Tag Archives: spells

If WoW were real…

Typhoon Andrew asked, in a recent post, “what 5 abilities, spells, effects, or powers would you like in real life“?

Coming up with an answer is harder than it sounds! After much contemplation…

  1. Cure Disease. The Paladin version, Cleanse, would be alright as well. Let’s face it; disease is a global problem, and the ability to cure it – including non-infectious diseases – is something I couldn’t go past.
  2. Heal, or some variant thereof. As someone who’s been plagued with health problems ever since an accident a decade ago, I’m keenly aware of how fragile our bodies are. The ability to heal the wounded would make such a huge difference, both to my own quality of life and to the world in general.
  3. Swift Flight Form. Because really, who doesn’t want to fly?
  4. Teleport. I love visiting new places, but the getting-there part of the Lose Weight Exercise gets pretty tedious after a while, especially when you live half a day by air from almost anywhere else that speaks your language.
  5. Mind Soothe. When my friends and I throw around the old “if you could be any superhero…” conversation, I’m usually keen on the Invisibility-type powers, so Stealth was a strong contender here. I think Mind Soothe – which, in the real world, would really be like a more subtle version of Mind Control – could be plenty of fun, too. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…”

What would you pick? Awesome combat powers so you can be a ninja? The stealth of a rogue, so cat-burglary can fund your early retirement? Or perhaps Tailoring or Leatherworking, if you aspire to a career in fashion? ;-)

Healadin Glyphs – A First Look and a Revelation

Note: this post contains information on Wrath of the Lich King.

Inscription is still being tuned, and a lot of glyphs are incomplete or non-existent – not to mention we haven’t seen a single Minor Glyph yet for most classes.

However, some of the existing Glyphs are worth taking a look at; of course, they may change before Inscription goes live. And some of the glyphs lead to some very interesting conclusions about possible playstyles when Wrath goes live.

Continue reading Healadin Glyphs – A First Look and a Revelation

Change is afoot.

Firstly, apologies for the week-long silence – I’ve had family staying with me, and computer time has been rather limited.

Note: This post contains spoilers for Wrath of the Lich King.

So, the WotLK beta is open, and there are a lot of changes coming to light. I need to spend some time thinking before I post anything substantial, but for now let’s look at a few points relevant to pallies, particularly holy pallies. I’ve boldfaced the really notable stuff of interest to endgame healadins. Observe the giant nerf to Blessing of Salvation. I’m trying not to knee-jerk QQ about it – it can only really be analysed in the context of WotLK gameplay and game mechanics – but man, that’s a complete evisceration.

Continue reading Change is afoot.

2.4: Turn Evil and How to Make the Most of It

In all the hoo-ha about the big changes on the PTR, a few smaller changes have slipped through.

Here’s one I’m keen about.

Turn Evil
This is The Spell Formerly Known As Turn Undead (Rank 3). It’s effectively the same, except now it applies to demons as well as undead (and, as a result, is subject to diminishing returns and lasts 10 seconds in PvP).

This is an excellent change.

This quiet little change is mostly getting attention for its arena implications, but its effect on PvE is just as interesting. Previously, warlocks have been the only classes able to CC most demons (excluding hunter traps), and it’s made life hard for those guilds without many warlocks.

Now, well… don’t have enough warlocks for Magtheridon? Never fear! Your pallies can team up to keep a few infernals busy – enough to trim down the ranks of infernals beating on your squishies, at any rate. This change reduces guild reliance on a specific class for specific encounters, and that’s always a good thing in my opinion. (Encounters that require a specific class balance are made of fail; we’re not all hardcore guilds who can snap up recruits whenever they like, nor force guildies to play something other than what they want to.)

You can’t chain fear with Turn Evil/Turn Undead, because it’s got a 20 second duration and a 30 second cooldown. Two pallies teaming up can chain fear between them, of course, and you don’t need to be able to chain fear to keep a mob under control with it. You just have to use your environment and your other abilities to spend those ten seconds in between fears, to keep the mob under control.

  • Use Hammer of Justice to buy six seconds, and reposition further away – then taunt the demon to you when the stun breaks, and re-fear while it’s running over.
  • Delay a demon by taunting it back and forth between two healer pallies a reasonable distance apart; it’ll spend a lot of its time running back and forth, using up those dead seconds until your Turn comes off cooldown again. (The second pally could also fear it if necessary, but RD is an instant whereas TE has a 1.5 second cast time, so it’s less of an interruption to your other tasks.)
  • Pretend you’re a hunter and kite. Slap on Righteous Fury for extra agro gen, pump a couple of Exorcisms into the demon (and Holy Shocks if you’re a healadin), then fear it. You should be top of its agro list by now, so it’ll definitely come back to you when fear breaks, so just make sure you’re standing a good long way away so it’ll take a while to get back to you. Use environmental obstacles so it has to path around to get to you, if possible.
  • If you have a hunter with a spare pet, get them to put it on the demon as a backup tank. The demon will only be beating on the pet for ten seconds at a time, so the pet won’t die, and it’ll keep the demon busy til your fear comes up again.

