Retribution Raider’s Crib Sheet for 4.1

As a note the gear sheet has been updated.  I just forgot to post an tell everyone.  I am also working on a Holy Priest version of this.

Specs and Glyphs

  • 7/2/32
  • Use Prime Glyph of Truth, Prime Glyph of Templar’s Verdict and Prime Glyph of Exorcism
  • Use Major Glyph of Ascetic Crusader.  The others are situational but for general use at the moment I would take Major Glyph of Hammer of Wrath and Major Glyph of Rebuke.
  • Minor Glyphs make very little difference.  Choose what you like.

Abilities: DPS

  • A retribution rotation is now somewhere between the old first come first served system and a more set rotation.  At average gear levels your priority is Inquisition (if not currently up) > Crusader Strike > Templar’s Verdict > Hammer of Wrath > Exorcism > Judgement > Holy Wrath > Consecration.
  • For 4 or more targets replace Crusader Strike with Divine Storm.
  • During Zealotry you should cast CS > TV > Filler or CS > Filler > TV.  You might even be casting CS > TV > TV if Divine Purpose procs.
  • At very high gear levels the HoW and Exo are better than TV.
  • If the target is Undead/a Demon then Exo is better than HoW.
  • In practice what this works out at is typically CS > Filler > Filler.  Its a DPS loss to wait for CS to be available and use only one filler.  You cannot stack enough Haste to achieve this at 85.  The only reason to no use CS is if you already have 3 Holy Power.
  • Never use Inquisition or Templar’s Verdict with less than 3 Holy Power.
  • Only use Exorcism with a 2 point Art of War proc unless you are stuck at range.
  • You can only use Hammer of Wrath after the mob is below 20%.
  • Always stand behind the mob if possible.  This means it cannot parry you.  But only if standing behind the mob won’t cause you or your tank to die horribly.

Abilities: Utility

  • Rebuke should be kept somewhere you can hit it fast.  Learn to interrupt – Cataclysm is full of bosses to interrupt.
  • Repentance is an excellent form of CC.  It works against many different mobs and it rarely falls off.  It does break VERY easy and so you should plan its use and keep a Repentanced mob well away from the current target/s.  Don’t be afraid to remind people that any damage breaks it and that you cannot reapply it if it breaks because of the cooldown.
  • You can dispel disease and poison and you should.  I use Vuhdo to allow me to do this quickly without changing target.
  • Whilst your healing is not as powerful as it once was, you should still use it to keep especially yourself and others alive.
  • Lay on Hands is good.  So are bubbles, Hand of Salvation, Hand of Sacrifice, etc.  Learn how to use all your utility in a fight.

Gear

  • Your raiding hit cap is 8% hit (960 or 830 for Drenai).  You should ensure you are always capped.  You need less hit for heroics.
  • Your expertise cap is 26 or 480 rating with the Prime Glyph of Truth (lower for Humans and Dwarves with certain weapons).  You should strive for this.
  • After those stack strength, followed by mastery and crit.  Haste is meh.  All other stats are BAD.
  • To see how your item rates against possible drops check out the Retribution Paladin Gear List.
  • Reforge Haste into hit and expertise in the first instance.  Then look at enchants.  Gem under the circumstances described below.

Gems and Enhancements

  • Use the Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond meta gem.
  • Use Bold Inferno Ruby +40 strength gems in all slots unless:
    • Use one Etched Demonseye if you are under the hit cap and the socket bonus is the following or greater: 10 Strength, 10 Mastery, 20 Crit, 20 Haste.  Use two for: any strength, 20 Mastery, 30 crit or 30 haste. If you are hit capped there is never a reason to use a blue gem.
    • Use one Skillful Ember Topaz if the socket bonus is the following or greater: 20 strength, 30 mastery, 30 crit.  Use two for 40 strength only.
    • Use one Etched Demonseye and one Skillful Ember Topaz for 20 strength or more.
  • Unless you have a profession that provides a better enchant, or are enchanting for caps, enchants and enhancements are:
    • Head: Arcanum of the Wildhammer/Dragonmaw (Wildhammer/Dragonmaw Clan – Revered)
    • Shoulder: Greater Inscription of the Jagged Stone (Therazane – Exalted)
    • Chest: Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats (+20 stats)
    • Wrist: Enchant Bracer – Major Strength (+50 Strength)
    • Hands: Enchant Gloves – Mighty Strength (+50 Strength)
    • Waist: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle (Made by BS, BoE)
    • Legs: Dragonscale Leg Armor (Made by LW, BoE)
    • Feet: Enchant Boots – Mastery (+50 Mastery) or Enchant Boots – Precision (+50 hit) depending on your hit cap
    • Weapon: Enchant Weapon – Landslide (worth around 490 dps) or Hurricane (230 dps) or Avalanche (200 dps).  Use the one that is worth the mats considering what weapon you have.

