Archive for July, 2011

The New Protection Paladin I

This is the first in a series of articles I’m planning on writing that are intended to provide a bit of insight to those people who are new to Paladins or thinking of taking up a shield for the first time. I’ll try not to get to deeply into theorycraft so as to keep this guide accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of knowledge. There are plenty of resources available out there if you want to get a better idea of how certain mechanics work and I strongly encourage anyone so interested to check out sites like Maintankadin.

Part 1: Talents & Glyphs

“I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive.”
– Albert Einstein

Confused?Whether you’re creating your first character or just another in a string of alts, upon reaching level 10 you will enable the talent tree feature of the game. Up to this point, everything has been click-and-kill with only a few spells available to you. Now however, you have the opportunity to pick one of three talent trees that will define who your character will become from this point forward.

Paladins, like Druids, offer the widest possible range of versatility allowing players to fill any of the three major roles in the game;

  • You choose the pious path and become a servant of the light, wielding powerful spells and healing the wounds of your comrades.
  • You could take up a shield and become a stalwart bastion of holy strength, defending your fellows from creatures that would look to crush them.
  • You could set forth, find yourself mighty sword and become a holy warrior, slashing your way through hordes of undead minions.

For the sake of this guide I will be focusing on the second of these options and discussing the Protection tree.

Cataclysm has both simplified and added more depth to talent trees. The first thing you will notice is that each tree displays a number of abilities which you will automatically learn for selecting it. In the case of Protection, you will gain one active ability and three passive abilities;

  • Avenger's Shield Avenger’s Shield – This will become one of your major tools for initially grabbing agro and building threat.
  • Vengeance Vengeance – Introduced in Cataclysm, Vengeance is intended to ensure that tanks can keep ahead of damage dealers on threat. In practice, it’s a sledge-hammer to crack a nut that introduces as many problems as it solves.
  • Touched by the Light Touched by the Light – This is a real “Swiss Army Knife” of an ability. Not only does it grant you additional stamina, which converts in to hit points, but it also increases your damage potential which in turn translates to threat.
  • Judgements of the Wise Judgements of the Wise – The vast majority of a Paladin’s abilities cost mana to cast. This helps ensure that you have the mana needed to use those abilities.

As with most classes, there exists a core selection of talents that you will want to take, however as you move down through the tiers of the tree, you have a number of options available to you based on play-style and the content you’ll be tackling. For most players the following build should is recommended as it strikes a good balance between threat and survival: Wowhead.

Tier 1:

  • Divinity Divinity (3/3) – Survivability boost, quite simply means that you receive more healing, whatever the source. There’s no real argument not to max this out.
  • Seals of the Pure Seals of the Pure (2/2) – For most cases, you’ll want to take Seals of the Pure as your threat output will, naturally, be greater.
  • Eternal Glory Eternal Glory (0/2) – Earlier in the expansion (when Word of Glory had no cooldown) Eternal Glory’s 30% proc rate was amazing and really made the talent worth while, now however, it’s much weaker and generally should not be taken.

Tier 2:

  • Judgements of the Just Judgements of the Just (2/2) – 20% reduction to your target’s attach speed translates to a sizeable reduction in incoming damage. You’ll want to invest two points here.
  • Toughness Toughness (3/3) – This is kind of a no-brainer and core to mitigating unavoidable damage.
  • Improved Hammer of Justice Improved Hammer of Justice (0/2) – This is situational at best and should only be taken with optional points once you have your core talents finalised.

Tier 3:

  • Hallowed Ground Hallowed Ground (0/2) – Useful for AoE tanking but is otherwise another situational ability. Skip it for now and consider it later.
  • Sanctuary Sanctuary (3/3) – All tanks have a method of making themselves immune to critical strikes, this is yours. If you don’t see the value in taking this, you’re probably playing the spec.
  • Hammer of the Righteous Hammer of the Righteous (1/1) – For multi-mob pulls, this is your main attack. That it generates Holy Power makes it mandatory.
  • Wrath of the Lightbringer Wrath of the Lightbringer (2/2) – More damage translates directly in to more threat making this a fairly obvious choice, especially during the crucial first few seconds of a pull when you don’t have Vengeance stacked up.

Tier 4:

  • Reckoning Reckoning (1/2) – With good block chance, this should have a fairly high uptime. Even so, the potential for extra Holy Power makes Grand Crusader more appealing.
  • Shield of the Righteous Shield of the Righteous (1/1) – This is arguably the most important talent in the tree. It generates a huge amount of threat and, on single-target/boss fights, should therefore be used whenever you have 3 Holy Power available.
  • Grand Crusader Grand Crusader (2/2) – This gives you a good chance to generate more Holy Power over the course of a fight, which in-turn allows you to hit Shield of the Righteous more frequently. For this reason, it’s worth putting 2 points in.

