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Proceed to the New Bastion of Glory, Adventurers!

It’s been a fun 51 posts, but I’m discontinuing this blog (I can never keep a blog active for more than six months…), and shifting the focus back to protection paladins with a brand new blog called Bastion of Glory.

I’ll see you guys over there.

Click here for Bastion of Glory.

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Harsh Words of Glory

Tinkering around with my glyphs I came upon a nifty little combination that increases my tank damage done by quite a bit — at a cost of mitigation, however. Instead of Alabaster Shield and Consecration I’ve glyphed Harsh Words and Word of Glory, and kept Focused Shield since it’s such a splendid single-target DPS increase. Harsh Words allows you to use Word of Glory on enemies for an amount of damage equal to what it would have healed — meaning 20-22k or so at 3 holy power. That’s almost 2x as much damage as a Shield of the Righteous at the same holy power cost. Both SotR and WoG are off the GCD and so can be cast immediately after generating sufficient HP. WoG just happens to be twice as powerful.

In addition to being 2x as powerful as SotR, Harsh Words is made even more attractive by a companion glyph, Word of Glory, which increases your damage done by 3% per charge of holy power spent on WoG for 6 seconds. If you’re slamming down WoGs left and right, especially under Holy Avenger, you can get either very high or 100% uptime on this 9% damage increasing buff. That’s a pretty significant DPS increase over using SotR as your HP dump.

The cost? SotR is directly tied to our physical damage mitigation now, so if we choose to spam WoGs instead of SotRs we effectively kill our physical damage reduction. Healers have to work a little harder, cry a little more. In other words, this glyph combo should only be trusted in farm fights where no one has to work hard or worry too much. During progression I’ll be sticking to the mitigation models.

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Shockadin Falling: Episode Two

The tale of the shockadin ends before it could hardly begin. Blizzard has nerfed Holy Shock damage at lower levels by a tremendous amount.

R.I.P. Corrinne the Abuser.

I’ll miss you.

(Now nerf those goddamn discipline priests!)

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Blog Updates

Making a few changes to the blog as it’s been awhile since my last substantial post. Shockadins are fun and all, but my focus is still on protection paladins, and all I can think about anymore is leveling to 90 and jumping into Mogu’shan Vaults with my team as soon as it opens up on August 2. The first change is I’ve removed the Boss strategy pages — because the Dragon Soul guides are no longer relevant and I never liked them very much anyway. I’m going to create a general Protection Paladin guide soon to replace the boss guides.

I’d love to cover some more zones for my image gallery but they take so long and I have to budget my free time now that I’m working full-time.

Anyway, tomorrow’s another day of glorious laziness; and then it’s back to work.

P.S. Finally updated my WoW account to Mists. Ended up splurging on the Digital Deluxe edition after all. I’m such an achievement/mount/pet whore.

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Shockadin Rising: Episode One

I started another paladin. Her name is Corrinne. She is named in honor of another Corrinne, who was lost to a soul transfer gone horribly, horribly wrong. This new paladin is designed for one thing. Terror. To instill terror in her enemies. When enemies see Corrinne coming toward them, they turn around and run. Because that’s all that they can do to survive. Corrinne is a Shockadin.

This is the tale of Shockadin Rising.

Low-level PVP on my shockadin has been the most exciting thing I’ve done since progression raiding, and it’s the perfect filler activity while I’m waiting for Mists to come out. Shockadins are so ridiculously overpowered in low-level brackets. Their Holy Shock ability can one- or two-shot most any opponent. They can take on 3-4 melee classes, kiting them, killing them one by one. If they happened to have a healer with them, I’d simply kite away from the healer, and the poor souls who ranged the healer would understand my wrath quite quickly.

The instant Corrinne dinged level 10, I’ve done nothing but chain BGs with her. Mostly Warsong Gulch for achievements that my main still needs. I’m now level 19. Of 43 battlegrounds played, I’ve won 37. I’ve won 11 of 11 Arathi Basins and 26 of 32 Warsong Gulches. Here’s my opinion of the 2 brackets I’ve played through so far.

10-14: Dominated. One-shot almost everything. The only class that gave me trouble every now and then was other holy paladins if they had backup. There’d been multiple instances where I’d get chased by 3-4 DPS’s who couldn’t damage me enough, so I would kite them and pick them off one by one with Holy Shock. I’m sure that pissed off plenty of people.

