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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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Paladin AoE Grinding Rotation

As I have the ability to keep a much closer eye now on what is driving viewers to my blog, I have noticed that the most frequent searches are the Level 30 Spec for 3.1, and AoE Grinding Rotation. I have already covered how I spec my paladins, but I have not gotten into the specifics from level 30.

So today I am going to cover both items and go over how I spec my character, level by level, and also the general rotation that I use when I am grinding. The rotation section, as I will mention again when I get into the details of it, is going to have to be general because the situation can change every single fight. There is not a specific rotation that you go through when AoE grinding like there is with the 96969 rotation tanking build for end game.

Spending Talent Points
When leveling a paladin focused on AoE grinding as of 3.1, this is how I spend my talent points from 1-40:

  • Lv 10-14: Divine Strength 5/5 – Adds 15% Strength
  • Lv 15-19: Anticipation 5/5 – Increases Dodge by 5%
  • Lv 20-24: Toughness 5/5 – Increases Armor from Items by 10% and reduces duration of movement slowing effects by 30%
  • Lv 25-27: Improved Devotion Aura 3/3 – +50% bonus Armor from Devotion Aura, Adds 6% healing done to anyone affected by ANY of my auras
  • Lv 28-29: Improved Righteous Fury 2/3 – When RF is active, reduces all damage taken by 4%
  • Level 30: Blessing of Sanctuary 1/1 – Blessing reduces damage taken by 3%. When you block, parry, or dodge melee attacks you gain 2% of your maximum mana
  • Level 31: Improved Righteous Fury 3/3 – When RF is active, reduces all damage taken by 6%
  • Lv 32-34: Reckoning 3/5 – 6% chance after being hit with an attack, that your next 4 weapon swings will generate an extra attack
  • Lv 35-37: One-Handed Weapon Specialization 3/3 – Increases all damage you deal when wielding a one-handed weapon by 10%.
  • Lv 38-39: Sacred Duty 2/2 – Increases your Stamina by 8%, and reduces the cooldown of Divine Shield and Divine Protection by 60 seconds.
  • Level 40: Holy Shield 1/1 – Increases your Block chance by 30% for 10 seconds and deals 247 Holy damage for each attack you block while it’s active. HS has 8 charges that can be expended during its duration.
  • You may notice some differences here from when I last posted about the Paladin spec, in that I no longer put points into Divinity for increased healing. The reason for this is that I have found it to be less effective than Improved Devotion Aura (IDA). Initially I did not see a place for IDA because I had no intention of using Devotion Aura over Retribution Aura. What I found when I read over IDA’s description again though, was that while its bonus to defense is only active when using Devotion Aura, the bonus healing it gives happens to anyone who is affected by any of your auras at all.

    So rather than spending 5 points to get an extra 5% healing done and healing received, I instead spend 3 points to get an extra 6% healing done to anybody that has my aura on them by any source that heals them.

    AoE Grinding Rotation: General
    As I mentioned in the introduction, there really is no set rotation for AoE grinding, so I will stick to a general rotation for you here, but know that you will have to change it up on your own depending on the circumstances of each fight. This is the type of rotation that I suggest up through level 50. My highest paladin right now is level 53, so I cannot go further than that from my own experience, though I can tell you that my wife pretty well does the same with her AoE grinding in Northrend.

    The most basic steps to AoE grinding are these: [Pull], Holy Shield, Judgement, Consecrate, Other Stuff

    Now, a lot of people generally do not think of Pulling as a part of a rotation, but with AoE grinding it certainly can be. Sometimes you start to round up the mobs you want to grind and then for whatever reason (getting stunned, knocked down, snared, etc.) you have to stop short of what you were aiming for and just go with what you’ve got on you so far. In cases like these, I add pulling into my rotation to make sure I keep a nice, large group of mobs around me. Sometimes it’s a matter of pulling others to me, and sometimes it’s a matter of kiting the group I’ve already got so that I can get closer to another group.

    Which Judgement you use is entirely up to you. By default I use Judgement of Light because I have both Blessing of Sanctuary and Seal of Wisdom providing me with the mana that I need. However, that is not always the case, so I do frequently use Judgement of Wisdom as well. Since I use them both on a frequent basis, I use a simple macro bound to my number 3 key to switch between them.

    #showtooltip
    /cast [modifier:alt] Judgement of Wisdom; Judgement of Light

    Which 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.

    Holy Shield always takes priority over Consecrate, so make sure that it is always up once you get it at level 40. Before level 40, simply take Holy Shield out of the rotation. 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.

