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Everything you need to know about Prot and 4.0.1 at 80

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.

New mechanics

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.

Spell changes

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.

Stat changes

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:

For single-target

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

For trash

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?

September 30, 2010


Leave a comment
  1. Aeven
    September 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    Changes, they are a-comin’… and this is an awesome review of them. I’ll have to mull it over before I decide how I’m going to spec; I’ll probably start with something similar to your single-target setup, and see where that takes me.
    .-= Aeven’s last blog ..Tanking by Accident =-.

  2. kaanman36
    September 30, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    I have one complaint about this post. You said specifically that this was geared toward a lvl 80 prot paladin in patch 4.0.1, but the ability that our AOE threat is balanced around, Inquisition, is not available to us until lvl 81.

    Other than that, good summary write up. :)

    • Rhidach
      September 30, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

      Oh! I completely forgot about that… good catch!

      brb, ninja edit.

  3. Orthien
    September 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    It will be interesting to see how we are in Heroics and ICC trash now without SoCleave and without Inquisition.
    I have a feeling that trash will be taking more of our time with two Pally tanks.
    .-= Orthien’s last blog ..The Other Grass- Final Fantasy XIV =-.

  4. LabRat
    September 30, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Since we’re a very small, tight ten-man guild for whom work and family have required a lot of breaks from raiding this is going to come in the middle of our still working on the Lich King unless we have a major revelation on Monday.

    To say I am apprehensive about how this going to affect that fight is an understatement…
    .-= LabRat’s last blog ..Please Tip Your Predators =-.

  5. Doxa
    September 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    Excellent review.

  6. Julio Biason/Thorianar
    September 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    I think it’s worth mentioning that Divine Protection (Bubble Wall) now reduces only 20% damage, down from 50% from the live. On the other hand, we have Ardent Defender, which can be called any time to also reduce damage taken in 20% and, at level 85, Guardian of the Ancient Kings will also reduce damage (I’m not sure about the numbers.)

    Also, AFAIK, Righteous Fury always had a white attack threat increase element, but it was never shown in the tooltip. Maintankadin may have that info on one of the starting articles.
    .-= Julio Biason/Thorianar’s last blog ..Beta First Impressions =-.

    • Julio Biason/Thorianar
      September 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

      Also, forgot to say this:

      So far, I’m tending to a spec like this (explanation on why such talents on this blog post), but I reckon I never realized the relationship between Mastery, Blocking and Reckoning.
      .-= Julio Biason/Thorianar’s last blog ..Beta First Impressions =-.

    • Boobah
      October 4, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

      In 3.0, when the devs removed Blessing of Salvation they added a threat modifier to all the tanking ‘stances’ that mimiced that from the other side, but didn’t usually include that modifier in the tooltips. This threat mod (+43% or so) was included in Righteous Fury and included all damage, but the 80% threat mentioned in the tooltip was holy damage only, and also got the +43% tank threat, too.

      Also, the last patch buffed the tank threat boost from +100% to +125%

  7. Barfalomew
    September 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    Thanks very much for this. Having all these changes centralized is very helpful. Now I just need this kind of rundown for all my alts…

  8. Xerian
    September 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    Thanks for this.
    I’ll take a closer look at this when the patch goes live on my prot.
    Will save a lot of time instead of having to collect every information together :)
    .-= Xerian’s last blog ..Beta- here I come =-.

  9. Curtana
    October 1, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    Any thoughts on how ICC10 and ICC25 will play for 80s under new specs? Easier/harder?

    I also hear a rumour that the 30% buff will be disappearing.


    • Rhidach
      October 5, 2010 at 8:25 am #

      I haven’t been on the PTR so I honestly don’t know. I wish I could comment more, but at least we’ll be finding out soon enough, haha.

      As for the buff, they mentioned that in passing but I’ve yet to see it confirmed. DPS apparently will be up across the board, so not sure how needed it will be for that. Healing might be another story.

  10. Shaeloth
    October 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    The 30% buff is currently disabled on test, though it didn’t seem terribly noticeable in most areas.

