What does a Prot Paladin do if not the MT?

59 Blood Elf Warlock
550
Question from a new WoW player. I'd like to level a Paladin up alongside my Warlock. Same account, but just to play for awhile to see which I like best. I've always liked Paladins, but I'm not sure I understand what to expect if I reach 90.

Is it possible to Dual Spec in Prot and Holy, and sometimes play the role of tank and sometimes healer? Or do you just choose one to focus on at 90? My fear is that starting late I will always be outclassed by other tanks and what do other Prot Pallies do in a raid or Dungeon if not the MT?
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90 Human Paladin
6515
You can dual spec to play one of both roles, but you can only swap them when not in combat. If you're in a PvP Battleground or Arena, you can only use one (chosen at the start of the match).

It's pretty rare that you'll have two tanks in one dungeon, but it's common for raids. As an Off-Tank, you can use Hand of Sacrifice to reduce the damage the main tank takes by 30%. Also, if you're doing an encounter where the Main and Off Tanks need to taunt off one another, Hand of Salvation can get threat off the Main Tank, and on to you (well... on to the player with the second-highest threat, which SHOULD be you). This is useful in case taunt misses, or the Main Tank forgot what to do / when to do it.

Another you can also do other cool things as an Off-Tank, like choose your seal/glyphs so that your melee attacks heal all targets in melee range. You can also use your Holy Power stacks to heal the party.
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90 Tauren Paladin
10640
If you're Prot and not currently tanking the boss, you'll either be tanking adds or DPSing the boss until it's time for a tank swap/add spawn, generally.

You can focus on two (or more) specs if you want. It will be harder to gear up as Prot and Holy at the same time because they use entirely different gear sets, though (unlike Prot and Ret, which can share a lot of gear). But once you have the gear, it's just a matter of learning them and playing the one that's more useful or the one you want to play at the time.

Starting late's not really an issue. Gearing up isn't difficult. Getting into a decent guild might be, though, depending on your server.
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59 Blood Elf Warlock
550
Thanks. I should have mentioned I don't PvP really. So are tanks in-demand enough that I shouldn't be too concerned about finding a spot as a tank? If I want to do some healig on the side, I'm guessing the core abilities and Prot abilities can fill that role?
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
16150
The gear will be the major disadvantage. Prot is STR/STA, Pally is INT/(STA)/Spirit. There's no gear crossover. If you got Prt/Ret, you have some gear crossover since they are both at least STR/STA with different secondary foci.

The other disadvantage is that neither is really a "questing/daily" spec. Ret will be faster for soloing.
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90 Human Paladin
12280
Back in BC, I had a two-handed axe I could use during fights like Shade of Aran (no aggro on that fight), but the addition of shield of the righteous kind of killed using a two-hander as a weapon switcher for when the other tank has aggro. We kind of suffer for lack of vengeance when we are not taking (or avoiding) tons of damage.
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