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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Paladin Tanking: Level 80

As you are sure to have noticed if you have been following my paladin posts, it has been a while since I was last able to expand on that series of posts. There are quite a few reasons why, but I’ll leave the drama out of here.

While I have every intention of finishing up my own series there (Lexington is level 78 now, btw), I do not want to leave anybody hanging more than I have to. So for right now I am going to link you to another friend of mine from Twitter, @dhollinger, who just posted an excellent article on tanking at level 80.

If you need further advice on how to tank with your Paladin, then I strongly urge you to take a look at this post:

Tankadin 101 with Professor Poetry

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2009 in Guide, Paladin

 

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Your First Time Tanking: Northrend Edition

[Update] I have reviewed Divine Plea and its use as a buff rather than an emergency button for mana, and found it to be extremely efficient. I have added it to a new section of the Spells to Know for Preparation Spells.[/Update]

I am going to try running a three part series here on how to tank instances for the first time. A lot of people still prefer to level up as Ret rather than Prot, even if they fully intend to be tanks when they hit level 80. When the time finally does come to switch over and try out the tanking spec they really don’t know how to play the class in a tanking fashion, how the abilities should be used, and so on and so forth.

One of my Twitter friends, Brajana, who also runs an excellent WoW blog called Mend Pet, asked me about tanking Northrend instances for the first time and since she is already in Northrend, I decided I would start there first.

The following items will be discussed in particular:

  • Spells to Know
  • Tanking Spec
  • Tanking Glyphs
  • Starter Tanking Gear
  • Tanking Tactics
  • Tanking Rotations

Spells to Know
I know that this list is long, but I want to give you the details that you are going to need to be a successful tank. You don’t have to have all of this information memorized, I simply provide it for you here as a reference.

Spells with a triple-asterisk (***) beside them are crucial.

Take a look at each section to at least familiarize yourself with the spells to know what you have available to you and to get an idea of what you are capable of doing with a hybrid class.

Pulling Spells
Avenger’s Shield***
Exorcism
Hand of Reckoning

When pulling mobs in Northrend instances, Avenger’s Shield is my primary choice for pulling more than one mob. With 3 points in the Shield of the Templar talent, your Avenger’s Shield has a 100% chance to silence the targets you hit, which helps you keep the groups together easier so that your AoE damage can more easily generate threat on as many targets as possible.

If Avenger’s Shield is on cooldown, I go ahead and pull with Exorcism instead. Very rarely do I actually pull with Hand of Reckoning unless I already have a group and want to pull another group over to me as well.

If I am about to pull a boss, and the boss happens to be either Undead or Demon then I pull with Exorcism instead of Avenger’s Shield.

Preparation Spells
Divine Plea

These are spells that you should cast just before you go into combat. Either right before your pull, or immediately after.

Divine Plea is another key in having a never ending pool of mana. It’s only 25% of your total mana when you cast it, but if you have taken the talent spec that I suggested, then every time you get hit it will refresh itself. When you are constantly gaining 25% of your mana, you’re basically never running out. If you glyph for it as I suggested, then you also have damage that you take reduced by 3% any time its active. So if you run into combat with it already on, then you’re not only regaining your mana but you’re also taking less damage.

Divine Plea can still work as your “oh crap” button for mana, especially when you are fighting mobs with mana burn. Having tested it now, I certainly don’t think you should simply hold this one back for dire circumstances. Instead, throw this baby on right before you head into combat and then make sure it stays there. If it’s constantly refreshed, then you don’t have to recast it. If it does fall off, just throw it on again and keep right on tanking.

Attack/Rotation Spells
Holy Shield***
Hammer of the Righteous***
Judgement of Wisdom or Judgement of Light***
Shield of Righteousness***
Consecration***

This list is laid out in the general order of what people refer to as the “96969” rotation. Note that the Glyph of Consecration can throw the 969 rotation off because it lengthens both the duration and the cooldown by two seconds.

Holy Shield should typically be your first spell you cast after pulling the mobs, preferrably immediately after you cast the spell to pull them. If you pull by stepping into their agro range rather than using a pulling spell, then this should be cast as soon as you notice you’ve pulled. This spell is going to increase your Chance to Block and also deal extra damage to the mobs you block.

Hammer of the Righteous is going to deal damage to up to three targets (four if you take my advice and glyph for it), and all of that damage is Holy, which means it’s all counted towards your threat.

Judgement of Wisdom/Light is how you keep yourself full of mana and health respectively. If you find yourself running out of mana then use JoW. If you find your health dropping quickly, then use JoL instead. Both of them have their uses, and which one you need more should take priority. While leveling, I found JoW to be needed more often, but while running instances in Northrend I find that JoL is needed more often because my mana is almost always at 100%. You should be familiar with how these work by now.

Shield of Righteousness is used to deal damage to a single target, helping you to build a higher level of threat on that target as well as damaging it down faster. You get this spell at level 75, so if you are not yet high enough just remove it from your rotation and replace it with other spells you have available such as Exorcism.

Consecrate is your bread and butter spell. Every paladin gets it at level 20, so you should be familiar with its use. This spell is going to deal more damage than anything else (as you can see from the Recount image at the bottom) and it is also going to be your primary source of threat generation on everything within 8 yards of where you cast it.

Threat Stealing Spells (Taunts)
Righteous Defense***
Hand of Salvation
Hand of Protection (actual link coming soon)

[Update] As Cassini pointed out in his comment, these abilities are what we call Taunts in-game. I’ve been used to writing this blog geared towards new players, so I went with a general description for what they do rather than what they are called by other players.[/Update]

Righteous Defense is the only spell you have that actually “steals” threat. It can pull up to three mobs off of the target. If multiple members of your party have agro, your healer should always be your primary target for this. Otherwise, feel free to steal it from whoever has agro. Please remember though that classes such as the Warrior often need to have agro on at least one mob to generate the rage they need to function.

Hand of Salvation does not steal threat, instead it gradually reduces the threat of whoever you cast it on over 10 seconds. If you know you have a dps party member that likes to rush in a little quick, or a DK who loves to Death Grip mobs to him and then complain about dying, this is a good spell to cast on someone you know is going to generate enough threat to potentially pull mobs away from you. I very rarely use this spell.

Hand of Protection also does not technically steal threat. Instead, it dumps all of the threat that your target has against melee mobs. So while it does not pull the mob directly to you, it does take them off of whoever they were attacking. If you use this spell, be sure to use some form of attack on the melee mobs that were attacking your target, or else they will simply move on to their next target, which will likely be your healer. With this combination, you can basically steal all of the melee-agro from whoever might have it. If it is a single mob, I would suggest using either Hand of Reckoning or Exorcism to pull the mob. If multiple mobs are present then either use Avenger’s Shield if they are far away, or run over to your target and cast Consecration if they are close. Hammer of the Righteous may also work, but Consecration will be more effective at grabbing all of the intended mobs.

