- I'll paraphrase Celyndrashad to start: The objective isn't to tell you how to build your character and play (though some of that will sneak in). Only you can do that the best way for your situation. But to do that properly you need to know how things work. I'm here to tell you how everything works.
- 5.3 isn't much of a change from 5.2 for us, so I've just renamed this thread, put in some modest editing and re-writing and left it as it is.
Crucial changes from Cata to MoP (4.3 to 5.0) you need to know about and might otherwise miss
- Talent tree, cooldowns, coefficients, etc completely revamped.
- You can now store up to 5 HoPo at a time, though you can only use 3 at once
- Abilities mostly have same names, but do different things. ShoR is biggest example. Read up or be surprised.
- No more auras
- Only 1 taunt and it's single target
- Any piece of plate with STR and no Crit is tanking gear
Changes from 5.1 to 5.2
- Grand Crusader now can proc off Dodge/Parries as well, making Avoidance a respectable stat
- AoE target cap raised from 10 targets to 20
- Consecration has a little more base "punch" but scales less well with Vengeance
- Hand of Purity (level 60 Talent option) got buffed
- Seal of Righteousness (aka the AoE seal no one ever uses) buffed moderately. Still don't use it.
- Light's Hammer now also snares enemies damaged by it
Changes from 5.2 to 5.3
- Glyph of Battle Healer nerfed from 30% coefficient to 20%, glyph is still mandatory (unless threat is an issue)
- ShoR base damage reduction nerfed from 30% to 25%, doesn't really change anything
The purpose of the Field Manual to assist you in being a better Paladin tank. The goal is to provide the best and most accurate information possible so you can make the best decisions possible. In some cases theory crafting will suggest only one solution, in other cases you will have a variety of solutions, either way it is your choice to use information from this post. If you feel you have something to contribute or correct please feel free to send me a PM or post in this thread.
This guide is written more as a comprehensive reference than as a straight-through guide. While someone who wants to know all about paladin tanking might read it straight through, its pretty long and I figure most people won't do that. My assumption is that people will come here looking for help with specific questions about abilities or looking for more detail about particular mechanics and aspects of the game. People will use the table of contents to find the answers they are looking for and then move on.
As such, I have leaned towards making each section relatively stand-alone. This will hopefully make for more complete answers to those with questions, but the trade-off is that someone who reads it straight through will find a fair bit of repetition "Didn't he just make that same point 2 sections back? And again 3 sections before that?" Yes, I probably did. Just because someone might read the Stat-weights part does not mean they will also read the Rotation part, so if a particular mechanic is important to both those sections, I probably explain it in both sections. Sorry if it gets repetitive. At least now you know why I did it that way.
AD Ardent Defender
AP Attack Power
AS Avenger Shield
BiS Best in Slot
BoK Blessing of Kings
BoM Blessing of Might
CS Crusader Strike
CTC Combat Table Coverage
DP Divine Protection
DS Divine Shield
GAK Guardian of Ancient Kings
GC Grand Crusader
GCD Global Cooldown
HotR Hammer of the Righteous
HoPo Holy Power
HoW Hammer of Wrath
HW Holy Wrath
JotW Judgements of the Wise
LoH Lay on Hands
SoB Sanctity of Battle
SoI Seal of Insight
SoT Seal of Truth
ShoR Shield of the Righteous
SS Sacred Shield
SP Spell Power
TbtL Touched by the Light
WoG Word of Glory
Prot paladin rotation and survivability now revolve around whatâ€™s called â€œActive Mitigationâ€. The idea is that correctly and efficiently executing your rotation will not only increase your damage done, but also will improve your survivability. The idea revolves around the generation and use of HoPo.
Some abilities generate HoPo: CS, HotR, J and AS when the Grand Crusader proc is up. The more you use these abilities, the more HoPo you get.
Some abilities are â€œfinishersâ€ and use HoPo: ShoR and WoG. Both of these abilities require HoPo to use, are instant cast and off-GCD, and help keep you alive. We no longer have Inquisition.
Our level 75 talents allow generation of HoPo more rapidly. Unlike in Cata, generating more HoPo is primarily a survival boost rather than a threat/dps boost since it will allow you to ShoR and WoG more often. The more you use your "generators" the more you will be able to use your "finishers", and the the more you use your "finishers" the better your survivability will be.
ShoR costs 3 HoPo to use, is off-GCD, and is like a guaranteed shield block. It reduces incoming physical damage for a short time (25% for 3 seconds, scaling up with Mastery though its capped at 80%. In end-game gear, reaching 50-60% is possible but that would require stacking Mastery when you should really be stacking Haste instead). The more you use it, the less damage you take. Spamming it as soon as 3 HoPo are available isn't a terrible idea but timing it without wasting HoPo could be better. If you know a big hit is coming, youâ€™ll want to wait to make sure its covered by ShoR.
If you cast multiple ShoR's in quick succession, thanks to either stock piling HoPo, taking the Holy Avenger talent, or getting lucky with procs from the Divine Purpose talent, the duration of the buff stacks. Additionally, each ShoR cast (if you miss, you still get the defensive buff, but the mob won't take any damage) gives you a stack of Bastion of Light which increases the healing done by your next WoG by 10% (stacking up to 5 times and increasing with Mastery up to +150-200% with 5 stacks in end-game gear). There used to be an issue in which ShoR was off the GCD but still had a short cooldown. Most of the time this wasn't an issue, but if you generated enough HoPo fast enough (usually through using Holy Avenger during Blood Lust/Heroism) you could generate HoPo faster than ShoR's CD could reset, forcing you to waste HoPo. They've allowed ShoR's CD to be affected by Haste as of 5.2 so if you were even aware that it was an issue before, rest assured that it won't be one anymore.
One final point on ShoR is that its effect is not recalculated when its duration is increased. So, lets say you pop Holy Avenger and crank out a bunch of HoPo to spam up a nice long ShoR duration. If you pop a Mastery trinket after the first ShoR goes up, the trinket's bonus Mastery will not increase the damage reduced by ShoR until its duration finally runs out. You can use this in your favor. If you pop a Mastery trinket with a 15 second duration, and then 5 seconds before the effect goes away you pop Holy Avenger and start cranking out HoPo and ShoR's (with the first ShoR going out just before the buff ends) your rolling ShoR buff will keep the value of the Mastery trinket until the ShoR duration finally ends, even if its well after the buff from the trinket ends.
WoG is still a heal, but its overheal wonâ€™t turn into a shield anymore. Its flexible and can be used with as little as 1 HoPo but scales up with 3 HoPo. Obviously the more Bastion stacks you have, the more attractive WoG looks but it will depend on the situation. ShoR will generally be better, but it does nothing against magic damage and a 3 HoPo, 5-Bastion stack WoG can do a LOT of healing. Figuring out when to use each will be crucial.
- MANY abilities that used to be talents have become baseline or part of a Specialization package (Prot/Holy/Ret) rather than talented-based
- Every 15 levels, Paladins of all Specs will get to choose one of three available talents. Note that some of these abilities changed significantly during Beta and further changes are always possible.
Level 15 - Mobility
- Speed of Light - Increase run speed by 70% for 8 seconds, 45 second cd
- Long Arm of the Law - Successful Judgment increases run speed by 45% for 3 seconds
- Pursuit of Justice - Baseline +15% to runspeed, plus another 5% for each 1 HoPo
Uptime vs magnitude of speed increase. I personally like PoJ because it doesn't require me to do anything except watch HoPo (which I'm doing already) but there is no right answer here.
Level 30 - Stun/CC
- Fist of Justice - upgraded HoJ - 6 second stun on a 30 second cd, 20 yard range
- Repentance - 1 min cc, 30 yard range, 15 second cd but only 1 target at a time
- Burden of Guilt - successful Judgment applies a 50% snare to target for 12 seconds
CC vs improved stun vs slow
Level 45 - Defensive/Heal
- Selfless Healer - each successful Judgment cuts FoL cast time and mana cost by 35% and increases its effect by 20% when used to heal others, can stack three times
- Eternal Flame - uses all HoPo to heal and HoT a target, the value of the HoT is doubled if you cast it on yourself
- Sacred Shield - puts shield on target that absorbs damage, shield lasts 30 seconds and refreshes its absorption capacity every 6 seconds. 6 second cd, only 1 shield can be up at a time (though multiple shields can be on the same target from different paladins). Absorbs up to 117%SP every 6 seconds.
Better/cheaper access to FoL (the reduced casting time and mana cost *does* work when FoL is self-cast. The stacking buff on the heal amount got nerfed but it wasn't going to be the winner anyway) vs a strong self-HoT vs a self-renewing absorb shield. Eternal Flame is better than it was, but SS still looks like the easy winner.
Level 60 - Cleanse/anti-CC
- Hand of Purity - Reduces all damage taken by 10% *AND* reduces the effect of DoTs on target by 70% for 6 seconds, 30 second cd
- Unbreakable Spirit â€“ Each 1 HoPo spent reduces cd on LoH, DS or DP by 1%, 50% max possible reduction
- Clemency - HoP, HoF, HoSac and HoSalv can each be used twice before their cooldowns start ticking. Play with this in game, itâ€™s easier to understand in action than it is to explain in words
These are all extremely strong talents this tier. Hand of Purity just got a buff turning it into a minor general cooldown as well as being a useful anti-DoT talent. Unbreakable Spirit is probably the most broadly useful but Clemency is very nice on fights where you can use HoP to clear a debuff which is a surprisingly large number of them.
Level 75 - Effectiveness Boost
- Holy Avenger â€“ Abilities that generate HoPo do 30% more damage or healing and give 3 HoPo, lasts 18 seconds, 2 minute cd
- Sanctified Wrath - Avenging Wrath duration is 50% longer, plus it increases healing received by 20% and reduces cd on Judgment by 50%
- Divine Purpose - Every time a HoPo using ability is cast, there is a 25% chance that you will get a buff causing your next HoPo using ability to not consume HoPo but work as though it used 3 HoPo. The buff lasts 8 seconds
Holy Avenger gives controllable burst survivability/threat, Divine Purpose provides steady but less controllable value, and Sanctified Wrath has a bunch of interesting parts. If you decide to take Sanctified Wrath, you really should also take Long Arm of the Law.
