Retribution at 80 … again

I slack, yes.  The slacking is going to go on for a while.  I have only about 4 weeks left at work and a lot to do.  This is yet another post about ret specs!

Commenters save the day!
A big thanks to all the commenters on my recent posts.  They’ve pointed out something I seem to have missed entirely in the whole Selfless Healer vs Eye for an Eye debate.  Namely that whilst Eye for an Eye does no direct damage on bosses it does help you stack Censure.  Thats fairly important.  I’ve also had a chance to play the character a lot more since that last post.

I think theres an argument now for tailoring your spec to the encounters you are working on.  For HC Sindra, for example, I would want Selfless Healer.  That little bit of healing makes the difference in a fight thats all about staying alive and timely dps.  Thats the key to HC Sindra.

However, we downed HC Sindra some weeks back and now I’m looking at HC LK and thinking – maximise the dps.  Every little tiny bit WILL help on this fight so I’ve respecced into Eye for an Eye.  I stand by what I said about Selfless Healer – I think its a useful talent and a nice idea for a talent.  I’ve seen criticisms that are more along the line of ‘OMG why would we EVER use something that would lower our dps’ and I know some players think like that.  Thats a BAD attitude in a Raider.  That being said, I was wrong in saying that the alternative was pointless as it only increased your trash damage.

How I would fix the ret rotation
1) I miss Divine Storm.  It was pretty.  However, I think the recent proposed change looks good.  Right now DS is an alternative finisher.  This seems to be getting a fix though.  I know there was some talk about DS being a CS replacement instead of a finisher and I hope that happens (I’m not up to date with the beta at the moment).

2) Holy Power charges need a sound.  Combo points make a noise, so its easier to get a feel for when they’ve appeared.  I think Holy Power needs one too.

Apart from that I’m fairly happy.  I’ve not had a chance to try the beta and Inquisition yet though.  I like that the priority idea has been kept, whilst adding complexity.  I still think they could have come up with something better.

I see we are getting a talent reset with the expansion.  Thats because theres a lot of changes … again.  I won’t be updating the old gear list as we never seem to settle down long enough to have stats for it.  I am working on the new one.

Retribution in the new world order (one week after 4.0.1)

So 4.0.1 has been out a week.  In that time retribution has gone down and up again.  Last night I had a chance to do my first full raid since the patch and generally speaking I’m feeling a bit happier now.  The rotation is starting to feel a bit more natural and I think its got potential.  When I do get it right, I seem to have more dps than before the patch.  I’m not really comparing myself with others yet as we’re all still learning.

After deciding that Shadow Priest wasn’t for me, since the Tier 11 set looks like a space suit, I’ve now discovered the fun that is the Unholy Death Knight.  Any rotation that makes me giggle is good and transforming your pet into an abomination is hilarious!!!  I’m still not stuck on my ret pala yet, though I’m further away from a class change than I have been so far since 4.0.1 hit (helped by the fact that the DK tier 11 also looks silly whilst the Pala one is the best I’ve seen so far – I do hope I can have the pretty silver version).   I  go through this every patch – do I want to stick with the same class for another two years.  Last time I caved and changed to my paladin.  I have no idea what I’ll do this time.

The rotation has been adapted by the buffs we recieved and I’m working as follows, which is based on the EJ advice:

Single target

  • Crusader Strike (CS) > Filler > CS > Filler + Use Templar’s Verdict (TV) whenever its a) free or b) you have 3 Holy Power (HP) overriding the normal rotation.
    Filler Priority: Hammer of Wrath > Exorcism with Art of War only > Judgement >  Holy Wrath > Consecration

Multiple targets

  • As above with Divine Storm replacing TV

With Zealotry

  • CS > TV > repeat (you might use TV twice if you get a free TV as well as a 3 HP TV)

With Avenging Wrath

  • You’ll be able to use HoW a LOT.  Make the most of it, but remember TV still trumps it and you still want to use CS to generate HP.  I haven’t fine tuned this one yet.  It feels to me like we end up more in a priority situation here than anywhere else.  You won’t quite be able to hit CS > HoW > CS > HoW.

