Archive for the ‘WoW’ Category

Threat Level Midnight

Royal Crest Of Lordaeron

The world’s smartest man poses no more threat to me than does its smartest termite.
 – Doctor Manhattan (Watchmen)

Threat has long been a large part of the game for tanks. That constant battle of keeping ahead of a Feral Druid, or Fury Warrior. Over the years Blizzard have added threat reduction mechanics to many classes; Cower, Feign Death, Wind Shear etc, in an effort to give players a way to lower their threat without having to back off on their damage. To an extent, these have worked, however some classes still have no way of reducing their threat in relation to the tank, Fury Warriors are a prime example of this.

With Cataclysm Blizzard tried something new. Rather than adding threat dumps to damage dealers, they added more threat to tanks in the form of Vengeance. It is fair to say that this helped but many tanks, myself included, have never been especially fond of the mechanic. It’s kinda clunky and during the first 5 seconds of a fight, or any fight where two tanks need to trade agro, it has serious drawbacks. The big problem being that it takes a while to ramp up to give it’s full potential and then decays fairly fast once you stop taking damage.

Yesterday Ghostcrawler posted a blog entry on the official site. The short version goes thusly:

  • For damage dealers: Doing damage is fun, watching your threat is not and having to stop attacking because you’re about to pull agro is even less fun.
  • For tanks: Tanks are busy, they have to manage their cooldowns, position the correctly for the damage dealers, trade agro with the other tank, avoid fire, keep an eye on that big debuff the boss does and all while keeping ahead of the group on threat.

Now, personally, that “micro-management” is what I love about being a tank but I can understand why a lot of people don’t. It’s hard work, you’ve got to be aware of any number of things at the same time, you need to be communicating with the group and you need to make sure that you know what a boss is going to do before he does it.

What’s the solution? Well, here’s what Ghostcrawler has to say:

  • Short Term
    The concept of threat is going to be made trivial. Tanks will now generate threat equal to 500% of their damage, compared to 300% before. This was, apparently, hot fixed in yesterday and Ghostcrawler has said that they’ll adjust this up further if damage dealers still risk pulling ahead.
  • Middle Term (likely patch 4.3)
    Vengeance will be changed to have an initial jump when you first damage damage, followed by a gradual increase (as it currently does) over the duration of the fight. It will still decay in the same way it does now.
  • Long Term (likely the next expansion)
    All tanks will be moving more towards to an “active mitigation” model, similar to Blood DKs. You can see this happening already with the changes in the last patch to Holy Shield. This model gives you more granular control over when you want to reduce your incoming damage through the use of abilities.

I see this as a positive change. Many people will argue that this amounts to “dumbing down the game” or “catering to casual players” and in reality both these arguments are at least partially true. However the simple fact is that, in order to give damage dealers a sense of progression, they need to give them constantly higher damage output. Tanks get… higher damage reduction? Yes, but not really. Damage reduction plateaus and it’s hard to progress beyond this point. What happens instead is that tanks have to start stacking threat stats (hit & expertise) to keep ahead of the damage dealers, but there’s a trade-off of survivability to generate maintain that lead. By making threat less important, tanks can focus again on their survivability and let the damage dealers go about their contest of topping the meters.

Blizzard are going to have some work ahead of them to balance tanks abilities such that you don’t end up 20 different “short cooldown” buttons to click, but I think that this could pan out really well. The key thing for me is going to be keeping each tank unique from the other three.

Forward Planning Discount


Run for it? Running’s not a plan! Running’s what you do, once a plan fails!
 – Earl Bassett (Tremors)

This is Wizzadora, my Gnome Priest. Right now she’s level 80 but I’m working on getting her to 85 as quickly as I can.

I’m levelling her for a couple of reasons;

  1. I’ve tried playing a Priest a few times in the past, but for one reason or another, I’ve always got bored and deleted them. When it was announced that Gnomes would be able to be Priests in Cataclysm I decided that I’d give it another go and I’ve actually really enjoyed levelling her.
  2. Since I started levelling her it has become apparent that my guild has an over-abundance of tanks and mêlée damage dealers, but a general shortage of ranged damage dealers and, more importantly, healers. Well, we have healers, it’s just that they’re almost all Druids which really hurts us in raids.