15-19: Also dominated. However, it’s less likely for me to one-shot people now. It usually takes at least 2 to kill. Resto druids are a particular pain in the ass now, and druids in general make Warsong Gulch a nightmare in this bracket because they can go Stag Form and breeze through mid-field like rocket ships while the rest of us still can’t mount. However, this is offset by the fact that I have access to my first tier of talents, which are movement increases. I’ve chosen Pursuit of Justice because I usually do have 3 Holy Power, which means my movement speed is almost a constant 130%. If I angle my approach vector properly I can keep up with a Stag-form druid and get off a few Holy Shocks before he completely ranges me. It also annoys me how they can pop out of Stag-form, cast a couple HoTs on themselves, and be pretty much untouchable. In this bracket also I can no longer kite 3-4 melee as easily. Warriors have their stun-charges now, so a pack of melee working together can take me down if they time their stuns right. This has also been the bracket in which I’ve learned Lay on Hands and Divine Shield, good emergency cooldowns.

I should ding 20 today, the level at which everyone learns to ride mounts. That should make things a little more interesting, and a little more balanced.

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Protection Rotation – 5.0.4 Changes

After playing around for a couple days with the new changes that came with patch 5.0.4, I think I’ve a decent understanding of what our new rotation will be going into Mists. First of all, since Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous are no longer on a flat 3-second CD (the cd on my CS, for example, is 4.35 seconds), that means we’ll have time to fit in one more filler ability in between every Crusader Strike. Instead of CS -> Filler 1 -> CS -> Filler 2 -> CS -> Shield of the Righteous, we’ll now be doing CS -> Filler 1 -> Filler 2 -> CS -> Filler 3 -> Filler 4 -> CS -> Shield of the Righteous. Therefore, abilities that normally we wouldn’t have insisted upon using except as a last resort such as Holy Wrath and Consecration will be used practically on cooldown.

Filler
Judgment now grants 1 charge of Holy Power, even without the 2-set T13 bonus (which has in fact been changed simply to increase the power of your CS by 15%). Therefore Judgment will be our primary filler, barring an Avenger’s Shield proc, which will deal nearly twice Judgment’s damage if glyphed with Focused Shield. Our other fillers will be Holy Wrath and Consecration, both with the same length cooldown. Holy Wrath now seems to be much more powerful against single targets than it was during Cataclysm, now dealing even more damage than a Crusader Strike, though it does not grant a charge of HP. Consecration’s cooldown is shorter than its duration, so 100% up-time is posible. Glyphed, you’ll be able to place your Consecration anywhere, so even if you want to place it at your feet you’ll still have to click the ground in the span of a GCD. Overall the strength of Consecration is larger than the strength of Holy Wrath, though Consecration’s damage is drawn-out, like a DOT, and all of Holy Wrath’s damage is instant.

AOE
For AOE damage, Hammer of the Righteous will of course replace Crusader Strike just as it did in Cataclysm, but Holy Wrath and especially Consecration are much more powerful, so we’ll try to maintain 100% uptime on Consecration. While in Cataclysm we might have spent our Holy Power on Inquisition, we no longer have access to Inquisition, so we’ll use our Shield of the Righteous against single-targets to refresh out physical damage reduction buff (see Defensive Cooldowns section). There is a caveat here, though. If the damage reduction isn’t so important and there are 3 or more targets, you could instead simply spam Hammer of the Righteous over and over, ignoring the need to dump HP, or at least dumping that HP on WoGs since WoG is off the GCD. I say this because a Hammer of the Righteous that strikes 3 targets currently does more overall damage than a Shield of the Righteous. If it’s only 2 targets, though, still use SotR.

Debuff
Unless you have another class in your raid that brings the Weakened Blows debuff, you’ll want to replace one of your Crusader Strikes with a Hammer of the Righteous once every thirty seconds, even on single-target fights, so that your debuff doesn’t fall off.

Cooldowns
In addition to Avenging Wrath, all paladins now have access to another DPS cooldown called Holy Avenger, found in the level 75 talent tier. All 3 of the talents in this tier look viable in different situations. I just happen to like this cooldown because for 18 seconds I can spam Shield of the Righteous like it’s going out of style. You’ll want to hit Avenging Wrath right before the pull and on cooldown afterward, tying it in with a Bloodlust if possible. You’ll also want to hit Holy Avenger right off the bat so that the two overlap. With Holy Avenger active, every ability you use that generates Holy Power will now generate 3 Holy Power and also deal 30% more damage, so make sure Crusader Strike and Judgment are not on cooldown before you use it so that you can get the most amount of HPs out of it.