    The “Other Stuff” that I have up there is where you throw anything else that you might want to use. This includes Hammer of Justice, Exorcism, item or trinket use, healing spells, etc. Basically, anything you want to do to help either speed up the fight or heal yourself would go in this slot. Until I get to around level 40 I generally stick to the simple Pull/Judge/HS/Cons rotation and just watch the mobs fall around me. As I get a little higher and mana continues to become less and less of an issue, then I go ahead and throw Exorcism into the mix, and after level 50 I add in Avenger’s Shield if I am high on mana and want to take the mobs down faster.

    Hammer of Justice is a decent filler for the “Other Stuff” category up there if you need to reduce the amount of damage you are taking or if you want to prevent a humanoid from fleeing if they are low on hit points. I generally only use it when I have a spell casting mob next to me since we take far more damage from casters than we do from melee.

    Exorcism is an excellent choice, especially now that we can use it on any type of creature. I started using this more actively after level 40 because that was when I finally started ending almost all of might fights with full mana. I figured that I might as well put that mana to use instead of having it go to waste, and it works out very well. Even against mobs other than undead and demons, I see this spell crit almost every time I cast it. The damage on it is very nice, there is no cast time, and it is great for killing mobs that flee when they get close to dying. Exorcism has also taken over as my most frequent method of pulling mobs now so that I can get a good amount of damage starting out to building up threat.

    Arcane Torrent deserves a very special mention as well. It is the Blood Elf racial ability that silences nearby enemies and also restores 6% of your mana to you. I keep this on my action bar and use it every time the cooldown is up as long as I am not at full mana. I generally activate it right after my first Consecrate in each pull, and then continue to activate it throughout fights as the cooldown wears off. If I happen to be in an instance with caster mobs in it, I do occasionally hold off on using it so that I can save its use for an attempted silence on those mobs when I encounter them.

    AoE Grinding Rotation: Specific
    Alright, so to get a little more specific on rotations and how you go about using your abilities when you are AoE grinding, here are a couple of samples of what I would do at levels 30 and 40, from the start to finish.

    Level 30: Yeti Cave west of Tarren Mill, pulling 3 mobs
    1. Run to the nearest Yeti and cast Hammer of Justice for an attempted stun, but continue running on to the next mob. This particular area does not allow you to use your mount since it is inside the cave, but if you were to go for the Yetis outside the cave, then replace the pulling method with a single mounted body pull for all three.

    2. Body pull the next Yeti, auto-attack if desired, and run close enough to the third Yeti for ranged pull with Hand of Reckoning.

    3. Turn back to target Yeti #2 and cast Judgement of Light

    4. Cast Consecrate, repositioning myself if necessary to get as many of the mobs in front of me as possible.

    5. Cast Arcane Torrent, if available.

    6. Assuming that I am level 30 at this point, I would cast Hammer of Justice to stun one of the yetis and reduce the damage I take against the level 30-33 yetis. Cast Holy Light if health drops below 40%.

    7. Repeat steps 3 – 5 as needed

    At this point, that will pretty well be what you do. As you gain more levels prior to hitting level 40, then you can pull more and more mobs. Test yourself in any area you are in to make sure you know how many mobs you can handle. Generally speaking, if you are fighting something big, like a yeti or ogre, expect it to hit you hard and so be ready to heal. If you are fighting cats or raptors, then be aware that they have high attack speeds which make casting non-instant spells harder, so if you are going to heal make sure you do it before it’s an emergency or be ready to use Hammer of Justice to stun one of them to get your heal off instead.

    Level 40: Pirate on coast east of Gadgetzan
    1. Use your mount to Body Pull as many pirates as you have the guts to take on, being sure not to run across too large of a region that you lose agro on some of the mobs.

    2. Cast Holy Shield to increase your Block and begin dealing damage to the nearest mobs.

    3. Judgement of Light the nearest mob with the highest hit point total. If you just started the pull, then just pick the mob that’s closest to you.

    4. Cast Consecrate, repositioning myself if necessary to get as many mobs in front of me as possible.

    5. Cast Arcane Torrent, if available

    6. Cast Holy Light if health is below 40% but not dropping rapidly. If health is going down too fast, cast Divine Protection to lessen damage, Hand of Protection to become immune to physical damage, or Lay On Hands for a full heal.