I started out levelling her as Shadow (as most people tend to) but I soon found that Shadow was a real mana drain and I was having to drink after every couple of groups. Maybe I was doing it wrong, I didn’t really understand the class that well at that point, but I was also starting to run instances and (naturally) found that queues are shorter as a healer. So I did a little reading on healing as a Priest and decided to respec to Discipline with an Atonement based spec. This is what sealed it for me, the combination of being able to contribute to damage while having some really strong heals helped me to get in to the class and bumped up my enjoyment considerably.

Since I’m a sucker for pain, I’ve decided that this alt will be a pure healer and set up her secondary spec as Holy. I don’t enjoy Holy quite as much as Discipline but I do see that for really intensive fights the healing throughput is greater than Discipline and it therefore makes perfect sense to be able to play as either.


So, how does this post relate to the Auction House? Well, as I’ve been levelling Wizzadora, I’ve constantly kept one eye on the AH. It’s amazing the bargains you can get when you’re not in any particular rush for them!

My best purchase so far came on Sunday evening; Someone listed a Je’Tze’s Sparkling Tiara on the Auction House for 675g. To put things in perspective, this item averages 17,591g on my server so, naturally, I grabbed it. Sure I could flip it and make myself around 16,000g profit (which would be the Goblinish thing to do) but I actually wanted the item for my Priest and the chances of seeing it for this price again before the next expansion are minimal.

As things stand at this moment, with the gear I have in my bank already along with the quest rewards I can get for the Thrall line & first day of Hyjal dailies,  I should be able to start running Troll heroics pretty much as soon as I hit 85. With a little forward planning, you can do the same for any alt you’re levelling. The best thing is, as these items are Bind on Equip, you can always resell them later if you get better or decide to abandon the alt.

Auction House 101

Auctioneer O'ReelyThis is why we’re here…because this little grey rock sells for 20 million a kilo.
– Parker Selfridge (Avatar)

I just had a strange thought after picking that quote… I bet Giovanni Ribisi would make a good goblin when they eventually make the Warcraft movie!

Anyway, today’s topic is; The auction house. This should be a fairly broad article to give you a good introduction to what the auction house is about and give you some ideas for getting started making money from it. In future articles I’ll go in to more detail on various aspects of this.

The Basics

Located in every major city of Azeroth you will find at least one auction house (there are two in Stormwind for example). These auction houses allow you to trade items with other players of your own faction. You’ll also find auction houses located in the major Goblin towns; Booty Bay, Gadgetzan and Everlook. These auction houses allow you to trade with members of both factions, but carry a higher cost for doing so.

When you list an item, you are charged a small fee (the listing fee) which gets refunded if your item sells. If your item is sold, the auction house takes a cut of the final sale price so you’ll want to keep this in mind when deciding on your asking price. For the same-faction auction houses this is 5%, for the neutral auction houses it’s 15% (damn greedy goblins!)

Selling something is actually very simple; You drop the item you want to sell in to the window, enter the price you want to sell it for and hit the button to list it. Then you can sit back and wait for the gold to roll in. While this will often work, there is more to making gold off the auction house than most players realise. Armed with the correct knowledge, you can cash in on other peoples’ naivety and turn a profit in a number of ways.


The simplest way to make gold from the auction house is to look at what you have in your bags.

You will find that green or blue quality Bind on Equip items, while worthless to you, could be used by another player. Blue quality items can often sell for significant amounts of money, especially if they are considered “twink” items, for example Feet of the Lynx sell for upwards 300 gold on my server!

Raw materials like ore, herbs and leather are always in demand by people that are either to lazy to go out and gather them for themselves or simply don’t have the professions necessary to do so.

Before selling anything on the auction house you’ll want to check if anyone else is selling an item before you list yours. If they are, list your item for slightly less than theirs (we call this undercutting). You can undercut by as little as 1 copper and know that your item should sell before theirs does.


Once you have a small pile of gold yourself, you can dabble with reselling. Looking again at something like those boots I mentioned above, if you see someone selling a pair cheap, say for a couple of gold, you can be fairly confident that you can buy them and relist them for more. The person you bought them from will be happy because they got what they thought they were worth and you’ll be happy because you got what you know they’re worth.

Reselling doesn’t come without it’s risks though. There’s nothing to stop someone else coming along and undercutting you to the point where they’re selling for less than you paid. In this situation, you have a few choices; If you’re confident that you can sell for the higher price, buyout their auction and relist that as well. If you’re less confident, you can always wait for theirs to sell and then list yours again. The worst case is that you’ve made a bad investment, sell yours at a loss and hope you do better next time.

