You’ve led your group through the instance. You stood up to the big, bad final boss. You’ve done your job as a Paladin tank very well and now it’s time for your reward. You scoop up a brand new chest piece, full of sockets and waiting for gems.
So now comes the tough decision – what precious gems are you going to spend your money on?
Focus on the Best Stats for a Tanking Paladin (Tankadin)
First you need to identify the stats that you want to maximize as a Tankadin. The most important ones are – defense, stamina, agility, and spell damage. Intellect and mp5 can be useful, but they shouldn’t be a major focus.
Raising your defense increases your overall avoidance – chance to dodge, block, parry, and be missed. Agility can also increase your avoidance – by increasing your chance to dodge – but you get less avoidance per item value.Stamina is always a favorite stat for tanks. Many warriors will sacrifice everything else to maximize their stamina – don’t fall into that trap. Avoidance is as necessary as hit points in end game raid tanking. Paladins need even more avoidance, because Holy Shield is underpowered. Try to balance your stamina gains with defense/agility.
Don’t over-emphasize the spell damage. It is an important stat, but the clearly the fourth most important. For most purposes, a Paladin can tank fine with about 200 spell damage. You can achieve that with a nice weapon (i.e. Continuum Blade or Crystalforged Sword) and a plus spell power to weapon enchant.
Once you are uncrushable (or very close) and have a lot of hit points, you can diversify some of your item value into extra spell damage. You’ll eventually need it, but not until your fellow raiders are decked out in tier 5 or tier 6.
General Gemming Advice
It’s generally a good idea to fit each socket with the correct color gem. The socket bonus may not be much, but it is a free bonus. +3 dodge rating isn’t a lot – until you have it on five different items.
Remember – items are balanced by item value. By gaining the socket bonus on each item, you’re diversifying your stats and getting the most bang for your item value. You should only socket the wrong color gems if the socket bonus is truly useless for a Tankadin (i.e. + Spirit).
By the same token, you should use the more expensive gems whenever possible. If the item is temporary, you can put cheap green-quality gems in. If you plan on using the item for more than a few days, spend some gold and buy some blue quality gems. The bonuses add up when you’re using ten gems.
With that in mind, there are a handful of gems that you could put in a given color. Note: All of the suggested gems are the expensive, blue quality gems. Search on Wowhead for the first word in the gem’s name and you’ll find the cheaper version.
Best Gems to Buy
Rigid Dawnstone. +8 Defense Rating, Yellow. Buy this if you need to maximize your defense and reach 490 (uncrittable status).
Enduring Talasite. +4 Defense, + 6 Stamina, Green. If you have reached uncrittable status, buy these. It will diversify your defense and stamina – and they’re generally cheaper than Dawnstones or Stars of Elune.
Solid Star of Elune. +12 Stamina, Blue. These are good for maximizing stamina. They are also expensive, so you’d be better off buying split-color gems like Talasites.
Glowing Nightseye. +5 Spell Damage, +6 Stamina. Good for boosting your spell damage and threat generation. Use these sparingly – but they will fill a red socket for you.
Shifting Nightseye. +4 Agility, +6 Stamina. Agility helps with your overall avoidance by increasing your chance to dodge. These should be used sparingly, but are good for filling a red socket.
Remember to use your gems wisely and maximize your armor’s item value. Spend a little money and get the better gems.
Most importantly, don’t waste your time loading up on unimportant stats like intellect and mp5. Stamina and defense should be your major goals, and spell damage and agility can be used to fill out red gem sockets.
Who knew that accessories would be so important in WoW?