Specific paladin addons, in my experience, are not really a necessity until your reach 80.
For the purposes of leveling a paladin, one addon I do recommend if you are aiming to level quickly, is Carbonite Quest, also check out Zygor’s leveling guide for in-game step by step level walkthrough for the most efficient questing. This is an invaluable tool for showing you where to go for quests. As an addon, it is not as useful if you want to enjoy the game more, by exploring and such like.
Even in this circumstance it has its uses if you are lost in a particular quest chain and need assistance, but overall I would say it’s more useful to somebody who is leveling an alt. I use it all the time for my alts now and it speeds up my progress considerably.
Other general addons which may help leveling, but are equally of use at 80 is Atlas and Atlasloot. These provide assistance by showing maps of dungeons and boss locations within them. They provide the full loot drops for all dungeons in the game and the percentage chance of an item dropping. This allows you to find the dungeons which drop the most useful gear and run them, while avoiding the dungeons which don’t have much of use.
Also included is full pvp maps and some useful additions which allow you to see how long flight times are, how long till a location is captured in pvp battles etc.
When you reach 80 and are starting to think about raiding (Prot Pally Raiding Guide here) the following addons are a must for paladin tanks.
This provides warnings about specific boss abilities that players must be aware of during a fight. For example Flame walls in the Obsidian Sanctum. They also provide warnings if you are being affected by a specific ability, i.e. if you are standing in a void zone etc. This gives you the information you need to stay alive in these encounters.
Be warned though, you still need to know the tactics before hand, these are not a replacement for studying the encounters(I haven’t personally used Bigwigs, as DBM has always suited me, but I would encourage people to try out both and see if they have any preference).
Know simply as Omen by most players, this provides a threat display, allowing you to keep an eye on your overall threat on any one target. This is obviously very important for tanks to make sure you are at the top of the aggro list, and it will also show you when you are in danger of being overaggroed by a dps. In this situation you should be aware that you have some responsibility to try and help the raid by using HoS for example.
While the dps should be watching their own aggro with Omen, sometimes crits happen at the wrong time, especially in the case of warlocks and fire mage’s. This is where you should be helping them if at all possible by using HoS before they overaggro. If in doubt use it, better to be wrong and not need it than lose a dps unnecessarily. This is especially important in dps races, i.e. XT 002 on hard mode in Ulduar.
3. Pally Power
This is a very useful buffing addon which allows you to setup which buffs you are giving each class. It co-ordinates with other paladins in the raid, assuming they have it also. This allows you to give the necessary buffs to all raid members quickly and efficiently, and reduces time spent between encounters.
I would say this is more useful as you progress in raids. It provides information on tanking equipment and compares drops to your existing gear. I have used it occasionally though I can usually determine gear upgrades without it based on my own knowledge. It is an optional addon in my opinion, though if you are going for different gear sets it will be invaluable to determine the best combination for use in certain situations.
Other addons which are options are Recount, and any addon which allows you to monitor cooldowns. Recount is used for measuring your dps mainly, but it also gives information on a wide range of stats, i.e. healing done, damage taken etc.
I have never felt the need to use a cooldown monitor as I can see clearly which abilities to use and when with the blizzard ui. If you are having problems checking which cooldowns are ready it may be an idea to find an addon suitable for this task. The main site for all addons is wow.curse.com, and has a section for specific class addons which provide a range of functions. It is well worth your time, if you are having problems with a certain aspect of game play, checking this out for addons which will make you more efficient.
Macros in my experience, are mostly about situations. They can be set up for communications in raids, specific actions for certain bosses, and a range of other functions.
One of the most common macros you will probably use, especially when just starting tanking, is a trinket macro. So, to clarify exactly what I mean by this let me show an example.
/cast Avenging Wrath
This macro would then use your avenging wrath spell at the exact same time as your trinket. You simply put your trinket’s name after the /use command. This saves time as you don’t have to activate your spell then your trinket independently. You put your macro in an action bar, the same way you would with a spell, then simply use it as with any other ability.
The other advantage to this is that you get the full use of both in combination, whereas if you clicked the 2 separately you would lose a couple of seconds on the 2nd spell. This also may have a knock on effect depending on the cooldown for each.
For example, you have 2 spells/abilities with a 2min cooldown, each lasts 15secs and gives a damage increase, for every 2secs you lose clicking them, then you would only get 13secs of combined damage increase, then 11 etc. If you need burst at a particular point you need both combined for maximum effect.
While some might argue that you still get an overall damage increase, as a tank there are some situations where that extra burst will prove crucial. A boss that resets aggro for example, a maximum burst helps ensure that you regain it as fast as possible, and don’t lose it to a high burst dps.
The use of macros also improves your overall efficiency as you can plan exactly when to use your cooldowns and not have to worry about clicking, or pressing, too many buttons one after the other.
Another situation when it is important to use macros is for specific encounters. Lets take Grobbulus as an example from Naxx. You can set up a macro for targeting specific enemies. In this case I’ll assume your are off-tanking the slimes. You can make a macro as follows:
/target fallout slime
This ensures as soon as a slime spawns that you target it directly, and you can safely taunt it to you. The trouble with targeting using the mouse or Tab button is that you can and will make mistakes from time to time, and pull the boss instead. This can cause chaos if the MT doesn’t react quickly enough and result in a wipe.
Macros can also be used for communication in raids. One I use quite often is at the start of a boss pull.
This is a very simple macro which alerts the raid I am pulling and will ensure that every knows exactly when the action is starting.
Another example of when macros are useful is when you need to keep switching tanks. For example on Kologarn in Ulduar 25man, you need to switch between tanks due to an armour debuff. I created a simple macro for this.
This clearly states you need the other tank to taunt the boss, and keeps things simple and concise.
The communication macros can be very useful to make things clear and give information quickly. If you are using Ventrilo or Teamspeak, then they are of less use as you should be constantly communicating over your mics. As as backup in case of problems with either program they can be the difference between wiping and killing a boss.
Macros should be custom made for the scenarios you find yourself in. This is, I feel, the best use for them. They are not absolutely necessary all the time but to improve your overall efficiency and give yourself the best possible chances they will prove a great asset in many situations.
Be sure to check out Zygors Leveling guide for the best leveling addon and walkthrough combined.