Knowledge is Power

Throughout all of this the most important thing is market knowledge. If you have an idea what something sells for on a good day this will help you decide what to list for when there’s none currently for sale. Markets also tend to shift at different times of the week. For example during the weekends, when more people are playing, prices will be very different to mid-week, when less people are playing. Find out when the big guilds on your server raid, you might notice a spike in the price of consumables on these days. Check the cost of items you can go out and farm with minimal effort, on most servers enchanting materials from classic level 50-60 instances sell for really good money and can be farmed all day long by anyone.

Mastering The Market

Once you understand the basics of the Auction House, there are a number of ways that you can optimise both the time you spend buying & selling and the amount of gold you make. The first, most obvious trick is, rather than noting down average sale prices on scraps of paper, get an addon to do it for you. There’s any number of these available ranging from very simple to extremely complex.

One of the major players is Auctioneer. Personally, I find Auctioneer to be overly complicated with vast amounts of options and modules that most people will never use. It’s a massive addon taking up a solid 12MB of disk space and a lot of memory when running in-game. This may not sound much, but for players with more modest systems this will really affect your performance.

My weapon of choice is AuctionLite. It’s significantly more compact than Auctioneer (under 1.5MB) but still offers many of the core features. You get two extra tabs on the default auction house interface enabling you to search, buy and sell in bulk. It gives you fast scanning, to cache auction house prices for later use and then allows you to display this information on item tooltips giving you an idea of what an item is worth.

The New Protection Paladin IV

This should be a fairly short post to round out the current series.  So far, we’ve covered off;

Now we come to the final subject I wanted to discuss…

Part 4: Consumables & Professions

Hardly any human being is capable of pursuing two professions or two arts rightly.
– Plato (I guess he never played WoW?)

Preparation is important. This is especially so for raids, where you have 9, or maybe 24 other people present. It is good practice to never assume that you will be provided with consumables and so you should always arrive with everything you are likely to require in your bags. That way, if someone else drops a feat or a cauldron, it’s a bonus.

Consumables fall in to a couple of obvious categories:

Flasks, Potions & Elixirs

  • Flask of Steelskin – Flasks are a mainstay of raiding and this is no exception. Giving you 6300 HP (after talents) this is the preferred choice for progression raiding as a larger health pool gives your healers more time to react.
  • Elixir of the Master – Once you know how a fight plays out, where the big hits come etc, you should consider stepping away from flasks and going for elixirs instead. This translates to 2.84% block chance, so really helps to smooth out damage.
  • Elixir of Deep Earth/Prismatic Elixir – Depending on the fight in question (be it physical or magic based damage) you will want to pair your Elixir of the Master with one of these. Both are very strong and can help to further even out your incoming damage.
  • Golemblood Potion – Very useful in a tight spot when your cooldowns are used up and you need burst of parry (strength gives you parry, remember) to help avoid a big hit. Keep in mind that once you’ve entered combat you can only use one of these so time it well! If you expect a big hit immediately upon engaging a boss, you can also chug one of these as you run in (before entering combat) allowing you to use a second later in the fight.


In my bags I usually carry a stack of flasks, a stack of each elixir mentioned above, some Golembloods (when I have them) and a couple of stacks of minestrone. This way I’m prepared for whatever comes along and am not left unbuffed/unfed if cauldrons and feasts are not available.

Aside from consumables, you should also take a look at your professions. A level 85 toon without two (maxed) professions is wasting a huge chunk of bonus stats. Most professions give very similar bonuses for reaching the upper levels, some are more suited to tanking than others, but it’s important to realise that even levelling mining to 525 can give you a significant boost. This post will look at professions purely from a grouping/raiding perspective. In future posts I’ll talk about professions more from a gold making point of view.

