Holy Priest Raiders Crib Sheet for 4.1

This is a lot more subjective than my paladin crib sheet.  Ultimately for dps there is an optimum way of doing things that produces the most dps.  If you don’t follow that, you might do less dps.  A few people will manage high dps without following the norm, but not many.

Healing is different.   The best healer is the one who manages to heal their assignment and help out a bit elsewhere if needed.  Throughput and mana management and all the other things you can consider about a healer are all dependent on the healing assignment and completing that assignment successfully is the measure of a good healer.

With those disclaimers, below is what I am doing as a Holy Priest.  If you are new to Holy Priesting you could do worse than copy what I am doing.  But depending on who you are healing with, what you are healing and your own style, you will want to make changes.  The below should get you started.  I’ve tried to note where I’ve gone against the Elitist Jerks advice so you can make a decision.  You could also use EJ as your starting point but their guide is a lot longer than mine.

Specs and Glyphs

  • 6/31/4
  • There are some talents which different people tend to change: Spirit of Redemption, Desperate Prayer, Rapid Renewal and to a lesser extent Darkness and Body and Soul.  Body and Soul is less useful if you are raiding with a Disc Priest.
  • The only utterly pointless talent in the Holy tree is State of Mind and its only been pointless since 4.1.
  • Use Prime Glyph of Renewal and Prime Glyph of Prayer of Healing.  There are probably another three valid choice for the third spot: Prime Glyph of Flash Heal, Prime Glyph of Lightwell and Prime Glyph of Power Word: Shield.  I chose the latter as it gives me a nice insta heal which works well with how I use the spell and with Body and Soul.  You may want to use the Prime Glyph of Guardian Spirit in certain situations.  I’ve not found one yet but I’ve also not done any heroic raiding.
  • Use Major Glyph of Circle of Healing and Major Glyph of Prayer of Mending. The others are situational but for general use at the moment I would take Major Glyph of Mass Dispel.
  • Minor Glyphs aren’t game changers but Minor Glyph of Fading is nice, as is Minor Glyph of Levitate and Minor Glyph of Shackle Undead.  Minor Glyph of Shadowfiend can still be nice too – though the Shadowfiend takes less AoE damage there are still some times when it can be one-shotted.

Abilities: Heals

  • Heal is your basic heal.  All other heals should be used only when Heal is inadequate for some reason.  That will be a lot of the time but it helps to think of other spells in reference to Heal.
  • Greater Heal takes as long as Heal to cast, heals for considerably more and costs more mana.  Its less efficient than Heal, but not particularly inefficient as long as the whole heal is needed.
  • Flash Heal is faster than Heal and heals for more, but costs a lot of mana.  Its inefficient but you will need to use it.
  • Binding Heal heals for nearly as much as Flash Heal and costs the same, but heals you too.  Bargin.
  • Prayer of Mending sits on a target and heals them when damage is taken.  Once it heals that target it bounces to another random target.  It can jump up to 5 times.  It will sit on a target for 30 seconds before disappearing if not used.
  • Lightwell is your single most efficient heal.  You can place it before a pull.  Remind your group to use it frequently.  It will not reduce their dps!
  • Prayer of Healing will heal all targets in a group.  Its efficient when you need to heal 3 or more targets.  You need to ensure your raid is set up for you to use this efficiently.  You need all your targets to be in range of each other and to be taking similar damage at similar times.
  • Circle of Healing instantly heals 6 targets.  Its not a mana hog so use it frequently.  Its a smart heal so it will heal the targetted person and then 5 other people in range who need it.  It has a cooldown.
  • A Holy Priest should always be in one or another Chakra state.  There are two healing Chakra states: Serenity and Sanctury.
    • Serenity is for single target healing.  It increases the effectiveness of your direct heals, allows them to refresh Renew and turns your Holy Word spell into Holy Word: Serenity.
    • Sanctury improves the efficiency of your AoE heals and Renew and reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing.  It turns your Holy Word spell into Holy Word: Sanctury
    • In order to get into a Chakra state you cast Chakra and then use a spell that corresponds to the Chakra state you want to get into.  I normally use PoM or Flash Heal if I change state mid fight and PoM or Heal to set my state prior to starting a fight.
    • Put Holy Word: Chastise on your bar.  This will become one of the other Holy Word spells depending on your Chakra.
  • Holy Word: Serenity is an instant heal that costs very little mana and increases the crit chance of heals on the target for 6 seconds.  Use it often.
  • Holy Word: Sanctury puts a sparkling circle on the ground that heals anyone standing in it.  It is quite expensive mana wise and you should only use it when you know it will hit most of the group/ranged and healers.  There are lots of raid fights where this is very useful.
  • Power Word: Shield prevents damage from being taken rather than healing, though it also heals if you glyph it.  I use this in several ways (these aren’t mutually exclusive).  During a spike of damage on a tank to mitigate some of that spike.  To prevent damage on a squishy raid member.  To protect a raid member on very low health from dying while I cast a heal. And, because I have Body and Soul, to provide a speed boost to a player who is trying to get out of/stay out of bad.
  • Holy Glitter Nova looks pretty.  It heals a bit on up to 5 targets and does some damage to mobs around you.  There are very few actual uses for it but its pretty and you should use it at every opportunity (i.e. when you have lots of mana that you won’t need for anything useful and are bored).
  • Divine Hymn is your big cooldown heal.  It has a long cooldown (8 minutes) but is VERY powerful.

