RSS

Tag Archives: Tanking

Death Knight Tanking: Frost

[NOTE: This post is meant to cover you only up to level 60.]
[NOTE 2: I have updated the spec details and link for level 60 to help you in tanking Outlands instances. Removed Acclimation 1/3 with Lichborne 1/1. Details below.]

Psynister_DK_65



Introduction
As I write this article, my Frost DK is currently sitting at level 65. The image below will update itself as the Armory information is updated though, so you may see him at a higher level in that picture when you read this. The picture updates, but the Psynister I leveled for this series of posts made it to level 80 and then got deleted and replaced with a new one, which isn’t being leveled as Frost.



About a week or so ago I posted about A Death Knight Tank, one named Khanus in particular, and how how that DK inspired me to want to finally make a DK of my own and actually focus on leveling him as a tank to see for myself just how hard it would be to successfully fill that role with a DK.

I planned on leveling a DK sometime within the next couple of months or so, but circumstances changed a bit here and there and I decided to roll him early rather than waiting. I’m pretty well known for my patience outside of the game, but for some reason when I’m in a virtual world that aspect of my personality disappears and when I want something I want it now. I didn’t have a character named Psynister on this server just yet, so that’s how this fellow came to be.

I didn’t want to be just another Death Knoob out there, so when I got started with this guy I did my research first and smashed faces later. I did a lot of reading on different blogs and forums to get everyone’s general views of how to tank with a DK and I found a lot of really good information out there. I found a lot of bad/old information as well, but we don’t need to waste our time with that.

General Tanking Information
The first thing that I want to throw at you here, besides the unnecessarily long introduction up above, is that all three of a DK’s talent trees are capable of tanking. You can find that little tidbit of information just about anywhere you look for tanking info.

That being said, only Frost and Blood are really considered to be high end tanking specs at this time. Recent nerfs to Unholy have reduced their effectiveness. That doesn’t mean they can’t still do it, especially if an experienced player is behind the keyboard, but if you’re new to DK tanking then stick with Frost or Blood.



Tanking with a DK is different than tanking with other classes. You don’t really have a set rotation you’re going to go through (sorry, no 96969 business over here), and while you do have two taunts, one of them has a long cooldown and both of them are only single target. So you can’t slip into a single style of play and assume that it’s going to work for you all the time. You need to be flexible, and you need to be able to react to the situation as it changes.

Death Knights have a very unique system of resources as well, having to manage both a Runic Power pool and a Runic system as well. Managing those can be tricky at first, and using abilities without being aware of their Rune costs can completely kill your ability to act as a tank. Focusing too much on your Runes though makes you waste your Runic Power, which means you’re throwing away additional DPS which in turn is throwing away threat. It sounds pretty complicated, and when you’re new to it it certainly seems that way, but the longer you play with it the more natural it will become.

Frost Tanking Basics
I was misinformed from previous playing experience and discussions prior to the two or three most recent patches, that Unholy was the main spec for AoE tanking. However, the real king of AoE threat generation comes from the Frost tree.

Frost tanks have two primary styles of play: single disease, and dual disease. You also have the option of using either a two-handed weapon for big hits, or dual wielding weapons for additional stats and smaller, but faster attacks. My personal style of playing works better with dual diseases right now, and up to this point I have only tried two-handed tanking and so cannot comment on the dual wielding yet. [Dual Wielding is covered in the follow up post, however.]

Frost Tanking Spec
Alright, it’s time to get a little more specific about how to tank with the Frost DK, and the first order up on that list is what sort of spec you should be running. As I mentioned, I did a lot of research before I actually rolled this character, and the spec I am using is what I felt was the best route for me to take after that research.

DK_FrostTank_60b




Alternate (Recommended) Spec for Level 60
This is a revised spec for level 60. After spending five days doing almost nothing but running random dungeons and leveling my professions I needed to make a change.

The change isn’t huge but it is significant, especially for the mid-to-upper sixties. I removed the single point in Acclimation and replaced it with Lichborne, which makes you immune to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects for 10 seconds. When you run randoms in your 60s you are going to run into a lot of Fear effects. Enough so that my human racial and my PvP trinket were not enough to take off all of the fear at times.

