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Filed under: Paladin

Warlords of Draenor Alpha: Updated patch notes for June 13th

Well, it's another update to the Warlords of Draenor Alpha and its patch notes. What's new, what's changed, what's going on with the Alpha? Here's a few highlights:
  • There's a new section called Secondary Stat Attunement that basically comes right out and tells you what stat you're expected to want for each specialization. Fury warriors, you'll notice it's still crit. Fire mages? Same thing. We're still angry and hot. We both still love crit. We should totally form a band.
  • Other new sections include the Self-Sustainability section (which explains how your ability to not die has been changed) and the Tooltip Clarity section, which explains why they've made changes to various tooltips. Of extra import is the mention that, just because the tooltip has changed, that doesn't mean the ability has, unless the patch notes say it has. So keep that in mind.
  • There have been several changes to the Ability Pruning section - Death Knights lose Blood Strike and Necrotic Strike, druids see a mountain of changes (seriously, if you're a druid, go check that out, it's crazy) - paladins, priests, rogues and especially shamans have gotten some significant pruning as well (I'd put shamans just behind druids).
Head on over to the official patch notes and take a look for yourselves. If you're playing a class like a shaman or druid that just saw a lot of change it's especially a good idea to read up on the current state of affairs.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

What's going wrong with tanking in five player content?

Tanking is not always easy, mind you. But tanking can be an incredible amount of fun, and I hope that it'll make a real comeback in terms of popularity when Warlords of Draenor goes live. Right now, I feel like a few problems really keep tanking from being as universally popular as it could be.
  • Difficult to get starting gear - For most people, it's hard to get started as a tank. Gearing is an issue, because some tanks (DKs, warriors and paladins) need specific tanking gear, while even the leather tanks still generally use different stats to some degree, different enchants, different weapons for tanking than DPS or (especially) healing. This is a problem the gearing changes in Warlords should really help with.
  • Where can you learn it? - Tanking requires a different skill set from DPS or healing. While proving grounds exist, they don't really teach the most important part of being a tank - reacting to other players. It can be hard as a new tank to walk into a dungeon having never done it before. That leads into the third difficulty of picking up tanking.
  • Dungeons don't provide any sort of experience right now - With the wildly disparate gear levels on people running random dungeons, you can have a tank in 450 gear trying to hold aggro off of players in 580 gear. While it can be nice to be the tank in 580 gear, even you might have trouble when groups don't cooperate, run ahead of you, pull mobs half way across the zone, and generally simply refuse to act like any kind of groups at all. This is something I'm hoping the gear squish and ten levels will do away with - we'll all basically be on the same page when Warlords dungeons are being run.
While there are still a lot of places where tanking is both fun and rewarding - raiding (especially in a guild group, be it heroic, normal or flex), challenge modes, even in LFD or LFR if you get lucky - I do think it can be a lot to ask a new tank (whether or not she or he is a new player or just new to the role) to grow a thick skin fast enough to deal with the toxicity possible in the current random queue environment. Which is a real shame, because tanking is fun - it can be stressful, and oftentimes groups have an expectation of a tank doing the work of knowing how every fight works for them, but that's not always a negative.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Tanking and the future

One of the things I'm thinking about lately is how tanking is changing in Warlords of Draenor. In at least one major way, it's not changing - Active Mitigation established itself in Mists, based in part on DK tanking in Cataclysm, and it's going to be front and center in Warlords of Draenor. But right now, AM tanking heavily relies on four stats (depending on the tank class) and all four of those stats will be gone come Warlords, meaning that we're looking at a pretty significant change depending on the class. The remaining stat, mastery, is probably going up in value, and in addition, we'll have crit, haste, readiness and multistrike to consider. But stats aren't the whole of the game, and they're not the whole of the changes, either.

In addition to new stats, there are the abilities each tank will see affected by readiness to consider. There are also Draenor Perks for each tank spec, granted randomly as we level from 90 to 100. There are changes in what abilities exist, in what specs get them. Vengeance is gone, replaced with Resolve, buffing our self heals and absorbs. In short, while the basic idea remains the same - generate resources via attacks to spend on damage reduction in one fashion or another - how we go about it, how it interacts with us has so many changes that it's worth discussing in length. There's so much change coming in that I don't pretend I'll catch all of it, which is why we have comments, after all.