If you’ve got any other good ideas about how to make the most of Turn Evil, please leave a comment! I’m looking forward to playing with the spell.

Holy Shock Again

I just noticed on the PTR that the new Holy Shock:

a) costs 650 mana (up from 435, a ~33% increase), so that’s a big cost increase and makes Holy Shock much more of an “emergency stopgap” heal than a viable part of a healing rotation. This is also going to make life more mana-intensive for shockadins, unfortunately. Blizzard giveth and Blizzard taketh away.

b) is currently bugged and doesn’t consume Divine Favor when DF’s activated – you get a constant string of crit Holy Shocks until you cast FoL or HL to use up the DF charge. I assume that will be fixed before it goes live, though.

Buff: Holy Shock

And another great healadin change from the 2.4 PTR! WoWInsider is reporting that Holy Shock has had a buff to its effects

Holy Shock
Old version: Blasts the target with Holy energy, causing 530 to 574 Holy damage to an enemy, or 530 to 574 healing to an ally.
New version: Blasts the target with Holy energy, causing 721 to 779 Holy damage to an enemy, or 931 to 987 healing to an ally.

In my current healing set (with 1930 +heal) my Holy Shock currently heals for ~1370; after the patch it’s going to be around 1770 healing, which is better than my Flash of Light. Flash of Light takes 1.5 seconds; Holy Shock is instant but triggers the GCD. Flash of Light has no cooldown, Holy Shock has a 15 second cooldown. Flash of Light costs 180 mana, Holy Shock costs 435 mana.

Looking at the two spells, the obvious conclusion is that Flash of Light is still better overall; it’s a far better heal per mana output, and not far behind on pure healing output (and has no cooldown). However, Holy Shock is going to be decently viable as an instant “save someone from dying now” spell, which paladins have so far lacked, and the buff is going to make it a valuable – but not overpowered – part of the healadin arsenal. I won’t be weaving HSes in whenever the cooldown is up, but I will be using it to save lives.

Thumbs up.

Tanking as a Holy Paladin

Taking a quick break for the “Levelling a Pally” series, this is a look at tanking as a level 70 holy paladin. Some of the advice is relevant to sub-70 pallies (particularly spell choice and spell sequence); some isn’t (like the gearing discussion).

It’s pretty easy to tank when you’re a tankadin: you’ve got all the spells you need to make you uncrittable and uncrushable, and all you need is a bit of gear on top.

Tanking as a holy paladin is another matter – there’s nothing in the Holy tree that gives you any more survivability (except for Blessed Life, which is 31 points in and does not a tank make) – but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to do it. Regardless of your enthusiasm for healing, you are a plate-wearer, and sometimes people are going to need to hide behind you. Here’s a quick guide to how to be the best non-tank tank out there.

First of all, I’m assuming that you’re not going to be tanking (or offtanking) any raid bosses. You need to be Protection spec and more than minimally-geared to avoid Crushing Blows (which can be done by all raid bosses apart from a few in Zul’Aman), and unless your healers are really overgeared a crushable tankadin is a very bad thing.

That said, Holy Paladins still make great tanks for AoE trash in raids, and for 5-man instances. Despite being a healer to the core, I regularly tank AoE trash pulls in Karazhan and Zul’Aman, and I can tank pretty much any normal-mode 5-man without breaking a sweat. (I’m fairly confident I could comfortably tank most heroics, too, but there’s usually tanks clamouring for badges, so I don’t have to.)


If you expect to be doing a reasonable amount of tanking as a Holy Paladin, I’d recommend a talent build like the 40/21/0 Main Healer/Offtank build that I recommended in this post. For tanking, the important talents here are:

  • Improved Righteous Fury: Gives you a lot more threat while Righteous Fury is up and reduces all damage you take. Essential for any real amount of tanking.
  • Anticipation: increases your Defense skill by 20. That’s 20 skill, not 20 rating; it’s a huge boost to your survivability (and, being a passive bonus, it’ll make you a bit less crittable even in your healing gear, which is never bad).
  • Redoubt: Block chance is a bit of a funny one to get your head around, because it’s easy to get Block Rating and Block Value mixed up. (Block Rating increases your chance to block with your shield; Block Value increases the amount that each block actually blocks for.)

    In any case: shield block is a particularly useful mechanic when you’re facing lots of small attacks, because it knocks its block value off every piece of incoming damage – so you’re better off blocking 10 incoming attacks at 200 damage each than one attack at 2000 damage. So Shield Block really comes into its own when you’re AoE tanking large packs of weakly-hitting mobs, which pretty much defines a lot of early trash pulls in, say, Karazhan.

  • The rest of the talents are really down to your own preference, although I’m a huge fan of Guardian’s Favor in particular. If you’re really desperate to go 41/20/0 so you can take Divine Illumination, I’d recommend dropping a point out of Toughness.