A Change is as Good as a Break

Cataclysm Burnout.  The firey expansion has unleashed a wave of death not just on Azeroth but on its inhabitants.  Many people are quitting the game.  Its possible that its not more people quitting, just people quitting more visibly of course, but there are a number of long term players who are struggling to find the fun in Cataclysm.  Most have one or two particular niggles they can place a finger on and a whole bunch they can’t.

Thats not my Retribution Paladin, its rotation is too Rogue-like
Several classes in Cataclysm have changed beyond recognition.  Retribution paladins are one.  Restoration druids are another.  Arcane mages are still sad to see their spec not working in raids, and have to choose either Frost or Fire.  Hunters have a whole new resource system.  Death Knights have only one tanking tree.  There are probably more.  The difficulty here is that players who have loved their class for a long time aren’t enjoying it any more.

I’ll talk about retribution, because thats what I know.  Retribution has changed beyond all recognition and is now one of the most complex rotations in the game, right up there with feral druids.  Mostly because retribution paladins are feral druids.  With sparkles.  The rotation is similar in many ways – the use of combo points, fillers and finishers, the need to maintain a damage buff using the same resources as your damage abilities.  Its done a little differently, but not so much that levelling my feral druid doesn’t give me an eerie sense of deja vu.

So whats wrong with that?  Nothing really.  But its so very different from what came before.  Retribution needed to be made more complex as a rotation, but I can’t help feeling short changed by the Rogueification of my paladin.  Its not even that I don’t like the rotation.  I enjoy playing it.  Its the same feeling I had about priests at the end of TBC when I decided my paladin would be my main but for the opposite reason.  I left my priest because there were basically no changes to the class and I felt I didn’t want to keep hitting the same buttons for another couple of years.  I felt short changed by the expansion.  I feel that again with retribution, despite the fact that they did what I wanted.  They made the rotation more complex.  They balanced us in PvE and PvP.  But they did it using combo-points with sparkles and that was just lazy.

For many paladins, it was just too much.  They don’t like the new retribution (check out Unholy DKs for a simple but fun rotation these days).

Changing mains
When I decided to change from my paladin to my priest, the feeling of having been short changed definitely contributed, but I never would have made the change for that reason alone.  I started on my priest because that was what the guild needed, and found I enjoyed healing and particularly enjoyed the priest class again.  Wrath broke healing, Cataclysm fixed it.  I know some people who disagree with that, but I think they got it pretty much right.  I always felt the mana change in healing had not been good for the game – it changed the game into one of ‘who has fast enough reactions’ instead of ‘who can make smart choices’.  That one change affected raids far more than I think the developers anticipated.

As a quick note, people ask me why I didn’t go healing on my paladin.  The answer is that my paladin isn’t my priest.  When I heal, its always been with my priest.  If I try to heal on other classes all I can think is ‘Prayer of Healing would be better here’ or ‘I miss Binding Heal’.  I got used to the priest toolbox and I prefer it to any other class I’ve tried to heal on.  And I’ve played Akandra so long I know where all the spells go.  I’m pretty sure my buttons are in much the same place they were in TBC because if I put them anywhere else I end up using the wrong ones.    The priest class is similar to the one I left, but better with changes that fit in well with the class.

Where was I?  Oh yes, so I changed my main to fit in better with what the guild needed and it was a possibility for me because they fixed healing and tarted up the priest class nicely.  It gave me a better feeling than my short changed paladin.

