With mmo-champion announcing that they think patch 4.0.1 is dropping either next week or the week after, we need to come to terms with the imminent cataclysm about to strike our beloved spec. Prot will be changed forever and these changes will hit well before we first set foot on Hyjal or Vashj’ir. Many of us will continue to raid ICC, or other dungeons, in this new system, and it’s critical to be on top of all these changes so you can hit the ground running.
With that in mind I have compiled below a massive list of all the major changes being afflicted upon us in the upcoming patch. This list is also specifically compiled for the perspective of someone at level 80, so I’ll be leaving out a lot of the stuff we know about 81-85. Please let me know if I missed anything!
This is all so very–very–subject to change.
The big one: Holy Power
Probably the biggest single change to our class. Holy Power is a brand new resource system that will govern our rotation and open up a “finisher”-like move that we’ll need to boost threat or survivability. To briefly overview the system, HP appears as a bar of glyphs underneath your portrait. Every time you use Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous you gain a charge of Holy Power.
It caps at three, and once you have at least one stack you can use one of three finishers. Finishers get more powerful depending on how much Holy Power you have. Once you expend any amount of Holy Power you will gain the Holy Shield effect for 15 seconds, increasing block chance by 15% (percent is regardless of how much HP you spent to gain it).
Holy Power stacks also slowly disappear when out of combat at a rate of 1 HP per 10 seconds. You can use critters feasibly to keep this rolling out of combat.
Other mechanics changes
Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous are now exclusive, you can only use one or the other. Crusader strike deals 120% weapon damage (so slower weapons means bigger hits by CS) and that amount is further increased by talents and the prime CS glyph. Hammer of the Righteous deals 30% weapon damage to your primary target and then a Holy AOE hitting every enemy immediately around you.
Holy Shield, like I said above, applies when you expend any amount of Holy Power on a finisher. It’s worth 15% block chance on top of what you gain from Mastery, gear, etc.
We have three abilities that expend Holy Power: Shield of the Righteous, Word of Glory, and Inquisition.
- Shield of the Righteous deals a large, large amount of damage in a single attack. This is our single biggest hitting attack, a freight train of pain. Be sure to delight in the big numbers. If it is dodged, missed, or parried you will not expend any Holy Power. ShoR is best used when you are competing with DPS for threat on a single target, or have no imminent issues with incoming heals.
- Word of Glory is an instant heal which should invariably only be used on yourself. The talent Guarded by the Light modifies the spell so that any overhealing is converted to an absorption effect, meaning that no self-healing is ever wasted. At level 80 this probably won’t heal for much because our stamina (and thus attack power via Vengeance) will be much lower than it will be at 85. WoG is best used if you have a large threat lead and need a quick heal.
- Inquisiton boosts Holy damage dealt by 30% for 4 seconds per HP stack expended, maxing out at 12 seconds. This is best used when AOE tanking as it will increase your damage/threat from HotR, Consecrate, and Holy Wrath, among other abilities. (Note: As kaanman36 points out in the comments, this ability is not available until level 81. Still worthy of keeping in mind for the time being.)
Blessings are completely redone. Blessing of Sanctuary is gone (with the mana gain effect rolled into the talent Sanctuary), Blessing of Wisdom and Might are combined into the new Blessing of Might, and Blessing of Kings is now only worth 5% but increases magic resistances as well. Clicking your Blessing button once will automatically buff all party or raid members for one hour.
Auras have been revamped slightly as well, in that effects are generally the same, but all the resistance auras have been rolled into one Resistance Aura to rule them all.
The ability Touched by the Light (gained by speccing into prot) now automatically provides 6% spell hit. That means when melee hit capped we will be spell hit capped at well. This negates the new for a Glyph of Righteous Defense, which has been removed.
Righteous Fury now increases the threat generated by all abilities by 200%. This is an increase from the 80% we have now on Live, and has also been changed to apply to physical damage as well. It also has the most helpful tooltip ever.
Forbearance only limits Hand of Protection and Divine Shield now. Divine Protection and Ardent Defender are not prevented by it, nor do they activate it.
Speccing Sanctuary (3/3) now reduces chance to be crit by 6%, and thus Defense is removed.
A successful Block reduces damage taken from that attack by 30%. Not subject to Block Value anymore. Nor does that stat exist anymore.
Vengeance increases your attack power by 5% of damage taken up to a maximum of 10% of your health. To pull numbers out of my butt, with, say, 50k hp fully buffed one can expect an additional 5k attack power. Which would be a 108% increase over my current 4614 attack power. Assuming say 20k hits in ICC, we’re looking at capping Vengeance within 5 hits or so. Of course, the major downside is that Vengeance very quickly degrades out of combat and your full stack will be gone within seconds.
Judgements, thanks to Judgements of the Wise, gives mana back every time you judge. We put up a self-replenishment that restores 25% of base mana over the course of 10 seconds. This will negate the need for a rolling, perpetual Divine Plea. There is also only one Judgement spell now.
Seal of Command is gone and along with it the snap aggro it generated.
Seal of Corruption/Vengeance is now called Seal of Truth. Same mechanics, though different numbers. We still put up a dot that stacks to 5. It is still our primary tanking seal.
Consecration now only lasts 10 seconds and has a cooldown of 30 seconds. Duration can be modified by talents and the glyph. Mana cost for Consecration is now ridiculous, 55% of base mana. This is cut by 80% when fully talented, but mana might not be maxing out the talent in single-target threat builds. Be careful not to spam this and generally only save it for AOE.
Holy Wrath now hits all mobs, but still stuns Demons and Undead. Can by glyphed to also stun Elementals and Dragonkin. Holy Wrath has a set damage amount that splits based on how many mobs it hits, so you can use it for single target or for AOE.
