Preview: Retribution Paladins and WoW 3.0
(AKA: How We Got Our DPS On)
This post will consolidate and explain the major changes to Retribution Paladins in WoW 3.0, on the basis of the most recent PTR version. Once the test realm version goes live, I will update the main post.
Retribution got buffed tremendously and in many areas. Single-target DPS, multi-target DPS, mana/health regeneration, raid utility; you name it, you got it.
In a nutshell, a 3.0 Retribution Paladin, geared and played properly, should never need to eat or drink between pulls, should never die to anything less than an elite mob intended for 3+ players (or raid mobs, naturally), can both hold aggro on and kill an effectively unlimited number of mobs, and can effectively tank any normal 5-man dungeon with decent support.
Talent and Ability Highlights
- AP to Spell Power conversion: 30% of Attack Power adds to Spell Power. At 2K AP (average at T4/badge gear level), that's 600 spell power. With the heal scaling, this also makes our heals effective again.
- All damaging abilities that previously scaled only with spell power now scale with both AP and spell power, making previously gimped spells like Consecration, Exorcism, and Hammer of Wrath extremely useful.
- The Seal/Judgement system is revamped, making it much easier to both debuff and damage your targets.
- Judgement has been removed and split into Judgement of Light, Wisdom, and Justice. Each applies the debuff as well as doing damage.
- Judgements do not consume your active Seal, and do extra damage based on the effect of that Seal.
- Judgements are now on the global cooldown.
- Judgements no longer refresh on melee hits or Crusader Strike. This minor nerf is more than made up for by the buffs.
- Sanctity Aura and Seal/Judgement of the Crusader are gone and their effect is now inherently part of all Paladin abilities.
- Retribution Aura is now the primary Retribution... er... aura (fittingly enough). In addition to receiving a buff in and of itself, it now incorporates a 2% raid-wide damage increase and a 3% raid-wide haste.
- Repentance has a 1 minute duration and affects more unit types, making it a respectable CC ability akin to a Rogue's Sap, except that it is recastable after its cooldown expires.
- Judgements now restore 20% of max mana, making it almost impossible to go OOM. They also restore mana over time to an entire raid.
- Divine Storm, the 51-point talent, is a Whirlwind that deals Holy damage and heals the Paladin and nearby party/raid members. It's unbelievably good - so good that I expect a huge nerf any time now.
- Hit rating, crit rating, and crit granted by most talents now also applies to spells, meaning that everything the Paladin does will crit at a ridiculous rate.
I'm not going to go over every talent in this post - that's been done elsewhere and I'll replace the original thread after 3.0 is released.
is the level 70 build I recommend. It has everything a Paladin could possibly need for solo play, group DPS, and raid DPS. Not having Kings hurts, but you can be sure that the Protection and Holy Paladins will be bringing that along.Gear
In 2.4, Retribution Paladins are often forced to wear gear that has Intellect and mp5 in order to avoid going OOM in long fights. This is no longer the case. Also, given the removal of Precision and the fact that hit rating now applies to both melee and spells, it's now quite reasonable for a Retadin to wear Warrior plate. Thus, in order, the most important attributes to aim for now are:
- Strength/AP: As always, Strength > AP because of the bonuses from Blessing of Kings and Divine Strength. Your ultimate goal, however, is to stack as much AP as possible.
- Crit Rating/Agility: They're about equally good; get whichever you can find.
- Stamina: Stay alive, bro.
- Hit Rating: You need 136 to cap your melee attacks and melee special attacks. You need 214 to cap your spells, but that's a very low priority. You no longer get Precision, so it all has to come from gear.
- Expertise: As valuable as hit rating up to the cap. You want around 88 or so.
- Haste Rating: It's still an open question whether haste is good for Retribution: it improves white damage and that's about it. It also lowers the GCD on spells, but that's not an issue here as the major issue in Retribution rotations is cooldowns, not the GCD.
- Armor Penetration: This applies only to white damage and Crusader Strike, but these are a significant portion of DPS, so don't ignore it. (Divine Storm, Judgements, and Seal of Command are Holy damage and ignore armor.)
The above list is about it. Intellect and mana per 5? Forget about them. Spirit? Pshaw. Spell power? Get AP, you numbskull.
Precast Seal of Command. This is now said to be somewhat better than Seal of the Martyr/Blood, but your mileage may vary. Remember, it lasts 2 minutes and isn't consumed by Judgements, so you can safely ignore it - just don't forget to recast when it expires.
In a raid or party, you may be expected to apply CC. In this case, get ready to drop Repentance on your target as soon as the pull is made. It's instant cast, which is good because it only has a 20 yard range, shorter than most other CC abilities. This will be your priority. It helps to set focus on the mob you are CC'ing because you'll need to be able to alert your party if it breaks early - remember that you can't recast it until the cooldown is finished.
Lead off with Judgement of Wisdom. This is what you will use always unless you have a Holy Paladin judging it, and in that case use Light. If you are with a Protection Paladin, have them do Light because your Wisdom will be more powerful than theirs.
This will start your autoattack (in fact, just about everything starts it, so don't worry on that count). Now hit Crusader Strike and Divine Storm (the order isn't really important). Watch out for CC'd mobs; if there are any around, skip DS. You're like a Warrior or Hunter here; you can easily break crowd control and look like a noob if you indiscriminately use Divine Storm.
If you are clear of CC, now use Consecration to add some extra DPS. Your goal is to recast Judgement, Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and optionally Consecration as soon as the respective cooldowns are up. Since Judgement is on an 8 second CD, CS is 6 seconds, DS is 10 seconds, and Consecration is 8 seconds, you'll have to pay attention.
When the mob hits 35% health, start adding Hammer of Wrath to your rotation. It's instant so it no longer resets your swing timer, and it does disgusting amounts of damage.
If you are taking damage from mob AoE or secondary abilities, you have two powerful self-healing tools: Divine Storm and The Art of War. DS will return 20% of damage done as healing to you and up to two other nearby party members. It should already be part of your rotation, so keep it up. Secondly, whenever you crit with Crusader Strike, Judgements, or Divine Storm, The Art of War will give you an instant-cast Flash of Light. With this you should be able to keep yourself fully healed through most incidental damage.
Some other tidbits: Avenging Wrath no longer has a penalty for casting it, so use it whenever your threat situation allows. With Sanctified Wrath, it allows you to penetrate damage immunities and shields, so you may wish to keep it as an ace in the hole for certain fights. Using AW no longer keeps you from using Divine Shield, so in the [likely] event you pull aggro with your insane DPS output, you can avoid getting instantaneously smashed.
More coming later.