First and foremost, this is a multi-part guide to teach you the intricacies of tanking. Many places will tell you about a stat priority, rotation, glyphs, etc. but they never tell you how to progress to that point. A rotation for a level 85 tank is hardly any help to a level 20 tank, enter "How to Like Abawss: Dungeon Leveling Guide". In this guide I will be providing information on tanking dungeons as you progress in level. I will be analyzing the end-game talent tree, how to assign talent points as you level, every ability you learn, it's importance at your current level, it's importance in the end-game, and your developing rotation just to name a few things. In this guide you won't have to worry about reading up on what glyphs, gems, or enchants to use until later on in it when you reach a level where it is viable to start thinking about those things.
There are many other things I'll be covering in this guide as we go along, but instead of boring you with all the details let's just get into it shall we. Starting off with what our end-game talent tree will look like. Please do not leave just because it looks a bit different from the standard talent tree, I will explain my reasons for my choices afterwards. And remember, feel free to vary anything you might like, this guide is to give you a general sense...not the know-all, end-all of tanking. I encourage you to tweak anything you read here to better fit your play style.
Talent Tree Here
Now to answer the easiest questions first.
Why did I take points in Hallowed Ground when some spec builds don't? Consecration isn't necessarily needed to generate AoE aggro, but if you had the option to generate better aggro and do a bit more damage why wouldn't you? Consecration isn't very effective without Hallowed Ground because of the amount of mana that it requires, but reducing it's cost by 80% and increasing it's damage by 40% make it viable for AoE pulls and even boss pulls to crank out every ounce of DPS you can get.
Why did I not take any Talent Points in Guarded by the Light? This seems like a very bad decision at first glance, who wouldn't want an extra 10% on their self heal right? And let's be honest, Word of Glory is mostly a self heal when you need it in a pinch and the healer just can't hit you with a spell quick enough. But the extra 10% isn't as good as you may think. At level 85 a fully charged Word of Glory will heal you anywhere from roughly 14k-15k. 10% of your minimum heal is 1.4k, 10% of your maximum heal is 1.5k. Meaning that 2 Talent Points in Guarded by the Light grants a total of 15.4k-16.5k. I don't find the expense of two Talent Points to justify such small gains and those 2 Talent Points would be better served elsewhere.
Leveling a Paladin from 1-10
There isn't much to talk about here really. You can't do any dungeons yet, and you can't even pick a talent specialization. I will however cover a few spells you'll be gaining and how important they will be to you.
Crusader Strike - Crusader Strike, or CS as it shall be referred to from now on, is your first spell, and will be your main spell for single target rotation. It also generates Holy Power for abilities such as Word of Glory, Shield of the Righteous, and Inquisition. Through the correct spec build your CS will also reduce the physical damage done by 10%
At level 3, you gain two abilities.
Seal of Righteousness - Seal of Righteousness, or SoR as it shall be referred to from now on, has importance for lower level tanking, but won't be very useful come end-game where you will be using Seal of Truth. It empowers your strikes with the ability to deal some minimal holy damage, and allows you use of your Judgement.
Judgement - Judgement is an ability that you will find yourself using from level 3 all the way up to level 85. You never outgrow Judgement and it is a HUGE part of your rotation. Judgement has a 10 yard range at first and will stay that way until you are able to branch out into the Retribution Tree and get Improved Judgement later on. Judgement restores 30% of your base mana over 10 seconds after use with only an 8 second cooldown, meaning you should always be regenerating mana. After the correct spec build and T-13 bonus your Judgement will also reduce melee and ranged attack speed by 20% and grant you a bubble equal to a percentage of the damage Judgement does, respectively.
At level 5, you gain one ability.
Devotion Aura - Devotion Aura is one of the many auras that Paladins have. And for a protection paladin, it is pretty much the only aura you will ever find yourself using. Devotion Aura grants additional armor to you and all of your party and raid members, and scales with your level.
At level 7, you gain one ability.
Holy Light - Holy Light can be helpful sometimes at leveling up to 15 to start queueing for dungeons, but not much use after that. The reason being that since you will be in melee range and hit from all sides, the casting will continuously lose channeling time or be outright interrupted. If you need to heal in dungeons use Word of Glory when you get it, your healer should be able to provide as much heals as you need. No amount of using Holy Light will stop a raid from happening.
At level 9, you gain one ability.
Word of Glory - Word of Glory, from now on referred to as WoG, is a healing spell that scales with the amount of Holy Power you have. It is your only Holy Power using ability at low levels, so it might as well be used to help out your healer whenever needed. Only use WoG when you have 3 charges of Holy Power, as it has a 20 second cooldown and you might as well reap the full benefits of it.
Talent Point Distribution for levels 10-15
10 - Divinity
11 - Divinity
13 - Divinity
15 - Seals of the Pure
At level 10, you gain one ability.
Parry - Parry is a passive ability that grants you the ability to parry attacks. It's really that simple.
At level 12, you gain two abilities.
Redemption - Redemption is a standard resurrection spell. Use it to res people if they died in battle if there is no one else to res them.
Righteous Fury - Another main ability that you will never grow out of. Righteous Fury only needs to be activated once and then it will stay activated unless you switch specs. All it does is make your abilities generate more aggro, and holding aggro is how you tank. You can NOT tank without Righteous Fury simply because it is much harder to hold aggro when not using it, and impossible to hold aggro in raids when you have so much DPS and another tank who produces a lot of aggro as well.
At level 14, you gain two abilities.
Hammer of Justice - Hammer of Justice, or HoJ as it shall be referred to, is a basic stun. You can use it to stun a target, better used on magic damage dealing targets. You won't find yourself using HoJ too many times in PvE scenarios. There are some uses though, such as when you don't have any Crowd Control in your party and need to buy some time from a heavy damage dealing trash mob.
Hand of Reckoning - Hand of Reckoning, or HoR as it shall be referred to, is a basic taunt. If you find yourself losing aggro, or needing to pull a mob off a dps or healer, the most efficient and easiest way to do it is with a taunt.
I know what you're thinking. "I've reached level 15 now teach me how to tank in dungeons!" It will be my pleasure to do such a thing. Due to the intensive nature of tanking dungeons, I will make this guide into a video and text guide. So starting in the next part to this series guide I will bring you the dungeons that can be tanked from level 15-25. This includes Ragefire Chasm, Deadmines, Wailing Caverns, Shadowfang Keep, Blackfathom Deeps, and Stockade. I will also tell you how to distribute your talent points from level 16-25, as level 15 is already in this guide.