The magic-based damage reduction from Acclimation isn’t bad, it just didn’t provide enough benefit (especially with only one of the three possible points spent in it) for me to take it over Lichborne given how often I had to deal with fear and how seldom I had to deal with spell casters.

Improved Icy Touch 3/3: Your Icy Touch does an additional 15% damage and your Frost Fever reduces melee and ranged attack speed by an additional 6%.

Toughness 5/5: Increases your armor value from items by 10% and reduces the duration of all movement slowing effects by 30%.

Black Ice 5/5: Increases your Frost and Shadow damage by 10%.

Annihilation 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your melee special abilities by 3%. In addition, there is a 100% chance that your Obliterate will do its damage without consuming diseases.

Killing Machine 5/5: Your melee attacks have a chance to make your next Icy Touch, Howling Blast or Frost Strike a critical strike. Effect occurs more often than Killing Machine (Rank 4).

Chill of the Grave 2/2: Your Chains of Ice, Howling Blast, Icy Touch and Obliterate generate 5 additional runic power.

Frigid Dreadplate 3/3: Reduces the chance melee attacks will hit you by 3%.

Glacier Rot 3/3: Diseased enemies take 20% more damage from your Icy Touch, Howling Blast and Frost Strike.

Deathchill 1/1: When activated, makes your next Icy Touch, Howling Blast, Frost Strike or Obliterate a critical hit if used within 30 sec.

Rime 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your Icy Touch and Obliterate by 15% and casting Obliterate has a 15% chance to reset the cooldown on Howling Blast and cause your next Howling Blast to consume no runes.

Hungering Cold 1/1: Purges the earth around the Death Knight of all heat. Enemies within 10 yards are trapped in ice, preventing them from performing any action for 10 sec and infecting them with Frost Fever. Enemies are considered Frozen, but any damage other than diseases will break the ice.

Improved Frost Presence 2/2: While in Blood Presence or Unholy Presence, you retain 6% stamina from Frost Presence, and damage done to you is decreased by an additional 2% in Frost Presence.

Blood of the North 3/3: Increases Blood Strike and Frost Strike damage by 10%. In addition, whenever you hit with Blood Strike or Pestilence there is a 100% chance that the Blood Rune will become a Death Rune when it activates. Death Runes count as a Blood, Frost or Unholy Rune.

Acclimation 1/3: When you are hit by a spell, you have a 10% chance to boost your resistance to that type of magic for 18 sec. Stacks up to 3 times. [Revision: Replaced by Lichborne]

Lichborne 1/1: Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 10 sec. While undead, you are immune to Charm, Fear and Sleep effects. [Revision: Replaces Acclimation]

Frost Strike 1/1: Instantly strike the enemy, causing 55% weapon damage plus 137.5 as Frost damage.

Guile of Gorefiend 3/3: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Blood Strike, Frost Strike, Howling Blast and Obliterate abilities by 45%, and increases the duration of your Icebound Fortitude by 6 secs.

Tundra Stalker 5/5: Your spells and abilities deal 15% more damage to targets infected with Frost Fever. Also increases your expertise by 5.

Howling Blast 1/1: Blast the target with a frigid wind dealing 518 to 562 Frost damage to all enemies within 10 yards.

Glyphs
Glyph of Howling Blast: [Major] Your Howling Blast ability now infects your targets with Frost Fever.
Glyph of Frost Strike: [Major] Reduces the cost of your Frost Strike by 8 Runic Power.
Glyph of Disease: [Major] Your Pestilence ability now refreshes disease durations on your primary target back to their maximum duration.

Glyph of Pestilence: [Minor] Increases the radius of your Pestilence effect by 5 yards.
Glyph of Raise Dead: [Minor] Your Raise Dead spell no longer requires a reagent.

I am currently using Disease over Howling Blast because I really enjoy AoE grinding while I quest, but as far as tanking goes Howling Blast is probably going to be better for you overall if you plan on sticking primarily to dungeons or questing with groups rather than solo questing and grinding. I am also using the Death Strike glyph in place of Frost Strike to test it, but I’m going to replace it tonight because I completely misread what it did and get very little benefit from it where reducing the runic cost of Frost Strike will grant me more threat generation during boss fights.