Level 90 - Over time healing and damage
- Holy Prism - zaps single target with holy energy. If its an enemy, it takes holy damage, and 5 allies close to it are healed. If its an ally, its healed, and 5 nearby enemies are damaged. 20 second cd, 40 yard range
- Lights Hammer - Creates Consecration-like area that heals allies and damages all enemies inside its area. All enemies that take damage are also affected by a 50% movement speed snare for 2 seconds. 30 yard range, 10 yard radius, 14 second duration, 1 min cd
- Execution Sentence - If cast on enemy, inflicts a DoT that also hits hard when it ends. If cast on ally, provides a HoT that provides a heal when it ends. 1 min cd
All three are reasonably closely balanced, but have dramatically different functionality. Picking the one best suited for your situation and playstyle is recommended. Execution Sentence is probably the easiest to use optimally.
Normally I shy away from telling people what to do, and mostly you can take whichever talent works best for you, but a few talents are important to be aware of.
- At level 15, if you take SW at 75, you'll want to take Long Arm of the Law here. Otherwise, take what you want.
- At level 30, take whatever works best for you
- At level 45, take Sacred Shield. Its the best one for tanking. If need be, you could macro it to ShoR but SS is on the GCD so it'll make your ShoRs start costing a GCD whenever you spam ShoR.
- At level 60, it can't be overstated how good Hand of Purity is on fights involving DoTs, and it is now broadly useful as well. Base your choice on which talent helps the most with the mechanics you expect to face.
- At level 75 is the most important question of the talent tree. DP will give you the most free HoPo over an average period of time (slightly more than HA) but it isn't controllable. HA will give you the most controllable and biggest offensive and defensive burst, and SW provides the least additional HoPo but makes up for it with the most utility. The impact of the additional HoPo is that it affects your up-time on your ShoR buff. More on this later I personally like HA because of how powerful it can be on the Pull (more on this later in the Rotation section) but a strong argument can be made for all three talents.
- At level 90, take whichever fits best with the mechanics you expected to face and your playstyle.
Blizzard has done another large consolidation of stats with this patch/expansion. There are two main differences between Cata and MoP First, Parry is on a kinder DR curve than Dodge now, but we also get roughly as much Parry rating from STR as we do Parry itself. So expect to have much more Parry % than Dodge %, but figuring out whether you will get more value from adding additional Parry or Dodge at any point in time is a little complicated and will be addressed below.
Second, one itemization point *generally* provides:
- 1 point of a â€œprimaryâ€ stat (STR, AGIL, INT)
- 1 point of a "secondary" stat (Crit, Haste, Spirit, etc)
- 1.5 points of STA
but itemization from gems is different and favors secondary stats. One itemization point from gemming provides:
- 1 point of a "primary" stat (STR, AGIL, INT)
- 1.5 points of STA
- 2 points of a "secondary" stat (Crit, Haste, Spirit, etc)
Gearing Strategies made a comeback for a while, but after a fair bit of thought we've settled on Control/Haste + Stamina as the strategy to follow.
In a nutshell, here's how you gear:
1 - Stack Hit to Cap (7.5% or 2550 rating) to maximize HoPo generation and SoI procs
2 - Stack Exp to Cap (15% or 5100 rating) works like Hit but is slightly worse because it doesn't affect J
3 - Stack STAM until comfortable (varies depending on raid size and difficulty) because STAM is our best survival stat (try to stick to trinkets and enchants, gemming STAM is inefficient and should be a last resort)
4 - Stack Haste with the rest, as it is in the ballpark of Mastery and Avoidance for survival while also providing a nice DPS boost
5 - Mastery and Avoidance aren't bad stats, they're just not as good as STAM for survival and they don't help DPS like Haste
So the queue looks like:
Hit (to cap) > Expertise (to hard cap) > Haste > Mastery > Avoidance
Thanks to the change in GC these stats remain quite close even though there is a clear rank ordering. If I assigned arbitrary weights to things, Hit would be a 10.0 and either Avoidance stat would be a 9.0 with everything else in between. While there are some situational differences, you are safe going with this priority ranking.
If you are facing an AoE tanking situation, putting zero points into Hit and Exp and stacking the crap out of Avoidance is arguably your best approach but good luck finding a fight where its worth reforging to handle a 10+ target AoE fight. Overall, if you are still gearing up, simply take the highest ilevel pieces available to you. Seriously. A piece with Dodge/Parry that's a half-tier upgrade is clearly superior to a slightly lower ilevel piece with Hit/Haste.
Part of this is because of the logic from before, which was that capping Hit and Exp just made everything pretty close and part of it is because the GC change made Haste slightly worse (since CS and HotR got slightly worse with the nerf to their chance of procing GC) and made Avoidance better as a potential source of HoPo.
Increases damage done for all abilities and also gives you a lot of Parry.
Strength contributes 2 AP per STR. Thanks to Guarded by the Light, AP then converts to Spellpower at a 2:1 ratio (so, 2 AP = 1 SP), and most Paladin abilities actually scale off SP, which increases damage done by all paladin abilities. Defensively, STR provides Parry rating just like Parry itself does and Parry Diminishing Returns is applied against their combined total. After accounting for Kings, STR provides only very slightly less Parry rating than Parry itself does.
Level 90 - 1% Parry requires 952 STR (before DR)
Gives more health like always.
Stamina, of course, remains important in providing for a large health pool. Vengeance is no longer a function of STA, so there is no longer offensive value in stacking it.
Terrible stat. Avoid.
Agility no longer provides armor and while technically it will increase both your Crit and Dodge very slightly, its still a very bad stat for us. Generally speaking a piece of gear with Agility is a piece of gear intended for a class other than us.
Increases chance of Dodging attacks.
Dodge rating will continue to be on equipment and is arguably as attractive as it has ever been for Prot Pallies. It is now possible to Dodge many ranged attacks that could previously only miss. Dodge is now a minor source of HoPo/threat as any Dodge has a 12% chance of procing the Grand Crusader buff. Note that Dodge (and Parry) get significantly stronger in AoE tanking situations.
Level 90 - 1% Dodge requires 885 Dodge rating (before DR)
Increases chance of Parrying attacks.
Like Dodge, continues to be on equipment and is very attractive. Like Dodge, any successful Parry has a 12% chance of procing the GC buff making it even stronger in AoE tanking situations. As mentioned above, Parry % will also be gained from STR.
Level 90 - 1% Parry requires 885 Parry rating (before DR)
A word on dodge & parry...
Although Dodge and Parry are able to generate HoPo now via GC procs, remember that the bulk of your HoPo generation will still come from CS/HotR even in AoE situations. So, yes, its nice, but it doesn't mean our rotations are changing much except possibly in AoE tanking situations. If you stack Avoidance and are tanking enough mobs (5-10+) GC should start procing quite frequently, allowing much more regular use of AS.
Dodge and Parry, unlike in Cata, are now on different Diminishing Returns scales, with Dodge being hit much harder and faster than Parry. However, in MoP we get significantly more Parry from STR than we did in Cata. So while Parry's DR curve is kinder than Dodge's, we will typically have much more Parry at any point in time, partially equalizing the DR gap. Deciding whether a marginal itemization point would be more valuable in Parry or Dodge is a complicated decision. Theck has kindly written a macro to help people figure out where they will get the most value. Here it is:
" /run ChatFrame1:AddMessage(format("Ideal pre-dr parry/dodge ratio: 3.597, yours is %.3f%%, if too high reforge more parry to dodge",(GetParryChance()-3.67)/(GetDodgeChance()-5.01))) "
Reduces chance of Miss for both Physical and Spell attacks.
Hit cap is now 7.5% instead of 8%. Hit rating makes you more likely to actually hit the stuff you will be tanking (no damage, no threat) and is an extremely important stat for both offensive and defensive reasons. While threat is generally not be a problem, tanks should now be contributing significantly to raid dps and Hit is very valuable for this. Defensively, as we will get into in more detail in the Active Mitigation section, successfully landing your HoPo generators (CS and J) will in fact improve your survivability and Hit is the best stat for making that happen.
Best practices for raid tanking, both in terms of maximizing survivability and dps, is to cap Hit (2550 rating, not counting racial).
Level 90 â€“ 1% requires 340 Hit rating (not counting racial)
A valuable stat that helps both our physical and spell attacks successfully hit. For physical attacks, reduces chance of opponent Dodging or Parrying your attacks, like Hit reduces chance of Miss. For spell attacks, stacks with Hit to reduce chance of Spell Miss. Its a worse stat than Hit because it doesn't work on J.
Like Hit, capping points are now at 7.5% instead of 8%. Works like Hit except instead of reducing our chance of Missing, it reduces an enemyâ€™s chance of Dodging or Parrying our attacks. Up to 7.5% Expertise will reduce and, at 7.5% (which is called "Soft Capping"), completely eliminate the chance of Boss Dodge AND Spell Miss (assuming you're also at 7.5% Hit). Above 7.5% it will reduce and, at 15% (which is called "Hard Capping"), eliminate Boss Parry. In Cata and before, each point of Expertise would reduce both Dodge and Parry at the same time. This is no longer true.
Best practices in Paladin tanking, for both maximizing survivability and dps is probably going to remain stacking Expertise to "hard cap" or 15% to completely eliminate Boss Dodge and Parry. This requires 5100 Expertise rating (not counting racial).
Level 90 â€“ 1% expertise requires 340 Expertise rating (not counting racial)
Makes our attacks come faster.
Haste has, surprisingly, become a useful stat for Prot Pallies. Thanks to Sanctity of Battle, Haste reduces the length of both the GCD when used on virtually all tanking abilities as well as the cooldowns on those abilities, plus it increases our autoattack speed. As a result, Haste allows us to squeeze more moves (especially HoPo generators) into the same amount of time, increasing our ShoR uptime, speeding up the rate at which Sacred Shield refreshes, and increasing the number of SoI procs we get all while increasing our DPS. Its our third best stat after Hit and Exp.
Level 90 - 1% Haste requires 425 Haste rating
Terrible stat. Avoid.
Increases chance of Critical hits. Critical hits do more damage and threat, but otherwise do nothing for us. Try hard to avoid gear with Crit.