One of the problems with early tankadin gear (assuming you don’t have stacks of epic tanking gear picked up as offspec gear) is that a lot of the good tankadin quest rewards conflict with the best healadin quest rewards as well – so if you’ve been levelling to 70 with the intention of being a holy paladin, you’ve probably picked healer gear over tank gear to gear your primary role up first (as you should).

Here’s a quick list of gear choices that don’t conflict with healadin quest rewards, if you’re looking to throw together a reasonable tanking set. Stats-wise, you’re looking for:

  • Enough Defense rating to get you to 485 Defense, which will make you uncrittable by level 72s and below.
  • Stamina and Armor for taking the hits.
  • Dodge and Parry for avoiding the hits.
  • Spellpower for threat generation – generally, aim for a 1H caster weapon with high spell damage, and stack stam/dodge/parry/defense on your other pieces of gear. The spellpower from your weapon should be enough to hold agro until your DPSers get very well-geared.
  • Generally you don’t actually need to gear for Int and mp5, as the heals you receive will regenerate your mana anyway (via Spiritual Attunement).

I haven’t actually sandboxed all this as a gear set, so it might be a trifle low on Defense rating; that may also happen if you’ve had to take some of the secondary recommendations for particular gear slots. I recommend either checking the gear out on a site like Warcrafter to see how it works as a set, or sitting down with your ungemmed, unenchanted gear and getting your Defense rating up first before you start gemming for stamina.

Here’s a sandboxed view of the gear set I outline below. As you can see, it actually stacks up to 508 defense, so you’ve got some Defense rating you can afford to loseWeight Exercise in favour of Stam or avoidance as you gear up with Karazhan loot or badge rewards.

Note that this gear list assumes you have zero access to raid-level gear; if you can pick up some pieces (like the Kara tanking epics) they’ll provide very large upgrades over many of the items I’ve listed here. This post from Zen is an excellent guide to the evolution of gear in each slot, and also highlights some useful craftables that rate very highly (eg the Tankatronic Goggles if you’re an Engineer), and in fact that post served as a handy reminder for quite a few gear pieces I’d forgottten while writing this post.

Helm: Felsteel Helm – BoE craftable with Blacksmithing; get one made or buy one off the AH. Fill it with stamina gems, and put a Glyph of the Defender (Revered Keepers of Time) on it.

Neck: Strength of the Untamed – Revered Cenarion Expedition.

Shoulders: Spaulders of the Righteous (from Laj in Botanica). Fill it with stamina gems, and add Greater Inscription of Warding (Exalted Aldor) or Greater Inscription of the Knight (Exalted Scryers).

Back: Devilshark Cape (from Kalithresh in Steamvaults) with a +12 Agility enchant.

Chest: Vindicator’s Hauberk (Revered Aldor), or failing that Jade-Skull Breastplate (from Nethermancer Sepethrea in Mechanar) for Scryers. (If you’re Scryer and can’t get the Jade-Skull Breastplate, next best is Breastplate of the Righteous from Kalithresh in Steamvaults, filled with stamina gems.) Add a +150 Health enchant.

Bracers: Bracers of the Green Fortress are BoE epics from Blacksmithing, and by far the best option pre-Karazhan. +12 Stamina enchant.

Gloves: Felsteel Gloves, again BoE made by Blacksmiths. Fill with stamina gems and add a +15 Agi enchant or a Heavy Knothide Armor Kit.

Belt: Sha’tari Vindicator’s Waistguard from the Arcatraz key quest. If you vendored it or chose a different reward, try Lightwarden’s Girdle (reward from Deathblow to the Legion, the Aldor quest to kill Socrethar in Netherstorm) or Girdle of the Immovable (from Quagmirran in Heroic Slave Pens).

Legs: Timewarden’s Leggings (Revered Keepers of Time) with a Clefthide Leg Armor attached. These are amazingly good for blues, and will serve you very well for a long time.

Boots: Flesh Beast’s Metal Greaves from the Mana-Tombs quest. That was back at level 66, though, so if you’ve vendored them since then (like I did), try Boots of Righteous Fortitude (from Anzu in Heroic Sethekk Halls) or Boots of the Colossus (from Pandemonious in Heroic Mana-Tombs).

Rings: Elementium Band of the Sentry (from Skyriss in Arcatraz) and Andormu’s Tear from the quest to finish the Caverns of Time: Black Portal instance. If you chose the healing ring from those quest rewards, replace Andormu’s Tear with a Delicate Eternium Ring, a BoE craftable by Jewelcrafters.

Weapon: You have several choices here. Your bestest bet is the Season 2 arena weapon Merciless Gladiator’s Gavel. If you don’t PvP, go for the Continuum Blade (Revered Keepers of Time). Either way, put a +40 Spellpower enchant on it.

Shield: Crest of the Sha’tar (Exalted Sha’tar) is your best choice here. Alternatives are Ogri’la Aegis (1 Apexis Crystal and 50 Apexis Shards at Revered Ogri’la) or Platinum Shield of the Valorous (from Ambassador Hellmaw in Shadow Labs). Fill gem sockets with stamina gems, and add a +18 Stamina enchant.