  • Alchemy – Rewards a selection of decent trinkets. Also gives you extended durations on your elixirs & flasks.
  • Blacksmithing – Allows you to add sockets to your bracers and gloves. This translates to room for two more gems.
  • Enchanting – One of the most expensive professions to level, however it allows you to add 60 stamina to each of your rings (Enchant Ring – Greater Stamina) which translates to 1680 HP after talents.
  • Engineering – A reasonable choice for tank, Engineering gives you access to an epic helm before most other players, you also gain a number of tinkers, so is certainly worth considering.
  • Herbalism – Fairly weak for tanks giving you a small self-heal Lifeblood along with a slight haste boost.
  • Inscription – Gives you access to Inscription of the Earth Prince which is a straight 120 stamina (1680 HP) gain over the shoulder enchants sold by Therazane.
  • Jewelcrafting – Grants you access to Chimera’s Eye cuts. Also gives you a chance to loot a number of quest items in the world which yield some rather nice trinkets making Jewelcrafting one of the strongest professions for a tank.
  • Leatherworking – Lets you place Draconic Embossment on your bracers. It’s important to note that despite this giving more stamina than other profession bonuses, this is partly due to the fact that anyone can enchant 40 stamina on their bracers bringing this much closer in line with other profession perks.
  • Mining – By far the strongest gathering skill for a tank. The bonus for reaching 525 (Toughness) translates to a sizeable stamina boost (1680 HP unbuffed).
  • Skinning – Master of Anatomy – The weakest gathering skill for a tank. The bonus is far more suited to a dps character.
  • Tailoring – Another weak choice with the bonuses far more geared towards dps/healers (eg; Swordguard Embroidery)

Personally, I’m Enchanting/Jewelcrafting as this gives me access to some good perks and helps with gold making. If I was levelling a Paladin purely to tank with no consideration to gold, I’d still go with Jewelcrafting and likely pair it with Blacksmithing.

Final Thoughts

Thus ends my introduction to Paladin tanking. This series has taken a little longer to put together than I originally expected, however I have covered more than I intended.

I have plenty of other articles planned, including a few on how to get started making gold, so make sure to subscribe to the feed if you haven’t already!

The New Protection Paladin III

Previously, I’ve discussed Specing & Glyphing and Buffs, Abilities & Rotations. Now we come to Gearing.

Part 3: Gearing, Gemming, Reforging & Enchanting

 “Philosophers are only men in armor after all.”
– Charles Dickens

First off, let’s run through all the stats you’re likely to see on gear so that you know what we’re talking about.

  • Primary Stats:
    • Agility (Agi) – Primary DPS stat for; Rogues, Hunters, Feral (Cat) Druids and Enhancement Shaman
    • Intellect (Int) – Primary stat for caster DPS and healers
    • Stamina (Sta) – Primary stat for tanks
    • Strength (Str) – Primary DPS stat for; Death Knights, Paladins & Warriors
  • Secondary Stats:
    • Attack Power (AP) – Increases your base weapon damage. Mainly derived from strength or agility (depending on your class). You will only rarely see this on gear these days
    • Block – Increases your chance to block melee attacks. Blocked attacks deal 30% less damage
    • Crit – Increases your chance to land a critical strike with your spells and abilities
    • Dodge – Increases your chance to dodge melee attacks. Dodged attacks count as fully avoided and do no damage
    • Expertise – Reduces the chance that your own attacks are dodged or parried by your target
    • Haste – Increases your casting speed, reduces your melee swing speed, reduces the GCD (to a minimum of 2 second) and allows certain DoT spells to gain extra ticks. Many DPS specs also have talents that allows Haste to increase the rate at which they gain resources (Energy, Focus, Mana, Rage & Runes)
    • Hit – Increases your chance to successfully hit with your spells and abilities
    • Mastery – Universal stat that “makes you better at what you do”. Every class/spec combination benefits from mastery differently. For Protection Paladins mastery increases your chance to block attacks.
    • Parry – Increases your chance to parry melee attacks. Parried attacks, like dodged attack, count as fully avoided and do no damage. You also gain parry from strength
    • Resilience – Purely a PVP stat, resilience reduces the amount of damage you receive from other players
    • Spell Power – Increases your spell damage/healing. Mainly derived from intellect. You will mostly see this on caster weapons.
    • Spirit (Spi) – Contrary to what some people will tell you, spirit is now considered to be a secondary stat and is aimed directly at healers to increase their combat mana regeneration. DPS mana users have other ways of regaining mana during combat

It’s a numbers game!

To a lot of people, combat ratings are confusing… How do ratings become actual stats? How much of a given stat do I need? How much rating do I need to achieve that? There’s a lot of maths that goes on behind the scenes in WoW but for the average day-to-day player I would recommend downloading an addon like RatingBuster. It takes a lot of the guess work out of ratings by presenting you with a simple translation of what the rating will actually give you. In addition, it will enable you to compare an item side-by-side with one you already have equipped and see what you will gain/loose by equipping it.


Now that you have an overview of all the stats, let’s look at which are relevant to you when selecting a piece of gear.

