Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Paladin dilemma

I've been thinking about my paladin for a while now and here's my big dilemma. It's a tough one so maybe you, my readers, will be able to offer a suggestion.

I have a level 80 paladin who's dual-specced ret-prot. From 77 to 80 I leveled as prot and I loved it. Ret no longer holds any interest for me. His prot equipment is pretty good because I geared him up a while back and most of it is ilvl 200. After the Dungeon Finder hit I thought I could try some tanking. The problem is that I've never tanked a dungeon with this guy or any other for that matter. I'm terrified of making a fool of myself because tanking is a big responsibility, unlike DPS-ing.

Because recently I've been enjoying healing with my priest, I also thought that I could change the paladin's ret spec to holy and try some healing in heroics. Once again, although I have now gained a lot of healing experience on the priest, that experience may not necessarily apply to the paladin.

The big advantage of a prot/holy paladin is that queuing times for random dungeons should be zero or almost zero. That would allow me to gear up quickly. The problem is, I don't want to waste other people's time by not knowing how to tank or heal properly.

Then I thought of something else. What if I start a new paladin and learn gradually how to tank and heal? I could do this until level 60 or hereabouts, at which point all talents in each tree become available. I could even do this on a new server so that I could share the experience with everyone on this blog.

At first glance this sounds like a great idea, however there are a few issues. First, I would be wasting a lot of time leveling a character that I already have at level 80. Second, this character would be deprived of all the wealth that I have on my main server. No twink gear, no heirlooms. No free glyphs and other item enhancements that I can provide with my professions. Third, I would be wasting even more time trying to make some gold in order to gear this guy up somehow.

Now my dilemma becomes obvious. Should I start this new character and learn how to tank and heal gradually, using each new talent and spell as it becomes available? Or should I use my level 80 paladin in some normal dungeons, hoping that I get things right and that I don't get swamped under the multitude of skills at my disposal?

What do you guys think?


Anonymous said...

A few months ago I dusted off my lvl 80 Prot Warrior to do some tanking, and went through the same thought process you did. I'd suggest finding a few lower level instances (i.e Utgarde Pinnacle, not Halls of Reflection) and run those until you're comfortable. It's kind of a mixed blessing being a tank. People respect that you're hard to find, and will sometimes give you a pass, but other times people are jerks. You just need to have a thick skin. Instant queuing is fun, but I find that I'd rather play my elemental shaman, as Shamans rock. Good luck and have fun!!

Will said...

Have a thick skin, set up a macro that says your new to tanking and asks for people to be patient. If they can't be patient, they can eat the queue time, everyone has to learn somewhere. Read the prot guide at, or the one at Honor's Hammer, ... both give good intro's to paladin tanking. Spend some time on a training dummy working on your 96969 rotation, and google a good Hand of Reckoning macro ( so that you can mouseover whoever stole your agro and get it back. It will be tough going at first, if only because strangers can be total asses, and dps have forgotten how to show restraint.

Lugnut Daffodil said...

Learn how to tank the same way I learned how to heal....hit up the Northrend instances on regular. It would be just way too time consuming and boring to start over again.

And people are going to be a dick to you no matter what, even when you're rocking. You may be the best tank ever, but I PROMISE you someone out there will give you some lip because you don't have 40k health yet, or whatever. And that sucks, but whatev. They're idiots.

We all know you have the ability to master this, like you've mastered your hunter and healer, so you'll be fine. Just have some snappy comebacks ready to fire off, like, "/p <----this is me caring" or something like that :)

Darth Solo said...

Thanks for the tips guys. I really did some reading on paladin tanking, on several occasions, but I'm still a bit afraid of the multitude of skills that I'll have at my disposal at level 80. I dunno, I really like the leveling process and I really missed out on how to level a paladin with all the modern skills and talents.

In fact I've already started leveling a new paladin as I write this reply. I'll see if I get bored of him or not.

DaveTheWave said...

Hey Darth,

Just jump into regular WOTLK dungeons. They are cake and you can get used to your skills. I leveled up my DK to 80 and tanked the last couple of levels. Loads of fun. I had only DPS'd prior to that. If you have any friends that tank, ask them to come along on a dungeon or two. They can give you pointers and keep an eye on your back.

Another item to keep in mind is (I've read) that the abilities you will be using at 80 are not the same abilities you will be using at the lower levels. So tanking leveling dungeons will not neccesarry give you the same experience that just jumping into WOTLK dungeons will.

Just go for it. The dungeon finder will give you insta que almost always.

Have fun...

