Tanking: Paladins vs. Druids vs. Warriors

Please note that this post is written from a paladin perspective. I neither have a druid nor a warrior :P. Warriors have a bunch of tools at their disposal: stance dancing, disarm, etc…but I don’t really feel like listing every little thing. I’m just trying to cover the basics to give a general idea regarding the differences between Bear Druids, Prot Paladins, and Prot Warriors.

Mitigation & Avoidance
Paladin and warrior mitigation/avoidance is almost entirely gear based. In fact, both have the very similar gearing goals, with the exception that paladins need to be somewhat mindful of their spell damage and mana pool. Ideally, warriors and paladins will want 490 defense with 102% block + parry + dodge + miss. Paladins will want around 200 spell damage and around 4,000 to 5,000 mana.

Druids have a significantly higher dodge rating but can’t block or parry in bear form, making them unlikely to completely push off crushing blows. Also, because of the lack of leather +def gear, they aren’t likely to reach the magical 490+ defense in order to avoid crits. Druids though, have by far the highest HP and AC of any tanking class. They don’t try to completely avoid crits and crushes like warriors and paladins, they just take them. For example: At least pre-nerf, many well geared tanking spec’d druids were AT the 75% AC mitigation cap with 20k HP.

Threat Generation
Paladins and druids have scalable threat generation, warriors do not (druids scale with strength/AP, paladins scale with spell damage). Warrior threat, on the other hand is based off of fixed value talents and abilities. It’s a trade off: Paladins and druids can control how much threat they generate, but at the cost of stat/gem/gear slots. Though warrior threat is fixed, it’s all skill based so they are free to focus on gearing mitigation and stamina.

Paladins can also front load a significant amount of threat because they start off with a full blue rage bar. Avenger’s Shield + SoR/JoR + Consecration = thousands of threat in seconds. The fast a tank can generate threat, the faster the DPS can start nuking. On the other hand, paladins LOSE mana while warriors GAIN rage. Even with Spiritual Attunement, a paladin will expend more mana they they will get back.

Multi-Mob Tanking
Warriors can Demo Shout in order to gain initial threat on a group of enemies, but it doesn’t generate a significant amount of threat. To my knowledge, they pretty much have to constantly switch targets in order to hold aggro on multiple mobs.

Druids are a little better: Demo roar will generate a small amount of threat (similar to Demo Shout AFAIK) and swipe will generate a significant amount of threat on up to 3 mobs. Any more than 3 and the druid will have to tab switch targets ala warrior tanking.

Paladins are ideal for multi-mob tanking. Righteous Defense will taunt up to 3 mobs off of a friendly target and Consecration will generate around 200 threat per tick for 8 seconds on anything it hits. Also, the more the paladin is being hit, the more Reckoning, Holy Shield, and Redoubt will proc.

Random Bits

Meh, busy lately. Oh, Heroes is back! If you haven’t seen it, all of the episodes are available online at the official NBC site. A few other things that I have been up to when I’m not in the office or on WoW:

  • Watching: Stargate: Atlantis, & Ergo Proxy. Ergo Proxy is an anime series that I’ve started recently. Sylistically, it’s very similar to Witch Hunter Robin (not surprising, same director). Contextually, it reminds me of GITS + Blade Runner + maybe a smattering of Matrix? I wouldn’t say that Ergo Proxy is an instant classic, but it’s interesting…worth a watch.
  • Reading: Finished Into a Dark Realm by Raymond E. Feist (favorite fantasy author). I have to wait an entire year to read the next one 🙁 This book is actually the latest installment in a fairly long line of books; The Riftwar Saga being the first trilogy (Magician, the first book, was broken up into Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master in some releases).
  • Playing: WoW, Peggle, and Kingdom Hearts II. I have a stack of unfinished games that I set down for the Burning Crusade. I would like to finish some of them before I lose my place and have to start over.

Paladin PTR Changes
Several paladin changes were made in a recent PTR patch. Well, it’s a start but I’m not going to start cheering until Illumination is at 75% :P. I actually haven’t had a chance to take a gander into the test realms. Perhaps I will this weekend, I want to see exactly what changes were made to the talent trees (paladin = poor, I don’t want to respec).

  • Illumination now returns 60% of base mana cost, up from 50%.
  • 1h weapon spec is now working, and is causing 5% more damage to spells like consecrate and holy shield while a 1 handed weapon is equipped.