So what do I expect to see out of tanking coming 6.0? It should be noted, this discussion is based on the Warlords alpha patch notes and such datamining as I've looked over, and I freely admit I only tank on one class, so while these are general observations I may be missing key class specific factors.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Vengeance is now Resolve

This is one of the bigger changes (and one closest to my heart now that I'm tanking again) - Vengeance is gone in Warlords of Draenor, replaced with Resolve. Resolve is basically Vengeance minus the stacking buff to attack power, because of the way Vengeance interacted on certain fights. To put it into perspective, last night was my first night seriously tanking, and I was number four on total DPS - it would have been far higher had I not forgotten I was tanking for the first fight. At present, with Vengeance and tank AoE for purposes of picking up threat (plus, I admit, some fairly beefy Shield Slams once Vengeance stacks all the way up) you can see some ridiculous tank DPS, easily surpassing dedicated DPS players.

The solution being implemented here is to overall increase tank DPS without an unreliable mechanic like Vengeance adding different attack power depending on how much damage the tank takes. This also removes the temptation for tanks to deliberately take more damage in order to get Vengeance stacked up faster. So Vengeance is gone, and Resolve is implemented. How does it work?
  • Resolve improves self-healing and absorbs done by the tank to the tank (so no, it won't buff priest bubbles) based on the damage taken (ignoring avoidance and mitigation, same as Vengeance now) within the last 10 seconds, and your Stamina. This means stuff like Death Strike, Shield Barrier, things of that nature. If you cast a heal on someone else, Resolve won't buff it.
  • Each tank class' tanking mastery will now add 12% attack power, and the amount of attack power will scale with mastery as well. This is in addition to current affects, not replacing it - your tanking mastery will do what you're used to it doing, it'll just also do more.
  • Brewmaster monks will no longer deal less damage. That 15% damage penalty? Gone.
The goal here is for tanking damage to remain meaningful without overshadowing dedicated DPS players, something I feel is profoundly fair. Whether or not it works out for all classes we'll see when we get a chance to test it out, but the basic principle is sound - with tanks now using crit and haste (and the new stats Readiness and Multistrike as well - see Blood Craze here for just one potential use of Multistrike for tanks) we're in a situation where tanking DPS will likely go up just because they're wearing the exact same gear as DPS players. The age of Vengeance's unpredictable scaling probably needed to end.

The section of the patch notes detailing the change is, as always, behind the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Monk, Warlords of Draenor

Watcher on health and healing changes in Warlords of Draenor

If you remember after the last Dev Watercooler, there was a flurry of activity on Twitter as Celestalon and Holinka answered questions. This time Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has taken to social media to answer questions and explain what's up. We're collecting his tweets here, to give folks a chance to see what he's got to say about the big changes coming to health and healing mechanics in Warlords. There's more after the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, News items, Monk, Warlords of Draenor

Next steps after boosting a paladin tank to 90, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

It's always weird coming to the end of an expansion and seeing the road before you suddenly much shorter than you remember it was the last time you gave it a serious look. Very soon things will radically change -- the gear that made us gods will be obsolete, health pools will be laid low, and the stats that we had come to loathe will be no more. As they say, all good things must come to an end. Pandaria is no different.

This is a path we've walked before, in the twilight of every expansion. As the content winds down in its own interminable fashion, and we run that end raid for the umpteenth time, we find solace in trying new experiences through the prism of alts. As I discussed in last week's post, with the advent of the boosting feature, many folks will be trying out paladin tanks for the first time -- especially since they now have the advantage of skipping the (painful) journey of leveling a tank entirely. This guide is for them.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Next steps after boosting a paladin tank to 90

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

With the introduction of level 90 boosts on the horizon, many players are going to be trying new characters, classes, and specs they may have never tried before. I expect this means that many folks are going to give protection paladins a go for the first time, which is a very exciting prospect, because the spec makes for a very fun tank playstyle.