Breaking up is hard to do
Its hard to change your main.  Very hard.  Especially if your an achievement hunter.  I remember struggling over whether to change to Morrighan and I struggled over whether to change to Akandra again.  But sometimes, change is the best thing.

I’ve mentioned that I didn’t change class because I disliked retribution particularly, but if you really do dislike it, change is the way to go.  I mentioned a few classes above because I know that many players are unhappy with those classes.  You can see it every day.  Those changes have taken the class they have played, in many cases since Vanilla, and made it so different they feel lost.  I talked about having kept my healing buttons in the same place for years on Akandra.  Well on Morrighan my buttons all had to change drastically because only a couple of them are used in the same way any more.  Theres nothing wrong with the classes (except for arcane mages) – they just aren’t the same.  For some players, these changes are too much and they are losing the fun in WoW.  I know a few people who are struggling with this right now.  At first they found it hard to put their finger on what exactly was wrong, but in most cases they just don’t like the way their class has changed so drastically.

The solution is to make a change.   If you’ve fallen out of love with your retribution paladin, then you should stop playing it and try to find something you do enjoy.

How to change your main character/role
Theres a lot to consider when making this change.  If you raid and want to remain in the same group, you need to consider the requirements of your raiding team as well as your own sense of fun.  You need to think about whether you are changing your role, your character or both.  You need to think about the transition period and if you want to try out your new choice.

Firstly you need to decide are you making the change just for you, or are you willing to be flexible to fit in with the raid group you are a part of?  If you want to keep raiding you firstly need to look and see what your raid group needs.  Have a chat with your officers to see what you can and can’t change to within the group.  If the group has too many mages, they aren’t going to want another one.  If melee is full, you will need to look at the other roles.  If theres a shortage of healers, would you consider healing?  Are there any other players who would like to change role also?  If your mage wants to heal and you want to dps then theres a solution.  It might be that the guild can’t accomodate you right now because what you want to do is oversubscribed – in that case if you are willing to wait have them put you on a ‘waiting list’ where you get the next available slot.  This also gives them time to recruit and can be a good way to make a change.

I mentioned roles there, because your second consideration is do you want to change role? Either on your current character or with another character? I mentioned my reasons for changing both role and character above, but for many people who are very attached to one character changing role can be a solution. Don’t like druid healing? Go boomkin.  Thats harder if your a hunter, for example, but its a consideration for hybrids.

Once you’ve made the decision to make the change, you also need to think about the process.  Is your new character ready for what you want to do with it?  If not you need to get it ready.  If you want to go melee but that will leave your guild short on healers, then I would suggest a transition period during which you heal when needed until a replacement is found.  Theres no point changing your character only to be unable to raid on it because there aren’t enough healers any more.  Discuss with your guild if you could ‘try’ your new main in a raiding environment to see what you really think about it if you aren’t sure.  This works fine as long as you explain to the team why those alts are suddenly raiding.

One of the biggest reasons people struggle to change mains is because of the achievements they have on their main.  But this can actually be a reason to change!  If you already have over 9000 achievement points, then a new main will give you something to do.  If you are an achievement hunter, this is obviously something you enjoy, so embrace the change to start again.  Set yourself some time to gather achievements/titles/pets/mounts on your new main.  See if people will come with you for old content for guild achievements.  Farm the new quest achievements in the new levelling zones allowing you to see all the new content.

What you should not do is just ignore your feelings about your class and hope they will go away.  They won’t unless your chosen class/spec is broken right now.  And most class/spec combinations are viable at the moment.  Even those that are broken may take a long time to fix.  If you think your class/spec is not viable at the moment make sure you read up on whether Blizzard thinks its broken.  If Blizzard don’t think its broken, then they won’t be changing it.  Blizzard have acknowledged the problems with an arcane mage, but they aren’t going to roll back the changes to retribution.  You can see all of the hate posts you want about new ret – its here to stay.

These are just some observations based on people I see playing the game at the moment.  Some of these I’ve talked to about their feelings, some not.  But its clear in every raid when people are feeling this way.  The people who have made the change are a lot more positive in those raids than those that haven’t.  They enjoy them more, they are better at raiding, they are enjoying the game.  So think carefully and if the drastic changes to your class are why you don’t enjoy WoW any more, then think about whether its time for a change.  Your new main could make the game fresh for you all over again.