Starrydance said...

As everyone else said, just say youre new and try the regulars first. Make sure you hit that heroic defense cap or people kinda freak out. As long as you lead well, know which way to go and know the encounters youre really overall fine.

I dont mind new tanks as long as they own up to being new. I dont care for DPS queueing as tanks for faster queues and then say 'oh lol Im gearing tank really'.

You can gear up fairly simply with factions and just the Saronite whatever off the AH and start rolling in the regulars til you get used to the buttons. =3

Celebrandil said...

I agree. Start practicing in the non heroic dungeons. You will have no problems holding aggro there because the dps around you is too low, and you quickly get used to the paladin tanking rotation (which is very easy).

Once you're geared decently and your def rating is at 535 (540 is only for raids), you can try heroics. There are very easy heroics (Draktharon, Utgarde Pinnacle), medium ones (Ahn Kahet due to all the magic damage you eat (mobs often don't move towards you), Halls of Stone (the Bronzebeard event)) and tough to very tough ones (ToC, FoS, PoS, HoR) where you eat lots of damage and the trash can be brutal (Pit of Saron or Halls of Reflection anyone?). Stay away from those until you're mostly in ilvl 245, unless your healer knows you and is very good.

Your rotation only consists of five abilities and then you have two taunts and this light bolt that you use for pulling (forgot the name). That's all. Very easy to control since all abilities have their cooldowns which basically leaves you with a clear rotation that you follow.

Try it out on non-heroics until you're comfortable enough.

Lyriel said...

Well, if you wanted a little difference without changing server, you could always make a horde pally (most of your characters are alliance, right?). You can send heirlooms cross-faction on the same server, and they're working to make heirlooms truly B-o-A so if you hung on a little longer, you might get to start a pally somewhere completely different, but with heirlooms to help him along the way.

As one of the commenters above said, make a macro and use it at the start of every dungeon. My boyfriend has a dk tank that he hasn't played pretty much since he got it to 80, but he's interested in tanking on it, so he's been pugging a LOT of normals and a few deliberately chosen easier heroics with me and a friend there, and he always starts with a little speech in /p explaining that he knows he's undergeared, but to give him a chance.

I'm levelling a resto druid, she's 74 at the moment and I'm starting to see a lot of lvl-80 first time tanks coming to practice in the lower level instances. They always explain, and I've never found anyone who's been rude to them, and I've had one or two abysmal tanks, but they improved, and people gave them tips when things were going really badly, and it felt good to get to the end of the dungeon with them. Most people know that good tanks don't magically appear over-night, it's ok to need to practice things.
Just take it steady, keep an eye on the healer's mana and really practice dropping erm, consecrate(?) in a good position so that after you've taunted one mob, it's on the floor and the rest run through it to get to you.

Also, just in case you hadn't seen this just did an article on pally tanking:
It has links to a series of articles about how to learn pally tanking, some of it will be a bit useless as it covers levelling through the dungeon finder as prot, but a lot of it looks good.

Also, there's a more general gear article here:

Good luck!

Darth Solo said...

Well, I guess it's unanimous. I'm gonna write a follow up post but it won't be good!

Darth Solo said...

BTW, just checked my level 80 paladin and he has 534 defense, just 1 point under the 535 defense cap for heroics. Haha, didn't even know that. So the bugger's pretty well geared.

Well, here are some more stats if you guys are interested.

Health: 24.7K (unbuffed, well with Blessing of Sanctuary on)
Armor: 22K
Defense: 534
Dodge: 17.79%
Parry: 16.04%
Block: 14.32%

Str: 1087
Sta: 1803

Hit: 56 (1.71%) <-- a bit on the low side I would say
Crit: 13% <-- not sure how important this is for tanking
Expertise rating: 85 (4%)

Block value: 1580

So what do y'all think?

SirFWALGMan said...

I played a tank for a while and I think I was pretty good at it. I hated it though. I do not like the pressure of being the point of fail. I guess my biggest problem was not knowing how to figure out why we failed something. I did not raid tank at all my highest tanking achievements were the LK 5-mans and even though I did them flawlessly I still felt all stressed out. So now I mostly DPS.

I did not think starting out tanking was so bad. I was not really nervous. Not sure why. It probably would help if you went with 1 or 2 people you know.

Healing totally freaked me out. While tanking was stressful keeping aggro and all that.. healing if someone died I felt sooo bad because my heal spell did not hit them. Even though I was a new healer and DPS was pulling off the tank hard... yup, my fault.

