[Prot] 4.3 - Send me on my way
Protection Paladin 4.3 Overview
[b]Significant changes from 4.2 to 4.3[b]
- Blessing of Might now provides +20% melee attack power (still +10% to ranged attack power)
- Holy Radiance is being reworked and given a cast-time, making its tanking usefulness much more situational.
- Seal of Truth, when Judged, now benefits from a multiplier of 20% per stack of Censure, up from 10%. Also, SoT now scales from 13.5% of AP, up from 9.65%.
Prot Paladin T13 Set bonuses
- Protection, 2P -- Your Judgement ability now also grants a physical absorb shield equal to 25% of the damage it dealt.
- Protection, 4P -- Reduces the cooldown of Divine Guardian by 60 sec and increases the radius of its effect by 70 yards.
The purpose of the Field Manual to assist you in being a better Paladin tank. The goal is to provide the best and most accurate information possible so you can make the best decisions possible. In some cases theory crafting will suggest only one solution, in other cases you will have a variety of solutions, either way it is your choice to use information from this post. If you feel you have something to contribute or correct please feel free to send me a PM or post in this thread.
Paladins have gone through significant changes with the introduction of 4.0 and throughout Cataclysm. As such many of the fundamental mechanics that had become very familiar for the past two years have changed or disappeared entirely. This guide and the attached thread is a one stop shop for Paladins interested in tanking. The original post will be maintained and updated with information from the thread that is pertinent and valuable. If there is information you feel should be present in this guide please PM me directly or post in the thread with what you think should be added.
AD Ardent Defender
AP Attack Power
BiS Best in Slot
BoK Blessing of Kings
BoM Blessing of Might
CS Crusader Strike
DP Divine Protection
DS Divine Shield
GAK Guardian of Ancient Kings
GC Grand Crusader
GCD Global Cooldown
HotR Hammer of the Righteous
HoPo Holy Power
HoW Hammer of Wrath
HW Holy Wrath
JotW Judgements of the Wise
LoH Lay on Hands
MP5 Mana per 5 Seconds
SoI Seal of Insight
SoT Seal of Truth
SotR Shield of the Righteous
SP Spell Power
TbtL Touched by the Light
WoG Word of Glory
The baseline spec is 0/31/5: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
The last 5 points go into your choice of Pursuit of Justice, Reckoning, Rule of Law, and Hallowed Ground.
Blizzard has done another large consolidation of stats with this patch/expansion. Defense rating among other secondary stats have disappeared altogether. Dodge and Parry now scale the same. A summary of relevant stats and changes to be aware of are available below.
Strength now provides parry rating (it used to increase Block, but not anymore). 27% of your Strength is converted into parry rating. At level 85 176.1 parry rating equals 1% chance parry (before diminishing returns). Strength also remains the primary (and so far only) source of raw AP for all Paladins.
Stamina, of course, remains important in providing for a large health pool. There are no significant changes for Protection Paladins regarding this stat; however given that the AP bonus provided by [Vengeance] caps at Stamina + 10% of base health, additional Stamina can provide a dps/threat increase.
Agility no longer provides armor or dodge, and should be avoided. Technically it will increase your crit slightly, but generally speaking a piece of gear with Agility is a piece of gear intended for a class other than us.
Dodge rating will continue to be on equipment. So far there appears to be no significant change on how this stat and avoidance functions.
As mentioned above Parry Rating will be gained from STR as well as items. According to Blizzard parry will "provide the same avoidance as Dodge" indicating for the purposes of avoidance parry and dodge are equivalent in terms of stat values.
A word on dodge & parry...
Dodge and Parry diminishing returns are now the same thus from a pure avoidance perspective both dodge and parry are now the same. See the reforging section on how to calculate your block cap.
NOTE: It is no longer necessary to hit or expertise cap for three reasons: taunts and non-damaging interrupts can no longer miss, the buff to Righteous Fury makes threat largely a non-issue, and Judgements of the Wise now activates on-cast rather than on-hit.
Hit rating makes you more likely to actually hit the stuff you will be tanking (no damage, no threat). While threat should generally not be a problem, tank dps is now a useful component of raid dps (particularly in 10 mans). However, bear in mind that survivability still vastly outweighs dps in tank prioritization.
The vast majority of Protection Paladin abilities are based of the melee hit table not the spell hit table. In addition, we get 8% spell hit from [Touched by the Light], so we hit-cap spells before we hit-cap melee attacks. As such at level 85 Paladins are interested in only reaching the 8% melee hit cap. Any hit over the cap is considered wasted.
Level 85 - 8% requires 961 Hit rating / 841 for Draenei
Originally Posted by Theck
While in Wrath, we still saw a moderate benefit from hit above the melee cap, the 8% spell hit we get from talents caps our spell hit before that point, making the benefit of hit rating over melee cap exactly zero. So like many DPS classes, hit rating below the cap will be one of our best threat stats, while anything above the cap is wasted.
Expertise has improved as scaling has gone up, and according to Theck's numbers, surpasses HIT as our best threat/dps stat up to the Parry cap (26). In fact, it remains better than STR all the way up to the hard cap at 55 expertise.
Level 85 - 26 Expertise requires 781 Expertise rating / 55 Expertise requires 1652 Expertise rating
Originally Posted by Theck
-Expertise and Hit are our best DPS stats below their respective caps (8% for hit, 26 for expertise soft cap). When gearing for DPS/threat, you should be aiming for 8% hit and around 26 expertise. From that point on, stack Strength for reliable threat.
-AP, Crit, and Agility are all second-tier threat stats. For gearing purposes, you'll probably ignore these (except maybe on an Agility weapon).
-Haste/Mastery/SP/Intellect are all weak threat stats. Don't stack any of them for threat.
