Prot Pally stat priorities seem to elicit many conflicting opinions, and there also seems to be much confusion over what different priorities are for.
- A Control/Haste priority aims to generate as much Holy Power as possible to reduce spike damage as much as possible.
- A Control/Mastery priority balances steady Holy generation with the passive damage reduction from Block.
- "Survival" or any other Avoidance heavy priority is wrong.
First off, I don't worry about the Big Hits when I tank, since class balance and encounter design typically coincide to allow every tank to handle Big Hits with various cool downs (especially Pallys!). So, the steady physical damage taken from boss and add melee is my primary concern. In light of this, I'll share my own stat priority and explain each one:
- Hit 7.5%=Expertise 15%>Stamina>Haste>Mastery>Parry>Dodge
I cap Hit and hard cap Expertise. This guarantees steady Holy Power generation, and that Shield of the Righteous (SotR) lands, which is the main source of physical damage mitigation. I have been using Ask Mr. Robot to get me as close to the cap as possible, without going over too much. Note that sometimes Hit and/or Expertise are not perfectly capped, and a good argument for this can be found on a post from the Ask Mr. Robot blog. Note that where he says "Do you want to take your 50% chance, and add some damage to it?”, read it as "add some damage mitigation to it." I'm personally convinced by this argument for normal mode bosses, but now that I'm getting into heroics, I'm back to capping for sure. Every SotR counts.
I stack Stamina to the sky. There is a series of posts I'd like anyone who thinks I'm wrong to read before telling me I'm wrong: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.) If the math is too much, it can be skipped, just be sure to read the part at the bottom under Conclusions or Summary. I am open to different opinions, but I won't listen to the hand-waving away of facts. Anyway, I have so far been stacking Stamina because I want a maximum amount of survivability. The group I'm running with has great DPS, so I'm not going to quickly sacrifice survivability for more DPS. However, this is the one point I am most flexible on, and I'm going to review some logs before our next heroic Jin'Rok attempt to see if I can safely trade some health for DPS, i.e. if I never dipped below 20%, I'll drop about 10% health.
After Hit and Expertise caps, Haste is the best secondary stat for both DPS and for damage smoothing. What I mean by damage smoothing is reducing the amount of spikes in damage I take. Damage smoothing is what guides are referring to when they label a stat priority as "Control." Haste helps smooth damage primarily by by increasing the amount of Holy Power generated, thus increasing the up-time of SotR. There are four things to note here:
- Prioritizing Haste requires timing SotR well, and consistently executing the Holy Power generating rotation. Make too many mistakes, and much of the benefit of Haste is wasted.
- If Sacred Shield is kept up, and time on target melee swinging away is kept up, Haste passively boosts survivability very well by increasing the number of Sacred Shields, and increasing the number of Seal of Insight procs.
- The damage absorb from Sacred Shield and the healing from Seal of Insight deal with all incoming damage, not just physical. These abilities become especially advantageous when dealing with bleeds, diseases, poisons, ect.
- The damage mitigation from haste is the primary concern here, so think of the extra DPS as a nice bonus, comparable to a Disc Priest's Atonement.
Mastery has two active and one passive components:
- "Increases the damage reduction of your Shield of the Righteous by X%." SotR is your primary damage reduction, and it scales well with Mastery. Choosing between Mastery and Haste comes down to whether you want more SotR up-time, or a stronger SotR.
- "Adds X% to your Bastion of Glory." This is our only major health return other than Lay on Hands, and it also scales well with Mastery.
- "Increases your chance to block melee attacks by X%." This is the passive side of Mastery, as it just reduces damage taken overall without much, or any input from the Pally.
Parry and Dodge are less optimal for Prot Pallys in principle and in practice. By in principle, I mean that mitigation is better than avoidance, simply due to the unpredictability of avoidance. A bad string of un-avoided, unmitigated melee swings can and will kill a tank. Although avoidance does reduce total damage taken, it leaves that damage taken spikier. Spike damage is what kills tanks, not total damage. So, in practice, Hit, Expertise, Haste, and Mastery reduce spike damage much better than Parry or Dodge. This is the point I am much less flexible on, since I consider avoidance stacking to be a rejection of the Prot Pally play-style, or at best, lazy tanking. Did you read those posts?
Finally, Crit is useless for Prot for survivability. However, I take any gear that is a significant ilevel upgrade, even if it has Crit, as my Thunderforged shoulders do. The extra Stamina, Strength, and Armor going from 502 to 528 more than make up for the loss in secondary stats. This is an unusual circumstance, I think, since I'm relatively new to the team and I'm taking the upgrades where I can get them.