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 paladins in patch 3.3

So its here. Icecrown Citadel, the Fall of the Lich King. I have to say I have been looking forward to this patch more than any other. I am really enjoying the game right now. My new guild, Dreamstate, has a great atmosphere and has renewed my enthusiasm for raiding. Our raids so far (we are only a week old!) have been smooth. A whole bunch of us got Glory of the Hero this week and several more should get it over the next week or so.

What does a new guild do in patch 3.3?
Lots of things! This is the Dreamstate to do list:

  • Start ICC. There’s no reason for us to wait – we’re still busy recruiting to get a last couple of people for hard modes (what we really need right now is a shaman!) but we already have players to raid normal modes. That’s on for tomorrow.
  • Today, given the HIGH likelihood of random disconnects, server lag and getting stuck trying to do something that looked perfectly reasonable at the time (using vehicles on a ramp, trying to enter a raid), we’ve gone for TotC 10 farming and the new weekly raid!  A great deal of fun was had by all.
  • Help some of our new members get some lootz. We’ve been really lucky and a few old friends have come back to WoW to play with us. They are a bit behind on gear, but that’s something we can easily fix!
  • Get everyone Glory of the Hero.  Yes I know this isn’t part of the new patch, but many people helped me and now I shall help them!
  • Have fun!

That last part is the most important.

Ok. Enough with the rambling. About that gear list…?
Its in progress. I’ve not forgotten you! I’ll start with a series of slot posts and then update the whole shebang at the end. That way you’ll get something useful sooner rather than later. However, RL is fairly hectic at the moment. I anticipate having the big list completed before the new year, with the individual posts coming between now and then.

I’ll give you a few useful things now, that won’t appear in the later math (based on ‘received wisdom’ from the ret pala community:

  • 2P tier 10 = ~3% dps increase. Get it!
  • 4P tier 10 = ~5% dps increase and is likely to be part of BiS.
  • The new tier 10 libram becomes better than the tier 9 libram after 39 seconds. Given that the tier 9 libram only works with Seal of Vengeance, this leaves a small gap in which the tier 9 libram is still the best option.  Hang onto it and keep it in mind.

So has anything really changed for retribution this patch?

Tier Set Bonus Rotation Juggling
We’re now going to play a new game, called tier set bonus rotation juggling. Current thinking seems to be:

  • Anything before you get 2P tier 9:
    Hammer of Wrath > Crusader Strike > Judgement > Divine Storm > Consecration > Exorcism > Holy Wrath
  • Then, once you have 2P tier 9 (fairly easy from today onwards given that Emblems of Triumph will be so freely available) then Judgement moves all the way up the list to your first priority:
    Judgement > Hammer of Wrath > Crusader Strike > Divine Storm > Consecration > Exorcism > Holy Wrath
  • This is now complicated by the addition of tier 10 bonuses, specifically the 2P set bonus that supports Divine Storm. When you start running with 2P tier 9 and 2P tier 10 Divine Storm will move up your list, and you want to go for:
    Judgement > Divine Storm > Hammer of Wrath > Crusader Strike > Consecration > Exorcism > Holy Wrath
  • Then, to keep you on your toes, when you get 4P tier 10, you need to drop Judgement back down the list since you no longer have the extra boost to that from 2P tier 9. However, 4P tier 10 affects Judgements and Seals, so the whole thing gets jiggled around anyway, and you’ll end up with:
    Divine Storm > Crusader Strike > Judgement > Hammer of Wrath > Consecration > Exorcism > Holy Wrath

So count those set bonuses up and choose your best option.

Talent Specs
The other change you might need to think about is your build. Divine Sacrifice has been heavily nerfed. You now have the problem that to get a talent that looks even remotely like the DSac of old, you need to sacrifice DPS points somewhere. What I’ve read says NO! DSac is gone. So your utility choices are now Vindication, Improved Blessing of Might and Aura Mastery. AM is questionable. Since I didn’t have DSac anyway I will not be changing my build at this point. I’ll stick with Vindication and Imp BoM. If I find a fight where AM would help, I’ll spec into that (I had the same approach to DSac).

Retribution Paladin Raider’s Crib Sheet

Cross posted at Big Hit Box on 24 November 2009

Since my crib sheet format seems to  be quite popular, I thought I’d produce a short form of the retribution paladin info.  Much shorter than my other guides, and the EJ guide.  But packed full of information.

Specs and Glyphs

  • Without DSac 5/9/57
  • With DSac 5/11/55
  • Use Major Glyph of Judgement and Major Glyph of Consecration.
  • Use Minor Glyph of Sense Undead, Minor Glyph of Lay on Hands, Minor Glyph of Blessing of Might.
  • For your last Major slot use Glyph of Seal of Vengeance if you are NOT expertise capped from gear.  If you ARE expertise capped from gear use Seal of Exorcism.

