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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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A Challenge From My Wife

My wife recently decided that she has had enough of getting ganked on our main PvP server and has dropped the server as of last Thursday in favor of a Normal one instead. Since I play the game to have fun and really could not care less if my character is level 8 or level 80, I decided to go ahead and join her on Friday night.

She started Deydraeda, a Blood Elf Paladin, on Thursday night and has pretty well stayed focused on her the entire time since then. Her usual partner in gaming, her best friend besides myself, refused to change servers because she has a very completionist personality and hates starting over until everything is fully complete on one character. My wife usually plays a Holy Paladin and is definitely a healer above all else. Knowing that she would be going in solo though, and knowing how well I have done so far with Palasyn, she decided to roll this paladin as Protection spec instead.

While I have not pointed her to the blog yet for reference, she does have her computer set up right next to mine, so she has all of the information I do at her disposal; at least while I’m home. She has all day while I am at work to play solo, so she has easily surpassed me in leveling speed and while I struggle through my twenties all alone, she’s now in her prime thirties and able to move at a blazing speed that I cannot yet match and will be hard pressed to follow since she has no more intention of slowing down than I do.

She also knows that I am a focused solo leveler while she is not, so she has laid down the challenge and refused to help me level my character. We will have to see whether or not I can catch up and surpass her, or if she manages to find a solid group and outlast me. We will see whether focused AoE Grinding rolled into questing (me) can overtake a focused questing combined with AoE grinding approach (her).

She does plan to switch over to a healing spec once she reaches the Outlands though, which will very likely give me more than enough time to catch up to her as some of my favorite AoE locations in the game are found in the Outlands.

Update: Apparently I saved this one as a draft instead of just publishing it almost a week ago as I had intended.

She is currently leading the race at level 45 compared to my 30, and after being contacted by some of my old guildmates asking for my assistance back on the old server, she is likely to win unless I can get her caught up in playing the warlock alt that she rolled this weekend.

Since she decided not to transfer her existing level 80 Paladin from our old server she decided to pay to have her new paladin renamed to her favorite, Fynralyl.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2009 in World of Warcraft

 

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