Note: Hand of Protection – be aware that when you cast this spell on someone, you remove their ability to attack. If you cast it on someone that isn’t used to the spell, they’re likely to get a little upset. They can simply right-click the buff icon to cancel it, but there are players who aren’t used to doing that and I have even seen some within the last week who have been playing for years and had no clue that you could do that. So you may want to inform them (after a second or two, so that you can build up threat) how to remove the (de)buff so that they can attack again.

Self Buffs
Righteous Fury***
Seal of Wisdom***
Greater Blessing of Sanctuary***

Every one of these buffs should be on you at all times. If you ever let Righteous Fury fall off of you, I will personally roll a character of the opposing faction to come hunt you down and kill you. Repeatedly.

Righteous Fury gives you a huge boost to your threat generation, making it nearly impossible for most classes to pull agro away from you. This spell is absolutely critical to your ability to tank.

Seal of Wisdom is the key to you having the mana that you need to function. If necessary, you can use Seal of Light instead, but I find SoW to be more efficient.

Greater Blessing of Sanctuary is going to reduce the damage that you take by 3% and also restore mana to you every time you block, dodge, or parry an attack. I have seen tanks who use other blessings, but I find them all to be far inferior to BoS in my personal experience.

Auras
Retribution Aura***
Devotion Aura***

By default, Retribution Aura is the one that I use to help me deal more damage to the mobs that are attacking me.

Devotion Aura gives you a significant boost to your Armor. If you find that you are taking too much damage, or getting hit too often, it’s perfectly acceptable to switch over to this aura instead.

Utility Spells
Hand of Sacrifice

Hand of Sacrifice gets a bit of a special mention for when you have multiple people in the party taking damage either from multiple mobs or from mobs using AoE damage, then this is a good spell to use. I don’t use it often since I have not ran into too many oportunities where it would be even slightly usefull, but it’s something to use if things start going down hill.

Talent Spec
I have shown you my leveling spec in previous posts, so here I show you the spec that I use when I am tanking instances in Northrend. Now, you are fully capable of tanking instances with the leveling spec that I use, however there are a couple of items which are more of a hindrance than they are a help when you are in an instance.

prot_spec

Tanking Glyphs
Major Glyph
Hammer of the Righteous
Divine Plea
Exorcism

Hammer of the Righteous: This glyph allows you to hit four total targets with HotR instead of just three. More damage to more targets means better threat build up, and it means burning them down faster than before. There is no other glyph in the game right now that I would remove this one for.

Divine Plea: After having tested Divine Plea prompted by Cassinni’s suggestion, I most definitely suggest you get this glyph. With it’s constantly-refreshing property from the suggested talent spec, this buff doesn’t leave you until combat is over. Using the glyph gives you 3% damage reduction while the buff is active, and this buff should essentially be active the entire time you are in combat.

Exorcism: An extra 20% damage to a ranged spell isn’t half bad. This is the expendable major glyph. If you have something else you prefer, then feel free to swap it out. You don’t have a third glyph slot until level 80 anyway, so I suggest the other two be your first priority.

Minor Glyph
Lay On Hands: Reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by 5 minutes.
Sense Undead: Increases the damage you deal to Undead targets by 1% while your Sense Undead ability is activated.

Lay On Hands: This glyph I recommend strictly because it’s one of your “oh crap!” buttons. Being able to hit that button more often can definitely be a good thing.

Sense Undead: This glyph is the only minor glyph that has any chance of impacting your threat generation and damage dealing. Unfortunately, it’s entirely situational as it only has an impact against Undead targets. It also only takes effect when your Sense Undead spell is active.

Those are the only two suggestions I really have for Minor glyphs, as most of the Paladin’s minor glyphs are highly unimpressive. For your third slot, just grab one and go with it.

You can refer to my previous post Paladin AoE Grinding: Glyph Edition for more specific information on glyph options.

Starter’s Tanking Gear
Gear is very important to tanking, because if your defense sucks, then so does your tanking. It really doesn’t matter how much skill you have at tanking if you are constantly on the receiving end of critical hits.

As the absolute minimum, assuming that you are at least level 70, I strongly suggest that you go find yourself 40 Cobalt Bars and have a Blacksmith craft the Cobalt Armor “Set” for you. It is not an actual set since there are no Set bonuses or anything, but any Blacksmith capable of making them will know what you are referring to. This is going to be the easiest way for you to get a decent tanking set to start off with if you have been leveling under a different spec and not collecting gear for it.

You can refer to Lexington’s Armory page if you would like to see the pieces of the set individually, or you can look them up on sites such as wowhead.com. As of today (June 7, 2009) Lexington is level 71 and currently wearing the full Cobalt Set. I use the Petrified Lichen Guard while grinding and farming, but the Cobalt Triangle Shield is better suited for running instances.

This is the easiest starter kit you can get for your tank, and it is a good place to start off when tanking. If you have access to better gear, then by all means take it instead. But, this is a great place to start otherwise.

If you want more details on gear, then I suggest you do a little more searching on other blogs or forums because I am certainly no expert in this area. Gear gives you a firm foundation to build on, but it’s the knowledge of your class that is going to determine how well you perform your job as a tank. Because of this, I do not bother wasting my time crunching numbers for the best gear out there. Instead, I use the best gear I happen to find and push myself to learn how to make up for the difference in how I play.

Break It Down!
Here I am going to show you a breakdown from the Recount add-on to show you the abilities that I used while I was tanking my first instance in Northrend, which was Nexus while I was level 71. The group was a tank and dps at level 71, a dps and healer at level 72, and a level 74 warlock dps as well. We did end up bringing in a level 80 druid healer after our second wipe on the final boss though.

I include this because I have been asked what abilities I find deal the most damage while I am tanking, which this will give you the breakdown off. You will see that Consecration is still my highest source of damage at level 71, just as it was at level 20 when you first get access to it.

Recount

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2009 in Guide, Paladin

 

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Paladin AoE Grinding: Glyph Edition

It was brought to my attention by one of my Twitter friends, thechristianguy, that I never bothered putting any information about glyphs on the blog.

DOH! Definitely an epic failure on my part! I think it’s time to fix that!

So, here I list the glyphs that I would personally recommend for your AoE Grinding needs.

