First Take on Protection Paladin PVP @ 85 in Cataclysm


Cataclysm went Live on December 7th, but it took me until the 15th to reach level 85.

Gear Summary and Recommendations

As of this post, I have purchased the following seven pieces of 85 PVP gear:

I love that Blizzard has introduced crafted PVP gear (i.e. Bloodied Pyrium for Prot and Ret Pallies), as you can buy those pieces to jump-start your PVP viability until you have time to grind out Honor and Conqueror gear. The mats aren’t that expensive, on Wildhammer they’re roughly 250g per crafted piece.

Here are a few suggestions for gearing up quickly:

  • When you ding 85, definitely buy the crafted Bloodied Pyrium offset belt, bracers, boots, and one other piece (helm, legs, or shoulders). The Honor pieces are slightly higher iLevel, but there is no set bonus for the offset pieces. Moreover, the crafted pieces have a lot of Hit rating, which is necessary to get to the 5% Hit cap
  • Get to 2/5 and then 4/5 Scaled set as soon as possible. The 2/5 set bonus includes 400 Resilience and 70 Str, and the 4/5 bonus includes the Judgement cooldown reduction (huge, see below) and 180 Str. The 1st set piece you should get are the gloves, as they have a CS damage bonus
  • As you are saving up Honor and Conqueror points for an expensive upgrade, rent gear upgrades and then return them before the 2h expiration. E.g. I’m saving up for the Scaled legs which cost 2200 Honor, so once I had 1250 Honor saved up I bought the blue ring to use, and once I earn another 950 Honor I’ll return the ring to buy the legs. Ditto for the Conqueror shield

I wanted to make sure to share those gear insights because some players I spoke with were gearing up the wrong way (e.g. buying the crafted set pieces and offset Honor pieces, instead of the other way around).

You may be wondering why I got the crafted helm instead of the Honor helm. The Crit damage meta gem is “broken” because it won’t activate unless you have more blue gems than red. This is supposed to get fixed, but in the meanwhile it means that helm meta gem isn’t that useful. As I’m in a hurry to fill the many gear holes I have, I went ahead and bought the crafted helm.

I’m continuing to use 80 epic PVP gear instead of Cataclysm PVE items. Many players are neglecting Resilience so far in Cataclysm, and I have beaten other players of the same spec who have more 85 PVP gear than I have. YMMV.

Right now I have 2400 Resilience (25% mitigation) and can’t wait to get more 85 PVP gear. My survivability is very good at 2400 Resilience and should only improve once I get at/over 3000.

Enchant / Gem / Reforging Recommendations

  • Str for red sockets
  • Resil for yellow sockets
  • Str/Hit for the blue sockets to activate the socket bonus, or go Str

Reforge the following stats to Hit until you reach the 5% cap, then reforge to Crit:

  • Haste (almost completely useless for Prot)
  • Mastery (only helpful against melees)
  • Expertise (actually not that bad, reduces avoidance for any target)

You’ll notice it’s tough to get Hit-capped and reach even 10% Crit. I’m close to 7% Crit now.

Mechanics Changes @ 85 compared to 80 for 4.0

OK, with all that gearing and stats stuff out of the way, here is my take on how Prot functions in PVP now.

Summary: we are truly “outlast/support” tanks now @ 85:

  1. Our FoL and WoG healing is very inefficient now. FoL with my gear only heals for ~10k but I have 110k HP. WoG isn’t worth casting at less than 3 stacks unless it’s an emergency heal. You won’t be able to bubble and heal up to full from low health
  2. We have very good mitigation abilities in Divine Protection, Ardent Defender, Guardian of Ancient Kings and a solid AOE “mitigation” heal in Holy Radiance. In PVP you should use these abilities as often as possible and chain them under focus-fire
  3. We can chain some solid burst together with Avenger’s Shield, 3-stack Shield of the Righteous with Sacred Duty, and Hammer of Wrath. But don’t expect to burst people down in 10 seconds – fights take much longer now. I actually prefer this to the critfest that characterized pre-Cataclysm PVP. Fights are much more tactical in nature
  4. Our sustained damage has taken a hit. Our Seal damage and Retribution Aura damage are now fairly insignificant. My crit Crusader Strikes hit Cloth for ~8k and Plate for ~6k, so it’s a modest burst ability

Tips:

  1. If you remember only one thing from this article, remember this: our Crit % is pitifully low now. Mine is 7%. Therefore, you should try whenever possible to wait for Sacred Duty to proc before using a 3-stack SotR for the guaranteed Crit. That is partly what makes the 4/5 set bonus so critical – you want to have as many opportunities as possibleto Judge to proc the SD buff
  2. In mass combat pop Divine Guardian and Holy Radiance. They can keep friendlies up long enough to make a difference in the outcome
  3. Don’t save your mitigation cooldowns. Fights in Cataclysm tend to last a long time, and by the time the current fight is over many of your cooldowns will be halfway to being ready for use again

Rated BGs and Arena

I organized two 15-person raids for Rated BGs for my guild. We went 3-3. We lost 2 matches due to healer DCs and stupidity. The AB loss chapped my hide because we would have won it down a player (14v15) if we had simply stayed near the BS flag. The SotA loss was  embarassing – I got my Demo from the beach up to Yellow gate but no one picked up the 2nd Demo despite repeated asks from another player on Vent. If the 2nd Demo was with mine, we would have shaved at least a minute off the time to finish. It’s a learning experience, hopefully we’ll improve as a group.

