No Longer the Faceroll Tank Class

Well, I promised that I’d take a look at the Protection changes. Since I currently have a tank offspec (which ends up getting as much or more use than my healing spec), these changes caught my eye when they were revealed as well. It looks like a lot is changing in how Protection paladins will manage threat and conduct rotations. In fact, there really won’t be a true rotation anymore. Now nobody can say that we’re the easiest tanking class… so eat that haters ūüėõ

Haters Gonna Hate

Haters Gonna Hate

Anyway, here’s that I found on some of the changes (definately not all, but eventually I’ll get them all in one place).

Protection

  • Shield of Righteousness is now trained at level 44. Down from 74.
  • Sacred Duty now only reduces the cooldown of Divine Protection by 1/2/3 min.
  • Improved Crusader Strike has been replaced with Grand Crusader – When Shield of Righteousness and Hammer of Righteousness deal damage, they have a 20% chance of refreshing the cooldown on your next Crusader Strike and causing it to hit for 50/100% additional damage.
  • Ardent Defender is now a Tier 4 talent. Down from Tier 5.
  • Divine Guardian is now a single rank talent and has been revamped – Party or Raid damage members within 30 yds take 20% reduced damage for 6 sec.
  • Holy Shield has been revamped – Increases your chance to block by 30% for 10 sec, and deals 97.8 Holy damage for every attack blocked. Consumes Holy Power to extend the duration by 10 sec per stack of Holy Power. / 10% base mana, Instant cast, 1 min cooldown.
  • Hallowed Ground is now a Tier 3 Talent. Down from Tier 4.
  • Vindication is now a Tier 5 Talent. Up from Tier 4.
  • Shield of the Templar is now a Tier 6 talent and has been revamped – Increases the critical strike chance of your Shield of Righteousness by 5/10%. In addition your Shield of Righteousness critical strikes have a 50/100% chance of making your next Judgement a critical strike.
  • Spiritual Attunement is gone. (!)
  • Divine Sacrifice is gone. (!)
  • Improved Exorcism is now Wrath of the Faithful – Increases the damage by 10/20% and critical strike chance by 10/20% of your Holy Wrath spell.
  • Improved Devotion Aura is now Protector of the Innocent – Your Auras reduce your damage taken by 1/2/3% and the amount healed on any target by 2/4/6%.
  • Sanctuary reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by melee attacks by 2/4/6% instead of reducing damage taken from all sources.
  • Sacred Oath is gone.
  • Reckoning now gives you a 10/20/30% chance after blocking an attack for your next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec to generate an additional attack.

Some big changes in there. It really seems that Protection Paladins are being given more enhancements to their damaging abilities to help with threat, rather than simply increasing a threat generation coefficient. Also, according to another post, and some info provided by Rhidach, it appears that Protection Paladins won’t be missing Spiritual Attunement:

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.

For what it’s worth, I am not going to miss the 969 rotation. Sure it will make my job a bit tougher, but I’m far enough into tanking now that I feel that I can make the adjustment with little effort.

Now, let’s break down these changes. Again, I’m going to leave out the Talent Tier changes, at least until the Talent Trees are a bit more stable.

Shield of Righteousness
First up, we get it much sooner at level 44.¬†I like this, since as I’ve gotten more and more used to tanking, I found it to be a very fun ability, and excellent at getting the attention of mobs. There are also several new talents that seem to be augmenting it as well, such as Grand Crusader and the Shield of the Templar talents. Each of these new talents are providing Shield of Righteousness with a little bit of umph by taking advantage of its Critical Strike chance¬†and giving it some synergy with Judgements and the newly baselined Crusader Strike.

Ardent Defender
Not our auto save anymore. Ardent Defender is now a button press, basically our Last Stand. “Ardent Defender – Activiate 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 our maximum health. 3 minute cooldown. Off the GCD.” This will be a big change, as it has often saved my but in the past with me not noticing it until it happened, and then thanking the Light that it did. This is one of the big changes that will allow us Paladins to fight back against the haters ūüėÄ In addition, it looks like the limiting factor of when you can use it has been removed. For example, you do not have to be below 35% health to use it.

Sacred Duty
Changes were made here to remove it’s interactivity with Divine Shield, and only work with Divine Protection. This is ok, since it was not often that I would want to completely drop aggro as¬†a tank by using Divine Sheild. Sadly the Stamina boost was also removed. According to Blizzard, all the stamina increasing talents were removed, and replaced with a base 10% increase upon choosing the Protection Tree. Commenting on what Rhidach has already stated¬†it is very strange for there to be a 5% difference between the base Stamina provided to Protection Paladins and the modifier provided to Warriors. Either this will likely be changed and matched later on in the Beta, or the fact that Paladins are designed to block MORE OFTEN, instead of block MORE, will be able to make up for the difference.

Update: Blizzard stated that the current Stamina modifiers are not final, and will likely be changed.

