In this era of role silos, I’ve found that I like playing the jack-of-all-trades.
This isn’t exactly a revelation to anyone who has read our blog the past year or so, but I’ve found that leveling new Paladins on the Alliance side has reinforced that attitude.
I’m the guy who actually likes handling the stairs on Drak’Tharon: I can heal myself, use Righteous Fury and Consecration to draw aggro, and do enough damage by myself to keep the scourge from causing issues with the crew down below before Phase 2 of the fight. Healer getting overwhelmed with debuffs or damage in a scrum? I can step in and plug the gaps as needed. Tank losing aggro to the ranged DPS? A quick Hand of Salvation or a pull using Righteous Defense will drag that trash back into threat range, and a bubble will drop the threat right off of me, enabling the tank to reestablish control. Garfrost’s stacking debuff hitting everyone hard? Frost Aura will take a bite out of it. Those Ymirheim Flamebringers blasting everyone with AoE over in the Pit of Saron? Interrupts, Fire Aura, and Holy Wrath will stop that.
The bag of tricks that a Paladin has is an eerie echo of my own personal set of tools for work. I might not be the most knowledgeable person at my job, but I’ve got a wide set of homegrown tools that will assist me in whatever is thrown my way. By comparison, every Pally has the ability to heal, tank, and DPS right out of the box, but it’s the application of those various little abilities that let a Paladin really shine.
When was the last time you saw a Ret Pally switch out of Ret or Protection Aura to help mitigate damage? There are plenty of opportunities to do that in places such as Razorfen Downs, The Old Kingdom, the Scarlet Monastery, Halls of Lightning, and Pit of Saron, but why doesn’t it happen? Because the theorycrafters say that’s not optimal DPS? Why don’t Ret Pallys help out more with an occasional debuff removal? Because they’re in their own silo? Believe me, having run as a healer, if someone wants to assist with the occasional Cleanse, go for it. Don’t overdo things, because it’s not your primary role, but if you want to help out, a zap or two of Cleanse in the middle of your rotation makes my job easier and lets me concentrate on the tank more.
As an example, I was in Razorfen Downs with Tomakan last week. Tom’s reached that point where his Holy Spec gear isn’t being replaced fast enough, so he has mana issues. Rather than burden a group with Tom being underpowered, I queued him up as DPS and switched to the 2H Heirloom Axe. However, it was obvious that the healer and tank were struggling with the ranged DPS pulling aggro, so I pitched in with some debuff clearing and an occasional HoS or Righteous Defense to help out.
After about 10 minutes, the healer finally spoke up. “Tom,” he asked, “are you cleaning debuffs?”
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m guilty. I wasn’t going to say anything about it, though.”
“Oh, that’s fine. I’m having lag problems, so by the time I see it pop up it’s already gone.”
The next instance that night was Scarlet Monastery, and I was doing the same routine: clean debuffs when I can work it in, and help with crowd control without stepping on the tank’s toes.
About halfway through the instance the Priest healer piped up, “I don’t believe it!”
“What?” the tank –also a Paladin—asked.
“Paladins who clean their own debuffs! Not one but two of you! That never happens!”
You know, maybe it should happen a little more often. Working as a team means acting as a team, not just confining your actions to a specific set of keyboard strokes.