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Finding our footing once more

Up until that first pull of Heroic Marrowgar I was terrified that last night was going to be a repeat of the debacle that was the raid on Wednesday last week. The first time we tried Heroic Marrowgar last week I think I was two shot, ingloriously. The offtank followed suit with much haste.

Last night–much better! We had no problems dropping Marrowgar. In fact it felt like pre-4.0.1, except for dps was much higher, so the fight didn’t last as long. Then on Heroic LDW we had a somewhat clean one shot. With everyone’s additional health I’m sure that there were survivors to some unnecessary ghost explosions. I’m sure we wouldn’t have pulled it off that attempt if not for 4.0.1, but at this point I’m beyond caring about these externalities. I just want the night to go well.

And so it did. We pretty much rolled over everything in our path, cleanly one-shotting Heroic Putricide and only stalling at Heroic Sindragosa at the end of the night. With Put in particular I was convinced there were some boss damage hotfixes, because I was reduced to a paste by his normal mode last week, and yet last night I wasn’t taking that much of a beating. Lo and behold, there were.

Per the crab,

We’ve made some Icecrown and Halion changes already and we may need to make more.

He didn’t go into details but I’m certain that they nerfed boss damage in ICC and RS. On just about everything except for Sindragosa (who is still very truck-like in her damage) I was sitting pretty with very few “oh crap” moments, if any.

Last night was also a great chance to get more comfortable with the rotation and all our new toys. I’m much happier with 939 than I’ve been since it was first devised. It’s still annoying to CS every other attack, but the 9′s are not as locked in as they used to be (there’s some fluidity) to make the rotation require some thought. Plus, I’m really liking the choice presented by Shield of the Righteous and Word of Glory.

The former you use at the start to establish a threat lead, then once you’re comfortable with your position you can use Word of Glory to boost your survivability. A lot of times I found myself with a good 10% or so headstart on the dps and started popping the self-heal/absorb. I like any choice we get and any choice that rewards us for not choosing poorly. I think WoG is one of the those things.

Perhaps my favorite part of the night, though, was Heroic Festergut. Thanks to Vengeance and the the damage buff he slaps on the tank, I pulled off an 85,665 damage Shield of the Righteous crit. I’m sure I could have done much better with AW up, or some dps gear, though I was at least using my Bloodvenom Blade.

In any case, I close out my post with this demand: I want to see your crits. Email me screenshots of ShoR crits on your scrolling combat text or Recount, from Festergut. Your personal bests, the biggest number you can push. Next Friday I’ll do a post showing off the biggest ShoR crits I received. You can email your screenshots to rhidach [at] gmail [dot] com.

Housekeeping note! Tomorrow morning I’m flying out to California for Blizzcon. Blogging here will of course be light to non-existent, since Anafielle is also going to be there. However you can follow both of us and our Blizzcon-related ramblings on Twitter! Here’s my Twitter page, and here’s Anafielle’s.

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October 20, 2010
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A brave new world

Tuesday night was a clusterfark, as most patch days are. Despite making a checklist for the guild to help them get ready and everybody waiting in Mumble and chomping at the bit for the servers to come back up, yours truly was frantically still attempting to patch because I forgot to start the updater when I left for work that morning. Complete and utter fail. I finally got in about an hour after everyone else.

The plan originally was to maybe raid if timing was good and everyone was settled, but between addons and confusion and terrible guild leaders, there was just no way it was happening. People spent most of the night trying to hammer together a working UI and then running heroics to get an idea of the new mechanics.

When I finally got in, the first thing I did was dodge off to Silvermoon and train everything and then reforge my gear. Just like on the beta, I block capped and without having to use Heroic CTC to do so. I then built both specs–single target and AOE–and glyphed both. Lastly, I regemmed all my gear so that any agi/stam gems were swapped out for strength/stam gems. My thinking was to grab the extra threat and the free parry from strength, but I have absolutely no clue how optimal that is. I suspect it’s not really a good idea, so I’m going to have to revisit that.

I also took a lot of joy in applying the mind control tinker on my helm for the free stamina, a parachute on my cloak, and getting tuskarr’s vitality enchanted on my boots. It’s not the same as Pursuit of Justice, but it’ll do.