My main complaint about Rateds is the queue in our Battlegroup is slow to pop, sometimes 15 minutes per. Too much downtime. Hopefully the 10-person Rated queue will pop faster.

I ran 2s with two different comps:

  • Prot Pally + Holy Pally
  • Prot Pally + Enhancement Shaman

The Holy Pally and I went 6-3. My partner possessed no Resilience gear, had dinged 80 right before Cata, and had no experience as a PVP healer. E.g. he kept moving out into open fire lanes even though I suggested he find a pillar to hug. This comp actually functions very differently compared to pre-4.0 now that Holy Pally can put out functional damage with Exorcism spam. It’s a viable comp and the matches don’t last 15 minutes like they used to.

The Enhancement Shaman was the same player (Kashmír) I had run 2s as a Moonkin. We went 5-6 for the first 5 matches, as we were new to the comp and learning from simple mistakes. He got focus-fired most matches, which made sense given our specs, but he only had 1k Resilience so he was squishy. So we got him the 3 crafted offset pieces to get him to 1.5k Resilience and we changed our strategy a bit  to having me be the frontline aggressor.

We won the last 5 matches to finish 10-6 for the week. Some points of interest:

  • Neither of us has strong/efficient cast-time heals, but his Wolves heal him for a lot and I have a lot of mitigation tools, Holy Radiance, Divine Sacrifice, and Holy Protection to help protect my partner
  • We beat different Healer/DPS comps consistently
  • Mage/Lock gave us the most trouble because of the CC and ranged DPS
  • This was a fun comp, matches go very quickly!

I was trying to record some good footage yesterday in Random BGs queued solo, but out of a dozen queue pops I got mostly AV and IoC, which I dislike for videos because they often zergy.

Hopefully I’ll get at least 1 video published before my vacation starts and we hit the road.

I have some work to do to update the Cata Prot Pally PVP Guide but what I’ve written above is a good starting point if you wanted the skinny on Prot @ 85.

EDIT (2010/12/21): I’ve updated the Cata Prot Pally PVP Guide, so let me know if you have any questions.

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Posted in Paladin, PVP, World of Warcraft
6 comments on “First Take on Protection Paladin PVP @ 85 in Cataclysm
  1. Jostle says:

    Howdy, Taugrim. Jostle here. A friend finally convinced me to try out WoW again with all the changes, so I grabbed it when it was discounted. I’ve always been about healing (well, always since WAR) so I rolled up a holy tauren pally and I’m very much looking forward to duel-speccing prot once I feel comfortable enough with the changes of mechanics/pvp/everything from WAR to WoW.

    Things are getting much easier than when I started, being holy seems incredibly powerful in PvP, and at first I was getting very excited about being top heals in BGs, but then I started to notice that most BGs don’t have anyone focusing on healing, so I suppose I’m just doing things oddly, heh.

    Anyhow, I thought I’d let you know, and thank you for all the helpful guides and comments and maybe I’ll see if I can hook up with you on your server once I hit 85 for some rated BG queuing for old times’ sake, heh.

  2. taugrim says:

    holy seems incredibly powerful in PvP, and at first I was getting very excited about being top heals in BGs, but then I started to notice that most BGs don’t have anyone focusing on healing, so I suppose I’m just doing things oddly, heh.

    Holy has excellent tools in Cata in PVP. You can kite-heal effectively, have a lot of emergency buttons, and generate functional ranged DPS with Holy Shock, Exorcism spam, and Hammer of Wrath to finish off opponents.

    I think the mechanics of Holy suit your skills well.

    There is almost always a shortage of healers. The fun thing about Holy is you can heal and spot DPS in BGs. Holy is a great finisher with HoW and HS instant casts.

    Anyhow, I thought I’d let you know, and thank you for all the helpful guides and comments and maybe I’ll see if I can hook up with you on your server once I hit 85 for some rated BG queuing for old times’ sake, heh.

    Dude it would be awesome to play with you again. You’re one of the best healers I’ve run with in any game, and a good guy to boot :)

    Take care!

  3. Gyldenfeax says:

    Do you think an Inscribed Ember Topaz (+20 strength, +20 Crit rating) is a viable alternative to the +40 resilience gem?

  4. Morgan says:

    I also used the etched Ember in favour if a few extra resilience points. Thank for the guide, nice to see as I am on the same wavelength as I have already done the pyrium set (made not bought) and have loads of sets in the guild ready for others to hit 85. Thanks for all your guides, i find now that people just dont know how to deal with me in BG’s. I put my back to a wall and just let people pound on me laughing as its takes them so long they are effectivly out of the battle. Mages are still an issue but meh, cant be good against everything. I never knew you could ‘rent’ gear. Wont panic so much about buying stuff now

  5. taugrim says:

    Thanks for all your guides, i find now that people just dont know how to deal with me in BG’s. I put my back to a wall and just let people pound on me laughing as its takes them so long they are effectivly out of the battle.

    Prot Pally feels does feel like a “tank” now in PVP :)

    In other PVP games I’ve played – LOTRO Guardians, WAR tank classes, Aion Templar, etc – tanks were durable just as Prot Pallies are now, and opponents tended to avoid focusing on them because it’s not efficient for killing.

    It’s not something that the WoW community is as used to seeing though, and you will see (ignorant) players still picking a Paladin with sword n board over squishier targets.

    I do definitely try to “aggro” players on the battlefield so that they end up focusing more energy on me than they should.

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