4.0.1 will be here either next week or the week after so we better take a look at what is changing for Paladins, Protection in particular.
Tons of abilities and talents have changed, things added and removed, and our rotation completed thrown to the wind.
Patch notes can always be found in the Test Realm Patch Notes area here.
I'll add some movies showing how holy powah is generated and used, but I'll explain just a bit here.
Holy power is the new resource for all Paladins. As Protection when you use Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous you gain one point of holy power. You can get a maximum of three. Think of this like combo points for other classes.
Holy Power can be released using the following abilities.
Shield of the Righteous
Word of Glory
Inquisition (Level 81 to use, but I thought I should mention it)
I will get into these abilities later in the post, for now these are more of the changes.
Talent Trees: Overhauled, only one point every two levels and you have to fill the protection tree before you can start into a secondary tree.
New Spells and Abilities
Word of Glory: This is a heal using your holy power to heal an amount per Holy Power. This actually has a little bit of use for Protection if you take the Talents this has a 30% chance to take zero Holy Power, the healing can be buffed quite a bit, and overhealing will result in a protective bubble.
Crusader Strike is now a baseline ability for all paladins and generates holy power for any spec, including Holy.
Judgements of the Wise is a passive ability to regenerate your mana during a fight. This acts just like Judgements of the Bold for Retribution Paladins and will keep your mana up so you do not have to worry as much about it unless you heal or consecrate.
Vengeance is supposed to make up for the fact that as we gear up and get more health and DPS gets better threat starts to fall behind. Vengeance stacks as we get hurt, but from what I've read it builds slowly and falls off quickly. This will make all abilities a little stronger in all fights where a Paladin takes a lot of damage.
Changed Spells and Abilities
Holy shield is gone as we know it. Now it procs on certain abilities. These are the "Release" abilities of Holy Power. Shield of the Righteous, Inquisition, and a talented Word of Glory.
Hammer of the Righteous is now your AoE tanking attack acting more like swipe, although from what I have read because of the changes to AoE spells splitting damage per hit this does not do much damage with more than three mobs.
Shield of the Righteous is your high damage ability for use with Holy Power. Don't bother using it under three Holy Power unless your only goal is to get Holy Shield up right away.
Consecration is no longer an ability just to throw down whenever you want. It now takes a serious drain on mana and a low output of damage, even when talented and glyphed.
Avenger's Shield still silences, but no longer slows making this easier to use when pulling. This also has a bit of RNG as a new talent called Grand Crusader which can proc to reset the cooldown on this spell.
Holy Wrath will now become part of any Paladin rotation. This now affects all types of creatures, but stuns Demons, Undead, and Elementals. With the way the new AoE rules apply, this does a very decent amount of damage to a single target.
Divine Plea no longer is the mana regeneration ability it used to be. Protection paladins will be using the passive Judgements of the wise from above to gain most of their mana during combat.
Divine Protection is no longer 50% reduced damage, but 20% which feels very nerfed when you use it. Also the cooldown is only a minute when talented so it can be used often and it does not cause forbearance.
Ardent Defender now is a used cooldown, no autosave anymore, but it still does damage reduction and does save you back to 15% health if you were to be killed. This makes it a little more skill to use, but also gives paladins a second 20% cooldown to use in a cooldown rotation.
Divine Guardian now is its own spell instead of being lumped in with Divine Sacrifice. This is your raid wall that works on everyone but the casting paladin for 20% reduced damage.
Sanctuary is now a talent instead of a blessing which makes the paladin uncrittable, reduces damage, and adds the normal mana back when you block or dodge a melee attack.
I put seals in their own area because they really reduced the amount of Seals now.
All Seals are judged with the same spell Judgement.
Seal of Insight is Seal of Light and Seal of Wisdom in one seal now.
Seal of Righteousness is a pretty bland seal for Protection Paladins, but with Retribution the talent Seals of Command turns this into the old Seal of Command which can hit three targets.
Seal of Justice had it's random stun removed which makes it far less useful.
Seal of Truth is what Seal of Corruption/Seal of Vengeance was. It still does the five stacks of a debuff now called "Censure" and judgements now do 10% extra damage per Censure and does not consume the stacks. This is your tanking Seal still.
Gone are the need to buff each class with Greater Blessings for each thing. Simply cast one of the two blessings on a single person and the entire raid or party gets the buff.
Blessing of Kings has its normal buff, but also adds in resistances much like Mark of the Wild.
Blessing of Might now does the job of both the old Blessing of Might and Blessing of Wisdom.
Resistance Aura does Fire, Frost, and Shadow resistance in one Aura.
The other Auras have not changed.