  • Mastery – Through Divine Bulwark any mastery you gain translates directly in to block chance. Given the relative strength of block (30% reduced damage for blocked attacks)  this makes mastery top of the pile when looking for gear in most cases. Mastery is not subject to diminishing returns.
  • Dodge/Parry – Both these stats count as avoidance in that they give you a chance to avoid taking any damage. Common logic would therefore suggest that you should look for block or dodge over mastery since surely avoiding 100% damage is preferable to taking 30% less. In reality diminishing returns prevents you from stacking one avoidance stat too high. For this reason you will want to keep your dodge and block chance fairly even, this is achieved in a number of ways, but mainly through reforging.
  • Stamina – In the past items with high stamina values were generally intended for tanks, however Cataclysm has changed this slightly and now most same-slot items within a given tier of content have very similar levels of stamina.
  • Threat Stats (Hit, Expertise, Crit & Haste) – These come lowest on your radar. With the introduction of Vengeance, a tank who performs their role correctly should only rarely need to be concerned about gearing for threat. Threat stats are generally the first target when it comes to reforging your gear.


While there are a multitude of gems for you to select from, there are really only a few that you should consider using:

Generally speaking, you’ll want to match gems to their socket as the bonuses in Cataclysm mostly make this worth while, however if you’re re-purposing a piece of dps gear (with a dps-centric socket bonus) you’re probably better off socketing it with a mastery gem, unless you’re already block-capped (unlikely). It’s important to also keep in mind the requirements of your chosen meta gem to ensure that it’s bonus remains active.

Personally, as a Jewelcrafter, I like to ensure that I always use my Chimera’s Eyes in the same slots so that swapping out gear for certain encounters doesn’t leave me without all three. Two have natural homes, the prismatic sockets on your belt buckle & your relic, while you’re free to place the third anywhere (prismatic sockets on bracers/gloves are a good choice if you’re a Blacksmith)


Reforging presents a new way to customise your gear. For Protection Paladins, it mainly provides a conduit to obtaining more Mastery. Your priority for reforging should run something along the lines of:

Mastery >> Dodge/Parry >> Hit/Expertise >> Is it really an upgrade?

Keep in mind that you want your dodge & parry chance fairly even when buffed so that when you’re standing at the npc (and likely not raid buffed) your parry should be a little lower then your dodge (due to BoK & Horn of Winter increasing your strength).


The final icing on your gear cake comes in the form of enchants. As with gems, there’s an extensive selection of options available, however as a tank there’s a somewhat more restricted range that you should consider:

We’re on the home stretch for this series now. Next time, I’ll be finish up by looking at consumables and profession choices for tanking.

The New Protection Paladin II

Last time, we covered off the basics of specing and glying. Now we’ll take a look at your buffs & abilities and how to use the.

Part 2: Buffs, Abilities & Rotations

“In shield fighting, one moves fast on defense, slow on attack.”
– Gurney Halleck (Dune)

Paladins have a large variety of buffs available to them. Much like Shaman, you have buffs that enhance your own performance and buffs that will help your party/raid. It is therefore important to have a good understanding of all your buffs.


You have available to you five Auras. Three of these tie neatly to an obvious talent tree, the remaining two are more situational.

  • Devotion Aura Devotion Aura – This is the main aura you will be using as a tank for most content. Armor translates directly in to reduced physical damage making this key for most fights
  • Retribution Aura Retribution Aura – For content you out-gear, or where threat may be an issue, Retribution Aura is useful, however you’ll generally want to leave this to another Paladin to cover off
  • Concentration Aura Concentration Aura – Virtually no use to tanks at all, it is extremely rare that you will be hard-casting anything so should never have a need to use this yourself
  • Resistance Aura Resistance Aura – While Devotion Aura should be your first choice, for those fights with a high amount of magic damage you will want to consider switching to this
  • Crusader Aura Crusader Aura – While useful for getting around, this serves no purpose when in combat


Blessings have been greatly improved and consolidated over the years. Originally, blessings only lasted for 5 minutes and only applied to the group you cast them on (which sucked in 40 man raiding!) Eventually, we got “Greater Blessings” that lasted longer, but cost a reagent. Then greater blessings were altered again and instead of buffing just a single group in a raid, they would buff all members of the same class. Right up until Cataclysm Paladins had 5 blessings to manage; Might (attack power), Wisdom (mana regen), Kings (10% to all stats), Sanctuary (damage reduction) & Salvation (threat reduction). Now though, we have 2 blessings, that buff the entire raid at once, last an hour and cost no reagent.

