Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tank as you Level Up, Part II, 40 to the Cap

10/15/2010 - Patch 4.0.1 has hit the Live servers. This guide is now outdated. I will not have time to continue to update it.

This continues my post from Monday. This edition is a little lighter on gear. Keep in mind your key stats Stamina, Strength, Defense, Agility, Hit, Parry, and Dodge and you’ll do fine.
The 40s: Pass the Plate
You can wear Plate now. Don't break the bank getting a full Plate set, but see about putting one together quickly. The additional armor is noticeable.
Spec
There's two ways you can do your spec in the 40s. You can continue to keep Seal of Command, and continue building up the Prot tree, or you can you can consider respecing into a full Protection build. By Level 50, you'll have some great tools from a Protection build. It'll come down to how well you can hold aggro on the multiple mob pulls and how your mana is doing. I’m going to suggest you switch at this point to a full on Protection build at 40.
A Protection build will offer mana regeneration from Blessing of Sanctuary and Spiritual Attunement. Blessing of Sanctuary regenerates mana based on your character dodging, parrying and blocking while Spiritual Attunement regenerates mana based on the amount you get healed for, ignoring overhealing. It's important that you are the one being hit and either avoiding (dodge/parry) or taking the damage. If you aren't getting hit, you'll have mana issues, plain and simple; much like a Warrior who isn't hit is going to have Rage issues.
Most of the Level 80 guides you see will recommend only 1 point in Spiritual Attunement, but for leveling I recommend 2 points. Mobs and Bosses at the level cap hit much harder than the ones you face leveling so you can use the extra regen.
A full Protection build also offers the option to pick up Ardent Defender, which is one of the Protection Paladin’s major cooldowns. It's a Guardian Spirit type effect that will prevent you from dying once every two minutes and restore some health.
The Build I would use in this bracket would be: Divine Strength, Anticipation, Improved Righteous Fury, 4 in Toughness, Improved Devotion Aura, Blessing of Sanctuary, 4 Reckoning, Sacred Duty, One Handed Weapon specialization, Spiritual Attunement, Holy Shield, Ardent Defender, 2 in Redoubt, and 2 in Combat Expertise.
Rotation
If you go to a full out Protection build, your Seal will change from Command to Righteousness, and your Blessing from Might to Sanctuary. You will still be using Devotion Aura. The rest of the rotation stays the same. Don't forget Righteous Fury!
Buff yourself with Holy Shield and pull with Hand of Reckoning and run into the middle of the group of mobs or up to the boss. Drop Consecration, and then Judgment of Wisdom. Rotate Consecration and Judgement. Keep in mind that Consecration is a hungry little bugger so be judicious with its use and watch your mana. Refresh Holy Shield as soon as it is off cooldown. Practice maintaining the buff at near 100% uptime. Its duration is longer than its cooldown, so this shouldn't be a problem. Use your taunts liberally if you see one of the mobs even think about another player. The 'Changed Target' text over the mobs head is a big clue you need to start tabbing around and find the mob that's targeting someone other than your plate covered rear.
At Level 46, you'll train Hand of Sacrifice. This is an under rated tool in your kit. You place this short duration buff on one of your party members who has aggro and some of the damage will transferred to you. This does two really good things for you. One, it'll reduce the damage your compadre is taking and two, it'll do some damage to you, which your healer will heal and give you mana back. Once HoSac is off, taunt off the DPS.
Instances
The 40s have some of my favorite instances like Zul'Farrak and Uldaman. I have a special place in my heart for Uldaman. It really starts to setup some of the later instances you do like Halls of Stone and ultimately Ulduar. Maraudon is your 'Garmin' instance in this range; hope that someone in the party is familiar with the place. I got a bad taste in my mouth for place after farming it for a solid month for Nature Resist gear I needed for An'Quiraq. Razorfen Downs is probably the first instance you'll run where you'll see plate dropping.
Gear
The 50s: Captain America
Before I get into the nitty gritty of the 50s, I need to talk about Death Knights. Late in your 50s you’ll start seeing Death Knights show up as DPS in your groups. Death Knights come out of their starting area with a fantastic set of gear. Some Death Knights will choose to employ Heirloom items on top of this set. Some of them will be able to put out considerable DPS and you might have a problem holding threat against them. Most of these guys will still be learning the ins and outs of their toons, but if they’ve gotten a good hold on it, they will do very solid DPS. Use all the tools you have at your disposal for holding threat like Hand of Protection and Hand of Salvation, but understand that ultimately it’s the responsibility of the DPS to do less threat than you, or man up (well, Blood Elves can’t really man up, but you know what I mean) and tank themselves.
