Friday, October 31, 2008

It's A Bonus

We still had some time left, so we decided to head over to Sunwell. My goal had always been Illidan so anything in Sunwell would be pure gravy at this point. Dominion had been in Sunwell Monday night while I was offline.

Sunwell Plateau is very similar to Magister’s Terrace. The art team really outdid itself and the place is just beautiful. There is a ton of trash to wade through to get to the first boss, Kalecgos.

During the trash I was usually tanking a Vindicator. This is a melee mob who hits decently hard and it was pretty easy to tank. As we explored Sunwell, people in the raid started asking about the various things going on, like who Avenna was, and I was happy to explain. Someone suggested that I need to get my LoreMaster title. I’m not entirely sure it was meant as a compliment.

Next thing you know, I’m staring down a big ole dragon. They had already made attempts on Kalecgos with Vlad/Kee/Cuch tanking so I tried to stay out of the way and be a backup.

The Kalecgos fights starts out with everyone fighting the dragon, but soon you learn there is more to this fight than meets the eye. See Kalecgos is really a good guy (kind of like Akama) but he’s being possessed by a Demon named Sathrovarr the Corrupter. After a couple of seconds someone in the raid gets teleported to Sathrovarr’s realm. Then a couple of portals spawn and designated people have to use the portals and go help fight Sathrovarr. Sathrovarr is fighting the human form of Kalecgos. He can fight Sathrovarr for a little bit but you really need one of your tanks on the Demon. If Kalecgos goes down to Sathrovarr, the encounter ends. /que Price Is Right 'you lose' music.

It’s a bit tricky coorindating the raid so you always have enough people, and the right people (tanks, healers, dps) ‘upstairs’ with the Dragon and ‘downstairs’ with the Demon.

After you hang out in Sathrovarr’s pad for a minute you get yanked back topside with a debuff that prevents you from going back to the party downstairs for one minute.

The fight has an Opera (Romeo and Juliet) feel to it because you have to kill both the demon and the dragon at about the same time.

It ended up that I was needed in my back up role. During each attempt at Kalecgos, I was asked to taunt off either another tank or the Human form of Kalecgos. We wiped 3 or 4 times, but we eventually got him.

I passed on the Tier 6 Bracers, and they went to Chief. Yeah!

So then we clear to Brutallus. By this point it’s getting late, so we don’t have much time. This was the first time we had ever been to Brutallus. We watched the cut scene between Brutallus and the Blue Dragon, Madrigosa. Very, very cool.

The raid leader set up tanks. Kee, our Main Tank and herself were the two tanks for Brutallus. She never really addressed me. I was waiting for the 'offheal' command, but it never came so I hung out with the melee dpsers.

Generally, when Dominion reaches any fight the tanking positions are assigned with Kee as the first tank, Vlad as the second tank and myself as a third tank, if needed.

The fight was over quickly as Kee was burst down and we wiped.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Finally Clicked

(Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies and their fans on winning the World Series. I used to follow the Phillies when I was a kid, but I haven't follwed them closely in years and years. I don’t really follow baseball anymore. The NFL is my passion these days. GO PANTHERS!!!)

We had a bit of unfinished business with Illidan in Black Temple.

I always knew I would be a Flame tank for Illidan. Very few guilds would allow a Protection Paladin to Main Tank Illidan as we had very few tools for dealing with his Enrage in Phase 5.


Some guilds mistakenly believed that his Shear attack was only preventable with the Warrior’s Shield Block skill, but with sufficient gear, a Paladin could be equally immune to Shear with Holy Shield.

So I worked diligently to prepare myself. I read strat after strat and watched at least a dozen different YouTube videos of Druids, Paladins, and Warriors tanking Flames of Azzinoth.


I farmed up over 100 Badges to buy the entire Fire Resist Badge gear, and did long quest chains for the Cloak and Neck. I scanned the auction house constantly until I found the Ring that would complete my set.


I even did PVP on my Paladin to get some fo the Resilience gear that allowed me to be uncrittable and have full Fire Resist.

With the Belt I got off of Bloodboil, I was actually fully uncritable in my Fire Resist gear once again.

But for all the preparation I did, I was still, as Illidan would say, NOT PREPARED. What I needed now was to actually go out and do Flame tanking, and get some ‘on the job’ training.

Finally, last night, after about our 3rd attempt, it clicked. The preparation and the mistakes I had made finally came together. I ‘got’ it. I understand how to do this now. I don’t think I’ll have another problem successfully tanking a Flame and I would expect a one shot next time we pull the big guy.

Once we got past Phase 2, it was ‘in the bag’.

It was after Illidan was down that the big bad Loot Drama Llama entered our raid, and somehow your humble author found himself square in the midst of it once again.

So here’s what happened from my perspective.


Illidan dropped one Conqueror token (Paladin, Priest, Warlock). I knew I was down on DKP, so I whispered my Paladin class officer. His name is Chief. I told him, ‘you best be taking that chest’.


What I was trying to tell him was ‘Please don’t pass on this for me’. He had just passed on the Tier 6 Legs the night before.

Someone, maybe the Raid Leader, I honestly don’t remember, questioned me as to why I had not rolled. (Under our loot system you simply /roll to show you are interested in a piece of loot. This puts a nice list on the screen for the Master Looter to check the various DKP of the people wanting loot). I explained that I didn’t roll because I knew I didn’t have the DKP to win the piece.

The next thing that happened was the Raid Leader and officers left our vent channel and went to an officer channel.

After a couple of minutes, without warning or explanation, I was awarded the Chest. I messaged Chief and asked him what happened. He explained to me that since his Paladin was an alt, he couldn’t roll over a main.

Chief is one of the most selfless guys I’ve met in game. He has two level 70s: a Paladin who is generally Holy, and a Shadow Priest. He will bring whichever one the Raid needs at the time.

You have a couple of different factors working together to make this a complicated situation.

First of all, our loot system is so inflated that you can win piece after piece and it never really affect your place or rank for getting the next piece. So in theory, Chief could land a Tier token on his Paladin, and come the next night and still be in first place to land the token on his Priest. Another interesting twist on this is that in Tier 6, Paladins, Priest and Warlocks share the token so Chief is rolling against the exact same group of people on his Priest and Paladin.

But I don’t believe for a second that Chief is the kind of person to abuse that.

I also think the situation may have been influenced somewhat by the events of last Thursday.

Basically, what happened was Unbreakable Will dropped. I lost it to Chief on straight DKP, and I didn't feel that the loot was handled properly, but it had nothing to do with the fact that Chief has a second 70.

The difference (in my mind) was that Unbreakable Will is a Tank item. Chief, on his Paladin, is Holy about 90% of the time so I think of him as a Holy Paladin. I don’t think a Holy Paladin should be given Tank loot over a Protection Paladin.

Of course, Chief does spec his Paladin Prot from time to time. In fact, I get the impression he’d rather his Paladin be Protection, but the raid usually needs Healers and not Tanks.

So for being a really flexible guy, and filling whatever need the raid needs, Chief gets kind of put in a rough spot.

Afterwards, someone asked me why I didn’t pass the Chest to Chief. The answer is I didn’t know I was getting it until it was in my Inventory. I didn’t even know it was down to me and Chief. I figured I was too far down on DKP to have any shot at winning the Token.

Up until the very second it appeared in my bag (without any further explanation), I fully expected the loot to go to Chief.

Later, the Raid Leader announced that Chief would be able to roll on anything with either his Priest or his Paladin.

We have two more resets before the Expansion. I had originally planned to start cutting back a bit on raiding and kind of ease into the Expansion, but now I really feel like I should keep on raiding and see if I can't get Chief another shot at Illidan.


Wayback Machine (BRK)

Over on BRK, he posted a screen shot from Hallows Eve 2006, and asked the innocent question: "Do you have screenshots from 2006 or earlier?"


I'm glad you asked:


June 2006. I was young Paladin of level 43 traveling through the lovely zone of Feralas. I came across one of my heroes from Warcrft 3: The Frozen Throne. Rexxar, Champion of the Horde.


I was Retribution at the time using an odd build that was Retribution with a Sword and Board. It relied on using Vengenace and white damage to kill your foe while you kept yourself going with Seal of Light and Judgement of Wisdom.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

8 Is Enough

Dominion cranked up the Raid Machine last night and headed over to Black Temple.

Before the Raid, I headed over to Burning Steepes in hopes of finding an Invasion Point and farming up some additional Necrotic Runes. I really want to get a Tabard of the Argent Dawn.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I rode up to the point and saw it was completely empty. No one was around. I spent a good half hour rounding up packs of undead and taking them down.

With Blessing of Sanctuary and Judgement of Light, I finished each fight with over 80% health and mana. Soloing as a Protection Paladin is a blast. I left for the raid with nearly 50 Runes. The Mail Undead Slayer Leggings dropped by I ended up vendoring them.

Nerf Temple was as simple as ever, but for the first time since THE Patch, I noticed a couple of DPS really riding the threat of all the tanks, particularly Mages and Rogues.

Hand of Salvation came in very handy. We used it on one of the mages during Mother and he was pretty much set for the rest of the fight.

I finally got my shot at Main Tanking on Teron Gorefiend. Our healers were great and I never even got to half life.

He’s pretty simple to tank, and it gave me some quality time to work my rotations. Instead of trying to Seal Twist, I used those Global Cooldowns for Exorcism and Holy Wrath.

The night was quite profitable from a ‘loot’ standpoint. Plate was dropping left and right (everywhere but Najentus).

We got both tanking belts to drop off Bloodboil: Mighty Resolve (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=32342) and Stability (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=32333).

Prepatch, Mighty Resolve would have been mine almost by default (it has Spell Damage), but with shared itemization (and the Spell Damage changed to Strength), Warriors would be interested as well.

