Finally we can begin to tinker with our talent trees. It looks like pieces are starting to fall into place and–as you might suspect–there has been much change visited upon the Protection tree. Some talents are gone, some are revised, some are new. I’ve broken down most of the changes into key themes or trends, rather than going tier by tier through the tree. I think it’ll be easier to give an effective overview of everything this way.
How we manage our blue bar is changing. To whit,
We also cut the Spiritual Attunement mechanic… Instead, Prot gets Judgement of the Wise (sans the raid Replenishment effect) as a passive, just like Ret. In essence, the melee paladins should rarely run out of mana, and if they do, they always have Divine Plea for emergencies.
So this is how things stand on the mana front: our mana will naturally regenerate, and should stay ahead of our consumption provided we don’t sit there and constantly recast Consecration. If we do run into a tight spot, we have Divine Plea as a mana “cooldown”. We probably won’t be as obsessed with keeping the effect up, because it will be overkill.
In light of this, I’m confused about Guarded by the Light. For 2 points, we get a no-cooldown DP coupled with an auto-refresh on hit. I would posit that if this talent made it to live, we very well might skip it. I just don’t see the point if DP isn’t going to be constantly used. Using it as a cooldown would preclude two talent points being spent in reducing cooldowns and extending durations.
I suspect the talent will be either changed or removed, but for now feel free to skip it in your drawing board builds.
Edit: Something I completely blanked out on that Kaelandros brought up in the comments was that GbtL autorefreshing gives us a constant 3% damage reduction via the glyph, which would be reason enough to go 2/2 GbtL. Assuming the glyph makes it to Cataclysm, you’d probably having to stick with GbtL, which is a particularly stupid design/reason to have to spec into a talent. I suspect the glyph will not make it to Cata untouched.
Rebuke, the greatest insult of all
Holy crap, Paladins get an interrupt! A real interrupt! … oh wait, it’s in the Ret tree. Four tiers down. Out of reach.
This needs to change. Call to arms!
Grand Crusader is our Sword & Board
Interesting, a proc! I like this, as you can imagine. I’m a sucker for procs.
I can forsee a future where Crusader Strike will only be used when proc’d by this talent (since as just physical damage it will be weak without the benefit of Righteous Fury upping threat, and we have harder hitting single target attacks), which will then flow Holy Power into our coffers.
Holy Shield is our primary Holy Power dump
Holy Power will now extend the duration of Holy Shield by 10 seconds per charge consumed. Baseline, Holy Shield increased block change by 30% for 10 seconds. So, generating 3 HoPo stacks (I feel dirty having written that) and then casting Holy Shield will dump our… HoPo… and push up a huge amount of block. With a 1 minute cooldown, that’s 66% uptime, nothing to sneeze at.
Combined with Mastery giving block, I wonder how much block we’ll have with this ability up. 45%? 50%? More?
We’ll also have the new skill Inquisition (which replaces Blinding Shield as our lvl 83 ability), that can be used to dump Holy Power. Increases holy damage done by 30% for 10 seconds per Holy Power charge.
Sacred Duty/Protector of the Innocent are beyond boring
1% or minute per talent point. 3 talent points to cap. Yawn. This is precisely the kind of talent we were told was going away in Cataclysm, and I expect these are just placeholders.
Raidwall survives the cut
A big sigh of relief from me, for now. I love the raidwall effect of Divine Guardian, and I’m glad to see it in our current tree. I hope it continues to dodge any further changes and stays just as it is from here til live.
… as does Reckoning
Rumors of this talent’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. And, color me surprised, I really thought this was the last we were going to see of this talent. The question now is, with its effect reduced to just blocks having a chance to proc it, how much threat will this talent be. If we’re blocking 35% of hits with Holy Shield up, it’s probably not going to be a lot of threat. At 50% we’re starting to see the chance of a more beneficial uptime.
This is definitely a talent that’s going to need to be mathed out to prove its worth. But, I have a nagging suspicion that because as gear gets better this talent will too, it’s eventually going to be worth it. The question is if it’s going to be worth taking off the bat or not.
How is AOE getting reined in exactly?
So, Blinding Shield is gone. Ok, that’s one less AOE spell. However, Holy Wrath now hits all enemy types. And Consecration is nigh-infinite when talented through Hallowed Ground.
I need to know exactly how the devs are planning to tone down AOE. Between our buffs and Warriors getting their own Consecration (oh yes), it seems like Cataclysm has the potential to become another massive AOE-fest.
I suppose mana costs can be tuned to make AOEing prohibitively expensive, and mobs can be designed that cannot be tanked in a huge pile–but the tea leaves seem to be pointing towards a different future.
10% vs 15%
From the linked GC quote above comes the news that we’ll be getting a +10% stamina modifier not from some talent, but rather
Prot paladins get +10% Stamina at level 10 for choosing Prot spec.
Believe me, unlike some delicate flowers on the official tanking forums, I understand that Beta does not equal final, so I’m not going to freak out in a glorious flash of italics and bolds and poetic similes. However, it is concerning that warriors at the moment have a 15% stamina modifier, while ours is down to 10%. And this is with classes have different initial stamina values.
This will probably change. I hope.
Ardent Defender still is gimped
I’m withholding judgement on this talent until we see what a more realistic/tuned iteration looks like. Obviously, I like the clickability, but the timing in which is can be active seems off. There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered. The health range should probably also go up to 50%.
Subject to further balance tweaking of course.
Update! Ask and ye shall receive:
Ardent Defender – Activate to reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. While active, attacks which would otherwise kill you cause you to be healed for 15% of your maximum health. 3 minute cooldown. Off the GCD.
Two specs, one tank: Trash and Boss Builds
While screwing around with wowtal.com I came up with two builds. One is primarily for trash tanking, 0/34/7, and has Wrath of the Faithful and Reckoning. The other is more boss-tanking oriented, 3/31/7, and has Divinity and only 2 points in Reckoning (because I can’t think of a better place of them).
I can definitely see myself just juggling two different prot specs in the next expansion. Even while dual specced now I barely ever use my Holy spec… or is it Ret? I haven’t switched specs in about four months and can’t remember while I currently have as my offspec. With only 41 in our pocket, talent points are a precious commodity, so it makes sense to me to have two different specs for two different tanking roles, and not “wasting” points on a talent that I might not need at that moment.
Likewise, I’m seriously considering dumping Pursuit of Justice if run speed enchants return in Cata. Doesn’t seem worth 2 points when an enchant can provide half the effect and those points could be spent on talents more directly affecting our threat.
All in all
I’m pretty happy with the tree. I’m not one for doom and gloom–er, generally–and I know none of this is final. It’s a good step towards the end game (and a huge improve over the last tree!) and I’m sure it’ll only improve and tighten up from here.