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Mandak's Guide to Barrel Rolling for Brell
- This is currently a work-in-progress
I noticed recently that the only paladin guide on the wiki (prior to this one) is quite outdated, and there are constantly lots of questions on the forums from new paladins. So, I decided to use my meager knowledge of the class to write an updated guide for P99 that will hopefully be informative both for new players and for players that are new to the class.
So, you've decided to play a Paladin - or maybe you're thinking about playing one. Before you get started, there are a few things you should know about the class in order to set your expectations:
-First, your primary role throughout the game will be group tanking. Paladins can provide excellent snap-aggro in addition to great mitigation and a lot of utility. This makes Paladins an excellent choice for single group or duo/trio content. This role means you need to be able to both take a hit without losing half your hit points and be able to hold aggro quickly and consistently. This is not necessarily a hard job, but you are in the spotlight: if mobs are running around beating on your chanter and cleric and you aren't picking them up, your group will notice right away, so make sure you are ready for the pressure!
-Second, if you have your heart set on end-game raiding, be prepared to take a back seat to warriors. There is a great deal of raid content in both Classic and Kunark (and some in Velious) that paladins can tank just fine, but the toughest of the tough bosses will need to be tanked by a warrior due to their superior tanking disciplines. This does not mean that paladins don't have a role in raids - they just aren't as desired for high-end content as many other classes like warriors or clerics (or so I've read - I am not personally in a big raiding guild, but this seems to be the general consensus).
-Third, your solo game is going to be slow - if you can, find a duo/trio or a group to join. This does not mean that soloing isn't an option though! I did about 90% of 30-50 solo due to a busy work load (couldn't commit to groups) with some decent gear. You will level slower than one of the powerful solo classes, but it's an option. So don't be discouraged if you enjoy the class but can't commit to grouping all the time.
-Fourth, you will need friends, and a good reputation. Due to paladins' slow solo game (especially post 50), you will want to be in a group or partnered up whenever possible. If you rely on chilling at the zone line with your LFG tag on, you will likely do a lot of sitting around. But if you make friends, treat others with respect, and do a great job tanking, people will likely remember you and invite you to groups without you ever needing to ask. If you never say a word to anyone, or are rude to people, or can't hold aggro, people will remember that too and probably will be less likely to invite you in the future.
- Race selection:
Paladins have it pretty good as far as race selection goes, in that it really won't make a big difference - we don't have any choices that give a massive stat advantage or regen or stun immunity. So if you're stuck trying to decide what race to play, you can really just pick whatever looks the prettiest or funnest to you without much worrying about gimping yourself. That said, here are some brief descriptions of what each race brings to the table:
-Bonuses: Barrel rolls, Dwarven cultural armor (some of the best purchasable armor you can get), the best melee stats with a good wisdom score, and a role-play excuse for alcoholism.
-Penalties: Poor agility (which makes going encumbered rough on your AC) and charisma (makes lulls hard), small size so can't use some popular items like hero bracers, no access to Nature's Defender.
-Bonuses: Ultimate fashion quest, rare breed, boost to Deepwater Knights faction (saves several hours of faction grinding for your epic quest), access to some great Erudite-only items.
-Penalties: Poor melee stats, lonely starter area, can't barrel roll.
-Bonuses: Access to Nature's Defender and decent cultural armor depending on deity.
-Penalties: Worst overall stat array, can't barrel roll.
-Bonuses: Highest starting wisdom and charisma (arguably more important in the long run than your starting str/sta), access to Nature's Defender and decent cultural armor.
-Penalties: Poor melee states, arguably the ugliest armor models, can't barrel roll, smells like potpourri.
-Bonuses: Balanced stats, eye patch and handle bar stache.
-Penalties: Can't barrel roll.
- Starting stats:
-First and foremost, if you're playing a race with less than 75 agility, add a few points to get your agility up to 75 before doing anything else. You take a huge hit to your mitigation if your agility is below 75.
-Second, your best choice will be either stamina or wisdom. Personally I put mine in stamina, and now regret it. Stamina is much easier to max with gear and buffs, and even without maxing it having enough mana for two extra roots will likely save your (or your group mate's) life far more often than an extra 104 hp at max level.