Major Glyphs
Judgement: Increases the damage dealt by your Judgements by 10%. [Required Lv: 15]

Consecrate: Increases the duration of Consecrate by 2 seconds, but also increases it’s cooldown by 2 seconds. [Required Lv: 20]

Divinity: Doubles the amount of mana restored to the target when you use Lay On Hands, and restores an equal amount of mana to you. [Required Lv: 15]

Exorcism: Your Exorcism spell deals an additional 20% damage. [Required Lv: 20]

Hammer of the Righteous: Your Hammer of the Righteous hits an additional target. [Required Lv: 60]

Glyph of Judgement: I started off using this glyph, because I wanted a boost to my damage at level 15, and that was the only place I could find one. I checked my armory link and found out that I’m actually still using this glyph at level 70, which I will certainly fix tonight when I get home. Judgement is a good place to start if you want to get some more damage in to help you through your lower levels, but it doesn’t do a whole lot in the overall scheme of AoE grinding. I might recommend this as your starting glyph to help you get through the mobs a bit faster, but I would most likely replace with Glyph of Divinity as soon as your second Major glyph slot opens up to be used alongside Glyph of Consecration.

Glyph of Divinity: This glyph is very useful for getting back your mana, especially prior to reaching level 40. It doubles the mana that it restores to the target, and also gives you that same amount of mana. If you are AoE Grinding, and you’re doing it solo, then most likely you are using this spell on yourself. I have this glyph sitting in my bank, fully intending to replace Judgement for the last 40 levels or so, and completely forgot to switch them out. From the research I’ve done on the glyph, using it on yourself will effectively restore 4x the normal amount of mana when you cast it on yourself. The only stumbling block you ever come across when AoE grinding is running out of mana, and this goes a long way towards fixing that. Until you find yourself no longer having any mana issues at all, I suggest you continue using this glyph.

Glyph of Consecrate: At level 20 I suggest dropping Glyph of Judgement for this one. While this glyph completely throws off the 96969 rotation of end game tanking, it works great for AoE grinding. The reason why you use this glyph is for its extended duration. Since Consecrate is your main mana-sink, it helps to have to cast it a fewer number of times. This glyph gives you an extra two “ticks” worth of damage for the same amount of mana it would normally take, so in the long run you save yourself some mana. As long as you are AoE grinding, I see no reason to replace this glyph with another.

Glyph of Exorcism: This glyph is really only taken for the increased damage that it deals. I mention it because it is helpful, especially in areas where there are a lot of caster mobs that you need to get down fast. There also happens to be a very high population of undead mobs throughout the game, and dealing that extra damage from an already high-damage spell can be rather brutal. I would not take this glyph over the others unless you find that you do not need the benefit that the others have to offer. Overall, it’s a good glyph, just not quite as good as the others.

Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous: This is a glyph that I plan to get, just as soon as I can find an Inscriptionist/Scribe/WhateverNameYouUse that can make it. The server I am on right now has a surprisingly low number of inscriptionists on it so finding glyphs can be hard. As I mentioned in Part II: Paladin AoE Grinding Rotation, HotR is the key to you aggressively taking down large amounts of mobs instead of relying almost entirely on defensive and reflective damage. The spell by itself targets three mobs, and the glyph lets you add another one to the mix meaning you take down more mobs in a shorter amount of time.

Minor Glyphs
Lay On Hands: Reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by 5 minutes. [Required Lv: 15]

Blessing of Wisdom: Increases the duration of Blessing of Wisdom by 20 minutes. [Required Lv: 15]

Blessing of Might: Increases the duration of Blessing of Might by 20 minutes. [Required Lv: 15]

Sense Undead: Increases the damage you deal to Undead targets by 1% while your Sense Undead ability is activated. [Required Lv: 20]

Paladins, like a few of the other classes, have a rather sad list of minor glyphs to choose from. Overall, these are the best of what we have been offered – and that is not saying a whole lot.

Glyph of Lay On Hands: This is really the only minor glyph that I would urge you to take, where all of the others are merely suggestions. Being able to fully heal yourself more frequently is always nice, especially if you love to overpull and solo elites like I do. All in all it’s really just a matter of helping you to minimize your downtime. When coupled with the Glyph of Divinity up above, you end up having an excellent setup for keeping your health and mana as high as possible at all times. Get this one at 15, and leave it there.

Glyph of Blessing of Might/Wisdom: These are mentioned simply because they are better than the other options we have for minor glyphs. If you find yourself casting one of them more frequently than the other, you might as well pick it up to save yourself some time. Neither of these really serves any purpose in helping with your grinding, there just isn’t anything else to choose.

Glyph of Sense Undead: This glyph is the only one that offers you any real boost to your grinding speed, but even then only if you happen to be fighting undead. In all honesty, I think I have only ever turned on Sense Undead one time in both of my paladin’s careers combined. If you happen to be grinding undead mobs though, then you might as well dish out some more damage to them. Again, this glyph is not required, and its usefulness is limited to a single type of mob.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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Part II: Paladin AoE Grinding Rotation

As I continue to watch what brings readers to my blog, I see that my first post on Paladin AoE Grinding Rotation still brings in more traffic than anything else. But that post only covered you up to level 40. This time, I am going to take you all the way up to level 70 and get you started off on the right foot for AoE grinding in Northrend. Since my paladin is sitting at level 70 himself, the third part of this series will cover levels 71-80 (after I reach that point myself).

While some people have voiced their disagreement that AoE Grinding is an effective method of leveling once you hit Northrend, I can testify both from my own experience, as well as my wife’s, that AoE Grinding still works just fine in the great Frozen North. I am just getting my feet wet in Northrend, having used my AoE grinding methods in both Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra. My wife has been level 80 for a few weeks now and achieved that by gaining all of her levels through the use of AoE Grinding to help her speed through her quests. I don’t support this method simply because I think it’s cool, I support it because I know for a fact that it works.

One thing that I want to specifically point out in relation to the statement above, is that AoE Grinding is not the only means by which you should gain experience. The fastest way to level your paladin is to use AoE Grinding in conjunction with questing and farming. If you have quests that involve mobs in any way (basically everything except the “go talk to this guy” quests), then you have reason to AoE the mobs to take them out faster, thus gaining more experience in a shorter amount of time than you would by another means. If you have mats to gather for your professions, or your secondary skills (particularly cooking), or you need to gather mats for someone else to use to enchant your gear, then you will be able to do so faster if you AoE the mobs to get them. While it is certainly possible to do nothing but kill mobs constantly to gain your levels, it is definitely not the fastest way to do it.

