Mists Beta: First Steps and Protection Paladin

This morning I woke up to a beta invitation. I was expecting one eventually being an annual pass holder but I checked my account through yesterday, when I heard that a wave had gone out, and it wasn’t there so I assumed I’d be waiting till next wave or longer. I knew that emails took a while to come through but I didn’t realise that it took a while to show up on the account as well. Anyway, happy days I’m now in the beta.

Character copies of personal characters or premades aren’t working at the moment so I did what, probably everyone did on getting in beta, rolled a pandaren monk.

The questing experience is very linear and not a single quest can be missed out. If you miss a quest, or in beta have trouble as it’s bugged, then you’re going to make no progress towards getting off the turtle. While this perhaps contributes to making the experience very polished it can also be frustrating at times when the area is so busy. On live it’ll be busy at first and then normal activity will start after that so I guess it’s ok. I prefer a little more freedom but I get that the storyline, and the working with the respective factions, and then the faction choice needs structure. I didn’t really notice the levelling, yes there was the woosh, but perhaps because there was no need to visit the trainer I didn’t notice it so much.

The monk class is quite fun and different so far though I’ve only experienced up to level 11. I worked out how to copy premades over using a US copied a premade 85 over and will be playing with that as soon as I have time. I also copied a premade paladin over as I couldn’t wait till the copy service is working to try the class out.

Protection Paladin

My main is a paladin and my main spec is holy however I probably spend the majority of time as prot. I raid holy but quest, pug dungeons etc. as prot. So the protection spec was my first port of call. I actually wound up picking up the same talents on both my prot and holy builds. I resisted picking the same ones as that seemed wrong but they seemed like the best ones to pick so I picked them.

Level 15: Pursuit of Justice – This is a passive talent giving a flat 10% boost all the time. For certain raid mechanics I could see picking something else but for general questing/running around this is likely to see the most use.

Level 30: Repentance – Once you get into raiding this would absolutely change to something else however for dungeons extra cc is always a bonus. Remember how painful it could be in the early days of 4.3 doing Murozond trash without a cc?

Level 45: Eternal Flame – I was tempted by Sacred Shield and I will definitely have to swap this one out for that alternative soon to see what the difference is. However, we already have a shield type deal with Shield of the Righteous and I thought another might be overkill. However, a HoT heal that I can punch might have more benefit for solo play but can also help the healer.

Level 60: Hand of Purity – The other two talents just reduced cd’s on abilities, this was the only one that gave you something new. I could already see where it could be applied in the Temple of the Jade Serpent so potential here.

Level 75: Divine Purpose – This gives you an extra 3 holy power in practical terms 15% of the time. Holy Avenger gives you something similar but for 20 seconds on a 2 minute cd and Sanctified Wrath just improves your judgement during Avenging Wrath. Now, perhaps I’m missing something but judgement has never been a very impressive ability so I wasn’t impressed by getting it improved.

Anyway, so that’s the talents, these felt like a choice and not a game breaker. I could pick and play around and it wouldn’t cause a massive impact. Now glyphs are a different story and I almost went to try and find a recommendation on the net. Prime glyphs are gone now and minor glyphs mostly have no impact at all being purely cosmetic, the major glyphs however would make a difference. There were 3 slots and 14 glyphs that could apply to protection paladins. In the end I picked:

Alabaster Shield: Successful blocks increase the damage of Shield of Righteousness by 20%, stacks up to 3x. I chose this because it increases my damage done without me having to do anything special to cause it. Not very exciting but I also thought that it might help with threat.

Holy Wrath: Holy Wrath also stuns Elementals and Dragonkin. I picked this partly because I have this exact glyph on live and partly because well I have this exact glyph on live. I suck at choosing my own glyphs and I figured that I was used to the stun and so it might be good to keep it.

Consecration: I’m torn between loving and hating this talent. Loving it because it is useful and works well at getting aoe threat on a lot of mobs. Hating it because I have to click to place it, just hitting the key doesn’t trigger it. It triggering automatically is easier but it’s too useful being able to place it so I guess clicking to use will be something I have to get used too.

Oh boy is it different. It actually reminded me a lot of the current retribution rotation which is priority based rather than the heartbeat of the live prot rotation. It will take some getting used to and my initial reaction is that I don’t like it because it’s harder now. I’ve never got on well with retribution because it’s not set what you do, you do what lights up so to speak. However, the current paladin tanking rotation isn’t exactly challenging and I guess I’ve grown very comfortable with it. I just tanked Temple of the Jade Serpent, my first tanking on beta and when we’d completed the dungeon I looked back and thought about where it went well and where it didn’t.

I had problems with threat when someone other than me pulled a large group of mobs. I struggled to get aggro on them all. Thankfully they died quite quickly but I definitely missed Righteous Defense which would usually have been my go to button in that situation. However, when I pulled initially by placing a Consecration, then using Holy Wrath, before blasting with Hammer of Righteousness it went smooth as anything.

For the regular rotation rather than every other spell hitting Crusader Strike/Hammer of Righteousness it was about every two spells. There were some gaps in the rotation where everything was on cd, that happens on live occasionally when I mess the rotation up, here I think it would just sometimes happen. I missed Hammer of Wrath which was a good rotation filler for the end of a fight and also it signalled the end of the fight.

I also feel there’s something not quite right about the damage output, though that is hard to analyse without a damage meter. I think perhaps Shield of the Righteousness hits more on live or something as the damage output is very spiky. I know that that’s why you shouldn’t level in a tank build as it takes longer as the damage is less. However, there is a substantial difference I feel than on live, it feels a lot less powerful. I know my gear is better on live but it’s more than that.

What’s Next?
I can’t decide to be honest. I’ll either try healing on my paladin or try out a spec on the premade monk. 2 days of beta, 8 bugs squashed.