WotLK Beta: Leveling as Protection My Perspective at 74.
I have no idea how this Paladin spec will end up in the end before WotLK given that changes seem to be quite dynamic weekly. With the recent patch changes its a bit easier to level as Protection Spec (Tank). Feels much better as well.
As result of patch 8885 much did not change for Protection in Beta other than the huge change to Blessing of Sanctuary (BoS). Once a almost semi used, lackluster talent and Blessing has now being changed to become a defining Protection Spec blessing or a Tank Blessing as some would say. Blessing of Sanctuary now returns 2% of “maximum” mana to the Paladin on every Block, Parry, Dodge while the blessing is active. Its also a 3% damage reduction as well which is great and adds to all our damage reducing talents and skill.
This greatly rewards the Protection Paladin in getting desperate mana for having high avoidance in Raid and Instances vs mobs. Especially helpful as well while questing, soloing, leveling other than mana return passively through SA from heals mostly usually in a group, party, instance situation. On Live server just about the only blessing a Protection spec solo or quest with is having Blessing of Wisdom up all the time for mana every 5 sec which we never ever seem to have enough of.
With the new BoS its now the Blessing of choice for a Protection Paladin soloing, questing, instancing. You getting mana for playing to your defensive skills and having that high avoidance you gain eventually which procs mana return on every Block, Parry & Dodge.
Its always been much harder leveling, questing, soloing as Protection spec. So much so most Paladins that play the spec at the max level never really level up in the spec. Most level as Retribution for all the reasons that obvious to that spec vs leveling as Protection being slow and doing way less damage. Some Paladins have enough grit to level the spec entirely despite the shortfalls.
With the changes to BoS this makes soloing, questing and leveling allot easier than before. Perfect, no! But allot easier vs on live servers. When your now getting mana back for avoiding hits, you can be more efficient getting mana back as a result and dealing more damage to groups of mobs than before. By just pulling allot more of just about everything in site to mass AoE and have almost maximum mana in the process procing BoS as you evade hits from multiple mobs attempting to beat on you. Awesome!
Only thing to still watch for is as always casters which still eats your health in the process or just loosing health from taking too much damage. I don’t usually find it as problematic when that happens…. I just switch target to the actual caster and have the mobs beat on me to give me mana to burn it on the Caster NPC mob. That can also be easily compensated by switching to SoL, JoL and using HoTR which procs heals on all three mobs with a full or close to full mana bar.
And actually with that amount of mana you should be burning it off hitting every button to put everything on cooldown which includes mass Consecrating. Thus your now dealing allot more damage via more spells used if you have the mana to do so. More mana from all the avoidance of hits and blocks in the process until your back to a more manageable level to maintain health or conserve dropping mana bar. So sometimes a bit of seal switching as well as needed.
To me leveling, questing as a Protection Paladin now more so than before, its really a tactical mind set in how you fight, choose to fight or engage groups of mobs or a single NPC target. In most every instance you having to think of how to be efficient or mana efficient in killing things and having mana in the end to reduce your down time as well.
Life after Beta Patch 8885
I now keep BoS up allot. But BoS only works when your actively engaged in combat. Protection don’t generate any meaning full mana when not actively in combat which was one reason to have Blessing of Wisdom up all the time to refill mana bar after a fight. As a result I find I’m switching blessing allot or constantly to 10 min blessings as needed.
Its not bad really but it can a bit more micromanaging as well. If a fight don’t leave me full on mana its switching from BoS back to BoW to refill and then back to BoS when combat actually starts with full mana. Its one reason I kinda wish this was a Protection self buff but not actually called a blessing since you can only have one active at a time.
The usual way I choose to engage almost any target considering what kind of target, is to always have more than one. Three is good especially for any procs from HotR of seals, but more is always best from the point of mana regeneration and ability to cycle through almost all spells.
When it comes to single target most specifically Casters! Its still a bit different as usual. I still use BoS as it gives a damage reduction to all damage in this case spells and you still do evade some the attacks as i’ve seen the blessing procs several times fighting Casters. On single target Casters mobs I tend to just use damage seals and HotR to get the fight over quick with all other spells in rotation.
Sometimes I throw in AS as well with the low cast time inbetween a Hammer of Justice. I don’t find it so bad fighting caster mobs questing on single target. Just not in a bunch! Shield of Righteousness should make a big difference when i pick that up at lvl 75. I find I now use SoL abit more with BoS up on casters as well at times but not always all the time.
Heals on SoL, JoL scales with your gear AP and SP. So do all other Seals and Judgements as well as before in previous patch. But JoW is a flat now what seems a flat 2% of “max mana” and SoW a flat 4% of “max mana“. 2% mana return on JoW is still low to me especially against a single target or even a slow one as well where BoS does not proc as much and you don’t get that much mana back on Judgements. My total mana is like 4995, so a JoW proc on Judgement is only 100 mana. I don’t know if this can have potential problems at some point, who knows.
Other times I’ve at my own choosing I’ve just used BoM as well vs BoS for more attack power to scale my damage effect of my spells on a single target caster mob questing as it does more damage especially when you pop AP trinkets in the process to deal more damage quickly to a NPC caster mob. My current gear has around 1100 AP just from gear without BoM. But that’s more my flavor of my playstyle that I do so knowing why I’m doing it.
I’ve found stacking up some Intellect while questing causes the BoS, JoW, SoW procs for mana to increase a bit. Found that out having a Elixir of Draenic Wisdom up as its based on your total mana. Adds a bit to our low mana pool as it is. Edit: Questing & Soloing content only.
But I switch Blessings as needed if I need another or if the situation of the fight changes with mobs adds. My most use Seal is SoC so far and at times weaving in SoR. SoW I use at times but i prefer to use a damage seal by choice and for the procs with HotR and not feel gimped having to use SoW just to get mana all the time. I do enjoy some degree of doing damage as is the aim of what Blizz want the class to do to make it easier to level or quest.
Still I believe Protection can use a bit of a bump in our ability to do damage on spells. But that’s my opinion.
Until I’m in the proper gear some things are hard to say as well just how things are or will be from being just at 74. Things can be much different or have a different feel at lvl 80 and with much proper gear, weapons etc.
But so far Protection is more button mashing or more interactive. BoS change adds a lot more to our ability to Solo more smoothly with less of a mana problem than before which means less down time. We still do have down time at times but its to a less degree as of this patch build. But with the proper gear I’ll imagine for things to be easier.
*I’ve really tried to shorten this long post, edit and re-edit as much as I could. After I while I’m just leaving it as is especially considering the time it took me to write it. /published.