Spending Talent Points
When leveling a paladin focused on AoE grinding as of 3.1, this is how I spend my talent points from 40-70:

  • Lv 41-42: Spiritual Attunement 2/2 – Passive ability; when you are healed, you restore 10% of the healed amount as mana.
  • Level 43: +1 Reckoning (4/5) – 8% chance after being hit with an attack, that your next 4 weapon swings will generate an extra attack
  • Level 44: Divinity 1/1 – Healing you do, and healing that you receive are increased by 1%
  • Lv 45-47: Redoubt 3/3 – +30% Block Value, also gives you a 10% chance when hit to get +30% chance to block
  • Lv 48-49: Combat Expertise 2/3 – +4 Expertise, +4% Stamina and +4% crit chance
  • Lv 50: Avenger’s Shield 1/1 – Hurl your shield at the target dealing holy damage, and dazing them for 10 seconds. The shield jumps to hit up to 2 additional nearby enemies as well.
  • Lv 51-53: Touched By the Light 3/3 -Bonus Spell Power equal to 30% of your Stamina, also adds 30% bonus healing to your critical heals
  • Level 54: Guarded By the Light 1/2 – Reduces Spell Damage taken by 3%, also impacts Divine Plea which you don’t have yet
  • Lv 55-57: Shield of the Templar 3/3 – Damage taken reduced by 3%, Avenger’s Shield gains a 100% chance to silence for 3 seconds when it hits
  • Lv 58-59: Judgements of the Just 2/2 – Judgements reduce the target’s attack speed by 20%, reduces cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 20 seconds
  • Level 60: Hammer of the Righteous 1/1 – Hits the target and up to 2 additional nearby targets for 4x your weapon damage as Holy damage
  • Level 61: +1 Guarded By the Light (2/2) – Reduces Spell Damage taken by 6%
  • Level 62: +1 Combat Expertise (3/3) – +6 Expertise, +6% Stamina and +6% crit chance
  • Lv 63-67: Deflection 5/5 – [Ret Tree] Increases your Parry chance by 5%
  • Level 68: Improved Judgements 1/2 – Reduces the cooldown of your Judgements by 1 second
  • Lv 69-70: Heart of the Crusader 2/3 – Judgements give you +2% crit chance against the target

Spiritual Attunement: The points in this talent can be moved if you desire to do so. Some people like it, some people hate it. Personally, I like it.

Divinity: The point I put in here can also be moved. This is one that a lot of people go crazy over and feel should be 5/5, but personally I don’t find it necessary. You can take it away, or you can add more to it. Do as you please.

Judgements of the Just: This is another one that can have it’s points shifted if you desire. I took it for a couple of reasons. First, because I like to solo elite mobs that are higher level than me and slowing down their attack speed helps me do that. Second, reducing the cooldown of HoJ is a nice bonus because of its use in interrupting spells.

Improved Judgements: There is a lot of discussion about whether you should put 1 point here or 2. Personally, I put 2 just because I like to have it available to me more often. For the 96969 rotation you only need 1 point in it, but other people feel that 2 is better. Decide for yourself. You can get by with 1, but it doesn’t hurt to have 2. I find it useful when running low level characters through instances to be able to throw my judgements more often.

AoE Grinding Rotation: General
As I mentioned in the previous post, there really is no set rotation for AoE grinding, so I will once again stick to a general rotation for you here. If you find something that works better for where you are and what you are doing, then by all means feel free to use your own.

The most basic steps to AoE grinding are these: [Pull], Holy Shield, Judgement, Consecrate, Hammer of the Righteous, “Other Stuff”

Pull:
Pulling includes each of the following: Exorcism, Avenger’s Shield, Hand of Reckoning

If you have other mobs near where you are fighting your current group, and you aren’t being overwhelmed, then feel free to pull them into the group as well. If there are not any stray mobs in the area to pull, then feel free to use your pull spell on one of the mobs you are currently fighting to help bring it to a close sooner. For this, I only suggest using Exorcism and Avenger’s Shield since the damage from Hand of Reckoning is rarely enough to do anything other than kill critters.

You can look at my notes in the previous post about Pulling as part of your rotation for details as to why it is in my rotation as opposed to simply being part of AoE Grinding.

Holy Shield
Holy Shield always takes priority over Consecrate. It was true at level 40 when you got it, and it’s still true at level 80. Holy Shield reduces the damage you take by increasing your Block, and it also deals significant damage to enemies when you block their attacks. Since Consecration only deals damage, and it costs nearly twice as much mana to cast, it is better to cast Holy Shield if your mana is low or the mobs you are fighting are all close to death.

Judgements
Which Judgement you use is entirely up to you. By default I use Judgement of Light until level 60 because I have both Blessing of Sanctuary and Seal of Wisdom providing me with the mana that I need. Once I hit level 60 though my health starts to become less of a problem than my mana as I get more and more spells that help me grind down the mobs faster. At that point my default changes to Judgement of Wisdom instead.

Which Judgement you use is going to depend on your situation and may change from fight to fight even against two groups of the exact same mobs. The only time I use Judgement of Justice is when I am fighting humanoid mobs inside an instance and there are either caster mobs in the area, or I know that my healer could not handle me pulling more groups due to lack of mana or similar circumstance. I do not believe that I have used Judgement of Justice even once since I reached the Outlands.

Consecration
Consecration is still, and always will be, the bread and butter of your run as a Prot Paladin. This is easily going to cover 40% of the damage that you do. I haven’t kept a close eye on the percentages here lately, but up until I got my achievement for completing 90 quests in Hellfire Peninsula Consecrate averaged out to about 42% of my overall damage dealt.

This is best way to ensure that you continually deal damage to the mobs around you, and also helps you to maintain threat on all of them. With Righteous Fury both reducing the damage you deal and also increasing the threat you generate by 90%, pulling agro away from you is not easily done.

Hammer of the Righteous
This spell is an amazing contribution to how fast you are able to grind. Once you reach level 60 and pick this bad boy up you can finally start to move to a much more aggressive form of AoE Grinding. With already impressive amounts of damage coming from Consecrate and your reflective damage from items and Retribution Aura, the Hammer of the Righteous spell lays a powerful weapon-based beat down on the targeted enemy as well as two other mobs standing next to them.

With only a 6 second cooldown this spell gets fired off frequently, and with impressive results. Unless I have a very large group of mobs around me, or for some other reason feel that I might be forced to bubble or LoH, then I will use this spell in priority even before Holy Shield. I would not suggest that you do the same unless you are comfortable with your grinding and know the actions of the mobs you face. Otherwise, putting a higher priority on using this spell means that you grind through the mobs faster, which means more experience and more loot in shorter amounts of time.

“Other Stuff”
The “Other Stuff” that I have up there is where you throw in anything else that you might want to use. This includes Hammer of Justice, Hammer of Wrath, Exorcism, Arcane Torrent (Blood Elf only), item or trinket use, healing spells, potions, etc.

As you continue to get higher in levels, and you become practiced in pulling more and more mobs, you find that the “Other Stuff” tends to get left out quite a bit. The other spells mentioned in the rotation are the bread and butter of what you are doing, and they should be what you focus on if you are tanking a group of mobs. Once the numbers start to dwindle down as the fight progresses, then it’s alright to throw the other things in there, but when you are fighting a group of high level mobs, it’s better to spread your butter.