GC prior to 5.2
Prior to 5.2, the ability Grand Crusader (GC) worked such that each CS or HotR (only the physical part, not the holy nova) had a 20% chance of procing the GC buff. The GC buff would immediately reset the cooldown on AS and if you used AS within 6 seconds it gave you 1 HoPo even if AS missed. Roughly speaking, GC produced 1/6 of our HoPo, not counting talents.
GC in 5.2
Starting in 5.2, GC works a little differently. Each CS or HotR (still just the physical part) has a 12% chance of procing the GC buff. The gap is made up by GC also having a 12% chance to proc from each blow the tank Dodges or Parries.
Every CS, HotR or successful Dodge or Parry has a 12% chance of procing GC.
"So, 1/15 (0.4* 1/6th) of our HoPo is now supposed to come from Avoidance? Why does this warrant its own subsection?" Thanks for asking, fair reader. I'll tell you.
You see, getting Hit/Exp capped and then stacking Haste has become the default gearing strategy for Paladin tanks, but theorycrafters have been telling people since shortly after MoP launched that Haste really isn't that much better than Mastery. In fact, I've consistently said that the priority order really goes "Haste = Mastery", true, I've joined everyone else in stacking Haste but the gap between the two is minuscule. Additionally, while everyone claims that Prot Pallies hate Avoidance (and I joke about it in the title of this thread) theorycrafters since mid-5.0 have been pointing out that Avoidance really isn't that bad. Yes, it was worse than Haste or Mastery, but the margin was small. The choice between a piece of gear with Hit/Haste and another piece with Hit/Parry that was a half-tier upgrade should have been a no-brainer, you take the piece with Avoidance. But people mostly didn't listen and thought Avoidance was terrible.
The change to GC is simultaneously a very small nerf to Haste and slightly larger buff to Avoidance, with Mastery mostly unchanged. Since these stats were closer together than most folks realized, even a small change was enough to shift things around.
Mastery is a "universal" stat that depending on the player's spec provides different benefits. For Protection Paladins, Mastery improves your chance of blocking unavoided attacks, reduces damage when the SHoR buff is active and increases the bonus to WoG healing given by a stack of Bastion. While Mastery itself does not suffer from Diminishing Returns, the amount of Block% you get from Mastery will be reduced by DR.
Level 90 â€“ 1% increased block (before DR), damage reduction and increased WoG heal requires 600 Mastery rating
In Cata, whenever a Prot paladin took damage, the Paladin received a bonus to AP based on how hard they were hit which was capped by function based on the tank's STA and gradually decayed over time if the tank stopped getting hit. That system is being simplified for MoP.
In MoP, whenever a tank is damaged, the tank receives 2% of the unmitigated damage taken as AP for 20 seconds (remember that this is unmitigated damage, so before armor, blocking, etc. Expect to get, very roughly, 5% of the damage you actually take as AP) and the total is capped at the tank's health. If there are situations in which you can engineer taking gigantic amounts of damage and survive (using AD, or a mechanic than increases your health and damage taken) you can do very large amounts of damage.
As of 5.0, CTC is dead. While not technically impossible (It'll take ~33k Mastery to block cap in MoP with the t15 4piece bonus running. Who knows? Maybe there will be trinkets in the final tier that proc for 10k+ mastery and 33k will be reachable temporarily) to achieve under current rules, it should not be considered a goal. It would require extraordinary circumstances to get there even temporarily.
While you likely will not be achieving CTC during MoP, it is worth reviewing how combat actually works because its different than it was in Cata (as well as previous expansions). During prior expansions, a "single roll" system was used. When a boss attacked, a single 1-100 roll was made, and all the result was tallied. In a single roll system, it was possible to push â€œHitâ€ entirely off the combat table, making â€œBlockâ€ the worst possible result, with regular hits no longer possible. This was where the term CTC came from. The Combat Table was completely Covered, so thanks to stacking defensive stats only positive outcomes are possible.
For example, a CTC set of defensive stats might be: 5% miss, 25% dodge, 25% parry and 45% block. The combat table looked like:
So "Hit" only happened if you rolled a 101+ (which was impossible). If you had a little less Parry or Block, then Hit would creep back onto the table and become possible. You'd have lost CTC.
In MoP, however, a two-roll system is now in effect. Lets say you have 5% miss, 25% dodge, 25% parry and 45% block again. In Cata, this gave us CTC but lets see how it looks in MoP.
If, and only if, Roll 1 was a "Hit", then we go to Roll 2.
So you still have the same stats as before, but the stats don't work together as well as they did in Cata. Instead of having a 0% chance of a "Hit" its now 0.45*0.55= 24% of getting a hit, and to actually entirely remove hits, you need to get either your Block or your Avoidance to 100% without help from the other one. While no specific rules make this impossible, it probably won't be possible with the gear available this expansion.
That's not to say that stats don't work together in MoP, they just work together differently than they used to.
This doesn't feel like a great place to stick these, but I can't think of anywhere better. I'm open to suggestions. Also, I'm aware it at least arguably should be "bonii", it just doesn't do it for me.
Our 4 piece bonus in tier 14 looked sexy but was actually a little underwhelming. If you had ShoR up, you probably weren't going to die so making it a little better was nice but didn't really do you that much good. I think there's a chance our 4 piece could be a big deal, especially if everyone starts stacking Mastery. Theck doesn't think so, though.
Tier 14 set bonuses
2 piece: Reduces the cooldown on Ardent Defender by 60 seconds
4 piece: +10% to WoG healing and to ShoR damage reduction. Its multiplicative, not additive. So 40% reduction becomes 0.4+(0.4*0.1) = 44% reduction, not 50%.
Tier 15 set bonuses
2 piece: Casting WoG gives a +40% additive bonus to block, lasting 5 seconds for each HoPo expended
4 piece: When Divine Protection is up, you get 1 bonus HoPo for every 20% of your life you take while DP is up. Ballpark, this provides the defensive value of ~2000 Haste for every 100% of your life you take. Roughly 900 Haste will increase your ShoR uptime by +1% (say, from 40% to 41%). If ShoR is worth a little less than half the defensive value of Haste, then that's 400 per 20%. Haste is somewhat mediocre defensive stat so while this is better than nothing its not a big deal.
=How to think about your stats=
I used to use this space to talk about the different stats and how they worked to explain the different potential gearing strategies I saw as being available. As theorycrafting has moved forward (thanks, Theck! Damage Smoothing Follow-Up | Sacred Duty) , I've realized that tank gearing is more straightforward than I'd previously thought. As a result, there are no longer multiple "strategies" to choose between. Instead, there's a single strategy to follow, with some choice between stats depending on the specific pieces you are choosing between and different situations.
During 5.2 we were still figuring out how the different stats worked together, how valuable they were and how best to use them before eventually settling on a Control/Haste + Stam build. During that analysis multiple gearing strategies were investigated and evaluated. An overview of that discussion is below but its mostly just for historical interest and reference purposes.
Theck has updated his sim for the new GC mechanics and included his usual comprehensive and insightful writeup. Its worth checking out here: Patch 5.2 Tankadin Smoothness Simulations | Sacred Duty
One change Theck makes is he's more granular in describing damage spikes and how the different gearing sets deal with them. Here I'm lumping them into "big, "medium", and "small" spikes but he gets into more detail in his writeup.
As Theck notes, many more gearing approaches have become viable. Staying with a Control-Haste build (hit/exp capped and putting everything else into Haste), which most folks were doing prior to 5.2, remains the best at eliminating high damage spikes, has the best ShoR uptime, has the highest DPS, and has the most controllable active mitigation. On the downside, its actually quite bad at preventing medium-sized damage spikes and takes 20% more damage than a pure Avoidance-stacking build. On the one hand, sure, non-spike damage within a reasonable range doesn't really matter for tanks. But a 20% variance is probably starting to test the "reasonable range" side of things.
Control-Haste (fully cap Hit and Exp, all else into Haste) - Current default strategy (except against heroic Sha)
Pros: Highest DPS, great ShoR uptime%, Great at eliminating the biggest damage spikes
Cons: Takes a lot of damage, bad against medium and small sized spikes
How it works: Sacrifices everything else to maximize ShoR% uptime and reliability. If you're good and can time your ShoR perfectly, can do well.
Notes: High performance sports car build. Can do tricky things with timing ShoR other builds can't do, but low margin for error and you're going to get pummeled a lot. Theck says this should remain the choice for high-skill tanks but I'm not sure pulling off the timing required is even possible. As a tank, high-risk builds seem, well, risky.
Control-Mastery (full cap Hit and Exp, all else into Mastery) - Alternate current default strategy (use vs Sha)
Pros: Excellent against big and medium spikes, great WoGs, doesn't really have any weaknesses
Cons: Pretty much none. Still pretty good anywhere it isn't great. I guess ShoR uptime is lowish but it is reliable.
How it works: ShoR isn't up as much as other builds, but when it is it'll stop a TON of damage. Also, much higher Block% than other builds which smooths out incoming damage nicely.
Notes: This is the... um, Mercedes build? Great at eliminating a wider range of spikes than Control/Haste and still does everything else well. Probably the easiest build to play. Theck argues this should probably be the new default gearing choice and I can't really argue.
Control-Avoidance (full cap Hit and Exp, rest into Dodge and Parry)
Pros: Pretty good against spikes of all sizes
Cons: Its basically like Control-Mastery, except slightly worse at most things
How it works: Kinda like Control-Mastery except instead of bigger ShoR damage reduction, bigger WoGs and higher block%, you avoid more attacks. Net result is you take very, very slightly less damage than Control-Mastery but you get worse spikes.
Notes: Its not a bad strategy, its just not as good as Control-Mastery. The, um, Volvo strategy (given that Volvo's aren't really any safer than other cars anymore)?
Control-Balance (full cap Hit and Exp, rest into a mix of other stats) - What you'll probably use as you gear up
Pros: Its middle of the road at everything
Cons: Its middle of the road at everything
How it works: You equip upgrades as you get them
Notes: Its really not a bad strategy with the strengths and weaknesses of the three previous ones all mixed together. Gear up this way taking all the upgrades you can find, then gradually optimize when you can. There's a reason there are 10 bazillion Honda Accords on the road.
Pure Haste (throw everything into Haste)
Pros: Wow, that's a lot of haste. Extremely short GCD is probably fun to play.