    7. Repeat steps 2 – 6 as needed until the fight is over.

    When you are pulling very large groups like the pirates, and by large I am talking about 9-16 mobs which is my average in that area, you may want to cast Divine Protection early on in the pull to lessen the damage you take from all of the mobs before you have had time to wear them down with Consecrate, Holy Shield, Shield Spikes, and Retribution Aura. When and if you do this is a matter of personal preference, so do as you please here.

    As you can see, this particular post only covered up to level 40, which covers all of your beginning grinding needs.

    See Also:
    Part II: Paladin AoE Grinding Rotation
    Paladin AoE Grinding: Glyph Edition

     
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Posted by on April 30, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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Palasyn the Paladin – From 30 to 50

Palasyn (Blood Elf Paladin 50)
Mining 257 and Enchanting 303

Palasyn’s Spec

I lost my notes on specifically where I leveled for each of these levels, so I am going to give you a summary here instead specific level notes as I did in Palasyn’s last post.

And for one quick note about the paladin from my play on a new Prot Pally on a different server Knucklerot and Luzran were easily soloed at level 18, further showing the strength of the paladin.

AoE: Level 30 – 36
During this particular run, I do remember that I focused my efforts in Hillsbrad doing AoE grinding runs on the yetis that you find in the caves west of Tarren Mill. I also did a good amount of mining there in that cave as well as the surrounding are.

I would highly suggest going here at level 30 to grind these yetis. Go ahead and start off a little slow pulling just one, then two, then three, etc. Get a feel for how hard they hit, take note of the fact that they will almost always enrage on you, and just keep an eye on what you are doing. They aren’t hard to take out with a Prot Paladin, you just want to make sure that you do not overpull right off the bat.

After I got to about level 34 I stopped being cautious and just pulled as many as I possibly could. The most I ever managed to get into a single group was 6, though if I had used Consecration to kite them I could have done better. But at the time, I was not aware that using Consecration would allow me to kite mobs far beyond their spawn locations.

Razorfen Kraul
This one we ran with a group a couple of times before running it with just Stevetehcow and I. This instance was not one we enjoyed a whole lot, so we did not bother staying with it for very long. The drops were mediocre, the experience was decent, and the mobs had a tendency to be a bit annoying in places. All in all it was a decent place to go, we just did not prefer it over any others. Even with the annoying mobs in there, the place was really rather boring with how easy it was to tank all of the mobs in there. The druid actually did a /sleep on almost every single fight just to emphasize how little work he had to do to keep me alive.

Uldaman (started at level 36)
We ran through Uldaman quite a bit. I think the first day we hit it probably 4 times, followed by another 3-5 the next day. This is another instance where the healer was incredibly bored, so we started pulling several rooms at a time to give him something to do. Again, we had no difficulty at all, even when pulling up to four rooms worth of mobs, save for one area.

There is one mini-boss in Uldaman called the Ancient Stone Keeper where there are several Silence effects thrown around. While this is obviously bad for your healers and mana-based DPS classes, it is also very bad for the Paladin tanking. When a Paladin has no mana, or he cannot cast his spells, his ability to tank nearly vanishes; your ability to generate threat is greatly diminished, and it can easily lead to party members dying.

We tag teamed the instance twice and every other time was with groups of sizes varying from 3 to 5 members. We also did all of our runs here prior to hitting level 40, including the two-man runs with just Steve and myself.

Zul’farak (started at level 40)
This instance was a great deal of fun, and also horribly annoying. All together we ran through here four times, and we only did the ones after the first because of the gear that we wanted. I only got one of the drops I was hoping for and Steve got, I believe, two items that he wanted.

The big problem with this instance is a ridiculously annoying Witchdoctors. They love to cast this wonderful spell called Hex, which turns you into a frog. They also like to cast it on the tank, and they do it every chance they get. Hex can be removed by a few different classes, but unfortunately for us those classes were never available when we wanted to run it. When the tank gets hexed, he looses his agro and everyone else gets to take on those 14 mobs I had rounded up all by themselves.

Since the druid healer has no way of removing Hex from me, we decided not to do this one with just the two of us, but we did do it with a third that was able to dispell Hex.

The one thing that made going here worth it was the big battle you fight near the end where mobs constantly rush up at your group and you have to burn constant AoEs to keep them all off of you. Every time I had run this before we just stayed up on the stairs and waited for them to come, taking advantages in breaks to drink while we could. With these runs though, knowing my healer as well as I did along with having such confidence in my tanking, we ran right down to where the spawn and slew the whole crowd at once. It was an epic battle every time, never a single death, and always a ton of fun.