    Since DPS has been increased on most specs across the board, it almost seemed easier. We did a simple 10 man PUG clear up to Sindragosa before people had to leave.

  11. Soul
    October 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    great overview, tnks
    what abour LoH and Forbearance?

    • Daraxis
      October 2, 2010 at 7:20 am #

      LoH still causes Forbearance when you cast it on yourself, however the only thing you’re locking out is Divine Shield.

      • Rhidach
        October 5, 2010 at 8:26 am #

        Exactly. So self-LoHing is once again a possibility. Hopefully they don’t fiddle with Forbearance anymore.

  12. Ingerimm
    October 2, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    What a nice roundup of the coming changes! Thanks!

  13. John B
    October 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    any news on the new heroics? i’m curious to hear your oppinion on difficulty. I’m honestly nervous to try anything harder than a tank and spank in LFD. I watched a video regarding the new black rock caverns and can only imagine the massive numbers of incoming wipes.

  14. Kerriodos
    October 4, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    You’ve likely been watching this as avidly as I have, but just in case:

    Looks like Ghostcrawler is making some changes for us.

  15. Ekaterine
    October 4, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    It seems as though GC will be lowering the CD on CS and HotR to just 3 seconds (to minimise the risk of being caught with our pants down – ie everything on CD – when adds appear).

    Source: like 3 posts from the bottom.

  16. Anafielle
    October 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Yep. Much twitter bitching occured. Many changes, we haz them.

    I’m sure there will be updated blog posts a-coming soon.

  17. arneus
    October 4, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    Thanks for the great summary of the changes.

    I’d also stockpile some pieces of gear if you can. Some of the BiS items will change and my feeling is with mastery the set pieces will become more valuable.

    What bugs me about prot in 4.01 is that most all of the buttons I will be clicking will be focussed around doing damage, unless I think I need an oh crap button. It may not feel like that in play but at the moment it looks like prot will feel like a weak dps class and not a protector of the weak.

    • Rhidach
      October 5, 2010 at 8:30 am #

      Well, to be fair, we’re really only hitting one button now that’s primarily focused on reducing damage, and that’s Holy Shield. Other than that we’ve always been a weak dps class by your definition, haha.

      I’m not happy with the implications of the new 3X rotation either, but that’s another post.

      • Curtana
        October 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

        You know, it is funny. If I am on farm content and i want to max my DPS, I don’t even bother with Holy Shield anymore.

  18. Sanity
    October 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm #

    “WoG is best used if you have a large threat lead and need a quick heal.”

    Why would you need a large threat lead? Are they changing the way healers get threat from healing or am I missing something?

    Great post all in all mate

    • Curtana
      October 5, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

      I think this means that normally you should be using one of the other Holy Power tools (ShoR for single target and Inquisition for AOE) for threat/dps.

  19. zadoo
    October 5, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    Have u tried experimenting with a Word of Glory + Seal of Insight spec? I read somewhere that while threat is mediocre, the self-healing is pretty decent, and in Cata where tanks will supposedly be hitting danger health levels for most of a boss fight duration, it might be a welcome spec for our thankless healers :)

    • Rhidach
      October 5, 2010 at 11:01 am #

      I thought about it when looking at the glyphs, but threat-wise I’m not sure how viable it would even come close to being. Probably a recipe for threat capping the dps in short order.

  20. Shaera
    October 6, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    I just got onto the PTR and was having a play with the new tanking. The one gripe i have at the moment is that the sacred duty buff doesnt give us a power aura style display. It shouldnt be tough to sort that out once the expansion drops but it would have been nice for blizz to come up with it.

    • Kerriodos
      October 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

      The beta version of Power Auras Classic is working on the PTR (with the exception of the Holy Power functionality, but Angele Dei and NugComboBar both work with Holy Power!) if you want something to monitor it now!

      • Rhidach
        October 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

        Excellent! Thanks for the tip!

  21. Jaiyo
    October 7, 2010 at 3:26 am #

    A bit off topic, but are you planning on keeping Engineering/JC in Cataclysm or are you switching things around?