Cons: While its pretty good at damage done (Hit/Exp are still better dps stats than Haste, but Haste is pretty good), its bad at everything else
How it works: Can crank out a ton of HoPo really quickly with super-short GCD and ability CDs, but lack of Hit/Exp makes HoPo generation, and thus ShoR% uptime, unreliable.
Notes: It just doesn't work very well, don't do it. Highest incoming damage PLUS arguably spikiest incoming damage is not a good combo. The Delorean of gearing strategies: Sexy, but ineffective.
Avoidance (throw everything into Dodge and Parry)
Pros: Great at reducing damage taken (10% less than Control-Mastery), Superb against small and medium spikes. Very strong at AoE tanking.
Cons: Not great against big spikes but not terrible. DPS is terrible (have fun missing 1/4 of your moves plus a slow GCD), ShoR% uptime is poor AND unreliable
How it works: If you dodge a blow, it doesn't do any damage. Stripping the points out of Hit/Exp is enough to turn the corner on Avoidance, making it reliable enough to make up for the bad ShoR% uptime.
Notes: If the dps wasn't so bad, this might give Control-Mastery a run for its money. However, after 6 months of hit/exp capping and stacking haste, it feels weird and frustrating to play. AoE tanking could be amazing, though. Who cares if you miss a lot if you get to cast AS every 3rd GCD? The 18-wheeler of gearing strategies.
Avoidance/Mastery (even mix of Dodge, Parry, and Mastery)
Pros: Slightly more stable incoming damage and takes slightly fewer medium and big damage spikes than Avoidance
Cons: Takes very slightly more damage and very slightly more small spikes than Avoidance. DPS might actually be slightly worse than the Avoidance build
How it works: You're essentially swapping out some Avoidance for more Block%. It smooths things out a little bit, but less than I would have guessed.
Notes: Its a little worse than Avoidance for AoE tanking, and while its probably superior for single-target tanking you'd really be better off with a Control-Mastery build for that anyway. Its the Subaru Forester of gearing strategies; it seems like a good a idea but its hard to think of a job it can do that something else couldn't do better.
Mastery/Avoidance (stack Mastery heavily, but still put some points into Dodge and Parry)
Pros: Allows fewer big spikes than the Avoidance build and fewer small spikes than the Control-Mastery build. Allows slightly more damage but slightly more stable incoming damage than the Avoidance/Mastery build.
Cons: Congrats on finding the worst possible build for ShoR uptime and DPS. Allows more small spikes than the Avoidance build and more big spikes than the Control-Mastery build (symmetry is fun).
How it works: Focuses on pumping up Block% (even more than the Control-Mastery build) which ends up being about a mid-way step between Control-Mastery and Avoidance
Notes: I almost wonder if some numbers got transposed between it and the Avoidance/Mastery build at the 4 and 5 swing points, because otherwise it follows the "allows a few more small spikes while cutting down the medium and big spikes" storyline perfectly. The GMC Jimmy of builds. The ride is smoother than the 18-wheeler, but you're not going to mistake it for a passenger car.
Stamina is our best stat for surviving spikes of damage, which is the primary way tanks die. While Haste/Mastery/Avoidance also are useful for reducing spike damage, STAM is the best at it. While those other stats are better than STAM at reducing damage, you should be getting enough of those stats to not be a liability on your gear already. Having too much STAM is not a problem, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MANA SPONGE TANK ANYMORE. Productive raid healers have more than enough throughput capacity to keep you up no matter how much Health you have.
Once you work out with your healers how much you need to survive damage spikes, you can put more into other stats. Since Haste is our best non-Hit/Exp DPS stat and just as good as Mastery or Avoidance at survival, Haste it the next stat to stack. Typically, the more undergeared you are, or the harder the content is that you are working on, the more Stamina you need. Every raid is different.
During Firelands and Dragon Soul, during which Prot Pallies could get block capped, gearing priority was to first get block capped and then stack as much stamina. Because being block capped acted as a multiplier on the value of Stamina, it was kind of like a magic number you wanted to shoot for before doing anything else.
*There is no magic number to reach anymore*. If you are getting burst down too quickly, stack more Stamina.
Now for a word or two about reforging. Reforging will allow you to shift secondary stats around on gear to (hopefully) optimize your build by moving 40% of a secondary stat to a better secondary stat on the same item. Primary stats (Strength/Stamina/Agility/Intellect only. Spirit is no longer a primary stat) cannot be reforged to or away from and you cannot reforge to a stat already present on a piece of gear.
So, first, there's the part that's mandatory:
- Cap Hit (7.5% or 2550 rating)
- Cap Exp (15% or 5100 rating)
- Wear the highest ilevel gear with STR and no Crit you can find, yes, take Parry/Dodge gear over Hit/Haste gear if its higher ilevel
- After capping Hit and Exp, gem/reforge/enchant into STAM and Haste
Tank stats do three things: reduce damage taken, smooth incoming damage, and increase our dps done.
Reducing damage done gets all the glory, but its actually not that important. Sure, different stats reduce damage taken by different amounts, but the difference between the best ones (Parry) and the worst ones (Expertise) is relatively small in the grand scheme of things. A tank who is stacking the best stats will take 15% less melee damage than the one stacking the worst stats but most gearing strategies operate in a tighter range. Generally sustained melee damage isn't what kills tanks so modestly reducing sustained damage is only a modest win and its a debate as to whether even 20% more sustained damage is enough to be a serious problem.
While we've discussed that Hit and Exp are valuable survival and dps stats, its worth taking some time to discuss in a little more detail why they are so good especially for avoiding spikes. As you stack Hit and Exp, not only do you increase % of the time you have ShoR up, even better, your reduce the chance of having "bad luck" stretches that leave you without ShoR for long periods of time. With capped Hit and hard capped Exp, with a perfect rotation on a Patchwerk fight, you will never go more than 4.5 seconds without having ShoR up. This means the boss simply cannot land more than about 3 full-power hits in a row.
With no Hit or Exp, however, you have almost a 50/50 chance of having a HoPo generator Miss/Parry/Dodged resulting in a 9+ second period of time without ShoR up every 30 seconds or so. During a 9 second gap the boss could land as many as 6 full power hits, resulting in far more spike damage. This is a HUGE difference in terms of keeping tanks alive.
The key is that each HoPo generator that fails to land, depending on where you are in your rotation, will push out your next ShoR by 1 to 3 GCDs, creating a longer period of vulnerability during which you take more damage. The longer the period is, the harder the boss could potentially burst you. Eliminating Misses/Dodges/Parrys by capping out Hit and Exp creates reliable HoPo generation and is the single best thing you can do for improving your survivability.
Additionally, melee blows that land will frequently proc SoI giving you a steady stream of incoming heals.
Tank gear for prot pallies is any piece of STR plate which does not have Crit. Expect loot arguments with plate DPS. The recent change to GC has reduced these loot debates slightly by making Avoidance more attractive and Haste less, but its still an issue. Trying to repurpose "DPS gear" is more productive than it has been in previous expansions. Since traditional DPS stats like Hit, Haste, and Expertise are now useful Mitigation stats (though not Crit. Crit sucks for us) reforging DPS gear can be more productive than before. Additionally, the Mitigation stats (other than Mastery) will improve your dps as well as your survivability which may have value for your raid.
Do not forget that gemming and enchanting can add to secondary stats so keep in mind your gemming and enchanting choices when reforging and vise-versa.
When does armor come into play?
Armor plays no role in determining how a hit is resolved on the combat table. Only after a hit has been resolved on the table and if it does any physical damage then armor is applied. Armor is another form of mitigation.
They vary enormously depending on your other stats. While there are example stat weights around, your best bet is to use Theck's graciously crafted spreadsheet and work out your own. For damage reduction, you can use this spreadsheet https://docs.google....RESkVXb0E#gid=2 while for different gearing strategies, Theck posted some notes here: 5.2 Protection Paladin stat weights
Hit and Exp increase your ShoR buff uptimes nicely but Haste and now Avoidance will increase it as well. Mastery is really the only stat that doesn't help out your uptime, but it does reduce your damage taken while ShoR is up. Calculating ShoR uptime is complicated even without counting talents, is complicated. As a starting point, playing perfectly with 0% Hit/Exp/Haste/Avoidance, you will probably be able to reach approximately 30-32% uptime.
Adding in additional stats increases your expected uptime. Theck worked out expected uptime numbers for each of the gearing strategies above. The results are:
Control Haste: 52%
Control Mastery: 41%
Control Avoidance: 42%
Control Balance: 45%
Avoidance Mastery: 36%
Mastery Avoidance: 36%
Adding in talents skews things, but only slightly. Ballpark, HA and DP will increase uptime by 8-12% and SW will increase it by 4-8%, with the higher levels coming with Hit/Exp cap plus higher levels of Haste/Avoidance, and the opposite for lower levels. While SW has a lower ShoR uptime, it makes up for it (at least partially) by buffing incoming healing by 20% for 30 seconds every 3 minutes.
Several abilities were removed from Protâ€™s arsenal (Bye, Exorcism. It was fun) and others have been changed significantly (ShoR). Paladin tanks should be careful to familiarize themselves with what our abilities now do. Additionally, Holy Power has been tweaked so that while you still cannot spend more than 3 on an ability, any level 85 or higher Paladin is allowed to â€œbankâ€ up to 5 HoPo at a time.
Paladins no longer have auras. The mounted speed buff for Crusader is now baseline and Devotion Aura has been turned into a cooldown. The rest have been removed.
[Seal of Insight] - Formerly known as Seal of Light and is now (and has been for a while, sorry, I was really slow in updating this) our primary tanking seal. It heals the paladin for 0.15*(AP+SP) on each swing as well as restoring a small amount of mana. In addition, it increases casting speed by 10% and improves healing by 5%. Additionally, the Glyph of the Battle Healer (see below under Glyphs) is pretty much mandatory and it requires SoL to be running.
[Seal of Righteousness] â€“ AoE Seal that does 9% of normalized weapon damage to all targets within 8 yards as holy damage.
[Seal of Truth] - Single target dps seal to use when survival isn't an issue. Applies a stacking DoT called Censure on each hit (application of which can miss). Does 2.5% unnormalized weapon damage as holy damage on hit. Censure does 21+1.9% SP every 3 seconds for 15 seconds, stacking and refreshing on each new application. Stacks up to 5 times.
