Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Talent Show: Speccing Your Ret Paladin, Part II

Last time we went through the Retribution tree and evaluated each talent, going over what sorts of content each talent is designed for. As I mentioned however, going 61 deep into the Ret tree is never a good idea. Let's look at some of the complementary talents from the Holy and Protection trees.

Holy Tree
Tier 1
Divine Strength - increases your total strength by up to 10%. That's a lot of extra attack power! With this talent, a Ret Paladin's strength becomes his best scaling statistic - he'll get 2.3 attack power for every 1 point of strength he has. That quickly adds up. This is a must-have for raiding and for instance groups, but ends up a sacrificial lamb in most PvP builds despite it being an excellent talent. RAID (5/5); PvP (4/5); SOLO (4/5)

Divine Intellect - increases your total intellect by up to 10%. This talent is aimed at the healadins, a Ret Paladin doesn't have much intellect on his gear. 10% of nothing is nothing, I wouldn't invest here. RAID (1/5); PvP (1/5); SOLO (2/5)

Tier 2
Spiritual Focus - grants up to 70% chance to reduce pushback on healing spells. Very useful in small-scale PvP (2v2 arenas, BG's) where you're likely not to have a healer backing you up. Combine this with Concentration Aura and you can cast a heal in anyone's face... just as long as they don't know where their kick or pummel button is. For raiding, it's not quite as useful, since most often when you heal in a raid you won't have something directly beating on you. RAID (2/5); PvP (3/5); SOLO (3/5)

Improved Seal of Righteousness - increases your Judgment and Seal of Righteousness damage. See: Seal of Command. Don't take this. I will hurt you, I mean it. RAID (1/5); PvP (1/5); SOLO (1/5)

Tier 3
Healing Light - increases your healing on Holy Light and Flash of Light by up to 12%. Semi-useful when you need to heal, but as a Ret Paladin you're focusing more on a) killing the opponent before needing to heal, or b) finding ways to prevent the damage before it happens. Useful if you have the points for it, but you usually won't find yourself this far down the tree. RAID (2/5); PvP (3/5); SOLO (3/5)

Aura Mastery - increases your aura range by 10 yards. Nothin' special, simple range extension. Most of the time you'll want to be close to your party-mates though. RAID (2/5); PvP (2/5); SOLO (1/5)

Improved Lay on Hands - I don't know about you guys, but I use Lay on Hands once a raid week on average. It's a tank-saver and can prevent wipes. But, it poofs your mana pool, and if your healers aren't on the ball and you need to consider using LoH often, you gotta fix the healing. It's aight, I guess. RAID (3/5); PvP (1/5); SOLO (1/5)

Unyielding Faith - up to 10% disorient/fear resist. Fear, Howl of Terror, Intimidating Shout, Psychic Scream, Scatter Shot, Blind... these ring any bells? If you thought "oh god, make the warlock stop fearing me!" last time you were in a BG or arena, here's a talent that you'll like. 10% resist may not sound like much, but it's something. And something is better than nothing. For raiding, it comes up in very select fights, but it still gets put to use if you fit it into the build. RAID (3/5); PvP (4/5); SOLO (2/5)

Tier 4
Illumination - returns mana when you crit heal. You don't have much spell crit in Ret gear, and you won't be healing often enough to make use of this talent. 5 points of waste for a Ret Paladin, skip it! RAID (1/5); PvP (2/5); SOLO (2/5)

Improved Blessing of Wisdom - increases the mana return from Blessing of Wisdom. A solo player might find use for this, since he would probably run Wisdom when he's grinding, but in most other situations, you'll have a different blessing up. As for raiding, you'll hopefully have a Holy Paladin come with this talent to cover BoW on the raid, and for PvP, you switch blessings so often between Freedom and Might/Kings you won't find BoW on you for very long. RAID (2/5); PvP (1/5); SOLO (3/5)

If you go any farther in the Holy tree, you won't have 41 points for Crusader Strike, so going lower would illicit a negative response from your's truly. Don't do it.