Patch 4.1 and the little things that make WoW better

Patch 4.1 has some big things.  It has troll heroics and the Call to Arms for LFD.  But it also has some little things that just make the game better.

  • Flying mounts can now be used in Ghostlands.

Lets hope they work their way through all of the TBC Azeroth areas.

  • A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses.

Win.  Often players release immediately, only to discover someone managed to survive and could res the group quicker.

  • All non-damaging interrupts off the global cooldown will now always hit the target. This includes Pummel, Shield Bash, Kick, Mind Freeze, Rebuke, Skull Bash, Counterspell, Wind Shear, Solar Beam, Silencing Shot, and related player pet abilities.

My husband the tank/raid leader has been looking forward to this one for weeks now.  In 10 man it negates the need to lose a dps from where you need them, or put them in a difficult spot just because you need to interrupt.  The first phase of the Council fight in BoT is a prime example.  Unless you have an elemental shaman you lose a melee from a boss where you need to focus all your dps at one point, and that melee has to run in and out or die instantly to Glaciate.

  • Several persistent ground effects now display different visuals for hostile and friendly players. The following spells have the same visual effects for friendly players, but new alternate visuals for hostile players: Ring of Frost, Consecration, Desecration, Wild Mushroom, Flare, Ice Trap, Power Word: Barrier, Smoke Bomb, and Hand of Gul’dan. As a general rule, the alternate effects have a red tint or hue indicating they are created by an enemy player.

If you’ve ever come across a mage frost circle thing on the ground in a BG or in Tol Barad and thought ‘hmmm can I step on that or not?’ then this is a change you will welcome.

  • Righteous Fury now persists through death.

If you’ve ever mashed Judgement as you ran in only to be one shotted and hear the tank go ‘damn, forgot RF’ then this is a change you will welcome.

  • Honor is now purchasable from the Justice Commodities Vendor at 250 Honor per 375 Justice.
  • Justice is now purchasable from the Honor Commodities Vendor at 250 Justice per 375 Honor.
  • Conquest is now purchasable from the Valor vendor at 250 Conquest per 250 Valor.

Gotta love this one.  Heres the thing.  Conquest points are quite easy to get each week up to the cap.  But theres a LOT to buy with those points (theres two whole sets of gear if you want the prestige pretty gear).  Valor is gained more slowly, but you run out of things to buy sooner.  So the last bullet is a win.  Then, Honor is painfully slow to get compared to Justice IMO.  If you play solo, or prefer BGs sure its probably not so much of a grind.  But to run a BG and get only 50-100 Honor and get a slew of abuse into the bargin is not my idea of fun.  I have a limited amount of WoW time and this is not how I want to spend it.  On the other hand you can get at least 280 Justice from a four boss heroic (more with guild perks and even more if you have already done your Valour run).  Morrighan still needs some PvP gear so I will be taking her back into heroics once this patch hits to farm PvP gear.

  • Targets and focus targets now display on the mini-map.

I can think of at least two valuable uses for this. Finding that female dwarf rogue for a holiday achievement and finding a rare elite you’ve been looking for.  And thats before you even get to its use in raids and BGs.

Things that make me want to cackle madly

  • Dark Simulacrum now works on numerous additional spells in dungeon encounters.

Mwhahahahahaha.

Ret Paladin changes
Note this is not a complete list, just the highlights (or lowlights depending on your point of view).

  • Word of Glory now has a 20-second cooldown.

This is obviously a nerf for retribution.  In PvE I doubt it will be noticed.  If you notice it in PvE as ret then really you need to look at your healing strategy some more (prot is a different matter all together, but still…).  In arena it will be, and especially in 2s.  I will notice it in 3s if our healer dies.  But I can understand the philosophy behind it and support that.  If you cast WoG more than every 20 seconds you aren’t really doing a lot of dps because it takes a big chunk of that time just to get up to 3 points of Holy Power!

  • Divine Storm now generates 1 point of Holy Power if it hits (i.e. successfully lands on) 4 or more targets.

