cast Judgement.

Holy Power
Our new mechanic, Holy Power, is similar(ish) to a Rogue’s combo points. You build Holy Power by using certain abilities, primarily Crusader Strike, but they build up on you rather than on your target and they expire with time or when consumed by another ability. You can store up to three Holy Power at a time, and the abilities that use it increase in power with each point.

Rather than having finishing moves, Paladins can burn their Holy Power with either healing spells or additional attacks, and since the HP stacks on you rather than the target you can kill one enemy by building up your HP and then kill another by spending the HP built on the first target. When soloing elites or fighting bosses in a dungeon, you can also contribute a great deal of instant-cast healing by using your HP with Word of Glory. I’ll get into the details of that further down.

As I mentioned, this paladin started out as a level 10 Holy twink, and at level 10 I was able to solo level 19 casters and rare spawns with nothing more than Crusader Strike and Word of Glory. It wasn’t a quick and easy soloing due to a very high miss chance, but there was literally no chance at all that I was going to die, even when I managed to draw agro on two of them at a time. In fact, if I had been Horde instead of Alliance, and had thought to try it, I’m quite certain I could have soloed RFC at level 10.

Seals and Judgement
A Seal is a Paladin-specific buff which typically adds some sort of extra bonus to your attacks. In this level range our only Seal is Seal of Righteousness which adds some Holy damage to each of our attacks. The Seal in use also determines the power of your Judgement spell.

There used to be multiple forms of Judgement, and they used to do different things based on your seal, but now it’s all an amount of damage. Seal of Righteousness provides the single highest Judgement damage of all the Seals at this time. Note that Judgement can only be cast if you have a Seal active, so always make sure that buff is up or else you lose access to one of your most useful attack spells.

Judgement is our primary form of ranged attack or ranged pull at this level, with Exorcism being the only other option that’s not a taunt. Exorcism will eat through your mana and has a cast time, where Judgement replenishes your mana and is an instant cast spell.

Auras
Auras are another paladin-specific buff, but these apply to your whole raid as long as they are within 40 yards of you. Our aura for most of this level range is Devotion Aura which provides a nice bonus to our Armor, which you’ll typically replace at level 26 with Retribution Aura which deals damage to enemies whenever they hit you.

There are several auras to choose from as you get higher in level, but Retribution and Devotion are the two auras you’ll use most often while leveling. I generally run around in Retribution aura because the extra DPS appeals to me more than the extra survivability of Devotion, especially with Word of Glory in our tool belt now.

Important Spells & Abilities
There are a lot of spells and abilities that come with being a Paladin, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and limited to only the most important ones for a Retribution spec. There are other spells that you’ll get in this level range as well, I leave them out only because I do not find them critical to playing a Ret paladin.

Level 1-10:

  • Crusader Strike (1): An instant strike that causes 120% weapon damage.
  • Judgement (3): Unleashes the energy of a Seal to judge an enemy for Holy damage.
  • Seal of Righteousness (3): Fills the Paladin with holy spirit for 30 min, granting each single-target melee attack additional Holy damage. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time.
  • Devotion Aura (5): Gives additional armor to party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Hammer of Justice (7): Stuns the target for 6 sec.
  • Word of Glory (9): Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for 115 to 127 per charge of Holy Power.

Crusader Strike is basically the key to everything you do as Ret, because it’s your primary source of Holy Power. It also does a decent amount of damage, but the big thing is that HP. I’m not 100% positive but fairly close, that using it gives you HP every time you use it, even when you miss. I can’t think of a time that I’ve ever used it and not received HP for doing so. Judgement is our primary ranged attack, and also our main source of mana regeneration.

Seal of Righteousness and Devotion Aura are the two buffs that you want to have up at all times. Auras have no duration and persist through death, so the one you have active when you die will still be active when your rez. Seals are only 30 minute buffs though, and must be active in order for you to use Judgement, so be sure to have your Seal active at all times, and if it gets dispelled during combat be sure to reapply it right away.

Hammer of Justice seems mostly PvP related, but it’s also great for questing and dungeons or either stop running mobs or to interrupt an enemy spellcaster. It’s also great for stunning a mob long enough to get off a Crusader Strike followed by a Word of Glory when you’re in desperate need of a heal.

Word of Glory is an amazing spell, one of my favorite additions to the Paladin. It’s an instant cast heal that requires no mana, instead healing you for an amount based on how much Holy Power you have available. Unlike most of your other HP abilities, WoG heals you for a flat amount, multiplied by the HP used. So if it heals you for 120 with a single point of HP, then it will heal you for 360 if you have three points of HP. So if you’re in a fight for your life then you can alternate Crusader Strike-Word of Glory, or you can build up a bigger stack if healing isn’t quite so time sensitive.

