Thursday, February 7, 2008

Playing a Porcupine

One of my WoW-related pastimes that I like to engage in is learning about classes other than my own. Sometimes, I do this while I'm at work, reading forums and other WoW related sites for snippets of good information, buried amongst all the BAD information out there. Over time, though GM has systematically blocked more and more WoW-related sites as time goes on, which both hinders me, and helps me by forcing me to find other avenues of information like Blogs. A side effect of all of this reading is that I really enjoy talking with members of other classes about their own character's game mechanics, to the point where sometimes I even manage to clue them in to something THEY didn't know. And on the rare occasion I do a PuG, I have to fight to keep my mouth shut, because I'm fairly certain I'll be more knowledgeable than about half of the people I'm grouped with on the mechanics of their own class.

Whats my point in all of this? Well, today I'd like to talk about my experiences on my current alt-of-choice, my level 51 Prot paladin, Jasminne. Both to share my experiences, and also to get input into what I might be able to do better.

First of all, I started Jasminne after I realized that I would probably never play my shadow priest, Tornaq, again. Maybe its just the mid-30s, but no matter how I spec him, playing him just bores me to hell and back. So, since tornaq was going to be my healing alt once I got him to 70, I decided to make another alt to fulfil that purpose, and since shamans didn't (and still dont, particularly, at least in levelling) appeal to me, and I already had a druid, I figured Paladin was a good choice.

Jasminne started her life as a protection paladin. . .kind of. She was actually going to be a healer for a pre-arranged alt group I had set up, and I wanted to get BoK before going down the holy tree, but the group fell through (via people playing outside of group more than they did grouped together), and she was orphaned at level 20. So, at that point she got abandoned for a while, as I really didn't want to solo-level another character at the time.

Eventually, though, I got a second wind. Figuring that Retribution was the DPS spec, I respecced her to ret, picked up Smite's Mighty Hammer, and tore my way through Redridge and Darkshire. And. I. Got. BORED. Seal Crusader, Judge, Seal Command, Auto-attack, loot. Maybe the occasional heal. Recast BoW every 10 minutes so I dont run out of mana. *yawn*. Oh, and "tore my way through" isn't really the best choice of terms, it was fairly slow going, save for the rare occasion when I got a couple SoC procs in on the same mob. I probably would have killed faster overall if I had popped on might, judged command every time I could, and drank every time I went OoM, but I HATE drinking when soloing, with the possible exception of playing my mage, since he makes his own water.

Fortunately, I learned that there was another way, one that was, by many accounts, even better DPS than the DPS spec: Prot Levelling. So I read up on the joys of reckoning procs, three different ways to kill using shield block (Spikes, Holy Shield, BoSanctuary), and, possibly most appealing, the ability to solo easily what other classes often have trouble with (Large groups, like closely packed Murloc groups). I was hooked, and was so bored of Retribution that I actually respecced to Prot at 30, despite not being able to fill out Reckoning until 35, where most guides advised making the switch.

Now, I think if I weren't so excited to try something new, my 30s would have sucked. The first few levels, especially. But three things happen during your thirties that make a prot paladin get really, really good: You fill out Reckoning, you get Seal of Wisdom at 38, and you get Holy Shield at 40 (And plate, though I really didn't see that much difference there). I put special emphasis on Seal of Wisdom . . . that one spell increased my DPS greatly, as it allowed me (as a reluctant drinker) to cast more often, and take on bigger groups, without ever running OoM.

Fast forward to today: I'm 51, and revelling in my porcupine DPS nature. Most of my soloing gear. . . aw, who am I kidding, I only carry soloing gear, is either "of Defense" or "of the Bear" (Irony, much?). I figure that the defense gear both lets me take on larger groups, thus upping my DPS via retribution aura and reckoning, and makes me block and parry more often, increasing my DPS via Holy Shield/Shield Spike/Sanctuary and faster auto-attacks through parry. The bear gear, in turn, gives me a bigger stamina pool to play with, while also increasing the amount of damage I block by a bit (oh, and its the most common modifier on plate at the AH, really the blocked damage was an afterthought). Overall, I think I have something like 60% combined Block/parry/dodge/miss with Holy Shield up, and my blocks mitigate something like 90% of most mobs' damage.