In order to help those new folks hit the ground running, I'm kicking off a two-part "quick start guide" that'll break down the spec in the 101-iest way possible, to give those new tankadins a barebones foundation that they can use to jump right into getting their faces pounded in. For today's post I'm going to talk about why one should choose to spend $60 or their free Warlords-given boost on a protection-specced paladin, and what they need to know to safely jump into that first dungeon.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

An introduction to the holy paladin's healset

Seasoned paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine, now with a strong hint of holy. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Some say that hell is other people. Still others claim that hell is repetition. As for myself, I ask, why not both? I recognize now that resolving to level this paladin solely through the Dungeon Finder was a decision fueled by the type of naïveté only afforded to the impetuous. "Surely it can't be that bad," I assured myself as I began my journey at the eager level of 15. Now, fifty five levels later, I can only shake my head at my own hubris and rock myself to sleep at night.

Granted, I may be waxing a bit melodramatic here, but don't judge me until you have spent as long as I have "randomly" queuing into the same section of Blackrock Depths.

There is a silver lining to all this, however; repetition, although tedious, helps reinforce muscle memory. I could map out every Clique binding I have while mumbling in my sleep. One thing that I made sure to do while making my way up the leveling ladder was to really get to know my heals: how they functioned and in what situations they would be most useful. Therefore, this week I'd like to touch on those most important of abilities to the holy flavor of paladin, our heals.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: The ups and downs of protection's funky aggro

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Granted, as far as class design goes, protection paladins are sitting fairly pretty (and not just the blood elves). Our rotation is great, our stat priorities produce a fun playstyle, our talents do what they need to. We don't have any serious holes in our stable of cooldowns, and on the whole staying alive isn't really an issue for us as long as there's a healer nearby. If you had to ask me what the biggest source of frustration with my paladin is, I would quickly reply with the inconsistencies of how aggro plays out.

That's not to say that single-target, Patchwerk-like aggro is an issue. Vengeance as-is means that tanks really aren't going to lose threat if they have a lead and they're being punched in the face. Rather, where the look and feel of the system breaks down is on the periphery, and in particular when new adds appear as the clock ticks on those crucial few seconds between spawning and gnawing of the closest healer.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Healer representation in Mists of Pandaria


Dedralie at Healiocentric has started a series examining how the 6 healer specs fared in Mists of Pandaria, and the first installment starts with a look at representation in raids. It's a fascinating article on the rise, fall, and sometimes stagnation of class fortunes, and toward the end there's a pretty cogent prediction on what mythic raids in Warlords of Draenor are probably going to look like if current trends continue.

This is a quick summary, but I'll provide more details past the cut. As Dedralie writes, while we're not really talking about healer balance or throughput here, there are a few obvious trends you can track from the Mists launch in September 2012 all the way to heroic Garrosh kills in January 2014:
  • Discipline priests and holy paladins ruled the expansion.
  • The absorption effects brought by these two healers is a huge advantage in heroic content (even more so in 10-man), and it may be too valuable as a mechanic.
  • Tier 15 (Throne of Thunder) was the most balanced with respect to representation. Tier 14 saw significant gulfs between class popularity that unfortunately returned with a vengeance in Tier 16 (Siege of Orgrimmar).
  • While monks and holy priests are still struggling for representation, it's instructive to look at the fights where they were significantly more popular.
  • Mythics will probably look like the "under-healed" heroics of MoP, which will prejudice heal teams toward synergies between absorption healers and those with strong throughput-based cooldowns.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Monk

So you want to be a holy paladin


Seasoned paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

On a clear day, just after the sun has set and there is no moon in the sky, if you are very, very lucky you can just make out the approach of Warlords of Draenor. People with expensive telescopes and bucket hats will insist that it's Mercury, but I've learned to never trust anyone wearing a safari vest.

Let's address the question that is undoubtedly burning in your mind: should I use the "boost a character to level 90" feature on a paladin? Well that's a very good question, thank you for asking it. If you don't already have a paladin at max level and want one, Warlords provides a great opportunity to hit the ground running with your new favorite class.