Tier 5:

  • Vindication Vindication (1/1) – Judgements of the Just reduces your target’s attack speed, this goes a little further and reduces their physical damage as well. Combined this give a huge reduction in your incoming damage and is a clear target for 1 point.
  • Holy Shield Holy Shield (1/1) – Holy Shield was changed in 4.2 to be a cooldown. Sure it gives you another button to push but, used at the right moment, it can smooth out damage spikes and make your healers’ lives much easier.
  • Guarded by the Light Guarded by the Light (2/2) – Word of Glory may not be what it was at the start of the expansion but, when used just prior to a big hit from a boss, the shield this gives you this really helps take the edge off.
  • Divine Guardian Divine Guardian (1/1) – Great ability for periods of high/unavoidable raid damage. Used well, it can make a big difference to the outcome of a fight.

Tier 6:

  • Sacred Duty Sacred Duty (2/2) – Very useful, really helps with your threat, especially if you have a string of misses. This also makes a two Holy Power Shield of the Righteous worth consideration.
  • Shield of the Templar Shield of the Templar (3/3) – An often missed benefit of this talent is the instant three Holy Power it gives. Popping this on a pull, followed my Inquisition and an Avenger’s Shield gives you a nice little head-start on threat against over-eager dps.

Tier 7:

  • Ardent Defender Ardent Defender (1/1) – As you might have noticed by now, Protection Paladins have a large array of cooldowns to smooth damage spikes. This is no exception and worthy of the final point to max out the tree.

At this point, you will have 10 points left and will gain access to the other two trees. We’re going to invest those points in to the Retribution tree as follows:

Tier 1:

  • Eye for an Eye Eye for an Eye (0/2) – It is possibly worth considering taking this for very magic-heavy bosses. However, there are many other talents that will enable you to generate much more threat.
  • Crusade Crusade (3/3) – This is really a great utility talent for any Paladin build and worth investing 3 points in.
  • Improved Judgement Improved Judgement (2/2) – A little extra range is no bad thing and this gives you just that.

Tier 2:

  • Guardian Guardian’s Favor (0/2) – This is situational at best given that Hand of Protection applies Forbearance to the recipient.
  • Rule of Law Rule of Law (3/3) – The fact that this buffs Hammer of the Righteous is a clear sign from Blizzard that they expect Protection to invest in this talent and they’re right, it is a logical choice to make.
  • Pursuit of Justice Pursuit of Justice (2/2) – Fast movement between mobs or away from fire is a recurring theme in raids and dungeons, the free Holy Power when stunned/feared is simply a bonus, this is therefore a great choice.

This is the “standard” Protection Paladin build. There are a couple of points that you can play around with (Seals of the Pure/Eternal Glory, Reckoning/Grand Crusader) but you should generally focus on the core of this build.

Now that you have your talents sorted, it’s time to turn your attention to your glyphs. Glyphs are now grouped in to three categories;

  • Prime: Pure enhancement to the abilities that you use most often. There is normally no penalty to selecting one of these glyphs.
  • Major: Further enhancement to your abilities, but carry a cost, eg; remove a cast time, but add a cooldown.
  • Minor: Utilitarian/Cosmetic changes, eg; removal of reagents, reduction mana cost on buffs or making sheep look like penguins.

Fortunately, most of the glyph choices for Protection have no negative effects so we are free to pick those glyphs that give the biggest boost. Here are all the glyphs that relate to Protection, I’ve marked those that are clear winners with an asterisk anything else is generally situational.

Prime Glyphs Prime

  • Glyph of Crusader Strike – Useful for content that you out-gear, but focused towards Retribution.
  • Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous – Useful for holding down agro on large groups, especially when working through trash quickly.
  • Glyph of Judgement – Helpful for maximising single target threat, but there are better choices available given the low priority of casting Judgement.
  • Glyph of Seal of Truth * – Excellent choice for reducing boss parries, this will also give you a great boost to single-target threat and should be first glyph you pick up.
  • Glyph of Shield of the Righteous * – Absolutely essential for single-target fights given that you will be using this regularly.
  • Glyph of Word of Glory * – Extremely useful for improving your own survivability.