Tanking Notes

  • Your heroic tanking gear goals should be roughly similar to your raid tanking goals. Technically, if you are talking absolute bare minimum: since heroic bosses only go up to level 72, you can do with 485 defense. Also remember that mob only deal Crushing Blows when they are 3 levels higher.
  • I rescind my comment regarding never running out of mana. The more geared you are, the less mana you get back because you aren’t getting nearly as many heals (as of 2.1 over healing doesn’t return mana). Hasn’t been that much of a problem in heroics/raids yet (still have to budget mana during certain fights though).
  • If you are seriously considering being a raid or heroic tank, collecting Arcane Resistance gear is a worthwhile endeavor (Tempest Keep, Curator). The Enchanted Adamantium set gives 140 total with all 4 pieces, 30 from the JC neck, 30 from each of the JC rings, there is a shield that drops in heroic Ramparts for 20 (I think). Aim for 200…don’t be like me, who spent a crapload of gold rush buying at the last moment.
  • Rep: Tanks will want to get revered Keepers of Time (best pre-epic tanking legs, 1-handed spell damage sword, the head enchant) and exalted Sha’tar (epic slotted shield and epic healing mace) for the goodies. Make sure to complete the Keepers of Time quest line, the last part (Black Morass) gives 8,000 rep.

To-do: Site
Though honestly, the only time I really work on stuff like this is when I am procrastinating or have had too much coffee.

  • A short guide to pre-raid tanking gear.
  • Cheat sheet for Kharazan (for my own sake, I swear wowwiki goes down whenever I am looking shit up mid-raid).
  • A tanking “cheat sheet” that is, a reference for stat formulas and what not without the 10 pages of babble.

To-do: WoW

  • Farm mats for the Bracers of the Green Fortress
  • Get +40 spell power chanted on my tanking sword (lol been using the exalted HH one just because it was epic…though the revered KoT blue sword has more stam :P). I am a bit below where I want to be spell damage wise. I put +30 int on all of my weapons for the sake of skilling Enchanting.
  • Farm Primal Mana for more Arcane Resist items.
  • Get exalted CE…2.5k off. Close to exalted for KoT as well.

Tip of the Moment: Lucky Charms (aka Target Icons)

I promise that I have an actual non-WoW related post coming one of these days. Overdue for a short anime or book review. I like how all of my posts are either when: I am eating lunch at work, right before I go to bed, or at 2pm. One huge ass trick to making just about every instance smoother is crowd control. Especially important in heroic instances where you can't realistically tank more than one mob at a time (depending on the mob and instance I suppose).

The raid icons make it stupid easy to let individual party members know exactly what spell needs to be applied on what mob. Make sure to define the icons clearly before the run starts and to use them consistently. Only the party/raid leader or promoted raid members are able to use the icons. The icons can be applied on both friendly and unfriendly targets. I think the targeting icons are unbound by default so you will need to hit escape, go into the key-binding options and bind them to a set of unused keys. Otherwise, you can just use the WoW API to make a macro:

[code]/script SetRaidTargetIcon("target", x);[/code]

Where 'x' is a number that corresponds to the following symbols:
0 = Clear
1 = Star
2 = Circle
3 = Diamond
4 = Triangle
5 = Moon
6 = Square
7 = X

Most people for example, denote the skull as "DPS this target." Make sure to change the DPS icon mid fight so your party members know which target to focus on.

10 Raid Guild Application Tips

Edit: June 17th, 2008: What the fuck happened to the formatting? Fixed.

…because guild applicants and guild officers don’t always see eye-to-eye in terms of membership application and evaluation procedures. Raiding guilds take themselves very seriously, perhaps too much so in many cases. If you don't like that, you don't have to apply.

1. Follow directions!
Some guilds have really specific application procedures, read the forum stickies, etc. Here's a protip: How well you follow read and follow directions is often a part of our prospective member evaluation procedure. Also, some guilds like long apps, some like short apps…it really varies.

2. Read the guild documentation
This includes, the guild guidelines, the charter, DKP rules, anything stickied, etc. When you apply to a guild it is assumed that you have read all guild information provided and have agreed to all terms. If you have a question regarding loot rules, guild policies, or whatever, ask an officer for clarification.

3. Read the schedule and raid times
What time zone is this guild in? What times and days do they raid? Can you consistently make all guild events on time and for the entire duration? Can you make a long term commitment? No one likes new members who vanish a week after being ginvited due to real life situations that they "forgot" to mention.

