Tricks for young Pallys

As a tanking Paladin there are some subtle parts of playing that it took me a long time to commit to memory, or practice with regularity. Many of the tips & tricks below carry across for any character or class, but in particular I have found a significant difference when using a Protection Paladin who is still gearing up, as opposed to a character who is already using high quality gear.

I’m going to assume that you know about stacking blessings, and you’ve read all about what buffs to use in Opportunistic Rotation – if not let me know and I’ll post on it.

A. Check the damage type from mobs regularly.

Most creatures will be hurting you with physical damage, so the choice of aura/buff is easy. However there are some creatures where the damage type is not obvious, or you may forget to switch Aura type to gain more resistance to a particular type of mob. Especially true of casters who might do shadow damage (like the Skettis casters).

For example the Mana Worms in the Bashir Landing do Nature damage when you hit them, and their physical attacks are really weak. So instead of worrying about which aura or buff, I buy a few Nature Resist potions and absorb the damage. This means the recovery between fights is much quicker.

This is normal behavior in an Instance so you learn what the best strategies are, but it applies equally to solo play.

B. Check the AH for cheap pots, food, scrolls, and buffs.

As prot spec the mana bar when soloing is never full enough, and a few extra mana pots are always handy. Browsing the AH for cheap potions is always a good idea, and the don’t have to be Super Mana or Health to be handy. Also keep an eye out for cheap food, and other consumables, as often folks sell these items without an appreciation of how valuable or handy they really are. That extra Amour potion, or health regeneration can make a difference. Lower level water seems especially cheap (or find a mage and press the button on their forehead). A few silver spent on buffs can cut significant time off your combat recovery.

Extra buffs will make a difference when doing an instance where your gear is close to the limit of what you can survive. Doing a harder instances means you will need stamina food, weapon and shield buffs, and a potion or two. Get them and encourage those you play with to do the same.

A good list of items to watch for is any mid level to late level scrolls and cheap potions. Also check the AH at different times during the week, as popular raid nights will create shortages, and other nights you’ll see a few bargains.

C. Use a buff time manager.

As you run more and more instances, you’ll find the demand for Blessings to be many and varied. There will be times when you will be using 30 minute buffs on some classes, and also 10 minute buffs on others. A good tool for managing this is PallyPower, as it lets you set what buffs each paladin in the group will use. This might seem overkill initially, but it becomes a no brainer to see how long each buff has remaining, who is missing a buff, and re-buffing is a simple one click on each class icon. My old guild was so happy with PallyPower that it is a raid requirement for all Paladins.

An example of this is when you are Tanking with another pally in group. Your tanking buff is useless to them, so hit them with Salv (or what ever is useful), and use the 10 minute tank buff on yourself. The monitor will warn you when its time to re-buff them, which means you only need worry about yourself. They can in turn use the tool to buff you with Light or Wisdom, and 10 minute buff themselves.

Also consider a strategy when in a group with more than one Paladin. If you have buffs that they don’t (Bo Kings) then get them to apply buffs in accordance with what is useful all round. eg. One Paladin does Salv all round (not you), then you do Wis/Might/Kings depending on the target class. If you have three Paladins, get Salv and Kings all round, and Wis/Light/Might on class specifics.

Also check out a mod called Aurora (Ace2 compatible) which gives you a warning when you enter combat with Crusader aura on. The big red warning will help train you to switch before pulling, and catch it for you whe you’re being forgetful.

D. Learn about your friends

Spend the time to learn about what other classes and professions can bring to the run. Taunt, Sap, Shackle, Sheep, Fear (pally and warlock), Stun, Slow, Mind Control, Seduce, Kite, Trap, etc, should all be part of what you regularly consider, but it takes extra effort to really understand what the limitations of these control methods are. Some instances are almost impossible without the right type of crowd control.

For example: if your Priest doing the Mind Control gets hurt, it all goes sour. So tank well away from them, or get them to stand way off to the side. Ask what spec your Rogue and Hunters are to see if they will have the improved versions of Sap and Trap. Might be handy to know that you have a few extra seconds longer than normal on that CC, or that the Hunter is happy to chain trap.

Also learn what professions can help. The Drums of Fear from Leatherworking can help in a pinch, and you can use Freeze bombs and other explosives from Engineering to help slow and pull mobs to where you need them. There may even be times when a well placed Net created by a Tailor may help (like when the Warlock tailor drawns aggro and you taunt is on cooldown).