Divine Protection now only reduces damage taken by 20% for 10 seconds, but has a 1 minute cooldown. It’s basically Holy Barkskin now. This can be glyphed to reduce physical damage reduction to 0% but boost magical damage reduction to 40%, which means that the spell has two uses: (1) as a cooldown to pop for major magic damage fights with predictable burst, or (2) to roll constantly on cooldown to reduce damage taken over the course of a fight. It’s not really an “oh crap” cooldown any more. Off the GCD.
Divine Shield‘s duration was cut to 8 seconds (thus killing Bubble Hearth for good).
Ardent Defender is now an on-click ability. Reduces damage taken by 20% for 10 seconds and gives you the guardian spirit effect for the duration. If the effect procs, you gain 15% health back rather than 10%. There is no associated damage-reduced under 35% health effect. AD is the appropriate “oh crap” button. 3 minute cooldown (reduced by talents). Off the GCD.
Divine Guardian still reduces raid damage by 20%, but does not apply to the caster (and thus can’t be used as a tank cooldown anymore). Also doesn’t redirect damage to the caster, so we can shelve those macros.
Agility no longer gives armor, only crit and dodge now.
Strength now gives parry, in addition to attack power. Also does not give block value anymore.
Thanks to Plate Specialization we get 5% free stamina from wearing all plate pieces. Not that that was ever an issue.
Our Mastery, Divine Bulwark, gives 16% block chance off the bat, and an additional 2% per point of Mastery (not rating). Mastery is trainable from your class trainers at 80, so make grabbing this one of the first things you do.
Armor (at least, bonus armor) was nerfed pretty harshly. Expect to see your precious armor gutted the first time you log into the post-4.0.1 world and re-evaluate pieces accordingly.
We have two procs to watch for, Grand Crusader and Sacred Duty.
- Grand Crusader has a power auras-esque effect, so it’s hard to miss, but nonetheless it resets the cooldown on your Avenger’s Shield. Can be procced by the used of Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous.
Right now GC is only really useful in AOE circumstances. At present damage values, Avenger’s Shield is a threat loss if used instead of Crusader Strike/Hammer of the Righteous, Judgement, or ShoR. Don’t even bother speccing this in a pure single-target spec.
- Sacred Duty only alerts use with a red Judgement of Justice-like icon on our buffs frame. If you see this it guarantees a crit on Shield of the Righteous for the next 15 seconds. Do your best to match up ShoR with one of these procs.
Speaking of a rotation, 969 is dead. Moment of silence, please.
However, in it’s place, we have 939. Ugh.
Refer to the rotation detailed in this post for single target. Basically we have a priority system of 3HP ShoR > CS > J > AS > HW. Consecrate can be substituted for Holy Wrath, mana allowing, since it’s approximately a 60 dps increase. With a 3-second CS, that means that even other attack is CS, and then you follow with the highest-dps ability in the queue. (Source.)
For AOE, use HotR, HW, AS, and Consecrate to hold threat. Grand Crusader can be helpful here.
How I will spec
I’m planning to have two Prot specs, one for single-target/survival (aka, bosses) and one for AOE fights/trash/Gunship defense.
For bosses, something like this.
For trash, something like this.
If you want just one prot spec, this is probably the best choice.
Reckoning will be worth having, and not just because physical attacks are now affected by Righteous Fury. Moreover, it (unlike the WotLK iteration) gets better as you stack Mastery, which is great.
Divinity might also raise some eyebrows, but in the brave new world of Cataclysm encounters where healer mana will matter and damage taken will be slower, you’ll want that extra oomph. It will also benefit Word of Glory by double dipping for a healing increase.
I’m skipping Improved Hand of Justice because there just isn’t the budget room for it in a non-specialized spec. Same deal with Eternal Glory where the proc design and the possible infrequency of WoG use will limit its benefit.
How I will glyph
Assuming all glyphs from the beta make it over to Live during 4.0.1, then I’ll go with the following deck depending on what spec I’m using:
Prime: Glyph of Seal of Truth, Glyph of Shield of the Righteous, Glyph of Judgement
Major: Glyph of Focused Shield, Glyph of the Ascetic Crusader, Glyph of Consecration
Prime: Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous, Glyph of Shield of the Righteous, Glyph of Seal of Truth.
Major: Glyph of Consecration, Glyph of Dazing Shield, Glyph of Turn Evil (for ICC utility)
Honestly though, these are approximate guesses of which glyphs will translate to the most TPS. I expect that any imminent theorycrafting will shuffle this list around a tad.
I’m also going to keep a Glyph of Divine Protection handy for Sindragosa-esque fights.
For both, Minors will be Lay on Hands, Truth, and Kings.
Reforging at 80
Something I’ve seen listed elsewhere which I think has a lot of merit (and thus I recommend) would be to, upon training Mastery, reforge your gear away from Dodge or Parry (whichever s higher) to Mastery. At current gear ratings and our level, we’re going to have steep diminishing returns. You can easily turn 4% dodge into 20% block with some quick reforging, for example. Feel free to go wild and see if you can block cap. You can always do the reforging if your avoidance dips lower than what you are comfortable with.
How to prepare for 4.0.1
I’m going to leave this up for commenters, but the single biggest piece of advice I have is to stockpile one of each glyph and bank them for the switchover. Glyphs will be changing to their newest iteration and prices will surely rise after the fact. This can get you a step ahead of any price gouging.
For gems, if you’re currently sporting any Shifting Dreadstones, you might want to put aside some Solid Majestic Zircons or other Dreadstones to regem with.
Are there any changes I missed that bear stating? How is everyone here planning to spec come 4.0.1?