Abilities: Modifiers and Combinations

  • No matter what you are healing use Prayer of Mending on cooldown.
  • If you are tank healing you should do so in the Serenity Chakra state.  Use Heal where possible and Greater Heal when Heal isn’t quite good enough.  Put Renew on the tank.  Use Holy Word: Serenity frequently.  For heavy damage Holy Word: Serenity > Flash Heal > Flash Heal > Greater Heal (which will be faster and cheaper due to Serendipity).
  • If you are raid healing you should do so in the Sanctury Chakra state in most cases.  Use Holy Word: Serenity and Lightwell to keep people stable while you cast other spells.  Use CoH on cooldown and lots of PoH.  If only a couple of people need healing use Heal or Renew – frequent use of Renew requires more mana than Heal.  Use Flash Heal when you need to respond quickly and remember Serendipity also works to speed up and reduce the cost of PoH.
  • Surge of Light makes your next Flash Heal instant and free.  There is no bad here.  Any direct heal makes it proc, as does Smite.
  • Inner Fire increases your spellpower and armor.  Alternatively, you have Inner Will which reduces the cost of instant cast spells and increases your movement speed.  I use Inner Will most of the time.  It helps me save mana and live longer, which are more valuable from a little bit of throughput and mitigation of physical damage.
  • Shadowfiend returns a % of your maximum mana to you.  For personal regen you should combine this with Hymn of Hope as the latter will increase your maximum mana and therefore what you get from Shadowfiend.  However, in other fights you will want to spread your cooldowns and use Shadowfiend early so it will be available again.
  • Fade temporarily reduces you aggro.  Use it when adds are attacking you (standing next to a mage before you hit it is optional).  But remember it is temporary.  If a tank doesn’t get aggro on the mob before it runs out and you keep healing, it’ll be back!

Abilities: Utility

  • Hymn of Hope returns mana to 3 nearby raid members and increases their maximum mana.
  • Guardian Spirit basically stops a player from dying if they die while its active and gives them enough health that you can heal them.  Useful to prevent inevitable deaths of some kind, or for big spikes.  Its a bit buggy.
  • Dispel Magic removes two magical effects from a friendly target and one from an enemy target.  Yes you too can purge.  You need to ensure you can use this quickly as many magical effects do very bad things if you leave them on too long.  There is an addon called Decursive that does just this, but I use Vuhdo to do it.
  • Mass Dispel removes a magical effect from friendly targets in its range.  This saves mana and global cooldowns, but has a cast time.
  • Cure Disease removes a disease from a friendly target.
  • Fear Ward stops a target being feared.
  • Power Word: Fortitude and Shadow Protection add health and shadow immunity.  Make sure they are always up and recast them on a battle rezzed person where possible.
  • Leap of Faith is FABULOUS.  You basically grab someone and pull them towards you.  Useful for getting people out of bad.  Or into the position they are meant to be standing in (thou shalt stand in the middle on phase 1 of Nef as ranged dps).  Or for pulling people back up the lift.  It also adds a speed boost with Body and Soul.
  • Levitate lets someone float safely to the ground.
  • Shackle Undead is fairly effective.  It does tend to break randomly but can be recast.
  • A holy priest can only Mind Control if the target they are controlling can heal as well or better than they can.  There are some mobs in Vortex Pinnacle that allow this.  I’ve not found any others so far.
  • Psychic Scream makes a group of mobs who are very close to you run in fear.  Generally not for use in raids.  It has a short duration and a long cooldown.  It can be used to ease the first few seconds of a trash pull gone wrong or to interrupt Conversion on Cho’gall.  If you are going to use it, glyph it.
  • Mana Burn takes mana from a target … and doesn’t give it to you.  In fact it costs you mana.  Its been a long time since this had a use in raids, but you never know.