4. Learn about the guild's culture before applying
Some guilds are prudish, some spout sex jokes every 5 seconds, some are composed of adults, some are composed of 12 year olds, some are casual, some are not. Guild officers not only want good decent, but people who will mesh well with preexisting players. Hint hint hint: a guild isn't going to get up and change just because dick jokes make you feel uncomfortable. Deal with it or don't apply.

5. Don't apply or trial for multiple guilds at the same time
I know it may seem more efficient, but this offends many guilds…who will instantly deny you any chance of membership for applying on another site. Remember: Guilds are looking for members who are committed to their guild, not every guild on the server.

6. Don't schedule multiple trials
Basically the same answer as above. I've had people schedule multiple trial runs with multiple guilds at the exact same time and wonder why their application was denied. WTF?

7. Don't make a "copy and paste application"
Most guild sites have a specific form that they wish to be filled out. Use that format, not your own. There are two reasons why: 1. It shows that you can to some extent read and follow instructions, 2. Having all applications in a standard format makes it easier for the officers to read.

8. Spell check
Use properly punctuated English, spell check and make sure that your application isn't one huge block of text. Most guild officers have an instant bias against applications that they are unable to read. If you can't give me the time of day to write a readable application, I'm not likely to give you the time of day for a trial. (By extension, please please don't write Walls of Text. Paragraph = friend).

9. Don't lie
Why do people outright LIE on applications? We can see your gear and spec in the armory, we can determine approximately how much experience you have in certain instances by looking at your rep, and we can also find your REAL guild history as well as interview your former GMs. Honesty, even from people with colorful guild histories, is appreciated.

10. Don't omit information
If there is a question that you can't answer or wish to keep private, just say so. Omitting important information looks suspicious.

2.1 PTR Paladin Changes

Overall threat buff from the talent changes and an increase in damage mitigation in the sense that Holy Shield won’t proc off as easily with 8 charges instead of 4. Nerf to tanking duration. Talents aside, what about reitemizing our gear? WTB more stamina, damage mitigation, and spell damage…NOT int and mana/5. Threat buffs are nice, but threat really isn’t our problem at the moment.

  • The Spiritual Attunement nerf shouldn’t be that much of a problem in raids due to the amount of healing recieved, but I worry a little about our tanking duration in the 5-mans. I have to budget mana as it is…
  • The Improved Holy Shield talent is very nice. More damage means more threat and more charges means that Holy Shield won’t likely expire unless you are fighting a mob that attacks extremely fast.
  • Avenger’s Shield changes are good. Though dead zone elimination is a buff, given the high cooldown, mana cost, and tendency to break nearby CC, how useful will AS be? …and will we have enough mana to cast this with the Spiritual Attunement nerfs.
  • I’m not sure that 5 points is worth 5% more damage from all sources (and aggro for that matter), but then again, deep deep down in the tree, there might not be anything else worth spending 5 points on.
  • Argent Defender: Even with the reduction from 50% to 30%, the threshold increase from 20% to 35% should be nice, need to crunch some numbers to see for sure. It’s still pretty easy to leapfrog though…


Illumination nerf, spell crit has been effectively devalued by 50%. It’s not completely useless, but it’s going to force many healadins (and devs?) to re-examine their healing gear and healing style. Itemization wise, the nerf sucks hard, being a class that’s very much dependant on gear. Are they going to change the stats on T4 and T5? The spell crit on level 70 healing plate items ain’t lookin’ so great at the moment.

Flash of Light duration isn’t that super affected; stacking on mana/5 still means that you can chain FoL and almost never run out of mana. You can’t do that with Holy Light…unless they add UNGODLY amounts of mana/5 on our sets, HL spam duration still depends on getting crits and getting mana back. So, what about being the main healer in heroics? It’s not as if you can heal heroic instances on Flash of Light alone…not with mobs hitting for 2 to 4k on plate.

So again, itemization: Nearly ever paladin is going to have to take a look at their healing set and gearing goal. It’s not a devastating class-ending blow, but it will hurt a lot…

The Vengeance change is interesting. Does it refresh with each crit (in the same way that SoV does)? How does this affect the ideal 2H DPS weapon speed? Slower weapons mean larger crits (3.8 is "ideal" for SoC), but it also means less of a chance to refresh the buff within the 15 second time frame. So, is this a buff, debuff, or sidegrade?