Healing: Special Note
If you need to heal, do not be afraid to go ahead and do it. It’s alright to throw off your whole rotation for the sake of saving your own life. Be aware that spells that have a casting time (like Holy Light and Flash of Light) are going turn off your avoidance while you are casting them, so prepare to be hit more often and for a bit more damage while you are healing.

While you are still in your 40’s and 50’s you can probably manage to cast Holy Light without activating your bubble, so long as you are fighting a small group of mobs (around 5 or so) and you have enough health to take their hits throughout the cast time of the spell. If you are fighting a large group, then I suggest you resort to healing while bubbled, or by use of your Lay On Hands spell for a full heal.

After level 60, I no longer cast Holy Light without using my bubble first, and generally resort to Lay On Hands for my healing, or Bubble + Holy Light x2 if LoH is on cooldown. I also make use of bandages at this time to top my health off while I wait for my bubble duration to expire.

If you do use a bubble, then you have two primary options for healing. You can either cast Holy Light on yourself 1-3 times, depending on your total hit points, or you can cast Holy Light once and then use a bandage if you have kept up on your First Aid skill. Using bandages saves you the mana it would cost to cast a healing spell on yourself, and since you are bubbled you will not have its use interrupted. The higher level you are, the smaller percentage of healing you receive from a bandage, simply because they don’t scale all that well. I still use them, but most often I stick with Holy Light.

AoE Grinding Rotation: Specific

At level 50 you finally start to be able to take mobs down at an increased speed with the addition of Avenger’s Shield. It’s a great tool for pulling mobs, but with Exorcism being able to target all enemies now as well as Hand of Reckoning, I very rarely actually use Avenger’s Shield for pulling during my Solo Grinding. I will use it when I am in a group for the sake of establishing agro, but when I am going solo it is merely a tool for dealing massive damage to multiple mobs.

The general methods of gathering mobs that I mentioned in the last post still apply here, and will throughout. Find a method of pulling mobs that suits you and stick with it. If you are in a group then be sure to communicate with everyone else about how you intend to pull and when they should move into action. You don’t want to be in the middle of a large body-pull and have your healer throw a small heal on you that grabs all the agro because you did nothing to establish it. Communication is key in anything you do.

In the list below [OS/P] indicates the use of “Other Stuff” and Pull spells. Use whichever you feel better fits the situation you are currently in.

The following examples assume that you are Solo AoE Grinding, and have already gathered the mobs you intend to grind via your preferred pulling methods:

Level 41-59, AoE Grinding on multiple mobs
1) Cast Holy Shield – it’s better to start off with this to make sure your defense starts out high, than to worry about dealing damage with Consecrate. You increase your block, and those blocks do significant additional damage.

2) Cast Judgement of Light – restore your health while you attack your target. If you are high on health, go ahead and switch over to Judgement of Wisdom instead.

3) Cast Consecrate and reposition yourself if necessary to get all mobs in front of you – establish your primary source of damage and agro

4) Cast Avenger’s Shield [OS/P] – “burst” damage to three targets. Though this is a ranged attack, you can use it in the middle of melee. If Avenger’s Shield is on cooldown, choose one of the other OS/P spells. I almost always use Avenger’s Shield as my first spell in the OS/P category.

5) Cast Arcane Torrent (if available) – restore 6% of your base mana, and a chance to silence nearby casters

6) “Other Stuff” – other attack spells such as Exorcism, or healing yourself if necessary

7) Repeat steps 1-6 as needed until the fight is over

Where the 96969 build optimizes it’s cool downs, you really only have the 9’s of that equation right now, so a lot of your cool downs are going to overlap.

At this stage in the game you need to set a priority for your spells. For me, I set my priority as Holy Shield > Judgement >< Consecrate. The reason why I do this is because HS provides more protection than either of the other two, it deals damage to multiple mobs (assuming you block their attacks), and it has a fairly low mana cost. Judgement and Consecrate are swappable in the priority list, depending on the situation. If you have a lot of mobs around you, then Consecrate is higher priority to take them all down. If you have only a few mobs around you, then Judgement is the higher priority to help you end with as much health and mana as possible when the fight is over.

Level 60+, AoE Grinding on multiple mobs
1) Cast Holy Shield – raise your block, and deal some damage while you do it

2) Hammer of the Righteous and Reposition to be in front of mobs – deal 4x weapon damage as Holy damage to 3 mobs within melee range.

3) Cast Judgement of Light – restore your health while you attack your target. If you are high on health, go ahead and switch over to Judgement of Wisdom instead.

4a) Cast Consecrate – If you want to get more into the rhythm of 96969, then go ahead and use OS/P here instead, and push Consecrate to the next step

4b) Cast Avenger’s Shield [OS/P] – If you already used Consecrate, then throw the Avenger’s Shield here, or one of the other OS/P spells if AvShield is on cooldown. I almost always use Avenger’s Shield as my first spell in the OS/P category.

5) Cast Arcane Torrent (if available) – to restore mana and a chance to silence enemies.

6) Hammer of the Righteous – The 6 second cooldown of this amazing ability means it pops up multiple times in rotation.

7) Repeat steps 1-6 as needed until the fight is over

At level 60 you finally manage to get one of the 96969 components that fall under the “6” category, which is Hammer of the Righteous. This allows you to fall into the general rotation, using HotR as one of the 6’s, and then the OS/P spells to fill the others.

Hammer of the Righteous is also the key to you becoming truly aggressive in your AoE Grinding instead of the defensive stance we’ve had to take for so many levels. Instead of having to rely so heavily on Consecrate and reflective damage, you can now deal a significant amount with HotR to help blow through the mobs more quickly. By no means does that justify no longer using Consecrate and the like, it simply means that you are not more aggressive than you have been up to this point.

I have found in getting closer to level 70 that I often times only manage to cast Consecrate once before my fights are over. If I manage to pull other mobs in during my rotations, then there will be additional castings as well, but I have been pulling for so long now that I rarely miss gathering all of the mobs I want from my initial pull unless I get dismounted very early in the pull. Even then, I have taken more to kiting the mobs around to gather more of them than I previously did now that I know I can get through the mobs faster with HotR.

Wrap Up
And there you have the rotations that I use from levels 40 through 70. As I mentioned before, when you are not fighting solo, there really is no such thing as a specific rotation because you have to be aware of everything that’s going on around you, and you need to be able to react to the situation rather than trying to feel comfortable in a rotation. When grinding solo though, there’s no reason not to have a rotation because you don’t have to worry about other party members or anyone’s actions other than your own.