Mastery is a "universal" stat that depending on the player's spec provides different benefits. For now it does not suffer from diminishing returns. For Protection Paladins, Mastery provides block rating via Divine Bulwark. Currently for every point of Mastery the Paladin will receive 2.25% increased chance to block. All indications are that this is the only means for Paladins to attain block rating/percentage (with very few exceptions). Tanking gear (to date) has only had dodge/parry for secondary defensive stats. Paladins will want Mastery... lots of it. See below regarding reforging and Mastery.
Mastery is the best defensive stat for Protection Paladins for two reasons. First, up to full Combat Table Coverage (CTC) of 102.4% (sometimes referred to as “Block Cap”), Mastery provides more damage reduction per itemization point than any other stat. Second, in addition to reducing damage taken, Mastery also smoothes out the incoming damage a tank faces, making them easier for healers to heal.
For example, stacking avoidance does a good job of reducing damage, but makes the incoming damage “spikier”. Either the tank takes a full hit or it misses entirely, so their health bar either doesn’t move or it takes a big dip, making incoming dps much more volatile. In contrast, stacking Mastery makes the tank take a steady succession of much smaller hits which are easier to manage, and less likely to kill the tank outright before a healer can react.
A quick explanation for CTC is in order here. Mechanically speaking, when a boss makes a regular melee swing at a tank, a single 1-100 roll is made which determines the result with a regular hit at one end and I think its Miss at the other end (Miss, Parry and Dodge in some order are the top three) at the other end. As the tank stacks defensive stats, the combat table is "filled up" with good results.
For example, if a tank is uncrittable and has 15% dodge, 15% parry, a 60% chance of blocking and is fighting a level 85 mob, the results table looks like:
1-5 Miss (you always get a base 5% chance of being missed, even though its not on your character sheet)
Now lets say the tank changes a bunch of Stamina gems into Mastery gems and increases their block chance to 65%. What happens? The table now looks like:
As you can see, "Hit" has been pushed entirely off the combat table. Regular hits are no longer possible. This is what is meant by CTC. The Combat Table has been completely Covered, so thanks to stacking defensive stats only positive outcomes are possible. Note that once full CTC has been achieved, stacking additional avoidance starts pushing Block off the table, and adding additional Block does literally nothing, so try to balance your stat allocation decisions with this in mind.
"But wait," you say. "What's the deal with 102.4%? How does that work with a 1-100 roll?" I'm glad you asked, but it requires a bit of explanation. Ages ago, when the first prot paladin theorycrafters crawled out of the primordial muck sometimes in early BC, it was realized that relative level affects the combat table. If a player is attacked by something that's a little bit higher level, the player gets a small penalty to defensive stats.
Specifically, the player takes a 0.2% penalty to Parry, Dodge, Block and Miss for every level of difference between the mob and the player. Bosses are, by definition, always considered to be 3 levels higher than players. So, 3*0.2% = 0.6%. When fighting a boss-level mob, a player's Parry, Dodge, Block and Miss are each 0.6% lower than reported on the character sheet. Combined this equals 2.4%. Back in the days of dinosaurs, it was decided that it was simpler to tell people to aim for 102.4% coverage (this was back when Crushing Blows were a problem, so it was a big deal then) rather than subtracting 0.6% from each of the 4 defensive percentages and then shoot for 100%.
So, if the player above was fighting a boss mob, and saw the numbers above on his character sheet, his ACTUAL combat table in terms of possible outcomes, would look like this:
First off, yes, the potential outcomes of the roll aren't just 1,2,3,4, etc up to 100. It goes to quite a few significant figures down before rounding. I'm not sure how far, but I know its at least to the 0.0001 level. Second, even though this player's character sheet says full CTC has been achieve, against a boss mob there's still a 2.4% chance of taking an unblocked hit. Hence the 102.4%.
Reforging, Combat Table Coverage & You
Now for a word or two about reforging. Reforging will allow you to shift secondary stats around on gear to (hopefully) optimize your build by moving 40% of a secondary stat to another (not present) stat on the same item. Primary stats (Strength/Stamina/Agility/Intellect, Spirit is no longer a primary stat) cannot be reforged to or away from.
What does this mean for tanking Paladins? Now that blocks are no longer a fixed amount of mitigation but instead reduced damage by a certain percentage it is in our interest to try to block as much as possible. As such we want to reach the 102.4% total avoidance threshold (also referred to as "block cap" or "complete combat table coverage") that we have aimed for in the past. This pushes regular hits off the table so that any physical hit has to come through a block. Given that tanking Paladins should be reforging for Mastery as much as possible. If your ilevel is too low it may not be possible to actually “cap”. Regardless, you want to get as close are you possibly can to the 102.4% threshold.
Tanks should follow the following stat priority when deciding reforging:
(Most valuable) Mastery (to block cap) > Dodge = Parry >>> Expertise > Hit (Least valuable)
Dodge and Parry are equivalent, and there is more value in reforging to whichever has less rating. If you have any stats other than these (Haste, Crit, etc), perhaps because you are trying to re-purpose dps gear, consider all other stats to be less valuable than Hit.
Do not forget that gemming and enchanting can add to secondary stats so keep in mind your gemming and enchanting choices when reforging and vise-versa.
If you are wondering where Holy Shield is, remember that the talent has been changed to provide a bonus to block damage reduction instead of block chance.
When does armor come into play?
Armor plays no role in determining how a hit is resolved on the combat table. Only after a hit has be resolved on the table and if it does any physical damage then armor is applied. Armor is another form of mitigation.
Don't Go Crazy
Do not reforge into Mastery mindlessly. Going beyond the block cap/full combat table coverage is a waste. Once you hit that 102.4% threshold you have to stop. Any additional block serves absolutely no purpose. Also once your reach 102.4% be careful to balance dodge/parry correctly. Dodge and parry occur before block on the hit table so if you end up having too much dodge/parry you push more block chances off the hit table. Once you are capped, mastery can be reforged into Avoidance.
