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Posts with tag paladin-protection-the-light-and-how-to-swing-it

The Light and How to Swing It: Being the main tank

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

I've been watching an unhealthy amount of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares lately -- not the trashy Fox reality drama production, but the U.K. version, which is more focused on the food and, y'know, kitchens. Anyway, while watching the interactions between the various members of the kitchens depicted, it's interesting the parallels you see between the various degrees of chefs and how that correlates with the various degrees of tanks within a raid operation.

Without getting too, er, French, the two biggest fish in a kitchen are the chef de cuisine (or, as the rosbifs may call the job, the head chef) and the sous-chef de cuisine. This correlates directly with most tanking hierarchies you'll find, where there is a main tank and an off tank. (In some guilds, there may be a number of off tanks.) Much like how the head chef is the boss when it comes to what's being served, the main tank is in charge of handling the burden of developing the tanking strategy and executing it. And likewise, while the sous-chef is second-in-command and chief substitute, the off tank handles a similar role within their own structure.

Similar to how the head chef might not be the one always sitting there and actually preparing every single dish, the main tank isn't always the one on the boss. For both, their personal strengths might lend them better to a different, lesser role while the lieutenant gets a chance to step up and carry some of the burden. You see this in fights where one tanking class is stronger against a particular mechanic than another, like perhaps putting a highly mobile warrior on Shannox's dog Riplimb. Essentially, there is more to being a main tank than the jobs you perform. It's also the experience, the leadership, the dependability, and the prestige.

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The Light and How to Swing It: It's the end of block as we know it

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Much like Commander Shepard and the Reapers, we've known for a long time that doom was coming for us block tanks, some way, some how. The stack has been on the nerf list for quite some time. We dodged the bullet in 4.2, and then in 4.3, the devs called off the dogs entirely, giving us a respite. However, with the recent publishing of Ghostcrawler's Mists stat changes Dev Watercooler, we now have an idea how our most favorite stat is going to be unceremoniously slice and diced.

The changes to block will have far-reaching consequences for our class (as well as protection warriors). Obviously, this is pre-alpha and thus a nerf only in theory, but it's obvious what the intent is here: the defenestration of block to prevent mastery from being the powerhouse stat and block from being the powerhouse mechanic that both were for much of the Cataclysm cycle. And while it's evident that something needed to be done to block in the long run, I'm not quite sure that the changes Ghostcrawler outlined were the best avenue to take.

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The Light and How to Swing It: The case against Vengeance

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Do you remember what it was like to tank before Vengeance existed? It's been a year and a half since patch 4.0.1 implemented the Cataclysm. Along with the myriad changes that followed, tanking threat was forever changed with the introduction of Vengeance. What I remember about threat generation in those halcyon days was you'd grab threat early on with an elaborate combination of burst and threat transfers from rogues and hunters, and then you'd spend the rest of the fight with one eye on Omen to make sure that shadow priest didn't sneak up on you and rip threat away.

I know this is a song that you've heard me sing many a time before, but I always found that constant threat (pardon the pun) of your DPSers ripping aggro from you to be an intrinsic, exciting part of tanking. And while I've always argued that being robbed of that aspect of our gameplay was the biggest problem with Vengeance, the fact is there are more mechanics-oriented issues with the design. Fellow paladin blogger Theck (he of numbers and pounding headaches, and the graphs that bring all the boys to the raid) has written a compelling indictment against Vengeance, recently posted on his blog, which has caused me to completely reevaluate my opinion of the design -- and not toward a more positive light.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Resistance, the magic stat

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Perhaps the most elusive of all tanking stats are the various magic resistances. You can't get them on any of the normal gear you strap to your various extremities, only on some trinkets. Some races have magic resistances as part of their racial bonus toolkits, but these are minimal and don't stack with any other resistance buffs. And speaking of which, two raid buffs -- Mark of the Wild and our own Blessing of Kings -- will increase all magic resistances by a set amount. Lastly, you can buff your resistances by a rather large amount with an elixir.

