Each class weighed in with their strengths and weaknesses as healers (great to look at so you know what the other healers in your party will be doing, even if you are not a "healing leader").The general consensus is two well-known facts for anyone who has rolled a Holy Pally. Fact one: Holy Paladins are great at single target healing. Fact two? We suck at Raid healing.
This has been a source of constant consternation for me. Thankfully, in 3.1 Holy Paladins got some nice talents in the protection tree that can help with AoE healing, that seems to be under-utilized.
While many people will choose to play a different role with their off-spec, an overlooked possibility seems to be staying Holy, but going from a standard 51/2/15 +3 to a 51/17/0 +3 with your offspec. The advantage of this? The new talent Divine Sacrifice has given Paladins an ability that does a spectacular job of mitigating raid-wide damage. Coupling Divine Sacrifice with Divine Guardian can make Divine Sacrifice even stronger (and the boost to Sacred Shield is an awesome bonus). Naturally, when you pop Divine Sacrafice, you will have to bubble as well so as not to get yourself killed (quick tip: make sure you pop Divine Shield before you use Divine Sacrifice).As AoE damage seems to be the name of the game in Ulduar, this seems a very attractive spec to go to during AoE-heavy fights.
Lets take a quick look at what you will lose during the fights were you go into a Divine Sacrifice build. You will lose some of the 10% reduction in instant casts (affecting your Judgements and Holy Shock),the 3% critical strike debuff from Heart of the Crusader , and the 5% critical strike rate of your own healing spells from Conviction . You will also lose the 3% critical strike bonus from Sanctity , but you will have put a full 5 points into Divinity in the protection tree when you pick up Divine Sacrifice. Looking at this, the main downside of going to a Divine Sacrifice build seems to be the loss of critical strike potential, which could be a deal-breaker for some Paladins, or a non-factor for those who gem for crit.
If anyone has given this a try, please leave a comment. I am currently going the Holy/Prot route myself, but if this is as good as it sounds I might need to give 51/17/0 a trial run next time through Ulduar.