Relic: Libram of the Eternal Rest (from Darkweaver Syth in Sethekk Halls) for AoE tanking, or Libram of Saints Departed (from The Maker in Blood Furnace), Libram of Divine Purpose (20 Badges of Justice) or Libram of Zeal (15 Marks of Honor Hold/Thrallmar) for single-target tanking. Remember they’re swappable in combat, of course. :)

Trinkets: On the one hand, picking trinkets is tricky because they can do so many things. On the other hand, picking trinkets is easy because it’s hard to get access to good ones. For avoidance trinkets, try Adamantine Figurine (from Blackheart in Shadow Labs) or Figurine – Dawnstone Crab (BoP trinket made by Jewelcrafters). For pure stamina, the Commander’s Badge is good (Revered Netherwing), or Gnomish Poultryizer, Goblin Rocket Launcher or Figurine – Living Ruby Serpent (BoE Engineering-required and BoP Jewelcrafting-only trinkets respectively) are options if you don’t have an epic flying mount. And the Darkmoon Card: Vengeance (from a Darkmoon Furies Deck) is fantastic both for its huge Stamina bonus and its reflected damage; I put one together and have never regretted it despite the expense.

Tankadin consumables are well-summarized here, and there’s nothing more for me to add. You should carry a reasonable selection of these when you expect to be tanking; they’re a huge boost to your efficacy without expensive regearing, regemming, or respeccing.

Comparing Gear
I recommend the TankPoints addon; it calculates an overall “TankPoints” value for every piece of gear you have, balancing out the gear’s tanking-relevant stats. It adds a line to your item tooltips giving you the TankPoints of an item relative to your currently-equipped item, so you can tell if it’s an up- or down-grade.

TankPoints also comes with a calculator – which you can access using the drop-down menus on your character paper doll – where you can add or subtract stats to see the effect on your tankpoint total. (Eg “what if I replaced this +9 Stam blue gem with a +8 Dodge red gem, allowing me to get the socket bonus of +3 Parry as well?” Use the calculator to deduct 9 Stam and add 8 Dodge and 3 Parry, and see if your overall TankPoints go up or down.)

Note that TankPoints does not take into account your need to maintain a certain Defense rating to be uncrittable, for example. So if a gear change will drop you below that rating, it doesn’t take it into account – you’ll need to bear the “485 Defense” hard limit in mind yourself.

But Why 485 Defense? I Thought 490 Was The Magic Number?
490 Defense is the magic number – if you’re going to be tanking raid bosses. It makes you uncrittable to Level 73s. However, if you’re tanking raid bosses you really need to be uncrushable as well, and you’re not going to achieve that without a) going Protection spec and b) having better gear than I’ve listed above. If you’re not going to be tanking raid bosses, the toughest mobs you’ll be facing will be Level 72s, and they only require 485 Defense to be uncrittable against – so you may as well shoot for that number and save the extra item budget for use on stamina or avoidance.

Make sense?

Spell Usage

Okay, so, here’s what you need to know – your threat comes from two main sources: Holy damage that you deal (which scales with spell damage on your gear), and reflective damage that mobs deal to themselves by whaling on you.

Tankadins use a number of staple spells to build and maintain threat: Righteous Fury (and Improved Righteous Fury), Avenger’s Shield, Holy Shield (and Improved Holy Shield), Blessing of Sanctuary, Consecration, Retribution Aura, Righteous Defense, and Judgement of the Crusader + Seal/Judgement of Righteousness or Seal/Judgement of Vengeance. (Do blood elf tankadins use Seal of Blood?) Three spells from this list – Blessing of Sanctuary, Holy Shield and Avenger’s Shield – are reliant on having points in the Protection tree (21 points, 31 points and 41 points respectively), and holy pallies just aren’t going to have the talent points spare to get either of them. (Don’t try and go 30/31/0 to get Holy Shield while still being a healer, that just means you’ll do a mediocre job of two roles, instead of one.) On the other hand, Improved Righteous Fury only requires 13 points in Protection, and is really a must-have.

However, holy paladins have all the other spells listed above, and a couple more advantages besides. Here’s how to use them.

Righteous Fury: This is what makes you a tank, not a healer with agro.You should have this up at all times, barring nubface moments where it wears off and you haven’t noticed. (Even main tanks do it. Heh.) Pay attention; don’t let these nubface moments happen. :)

Aura: Unless you really need the armor of Devotion Aura, or a specific elemental Resistance Aura, you should use Retribution Aura for the reflective damage. It has a significant impact on your threat, and is key for holding threat levels against multiple mobs. It’s even more important for us than for tankadins – they can get reflective damage off Holy Shield and Blessing of Sanctuary. All we’ve got is Retribution Aura. Use it.

