Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The All-Consuming Shopping List

You wanna raid Retribution? That's dandy. You know what consumables you should be using? If you answered anything other than "yes Josh, I'm smarter than you and know all there is to know about Retribution consumable usage," then read on.

Raiding guilds will often request (or require) its members to arrive at raids with the gear shiny and polished after being repaired at the armorsmith, and with a utility belt full of potions, elixirs, flasks, and other fun one-use items that are the main cause of bank account shrinkage after epic mounts and multi-profession powerleveling. Being a physical DPS class with a mana bar, we Retribution Paladins have to be mindful of both our damage output and our mana consumption, as these two things usually have an inverse relationship. Consumable choices get tricky, and plentiful. Should you use a Super Mana Potion or a Fel Mana Potion? Or a Super Mana Potion or a Haste Potion? Elixir of Mastery, Elixir of Greater Agility, or Elixir of Major Strength? These are all choices to make. Lucky for you, I'm going to compile a list of all the consumables you should seek out and keep on hand, including options for which ones you should choose when there isn't a clear cut option and why. Here goes nothin'.

Flask of Relentless Assault
No contest here, 120 AP is the only flask buff you should consider for most content, Blade's Edge flasks for Gruul's Lair being the only exception. If your guild offers Mark of the Illidari to members for flasks, spring for the Shattrath Flask of Relentless Assault version.

Battle - Elixir of Major Strength, or Fel Strength Elixir
Guardian - Elixir of Major Mageblood
If you're doing farm content and don't anticipate dying too much, using elixirs is usually cheaper than flask'ing up. From a damage-per-second standpoint, Fel Strength with Mageblood are the best available. Alternatively you could use Elixir of Major Fortitude for a Guardian elixir, but Mageblood gives you a tiny bump to your mana regen, which in the end lets you use Consecration at either a higher rank or more often, depending on how you play. As for Battle elixirs, you get the most bang for your buck out of any strength elixir, don't settle for agility/crit from Elixir of Major Agility. Fel Strength has a drawback in that it decreased your HP, however, so use with caution.

Roasted Clefthoof
Spicy Hot Talbuk
Listed in order of preference. If you're short of the hit cap (95 hit rating with Precision) by an appreciable amount, Spicy Hot Talbuk can give you that little extra push to get you capped. Otherwise, Roasted Clefthoof is the way to go. It is superior to Ravager Dog because of Divine Strength and Blessing of Kings scaling Paladin strength totals. If at all possible, achieve the hit cap through gear and chow down on the Clefthoof, it is the better option. (Why? Because if you die mid-combat and get resurrected, you'll be without your food buff. If you depend on your food buff to hit cap, you'll end up swinging and missing after getting res'ed. Otherwise, unless you are perfectly at 75 hit rating, you're wasting itemization points by going over the hit cap. You can never have enough strength, on the other hand.)

Haste Potion
Fel Mana Potion
Super Mana Potion
Three choices, all valid. If you're an alchemist, definitely use Fel Mana Potions or Super Mana Potions while wearing your [Assassin's Alchemist Stone]. Which one? Depends on your trinkets. Fel Mana Potions are generally more effective, as they recoup more mana than a Super Mana Potion and the -spell damage debuff has a very slight effect on your abilities. Operating at negative spell damage will decrease your damage by a small amount, but the increased mana gain will allow you to use Consecration at a higher rank or more often. Plus, Fel Mana Potion replenish your mana over time, so you can chug one earlier in the fight before you've achieved the full potion deficit and therefore have the cooldown up sooner. If you've got the bank to support them, have excellent mana management skills, and are not an Alchemist, Haste Potions alternating with mana potions give you the best of both worlds. Oh, and bring Super Healing Potions too. Remember the first commandment of Ret DPS - don't die. (Side note: I highly suggest getting Mana Potion Injectors and Health Potion Injectors made so you don't end up with an entire bag full of just potions. They condense 4 stacks of Super Mana Potions or Super Healing Potions down into 1.)

