Kuroshiro over at the Build Mine (http://thebuildmine.blogspot.com/) has mined the Armory for spec information on all the various classes. What I am going to look at in this blog is his data on the cookie cutter Tankadin build 0/49/12.
According to the data, mined from over 2 million toons, just 2.32% of Paladins are this spec. Every other spec in the top 10 was Holy. No surprise there.
The top variation on 0/49/12 is shared by over a third of Paladins who spec this way. Its pretty much your standard “Main tank” build with all the mitigation and threat goodies the tree has to offer. The only talents not taken in this build are the more PVP focused Stoicism, Improved Hammer of Justice, Improved Concentration Aura, and Guardians Favor.
The other talent eschewed by this build is Improved Devotion Aura. At Tier 1, Protection Paladins have to choose between Improved Devo and Redoubt. Redoubt, being the prerequisite for the highly use Shield Specialization wins out, despite that fact that for as you continue to gear your Paladin, Redoubt becomes more and more useless. The extra block % it provides disappears off of the combat table as you gear for more Dodge, and Parry. Redoubt also can not be counted on for Uncrusablity because it is a proc, and can not be controlled by the player. So the conclusion here is that Protection Paladins are begrudgingly paying 8 points for their needed Shield Specialization talent.
The points in Retribution for this build are also very straightforward. Benediction is taken for the reduced mana cost on the Seal, Judge, Seal rotation, but that is more of a side benefit. The real goal is to get to Teir 2 to take Improved Judgement, which is a nice boost to aggro, and Deflection, which is severely needed mitigation for Paladins.
This spec is held by over 36% of Paladins with 0/49/12. In reality it is shared by over 80% of all Paladins with this spec. It is only the final two points where any disagreement arises.
The first top variant to this build really surprises. Improved Holy Shield is dropped and Guardians Favor taken in its place. Now, don’t misunderstand. Guardian’s Favor is a fantastic talent. It is a cool down reduction on one of our taunt like abilities (Blessing of Protection). It is a talent I have in every one of my builds. But it doesn’t outweigh the benefits of Improved Holy Shield. It gives you more charges, making it superior to a Warrior’s Shield Block and more damage which equates directly to more threat.
I am going to postulate that the players with this build are either unaware of the new talent, or just have not redone their spec since the patch that introduced Improved Holy Shield. They may be no longer active players. If the patch that added Improved Holy Shield had included the “free respec”, I conjecture that the majority of these players would show up with no spec at all.
The third major variation of this spec again goes after Guardian’s Favor, but this time the points are shifted from Precision. This makes good sense to me. Precision is a great talent. It increases your chance to hit by 1/2/3%. Every time you miss, you lose out on some aggro from your Seal not hitting as well. But the Protection tree is bloated and you have to make some tough choices.
The reason why Precision can be a reasonable place to take points from is that it is passive. You never actually see it working or see a direct benefit. All you see if whether you hit or missed. The game doesn’t calculate a miss, and then see if Precision would make that miss a hit and then show in your screen “PRECISION”. All you see if hit or miss. You don’t know if it was Precision or just dumb luck.
The final major variation is also along these same lines. Instead of taking points from Precision, points are taken from Spell Warding. Now Paladins have very few ways to deal with spell damage and a straight 4% reduction is nothing to dismiss, but once again, it’s passive. You never see it working, or see how much damage it saved you. It’s easy to forget that its not even there.
Not a single Paladin has points in Weapon Expertise. This is a 35+ point talent and not a single Tank spec Paladin sees the value of it over other, often lower teir options.
I know the Protection tree just got a nice buff with Improved Holy Shield, but as you can see we had to take points out of other useful skills to get it.
The tree needs to be streamlined and a more attractive option given in place of Weapon Expertise.