Threat Machine

In a tradition started by some very devoted bloggers out there, here is my spoof on a song ala Warcraft. I chose to butcher James Brown’s Sex Machine (YouTube of the original). And folks, believe me when I say I’m saving you from a recorded version; as my singing voice is terrible.

Its a pretty simple song with a lot of repetition, so safe from total discordant destruction at my hands. I’m sorry James.

Threat Machine

Guildies, I’m ready to step up and do my thing (yeah go ahead!)
I wanta get into it, man, you know (go ahead!)
Like a, like a threat machine, man, (yeah go ahead!)
Movin’ and doin’ it, you know
Can I mark ‘em up? (Go ahead)

One, two, three, four!

Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Keeping it mean, (step on up), like a threat machine, (step on up)

Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Keeping it mean, (step on up), like a threat machine, (step on up)

Step up, (step on up)
Keeping it mean, (step on up), like a threat machine, (step on up)

Wait a minute!
Do some harm, then holy-storrm
Keeping it mean like a threat machine
You got to have the healing the meters will warn
Bring em together, right on, right on.

Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)

Hah!

Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)

You said, you said I had the,
You said the healing,
You said the healing I had to get
You make me the greaver its like roulette.
The way hurt em, it is the way it is,
I got mine ‘n’ don’t worry ’bout his

Step up, (step on up)
Keeping it mean, (step on up), like a threat machine, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)

Guildie! Should I take ‘em to the edge?
(Go Ahead!)
Take ‘em on to the edge!
(Take em to the edge!)
Should I take ‘em to the edge?
(Yeah!)
Take ‘em to the edge?
(Go Ahead!)
Hit me now!

Come on!

Keeping it mean, like a threat machine!
The way I like it is, is the way it is
I drop mine, (hit it!), he drop his

Keeping it mean, like a haten’ machine
Keeping it mean, like a haten’ machine
Keeping it mean

I wanna pull ‘em now one more time now
(Go ahead!)
You pull ‘em mobs like we did at the start fellas?
(Yeah!)
Pull ‘em like we did at the start?
(Yeah!)
Hit it now!

Step on up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step on up, (step on up)

Keeping it mean, (step on up), like a hate’n machine, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)

Haste, (step on up)
Keen’, (step on up)
Haste, (step on up)
Keen’, (step on up)

Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Keeping it mean, (step on up), like a threat machine, (step on up)

You gotta have the healing, (step on up)
The meters will warn, (step on up)

Bring ‘em together, right on, right on
right on, right on, (right on, right on)
right on, right on, (right on, right on)
right on, right on, (right on, right on)

Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)

And then, shake your mana maker,
Shake your mana maker,
Shake your mana maker,
Shake your mana maker,
Shake your mana maker,
Shake your mana maker,
Shake your mana maker

Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)

Huh!

Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)
Step up, (step on up)

I wanna pull ‘em one more time now, from the front
Can we pull em one more time
(One more time!)
One more time!
Let’s hit em and quit! (Go ahead!)
Can we hit em and quit? (Yeah!)
Can we hit em and quit? (Yeah!)
Can we hit em and quit? (Yeah!)
Hit it!

An Uncrushable Paladin

After tweaking, grinding gear, and spending a fortune on mats and enchantments, my Paladin is now Uncrushable. This opens opportunities to main tank Karzhan and may other places, and means that as long as I watch my upgrades carefully; I should only be improving HP and Damage from now onward.

I did have to watch Diamon’s stat and item configuration, and also sacrifice some HP for the Uncrushable status. That’s the beauty of gear sets, for the trash I have more HP and more SpDam, but for bosses they can swipe as hard as they like and I just stand happily.

I still will need to manage Mana/Hp return vs. Threat generated, and I’m really looking forward to seeing exactly how hard these nasty bosses can be.

Might have to make a macro for Prince – “You think thats air you’re breathing? Interesting”.

Transporter Accident Metamorphosis

The reliable engineering transporter got me to Netherstorm really quickly, but it seemed that it couldn’t decide what race I looked like. I like a good transporter accident, and having the metamorphosis continually change kept me guessing. I thought when you switched you were stuck to the one form, but as I zones in and out, and also got different buffs my form changed.

Its just plain freaky.