Blessing: You won’t be getting Blessing of Sanctuary – if there was a prot pally around to give it to you, they’d be doing the tanking! – so generally Blessing of Kings is the standard of choice. If you’re not going to be copping too much of a beating, you may prefer Blessing of Wisdom for mana regeneration, but that’s a choice you should only make if you know you can handle the pull safely.

Consecration: This should be constantly up if you’re AoE tanking; the threat output it provides is massive. If you’re only tanking a single mob, you may wish to be more judicious with this spell as it chews through a lot of mana; use a Consecrate or two at the start to build good agro, then lay off it unless your DPSers are really pushing you for threat. Also, Consecrate will obviously break CC (and is particularly dangerous when your CCers are mages, as sheep do tend to wander) – but then, you’re an AoE tank! Why are you using CC in the first place?

Seals and Judgements: On long fights (ie against bosses), you’ll want the threat lead that a Judgement of the Crusader will give you (by amplifying your Holy damage); in these cases, lead off with a Judgement of Righteousness for a quick threat burst, then lay on Judgement of the Crusader with your next Judgement cooldown, then continue with Seal and Judgement of Righteousness for ongoing threat. Against trash, it’s probably not worth laying down the Judgement of the Crusader, just stick with Righteousness – particularly on AoE pulls, where you’d waste a lot of threat-generation time trying to get JotC onto every mob.

Holy Shock: This is one advantage that Prot Pallies don’t have; it might not have the massive threat output of Avenger’s Shield, but on the other hand it’s an instant. Pair it with Divine Favor for a guaranteed crit that’ll do about 1k damage at ~350 spell damage (compared with 750 damage from a crit JoR) and a decent threat burst, from up to 20 yards away. Or self-cast it for an instant heal if you need an emergency health top-up and your pot’s on cooldown.

Exorcism: This one’s situational, only applying to demon and undead enemies – but there’s lots of those in TBC. It’s an instant direct-damage spell, so that translates to an instant burst of threat.

Righteous Defense: This is the pally taunt, but it works differently from bear and warrior taunts. It’s actually an instant, no-duration ‘buff’ cast on an ally, and will redirect up to 3 mobs attacking that target onto you instead. This has several issues you’ll need to be aware of:

  1. It has a 15-second cooldown. Your DPSers need to know that you can’t just mash taunt and pull everything off them all the time; if they pull agro, they need to give you a chance to get the mob back under control before they open up again.
  2. In the heat of a fight, using this spell vanilla is a pain in the ass, because you have to target your party member and RD them to get the mob(s) back. What you can do is use a RD macro to make it act sort of like a normal taunt.

    #show Righteous Defense
    /cast [help] Righteous Defense; [target=targettarget,help] Righteous Defense

    This macro: shows the cooldown for RD on its tooltip; casts RD on the target if the target is friendly; otherwise, casts RD on the target-of-target. So, you’re tanking a boss, you see its target change from you to the crit-happy hunter who’s forgotten where their Feign Death key is, and you can immediately hit this macro to pull the mob right back to you (as your target is the boss, the last part of the macro takes effect and it casts RD on your target’s target – ie the hunter).

  3. The mechanics of this actually make CC pulls very viable. Say you have a 4-pull where you want to sheep one mob and tank the rest? Get the mage to sheep the CC target, and all the other mobs will start running at the mage. Just slap RD onto the mage and 3 of those mobs will immediately start running directly at you instead; just make sure your DPSers hold off on the AoE til the mobs actually reach you and hit your Consecrate.

Hopefully this proves useful to those of you who are in the same boat as me – this is the result of a lot of reading, pondering, and bothering of my guild’s tankadin. If there’s anything I’ve got wrong or anything you’d like to see discussed, let me know!

Edit: Honors Code beat me to the punch by a week! His post particularly addresses the route of a hybrid spec, and there’s some really good points there – go check it out.

Levelling a Paladin: Introduction (Auras, Blessings, Seals & Judgements)

Most of my attention has focused on paladins at the level cap, because that’s where you really have to pay attention; that’s where the difference in a few stat points actually makes a long-term difference, rather than just being a poor gear choice you’ll replace when you level again tomorrow.

However, there’s a lot of confusion out there about how to level a paladin; what talents, what gear choices, what playstyle? So I’m going to run a short semi-regular series about how to level a paladin, whether it’s an alt or you’re new to the game. I hope it proves useful.

Okay, on with the content.

Basic Playstyle

Paladins have a number of potential playstyles: Holy paladins make great healers and can DPS in melee range. Protection paladins make great tanks and can DPS in melee range (using AoE abilities to kill a lot of mobs at once, usually). Retribution paladins make good melee DPSers – it’s a very popular PvP spec for paladins, too.

Healing and tanking are very separate issues; for the moment I’m going to look at DPSing, as that’s what you’ll do most of when you’re levelling. At its core, paladins do the following when DPSing: buff themselves and their friends (with a static Aura and medium-duration Blessing buffs), cast a Seal, run in and start hitting the mob, Judge the Seal onto the mob, cast a new Seal, repeat until death. (Yours or the mob’s. :))

“Auras? Blessings? Seals? Judging? What the hell?” Paladins have a number of spell types; let’s take a look at them here. Note that every single spell I’m discussing here is an instant-cast spell.