Once the dust was settled a bit, I ran Heroic Gundrak with a few friends to find my legs. Switched to my AOE spec and went to town. Unfortunately, one of the dps was a mage, and I basically spent the heroic alternating Hammer of the Righteous and whichever taunt was off cooldown. I don’t think I had a good grasp on the mechanics at the time, but we were so overgeared that everything just blew right over without protest, so it was just about impossible to gauge much.

Before I logged that night I took a quick flight on my Argent Hippogryph, now benefitting from the same 310% speed that my less attractive mounts were blessed with. Perhaps one of my favorite quality of life changes this patch. I hated flying around on some godawful proto-drake just for the convenience of speed.

Another gorgeous change is the new water system. Yesterday I was taking a taxi down to Grom’gol for some ZG farming, and flying over the water with the sun reflecting was… wow. The world seems so much more vibrant now. I can’t wait to see that match up with the new terrain/textures coming in the actual Cataclysm.

Speaking of Zandalar–one of my biggest pre-Cataclysm goals was to hit exalted with that rep before the Zul’Gurub raid disappears. (I’m a sucker for Feats of Strength.)

I was pretty close when I started yesterday, measuring my progress in how mana Bijous it would take to hit exalted (assuming 125 rep from destroying the Bijou and then using up the honor token) and I started with something close to 60 Bijous between me and the finish line. When I landed in Stranglethorn I headed over to the Zandalar’s island and cashed in the mountains of coins I had accumulated. At the end I was something like 40ish Bijous away.

After that I finally went into ZG itself, donned the AOE spec, and started moving from one trash pack to the next. Seal of Insight is amazing for low-level grinding, to the point where I barely miss the old block–ok, that’s a lie–and Hammer of the Righteous is just godly for AOE. Round up a huge pack and whittle it down in no time at all. The only real trouble I got was on the tiger boss where constant silences made it nigh-impossible interrupt those heals. After a long war o attrition I managed to get all three guys down and push into the last phase of the fight.

A few more bosses and a score of Bijous later, and I had enough in my bags to push to exalted. Over at the island I cashed everything in and scratched another item off my Cata bucket list.

Doooooooomed

ICC at the end of the night was something else. That’s about the best way I can describe it. I’m sure you’ve heard that AOE threat is rough in a raid environment and I can surely attest to that. Unless you tie down the dps and force them to wait a few seconds for you to establish aggro, which is the exact opposite instinct that’s been instilled in them since the beginning of Wrath, there’s just no way you can control a pack without constant tab-taunting.

I was posting something like 6th damage overall on the pre-Marrowgar trash thanks to HotR, but in light of some casters (like the damn boomkin!) there was just no way to hold back the tide. Good practice for Cataclysm, I suppose.

One the bright side, nothing has warmed the icy cockles of my heart like the ShoR crits I was getting last night. With a full stack of Vengeance I could reach out and touch the face of 30k. Indeed, if there’s one thing every tankadin that reads this blog needs to do before Cataclysm comes out, it’s do Festergut and see the highest ShoR crit you can pull with Vengeance and the stacking debuff from that fight. When I first saw that giant 50k crit I started cackling like a maniac, and the 54k that followed almost put me in a diabetic coma it was so sweet.

Doxa tweeted me last night that he hoped I was using WoG, considering the massive threat lead I had on that fight (you can see it in the screenshot) and I’m tank enough to admit I was too busy chasing my next hit with ShoR to even think of that. Hence the sweet justice that I died around 3% and Ana had to pick up Fester, bubble off her stacks, and guide the fight to completion.

Single target threat as a whole was not that bad. The trick is to get that first ShoR off ASAP, and you’ll have an okay lead from there on out. I’m still getting used to the muscle memory of 939 and internalizing what buttons to push when, but for the whole I’m in a good place.

There were a slew of annoyances last night. Some minor, like having to constantly switch specs before/after fights. Some were major, like Blood Princes bugging and refusing to actually stand up and engage. The 30% buff also decided to drop off for half the raid some time before Sindragosa, and then after a wipe it dropped for the rest of us. At first I thought it was a display error, but I definitely had a lot less health than I would with the buff.