It fits that resistances are so rare considering how very, very powerful they are. Just the combination of a Prismatic Elixir and a raid buff can be worth about 28% magical damage reduction for fire, frost, and shadow damage, for example. Combine on top of the that the clicky effect from Mirror of Broken Images -- Image of Immortality -- which is worth 40.51% damage reduction by itself, and you're talking a serious percentage of magical damage just brushed off like dust on a sleeve.

A short history of magic resistance

In the early days of WoW, a key gear check for some raid fights was the requirement that everyone in the raid had to accumulate a set of gear with resistance stats for a specific type of magical damage. Molten Core was obviously the first, requiring raiders to grind out a complete fire resistance set so they could withstand the various fiery attacks that Ragnaros' minions would dish out.

This trend continued throughout vanilla WoW to fights like Princess Huhuran, for whom you needed melee players kitted out in nature resistance gear, to well into The Burning Crusade for fights like Hydross the Unstable. There, the encounter demanded one tank in frost resistance gear and one in nature resistance gear to correctly tank the fight. Black Temple had several fights that rewarded shadow resistance, and perhaps the grand swan song of the resistance set in The Burning Crusade was M'uru.

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The Light and How to Swing It: A look at the Mists talent calculator update for tanks

Talent calculator
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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Yesterday, Blizzard updated the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator for all the classes, tantalizing us with many new goodies. For the first time since the talent trees were first debuted at BlizzCon last year, there are actual new and exciting choices awaiting paladins in each tree -- not just reworked talents and spells that already exist in game, but actual new toys to potentially play with! Moreover, the spell list betrays a few clues of how tanking will operate for us in the next expansion.

Obviously, this is all pre-alpha and thus very much subject to change, but it's still very worthwhile to dig in and see where the expansion is headed.

The rotation keeps on rotating

For starters, as I had written was my hope last week, Crusader Strike (and Hammer of the Righteous) were changed to 4.5-second cooldowns, up from 3 seconds. And yes, they are still linked; using one will force a cooldown the other. In any case, this stretches out the heartbeat of the rotation, thankfully, and makes the act of moving through one's rotation much less blisteringly repetitive.

On top of that, Judgement's cooldown was reduced to 6 seconds, Consecration's to 9 seconds, and Avenger's Shield's to 9 seconds. And on top of that, Grand Crusader now has a 40% chance to proc a free Avenger's Shield. Considering all of that, we're talking about a very busy and very varied rotation. It gives me goosebumps just to dream about not having every other key I press be Crusader Strike.

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The Light and How to Swing It: 2 tanking wishes for Mists

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

We're still a ways away from Mists of Pandaria and certainly months away from the beta, but nonetheless, everyone's eyes are firmly affixed on the horizon that is the next expansion. Dragon Soul will drag on into the near future, and so around the umpteenth time one has defeated Deathwing, one cannot help but daydream of a brighter future of new landscapes, new enemies, and a revamping of one's favorite spec.

Tanks in particular have much to look forward to with Mists of Pandaria and WoW 5.0. We're due for a major reconstruction of our playstyle through active mitigation. Cataclysm proved eponymous with regard to how it changed tanking during its lifespan (some would rightfully argue that it was not entirely for the better). The hope is that MoP will be equally shattering but in a much more positive way. Where Cataclysm in many ways simplified tanking and made it less interesting, hungry eyes gaze upon the next expansion in the hope that it will reverse this course.

Myself, I have three wishes for Mists of Pandaria. Each would make tanking once again more compelling and far more interesting.

A new, more interesting rotation

In the Cataclysm beta, for a time, Crusader Strike was on a 4.5-second cooldown, which has the side effect of leaving gaps in the rotation. Beta testers raged against this, complaining that the gaps made the protection paladin rotation a snore, as well as hugely frustrating when you had nothing to fill a GCD with. Rather than fixing the issue by lowering the cooldowns on various filler attacks, the devs lowered the cooldown of Crusader Strike to 3 seconds.