Full Paladin Patch Notes

  • "Ardent Defender" (Protection Talent) now reduces damage taken by 6-30% when below 35% health.
  • "Avenger’s Shield" no longer has a minimum range. It may be used onany target within 30 yards.
  • "Avenger’s Shield": The damage portion of this ability will now be applied even if the victim is immune to snare.
  • "Divine Shield": This ability no longer removes or prevents the "Weakened Soul" debuff.
  • "Eye for an Eye": Some spells did not trigger "Eye for an Eye" correctly. That has been fixed.
  • Fixed some data errors that caused "Seal of Command" and "Seal of Blood" to generate more threat than intended.
  • "Forbearance": It is no longer possible to use a macro to gain the benefit of "Avenging Wrath" and "Divine Shield" at the same time.
  • "Greater Blessing of Kings": The cost for this blessing is now twicethe cost of "Blessing of Kings", instead of a fixed cost of 150.
  • "Greater Blessing of Sanctuary 2": The range on this spell was incorrectly set to 30 yards. It has been changed to 40 yards.
  • "Greater Blessing of Wisdom 3": The range on this spell was incorrectly set to 30 yards. It has been changed to 40 yards.
  • "Hammer of Wrath": Rank 4, damage increased.
  • "Holy Concentration": This talent now affects "Binding Heal".
  • "Illumination": This talent now only gives 50% of the mana cost of the critical heal. It also now returns the correct amount of mana when used with ranks 4 and 5 of "Holy Shock".
  • "Improved Seal of Righteousness": The percentage increase in damagefrom this talent is now applied after all bonuses from items and effects which increase your spell damage.
  • New Protection Talent added: "Improved Holy Shield", 2 ranks: Increases damage caused by "Holy Shield" by 10/20% and increases the number of charges of "Holy Shield" by 2/4.
  • "One-Handed Weapon Specialization" (Protection): Now increases all damage caused by the paladin by 1-5% while a one-handed weapon is equipped.
  • "Seal of Blood": This seal will no longer cause additional chances for weapon procs to trigger.
  • "Seal of Righteousness": This seal will no longer cause additional chances for weapon procs to trigger.
  • "Seal of the Crusader": The rank 7 tooltip has been fixed to read the same as other ranks of this spell.
  • "Spiritual Attunement": First-aid generated healing will no longer trigger this ability. However, "Lifebloom", "Earth Shield", and "Improved Leader of the Pack" will now trigger it correctly. The tooltip has been adjusted to indicate it only works on healing from spells.
  • "Spiritual Attunement": Mana is no longer healed if the paladin is at full health.
  • "Stoicism" (Protection) should now properly affect all magic effects cast by the Paladin and no longer applies double its intended benefit to "Blessing of Might" and "Blessing of Wisdom".
  • "Vengeance" (Retribution Talent) now increases Holy and Physical damage by 1/2/3/4/5% for 15 seconds following a critical hit, but the effect now stacks up to 3 times.
  • Vindicator Aesom at Blood Watch will now correctly train a full range of paladin spells.

The “490 Defense Cap” Clarification

To clarify the following statement that I made regarding the "490 defense cap" in this post:

490 is also the CAP for defense in relation to critical strike mitigation (unless they raise the maximum mob level beyond 73). Tseric was quoted as saying, "At 490 defense, the math caps out.

490 defense is the cap for critical strike mitigation only (confirmed by Tseric on the US WoW boards). You will still get miss, dodge, parry, and block (14.7875 defense rating for 0.25% to miss dodge parry and block, 1% total mitigation/avoidance). You will still benefit from defense past 490. At 490 defense you become uncrittable to any mob in the game. After reaching 490 you want to work towards raising your block% + dodge% + parry% + Miss% to 100% total so that you will be immune to crushing blows.

Block is technically the most efficient way of raising mitigation, but it is also the hardest to obtain since it’s not really found on a whole lot of things or chantable. Dodge is second I would say because it’s raisable via agility as well as +dodge (ratio isn’t that bad either). Dodge is nice because dodging means you recieve no damage. (I need to double check my ratio formulas for tanking stats, don’t think some are correct).

Nostromo n52 Gamepad and WoW

Note: I wrote a more recent article on the Belkin n52te, an updated version of the n52, if anyone is interested in reading a comparison.