I felt that missing 30% hp acutely on Professor Putricide, who once he hit phase 3, ran me over like a mack truck. In the space of three seconds I took 80k damage. No crit, just pure pain. Healers were not ready for that kind of punishment and I was so shocked I didn’t even get my Ardent Defender off in time. I know we’ve taken a huge loss in damage reduction from the talents pruning and all the armor we lost, but fer crissakes. Not to mention the damage done by just about everything was increased. All told, that adds up to a floor stain in the form of yours truly.

Over the course of the night, everyone seemed to run the gamut of emotions from diabolically giddy (Zilga the disc priest) to power mad (Ichi to boomkin) to despondent (the holy pally) to consistently knocked offline (Falowin the rogue). I’m hoping that the raid didn’t make anyone lose hope or experience some kind of crisis of faith. It was a rough night, truly, and would be a huge step back if this was still pre-4.0.1. But obviously a lot changed and we’re still adjusting to it.

The theme of the night was the long-running guild joke of “doooomed”, per the following Futurama clip:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USHHQRodF88]

I know we’ll be fine, but it’s a bit painful at the moment.

Oh, some final recommendations for gearing. One is to avoid the 4pc bonus if it’s onerous to gear for it. In the past, it was worth it because our cooldown toolbox was much more limited and that extra dodge was handy. However, in this brave new world of 1 minute Divine Protections and clicky-Ardent Defenders, the 4pc is subpar at best. And this is coming from one of its most vocal supporters. Not to mention, Divine Plea is now on a 2-minute cooldown, which means you get to use the bonus half as often as you used to. So yeah.

Lastly, I’d recommend ditching the Greater Inscription of the Gladiator and grabbing the new Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle. Before, the latter enchant was a huge pile of avoidance, which was kind of meh, but now that the dodge it gives it definitely worth the tradeoff of 8 stamina. Likewise, Resilience provides zero crit immunity now, so the Glad enchant is overall not worth it anymore.

Anyway, everything aside, 4.0.1 has been interesting… to say the least. Now to pick up the pieces!

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October 14, 2010
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Glyph of Divine Protection bugged, awesome

Quick tip: Word is the Glyph of Divine Protection is currently bugged so that it doesn’t remove the physical damage reduction component, but still keeps the 40% magical damage reduction. The tooltip is also broken.

This means the glyph is no longer situational, but instead very recommended until the bug is fixed.

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October 13, 2010
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The last time I ever cast Blessing of Sanctuary

I’m sure you’ve seen forum threads where the old timers will get all nostalgic and wonder aloud, “Remember when blessings were 5 minutes long?” or “Remember when you had to reapply your seal after every judgement?” And then they told you to get off their lawn and that your jeans were worn too low.

Today is another one of those few moments in WoW-time when things irrevocably change. For good or ill. And we as players change along with them.

Before I logged on Sunday night, I wistfully cast Blessing of Sanctuary on myself one last time. While I’ll miss that spell, it’ll be much better in it’s new passive form.

Likewise the entire blessings system as a whole. Not having to listen to Falowin the rogue constantly berate the raid with “I need MIGHT” is worth the new system’s weight in gold.

Those are some convenient changes, but what about some less convenient ones? Consider the removal of the cherished Bubblehearth by way of the duration of Divine Shield being changed to 8 seconds. I can’t even remember the last time I Bubblehearthed, but it was always nice to know it was an option if the odds suddenly turned against me in a imminently deadly way and I needed a quick, cowardly exit.

Or what about Divine Intervention? I’m going to have start paying repair bills again for most wipes. The humanity of it all!

Those are just a few of the things I’m sure I’ll be musing about down the road to a pack of fresh-faced tankadins. As for you all, what are you going to miss most about the pre-4.0.1 world?

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4.0.1 today

New patch drops today. Be sure to have that downloader running and your addons updated!

I did a second pass of my Everything You Need to Know About 4.0.1 post and updated the rotation, specs, and glyphs section with new information that has come out since I first posted that. Should be up to date for tonight, but please let me know if I missed anything.

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October 12, 2010
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Your shopping list for glyphs before 4.0.1

Here’s your chance to stay ahead of the market before demand makes prices skyrocket. Assuming 4.0.1 drops this week, all your glyphs are going to change and it’s ideal to stay on top of that shift.

Compiled below is a list of glyphs on Live and what they’ll be turning into with the patch. (I’ve adopted this list from the original created by El’s Anglin’. All credit for the research goes to them!)

