I've been doing a lot of reading on the damage potential of a paladin holy build as of late. I love protection to pieces but all the protection talents, the stacking of defense rating and all that goodness leaves me well armored but completely unable to do any damage.
I am not asking for 1k weapon hits, I am not even asking for any kind of sustained DPS but I would at least like to be able to finish off someone when they're at 1% health without being 100% dependant on engineering bombs to do damage.
I went through multiple stacks of bombs in AV the other day and whilst this isn't the worst tactic for a protection paladin it certainly isn't cheap either if you're using decent quality explosives (for as far as that applies to goblin bombs).
This leaves me a bit stranded. I want the survivability a paladin has to offer and this is exactly what I'd lose by speccing deep into retribution for damage talents. I am not saying Retribution paladins are 'soft' targets but tossing your shield aside in favor of a 2 hander will most certainly impact your survivability.
Protection on the other hand is a very demanding talent tree. The really useful skills like holy shield are in the latter part of the tree meaning if you spec into prot it is likely to eat most of your talent points just to be effective. With no damage enhancing talents (well almost none) prot is simply not able to do any damage worth noting.
Which leaves me looking at the holy tree. Due to the heavy investment in healing the holy tree has survival capacity simply through the ability of being able to heal oneself. But the holy tree has something that protection doesn't have... Holy Shock.
A very mana intensive ability on a 15 second cooldown that next to providing some healing can also output at least a halfway decent amount of damage.
Granted, the damage output is somewhat limited. But since it is in fact holy damage it will at the very least not be resisted. Meaning that any effective increase through talenting or +spell damage or even an increase in crit means a flat increase in damage from holy shock.
Grabbing all the useful stuff from either protection or retribution in addition to holy shock leaves me looking at either a 40/0/21 or a 41/20/0 build or something similar which seems to put me squarely in the hybrid build category.
Good survivability, Good to very good healing and capacity to at least do some burst damage every 15seconds or so.
And this is where the researchable material stops and you're on your own to figure it all out and do the math. Information becomes limited... and why? Because 40/0/21 or 41/20/0 is not a spec... at least not to the min-maxing population of WoW.
The general consensus over at elitistjerks is that a shockadin as it is called is a sub-par healer, not able to tank and not able to DPS to the same potential as a full holy, full protection or full retribution build.
It is also the consensus that because this particular hybrid doesn't excel in any one thing but is decent at multiple things it is not 'raid viable'.
Never mind the fact that you can hold your own in Battlegrounds with it, do your dailies with it or the fact that with decent gear you can heal, dps and do some mild off-tanking in 5-mans.
No matter how good a spec may be for certain circumstances it seems that hybrid's often get labeled as sub-par and shoved aside as unimportant whilst in fact they are generally more appreciated by the people that play them then any typical cookie-cutter build.
This is by no means an attempt to put down the quality work done over at elitistjerks... but the information found there is for min-maxers and for people who are heading to SWP, something someone with 2 hours a day of playtime will never be able to do.
If you need to min-max all your abilities to be 'raid viable' or even be considered worthy of logging in (according to the general populace) then why give people the option of picking talents?
Let them pick from pre-designed cookie cutter builds every time they respec...
Until then and as far as I am concerned every specialization no matter how inanely crazy or inefficient is still a specialization and deserves to be regarded for what it is.
If you can call soul siphon and soul link the fabled warlock SL/SL spec (which is little more than hybrid forced on warlocks just to stay alive in PVP) then how is the shockadin not a spec?
Theorycraft is a dangerous tool. A tool that will tell you that in theory spec X is best for maximizing your healing/tanking/dps capability but also a tool that doesn't take into account that there is a huge gap between what is possible in theory and what is possible in practice.
The question should not be what is the best way to maximize healing/tanking/dps capability but what is the best way to improve your game. Theorycraft can be a guide but not a leader. In the end the decision to spec a certain way, pick certain echants and gems should be a reflection of how you play the game and not how the game plays you.
Are we too quick to judge? Afters years of WoW have we become too jaded to see the potential of hybrids? Are restokins, SL/SL warlocks, shockadins, elemental magi the result of bad talent design or merely a reflection of the fact that there is more under the sun than the black temple and sunwell.
Do you have a 'not a spec' spec?