Sunday, January 9, 2011

Protection Talents: A Primer

Since patch 4.0.1, all classes have now a new way of choosing talents.  They are the following:
  • Choosing one tree at level 10 will grant you a skill, and several buffs off the bat
  • You will be locked into that tree until you spend 31 points in that tree
  • Major abilities are surrounded by a bold golden border
  • The weight of one talent point is now much, much more valuable.

With that said, let's take a look at the tree:

You notice that once you choose the Protection tree, you gain Avenger's ShieldTouched by the Light, Judgements of the Wise, and Vengeance.

Note how those three passive abilities change the playing field for protection paladins. Judgements of the Wise nullifies mana management, Vengeance improves threat generation, and Touched by the Light removes any extra doubts about grabbing that healing plate gear.  And to top it all off, you get all of these goodies when you choose the Protection specialization at level 10.

Blizzard wasn't kidding when they wanted make specializations more defining the instant you choose them.

For the rest of the talents, I won't be going over all of them.  Rather, I will focus on a handful of talents to point out which ones we can skimp out on, and which ones we have to take.

First of all, I will point out two things:

  • The value of each talent point now has drastically increased since Wrath of the Lich King, so the choices paladins make instantly impact the way we play in the game.
  • There are far more utility talents now than ever before.  In this sense, there is no perfect talent specialization.  Of course, there are talents that every protection paladin should take, but there are plenty of talents that are generally optional, left to the discretion of the player.

Must Have Talents:

Sanctuary - Take this talent for the Critical Hit reduction.  It is the only way to make yourself uncrittable by boss monsters, because the defense rating stat has been removed from the game altogether.

Hammer of the Righteous - It's our defining AoE tanking ability, and for the time being, it deals more threat on single targets than our Crusader Strike.

Shield of the Righteous - This is where we release the Holy Power we have collected.  It's our highest threat generating ability, and should be used when Holy Power reaches 3 stacks.

Holy Shield - It works off of our Shield of the Righteous ability, gives us extra damage reduction and is required to obtain Sacred Duty.

Ardent Defender - Arguably one of the best tanking cooldowns in the game, this ability is our panic button.

Now then, the rest of the talents can be categorized into two areas: Survivability, and Threat Generation.  Which ones you take are entirely up to you, but I encourage a balance between both.  Next are some optional talents that I highly recommend you taking.

Optional Talents:

Grand Crusader - The addition of a chance to reset your main tanking ability, Avenger's Shield, is too good to pass.  Avenger's Shield is an amazing tool in our arsenal, providing AoE threat generation and interrupt with the feeling that you're Captain America yourself.

Sacred Duty - Adding guaranteed critical strikes on your hardest hitting ability lets you dish out threat as if you were hitting the boss with a burning house wrapped in barbed wire and exposed 120-V electric cables.  With this talent, I can shun some dumb mage or hunter with my own damage numbers.

Divine Guardian - While some paladins might not take this talent because they prefer to generate more threat, I believe in tanking as providing a bodyguard service.  This talent works wonders on unavoidable AoE damage, and relieves healers on mana consumption.

Guarded by the Light and Eternal Glory - I took these talents to provide the group with cost-less heals, whether it is to myself or me healing another group member.  Reducing healer mana consumption and adding extra survivability is something I wouldn't overlook.

Vindication - The need for interrupts on encounters, big or small, are staggering, and the number of dps classes with interrupts on a short cooldown, and the number of dps who use interrupts should compel you take this talent.  Protection paladins who take this talent now have two options to interrupt an ability: Hammer of Justice and Avenger's Shield.

So now, hopefully you have a better grasp at how you should specialize your protection paladin.  In this new era of Cataclysm, the cookie-cutter builds have been mostly killed off, and it while you can find talent tree recommendations at a place such as WoW Popular, there is plenty of wiggle room for players to make their own decisions.  Play around with the builds, use calculators such as the Wowhead one linked above, and discover a specialization that you enjoy.

Happy Tanking!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Welcome to The Timid Tank!

I'm Circolare, a protection paladin playing on the Bronzebeard - US server and this will be the place where I  write down my experiences through tanking the challenges from World of Warcraft.

If you're here to find advice about tanking, hopefully I'll post enough information to keep you reading and inspired to tank.  If you're here to hear me whine about things, you'll find that here as well.