I thrive on gathering groups of 3-5 mobs of around my level and watching them all die to the combined force of my reckoning-empowered sword and the unholy . . . holyness of my shield. Unless I need to take down a single mob alone for some reason, I pretty much just judge and seal wisdom, and use the incoming mana stream to fund my holy shield and consecrate spamming ways. And let me tell you, those mobs die fast: The first kill tends to suffer from me constantly having reckoning refreshed, while the last mob dies, not from my sword, but from the fact that by the time I turn my attention to it, its nearly dead from all of that reflective damage!

I have some questions though, mostly regarding my looming march into Outland at 58:

1: Is it wierd that I only really use Seal of Wisdom, and occasionally Seal of Light? Should I be trying to mix in my other seals, or am I right in figuring that all that extra mana is really helping my DPS more than another seal would?

2: How bad is the transition to Outland going to be? This is going to be my first time bringing a melee character in greens to outland, and I wonder if my mitigation is going to be worth a damn when I start going toe to toe with the beefed up mobs out there.

3: What is your advice on weapons when first entering Outland? I know that Prot pallys heavily favor spelldamage swords, but my options are pretty limited, with the first real option not popping up until the first boss of Slave Pens. Should I make it my priority to pick up one of those crappy spelldamage green swords off of the AH, or should I pick up a decent DPS sword and go with that (maybe springing for the 40 spelldamage enchant on it)? And, if this question wasn't long enough already, can I tank effectively in outland instances even if I dont have a spell damage sword yet?

4: Are there any items I should be sure to pick up BEFORE I go to Outland? Anything I should be sure to pick up as soon as I get there?

And then, the question nobody else can answer for me: Do I really want this character to be a healer when she gets to 70, or do I want to have a paladin tank to play with? Tough choice, indeed. I probably will go ahead and respec, if only because I might be able to con the guild into helping me gear her up so I can bring her on progression raids when we're set on tanks, but short on healers. Though, do I REALLY want to deal with the headache of tracking all of those buffs? . . .


cranberyxl said...

While not having played a prot pally (yet, he's only 19), I have some generic opinions to offer, fwiw.

One thing I've noticed is that Outland greens start at level 56, I picked up what I could on both my rogue and druid as I hit that range. They make a huge impact on the last 2 Azeroth levels and help get you into the first few quests in HP easier.

Prot pallys are truly awesome imho. Our MT is a prot pally and he can solo tank everything but Netherspite. The latest class changes give them even more hp. It just looks like a fun class to play, you get a great distance taunt, and blessing of kings (sure holy can get this...), and you always know that you can put salvation on everyone in your group. I never have a problem with threat when a good prot pally is tanking. You have to ask yourself, do you just want to mash your two heal buttons and throw out the occasional BoP? Also, you don't have to worry about as much CC, as we like to say, CC stands for continuous consecration! I say go Prot.

SuraBear said...

Haha, well, first of all, I'm pretty sure the cutoff for outlands greens is 57. That, or nobody ever kills whatever drops the level 56 stuff *shrug*

Anyhow, my biggest issue with staying prot is that, quite simply, Surania is already a tank. I dont really need 2 tanks. What I'm lacking right now is a healer alt. And as someone who actually ENJOYS healing, it might be nice to have a character specced to do it.

Additionally, if I go holy, I'm more likely to get some raid time on this character. Kirari and Kibler have killed maybe 30 Karazhan bosses between the two of them. . . if either of them was a healer, I bet that number would be much higher, and I might even have some 25-man experience on them (Well,technically I did bring Kirari to lurker attempts once upon a time, but that was due to SEVERELY lacking ranged DPS that day).

Regarding "mashing 2 heal buttons", it amuses me, no offense, how much people use these gross generalizations to make all classes seem boring. Shamen just spam chain heal, warlocks roll their faces on the keyboard, bear tanks just spam swipe and maul, etcetera.

The only time I've ever truly agreed with one of these generalizations was when I was levelling my mage as frost. Incredibly effective, but my entire life revolved around pressing mouse button 4. Loved the efficiency and killing power, but damn it was boring, and thats why he's now specced deep arcane, he gets to use a lot more of his spells that way.

cranberyxl said...

As far as plate drops go, you can get bracers and headpeices at 56 according to wowhead:;minrl=56;cr=110;crs=1;crv=0#0+2+1

I don't have plate experience yet, just leather of the Bandit pieces. I'm not sure how it differs between classes, but at 57 it does get much more lucrative.