Defensive Cooldowns
Shield of the Righteous is now no longer our simple Holy Power dump but also a defensive cooldown, which is why it’s important that we slam it down as frequently as possible. Based on our mastery, our SotRs will reduce the physical damage we take by a certain percentage for 3 seconds afterward, and also trigger Bastion of Glory, which increases the strength of our Word of Glory when used to heal ourselves by a percentage based on our mastery. Bastion of Glory stacks up to 5 times, so after our 5th successful Shield of the Righteous we’ll have access to a very powerful Word of Glory which can be used in an emergency.

Additionally, we still have our Divine Protection, Ardent Defender, and Guardian of the Ancient Kings. We can also choose Sacred Shield from the level 45 talent tier, which allows us to protect ourselves (or others) from damage by placing a shield of Holy Light that lasts for 28.98 seconds. The shield will absorb up to 8,365 damage every 5.80 seconds and can only be active on one target at a time. Most tanks will end up using this on themselves, although there are situations where a tank can definitely drop this on someone else. Of all our cooldowns and defensive cooldowns, Sacred Shield is the only one that uses a GCD, so we’ll end up fitting it into our rotation as filler, and try to maintain 100% uptime on it depending on its necessity.

Another noteworthy change is to our raid-wide cooldown, which has been renamed from Divine Guardian to Devotion Aura and has picked up the silence-immunity element of Concentration Aura + Aura Mastery that Holy once enjoyed. While Divine Guardian provided a 20% damage reduction to the whole raid minus the casting paladin, Devotion Aura should provide that reduction to the whole raid, including the paladin.

Taunts
We no longer have Righteous Defense, so we can no longer allow a resto druid to get threat on a bunch of adds and then simply cast RD on him to get threat on everything from a distance. Instead, we must glyph our Consecration and use it the same way blood DKs use their Death and Decay — as a way to generate threat on multiple mobs from a distance.

Boundless Conviction
This talent allows us to store 2 extra Holy Power, up to a maximum of 5, which we can handle in one of two ways. One, pretend it’s not there and still spend those 3 Holy Powers immediately as you get them, and use the 2 extra HP slots as “mistake holders” – say you should’ve done an SotR but you accidentally did another CS. In Cataclysm, you would’ve wasted that Holy Power. Now you can store that extra HP and use it later. Two, fill your bar up as soon as possible, and then keep 2 bonus HP on reserve at all times, which may be useful if you need to do 2 back-to-back WoGs. This will probably depend on your personal playstyle.

Summary
In my opinion, our rotation is a hell of a lot more interesting, dynamic, and involved than it was during Cataclysm, but it ultimately boils down to this:

Avenging Wrath > Holy Avenger if talented > Shield of the Righteous > Crusader Strike > Avenger’s Shield proc > Judgment > Avenger’s Shield without proc > Hammer of Wrath (sub-20%) > Consecration > Holy Wrath, while maintaining the Weakened Blows debuff on the boss via Hammer of the Righteous every ~30 seconds, refreshing Sacred Shield on ourselves every ~30 seconds

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Patch 5.0.4 – Day 1 Adjustments

Prot paladins around the world logged on today (yesterday) to find their talents reset, the new talent system in place, their glyphs removed, new glyphs learned, and some of their abilities changed. Other than that, not much has changed, and there isn’t much that we have to get used to. Not like my poor friend, a warlock, who now has to re-learn everything from scratch.

Here’s what’s new for you.

Talents
As of 5.0.4, 5 tiers of talents have become available to us. The final tier will become available when we reach level 90. In each tier there are 3 talents from which we can choose only one. My talents right off the bat include Pursuit of Justice for a flat speed increase, Repentance, which will come in handy during Challenge Mode dungeons despite its new cast timer, Sacred Shield, Unbreakable Spirit, and Holy Avenger for an additional DPS cooldown, which sadly isn’t perfectly compatible with Avenger’s Wrath, which now has a 3-minute cooldown that I can’t do anything about.