Various professions offer various benefits for a tanking Paladin. Below is a summary of what professions provide what. The sheer value of professions is somewhat diminished from WotLK stature. Once level 85 scaling is factored in, the itemization points provided by a full maxed profession will provide roughly half the rating granted in WotLK. Still, some professions are certainly still more valuable than others.
BS, JC, Inscription, Leatherworking and Enchanting are extremely closely balanced, providing 80-81 itemization points of value and being flexible for dual-spec characters. BS and JC are arguably slightly ahead as they provide slightly more flexibility, allowing some choice in what stat the bonus points go into. Alchemy also provides flexibility in terms of stat bonus and allows placing cauldrons, but requires re-flasking if you need to change to another role. Mining is a step behind as its +STA gain is acceptable for tanking but a dual-spec player would get minimal benefit for an off-spec.
Engineering looks good for entry raiding, as the crafted helms are easily the best available pre-raid and the bolt gun and various gadgets provide helpful utility. However, for progression tanking, the QuickFlip hand enchant is solidly inferior to the profession bonuses available to other professions (it provides ~80 itemization points of armor, which is, roughly, only 60% as good as mastery in terms of preventing damage), making Engineering a slightly inferior choice to the ones listed above.
Skinning, Herbalism, and Tailoring remain unattractive to paladin tanks.
The benefits to tanking are useful but lacking in flexibility. The crafted trinket ([Lifebound Alchemist Stone]) is tremendous for early raiding as STA and Mastery are the two key stats for paladin tanks. Additional benefits include a percentage bonus benefit when using potions/flasks/etc and longer durations on flask/elixir based buffs through [Mixology]. Though the STA flask is now properly budgeted, pogression minded tanks, barring changes, may get more benefit from elixirs or scrolls. A penalty of Alchemy is that one must swap flasks/elixirs if one changes specs and wants to keep the profession bonus.
Beyond crafting your own plate gear (which has marginal benefits, as all interesting pieces are BoE and thus potentially purchasable) the primary purpose of this profession is to provide you with two additional gemming slots ([Socket Bracer] [Socket Gloves]) to stuff additional gems. Barring changes to profession perks, blue comments suggest BS will become the best all-around profession once a character is fully equipped with Epic gems (as the profession bonus will increase to 100 itemization points vs the ~80 granted by other professions).
The primary benefit enchanting has for tanking is the +60 stamina to each of your rings for a total gain of 120 stamina. For those with Retribution off-specs there are the +STR/AGI ring buffs to consider as well.
Engineering has filled the role of crafting usable equipment, namely specialized helms and ranged weapons. This continues with Cataclysm. It is unclear what head slot epics will become available later on but engineering Protection Paladins can craft [Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades] as their first epic tanking helm. As the special Jewelcrafter like Cogwheel "gems" ([Flashing Cogwheel], [Fractured Cogwheel], [Subtle Cogwheel]) can only be used in the crafted Engineering helms, the presence or absence of further crafted helms has a substantial impact on the profession’s future value. Other benefits include slot specific enchants for tanks like [Quickflip Deflection Plates] and [Grounded Plasma Shield]. Finally, the Cardboard Assassin has utility in managing adds or boss control in certain circumstances.
Herbalism provides little benefit to tanking Paladins; [Lifeblood] can be used as a self heal and haste boost but is sub-optimal based on other profession bonuses.
The main benefit of Inscription is the special shoulder enchants only available to Inscriptionists, which provide the exact same bonus options (net of the Exalted level Therazane shoulder inscriptions) as Enchanting. In addition, the player is not required to grind Therazane rep. As a further bonus, Inscriptions can craft a number of items. The most interesting for tanking Paladins are [Notched Jawbone] and [Silver Inlaid Leaf], though the stats for the latter item are not ideal. Beyond that if you have good access to herbs you can create your own glyphs.
Jewelcrafting can provide interesting trinkets but its primary benefit is the unique gems ([Solid Chimera's Eye]) only usable by jewel crafters, the net benefit of which is comparable to the gain from other professions (~81 itemization points), though it has the advantage of being flexible, allowing those points to be used for Mastery or Avoidance, rather than Stamina. The craftable trinkets provide some benefit to newly leveled starting tanks. On the PTR, the Chimera's Eye patterns were buffed by ~10 itemization points each to compensate for the new epic gems, but they have not been buffed as of the launch of 4.3. As such, JC will remain competitive with the other professions up until you have 2 or fewer non-epic gems remaining, at which point it will start becoming sub-optimal. The potential exists for Blizzard to add new Chimera's Eye patterns to address this, but nothing has been announced.
The primary benefit for tanking Paladins provided by leatherworking would be the Draconic Embossment for bracers with the +195 STAM enchant presumably the most attractive. The current non-LW BiS defensive wrist Enchant is +50 Dodge rating. While the gap in itemization points between the two enchants is roughly what one would expect for a profession bonus, the gap between the base enchant being in the inferior Dodge vs Stamina makes this a superior option. Combined with the potential raid utility of the surprisingly still functional Drums of Speed, LW is an attractive tanking profession.
[Toughness] is the main benefit provided by mining. The +STA gained is comparable to the benefit of the other "good" tanking professions, but it provides little benefit to dps/healing off-specs. Mining is also the support profession for Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting.
Given how low critical strike rating is as a priority for tanking Paladins the [Master of Anatomy] benefit from this profession is one of the least optimal.
Tailoring allows for the embroidering of cloaks. None of the embroidering options are ideal for Protection Paladins so this profession is also one of the least optimal for tanks.
Glyphs, Enchants, Gems and Consumables
A third tier of glyphs was introduced with Cataclysm. We now have Prime, Major, and Minor glyphs. For detail on why you should choose specific glyphs please go here.
[Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous] (Best AoE glyph) - Increase both physical and holy damage components by 10%.
