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4.3 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

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4.3 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:20 am

Please keep this thread on-topic.
It's a basic training FAQ for how to be a MT.


Philosophy of the FAQ:

Q: What's the point & purpose of this FAQ?
A: Short & simple answers for people who want a quick fix.

This guide is intended to be an updated replacement for Knaughty's basic FAQ since he's retired from updating it. Note that I've kept a lot of his questions and answers in cases where they were still accurate/relevant. Many of them are copy/pasted and still have his distinct tone.

Knaughty wrote:I'm totally claiming that my Theck's Emberseal was the settlement for the copyright infringement!

Jokes aside, here's retrospective public permission to adapt my 4.0 FAQ into this one.

Feel free to move this post closer to the start of the thread (if that's actually possible).


The basic assumption is that the reader is a protection spec paladin who has basic questions and wants quick-and-dirty answers that are up to date. That might mean you're a new player, a player returning to the game after a long absence, a Ret/Holy that wants to learn to play their Prot off-spec competently, or just someone who doesn't want to read 1000 posts to find out what's "standard."

The goal will be to keep the answers brief and to the point. No long missives about how to eke out <1% extra performance, if you're optimizing to that degree you should be checking the Advanced and Gear forums as appropriate. And no lengthy justifications - if you want to know why, use the Links section to dig them up yourself. Or just look around on maintankadin, most of the source data and discussions can be found on these boards anyway.


Table of Contents
  1. Mechanics and Play Changes
  2. Talents, Glyphs, Basic Builds
  3. Rotation
  4. Gearing
  5. Professions
  6. Addons
  7. Resources & Links
  8. Changelog
Last edited by theckhd on Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:41 am, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:21 am

Mechanics & Play changes:

Q: @^%$@!! Everything is different!?
A: Yes.
4.0 is a pretty massive reboot. The basic design is that players have much higher health pools, especially tanks, so that you'll live through 3-4 melee hits. Similarly, DPS players will take damage spikes, but won't be in danger of dying if they're not topped off immediately. This gives healers time to react and choose heals accordingly, and mana efficiency is tuned such that they have to play smart or they'll go OOM. They call this the "triage" model.

In addition, there have been a lot of changes to consolidate things, especially buffs. Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild are the same thing now, Blessings of Might and Wisdom were combined, multiple classes bring Heroism/Bloodlust, all tanks have an off-GCD interrupt and can apply both tanking debuffs, you get the picture. In short, bring the player, not the class.


Rest of FAQ will stick to tanking & paladin mechanics.

Q: Zomg, what happened to the talent trees?
A: They were nerfed.
They cut a lot of the fat and removed many boring, passive talents that were "mandatory." In addition, you get to pick your spec and get some signature abilities at level 10. Arguably the best change to talents since they were introduced, because you get to start feeling like your sub-spec very early on. You then have to put 31 points in that spec before you're allowed to branch out into the other trees to pick up low-hanging fruit.


Q: What? I have to pick a spec?
A: Yup.
Click a button and pick Holy, Ret or Prot. Picking a spec defines your "Mastery" bonus and gets you these:
  • Holy get Holy Shock, spirit-based mana regen, and 10% to healing.
  • Ret get Templar's Verdict, +20% to 2H damage, mana regen from Judging, and passive +hit/spellpower.
  • Prot get Avenger' Shield, Vengeance (see below) and mana regen from Judging, and passive +hit/spellpower/stamina (and a 3.0 sec CD on Crusader Strike that isn't mentioned anywhere)


Q: Where'd all my passive talents go?
A: Deleted.
Now you have fewer talent points to work with, but each talent generally has a more significant effect on your play style. There will be a lot fewer "buff damage by 1%" talents and more "here's a new spell that lets you do something awesome" talents.