You are going to face a similar situation when you hit the level cap as you will suddenly be in groups of fully epic geared players who do more DPS than 3 players could back when Wrath was launched and we were all running around in Blues.
Spec
If you didn't go to a full on Prot spec in your 40s, do so now. At level 50, you'll train Avenger's Shield. AS will become your main pulling tool. Suddenly, you've got solid threat on 3 mobs. You'll need some time to learn how it bounces between mobs. Try to aim for mobs with a mana bar, those will be casters you can silence (once you have Shield of the Templar). If you are worried about it bouncing into an adjacent group, then aim for the middle of the group. In a 4 mob pull, watch carefully to see which one didn’t get hit with Avenger's Shield and nail that guy with a Judgment as you pick it up. The more time you have to practice with your Shield Throw, the better. In addition, by this point in the leveling game, your party is going to expect a Prot tank. Those Arms Warriors and Ret Paladins who were passable in the early brackets just won't cut it anymore.
The Build I would use in this bracket would be: Divine Strength, Anticipation, Improved Righteous Fury, 4 in Toughness, Improved Devotion Aura, Blessing of Sanctuary, 4 Reckoning, Sacred Duty, One Handed Weapon specialization, Spiritual Attunement, Holy Shield, Ardent Defender, 2 in Redoubt, Combat Expertise, Avenger’s
Shield, Touched By the Light, Shield of the Templar, Judgments of the Just
Rotation
Level 50 you get to train Holy Wrath. It’s an AoE spell, but only hits Undead. If you are doing any instance with Undead in it (Dead Strath and Scholo) you an incorporate it into your rotation.
Pre pull buffs: Devotion Aura, Seal of Righteousness, Blessing of Sanctuary, and Righteous Fury. Get in the habit of checking your four main buffs before each pull. Devotion Aura and Righteous Fury don't have a timer, but your Blessing and Seal can fall off. The first thing you'll notice if you let your Blessing fall off is a lack of mana. If your Seal falls off, you won't be able to judge.
Buff yourself with Holy Shield and pull with Avenger's Shield. Find the mob your shield didn't hit (if the pull is 4 mobs, your shield is only going to get three) and drop a Judgement on it. Drop Consecration once the mobs are around you. Rotate Holy Shield, Consecration and Judgement. You can work in Avenger’s Shield to your rotation, but keep an eye on the health of the mobs. You want AS to be off cooldown for your next pull. Keep in mind that along with Consecration, AS is also a hungry little bugger so be judicious with its use and watch your mana. Refresh Holy Shield as soon as it’s off cooldown. Hand of Reckoning goes to being just a Taunt now; don't be afraid to use it liberally if you see one of the mobs even think about another player. The 'Changed Target' text over the mobs head is a big clue you need to start tabbing around and find the mob that's targeting someone other than your plate covered rear.
Instances
The 50s have some great instances. Sunken Temple and BRD are both 'Garmin' instances. Both are sprawling, long, confusing mazes. But I have really good memories from doing my Onyxia attunement there. The parade in Stormwind to confront Lady Prestor is one of those 'moments' in WoW I'll never forget.
I have fond memories of Scholomance which at one time dropped the only Protection Paladin gear in the game, called the Deathbone Guardian set. Strath, both living and dead is great, and you can see what it looks like now before you go back in time and see it in Culling of Stratholme. I never ran Dire Maul much. It was a long trip for Alliance back in my leveling days. My only time in there was working on my Charger quest (at level 60).
Gear
The 60s: Hammer Time!
Spec
The Build I would use in this bracket would be: Divine Strength, Anticipation, Improved Righteous Fury, Toughness, Improved Devotion Aura, Blessing of Sanctuary, Reckoning, Sacred Duty, One Handed Weapon specialization, Spiritual Attunement, Holy Shield, Ardent Defender, Redoubt, Combat Expertise, Avenger’s Shield, Touched By the Light, Shield of the Templar, Judgments of the Just, Hammer of the Righteous, Deflection, 1 in Guarded By the Light (you want 3/3 Guarded by the Light by 71).
Rotation
Two major changes to the rotation, one right at 60 and the other at 64. At Level 60, you'll get your first '6', Hammer of the Righteous. You will weave this in among your '9s': Holy Shield, Consecration, and Judgment. After 64 you will have Seal of Vengeance (Corruption for Horde). This Seal applies a Holy Damage over Time (DoT) debuff to the mob you are tanking. Hammer of the Righteous spreads this debuff to up to the 3 mobs.
Pre pull buffs: Devotion Aura, Seal of Vengeance/Corruption (after 64), Blessing of Sanctuary, and Righteous Fury. Get in the habit of checking your four main buffs before each pull. Devotion Aura and Righteous Fury don't have a timer, but your Blessing and Seal can fall off. The first thing you'll notice if you let your Blessing fall off is a lack of mana. If your Seal falls off, you won't be able to judge.
