I have been playing the game since the launch of Burning Crusade. I played a hunter at first and after about 6 months, began playing my paladin which healed at first but about 80% of the way through Burning Crusade, respecced protection and remained that way ever since. In WOTLK I began raid leading as well as maintanking all the content on both 10 and 25man (outside of the last bosses on heroic) and then come Cataclysm I began aiding running a guild, and after being ranked 40th on the server in T11, jumped to 9th in Firelands and 5th in Dragon Soul. Tanked and raid lead full clears of Dragon Soul heroic multiple times and been an avid forum follower/tester in game of protection paladin functions, to help provide myself and others with the required information to be awesome.
About: This thread is multipurpose! It is both a guide and also a question and answer/ask here for help thread! Please feel free to ask for help or a question about the spec, just make sure you post your armory link so we can help faster!
______________________________________________________________________________________Key to the thread - hit ctrl + f and type in the code to get to the section you desire!
a1 = Acronyms
h1 = Passives from Protection Specialization
f1 = level 15 talents
f2 = level 30 talents
f3 = level 45 talents
f4 = level 60 talents
f5 = level 75 talents
f6 = level 90 talents
All links to talents are summaries of the 3 options.
g1 = minor glyphs
g2 = major glyphs
p1 = Rotation
k1 = Suggested specs and glyphs, Raiding + Challenge Modes
z1 = Stat priority, reforging, gemming, enchanting, consumables
v1 = Changelog
A lot of acronyms will be used in this thread as the latest few pages are always worth a read and will have some discussion in them. I might also use them in this guide sometimes so it's best to familiarise yourself with some of them, although most of them are easy to pick up in context.
AS = Avengers Shield
AW = Avenging Wrath
Cons = Consecration
CS = Crusader Strike
GC = Grand Crusader
HoJ = Hammer of Justice (FoJ = Fist of Justice)
HoTR = Hammer of the Righteous
HoW = Hammer of Wrath
HW = Holy Wrath
J or Judge = Judgement
Rep = Repentance
SHoTR = Shield of the Righteous
WoG = Word of Glory
AD = Ardent Defender
DG = Divine Guardian
DP = Divine Protection
DS = Divine Shield
GoaK = Guardian of Ancient Kings
HA = Holy Avenger
LaotL = Long Arm of the Law
LoH = Lay on Hands
HoF = Hand of Freedom
HoP = Hand of Protection
HoS = Hand of Sacrifice
(h1) Passives from Protection Specialization
Avengers Shield - Hurls your shield at an enemy target, dealing holy damage, silencing and interupting spell casting for 3 seconds and then jumping to nearby additional enemies. Affects 3 targets.
Guarded by the Light - Increases your total stamina by 15% and your block chance by 10%. Reduces the chance you will be critically hit my melee attacks by 6%. Word of Glory is no longer on the global cooldown. Your spellpower is now equal to 50% of your attack power, and you no longer benefit from other sources of Spellpower. Grants 6% of maximum mana every 2 seconds.
Vengeance - each time you take damage, you gain 2% of the unmitigated damage as attack power.
Hammer of the Righteous - Hammer the current target for 20% weapon damage, causing a wave of light that hits all targets for holy damage within 8 yards, and provides the Weakened Blows effect. Generates a charge of holy power.
Weakened Blows - reduces physical damage dealth by 10% for 30seconds.
Holy Wrath - Sends bolts of holy power in all directions causing holy damage divided amongst all targets within 10 yards, stunning demons and undead for 3 seconds.
Judgements of the Wise - Judgement now grants a charge of holy power.
Consecration - Consecrate the ground beneath you, causing holy damage to all targets standing in the area.
Shield of the Righteous - Slam the target with your shield, causing holy damage and reducing the damage you take for the next 3 seconds by 30%. Generates a charge of Bastion of Glory
Bastion of Glory - Increases the strength of your Word of Glory when used to heal yourself, by 10%. Stacks 5 times.
Grand Crusader - Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous have a 20% chance to reset the cooldown of your Avengers Shield, and if used within 6 seconds, the Avengers Shield will generate a charge of holy power.
Plate Specialization - Whilst wearing only plate armour items, your stamina is increased by 5%.
Sanctuary - Decreases damage taken by 15%, increases armour by 10%, and increases your chance to dodge by 2%.
Ardent Defender - Reduces damage taken by 20% for 10 seconds. Whilst active, any attack which would kill you, will instead heal you for 15% of your maximum health.
Guardian of Ancient Kings - summons a Guardian to protect you for 12 seconds. Reduces all damage taken by 50%.
Mastery - Divine Bulwark. - Increases the damage reduction of Shield of the Righteous by 8%, adds 8% to Bastion of Glory, and increases your chance to block by 8%.