Abilities: DPS

  • Your ‘rotation is FCFS or First Come First Served.  Hit the best of the abilities that is available to you at any given time.
  • Priority order without 2P t9 set bonus from best to worst: HoW, CS, Judgment, DS, Cons., Exorcism, Holy Wrath.
  • Priority order with 2P t9 set bonus from best to worst: Judgment, HoW, CS, DS, Cons., Exorcism, Holy Wrath.
  • Only use Exorcism with a 2 point Art of War proc.
  • Only use Holy Wrath on Undead only.
  • 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

  • You can dispel magic, disease and poison and you should.
  • Spare CDs and Art of War procs can be used for Flash Heal.  So can non-spare ones.  You can’t dps if you die.
  • Use your Sacred Shield to reduce the damage you take.
  • Lay on hands is good.  So are bubbles, Hand of Salvation, Hand of Sacrifice, Repentance, etc.  Learn how to use all your utility in a fight.


  • Your hit cap is 8% hit (263 or 230 for Drenai).  You should ensure you are always capped.
  • Your expertise cap is 26 or 214 rating (lower for Humans and Dwarves with certain weapons).  You should strive for this.
  • After those stack strength, followed by critHaste and  Armor Pen are meh – don’t stack them but don’t avoid them.  The same is true of Agility and Attack Power.  Spellpower and Intellect are bad.
  • To see how your item rates against possible drops check out the Retribution Paladin Gear List.

Gems and Enhancements

  • Use the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond meta gem.
  • Use one Nightmare Tear +10 stats gem to activate it (this gem is prismatic and so counts as 1 red, yellow and blue).
  • Use any hit/expertise gems to help you reach the cap.
  • Use Bold Cardinal Ruby +20 strength gems in all slots, unless you have a yellow gem slot that will give you a +6 strength socket bonus or more.  Then use an Inscribed Ametrine +10 strength/+10 crit.
  • Unless you have a profession that provides a better enchant, or are enchanting for caps, enchants and enhancements are:
    • Head: Arcanum of Torment (Knights of the Ebon Blade – Revered)
    • Shoulder: Greater Inscription of the Axe (Sons of Hodir – Exalted)
    • Chest: Enchant Chest – Powerful Stats (+10 stats)
    • Wrist: Enchant Bracer – Greater Assault (+50 AP)
    • Hands: Enchant Gloves – Crusher (+44 AP)
    • Waist: Eternal Belt Buckle (Made by BS, BoE)
    • Legs: Icescale Leg Armor (Made by LW, BoE)
    • Feet: Enchant Boots – Greater Assualt (+32 AP)
    • Weapon: Enchant Weapon – Beserking

Retribution Builds to top the PvE Meters

As I write this, Retribution is competative PvE.  Seriously topping the damage meters competative.  Whilst HoPing the tank to remove Impale Debuffs.  And saving the poisoned healer with a quick Lay on Hands.  Its a good time to be a Ret Pala.  But of course if you get the spec wrong this won’t be the case.  If you get the spec wrong you will just sit at the bottom of the meters sobbing quietly into your cocoa.   So what spec to go for in order to be and uber-ret?

Step by step: the basic retribution spec

Tier 1 > On the first tier you have little choice – a clear tanking ability in Deflection, or the mana reduction of Benediction. The winner is: Benediction (5 points).

Tier 2 > Up to the next tier now and you have two useful dps increases. Improved Judgements (2 points) and Heart of the Crusader (3 points). Improved Judgements affects how often you can use Judgements. More often = more hits = more dps. Heart of the Crusader adds a debuff that increases your melee crit chance by 3%.

Tier 3 > Conviction (5 points) is the easy winner, increasing your crit chance with everything by 5%.

Tier 4 > Sanctity of Battle (3 points) and Crusade (3 points) are both dps upgrades, increasing your crit and damage. Although Crusade only affects Humanoids, Demons, Undead and Elementals, thats still a substantial portion of raid mobs and bosses.

Tier 5 > Take everything here. Two-Handed Weapon Specialisation (3 points) since you intend to use two-handed weapons and Sanctified Retribution (1 point) to increase the damage of Retribution Aura and, far more importantly, increase the whole raid’s damage by 3% whatever aura you use. A bargin.

Tier 6 > Since you have Conviction, the way is open for you to take Vengeance (3 points). This is a debuff you apply to the mob that increases your damage. Its applied by critical hits of all kinds. It can stack 3 times, meaning you have 9% bonus Physical and Holy damage when its up in full.

Backfill! > You don’t want anything else on Tier 6, but you have to spend two more points to get to Tier 7. Divine Purpose is a PvP only ability that has no use in raids. Instead, go on back down to Vindication (2 points). This debuff was added in 3.2 and works like a Warriors Demoralizing Shout. Only its better, because instead of spending rage on it, you do it by accident!