I sit 3rd on DKP among our plate tanks (and 4th behind our Druid for Necks, Rings, etc). Vlad, who is the DKP leader, was kind enough to pass leaving the belts to myself and Kee.

I decided on Mighty Resolve. Basically the trade off between the two is 2 Strength, 7 Defense, and 25 Block Rating for 18 Dodge.

Normally, I would say that 18 Dodge is better than 25 Block Rating, however, we don’t decisions in a vacuum. My Dodge is already over 32%, and with Diminishing Returns I don’t think 18 more dodge would have added that much.

I believe there is still solid value in a tank being ‘unhittable’, which we used to call ‘uncrushable’. Because of the mechanics of Holy Shield, Paladins can maintain 100% unhittable. Warriors could do it in a “Passive Uncrushable” set, but I believe that set requires they make sacrifices elsewhere. Being ‘unhittable’ means every hit that gets through your Avoidance is going to be a Block. Blocking every hit provides a constant, steady stream of damage that is easy to heal.

The belt is also very nice aesthetically and matches well with the rest of my tier gear.

We continued to clear Nerfed Temple all the way up to Council in one night.

I was again healing our Druid on Council, and had one real close call on healing him.

I had run in to stun the Rogue, and found myself in a Blizzard. I ran out of it, but Cuch was really low. Protection healing lacks any of the emergency buttons that Holy enjoys, so all I could do was wind up a big heal.

I think he got healed from one of the other Paladins. I don’t know who it was, but I appreciate it!
Then after the next vanish, I saw the Rogue running loose. I’m not sure what happened to Cuch but he hadn’t picked him up. He was headed right for our Main Tank healer. I didn’t want to risk taunting because if Cuch did and we overwrote each other, I’d have the Rogue on me and Cuch would have his taunt on cooldown. That would be a Bad Thing.

So, I threw my shield at the Rogue.

“ATTACKING YOU” scrolled by in my floating combat text. Alright, I got him. Wait, I’m in healing gear, crap, I’ve got him. I told Cuch to taunt him over vent. He did and we didn’t have another problem. Council was down.

We got two Conqueror tokens. I was about 4th on DKP of people who still needed their Legs. My Paladin Class Officer asked me over vent if this would complete my 4 piece set bonus. I told him it would, and then it dawned on me why he asked, so I quickly added that he shouldn’t let that effect his decision on bidding on it.

He passed anyway. So did the Priest who was ahead of me.

Embarrassed isn’t quite the right word, maybe a little guilty. I felt sort of like I had been given a gift I didn’t deserve.

I had previously had no interest in the Tier 6 Legs because there were strictly inferior to the 100 Badge Inscriped Legplates of the Aldor. However, after everything was reitemized in the Patch, the Tier 6 legs became much better.

Then we came to Illidan. It was late so we only got two attempts in. In both attempts, I got burst down by my Flame. He didn’t enrage, so I’m at something of a loss to explain how I went down.

According to my healers, it looked like a burst. I was nearly full and before they could even react, I was dead. I checked my log and I didn’t get Crit.

Between defense and resilience I was at 5.64% chance to not be crit, over the necessary 5.6%.

The last 3 hits on me were a Flame Breath, a Fireball from Illidan, and a melee from the Flame. Those three added up to almost 10k in 1 second. Looking back at the logs, it looks like I was standing in 2 different Flame patches. I took almost 20k damage in the space of about 2 seconds. My healers are good, but even those guys can't heal up that much, that quickly.

We called the raid at that point. I went and picked up my Tier 6 Legs and then high tailed to Eastern Plaguelands and bought the Tabard of the Argent Dawn.

It was a very good night. I apologize the lack of the screenshots of the new gear, but I hadn't had a chance to gem or enchant it yet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let Me Sum Up

"Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
Man, it is nice to be back. My synapses are firing and I can actually make a coherent thought. The medicine the doctors had me on was great but it made it a little hard to think straight.
If you are at all concerned over the recent Paladin nerfs, I strongly recommend you check out Josh's blog, http://e4ae.blogspot.com/2008/10/chicken-little-sky-is-not-falling.html
We really don't know how the Seal Nerfs will affect Protection threat. We know on Beta we are still doing 'enough' threat so as to not cap the DPS. I'm going to put my confidence in Blizzard that if Protection Paladins start having issues with maintaining threat, they will address it. One idea would be increasing One Handed Weapons Specialization or increasing the percentage on Shield of the Templar (the talent that increases the damage of our 'Shield' spells, i.e. Shield of Righteousness, Avenger's Shield and Holy Shield)
Let me catch you up on what's been going with Honorshammer.

Thursday we went to Mount Hyjal, and killed 4 bosses, and I got royally hosed. Some loot that really should have been awarded to me was not, and I had to decide what to do about it.

At first, I was going to do a big write up in the blog over what happened. Then I decided that wasn't the best way to handle it.

I thought I would put up a big post on the guild forums detailing how I'd been wronged. No, that didn't seem right either.

A couple of really mean and immature ideas came into my mind. There is no sin in being tempted to do wrong, but only in giving in to that temptation. Thankfully, I didn't give in.

In the end, I waited until the next day and grabbed my Paladin class officer, and told him in whispers that I thought the loot should have gone to me and didn't. He offered to put in a GM ticket to correct it, which I thought was pure class, but I told him not to. The only thing I asked him to do was to try to make sure it didn't happen again.

I didn't cause 'loot drama' or disrupt the guild in any way. In the end I thought I handled the situation pretty well.

Friday, I ran Zul'Aman with Mal Katai. I wasn't used to running with them and I had some mark confusion. We only got a couple of chests, but I did kill Hex Lord for the first time. I had to put the Warrior tank on Hex Lord because we were low on interrupts. I offtanked a couple of mobs and helped fear one to keep him cc'ed.

We made a couple of attempts at Zul'jin but we didn't get him.

They want me to come back and run with their 'A' team, and finish the whole place which is something I would love to do.

Saturday, I did Arena with my Shadowstep Rogue partner. I could already tell my damage was a little less this week than last but I was still able to burst some people down. We only lost to one team that wasn't a Ret/something or Ret/Ret. That team was a Warrior/Druid that simply out played us.

We hit 1550, and I hemmed and hawed over whether I should 'blow' my points on my Season 4 Pants. After some deliberation and talking it over with Jagelf and Wichita, I decided to take the plunge and buy the pants.

Sunday, I ran around Azeroth collecting Necrotic Runes, but I only managed to get 7. I still need 11 more if I want to buy the Tabbard of the Argent Dawn. I had lousy luck rolling on the Runes. I grouped with Dominion for a some of it and with Heroes for the rest. I really want that Tabbard.

Then I ran with some of the Heroes guys and killed the new boss in Karazhan. I was still Ret spec. The trick to the new boss is that he shares damage between himself and one lucky raid member. I guess he likes Dwarves because he shared with me first. I spent much of the fight inspecting the floor. I got my Bat minipet, but I lost the roll on the Ripper. This is a Two Handed, 114 DPS axe that has an on use of turning you into a Undead and playing it like a guitar.

Lastly, I found out BOTH of my former guild leaders (Dora of Mal Katai and Sameth of Heroes Inc) are both pregnant! Congratz to Brindall and Ferth!

Your Skill in Parenting as been raised to 2.
You are now Neutral with the Baby faction.

Gratz guys! I am really happy and excited for you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Peek Behind the Curtain

Brain, brain, it's Honors. I need you.

Sleep... rest... hush, you go away now.

No, I need you.

Meds, we need meds, and pillows

There is all this amazing stuff going on right now. Zombies, Invasions, Seal Nerfs. I need my keen ability to analyze, and commentate.

Commentate? Where did you even come up with that?

See Brain, this is why I need you.

You know, Honors, people are going to see right through this whole spiel?

Probably, but without you, it's about all I got.

I'm going back to bed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Illidan

Only Council and Illidan remained alive in Black Temple. Dominion was out to change that.

At first, it seemed like the universe itself was conspiring against me. First, it was Wednesday night. Wednesday is my usual night off, but I was able to get clearance to log on. Okay, first hurdle avoided.

The next was I was (and still am) sick. I hate to admit I was sick, but the 100.2 on the thermometer is sort of hard to argue against. I apologize in advance if this isn't too coherent. I'm still running a fever and I have taken my body weight in pharmaceuticals.

Undaunted I logged in. I knew we would get a shot at Illidan, and I didn't want to miss it.

We started out with Council. I was once again offhealing our Druid tank. I really wanted to see if I could hold the Rogue since I do so much more physical threat now, but this might have been our last foray into Black Temple. I simply decided it wasn't worth the time or effort to try to argue with my Raid Leader over it. Maybe next time.

Council was not the easy one shot everything else had been up to that point. From my limited vantage point way on the other side of the room with the Druid, I really couldn't see what was going on.

We had only killed Council once, and that had been at least a month ago. We also had a couple of people who had never even seen Council. I think it took two or three tries but we got it down.

We moved on up and began to prepare for Illidan. The firs problem we had was that Blizzard has done something with adding diminishing returns on Defense. What this meant was that my previous Max Fire Resist, Uncrittable gear set wasn't so uncrittable anymore.I made sure I was at maximum fire resistance, and then got as close to uncrittable as I could. What I found was pouring on more and more Defense rating barely moved my chance to not be Crit. So I turned to Resilience. In the end, I was only about 0.20% Crittable.

This situation really makes Druids very good fits for Resist fights because they can be uncrittable just via talents. Lucky for me, the Fire Resist Druid was not on. Also, the other Fire Tank (a Warrior) was having just as much trouble getting uncrittable. She decided to go the route of not worrying about the uncrittable and stacking Threat and Health.

Our very first attempt, we got both Flames down, and saw our first Phase 3 and Phase 4. We didn't spread out enough and eventually the fireballs got our healers and we wiped.