Buff yourself with Holy Shield and pull with Avenger's Shield. Find the mob your shield didn't hit (if the pull is 4 mobs, your shield is only going to get three) and drop a Judgement on it, then immediately Hammer of the Righteous. This will spread a Vengeance DoT to three mobs. Drop Consecration once the mobs are around you. Rotate Holy Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Consecration and Judgement. Practice weaving your '6', Hammer of the Righteous, in-between your '9's. Eventually you'll have another '6' and you'll be into that 96969 rotation.
Keep in mind that Consecration is still a hungry little bugger so be judicious with its use and watch your mana. Refresh Holy Shield as soon as it’s off cooldown. Don't be afraid to taunt liberally if you see one of the mobs even think about another player. The 'Changed Target' text over the mobs head is a big clue you need to start tabbing around and find the mob that's targeting someone other than your plate covered rear.
Instances
The 60s will take you through Outland. The instances tend to be a little shorter. There are great instances throughout the level bracket, and there really isn't a 'Garmin' instance. Most are well laid out and finding your way around shouldn't be too much of an issue. The Dark Portal aka Black Morass is a good test for any tank and will prepare you for later instances that bring you combat in waves. Don't be afraid to use Crowd Control, especially on the Casters. Ramparts and Slave Pens remain favorites. Mana Tombs is not a lot of fun for a mana based tank. It’s kind of a “I don't think they had Wookies in mind when they designed this” thing. Escape from Durnholde is fun and packed with Lore. Be careful of the last boss, he'll purge your Righteous Fury. Mechanar is probably my favorite instance of the bracket.
Gear
The 70s: The Ice Tank
Spec
The Build I would use in this bracket would be: Divine Strength, Anticipation, Improved Righteous Fury, Toughness, Improved Devotion Aura, Blessing of Sanctuary, Reckoning, Sacred Duty, One Handed Weapon Specialization, Spiritual Attunement, Holy Shield, Ardent Defender, Redoubt, Combat Expertise, Avenger’s Shield, Touched By the Light, Shield of the Templar, Judgments of the Just, Hammer of the Righteous, Deflection, Guarded by the Light Improved Judgments, Heart of the Crusader, Seal of Command, Vindication, Pursuit of Justice
Rotation
Divine Plea is a great spell for Paladin tanks. Once you train DP at 71, you've got your full array of mana regen abilities. Your quest to learn to use those abilities well can begin in earnest. I'm decked out in very good 10man raid gear (232 and 251s mostly) and I don't have mana issues running random heroics.
At 75, you become an official Protection Paladin with the addition of Shield of Righteousness. This is the final '6' to complete your 96969 rotation.
Pre pull buffs: Devotion Aura, Seal of Vengeance/Corruption, Blessing of Sanctuary, Righteous Fury. Get in the habit of checking your four main buffs before each pull. Devotion Aura and Righteous Fury don't have a timer, but your Blessing and Seal can fall off. The first thing you'll notice if you let your Blessing fall off is a lack of mana. If your Seal falls off, you won't be able to judge.
Buff yourself with Holy Shield and pull with Avenger's Shield. Find the mob your shield didn't it (if the pull is 4 mobs, your shield is only going to get three) and drop a Judgement on it, then immediately Hammer of the Righteous. This will spread a Vengeance DoT to three mobs. Consecration immediately and then Shield of Righteousness. By now your Holy Shield is coming off cooldown, so refresh it and Hammer of the Righteous again. Then drop another Judgment, and Shield of Righteousness. By now your Holy Shield is coming off cooldown... Rinse and repeat. Don't be afraid to taunt liberally if you see one of the mobs even think about another player. The 'Changed Target' text over the mobs head is a big clue you need to start tabbing around and find the mob that's targeting someone other than your plate covered rear.
Instances
The instances improved nicely between Vanilla (up to 60) and Burning Crusade (60-70). They take another step up in quality with Wrath (70-80). Old Kingdom is a 'Garmin' instance. I didn't run this one enough leveling up and I still get lost in there at Level 80. Most of the other dungeons are pretty straightforward. There are some short cuts in Gundrak, but you'll learn those as you run them. Occulus is one you'll have to learn. Moving in 3 dimension and controlling Drakes takes some getting used to. As the Tank, take the Red Drake. When Eregos (end boss) spawns adds (whelps) target the whleps with your main attacks. That will at least get you started. The instances don't change much when you run them on Heroic so the better you get to know them now, the better off you'll be at level cap. Also work on building a DPS set. You might have to start Heroics as Ret. Groups are much more forgiving of low DPS from fresh 80s than they are of 20k HP tanks.
Gear