Paladin Spells: Auras, Blessings, and Seals & Judgements

  • Auras: You can have one aura active at a time, and it will affect everyone in your party within a certain distance of you (normally 30 yards, 40 with a Holy talent). Auras are static and only need to be re-applied if you die or change aura. Your aura choices are:
    • Devotion Aura: You start with this at level 1; it gives everyone extra Armor. Often the “default” aura when there’s nothing better to use, because people almost always take physical damage.
    • Retribution Aura: First gained at level 16; it causes Holy damage to anyone who strikes a person with this aura. This is very popular with paladin tanks, as the damage caused by Retribution Aura adds to the threat of the person being hit.
    • Concentration Aura: Gained at level 22; helps ignore spell interruption caused by taking damage (and with a Protection talent it reduces the duration of silence and interrupt effects used against protected people, too). Very popular if you’re fighting mobs that silence you or interrupt spellcasting, particularly if you’re in a party with lots of spellcasters.
    • Resistance Auras: Shadow Resist (first gained at 28), Frost Resist (first gained at 32) and Fire Resist (first gained at 36). These give the relevant type of Resistance to protected people; they don’t stack with things like Shaman resist totems, the priest’s Shadow Protection buff, or the resists granted by the druid’s Mark of the Wild buff – so if you have a priest in your party who’s giving Prayer of Shadow Protection, for instance, don’t bother with that Shadow Resistance Aura. Otherwise, these auras are very useful for elemental damage fights, especially used in concert with resistance gear.
    • Sanctity Aura: This can be gained any time from level 30 onwards, it’s the 21-point talent in the Retribution talent tree. It increases Holy damage done by anyone affected, so it’s great for paladins and holy priests who are levelling. It’s also used in endgame raids to amplify the damage dealt by a paladin tank, to boost up their threat.
    • Crusader Aura: Gained at level 62; increases mounted speed for all affected people by 20%. It doesn’t stack with any other movement-speed increases (Riding Crop, Mithril Spurs, the Pursuit of Justice talent, etc).
  • Blessings: These are the core Paladin buffs, which generally last 10 minutes and can usually be applied to any friendly player. (Some are shorter duration and can only be applied to party members.) You can only put one Blessing on any given player. The Blessings are:
    • Blessing of Might: First gained at level 4, adds Attack Power. Good for DPS warriors, feral druids, hunters, enhancement shaman, rogues, retribution paladins.
    • Blessing of Wisdom: First gained at level 15, adds Mana Regen (mana per 5 seconds, or mp5). Good for pretty much any mana-using class, although some (like hunters, DPS and tank paladins, and enhancement shaman) would probably prefer something different unless your party has more than one paladin.
    • Blessing of Kings: Can be gained at level 20 (with 11 talent points in the Protection tree), increases all base attributes (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Intellect, Spirit) by 10%. A very popular blessing, especially good for tanks but useful for basically anyone.
    • Blessing of Salvation: Gained at level 26. Can only be placed on party members. Reduces all threat caused by the recipient by 30%. On no account should this be used on tanks (otherwise they’ll never keep agro); otherwise, useful in parties when you have DPSers who keep out-agroing the tank. Particularly popular with DPS players who don’t have any inbuilt abilities or talents to drop their threat: so, DPS warriors, enhancement shamans and the like. Note that this blessing is not much use when you’re soloing or in a small party, unless you’re taking on targets (instances, elite mobs, etc) that require proper tanking.
    • Blessing of Sanctuary: Can be gained at level 30 (with 21 talent points in the Protection tree), reduces all incoming damage by a small amount per attack, and causes a small amount of reflected Holy damage to an attacker when the blessed player blocks a melee attack. This one’s a core blessing for tanks, particularly paladin tanks, particularly paladin tanks in AoE tanking situations. (The damage reduction helps in situations with a lot of small incoming attacks, and the reflected Holy damage boosts the tank’s threat. See the tanking guide coming up later for more details.)
    • Blessing of Light: First gained at level 40. Increases the effects of Holy Light and Flash of Light used on the blessed target. This one’s good when you have a paladin healing the tank, and the tank is going to need a lot of healing. Rarely used until facing difficult instances and endgame raids.
    • Blessing of Protection: First gained at level 10. Lasts 6-10 seconds, depending on spell rank; can only be used on party members. Has a 5-minute cooldown (3 minutes with Protection talents). Protects the recipient from all physical attacks, but they can’t attack in return. Excellent to save, say, a mage or priest buddy when s/he’s getting beaten up; drop a Blessing of Protection on them, and they can still safely cast. Note that this doesn’t protect you from spell or elemental damage.
    • Blessing of Freedom: Gained at level 18. Lasts 10 seconds (14 with Protection talents). Has a 25-second cooldown. Makes the recipient immune to all movement-impairing effects. Works well for getting out of nets and the like tossed by mobs; also popular in PvP for getting away from hamstrings, wing-clips and other effects that slow you down or pin you in place.
    • Blessing of Sacrifice: First gained at level 46. Lasts 30 seconds with a 30-second cooldown. Transfers a small amount of damage per incoming attack from the blessing recipient to the paladin that cast the blessing. This one has two main uses: the first is to protect someone from damage if they’re going to take a lot of small attacks. The second, and more common use, is in PvP (and some PvE encounters) where the paladin is likely to be CCed, stunned or feared. The transfer of damage from the blessing recipient will break the paladin out of the CC/stun/fear, allowing them to act normally.
    • GREATER BLESSINGS: There are Greater variants of all the standard-length 10-minute Blessings (Wisdom, Might, Kings, Salvation and Sanctuary). These Greater blessings differ from standard Blessings in several ways:
      • They require a reagent (Symbol of Kings)
      • They last for 30 minutes rather than 10
      • They affect all the members of a class in your party/raid (within buff range)

