Friday, February 16, 2007

Main Tank Today

I hit 65 and main-tanked an instance for the first time. It was just Slave Pens in Coilfang Reservoir, nothing special, but it was a pretty interesting experience. I got to put a lot of theorycrafting to the test.

The group was me (65 paladin), 2 warlocks (a 67 and a 62), a 64 mage and a 64 priest. Decent group, everyone knew their stuff and played well.

Keep in mind that I am fully Protection spec, and that's how I'm looking at this run.

First off, holding aggro was not a problem at all. Between Avenger's Shield, Holy Shield, Consecration and Seal of Vengeance, I easily held the attention of all the mobs in a groups. The only time I had issues is cases where a mob bypassed me entirely and ran after someone. Even then taunting with Righteous Defence took care of most problems. As well, Avenger's Shield is very good. Pulling with AS and having the mage sheep a dazed mob is so much easier and cleaner than the mage pulling by casting sheep. And when the sheep is broken, the mob comes straight for me.

Where the problem lies is damage mitigation. I think I was much squishier than a warrior would have been, and my health level seemed to be much more unstable than normal for the main tank, especially in the last two boss fights. Of course, we didn't have a secondary healer, and every group I've been in other than this one has had at least one secondary healer--me--to smooth out the healing.

In fact, during the last two boss fights, I was casting heals on myself half the time. It seemed to be necessary to keep myself up.

We completed the entire instance, with only one wipe at the final boss. I didn't get any loot, but I haven't gotten loot in a TBC instance yet.

My conclusion for paladin tanking so far is that I need to concentrate less on threat generation and more on damage mitigation. One thing that I have noticed is that quests which have warrior tanking gear as rewards rarely have paladin gear as well. It would probably be worthwhile to save up some of those warrior pieces for the next time I have to tank.


  1. Hmm, I suppose you have been secondary-healer most instance runs?

    I too have been either primary/secondary healer through most of the instances Ive run so far (WC, RFC) Im only level 23 atm, and most of my talent points are in Holy. After 23, Im going full protection so when I need to tank, I will have the talent to do so. I do hope protection is great for tanking, it would be better if pally gear dropped more often.

  2. I've been Protection specced since BC came out, and I've been MT for every 5 man instance up to Tempest Keep. My experience has been similar to yours, really - the only times I have any issues with holding aggro is when there is a hunter in the group who doesn't want Salvation. Other than that, I generally have a very solid grip on the mobs.

    I initially started out trying to strike a balance between warrior tanking gear, and paladin spell damage gear (so that I could generate more threat from more spell damage). However, as we were getting to the harder instances, it was getting very hard to keep me up - the same sort of damage mitigation problem you were facing most likely.

    My current approach is to maximize my survivability in whatever way possible. I would say that nearly all the gear I wear when tanking is now warrior gear. If a piece has any sockets, I either put in tanking gems (+defense, +stamina, +strength, etc.) or a spell damage gem. While I only have about 20-30 +spell damage in tanking gear now, I've still found that I don't have any aggro problems whatsoever, but it has been much easier to keep me up.

    I do wish there was more paladin tanking gear in the game, though. The Paladin Dungeon Set 3 is very much a tanking set, but unfortunately none of the pieces have dropped for us yet. That way I can get good survivability and also some nice spell damage to help me generate more aggro.

  3. Though far more abundant now than pre-TBC, the tankadin gear selection is still disappointing to me. This is mostly due to Blizzard in my opinion making poor stat choices. There is gear with low stam and/or high int, a bunch of mana/5 and/or dmg&healing, or far too many stat points put into dodge rating. Even the epic tier 4 set fails in the stat department, leaving us as second rate tanks with main tank specs.
    Ideal paladin tanking stats are, I believe, as follows: high stam, high block value and block rating, medium defense rating, and low int, low mana/5, low hit rating, and low dmg&healing or holy dmg.

  4. Why in would you ignore Dodge as a stat? The ability to completely mitigate damage is excellent and you should never pass up parry or dodge.

    For tanking you don't need alot of +int or mp/5 or +spell damage at all. I'm doing just fine with 5k mana or so and 200 spell damage in places like Shadow Labs and Mechanar. What you do need alot of is +stamina,+dodge/parry, 490 defense and +block. Like any other tank.

  5. I certainly wouldn't say dodge and parry aren't good, but due to our talents, they aren't as good for paladins as they are for warriors. I suppose I'd include dodge and parry as things of which I'd like to have a modest amount, but if there are an inordinate number of stats allotted to one, as is the case with some pieces, those stat points are better spent elsewhere.

  6. What they said. I have a 64 Prot Pally. He carries 3 sets of gear:

    * MT Gear - Lots of +def and sta. Many green "of the Champion" pieces.

    * Healing Gear. Mostly +healing and int.

    * Soloing Gear. +Spell dmg and int, straight up.

    As 0/45/13 (I think?), I usually run with 10/12/10 d/p/b and over 405 def. Not bad for level 64 I figure.

  7. Alibi from Anetheron11:11 AM, February 28, 2007

    I've been MT from level 68 on, and I'm very excited to do so. I'm still experimenting out with what spec I really want to keep, as far as points go. The nice thing is there is a lot of good tanking pally gear out there. I have three pieces of Righteous (Head, Legs and Gloves), I also got the Pants from Revered from the Keepers of Time (Keeping the righteous for now as I heard those legs might receive a nerf). I also bought the Sword from the Keepers of Time, and all that plus Dmg really helps keep aggro when tanking. From what I've read and from what I've noticed from changing my gear is that you want + Spell DMG, Stam, Int, then Defense. By prioritizing that I've really increased threat generation and survivability. I hope more people try out tanking, meanwhile I should be tanking in Kharazan once my guild gets attuned.

  8. I'm a 10/51/0 prot pally on Vek'Nilash (Gilthoniel). It took me a few runs with my guildies for them to trust my aggro holding ability and to adjust healing, but we havebeen able to run anything so far with me tanking.

    Salvation buff is not an option for dps classes except 1 hunter friend I trust (he also spams me with misdirection as much as possible).

    I have a Warlock friend who swears I'm the only one who can hold aggro on him.

    I have focused mainly on Stam/Armor and less on +spell damage. I use a simple technique for mitigation: I start the fight using my Mana Wrath sword (+40 SD enchant), making sure I judge Crusader. When judgement is cooled down, I judge Light and switch to Revenger sword (crusader enchant). It's a very fast sword and it procs fairly often. Between the Light procs, the crusader and the built in lifestealing, I can easily generate a lot of HP during a boss fight. A couple of self heals and I am no squishier than any warrior tank. You can also seal Light, but I've lost aggro doing that, so SOR is better I think.