View Full Version : Pally tank looking to improve

10-01-2009, 07:31 AM
Hello all. i've been a WoW player for about 9 or so months, and my main and only real account is my paladin who has evolved into a tank.

I belong to a very social guild and I find it tremendous fun to run raids with my friends. We run fairly regular, and we seldom if ever PUG any slots. For me running a raid successfully is the ultimate fun in this game, and I am always, always looking to get better.

So then, we've got Sarth and Naxx on farm status, 5man H ToC the same. We've gotten 6 bosses deep into Ulduar (currently progressing through the Iron Council fight) and for the very first time beat the first and second bosses in 10man ToC (Beasts and Jaraxxus).

I'm looking for advice as to how best to tweak my spec, and any specific items i should target for gear upgrades. Enchants and gem advice would be awesome as well.

Please bear in mind that I only run with my social guild and as such we run 10mans. You will see that in my gear, I don't have a single piece of 25man gear. If there is something really incredible, I can try to pug out into a 25man here or there to see about it (tempted by the Flame Leviathan's Titanguard), but only for those really important pieces.

I seem to have the hardest time remaining over defensive minimum when getting new gear... even now I am at 541, and have to re-tweak everything when something new drops (like my new bracers). With 2 buffers in the raid (two of any priest/DK/warrior/druid combo) my raid HP crowns at about 40k so i think i am okay there (considering we don't do hard modes yet)

The guild has had a few people go on hiatus, and a few other senior folk are focusing on alts, so I am burgeoning into the Main Tank role. Which is something I have been coveting, and am nervous about screwing up!

So any advice would be AWESOME!

The World of Warcraft Armory (http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Aegwynn&n=Winterbourne)

10-01-2009, 07:38 AM
One thing I should mention is that I know that Titanium Earthguard Ring needs to go, and I have about 28 triumph emblems socked away towards getting that incredibly pretty iLvl 245 Clutch of Fortification ring.


10-01-2009, 08:40 AM
Staying above the defense minimum is something we all have to do but the good news is that as you progress more into the Coliseum and start picking up some of the gear there you'll find that a lot of it is absolutely dripping with Defense Rating. In the meantime though, you have a great attitude and I'm sure you'll do well.

That said, I do have a few suggestions for you to perhaps consider and I hope they help :)

Firstly, your spec is a little deeper into Prot than I personally believe is necessary. For threat in TotC you'll ideally want to get down to 3/3 Crusade in the Ret tree. 5/5 Seals of the Pure + 5/5 Reckoning is slightly higher threat in Ulduar, admittedly, but in my opinion there's far more utility in the Ret tree so I shy away from Seals of the Pure.

First off, you have a few choices from early-to-mid Prot and each has their pros and cons. You've currently got all three options but you'll need to free up a few points to get some of the nicer Ret talents. Your choices here are:

1/1 Divine Sacrifice + 2/2 Divine Guardian - you may not use Divine Sacrifice that much if you're the MT as it can only realistically be used with bubble and you can't really bubble with the boss on your face. That said, it's nice for things like Mimiron Phase 2, the Detonating Lashers on Freya, etc. In addition, Divine Guardian enhances your Sacred Shield ability by giving it more damage absorbtion and doubling its duration to 60 seconds. If you have a Holy Paladin in your raid then their Sacred Shield will be better than yours even if you take Divine Guardian, however.

1/1 Divine Sacrifice + 2/2 Improved Hammer of Justice - this was better when it was a 20 second stun/interrupt rather than 30 seconds it is now, but it's still handy for certain fights. You'll use it pretty much every cooldown on Faction Champions, plus it can be handy for other fights that require an interrupt in case your DPS dies or disconnects or is stupid, notably Iron Council, Aurayia and Jaraxxus.

3/5 Reckoning - this is your high threat option, but it's not a fantastic boost, especially if you're not taking Seals of the Pure (which I don't, personally). That said, it'll still be more TPS than either of the above two options so if threat is an issue then it might be worth bearing in mind.

Pick one of those and then the only other change I'd make to your Prot tree is 2/2 Spiritual Attunement - 1/2 is plenty here assuming you have Divine Plea always running and Blessing of Sanctuary up.

Going into the Ret tree, you only need 1/2 Improved Judgements (the 969 rotation, which you should be doing always only allows Judgements to be cast every 9 seconds anyway). That said, you have one "filler" point to use to get down to the next tier, so you can leave it there if you like. I personally take 1/5 Benediction because while it's kind of useless, it's at least doing something, however small.

From there, I'd pick up 2/2 Persuit of Justice, 1/5 Conviction and 2/2 Vindication. Vindication has been changed since 3.2 and now acts as Improved Demo Shout which is automatically applied, which is great news in terms of mitigating incoming damage on you. After that, 3/3 Crusade for threat and a bit more threat.

