What follows is a cliff notes version of the changes coming for Retribution and Protection Paladins from a primarily PVE point of view.
10/14 UPDATE! I wake up this morning and found that Theck has also written a fantastic guide to Patch 6.0.2.
Tomorrow everything is going to change. The World (of Warcraft) will never again be what it is. All the stuff that is going away in 6.0.2 is going away. The Brawler’s Guild will be shut down when you log back in, and the Proving Grounds are closed. If you want to start on the Legendary Quest chain, you have to do it before you logged out Monday. If you are on the chain, you can keep going but you've only got a month to finish it.
Update Your Addons
At some point, go to Curse or wherever you get your addons and update them. Get the updates done early. As of this writing (Monday night) Curse didn't show any of my addons ready for an update. When you log into Tuesday for the first time, turn all your addons off. See what’s been added to the base interface and what addons you might not need anymore. The big one for me is Bagnon as most of that functionality looks like it was added to the base game.
The Toy Box will be in so go around to all your characters and find stuff you can put into the Toy Box. Also we get another tab of Void Storage (thank the maker!) so go fill it up.
Stats – Roll (3) 6-sided Dice
Take a screenshot before you log out Monday (especially you sessy million health Death Knights). You are not likely that have that much health, mana, or attack power again for a long, long time. The Developer’s assure us that we will feel just as powerful since the monsters got squished just as much but it may take some getting used to.
Reforging is gone and your gear has reverted to his original pre-Reforged state. The Reforges kept all the gold and escaped into the Twisting Nether. Those )&(&!
Racial abilities got re-tuned. Draenai get a buff to primary stats which looks awfully tempting, but nothing can compare to the innate awesomeness of being a Dwarf.
There are some new stats: Versatility, Multistrike, and Bonus Armor. Versatility was originally going to be called “More Awesome at what you do awesome” but the devs opted for 'Versatility' since that was demonstrably shorter. From the Dev Watercooler :
Versatility is pretty simple: 1% Versatility grants a 1% increase to your damage, healing, and absorbs, and reduces the damage you take by 0.5%.Bonus Armor is something that used to be in the game and went away, but now its back. It increases armor and for Prot it also increases attack power. Any Dodge and Parry on your current gear got changed into Bonus Armor. UPDATE! Rhidach has a great blog on Bonus Armor.
Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to 2 additional times, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing).For Prot, when a heal lands you on you, there’s a chance, equal to your multistrike that it will heal you again. I will leave it up to Dr. Theck and mathLab geniuses to work out the priority on the secondary stats for Prot. UPDATE! Oh look, they did!
Free Glyphs. There’s a bunch of Glyphs that you learn automatically now. (Harsh Words, Flash of Light, Alabaster Shield, Dazing Shield, Avenging Wrath, Templar's Verdict, Denounce, Divine Storm, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn, Final Wrath, Double Jeopardy) If you didn't have them before, you have them now. Congratulations, and feast on the tears of Scribes everywhere.
One Set of Gear
In WoD, you will be able to use one set of gear for both Prot and Ret. Set Bonuses will switch based upon your spec so when you are Prot you get the Prot set bonus and when you are Ret you get the Ret set bonus. Most stats are useful to some degree to both specs. For all you wild and crazy Holy/Rets out there, ALL plate comes with equal amounts of Strength and Intellect. All Haste is just haste, all crit is just crit. There’s no more special spell crit versus melee crit. Hit and Expertise are gone as stats, and the Hit Cap and Expertise Cap are no more. You always hit and if you are Prot, you can’t get dodged or parried. As long as Ret is behind the boss, they won’t get dodged or parried either.
We will now attune to secondary stats which means we get 5% more of the stat our spec is supposed to attune to. Prot attunes to Haste which is pretty cool because Haste means more Holy Power to turn into Active Mitigation. Ret attunes to Mastery which is a straight up buff to damage. As we switch specs, the gear will morph to be better for that spec.
Your gear has 100 Haste and 100 Mastery. When you are Prot, you attune to Haste and the gear becomes 105 Haste, 100 Mastery. When you are Ret, the same gear attunes again and you have 100 Haste and, 105 Mastery. You will pretty much be able to get away with one set of gear. You’ll just need to have an offspec two-hander, or one-hander and shield.
Paladin Devotion Aura is a Holy only thing now. I liked having another raid cooldown as a Tank, but it’s no longer available.
Vengeance is GONE! The whole reason Vengeance was put in was to help tanks keep threat as DPS got better gear through a tier. Their gear helped them do more damage/threat. Our gear generally helped more with staying alive and less with threat. Vengeance help counter that, but it had some unintended side effects and now it’s being changed to Resolve. Resolve increases self-healing and absorption.
Prot lost Avenging Wrath. I’m gonna miss them wings!
Grand Crusader will proc from any avoidance so maybe it will proc more.
Inquisition is GONE! Celebrate the end of the maintenance buff with me my brothas!
Ret lost Guardian of Ancient Kings. I loved that pet. Hand of Salvation is a Protection only thing which I guess makes sense since they are threat kings.
The rest of the changes are all PVE collateral damage from the PVP changes. Repentance now has a cast time in case you want to recast it in combat. Turn Evil has its cast time increased and Evil is Point of View is gone. We don’t have a fear anymore. Blinding Light is now a talent in the CC tier. You have to choose between Blinding Light, Repentance or Fist of Justice.