Major Glyphs Major

  • Glyph of Consecration – Very useful if you’re going to be tanking lots of AoE pulls, but worthless for most boss fights.
  • Glyph of Dazing Shield – Helpful on fights where you may need to slow your target, otherwise situational.
  • Glyph of Divine Protection * – Really useful for any boss that puts out a significant amount of spell damage.
  • Glyph of Focused Shield – Good choice for single-target fights (ie; most bosses)
  • Glyph of Holy Wrath * – With so many elementals and dragonkin in Cataclysm, this is highly recommended.
  • Glyph of Rebuke – If you’re frequently find yourself out of mana, this is worth considering. However if this is the case, you probably have bigger problems anyway.
  • Glyph of Salvation – Possibly helpful for tank swaps, but I’ve not really found a need for this one yet.
  • Glyph of Turn Evil – Highly situational given that there are relatively few fights involving undead/demons.
  • Glyph of Ascetic Crusader * – Great for single-target fights where you’ll be using Crusader Strike every time it’s off cooldown.
  • Glyph of Long Word –

Minor Glyphs Minor

That’s enough to be going on with now. Next time, I’ll be taking a look at buffs, abilities and rotations.

Raison D’être…

Now that you know about me let’s talk about this blog.

RighteousJezebelle

As I mentioned, my main character these days is Jezebelle. Way back in classic WoW, when Wizzbit was my main, I tanked Molten Core as a Warrior. When Burning Crusade came around Wizzbit went Fury and has remained that way ever since. However, I still enjoyed tanking, so decided to give a Paladin a try (this was before Dual Specs existed).

I quickly found that I liked the way Paladins played. They are one of only two classes in the game that can fill any role in a group, the other being Druids. You can heal, you can deal damage and, most significantly for me, you can tank. In BC, while very competent in their own right, Paladin tanks excelled at AoE pulls, and BC had those in droves. There truly is nothing quite like rounding up a couple of dozen mobs at once and dropping them all in a neat little pile. I still go back to instances like Karazhan now and pull the entire ball room at once just to relive the old days.

So, a big percentage of this blog will be dedicated to Paladins and my own experiences playing one. Do I know everything there is to know about Paladins? Not a chance, but I have picked up enough information over the years to feel that I am reasonably qualified to share my own experiences with blogosphere at large. Who knows, one day I may be as well regarded as Rhidach.

ProfitGold!

How much gold do you have? There’s not much concrete information on the subject, but the consensus of opinion is that the average player doesn’t really have all that much. Though one needs to ask the question; “Why?” Blizzard practically give you the stuff; do 25 daily quests and you’ll be earning yourself in the region of 500g a day. Most people should be able to knock those out in a little over an hour and a lot do, yet they still have no gold, so where does it all go? I’ll give you a hint… In to my bank. Well not just mine, but any number of gold makers. I’m not talking about Gold Farmers or hackers or those level 1 characters you see in trade who, supposedly, have a bank full of BoE epics (they don’t by the way, they just want your credit card info or account details). What I’m talking about are other players who work the market to turn a profit.

Now I’m not going to give away all my secrets for making at once. However, you can expect me to share a few tips and tricks for making gold that anyone can follow, from someone completely new to WoW to veteran players that want some extra gold to buy that shiny new epic they just saw on the Auction House.

In The Beginning…

Ok, so I’ve made a blog, now what? I guess introductions would be appropriate at this point:

Hello folks, I’m Jezebelle (clearly not my real name as I’m not even a girl!) and I play a Human Paladin in the popular MMO World of Warcraft.

Ancient History/The Dark Ages

I’ve been a video gamer for as long as I can remember. I never really got in to consoles and I’m not quite sure why. It might have been something to do with the cost of games on consoles -vs- other platforms. I do own an Xbox, but it’s sat on the shelf under the TV for the last few years without even being plugged in.

For me, it all started way back in 1987 with a ZX Spectrum +2A, complete with 3.5MHz processor, 128KB of memory and an integrated cassette drive! On this beast of a machine I would play such titles as Fantasy World Dizzy and Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge.

From my Spectrum I moved on to a Commodore Amiga 500+ (c1991 for anyone keeping track). This machine had twice the CPU power of the Spectrum, a whole 7.04MHz, and eight times the memory, a massive 1MB. This would be my gaming platform for a number of years (in fact, I still have this very machine in the loft). Here I was introduced to such classic games as;  Sim City, Civilisation, Xenon 2 – Megablast, Lemmings, Canon Fodder, Speedball 2- Brutal Delux (I just got this on my iPhone and it’s still a great game), Frontier – Elite 2, Settlers, Worms and of course Monkey Island (you can get this on the iPhone now as well).

Around about 1993 my family invested in their first desktop PC. It was a 486 DX2 running at 66MHz with 4MB of memory (later upgraded to 8MB), a 40MB Hard Drive and… a modem. I didn’t really use this machine to game all that much (it was mainly for my parents’ business) but I did go out and buy Doom with my paper round money. What this machine did do though, was to introduce me to the internet! At some point, probably around 1995, my parents upgraded to a 133MHz Pentium MMX and later a Pentium II.

In late 1997 I built my first PC, it was a 233MHz AMD K6 and this is where the story really begins.