It took a about week for me to find the “perfect” WoW button configuration and a week or two more to get really comfortable using the n52 in multiple situations and on multiple characters. Once you pass the adjustment time frame, it really is a great gaming accessory to have, seeing that you can map pretty much every single ability and macro onto your left hand. 

The n52 has 3 rows of buttons (2 rows of 5, 1 row of 4 on the bottom), a D-pad where your thumb sits, a red button above it, a large button below it, and a clickable scroll wheel between the keypad buttons and the D-pad. It also has 3 different shift states (red, blue, green) which can be bound to any button. You can set each shift state to “momentary” (only active while holding the button) or toggle (active until you press the button again). If you aren’t sure what a shift state is or need more information, read the literature on Belkin’s website.

Anyways, I don’t know how useful this post is to anyone, but when I was Googling for information on WoW n52 setups, there wasn’t a whole lot of useful information available. I tried to make my setup as generic as possible to avoid having to tweak settings in the Nostromo software. So swapping ability positions means just swapping where I keep spells on my action bars in game.

Button Configuration
There are basically two ways in which people have the D-pad bound: a. using it to control basic movements or b. using it for shift states (shift, control, alt, and then jump or whatever). I do the former, binding it in this manner: forward, back, strafe left and strafe right (using the mouse to turn of course). Using it to control basic movements is actually what takes the most getting used to, since WASD is the norm. Even if it takes some time to get used to I would recommend binding the D-pad in this way, it will leave more of the keypad buttons open for abilties and shift states.

I have red shift set to momentary bound to the large red button above the D-pad and blue shift on toggle bound to scroll up. Normal (not red or blue) is used for spells and abilities, red is used for the non abilities (the map, social screen, battleground score, bags, etc), blue is bound to the raid icons (aka lucky charms) and other junk.

Shift (top action bar in WoW), alt (self cast), and control (pet bar) are bound to the leftmost keypad buttons on each row. The remaining 11 buttons on the three rows are bound to abilities. I have my most frequently used abilities bound to the middle buttons on the middle row because that is where my fingers naturally rest.

Scroll up is bound to blue, scroll down is bound to the key that switched my action bars in WoW (bar 1 is for frequently used abilities, bar 2 is used for buffs), and scroll click is used for jumping. I have the button on the bottom bound to tab targetting. It seems like it would be a good place to bind jump but it really isn’t since you can’t use the D-pad and press it at the same time (not unless you were born with a second functioning thumb).

End Stuff
Oh by the way: The black hand rest is removable and adjustable; the manual just doesn’t really say how to do it. Hold the n52 firmly on a table and pull the black part straight up, it might require a bit of force. If you have large hands, you can move it down a peg, otherwise just remove it or leave it where it was.

I stated this at the beginning of the post but: the n52 takes some time to get used to, it has a fairly steep learning curve depending on how you choose to bind your keys. Give it some time, it might take a week or two to get used to.

Attached to this post is the .n52 file for my WoW configuration profile if anyone is interested.

Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS

I picked up a new toy for my computer last Friday. I started turning the backgound music in WoW back on because it just sounds absolutely rich and phenomenal in comparison to my old Audigy. Just FYI: The X-Fi Xtreme Gamer is pretty much the same card as the Fata1ty FPS, just $100 cheaper and without the front audio panel and remote. What can I say? I like shiny buttons…

I guess my only major complaint about the card is that the X-Fi uses a shared audio input/output "flexijack" for all non speaker related connections. So if you have multiple devices, a microphone and whatever else, you will probably have to swap them in and out. That isn’t a problem though if you have the front panel.

Word of advice to anyone trying to enable use of the maximum number of sound channels in WoW: It’s disabled by default for some reason. Go into your WoW directory, open the WTF folder, and then open "config.wtf" At the very bottom of the file, add this line:
[code]SET SoundOutputSystem "1"[/code]

Otherwise, if you don’t have a sound card that supports 128 sound channels, keep moving the slider down one tick at a time until you can hear things /shrug. I’m not sure why they aren’t labeled, it’s sort of annoying.

Also, a lot of people seem to be having crackling and popping issues with Creative cards (X-Fi included) and nForce 4 boards. I haven’t had any of these problems yet, knock on wood, but there isn’t a good solution to this problem yet to my knowledge, so it is something to keep in mind if you are thinking of purchasing one.