Working with a tanking Paladin
[A few edits are added - bracketed italics like this - where I try to remove my foot from my mouth...]
Tankadins cause more swearing among healers I know than anyone else. While part of it is that tanking with a paladin is harder to learn – and so till they “get it” they’re not so good a tank as a warrior or bear – part of it is a miscomprehension of how to work with the tankadin effectively. So, let’s take a look.
Now, to start I’m going to give a basic overview of how a pally tanks. This isn’t detail – for that I’ll recommend either this article from WoW-Insider; this US forum post; or this EU forum post. Actually, all three give slightly different viewpoints (and the commonalities are extremely useful for non-tankadins). On we go…
As with all tank types, the pally tank does his job by generating lots of threat. While talents and skills can enhance the generated threat, it’s mainly created through actions.
Like all tanks, the tankadin generates threat through damaging foes. Nothing new, no modification of our behavior is needed.
The tankadin can also gain threat from being damaged in that he’s got talents that return damage to the attacker. In some respects a variation on the first method, it is still nothing that changes our behavior.
The tankadin can heal. Ahhhh, think about this again. The tankadin’s healing generates threat. Half the heals [Halved again due to innate talent - see below], divided by the number of mobs, applied to every mob. THIS requires thought. Because every heal you do for this tank is not just threat you’re building but it’s threat you’re pre-empting from the tank. Basically, you are DOUBLING your threat level when you heal a tankadin. BUT… the tank is doing a lot of things and so can’t stick to healing — if s/he does, that’s damage that’s not being done, which means less threat… Fortunately, I have a general recommendation you can use till you gain experience here.
Until the tankadin’s mana is below half, you are responsible for the bottom 2/3 of the tank’s health, and the tankadin is reponsible for the top third. Assume at level 70 your tank as about 12K health (buffed), that means the tankadin manages a 4K pool and you get the bottom 8K. [As Gwaendar graciously corrects me below, this is wildly wrong. While the pally's healing will generate threat, I forgot about the innate halving of healing threat. And while I was at it, the consequences of trying to cast a spell while being beat upon. Most embarassing of all is the fact that some of these same points are in the guides I referenced. Gah. But then, that's why I ask for comments and corrections. So I get better...]
Which means you spend less time and mana healing — it actually gives you a better use of the five second waltz. It also allows you to play more with the rest of your party.
Oh – in case your tankadin is fairly new to the job, you really, REALLY have to watch one thing. The paladin has a bubble, just like the priest. Except that while the bubble is up the paladin can’t attack. That’d be bad enough, but there’s worse. The bubble is also, essentially, fade. The idea of a tank tripping fade gives me nightmares. Be prepared. If the pally bubbled it’s a desperation instinct. Slap a big heal and a renew and then fade yourself and hope SOMEBODY else has high aggro. And… have a macro standing by. Something like:
/me says YOU FRIGGING IDIOT YOU’RE A TANK QUIT BUBBLING AND PASSING THE MOBS INTO MY FACE. Pretty please with sugar and sparkles?