Q: Huh? What's Mastery?
A: A unique bonus based on your class selection.
Just think of it as "Awesome Rating". Whatever spec you choose, mastery makes you more awesome at that spec. The mastery bonuses for paladins are:
  • Holy: All heals also drop a shield (think PW:S) on the target.
  • Ret a chance for their finishers to use no Holy Power. Back-to-back Templar's Verdicts!
  • Prot get to block more often. Boring but effective.


Q: Isn't block still weak like it was in Wrath?
A: Nope.
One of the big changes in Cataclysm was to convert a block to a flat 30% damage reduction. So it scales with hit size and is generally quite good. We also have a new version of Holy Shield which boosts our block to 50% damage reduction for 10 seconds.


Q: Where's all my defense go?
A: Deleted.
The "defense cap" was unintuitive and the stat itself was just sort of confusing. It got the axe in Cataclysm, now we just worry about dodge, parry, and mastery for defensive/mitigation stats.


Q: What's Vengeance?
A: A mechanic that makes you stronger when you're taking damage.
You get extra AP when taking damage, up to a maximum of 100% of your Stamina. This is designed to help solve the scaling problem that crops up every expansion, where tank threat increased more slowly than DPS players' threat. It's also tuned sort of poorly, in that it makes threat really unstable during the first ~30 seconds or so and trivial once you're a minute or two into an encounter.


Q: What's Holy Power?
A: Combo Points that stack on you instead of target.
All paladins get up to three Holy Power points, then spend them on something nifty. We generate Holy Power from CS and HotR, as well as the occasional Grand Crusader proc. We can spend it in three different ways:
  • Shield of the Righteous for high single-target DPS
  • Inquisition for a buff to our AoE DPS
  • Word of Glory for an instant emergency self-heal on a 20-second cooldown.


Q: What Blessing do I use?
A: Depends on your group.
Mark of the Wild and Kings are the same thing now, and they don't stack. If there's a druid in the group, cast Might. If not, choose based on what you need more. Kings is better for survivability, Might is over twice as much DPS as Kings.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:21 am

Talents, Glyphs, Basic Builds:

Q: I have a raid in 5 minutes, tell me how to spec?
A: 0/31/10

Q: What about Hallowed Ground?
A: It's very weak.
Our AoE DPS is mostly Hammer of the Righteous. Consecrate is a nice short-term boost, but we generally don't need the mana reduction in AoE situations and the talent is a very weak DPS/TPS increase because of the long cooldown on Consecrate.

Q: What about Eternal Glory?
A: WoG has a cooldown as of 4.1.
When WoG could be spammed, Eternal Glory was quite strong. Now that it's got a cooldown, EG is just a really crappy threat talent.

Q: Wait, Grand Crusader is good now?
Grand Crusader is quite good now that it grants Sacred Duty and Holy Power. Reckoning might be more DPS per point, but the added utility makes Grand Crusader the better choice.

Q: Wait.. Reckoning?
A: Yes, it's good in Cata, 3rd best threat talent.

Q: Why do we go into Ret instead of Holy?
A: Holy doesn't offer anything compelling.
Rule of Law and Crusader are each more powerful than any of the Holy DPS talents or Hallowed Ground. PoJ is a personal choice, but it frees up a boot enchant for more delicious mastery.

Q: What about my glyphs?
A: Here's the basics:
  • Prime: Seal of Truth and SotR to begin. CS is an OK 3rd prime but it's weak compared to the first two. HotR is a good choice for a third prime glyph, as it's a noticeable AoE boost. Judgement gives you a minor survivability boost if you have the T13 2-piece set bonus, but it's so weak that it's really not worth bothering with.
  • Major: Whatever you want. Holy Wrath for stunning the EleDragoMentals, Avenger's Shield if you're OK with losing the bounce, Divine Protection for fights where the magic cooldown is helpful. Tailor these to your play style as you see fit.
  • Minor: Whatever you want.