Other points to remember:

  • Use Zealotry and Avenging Wrath seperately – both boost your dps by changing your rotation and using them together wastes the benefit of one of those.  Which one you use with Heroism and in what order is fight dependent.
  • Consecration ate your mana.  True story.  As long as I didn’t hit Consecration the blue bar was ignored.
  • Before you hit Holy Wrath look around for that trash your about to pull.  It doesn’t actually have a huge range, but the range is a lot less visible than Consecration and Divine Storm so you need to get the hang of it.

Builds and the Selfless part of Selfless Healer
I’ve seen a lot of builds recommending taking Eye for an Eye instead of Selfless Healer.  For PvP and maybe even levelling, that sounds like a good idea.  For raiding, especially 10 man raiding, I prefer Selfless Healer.

Eye for an Eye increases your trash dps but not your boss dps.  It doesn’t work on bosses.  It never has and it hasn’t been changed according to anything I’ve seen or read.  In all honesty I don’t need increased trash dps.  We have more than enough dps for any trash we’ve faced so far.

Using Word of Glory is a dps loss.  HP spent on TV will be better for your personal dps.  If thats all you care about stop right here and go spec Eye for an Eye.  And please never apply to my guild.  For me one of the great strengths of a paladin is that I can help out beyond my dps remit.  I can throw off a quick heal to save someone from dying.  I can pop a shield.  I’ve heard a lot of criticism of WoG – it doesn’t heal for enough, its not worth using.  But with the instant Flash Heal from AoW gone, its a useful option.  LoH and bubbles normally come first, but once they are on CD, WoG could save a death and even a wipe.  Healing was always a dps loss.  WoG is a dps loss.  But the dps you save will do more damage than you will lose.  Its whats best for the raid overall that counts not your own personal dps.

Yes that was a bit of a rant.  Yes there should be choice in the new talent trees.  But I am tired of reading that Selfless Healer is ‘bad’.  Selfless Healer rewards me for doing something I would do anyway!  Its a good talent to take from the choices available for raiding.  Its far more valuable than increased dps on trash!

Fear not brave ret paladins, there is hope

First the QQ version:

OMG Blizz you have destroyed my class WTF!!!!  If I wanted a rogue I would’ve played a rogue FFS.  Never mind that you have had all these changes available for comment for months, or that I can still do all of the cool stuff paladins could always do.  I liked being OP and just rolling my face on the keyboard and now you’ve gone and RUINED it all and I don’t top the DPS meters and I’m going to QUIT because you really need whiney cry babies like me to keep your business afloat and I pay $15 a month FFS and none of the other thousands of people who are perfectly happy with the idea of making Ret more interesting count.

Now you can just skip reading the class forums for a while.  Thats basically a summary of the content you’ll find.

My lack of excitement about the ret changes
I’m not that excited by Holy Power as a concept.  I’d have liked something a bit more original. Something that wasn’t ‘what if we add combo points but give them a cool graphic like DKs have’?  But ultimately there are only so many dps mechanics and it does kinda fit.  I also think the implementation has some wobbles in it to do with delays, but I don’t worry about things like that because Blizzard always irons them out.  Once it got to a later hour and the server emptied a bit, I was finding the new mechanic usable again.  During periods of high lag …. its problematic.

But wait.  Theres a further problem.  The low dps.  I wasn’t sure last night if that was just me and my lag/confusion/distraction (seriously, I want to play a Shadow Priest right now – not because of their imba dps but because you get an army of shadow minions!!!).  I had heard it from reliable sources though (i.e. not the forum QQ) so I was a bit worried.

Good news for ret palas at last
Then this morning I woke to a ray of sunshine:

Rather than try and address multiple threads, I’m just going to plop our current thoughts in this one post. Please excuse the brevity.

1) We think Fury, Arms, Feral cat and Retribution dps is too low and we will be buffing them.

2) We think mage dps is too high, especially Fire, and will be nerfing it.

3) We think Shadow priest dps is too high, but that’s largely a result of Shadow Word: Death spam, which is tough on healers. We’ll be fixing that.

4) We think Destro warlock dps is too high, but that’s largely a result of Searing Pain spam, which is tough on tanks. We’ll be fixing that.

There was a bit more to the post but basically if you find your dps has suddenly dropped even when you are hitting everything right, then thats because its actually dropped!