It took a couple more attempts before we got back to Phase 3. Unfortunately, most of our Phase 2 wipes were caused by me. Pretty much I made every mistake a Flame tank can make.

I got my Flame too far away from his twin.
I missed an Eye Beam.
I pulled my Flame too far away from his blade.
I turned my Flame to face the raid and got them Fire Breath'ed.

To their credit, my raid stayed with me, and continued to encourage me. I know I wasn't 100%, but I made sure no one else knew. I was staying in this raid. I felt like I was letting my team down.

We made it through Phase 2 and got into Phase 3. Then we missed a Phase 4 back to Phase 3 transition and lost our Main Tank, Kee. I was a little bit at a loss for what to do once we got out of Phase 2. I tried to stay far away from anyone, and throw what heals my meager Mana pool would support. I probably should have tried to 'DPS', but I didn't feel confident knowing exactly what melee had to do, so I hung back.

We pulled again, and got into Phase 4 again. Just as Phase 4 ended, we lost our Warlock tank. One of the other Warlocks (not in Shadow Resist gear), moved into position to try to tank the Demon. Then someone (maybe Fly?) realized we were close to 35%. DPS pushed hard and we were able to get to 30% before another Demon Phase. Suddenly we were all trapped in Shadow Prisons and a little more dialog between Illidan and Akama happened.We pushed hard once Illidan came up. We had survived with enough people to keep Kee up and continued to bang away at Illidan.

Then, finally, Illidan was defeated.I think the primary emotion I felt was relief, and a sense of closure. I think everything was muted by the fact I was sick.

Standing over Illidan's inert body, I thought to myself 'Well Illidan, I guess I WAS prepared!'

I logged off without saying much and went to bed. When I got up this morning there was a very nice message on my phone from my raid leader, thanking me for the job I did.

I did it. I killed Illidan before the Expansion.

My New UI

When Patch 3.0 hit, most of my mods stopped working, and really no one could do much for a couple of days. I decided now was the time to tame my UI.

I have wanted to clean up my UI for a long time, but I knew it would take a period of adjustment and I didn't want to hurt my Raid performance any by adjusting to a new UI.

BEFORE
This was what my old UI looked like:
AFTER
And this is my new one:

Now let me explain how I got from BEFORE to AFTER.

It started with a post from Anna of TooManyAnnas where she had posted her UI. It was beautiful. Then Josh over at EyeForAnEye posted a UI as well. It looked great, too.

Both posted a laundry list of mods they used to make their UI.

That was great. I went and downloaded the Mods, installed them and brought up WoW. You ever bought something and you get it home and you look at what you've got and then you look back at the picture and you think 'this doesn't exactly look like that'.

That was my first impression. I had all the pieces, but it didn't look much like the beautful UI I had seen in those pictures.

I hate to admit I don't remember where but somewhere in my travels I had come across a person talking about Spartan UI. I went to the homepage to check it out. As I started to read about it, one phrase captured my attention: Zero-setup. Now you are talking my language.

So I downloaded the pacakge and installed it.

And it didn't work. Well most everything was there, but my mouse wasn't able to control the camera. So it was back to my old UI.

I put a post on the MainTankadin boards and another Spartan user let me know they had just released a new version. I redownloaded the Spartan UI and installed it. I was able to drag spells from my spell book right to the action bars. After just a couple of minutes I was up and running.

Of course, I quickly found I still needed a couple of things like Omen, DBM, Auctioneer, Baggins, and Scrolling Combat Text.

I'm still tweaking it. The chat frame can get lost behind the Character frame and the buff/debuffs are very small. It made it hard to see how many 'stacks' I had on Bloodboil. Also it only shows one line which makes clicking off things like Divine Intervention a little tricky. I may got back to Elkano's Buff Bars and place them in the upper left hand corner of my screen.
But overall, I really like my new UI.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Honors Greatest Threat

So I was going through my normal morning routine and checking on a couple of WoW Blogs during my morning break. One of the Blogs I read is called Shadow and Light.

This morning he had a Blog post detailing an announcement by Bioware and Lucasarts that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic aka KotOR Online was officially in the works. He links to a website for the game. No release date has been given yet.

You have to understand that I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I can quote entire scenes from the movies which I’ve watched countless times. (By the way, Classic >>>> Prequels).

I’m dating myself a bit, but my parents had no clue how much they were about to warp their little 5 year old when they took me to the opening of Star Wars in May of 1977.

Before I was introduced to Blizzard games like Starcraft and Warcraft III, nearly every computer game I played was made by Lucas Arts.

My first major computer game was X-Wing Versus Tie Fighter back in 1995.

From there I got into the Jedi Knight series. I even bought Rebellion which was a fairly poor Real Time Strategy Game.

By all rights, I should have been a Star Wars: Galaxies player, but I didn’t buy the game. At release, only a select few could be a Jedi, maybe 1 or 2 per server.

I know me, and I know my luck, it wouldn’t have been me. If I wanted to be a Jedi, I felt like that should have been my choice. Plus, I knew I didn’t have the money for an MMO.

Around the same time, my buddy, Aoesrus (not his real name), got a job as a GM for Blizzard.

With his new found employment came 2 free accounts, one of which, he graciously gave to me.

With the money problem solved, Honorshammer was born.

(Alas, Aoes is no longer employed as a GM, so don’t ask him for ‘favors’).

Eventually, Star Wars: Galaxies would let everyone be Jedi, but by that point I was hooked on my Paladin. I knew I didn’t have the time or money to maintain two MMORPGs at once.

Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel were fantastic games. The kind of game you find yourself playing at 4am because you are so engrossed in it.

The only other games in that category (for me) are Sid Meier’s Civilization series and World of Warcraft.

If there is any game that could pull me away from Warcraft, it would be Knights of the Old Republic.

The game is set during an ancient war between the Jedi and the Sith. There were literally armies of Jedi and Sith battling for control of the galaxy.

There were 'melee' Jedi who concentrated on their mastery of martial combat with the Lightsaber. There were ‘caster’ Jedi who concentrated on their mastery of Force powers. There were 'healer' Jedi who concentrated on using the Force to heal, and of course, the Dark Jedi, who used the Force to harm. It makes perfect sense for the game to be filled with Jedi.

The game is likely a year or two away. It will probably be getting revved up just as Wrath is winding down.

This one is definitely ‘on the radar’.

7 Come 11, and She Could Be Mine

I'd bet it all on a good run of bad luck
Seven come eleven and she could be mine
Luck be a lady, and I'm gonna find love
Comin' on the bottom line

I don’t know how she did it, but my Raid Leader, Vlad, has managed to get Dominion raiding again.

We really want to see Illidan dead before the Expansion. I know it probably doesn’t always come across in the blog, but I do have a ton of respect for the work Vlad does for the guild.

I think our success on Thursday may have helped. People can see that Black Temple is severely nerfed. Raiding is much more relaxed, and everyone was having a good time.

I was given the Main Tank job on Najentus. I made sure to time my Bubble Wall up for when we broke the shield. He was dead before he could bubble a second time.

We went to Supremus. For some reason, he just ignored me at first and killed one of our DPS Warriors with Hurtful Strike. I know I was in melee, but he didn’t seem to pick me for a target.

Our raid has returned to a strong Paladin healing corps. I think we had 4 Paladins, 2 Priests, 1 Druid and 1 Shaman.

We are back to only having one Shaman in the raid, and he spent a good chunk of the night giving a very negative opinion of the changes to Resto Shamans in 3.0.2.

Supremus continues to deny Vlad a Brutalizer, and Najentus still can’t find the Tide Stompers.

We did Reliquary next. I suggested to Vlad that she and I build threat on Phase 2. My thinking was that if the Rogues missed a kicked, RoS would come to a tank and not a squishy. That worked like a charm. The Rogues did miss a kick or two, but RoS went from tank to tank. We got to Phase 3 and just destroyed her. I was really hurting for mana to the point I took a Dark Rune.

RoS dropped the tanking neck Pendant of the Titans. I thought Vlad and Kee already had it, but only Kee did. Both of them lead me in DKP. I was a little disappointed (since I thought I had a shot at it), but I got over it quickly and moved on to the next boss.

I don’t know how many more shots I’ll have at BT, but there will be new Tanking necks up in Northrend.

We did Bloodboil, and it was a little messy. I had gotten low when he switched from Kee (Warrior) to me, so I used my Bubble Wall. Unfortunately, this would mean I had a 3 minute Forbearance and couldn’t use Divine Shield to clean my Debuffs. Luckily, I got a “disorient”, and Bloodboil went back to Kee. I ran out of melee range for a couple of seconds, and I was debuff free after the next Fel Rage.

Akama was very easy. We only had 4 Defenders on our Druid Tank.

We then went and smacked around Teron. He only got 4 Marks of Death off before we killed him.

I was hoping to maybe get a new Ret weapon out of the night, but neither Teron, nor RoS was accommodating.

By this point, we were not bothering with CC anymore. Mages were pulling and tanks were taunting and each trash pack became and AoEfest ala Mount Hyjal.

We were a little hesitant to do Mother Sharaz because no one had brought much Shadow gear, but we decided to try it anyway.

****NEWS****

You don’t need Shadow Resist gear anymore for Mother if you have good DPS

***NEWS***

But I want to share something else that happened on Mother with you. I hope this does not come off as disparaging to my co-Tanks in any way because I want you, dear read, to know, I run with some really good Warrior and Druid tanks.

My role on Mother Sharaz is to be a soak tank with Vlad while Kee Main Tanks.

Mother does a long silence in a cone to everyone in front of her. This locks out my threat tools and Holy Shield so I’ve never even asked to tank her.

Basically, I was just DPSing away with Seal of Vengeance because the DoT keeps ticking while I’m silenced, and I was able to weave in Hammer of the Righteous because we can use that while silenced.

