Overall, the changes are deceptive. They look small at first, until you really stop and think about them. The biggest changes are also a little baffling, but not necessarily bad. You can't really expect sweeping changes two builds in a row, so it's really not terribly surprising that prot didn't get the big review we've been waiting for to date. On the whole, the changes aren't anything to get worked up over, but they do seem to be heading towards a desire to balance threat generation, and so I applaud them even if I don't think they were entirely successful.
I've dithered enough: on to the changes, concealed from view behind the jump.
First up are skills: we get a new skill at level 80, Weapon Throw, which allows you to throw your weapon for high threat and is intended to do damage based on attack power. Posts on the forums indicate it may be bugged, but if it gets straightened out we're looking at the warrior version of the paladin shield pull. Since it's attack power based, clearly they're looking to avoid warriors switching to their highest damage weapon for the throw, although I suppose you could switch to the highest attack power option. Both Execute and Revenge had their base damage reduced and attack power scaling added, Shield Wall had its based damage reduction reduced to 50%, and Disarm had its rage cost reduced from 20 to 15 rage. Battle Shout is now raid wide (but since it doesn't stack with Blessing of Might, that's a big so what, who cares sort of change) and Shield Block had its duration increased to ten seconds.
There are more changes in the talents: Trauma and Sudden Death have switched positions in the arms tree, while Strength of Arms has moved down a tier. Rampage's range has now been extended to all party or raid members within 45 yards, and it's now clearly marked as an enrage, allowing you to use it to make an Enraged Assault attack, which is good because the buff is totally wasted now if you have a feral druid around. Precision moves from Tier 7 down to Tier 5 in the Fury tree, making it easier for other specs to pick up (although not much easier).
Prot sees the most change. First off, Shockwave does basically twice as much damage, up to 50% of your attack power. Sword and Board has been tweaked upwards, using a 3/6/9/12/15% progression instead of the previous 2 to 10% progression. Safeguard moves to Tier 8 and changes to a 2 point talent with 30/60% reduction to damage on the target, and 50/100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects when it is used. Critical Block gains up to 15% to critical chance for Shield Slams in addition to its previous effect. Improved Defensive Stance is now a 2 point talent reducing all spell damage by 3/6% and gives you a chance to become enraged on a successful Block, Dodge or Parry (50/100% chance) increasing your melee damage by 5/10% for 12 seconds. This of course means you'll be able to use Enraged Assault as well.
Vigilance now applies taunt refresh to the next three attacks and lasts 30 minutes. Improved Shield Wall now increases the damage reduction by up to 10% as well as lowering the cooldown by 60 seconds at the 2 point mark, restoring it to the previous build's levels. Puncture now just has two ranks, meaning that you can't get quite as much rage saved on Devastates, and Improved Disarm is now a 2 point talent with up to 20 seconds savings on the cooldown, and also causes the target to take 5/10% more damage while disarmed. The talent still mentions shield break, but no sign of that old talent remains in the tree. The final two changes are Improved Revenge (now a 2 point talent increasing damage by 10/20% and giving 25/50% to stun the target for 3 seconds) and Toughness, which adds a reduction on the duration of all movement slowing effects by 20/20/30/40/50%, I'm not sure if this is a bug or if the first two points are intended to provide the same level of movement slow relief.
There are still no warrior glyphs to report upon at this point. The changes we have seem to be aimed at buffing prot, but in odd ways I'm not entirely sold on: the change to Toughness practically guarantees that PvP warriors will be that far into the protection tree.Still, there should be a general DPS/'threat increase for prot... Imp Defensive Stance looks absolutely lovely now. As soon as this patch downloads I'll go on and see what I can find out.