Grand Crusader
This is a very cool addition. Basically whenever your Shield of Righteousness and Hammer of Righteousness deal damage, they have a 20% chance of refreshing the cooldown of your next Crusader Strike, in addition to causing it to hit for 50/100% more damage. With Crusader Strike now a base ability, Blizzard has been taking advantage of this and providing much¬† more synergy between talents to work with it.¬†I think this is great, on top of allowing Crusader Strike to not hit like a wet noodle (always a plus). It was best described by Rhidach as the Paladin’s version of the Warrior’s Sword and Board.

Update: It will now not affect Crusader Strike…. what will it affect then?

Divine Guardian
Well, well, well. Looks like the raidwall made it through.. so far. In fact it is a little better if you ask me, since Divine Sacrifice is now not a prerequisite (in fact it’s gone). It will now provide your party or raid members within 30 yrds to take 20% reduced damage for 6 sec. Interestingly, it will not affect the Paladin though, in fear that it would just be used as another defensive cooldown.

Holy Shield
Big changes for Holy Shield. It is currently being revamped¬†a lot, and there isn’t a definite word on what it will end up like, but here’s what we’ve got so far.¬†Instead of the original reiteration of having it’s duration increased by HP, it is now changing so that the block chance is still 30%; however, the amount blocked depends on your Holy Power stacks. Example being, you hit Holy Shield whenever you only have 1 Holy Power, you will only be increasing the amount blocked by 5%, 2 stacks 10%, and 3 stacks 15%. Warriors on the other hand get a 15% baseline amount blocked, so this change will be making the paladins work a bit harder to keep the increased blocked amount up. Again though, the increased chance to block is still in place (from what I can tell), and will be keeping with the more blocks vs more blocked philosophy.

Avenger’s Shield
Our favorite Captain America shield is getting a nice change.  Instead of dazing the targets, which more often then not slowed down the pull, and in some cases would not allow the caster to still not get close enough to allow you to truly gain control of them. However, they have changed it to have a silence as a baseline effect. Me likey.

Hallowed Ground
Concecration, our little mana eater, yet one of my favorite tank spells. It has become a boon to us Paladins, and a bane to all other tanks. Well, looks like it might get a little bit better. In fact, it will be able to hang around just a little longer than before. With the new Hallowed Ground talent, Consecration is now able to be extended an extra 30 seconds and it’s damage increased by 20%. Interesting addition considering Blizzard’s decision to reign in AoE tanking.¬† This is going to make Paladins targets once again of the rage of other tanks, that is unless the Warrior’s new “consecration” and the Druid’s swipe, and a Death Knight’s Death & Decay is buffed in damage.

Shield of the Templar
Besides having one of the coolest talent names in the game, Shield of the Templar is again being revamped. In Cataclysm, it will be providing a 5/10% critical strike chance for your Shield of Righteousness, in addition providing the critical strikes generated from that increase a 50/100% chance of making your next Judgement a critical strike.  This will again increase our damage output, and in turn our threat generation via damage.

Spiritual Attunement
Gone… wait wha? Yup, it’s gone.¬†It appears that both Protection and Retribution Paladins will be getting a version of “Judgements of the Wise” in order to regen mana.¬†According to Blizzard:

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.

I was a bit stunned when I first read the change. How was I supposed to keep my mana up with all these new buttons to push. Well, the statement above answered that question for me. I’m sure this will add to the rotten tomato tossing though, as we will still begin with full mana, and work it down instead of working up rage like Warriors and Druids.

Wrath of the Faithful
Well, now that Holy Wrath can now hit any target, and still stun undead, it will likely be used to keep aggro on groups (against the Blizzard philosophy of more CC). This new Talent will be providing us with 10/20% more damage and 10/20% more critical strike chance. With the current changes, Holy Wrath will only do 2400 damage divided by the number of targets, this will instead increase that amount to 2880, not that much of a change, but the increase in Crit will make some of those numbers bigger.

Protector of the Innocent
Replacing the former Improved Devotion Aura, the new Protector of the Innocent will reduce¬†your damage taken by 1/2/3% and the amount healed (I’m assuming increasing the amount healed) on any target affected by 2/4/6%.

Sanctuary
This is the Paladin version of Survival of the Fittest. With this talent, we will be able to be fully uncrittable via talents. I think this is kind of cool, since it was not very fun trying to gear up to be viable to both raid and run heroic dungeons. All this while still trying to balance mitigation and stamina/armor stats.

Reckoning
More damage, yup, even more! Reckoning will now provide 10/20/30% chance after blocking an attack for your next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec to generate an additional attack. I wonder if this will mean that some faster weapons will be helpful in generating threat? Following the idea that the more attacks you can get within those 8 seconds the more likely you can get all 4 strikes to get an additional attack.

Well, this is all that I’ve got at the moment. I’ll likely update it as new things come out.¬† I’ve been doing that with my last Holy post, so we’ll likely see more as new information comes out.

It looks like Protection Paladins may be able to get past the stigma of being the easiest class to tank with, and finally prove ourselves… though we likely do that already no matter the haters.

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