[Glyph of Seal of Truth] (Best single target glyph) - Seal of Truth also grants 10 Expertise while active.
[Glyph of Crusader Strike] - Increases crit chance on CS by 5%.*
[Glyph of Shield of the Righteous] (Second best single target glyph) - Increases the damage of Shield of the Righteous by 10%.*
[Glyph of Word of Glory] - Increases the healing done by Word of Glory.*
[Glyph of Seal of Insight] - Increases the effect of healing spells by 5% when the seal is active.
[Glyph of Judgement] - Increases damage from Judgments by 10%. While this is one of the weaker threat/dps glyphs even after the buff to Judgement damage, combining it with 2 piece t13 provides some additional survivability as well. Its a VERY small amount of additional survivability, but it is greater than zero.
* Build and preference on whether to focus more on single/AoE tanking or WoG will effect these glyph selections.
Prime glyphs have replaced the role of Major glyphs while Major glyphs have now become a middle of the road type of glyph. Being middle of the road these glyphs do not adjust abilities as drastically as prime glyphs, though they can provide strong, if situational benefits. Swapping them around relatively often to take advantage of fight mechanics is common. Below are acceptable glyphs for tanking Paladins.
[Glyph of Dazing Shield] - Avenger's Shield now also dazes targets.
[Glyph of Divine Protection] - Increases magical damage reduction of this ability by 20% and removed the physical protection benefit.
[Glyph of the Ascetic Crusader] - Reduces mana cost of CS by 30%.
[Glyph of Focused Shield] - Avenger's Shield hits 2 fewer targets, but for 30% more damage.
[Glyph of Holy Wrath] (Recommended) - This provides an AoE stun which can be extremely useful, depending on the fight.
[Glyph of Lay on Hands] (Recommended) - Reduces LoH cooldown by 3 minutes.
Minor glyph selection remains underwhelming; ultimately the choice of Minor glyphs has very little impact on tanking performance.
[Glyph of Blessing of Might] - Reduces the mana cost of BoM by 50%.
[Glyph of Blessing of Kings] - Reduces the mana cost of BoK by 50%.
[Glyph of Seal of Truth] - Reduces the mana cost of SoT by 50%.
When considering enchants and gemming, follow a slightly modified version of the stat priorities from reforging. The priority table is per itemization point.
Mastery (to block cap) > Dodge = Parry >= Stamina > Armor > Strength > Expertise > Hit
Again, Dodge and Parry are equivalent, you should enchant or gem to whichever has less rating. Conventional wisdom suggests stacking Stamina after capping block is the way to go.
Many enchants have been changed/removed to reflect the new stat system that has been implemented. Below are suggested enchants for tanking Paladins; choices might depend on your build. Do keep in mind your enchanting choices relative to your gemming in gearing choices when reforging later.
Head [Arcanum of the Earthen Ring]
Shoulders [Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz]
Back [Enchant Cloak - Protection]
Chest [Enchant Chest - Greater Stamina]
Wrist [Enchant Bracer - Dodge], [Enchant Bracer - Greater Expertise]
Hands [Enchant Gloves - Mighty Strength], [Enchant Gloves - Greater Expertise], [Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery]
Finger [Enchant Ring - Greater Stamina] (Enchanters Only)
Legs [Drakehide Leg Armor]
Feet [Enchant Boots - Earthen Vitality], [Enchant Boots - Mastery]
Weapon [Enchant Weapon - Windwalk]
Shield [Enchant Shield - Blocking], [Enchant Shield - Protection]
Gems have gone under a significant revamp much like enchants. Gems with specific stats that have been removed the game have also been removed. Some stats have also changed colors. As such the 3.0 to 4.0 transition will be a bit painful for some as they must re-gem in order to make current gear sets work until Cataclysm. Once people begin transitioning into Cata this problem should subside.
Below are preferred gems for Protection Paladins. Two gem strategies are to gem only stamina after activating the Meta and to gem mastery to in order to reach the block cap. Consider your taking style and raid progression when gemming.
[Austere Shadowspirit Diamond] - +81 Stamina and 2% increased armor from items (Requires 2 Yellow gems)
[Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond] - +81 Stamina and +1% shield block value (Requires 3 Blue gems)
If you are wondering which meta to choose, there is an easy way and a more complex/accurate way:
Originally Posted by Theck
At 35% total avoidance and 50% block, the block meta and armor meta are roughly equal.
At lower avoidance/block, the armor meta is up to 25% more effective than the block meta.
More Accurate Way
Ra/Rb = (2*Ar)/(Bc)*(1.024-Av-Bv*Bc)/(1.02*Ar+K)
Ar is your armor
Bc is your block chance (decimal format, 55%=0.55)
Bv is your block value (decimal format)
Av is your total avoidance (decimal format)
K is the armor constant, which is 32573
Ra and Rb are the damage reduction of the armor and block meta gems, respectively. If the ratio Ra/Rb is greater than 1, the armor meta is more effective, if it's less than 1 the block meta is more effective.
Regular Epic Gems are now in the game. They appear to be only available as a rare drop from handing in Motes of Darkness to the Geologist NPC in the Temple of Aspects in the Dragon Soul raid. Each character in a raid gets one Mote for each Boss defeated. You hand them into the NPC who gives you a Geode which you can open for random gems. Epic gems are a rare drop from the Geodes.