  • Intellect is the best stat.  You will always gain more intellect by going up an ilevel.  However, don’t upgrade Intellect at the cost of too much Spirit.
  • Spirit is important.  You should aim to have Spirit on most if not all of your gear.
  • You should aim for 12.5% Haste raid buffed which will give your Renew an extra tick.  After that you should reforge haste to Spirit or Mastery.
  • Mastery is the stat to stack.
  • Crit is bad.  Reforge it to Spirit, Haste or Mastery (as detailed above).
  • The 2 part set bonus for tier 11 is pointless.  The 4 part set bonus is very nice.

Gems and Enhancements

  • Use the Ember Shadowspirit Diamond meta gem.  You can also use the Revitalizing Shadowspirit Diamond, but Ember is generally better.
  • In a red socket use a Brilliant Inferno Ruby (+40 Intellect)
  • In a blue socket I tend to use Purified Demonseye (+20 Intellect/+20 Spirit) If the socket bonus is poor you could use Brilliant Inferno Ruby, but a little extra Spirit doesn’t hurt.
  • In a yellow socket I tend to use Reckless Ember Topaz (+20 Intellect/+20 Haste) or Artful Ember Topaz (+20 Intellect/+20 Mastery).  Again depending on the socket bonus you could use a Brilliant Inferno Ruby.  You need at least two yellow gems to activate your meta so use two of these somewhere.
  • Unless you have a profession that provides a better enchant, enchants and enhancements are:
    • Head: Arcanum of Hyjal (Guardian’s of Hyjal – Revered)
    • Shoulder: Greater Inscription of the Charged Lodestone (Therazane – Exalted)
    • Chest: Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats (+20 stats) or Exceptional Spirit (+40 Spirit)
    • Wrist: Enchant Bracer – Speed (+50 Haste), Exceptional Spirit (+50 Spirit) or Mighty Intellect (+50 Intellect)
    • Hands: Enchant Gloves – Mastery (+50 Mastery) or Haste (+50 Haste)
    • Waist: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle (Made by BS, BoE)
    • Legs: Powerful Ghostly Spellthread (Made by Tailor, BoE)
    • Feet: Enchant Boots – Haste (+50 Haste) or Mastery (+50 Mastery)
    • Weapon: Enchant Weapon – Hurricane (Haste), Heartsong (Spirit) or Power Torrent (Intellect) – each procs based on casts.
    • Off-hand (if you have one) Superior Intellect (+40 intellect)
  • Where you have a choice of stats start with any Spirit ones as you are gearing.  Once you have plenty of Spirit from elsewhere you can use Intellect, Haste (up to 12.5% raid buffed) and Mastery in that order of preference.

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.


  • 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.

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!

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 https://morrighan13.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/retribution-in-the-new-world-order-one-week-after-4-0-1/ 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

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

Gotta love Ghostcrawler: Paladin utility in 3.3

Cross posted on Big Hit Box on 28 October 2009.

One of the best Blizzard posts ever:

Dear OP,



Spot the double-entendre in OP (original poster, overpowered).

I know some people don’t like the guy, but I’m a GC fan.  Probably because I’m a reasonable person.  And hes funny.  I may not like nerfs.  I may not like that a lot of my nerfs are because of arenas which I don’t really like.  But I am reasonable enough to understand the need for many of the nerfs.  I do feel a bit like PvE ret right now is a giant accident caused by the arena problem, and I hope that Cataclysm will tidy it up a bit.  But on the other hand, I’m competative and I bring great buffs to the raid so the scales are weighing heavily on the plus side at the moment. Whats happening in 3.3 then
Well the nerfbat has arrived. Sacred Shield has taken a massive nerf as a baseline spell.  Instead, to get the current Sacred Shield you’ll have to take Infusion of Light which is way, way up the Holy tree.  The idea is that Sacred Shield was meant to be a healing tool, and that for retribution and prot its overpowered in comparison to other tanks and melee.  Which it probably was.  Blizzard balances classes around certain abilties they are intended to use.  Its when people get creative and go outside those boundaries that things like this happen.

Divine Guardian
I’ve not been posting about the many, many changes to this spell.  I said in my first post about it that I thought it would be nerfed because it was overpowered.  It was (theres a shock).  The duration has been halved to 6 seconds.  Theres also one fairly large improvement.  It no longer ends when Divine Sacrifice is removed.