  • Glyph of Avenger’s Shield (-> Glyph of Focused Shield)
  • Glyph of Avenging Wrath (-> Glyph of the Ascetic Crusader)
  • Glyph of Flash of Light (-> Glyph of Word of Glory)
  • Glyph of Seal of Righteousness (-> Glyph of Dazing Shield)
  • Glyph of Seal of Vengeance (-> Glyph of Seal of Truth)
  • Glyph of Sense Undead (-> Glyph of Truth)
  • Glyph of Shield of Righteousness (-> Glyph of Shield of the Righteous)
  • Glyph of Spiritual Attunement (-> Glyph of Divine Protection)

Glyphs not changing from spell to the other, but you still want to pick up, are:

  • Glyph of Consecration
  • Glyph of Crusader Strike
  • Glyph of Hammer of Wrath
  • Glyph of Holy Wrath
  • Glyph of Judgement
  • Glyph of Lay on Hands
  • Glyph of Salvation
  • Glyph of Turn Evil

I suppose you could go whole-hog and buy all the current Paladin glyphs. Nonetheless, everything above are things that will probably be directly or situationally useful for us at some point, I suspect. Like the boy scounts say: semper paratus. Go stock up!

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October 8, 2010
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The maybe-so, feasible, possible new single target rotation for 4.0.1

Before you read this, please note a huge disclaimer: this is not final. This rotation has been posted in the last 30 or so pages of this thread in Maintankadin as a result of Theck’s first jaunts into theorycrafting the 4.0 rules set, but it’s not yet authoritative in that so much can change. If 4.0.1 drops Tuesday like rumored, and we have the 3 second Crusader Strike, and nothing else changes, this is valid.

Ifs aside, this rotation has been dubbed 939–as opposed to the 3X I was bandying about, thus marking the third time this blog has lost a naming crusade (Zeal, Ana’s desire to call it HoPo, and now 3X)–and is ridiculously simplistic. Here’s how it goes:

Pull with AS > CS > J > CS > HW > CS > ShoR > CS > J > CS > AS > CS > Shor > CS > J > CS > HW > CS > ShoR > CS > AS > CS > J > CS > ShoR > etc.

(Be careful not to judge when running in, second cast should be Crusade Strike, lest you throw the whole rotation off.)

Basically, CS every other ability, and in the “9s” slots weave in Judgements,  ShoR as Holy Power allows, and alternate Holy Wrath and Avenger’s Shield. There is no room for Consecrate, and Grand Crusader is only a dps gain when used to replace a Holy Wrath cast. If you hit AS when the proc lights up, you will suffer a big dps loss by pushing the whole rotation back.

Edit: Like Meloree suggests in the comments, if ShoR misses you want to hit it again on your next GCD. You don’t lose any Holy Power from a dodged/parried/missed ShoR.

939 is, as currently theorycrafted, currently the maximum threat possible to put out on a single target.

As for AOE, just Hammer of the Righteous on cooldown, and spam Consecrate and Holy Wrath away from CC. Use any other attacks when available. Grand Crusader is still useful for AOE. We don’t have Inquisition until 81, so spend Holy Power on ShoRs.

Again, just to reiterate: not final. I recommend keeping some grains of salt handy, just in case.

I do not think I could have fit more equivocation into this post if I tried. And believe me, I did.

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October 7, 2010
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First insight to the dps value of our talents

I quickly mentioned this on Twitter, but it merits a quick post. Delicious theorycrafts inc.

Theck, Bringer of Numbers and Pounding Headaches, did his first pass through our talents to gauge the relative worth of each in terms of damage (and thus threat). I’m not going to copy-paste his findings, but to summarize:

  • Our top three must-have threat talents are Wrath of the Lightbringer > Reckoning > Crusade.
  • His sim placed Reckoning at second with around 50 dps per point. However, his sim was run on a 264/277 gear set without anything reforged for Mastery. Therefore with additional Mastery/block Reckoning will get much more beastly.
  • Grand Crusader is really weak right now. To the point where there’s murmurs of not even speccing into it. That’s with current numbers though, things can obviously change.

Read the whole post to get the straight dope. A lot of these numbers aren’t yet final, so don’t them as gospel, but they’re heading in the direction we’re going.

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October 5, 2010
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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.

Procs!

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.

Rotation?

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?

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September 30, 2010