      So, let’s assume I’m buffing a raid, and I’m the only paladin. I cast Greater Blessing of Wisdom on the healer druid standing next to me, and all the druids in the raid (who aren’t out of range or PvP-flagged) are simultaneously buffed with Greater Blessing of Wisdom. If the raid also has a feral druid who will be DPSing, they’d prefer Blessing of Might, so I can target them and cast the standard Blessing of Might. It will overwrite the Greater Blessing of Wisdom on that druid only, although it only lasts 10 minutes so I’ll need to re-bless them singly twice more before everyone else’s Greater Blessings wear off.

  • Seals and Judgements: these are the paladin’s very short term special effects; each Seal spell has two effects depending on whether you’ve buffed yourself with it (the Seal buff) or debuffed the enemy (the Judgement debuff). Seals apply only to the paladin, and Judgements are applied to an enemy, but their effect often works on anybody attacking the Judged enemy. Yes, it’s a bit of a muddle; follow on, and I’ll explain. (Also, as with most Paladin effects, a paladin can only have one Seal active at a time, and only one Judgement debuffing a given enemy.)

    The mechanics of Seals and Judgements work like this: first of all, a Paladin will cast a Seal, which is a short term buff (30 second) that takes effect (or has a chance to take effect) every time you swing your weapon. If you want to apply the debuff half of the spell’s effects to the mob instead, you cast Judgement (a pally spell with 10 yd range and a 10-second cooldown) and it takes away your Seal and applies the debuff half of it to the mob you’re targeting instead. Using Seal of the Crusader as an example, the Seal effect adds Attack Power and makes the paladin attack 40% faster (although doing less damage with each attack); the Judgement effect gives the mob a debuff that lasts for 20 seconds and increases Holy damage the mob takes from any attacker.

    Judgement debuffs last 20 seconds, but they can be extended without having to reapply them altogether. A melee strike from the paladin will refresh the debuff applied by that paladin; a Crusader Strike attack from a Retribution paladin will refresh all Judgement debuffs on a target.

    Clear as mud? Okay, let’s take a look at the actual Seals and Judgements:

    • Seal of Righteousness: on every swing, causes an extra amount of Holy damage, increasing with your weapon damage. (2H weapons do more damage from SoR, too, to account for the fact that they swing a lot slower.)
    • Judgement of Righteousness: a direct hit of Holy damage to the enemy. Is not actually a debuff, just a damaging attack, so doesn’t overwrite any existing Judgements from this paladin.
    • Seal of the Crusader: adds Attack Power, and causes the paladin to swing 40% faster (though doing less damage with each swing).
    • Judgement of the Crusader: a debuff that increases the amount of Holy damage taken by the mob.
    • Seal of Command: has a chance on every swing to deal extra holy damage equal to 70% of the weapon’s damage. Requires 11 points in the Retribution tree.
    • Judgement of Command: a direct hit of Holy damage to the enemy (increased if the enemy is stunned). Like Judgement of Righteous, this is not actually a debuff, just a damaging attack, so doesn’t overwrite any existing Judgements from this paladin.
    • Seal of Justice: each melee attack has a chance to stun the target for 2 seconds.
    • Judgement of Justice: stops the affected target from fleeing from combat (only applies to mobs that will run from combat, obviously, and doesn’t stop player enemies from running away in PvP).
    • Seal of Light: on every swing, the paladin has a chance to regain a small amount of health.
    • Judgement of Light: a debuff causing all melee attacks against the judged enemy to have a chance to return health to the attacker.
    • Seal of Wisdom: on every swing, the paladin has a chance to regain a small amount of mana.
    • Judgement of Wisdom: a debuff causing all melee and ranged attacks (including spells and wand shots) to have a chance to return mana to the attacker.
    • Seal of Vengeance: available to Alliance paladins only, at level 64. Every swing has a chance to apply a Holy damage-over-time effect (called Holy Vengeance) to the target, which can stack up to 5 times. Once the stack hits 5 applications, further triggers of the Seal’s effect will refresh the duration of the existing stack and do a small amount of Holy damage to the enemy.
    • Judgement of Vengeance: a direct hit of Holy damage to the enemy, which increases for every stack of Holy Vengeance (so applying this Judgement before your Seal has stacked any DoTs on will actually achieve nothing at all). Is not actually a debuff, just a damaging attack, so doesn’t overwrite any existing Judgements from this paladin.
    • Seal of Blood: available to Horde paladins only, at level 64. All melee attacks deal extra Holy damage equal to 35% of weapon damage, but also cause 10% of this to the paladin as well.
    • Judgement of Blood: a large direct hit of Holy damage to the enemy, and also causes 33% of this to the paladin as well. Is not actually a debuff, just a damaging attack, so doesn’t overwrite any existing Judgements from this paladin.