Note that different abilities fall into different categories which affects whether they hit. For terminology clarification, 7.5% Hit is called "hit capped", 7.5% Expertise is called "softcapping Expertise" and 15% Expertise is called "hard capping Expertise".
- Melee attacks have a 7.5% Miss chance, a 7.5% Dodge chance and a 7.5% Parry chance. Hit will reduce your chance of missing and Expertise will reduce your chance of Dodge and Parry, but will only affect one at a time. To cap melee attacks, you need 7.5% Hit and 15% Expertise. Melee attacks include autoattacks, CS, HotR, and ShoR.
- Ranged melee attacks have a 7.5% Miss chance and a 7.5% Dodge chance, but cannot be Parried. 7.5% Hit and 7.5% Expertise are required to cap Ranged melee attacks, except for J which is special. J cannot be Dodged or Parried and only requires 7.5% Miss to cap. Ranged melee attacks include J and HoW.
- Spell attacks have a 15% Miss chance but cannot be Dodged or Parried. However, Expertise reduces Spell Miss just like it reduces Parry or Dodge. So, 7.5% Hit and 7.5% Expertise will cap Spell attacks. Spell attacks include AS, HW, Cons, Repentance, HoJ and Turn Evil.
[Avenger Shield] â€“ Hard hitting spell attack which requires the Paladin to throw their shield (requires a shield to be equipped to use) at a target. If it hits, the shield will chain to up to 2 more targets and it will intelligently avoid ccâ€™ed enemies. Each target hit is damaged, interrupted and silenced for 3 seconds. Grand Crusader procs from CS will refresh the cd and cause an AS cast to grant 1 HoPo. Hard hitting popular pulling tool. 30 yard range, 15 second cd. At 90 it inflicts 6732+32%SP+82%AP holy damage.
[Consecration] â€“ Decently hard hitting AoE spell attack which creates a glowing patch of ground under your feet with a 10 yard radius lasting 9 seconds and periodically damaging all enemies within its area. 9 second duration, 9 second cooldown. Ticks every second. At 90, does 914+16%SP holy damage per tick. Vengeance makes this a surprisingly hard hitting ability on targets which remain in the area of effect for the full duration.
[Crusader Strike] â€“ Soft hitting melee attack which generates a charge of Holy Power if it hits and applies a seal. Does *NOT* apply Weakened Blows debuff to opponents and shares a cooldown with HotR (which *DOES* apply Weakened Blows). Can proc Grand Crusader which will refresh cd on Avenger Shield and cause an AS cast to generate 1 HoPo. 4.5 second cd which it shares with HotR. At 90, does 120%+791 normalized weapon damage.
[Hammer of the Righteous] â€“ Soft hitting melee attack which does a number of things. If the physical attack hits, it generates a charge of Holy Power, applies a seal on the main physically hit target, and blasts everything within 8 yards of the target which both inflicts Holy damage and also affects all targets in range with the debuff "Weakened Blows" (reducing their physical damage dealt by 10% for 30 seconds) . Not limited by the number of targets. If the physical attack misses, none of those affects happen. Hits a lot softer than CS single target (it passes CS in total damage at 4 targets) and is now roughly similar to Warrior Thunderclap. 4.5 second cd which it shares with CS. At 90, the initial target physical hit does 20% normalized weapon damage, while the holy nova damage does 35% normalized weapon damage.
[Hammer of Wrath] â€“ Hard hitting â€œexecuteâ€ ability only useable on targets under 20% health. Ranged melee attack that can Miss or be Dodged but cannot be Parried. 30 yard range, 6 second cd. At 90 inflicts 1838 + 161%SP holy damage.
[Reckoning] - Reckoning has lost its damage component so it is no longer preferable as a single target pull. It now, for all intents and purposes, works the same as the Warrior's taunt. This ability can no longer miss regardless of how good/bad your hit rating is.
[Holy Wrath] â€“ Hard-hitting â€œMeteor-styleâ€ spell AoE attack. Single target, its our hardest hitting ability after AS. Does a flat amount of holy damage which is evenly spread among all possible targets. So the more targets in range, the softer it will hit each one. Also stuns demons and undead in range for 3 seconds, and can be glyphed to stun more creature types. 10 yard burst range, 9 second cd. At 90, inflicts 4300+91%AP holy damage split among targets.
[Judgment] â€“ Medium hitting ranged melee ability which generates a charge of Holy Power and applies a seal. J is special in that it can Miss but cannot be Dodged or Parried. This means that Expertise does nothing for it. Once you hit 7.5% Hit, it'll land every time, baring special mechanics. 30 yard range, 6 second cooldown. At 90, inflicts 623+0.33%AP+0.55%SP holy damage
[Righteous Fury] - This ability increases all threat generated by 500%. Also Blizzard has been nice enough to remind Paladins in the tool tip that this ability makes you a better tank.
[Sacred Shield] - Must be talented into, but its the ability on its tier that you should really take. SS is a self-renewing absorb shield you can cast on any friendly target, but you should generally cast it on yourself (or possibly the other tank if its a tank swap). A paladin can only have 1 SS up at a time, but multiple paladins can all stack their SS's on the same target. SS lasts 30 seconds, and every 6 seconds after its cast, puts up an absorb shield. The first shield goes up 6 seconds after SS is cast. Every 6 seconds after that, the shield is renewed back to full absorption regardless of how much damage it took during the prior 6 seconds. Haste makes it better, shortening the time between refreshes and with enough Haste eventually adding more refreshes per cast. 40 yard range, 6 second cooldown (though after each recast, there is a 6 second delay before the first shield comes up). Absorb is 5879+78%SP at level 90, refreshed every 5 seconds modified by Haste.
[Shield of the Righteous] â€“ Used to be our principle single target attack, now itâ€™s a medium-hitting, off-GCD melee attack which we will still use frequently for its value in Active Mitigation. This requires 3 HoPo to use and as such will not activate unless you have at least that much on your HoPo gauge. When used, reduces physical damage taken by 30% (Mastery increases this up to a cap of 80%) for 3 seconds and adds 1 stack of Bastion of Glory (BoG increases healing done by your next WoG by 10%. Stacks up to 5 times). Note that the increased damage reduction from Mastery is not recalculated if you refresh the duration of ShoR. So if you pop a Mastery trinket mid-ShoR, it won't do that ShoR any good but it will improve the next one. If you bank up a bunch of HoPo and pop Holy Avenger, and then pop a Mastery trinket just before the first ShoR goes out, you might be able to roll that Mastery bonus for longer than its stated duration. 1.5 second cd which is now reduced by Haste so Bloodlust/Heroism no longer can cause conflicts. At level 90 inflicts 636+62%SP holy damage.
[Word of Glory] â€“ No longer has a cooldown nor can it be used for pre-emptive shielding. An instant, off-GCD HoPo powered heal with no mana cost. Can be used offensively as a damage spell with the Glyph of Harsh Words. 40 yard range, at level 90 heals for 5538+49%SP per HoPo used.
These abilities help you survive situations where your risk of death is elevated. These situations range from the obvious - a special attack on a predictable timer - to the more subtle but no less deadly, like a debuff that disables or distracts your healers. Here are a couple guidelines for using cooldowns effectively:
â€¢ Use cooldowns before you take damage. If you use GoAK at 400k HP, the cooldown is effectively adding 400k more HP before you die. If you wait until things look bad and you reach 50k HP, it only adds an effective 50k HP. Waiting to use your cooldowns until youâ€™re at low HP makes them less effective.
â€¢ You get the most impact by waiting to use cooldowns during the most dangerous situations, but the more frequently youuse them, the more total value you get. Itâ€™s a balancing act.
â€¢ Match the cooldown to the level of threat by planning your cooldown usage before the fight. Save GoAK for when you know a big hit is coming, but unless there is a special ability with which it lines up well, DP should be used early and often even on regular incoming damage.
[Ardent Defender] â€“ While active, reduces all damage taken by 20%. Additionally, one attack that would have killed the paladin (must happen while AD is active) will instead heal the paladin for 15% of max health. Note that this does not typically work on environmental effects, such as falling damage, and a few â€œbig hitâ€ boss abilities are able to negate the â€œsave deathâ€ ability. However, most abilities do not. Being able to survive a gigantic hit may allow shenanigans with Vengeance stacking since it is now driven by damage taken. 10 second duration, 3 minute cd.
[Avenging Wrath] â€“ The paladin does +20% damage and healing while active. Talents like Holy Avenger and its glyph can add to its effectiveness. 20 second duration, 3 minute cd.
[Devotion Aura] â€“ Divine Guardian and Holyâ€™s Concentration Aura rolled into one. When active, all party and raid members within 40 yards take 20% less magic damage and become immune to Silences and Interrupts. Doesnâ€™t affect physical damage, but most raid damage is magical anyway. 6 second duration, 3 minute cd.
[Divine Protection] â€“ DP has been changed so that, while active, it provides a 40% reduction in magic damage taken but does not affect physical damage. It can be glyphed back to the Cata version of 20% damage reduction against everything. 10 second duration, 1 minute cd.
[Divine Shield] â€“ Makes the Paladin temporarily invulnerable but also reduces damage done by 50% and removes the tank from the bossâ€™s aggro table. Many â€œbig hitâ€ boss abilities are able to penetrate DS (Garalon's Massive Crush being an example). Using DS typically makes the boss immediately turn and attack someone else, so needs to be used with care. It is often used in conjunction with a /cancel macro to quickly cast and remove the effect, as it clears many, though not all, debuffs. This ability also causes Forbearance. Note that both Divine Shield and Hand of Protection can both be used, carefully, as true defensive cooldowns by pairing them with taunts. 10 second duration, 5 minute cd.
If a Paladin tank pops Divine Shield, then immediately taunts the mob, instead of heading for the next target on its aggro table, the mob will be stuck on the tank for the duration of the fixate (3 seconds). Obviously the mob will head for the next target as soon as the fixate expires. So while this can be a clever way of avoiding damage entirely for a few seconds, it must be used very carefully and probably in conjuction with a macro to quickly remove the shield. The Glyph of Righteous Retreat makes the activation time of a Hearthstone shorter than the duration of DS, allowing for a bubble-hearth (which should not be used mid-raid, because that would be "bad").