-Third, remember that no matter what stat you go with, you aren't going to notice any difference 99.99% of the time (with the possible exception of charisma - you'll notice critical lull resists pretty quickly if you pull a lot for whatever reason). So if you want to role-play a dwarf with high intelligence for some Brell-forsaken reason, have at it.
- Skill overview:
It taunts things. In short, a successful taunt places you at the top of the hate list - it does absolutely nothing if you are already top hate (i.e. if the mob is not rooted or anything and ----still decides to attack you rather than anyone else). This means that 99% of the time you want to taunt a mob *before* casting spells on it if you're trying to pick up aggro, like on a mezzed mob.
Interrupts spellcasting (sometimes) and does a little damage. If you're fighting non-casters, just spam it. If you're fighting casters, save it for when you see a "NPC_name begins casting a spell" message. Bonus tip: bash is more likely to work if used from behind, so if your opponent has a long cast time rotate behind them before using it. Also works as a temporary (1-2 second) snare if used on fleeing mobs.
-Lay on Hands:
Big instant heal every 72 minutes. You might be tempted to use this any time you're low on health, but try not to. If you can root and heal or med after a fight instead, do it. You never know you'll get trained or something. In a group or raid, keep an eye on your enchanters in particular - if they get a bad charm break and/or mez break LoH is often the only thing that can save them.
I might add some more details here later, but skills are covered at length elsewhere on the wiki. If you're curious about what specific skills like offense or double attack do, take a look through the paladin class page or the game mechanics section.
- Spell overview (not a complete list):
Heal yourself. Heal others. Heal the puller to get aoe aggro. If you're sitting at full mana, heal the shaman to give them canni ammo. Pretty straightforward spell.
-Flash of light:
Your main aggro spell. Apply liberally to the face, but only if you need the aggro (don't waste mana)! Also blinds the mob, which has some side-effects. The most important one is that if you blind a mob while there is no one in its melee range, it will start randomly warping all over the place until the spell wears off. Can be a fun (and annoying) kiting strategy outdoors, but you should avoid this at all costs in dungeons. Be ready to duck your cast if some one lands a slow or a big nuke before you finish casting your first flash.
Your other primary aggro spell, but costs a lot more mana. If you don't have a mana regen buff, stick to flash unless you need to stun a casting mob to interrupt its casting. Also useful for pulling/jousting/mitigation/etc (will discuss this later).
Keeps mobs away from you. Great CC if no mez is available - for a melee mob, park it wherever and stand back. For caster mobs, root them out of line-of-sight; otherwise, they'll just chain-cast spells at you. Root also causes a mob to attack its nearest enemy, so it can be handy for holding aggro until you have time to land a few flashes or stun. It can also be annoying, so make sure you're standing closest if you can't seem to get the mob to attack you. To avoid confusion, consider making a macro to inform your group members when you cast root on a mob. Double roots can cause frustration, and it also lets your melee know to stand back from the rooted mob to avoid taking unnecessary damage.
You have cleric buffs, they improve HP, AC, or both. You also eventually get a paladin-only HP buff (Divine Glory/Strength) that stacks with the others. In general, keep yourself and your friends buffed unless you have a cleic or mana becomes an issue (also you don't really need to buff AC on anyone but yourself or other tanks).
Is fun to cast, and often at low levels you'll have nothing else to spend mana on if you have clarity. But generally speaking, yaulping is not worth the mana (use that mana to heal yourself instead).
You get a lot of variations of these spells, and a lot of spells not mentioned here. Take a look through the paladin class page for details on what all of them do.
- Combat strategies:
For any level, your most common solo approach is pretty simple: beat the crap out of a single mob until it's dead, then heal yourself to full (or a comfortable %), then med up, then repeat. When possible, use lull/calm/etc to pull single mobs. If you pull more, or get an add, root all but the one you're focusing on.
