Monday, July 25, 2011

Paladin Threat in 4.2

It's my vengeance and I'll cry if I want to.

Am I the only person having issues with vengeance stacking, then dropping then slowly building up again so my DK friend who does 20k+ DPS in 5-mans winds up sitting on her hands a minute in the fight while I build a lead again?

Vengeance has become the be-all-end-all thing when it comes to threat. Tanks will gain attack-power capped by their stamina (which scales up with gear) as a fraction of damage done to them (which scales up with tier). Brilliant. Except for when I get a lucky dodge or parry streak and my Vengeance goes from 9k AP to poop and my threat bar slows to a crawl as the other bars race up to my nose like it's a sprint to the finish. Firelands loot has a fair amount of threat stats on the gear, especially some of the vendor stuff, but I reflexively take that threat and dump it into Mastery or Dodge because that's what's ideal for Paladins, so say the learned and mighty masters of Paladin tanking.

"Don't worry about threat," Ghostcrawler pipes in on the side, "Vengeance is your friend, it'll take care of you."

"Alright!" I say, heft my shield, grin at my 99% block-cap without procs and stride up to smack the boss with my mace and suddenly the boss who was snarling at me a second ago has pivoted away and is using the Mage like a chew toy.

I kick at his leg and throw out a taunt, "Hey, drop it!"

That gets the bastard back to me and I'm building Holy Power to smack it harder as fast as I can, but that invisibility is about to drop any second, and now the DK is going all out because we're so close to the enrage timer on this fight, we can't afford to waste time. A couple of hits land, and I've got a full bar of golden, glowing Holy Power. Now's my chance! I swing my shield.


I spit out an expletive, spit sprays, I can barely see through the streaks on the screen, I cast a Judgment to fill the time and smack that Shield again.


Omen is blinking red and yellow, suddenly alarm appear, red and spinning, and someone is blowing an air-horn in my ear. Wait, why is the goddamned *Hunter* chasing the meter? "Misdirect," I squeal into my microphone, "For pity's sake, give me some threat!"

Bang. I take another solid hit, my Vengence is now buried in the red, and I grin and bloodied grin, as the glowing Shield from Power Auras alerts me that I have Sacred Duty proc up. YES! NOW! Swing that shield! Hit! Hit! Hit!

And does it? Who knows. By this point I've screamed at the DPS so much they're all pouting and holstering their weapons, in search of a better tank and the healers chase after them and suddenly, the boss is carrying me away and I kick and flail helplessly, while he digs a hole to bury me in.

(The boss is, apparently, a puppy.)

Right now (for Paladins at least, correct me if I'm wrong about other classes, though I know on my DK I love mastery as well) block capping, mitigation balancing and survival gearing necessitates exclusion of threat stats, which in turn, along with threat at pull, and a lack of hits from abilities is leading to a very knife's edge situation with threat... but it's not that way all the time. Other times, everything is great, I manage to grab threat and drag it up so far, so fast, I might as well white-swing and AFK till the fight is over.

Here's the thing - I don't mind fighting for threat. I don't mind gearing or working hard for it. What I mind is the gross inconsistency of threat from pull to pull.

If I do go for threat stats, I'm increasing my damage intake. So I gear for avoidance and rely on Vengeance.

But Vengeance  isn't an ideal tanking tool. But in execution, every time I dodge or parry a hit, I'm reducing my ability to push threat, and as a Paladin every time I miss with Crusader Strike I'm not building Holy Power or every miss of Shield of the Righteous, I'm loosing a major threat burst. Sometimes, it's my Censure ticks that's all the damage I'm doing in a three or four, second interval.

I don't want to just bash the idea, it's great in theory - it scales very well with gear and encounters - it's just that its effectiveness diminishes with scaling mitigation and the buff can be completely wasted with missed attacks, and it's not there when we arguably need it the most - at the start of the fight.

However. All of this is besides the point  - it works, more or less, and is generally an okay way to deal with the old issue of DPS scaling a lot faster than threat. I know that the math behind the builds makes sense, I like math, I don't have an issue with it. But is it fun? Hell no.

It is not fun to miss three Crusader Strikes in a row. It is not fun to have a full bar of Holy Power, a Sacred Duty proc and miss twice with Shield of the Righteous till the buff drops off. It is not fun to just waste GCDs on nothing.

That's my issue. Missing is not fun.


  1. Well said, and no it is not just you. Particularly in 5 mans vengeance never has a chance to build. Many pulls end up being a taunt juggle with me using hand of reckoning every single CD, and just letting the plate dps hold an enemy. Raids tend to not be as bad of an issue, however whenever a dps pulls off about 10 seconds in, it is because of one of those fun 3 or 4 ability miss streaks. Then again, other times threat is completely fine. RNG effects boss mechanics, now it is the largest factor in our threat.

  2. This explains so much for me.. I respecced my Holy Paladin's OS to Prot after 4.2 and have been trouble holding aggro. Despite using everything I should be using and having no problems on my other paladin before the patch.

    I think it's because on my "new" tankadin I reforged everything to Mastery as the "powers that be" say that I should. I was wondering why my threat was so bad.. Now it makes a bit more sense, for which I thank you.

    It's frustrating though. I realise my tank doesn't have awesome gear. It's a mix of crafted 359, 353 and maybe two non-tank pieces that I have yet to get tank items for. With my bouncing threat and the fact that I'm only at 142k health self buffed (I don't gem stamina) most healers whine at me. (Which I find amusing since I'm pretty sure that when I first entered BWD our tanks had no more than that health for a raid instance!)

    Hmm.. where am I going with this? I think I just wanted to thank you for making some sense of my spotty tanking in HCs at the moment. It used to be better, and maybe it has something to do with my Mastery stats and the Vengeance dropping. I'm going to have to monitor that a bit more.