As always, I appreciate any comments you care to share, and welcome any questions you might have.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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Paladin AoE: How Many Mobs Should You Pull?

How many mobs to you pull when you are AoE grinding while a Prot Paladin? This is a question that pops up frequently when I check to see what terms are used in search engines that find my blog. The answer to this question, once again, is a vague one at best. The answer is both simple and complex.

In short, you pull as many as you possibly can…and still survive.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is a general guideline. There are far too many variables to simply throw out exact numbers. Where I might have pulled 13 mobs and ended the fight with full health and mana, you may have had to bubble and/or LoH to survive fighting only 8, or I may have struggled with 6 where you brutalized 10. Gear, enchants, experience soloing, etc. – it all makes a difference, and we all have differences in each.

The following information assumes that you are grinding solo, and is meant to be used simply as a general guideline to help you decide how many mobs you should pull in a given area.

The Basics

Minimum: Generally speaking, you never want to pull less than 3 mobs if you have an opportunity to pull more. My personal preference on a minimum is 5 once I have reached at least level 40. If I am grinding in a new area for the first time, even at high levels, then I always like to start with 3 and then judge from how I do against those three, how many I should pull the next time.

Maximum: This number is the one hit by all of the variables. If you are fighting mobs that are approximately your own level, then until you get above level 50, you probably do not want to take on more than 9 mobs in general.

Level: Your level has quite an impact on how many mobs you can handle. The lower you are, the fewer abilities you have to help grind the mobs down, the fewer hit points you have to spend while trying to kill them, and the fewer bonuses you are able to get from your gear. If you are below level 30, then you want to aim a little lower, probably 3-6 mobs in most cases. If you are below level 40, then you can probably handle closer to 5-7 mobs. After level 50 then you can move on to 5-9 mobs. Once you pass level 60 you can take on 5-13 in most cases. These numbers assume that you are fighting mobs that are equal to you in level.

Variables

Level Relation: What level are the mobs in relation to you? Common sense plays a factor here in that you can pull more mobs of a lower level than you can of a higher level.

  • Level -6 or more: The lower they are, the more numerous they fall. When fighting mobs of such a low level, feel free to pull as many as you can find. Unless they are elite mobs, or there are multiple spell casters, then you should have no trouble at all with a large group of these mobs. Mathematically, this variable equals: +5 mobs, or x2 mobs, whichever is greater while still remaining possible.
  • Level -3,4,5: With mobs that are 3-5 levels lower than you, feel free to add 3-5 more of those mobs to your pull. If you still find the fight to be overwhelmingly easy, then throw another 5 into the mix. If it’s still a breeze, meaning you had no need to heal/bubble/LoH, then go ahead and pull as many as you can find. So for mathematical purposes, this variable equals: +3, +4, or +5 depending on how comfortable you are.
  • Level +/- 2: If the mobs you are fighting are pretty well equal to your level, meaning they might be a couple levels above or below you, then go ahead and stick to the basic guidelines above. This variable equals: -1, +0, or +1
  • Level +3,4: If the mobs are 3-4 levels higher than me, then I like to play it safe and go with my default minimum pull of 5 mobs. If they happen to be large mobs, like ogres and giants and such, then I might go ahead and pull only three. Variable equals: -2, -1, or -0
  • Level +5: When I fight mobs that are 5 levels higher than me, and yes it does happen, then I like to start off with a single mob. With mobs this much higher than you, you know that your abilities are going to do less damage, your chance to hit is going to drop significantly, and they are going to hit you harder. When I find myself in an area with high level mobs, I test myself against one of them to get an idea of whether or not I want to bother coming back, leave the area all together, or go ahead and push on through despite their higher levels. See the “Randomization” section below for an idea of how to handle these.

Randomization: Sometimes mobs are just plain easy. When you find that regardless of the guidelines that I have laid out above you just rush straight through the mobs without a hitch, then by all means go crazy and pull them by the screen-full. Some mobs just happen to be easier to take on than others, even if they might be several levels higher; that’s just the way it is.

Be aware though that the exact opposite is also true. There may be times that you come up on a group of mobs expecting them all to just hand over their loot and save you the time of killing them, only to find yourself spirit running back to your corpse after taking on just two of them. If you find yourself facing mobs that are too hard then you need to take a moment to consider the situation. Either you need to find another place to grind, or you need to be willing to pull smaller numbers.

Testing It Out
Now, as I pointed out in the Randomization section above, sometimes you find groups that are just easier or harder than they should be level-wise. Unless you have been in the area before, or have researched it a bit online, then probably have no idea how those mobs are going to act and how you are going to do against them. At times like these you have to just test it out and see what you can do.

Go round up about three of the mobs and have a go at them. Keep an eye on how quickly your health drops, and how much mana you have to use. When the fight is over, take a look at how you stand on health and mana so that you can get an idea of whether you will be able to go in a near continuous pull in this area, or if you might have to stop to drink or heal between pulls.

Ask yourself the follow questions during and after the fight: Is your health bar dropping too fast? Are you going all-out with your attack powers and seeing very little impact on their health bars? Are the mobs actually able to cast harmful spells when you thought they were strictly melee?

Get an idea of what the other fights are going to be like if you continue to pull in the area and then imagine how you are going to do. For all the times you wipe from testing new mobs, which should actually be a rather rare occurrence, they will easily be outweighed by the number of times you should have died (if you were anything other than a Paladin) but instead managed to pull off the feat all by yourself.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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Protection Paladin Leveling 1-68 (Lexington)

Leveling a Prot Paladin is incredibly fun to me. I love to grind and I love to knock out a lot of quests at once, and Lexington (BElf Paladin 66) has managed to do that throughout his career to an even greater extent than Psynister (Undead Mage 80) ever did.

Today I am going to go over where I leveled with Lexington to give you an idea of what I have done, and where I have been. The vast majority of my leveling has been done solo, save for the time that I have spent in instances, and regardless of where I am or what I am doing, AoE grinding is my method of accomplishing it.

In my Previous Updates post I showed a screenshot slideshow of Lexington’s leveling from 1 to 25, and at the bottom of this post will be another show of levels 26 to 66.

I’m not going to go into specific details as far as “take these quests, skip these, do them in this order” or anything of that sort, because I’m not about to remove the need for brain usage completely. What I am going to do though is give you an idea of where I was when I was leveling.

There are a couple of times that I stayed in a place a while longer than you technically should for being higher level than the quests you are doing (Arathi Highlands in particular), but that is usually because of something else I am trying to accomplish at the same time. For Lexington it was because I needed to level my mining and the area offered all of what I needed while also giving me plenty of AoE grinding opportunities in between nodes, and a decent supply of humanoids for cloth that I used for the Rep quests in each city which happens to contribute nicely to leveling as well.

