The following guide has been gleaned from the many wonderful contributions of the Paladin community on Blizzard's official Paladin Discussion forum.
Morals and Ethics of Paladin Tanking
The following comes from a post by Sven on the official forums:
- Protection Warriors and feral Druids are not necessarily better tanks than we are – they are different.
- We are not necessarily better tanks than protection Warriors and feral Druids – we are different.
- Speccing 41 points into protection is not enough. 5/5 Tier 4 prot gear is not enough. You need a certain amount of skill and a large amount of commitment to tank. Tanking is the most selective and unforgiving position there is in a raid – you need to be at the top of your game.
- If you plan on tanking, you plan on sacrificing. It will be much harder to heal effectively, as it'll be harder to DPS, grind and PVP effectively. Please expect this and do not complain once you're fully prot specced. Prot spec seems to be good for farming – this is not a mistake. You WILL need to farm for yourself. Repair bills WILL be high. This is something you've signed up for.
- Do NOT be a loot hog. If you're tanking an instance, and a hammer with 299 +healing drops, do NOT roll on it unless you don't plan on tanking anymore or nobody else wants it. Healers need gear to keep you alive – don't take it away from them.
- Remember, you are still a paladin. You can still use many of your paladin abilities while tanking. While it is inadvisable to heal yourself while tanking, you can always cleanse yourself, HoP/HoF/HoS others, rez between fights and heal when needed/possible, such as if you are an off-tank and healing the main tank to keep the main healer from building threat.
- Do NOT be intimidated from what others say about paladin tanking. We can do it, and we can do it well. Discouragement of paladin tanking will only hurt the community as a whole.
- Do NOT shy away from discussion. Word needs to spread about our qualities (both negative and positive) as tanks. The player base of WoW should be as well informed as possible about our tanking style and mechanics.
- Make sure your healers know how to heal you. For instance, ask for HoTs instead of bubbles at the beginning of an encounter so that you get mana back from spiritual attunement. Also, if the healer has loads of mana, and you have none, make sure that healer knows to send out big heals to refill your mana bar – any mana they have at the end of a serious encounter is a waste (note that over-healing will not restore mana).
- Go out of your way to refrain from breaking crowd control. We have a 3-target pull and an AoE that generates wonderful threat – nevertheless, keep these both away from the crowd control. As you'll find out in TBC, crowd control is more important than ever. That means, if you have a rogue with you, you will not be able to pull using Avenger's Shield without risking breaking the sap. Mages can sheep, hunters can trap and priests can shackle during combat, but rogues can't – be mindful. You can still pull with Avenger's Shield, and you can consecrate to your heart's delight, but don't break the crowd control. UPDATE: In the 2.4 Patch, Avenger's shield no longer jumps to Crowd Controlled mobs. This makes running with rogues much easier.
- Know your abilities. Do some research. Find out what our strengths are, how we can exploit them; what our weaknesses are and how we can improve them.
- Do not expect to always be the primary choice for a tank slot. We are, essentially, hybrids – even if you have sacrificed healing and dps ability, you may be called upon to do either (most probably healing). Heal, and heal with a smile – nobody wants to hear someone complaining about how they're forced to go against their spec. Situations may call for a change of role, and we have to be flexible. However, you should still help people realize that, yes, we are viable tanks and should not put up with being typecast as being "Priests in Plate". Try to find some balance between informing others and stereotyping yourself.
- As prot spec, you WILL rely on groups the majority of the time. If you are the MT, your relationship with the rest of your group is more important than your mitigation or threat generation (though those two are still very significant) as your group/raid/guild will suffer or excel as a whole based, in part, on your attitude. If you don't trust your healers, you will perform worse. If your DPS doesn't trust you, they will perform worse – causing more strain on the healers. Attitude will change the group/raid/guild's ability exponentially due to this fact.
- If you vie for the MT position, don't step on the heads of others to get you there. You will need as much support as you can get. Learn to share the spotlight – there are now 4 tanking classes who want to tank – let them try it out and try to help them when they falter. You WILL need offtanks – find someone whom you trust to be a good tank and try to work out each others' kinks with him/her. Do NOT be a limelight hog and do NOT assume that you can do everything yourself.
- Learn the mechanics of the other tanks. Find out what they excel at and what hurts them the most. This means both the classes and the players behind the classes as well – you need to know the abilities of the classes/players you'll be tanking with. Do not assume that you will be the ideal tank for every single encounter.
- Remember to keep these words in your mind while tanking:"My job here is to die first!".