The names are:
Blue - Deepholm Iolite
Red - Queen's Garnet
Yellow - Lightstone
Green - Elven Peridot
Purple - Shadow Spinel
Orange - Lava Coral
Single Stat gems
[Solid Deepholm Iolite] - +75 Stamina
[Fractured Lightstone] - +50 Mastery
Combination with Stamina gems
[Puissant Elven Peridot] - +25 Mastery Rating and +37 Stamina (Counts as a Yellow or Blue gem)
[Sovereign Shadow Spinel] - +25 Strength and +37 Stamina (Counts as a Red or Blue gem)
[Regal Elven Peridot] - +25 Dodge Rating and +37 Stamina (Counts as a Blue or Yellow gem)
[Defender's Shadow Spinel] - +25 Parry Rating and +37 Stamina (Counts as a Red or Blue gem)
[Guardian's Shadow Spinel] - +25 Expertise Rating and +37 Stamina (Counts as a Red or Blue gem)
[Fine Lava Coral] - +25 Parry Rating and +25 Mastery Rating (Counts as a Red or Yellow gem)
[Solid Chimera's Eye] - +101 Stamina (Jewelcrafters Only)
[Fractured Chimera's Eye] - +67 Mastery Rating (Jewelcrafters Only)
[Rigid Chimera's Eye] - +67 Hit Rating (Jewelcrafters Only)
[Precise Chimera's Eye] - +67 Expertise Rating (Jewelcrafters Only)
Blizzard has announced the new epic gems, and it appears they will be a 25% increase in itemization over Rares (75 Stamina/50 other stats, which would suggest new Chimera's Eye patterns with about 10 more itemization points than the current ones) and it has been suggested they will only be available via rare drops, but its too early to start banking on any of it. Additionally, it appears the Chimera's Eye patterns will be increasing by 10 itemization points each in 4.3.
[Solid Ocean Sapphire] - +60 Stamina (Counts as a Blue gem)
[Fractured Amberjewel] - +40 Mastery (Counts as a Yellow gem)
Combination w/ Stamina
[Puissant Dream Emerald] - +20 Mastery Rating and +30 Stamina (Counts as a Yellow or Blue gem)
[Sovereign Demonseye] - +20 Strength and +30 Stamina (Counts as a Red or Blue gem)
[Regal Dream Emerald] - +20 Dodge Rating and +30 Stamina (Counts as a Blue or Yellow gem)
[Defender's Demonseye] - +20 Parry Rating and +30 Stamina (Counts as a Red or Blue gem)
[Guardian's Demonseye] - +20 Expertise Rating and +30 Stamina (Counts as a Red or Blue gem)
[Fine Ember Topaz] - +20 Parry Rating and +20 Mastery Rating (Counts as a Red or Yellow gem)
A food and other self applied buffs are necessary to be effective. The following are appropriate foods, potions, elixirs, flasks, and scrolls to use while tanking.
The new "fish feast" of Cataclysm is [Seafood Magnifique Feast], which will provide the same effect as the Mushroom Sauce Mudfish below (+90 Dodge and +90 Stamina).
Survivability food should be the standard food to boost survivability and will help you close the gap if you have not quite block capped yet or desire a bit more dodge/parry.
[Lavascale Minestrone] - +90 Mastery rating / +90 Stamina
[Mushroom Sauce Mudfish] - +90 Dodge rating / +90 Stamina
[Blackbelly Sushi] - +90 Parry rating / +90 Stamina
DPS food obviously helps with DPS. If you are well geared and not hurting for hit or expertise Beer-Based Crocolisk will be your go to food.
[Beer-Basted Crocolisk] - +90 Strength / +90 Stamina
[Crocolisk Au Gratin] - +90 Expertise rating / +90 Stamina
[Grilled Dragon] - +90 Hit rating / +90 Stamina
Beyond the usual health and mana potions, there are two possibly useful ones. Remember, only one potion can be used per fight (two with pre-potting). [Earthen Potion] - +4800 armor for 25 seconds, for times of high incoming physical damage [Golemblood Potion] - +1200 STR for 25 seconds, on the pull or during burn phases when tank dps is crucial
As usual there are a variety of elixirs to choose from. Like food mix/match as appropriate for your current build and needs. Below is a list of the most likely that you'll need. Remember that you can have only 1 of each type of elixir (Battle and Guardian) at any given time. Note that the itemization gained from using a pair of elixirs is substantially superior to using a flask.
[Elixir of Deep Earth] - +900 Armor (Guardian Elixir)
[Prismatic Elixir] - +90 to all Resistances (Guardian Elixir)
[Scroll of Stamina IX] - +150 Stamina (Guardian Elixir)
[Elixir of the Master] - +225 Mastery rating (Battle Elixir)
[Elixir of the Naga] - +225 Expertise rating (Battle Elixir)
[Elixir of Impossible Accuracy] - +225 Hit rating (Battle Elixir)
One flask also counts as a Battle and Guardian Elixir. Below are recommended flasks.
[Flask of Steelskin] - +450 Stamina
[Flask of Titanic Strength] - +300 Strength
Given current flask selections Steelskin will almost always be the best one for tanking Paladins (though inferior to elixirs). Titanic strength is an option for dps (on Alysrazor, for example), but threat should not be an issue after Righteous Fury was buffed to 500%.
Several abilities got renamed or moved, but should be familiar to many veteran Paladin tanks. There is also Holy Power which now needs to be contended with.
[Seal of Insight] - Formerly known as Seal of Light. Continues to function as before; it has a chance of healing the Paladin for each swing as well as restoring a small amount of mana. As of 4.3, Judgements on this seal will do damage but will no longer restore 15% of mana. Usually you will not use this seal, though it can be handy when tank damage is relatively unimportant and the tank or raid are taking unusually heavy damage.
[Seal of Righteousness] - Seal that does straight holy damage for each swing and judgment. Ret paladins have a talent (that tanks cannot reach) which allows it to hit all targets within range, making it a powerful AoE seal. Since tanks cannot reach the talent, this seal remains single target, and there is no situation in which it is optimal for tanking.
[Seal of Truth] - What was once known as Seal of Vengeance is now known as this. It applies a stacking DoT called Censure on each hit, which stacks up to 5 times. Additional hits after 5 stacks provide a burst of additional damage. This is essentially the same as before and also remains the principle tanking Seal. Remember to pick up the associated glyph for 10 Expertise.
