Thoughts on Pally Tanking: by a Fluffy Bear

  I got a wild hair yesterday and decided to start tanking on my Paladin. I had a whopping 5 pieces of tank gear in the bank with none of them gemmed or enchanted. I had Rimefang’s Claw for a weapon, the tank cloak from the midsummer boss, a blue ring from DTK (I think?), a chest from H TOC, and Ick’s Rotting Thumb for a trinket. I had enough Triumph badges for T9 shoulders and legs and the 245 off set helm. (I really do love those walnut shaped T9 shoulders.) I found some crafted boots in the guild bank. I bought the crafted Titansteel shield from the AH along with the 245 bracers. I found a blue neck and some blue level 78 gloves on the cheap, about 30 gold each on the AH. This left me with just needing a ring, a trinket and a new libram.

I had amassed 520 something defense just from about an hour of working the AH and turning in badges. If I can coble together a tank set in about an hour that is almost def-capped, anyone can. I spent around 2900 gold total. The bracers were pretty expensive at around 2k and the shield was around 700. I made some +def elixirs and made it to 550 something defense with just that. My tank set had a massive 4300 gear score when I was done; way down from my Holy set at 5500 something. I hoped the dungeon finder would be kind to my baby tank. 

I watched some You Tube videos and talked to Krakkle about the rotation. I was really concerned about the 69696 rotation. It was confusing to me on paper but in the actual doing of it – it flows quite nicely. I made my way over to the training dummies in Stormwind and decided to give it ago. 

I have to say that I love Avenger’s Shield! I giggle whenever I get to use it. I think I just stood at the dummies for a few minutes hitting it and then waiting for it to come off CD so I could hit it again. Bears don’t really have anything like it. We don’t get a cool animation when we pull nor do we get a taut that hits multiple targets on a reasonable CD. 

The training dummies made it painfully obvious that I was well under the hit cap. I was rocking a hit rating of 63. Oh, shit. Hit cap is 260 something and I am way low. I bought some +hit food and made the +hit elixirs so I wound up at 160 something after changing some gear out. It would have to work for the time being. My expertise is at 34 since I glyphed Seal of Vengeance (24 without). No worries there. I ended up with around 27K health and 26K armor. 

I played around with the rotation and got pretty comfortable with it. I hoped getting healed would help with my mana problems. It is the pits to go from 32K mana to 7K since I still had my +128 int healing trinket on and my 251 healing ring on. I got a friend to heal me through the first one I attempted. 

The first instance I ever tanked with the Pally was Violet Hold. Oh nice! Thank you, dungeon finder! Here I go, running up to the portal. My sword bounces around my hip as I run. (Pursuit of Justice FTW!) I get to the portal, lay down my Concentrate like a boss and wait. The mobs come right at me. Woot! I take my first swing with Hammer of the Righteous! Where the hell did my mana go?! Divine Plea is super weak sauce! Oh, shit… There’s a new portal up. Run over and Consecrate again. No mana at all! OMG this is bad… Must remember to drink between pulls. 

We made it to the first boss and it was the guy you have to kite. How the hell do I kite as a Paladin!? Damn, hadn’t thought about that until just this second. As a bear I just strafe and swipe, run backwards and Faerie Fire. Well, I tried to stay in melee range so I could smack him but that ended up being too slow and I lost almost all of my party to the orbs. Note to self: ask Krakkle about kiting as a Paladin… 

The rest of the dungeon went really well. My healer friend went back to his Ret spec for another one and that one went just fine. By then, Bright came on and we did some more. (Even Halls of Reflection! zomg) 

I have learned that mana does not equal rage. I really didn’t know how different the tanking classes were from each other until I actually had some hands on time with each. I thought since I’m a Bear I could also be a Tankadin because I had “tank” experience. I know all the pulls and the patting paths for every dungeon. I didn’t think it would be a glaringly different as it has been. 

Ways Paladins are NOT Bears: 

* Paladins need mana to tank and it does not regen as quickly as rage. You cannot make chain pulls the same way a Bear can. 

* Paladins do not have a swipe like ability. Hammer of the Righteous is kind of like Maul in that it hits a few targets. 

* Paladin “oh shit” is Ardent Defender. You do nothing to proc it other than getting your ass kicked. There is no Paladin equivalent of Barkskin. Lay on Hands has no Bear equivalent. Tranquility is not really something Bears use and that hits the whole party and not just yourself. It also has a much shorter CD. 

* I could sometimes butt pull if I didn’t have any rage and that would give me rage from taking hits. If my Pally runs up to a mob and smacks it, I still don’t get mana unless I have Seal of Wisdom up. Rage is much more “instant” where mana takes a long as time to regen. 

* Pally tanking is more “fluid” and well designed than Bear tanking from the standpoint of an actual “rotation”. If done right, the things come back up all in order and you just repeat the same thing. Bear tanking is about priorities and not rotation. Do I have FFF up or are all stacks of lacerate on the target? No? Let me do this. Crap, the lacerate fell off… 

* Paladins generate a crap ton of threat. I was shocked to see it. My Bear has to work her ass off for that kind of threat. It’s pretty lame if you ask me. I think a big ass, snarling bear is way more threatening than a beautiful Draenei girl with a bouncy pony tail. I am wrong, apparently, according to the Bliz Devs. 

All in all – Paladin tanking is boring. There, I said it. I am bored to tears tanking on my Pally. The Bear has so much more going on. People who just spam Swipe are doing it wrong. Bears are really dynamic and force you to think about what you are doing. While it is nice to see the battle text telling me X-ability is up and then I just push the button as a Paladin. But, it’s freaking boring. I can just press the number keys in order and I have all the hate in the room. I do and don’t like it, all at the same time. My Bear weeps for this kind of threat but at the same time there’s no challenge in it.

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