I dropped Consecrate between silences and Judged when I could.

I don’t pay much attention to Omen on fights like this. There is no way I was going to be up on there anyway.

Then with Mother at about 25%, I pulled aggro off Kee.

Let that sink in for a second.

I was silenced again and again, locking out every threat move but Hammer of the Righteous. I haven’t even gotten the new threat move, Shield of Righteousness, which I’ll have at Level 80, and I was getting zero Holy Shield threat because Mother was wailing on Kee.

And I pulled aggro.

Apparently, there is a bug right now with Judgement of the Light. The judging Paladin gets credit for all the healing threat done by Judgment of Light. With 25 banging away on the Boss, that’s a ton of healing threat.

I offered to stop attacking, but Vlad said to just go ahead and tank it and we did.

Apparently Mother was so impressed with my efforts; she dropped a Tome of the Lightbringer. I was really excited and asked to roll on it. One of the Holy, and sometimes Prot Paladins thought about rolling too but didn’t. I was relieved. He out DKPed me so if he had wanted it, there was little I could have done about it.

It was a really relaxed and fun run. If the servers will stay up and we can get some people online, I feel like we’ve got a shot at finishing Black Temple this week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Race For The Cure

Allow me for a moment to take off the mask. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

In the Cancer world, I'm what's called a Co-Survivor. That is the family, friends, health care providers or colleagues of those who have survived Breast Cancer.

In my case it was my Aunt who survived Breast Cancer. I would encourage you to participate in the many fund raising efforts going on this month to help find a cure for Breast Cancer and to fund Mammograms for those who can not afford it.

You can donate money to the Susan G Koman For the Cure, a grassroots organization of survivors working towards a world without Breast Cancer. You can find their site here: http://cms.komen.org/komen/Donations/index.htm

Thank you.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Tankadin programming.

Tank Gear In 3.0 or Whatever Do I Wear?

When Patch 3.0 hit all my gear was changed. I wasn't sure what to wear anymore.

Since I wanted to use the best gear for the job I went about making a spreadsheet to compare the items as they were reitemized.

Here is the full spreadsheet, formulas included. http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pxRKUgjn9TRr-KY-8OzuQRQ. I could have used WoWhead Item Weight formula, but the one they had for Protection Paladins was not properly weighted. If you'd like to download the spreadsheet, change formulas or add items, you can get it here: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pxRKUgjn9TRr-KY-8OzuQRQ&output=xls

This assumes you are not hit capped and will have Touched By the Light, and the new Redoubt.

Where a piece had slots, I used Epic gems from Badges. You will see in parentheses next to each item what gem was used (sta = stamina).

The ranking was based on a series of formulas that looks at how the item budget contributes to Mitigation (Armor, Defense, Block Rating, Parry, Dodge, Block Value, Expertise, Str), and Threat (Stamina, Str, Hit, Spl Power, Block Value).

Then I take both the Mitigation Score and the Threat score and combine them to the overall score which is called "Add Threat".

They are grouped by Slot. Each slot is color coded so you can see the color coded blocks. Within the blocks, the highest scoring item is at the top and the lowest scoring item at the bottom.

The list has about 100 items, but it's far from a comprehensive and has a strong bias towards "Things Honorshammer had in his bags".

I am sharing the spreadsheet here. I'd love to get as much feedback as possible.

Most disturbing is that it looks like some current items are superior to Tempered Saronite, which is a 'blue' Blacksmith BoE crafted at Level 75. But we may need to wear Tempered Saronite due to it's high defense values and sacrifice the superior itemization on our current items.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Retribution Paladins: Fair and Balanced

I apologize for the somewhat misleading title, but you gotta admit, it made you click the link.

So I tried my hand as a Retribution Paladin this weekend. I had heard all the complaints about how overpowered Retribution was at the moment, so I thought I would get some first hand experience for myself.

Let me give you a little bit of background so you can see the world through my eyes.

My Ret gear is pretty decent (S4 Gloves, S3 Helm, Legs, Chest, S2 Mace, S1 Shoulders with various other PVE pieces thrown in). I am not a very good PVPer. Pre-patch, I was hovering in the 1400 braket in a 2v2 with a Shadowstep Rogue. However, I have been playing as Ret on Beta so I was already familiar with the new tools Retribution has received.

After extensive playing time this weekend, I have come to the conclusion that I agree with Blizzard that Retribution needs adjusting.

I do not make video games for a living so I don’t have any good ideas on what to change to bring Ret back into line, but I can share with you my observations on the issues faced by the design team right now.

The Bubble
For 12 seconds, the Retribution Paladin can become un-CC-able, un-Snare-able, un-Slow-able, and pretty much un-Stop-able. Assuming the Retribution Paladin has successfully put up the Judgement of Justice debuff on his target, and has taken the talent Pursuit of Justice, it also means that his target can not out run him.

This used to be counter balanced by several factors, all of which have been removed.

First of all, in order to get the Judgment of Justice debuff on his target, the Paladin had to use one global cooldown to Seal Justice, then Judge. This put his Judgment spell on an 8 second cooldown. Then he used another global cooldown to reseal Command.

With the changes to the Seal and Judgment system, the Paladin can put Judgment of Justice on his target by simply judging. The seal is not consumed so he doesn’t miss out on any potential Seal of Command proc.

But the well played Paladin should have already debuffed his target long before the Bubble Burst would be used. What other counterbalances to the Bubble have been changed.

The chief counterbalance to the Bubble was that it slowed your swing timer by half. Most Retribution Paladins use a 3.5 to 3.8 second weapon. Slowing it down under the Bubble, would make a 7 to 7.6 second swing, meaning at most you’d get one swing under the Bubble and one shot at procing Seal of Command. Instant Strikes completely negate the swing slow penalty. But prior to the patch, Ret had only one instant strike and that was Crusader Strike on the 6 second cooldown.

The patch added a second instant strike in Divine Storm, and allowed this instant strike a chance to proc Seal of Command. Then a Glyph was added that greatly increased the chance for Seal of Command to proc.

In addition, the Bubble also debuffs the Paladin with Forebearance for 3 minutes, which prevents him from using his ‘other Bubble’ the melee only Hand of Protection. Until Patch 3.0, Forebearance also prevented the Paladin from using Avenging Wrath aka ‘popping his wings’. Avenging Wrath gives the Paladin a 20% damage increase.

As a Paladin, I detest being balanced around the Bubble. It has such a long cooldown (5 minutes) that we find ourselves without it, much more often than we find ourselves with it.

If you create a balance situation where the target of the Paladin has a much better chance surviving those 12 seconds under the Bubble, then it will likely be much harder for the Paladin to have success the majority of time when he does not have the Bubble.

But 12 seconds is an eternity in PVP, especially small group PVP like the 2v2 Arenas I did this weekend. 2v2 can easily turn on which team creates a 2v1 scenario.

Basically the Arena match came down which team had a Ret Paladin. We didn’t lose a single match to a team that didn’t have a Ret Paladin.

If both teams had a Ret, then it came down to which Ret Paladin had better gear to burst the other Ret down.

In Battlegrounds, it’s less noticeable because you can catch team up on the Paladin. Even if he kills one or two targets under the Bubble, you can still outnumber him.

Priests still have the ability to remove the Bubble, but I have noticed it happening less often now than it did pre-Patch.

Stunned Targets
Ret Paladins have an array of talents and Glyphs that increase damage against stunned targets. Taken individually, they don’t seem like a big deal, but put all together and it adds a great deal of burst.

How Did Blizzard Let This Go Live

Because of the nature of PTR and Beta servers, you don’t always have your friends or Arena teammates, so I don’t think people did as much with Arenas in the PTR and Beta. As a reminder, the effect is much less pronounced in Battlegrounds.

Blizzard Reponds
So what does Blizzard have in store to try to rein the situation in:

Hotfixed in and Live now:

Divine Storm moved from holy to physical damage - essentially damage is cut from anything between 50 and 30%, depending on your armor value.

Repentance now "blinds" you for 6 seconds instead of 10. Live now.

Coming in the next Patch 3.0.3 which is due before November 1st.Art of War used to increase critical strike damage by 20% for Divine Storm, Crusader Strike and Judgements - this will be changed to a flat 8% damage increase on crit and noncrit damage. Righteous Vengeance used to add 25% extra critical damage to Divine Storm and Judgement. It will be removed and turned into a 40% dot (ticking for 10% every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, similar to Deep Wounds). Glyph of Crusader Strike won't add damage on stunned targets anymore.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Easy, You Call That Easy

Last night Dominion put together a raid into Black Temple. I think the hardest part of the entire night was finding 25 people who actually wanted to raid.

I was Prot spec, and working on Netherwing Dailies when I got the invite. I used to hate these dailies and rarely did them as Prot. Now Prot soloing is so much nicer, I am doing them again.

Black Temple is now ridiculously easy. We downed 3 Bosses in 90 minutes, and the only reason we stopped was that we started too late, and it was getting onto midnight.

Paladin Blessings are easier to coordinate because we only have 4, but 2 of them are talented. I had to ask each Paladin if they had put talent points in Blessing of Kings. Actually, I should have let the Paladin class officer do that. He was on his Shadow Priest so I had kind of taken over. Nobody said anything to me, so hopefully I didn't upset anyone by overstepping my bounds a little. Eventually we got it all sorted out.

I had so much fun in there. It was great to check out all the new talents and abilities in a Raid environment. I got to use Divine Guardian, and Divine Protection.

I used Divine Guardian on Najentus just as we were about to pop the shield. The melee got hit from less than 6k from the Tidal Shield Burst (normally hits for 8500).

Then on Supremus' trash I had pulled one of the demons and gotten out of range of the healers. I got pretty low and popped Divine Protection. It was so cool to say over vent "popping Shield Wall". With Ardent Defender and Divine Protection going I was in good shape. Then one of the Priests hit me with something that he called 'Wings'. Apparently, it brings you back to half health if you would have died.

