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.
/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.