Glyphs
Prime glyphs are removed and most of them are consolidated with the major glyphs. A lot of new glyphs have been added, and most of them are already learned, except Battle Healer and Mass Exorcism for major and Bladed Judgment, Falling Avenger, Focused Wrath, and Righteous Retreat for minor. All minor glyphs are purely cosmetic, except for Focused Wrath, which seems like a nerf for some reason… why would you intentionally nerf yourself? Not sure. My major glyphs are Focused Shield for a boost to my single-target DPS, Consecration which allows me to drop my Consecration from afar just like a death knight’s Death and Decay — great for generation threat from afar on multiple targets to make up for the fact that our Righteous Defense is gone, and Alabaster Shield for DPS increase. My minors are Seal of Blood, Fire from the Heavens, and Winged Vengeance, all purely cosmetic. (And yes, they did change Winged Vengeance from what it originally looked like in the beta. Instead of 2 sets of wings simply layered over each other and offset a little, they now look more like butterfly wings.)

Spells
New icons for Turn Evil, Hammer of Wrath, and Holy Wrath. New abilities from the talents I chose: Holy Avenger, which temporarily changes your weapon to the Ashbringer, Sacred Shield, and Repentance. Stances have been removed, and Seals have replaced them on the “Stance” bar. I now have only Seals of Truth, Righteousness, and Insight. Divine Protection by default now reduces magical damage by 40%, and to get it to reduce all damage by 20% you must glyph it — the reverse of what it was before. Hammer of the Righteous now must be worked into our single-target rotation to apply the Weakened Blows debuff to our target and reduce their physical damage dealt by 10% for 30 seconds — that is, unless you have another class in your raid that brings that debuff.

Shield of the Righteous now has a secondary effect in Bastion of Glory, which increases the strength of your Word of Glory when used to heal yourself by 32% stacking up to 5 times. Judgement has been fixed — it is now spelled Judgment as it should’ve been all along. Fix your macros. Judgment also has a 30-yard range, making it officially a ranged attack. Consecration now lasts longer than its cooldown, so you can have 100% uptime on it. Divine Guardian has been renamed Devotion Aura, and has picked up elements of the old Aura Mastery + Concentration Aura in that it now grants immunity to your raid from Silence and Interrupt effects for 6 seconds.

There are plenty of new spell effects to make the game more visually interesting. What I’ve noticed so far are that Avenger’s Shield now acts like a boomerang and comes back to you after striking its target. Shield of Righteousness has a more pronounced effect. If there are other significant changes to pre-existing spells I haven’t noticed them yet.

Oh, and you can now store up to 5 Holy Power, but your abilities will never use more than 3. Also, Shield of Righteousness only becomes available when you’ve got 3 HP to spend. Mana’s been normalized across the board, so my prot paladin now has exactly 20k mana.

Pets
Pets and Mounts panes have been removed from the Spellbook pane so I had to create a new keybind to access it. The Pets and Mounts panes are also completely different. The Pets pane looks ready for pet battles integration, though pet battles won’t be implemented until Mists releases on Sept. 25th. Since pets became account-bound, duplicate pets from across all your characters are now rounded together. I have 214 pets, for example, many of them duplicates. I have 2 Black Kingsnakes, 5 Blue Mini Jousters, and 6 Horde Balloons. For some reason this hasn’t happened to all pets: I have Moonkin Hatchlings and Murkablos across all my toons yet I only have one of each in my list. Oh well. I hope Blizzard removes this duplicate pet thing and that it’s not intentional.

If you’re curious what the future pets of Mists will look like you can preview them in the Pets pane.

Some pets can’t be used in battle, according to the Pet Journal. Of the pets I own, I won’t be able to battle the Argent Gruntling, the Guild Herald or Guild Page, and the Horde Balloon, but luckily my Ethereal Soul-Trader is usable and will therefore be the first guy I level to 25. I’ll think of him as my Mewtwo, naturally.

World
Since I’m Horde I’ll only speak for what’s happened in Orgrimmar. Apart from slight graphical improvements, not much has changed visually. A group of pandas have moved into the Valley of Honor and set up shop, including Ji Firepaw, who is the Monk trainer. The front gates of Orgrimmar is still under construction. Lazy peons won’t finish the job, I guess. Pandaria has been added to the World Map, and you can explore each of the 7 new sub-zones to a degree. Additionally, maps for sub-areas have been added, like for caves and other such potentially confusing places.

Oh, and relics have been removed. How could I have forgotten to mention that? Vendor your relics! Free gold!