Shield Wall and Last Stand were often cited to me as reasons Warriors were better tanks. I was going to real sure everyone in my raid learned I had Shield Wall now.

I had zero threat problems the entire night. I was doing as much, if not a little more than the other tanks in the raid. One big change I had made to my normal mode of operation was I kept Seal of Vengeance up as my seal almost the entire time. With instant Avenger's Shield and CLANG! Hammer of the Righteous, I have plenty of tools for grabbing initial threat without needed Judgment of Righteousness.

I learned a couple of things about CLANG! Hammer of the Righteous. First of all, you can use it while silenced. That was nice.

Second, it WILL break the Sheeps. I'm not too crazy about that.

And lastly, it will put the Vengeance DoT on all three targets it hits. That was pretty cool.

By the way, I kind of dig the sound effect on CLANG! Hammer of the Righteous, though I had expected a more Cleave-like sound to it.

I really wish the Avenger's Shield Glyph didn't require Northrend herbs. I could really use it.

Speaking of Glyphs, the Glyphs on Altar of Storms are varying wildly in price. Glyph of Judgment cost me 30g while Glyph of Righteous Defense only cost me 6g. Meanwhile Glyph of the Penguin, a minor Glyph, was going for between 75g to 175g!

We've only got a couple more weeks before the Expansion. We CAN kill Illidan. We just need to get the people online and do it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Flying Solo And Loving It

I was planning a short night last night on WoW since I had promised Mrs. Hammer we would watch a movie.

So I decided to do a little soloing in the Netherwing mines as Prot. Sure, I could have been Ret, and I will likely be Ret for leveling, but I wanted to see how soloing was as Prot.

Wow. I did my normal run in the Netherwing mines, meaning I went and pulled a bunch of Flayers and Ravagers and started Consecrating and using Holy Shield. Only now I had Hammer of the Righteous, and I was using Seal of Vengeance instead of Seal of Righteousness or even Seal of Wisdom.

See before, I could start getting really low on mana after a while and I would need to drink after each combat.

Not last night. I actually ended up Judging Light instead of Wisdom because I rarely had a mana issue thanks to Blessing of Sanctuary.

I was using my unenchanted Suneater. I really should be using Kings Defender, but I think the two swords are close enough and I really dig the skin on the Suneater.

Prot soloing was much more enjoyable than it had been previously. Before, it almost felt like a chore, and one I only put up with because I didn't want to blow 100g to spec Ret and then go back to Prot for tanking. Now, its really fun.

In addition, in what I hope is a preview of things to come in Northrend, I ran into an Undead Mage and Blood Elf Paladin (looked like he might have been Prot, he had the SSO Shield). They were also working on their Netherwing dailies in the Mine. Despite it being 2v1, they left me alone. Then I passed an Orc Warlock. He, too, left me alone. I made sure to leave some groups up so they didn't get bored and decide they needed to attack me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First Impressions with Patch 3.0

I decided to go ahead and spec Protection when I got my talents reset last night.

Paladin tanking is much more active now. I literally have no free Global Cooldowns. Every time the Global Cooldown is up, I need to hit something, especially on an Undead/Demon.

Mana was not an issue, despite having less than 4000 mana unbuffed. I was sitting near full the entire time I was actually tanking something.

I need to do my Island daily route and see what is different there.

Not all of my Addons worked, even the ones that had said they were 'WotLK ready'. My biggest problem is OneBag/OneBank is not working. I tried Bagnon, but that didn't work either. With all the stuff I carry in my bags and bank, I need to find a replacement for that quickly.

Pally Power worked fine. ZThreatMeter seemed to work okay. Someone in the raid said Omen was updated to use the Blizzard API like Z so I should check that out.

Tankadin2 worked but all I could see was a huge frame listing out my tank stats and no way to go into options, so I turned it off. This would turn out to be a huge mistake later.

I had to redo all my sets in ItemRack. So far I only did a Tank and Ret set.

I was able to get back to 490 Defense simply by changing out my Ring of the Stalwart Protector for a Ring of Sundered Souls. That was it.

Xperl worked, as did Grid.

Auctioneer, and Fubar had some issues. Fubar didn't load all my plugins. Auctioneer had some dependency issues.

We actually ended up putting together a Magtheridon raid just to check everything out, but it was difficult filling the spots.

We are talking about possibly going to Black Temple on Tuesday.

Tanking the trash seemed very easy. The only time I had a problem was when my mob wasn't marked so I didn't pick it up on the pull. I really wished I had gotten the Glyph of Avenger's Shield to give me a single target pull. If I used my unGlyphed one, I'd pull the entire pack.

Speaking of Glyphs, on Altar of Storms, they go for between 30 to 35g. Not all of them seem to be available. So far I've only picked up a Glyph of Judgement because I can use that no matter what I spec. The aforementioned Glyph of Avenger's Shield is no where to be found.

I actually got tagged to Main Tank Magtheridon (thank you, Vlad!).

I was on the 2nd Channeler, and I wanted to see if I could interrupt Shadow Volley or Dark Mending with my new Hammer of Justice. Unfortunately, I hit my Consecrate key instead. By the next Dark Mending, the DPS was at my target and I couldn't tell if I interrupted it or the Rogues did.

The DBM timers weren't working so I had to wait for Mag to become active with no idea when that would happen. A quick, INSTANT Avenger's Shield and Exorcism and I had him.

The DPS had already finished off the Channelers and tore into the big lizard.

And I lost aggro.

I had never had an aggro problem on the PTR or Beta. What was up.

More like, what wasn't up. Righteous Fury. It had fallen off during the trash. I never realized how much I had needed the Tankadin mod to remind me when it was going down.

I put it up and immediately the threat problems went away. However, Mag had already cleaved the melee and gotten out of position, and cleaved a clicker.

I tried to drag him back to position but it was already too late.

The Raid leader called for a DI when everything just stopped, right in the middle of my casting Hammer of the Righteous.

The server had gone down. After 10 or 15 minutes, we called the raid.

Despite all the problems, we had him down to 36%.

I've got to stop making these silly mistakes when I get a shot at Main Tanking.

I had a lot of fun. I can't wait til the servers get a little more stable.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Preparing for Patch 3.0: The Old Switcheroo!

The build going live right now has a lot of class changes. But it doesn't have all of them. Some changes, particularly those that affect high level abilities and some of the changes we made more recently won't be in today's build. But you will get them all on or before Nov 13 when Lich King goes live.

While we have done some balance testing at level 70 with the changes, we tested at level 80 a lot more, since so many players are focused on Arena combat and endgame raiding. Balance at 70 is going to feel different from 80.

If you played WoW at the 2.0 version before Burning Crusade shipped, you'll remember that this can be a crazy time. You have new abilities through talents, but not new core abilities, and not enough talent points to get everything. There are major gear changes, major mechanic changes, and a lot of class changes. Some of those are going to take some getting used to, and despite our best efforts, it's entirely possible we'll find something broken that needs to be hotfixed right away.

The game should start feeling a little more normal again when Lich King ships. It's cool to keep providing feedback and testing things out. Just try and be a little patient and understanding over the next couple of weeks as players learn about the changes (especially players who weren't in the beta), get all of their broken mods working, and we make whatever fixes we need to make on our end.

So at the moment I don't know how much of what I based my information will be entirely accurate.

I think it's pretty safe to assume most of it will still be accurate, especially the paradigm shifts like the importance of Attack Power and Strength.

It seems certain the 3% Damage Reduction on Shield of the Templar will not be included.

Avenger's Shield may or may not have a cast time, we'll just have to wait for the servers to come up to find out.

I will be editing my Preparing for Patch 3.0 series as information comes to light.

Twas The Night Be 3.0...

...and I was Ret spec, just out doing some dailies when I saw my old friend Celoria on her Druid. I offered her some assistance (as Resto Druids are not known for strong soloing and well, it IS a PVP server, it's safer with friends).

It turns out she was just farming some Herbs for her future Inscriptionist waiting for Raistilan to log on to run a Heroic. They were kind enough to invite me along to Heroic Magister's Terrace. Raist was going to bring his Protection Paladin alt so I stayed Ret, and we had a Holy Paladin healer.

The group was full Mal Katai except of course for me.

Holy Paladin, Ret Paladin, Prot Paladin, Survival Hunter, and a Frost Mage versus Heroic Magister's Terrace.

This isn't supposed to work.

But it did. I take some sort of perverse joy in seeing a group that is 'all wrong' and making it through the instance.

The Shard of Contempt dropped but I lost the roll to the Holy Paladin who is going Ret today.

I have a ton to learn as a Ret Paladin. There are some things I've never even thought about as a tank. For instance, how much of a 'lead' do you let the tank get before you open up. My DPS was not what I wanted to see. I was really expecting (based on my gear) to see four digit DPS. I was disappointed to not even break 700 most fights.

I know part of my problem was I was PVP spec (0/20/41) instead of PVE spec (5/8/48), and part of it was I simply wasn't used to being a DPSer.

We talked about the patch and the things to come. It was really cool. See you guys when the servers are up.

The Ultimate Debuff

(This post has nothing to do with WoW)

I've been wanting to make this post for a while, but I've always held off. Faith and Politics are such divisive issues, especially as we approach an election in a couple of weeks.

I've always tried to take a "Hippocratic" approach to talking about my faith, meaning 'First, do no harm'. So many well meaning people have, with completely good intentions turned people off from listening to people of faith. You may be experiencing some of those emotions right now remembering a time when you encountered someone like that.

Sometimes, a lot of times actually, I wish there was another word to describe my faith.