Cockroach, Tankadummy, and Huntard walk into a bar…

As a follow-up to his post, my response, and now BRK has put together a great explanation of how to combine a Hunter and a Paladin Tank with crowd control. My hats off folks; he used diagrams.

As an aside I went looking for Cockroach images and it seems that there is an Australian cockroach that makes all the others seem a tad piss-weak. The image here is of the Australian Rhinoceros Cockroach, which looks to be one mean son-of-a-bitch. As an Australian Pally Tank I will now adopt this proudly.

Back to BRK’s wisdom:

The bizarre thing is this: Tankadins who prefer to ignore CC and tankadins who don’t understand CC perform pulls in exactly the same manner. Isn’t that freaky?

Go read it. Its darn good.

Pally terms used so far: Cockroach, Tankadummy, Pallywhacker. LOL. Don’t forget Threatmachine (sung to James Brown’s Sex Machine), Rhino, Armadillo; and something I got called on a PuG a few days ago: Threat-Whore (not untrue).

Paladin Tanks and Crowd Control

The BRK has a post about using crowd control with a Paladin Tank, and while I posted my response over there, I feel it should also be made public in my own blog too.

He presents a reader email who is asking about Paladin Tanks who like to use CC like traps, etc. The community response is just annoying, and demonstrates why so many people keep using the phrase Huntard. Continue reading

Observations from the Edge

Had an interesting week this week. Started doing some BGs which has been a learning experience, got my act together and started planning what to do for rep and gear improvements a little better, and swore at ton at folks who were not using a threat-meter (get Omen2, for the love of god…).

Battlegounds are a strange and constantly changing place.

As far as tactics I know there is a subtle game that you have to learn, but it really seems that the experience is very random. Some players are good at communicating, and others seem deliberately bad. All part of the learning curve I guess.

Here are the few things that tweaked my interest. Continue reading

Paladin gear improves (slowly)

Diamon the Paladin was able to finally do a successful Shadow Labs run over the weekend, which dropped both the Shoulders of the Bold, and the Adamantine Figurine. Both items were next steps on my upgrade list, and the shoulders mean Diamon no longer has green gear.

Next improvements are easiest found in Kara, with leg, chest, trinket, and shoulder items the new targets. Another advantage of Karazhan runs is he badges, which might be better upgrades anyway. Main hand weapon upgrade would be nice too, and AB battle grounds look to be the choice there.

I don’t like pvp, but maybe it’ll be worth it. Also need to work on Aldor, Keepers of Time, and Shatar reputation; as good enhancements are three too. I know a slight leg kit upgrade could be purchased for about 175g, but that’s a bit rich on a blue leg item.

More upgrades to follow soon.

Gaming while injured or impaired

Recently I hurt my back pretty badly and was in constant pain. Thankfully I’m on the mend now. This made work a struggle, and gaming a nightmare; and the WoW time suffered (along with everyone around me, a heartfelt sorry and thanks to my girlfriend who put up with my bitching).

The experience got me wondering how folks with long term conditions or acute conditions might be able to maintain PC gaming hobbies and also be comfortable and effective. Continue reading

Wrath Beta on, patch notes up

The NDA is lifted and Alpha test is closed so expect a flood of conjecture and comments about the expansion.The Beta is also open and emails from Blizzard will be sent to the lucky few. Feels very much like a golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – I wonder if somebody will have a transporter accident like in the old film?

My quick summary of the Wrath update is as follows:

  • Its all hearsay and rumor, and even the official patch notes are subject to major changes. So take everything with a huge bucket of salt.
  • Paladin’s Seals are getting a major overhaul, which I don’t like the sound of, but will watch with interest. The change to Salvation in particular seems to be a huge screw-up, and I have to wonder out loud if Salv is actually hated in its current form by the Devs. You don’t make Salv into a 10 second affect, which also reduces dps and healing without something being really odd.
  • A massive list of spells have had their cooldowns altered, or been tweaked. Its really worth scanning the class list to see whats affected and of interest to you. You’ll say holy-cow at least once I promise.
  • Enchanters will be able to use Scrolls created by Inscription to share enchantments between your own toons, or sell them in the AH. That is awesome.
  • Toons can change hairstyles, so you can finally opt away from that bad hair day that might have been funny for 10 days, then got tired.
  • Paladin Auras affect everyone now in a raid. Good.
  • All Pet powers for Warlocks are automatically known.
  • Professions will go to 425, but I’ll wait to see the actual items and gear before getting excited about that.