I haven't tanked as a paladin before. I'm level 90. I have no gear. Help please!
My friends and I just hit 90 and I've decided to start tanking but I'm honestly a bit scared. I've tanked a lot on other tanking classes in previous expansions so this new gearing/gemming trend seems a bit odd to me. I'm not sure how to put it. It's just odd. Should I start collecting haste/no-crit gear immediately or should I focus on getting some tank gear?
Do you have any general advice? Something you wish you'd known when you first started tanking?
There's very little to be afraid of. So long as you're all fresh 90's, and you don't forget to put Righteous Fury on, you should never lose aggro unless your friends (who I assume are DPS), do something stupid like running into a fresh pack of mobs popping Bladestorm - and in that case, it won't be your fault.
Now, in terms of perfecting how to play your class, one of the first things you'll want to do is spiff up your UI, if you haven't already. Find (or make!) a WeakAuras string that you like, which tracks all your important abilities, and place it in the middle of your screen so you can pay attention to both your own play AND your surroundings at the same time. Make sure you get used to the general Protection priority system - CS-J-Filler-CS-Filler-J-Filler-CS-J - fillers being spells such as Consecration and Holy Wrath. Make sure you learn how to keep a 90% uptime on Sacred Shield, and that you get the hang of when to use Shield of the Righteous.
With regards to gear - do away with that mindset immediately. Haste/non-crit gear IS tank gear - that other stuff you're thinking about is warrior gear/DE-fodder. We've got haste on our new Tier Gear, we gem for it - it's really no different than mastery or defense rating have been in previous expansions, and you should treat it as such.
And finally - when you get to the point where you start raiding - even if it's just LFR or Flex - DO THE RESEARCH. Not only because it makes for a much more enjoyable experience for everyone, but also because it makes it so much easier to sort the legitimate, warranted criticism from the unwarranted stuff. Make no mistake: You will fuck up, you will wipe a group, but so long as you learn from it, you'll be a better tank for it. The faster you get used to that thought, the better.
Heyfor a first time pally tank i'll list what i think will be the most helpful tips.
First of all i know you've tanked before on other classes but if you do not have this addon i really recommend getting it; Tidy Plates + Tidy plates; threat plates
Getting Tidy plates will allow you to set enemy name plates to different styles - and downloading the addon threat plates lets you use, threat plates, which are easily customization and basically color co-ordinated for when you, have agro, loosing agro, and have lost agro.
E.G - Green = attacking you - Yellow = Loosing Agro - Red = LOST AGRO.
Good for AoE tanking.
Also get one of the following addons - Tell me when OR Weak Auras, i personally use tell me when but both do the same thing (or can).
Use the above addon(s) to track important stuff like - Scared Shield, this is your main heal/absorb, having this up 100% will turn a squishy pally into a monster tank.
Also track Vengeance - it's important to know how high your vengeance is as it plays a part in increasing your dps and survivability - the higher your vengeance the higher your AP = the higher your Scared Shield absorb, so if for some reason you find yourself jumping from 10kvengeance to 100k vengeance then after re apply the Sacred Shield to have the insane shield up.
Also as a Paladin Tank you should ALWAYS use Seal of Insight, so many people think seal of truth is the seal- it use to be but for now seal of insight wins on every fight. + major survivability increase
For someone just starting i would go with a standard aoe build, your single target dps might not be the highest with it but you will have the best way to keep aoe threat and single should be np.
I'd go with glyphing battle healer, Alabster shield + Divine protection, the battle healer glyph for your friends incase you get a bad healer (you can swap battle healer for final wrath if wanted), the alabster shield because it's a dps increase (focussed shield is more dps but it'll turn your aoe Avenger shield into a single target = bad for new tanks), and divine protection for trash packs in dungeons/lfr.
Also since your new to tanking / low gear (i'm 541 and still prefer the talent Holy Avenger but some say others is better, personal choice i.m.o) i'd go with Holy Avenger, 2min massive dps! + Survival Cooldown.
For easy trash aoe/threat also go with lights hammer.
EDIT: Also if your a new tank i'd avoid tanking LFR - It's Toxic, you never get a good tank partner, they're normally always braindead and just have taunt macro'd into every ability. ~You could dps i guess but i wouldn't suggest tanking lfr, i rage quit every time i try tanking with a pug in lfr.
TwentyTwelve summed up alot, but here's a few other things to keep in mind
Don't be afraid to fail, everyone fucks up from time to time, more-so when learning a new class, don't be afraid to ask top paladins on your realm/this forum for advice ( As you already are ).
Get a GOOD UI, this can be elvui, tukui, lui, or just a custom UI you built yourself, just remember that it has the following.
An addon to track buffs, such as weakauras/TMW/powerauras, tracking SoTR is tbh your most important thing to track, if it's not up for, say, Horridons Triple Puncture at 8 stacks, you'll end up hit like a trust and probably die.
An addon to track your Health, yes the stock unitframes are ok, but something like Shadowed Unitframes or Pitbull are MUCH better, and let you see your health in much more effective ways.
And a good Action Bar addon, it's really helpful to have your main abilitys somewhere you can see them at a quick glance, either make them big, or have them closer to the middle of your screen.
And last but not least. Practice, practice, practice! doesn't matter if you're practicing your priority on a Target Dummy, or 5 man, just start getting it down to muscle memory. For more advanced things, feel free to PM me/ any one of the paladins on this forum, i know they're all helpful, and look in the various threads already made here.