Orvillius is a Protection Paladin with the mighty Eff the Ineffable on Azuremyst. With Nymphy away this week he’s abandoned all pretense of being half as funny or witty as she is and keeps putting up serious tanking posts.
NOTE: If you're here looking for patch 5.04 paladin talents, you want to go to the updated guide.
The other day I was feeling a little bored before raiding time and decided to dust off my level 40 bear druid and spend some time on him. It had obviously been a long time since I’d touched him, because his talent points had been reset. When I went to spend those points I realized that I have no idea where to put them. A couple of helpful twitterfolk pointed me towards their own specs or helpful guides, but the experience got me wondering whether there are people out there who are as confused by the Prot Tree as I was by the Feral Tree. I hope this is helpful for any brave folk who have decided to level up as a Prot Pally, and find themselves unsure of exactly how useful all of these talents will be. The talents are listed in the order I think it is best to fill them out. Some of this is a matter of opinion and if you’re leveling with a healing buddy/dps buddies you may need to swap the order around a bit to better match up to your needs!
Tier 1 (Levels 10-17)
Seals of the Pure- 2/2
I would recommend starting with Seals of the Pure first. You can’t run dungeons until level 15 anyway so the extra healing from divinity is not going to be particularly noticeable at this point, while 12% extra seal damage will help things die faster.
You’re the tank, your whole job is to get punched in the face by the mobs you’re fighting and live through it. 6% increase to healing done will make life easier on the healers who are keeping your heavily armored butt alive.
Eternal Glory- 0/2
Eternal Glory was an amazing talent when Word of Glory didn’t have a cooldown. But with a 20 second CD and nothing else to use your holy power on at this level there’s no point in putting talents here anymore.
Tier 2 (Level 19-27)
Extra armor is good. ‘Nuff said.
Judgements of the Just- 2/2
I see a lot of Paladins in low level dungeons skipping this talent. I know reducing the attack speed of the target doesn’t sound that sexy, but when you make them attack 20% slower it gives your healer that much more time to get you topped off after that last hit you took. I know that at low levels many healers will be falling asleep because you’re taking such a low amount of damage, but talents like this help keep you alive when things fall apart in a dungeon run.
Improved HoJ- 0/2
I’ve never felt like a 20 second reduction in the cooldown on HoJ was better than ANY of the other talents you could have spent them on. Fights don't last long enough at this level, and even when they do, the six second stun does not outweigh the benefits of the extra armor, the attack speed debuff, or moving on to tier 3 and picking up 2 CORE Paladin talents
Tier 3 (Level 29-37)
Hammer of the Righteous- 1/1
Mmmm tasty AoE. This is the first talent you want in this tier because at this point in a Paladin’s life you only have Avenger’s Shield, Holy Wrath, and Consecration as your AoE arsenal. Consecration is a mana hog, and Holy Wrath isn’t much better. HotR used to be a much higher level talent, and being able to get it at level 29 will make holding AoE in dungeons where the DPS are going wild (most of them) much easier.
This is THE tank talent. Makes you immune to critical hits from enemies within 3 levels of yours. Makes you take 10% less damage, AND gives you mana regen when you dodge or block (and since low level gear actually has dodge on it these days this is a pretty good deal.)
Hallowed Ground- 1/2
This is a great talent at low levels because it makes consecration much cheaper, and makes it pack a bigger punch.
Wrath of the Lightbringer- 0/2
This is an awesome talent! We’re coming back to it I promise, but right now we’re skipping it over because low level dungeons are AoE fests and what you need now is more AoE utility
Tier 4 (Level 39-47)
Shield of the Righteous- 1/1
What’s that? Something to do with your Holy Power stacks other than pop Word of Glory? Yes please! This ability packs a huge punch and is a great way to get a solid threat lead.
Grand Crusader- 2/2
This thing procs all the time. ALL THE TIME. And getting Avenger’s Shield back up before the regular CD has run its course means more AoE damage, plus faster holy power generation. It is a win-win
At max level when you’re rocking a ton of block this is a killer talent, but since block now comes from Mastery and you can’t get that at all until level 80 we’re going to skip this one over
Hallowed Ground- 2/2
Drop the second point in Hallowed Ground here. Now consecration is cheap and packs a heck of a punch. Right around here you’re going to start laughing at those AoE trigger happy dps as they find even their most ignorant, gogogogo, AOE ALL THE THINGS moments unable to overcome your powerful AoE toolbox.
Wrath of the Lightbringer- 1/2
I told you we were coming back to it! Drop this point in there and watch your single target DPS take another bump up! The extra crit on Holy Wrath doesn’t hurt either.
Tier 5 (Level 49-57)
Guarded by the Light- 2/2
This increases your self healing with Word of Glory and gives you a protective shield with any overhealing you do meaning that you NEVER waste a Word of Glory cast.
A 10% damage reduction caused by your two main attacks? This is a fantastic talent, especially as you start entering more challenging dungeons.
Holy Shield- 1/1
Hey it’s a cooldown! It makes your blocks block for more damage. You don’t block an awful lot at this point but it is worth getting in the habit of managing multiple cooldowns. We’re taking this as much for unlocking Sacred Duty as anything else at this point.
Divine Guardian- 0/1
This is a massively overpowered raid-wide damage reduction CD. And right now you just don’t need it. Nothing you’re facing at this level is providing that much AoE damage, but we will come back to this.
Wrath of the Lightbringer- 2/2
So instead use that point to fill out Wrath of the Lightbringer
Tier 6 (59-67)
Sacred Duty- 2/2
When that sacred duty buff is up and you pop Shield of the Righteous with that guaranteed crit... it’s just a sexy feeling.
Shield of the Templar- 3/3
This gives you an excellent option for starting boss pulls. Pop divine plea to give yourself 3 HoPo, pop your wings, judge to try and proc Sacred Duty, then hit the boss with Shield of the Righteous. At this point Paladin tanks should be feeling pretty bad ass.
Tier 7+ (69-79)
Ardent Defender- 1/1
Another awesome cooldown. Take it. Use it. Love it
(Ret Talent) Improved Judgement- 2/2
The ability to judge at a further range is nice.
(Ret Talent) Crusade- 3/3
Extra damage from Crusader Strike and HotR? Don’t mind if I do!
At level 80 you get Mastery and you’ll start accumulating a lot of gear WITH mastery and seeing your block chance shoot up, so putting a point in Reckoning at level 81 should give you a nice threat increase.
Divine Guardian- 1/1
As you start running Cata instances healer mana becomes a much more finite resource and having this available to reduce raid-wide damage can make a HUGE difference.
(Ret Talent) Pursuit of Justice- 2/2
It’s a run speed enhancement. It means you can use the pure mastery enchant on your boots. Getting out of the bad faster makes your healers happy and by now you should know that it is important to keep your healers happy.
(Ret Talent) Rule of Law- 1/2
Extra crit never hurt anyone.
At this point you’re going to want to consider re-allocating your talent points. As you start running heroics and the use of Crowd Control Abilities becomes essential the Consecration spell actually becomes something of a liability. Certain CC abilities (Hex, Polymorph) let the mobs wander around and a carelessly placed consecrate can break even stationary CC targets. At this point I removed consecration from my rotation and spent those two points elsewhere. Current theorycrafting seems to suggest that going 1/2 in Reckoning and 3/3 in Rule of Law is the best way to spend your points but swapping that last point around one way or the other won’t make or break you.