I’m not at all suprised by the Fire Mage news.  The Shadow Priest news is actually ok – I was worried they’d nerf the army of shadowy minions.  This talent should be protected at all costs!!!!

On a side note about shadow priests
I’m sure the novelty will wear off eventually.  And I have been officially stamped Worlds Worst Shadow Priest.  And we will get a little minion of our own.  I’ll keep telling myself that as Tindal marches his army of dwarves into battle…

4.0.1 Ret paladin action plan

Its been a busy few weeks.  I got my Glory of the ICC Raider (10) last week and we’re working on getting some more drakes.  Lots of questions remain now that we’re facing patch 4.0.1 but heres what I intend to do.  I’ve tried to keep this as short as possible so if I missed things ask away.  Where I say something remains unchanged refer to the 3.3 Raider’s Crib Sheet.  I will reproduce the gear list for 4.0.1 shortly.  It will be in a new pdf format (making it faster to set up and keep up to date, and allowing for a site redesign).

This is not based on my own theorycrafting, but on reading all the information out there and trying to merge it into a plan.

The Basics

  • Paladins have a new resource called ‘Holy Power’ as well as mana.  Holy Power stacks up to three times and several spells, old and new, make use of it.
  • Ret palas have several new abilities you will be able to access.  Importantly, Templar’s Verdict, which is a hard hitting melee attack using Holy Power and Zealotry, which will make Crusader Strike generate more Holy Power for a short time.
  • Massive amounts of the game have changed, as with any patch, so I suggest reading the patch notes and MMO Champion or another new site.

I’m going for 3/2/31.

Three points (the two in Selfless Healer and the one I dropped into Long Arm of the Law) are completely optional and based on personal preference.  Technically, so are the points in Rebuke and Repentance, but those seem more obvious.

My Glyph choices are there too.  I don’t know which Prime Glyphs will be best, but I’m dropping Glyph of Truth (expertise) since I’ll be able to Reforge to the expertise cap.  CS is our major ability so that one is an obvious Prime.  Between the Primes relating to TV, Exorcism and Judgement I just don’t know.  Since you can learn them all and swap them in and out I’ll be getting four Primes and experimenting.

Major Glyphs are all about resources for Ret and should definitely be changed dependent on the circumstances.  I think Ascetic Crusader will always be good, but otherwise it depends – are you cc’ing something, are you using your AoE?  Swap your Majors depending what you need.

Minors are all dull.  I use LoH a lot so I’ve chosen that.  Apart from that I chose the two PvE Seal Minors for cheap Seal switching.

This is where the theorycrafting gets a bit complex.  Cap hit and expertise.  After this, your strongest stat is Strength.  Then it gets confusing.  Haste is, all other things being equal, a slightly better stat than crit.  However, all other things are not equal and under current conditions latency can make crit the better option (a key part of the effectiveness of haste is the reduction in the CS cooldown – theres no point stacking haste for a 3 second CS when your latency means you only get to use it every 3.3 seconds).  However, Blizzard has made some major changes to spell queueing and latency very late on and the impact of these isn’t clear yet.

For our purposes, assume haste and crit are pretty even.

Mastery is rubbish.

Agility is now bad.  Make sure you change out Agility based items.

You can use Reforging to ensure you make the hit and expertise caps.  You might also want to use gems to ensure you get two blues in there somewhere (hit will be a blue gem) so you can use your Chaotic Skyflare Diamond again.   I plan to keep my Nightmare Tear, drop in a Hit gem and then reforge any excess hit.  Apart from that I won’t touch my stats at this point.  Things will become clearer after a couple of weeks.

Gems & Enchants
I have no intention of regemming beyond getting in CSD.  I think what I was doing before 4.0.1 will still be optimal. If its not, I will regem once its clear its not, not experimentally when 4.0.1 hits.

Enchants should be fine.

(This section is already out of date due to buffs since it was written – please read for the latest version.)

The basic rotation is simple: CS > Filler > CS > Filler > CS > Finisher

Finishers are those abilities using Holy Power:

  • Templar’s Verdict (Single target)
  • Divine Storm (Multi target)

Filler’s (in order) are:

  • Exorcism
  • Judgement
  • Hammer of Wrath
  • Holy Wrath
  • Consecration

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