The latest build (8926) incorporates some dramatic changes to the Paladin trees. As usual, I'm concentrating on Protection and Retribution, since those are what I'm familiar with. Someone who knows Holy should comment on that tree.
- Blessing of Kings: moved to tier 1, increases stats by 2% (from 10%)
- Improved Blessing of Kings: tier 1, improves Blessing of Kings by 2/4/6/8%.
- Redoubt: moved to tier 9, now only 3 ranks, incorporates Shield Specialization as well as the original Redoubt.
- Anticipation: moved to tier 2
- Shield Specialization: removed, rolled into Redoubt
- Spell Warding: removed, rolled into Guarded by the Light
- Holy Shield: Now has 8 charges base, additional threat removed
- Improved Holy Shield: removed
- Avenger's Shield: deals more damage and is instant cast.
- Shield of the Templar: changed to increase the damage of your Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness spells by 10/20/30%.
- Combat Expertise: changed to 3 ranks, increases Stamina, Expertise, and chance to critically hit by 2/4/6%.
- Guarded by the Light: now also reduces spell damage taken by 3/6%.
- Hammer of the Righteous: now does 120% of weapon damage (from 100%), no longer generates additional threat.
- Deflection: moved to tier 1
- Benediction: now affects all instant cast spells, effect reduced to 2/4/6/8/10% (from 3% per rank).
- Improved Blessing of Might: moved to tier 2, 2 ranks for 12/25% increase.
- Pursuit of Justice: now reduces duration of Disarm effects by 25/50% instead of reducing chance to be hit by spells.
- Seal of Command: Judgement damage reduced.
- Sanctified Seals: moved to tier 4, now reduces chance for Seals to be dispelled by 33/66/100%.
- Crusade: now also increases total damage by 1% per rank, in addition to its previous effect.
- Improved Retribution Aura: moved to tier 6
- Divine Purpose (tier 5): Reduces chance to be hit by spells by 2/4% and gives Hand of Freedom a 50/100% chance to remove stun effects.
- Vengeance: reduced to 3 ranks (1/2/3%), now stacks up to 3 times.
- Judgements of the Wise: now also restores 20% of maximum mana when Judgement is cast.
- The Art of War: moved to tier 7, increases critical strike damage of Judgement, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm by 10/20% and when these abilities critically hit, the cast time of your next Flash of Light spell is reduced by 0.75/1 sec.
- Sheath of Light: moved to tier 9
There are also some skill changes, primarily that most Seals and Judgements have had their damage reduced, and Righteous Defense is now on a 10 second cooldown, has no mana cost, and does not cause a global cooldown.
Lastly, Divine Plea now restores 25% mana over 10 sec, but reduces healing done by your spells by 50%. It appears to no longer be channeled and has a 1 minute (!!) cooldown.
Well, Blizzard has really worked to consolidate and reorganize the trees here. Kings got majorly reworked: you no longer have to spend 11 points in Prot to get it, but it costs 5 points to max out. I'm also glad that Shield Spec got merged with Redoubt: those were always weak talents by themselves, and making Redoubt no longer a tier 1 talent (and reducing its cost) frees up a lot of room. Similarly, folding Spell Warding into Guarded by the Light gives some much needed value to deep Prot, and the addition of crit chance to Combat Expertise helps improve Prot's DPS.
Divine Plea is now an instant cast, usable once per minute, and has absolutely no penalty for Protection and Retribution builds, so it has finally become that much needed self-mana regen tool that those two specs have always needed.
Lastly, by moving Deflection up in the Retribution tree, you no longer waste talent points getting there, especially if you decide you don't need Benediction (itself dramatically improved by affecting nearly every Paladin ability).
At a first glance, this is the level 70 build
I'd take. With another 10 points to play with, this is one level 80 PvE build
; the only real question is whether to swap Benediction for Reckoning.
On the Retribution side, there's also been some much needed consolidation. For one thing, you can get all useful Prot talents with 10 points (rather than 11). For another, there's no longer a painful choice between Improved Blessing of Might and Benediction at tier 1. Imp BoM is quite skippable now, but at only 2 points it's also not too costly to grab. Pursuit of Justice is now even more clearly aimed at PvP'ers, especially with the spell hit reduction moved to Divine Purpose.
At deeper levels, we see that Judgements of the Wise is now the mana return ability that Retadins were hoping for. It's also far enough down that Holy Paladins won't automatically spec for it. Further, dropping Sheath of Light to tier 9 puts it out of reach of most Holy specs as well, something that was causing quite a bit of stir among theorycrafters. The Art of War has regained its place as an awesome DPS talent, plus there's some healing synergy as you can get 0.5 sec FoL's off of it.
Here's my level 70 Ret build idea
. There's a lot of compromise here, as you're obviously missing out on Kings, Crusade, PoJ, and Divine Purpose, but it'll still do for maximizing DPS. Also, since Crusade got buffed, a variation of this build would take 2/5 Divine Strength and 3/3 Crusade. With 10 more points, I'd do something like this level 80 build
, taking the best of all the options being offered. The only real question here is whether, having taken Kings, it's worthwhile to drop Imp BoM for Pursuit of Justice - the answer really depends on whether you can count on raiding with a Warrior with Improved Battle Shout.
The best part about this new beta build is that it makes it possible to get fully viable level 80 PvE Protection and Retribution specs without agonizing over more than a handful of talent points.