Lay on Hands
This one really worried me for a minute!  But it seems that it has been/will be reverted.  For a short while, Lay on Hands was no longer going to be castable on the paladin.  Now I love my Lay on Hands.  If it was taken away from me I would find myself being splatted far more often!  Its a great spell every ret pala should use.  Health looking a bit low and you seem to be on the wrong side of the room? LoH.  Raid damage hitting when you were already a bit low? LoH.  On 6% health and its all going a bit wrong? LoH.  I can’t count the number of times this spell has saved my life.

Now the forum trolls are out in force (OMG I’ll quit | Warriors go ‘haha’ | Nerf everyone else too ) and being fed tasty blue titbits.  I actually think the dev team does this to give us something to laugh about you know.

So are palas still OP?
This is what GC had to say for himself:

The Aura Mastery change (to 6 sec duration) is one we think is appropriate. If I had to guess, this one will stick.We are trying some things with Sacred Shield to make it more of a Holy tool and less useful for Ret and Prot (without being totally irrelevant). I don’t have a lot of faith that the implementation on the PTR is the one we’ll go with for a couple of reasons, but our overall goal is to make Ret less tanky and the Holy tree feel like it’s the right one to focus on for healing. I would expect a Sacred Shield change of some kind though.

I wouldn’t worry too much on the Lay on Hands change at this point. I don’t want to promise we won’t change the spell for 3.3, but our intent was to revert the others only change before it went out to the PTR, which is why we didn’t patch note it. We have already changed it back on our local builds.The paladin class isn’t just supposed to be for support anymore, but at the same time, the original intent for many paladin abilities was to help the group. Over time however they have contributed into making the paladin into a “one-man army,” able to play offensively, defensively and heal without say the stance changing or shapeshifting or sometimes event talent specialization required of other classes. Many of the LK balance problems we’ve had with the class are because of that core issue.With that said, we’re just not sure a Lay on Hands change really accomplishes much from a balance perspective, while it feels bad to lose such an iconic ability. We just don’t think the bang for the buck is there on this change, which is why we reverted it. But I’m not going to promise we won’t touch it.

In fact, I’m not going to promise anything with this post. 🙂 Please don’t dredge it up later to try and argue against any upcoming changes. I’m just trying to clear up some confusion.


Now this is a reasonable argument.  Step back a second and pretend you don’t want to be a one-man-army who is vastly OP (which secretly we all do).

PvP aside I almost never die in raids.  In order to die I or someone else has to screw something up big time (pull aggro, healer dies, stand in fire like a moron, etc.).  I have so many saves its unreal.  And most of them I can just pop and carry right on dpsing.  Now imagine you’re a druid or a shaman or a rogue?  Do they really come close?  Shamans are the only other melee who can heal without changing form and therefore nerfing dps.  They are squishy.  Our shamans drop like flies at things I barely even notice.  So I can understand the problem.  I’d love to say thats because I am a great player, but I don’t think that would be true.

So whats really making ret palas OP?
Armor.  We have lots of it.  Plate means more health compared to mail, leather and cloth.  I’ve been a clothie and I remember the difference.  I remember stacking PvP gear to live back when Aran was hard and the extra HP made a difference.  Warriors don’t have as many other saves, so their armor is not as OP.  Death Knights are at least as OP as paladins!

Cooldowns.  We have lots of them.  I can LoH.  I can bubble, I can use an Art of War proc for a Flash Heal.  Druids can dash (reduced dps).  Shamans have Earth Shield (not as powerful sadly for them).

Abilities.  I can cast a Holy Light.  Because I get spellpower from strength its effective, even if it is a mana hog.  I can use Sacred Shield.  I get healing back from Divine Storm.  I get heals from Judgement of Light (which admittedly all other healers get too).  I get additional healing from Divinity.

I totally get the accusation that ret palas are a bit … tank like.

If I ruled the world…
Now for the opinion part, concentrate.

Theres certainly no good solution that will be implemented in 3.3.  I suspect in Cataclysm there will be a major shake up of talents.  If Blizzard want the three specs to be more distinct, then the lower talents need to do their double duty and the higher talents need to be more specialised to their respective roles.