[Avenging Wrath] - The effects of this ability have not changed much from before though it no longer causes another abilities to be locked out or put on temporary cooldown. AW can be activated and other abilities like DS or DP can be activated immediately as well. The cooldown of this ability is reduced to 2 minutes when talented into all ranks of [Shield of the Templar].
[Crusader Strike] - Crusader Strike is now a baseline skill and grants a charge of Holy Power. NOTE: CS shares a cooldown with HotR.
[Devotion Aura] - There are very few exception when a Protection Paladin would not be using this aura while tanking. The aura confers the benefit of providing additional armor to the Paladin and all party/raid members affected by the aura.
[Hammer of the Righteous] - Much like the old version this is an AoE attack but not limited by the number of targets. The hammer will hit a primary target hard and then anything else within 8 yards of your target with a holy attack. NOTE: HotR shares a cooldown with CS.
[Hand of Reckoning] - Hand of Reckoning has lost its damage component so it is no longer preferable as a single target pull. It now, for all intents and purposes, works the same as the Warrior's taunt. This ability can no longer miss regardless of how good/bad your hit rating is.
[Hand of Protection] - Hand of Protection allows you to target yourself or party/raid member to protect them from physical attacks only for 10 seconds. This ability will cause for Forbearance for 1 minute.
[Righteous Defense] - This ability is unchanged and remains the Protection Paladin's "indirect" taunt. Use it on a party/raid member to direct up to 3 enemies to attack you instead. There have been bugs in the past, but at least in theory it should be incapable of missing.
[Righteous Fury] - This ability increases all threat generated by 500%. Also Blizzard has been nice enough to remind Paladins in the tool tip that this ability makes you a better tank.
[Shield of the Righteous] - Our principle single target attack. This ability is powered using HoPo and as such will not activate unless you have at least 1 HoPo charged on your gauge.
[Inquisition] - Similar to Avenging Wrath in that it boosts damage output for a specified duration (increased depending on your amount of Holy Power). Though this ability only boosts holy damage.
These abilities help you survive situations where your risk of death is elevated. These situations range from the obvious - a special attack on a predictable timer - to the more subtle but no less deadly, like a debuff that disables or distracts your healers. Here are a couple guidelines for using cooldowns effectively:
• Use cooldowns before you take damage. If you use GoAK at half health, 90k HP, the cooldown is effectively adding 90k more HP before you die. If you wait until you reach 20k HP, it only adds an effective 20k HP. Waiting to use your cooldowns until you’re at low HP is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
• You get the most mileage out of consciously using them in dangerous situations, but the more you use them, the more value you get. It’s a balancing act.
• Match the cooldown to the level of threat by planning your cooldown usage before the fight. Save GoAK for when you know a big hit is coming, but unless there is a special ability with which it lines up well, DP should be used early and often even on regular incoming damage.
[Ardent Defender] - AD has gone through significant changes with 4.0; the most notable being that the ability is no longer passive. In order to benefit from the death saving effect the ability has to be manually activated. When activated the ability provides a 10 second buff window. During that window AD behaves like before; if a Paladin is struck by an attack that would kill them they are instead healed for 15% of max health. Another major difference is that the ability will no longer passively reduce damage when falling below a particular health percentage. During the 10 second window when the ability is activated Paladins will also benefit from a fixed 20% reduction to all incoming damage.
[Divine Protection] - DP is no longer as strong as before; the upside is that it no longer causes [Forbearance]. It is also a short cooldown (1 minute) and relatively cheap. This should be used to manage damage in non-emergency situations. Note that it is often glyphed, which removes its ability to reduce physical damage, instead reducing magic damage by 40%.
[Divine Guardian] - If you pick up this talent you receive a new cooldown that reduces damage by 20% to all members of your party/raid within 20 yards for 6 seconds; you do not benefit from the damage reduction of this ability.
[Divine Shield] - This ability is available to all Paladins but should be used carefully by tanks since it effectively removes you from combat and thus the threat table temporarily. Enemies on you will immediately go toward the next party/raid members on the threat table. In most cases tanks will not use this ability. It is often used in conjunction with a /cancel macro to quickly cast and remove the effect, as it clears many, though not all, debuffs. This ability also causes Forbearance. Note that both Divine Shield and Hand of Protection (up in the Key Ability section) can both be used, carefully, as true defensive cooldowns by pairing them with taunts.
If a Paladin tank pops Divine Shield, then immediately taunts the mob, instead of heading for the next target on its aggro table, the mob will be stuck on the tank for the duration of the fixate (3 seconds, but you could use both taunts back to back). Obviously the mob will head for the next target as soon as the fixate expires. So while this can be a clever way of avoiding damage entirely for a few seconds, it must be used very carefully and probably in conjuction with a macro to quickly remove the shield.
[Guardian of Ancient Kings] - This is now the major cooldown for tanking Paladins. GAK will reduce damage to the tanking Paladin by 50% through the Ancient Guardian ability for 12 seconds. Cooldown on this ability is 5 minutes; or 3 minutes if speced into all ranks of [Shield of the Templar].
[Holy Radiance] – Holy Radiance is an AoE insta-cast HoT that heals all friendly targets within 20 yards every second for 10 seconds, with effects reducing on targets more than 8 yards away or when there are more than 6 targets in range. This ability is a useful AoE aggro move and provides modest help in AoE damage situations. 1 minute cooldown. This ability is being restructured in 4.3 and will probably no longer be viable for tank usage.
[Holy Shield] – Holy Shield was significantly changed in 4.2, and is no longer a passive +10% to amount blocked. Instead, it is now an activate-able ability which provides 10 seconds of +20% to amount blocked on a 30 second cooldown. It is typically used nearly on cooldown during fights, though it may be delayed briefly if a period of high blockable damage is expected to come soon (such as on Hatchling Tantrums).