This eliminated the gaps but at the cost of making the rotation horribly rigid. At least in Wrath's 969 rotation -- widely accepted as the most boring tank rotation in the game -- you weren't constantly hitting the same button every other GCD. The new rotation, snarkily dubbed 939, was in some ways a step forward, in other ways a step back.

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5 common mistakes paladin tanks make

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

I know this is not going to come as a very big surprise, but it's not very difficult to tank as a paladin. As any warrior tank would gleefully assert, even a trained monkey can operate the 939 rotation and squeeze in a Word of Glory from time to time to boot. Indeed, as the old adage goes, a paladin tank is easy to learn but difficult to master, and in many respects, that's very true. And very important. It's not good enough to just play the class -- we want to master it!

There are several common mistakes aspiring (or even veteran!) tanks make that hold them back from hitting their full potential. These range from covering threat generation to gearing to survivability. And correcting each is an important hallmark on the path to optimization.

1. Not hitting Crusader Strike enough Crusader Strike can be accurately described as the heartbeat of the protection paladin rotation. With its 3-second cooldown, resource generation, and generous contribution to one's overall damage numbers, Crusader Strike is situated in a hallowed place -- essentially, the center of gravity of our threat and damage. Not Crusader Striking enough can easily and mortally wound your damage output and thus your threat generation.

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The Light and How to Swing It: All Hands on deck

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

I still remember how great the news was when, in the run-up to Wrath of the Lich King, we were told that some of our Blessing spells were going to be converted to a whole new tier of temporary buffs that could be used situationally. This was something that the paladin community had been clamoring for for a very long time. There were just so many Blessings, and it didn't make sense for all the various offerings to be in the same tier.

Then, over time, our hard-fought victory was forgotten, as well as the whole idea of proactively lending a Hand -- sorry, there are going to be a lot of hand puns -- to your groupmates or fellow raiders. Where it used to be a common facet of paladin-ing (in any flavor) to use your then-Blessings as actively as possible, in the last few years, it's more become a characteristic of the min-maxers and the obsessive.

Your Hands aren't like Turn Evil. They actually can serve a vital purpose, even making the difference between a wipe or a kill in some cases. Indeed, I would posit that one of the dividing lines between good paladins and great paladins (regardless of spec) is how intelligently they use their Hands.

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The Light and How to Swing It: The importance of optimal play

A raid
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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

My column from last week explored what has been theorycrafted to be the optimal patch 4.3 rotations and talent choices. The responses brought up an interesting point -- there's wide disagreement on what the value of optimal play is. What defines optimal play, and what does that leave for what can be considered suboptimal? The answer to these questions are important because the effect they have on the multitude of players you associate yourself with in this, a multiplayer game. Playing, gearing, speccing, and so on -- your character optimally is an act of respect for your teammates. I'll explain what I'm rambling about.

What does optimal play mean? In short, optimal play is playing your character to the absolute best that it can be played. That includes not just the actual buttons you're hitting while on the ground tanking, but also the choices you make before the fight even begins with regards to your talents, glyphs, and so on.

Optimal play can change from fight to fight, depending on the demands of the encounter. But there is always one constant: Optimal play is what leads to the boss's death. Optimal play is what keeps you alive long enough for the DPS to kill the boss. Even if it's a wipe, optimal play is staying alive as long as you can so that the entire raid or group can learn the fight. In short, optimal play is maximizing your contribution to the success of group play.

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The Light and How to Swing It: The storied history of the paladin tank (part 1)

History of paladins
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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a Blood Elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

I've been playing this class for an awful long time, since the beginnings of The Burning Crusade. Prior to that, I played the special class known as the huntar (this is a distinct entity from the common hunter, I assure you). Since then, I've been firmly strapped into this roller-coaster ride that we all lovingly call the paladin class, experiencing all the terrifying lows, dizzying highs, and creamy middles.

It's been a wild experience and one I'm very interested in sharing with those who might be new to our beloved spec. To be a prot paladin is to be like that famous picture of human evolution, starting with the hunched-over monkey with Seal of Fury applied, all the way to the present-day man with Divine Protection, Ardent Defender, and Guardian of Ancient Kings all up at that same time -- just because he can, something that that the monkey could only hope to dream of.

