Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tips 'n Tricks for Ret Raiding

All right, you're a Paladin. You've got your gear in order, your talents set, and the raid is bringing you along as a Retribution-dude-guy-man. What do you do? Well, you certainly don't grow wings and fly straight at the first monster you see, light blazin' and swinging furiously. That's a recipe for dirt-nappin'. Ret Paladins may be pretty simplistic to play, but you need to understand basic melee combat mechanics and know your tank's and your limitations. Here's a few things to do and to keep in mind as you raid Ret. If you knew 'em all ready, good! You're well on your way. If you didn't, try these things out - you'll notice yourself dying less and damaging things more.

  • Get a threat meter and watch it intently. I recommend Omen, an Ace2 add-on that tracks threat on multiple monsters at once and is fairly accurate and well-maintained.

  • Make macros. "But Josh, I don't know the syntax for macro writing!" Fear not, fair reader, for there are others out there who have the know-how. If you simply type "paladin macros" into Google, it'll come up with a gaggle of sites to check. But, for your viewing pleasure, my next post will be a listing of useful macros a Ret Paladin would use in a raid.

  • Timing is everything. If you're in a group with a Shaman (go go Windfury Totem!), they have a wonderful spell on a 10-minute cooldown called Heroism (or Bloodlust for you crazy Horde Paladins). It increases your attack speed by a percentage for something like 45 seconds. You have a cooldown too - Avenging Wrath. It gives you wings! - and it gives you 30% increased damage for about 20 seconds. Increasing your damage by 30% while you're swing 30% faster is a multiplicative increase, you'll get more bang for your buck if you can "pop your wings" while under the effects of Heroism. Work it out with your raid leader or party Shaman so you know when the Heroisms are going to be used.

  • Smoke 'em if you got 'em. If you have use-effect trinkets, use them early and use them often. If a fight is going to be over 6 minutes long, that's enough time to use a 2-minute cooldown trinket 3 times if you start using it early. Sometimes this will clash with the timing on Heroism - if it does, save your use-effect for Heroism/Avenging Wrath and then use at-will after. However, if you can use it and then have it cooled down for when those abilities will be used later on, use it!

  • Key bind everything. Mashing a button on your keyboard is quicker than mousing over an ability and clicking it, and generally more accurate. Once you have played with your abilities keybound for a while, you'll build muscle memory and will automatically reach for certain keys in certain situations. It also frees your mouse for use in movement and evaluating your surroundings with free-look camera spinning. You'll be quicker, faster, stronger, and a well-tuned killing machine. Being quicker on the draw is always a good thing, and speed kills. Well, I didn't mean that kind of speed, but that's true too - drugs are bad, m'kay?

  • Time-on-target is important. As soon as your tank has threat established, get crackin'. The earlier on in the fight you start attacking, the earlier the boss dies - very simple. This is especially true for heavy movement fights like The Lurker Below, Leotheras the Blind, Al'ar (phase 2), Gruul, Illidari Council, etc. If you get to the target 1-2 seconds sooner, then you might get an extra attack or two that you wouldn't have seen normally. Now, one attack out of two hundred over 5 minutes doesn't sound like much, but for a fight like Illidari Council where you're constantly moving away from the target to avoid AoE damage, getting that extra attack in means a lot since you'll be doing so multiple times. This is one of the reasons I highly recommend Pursuit of Justice for Retribution builds.

  • Push the envelope. Don't play safe with your mana, constantly push out damage abilities and throw everything you got behind your attacks. There are no awards at the end of the fight for who has the most mana left. In that regard, Crusader Strike every time you can, use your Judgement ability every time you can as long as it doesn't delay Crusader Strike, and in times where both Judgement and Crusader Strike are on cooldown for 1.5 seconds or more, use Consecration and/or Exorcism. If you're running out of mana, downrank your Consecration. If you're still running dry, cut Exorcism and scale back to rank 1 Command - but keep judging it. Keep mana potions on hand and shotgun those suckers, a Super Mana Potion can restore a third to a half of a Ret Paladin's mana pool, and a Fel Mana Potion even more.

  • Constantly evaluate your surroundings. If you see danger, don't be afraid to move/Divine Shield/stop attacking and run like a ninny. If you end up dying, you won't do any damage. If you avoid the danger instead, you lose 10 seconds of damage and get to keep chugging after it abates. Despite everything I've said 'til now, it is never acceptable to endager yourself or others in the name of increased damage. Dying is unacceptable, especially when it's avoidable.

Phew! Maybe I should compile all these tips and others I can find and make a "Rulebook for Ret Paladins." Just so this stuff is all in one place in a nice, neat, orderly fashion.


Suicidal Zebra said...

Yet again, great list. I was straining my brain for things to add (as is my want) and couldn't think of anything that would fit :). Can I suggest that you take a leaf out of Rohan's book (on his Blessing of Kings blog) and place these FAQ-type posts in a quick lookup list on your sidebar. That way it becomes easy for everyone to find the technical entries, and for you to update them if/when you find it necessary.

Also it may be a good idea to expand the margins of your blog somewhat so it doesn't look quite so much as a 'wall of text'. I don't find it too bad, but I don't mind excessively verbose blog entries which are actually useful ;).

Keep up the good work!

Josh said...

I would love to expand the margins, but I'm an HTML noob and don't know how. It's on my list of things to do. If you know how to do so, I'd love to hear about it!

As for the "must-read" list, I've been considering doing something like that, but my blog is only a month old, I thought it pretentious to make such a list. Perhaps I will anyway.

Josh said...

Turns out pushing the margins out is simpler than I thought. How does it look now?

Suicidal Zebra said...

Don't think of it as being pretentious, they'd just be a few quicklinks to useful (rather than open-ended debate or frivolous) posts. It doesn't really matter when you write the posts or how old your blog is, but instead is a reflection of where those blog entries fit into the wider context of the game.

As for margins, I'm also an HTLM n00b but I've been playing about with the layout on the 'edit HTML' tab. Looking at the Source of your page I think you want the 'outer-wrapper', and change the width from 660 to something like 800 (this is what I'm using on mine) and this relates to the width of Main+Sidebar. Then change the 'main-wrapper' width to around 550px.

Have a play around and see what's best for you. I quite link mine, but your mileage may vary.

Suicidal Zebra said...

Eeek, you changed things as I was writing :D.

It looks okay, perhaps it's a little wide and there is too much of a gap between the main body and the sidebar. You could also try narrowing the Header (where you've written Eye For An Eye) a little, or if you're feeling adventurous perhaps even stick an image in there.

Also, when you edit it's well worth backing up the code, just in case you accidentally delete something important (like that crucial img tag).

Josh said...

Okay, made it more friendly for 800x600 viewers. I had set it for 1024 wrapper, since I most often view at 1024x768.

I'd love to use an image header, but I haven't seen an image that I like, nor do I have the Photoshop ability to create one that fits. That's my next goal for general formatting.

As always, the comments and suggestions are much appreciated, Zebra.

Rohan said...

I think if you hit Enter after each list item, it should put a blank line after the text. Or put a couple of <br/> tags.

That would go a long way to breaking up the wall of text.

Alex - aka Firelight said...

Nice post, 1 thing many people do you still think use an 800x600 setup...

Its not the dark ages any more!

Josh said...

and carriage returns a few times, Blogger keeps eating the carriage returns and putting in 2-3 lines of space for
tags. I'll play with it some more.

Eye for an Eye is an equal opportunity blog, and does not discriminate against users with inferior desktop resolution!