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice guide.

I recently hit 70 leveling a tankadin. Getting most of the cobalt set to accompany my heirloom chest, shoulders, and one trinket, was really cheap on AH.. circa 125g for 7 slots, and i picked up an ilevel 134 'of the champion' axe for that too

I treated myself to a little splurge on Tooga's Lost Toenail http://www.wowhead.com/?item=37751, Mercurial Stone http://www.wowhead.com/?item=31080, and Cloak of Eternity http://www.wowhead.com/?item=24253 from AH at about 250g for the three.

Remaining slots are quest reward's.. ring and neclace from the dwarf outside of UK (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=44377 and http://www.wowhead.com/?item=38218).

Most slots are enchanted with 2nd BiS tank enchants. I use cheapy foods and elixir's to buff, and have around 510 def, 70 hit, 16k armor, and 14.3k health self buffed.

With that setup i've had no problem tanking through the starting wrath instances, even with dps toon's 5 levels higher than me i rarely lose threat.

I've already looked at lvl 80 gear, and with the TotC and now ICC craftables turning up on the AH, its really brought the price down of the ilvl 200 craftables. With 2x EoT per day for running random dungeon from 70 onwards, you can ding 80, spend less than 2k in AH, spend your saved emblems, and be ready to start tanking the easier heroics. Heck, you can prolly get the 'Epic' achievement in your first day as an 80.

Lochagos said...

Don't forget to mention the quest reward tanking weapons in Zul'Drak. I don't recall a better tank weapon until the Red Sword of Courage in heroic Utgard Pinnacle.

2HoursADay said...

Good guide, pretty much what I have been doing .. dinged 73 on my pally 2 days ago ... and anxious to get 75 and be a true tank .. :) so far its been fun I love lfd.. I can fail and no one can /1 Cal sucks as tank dont vite him ..

yk said...

I had follow this guide with much success. However, the Seal of Vengence/Corruption is only attainable at level 66 instead of 64?

Krykino-Dreadmaul

yk said...

Great guide. But Seal of Vengence/Corruption at 66 instead of 64?

Krykino-Dreadmaul

Honors Code said...

http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=31801 says requires level 64. I haven't been in that range in a while, have they changed it and WoWhead not picked up the change??

Blair & Lauren said...

Hi, just to let you know, Alliance pallies get Seal of Vengeance at 64, but Horde players have to wait until lvl 66 to get the equivalent, Seal of Corruption. Kinda sucks for us Hordies, right?

tom-kun said...

Thanks for the guide, I recently bought Dual Spec for my paladin while levelling up with my girlfriends character. Taking a prot spec has moved it from something I'm levelling to give her free XP to a character I really enjoy playing!