This makes DS usable.  I haven’t really used it much in PvE at the moment.  Its useful when you have a group of very little, low health adds and thats it.  And even then Consecration is better.  DS without HP generation is a huge dps loss.  I also had the feeling it needed a boost in dps itself, but maybe not.  We’ll see.

  • Sacred Shield’s internal cooldown has been increased to 60 seconds, up from 30.

Well of course I don’t like it.  But I can see why they did it.  I was glad to see Sacred Shield back and can understand that in PvP all the other classes don’t feel that way.

  • Selfless Healer: The damage bonus from this talent now has a 30 sec duration instead of 10 sec.

Again supporting the use of WoG as an occasional heal.  This means you at least get the debuff for long enough to get your Holy Power back, and then a bit longer.  I think you’ll see more WoG in PvE with this and it will make the cooldown less painful in PvP.  If I save the mage with a WoG I then get more of a dps boost to help burn our enemies.

Holy/Shadow Priest changes
Note this is not a complete list, just the highlights (or lowlights depending on your point of view).

  • Dispel Magic can only be used on the casting priest as a baseline effect.

Booooo.  I know it brings us in line with the other healers.  I wonder if this also affects Mass Dispel?

  • Priests now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Divine Hymn and Hymn of Hope.

Cheer.  Theres nothing more irritating than channelling one of these only to have some adds spawn and interrupt it.

  • Holy Fire damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than Smite.

Good.  I know its rare to use it and you could just use something else.  But I always felt this was wrong.

  • Inner Will and Inner Fire now last until canceled.

Another point in the ‘helping forgetful raiders’ column.

  • Mind Sear damage has been doubled.

Needed.  Much needed.  Mind Sear is terrible right now.

  • Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.

Although its a nerf I don’t think its a huge change other than were you pre-cast shields.  You’d only really notice it in PvE when your shield wasn’t needed anyway.

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.

This is confusing as I’m not clear if its a talent or a part of choosing to be Holy.

  • Chakra now lasts until canceled, up from 1 minute.

Useful for pre-casting.  Or if you cast it and then get distracted and don’t use it.  The problem with both of those is you often end up with the wrong Chakra state because you need to cast a different type of heal anyway.

  • Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.

Needed.  Once I realised how underpowered this was for how much mana it cost, especially in constrast to the instant heal from the other Chakra state, I stopped using it.  Which is a shame because its pretty.

  • Surge of Light can now also trigger from Binding Heal.

Nice.  I use Binding Heal quite a bit.

The ups and downs of the 4.1 announcement

Well MMO Champion has some new information up and I’m pretty excited I must say.

Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman are back
Both in heroic-5 man form.  The trend started with Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep looks set to continue in that neither dungeon will have a normal mode.  Both will drop epic 353 level gear.  And rare mounts, of course.  I am glad these are heroics and not raids.

Zul’Aman will be the first time one of the areas I have ‘done’ is reinvented within the game.  I never did Naxxramas the first time around, nor ZG.  So Zul’Aman will be my first experience with seeing content I loved reinvented.  I had been in Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, but low level dungeons never inspire the kind of regular visits a raid does.  I’m interested to see how I will feel about it once its here.  I liked ZA as a raid the first time around.  It provided a good amount of challenge – when it first came out it was hard, as you farmed gear it got easier.  I never managed the timed run, but I did clear it.

Moar pets
There are achievements for 100 and 125 in game pets.  I have the current 75 pet achievement and I’ll be looking to see what I need to add to get to 100 and 125 respectively.  A great excuse to buy that mini Ragnaros pet I couldn’t justify to myself before when I purchased the Moonkin Hatchling.  The Moonkin Hatchling being justified as follows:

  1. Mini moonkin
  2. Mini moonkin … dancing
  3. I’m pregnant and I want it (I was 8.5 months at the time and my husband wisely agreed with anything I might ever say)

Flavour items and heirlooms
There seem to be some other new odd things.  I was quite interested by:

War Party Hitching Post
Binds when picked up
Use: Right Click to build a War Party Hitching Post.
Up to 25 party or raid members may use the post to summon a Hitch Horse mount. (30 Min Cooldown)

Not sure what thats about yet.  And also this:

Renowned Guild Tabard
Binds to account
Tabard
Equip: You champion the causes of your guild. All guild reputation gains are increased by 100%.

