My job for the night would be to shadow their outgoing Protection Paladin, Taypion, and try to learn how they handled each boss in Mount Hyjal.
Taypion started drilling me on my gear and stats. I sat there kind of dumbfounded as he questioned why I "only" had 492 defense. 490 is ALL you need to be uncrittable, and while Defense over 490 is not wasted, it certainly isn't need. I was also concerned when he suggested wearing a pure threat cloak (INT, STAM, SPL DMG) over a tanking cloak.
We inspected each other and found we had similar gear, though he had gotten the Commendation of Kael'thalas from Heroic Magister's Terraces. /jealous
He ran a bit more threat heavy than I do with about 600 unbuffed spell damage.
I found it most curious looking at his talents, that he had taken Divine Intellect (increases your Intellect by 5%).
There are only two situations a Protection Paladin will find himself* him, either you are taking enough damage to replenish your mana through Spiritual Attunement or you are not. In the first case, the amount of mana you start the fight with is inmaterial outside of your initial threat burst. Once you start actually tanking and taking damage, your mana bar is constantly refilled. The only positive to a deeper mana pool is that it allows you to go through a longer 'lucky streak' where you are dodging or parrying a bunch of attacks in a row and temporarily not taking enough damage to refuel your mana.
Which brings us to the second case where the Prot Paladin finds himself, that of not taking enough damage to keep your mana replenished. The only question in this case, is will you have enough mana to finish the fight before you run empty. The amount of time the fight can last is dependant upon the size of your mana pool, and more intellect makes that pool larger, but ultimately, you are in a situation where you are going to run dry.
Mana potions or Dark/Demonic Runes can help, but at that point you are only buying time.
So for these reasons, I feel that Divine Intellect is not the best use of Talent Points, especially when I saw he had given up points in One Handed Specialization. One Handed Specialization increases the damage of everything you do by up to 5% when you have a One Handed weapon equipped, which as a Prot Paladin is just slightly less than all that time. When I read One Handed Specialization, what my brain sees is "Increase your threat generated by 5%".
But tonight was not a night to argue the finer points of Protection Paladin theorycraft. I needed to show I could walk the walk before I could talk the talk.
I had done Rage Winterchill with Mal Katai, so I knew something of what to expect. What I found most amusing was Vlad (GM of Dominion) explaining that sometimes Taypion accidently pull threat on the boss.
We managed the trash waves well. One trick I learned was to use Holy Wrath as the Ghouls approached to get some quick initial aggro. I pulled an Abomination off Taypion during the 6 & 6 wave (6 Abom and 6 Ghouls). Necros were decimated by the Warriors, Shamans, and Rogues.
When Winterchill showed up, I popped on some healing gear and watched as Taypion yanked
Rage Winterchill right off of Vlad. I began to suspect that this was no 'accident', and kind of chuckled to myself.
That was the end of Rage and the beginning of whole new experience.
You fight Anetheron in the same Alliance camp where you fight Rage. The trash is similar except for the addition of Banshees. They have the same Anti-Magic shell ability they had in Warcraft 3. The casters would go for the Necros, the melee Dps would attack the Banshees and Taypion and I gathered up any Ghouls. The trash was a little harder but you could tell these guys were pretty familiar with it. Antheron is a Dreadlord, one or the Hero Units from Warcraft 3 and all of his abilities are straight from the game: Carrion Swarm, which reduces the healing you do by 75%, Sleep, which puts a target to sleep, and Vampiric Touch which heals him for a percentage of the damage he does. He also had Summon Infernal, which as you might guess, summons an Infernal to rain on your parade.
Taypion's job was to grab Infernals and bring them back Vlad, who was dressed in full Fire Resist gear. A Warrior named Kee would be tanking Antheron himself. A couple of Warlocks would kill the Infernal. When that proved to not be enough DPS, she added a couple of Hunters to Infernal duty as well. I stayed in tank gear to watch Taypion and try to learn how to pull this off. Next week, there would be no Taypion, only Honorshammer.
At one point during the fight, Anetheron puts Taypion to Sleep just as an Infernal lands. I scan the battlefield and pivot my camera around until I can see the Inferal. I smack him down with an Exorcism and begin to walk to Vlad. I start taking hits from the Infernal and his Aura. He pulses out a Fire damage aura every second or so. The aura hits for a ton, and I began to drop like a rock.
Vlad taunted him off just in time and lived with just about 2000 hit points. One more hit, I'd have been a goner. It's been a long time since I felt so vulnerable tanking anything.
With Anetheron and Rage dead, we mounted up and rode to the Horde Camp. The units were again straight out of the Warcraft 3: Troll Headhunters, Orc Grunts, Tauren Warriors with Cabers. Mount Hyjal is really like playing Warcraft 3, except you only control the Hero Unit, you.
Kaz is another Dreadlord, looking like Anetheron's long lost cousin or something. Kaz is a DPS race and one that is very punishing to Protection Paladins who are not Main Tanking.
The trick to Kaz is that he casts a little thing called Mark of Kaz'Rogal. What this Mark does is drain 3000 mana. If you don't have 3000 mana to drain you blow up, and cause Shadow Damage to all around you. He starts off casting the Mark slowly, but by the end of the fight, he's spamming it constantly.
I switched into Healing gear with about 10k mana. I would run in, Judge Wisdom and run out. Eventually, I got to the point where I couldn't maintain my mana anymore and I ran away to make sure I wasn't close to anyone, and blew up. Next week, I'm going to try not only Judging Wisdom, but Sealing up Wisdom as well and see how long I can stick around. Taypion just stayed away from the fight, but I'm going to see if I can help out a bit without risking blowing up the melee. Wish me luck.
When I did finally blow up, I had expected a single BOOM kind of even like Baron Geddon or even Solarion. Instead, it was a much slower affair. The Mark drains your mana slowly like a DoT and it isn't until the tick that puts you below zero that you actually blow up. Like Solarian, it seems you do more damage to those around you, than you do to yourself.
Kaz didn't drop his tanking shield, which I was hoping he would. I know I wouldn't have had the DKP to win it, but the more people in the guild who have it, the less competition for it the next time it drops.
After the raid, I discovered all my alts had been removed from Mal Katai. Dora had said that I could leave them in if I wanted, but one of the officers decided to remove them anyway. While this officer's action saddens me, I can certainly understand how he felt.