Level 11-19:

  • Flash of Light (16): A quick, expensive heal that heals a friendly target for 392 to 438.
  • Lay on Hands (16): Heals a friendly target for an amount equal to the Paladin’s maximum health and restores 160 of their mana. If used on self, the Paladin cannot be targeted by Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Hand of Protection, or self-targeted Lay on Hands again for 2 min.
  • Exorcism (18): Causes Holy damage to an enemy target. If the target is Undead or Demon, it will always critically hit.
  • Hand of Protection (18): A targeted party or raid member is protected from all physical attacks for 10 sec, but during that time they cannot attack or use physical abilities. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time. Once protected, the target cannot be targeted by Divine Shield or Hand of Protection again for 2 min.

I mention Flash of Light rather than Holy Light because enough though FoL cost 3x as much mana as HL, the cast time is significantly reduced, and if you need a heal badly enough that you’re going to spend a cast time on it, you want to make sure it’s big enough to be worth it. If you need to heal, and you need it now, then FoL is the way to go if Word of Glory won’t cover it and/or Lay on Hands is on cooldown. Our other big heal, the top dog of all heals, Lay on Hands appears at the same level. If you, or someone else is about to die, this is a literal life saver. The strongest healing spell in the game, even on a crit, can’t top the healing potential of this bad boy.

Exorcism is one of our trademark damaging spells, dealing a solid amount of Holy damage to the target. As an added bonus, it has a guaranteed crit against demons and undead targets, and our talent points will soon give us a chance to proc the ability to use it as an instant cast spell which makes it an even better DPS tool.

Hand of Protection is one of the Paladin’s “bubbles”, preventing all physical damage to the friendly target that you cast it on. The good thing is, this will keep you alive against all forms of physical damage, including falling damage. The bad thing is, it does nothing at all against Magic damage and it prevents you for using any attack spells either. The best use for this, other than jumping off of cliffs, is to use it when you have no Holy Power, Lay on Hands is unavailable, and you’re being attacked by physical mobs. Pop HoP for immunity and then use your spells to heal yourself back to full. This is about the only time I bother casting Holy Light as I have the time to safely use it with its long cast time rather than spending additional mana on FoL.

One thing to note about HoP, if you’ve gotten the use out of it that you need (such as an emergency heal), you can right-click on the buff to cancel it, which will remove the restriction of attacking. I have a /cancelaura macro attached to my Crusader Strike for this purpose which I’ll have down in the macros section below.

Level 21-29:

  • Blessing of Kings (22): Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Intellect by 5%, and all magical resistances for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Consecration (24): Consecrates the land beneath the Paladin, doing Holy damage over 10 sec to enemies who enter the area.
  • Retribution Aura (26): Causes 9 Holy damage to any enemy that strikes a party or raid member within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Holy Wrath (28): Sends bolts of holy power in all directions, causing Holy damage divided among all targets within 10 yds and stunning all Demons, Dragonkin, Elementals and Undead for 3 sec.

Blessing of Kings is another buff that you want to have up at all times, increasing your main stats by 5% and giving you some magic resistance as well. The blessing changed in 4.0.1 so that they now hit your whole party and they last for 1 hour as regular and greater blessings were combined into one.

Consecration is a decent ability to use if you’re in a big group of mobs, but the damage isn’t as good as it used to be and the mana cost is ridiculous, not to mention the cooldown was increased. I don’t recommend you use this thing for much of anything unless you’re forced to fight several mobs at once and you feel that you need the extra damage. I used to love that spell so much…

Retribution Aura is our DPS aura, allowing us to deal extra damage by getting hit. You’re now a porcupine with an axe. Holy Wrath is our new AoE spell of choice. It used to only work on undead and demons, but now it works on everything and applies a stun to specific types of mobs. The damage works for everything though and the animation actually looks cool now compared to what it was in the previous version. If you want to spend mana on AoE, do it with Holy Wrath, not Consecration.

Leveling a Retribution Paladin
Starter Rotation: Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike
Questing Rotation 1: Judgement, Crusader Strike, Exorcism (on proc), Templar’s Verdict
LFG Trash Rotation: Judgement, Crusader Strike, Exorcism (on proc), DS/TV/Conc*
LFG Boss Rotation: Judgement, Crusader Strike**, Exorcism (on proc), Templar’s Verdict

The Starter Rotation is what you’ll use prior to level 10. Basically just switch back and forth between Crusader Strike and Judgement until everything is dead.