[Guardian of Ancient Kings] - This is now the major cooldown for tanking Paladins. GAK will reduce damage to the tanking Paladin by 50%. 12 second duration, 3 minute cd.
[Hand of Protection] - Hand of Protection can be used on yourself or any party or raid member. While active, it makes the target immune to physical damage but also prevents them from attacking physically (spells are still fine) and also cleanses many physical effects like bleeds. Its like DS in that if you cast it on yourself while tanking, it will often cause you to lose aggro and the boss will turn and destroy someone else. Causes Forbearance for 1 minute. 40 yard range, 10 second duration, 5 minute cd.
[Lay on Hands] - LoH remains an important cooldown for tanking Paladins. Casting it will heal the target equal to the maximum health of the casting Paladin. It is off the global cooldown, cannot crit heal, is not effected by many healing boosting effects, and will cause Forbearance for 1 minute on whomever it's cast. 10 minute cd.
Note that Hand of Righteousness is gone, so Prot paladins now have only 1 taunt and its single target.
[Rebuke] - Now a baseline ability, this allows you to interrupt spellcasting, and like all non-damaging interrupts it cannot miss.
[Reckoning] - Single target taunt, never misses. Increases your threat to equal whatever player has the highest amount of threat on the target. Also forces target to fixate on you (only attacks you) for 3 seconds. 30 yard range, 8 second cd.
[Blinding Light] - AoE blind/disorient centered on the Paladin. Disorient breaks on any damage except Censure ticks and it counts as CC for abilities like AS. 10 yard radius, disorient has a 6 second duration, 2 minute cooldown. Glyphing it turns it into an actual knockdown/stun but reduces the duration to 3 seconds.
[Hammer of Justice] - A dedicated stunning ability. 20 yard range, 1 minute cd.
[Blessing of Kings] â€“ Now increases party and raid membersâ€™ STR, AGIL and INT by 5%. Does not increase STA or Spirit.
[Blessing of Might] â€“ Now increases party and raid membersâ€™ Mastery by an amount that scales with level.
Level 90 - 3000 Mastery
=Mechanics & Rotation=
1. Pre-cast Sacred Shield on yourself as you approach (if you have it. You should really have it.)
2. If you spec'ed into Holy Avenger or Sanctified Wrath, you may want to pop it here
3. Cast Judgment to get your first HoPo
4. Cast Avenger Shield for more threat
5. HotR should be your first melee attack to spread the Weakened Blows debuff, unless you popped HA. If you popped HA, open with ShoR and use HotR second
6. Start normal rotation
The pull is arguably the rockiest part of a fight for us and using cooldowns on the pull can help a lot.
Threat can be questionable. The initial pull burst from DP-Wings-J-ShoR that we were able to rely on for most of Cata can't be done anymore and nothing hits as hard as ShoR used to. So while our sustained dps is better than it was for most of Cata because we get more out of Vengeance, but Vengeance takes time to build up potentially leaving us vulnerable on the pull.
Additionally, our incoming damage is spikier thanks to the loss of block-capping. While active mitigation makes things ok, you will be vulnerable during the 5-6 seconds before you can get that first ShoR off.
Popping DP (glyphed or not, depending on the fight) during the pull can help with the vulnerability. For threat, popping Avenging Wrath is a good idea. Technically it will be a net dps loss for the fight as you will be using your offensive cooldown when you have your lowest Vengeance of the fight. However, failing to establish threat early will cause your raid more overall trouble than your piddly loss of dps.
Spec'ing into either Holy Avenger or Sanctified Wrath, makes popping AW (or HA+ AW) significantly more effective.
SW will extend the length of your period of additional damage, give healers a +20% on healing down to you during that period, and will reduce the cd on J. The cooldown reduction on J will serve as a further threat boost, plus it will increase your HoPo generation, allowing more and earlier ShoRs which is both a further threat increase as well as a significant survivability boost.
Popping both AW and HA means that for almost the entirety of AW, every HoPo generating ability will do +30% damage (in addition to the +20% from AW) and will generate 3 HoPo instead of 1. This means the J you cast as you approach the boss will give you 3 HoPo, enough to use ShoR as your first melee attack on the boss (use HotR second). You can then continue slamming the boss with buffed HoPo generators and ShoRs until the buffs wear off. This approach will give you a gigantic early threat lead and make you extraordinarily sturdy during arguably the most dangerous part of the fight. I'm a huge fan of this approach.
First off, you should be using Seal of Insight at all times. As for the rotation, its totally changed since Cata. CS and HotR now have 4.5 second cds, so our rotation feels more like Retâ€™s rotation felt in Cata though our HoPo finishers are both off the GCD. The rotation is also heavily affected by HoPo (as described above) and we want to generate and use as much HoPo as possible.
The way to maximize your rotation is to take your best moves and use them first, and if you have two moves that are equally good, use the one with the shortest cd first and the one with the longer cd second. You end up being able to use your abilities more and have fewer empty GCDs this way. CS and J are our two most important abilities on the GCD (because they generate HoPo) and CS has the shorter cd, so its the most important, followed by J. For the most part, this rotation hasn't changed for 5.2 with the exception of single-target Holy Wrath moving ahead of Consecration at raid-levels of Vengeance.
An easy way to think of the rotation is we cast CS every 3rd GCD, and fill in the empty spots with Filler moves.
CS - Filler â€“ Filler â€“ CS â€“ Filler â€“ Filler â€“ CS â€“ Filler â€“ Filler (and so on)
For filler moves, your priority should be:
J > AS (whether GC is up or not) > Execution Sentence (if you spec'ed into it) > Holy Wrath > Consecration > Holy Prism (if you spec'ed into it)
If you spec'ed into Light's Hammer instead of ES or HP, you should use it more like a raid cooldown. Cooldowns on the Filler moves should be short enough that these abilities will be close to GCD-locking you. Once youâ€™re past the pull, incorporating the priorities into the basic queue gives us something that looks like:
CS â€“ J - AS â€“ CS â€“ L90 â€“ J â€“ CS â€“ HW - Cons (and so on)
Though it wonâ€™t be static because when GC procs, AS should be used in place of anything except CS or J and you should be getting one every 15 GCDs or so. ShoR and WoG are off GCD so they arenâ€™t in the rotation.
ShoR should be cast as quickly as possible for defensive purposes and as a bonus it starts building Bastion stacks. Slowly accumulating extra HoPo up to the cap of 5 is a good safety move, allowing speedy access to a ShoR or WoG if things go bad. However, never ever waste HoPo by going over the cap. Every time you waste HoPo an angel gets demoted and loses its wings.
Every lost HoPo, either from going over the cap, using the wrong abilities or mashing your buttons too slowly costs you one second of reduced damage from ShoR. If you miss 10 over the course of a fight, thatâ€™s 10 seconds during which you take full damage when you could be taking at least 30% less physical damage (and probably much less).
Every 30 seconds or so, you will need to replace one CS with HotR to maintain the Weakened Blows debuff and one other ability of your choice with recasting Sacred Shield. Follow the priority list in reverse order to decide which ability to use. If you replace a HoPo generating ability to recast Sacred Shield, youâ€™ll make kittens cry.
One big caveat to this rotation is if you spec'ed into Sanctified Wrath, during the period AW is active, your priorities will change. During this period your cd on J drops to 3 seconds. This makes J's cd shorter than CS's, so J becomes our most important move. To take advantage of this, you will want to prioritize J over everything else (including CS). Your new priority queue will look like:
J > CS > AS (whether GC is up or not) > Your level 90 talent > Holy Wrath > Consecration
Use this queue until AW fades, then return to your normal queue.
We no longer have Inquisition, so donâ€™t worry about trying to use it. If survivability isn't an issue, you can switch to Seal of Righteousness from Seal of Inisght and HotR instead of CS. Probably the biggest change comes from the change to GC. Each successful Dodge or Parry has a 12% chance of procing GC, allowing another AS (with GC proc). The more mobs attacking the tank, the more GC procs they'll get and in serious AoE situations an Avoidance-stacking tank could find themselves casting AS very frequently.
HotR - Filler â€“ Filler â€“ HotR â€“ Filler â€“ Filler â€“ HotR â€“ Filler â€“ Filler (and so on)
and the Filler prioritization looks like this:
J > AS (with GC proc) > Cons > AS (no GC proc) > Your level 90 talent > Holy Wrath
Giving us an end result something like:
HotR â€“ J - Cons â€“ HotR â€“ J â€“ AS - HotR â€“ Level90 - HW (and so on)
In major AoE situations a tank can end up a rapid stream of GC procs and AS will eventually be castable so frequently it can move ahead of J on the prioritization table. In fact, it could even more ahead of HotR with enough tank avoidance and attacking mobs. Enough attacking mobs will get enough GC procs to push your average AS cd to be shorter than J and even HotR, pushing it ahead of them on your priority queue.
20% Avoidance - AS passes J at 10 mobs and HotR at 14 mobs
25% Avoidance - AS passes J at 8 mobs and HotR at 11 mobs
30% Avoidance - AS passes J at 7 mobs and HotR at 9 mobs
Barring extreme situations like the ones outlined above, J remains ahead of AS (even with GC) because it has a shorter cooldown and prioritizing the shorter cooldown ability maximizes your HoPo generation and we need the HoPo for ShoR. As long as you keep targets in its area of effect for the full duration, Consecration really does hit quite hard and really does move ahead of AS with as few as 4 targets.
If you have Sanctified Wrath and AW up and running, still prioritize J over HotR. Yes, you'll lose some AoE damage, but HotR hits like a wet noodle anyway so you aren't losing very much. If its a serious AoE situation (10+ mobs) and your survival isn't an issue, then I guess you can prioritize HotR over J, but that would make it a pretty bad time to use AW. Do what you've gotta do.
Refer to the section on Gearing Strategies and try to pick up the stats that are important for the Strat you are following.
Note that Stamina is not included on the lists, because (as noted in the Stat section) Stamina is an oddball. It doesn't reduce damage at all, it just makes you more likely to survive it. As a result, you have to work out with your healers how much you need to survive damage spikes, and once you have enough you can put more into other stats, typically Haste. Typically, the more undergeared you are, or the harder the content is that you are working on, the more Stamina you need. Every raid is different.
