(Not so Low Level) Paladin Tanking: Mana Regen Part 2
According to records of who visits what on this blog, the most popular articles are those pertaining to my escapades as a paladin tank. Who knew? There are much better sources out there, I do admit, but perhaps the appeal is that the guides are written by someone who, unlike the authors of those guides, is not a hard-core progression tank hell-bent on min-maxing everything in sight. Or maybe I’m charming and witty. Or maybe my page view counter LIES.
My first installment of low level paladin tanking talked about mana usage at the early levels of tanking. The basics are these: you have a small amount of mana. Every spell you use depletes this mana. You cannot hold threat without mana. Therefore, you must do certain things to a) not spend an excess of mana and b) regenerate the mana you do spend.
This is accomplished in several ways. First, you withhold from casting spells that are superfluous. For example, consecrate when you have one mob to deal with. Second, you use Blessing of Sanctuary at all times. Third, you pop Holy Shield on almost (I’ll explain) every cooldown. The combination of points two and three will result in massive mana regeneration if you have large amounts of mobs smashing you. Lastly, you spend your talent points on Spiritual Attunement, which grants you mana when you are healed.
As a low level tank, mana is hard to come by and easy to spend. If you find yourself outgunned by a group of mobs, you can blow your entire pool on trying to keep threat. As you level up, you gain tools to regenerate the mana you use. You will also gain more abilities to hold threat, making the decision between ability X and ability Y a little more open to interpretation.
Once you have your “full” paladin tanking repertoire (for our purposes, I’m talking about Avenger’s Shield, Holy Shield, and Hammer of the Righteous) then you are well equipped to handle almost any situation. The paladin tank is bred for large pulls of many mobs. If you think you and your healer can handle it, go for it. Pull an entire room. Experiment. Learn your limitations and strengths. The paladin tank is also a supreme soloing god. Try pulling all of Sorrow Hill. I dare you. It’s fun.
With all this power, though, you have a great responsibility – to your mana pool. Never forget that Sanctuary is your best friend. Your mana regen will be almost non-existent without it. You will encounter situations in the higher level dungeons, however, where rotating through your entire arsenal will be a huge waste of your precious blue resources.
Scenario: A large group of caster mobs.
Why they suck: Casters cast. They don’t hit. You cannot block, dodge, or parry a spell.
How to handle it: Spec into Shield of the Templar. Don’t argue. The chance for your Avenger’s Shield to silence mobs is invaluable when pulling trash packs like these, and you will find a lot of them. Throw our your Shield of Awesomely Silencing Doom and gather up the worthless spell-less casters before the effect wears off. Consecrate. Hammer of the Righteous. Don’t bother with Holy Shield. You won’t block enough to justify its mana cost.
Scenario: Only two melee mobs, standing apart.
Why they suck: Only two? That’s not what a paladin was born to tank. But if you cannot reasonably drag them a few feet to gather more (or they really hurt and you’d be dumb to pile any more damage atop them) then you’re going to have to deal with it.
How to handle it: If they’re standing so far apart that Avenger’s Shield won’t jump between them, then don’t cast it. Save the mana. Pull one with taunt and run it over to the second, pulling that one with judgment. Hammer of the Righteous. Don’t bother with consecrate. Keep using Hammer on cooldown. If the mobs have fast melee swings, throw up Holy Shield. If they are slow, or use a mix of spells and melee (like the big uglies right before Anub in Azjol-Nerub) then forget about Holy Shield.
Scenario: Boss fights.
Why they suck: Only one mob to focus on, may or may not cast spells exclusively, etc.
How to handle it: This largely depends on the boss. You will need to be familiar with the encounter to understand how to handle it (and you are looking up boss fights before you tank them, right?). If the boss is a caster and only casts spells, Holy Shield is mostly useless. If the boss has no adds, consecrate may be a mana sink you want to avoid. I find that on most bosses, a rotation of Hammer and refreshing judgment is the most mana-conscious.
However, there is a different between being mana-conscious and contributing to DPS. If your mana will allow it, pop your cooldowns and pour everything you have into the boss. I have seen myself at the top of the DPS meters before (which I admit is more a reflection on the DPS in the group than on me). It’s not enough to simply hold threat. Contribute as much as you can, but keep in mind that if you burn out your mana, you may fail to pick up adds. No mana means no threat.
I find I have the most mana problems with a priest healing. I define mana problems as “having to hit divine plea every other pull”. Whether this is a result of their reliance on shields or some other mechanic I have yet to pull out of my combat logs, I do not know. I just know that when I have a shaman or druid or paladin healer, I never have to look at my mana. With a priest healer, I have to rely on Divine Plea to get myself from one mob to the next. It is never a bad idea to carry a stack of level-appropriate water around, even at level 80, to help these situations. Stopping to drink for 10 seconds is preferable to being out of mana at a crucial pull. Ignore pushy people who insist on the GO GO GO method of running instances. They can suck it.
The above can be summed up in a few simple rules. If it casts, don’t cast Holy Shield. If they stand far apart but pull as a pack, don’t start with Avenger’s Shield. Use consecrate once to establish threat. If there’s only one mob, pull with taunt or judgment. If you can effectively hold threat with a minimal amount of mana, do it. If you aren’t struggling for mana, contribute to DPS.
Ultimately mana conservation at higher levels comes down to knowing the pulls and the mobs well enough to plan ahead. If you level via the dungeon finder, you will become well versed in the instances at your level and knowing what to do where will not be as difficult. After a few runs I know which groups aren’t close enough for Avenger’s Shield, which ones consist of casters, which mobs don’t warrant Holy Shield, and so on and so forth. If you find yourself constantly low on mana, check yourself. Successfully holding threat often times does not require you to blow every cooldown and mash every button on your keyboard. Using the right abilities at the right times when they will be most effective is key.
Posted on September 7, 2010, in Beginner Guides, Tips and Tricks and tagged mana problems, mana regen, paladin, paladin tanking, protection, tanking, tanking northrend, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.