Q: Why do you suggest <this talent> instead of <that talent>
A: Because.
There's too much to go into here. If you want in-depth discussion of talents this is the wrong guide anyway. Read my exhaustive 4.3 Talent Spec & Glyph Guide if you want details.
Last edited by theckhd on Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:30 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:21 am

Rotation:

Q: What's our single-target rotation?
A: 939
There's basically two stages to the rotation.
  1. Build up 3 Holy Power by hitting CS on cooldown. Fill gaps with Judgement and Avenger's Shield in that order. Feel free to fill any remaining gaps with Consecration and Holy Wrath if you have the mana.
  2. As soon as you get to 3 Holy Power, use SotR to consume all of your Holy Power.
Lather, rinse, repeat. You'll generally be hitting CS every other GCD, but Grand Crusader procs will shake that up a bit to keep you awake.


Q: Huh? Explain single-target more?
A: Bad French Accent: Listen very carefully, I will say this only once!
It's like 969. Except CS replaces both "6" abilities. So your basic beat is CS-x-CS-x-CS-x. Thus: 939
Then we have some 9s, just like 969.
  1. First one is SotR- use it every time you have 3 Holy Power (glow runic thingy bar). You can use WoG instead if you don't care about threat but you're about to die (H-LK, H-Halion-P3).
  2. Second one is Judgement - It's our primary mana generation mechanic, and it hits almost as hard as AS.
  3. Third one is Avenger's Shield - it hits like a truck and generates Holy Power during Grand Crusader Procs.
  4. Fourth/Fifth is Consecration and Holy Wrath - use these to fill gaps if you have the mana to do so, but don't worry about it if you don't. They're a very small part of our DPS.
A "typical" sequence will look like: CS-J-CS-AS-CS-SotR. But Grand Crusader procs will frequently turn that into CS-AS*-CS-SotR, or CS-J-CS-AS*-SotR, or some other permutation.


Q: Grand Crusader procced, shouldn't I use AS immediately?
A: No.
The Grand Crusader proc lasts about 6.3 seconds, so you have some time to weave it in. You'll generate more Holy Power by sticking to CS every other GCD and slipping AS into the first convenient spot. Yes, that means you'll "waste" a proc once in a while, don't worry about it. Micromanaging won't buy you more than 1% increase anyway.


Q: What do I do if ShoR misses?
A: Press it again.


Q: Do I judge ahead of ShoR if I don't have a SD proc?
A: No.
Also: Why are you reading the basic FAQ?


Q: What do I do if Eternal Glory procs?
A: Smack yourself for speccing into it?
Seriously, it's bad. But until you respec, hit SotR.


Q: Should I use Divine Plea during a normal rotation?
A: No.
While getting another SotR off might sound great, DP wastes a GCD and many of our other abilities hit almost as hard as SotR does. SotR-DP-SotR is a DPS loss, because the second SotR is guaranteed to not benefit from Sacred Duty.


Q: Should I use inquisition in a single-target rotation?
A: Not unless you want to.
There are certain conditionals which make Inq a ~1% DPS increase against single-targets, but I'm not going into that here. If you care enough about that 1%, you'll care enough to go read my MATLAB thread.


Q: What's our AoE rotation?
A: Much simpler.
For AoE, use HotR every other GCD. Period. HotR is the vast majority of your AoE threat and DPS. Use that Holy Power to fuel Inquisition. Fill gaps with AS, Consecration, Holy Wrath, and Judgement. AS is very strong for 2-3 targets if it's unglyphed.

Basically, HotR-X-HotR-X-HotR-Inq, with X's filled with whatever AoE ability you can throw at them.