In To The Light/The MMO Age

My PC was my baby. It had a custom case that I had stripped down and spray painted black & silver at a time when all PCs were that dull sandy tan colour. My PC was constantly being upgraded & overhauled, more memory, better video card, faster CPU etc. I moved on to more modern games, titles like; Quake, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Star Wars: Jedi Knight, X-Wing vs Tie Fighter and Command and Conquer.

Earth & Beyond

It was thanks to Command and Conquer that I was introduced to the arena of MMOs. As a loyal supporter of Westwood Studios, I subscribed to their email news letter. In early 2003 I received an invitation to download a trial version of Earth & Beyond. I’d heard of games like EverQuest and had never really considered playing them, but I figured they were offering my 14 days free, so why not? Within 10 minutes I was hooked, I played EnB religiously to the exclusion of all other games. I was well known and respected on both the forums and in-game. My main character, Torall, was one of the best geared characters on my server (Orion) and by 2004 I was playing 3 accounts simultaneously on 2 PCs. Then in March, following Electronic Arts buyout of Westwood, it was announced the game would close. I played EnB up until the final moments before the servers were shut down, it was a sad day to be sure, so much time invested by the developers and players alike and it was canned, never to be seen again. (Well, not completely, EnB lives on through a growing emulator.)

EVE OnlineCity of Heroes

After EnB I tried out a couple of other MMOs; EVE Online and City of Heroes. I love EVE, I’ve gone back to it a number of times. It’s a beautiful game with incredible depth, but the persistent PVP thing kills it for me every time. CoH was fun for a while, but it lacked depth. It may have changed over the years, but when I was playing there was nothing to do but grind mobs all day.

World of WarcraftI’ve played WoW since the beginning, so that’s almost 7 years. I got an invite to the closed beta test and my adventure began there.

On launch day I joined Bloodhoof server with many of the same folks I’d played EnB with. My first character was Torall, a Human Mage. I got Torall to level 60, joined a raiding guild, downed Ragnaros (Molten Core), Onyxia (Onyxia’s Lair) and later Nefarian (Blackwing Lair). It was good, but the guild I was in was big and over time the people I originally played with started drifting off; some quit, some moved to EU servers and others… become to big for their own boots and were not the friends I knew before.

My second character was Wizzbit. I created Wizzbit to play with someone who I would later marry. She played a Dwarf Priest and I played a Gnome Warrior. We leveled together and over time, Wizzbit replaced Torall as my main character. My original guild grew and we started tackling raid content ourselves with mixed success. At some point, the entire guild transferred servers to Eitrigg.

In October of 2006 I got married and we took a 6 month break from WoW. We’d just got married and moved in to our first house, we were also a bit burnt out from playing, so if just felt like the right time to leave. While we were gone, the guild that we had built imploded and all but died.

Around March 2007 we decided to come back to WoW, but strictly as casual players. There was new content to explore (Burning Crusade was released in January of that year) and many of the people that had caused the old guild to fall apart had left. Wizzbit continued to be my main character, but I started levelling a Paladin on the side, enter Jezebelle.

For anyone that was playing during Burning Crusade, you will remember how Paladins went from being nothing more than a “Priest in Plate” (though often cloth) to the single most over-powered tank in the game. Warriors, once the only real tanks, were left crying in a corner. Needless to say, Jezebelle was Protection. We moved guilds and joined up with a much smaller group of folks that we’d played with in the past. We weren’t part of the guild leadership and playing was fun. Heroics were hard and gearing was slow, we cleared Karazhan and dabbled in other raids, though nothing to serious.

In November 2008 Wrath of the Lich King was released. We changed gears slightly and powered to level 80. Heroic dungeons, once the realm of the few became mass-market. We rapidly geared up, faster than the rest of our guild, and started joining PuG Naxxramas runs. When our own guild entered Naxx, we were able to offer advice on how to approach certain fights and we made reasonable progress.

I still don’t really know what happened next. The guild we were in suddenly went very quiet, many of the core members simply vanished. We found out later that they had all transferred servers and started a new guild leaving a smaller group of us behind. It sucked and hurt, these were people we’d played with for ages and thought we knew, turns out we were wrong. Those of us that remained attempted to assume leadership of the guild, but we were blocked by the former leader who logged in just often enough to be seen by GMs as being active.

 Aura of Awesome

And so here we in the present. For the reasons laid out above (and another which I won’t go in to now) we formed a new guild. We invited all those people that we still played with and never looked back. Over the last two years we have built a guild based on two very simple rules; Keep the drama out and the fun in. We put real life before the game and play to have fun with the friends we have made along the way. I still raid when I’m able and, while we are admittedly behind the curve in terms of progression, we are currently making excellent progress through the Cataclysm raids.

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