Personally, I'm not entirely sure what I will boost. One thing I've always wanted to try was a holy paladin, which would seem to be an easy option given that my protection offspec saw about as much use as Denver's offensive line during the Super Bowl. But just jumping into a completely new role with mostly new abilities never appealed to me, especially if that first jump happened during raid time. I like to be able to prepare for my inevitable failure so that I can write up a short list of excuses why I Beaconed a hunter pet and healed only myself for four consecutive attempts.

Scenarios like that are why I try to learn a class from the ground up. Not everyone is like this though; many people prefer to go on the internet and read about these things. Therefore, as I'm leveling I'll recount what I've learned - my triumphs, my mistakes, my body count – in the hopes that should you choose to exalt one of the Light's blessed warriors out of the dregs of the single digits to the heights of the nonagenarians, you might find the transition just a tiny bit easier.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking tactics for bringing down the Warchief

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Finally we've reached the end of the road and, in some respects, so too has Garrosh. He started out as the most emo orc this side of Oshu'gun and after a series of misconceived alley-oops rose to become the leader of one of the two superpowers on Azeroth. Of course we've all finally gotten sick of his nonsense, and it's time he was shown the door.

Garrosh presents, as most end-of-raid bosses do, a terrific challenge. This fight is not a walk in the park. Its increasingly harried phases will try the durability of any tank's nerves, without a doubt. To topple this Warchief you'll need to bring your absolute A-game, and hopefully today I'll be able to help you do that.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking tactics for the penultimate five bosses of Siege of Orgrimmar

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

A little more than a month ago I wrote the second part in this series of tips and tricks for the boss fights of the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, and now (nearly three months after the raid was released) I think I've taken my sweet time enough in closing this enterprise out. Unfortunately the excitement of BlizzCon and the holiday prevented me from coming to a timelier conclusion here, but hopefully your guild was like mine and was stuck on Thok for a couple of weeks -- wait, that's awful -- and so perhaps this may still be somewhat relevant to you.

Anyway, there are six bosses to go in this pretty well populated raid, and while most are pushovers, some can present a significant challenge for most groups. Garrosh follows the fine tradition of end-of-raid bosses being multi-phase monstrosities and as a result he's going to get a post all his own -- there's a lot going on there. For the remaining five, because I'm pressed for space and I have to cover so much ground, I'm going to present my tips in more of a lightning round-type of format. Okay, let's do this!

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: BlizzCon recap for tankadins

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

BlizzCon this year was a magical time to be a tank, learning what we did about all the changes coming down the pike in Warlords of Draenor. It seems that Christmas is coming early this year, with Blue Claus having decided that (for once) we're getting just about everything on our lists. Whereas Mists was in many ways an experiment in how tanking could work going forward -- with DPS stats galore -- Warlords is going to officially set those changes in stone and even expand on them!

I can't remember the last time I was as stoked as I was then, sitting in those seats and reading the word "GONE" next to dodge/parry. It was like something out of a dream. You always dreamed it would happen and then finally it does... There's just no way to prepare yourself for that kind of elation. And, believe me, the other changes they announced are just as good.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Paladining at BlizzCon

The Light and How to Swing It Paladining at BlizzCon

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Wow, what a weekend. Not only was the convention a lot of fun but it was great to meet fellow paladins and non-paladins alike. Most of my time was spent meeting people, watching panels, and playing demos. Amidst the chaos I didn't allocate much time to mulling things over, how the proposed changes in Warlords of Draenor would affect how I, and so many other ret paladins, approach the game, so now that I've had a decent night's sleep and my liver is mostly alcohol-free, I'm spending my day off in blessedly quiet reflection.

We didn't see much of any class discussion this year, and unless I missed an entire panel there wasn't a single paladin-related question throughout the entire convention. There are some big questions that it would be nice to have answered, like the permanency of holy power, the relative weights of our stats, the deletion of the warlock class, etc. We did get a few overall changes, changes that will affect ret in turn, so let's see how some of these could impact our day-to-day facesmashing in Warlords of Draenor.

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Filed under: Paladin, BlizzCon, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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