This (http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#sZV0tAMuMusIufdtsMobc) is my spec.

Next, glyphs - you should probably switch some of these to be honest. Ideally you want Glyph of Divine Plea (a flat 3% damage reduction while DP is up, which is pretty much always against a single target) and Glyph of Seal of Vengeance for 10 Expertise Skill - this is by far your best glyph for threat and offers fantastic mitigation in reducing your chances to be parried (hence avoiding parry haste). After that you have some choices - pick one of Judgement (single-target threat), Hammer of the Righteous (multi-target threat, does nothing on single-target), Righteous Defense (massively reduced chance for your taunt to miss) or Salvation (a highly situational mitigation cooldown in exchange for a threat reduction). You'll also want to pick up the Minor Glyph of Lay on Hands and Minor Glyph of Sense Undead for a reduced cooldown on LoH and 1% damage increase on Undead mobs, respectively. Third Minor can be whatever you like, I personally take Kings.

As for your gear, for Ulduar onward you'll want to focus on Effective Health (Stamina and Armor) and avoidance (Dodge, Parry and Defense Rating) as the bosses hit slow and hard and a bigger health pool helps a lot in that regard. Shield Block Rating is pretty much entirely wasted by being pushed off the attack table and Block Value is nice for threat and a bit of mitigation but still isn't preferable compared to the other options.

You may wish to farm the Brewfest boss for one (or both) of the Stamina trinkets while it's still on or Essence of Gossamer from Azjol'Nerub Heroic to replace your Darkmoon Card. You won't need the threat from the Card with your new spec if you follow the 969 rotation at least until you get to General Vezax or Hodir Hard so a second Stam trinket will do you well here.

Obviously you want to slowly be moving over to having Epic gems in all your gear to get the most out of them, but that can be expensive or require a lot of badges so it's probably more important to get it right before you start switching things across. My personal gemming strategy is to ignore any and all socket bonuses that are either non-Stamina or less than +9 Stamina. Put Solid Majestic Zircons in these irrespective of colour. For pieces with a more favourable socket bonus, I use Shifting Dreadstone (Agi/Stam) for reds and Enduring Eye of Zul (Def/Stam) for yellow. You could also use Dodge/Stam (Regal Dreadstone) in reds, it's up to you. Agi is slightly less avoidance than Dodge, but does give you a tiny bit of threat and armor, plus it scales with Kings. Your call there.

You don't need to gem for Parry yet. Parry suffers harsher diminishing returns than Dodge, even after the changes and the specific time for changing over is when (char_sheet_dodge% - 10) / (char_sheet_parry% - 10) > 1.88. Before then, you will get more avoidance per point of Dodge than Parry.

As for weapon enchants, again you have options and it's a matter of personal preference. Go for one of: Blade Ward (on-proc avoidance and a little threat), Blood Draining (a little survivability when you're at low health), Accuracy (threat if you're below the 8% melee hit cap), Major Agility (always-there avoidance), Mongoose (on-proc avoidance). I use Mongoose but any of the above are viable.

Beyond that, your gear is going in the right direction and as you get further along you'll find you get more Defense Rating from items again. In the meantime, it might be worth picking up Sand-Worn band or something from Naxx - while it has nowhere near the EH potential of Mark of the Relentless, it at least has some Defense Rating on it so it may afford you some flexibility until you get gear that can sustain having a ring with no Rating on it again.

The only other thing I would say is that I know you were semi-joking about being nervous to become the MT but one of the greatest skills an MT needs to have is confidence - a confident tank inspires a confident raid and you'll get great results that way. People look to their MT to lead the way, to know the fights and to keep them alive. Research the fights by watching the great videos on this site if you haven't and try to look at them from the point of view of what your friends need to do as well. You may not be the raid leader, but great tanks always have a degree of leadership in them all the same and, as I say, being a confident leader means having a confident and successful raid team behind you.

Hope that covers everything but feel free to ask either here or shoot me a PM if you have any questions or anything. Good luck! :)

10-01-2009, 09:36 AM
Mert, first off, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I so appreciate this post and I will be digesting it in detail. I knew my weakest area would be glyphs and don't worry about insulting me or making me be defensive with a critique. i came here to get help to be better!