Too many people have used my Faith to hurt people or to only further their own ends. If you've been hurt by someone who claimed to follow my faith, I want to apologize to you. I'm sorry. Not everyone who says "I'm a Christian" is truly following Christ. Not every building with the word Church on it is truly a house of God.

Know that those people will be held accountable for their actions, even if one of 'those people' was me.

Basically, each and every one of us is born with a debuff called Sin. The only way to clear the debuff on your life is to ask your Game Master to remove it. The Game Master's name is Jesus Christ. He's the only one that cast Purify or Cleanse on you to remove the debuff from your life. He loves you and WANTS to do it, all you have to do is ask him.


It doesn't matter what you've done, or haven't done. There is nothing any one of us can do that is so bad that we can not be forgiven and accepted and have the debuff removed from our life.


All you need to do is make a decision in the innermost part of yourself. If you are ready to do that, I encourage you to call 1-800-NEED-HIM.


If you have questions, my email is on the right, and there are a couple of excellent sites linked in the sidebar, specifically NotReligion and Christian Answers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Update On Updating My Mods

If you haven't done so already, you need to start updating your Addons now. Patch 3.0 will break most if not all of your mods. Most of the popular Addon sites will be flooded right after Patch day.

I started last night gathering mods. I found most sites (with the notable exception of Curse) made it very easy to tell if a Mod would work with 3.0/Wrath. I also have the added bonus of being a Beta tester, so I can test the mods on the Beta client.

So far, I've downloaded most of the mods I need. I've only installed Xperl on the Beta client but it seems to be working just fine so far.

I'm taking it slow because I really want to redo my UI for Wrath. I'm took much of a clicker right now. I don't click everything, but I still click too much. I want to build some new habits as I level in Wrath.

So far I've downloaded : Auctioneer, DeadlyBossMods, Decursive, ElkanoBuffBars , FuBar , Healbot, ItemRack, OmniCC, PallyPower, Prat, RatingsBuster, SCT, SCTd, Tankadin, tekKompare, Xperl

I haven't found a Wrath version for: CEnemyCastBar, Durability_Fu, Grid, MobInfo, Performance_Fu, OneBag, OneBank

I don't need some mods anymore: Omen, Clock_Fu

Edit 10/14: I just found a great site to help me out, and I'll share it with you: http://www.wowinterface.com/survivalguide.php

Preparing Your Tankadin for Patch 3.0: Part 8 Where Do We Stand

10/6 - Part 1: General Tanking
10/7 - Part 2: The New Seal and Judgement System
10/8 - Part 3: Changes to Existing Talents and Spells
10/9 - Part 4: New Talents, and suggested Trees
10/10 - Part 5: The New Threat Rotation or 96969
10/11 - Part 6: Threat Stats for Protection Paladins and Tank Gear Reitemization
10/12 - Part 7: Inscription and Glyphs
10/13 - Part 8: Comparing the 4 Tanks10/14 - PATCH DAY!

As I've gone through the Beta and watched the Tankadin develop, I've felt the full gambit of emotions. There have been highs and lows, moments when I felt like giving up and moments when I felt like we were better than ever before.

As the Paladin community communicated our concerns to Blizzard one of the posters came up with this imaginary scenario.

Your 25 man Raid Guild approaches RandomBoss Encounter X. In the Raid, you have a Druid, a Death Knight, a Paladin, and a Warrior. All have been with the guild a while and have established themselves as capable players. All of them have adequate gear.

"Which one of you should tank?" the Raid Leader asks.

The first to speak up is the Druid. "Well, not much misses my big bear butt, but hey, it don't hurt much when it connects. And dayum, my health pool is huge."

Then the Death Knight responds: "OK, so my health pool is small, but I have huge avoidance, and more tricks than you can poke a stick at. I'm really good at tanking casters too."

The Warrior steps into the discussion: "My health pool is in-between the Druid and the DKs - so's my avoidance. I have a pretty decent pile of tricks. I can do pretty much everything. I'm a great tank."

Then Mr. Paladin gives his two copper: "Well, my health pool and avoidance are basically the same as the warriors. I'm flat out a great tank when the boss doesn't do anything weird. If it's stand there and get punched in the face, I'm an easy tank to heal, taking the small, predictable damage each hit and low damage overall. I'm also really good at tanking a boss + sidekick or two."

The Raid Leader is a little befuddled. Each Tank seems like a good choice.

The Raid Leader finally responds, "So if someone were to ask why you should tank Boss X, The basic answer is 'Because I'm a tank and I'm good at at.' That's a little less technical but should get the job done. "

OK, time for actual numbers.

Melee:
Warrior: 10% + 3% = 12.7%
Paladin: 6%+3%+3%=11.5%
"naked" warrior: 10%

SpellDamage:
Warrior:12.7%+6%=17.9%
Paladin: 11.5%+6%=16.8%
"naked" warrior: 15.4%

Very, Very close!

Not bad, imho.

If there are 2 warriors, they can "cross-vigilance" for the 3% and some threat swapping (good for making trash go to the other tank if a tank dies)

If you have a warrior and a paladin, both get BoSanc for the 3%.

Without a pally or warrior you then rely on a disc priest, and I'm not sure how common they will be.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Preparing Your Tankadin for Patch 3.0: Part 7 Inscription/Glyphs

10/6 - Part 1: General Tanking
10/7 - Part 2: The New Seal and Judgement System
10/8 - Part 3: Changes to Existing Talents and Spells
10/9 - Part 4: New Talents, and suggested Trees
10/10 - Part 5: The New Threat Rotation or 96969
10/11 - Part 6: Threat Stats for Protection Paladins and Tank Gear Reitemization
10/12 - Part 7: Inscription and Glyphs
10/13 - Part 8: Comparing the 4 Tanks10/14 - PATCH DAY!

With the release of Patch 3.0, Blizzard is opening up the new Profession of Inscription, and one of the items produced by Inscription are Glyphs.

Glyphs are added to your spell book and change certain aspects of your spells.

You can have 3 Major and 3 Minor Glyphs.

I want to examine the currently available Glyphs for Paladins and give some tentative recommendations. Blizzard has recently announced they are going to reevaluate Glyphs so we could see some changes, but I think it's safe to assume that what we have no is what we will get in Patch 3.0.

Glyphs seem incredibly situational. I could see wanting to change Glyphs often depending on my role and the particular encounter I'm fighting.

Right now, I'd say my Glyphs would be

Major:Glyph of Seal of Vengeance, Glyph of Avenger's Shield, Glyph of Judgement
Minor: Glyph of Sense Undead, Glyph of Lay On Hands. Glyph of Blessing of Kings

I'd actually love to get Glyph of Righteous Defense as well. What I might do is get Righteous Defense, then once I'm hit capped change it to Seal of Vengeance.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Avenger's Shield
Use: Your Avenger's Shield hits 2 fewer targets, but for 100% more damage
.

This looks like a Main Tank Glyph for someone who is doing more single target tanking rather than multi-target. However, it should be noted that with Hammer of the Righteous, Paladins don't need a 3 target range pull. You can pull with a single target Avenger's Shield and use Hammer of the Righteous to help build threat on the other mobs. It might make for cleaner pulls with an offtank or CC.

Glyph of Avenging Wrath
Use: Reduces the cooldown of your Hammer of Wrath spell by 50% while Avenging Wrath is active.


This looks like it's meant for Ret Paladins who are trying to burst someone down in PVP or trying finish off that last couple of percent of a Boss.

Glyph of Cleansing
Use: Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse and Purify spells by 20%.


I'm going to call this one a Holy Glyph since your main Cleanser is usually going to be a Holy Paladin.

Glyph of Consecration Use: Increases the duration and cooldown of Consecration by 2 sec.

It does not increase the damage. It does the same damage but over more time. This will mess up your nice 96969 rotation. I could see this having appeal to Ret Paladins assuming they have enough mana for it.

Glyph of Crusader Strike Use: Your Crusader strike deals 20% more damage when your target is incapacitated or stunned.

This is for our Retribution brothers, and has a distinct PVP flavor to it.

Glyph of Divinity Use: Your Lay on Hands also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.

I don't know about you, but generally I'm using Lay On Hands on myself so I am the target. But for a Holy Paladin this could be a nice bump to the mana pool.

Glyph of Exorcism Use: Your Exorcism also interrupts spellcasting for 2 sec.
This has possibilities. If I had this now on the Banshee waves in Hyjal, I'd be a happy dwarf. Some people have suggested it works on mobs/players that you can use Exorcism on. That is not true. It only works on Undead/Daemon.

Glyph of Flash of Light Use: Your Flash of Light heals for 50% less initially, but also heals for 140% of its initial effect over 12 sec.

This seems more aimed at Holy, and I'm not sure if the HoT is worth the lesser heal up front. Siha of Banashoulders says "The HoT component needs to be bigger and much faster."

Glyph of Hammer of Justice
Use: Increases your Hammer of Justice duration by 1 sec.


This looks like a PVP Glyph for Ret. They do extra damage agaisnt stuned targets so 1 second might be long enough for one more attack.

Glyph of Hammer of Wrath
Use: Increases the range on Hammer of Wrath by 5 yards.


Got to get them runners. I want a mob to bring me back some friends. I'm a Protection Paladin. The more the merrier, right? I could see this being useful for PVP as you are trying to kill a low health healer before he can line of sight of or stop a flag runner who is just out of range.

Glyph of Holy Light
Use: Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 10 yds of the initial target.


Wow, just Wow. This is probably the best Holy Paladin Glyph out so far. I'm really happy for them. This makes Holy Light almost as effective as Chain Heal. (Typo on the tooltip says 100 yards, it's 10).

Glyph of Judgement
Use: Your Judgements deal 10% more damage.


10% more damage is 10% more threat. Very strong Glyph, and it appeals to multiple specs. Prot and Ret want it obviously, but some of the changes made to Holy were to encourage them to Judge more often so they can add a little DPS as well.