    • Rhidach
      October 7, 2010 at 9:02 am #

      I’m planning to stay with Engi/JC. Between the shield boots tinker and the armor gloves tinker, Engi seems to be pretty solid for tanks. Combine that with an always exceptional JCing, and I’m pretty happy with my choice.

  22. soze
    October 9, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    Great post, but for some reason the talent builds are broken on wowhead, any chance you could post them again?

    • Rhidach
      October 9, 2010 at 9:53 am #

      This was bosses/survival/single target:

      This was aoe/trash:

  23. Freezhia
    October 10, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    Still not seeing those talent trees – am I doing something wrong? Thanks for all the great stuff you did here!

    • Rhidach
      October 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

      Nah, they keep screwing around with and breaking links. Trying again:

      Single target/bosses:


      If you want a mix spec, I’d recommend this: (BUT, make sure you don’t get tempted by Grand Crusader while single target tanking.)

      If these links don’t worry I apologize!

  24. Runthral
    October 12, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    I’m pretty sure Theck has shown that a 2hp SoR even with SD is a TPS loss.

    Also from his latest sims, it looks SoP is lower than even GC at this point. Might be able to free up a few points for other things then.

    • Rhidach
      October 12, 2010 at 11:46 am #

      Arrgh, something I missed when updating. Thanks for the catch.

      SoP is less dps per point, but it’s either that or 2/2 Eternal Glory, which isn’t very good at the moment (we’ll hardly be using WoG). At least the points from GC can be used elsewhere in the tree in more useful places.

  25. Ced
    October 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    I agree with the specs you posted, except I’m struggling with excluding Divine Guardian. Wouldn’t that be a valuable talent in any of the three specs (tank, aoe, hybrid) that you posted?

    Can you let me know your thought behind excluding it?


    • Rhidach
      October 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

      My thinking in the AOE spec is I’d rather have the point for all the major threat talents, since I can’t forsee needing raid wall on trash. For the mixed spec, you can probably just take a point out of Grand Crusader for Divine Guardian if you want it, and I agree you probably would.

      • Ced
        October 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

        Makes sense for the AoE spec. Thank you for the quick reply Rhidach, and for all the work you’ve put into your blog! VERY much appreciated!!

        • Rhidach
          October 12, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

          Thanks for reading Ced :)

  26. Manga
    October 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    I love this post. This will help me with my prot spec in today’s patch. But one little thing I laugh at was a typo in the post. You said “Prot will be changed forever and these changes will hit well before we first set food on Hyjal or Vashj’ir.” I think you meant “foot” and not food. :) I love the great info. Thank you :D

    • Rhidach
      October 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

      Thanks for reading! And yes… I might have meant “foot”… >.>

  27. Arybeth
    October 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    My main concern about Divine Guardian is this one:

    Known issues, updated today:
    * Divine Guardian is reducing the damage the Paladin takes by 20% instead of reducing the damage his party members take by 20%.

    Game breaking IMO.

    • Rhidach
      October 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

      I don’t think it’ll be gamebreaking… but it’ll hurt.

  28. Faid
    October 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Someone just brought up to me the fact that I should probably start using a slow one-hander such as:

    I thought about it and with the loss of defense rating this seems like it may be a huge TPS gain due to the Crusader Strike/HotR gains you mentioned above.

    Will you be using a “tank” weapon or a slow DPS one?
    .-= Faid’s last blog ..Glyph Posting- Successful =-.

    • Rhidach
      October 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

      I usually use Last Word for tanking, which is 1.8 speed (a “medium” speed, I guess). I also have Bloodvenom Blade waiting in the wings (2.6, slow dps weapon) for if threats bad. I’ll see how threat is with Last Word, and if it’s rough maybe swap to BVB.

  29. Glave
    October 14, 2010 at 5:15 am #

    Any possibility of giving us links for the specs to wowhead instead of wowtal? They must be changing their format every hour it seems cause all the links keep breaking.

    • Rhidach
      October 14, 2010 at 8:14 am #

      The links in the post are working right now (of course, that’ll probably change), but just in case, here are some wowhead backups!

      Single target/boss:




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