As for the minor glyphs, you want those two glyphs and you want them before any others. Pestilence is higher priority than Raise Dead, so if you are only able to get one of them for some reason, go for Pestilence.

Tanking Trash (Up to level 60)
Trash tanking is where all of your AoE spells really shine. The other members of your group dictate where your AoE spells get cast in your “rotation”, whether you need to front load the AoE threat or if you’ll have to time to start and spread your diseases first.

The research I did frequently pointed out that being able to react to your situation is the key to being a good DK tank, and I have found that to be entirely true. As such, I have developed my own rotation here for what works well for me, based solely on how I like to play. There may very well be a better rotation to use out there, but this is what works for me.

Disease Rotation: Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Pestilence, Howling Blast, Blood Boil
Heavy AoE Rotation: (Icy Touch), Blood Boil, Blood Boil, Howling Blast, Pestilence

I prefer using the disease rotation because it gives me the most control over threat during the fight and it gives me the chance to use my AoE spells on other groups of mobs that might get pulled in unintentionally for whatever reason. A lot of people like to power level through vanilla content and then start grouping in Outlands having no idea how to participate in a group.

I would like to say that most of my pulls go off smoothly without having to worry about patrolling mobs or accidental agro, but that’s not the case. I’ve found in my experiences in Outlands so far that it’s better for me to stick with the Disease Rotation up above so that I can hit the AoE spells for instant threat on bad pulls rather than blowing them all at the front of the fight with my intentional pull and then having to run around generating crazy threat on multiple mobs that are chasing my healer.

In the Heavy AoE Rotation I put Icy Touch in parenthesis because if you have the Glyph of Howling Blast then that spell will apply the disease for you which is the main reason I suggest casting it. If you don’t have the glyph then cast Icy Touch first to both establish a disease that can be spread immediately after the AoE as well as to build a solid level of threat on at least one of the mobs in case things don’t work as planned.

Howling Blast is going to deal AoE damage in a radius centered on the target you cast it on while Blood Boil is going to deal AoE damage centered on you. So when you cast Blood Boil, make sure you’re near the mobs that you need to generate the threat on or else you’re wasting the cast.

I most often use the AoE rotation when additional mobs get pulled that I was not intending to have to deal with, which is primarily a patrol in a dungeon I’m not especially familiar with and as such did not see. When a group of mobs comes in that I wasn’t expecting I move in the direction that the mobs are moving, and use my AoE spells on them.

I start off with the double-Blood Boil because when these pulls happen the mobs are almost always already mixed into the group and heading for the healer or whoever may have pulled them, and that usually means that the mobs are right next to me. If the mobs get pulled and are not already next to you then you can either use Howling Blast instead, you can run towards them and use Blood Boil, or you can wait for them to get closer to you and Blood Boil from where you are (if they have to get through you to get to whoever their target is). By default I will run towards the mobs to hit them with the AoE threat because that puts me right in the middle of them and better able to react to the situation in case my Blood Boil misses, it gets me closer to other mobs that might have been outside the range when I used the AoE, and if my AoE burst isn’t enough to put me at the top of the threat list then I’m close enough to throw another one at them immediately.

Tanking Bosses
Tanking bosses is a whole different ballgame all together. Since our strongest method of generating threat on trash mobs is AoE we have to completely switch our rotation to build and maintain maximum threat on a single target. This is where your other spells are going to come into play and where you’re going to refresh your diseases by casting the basic spells that apply them (Icy Touch and Plague Strike) rather than refreshing them by using the Glyph of Disease or using Howling Blast to reapply your Frost Fever.

I like to load a lot of DPS onto a boss at the beginning of the fight and then settle into a rotation.

Boss Rotation: Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Blood Strike, Blood Strike, Death Strike, Frost Strike

When you are about to pull a boss, you want to be sure to use your Deathchill buff which gives you a guaranteed crit with your next Icy Touch, and starting with a crit is great for building your initial threat. Deathchill’s crit boost also works for Howling Blast (if the boss has adds so you pull with AoE), Frost Strike (if you have runic power built up to use it right away), and Obliterate (level 61) spells if you decide to pull with those instead. I would personally use either Icy Touch of Howling Blast for the initial pull, and since IT requires only a single Frost Rune it gets my vote for being the spell of choice unless the boss has adds that will also be hit with Howling Blast.