Glyph of Righteous Defense
Use: Increases the chance for your Righteous Defense ability to work successfully by 8% on each target.


This Glyph is made for a Nalorakk type boss where a Taunt resist can cause major trouble for the encounter. I could see using this until you are Hit capped in your gear and then replacing it.

Glyph of Seal of Blood
Use: Your Seal of Blood or Seal of the Martyr increases the mana received from Spiritual Attunement by 10% while active.


I want mana and I want it now! Blood is considered more of PVE DPS Seal, so it's most often used by Ret, but it's also a strong offtank Seal. In that situation, I could see the Glyph really helping out.

Glyph of Seal of Command
Use: Increases the chance of dealing Seal of Command damage by 20%.


This makes my inner Ret Paladin smile.

Glyph of Seal of Light
Use: While Seal of Light is active, the effect of your healing spells is increased by 5%.


This makes Holy want to have a Seal active while they are healing.

Glyph of Seal of Righteousness
Use: Reduces the cost of your Judgement spells by 10% while Seal of Righteousness is active.


Will mana be a major issue? Will we be using Righteousness over Vengeance for tanking? Many questions, but the initial answers point to this Glyph being more to help a Holy Paladin in solo content.

Glyph of Seal of Vengeance
Use: Your Seal of Vengeance or Seal of Corruption also grants 10 expertise while active.


You got your Vengeance stack rocking. You are hit capped by the Boss can still Dodge, and Parry you. The Expertise, especially if it's true Expertise and not Expertise rating would be quite tasty.
Glyph of Seal of Wisdom
Use: While Seal of Wisdom is active, the cost of your healing spells is reduced by 5%.


I could see a Holy Paladin with both Seal of Wisdom and Seal of Light Glyph. You start off the fight with Seal of Light then when you low on mana, switch to Seal of Wisdom.

Glyph of Spiritual Attunement
Use: Increases the amount of mana gained from your Spiritual Attunement spell by an additional 2%.


12% mana back from Spiritual Attunement. That is very nice, but the question remains of how much an issue mana will be to a tanking Paladin.

Glyph of Turn Evil
Use: Reduces the casting time of your Turn Evil spell by 100%.

This could allow Ret some additional Crowd Control, and give Warlocks fits in PVP.

Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Blessing of Kings
Use: Reduces the mana cost of your Blessing of Kings and Greater Blessing of Kings spells by 50%.
Meh. I drink Mage water after I buff. I really don't care what it costs.
Glyph of Blessing of Might
Use: Increases the duration of your Blessing of Might spell by 20 min when cast on yourself.

This seems like it would apply to leveling or it's Blizzard's way of making the Greater Blessing not cost a reagent but only when used on yourself.

Glyph of Blessing of Wisdom
Use: Increases the duration of your Blessing of Wisdom spell by 20 min when cast on yourself.

See Glyph of Blessing of Might.
Glyph of Lay on Hands
Use: Increases the mana restored by your Lay on Hands spell by 20%.

This could be interesting. Again, I think Holy would really like the extra mana.

Glyph of the Wise
Use: Reduces the mana cost of your Seal of Wisdom spell by 50%.

Combined with the Seal of Wisdom Major Glyph, that could really help out Holy in a mana intensive fight. Keep Seal of Wisdom active so your heals cost less and this Glyph makes resealing cost less.

Glyph of Sense Undead
Use: Damage against Undead increased by 1% while your Sense Undead ability is active.

There are a ton of undead in Northrend, and that 1% more threat. Actually, it's probably even more than 1% with Righteous Fury. This is a very useful Minor Glyph.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Preparing Your Tankadin for Patch 3.0: Part 6 Threat Stats and Reitemized Gear

10/6 - Part 1: General Tanking
10/7 - Part 2: The New Seal and Judgement System
10/8 - Part 3: Changes to Existing Talents and Spells
10/9 - Part 4: New Talents, and suggested Trees
10/10 - Part 5: The New Threat Rotation or 96969
10/11 - Part 6: Threat Stats for Protection Paladins and Tank Gear Reitemization
10/12 - Part 7: Inscription and Glyphs
10/13 - Part 8: Comparing the 4 Tanks10/14 - PATCH DAY!

The purpose of this post is to examine the value of various stats to Paladins in Wrath and the 3.0.2 patch.

Mitigation Stats: Armor, Def, Block Rating, Parry, Dodge, Block Value, Str. We know 1 STR = 0.5 Block Value. We know that Block Value is increased by 30% by the new Redobut.

Health Stats: Stamina. We assume most Protection Paladins will have Sacred Duty and Combat Expertise, so each point of stamina equal to 1*1.06*1.06, or 1.12.

Threat: Expertise, Str, Stamina, Hit, Attack Power, Spell Power. We can assume most Protection Paladins will take Touched By The Light which makes each point of Stamina worth 0.3 spell damage. We further assume most Protection Paladins will have Kings available to them, so each point of STR becomes 1.1 points of STR. Each point of Strength equates out to 2.3 AP with the Divine Strength Talent.

Attack Power or Spell Power: This is the central question in figuring out the new Protection Paladin. I will state that I feel Attack Power is the superior stat for a Protection Paladin.

Most of the spell coefficents have 1 AP = 1 SP. Since 1 STR = 2.3 AP with Divine Strength, and is worth the same in item budgets as 1 Spellpower it's usually going to provide better results for damage. Chuck in the fact that 2 Str = 1 BV and I feel that AP is a clear winner.

So we have a set of stats that perform in only one area, either Mitigation, Health or Threat. These stats do not have any benefit from our Talents. These are Armor, Defense, Block Rating, Parry, Dodge, Hit, Attack Power, and Spell Power. These all give roughly equal value to their item value budget.

Double Duty Stats

Now we come to the bonus stats. These stats serve double duty.

Strength. Strength provides Threat and Mitigation. Strength is worth .5 Block Value which is increased by 30% to be worth 0.65 Block Value. Strength is also worth 2.5 AP with both Kings and Divine Strength. So we conclude that 1 point of Strength actually yeilds 3.15 points of item budget.

Expertise. Expertise provides threat from reduced dodges and parries as well as some mitigation from reduced parries. This is more difficult to quantify but I believe it is a safe assumption to say that due the double benefit of both mitigation and threat, it should be worth more than a single use stat.

Stamina. Stamina is a double duty stat in that it increases our health and also boosts our threat by adding Spell Damage through Touched By the Light. Stamina provide 1.12 points for health and 0.3 points worth of spell damage making each point of stamina worth 1.32 item value points.
Block Value. Note that Block Value doesn't become a Threat stat until Level 75 when Tankadins get Shield of Righteousness. Block value gets increased by Redoubt so we can conclude that each point of Block Value is worth 1.3 item value points.

So in list form, from best stat on gear to worst stat we have:

1. STR: 1 STR = 3.15 IP
2. STAM: 1 STAM = 1.32 IP
3. Block Value: 1 BV = 1.3 IP
4. Expertise: Difficult to quantify, but worth more than 1 point.
5. Everything else.

Tank Gear Reitemized
Well isn't this just hunky dory. I've shown that Strength is a GREAT stat for Tankadins in 3.0, and I've shown it's superior to Spell Damage. But what is our gear covered in? Spell Damage.

Well you are in for a little surprise come 3.0.


All the Tank gear has been reitemized. Spell Damage was removed and Strength was added. In the case of the 'Warrior' gear, either Defense or Dodge or some other stat was reduced to make room for Strength.


Here are a couple of examples:
  • Chestplate of Stoicism +34 STR -17 Defense
  • Shattrath Protectorate's Breastplate +51 STR, -60 Spell Damage
  • Blue's Greaves of the Righteous Guardian +34 STR, -11 Block Rating, -1 Hit Rating, -26 Spell Damage
  • Bonefist Gauntlets +30 STR, -9 Parry, -21 Hit
  • Sabatons of the Righteous Defender +20 STR, -23 Spell Damage
  • Inscribed Legplates of the Aldor +32 STR, -37 Spell Damage
  • Sunguard Legplates +29 STR, -8 DEF, -8 Dodge
  • Iron-tusk Girdle +22 STR, -11 Dodge
  • Girdle of the Protector +20 STR, -23 Spell Damage
  • Girdle of the Fearless +23 STR, -23 Hit Rating
  • Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx +22 STR, -9 DEF, -7 Expertise

This is a spreadsheet I made based on the new Itemization stats. I took a stab at ranking them based on the analysis I did here.


http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pxRKUgjn9TRr-KY-8OzuQRQ

Friday, October 10, 2008

Preparing Your Tankadin for Patch 3.0: Part 5 Threat Rotation

10/6 - Part 1: General Tanking
10/7 - Part 2: The New Seal and Judgement System
10/8 - Part 3: Changes to Existing Talents and Spells
10/9 - Part 4: New Talents, and suggested Trees
10/10 - Part 5: The New Threat Rotation or 96969
10/11 - Part 6: Threat Stats for Protection Paladins and Tank Gear Reitemization
10/12 - Part 7: Inscription and Glyphs
10/13 - Part 8: Comparing the 4 Tanks10/14 - PATCH DAY!

So how do we combine our new tools with our changed tools with our old tools to make an effecient and potent rotation.

Let me introduce the 96969 Threat Rotation. Most of what you will see here is is based on some excellent work done by Psiven of Prodigy on the Moonrunner realm, and used with permission.

The rotation comes from a recognition that most of our threat skills come with either a 6, or 9 second cooldown. Right now we only have 1 skill with a 6 second cooldown, and that is our new Hammer of Righteousness. At Level 75, we will get another 6 second cooldown with Shield of Righteousness. Anywhere you see (free) in the below rotation is a place where Shield of Righteousness will be used once you hit 75.

