Updated Wed, Nov 19, 2008 by Messiah
WoW: In-Depth Look at WotLK Paladin Talents – Protection
In this in-depth look at the World of Warcraft Paladin Protection talent tree for Wrath of the Lich King we’ll look at the changes to the talent tree published by Blizzard on its official site. We look at each tier and try to explain how it changed and how that change will affect you as a player.
This is based off of the talents as of Beta 3.0.1 and are in no way finalized. Keep this in mind as many things will change before Blizzard releases the game.
I am going to start with the Protection tree since it is nearest and dearest to my heart. Where to start on the talent tree though, so many things have changed. So, starting from the top down, here goes.
Tier one still has old talents, but they come from different places. Divine Strength which used to be in the holy tree is now found here, and it now scales to 15% instead of 10% for 5 points. Also found here is Anticipation, which moved up from the old third tier.
Not quite sure why the big strength requirement other than for block value, but having Anticipation here makes it all good.
No new talents appear in tier two either, just another shuffle of talents that were found in other tiers before. The only change to a talent is the Guardians Favor talent, which mentions an up to 4 second increase in the duration of the Hand of Freedom. This mean's your Hand of Freedom will last 14 seconds instead of 10.
What's a Hand?
Hands are many of the old seals or auras that have been converted to something completely different. Gone are many of the old seals and auras (most notably Salvation) and they have been turned into something called Hands. Hands are 10 second single target effects. This will be a big change for players.
Tier three remains roughly unchanged with only toughness moving into the tier.
Tier four continues to have Improved Hammer of Justice, but it now reduces the cooldown by up to 30 seconds for the same 3 talent points. Wow! This is a good talent now, where it was only mediocre before.
Improved Devotion Aura is now found in the fourth tier, but has seen a pretty significant buff. It now adds up to 50% additional armor bonus, and allows up to 3% additional healing to all targets affected by it. This was a somewhat ignored talent before due to the non scaling armor bonus and its position in the talent tree. However, with the slight improvement to armor, a healing bonus, and it's new position it may get used now.
Lastly in tier four is a brand new talent, Divine Guardian. This is an interesting talent that allows up to 30% of the damage done to players within 30 yards to be transferred to you when you have divine shield active, and therefore ignored. While it sounds great, when you bubble you drop aggro, not the best thing for tanking.
These tiers all remain unchanged from their current arrangement.
Tier nine now has three talents, one of which is the existing Avengers Shield.
The first of the new talents is Touched by the Light. This is an amazing new talent that is a must have for tankadin's. It has two effects, the first being the most important, it increases your spells damage by an amount up to 30% of your stamina! Where a decent end game pally tank has 1000-1200 stamina right now, this means +300 spell damage, which directly converts to additional threat. This is a great ability that allows our threat to scale as we gear up to take damage, it even has the potential to change our gearing requirements, since more stamina can equal more spell damage. The second effect is that up to 30% of your stamina is added to your critical heals as +healing. While nice, Paladins this far into protection will not be healing much, and will crit even less.
The other new talent at this level is another must have talent for tanking, called Guarded by the Light. It reduces the cost of your Consecration, Holy Wrath, and Avengers Shield by up to 30% for just 2 talent points. A 30% savings in mana on such a core ability as Consecration is massive, and I can't see skipping it, until the new end game where mana regen will not be an issue due to damage again.
Being a new tier it has completely new talents, the first being an upgrade for Avenger's Shield and Holy Shield called Shield of the Templar. This talent reduces the cost of your shield abilities by up to 15%. As a mana saving talent this is huge, as you will be pulling with Avenger's Shield all the time, and once in combat casting Holy Shield every 8 seconds.
The other new talent is Judgment of the Just. This new talent allows your judgments to reduce the targets attack speed by up to 20%. This should allow you to take 20% less damage when single tanking bosses, which would put Paladin tanks more in line with Warrior damage mitigation. We will have to wait and see if it effects bosses though or if they are immune to its effects.
This is the one you have all been waiting for, the new end tree talent. It is called Hammer of the Righteous and is a great talent. It gives you a new attack that you can use every 6 seconds that hits your target and 2 other targets in your front arc for holy damage equal to your weapon damage, and causes high threat. This allows you to cause even more threat on tanked targets, cause enough damage when soloing to be able to quest, and may change itemization for Paladin weapons. Since the damage is based off of weapon damage, not spell damage, having a high damage weapon may be better than a spell damage weapon. We will have to wait and see how the math works out though.
The protection tree has changed significantly for Wrath of the Lich King. It has a bit better flow, but is still point intensive. It has some amazing new talents to play with as well. The changes to the tree also reflect the massive changes to Paladin tanking in general though. When I logged into beta, it was all different.
Gone is Seal of the Crusade, gone are judged effects, gone is salvation. It will take time to get used to the new way Paladins tank, but my initial impression is that while different, they still tank well, if not better. I was able to multi-room pull the new Utgarde Keep instance the first time in there, while still learning abilities, without wiping the group once.