Since this item is BoA I assume the point is to allow your alts to gain guild reputation faster.  I like this idea.

Word of Glory Nerf
Obviously I’m not excited about the addition of a 20s cooldown to Word of Glory for Ret and Prot.  But I can’t bring myself to feel its unjustified.  When the 4.0.6 changes came in WoG became overpowered (if it wasn’t before).  Sure my Holy Power ramps up to three slower now, but the disco lights come on waaaay more often.  And every time the disco lights come on, I can use them to heal my arena team.  Word of Glory isn’t a huge heal, but in arena it can keep your teammates alive just long enough.  Especially if you can hit it several times in a row which is entirely possible when my disco lights come on several times in a row.  Blizzards intention was never that I could heal my teammates up to full faster than a healer and at will without using any mana, I’m sure.

LFG … where G stands for guild
Its a good idea.  My first thought on reading the blue post was ‘hmmm what a good idea’.  The forums are a lousy place to recruit in my opinion.

My first thought on seeing the window that MMO Champion have pulled out of the data files?  Not so good.  And I can clearly state why.  Basically you get to describe what you are looking for in three ways:

  1. Guild Playstyle: tick one of Casual, Moderate, Hardcore.
  2. Availability: Weekends, Weekdays.
  3. Role: Healer, Tank, DPS.

Now 2 and 3 are reasonable but suffer from a lack of depth.  Availability could be useful if it had all the days of the week on it.  As it stands it suffers from bad question design, in that people can answer both yes and no to each option.  I might be available Sunday but not Saturday.  So what do I tick for weekends?  I’m not generally one to criticise Blizzard because generally I understand the difference between me not liking something and it being bad.  But that kind of question design is just LAZY.

Role also lacks depth.  No matter how many times Blizzard say ‘bring the player, not the class’ its not entirely true.  Where it fails is where you have too many of one class.  Even if (and I don’t believe this) you accept that healers and tanks are interchangable (actually I think it doesn’t matter which classes you have as long as you have some variety for the most part – if all your healers are the same class then it tends to go badly) then the ‘DPS’ option fails.  Blizzard have NOT designed a game where an all melee team is EVER viable.  Therefore ‘DPS’ is flawed.  Personally I think that option should list classes and specs.  Then a hardcore guild can accept only a fire mage because their dps is like way better and a more moderate guild can accept a mage because it already has 5 hunters wanting slots in its 10 man team and another really wouldn’t be useful.

But the biggest bad on this screen is definitely point 1.  Casual, Moderate or Hardcore what?  Basically Blizzard are assuming there are three types of guild – Casual ‘we don’t organise anything’ guilds, Moderate Raiding Guilds and Hardcore Raiding Guilds.  What about PvP guilds?  How do I apply for guilds that are only looking for PvP players because thats all I’m interested in?  I know these died a complete death in WotLK (or they did on my server) but in Cataclysm with Rated BGs they’ve made a huge come back.  Also, please define Casual/Moderate/Hardcore?  Personally I would describe Dreamstate as a Moderate Raiding Guild.  But that all depends on your interpretation of those terms.  We could easily be described as Casual because of our very relaxed attitude.  On the other hand there are people who consider any guild that uses applications and asks people to flask, watch tactics, etc. as Hardcore.  It all depends how you interpret those things.  In reality most guilds will call themselves Moderate.  Going back to survey design you should always have an even number of options in any scale.  If you have an odd number, people will pick the middle one.  So guilds who raid 5 nights a week with strict attendance requirements (I would call these Hardcore, but they would look at the likes of Ensidia and think they are not as Hardcore as them) and guilds who just raid randomly without planning (after all there are guilds that don’t raid at all and they are not as Casual as them) will describe themselves as Moderate.

From a recruitment point of view it would be more useful to have the following options:

  1. Play type: Raiding 10 man, Raiding 25 man, PvP, General content (where you can choose more than one option)
  2. Availability: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, No regular times
  3. Class & Spec

It will be interesting to see what the guild can post.