Protection Tree
Tier 1
Improved Devotion Aura - increases the armor bonus from Devo Aura. If you're running anything besides Sanctity or a resistance aura for any extended period, something went terribly wrong somewhere along the line. RAID (1/5); PvP (1/5); SOLO (1/5)

Redoubt - grants extra block chance when you get hit. Being that you're a Ret Paladin, most of the time you'll have a 2H equipped. There is a time now and again that you'll swap to a sword & shield to tank something, or whip out the healing mace to throw a heal. If you're going to go down the Prot tree to some of the other useful talents, this is your entry card. RAID (2/5); PvP (2/5); SOLO (2/5)

Tier 2
Precision - increases both melee and spell hit by 1/2/3%. USEFUL. TAKE. GOOD. YUMMY. Grabbing 3% melee hit from this talent frees your itemization points on other gear for more attack power, more crit, and other fun stats. Plus, the spell hit helps with your Judgment of Command being resisted less. If you're in the Prot tree, you're coming for this. RAID (5/5); PvP (3/5); SOLO (3/5)

Guardian's Favor - decreases Blessing of Protection cooldown and increases Blessing of Freedom cooldown. I use both those blessings all the time in PvP, and situationally otherwise. Decent use of points to get to the next tier or just if you have leftovers. RAID (3/5); PvP (5/5); SOLO (1/5)

Toughness - increases armor from gear by up to 10%. This is more of a tanking talent. It'll help in PvP a tiny bit against Rogues, Warriors, Hunters, Enhancment Shamans, and other Ret Paladins, but there are other ways to increase your survivability (Improved Righteous Fury being one, coming up next tier). RAID (2/5); PvP (3/5); SOLO (3/5)

Tier 3
Blessing of Kings - grants the target 10% increase to all major stats. Arguably most powerful buff in the game. It's one of the reasons Paladins go down the Prot tree at all. Can't hurt to take it if you've got points. However, it's usually not the best blessing for any given situation. Groups generally want Salvation/Wisdom before Kings, PvP involves so much blessing switching between Freedom and Sacrifice that Kings won't stick, and solo you might want to run Wisdom. Worth a point, but buyer beware. RAID (3/5); PvP (4/5); SOLO (3/5)

Improved Righteous Fury - increases threat bonus from Righteous Fury and decreases incoming damage by up to 6%. We're in the Protection tree, no wonder we'll see tanking talents! BUT, this has application for Ret PvP. When entering a BG or an arena, throwing Righteous Fury up gives you an extra buff that the opponent must dispel to get to other vital buffs, and believe me, Priests and Shamans are constantly looking to dispel/purge your buffs. The 6% damage reduction is a welcome bonus to a buff you're probably casting on yourself anyway for PvP! For raiding, having RF active cancels Fanaticism's threat reduction, which is all ready bad times. Skip. RAID (1/5); PvP (5/5); SOLO (4/5)

Shield Specialization - increases the amount blocked by your shield by 10/20/30%. You won't have a shield equipped for any appreciable amount of time as Ret. Skip! RAID (1/5); PvP (2/5); SOLO (1/5)

Anticipation - increases your defense skill by up to 20. That's skill, not rating. Great for tanking, only "all right" for Ret. Most likely skipped for something else. RAID (1/5); PvP (1/5); SOLO (2/5)

Tier 4
Stoicism - increases chance to resist purge/dispel and stuns. Those are effects you run into a lot in PvP, but not so much in PvE. Guess what I'm going to recommend for this talent! RAID (1/5); PvP (5/5); SOLO (1/5)

Improved Hammer of Justice - decreases Hammer of Justice cooldown by up to 15 seconds. With the 4-piece PvP set bonus, you can get HoJ down to 35 seconds - nearly half its base cooldown. Great for PvP, decent for solo'ing and 5-mans, but generally a waste in raids where hardly anything is vulnerable to stun effects. RAID (1/5); PvP (5/5); SOLO (4/5)

Improved Concentration Aura - increases the pushback negation of Conc Aura by 5/10/15% and decreases silence duration. Great Holy talent, since they're constantly casting and silence kills them. Not so great Ret talent, since you're almost never running Conc Aura for very long. RAID (1/5); PvP (2/5); SOLO (1/5)

That ends the Prot tree romp, since you can't go farther without sacrificing Crusader Strike.

Next time, we'll walk through some of the popular talent combinations and examine what content they're good for.

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