Good luck. I think you will do fine and pretty soon it will be second nature. You then will have to decide if you actually like it.

Jarnow said...

Well look, if you FEEL LIKE rerolling, go for it obviously.

But I can tell ya that I have a buddy who was in the middle of leveling a pally when the dungeon finder came out, and he just jumped into LFD in Outland. There were a few hiccups, (and he may have thicker skin ;) but he learned quick and now is tanking raids.

As others have said, just go to some of the lower level regular dungeons. The mobs will be so weak it'll be almost impossible to screw up, and you can work out how the skills function. Gradually work your way up.

Start doing at least the *regular* random absolutely as soon as you feel comfortable so you can start gathering the truimph badges to give your gearing a head start when you start on heroics.

Have fun!

Gyldenfeax said...

The thought of leveling a new pally to 80 freaks me out, but only because I hate leveling. In small doses its ok, but without heirlooms...ouch.

It wasn't that long ago that I was terrified whenever I did a random heroic. Now they just bore me to death. As alot of people have already said, start in the lower normal dungeons first, get some experience and work up. You probably already know the fights as dps so you aren't going in blind.

I'm not sure exactly but your hit rating might be too low. Tanking guides should give a definitive answer. There's probably triumph gear (if you have any badges) that can fill any gaps you have.

I've never heard it described as a light bolt, Celebrandil, but I think you mean Avenger's Shield, my favorite prot ability, glyphed for pvp to hit one target.

Edgar said...

Just faceroll tanking like every other Pally :P I kid, I kid!. Just hit up regulars, especially UP and the Nexus. Lower level players will love you because they probably hardly ever see 80s tanking for them, and they don't expect a lot, and the instances themselves are cake even for a new Tank. Personally I got bored with my Pally at level 74 and haven't played him in a while, but remembering how dreadfully boring Pally leveling was, I would avoid it like the plague.

Redbeard said...

Having leveled as a Holy Spec Pally until dual speccing in the late 40s (and playing around with a Priest in the low 20s) I can tell you that a Holy Spec Pally is a completely different animal than a Priest. A Holy Spec Pally has a hard time in instances that require agressive healing of multiple targets. A Pally can keep two upright at a time if they're taking loads of damage using Beacon of Light, but you have to keep an eye on the mana, especially in long fights.

If you want to work on your Holy Spec talents, queue yourself up for some lower level regular LK instances like Azjol-Nerub and Utgarde Keep, so you can work on your healing skill without being overwhelmed by higher level bosses.

In my case, I gradually dropped running the holy spec in instances when I realized my gear wasn't high enough level to handle the higher level instances, like Trial of the Champion. Some of it was, admittedly, my own healing skill as I'd been spoiled by running with an overgeared tank.

I'll eventually go back into running instances as a healer, but I'm still working on my DPS gear first.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about doing more-or-less the same thing for my ret paladin, who's now at lvl 73. (My plan is to get him to 75 for the gear, then run him through UK and Nexus a few times until I get the hang of it.)

So keep us posted on your foray into the Prot tree. Good luck!

- Morrall/SWC-US

Anonymous said...

Ur stats look ok for tanking, maybe just get a little more Stamina, but 24k its ok to start and dont worry about tanking or healing it´s easy, i have a drood tank/healer and a dk tank (both had tank raids and dungeons), i can tell u tank or heal a dungeon isn´t hard as everyone said just start with the easy dungeons

Redbeard said...

@2nd Anonymous:

Druid healing is different than Pally healing. When I mentioned to a player I know who played a Druid to 70 about the heals that a Pally has, she was surprised at how few the options were. Pallys are great for instances where the tank absorbs most of the damage, but on the messy bosses things can get hairy.

Darth Solo said...

Yeah, I kinda noticed that pally healing is mostly good for the tank only. There are no AoE heals. The priest in comparison has it easy. On the other hand, I've read some articles claiming that a good pally shouldn't have trouble healing multiple members, especially in a 5-man.

Once again, these are very solid comments and I thank you for them. Stay tuned. My final decision should be coming shortly...

Anonymous said...

What I ment at the other post was that u most not be afraid to try healing or tanking, I know that pala it´s diferent than the drood, it isn´t hard, c'mon it's a 5-man an the palas are good tanks and great healers, "when i start my drood a friend start his pala, we have done lots of dungeons and raids together and he say the same than me, healing a 5-man its easy" Don't be afraid.

P.S. Always use beacon of light

Darth Solo said...


Anonymous said...

dude, just macro the 969 rotation to two buttons and roll your face on them. pally tanking is easy as shit.