Another effective approach, if you prefer the burst-med-repeat type of leveling, is to act like an undead-only battle wizard. This works best against undead wizards like hags or froglok ghoul casters, but will work against fighter-type mobs as well. Essentially, just spam your highest-level undead nuke between melee swings, while paying attention to mob casting for bashes/stuns. If there is an abundance of mobs available, this will virtually always be less efficient than the slow-and-steady method mentioned above. However, this method is great if you like having a lot of downtime to watch netflix, do homework et cetera or if there is a limited number of mobs in your camp. For example, I typically use this method when camping Arch Mage in Lower Guk since there are only two mobs - it doesn't matter if I blow all of my mana on them because i'll have 25 minutes to med up afterward.
As you get higher in level, especially if you aren't a mega-twink, you often will not be able to kill a mob without stopping to heal yourself. Your go-to strategy in such cases is to root the mob, back up (out of line of sight for casters), and heal until full (or until root breaks). For this reason, wisdom/mana becomes far more important than stamina/hp for determining what mobs you're capable of slaying.
Most of the time, your role in a group will be to tank. Your goal is straightforward, but the paths to success are many. A paladin's most basic tanking strategy is as follows: Tag the mob as it comes into camp, then use flash of light to secure aggro when the mob stops moving - do not use flash of light while the mob is still moving to camp. After you have the mob in place, apply flash of light periodically as needed. In earlier levels, one or two flashes will probably be sufficient, but if you have a super twinked rogue or a nuke-happy wizard in the group you may need to use more. Level 50+ you will often need to use 4-5 over the course of a fight.
Bonus tips to up your tank game:
1) If you have mana (or feel comfortable timing your bracer), stun on incoming to aid with aggro and positioning. If it's a single mob, try to time your stun to land just as the mob paths over the point you want to find it on. If there are two or more mobs, you can use stun to break one away from the pack.
2) Stack aggro on mezzed or rooted mobs, to keep them from b-lining for the enchanter or cleric on a mez/root break. An easy way to do this is to use flash a couple times on your current target, then turn auto attack off, then switch to the mezzed target and cast your zero-dmg stun (if at a distance) or flash of light (if in melee range) on it, then switch back to your main target and continue attacking. This is your main method for holding aggro on multiple mobs. If there are 3 mobs mezzed in camp, you should try to have at least one flash or stun on each of them before the first target dies. If stun is getting to be too much mana or the cooldown is too long, position your main target so that you can stand in melee range with the mezzed mob(s) that you want to stack aggro on, so that you can use flash instead.
3) Pay attention to positioning. Any time a melee swing hits a mob, it will be "pushed" slightly in the direction of the swing. Additionally, hitting a mob from behind will be more productive for melee dps since doing so avoids parries/ripostes. Combining those two things means you will (usually) want to position and face the mob so that the melee that are standing behind it will push the mob into camp, as opposed to out of camp (toward adds). Another thing to consider is whether or not there are pet classes in the group. If there are, you can help your dps a little by facing the mob so that its back is to the pets. Your melee dps can reposition easily; pets take a bit more work.
In place of, or in addition to, tanking paladins can be pretty decent pullers (clarity recommended, especially if you're also tanking). If the camp is already broken, anyone can pull: just hit the single mobs as they spawn with whatever spell or attack suits you and bring them back to camp. If the camp is not broken, you have a few options: 1) Lull all mobs in the room/spot/camp except for the one(s) you want to pull, then tag and bring back to your friends. This will require a decent charisma score to avoid critical resists (which pull aggro), so swap in some charisma gear if you have it and ask your local shaman for a charisma buff. You can cast lull from out of line-of-sight, so use your camera angles to target stuff without stepping into the room. Alternatively, for hard-to-reach spots ask your rogue to sneak up and target the mob, then /assist the rogue. 2) Root one mob and bring the other(s) back. Repeat as necessary, leaving a line of rooted mobs on the way back to camp if you want. Can be combined with lull, since your lull line will always last longer than your highest level root (with the exception of pacify). If you end up having to wait too long for the second or third mob to come, use a weaker root or bring the mob to camp before rooting. 3) When pulling singles or doubles, pull with stun if you have the mana (or your bracer). For a single, this will keep the mob off of you while you run back. For two or more, this will split one mob off from the other(s), which can be helpful. Also very useful for pulling casters - stun the mob and quickly get out of line of sight to avoid being nuked half to death on the way back to camp. Assuming you're also tanking, this has the added bonus of stacking some aggro for you early on in the fight.
