I'm not kidding when I say there are people out there who still don't quite understand what the flux they're doing when it comes to retribution. So, here's a ret primer in FAQ format. Feel free to submit additional commonly asked questions in the comments, I'll add them and the answers as I deem fit.
Also, the title of this impossibly long, so in the future I'm referring to it as my "3.0 Ret FAQ." Hope none of you mind.
Talents and Skills
Q: How should I spec?
A: For PvE, 0/10/61. For PvP, 0/20/51 or something like that. See my level 80 spec guide for more "advanced" options. Take note - I'm not a PvP expert, so the PvP suggestion is my admittedly novice opinion.
Q: What seal should I use?
A: For PvE in raids, Seal of the Martyr or Seal of Blood, depending on your faction. Seal of Command is reserved for times when the kickback damage would kill you. For Burning Crusade veterans, an example would be Prince Malchezaar in Karazhan. For Wrath newbies, if you see your HP dropping dangerously low more than once or twice in an encounter, switch to Command and play it safe. Dead players do zero DPS.
For PvE solo or PvP, Seal of Command is your choice.
Q: What's my skill rotation?
A: Retribution doesn't have a set rotation like a rogue or a mage might. Retribution normal functioning is more akin to a shadow priest's priority skill system, keeping everything on cooldown as much as possible. Here's your priorities, with conditionals in parentheses:
Judgement > (Hammer of Wrath) > Crusader Strike > Divine Storm > Consecration > (Exorcism) > (Holy Wrath)
Hammer of Wrath is the most DPS after Judgement, hit it as soon as it comes up and keep doing so whenever possible, providing it doesn't interfere with Judgement. Judgement is a ton of damage and returns mana, keeping your resources flowing. Crusader Strike is more damage for less mana than Divine Storm, hence why it is ahead of Divine Storm. For AoE situations, this priority ranking changes, the above is for single target DPS. For multi-target, emphasize Divine Storm and Consecration.
Q: What blessings do I want?
A: Might > Kings > Wisdom > Sanctuary
Gear, Enchants, and Glyphs
Q: How should I gear?
A: Strength first and foremost. Strength increases all of your DPS abilities and scales the best out of all stats for ret paladins. Stack as much as you can. For raiding, you want to aim to stack hit as well, to about 262 rating (which will yield 8% hit, the most needed for hitting a raid-level boss), and expertise to 26 skill to eliminate dodges. Past that, crit is great, and then haste and armor penetration can come as they may. In list format:
- Hit (to 8%, or ~262 rating)
- Expertise (to 6.5%, or ~214 rating before racials - get to 26 expertise skill)
- Crit (or equal amounts of Agility)
- Armor Penetration
Q: What major glyphs should I use?
A: Glyph of Judgement and Glyph of Consecration for sure. For the 3rd major glyph spot, take your pick of Glyph of Avenging Wrath, Glyph of Hammer of Wrath, and Glyph of Crusader Strike. For further discussion on glyphs, see my post on examining retribution glyph options.
Q: What minor glyphs should I use?
A: As long as you include Glyph of Sense Undead as one of them, it doesn't matter. I recommend using Glyph of Lay on Hands in one of your other minor slots.
Q: What enchants should I get?
A: Enchant for AP. Certain enchants, like Icewalker to boots, are exceptions, but for the most part, spring for AP. AP to bracers and gloves, Arcanum of Torment, Icescale Leg Armor, etc.
Q: What about my weapon, how should I enchant that?
A: If you've got the cash, Berserking. If not, Massacre or Greater Savagery, depending on how much you're looking to spend.
Q: How should I socket my gear?
A: Meta = Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. Past that, fulfill the meta requirements with orange/purple gems that contain strength, and then stack strength. If you don't have a bunch of bold red gems, you did it wrong. As of the latest version of this FAQ, the best gems you can use are the above meta, one Sovereign Twilight Opal for the blue requirement, one Inscribed Monarch Topaz for the yellow requirement, and as many Bold Scarlet Ruby as money can buy.
If you have an Enchanted Tear, you may use the RED, Tear, and socket Bold Scarlet Ruby in the rest of your slots.
*Please note* - the meta gem recommendation above does not apply to Jewelcrafters. Their prismatic gems allow them to use a different meta to greater effect. For further discussion, see my post on meta gems.
Q: Should I stack spell power/intellect/(insert caster stat here)?
A: No. Stick to the melee DPS plate. On occasion, you can branch out into the hunter mail or the rogue leather. Don't you dare put on that elemental shaman mail. I will find you and beat the sense back into you.
Q: Should I use weapon A or weapon B?
A: Whichever one has the higher DPS, unless there is a huge difference in damage range. If the DPS is the same, pick the one with the higher top damage. For example, The Jawbone has the same DPS and a higher top damage than Death's Bite, therefore pick The Jawbone if you're choosing between the two (discounting their other stats).
Q: I'm running out of mana, what should I do?
A: First step is make sure you're using Divine Plea on every cooldown. Second step is to ensure that your Judgements are not missing by having a good amount of +hit. Third step is use a mana potion. Fourth step is to cut back on Consecration if you're spamming it. Past that, if you're still running low on mana, you're doing something wrong. Parse your damage on an encounter with Recount (I recommend Patchwerk in Naxx as a good test subject), screenshot the skill split, and seek professional help.
Q: What consumables should I use for raiding?
A: Dragonfin Filet, Flask of Endless Rage. Runic Mana Potion if you are worried about mana, Potion of Speed if you are not.
Q: Is sword/board retribution viable?
A: Not if you want to keep up with the rogues. Get a two-hander and smash something with it.
Q: Are there tools out there to help me make gear choices?
A: There sure are. Rawr and Redcape's Ret DPS Spreadsheet are here to help. You can find both in the EJ Wrath Ret Thread.
Q: How'd you get so smart, Josh?
A: By frequenting forums and think-tanks like Elitist Jerks, Maintankadin, and Retpaladin.com.
- Edited the section on skill rotation, moving Consecration up in the cycle.
- Updated the gearing section to reflect the correct and most up-to-date information regarding the hit and expertise caps.
- Added Greater Savagery to the gearing section as a budget enchant recommendation.
- Added additional commentary on meta gems and general gemming to the gearing section.
- Edited the gear section, changing the recommendations for enchants from strength to AP (since there are no WotLK strength enchants - thanks Fedaykin98 for the heads-up!).
- Edited the glyphs section, swapping the prioritization of Glyph of Consecration with Glyph of Crusader Strike. Major glyphs for ret should be Glyph of Judgement, Glyph of Consecration, and then either Glyph of Hammer of Wrath, Glyph of Crusader Strike, or Glyph of Avenging Wrath.
- Edited the gems section to account for the inclusion of Inscribed Monarch Topaz and Sovereign Twilight Opal in the game.
- Edited the weapon enchant section to account for the update to Berserking (now 5% armor reduction instead of 25%).
- Added Enchanted Tear to the gems section.
- Added additional clarification for glyphs.
- Added additional clarification for weapon choices.
- Clarified language regarding Hammer of Wrath prioritization.
- Made changes to the gem section to account for Enchanted Tear's prismatic nature.