Divinity?  Should move up if its making ret palas too tanky.  The Sacred Shield change?  Makes perfect sense.  PvP abilities in the prot tree should come down the tree so that PvP builds can access them.  Abilities you don’t want to make paladins OP in PvP  or non-tank specs should go up.   This would solve a lot of problems.  Divine Storm is good because its essential.  It can be used to put OP tanking talents out of reach of ret.  Make sure Holy does the same thing.

This in turn, would trigger a rethink of some of the talents.  Retribution is often criticised for being a bit dull at high levels.  Repentance should be lower down the tree – its dull and boring and not that useful.  The many many improved crit abilities could be consolidated and crit that should also be available to holy and prot should be lower with more interesting raid buffs and ret only crit being higher.  I’d also like to see an end to ‘increases damage on certain mob types’ abilities.  I get the reason, but they’ve caused us grief in the past.

I would like to see new abilities.  On all my other 80s (paladin, druid and death knight) there is some creativity required to get a good spec.  You can choose to take a combination of abilities that differentiate you from the rest.  In retribution, to its detriment, there are dps abilties, which you should take all of, and then utility points, which you juggle.  Thats less true of prot and holy where you make trade offs that affect how you play (holy-ret vs holy prot for healers or Crusade vs Seals of the Pure for tanks).  For ret its Vindication vs. DSac.  Thats not really the same thing.

Seal of Command could be higher up the tree, and at that point a little more powerful (just a little!) so that its clearly good for short fights all the time.  I actually like Seal twisting and that could be used to affect other things.    I’d like to see an Improved Crusader Strike that made it a bit more exciting.  Perhaps something fun that procced off of Divine Plea for us?

I’d also be happy to accept some bubble consolidation.  Even I get confused by how many bubbles I have!!!  Consolidate Hand of Protection and Divine Shield.  Put a short cooldown on it (say 3 minutes) and make it castable on anyone.  But add a long debuff on it (say 10 minutes).  So you can use it a couple of times a fight, but not on the same person.  Then make that debuff affect Divine Protection.  And instead of the shared 30s cooldown just make it so Avenging Wrath can’t be active at the same time as the bubbles (make one cancel the other – that’d make people more careful about them!)

What do you think?
How would you solve the ret pala problem?  How would you make the class more fun without making it OP and how would you reduce survivability without making us too squishy?


Paladin bubbles beat the nerfbat: 3.3 and retribution

Tier 10 set bonuses
Paladin t10 set bonuses are on the PTR.  For ret we had:

2P – Your seals and judgements deal 10% additional damage.
4P – Your melee attacks have a 4% chance to reset the cooldown on your Divine Storm ability.

Then – well ofc they changed it.  But they changed it to this:

2P – Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to reset the cooldown on you Divine Storm ability.
4P –  Your seals and judgements deal 10% additional damage.

Heres your special instructions on how to deal with this information:

  1. Read it again.  And again.  You should keep reading it until it sinks in.
  2. Get up and do a little dance.  Wherever you might be.
  3. Start hoping they don’t get changed.  If you believe in any particular deity/being then consider prayer.

Why?  Are the overpowered?  No clue, although the 4P one sounds v v good (which I guess is why it was changed to 4P).  But they are fun!  The 4P one buffs two of our considerable sources of DPS.  Like the t9 2P bonus I suspect it will put Judgements back at the top of your priority list.  The 2P one – well I’ve never had a set bonus quite like that.  I like it.

Whats that sounds?


Divine Sacrifice and Divine Guardian
Its the nerfbat.  Ouch.  And its hit … Divine Sacrifice.  Breathe a sigh of relief – its not going to hit your dps.  Just your utility.  Divine Sacrifice has been fixed/nerfed:

  • It is now only party wide (the biggest part of this nerf).
  • The damage has been limited to 40% of the paladins health multiplied by the number of party members (confusing, but ofc that will normally work out at 200%).
  • The damage is reduced by 50% before being transferred to the paladin (not a nerf).

Its a bug fix.  But the change to make it party wide?

Ah, but being an awesome retribution paladin you popped your shield before the bat hit right?  So being protected from the nerfbat you get this:

Divine Guardian no longer just improves Divine Sacrifice a little bit.  Instead it causes all raid and party members to take 10/20% reduced damage while Divine Sacrifice is active.

So heres what you do.  Take both talents.  Pop Divine Sacrifice for a group thats going to take minimal damage.  Provide massive damage reduction for the raid.

I think working out how to make it last long enough to be useful will be the biggest problem.  It will be interesting to see the mechanics of the Icecrown fights and how you might use this.


Just keep your head down and hope no one notices ret paladins haven’t been nerfed yet!

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