  • Blessing of Kings Blessing of Kings (BoK) – This should be your main Blessing. Unless you have a Druid in your party/raid, in which case let them cast Mark of the Wild freeing you up to cast Might
  • Blessing of Might Blessing of Might (BoM) – If you’re not casting Kings, you’ll want to be casting Might. This really helps the rest of the raid more than yourself, but this is a team sport people!


Hands are single-target abilities to use in moments of need. They are mostly “oh shit” buttons when a party member needs a little assistance, but are useful in other situations as well.

  • Hand of Protection Hand of Protection – Very powerful to saving someone too slow to get away from a big hit, however use with caution on yourself as it will drop you off the threat table
  • Hand of Freedom Hand of Freedom – With it’s short cooldown, this is very helpful for mobs that slow you. Not that you’ll need it that often
  • Hand of Salvation Hand of Salvation – Useful if you have a damage dealer who’s close to you on threat, though with the advent of Vengeance, this isn’t usually an issue these days
  • Hand of Sacrifice Hand of Sacrifice – Very useful on multi-tank bosses when you’re off-tanking to reduce the incoming damage on the main tank


Protection Paladins have a lot of cooldowns to use and manage. Being aware of what these are when you should use them will greatly help you as you make your way through the challenges you encounter.

  • Ardent Defender Ardent Defender (AD) – This is a good choice to save for low-health moments due to the restoration of 15% health and when you’re unable to use LoH
  • Divine Guardian Divine Guardian (DG) – Especially valuable on fights where your entire raid will be taking unavoidable damage
  • Divine Protection Divine Protection (DP) – When glyphed this provides 40% reduction to spell damage every 60 seconds making it highly valuable on bosses with a large amount of magic damage.
  • Divine Shield Divine Shield (DS) – Use this with extreme caution as it will drop you off the threat table. Used with care this is immensely powerful as it removes almost all debuffs from you in the process.
  • Guardian of Ancient Kings Guardian of Ancient Kings (GoAK)- For Protection, this provides you with 50% damage reduction
  • Holy Shield Holy Shield (HS)- For trash packs you’ll want to be hitting it every time it’s off cooldown. However for bosses, when timed correctly, it provides a great way of minimising predictable big hits
  • Lay on Hands Lay on Hands (LoH)- Very potent for occasions when death seems inevitable, equally as useful on yourself or a co-tank


Your abilities and how you use them will be heavily influenced by the situation to hand. Something that works well on a boss will likely not work as well on groups of trash. Some Paladins in top-end guilds run with two Protection specs, one for bosses (maximum survivability) and the second for trash (maximum threat), but this is extreme and most will off-spec Retribution or Holy. I’m not going to look at every single ability in the spell book, but I will cover off the more important ones.

  • Consecration Consecration (Con) – Used infrequently due to the large mana drain, however still useful for group pulls
  • Crusader Strike Crusader Strike (CS) – Core ability for single-target fights. Generates Holy Power so you’ll be using it every cooldown
  • Hammer of the Righteous Hammer of the Righteous (HotR) – Replaces CS for multi-mob fights.
  • Holy Wrath Holy Wrath (HW) – When properly glyphed Holy Wrath is a real boon on a sizeable percentage of the Cataclysm dungeon population
  • Inquisition Inquisition (Inq) – On multi-mob fights you will use your Holy Power to keep this up, thereby increasing your damage/threat output
  • Judgement Judgement (Jud) – Regular use of Judgement has been shown to increase your mana gain by 30% over 10 seconds
  • Shield of the Righteous Shield of the Righteous (SotR) – Your main threat generating ability on single-target fights. Using this with anything less than 3 Holy Power is generally considered a waste


As with many other things, Cataclysm greatly changed rotations for a number of classes. For Paladins, we not longer have a fixed rotation, instead your best option is to make use of a “Priority System”. This basically translates as “use your best abilities as often as you are able”. In most (single-target) situations your priority will be something along the lines of:

SHoR (whenever you have 3 Holy Power) >> CS >> AS >> Judgement >> HW/Con

Whenever Grand Crusader procs you have a choice which is also priority based; Do you already have 3 Holy Power? Yes: Use SHoR then AS.  No: Use AS and resume your rotation.

Multi-target situations are a little more… dynamic. Your main goal here is to lay down as much threat as you can so your priority looks something like:

Inq (whenever you have 3 Holy Power) >> HotR >> AS/HW/Con


Next time, I’ll discussing how you should approach gearing; What stats are important? How should you gem, reforge and enchant? So be sure to check back soon!

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.


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.


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.

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