Monday, August 4, 2008

On Bloating and the Core Tankadin

So with the WotLK talents starting to settle down a bit, we're getting to the point where we can start putting some serious thought into what exactly we're going to spec at 80... and as always, one of the more popular topics regarding talents is the "bloating" of the Protection tree.

I take a different perspective to the situation. I don't believe our talent tree is bloated, I think we just have a lot of really good talents to pick and choose from. To illustrate this point, I'm going to create what I consider a "base" protection spec, allowing myself only 51 points in the Protection tree, and taking only what I feel is required (possibly dumping points into talents I don't feel are 100% necessary, but I need to get deeper in the tree). I will also give a step-by-step of each choice as I make it. Once I've created a base spec, I will adapt it to different variations based on the Paladin's role in the raid.

With that, I present to you the Base Tankadin: 0/51/0
  1. First tier talent, 15% Strength vs. 5% Dodge. Survivability is first priority, so I choose Anticipation.
  2. Stoicism (and Guardian's Favor to some extent) aren't really PVE talents, so my choice is 15% Strength vs Redoubt. This is a tricky choice, since I'll need Redoubt to pick up Shield Spec (and it's a fairly solid talent on its own, most of the time). However, since 15% Strength will increase my block value to some degree (remember, we're talking about level 80 itemization here) as well as threat from all of my other abilities, I'm going to lean toward ignoring Redoubt for the time being and sticking with Divine Strength.
  3. Largely a no brainer here, I consider all three available 3rd-tier talents to be important. Three points in Imp RF, one point in Blessing of Kings (remember, most level 80 Holy and Ret Pallies will probably not take it), and the remaining 3rd-tier point into Toughness.
  4. Divine Guardian, Imp HoJ, and Imp Devotion Aura become available. Imp Devotion Aura gives a great bonus to group content for only 3 points, so I'll definitely pick that up. Remaining two points go into Toughness.
  5. Blessing of Sanctuary is (unfortunately) required for anything deeper in the tree. Oh well, it's worth the one point. Remaining four points go into filling out Toughness, and the only situational choice that's required to get down the tree - two points in Reckoning, two points in Spell Warding, or two points somewhere else. I chose Reckoning, but feel free to toss those anywhere.
  6. Two points in Sacred Duty, at 3% Stamina per point you can't really turn that down. Remaining three into 1h Specialization.
  7. One point into Holy Shield. With Wrath changes, Improved Holy Shield only seems really necessary situationally, so we'll skip it for now. Remaining four points go into Ardent Defender (or you could flesh out 1h spec and Reckoning if you'd prefer)
  8. Tier 8 is an easy choice, because not only is there only one 8th-tier talent but it is also ridiculously good. All five points go into Combat Expertise.
  9. One point into Avenger's Shield, three points into Touched by the Light. Remaining point goes into Ardent Defender (or wherever).
  10. Five talent points worth of talents in Tier 10. Judgements of the Just is a no-brainer, it's just too good. Shield of the Templar seems good as well just for the Shield of Righteousness bonus, but that could change depending on how everything works out at 80. We'll have to wait and see there. If you like you can put those 3 points somewhere else.
  11. Hammer of the Righteous. Congratulations, you're a 51-point Protection Paladin, and you've still got 20 points to spare.
But what am I missing?

Redoubt & Shield Specialization: 8 talent points for 30% Block Value doesn't seem worth it, even if they fix it from it's currently bugged status (not increasing block value gained from strength). Redoubt is a great AOE tanking talent, but since it's becoming clear that we're not the only option for an AOE tank in Wrath (and can most likely function fine without it), I don't consider it a requirement.

Divine Guardian: With the change to Divine Protection, I don't consider this talent worth working into a primary build. I don't want to nerf my Shield Wall.

Spell Warding: Never really been important for 5/10 mans, and with Death Knights in the game, we're now the 3rd choice for spell damage-heavy tanking in 25 mans. Some people will want it depending on your situation, but I don't consider it necessary.

And... that's about it. You're missing one AOE tanking talent, one situational/probably not worth it talent, and one spell mitigation talent from what most would call the "required" build.

Now you can adapt this base build to pretty much any situation. AOE tank/offtank? Pick up Redoubt, Shield Spec, Guarded by the Light, Benediction, Imp Judgement, imp Holy Shield, and another point in 1h spec. Offtank/Healer? Toss the remaining points in Holy (some decent tanking-related options there as well). 100% Main Tankadin? Put 12 in Ret and spread the rest around the Prot tree where you like them.

My point in all of this is don't misconstrue flexibility as bloat. You don't *need* every single tanking-related talent. Just worry about fitting your build to what you do the most.


conorandsam said...

An interesting and helpful take on the talents. I'd like to see some level 80 gear before I make a call on the usefulness of Touched by the Light, though... I have a feeling that we might all be mistaken when we look at this as an awesome threat talent. Maybe we'll get all the threat we need from AP? Maybe Touched by the Light is just meant to be a healing talent?

I have a funny feeling that Blizzard will remove the 'stacking' of spell power and AP coefficients to our spells before the new talents go live - that we'll only get the damage bonus from whichever is greater.

Just a feeling I have...

Libram of Truth

sheepbreaker said...

I like this base build, and the reasoning behind it. I have a feeling, though, that with "warrior" gear looking more and more attractive to us, prot paladins are going to have some serious mana problems, making Guarded by the Light and Shield of the Templar more necessary than they first appear to be. Only time will tell for sure, though.

I'm also toying with the idea of putting 12 points into Holy for Improved Lay on Hands. A 50% armor bonus on a 16 minute cooldown makes a great "insurance" button to pop during boss fights. I'm having a hard time justifying spending the required 10 points in Holy to pick it up...but if mana really does become an issue in Wrath, then Divine Intellect might actually be worthwhile for a tank.

Kaziel said...

Plus with the removal of Crushing Blows from raiding, Paladins no longer _need_ to put points in Avoidance and Deflection. This gives us new levels of flexibility both in and out of the Prot tree. I can't put into words how excited I am about these changes and what's in store for us.