[Lay on Hands] - LoH remains an important cooldown for tanking Paladins. Casting it will heal the target equal to the maximum health of the casting Paladin. It is off the global cooldown, cannot crit heal, is not effected by many healing boosting effects, and will cause Forbearance for 1 minute on whomever it's cast.
[Word of Glory] – An instant HoPo powered heal with a 20 second cooldown and no mana cost. Additionally the base spec (via Guarded by the Light) also provides the additional benefit of converting any over healing into a temporary bubble. Sometimes underestimated, it can crit and easily heal for 30+K, making it a powerful survival tool.
Interrupts, Silences & Stuns
[Rebuke] - Now a baseline ability, this allows you to interrupt spellcasting, and like all non-damaging interrupts it cannot miss.
[Hammer of Justice] - A dedicated stunning ability with a 1 minute cooldown. Since 4.0.6 this ability no longer interrupts mobs that are stun immune when taking the the [Vindication] talent. Dedicated interrupting is now done through Rebuke.
[Avenger's Shield] - In reality this is much more of a DPS ability than an interrupting ability. The interrupt/silencing on targets hit by the shield is intended to assist Paladins during the pull portion of tanking. Given that it is part of the tanking rotation it will continue to interrupt and silence but timing can be difficult to use the ability as a dedicated interrupt. Keep in mind that some mobs are immune to the silencing effect.
Mechanics & Rotation
The introduction of Holy Power changes rotation dynamics for Protection Paladins. Much like combo points for Rogues this new resource scales up abilities effects depending on how full the gauge is. When an ability that uses HoPo is activated the gauge is emptied and depending on the amount displayed the ability receives a boost (usually more damage or more healing).
The following abilities/talents relevant to Protection Paladins use Holy Power...
[Shield of the Righteous]
[Word of Glory]
The following abilities relevant to Protection Paladins generate Holy Power...
[Hammer of the Righteous]
[Pursuit of Justice] (If talented, HoPo gains are incidental)
[Divine Plea] (3 Holy Power if talented. As of 4.3 it will provide 1 Holy Power even if not talented)
1) Divine Plea : add 3 Holy Power
2) Inquisition : consume 3 Holy Power and +30% damage for 12 seconds
3) Pop Wings AW + Exorcism (same key macro ideally) : +20% damage 20 seconds + 1.5 second cast time, use it for your first hit on raid boss
4) Judgment (assumes Impr Judgement talent) : instant cast as you run in towards boss to engage
5) Avengers Shield (assumes Focused Shield glyph) : instant cast as you engage (still at distance or melee range)
6) Start rotation
AW does not stack with Rogue Tricks of the Trade (+15% bonus to damage), so if you expected to get ToT'ed on the pull, save AW for a later point.
Whatever you knew about the Paladin tanking rotation needs to now be tossed out the window. The previous 9/6 rotation that proved to be highly reliable is no longer possible. The rotation is also heavily affected by HoPo (as described above) so the order of abilities matter in order maximize the usage of HoPo. Because of this Protection now uses a priority/clash resolution system like many other classes.
Single Target Queue:
(*=mana permitting, boss stationary for Cons to be fully effective)
While it's impossible to write this out as a static rotation due to Grand Crusader procs, failed holy power generation from CS misses, and delays caused by SotR misses, we can roughly approximate it as a flexible rotation. This has been dubbed the "939" rotation as a throwback to WotLK-era 969 mechanics. It looks something like this:
CS-X-CS-X-CS-ShoR, where X is filled with AS, HoW, J, Cons or HW in that order based on availability and mana constraints (skip Cons/HW if low on mana).
CS is your "3" ability, and in most cases you'll cast it every other GCD to maximize Holy Power generation. You'll fill the other GCDs according to the priority queue given above (those are the "9" abilities), and cast SotR as soon as you reach 3 Holy Power (even if it means pushing CS back). Maximizing Holy Power generation and usage is the key to optimizing your DPS.
There is an alternative queue that generates approximately 1% higher DPS than 939 (and with 2pT13 a slight mitigation increase), but requires more attention. Whether this increase is worth it is up to the player. The queue is:
SotR(if Inq or Sacred Duty buffs active)>Inq>CS>AS>HoW>J>Cons*>HW*
Theck maintains a comprehensive model of our single-target DPS rotations in case you want more detailed information about our single-target priority queues.
HotR and Inquisition are the bulk of our AoE DPS. The queue that seems to maximize our multi-target output is:
Inq(if not active)>HotR>AS>Cons>HW>J
Be careful with mana when performing this rotation, as low Judgement priority and frequent Cons/HW usage may run you OOM. In multi-mob situations Sanctuary income is usually sufficient to cover that gap.
This queue refreshes Inquisition every 4 holy power, effectively wasting some of our Holy Power generation. That still manages to eke out a few percent more DPS than simply using a 939-variant of HotR-X-HotR-X-HotR-Inq, but it's not a large difference. If sticking to "9H9" is more comfortable for you, that may be preferable.
Also note that replacing CS with HotR in the single-target rotation is generally enough to hold aggro on multiple mobs while still focusing the brunt of your DPS on a single target. For situations where everyone is focusing on one target and cleaving down a group of other adds, that sort of substitution is likely your best choice.
Theck maintains a comprehensive model of our AoE DPS rotations in case you want more detailed information about our AoE priority queues. Maintankadin • View topic - Theck's MATLAB thread - Cataclysm/4.x
Macros are intended to make your life easier. Below are a few macros for your benefit. Please send me any macros you think maybe useful for tanking Paladins.
Quick De-buff Clearing Macro
This macro activates Divine Shield and then immediately cancels the effect. This will force almost all de-buffs and other negative effects to be removed from you and simultaneously cancel the shield so you do not lose threat for more than a moment.