Q: So how do I pull something?
A: One of two ways:
  1. Hit Divine Plea, you just got 3 Holy Power
  2. (Optional) Hard-cast Exorcism
  3. Avenger's Shield (Glyphed with the AS Major if this is a single-target boss fight)
  4. (Optional) Judge (if you have time before mob gets to you - you should)
  5. ShoR - you just blew your 3 Holy Power and got a massive threat lead. If it missed, press it again.
  6. CS -> 939

I prefer a more fail-safe version, which is
  1. Hit Divine Plea, +3 Holy Power
  2. Inquisition
  3. Hard-cast Exorcism
  4. Avenger's Shield
  5. Judgement
  6. CS -> 939
The advantage here is that you don't have to worry about a string of SotR misses; Exo/AS/Judgement all have fairly low chances to miss and get a noticeable boost from Inquisition. Calculations in 4.0.6 showed that this was the stronger pull method, but nobody's repeated that math for 4.2. Chances are there isn't a huge difference between the two.
Last edited by theckhd on Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:21 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:21 am

Gearing:

Q: What primary stats should I focus on?
A: Strength and Stamina.
Strength gives us threat and a little bit of parry rating. Stamina gives us hit points and attack power (through Vengeance). You generally won't gem or enchant for Strength, but you may gem/enchant for Stamina.


Q: What secondary stats should I focus on?
A: Mastery, Dodge, and Parry.
Mastery increases your block chance and is the single most-efficient method of reaching total combat table coverage (CTC). Dodge and parry rating give you about as much melee damage reduction as mastery rating at normal levels of diminishing returns, but much less CTC.


Q: What's Combat Table Coverage?
A: Exactly what it sounds like.
Incoming attacks make a roll on the "Attack Table" or "Combat Table." By stacking mastery, dodge, and parry you can fill that table with miss/dodge/parry/block and push off regular, unmitigated hits off entirely. That gives you a guaranteed 30% damage reduction on every melee attack, which is very powerful. Full Combat Table Coverage is also commonly referred to as "block cap." See my Attack Table article for more information on how this all works.


Q: How should I reforge my gear?
A: Reforge for mastery.
In general, you'll want to reforge threat and avoidance stats into mastery to try and reach block cap. Digren has a fairly compact summary of reforging "best practices" in his Reforging Guide. There are a number of online and in-game tools that can help you optimize your reforging, including wowreforge.com, askmrrobot.com, and the Reforgenator addon.


Q: What do I do after reaching block cap?
A: Stack something else.
Anything over 102.4% miss+dodge+parry+block is wasted, so you can start shifting some of that rating over to something more useful. You can either change a little bit of mastery back to dodge or parry to decrease total damage taken, or swap some mastery gems out for pure Stamina gems to increase hit points.

Q: Why am I supposed to try and balance my dodge and parry?
A: To minimize losses to diminishing returns. Dodge and parry each have their own diminishing returns curve, so (for example) you get more avoidance by having 500 dodge rating and 500 parry rating than you do by having 1000 dodge rating and 0 parry rating. This is mostly only relevant for reforging, since that's usually the only place you can make straight dodge<-->parry trades.

Q: What are diminishing returns
A: A reduction in the effectiveness of a stat as you gain more of it.
In our case, there's diminishing returns on dodge and parry (but not on block). Functionally this means that every additional point of dodge rating you add gives you less than the previous one. Diminishing returns is a continuous effect that applies to every single point of dodge and parry you have; it does not "turn on" at any point.


Q: What about threat stats?
A: You don't need them for boss tanking.
The Vengeance mechanic generally covers all of your threat needs past the first 30-40 seconds of an encounter. During that first period, you'll have Tricks of the Trade and Misdirect propping up your threat. Basically, if you're playing properly you'll never need more than 0 hit or expertise rating. Note that hit and expertise are still the best way to boost your DPS, so if your tank DPS matters on a particular fight, you could consider building a gimmick gear set for that purpose.


Q: What about taunts and interrupts? Don't I need to reach hit cap for those?
A: No. Taunts and interrupts no longer miss. Ever.
Even Righteous Defense no longer misses as of 4.2. Rebuke can't miss either.


Q: Can you give me a BiS list?
A: No.
My BiS may be different than yours depending on loot availability and personal preference. If you want guidance or discussion about specific items, head to the Gear forum. In particular, you can use the Gear Check/Advice Thread to ask the knowledgeable and experienced tankadins on these forums to audit your gear and give you suggestions.
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Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:22 am

Professions:

Q: What professions should I choose?
A: Almost any of them. Most of the professions give you something useful for tanking raids. Some are better or more flexible than others though. Here's a quick run-down of what you get from each:


Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing give the most versatile bonuses, with Alchemy close behind.