Maraudon (ran a couple of times around 45-46)
Maraudon was attempted four times in all. The first time we tried it with just the two of us, and while we did not have any trouble surviving, we did have trouble bringing down the mobs with such large hit point totals. It was not hard, it just took forever to kill things. After clearing a couple of rooms we decided to drop it for now and come back with more dps.

The second time we came here half the group went one way, and the other half went another way, with both thinking they knew how to get inside the instance. The problem was, both groups knew how to get in, they just knew different doors. We ended up getting split up and then the party broke apart instead of trying to find each other. We cleared a few rooms with myself, Steve, and another paladin before calling it quits again for lack of dps.

The third and fourth times we had a full group and had no problem clearing it all. The first of these was done in the Orange side, and the second in the Purple. Once we had the dps added in there to take down the mobs it was just a matter of running from one group to the next, killing as we went.

AoE: In the level 40-50 range
In between instances I focused almost exclusively on AoE grinding and mining. Most of my grinding at this point was done on the pirates on the coast east of Gadgetzan. The first group of pirates here (the ones in near the tents) like to use guns which is a little annoying for Consecration’s sake, but not much of a challenge. The second group of pirates though (the ones near the boats and lodges) are wonderful for grinding as they are almost exclusively melee.

When I came here I simply jumped on my mount, rounded up anywhere from 8-22 mobs, and then just AoE until they all run away from me. Then I throw a single Holy Light spell to heal myself, wait a couple more seconds, and then throw another Consecrate. After another second or so the mobs would meet back up with me and die either from Consecrate or my Retribution Aura. After one group is cleared, I just hop back on the horse and go pull another area the same way.

The respawn rate here is very nice and you can pretty well constantly stay on the move. When you pull the exceptionally large groups, some of which I used Consecration-kiting for, you may have to bubble and/or use your Lay on Hands to survive, but a single heal is usually sufficient to keep you going in this area.

New 3.1 Talent Placement
With 3.1 being released last night, I had to redo Palasyn’s spec since they gave us all a free respec and changed up some of our talents. When I do a respec, I do it like I would if I were going through level by level with the character, so here is the breakdown of how I would spec a paladin up through level 50 as of patch 3.1:

  • Divine Strength 5/5 Adds 3/6/9/12/15% Strength.
  • Anticipation 5/5 Increases Dodge by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Toughness 5/5 Increases Armor from Items by 2/4/6/8/10% and reduces duration of movement slowing effects by 6/12/18/24/30%.
  • Improved Righteous Fury 3/3 When RF is active, reduces all damage taken by 2/4/6%.
  • Divinity 2/5 Increases healing done by you, and to you by 1/2%. (this point can go anywhere)
  • Blessing of Sancuary 1/1 Blessing reduces damage taken by 3%. When you block, parry, or dodge melee attacks you gain 2% of your maximum mana.
  • Reckoning 4/5 Gives you a 2/4/6/8% chance after being hit with an attack, that your next 4 weapon swings will generate an extra attack.
  • Sacred Duty 2/2 Increases your Stamina by 4/8%, and reduces the cooldown of Divine Shield and Divine Protection by 30/60 seconds.
  • One-Handed Weapon Specialization 3/3 Increases all damage you deal when wielding a one-handed weapon by 4/7/10%.
  • Holy Shield 1/1 Increases your Block chance by 30% for 10 seconds and deals 247 Holy damage for each attack you block while it’s active. HS has 8 charges that can be expended during its duration.
  • Spiritual Attunement 2/2 (Passive) Grants you mana when healed equal to 5/10% of the amount healed.
  • Ardent Defender 2/3 When you have less than 35% health, all damage you take is reduced by 10/20%.
  • Redoubt 3/3 Increases your Block Value by 10/20/30% and damaging melee and ranged attacks against you have a 10% chance to increase your Block by 10/20/30% for 10 seconds or until 3 blocks are made.
  • Combat Expertise 2/3 Increases your Expertise by 2/4 and your Stamina and Chance to Critically Hit are both increased by 2/4%.
  • Avenger’s Shield 1/ 1 Hurls your shield at an enemy, dealing 1100 to 1344 Holy damage, dazing them for 10 seconds, and jumping to up to two additional targets.

This is the build that I use right now at level 50, and I have no trouble at all dealing with the mobs that I face up to 4 levels higher than me while solo grinding, or when tanking mobs in instances that are even higher than that.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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