#showtooltip (needs to be hit twice)
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
Righteous Defense Macro
Just hover over a Party / Raid member and taunt from them.
#showtooltip Righteous Defense
/cast [target=mouseover,help,nodead][help,nodead][target=targettarget,help,nodead]Righteous Defense
/cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] Cleanse; [target=target,help] Cleanse; [target=targettarget,exists,help] Cleanse; [target=player] Cleanse; Cleanse;
Hand of Protection Macro
#showtooltip Hand of Protection
/cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] Hand of Protection; [target=target,help] Hand of Protection; [target=targettarget,exists,help] Hand of Protection; [target=player] Hand of Protection; Hand of Protection;
Interrupt Focus Macro
/cast [target=focus, exists] Rebuke; Rebuke;
Divine Plea Macro (needs to be hit twice)
/cancelaura Divine Plea
/cast Divine Plea
Use for a quick 3 Holy Power before a Shield of the Righteous, Word of Glory, or Inquisition. The /cancelaura is to remove the buff effect so there is no penalty on WoG healing.
I of course did not get all this myself. Below is some source material I used as well as other resources that maybe prove valuable for the advancing tank.
• Combat Ratings at level 85 (Cataclysm)
• Maintankadin - View topic - Theck's MATLAB thread - Cataclysm/4.x
• Maintankadin - View topic - 4.0 Talent Spec & Glyph Guide
• MMO-Champion - Paladin Cataclysm
• Paladin - Class - World of Warcraft
Thanks to Darkside, Malthrin, and emptyrepublic from whom I’ve taken the formatting.
Theck and the Maintankadin crew for their vast awesomeness.
Whitetooth for the always useful and important combat values.
I've managed to break all the links as well as some formatting and number of other things. I will be cleaning them up. Please PM me with any suggested changes.
Regarding cooldowns: With tauntable bosses, Divine Shield can be used in combat in an emergency for legitimate damage immunity without putting DPS at risk for at least 3 seconds, and for 5 if you take a small risk and spam Righteous Defense as the fixate wears off. Hand of Protection can be used similarly.
Word of Glory probably belongs in the cooldown section. In the right situation it's extremely powerful - a 30k heal or bubble shouldn't be dismissed.
The rotation section probably needs to be revamped a bit as well. ISH9 is obsolete, but there is an Inq rotation that does perform slightly better than ISH9, based on using Inq at 3HP whenever you don't have Sacred Duty or Inquisition up. It's approximately a 1% DPS gain.
In the "Pull" section: You can almost always hardcast Exorcism on the pull. It's very useful for giving you a second chance to hit with something and protect the aggressive DPS.
Flask of Steelskin is 450 stamina now. Scroll of Stamina IX gives 150 stamina as a guardian elixir, it's worth mentioning at least, given that Mastery Elixir plus a useful guardian is generally the best consumable choice.
Glyph of Crusader Strike is more DPS than Glyph of Judgement - it should be added to the glyph section, Glyph of Judgement is rarely a good choice.
Thanks. All good points, and I've incorporated them in various places except for the Divine Shield rope-a-dope move which I'm still thinking about the best way to include. Further suggestions are always welcome.
My next few priority items are thinking about the potential cost/benefit of the t13 2-piece driven rotation changes, and updating the old damage reduction stat weights for t13 gear. Additionally, once the new raid hits the PTR, mechanics information on the new fights will be important to consider. Input or data on these and other points is welcome.
Just some thoughts:
-Add in the reforging section that for CTC, you'd reforge the threat stat unless it was less than 66% of the avoidance on the item. If the threat stat is below that threshold reforging the avoidance stat pulls ahead.
-I'd add a link or post Theck's equation for which Meta to use. I see you made a post but that one is more accurate.
Dunno if you're waiting for more confirmation on the epic gems (there are some datamined on MMO champion already) but BS will surpass all other professions and JC will be undervalued, although it should take quite a while until that happens (until someone actually replaces all his gems with epic gems).
JC is getting 77 stat gems so it's going to stay competitive. Depending on the timing, it might even become the best profession until you are decked out in full epics (or until the other professions get boosted as well).
Is there a source on that quote, Saboya? Because, as you note, the impact on JC and BS would be substantive, probably pushing JC almost down to Engy territory in terms of value.
All JC gems were updated on the PTR. Still, currently BS has the most edge over any other profession unless they limit the number of Epic gems you can have, which is unlikely.
Anyway, like Ronark said, BS will still have the edge.
I think we're still too early in the PTR to change the profession notes since we're really just speculating at this point, particularly since, as Liar notes, the timing and drop rate of epic gems would swing profession values around for a bit. If we go a few weeks with no changes or blue comments, then we can revisit it.
Maybe I'll add some commentary at the top, under the confirmed PTR changes, as sort of a frequently changed dip-stick on how various things are shaping up.
Estragenlol, yeah, I'll include both meta gem trade-off formulas. One for the real detail and one that people can do in their heads, especially since by t12 just about everyone should be up to the block meta one. The 66% rule, on the other hand, I'm going to wait on until I've updated the stat-weights for t13 because I want to see if the DR levels in new tier gear move it in a significant way.
The gems are +77 on the PTR and assumption is based that epic gems will be 50 because of this, so JC would have a +81 stat bonus.
I highly doubt Blizzard would make a profession obsolete especially after they made them all equal with the bonuses they provide in the first place.
Since I have JC rather than BS I LOVE this. However a better balance would be add 7 rather than 10 to the existing JC gems. That would mean JC is improving by 21, putting it only 2 points ahead of BS.
Having 2 extra sockets from BS = +100 stats assuming epic gems.
Using 3 JC gems over 3 epic gems = (77-50)*3 = +81.
JC gems need to be 83 or 84.
In any case I'm quite sure all existing bonuses will be adjusted to match BS. It's really too early to spot falling skies - but opening a bug report is not a bad idea.
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