Retribution Paladin pre-raid gear list 4.0.6

This is the set I would go for pre-raid based on the gear list.  This set will see you 2 points off the hit cap (with hit gems in blue slots).  You will need to reforge to meet the expertise cap.  Its a bit of a change from items you may have gone for beforehand, due to the changes in 4.0.6.  You could add one other epic item to this list the Valor Points boots are BoE and probably

Head – Stonemason’s Helm (Heroic Deadmines)
Neck – Gift of Nadun (Ramkahen – Exalted)
Shoulder – Pauldron’s of the High Requiem (1650 Justice Points)
Back – Geordan’s Cloak (Heroic Lost City of Tolv’ir)
Chest – Elementium Deathplate (Blacksmithing)
Wrist – Alpha Bracers (Heroic Halls of Origination)
Hands – Reaping Gauntlets (1650 Justice Points)
Waist – Belt of the Ferocious Wolf (Guardian’s of Hyjal – Exalted)
Legs – Greaves of Gallantry (2200 Justice Points)
Feet* – Greaves of Wu the Elder (Heroic Lost City of Tolv’ir)
Rings – Nova Band (Heroic Halls of Origination) and Circle of Bone (Heroic Grim Batol)
Weapon – Foe Reaper (Heroic Deadmines)
Relic – Weapon of the Brotherhood’s End (Heroic Deadmines)

*If you are Drenai replace Greaves of Wu the Elder with Waywatcher’s Boots from Wildhammer – Revered.

So what do you need to get this gear?

Heroic Deadmines (3 items)
Heroic Lost City of Tol’vir (2 items)
Heroic Halls of Origination (2 items)
Heroic Grim Batol (1 item)

Ramkahen – Exalted (do all the quests in Uldum and then use the tabard – there are two dailies you can use to give a bit of a boost)
Guardian’s of Hyjal – Exalted (do all the quests in Mount Hyjal taking you to Revered and then use the tabard – there are no dailies)

5500 Justice Points

100 Elementium Ore
20 Volatile Earth
36 Pyrium Ore
60 Volatile Fire
60 Volatile Air
60 Volatile Water
3 Chaos Orbs (the crafter will have these, and if thats not you then you’ll need a big chunk o’ gold instead)

I’ll post separately about trinkets when I’ve done the numbers, but I am going to guess that as of 4.0.6 you might want Baradin’s Wardens reputation and marks …

Cataclysm Gearing for Ret Palas – Head

Cataclysm is a few days away and its all about the GEARZ.  What to get, where to go, etc.

I’ve pieced together what I can based on MMO-Champion and Wowhead.  Also Redcape has released his latest spreadsheet and I’ve drawn on the default Seal of Truth scores:

Strength 2.07
Hit 1.55 until capped and 0 after cap
Expertise 1.13 until capped and negligible after cap
Critical strike rating 0.80
Haste rating 0.79
Mastery rating 0.41
Weapon speed 1102.65
Weapon DPS 7.27

The jumps above are fairly large.  Mostly we gear for strength, then for Hit and Expertise until capped, then Crit and Haste before Mastery.

Please note that all of this is highly provisional.  Item stats and scores might well change – a lot.  But this should get you started at least.

And so on with the show!

Head
Gearing for the Head slot is a bit different to any of the other slots because of the relative value of the meta gem.  A meta gem slot is worth 50-67% of the scores assigned to a head.  Therefore its likely to be the item you hang on to the longest of your old gear.  As long as you have at least the ilevel 251 tier helm then you can ignore anything without a meta gem slot in Cataclysm.

This means your first possible upgrade is the Redsteel Helm at level 83.  This is a Blacksmithing BoE item.  I wouldn’t spend a huge amount on this though, as it will only last two levels and doesn’t score that much higher than the previous tier items.  The only exception to this is for Engineers who can get the Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades at level 81 and with 525 Engineering (you need 525 for both the item and the Cogwheels).

As you hit 85 you want to run Heroic Deadmines for the Stonemason’s Helm.  This is the best pre-raid Head item.

Action plan so far:

  • 15 Elementium Bars + a friendly blacksmith or cash (83-85 Head)
  • Heroic Deadmines – Vanessa VanCleef (Pre-raid Head)

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.

Rotations
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…

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