During Firelands and Dragon Soul, during which Prot Pallies could get block capped, gearing priority was to first get block capped and then stack as much stamina. Because being block capped acted as a multiplier on the value of Stamina, it was kind of like a magic number you wanted to shoot for before doing anything else.
*There is no magic number to reach anymore*. If you are getting burst down too quickly, stack more Stamina. After that, start working with whatever prioritization list above works best for you.
Various professions offer various benefits for a tanking Paladin. Below is a summary of what professions provide what. An immediate concern is that profession perks are somewhat all over the place in terms of value provided, instead of being cookie cutter precisely equal as they were in Cata. My impression is that some standardizing tweaks are likely before MoP hits. Still, we can guess at which professions will be more valuable than others.
BS, JC, Inscription, and Enchanting are extremely closely balanced, providing 320 itemization points of value and being flexible for dual-spec characters. BS and JC are arguably slightly ahead as they provide slightly more flexibility, allowing some choice in what stat the bonus points go into. Alchemy also provides flexibility in terms of stat bonus and allows placing cauldrons, but requires re-flasking if you need to change to another role. Mining is a step behind as its +STA gain is acceptable for tanking but a dual-spec player would get minimal benefit for an off-spec. Engineering looks good for entry raiding, as the crafted helms are easily the best available pre-raid, and the various gadgets provide helpful utility. Leatherworking is also a superb profession
Skinning, Herbalism, and Tailoring remain unattractive to paladin tanks.
The benefits to tanking are useful but lacking in flexibility. Additional benefits include a percentage bonus benefit when using potions/flasks/etc and longer durations on flask/elixir based buffs through [Mixology] possibly providing +720 Armor and +240 Mastery or +480 STA. A penalty of Alchemy is that one must swap flasks/elixirs if one changes specs and wants to keep the profession bonus.
Beyond crafting your own plate gear, the primary purpose of this profession is to provide you with two additional gemming slots ([Socket Bracer] [Socket Gloves]) to stuff additional gems, allowing 480 Stamina or 640 of secondary stats. The range of gems available makes this a very flexible profession.
The primary benefit enchanting has for tanking is the +240 STA to each of your rings for a total gain of 480 STA stamina. For those with Retribution off-specs there are the +STR ring enchants to consider as well.
Engineering has filled the role of crafting usable equipment, namely specialized helms and ranged weapons. This continues with MoP. While the crafted head is an excellent early raiding piece (the selection of choices for the head slot for early tanking are pretty bad), the overall benefit of the hand enchant is weak. The options are Synpase Springs which will increase your highest non-STA primary stat, presumably STR, by 2940 for 10 seconds, with a 60 second cd (average value 490) and Phase Gloves which work the same way but increase Dodge (average value of 490 again). STR is actually a pretty good tanking stat for us these days and also contributes some DPS, so Synapse Springs > Phase Gloves.
Herbalism provides little benefit to tanking Paladins; [Lifeblood] provides 20 seconds of 2880 Haste every 2 minutes (averaging 480 Haste, but its really dependent on length of fight) plus a small self heal. Haste does have some survival value for us, but getting a big chunk like this is likely to make it less efficiently used and the heal is too small to be of use in a raid.
The main benefit of Inscription is the special shoulder enchants only available to Inscriptionists, which provide the exact same bonus options (net of the more widely available shoulder inscriptions) as Enchanting (+480 STA). As a further bonus, Inscriptions can craft a number of items including shoulder enchants (thatâ€™s correct, should enchants will now come from Inscriptionists rather than from a faction vendor). Beyond that if you have good access to herbs you can create your own glyphs.
Jewelcrafting can provide interesting trinkets but its primary benefit is the unique gems ([Solid Chimera's Eye]) only usable by jewel crafters, the net benefit of which is 320 Primary stats or 480 Stamina, making it comparable to Blacksmithing, though less flexible.
The primary benefit for tanking Paladins provided by leatherworking would be the Draconic Embossment for bracers with the +STAM enchant presumably the most attractive providing a net 750 STA gain though at a loss of 170 Mastery. Combined with the potential raid utility of the surprisingly still functional Drums of Speed, LW is an attractive tanking profession though additional wrist enchants could become available.
[Toughness] is the main benefit provided by mining and it is worth 480 STA. It provides little benefit to dps/healing off-specs. Mining is also the support profession for Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting.
Provides [Master of Anatomy] which gives 480 Crit. Crit provides zero defensive value making this one of the least optimal professions for us.
Tailoring allows for the embroidering of cloaks. None of the embroidering options are ideal for Protection Paladins so this profession is also one of the least optimal for tanks.
=Glyphs, Enchants, Gems and Consumables=
Prime glyphs are gone and we are now back to just having Major, and Minor glyphs again. As usual Minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic, though a few actually do things though Major glyphs are also less game-changing than most of the Prime Glyphs were. The glyphs are definitely more niche than before and the choice of top glyphs is less clear. Expect to swap your Major glyphs around a lot for fights. You get 3 Major and 3 Minor glyphs.
A few things worth noting are:
- Battle Healer is a must-have, unless its causing AoE threat issues, even after its coefficient was nerfed from 30% to 20%. Unless the key part of a fight involve you more than 30 yards away from everyone else or with literally no one else taking damage, you should always be using this. Yes, this reinforces the point that you should be tanking with SoI virtually all the time.
- The damage increase from Alabaster Shield looks pretty good, not because its great, but because the other Glyphs are so situational. I think it works out to something like a 2% overall dps increase, even single target, which dwarfs the value of anything else. In a situation where you're tanking multiple mobs allowing it to stack quickly, it can increase its value quite a bit.
- Focused Shield is probably our best DPS increasing glyph single target, but it costs you AS's cleave for both DPS and add pick-up purposes.
- Glyphing Consecration takes some getting used to (suddenly you have to target Consecration) but can be extremely useful in 5-mans.
- Glyph of Final Wrath makes Holy Wrath hit, single target, like a truck that's dual-wielding Lich Kings. Well, perhaps that's overstating it slightly, but HW already hit about as hard as HoW during executes. This makes it hit +50% harder. In a fight where the last 20% is important, this might be nice.
- Glyphing Divine Protection isn't as much of a no-brainer as you might think. ShoR should be up quite a bit, and in any situation where you've got enough warning to use DP, you should be able to have ShoR up. Having both up significantly reduces the value of DP against physical damage (-20% when you're already enjoying -40% isn't as big a deal). ShoR does nothing against Magic damage so having -40% available on a fairly short CD might be handy.
[Glyph of Alabaster Shield] â€“ Successful blocks increase the damage of ShoR by 20%, stacking up to 3 times.
[Glyph of Avenging Wrath] â€“ When Avenging Wrath is active, you heal 1% of max health every 2 seconds. A 10% heal over 20 seconds every 3 minutes. Meh.
[Glyph of the Battle Healer] â€“ Melee attacks with Seal of Insight heal a nearby (within 30 yards) wounded ally for 20% of damage done by direct physical attacks (auto-attack, physical part of HotR, CS, ShoR). This is really, really good.
[Glyph of Blinding Light] - Turns the Blind into a Knockdown. Good for Heroic Feng as an AoE stun.
[Glyph of Consecration] â€“ Consecration can now be targeted anywhere within 25 yards of the Paladin. Fantastic for 5-mans and trash pick-up.
[Glyph of Dazing Shield] â€“ Avengerâ€™s Shield now dazes targets for 10 seconds
[Glyph of Divine Protection] â€“ Itâ€™s the opposite of how it worked before. Divine Protection is now a 40% reduction in magic damage but does nothing to physical damage. With the glyph itâ€™s a flat 20% damage reduction against everything.
[Glyph of Double Jeopardy] - Increases damage from Judgments by 20% when your next Judgment is used on a different target than the last one
[Glyph of Final Wrath] â€“ Holy Wrath does +50% damage against targets with less than 20% health
[Glyph of Focused Shield] â€“ Avenger Shield now hits 2 fewer targets and hits 30% harder. Good for single target
[Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous] â€“ Causes the damage reduction debuff from HotR to last 50% longer. Useful quality of life.
[Glyph of Harsh Words] â€“ Allows Paladin to cast WoG on an enemy, doing damage equal to WoG healing. Potentially useful as a ranged pickup tool.
[Glyph of Holy Wrath] â€“ Holy Wrath normally damages everything in range and stuns Undead and Demons for 3 seconds. This glyph makes it also stun Elementals and Dragonkin. Situationally useful.
[Glyph of Immediate Truth] â€“ Seal of Truth damage increased by 30%, but Censure damage reduced by 50%. Itâ€™s a net damage loss, but makes damage slightly burstier which could help picking up adds.
The only real survivability glyphs are Avenging Wrath which is pretty lackluster for raiding and Divine Protection which doesnâ€™t really add survivability instead just shifting it around. Instead you have a choice of utility/helping others (Dazing Shield, Battle Healer, HotR) vs threat tweaking (Focused Shield and Alabaster Shield are great single target, while Consecration and perhaps Double Jeopardy are better for AoE situations).
I've ended up going with Battle Healer and Alabaster Shield 90+% of the time, and the third one rotates between Divine Protection, Focused Shield, Holy Wrath, Final Wrath and Blinding Light depending on the fight mechanics. I ended up using HotR often enough that glyphing it was a non-issue, suddenly having to target Consecration after years of not having to was more annoying than helpful, and Double Jeopardy never seemed worth it.
Minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic only. The only ones that have an actual effect are:
[Glyph of the Falling Avenger] â€“ Casting Avenging Wrath also affects you with Slow Fall
[Glyph of Focused Wrath] â€“ Holy Wrath only affects one target. Might be interesting in single target vs AoE situations. Kind of surprising it exists because its such an outlier from the other Minor glyphs.
[Glyph of the Mounted King] â€“ Mounting a paladin class mount auto-casts Blessing of Kings on you
[Glyph of Righteous Retreat] â€“ While Divine Shield is active, Hearthstones take half as long to activate. This is the first minor glyph I picked up. Remember, using this ability to abruptly bubble-hearth mid-raid would be wrong. *WRONG*. (Though admittedly probably hilarious)
Many enchants have been changed/removed to reflect the new stat system that has been implemented. Below are suggested enchants for tanking Paladins; choices might depend on your build. Do keep in mind your enchanting choices relative to your gemming in gearing choices when reforging later.