Tier 7+ From here on in you take EVERYTHING:

  • Repentance (1 point) is paladin cc. Useful in Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader. Its very effective since its instant, but can’t be reapplied easily if it breaks due to the long cooldown. And everyone and his brother is going to break it with any dps (other palas, warrior, warlock pets, hunter pets, any caster AoE, multishot, must kill!!!)  Unless you threaten them loudly over vent ofc.  You may have been able to skip it, were it not a prerequisite for a later talent.
  • The Art of War (2 points) is a buff on you that procs from melee criticals. When it is up you can cast either a Flash Heal or an Exorcism instantly, consuming the buff. This is key to paladin dps these days. The ability also increases your damage, just for a bonus.
  • Judgements of the Wise (3 points) is essential. It means your Judgements give the raid Replenishment, returning their mana. Blizzard considers this to be essential to success in every raid. For paladins, it can also return 25% of your base mana (which is pretty much the mana you see since you don’t have Intellect gear) and thats also fairly important if you don’t want to end up running on empty.
  • Fanaticism (3 points) is yet another crit chance buff. Its also a threat reduction buff. Definitely needed.
  • Sanctified Wrath (2 points) contributes to your dps in three ways – it increases the crit chance of your Hammer of Wrath, increasing your dps output when you can use it. It reduces the cd of Avenging Wrath, increasing how often you can boost your dps. Its third bonus, allowing you to bypass damage reduction effects, is really a PvP thing and won’t work in raids (most likely).
  • Swift Retribution (3 points) causes your auras to give 3% melee haste. To everyone with the aura. Nice.
  • Crusader Strike (1 point) may be boring, but its also your first priority attack.
  • Sheath of Light (3 points) is interesting because it gives a small damage boost and a large utility boost. Your spellpower is boosted by 30% of your attack power. This gives you utlitiy to throw off the odd heal and it be effective, and increases the dps of you Consecration, which scales with spellpower. It also means when you do throw a heal, and it crits, you get a small HoT.
  • Righteous Vengeance (3 points) means that critical Judgements, Crusader Strikes and Divine Storms apply another 30% damage over 8 seconds. This DoT rolls, so it is refreshed by further strikes.
  • Divine Storm (1 point). Weeeeeeeee!! My favourite graphic. You spin, stuff dies. It can hit up to 4 enemies and it also heals up to 3 people for 25% of its damage.

So now you have 52 points in retribution. As of 3.2.2 you want to spend just one more.

  • Seal of Command (1 point) gives additional Holy damage to every hit.  And as of 3.2.2 it also has a cleave that strikes up to 2 additional targets.  On trash that lives around 12 seconds, its better than a talented Seal of Righteousness.  So you now want to pick it up.

Time to glance at the other trees and see what damage benefits they can offer you.

Here you want to take Divine Strength (5 points). This is what makes strength so valuable to a ret pala, increasing your total strength by 15%.

Seals of the Pure (5 points) is the dps increase here. This increases the damage done by Seal of Vengeance by 15%. And you’re actually using that now.

So that leaves you with 5/5/53. This is the core of any retribution spec. I would also strongly suggest taking two points in Pursuit of Justice (2 points). This means your run faster, which makes it easier to get to mobs (increasing dps) and get away from bad things (increasing survivability).  So that leaves you at 5/5/55.

The optional points: choosing your utility
This leaves you with 7 points. I chose to spend them in a 5/9/57, adding Improved Blessing of Might (2 points) for buffing utility, Guardian’s Favor (2 points) reducing the cd of your Hand of Protection and Divintiy (2 points only) increasing the healing done to you by 3%.

Alternatively, you could go for Divine Sacrifice (1 point). I would do it as 5/11/55, removing your Improved Blessing of Might and replacing it with another point in Divinity and a point in Divine Sacrifice itself.  Elitist Jerks recommends 5/11/55, removing Vindication so you can keep Improved Blessing of Might.

Which one you choose depends on your raid makeup. Raid with several holy palas? Well they should have Improved Blessing of Might too so drop that. Raid with a lot of warriors? Then they can do the AP debuff and you can drop those points. Also, do you need Divine Sacrifice? If you have other palas that include it in their builds, you don’t need to spend points on it – you certainly can’t get the talents to improve it and still have a top notch retribution build any more.   All of those three builds are sensible PvE retribution options.

That was the second in a series of in depth paladin guides.  The first was  Meta Gems for Ret Palas, A True Story which covers all aspects of gemming just as soon as I get past the rant.

To follow should be:

  • Glyphs
  • Enchants and Item Enhancements (including notes on professions)
  • A simple guide to PvP ret
  • A guide to holy and prot as an offspec
  • Rotations (or why its not that faceroll)
  • And anything else I can think of!  Or that someone asks me to write!

Updated24 October 2009 when I realised some of the links were not working.

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