DPS blogger questionnaire: retribution paladin

Hinenuitepo from Death Goddess suggested that we dps should do a survey along the lines of the tank and healer surveys that have recently gone round.  I found these quite interesting, so heres my contribution:

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary DPS?
Morrighan, Retribution Paladin

What is your primary DPSing environment? (i.e. raids, PvP, 5 mans)
Raiding. I do a lot of 25 mans, a good chunk of 10 mans and I’m actively engaged in hard modes.

What is your favorite DPS spell/ability for your class and why?
Avenging Wrath. It’s a fun proc, you have to work out when to use it best (save it for Heroism? use it more often?), and you get really cool looking wings.  The down side?  Popping your wins is guarenteed to bring you to the attention of the Big Bad.  Expect to get feared/fired/etc. as soon as you pop them.  I swear its in the coding!

What DPS spell do you use least for your class and why?
Holy Wrath. Its extremely situational. It only works on Undead, has a limited range, can’t be used why you don’t want to stun everything, has a long cool down and isn’t worth the mana if you don’t have enough targets for it, or the global cooldown.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your DPS class and why?
We’re melee that live! It takes a lot to kill a good ret paladin. And our utility. We offer a large number of raid buffs, flexible raid buffs, unique buffs.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your DPS class and why?
Our DPS is decimated by the need to change target regularly in a fight. Its fine for single target, its fine for AoE. But regular target changes are just a nightmare. Yogg is probably the biggest example of that. It’s a prime example of switching targets, trying to burst dps the same target over and over, but after all your stacks are gone, and where you can’t use Seal of Cleave for agro/safety reasons.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best DPS assignment for you?
Anything where we don’t have to switch target regularly or run around pointlessly. Many raid leaders just don’t get that. A running melee does no dps. But a running paladin whose stacks are running out does even less.  Onyxia shows us in our two best roles  – single target dps or high aggro AoE.

What DPS class do you enjoy DPSing with most and why?
Anyone who gives me an nice buff :)  But truthfully, I’d rather take a good player who is a nice person any time.

What DPS class do you enjoy DPSing with least and why?
Anyone who doesn’t buff me? I have no real problem with any class.

What is your worst habit as a DPS?
Now I’ve done a good job of managing to kill several bad habits. I used to die in stuff a lot, but I fixed that and I have a lot more situational awareness. I then used to run out of mana a lot, but I fixed that by making myself Judge Light more often so I just had to learn. I’ve built up a big stack of macros so I can use my utility fast, plus I added Vuhdo so I can dispell without changing target. My current biggest problem is targeting. I’m a mouse targeter, but I seem to struggle to manage to click them. This has been made worse recently by my using a HUD addon. This is my next one. I think the solution might be to bring up health bars on fights where this is an issue, and get some new macros for targetting.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while DPSing?
Buffs. People whisper me to buff them. I’m either waiting for their classmate who is off making a cup of tea, or I’m buffing something else, or I’m eating, or drinking because buffing takes all of my mana, especially after a wipe. Just wait! Paladin buffing is irritating, complex and slow. Then, when I finally get it all done, we stand around waiting for another class to hit their one or two buttons to buff the whole raid at once. That irritates me too.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other DPS?
Yes. Paladins are in a good place right now, especially if your raid leader knows how to use them.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a DPS?
Recount for the most part. After all I am a dps and the point is to dps. However I don’t get hung up over it if I know I’m low because I did something smart like stood away while I had Burning Bile, or saved someone from certain death. I’m not the worlds most skilled player, but I like to think I’m a smart player.  I feel I’ve performed well if I’ve done the best dps I can while not doing anything stupid.  I think thats the definition of a good dps.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
That ret paladins are faceroll. A good ret paladin requires just as much skill as a good rogue or druid or shaman. Its just that the scale is different. Its very easy to do reasonable damage as a retribution paladin, because the ‘rotation’ is simple. However, you need good class knowledge to do really good dps. You need to understand utility, timing, seals, judgements. Then, on top of that, you need to be so much more. You need to be more aware of the raid as a whole than any other melee class because you have that bit extra in the utility stakes.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new DPSers of your class to learn?
Most paladins I see fail on stat allocation and utility. But in gameplay terms its probably situational awareness. Because you aren’t hitting a rotation, but instead have to watch for cooldowns, many rets just don’t look where they are, whats going on around them, or notice that whirlwind.

What DPS class do you feel you understand least?
I have a lot of alts. So I’ve dabbled in most classes at some point or another. I tend to understand very generally stat allocation, gear, etc. for most classes, though hunter is probably the biggest mystery there. In terms of gameplay its probably also hunter. I’ve just never had to look up much about a hunter before.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in DPS?
Absolute must haves for paladin PvE are Omen for threat management, a raid frames addon that allows you to dispel, heal, etc. all in one and Pallypower. Any paladin without Pallypower will be made to buff kings on the entire raid. I never let you slack just because you don’t have it. And I make that assignment public so people can nag you. My PP bugged once and I had to do a few raids without it. It nearly drove me up the wall! Also, everyone should have Deadly Boss Mods. I’ve had a lot of success with IceHUD. I have a big screen and this allows me to watch mob health and things I might be standing in all in one glance.

Strength over other stats or balanced stat allocation, and why?
First you should be hit capped. Always 263 or 8% (232 as a Drenai). If you aren’t hit capped you are gimping your DPS and you should gem/enchant/sell your soul to get hit capped. Then Strength. Strength. More Strength. Consider the expertise cap (26), but don’t sacrifice too much Strength for it. Strength. A bit of crit is good. Strength. Haste and ArP if they happen to be there, but don’t target them. Strength. More Strength.  A lot of ret palas go for crit first.  This is a mistake according to the theorycrafting as Strength is worth almost twice crit.

Ultimately each item needs to be evaluated, however, on an overall basis.  All the stats need to add up to the best possible whole.

And now, having convinced you Strength is the way to go, I’m going to do a U turn. Strength based gear is NOT always the best gear. Sometimes AP/Agi gear is better! What you need to do is use a scoring system like mine or to consider equivalents (how much AP from Strenth vs AP flat, Crit from Agi vs Crit flat).

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All the other Big Hit Box bloggers should consider themselves tagged!  I’ll cross post once some maintainance has been completed on the site.

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