Starting Areas: 1-12
When starting a new character, you should always do all the quests that are offered to you. If you strictly do the quests, meeting only the minimum requirements for each, then you can leave your starting area at level 5, or slightly under level 5 if you do it all in a group. I kill extra mobs myself, so I always leave the starting area at level 6 instead.

From there you move onto the secondary town and area, which is usually just the rest of the map section that your starting area is located in. You will end up traveling all around the map in most cases, but the quests are plentiful and generally fairly easy to solo.

As a Blood Elf, I did all of my questing at this time in my starting area. I often bring other races here as well, as I find it to be superior to all others for leveling professions at early levels as well.

Ghostlands: 12-20
You generally end up at about level 12 when you leave your beginning area. In my case, since I love to grind, I didn’t leave until I was level 14. When I did leave though, I stuck to the Blood Elf quest line and proceeded south to the Ghostlands. I really like this particular area, save for the dark and gloomy landscape.

Ghostlands is an excellent place to level your character, your primary professions, and your secondary professions as well. It’s also a very good place for pushing the limits of your characters as some of the best low level elites are found here in Knucklerot and Luzran.

For the paladin, level 20 happens to be where you pick up some of your key AoE grinding tools (Consecrate in particular), so I stayed in this area a bit longer that I should have as well to get back into the hard core grinding state of mind with the numerous undead mobs here.

Basic Leveling Guide: 21-30
At this point you have a few different options for where you want to go to level. Since I know AoE grinding was the method of choice for my own leveling, I chose Hillsbrad Foothills as my location rather than the others because there are just too many wonderful places for AoE grinding in this area to pass up.

Honestly, I recommend coming here with any character you have in this level range, simply because I prefer the quests here to the ones in all other areas. It seems easier and faster to quest here, which sets a nice momentum for carrying on and helps to keep you motivated and feeling good about your progression.

This also happens to be the level range where I really start to look at some of the instances. Most of my characters have already hit Ragefire Chasm by now as well as Wailing Caverns. Lexington was a bit of an exception because I skipped RFC until my paladin quest sent me there at level 20, and I did not bother taking him to WC until he was in his 40’s because there is little tanking gear there save for a couple of shields that I know are significantly outmatched by the shield found in SM: Cathedral.

The instances I did run at this range though were SFK, which I ran several times, BFD which I ran mainly for my paladin quest, SM: Graveyard, and SM: Library. The minimum level for entry into the SM Instances is 20 for all of them, but if you are running it with a group you should really be about level 28 before you attempt it unless you have higher levels in your group with you.

Arathi Highlands: 31-38
While I focus my questing in this area, and generally do all of the quests offered here, I also do a lot of leveling during this block in instances. Initially I hit SM: Armor and SM: Cathedral several times. There are great drops in all of SM for all of the classes. I cannot think of a bow/gun that drops there off hand, so some of the hunters may be a bit disappointed, but otherwise it’s great for drops. The shield that drops here is particularly good, and I end up wearing it until I get up into the mid-50s because there simply isn’t anything that can beat it.

Questing in Arathi is fairly easy, though the mobs do take on a noticeable increase in their strength and hit point totals. This is another great location for leveling cooking and first aid with the mobs that are available to you, and it offers some of the best mining you can find at this stage as well. While the drop rate is not the best, the elementals spread out across the region also have a chance to drop some decent mats that can be sold on the auction house for a nice amount.

Badlands: 39-44
Keeping with the current trend, the Badlands is another great place for AoE grinding and for leveling up your professions. There is a strong source of beasts here for skinning/leatherworking as well as cooking, and there is also a healthy supply of dwarfs and ogres in the area for cloth.

There also happens to be a very nice instance nearby called Uldamon, which holds nice drops for all classes and roles. This instance used to require you to have 3 people in your party to open up the doors to the last boss, but this is no longer the case. The instance is set for levels 38-44, though you can get in at a lower level than that. I ran this instance a LOT. I am not even sure how many times it ended up being, but I probably ran it just as many times as I turned in quests in the area.

The instance is not particularly hard, but it provides good drops that can either be equipped or sold for decent amounts. I soloed this instance with my paladin when he was level 45, which is how I know for certain that you no longer need 3 people to open the door to the last boss.

Tanaris: 45-50
Another wonderful place for AoE grinding, which also has a strong instance in Zul’Farrak. I love the AoE grinding opportunities that this area has to offer, and it also provides a very good place to level my mining skill. The ZF instance has some more great drops in it, so I ran through there three times, though none of the items that I was particularly looking for happened to drop for me this time. As far as tanks and melee dps go, some of the best weapons for your level drop from bosses in here. Caster-wise, there is a helm in particular that comes to mind, and other items as well. ZF also happens to be where you can get your Carrot on a Stick to increase your mount’s run speed if you have the quest for it.

During these levels I do take the time to go through some of the other areas for a few quests, including Stranglethorn Vale, Dustwallow Marsh, Thousand Needles, and the Shimmering Flats. For the most part, I do the quests that I have picked up that send me to these areas to talk to someone, and I check the quests that are offered to me in the area. I don’t particularly care for any of those areas themselves though, so unless they offer a quest that is simple and does not require much time, then I just skip it and go back to Tanaris.

There are a couple of escort quests on this map, one of which requires you to lead a turtle across most of the map which is kind of annoying, but at least he follows where you go instead of making his own path. The quest takes a while, but it’s easy. The other escort quest I do here is for the mechanical chicken, but it requires a drop from ZF. If you do all of the chicken escort quests, then you can get a vanity pet out of the deal. I have not bothered doing all of them myself, largely because I don’t care about vanity pets. Regardless, I still do the quest if I find the beacon required to start it in ZF.

Felwood, Western Plaguelands and Un’goro Crater: 50-55
Personally, I hate the plaguelands with a passion. When I was leveling my mage, I simply skipped the whole thing entirely. With the paladin though, seeing as how almost everything here is undead, I walked in and concecrated them all to the ground. I did not stay in the area very long though, because I still hate it even if it is easier with the paladin than with other classes.

The good thing about this area though, is that there are a lot of quests that are all bundled up together, so you don’t have to do a lot of running around to different areas to get a lot of quests done. You also have a chance to build up some reputation here, which I did take advantage of to some extent, though not enough to matter much at this point. I have considered coming back later specifically to grind all of the rep though.

I did quite a few quests in Felwood during this span as well, but I don’t think I actually gained any levels while I was there. I gained plenty of experience for the levels I did gain, I just don’t think the actual “ding” happened there.

Felwood is very nice for your cooking, and grinding those bears in the key to doing it. This is also where you find Felcloth, though I think in all the time I spent there I only found about 3 pieces of it. There is a lot of AoE opportunity here though with so many beasts gathered up all together. The yellow/tan landscape though just depresses me, so I don’t stay here for long.

