Monday, June 16, 2008

Why I Banked My Shield

Before I started gearing up to raid as a Retribution Paladin, I was a ravenous, die-hard Protection Paladin. I leveled up in Outlands as Protection from 60-70. I tanked my way through the tier 4 content. I followed the exploits of Tankadins such as Megor (a.k.a. Donar from the BC beta, the first Paladin to tank Karazhan), Endure (former Protection Paladin of on Greymane server, one of the prominent progression Tankadins when SSC was considered hard), and Lore (Protection Paladin and officer of <Months Behind>, one of the most vocal Protection Paladins amongst the US community) with fervent zeal. I was even one of the first registered users on Maintankadin, the go-to site for Protection Paladin information, and remain (aside from Aergis, the forum's founder and admin) the most tenured active poster (my username on those boards is Baelor, in case you're wondering). Hell, I even started and maintained a campaign to popularize a hybrid Protection/Holy build for Tankadins who did not serve as their guild's main tank in tier 4 content (more information here). Suffice it to say, I was a zealous Protection Paladin.

Keyword of note in that last statement is "was." As you can gather from this blog, I'm not a Protection Paladin anymore. My tanking gear is getting a bit dusty in the bank - I don't take it out much save tanking a Zul'Aman run every 2 months or so. At this point, you may be asking yourself why I made such a drastic switch in focus. Tanking as a Paladin and DPS'ing as a Paladin are two very different animals, and Protection Paladins are much more widely accepted/needed than Retribution Paladins, right?

Yes, you're right, more guilds have Protection Paladins than Retribution Paladins. And it's much easier to find a group for 5-mans and 10-mans as a Protection Paladin for many of the reasons I cited in my reverse propoganda post last week, as well as the mere fact that Protection Paladins tank, and every group needs a tank and a healer.

I hung up the shield for a variety of reasons. First, I saw the patch notes for the December 2007 patch in which Crusader Strike cooldown got lowered to six seconds, making Judgement refreshes possible even in the face of one or two misses. Previously, the cooldown was 10 seconds - with a 10 second cooldown on Crusader Strike and a 20 second duration on all Judgement debuffs, one miss meant that unless the next Crusader Strike landed during the split-second before the 20 second timer was expiring, all those Judgements would fall off. With our strike actually performing its function in a workable manner, having Judgement of Wisdom up all the time was a distinct possibility, and I recognized the gigantic benefit to a raid that debuff is. Larisa can attest to my enthusiastic support of Judgement of Wisdom for all raids - I went and linked her an entire section of the Ret DPS Theorycraft thread on Elitist Jerks to show her the benefits she would receive from JoW as an Arcane Mage. (For those curious, JoW represents anywhere from ~60 to >300 mana per 5 depending on class and spec, and assuming no lag and perfect skill rotations. Yes you read that right, it's like giving the entire raid's DPS a Shadow Priest, above and beyond any Shadow Priests currently providing mana batteries to their individual groups.) I wanted to be a part of the Retribution Revolution when that patch went live and show a guild how much a Ret can benefit a raid.

Next, I was a little fed up with having to respec to a completely different role to PvP. Going from a PvE heal spec to a PvP heal spec is one thing - having to go from tank to either heals or damage was very trying. All of my keybinds were totally different from PvE to PvP. Plus, I couldn't do much of anything outside of a group as a Tankadin besides AoE grind, and I'm not an avid farmer/grinder.

Another reason was the trend among progression guilds to frequently swap tanks into and out of raids to adapt to the demands of individual boss encounters. I didn't want to be a tank if I would consistently get sidelined for certain number of bosses - I was there to play, not watch. As Retribution, I rarely get subbed out (if ever) since I'm providing a raid benefit that isn't duplicated by any other class/spec (Judgements), and progression guilds don't generally keep more than one Retribution Paladin on hand. So, I get to stay.

Lastly, I had been tanking for about 9 months at that point - I wanted to try something new and exciting, explore a new frontier. Retribution was generally uncharted waters at that point, partially because of poor itemization, and partially because of the Crusader Strike cooldown problem. Throwing my efforts into Retribution would satisfy the explorer in me. Plus, it wouldn't require leveling an alt to try something completely different - I was all ready 70 and had my reputations grinded out, all I had to do was pay a trainer to bonk me on the head to forget my talents and acquire some new gear. I always enjoy theorycrafting up new sets of gear and essentially treasure-hunting to find new and exciting gear options, so doing this for a new spec was not a stretch for me.

So, that's why in the face of years of stigma, poor itemization, broken mechanics, and the advantages of being a Protection Paladin in a tank-starved world, I respecced Retribution. Now I follow the exploits of Paladins like Slayton (Retribution Paladin of <Vis Maior> on Bonechewer, one of the moderators of and several other prominent and progression-minded Retribution Paladins with a close eye instead. Despite the occasional tank-envy I get when I see a tier 6 Protection Paladin strutting around with a [Bulwark of Azzinoth] strapped to his back, I don't regret my decision.

1 comment:

LarĂ­sa said...

You really did convince me!
After getting my 2 T5 pieces last week I'm enjoying a huge increase in dps as arcane mage, but my god am I thirsty for mana???? I've never ever raided with a ret pala so far but I really can see how beneficial it would be for me and for the whole raid. Keep on spreading the word! I hope I'll be able to raid with one of you guys one day.