Head â€“ none. Head enchants no longer exist.
Shoulders [Greater Ox Horn Inscription] +300 STA and +100 Dodge made by Inscriptionists. [Secret Ox Horn Inscription] is the Inscriptionist-only version.
Back [Enchant Cloak â€“ Greater Protection] - +200 STA
Chest [Enchant Chest â€“ Superior Stamina] - +300 STA
Wrist [Enchant Bracer â€“ Dodge] - +170 Mastery, LWs will use [Fur Lining â€“ Stamina] and BSs will socket for another gem. +170 Dodge is also available but is inferior to Mastery
Hands [Enchant Gloves - Superior Mastery] - +170 Mastery or +150 STAM (Sha armor kit from LW). [Synapse Springs] is the superior Engy-only enchant and it stacks with the regular enchant
Finger [Enchant Ring - Superior Stamina] - +240 STA (Enchanters Only)
Legs [Ironscale Leg Armor] - +430 STA and +165 Dodge, made by LWs
Feet [Enchant Boots â€“ Pandarenâ€™s Step] - Multiple good options. +150 STAM (Sha armor Kit from LW), +140 Mastery and increased run speed, +175 Hit and +175 Haste are roughly comparable in value (though if you took PoJ Mastery will be a little worse since the runspeed doesn't stack) so go with whatever fits best for you
[Enchant Weapon â€“ Riverâ€™s Song] â€“ your melee attacks can proc a 1750 Dodge buff lasting 7 seconds (2 ppm, chance of procing on melee attacks that hit or are dodged or parried, but not miss, no cd). Currently appears to be averaging in the neighborhood of 40-45% uptime for Prot pallies, making the enchant worth perhaps 700-800 Dodge.
[Enchant Weapon - Colossus] â€“ your melee attacks can proc an 8000 damage absorb shield (3 ppm, chance of procing on melee attacks that hit or are dodged or parried, but not miss, 3 second cd) . Its actually pretty good, though its value is slowly fading as bosses hit harder and harder.
[Enchant Weapon â€“ Windsong] â€“ your melee attacks and non-periodic spells and heals can trigger a random buff which can either be +1500 Mastery, +1500 Haste or +1500 Crit, with a 12 second duration. You can have more than 1 of the buffs up at a time. Over the course of a long fight, will average out to being worth roughly +200 Mastery, Haste and Crit but there will be significant variability (*real* 2 ppm, chance of procing on all non-periodic damage or healing of any kind. When it procs, has an equal chance of activating one of the three buffs. 1 second cd)
[Enchant Weapon - Dancing Steel] - your melee attacks can proc a 1750 STR buff (unless you've been stacking AGIL for some strange reason in which case you could get AGIL) lasting 12 seconds (2 ppm, chance of procing on melee attacks that hit or are dodged, but not missed or parried, no cd). Uptime looks like it could be 35-40% making the enchant roughly worth 650 STR on average.
Bear in mind that the days of BC and really punchy weapon enchant effects are long past. In all likelihood, your healers won't notice which enchant you're using or even that you're using one at all other than the glow on your weapon. However, this is no different from whether or not you are using a flask or have a food buff or a host of other things. The value of each buff is individually small to unnoticeable, but they are all worth getting because collectively they have a big impact.
For 5.2, River Song and Colossus are likely to be close in terms of damage reduction (which doesn't really matter within a reasonable range) and ability to save you from damage spikes (which matters a lot). Colossus has a much better chance of saving you, but only from things that would have just barely killed you. River Song has a far smaller chance of saving you and only works against dodge-able attacks, but can potentially save you from larger spikes. I personally go with Dancing Steel over both because its almost as good as River Song against spikes while also contributing (modestly) towards your dps.
Dancing Steel = Colossus > River Song > Windsong > Weapon Chain
Dancing Steel >> Riverâ€™s Song >> Weapon Chain > Colossus > Windsong
Shield [Enchant Shield â€“ Greater Parry] - +170 Parry
Gems are one of the least changed items from Cata to MoP. Itemization levels have been increased by a factor of 4, but the same colors, kinds of cuts, etc are all still in place. Below are preferred gems for Protection Paladins. Given the breath of viable gearing options, there are a wide range of gemming options as well.
[Austere Primal Diamond] - +324 Stamina and 2% increased armor from items
[Effulgent Primal Diamond] - +324 Stamina and -2% spell damage taken
[Eternal Primal Diamond] - +324 Stamina and +1% shield block value
Those above are the regular meta gems and I believe their alphabetical order will also be the order of their usefulness. However, if you progress far enough into the Legendary question chain, two more meta gems become available
[Indomitable Primal Diamond] - +324 Stamina and chance of hit to gain -20% to physical damage taken
Is your best overall option for survivability while
[Capacitive Primal Diamond] - +324 Crit and chance on hit to gain Capacitance
is a *huge* dps upgrade. Use whichever you need more.
Ok, perhaps this is a cop-out, but the range of potential gearing options is so broad that there simply isn't a list of "most-useful" gems. Stats you might potentially want in a gem include: STR, STAM, Hit, Expertise, Haste, Mastery, Parry, and Dodge. Ideally you wouldn't want to be gemming for Parry or STR when you could be gemming for Exp but I can see situations in which that wouldn't be an option. The list of stats you would not want include: SPIRIT, INT, DEX, PvP Power, and Crit. 8 you could want vs 5 you wouldn't. I'm not going to bother.
A food and other self applied buffs are necessary to be effective. The following are appropriate foods, potions, elixirs, flasks, and scrolls to use while tanking.
The new "feast" of MoP is [Pandaran Banquet], which will provide the +275 of a useful stat for 1 hour (note that this is not a useful stat+STA, its just the useful stat). This version is for 10-man raids. [Great Pandaran Banquet] is the 25-man version. Food appears to only boost a single primary stat, making it much less flexible than it has been in past expansion.
Prot Pallies have four non-feast food options. The first three are probably, with proper planning and itemization, superior to any feast (though whether they're enough better to make up for the cost is up to you and your raid) and the fourth could be superior as well depending on your situation
[Chun Tian Spring Rolls] - +450 Stamina
[Spicy Vegetable Chips] - +300 Expertise
[Spicy Salmon] - +300 Hit
[Black Pepper Ribs and Shrimp] - +300 Strength
The value of potions diminishes a bit from Cata to MoP. While rare gem and profession perk benefits go up roughly 400%, potion itemization budgets only increased ~250%. So pre-potting will still be valuable, but it may generate slightly less punch than it did in Cata. This gap could be made up by the doubling of itemization for secondary stats, but there arenâ€™t any potions for increasing secondary stats.
Beyond the usual health and mana potions, there are two possibly useful ones. Remember, only one potion can be used per fight (two with pre-potting).
[Potion of the Mountains] - +12000 armor for 25 seconds, for times of high incoming physical damage
[Potion of Mogu Power] - +4000 STR for 25 seconds, on the pull or during burn phases when tank dps is crucial.
As usual there are a variety of elixirs to choose from. Below is a list of the most likely that you'll need. Remember that you can have only 1 of each type of elixir (Battle and Guardian) at any given time. Note that the itemization gained from using a pair of elixirs is substantially superior to using a flask. Each lasts for 1 hour. Like potions, itemization totals have only gone up 250% from Cata, but the doubling of Secondary stats makes up for it. Note the introduction of a +Dodge Elixir. Pairing Mastery (or Haste) and Armor Elixirs is likely your best option. Hit and Exp could be attractive depending on your itemization but I wouldn't recommend it because if you go that way, you really won't want to let them wear off.
[Elixir of Perfection] - +750 Hit rating (Battle Elixir)
[Elixir of Weaponry] - +750 Expertise rating (Battle Elixir)
[Elixir of the Rapids] - +750 Haste rating (Battle Elixir)
[Monkâ€™s Elixir] - +750 Mastery rating (Battle Elixir)
[Elixir of Mirrors] - +750 Dodge rating (Guardian Elixir)
[Mantid Elixir] - +2250 Armor (Guardian Elixir)
One flask also counts as a Battle and Guardian Elixir and they last for an hour. Guild perks will no longer extend duration for non alchemists, so stock up. Below are recommended flasks.
[Flask of Winterâ€™s Bite] - +1000 Strength
[Flask of the Earth] - +1500 Stamina
Given current options, either Flask of the Earth for STA or Monkâ€™s + Mirrors Elixirs are likely to be the most attractive options, though Mantid Elixir could be a dark horse.
Macros are intended to make your life easier. Below are a few macros for your benefit. Please send me any macros you think maybe useful for tanking Paladins.
Quick De-buff Clearing Macro
This macro activates Divine Shield and then immediately cancels the effect. This will force almost all de-buffs and other negative effects to be removed from you and simultaneously cancel the shield so you do not lose threat for more than a moment.
#showtooltip (needs to be hit twice)
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
Sacred Shield Macro
/cast [@mouseover,help][help][@player] Sacred Shield
/cast [@mouseover,help][@target,help][@targettarget,exists,help][@player] Cleanse
Hand of Protection Macro
/cast [@mouseover,help][@target,help][@targettarget,help][@player] Hand of Protection
Hand of Salv/Hand of Sacrifice Macro
/cast [mod,@mouseover,help][mod,help] Hand of Salvation; [@mouseover,help][help] Hand of Sacrifice
Interrupt Focus Macro
/cast [@focus, exists, harm][@focustarget, exists, harm][ ] Rebuke
Theck's Parry/Dodge balancing macro
/run ChatFrame1:AddMessage(format("Ideal pre-dr parry/dodge ratio: 3.597, yours is %.3f%%, if too high reforge more parry to dodge",(GetParryChance()-3.67)/(GetDodgeChance()-5.01)))
Thanks to Darkside, Malthrin, and emptyrepublic from whom Iâ€™ve taken the formatting.
Theck and the rest of the Maintankadin crew for their vast awesomeness.
Also thank you to Corylus, Ronark, and Celydrashad for the advice and suggestions.
Other excellent sources for information on Prot Pally theorycrafting are:
Theck's Sacred Duty Blog (cutting edge Theck material!) - Sacred Duty | A Protection Paladin Blog
Maintankadin, particularly the Advanced Theorycrafting and Calculations section - Maintankadin • View forum - Advanced Theorycraft and Calculations