This means that you need to be able to treat Consecrate/Judge/HS as 9sec cooldowns. Consecrate is an 8 second cooldown. Holy Shield was changed to an 8 second cooldown. Judgement is a 10 second cooldown, but if you take Improved Judgement, it becomes either a 9 or 8 second cooldown.

So why not use 86868? We treat the 8 second cooldowns as 9 seconds to allow for some lag, and for the fact that the Global cooldown is 1.5 seconds. 6+1.5+1.5 = 9.

In order to use a 96969, you need to take 1/2 Improved Judgement, and not take the Consecration Glyph which changes it's cooldown to 10 seconds.

If you have 2/2 Imp Judgement, you can sacrifice the GCD at 10.5 to cast at 11.0. This lets you recast by 19, but you can't cast it anyway until 21.0! Those two seconds you gained are completely wasted. Similarly if you take 0/2 Imp Judgement, you can't Judge a second time at all until 13.0, but there's no open GCD until 16.5 unless you want to push back your entire rotation by a second which would cut your TPS by ~7%. Waiting until 16.5 to Judge leaves you judging as if your cooldown was 13.5sec, then 12sec, repeating so a loss of about 29% of your Judgement damage relative to the 9sec cooldown.

This rotation involves Seal twisting on some of the free Global Cooldowns. Do this only if you have the mana coming in from Spiritual Attunement to support it. Do not let your Seal of Vengeance stack fall off trying to get one more swing from Seal of Righteousness.

If you are fighting a demon you will most likely see better results from using these rather than twisting: Exorcism every 18 sec, and Holy Wrath every 30 sec.

Exorcism will conflict with Avenger's Shield /Holy Wrath at times, at a guess priority should be Avenger's Shield > Exorcism > Holy Wrath

The final rotation:

Prep Seal of Vengeance (Corruption)
00.0 Holy Shield
01.5 Hammer of the Righteous
03.0 Judgement
04.5 (free) <-- data-blogger-escaped-avenger="" data-blogger-escaped-s="" data-blogger-escaped-shield="" data-blogger-escaped-span="" style="font-size: 78%;">*This is your 'loop' point
06.0 Consecration
07.5 Hammer of the Righteous
09.0 Holy Shield
10.5 (free) <-- data-blogger-escaped-12.0="" data-blogger-escaped-13.5="" data-blogger-escaped-15.0="" data-blogger-escaped-16.5="" data-blogger-escaped-18.0="" data-blogger-escaped-19.5="" data-blogger-escaped-21.0="" data-blogger-escaped-22.5="" data-blogger-escaped-24.0="" data-blogger-escaped-25.5="" data-blogger-escaped-27.0="" data-blogger-escaped-28.5="" data-blogger-escaped-30.0="" data-blogger-escaped-31.5="" data-blogger-escaped-33.0="" data-blogger-escaped-34.5="" data-blogger-escaped-avenger="" data-blogger-escaped-consecration="" data-blogger-escaped-free="" data-blogger-escaped-hammer="" data-blogger-escaped-holy="" data-blogger-escaped-judgement="" data-blogger-escaped-of="" data-blogger-escaped-righteous="" data-blogger-escaped-righteousness="" data-blogger-escaped-s="" data-blogger-escaped-seal="" data-blogger-escaped-shield="" data-blogger-escaped-span="" data-blogger-escaped-the="" data-blogger-escaped-twist:="" data-blogger-escaped-vengeance="" style="font-size: 78%;">*Loop

Using this rotaion, Psiven has constructed a graph showing expected TPS with various weapons.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Preparing Your Tankadin for Patch 3.0: Part 4: New Toys

10/6 - Part 1: General Tanking
10/7 - Part 2: The New Seal and Judgement System
10/8 - Part 3: Changes to Existing Talents and Spells
10/9 - Part 4: New Talents, and suggested Trees
10/10 - Part 5: The New Threat Rotation or 96969
10/11 - Part 6: Threat Stats for Protection Paladins and Tank Gear Reitemization
10/12 - Part 7: Inscription and Glyphs
10/13 - Part 8: Comparing the 4 Tanks10/14 - PATCH DAY!

So let's look at what new goodies Blizzardclaus has under the Patch 3.0 tree.

Hammer of the Righteous - This is your new 51 point talent in the Protection tree. What this does is hit the current target and 2 additional targets for 4 times your main hand damage per second as Holy damage. This spell is on a 6 second cooldown and has a fairly low mana cost. As an added bonus, it is usable while you are silenced. The damage done is based on Weapon DPS and your Attack Power.

It is designed to allow Protection Paladins to use actual Tank weapons like King's Defender, Suneater, Mallet of the Tides, Brutalizer, and Unbreakable Will. Those weapons will do comparable TPS to a spell damage blade. We will go into more detail on this on Saturday.

This spell also increases our DPS while out soloing and works well when fighting multiple mobs. It procs your seal on each of the 3 targets it hits, so you can have 3 stacks of Vengeance cooking at one time.

Touched by the Light - This increases your spell power by an amount equal to up to 30% of your stamina and increases the amount healed by your critical heals by up to 30%.

One of the goals in Patch 3.0 and eventually in Wrath of the Lich King is to move Protection Paladins, Protection Warriors and Death Knights to all desire similar gear. This talent is a major step in that direction.

Spell Damage is rather useless to Warriors and is the stat that lets you know if a piece is meant for Paladins or not. With Touched by the Light, we won't need Spell Damage on our gear anymore and can gladly take what had heretofore been called "Warrior" Plate.

This talent is even more reason to go after Tank weapons and let the Mages and Locks stop worrying about Protection Paladins wanting to 'steal' their weapon.

Also, don't overlook the backend of this talent. Increasing out Critical heals by up to 30% helps out while soloing, and also helps out if we find ourselves in a healing position while not tanking. Holy Paladin gear tends to favor crit and this talent can help make up for some of the lack of potency a Prot Paladin normally has in his heals.

Judgment of the Just - What this does is cause the Paladin's Judgment spells to decrease the melee attack speed of the affected target by 20%. Can you think of any other spell or ability in the game that does that? Yes, Thunderclap! This is basically the Paladin version of Thunderclap which is a needed and noticeable reduction in the damage tanks take. This has caused some to call this talent ThunderJudge.

Since Thunderclap and ThunderJudge won't stack, the Thunderclap debuff can now be provided by a Protection Paladin, so there is little need for DPS Warriors to worry about it, or for Protection Warriors to spend their limited Rage on it.

Also, it has zero impact on the Paladin to provide this debuff. Since the debuff is applied as part of our Judgement, it's something that is already in our normal rotation. It's similar to when Blizzard gave Arcane shot a Dispel mechanic. Hunter's didn't even have to think about, it came naturally as part of what they were already doing.

Guarded by the Light - What this new talent does is reduce spell damage taken by 3/6% and reduces the mana cost of your Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness spells by 15/30%. Basically Blizzard took our old Spell Warding talent and added a cherry on top of it in the form of mana reduction cost.

You will note the talent mentions Shield of Righteousness. This is technically a new spell, but it's one Paladin's don't get until Level 75. Since my scope here is 3.0, I won't go into detail on it. However, Shield of Righteousness is a very good reason to maintain your Block Value set as you level up.

Shield of the Templar - I love threat and mitigation in one talent. What this bad boy does is increase the damage dealt from your Avenger's Shield, Holy Shield and Shield of Righteousness by up to 30%. In addition, it will reduce all damage taken by up to 3%.

The 3% Damage Reduction is not currently in Beta, but it has been communicated that it is coming via Blizzard on the Beta forums. I'm not sure if it will make the patch or not.

This to me was one of the most important talents added in Patch 3.0.

We've long known that our 6% Damage Reduction (DR) from Improved Righteous Fury was far behind Defensive Stance with 10% DR. The issue was that Improved Righteous Fury was low enough in the Protection Tree for Retribution Paladins to pick up, and in fact a popular Retribution Build was 0/20/41 for just that reason.

Defensive Stance is available to all Warriors, but when that Arms Warrior drops into Defensive Stance, he loses the ability to do many of his higher DPS moves and the Stance itself causes him to do 10% less damage.

The Retribution Paladin has no such penalties for activating Righteous Fury. So for Righteous Fury to catch up to Defensive Stance, the added Damage Reduction had to be deeper in the tree.

This talent was a big step towards Tank Class Parity.

Then as an added benefit, Blizzard gave it a Threat increase component as well.

Divine Guardian - This talent represents a unique tool in the Paladin tool kit. What happens is that 30% of damage taken by party and raid members within 30 yards is redirected to the paladins instead while Divine Shield is active. The damage dealt to the paladin is absorbed by Divine Shield.

When I saw this talent I immediately thought of High Warlord Najentus. He does an attack that hits the entire raid for 8500. With Divine Guardian up, the raid members within 30 yards of the Paladin would take less than 6000.

This gives Protection Paladins a wonderful utility when offtanking. Because Divine Shield makes you immune, the Boss or Mob will turn away from you while you under the Shield, so it's probably not the best idea to use this as a Main Tank.

The talent is shallow enough in the tree that a Holy Paladin could get it as well, though most observers think Holy Paladins will be looking into the Retribution tree for the 5% Spell Crit.

Here are a couple of sample builds based on the Patch 3.0 Talent trees.

I'm Still Raid Tanking: 0/55/6
http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=sZabVAbuMteIoGoxo

I took Deflection over Benediction and I didn't take Guarded by the light. My thinking here is that mana has not been a huge issue, and I generally don't take Spell Warding in my current spec.

Passing The Days To Wrath Tanking 5 mans / 10 mans: 0/55/6
http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=sZabVAbuMteIRhoVo

Swapped into Benediction and Guarded by the Light. Dropped Judgement of the Just.

In either spec, you could make a case for dropping Improved Devotion Aura and finishing up Divine Strength.