As for talents, i think i will dump DG in favor of the Reckoning increase. i really never DG (you are absolutely correct). i don't always have a Holy Paladin in the raid, but i don't think it was making the difference for me casting it on myself every 55 seconds.

i have both the Brewfest trinkets now (thanks to a LOT of guildie alts wanting to kill Direbrew) i have just been gunshy about removing that big threat add from the Greatness card. i will start off slow, maybe run some Heroic Dailies with the top DPS hunters in my guild and make sure i can hold aggro without the DMC:G threat. Good test to see if Reckoning will cover the drop-off, and i need those 2 triumph emblems daily anyway :)

i have been undecided (as you can see in my gear) whether to focus on stam with gems or to mix in a healthy dose of avoidance stuff. This is the purpose for multiple sets of gear, i know. Time to start getting doubles of some stuff!

I've noted that Paladin gear is popping up with Block built into it, so i am trying (note the shoulders) to instead get to that 102.4% avoidance/block magic number as soon as possible. With Holy Shield i am around 92%, so i have a long way to go.

As for confidence, you are dead-on. Last night I drove the guild through a speed-run on Sarth (18 minutes, start to finish) and told them to get ready for drakes-up starting on Tuesday. We're getting up to Auriya (sp) in Ulduar before we get a raid-wipe, so i know i am capable in both leading and tanking. I started leading crusades into the Heroic Daily and Naxx for achievement runs. Nothing like a little pseudo 'hard mode' in easy, well-known instances to build confidence, and hey... violet proto-drake soon!

Thanks again for all this well-thought-out advice. I will start tweaking and report back in a week or two :D

10-01-2009, 04:41 PM
I've noted that Paladin gear is popping up with Block built into it, so i am trying (note the shoulders) to instead get to that 102.4% avoidance/block magic number as soon as possible. With Holy Shield i am around 92%, so i have a long way to go.

Actually it looks like you're already there, judging by your Armory - don't forget that every boss has a flat 5% chance to miss, plus you increase the miss chance through Defense Rating. At 689 Defense Rating, you'll be at around 4.4% additional Miss after diminishing returns (annoyingly the Character sheet only shows Miss before DR).

So for you that'd work out as:

5% Miss + ~4.5% Miss from Defense + 23.96% Dodge + 20.57% Parry + 18.63% Block + 30% Block from Holy Shield = 102.66% Avoidance + Block, ie. Uncrushable, unhittable, block-capped or whatever else you want to call it.

In fact, full raid buffs usually give you somewhere in the region of 2-3% toward 102.4% (Agi scaling from Kings, Mark of the Wild, Horn of Winter, etc) so you could probably afford to lose some Block Rating from your gear (easiest to change would probably be the Necklace for the Emblem of Conquest one).

That's why Paladins turn their noses up at Block Rating gear so much - it's so pathetically easy to get to 102.4% without even trying that all that Block Rating goes right off the edge of the hit table and you end up with wasted iLevel budget.

Of course don't be afraid to pick up pieces with Block Value as this will add to both your threat and the amount of mitigation Block actually gives you but it's not often you'll find something with Block Rating and no Block Value (though there's a few more pieces now than there were in 3.0, admittedly).

As for your spec, 3/5 Reckoning alone probably won't cover the loss of DMC:G but going down into 3/3 Crusade as well will get you much closer. If you really are struggling and would like that Strength back, I'd recommend saving 25 Emblems of Triumph and buying the new Retribution Libram - it gives a chance on SoV tick to grant you 200 Strength for 16 seconds. By moving the threat item to your Libram slot, you free up a Trinket for more Effective Health. Of course Libram of the Sacred Shield or Libram of Obstruction will give you some threat as well and it's only really the new Dodge one that has no threat component at all (also 25 EoT).

EDIT: Going back to the 102.4% issue, there's a very easy way to check and that is to get hold of an addon called Tankadin2. Amongst other things (announces if Avenger's Shield misses, taunt is resisted, etc) it will give you a breakdown of all your stats after DR etc is taken into account. One stat on there is "Hittable%" - if the number is below 30 without Holy Shield you're block-capped with whatever buffs you currently have and if it's above 30 you're not :)

10-03-2009, 06:13 AM
Thanks again, i had NO clue about that add-on, i will curse it up and start playing with it as soon as my server returns (freaking %^$&@#^)

Good updates, the guild has been hammering 10man ToC, and thus I have upgraded my neck [Endurance of the Infernal] and trinket 2 [Fervor of the Frostborn] so my EH has jogged up just the tiniest bit, but i have gained def up to 548 or so, and even more overall avoidance. Much happier.

The EoT tank ring is only 1-2 days away as well.

I think my plan now will be to completely reset my glyphs (have had no AH time, the guild keeps texting me to get online for runs!) and swap a few gems directly over to +stam (since i seemed to have hit the 102.4 magic number without realizing). Raid-buffed HP is creeping up on 41.5k overall, so I think the move to better threat through a libram might complete me for this tier of content.

I will report back, and thanks again!!!

/hey, anyone need a tank for 25man anything on Aegwynn? :D