I was very much being tongue in cheek about mashing 2 buttons. My main being a combat rogue could easily be boiled down to a few buttons, but to truly get the most out of any class there are tons of nuances that separate the average players from the exceptional ones. I would definitely spec for more raid availability, which is why I leveled my druid. Every class brings a certain level of utility (except maybe shadowstep rogues...I kid) Some raiding is definitely better then none.

Andrinal said...

Long time reader, first time commenter...hehe

Anyway, I leveled up a protection paladin as an alt to my bear tank and it was a blast. The 50s is absolutely the most fun time. Sorrow Hill in EPL is like a candy store for you. You can easily take 10-12 undead at a time there.

When I got to Outlands though it was a bear (pun intended). Rarely do you find groups of mobs without casters and killing one thing at a time takes forever.

The other problem is that I found it very hard to tank in pugs. Someone is always pulling the wrong mob or not giving you time to get threat on all mobs, or insisting on CC when it isnt needed.

Anyway, I switched to a Holy Shockadin build at 62 which is still fun for soloing and makes you a good healer.

If you stick with it here is a link to a list of good gear for Outlands.

SuraBear said...

Funny you should mention that now. Jasminne is currently 62, and just this morning tanked her second Outland run (Ramparts, I forgot to pick up the stupid letter on the dragonrider's corpse to get the second BF quest).

And sure enough, I had the rogue from hell in there, who pretty much personified everything bad you can encounter with a PuGger. I very nearly wrote today's post about him (and still might write about it tomorrow, that guy was such a unique and special flower he deserves for the story to be told).

He insisted on Sapping every pull (except, amazingly, the ones with dogs in them, I'm surprised he didn't attempt that one too). Unwaveringly, he'd choose to sap something in the middle of the pack so I couldn't shield pull (I was tempted to do so anyhow, but I just wanted to get the run over with, instead of picking a fight).

He would pull groups "accidentally" after sapping, expecting me to pick the mobs up off of him. For the most part, I obliged, but damn its annoying having to blow your taunt at the start of a fight because the rogue asspulled and is standing right next to the sap. Not to mention, he was 2-3 levels above me (he dinged on the second boss), so holding aggro off of him was already a chore, especially since I was using seal/judge wisdom so I could pull faster to satisfy Mr. Impatience.

He also didn't know much about the instance (another reason i'm surprised he didn't try to sap on the pulls with hounds in them). Twice he pulled big groups by insisting patrols didn't link with surrounding mobs. . . the single mob that crosses the path of the first boss, who links with TWO groups if you try to pull him mid-path, and the patrol by the second chest, which I've seen successfully pulled first ONCE, if you dont count pulling them with one of the side groups and taking them all down at once. On its own, a forgivable offense, but just one more drop in the sea of incompetence that was him.

The healer was a treat, too, though I dont have nearly as big a beef with the priest. The only problem was his gear wasn't very good yet (in fairness, mine isn't great, but at least am in mostly Outland "Of the Champion" greens at this point), so I didn't feel 100% confident in breaking the rogue's sap on pulls, just in case that was the pull I finally went down. I did have to blow LoH on one pull (the group by the second chest), but otherwise the priest managed to keep my metal butt up.

My only real problem with the priest was that the second boss dropped the healing necklace, which she apparently already had. However, instead of asking me if I, as a class who can heal, wanted it, she rolled need to shard it. I rolled need, too, pointing out that it would be a healing upgrade for me, but she won the roll. No apology or anything *growls*

Lao said...

Hi Surabear - first time reader first time commenter!

My main is a lvl 70 prot pally, and I have found that it to be a really enjoyable toon.

Things actually became easier for me when I reached outlands, as I had the ability to survive mobs 3 lvls higher than me, and the green drops gave me an instant boost.

In regards to Talents if you stick with Prot you will actually drop reckoning because as you level and improve your equipment you get hit less and less meaning it proc's less and less. Also there is so much in the Prot and ret tree that you want.

Regarding Spelldamage weapons more spelldam = more threat. Pally threat is based on holy damage done, I am still using mana wrath + spellpower enchant + superior wizards oil which basically gives +200 spelldam. This gives me greater ability to use more fighter gear for tanking.

Pally healers are the best single target healer in the game, with Flash of Light giving a high mana to heal ratio, even in my healing gear I am pumping out 1.4k heals every 1.5 seconds.

I am in the process of building a druid tank to give the guild more tnaking flexibility as our Fighter tank recently respec'd to arms, leaving the guild with 2 pally tanks. We still walk through Kara, but now we are trying ZA its getting a bit harder.

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