Un’goro is a wonderful place for AoE grinding, particularly on the raptors. There are also a lot of nodes for both mining and herbalism, though you have little in the way of tailoring mats since there are no humanoids. I don’t really like this area, but I don’t really dislike it either. The reason I come here is because once again you have a lot of quests bundled up into a fairly small area, so it is easy to finish several at once. That was my main draw here, and it paid off rather well in a fairly short time span.

You will see in the slideshow attached below that there some levels missing from this range. Those levels I gained while I was on a business trip and using my wife’s laptop instead, so no screenshots were taken, but I can assure you that this is the area they were gained in.

Winterspring, Western Plaguelands, and Eastern Plaguelands: 56-58
Winterspring is new to me since I skipped it on my mage, but it was a fun place to go. I definitely recommend this place you happen to be an herbalist, because this is the only place you can find Icecap. Because of this fact, a stack of icecap sells for around 40 gold on both of my servers. Icecap is also used by alchemists to make the Purification Potion that removes diseases, which is often sought after by players who intend to farm Stratholme for Runecloth as there is a particularly nasty disease in there that prevents you from healing and also happens to be a DoT. I farm Icecap with my mage and then send the herbs to an alchemist friend so that I can farm the runecloth with him.

Western Plaguelands still offers some decent quests at this level, but mostly it’s used for finding quests that send you over to Eastern Plaguelands. As I mentioned before, I hate WP, and the same holds true for EP. I hate both of them and would rather not bother with either one if I can help it. But, there are some very good drops in both areas, particularly if you happen to be an Enchanter. A lot of the quest rewards sell really well too if you aren’t an Enchanter.

Lexington focused mostly on Winterspring for these levels, and it was another perfect place for an AoE class to be. This is a very nice place for farming mining nodes right below the 300 range, and was the best place I found for mining Thorium. One other little bit of advice I have to offer here is that you can buy the Runecloth Bag pattern at the city in Winterspring which sells on my old server for 30g. I bought three of the pattern on my new server, and have not sold a single one. I’m not sure what the deal is over here, but it was a great money maker on my previous server.

Hellfire Peninsula: 59-64
Hellfire is a place I love to hate. There is a lot of stuff you can do here, plenty of profession opportunities, and so forth. I personally hate the whole stinking continent of Outlands, save for a portion of Nagrand. I’m not a fan of sci-fi and that’s what most of Outlands is. To me, it just doesn’t feel like it belongs and I keep on waiting for someone to pull out a laser gun and shoot me or something.

Regardless of my personal dislike for Hellfire, the questings is actually very good. The instances also offer some solid loot drops, though I did not bother with them on Lexington since I know that Northrend is just around the corner.

I like to get the achievement for doing quests here, so I do every one I can find until I get it. You have to do 90 quests for the achievement, so you can see just how many there are here.

One of my favorite moments here was soloing the Cruel’s Intentions quest, which I posted about last week. I know he was a beast when I fought him with my mage, so it was fun to take him on all alone with my paladin.

Terrokar Forrest, Nagrand, and Shadowmoon Valley: 65-68
TF is yet another area that I just don’t care for at all. I take the time to do some of the easier quests here that don’t take a whole lot of time, but mostly I find the place annoying.

With my mage I went to Zangar Marsh instead of TF, and I really enjoyed it. I skipped the whole zone with Lexington, even though I know there is a nice shield that can be obtained from the Sporeagar reputation. Since I already had the Skullflame Shield though, I didn’t bother with it. When I leveled my mage, the WotLK expansion was not out yet, so I was not in too much of a hurry to level, where I am with the paladin. Feel free to do whatever you want here. If you are playing a Prot Paladin and want a decent shield, I certainly suggest going to Zangar, otherwise do it or skip it as you please.

Nagrand is the only place in all of Outlands that I actually like at all, and a lot of it I don’t care for either. The good thing though, is that it is packed with quests, and it is really easy to knock out 5 or 6 of them in a single go and then head back to town to turn them in. Some of the quests here can be pretty hard, particularly the group quests and the ones requiring you to kill elites.

So far Lexington has soloed everything here, but I still have two of the hardest ones sitting in front of me. I am going to solo Durn the Hungerer at some point, though I have not yet decided which level I want to take him on at. I am currently level 67, and I know from trying it that 66 was too low. I watched him eat a full party of level 68-70 Alliance characters last week, so I want to get another level or so before I try it. After all, one Horde Paladin is easily the equivalent of any 4 Alliance characters.

I also have the Ring of Blood quest chain to look forward to. Being realistic, I’m not sure I can solo this before I will head to Northrend, and I don’t want to bother with coming back. I might take a shot at soloing it to see how far I can get, but in the end I will most likely get either a group to take it out with, or have higher levels in my guild come and give me a hand with it.

[UPDATE: Including the rest of my quest areas up to 68 and slightly beyond.] After running out of quests in Nagrand at 67, I went to Shadowmoon Valley to finish off to 68 with a handful of quests from the starting area. After I hit 68 I went to Northrend for a while before returning to Zangar Marsh to grind the rep I needed for the Petrified Lichen Shield that I mention down in the comments below. After obtaining the shield I returned to Northrend where I plan to stay from here through 80. [/UPDATE]

Here is a shot of Lexington as of last night:
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And here is a screenshot of of Lexington’s Levels, minus the few that I missed while I was out of town playing on my wife’s laptop without the MultiShot addon:

I intended to have a slide show of Lexington’s levels here, but apparently my upload did not go through at lunch as I had thought. I will work on getting that put together an including it here as well so that you can see where I happened to be each time I gained a level. It will not necessarily tell you where I was leveling at the time, especially for quests that you turn in at Location A after questing in Location B, but it will give you a general idea at least.

For My Twitter Peeps
Some of my friends on twitter brought up how hard some of the elites were when they went through, so here are a couple of screenshots that I took after speaking to them:

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I was rather unimpressed with Guttripper. No bubble, no Lay on Hands, just a dead bird that wasn’t really worth my time. /sigh

And a question: If you happen to know where that “Fiery Payback” message comes from, and how to get rid of it, please let me know. A quick look yesterday showed that it might be part of a talented mage build and thus displayed from the MageAlert addon which I do have, but this obviously is not a mage, and I have used MageAlert since long before I had my paladin without ever seeing it. It pops up when you are below 35% health, which happens quite a bit with me since I love to over-pull and solo elites well beyond my level.

I suppose if it is MageAlert that’s causing it that I can just remove the addon and continue, but I do love it when I’m actually playing my mage. If you know another method of simply removing that box and preventing it from showing up though, please share. It’s driving me nuts.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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