Once you start getting some of your other abilities you can use the other rotations instead. The “Exorcism (on proc)” refers to our level 29 talent point in The Art of War which give our auto-attack a chance to make Exorcism an instant-cast spell that costs not mana and does twice the normal damage.

*On the LFG Trash Rotation includes a “DS/TV/Conc*” at the end of it. This is where you use Divine Storm (DS) if you spent the talent point on it, Templar’s Verdict (TV) if you have a big target that needs a big hit, or Consecrate (Conc) if you have mana to spare and are fighting three or more mobs with a significant amount of health left. Right now I’m not a fan of Consecration. The damage is pretty low, the cooldown is long, and the mana cost sucks. Not that we use a whole lot of mana right now anyway, but still, I think I’d rather spend my cooldowns on Crusader Strikes and Divine Storms than Consecration.

**For the LFG Boss Rotation it’s a little more specific than what I have up there. As things stand right now in 4.0.1, bosses are just like they were in 3.5, so their health isn’t all that impressive and with all classes getting their changes most bosses are a flipping joke right now while leveling. But for a mini-spoiler, bosses that have 3,000 health right now in live have over 28,000-31,000 health in Cataclysm. So for right now you can build up one or two Holy Power and then dump it into Templar’s Verdict to deal some hate to the bosses and it’ll be over before you know it. But once Cataclysm arrives you’re going to want a full stack of Holy Power each time you unleash TV on a boss to maximize your damage. If you get an Art of War proc, fire off that Exorcism right away as you don’t want to risk losing it or missing out on another proc because the current one was still active.

Talent Spec: Retribution 29

  • Crusade 3/3: Increases the damage of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Templar’s Verdict by 30% and the damage and healing of your Holy Shock by 30%.
  • Improved Judgments 2/2: Increases the range of your Judgement by 20 yards.
  • Pursuit of Justice 2/2: You have a 100% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power when struck by a Stun, Fear or Immobilize effect. In addition, increases your movement and mounted movement speed by 15%. This effect does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  • Rule of Law 3/3: Increases the critical effect chance of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Word of Glory by 15%.
  • The Art of War 1/3: Your autoattacks have a 7% chance to make your next Exorcism instant, free and cause 100% additional damage.
  • OR

  • Divine Storm 1/1: An instant attack that causes weapon damage to all enemies within 8 yards. The Divine Storm heals up to 3 party or raid members totaling 25% of the damage caused. Consumes all Holy Power to increase damage dealt by 22%, 74%, or 150%.

In the first tier I started off with Crusade because I saw it as the most likely contribution to my damage while leveling since Crusader Strike is my most common attack, and Templar’s Verdict my most likely use for Holy Power. Improved Judgements came next as I prefer to pull with Judgement and the more range it has the better, not to mention using it to finish off runners or pull threat for mobs chasing after my healer when the tank’s not watching.

For the second tier I decided to go for Pursuit of Justice first because of the increased speed. The holy power from stun/fear/immobilize isn’t likely to happen in this bracket outside of PvP and Wailing Caverns, but the increased run speed is a huge bonus for leveling. I then went for Rule of Law for another damage increase via crit chance for Crusader Strike, and survivability via crit for Word of Glory.

For the sole point in the third tier I chose to go with a single point in The Art of War over Divine Storm because I prefer the damage increase from instant Exorcisms to the potential AoE damage of Divine Storm. With a long cooldown and high mana cost on Consecration now, it’s just not worth it for me to try to AoE my way through all of my quests when it’s actually faster for me to just destroy things one at a time. I did take Divine Storm at level 31 for an extra AoE to use in random dungeons. I love the fact that Divine Storm now hits everything within 8 yards instead of only four targets like it did previously.

Everything here is about increasing our damage output in one way or another, with the slight exception of Pursuit of Justice which is more about decreasing our travel time which makes leveling faster.

Glyphs
I’m going to list at least two options for each glyph type that you can choose from, and below each section I’ll mention why I choose them and under which circumstances I might change from one to another.

Prime

Crusader Strike is my primary attack; It’s how I get my Holy Power and where the majority of my damage comes from outside of auto-attacks. Because of this, I went with the Crusader Strike first, increasing my crit chance by 5%. I gave a lot of thought to using Exorcism instead as it’s a flat damage increase to Exorcism, but I don’t use it quite as often as I do CS, and up to this level range it’s almost guaranteed that if I use Exo on something it’s going to be dead before that 6 second DoT effect would matter. If you’re doing a lot of LFG, then I might suggest Exo > CS for boss fights, but even then you’ll have way more uses of CS than Exo regardless.

