I'm looking for more input on a second spec for 3.1. Not specifics about the spec. I'm pretty familiar with where to spend points in both the Holy tree and Ret tree for viable PvE specs. What I'm not sure about is if I should go Holy or Ret, in the first place.
I'm not really interested in having a second tanking build. If I was a Warrior or DK, I would probably do that. But as a Paladin, I personally feel that being able to heal or DPS would bring more to a raid than me having a spec with 10 different points for slightly more mitigation or threat. :P
My initial thoughts were "more healing is always good". So I planned on my second spec being Holy. But, now that I've had a little more time to think about it and pay attention to what we need, I'm thinking that Retribution might be better. Our guild is rarely low on healers, and there really hasn't been a fight yet that I've seen (including in Ulduar testing), that made me think "if we could trade a tank for a healer, this would be much easier". But, there are a LOT of fights where you could trade a tank for a DPSer and be better off. We normally run with 3 tanks and we use 1-2 for about 90% of fights now. Sarth 3D is about the only fight that requires us to use 3 tanks anymore.
Anyways...I'm kind of just rambling now. :P
So, what are your thoughts on a Prot Paladin's second spec?
I will be going Ret as my second spec for a number of reasons:
In a single tank encounter, additional tanks become sub par DPS. The healers are already decided before a raid begins for the most part, and mostly the additional tanks on "Single Tank" bosses (Loatheb, Malygos, etc) just hang out and DPS as best as they can. This allows me to fill the role I already fill better on those situations. Extra healing might be nice, but if 6 healers can already handle it, adding a 7th doesn't really do much; adding an extra competent specced DPS however speeds up the fight and results in less Mana Issues through shorter fight.
I can farm more efficiently as Ret than I can as Holy.
I don't care for Paladin healing styles. Though this is a personal preference.
Some "Tank" gear can, in an emergency, double up as "Ret" gear (Example + Strength/Hit/Expertise gear).
I would go Holy... thats what i am doing... in my full tanking gear i push 2k dps with out trying so going ret is kinda pointless cause if a boss needs 1 tank i can just take off righteous and i am dpsin... where with holy we can run with the min heals and when we need the extra i just switch