Other Useful Shtuff
Dark Rune / Demonic Rune
Heavy Netherweave Bandage
Dark and Demonic Runes are basically a Warlock Life Tap in item form. Being that you've got a mana bar and you need mana to operate at full capacity, bringing runes is always a good idea. User beware: they share a cooldown with Warlock Healthstones, and cause you damage. Do not use if you are at risk of dying to splash/raid damage. As for bandages, no raider should ever be without bandages. If you're trapped away from a boss, or out of mana, or whatever, and you're hurt, bandage yourself. The healers often have other things to think about, like "How did the tank just take a 10k spike!? OMG GOTTA HEAL GOTTA HEAL AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHH..."

Scroll of Strength V
Not normally considered by many to be a raid consumable, certain scrolls can be used while in a raid and not conflict with raid buffs. Scrolls of Intellect and Stamina generally cannot be used in a raid, as they provide the same buff as Power Word: Fortitude and Arcane Brilliance. However, Scrolls of Strength, Protection, and Agility, to name three, can all be used in addition to raid buffs and other consumables. That said, Scroll of Strength V gives you as a Ret Paladin a direct strength boost, and therefore a nice bump to your total AP.

Weapon Buffs
Adamantite Sharpening Stone
Adamantite Weightstone
These should almost never be applicable, as you should be grouped with a Shaman for Windfury Totem. Please be aware, you should not use these unless you get no Windfury Totem, as Windfury does not get applied to weapons that have a poison/stone buff/oil applied to them. However, in the event that you aren't given a Shaman who is gracious enough to drop Windfury Totem for you, a weapon buff is called for. The increased base damage from the above stones outweigh the mana return from a Superior Mana Oil in overall damage output potential, and are definitely more damage than a Superior Wizard Oil. For sharp weapons (for example, swords) use the sharpening stone, and for blunt weapons (for example, maces) use the weightstone.


Did I miss anything? Flask/Elixir, potions, food, miscellaneous items, weapon buffs... nope, I think that's it. Go forth and fork your gold over to the herbalists and alchemists, farm Scholomance/Jaedenar, and contribute to the extinction of the Clefthoof species - pull out all the stops and GET BUFFED!

EDIT 6/4/08 - changed the Potions section. Fel Mana Potion's debuff putting spell damage totals into the negative will decrease the effectiveness of many Paladin abilities, but not significantly so.
EDIT 6/10/08 - changed the Elixirs section. Added Fel Strength Elixirs.


Suicidal Zebra said...

One Elixir of situational use (but situations which tend to crop up a lot in BT, MH and Sunwell) is the Elixir of Demonslaying, which increases your AP against Demons by 265. The downsides of course are it is very situational, requires somewhat fiddly reagents (Gromsblood and Ghost Mushroom), and the duration is only 5 minutes, but if you are going all-out on a DPS-race Demon Fight (Brut?) it does represent a pretty bit boost.

Also, it makes those guilds low-level Alchemy Alts feel wanted! :)

Josh said...

I was going for a general purpose list of core consumables to have on hand, and Elixir of Demonslaying are a bit impractical for everyday use with its 5 minute duration and old-world mat cost. You are absolutely right, however - Elixir of Demonslaying are great for DPS races against a demon. I'll most likely be using some for Brutallus - but in general, it's not something a good portion of the Ret Paladin community will be using often.

Suicidal Zebra said...

Fair enough, I thought that it may not be suitable for an general purpose guide such as this but I wanted to mention it on the off-chance that it had slipped your mind.

Looking at Wowwiki's Elixir listing, thank goodness we've moved past the bad old days of encounters being balanced around buffing up to the eye-balls with consumables. *shudder*

Josh said...

Indeed, forcing choices in consumable usage by instituting the Guardian/Battle elixir limitations and tuning encounters down a little was a huge boon to raider bank accounts worldwide.

daniel said...

A few things that are worth mentioning is that fel strength elixir provies more AP than elixir of major strength even considering kings and divine strength.

Also potions I weave mana pots and Insane Strength Potion Especially handy when popping wings.

Josh said...

Fel Strength Elixir are definitely worth noting, I shall add them to the list. Insane Strength Potions, however, are a straight DPS downgrade from Haste Potions in most every situation. If you're going to use a non-mana potion to increase DPS, it should be Haste.