-Temporary or back-up healing:
You will likely never be asked to main heal (though a level 59 paladin is certainly capable of main healing easy camps), but paladins can still make good use of their heals in groups. If the cleric is running low on mana, use your heals (clicky heals when possible) to top off the rogue/monk/etc so the cleric can focus on healing the tank (probably you). You can also keep yourself topped off between fights, especially if you're sitting around with a full mana bar.
You can also step in to be the "main healer" temporarily if your healer needs to afk or leaves the group. Spam-casting greater/superior heal will burn through your mana pretty quick, but it can keep the xp rolling for a little while until the healer returns or a replacement is found. Another good option is to have the monk (or ranger or shaman or whoever wants to volunteer) tank while you spam-cast your clicky helmet or breastplate heal on them. If the tank has enough mitigation to take less than 120 dmg per 8 seconds on average, you can keep them up indefinitely for zero mana cost. You can also spam clicky heals on yourself while tanking in a corner, but this can make holding aggro difficult depending on your group's composition.
- Using clickies (45+):
There are a couple changes to your play options when you get to start using your deepwater armor clickies (if you don't have them yet, get them). The helm and bracer are your biggest priorities, followed by the vambraces, and the breastplate if you can afford it.
Use this to heal yourself while a mob is rooted or between fights. Do not use divine purpose or greater heal unless absolutely necessary - this will cut out hours upon hours of downtime over the course of your 45+ career. Also handy for spamming heals on shamans/necros or topping off other group members (assuming they don't have a higher level cleric buff on).
Basically the same as the helm, but heals for nearly three times as much at the cost of a jasper (7-8 gold). Absolutely amazing to have, well-worth both the item and reagent costs - I generally carry around a deluxe toolbox full of jaspers (total 150p for 200 clicky heals, or 33 minutes of nonstop clicks).
Use the soothe on these instead of spending mana when possible. Some times you just have to use calm or pacify, especially in higher level areas, but using the clicky soothe instead saves a lot of mana over the course of a dungeon crawl.
+20 MR for zero mana. You eventually get to cast +40 on yourself, but these are still great when you're buffing on a budget. Toss a click on your puller too!
Clicky dispel, has its uses. Mostly use these to dispel root on charmed pets while duoing, or to pull casters while soloing. Not a big priority.
You can do soooo many things with infinite stuns. Here's an incomplete list:
Similar, but superior, to root jousting - can solo non-casting mobs extremely effectively (albeit slowly) with this method. Root the mob, back up, cast your bracer stun, run in for one melee attack, then back up and repeat. If done correctly, the mob will do zero damage to you, so it only relies on having mana to root. Note that this is *much* slower than simply meleeing toe to toe. However, for tough, hard-hitting mobs it's about the only way to kill them without running out of mana halfway through. It's up to you to feel out when this will be better for you than simply helmet healing between fights.
Great for annoying caster adds if you aren't tanking. Root the mob, then chain cast your bracer stun on it. Repeat for as long as necessary.
Chain cast your stun. If you're slowing for some one else, root the mob as well (otherwise you will pull aggro). If slowing for yourself, cast from a corner to avoid interrupts and get a melee seing in between casts. If using a 2-hander with a high delay (like baton of faith) this is a low-mana alternative to bracer jousting (it reduced the mob's damage far more than it does yours).
Experiment with it and find other techniques! It's a fun tool.
- Other "clickies" to obtain, in no particular order:
-Stave of Shielding:
Swap in once every 45 minutes for an extra boost to hp, ac and MR - yay!
-Luminary Two Handed Sword
If you don't like carrying around a bunch of charisma gear, this is a nice alternative. 45 minute +40 charisma buff for one bag slot (and zero gear slots)! Just swap it in for a proc before doing a bunch of lulling.
Run faster, and get a global cooldown reset outoors.
-Ring of Shadows or Cloudy Potions:
You're going to need invis. Get some, one way or another.
-Bracer of the Hidden:
Paladins don't get See Invisible, so this comes in handy. It's also a useful junk buff when fighting mobs that make heavy use of dispel.