Plague Strike is the second attack and requires you to be within melee range, but deals Shadow damage to the boss and applies your second disease, Blood Plague.

Blood Strike is a great way to boost your threat, and since we have both of our diseases applied it’s a perfect time to use it. Blood Strike deals an extra 12.5% damage for each disease you have on the target, so using it after IT and PS grants an extra 25% to the Blood Strike’s damage.

Because of the cooldown situation of our runes, the next spell on the list is going to be Death Strike which will damage as well as healing you for 5% of your maximum health for each disease on the target; Since we have two diseases applied, that means we’re healing ourselves for 10%. You may need the heal, you may not, but the attack is dealing damage regardless which will build threat and the heal is just an added bonus. If you started the fight off with some runic power already built up then you can skip this attack and move on to Frost Strike instead.

Frost Strike comes up next to make use of our Runic Power (RP). Assuming you hit with the previous spells you should have enough RP built up to use this when starting the fight with no RP at all, even if you are not using the glyph. This is a nice, hard hitting attack to use up your RP. Your only other option for using RP at this level is Death Coil, which is a decent attack that can be used at range, but I prefer sticking with Frost Strike unless something causes me to be distanced from the boss.

At level 60 you don’t have access to Obliterate just yet, so for now you are going to rotate between the spells already mentioned. When your diseases are getting ready to fall off, go ahead and reapply them with Icy Touch and Plague Strike (even if you have the Glyph of Disease), make use of Blood Strike whenever your blood runes are available, keep your RP down around 20-40 by making use of Frost Strike, and when you feel like you need a boost to your health go ahead and take advantage of Death Strike for the 10% heal.

If you are facing a boss that has an attack such as Fear, knock back, stun, or something that otherwise has a chance of putting distance between yourself and the boss, then you may want to make use of the time to get back to melee range of the boss by casting Death Coil. Your two ranged attacks right now are Icy Touch, Death Coil, and Howling Blast so if you get separated from the boss go ahead and make use of one of them while you move back in so that you continue to generate what threat you can while closing back in. I recommend Death Coil first, Icy Touch second, and Howling Blast third for the sake of making the best use of your resources.

If anyone manages to pull threat off of you then your only option for this level range to taunt them with is Death Grip. Since this is the only “taunt” we have right now I never use Death Grip for pulling a boss unless it’s absolutely necessary. If one of the dps pulls the boss off of me by jumping the gun then I will use it at that time, but using it to start the fight off seems like a bit of a waste to me, so I save it until it’s needed. For trash pulls, Death Grip is fine to use whenever needed, especially to get a caster within melee range, but for bosses I like to save it. There’s nothing wrong with casting Death Grip to start off a boss fight, but from my experience it’s unnecessary and better saved for a time when it’s actually needed.

Watch Your Buffs
I want to point out that the spec that I suggest above gives you a couple of buffs that you need to keep an eye out for.

Killing Machine: This talent gives your auto-attacks a chance to make your next Frost attack (Icy Touch, Howling Blast, Frost Strike) an auto-crit.

Rime: This talent gives you the Freezing Fog buff which makes your next Howling Blast cost no runes to cast.

You don’t want to miss out on free critical hits, and you don’t want to miss out on free AoE damage. Better yet, you don’t want to miss out on free AoE damage that will automatically crit if you happen to have both of them proc at the same time.

Killing Machine is a PPM (Procs Per Minute) buff, meaning that it can only happen so many times each minute. Because of this you are going to have a higher chance of getting this buff by using a slow, two-handed weapon than you will from dual wielding and/or using fast weapons. Killing Machine isn’t taken quite so often by dual wielding Frost tanks, so if you are not using a big two-hander then you may want to consider spending those five talent points in Icy Talons instead to reduce your target’s attack speed while also increasing your own, and you may swap the one point in Acclimation to Improved Icy Talons to provide a melee haste buff to your party as well as a constant haste buff to yourself.