Putting It In Practice: Basic Paladin DPS While Levelling

So, what do all these Seals and Judgements actually mean in practice? Well, if you look carefully you can see some synergies there. (Judgement of Wisdom is particularly helpful in raids, to extend the mana longevity of all your ranged DPSers.) However, from a levelling perspective, Judgement of the Crusader and either Seal of Righteousness or Seal of Command will be your bread and butter. A typical attack rotation will be:

  1. Run towards the enemy, firing up Seal of the Crusader (SotC) as you go.
  2. As soon as you’re within 10 yards, use Judgement to apply SotC to the enemy as the Judgement of the Crusader debuff.
  3. That Judgement doesn’t trigger the global cooldown, so immediately fire up your next Seal – either Seal of Righteousness (SoR) or Seal of Command (SoC). SoR works well if you’re using a 1H weapon and you have lots of spelldamage gear; it scales better with spelldamage than with weapon damage. SoC is the reverse, and comes into its own when you have a big, powerful 2H weapon with very high damage.
  4. Keep swinging away with your weapon, with the Seal active. The Judgement of the Crusader debuff amplifies the Holy damage that your Seal is causing, and is refreshed by every melee strike you land on the enemy.
  5. Use Judgement as soon as its cooldown is up to cause a big burst of damage to the enemy (both SoR and SoC’s Judgement effects cause direct Holy damage without wiping off your Judgement of the Crusader debuff). Recast your SoR or SoC immediately.
  6. If you’re a Retribution paladin of at least level 50, use Crusader Strike straight away and whenever its cooldown is up for more Holy direct damage. (If you’re at least level 50, though, you shouldn’t need this guide in the first place. ;))
  7. Note: if you’re fighting very weak enemies that die in a few hits, skip the initial Judgement of the Crusader and use all your Judgements on SoR or SoC; the extra Holy damage of JotC requires the mob to live for a certain amount of attacks to pay for itself, otherwise you’re better off using the first Judgement to deal an extra burst of direct damage.

What Now?

Well, that hopefully explains the “big picture” of paladin auras, blessings, seals and judgements. The next installments of the series will have a quick guide to healing and tanking, and will discuss gear choices and key talents while levelling. If there’s anything you’d particularly like to see discussed, feel free to leave a comment or let me know via the “Contact” link in the header.

A couple of corrections added, with thanks to Firelight and Adese.

Not As Advertised

A standby in the paladin spell arsenal:

Divine Shield
Protects the paladin from all damage and spells for 12 sec, but increases the time between your attacks by 100%. Once protected, the target cannot be made invulnerable by Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Blessing of Protection again or use Avenging Wrath for 1 min.

The ever-popular pally bubble, aka Divine Shield.

Well, there we were fighting The Lurker Below in SSC last night – for those who aren’t familiar with the fight, the strat we were using involved boiling the water around the boss’s spawn point, so the water deals about 500 fire damage a tick.

Divine Shield didn’t protect me from it.

I got roundly mocked in Teamspeak when I grumbled about it; cries of “oh go on, now your precious bubble is worthless, boohoo” filled the air. But that’s not the point: what bothers me is that the spell description explicitly says “protects….from all damage“. All damage. Not “all attacks”, or “most damage”, but all damage.

It really bugs me when Blizzard breaks their own rules in order to make encounters challenging. I understand that some existing game mechanics might trivialize a new obstacle and steps need to be taken to keep stuff fresh and interesting – so, for example, I’m fine with the reports that we won’t be able to use our flying mounts in Northrend (come Wrath of the Lich King) until level 78 or so.

But there’s no real reason to prevent a pally bubble from protecting against the boiling water; it’s 12 seconds of protection on a 5-minute cooldown. Big deal. And if you don’t want Divine Shield to protect paladins against everything, don’t write “protects the paladin from all damage” into the spell description!

There are other examples of Blizzard breaking their own rules like this, although now I’m trying to write about them naturally I can’t bring them to mind. If you can think of any, feel free to comment. In the meantime, I’m going to be over here grumbling about this pointless little attack on consistency.