Leatherworking gives you the most pure Stamina gain, with Blacksmithing close behind.

Enchanting, Inscription, and Mining all give the standard 120 Stamina and not much else.

Engineering's benefits are a little lackluster and Nitros/Plasma can fail spectacularly, but it comes with the best toys in the game.

Tailoring, Skinning, and Herbalism all grant rather poor benefits, and aren't ideal for end-game tanking.

Note that when epic gems become prevalent, Blacksmithing will have a slight advantage; it looks like they're planning on buffing the Jewelcrafting and the other profession-specific bonuses at that point to compensate. Until then, this list is still fairly accurate, since you're unlikely to use more than a couple epic gems.
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Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:22 am

Addons:

Q: What addons should I use?
A: Whichever ones you want.
There's no absolute list of addons that you must play with. There are tanks that can and do successfully kill stuff with the default UI. However, there are a number of addons that are so useful that many players consider them essential. This section is just an overview of the different "types" of mods that you might want, along with links.


Boss Mods
Boss mods provide you with a number of features that give you more information about an encounter, particularly timers and warnings for significant boss abilities or cooldowns. Deadly Boss Mods, BigWigs, and Deus Vox Encounters (DXE) are the three most common ones.
Deadly Boss Mods
Deus Vox Encounters
BigWigs Bossmods


Threat Meters
Threat meters give you a numerical display of every player's threat on your current mob. Some will alert you when someone's on course to over-aggro you, giving you a chance to proactively use HoSalvation or get ready to taunt. In addition, you can use them to monitor your own threat during tank swaps to ensure you don't accidentally regain the mob's attention before the new tank builds up Vengeance. Omen and Skada are the two most common threat meters.
Omen Threat Meter
Skada Damage Meter


Nameplate addons
Nameplate addons modify the in-game nameplates. The big feature here is that they can change the color and scale of each mob's nameplate based on whether you have aggro on it or not. Tidy Plates now includes this feature by default, though the Threat Plates theme is more configurable.
Tidy Plates
Tidy Plates: Threat Plates


Death Loggers
Death loggers keep track of the combat log and let you review what happened immediately prior to your death. This is very useful for determining whether you popped a cooldown early enough or whether your healer was napping on the job. There are some dedicated addons that only provide death logging like Acheron and GrimReaper, though this feature is also bundled into Recount and Skada.
Acheron
GrimReaper
Recount
Skada


Compact Raid Frames
The new Blizzard raid frames are pretty good, but they're modeled off of more feature-rich and customizable addons like Grid and VuhDo. These addons will let you shrink your raid down to a reasonable size and still show information like which players have aggro or harmful debuffs. Coupling one of these addons with Clique (see below) can turn the raid frames into a quick way to dispense utility skills.
Grid
Vuhdo


Click-casting mods
Click-casting mods allow you to bind a spell cast to a particular mouse button when you're hovering over unit or raid frames. For example, this lets you bind Righteous Defense to your right mouse button so that right-clicking a player's raid frame automatically casts Righteous Defense on them. With multiple mouse buttons and modifiers you can expand this to cover all of your raid utility spells. Clique is the standard in this category, and has been around for quite a while.
Clique


Notification/Display mods
It's often useful to make custom alerts and displays to warn you of certain things - cooldowns, boss buffs or debuffs, or what not. This category of addons handles those situations. PowerAuras Classic is the "default" here because it's been around for a long time and can do almost anything you can think of. It's a bit of a beast to configure from scratch, though. Luckily, you can import other people's setups to get started quickly. WeakAuras is a newer alternative that's a little cleaner and easier to configure, though it may not be quite as feature-rich.
Power Auras Classic
Maintankadin PAC strings thread (for importing pre-made setups)
WeakAuras
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:22 am