Let's take a trip back in time, shall we?

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The Light and How to Swing It: First look at Mists of Pandaria's talents for tankadins

New paladin talent tree
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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a Blood Elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

At BlizzCon 2011, we received our first preview of what the new stable of talents would be for protection paladins. The name of the game, as the devs insisted, was to break the cookie-cutter mindset and allow for more diverse styles of play between two players of the same spec and class. It remains to be seen if the former comes to pass, but the latter seems to be a safe bet.

Each talent choice is (ostensibly) going to be designed to be as balanced as possible, or so Blizzard promises. At the moment, I think there is a clear cookie-cutter spec to be had, with possibilities for switching depending on any conditions produced by a specific encounter. As such, I'm going to dig through each of the 18 talents available to us and explain why I think the "winner" in each tier is the best choice in a vacuum.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Tips for tanking Majordomo Staghelm

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Here we are at Majordomo Staghelm, the last boss before Ragnaros himself. The final obstacle. As a member of the Horde, I don't really know much of Fandral Staghelm and can't enjoy the animosity he inspires in our leonine rivals. However, I imagine they're feeling the same satisfaction with this kill that I'll likely be feeling in the imminent future when Garrosh finally "goes crazy" and becomes a raid boss.

That said, Majordomo Staghelm is not a particularly difficult fight to tank. At certain points, the damage is going to be coming hard and fast for the entire raid, and your healers are going to need any breathing room you can offer them. Like previous fights in the Firelands, the key is to break out your toolbox, dump all those cooldowns on the table, and toss them out at the proper times. You'll also be able to engage in some gratuitous strutting, thanks to the raid cooldown you bring to the table.

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The Light and How to Swing It: The tankadin valor point pick order

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Is there anything more stressful than sitting there in front of the valor point vendor for the first time in a new patch, your pockets flush with new (ephemeral) currency, and your eyes wide at all the possibilities of what you can buy with them? All those dead trolls and fire elementals were piled up to bring upon this one glorious moment.

Now. What item is the best choice for you at that moment? You don't know! The skin flushes, sweat glimmers on your brow, the throat tightens, your mouth becomes arid. A horrified stasis clouds your face as Jamus'Vaz stares at you with open contempt. "Buy something, would ya?"

Okay, there are things far more stressful than that. And perhaps I'm the only one who can suffer a total mental shutdown in front of a virtual shopkeep. Irregardless, such panicked madness does not need to be your fate. There is a very clear path to victory here when it comes to managing your valor point expenditures here that will result in your getting the best bang for your buck in very short order.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking the Bastion of Twilight, part 1

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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Last week, we wrapped up Blackwing Descent with the demise of Atramedes and his progenitor, Nefarian. Now, with one front wrapped up, it's time to turn face and march into Cho'gall's fortress towering over the Twilight Highlands and wrap up another major staging ground for the threats of tier 11.

In this column, I'll give you the works on every boss: detailed descriptions of what each ability means to you as a tank, how to counter them, when to use your cooldowns for maximum effect, any pain points to watch out for, and how to maximize your kit to hit the ground running.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking Blackwing Descent for paladins, 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 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Two weeks ago, we talked about the entry-level bosses of Blackwing Descent, Magmaw and the Omnotron Council, and how to burst your way through them to open the gate standing between your raid and the Vault of the Shadowflame. With those two entry-level bosses out of your way, it's time for the meat and potatoes of the dungeon.

Between you and the Son of Deathwing are three more obstacles -- the architect of Blackwing's minions and the two horrible creatures he has forged. The fights themselves aren't terribly difficult, but they will test various parts of your tanking skill set, whether it be situational awareness, cooldown management, or add dancing. In this post, I'll go over the next two fights in exquisite detail, pointing out little tips that you can use to maximize your tanking prowess against Maloriak and Chimaeron, in order to set you up for the final two fights: Atramedes and Nefarian himself.

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