(f1) Pursuit of Justice, Speed of Light, Long Arm of the Law - Pursuit of Justice acts as a pretty general movement speed increase. I see this being pretty popular because even with no holy power, it's a 15% movement speed increase at all times, increasing to 30% with 3 holy power. Generally a good talent by the looks of it, good for fights with lots of movement at unpredictable times. Long Arm of the Law has a 50% uptime. Really good talent for pvp as a good gap closer. Could be good for pve, some people seem to like it and others hate it as they don't wish their movement speed to be tied to an ability. Speed of Light looks really good for a fight where you don't have to move often, but when you do, you really need to shift. All 3 of these talents make a speed boot enchant useless for us (yay!) because if a speed boot enchant is needed, you will just swap spec, and if it isn't, you can get Speed of Light. All 3 are good talents, and whilst 2 have a very obvious spot in raiding and challenge modes, the last 1 also does. Long Arm being that 1.
(f2) Fist of Justice, Repentance, Burden of Guilt - What an awful tier for raiding. Fist of Justice halving the cooldown and extending the range, Repentance being a CC and Burden of Guilt a slow. How awkward. Fist of Justice may get some usage in raids for stunning adds, but most importantly having another ranged interupt, and whilst the cooldown is bad, it's not too hideous. Repentance may have some raiding use but I see this being more important in Challenge Modes to be honest. Meaning that you don't have to wait for CC from the dps is simply brilliant, and during a boss fight, could come in handy too should the add not be immune. Burden of Guilt could be a bit lackluster for raiding. When you need to slow something you usually need to slow multiple mobs, not just one. Great for kiting so may be good in combination with Long Arm of The Law for challenge modes and some very specific raid bosses, but this will obviously be high on demand list for pvp due to the much needed snare that paladins always lacked. Probably only 2 of these will see regular raiding use and 1 is more pvp focused, but even those 2 will not come in too handy apart from maybe that interupt range being lovely. I see Fist of Justice being the number one raiding choice but it is again not clear cut.
(f3) Selfless Healer, Eternal Flame, Sacred Shield - Selfless Healer looks good, but with an 18 second ramp up time for 1 flash of light, this isn't that great. Eternal Flame replaces WoG, and the intial effect heals for as much but due to the HoT effect, it heals for a bit more. At the moment, Sacred Shield is by far and away the best talent in this tier and is almost mandatory.
(f4) Hand of Purity, Unbreakable Spirit, Clemency - This tier is a pretty obvious choice for general tanking. Hand of Purity decreases DOT damage so this will only be good for fights with heavy DOT damage. Also, it could be good if you have a Monk tank in the raid as Stagger is a DOT so this will act as a good cooldown. Clemency could also be used for some specific fights where you need extra Hand spells, but will not be a general choice. Unbreakable Spirit is clearly the best for tanks at the moment, reducing the cooldown heavily of Divine Protection, Divine Shield, AND Lay on Hands. It really is about as good a talent as we could desire at level 60. For Unbreakable Spirit, assuming perfect and on CD usage, Divine Protection will lose probably 15-20 seconds off it's cooldown, whilst Lay on Hands will lose the whole 5 minutes and Divine Shield about 2-2.5 minutes.
(f5) Holy Avenger, Sanctified Wrath, Divine Purpose - As can be seen on the later pages, in its current state, Holy Avenger destroys the other 2 talents, with Divine Purpose in second and Sanctified Wrath in stone dead last. With Divine Purpose having a 25% proc chance however, it would give us a greater uptime of the SHotR buff. Unless you need another cooldown for your boss fight, Divine Purpose is a very appealing choice and Holy Avenger used for those times when you know there will be an extended period of burst damage.
(f6) Holy Prism, Lights Hammer, Execution Sentence - All 3 of these spells are very attractive. On page 3 and 4 we had a little discussion about these, and opinions from the Beta/PTR are mixed at the moment. The general consensus is that for single target fights with very little to no adds, Execution Sentence will win (eg. Patchwerk/Baleroc, due to the loss of the AOE effects). For a very add heavy fight, Lights Hammer will win due to the sustained AOE pulsing that it can dish out, and when you couple this with our other AOE spells, it will rock. Holy Prism will be good for those "in between fights" for 2 reasons - short cooldown means you get the best of both worlds, and also, the utility on it is fantastic - those fights tend to come with AOE damage, so fire it into the boss and get some healing on your melee, or fire it into yourself to do some extra AOE damage to help on add aggro/damage. Holy Prism has some fantastic utility, Execution Sentence will hit/heal like a truck but cannot be used regularly, and Lights Hammer will have about a 25% uptime and rock at both, although it is a static AOE pulse so if movement is required it may be a little bit iffy.