Resources & Links:


Guides
4.0.1 Mastery/reforging guide If you want the details of how to reforge you gear for raiding ICC/Halion at level 80, check out this thread.
Theck's 4.0 Talent & Glyph guide - The Canonical Source for talent & glyph weighting.
Theck's MATLAB & pounding headaches post - Go here for a migraine.
Digren's Item Enhancement Guide - The most comprehensive item enhancement guide available.
Digren's Cataclysm Gear Guide - again, a very comprehensive overview of gearing stages and options.
Yappo's Failsafe Gearing Guide - A gear guide demonstrating how to go from dinging 85 to tanking raids without relying on a single raid drop.

Videos
Doxa's 939 training video - A little out of date, but it gives a good basic overview of the 939 sequence.


Forums:
Maintankadin - Gear Discussion and Advice - Anything gear related
Maintankadin - Talent Specs - Anything talent/glyph related
Maintankadin - Advanced Theorycraft & Calculations - My playground, for more detailed calculations and theorycrafting questions
Elitist Jerks - 4.2 Prot thread - A little more in-depth than this guide, a little less in-depth than any of the primary sources above.

Boss strategy:
Icy Veins - Text-based boss guides with a fairly thorough description of each boss ability
LearntoRaid (L2R) - Video-centric boss guide site
25man.com - A condensed "cliff notes" explanation of encounters, written in a step-by-step format
manaflask - Boss and class guides written by Ensidia members
Maintankadin - Cataclysm Raids Forum - Discussion threads for each boss, often containing details that you won't find in guides
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:22 am

reserved
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:22 am

Changelog:

2/6/2012 - Added question about balancing dodge and parry to the gearing section.
12/09/2011 - Updated for 4.3
9/01/2011 - Added profession section.
7/31/2011 - Links section upgraded to "Resources & Links," boss strat sites added
7/26/2011 - Added Addons section, added reforging question to Gear section.
7/19/2001 - Initial post.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:35 am

OK, I think it's all up to date. Feel free to make suggestions/comments/corrections. Both on existing content and anything you think should be added.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby KysenMurrin » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:44 am

Second post, Vengeance question near the end:
You get extra AP when taking damage, up to a maximum of 10% of your Stamina.

I think that should be 100% Stamina (10% health before the beta health buff).
Last edited by KysenMurrin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby lythac » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:51 am

theckhd wrote:Q: What about taunts? Don't I need to reach hit cap for those?
A: No. Taunts no longer miss. Ever.
Even Righteous Defense no longer misses as of 4.2.


Could be worth to add interrupts here.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby theckhd » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:30 pm

Done and done.
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Re: 4.2 Tankadin FAQ - Protection Paladin Basics

Postby econ21 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:48 am

Very nice FAQ. I wonder if it would be useful to add the question "what add-ons should I use?" I think some enhance the game so much, a genuinely new tank needs to know about them.

In answer to such a question, I guess one would say close to required (at least for a newbie):

- A raid encounter mod: like DBM, Bigwigs etc - to get key warnings and timers for boss abilities
- A threat meter like Omen: to avoid over-aggroing on tank swaps etc

Highly Recommended:

- Tidy Threatplates: to make it easier to see when you lose aggro on mobs
- Power Auras (and like to sub-forum sticky for strings): e.g. to make it easier to see when you have 3 HoPo
- A DPS meter: like recount or Skada: NOT to measure your own DPS, but to provide a death log to understand why you died
- (Optional) raid frames: like Vuhdo/Grid, e.g. to make use of righteous defence/hands etc easier

On gearing, I think you should have a question "How should I reforge?" - perhaps as a follow on question from what you say about secondary stats. You don't need to go into all the nuances, but something basic like "reforge to mastery where you can" would be useful as a number of tanks who post asking for advice on their gear have not done this. You could link Ask Mr Robot, as it seems an excellent tool for reforging.
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