Major

I personally went with Hammer of Justice first because I like to use PvP to help me level when I’m not in a questing/dungeon kind of mood and the extra range on a stun is pretty nice. In PvE the extra range doesn’t help a whole lot unless I pull multiple mobs and one of them happens to be a caster. Going with Divinity is more useful later in the game as mana is rarely an issue unless you’re using Exorcism or your heals more frequently. I found it to be useful in LFG, so I have been switching back and forth as needed.

Minor

As with most classes, our minor glyphs kind of suck. The only one I really say is necessary is Lay on Hands since it’s the only ability that you’re likely to use while in combat and its use can actually have a significant impact by allowing you to cast LoH more often. Every other Paladin minor glyph right now just reduces the mana cost of spells that you’ll likely only cast outside of combat anyway, where casting your buffs and then drinking to restore your mana would negate the glyph’s use, not to mention we don’t care about mana much to begin with.

Retribution Macros
I don’t use a whole lot of fancy macros on my Paladin just yet, but I do have a few that are particularly useful.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cancelaura Blessing of Protection
/cast Crusader Strike [same for Templar's Verdict, Divine Storm, and Exorcism]

This is the one that I mentioned up above that cancels my BoP right before I attack. BoP gives you immunity to physical damage, but at the expense of not allowing you to attack. Generally you want to cast this when you need to heal yourself (if you’re targeting yourself), so after you’re finished healing it’s time to get back to combat rather than just waiting for it to end itself. Basically this one saves me the trouble of canceling the buff myself.

I use a version of this macro for all of my primary attack spells as I mention in the macro text itself.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast [modifier:alt] Divine Storm; Templar’s Verdict

This is a typical space saving macro. DS and TV both use your Holy Power for a melee attack. TV is a single-target attack that can do 225% weapon damage with a full stack of HP, where Divine Storm is an AoE attack that burns your HP for up to 150% weapon damage. They both work the same way and use the same kind of resource, so I use a simple macro to switch from one spell to the other when I hold the Alt key.

Gearing Up as Retribution
As a melee class we’re looking for stats that impact our melee performance such as Strength, Attack Power, Hit, Crit, and Haste. We know from our Two-Handed Weapon Specialization that we’re meant to use two-handed weapons, and the general rules apply there; the slower the weapon, the higher the damage.

Stat Priority: Strength, Attack Power, Crit, Haste, Hit, Expertise

In short, we’re going to stack Strength. Crit and Haste are both great stats when you can find them, though Crit is much easier to find than Haste at these levels. Hit and Expertise are both good, but again they’ll play a bigger role at later levels than they do now.

If you have access to heirloom gear and want to know which ones to use:
Bloodied Arcanite Reaper with the Crusader enchant
Polished Breastplate of Valor with the Greater Stats enchant (+4 all)
Polished Spaulders of Valor
Swift Hand of Justice probably two of these

If you don’t have access to BoA items then you want to look for gear via dungeons. Here is a short list of items that come to mind for me:

Ragefire Chasm
Subterranean Cape Cloak, +4 Str, +4 Agi

Deadmines
Rockslicer 2H Axe, 18.4 DPS, +11 Str
Smite’s Mighty Hammer 2H Mace, 19.8 DPS, +11 Str, +4 Agi

Wailing Caverns
Cobrahn’s Grasp Mail Belt, +8 Str, +3 Agi

Shadowfang Keep
Silverlaine’s Family Crest +7 Str, +3 Stam
Arced War Axe 2H Axe, 21.8 DPS, +10 Str, +9 Stam
Phantom Armor Mail Chest, +3 Str, +11 Stam, +5 Crit

Blackrock Depths
Reef Axe 2H Axe, 22.4 DPS, +10 Stam, +20 Attack Power
Algae Fists Mail Gloves, +10 Str, +4 Stam

Razorfen Kraul
Tusken Helm Mail Helm, +12 Str, +12 Agi
Corpsemaker 2H Axe, 29.0 DPS, +15 Str, +8 Stam

Gnomeregan
Thermaplugg’s Left Arm 2H Axe, 32.6 DPS, +18 Str, +7 Stam
Grubbis Paws Mail Gloves, +6 Str, +5 Agi, +9 Stam
Manual Crowd Pummeler 2H Mace, 29.0 DPS, +16 Str, +5 Agi, Use: +500 Haste for 30 seconds (1 hour cooldown).

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Macro, Melee, Paladin, Play Styles, Professions

 

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