So, where were we? Right. Paladin changes. While everyone and his mother got whacked by the nerf bat this build, Paladins got little more than a love tap from the devs, making me think that the Light, indeed, is watching over us all. As I mentioned in an earlier post, while seal damage got nerfed, the new talents and tree shuffles are shaping up to be good for the class.
Holy was left mostly untouched, leaving many Holy Paladins feeling distraught and apprehensive. As I've learned throughout the whole Wrath Beta experience, it's always just best to... chillax. Don't worry about it. Blizzard changed Beacon of Light last build and it's somewhat overpowered, but even though they've already said they'll tweak it a bit more, they left it as is this build. Everything will balance out in time. For this build, however, Retribution gets a chance to shine -- but so does Protection, and boy, does it shine bright. If you thought Retribution got some love, wait til you see what Protection got.
Hammer of the Righteous
Requires 50 points in Protection
Hammer the current target and up to 2 additional nearby targets, causing 120% weapon damage as Holy damage.
Although the added threat was removed from the spell, it now deals much more damage and can actually be considered Crusader Strike's nastier cousin that hits the gym four times a week. Protection threat has been through the roof in Beta, anyway, and as Alex Ziebart attested, he tanked a couple of instances without having to use Judgements (when Judgements were borked for a couple of weeks). The threat bonus will not be missed, and Tankadins actually have a frightening spell at their disposal.
Shield of the Templar
Requires 45 points in Protection
Increases the damage of your Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness spells by 30%.
The cost reduction has been removed, but it doesn't matter considering that the new Blessing of Sanctuary grants insane mana regeneration. Instead, Protection gets seriously more DPS. Shield of Righteousness with 30% more damage from spec whose gear has loads block value? Can you say, "ouch"? I once said that this talent was mediocre. Face-smashingly, skull-crushingly mediocre, I mean.
Requires 40 points in Protection
Hurls a holy shield at the enemy, dealing X Holy damage, Dazing them and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Affects 3 total targets. Lasts 10 sec.
Just when the whole of Azeroth was getting whacked by the nerf bat, Avenger's Shield gets buffed and made instant cast -- something that should have been done a long time ago to begin with.
Guarded by the Light
Requires 40 points in Protection
Reduces spell damage taken by 6% and reduces the mana cost of your Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness spells by 30%.
If you missed the mana reduction from Shield of the Templar, it's back with Guarded by the Light. The old effect gave a silly reduction to Holy Wrath and a redundant discount to Avenger's Shield. The cost reduction to Consecration is a strange omission considering how often Protection uses this spell, but as I mentioned, mana regeneration from Blessing of Sanctuary is so good that it shouldn't really be an issue.
Requires 35 points in Protection
Increases your expertise by 2/4/6, total Stamina and chance to critically hit by 2/4/6%.
Compressed to a point-saving three points from five, it now also confers one more point of expertise. There's a slight nerf to the Stamina bonus -- but don't cry so much, Tankadins, because you also gain an insane 6% critical strike bonus for a mere three talent points. More crit, more damage. More damage, more threat. More threat, more fun.
Increases your block value by 30% and damaging melee and ranged attacks against you have a 10% chance to increase your chance to block by 30%. Lasts 10 sec or 5 blocks.
Moved deeper down the Protection tree all the way from Tier 2 to Tier 8, the new Redoubt comes with the removal of Shield Specialization and now affects... wait for it... block value. Didn't I just quake at how much damage Protection will be dishing out with Shield of Righteousness? Well, here it goes again. The increased block chance contributes directly to Blessing of Sanctuary procs.
I mentioned the change to Blessing of Kings, which is frankly an odd change. There's no real reason to get the unimproved version, so the talent actually becomes unnecessarily tiered. That's a minor quibble, though. Other significant changes include the removal of Improved Holy Shield, but the additional charges have been folded into the base Holy Shield. It's been nerfed somewhat that it no longer generates additional threat, but the increased overall damage output should more than compensate for that.
One-Handed Weapon Specialization has been buffed to 10% up from 5%; Anticipation was moved deeper to Tier 2, but also remember that Deflection is now on the first tier of Retribution for more Blessing of Sanctuary goodness; and Spell Warding has been removed from the tree. One significant change is that Reckoning will now proc off blocked attacks. See what Blizzard did there? They freed up some talent points but they made Reckoning hard to ignore. In fact, with the change, Reckoning will be proccing like crazy. Did I mention Protection is scary? Well, it's very, very scary.
Let me close this post with a sobering disclaimer: this is Beta, don't get comfortable. Enjoy your time testing these new abilities, but take everything with a grain of salt. We're moving in the right direction, but expect to see more tweaks and tuning in the coming weeks. But for now... let's go destroy things.