Because of the Death Knight’s unique resource system(s), you need to be able to manage both resources without digging yourself into a hole of inactivity where all of your runes are on cooldown and you have no runic power to use. Using your Runes too fast on low damage or low threat spells is not going to pay off for you in Runic Power. Similarly, though somewhat opposite, not using your Runic Power means that you’re wasting the resources generated by your Rune abilities. Use your Rune powers to deal the damage you need to supply your Runic Power, and then burn through your Runic Power while your Runes are cooling down. Keeping that cycle up is how you manage a constant stream of threat on your targets.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2010 in Death Knight, Guide, Leveling

 

Tags: , ,

Real PUGs of Power: Mr. I Had A Group Full Of Win’s Guys

Over the weekend I decided to go ahead and roll that Death Knight Tank I had mentioned last week. I have a post in progress to discuss the details of tanking with a Frost DK that should be coming out sometime this week, but if you want details on him right now then you can check out his armory link: Psynister. I bet you didn’t see that name coming, did you?

Today I want to tell you about an especially great group that I found myself in over the weekend. Generally when I queue for a random I run the dungeon and then regardless of how good/bad we did I go ahead and leave group and go find fresh group all together. That seems to be the norm from how quickly most people drop group after the final boss is down.

There was something different about this group though, so I went ahead and stuck with them. I think three of us asked at about the same time after the first run if everyone was up for another. With some amount of surprise from me everyone said yes. The second dungeon went down and we queued up as a group again. I think all together we did three dungeons, but there may have been a fourth in there as well.

I think as a group we functioned extremely well in the dungeons that we ran, and it was interesting to see that even though both the warrior and myself were queued for both Tank and DPS, the role of Tanking was mine every time we queued. I’ve seen the LFG tool swap people’s positions before so I know it can change, but every time it came up as mine.

Generally I like to keep my Real PUGs of Power posts to a single person, but this group worked so well together that I’m throwing them all in there together. Deciding on the title was a bit of a challenge this time since it’s about four people instead of only one, but it works for me even if it is a bit awkward. With four people deserving some praise, I initially was just going to write a regular post about it, but I think something like this shows a bit more sincerity when I say thank you.

Mr. I Had A Group Full Of Win’s Guys
Bethannie, Druid Heals
Nikedawg, Warrior DPS
Aldy, Mage DPS
Adolat, Priest DPS

Psynister’s Notebook presents: Real PUGs of Power

(Real PUGs of Poweeeer)

Today we salute you Mr. I Had A Group Full Of Win’s Guys.

(Mr. I Had A Group Full Of Wiiiinn’s Guys!)

You’ve shown us how a real group clears an instance.
With DoT’s, HoT’s, AoE’s, and Whirlwinds.

(I think we could one-shot Arthas!)

Taking down bosses and trash mobs with ease,
And acknowledging the strengths of every member.

(Great job with the heals!)

Pathing mobs get pulled, no problem.
Mage’s pet was set to aggressive, who cares?
The tank got mind controlled? Lets bring him down!

(Dang it, I wanted to kill him!)

So crack open an ice cold Frost Tank’s heart, you group full of epic win.
There’s no such thing as an unbeatable instance, when the five of you group together.

(Mr. I Had A Group Full of Wiiiinn’s Guys!)

PuG_of_Power_DK1

In case you’re wondering, yes the warrior did really try to kill me when I got mind controlled just before the boss in that screen shot went down. We were both trying to fill that tank spot each time we queued, and he never got it. I planned to give him the chance regardless in the next run since I have yet to be chosen as DPS, but the group needed to split right after that boss, so I never got the chance. It was all in good fun (at least, I think it was…) and I think we all had a great time and enjoyed the group.

Hopefully luck will be on my side and I’ll find myself queued up with them another time in the future.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2010 in Death Knight, Leveling, Real PUGs of Power

 

Tags: ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
3 Comments

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

 

Tags: , , ,

Paladin Tanking: Level 80

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

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

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

Tankadin 101 with Professor Poetry

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 22, 2009 in Guide, Paladin

 

Tags: ,

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

 
14 Comments

Posted by on June 4, 2009 in Guide, Paladin

 

Tags: , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,149 other followers

%d bloggers like this: