Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ret FAQ for 3.3

Greetings once more, interwebs. I come bearing a revised FAQ for you. Please note - I will likely discontinue updates of E4AE's version of the guide with this version, and instead maintain my guide on Maintankadin's site (found under Guides > Dual Specs > Ret PvE, or something to that effect).

It is also a possibility that I will blow up E4AE, as I might need to use my Blogger account for business-related things - if you're curious, hit me via e-mail.

Without further ado...

--------------------------------

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 PvE 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.
What follows is up to date as of patch 3.3. To find out what I've changed since the original posting, please refer to the change log at the end of this post.
To jump to a specific section or question, click the appropriate link below.

I. Talents and Skills


II. Gear, Enchants, and Glyphs

III. Miscellaneous Questions





I. Talents and Skills

Q: How should I spec?
A: For PvE, anything resembling 5/5/52 is a good start. Here's some specs to choose from:
5/11/55
5/10/56
11/5/55
I personally run with 11/5/55 . Please note that my spec examples have Improved Blessing of Might - Vindication is also a valid choice to provide the group with an AP debuff. Communicate with your raid team to cover the buff/debuff that isn't currently accounted for.

Q: What seal should I use?
A: For PvE in raids, Seal of Vengeance or Seal of Corruption, depending on your faction. Use Seal of Command or Seal of Righteousness in times when the mobs you're attacking won't live long enough for the seal's DoT debuff to stack up to 5 or in AoE situations.

Q: What Judgement should I use?
A: If you're the only paladin, it's a judgment call (hardy har har). Caster-heavy groups get JoWisdom and healing-intense fights get JoLight, choose based on the group composition and encounter. When in doubt, Wisdom it out.

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 skill priority system, keeping everything on cooldown as much as possible. Here's your basic priorities, with conditionals in parentheses:

Crusader Strike > (Hammer of Wrath) > Judgement > Divine Storm > Consecration > Exorcism > (Holy Wrath)

With starter equipment, Crusader Strike is your highest DPS and DPM move, as it is relatively inexpensive, has a short cooldown, and procs both your seal and Righteous Vengeance. Use it liberally. Judgement is a big source of damage and returns mana through JotW, so keep that high in your priorities as well. For AoE situations, this priority ranking changes, the above is for single target stationary DPS. For multi-target, emphasize Divine Storm and Consecration while using Seal of Righteousness or Command. For movement intense fights, drop Consecration behind Exorcism.

Please note that these aren't hard and fast rules. Pick which skills you use when intelligently and don't just blindly hit whatever's higher on this list. Your goal is to use as many of these abilities as you can in the time allowed (the boss's life span).

Once you have tier 9 gear, Judgement becomes your top priority:

Judgement > Crusader Strike > (Hammer of Wrath) > Divine Storm > Consecration > Exorcism

Critting DoT's is great, and big Judgements are awesome. That's why Judgement moves to the forefront.


With the 2 piece tier 10 bonus, however, the priority changes again:


Judgement > Divine Storm > Crusader Strike > (Hammer of Wrath) > Consecration > Exorcism


The 2pc t10 bonus periodically resets your Divine Storm cooldown, which lets you cast it more often and reduces its effective cooldown. As DS can proc Seal of Vengeance, hits harder than CS, and can proc Righteous Vengeance, it gets moved up in the rotation. Judgement remains at the front of the line because at this gear level, Judgements are enormous.


In short, use your highest damage-per-global-cooldown abilities first, which changes based on your gear level and set bonuses.

Q: What blessings do I want?
A: Might > Kings > Wisdom > Sanctuary

Back to top


II. Gear, Enchants, and Glyphs


Q: What stats should I gear for?
A: For raiding, you want to aim to stack hit to about 263 hit rating (which will yield 8% hit, the most needed for hitting a raid-level boss) and lots of strength. Past that, stack to about 214 expertise rating (which will yield 26 skill, or 6.5% dodge reduction) and then crit, haste, and armor penetration can come as they may. In list format:

1. Hit (to 8%, or ~263 rating)
2. Strength
3. Expertise (to 6.5%, or ~214 rating before racials - get to 26 expertise skill)
4. Crit
5. Agility
6. Haste
7. Armor Penetration

Please note that while haste is still ranked fairly low, it is by no means useless. Haste, crit, and agility are about equal, crit just barely edges out haste. Don't shun the haste gear. Also, the value of Armor Penetration scales upward as you stack it - the more you've got, the better it is.
Also note, if you are Alliance and always run with a Draenei, you can get away with 230 hit rating, as you will have the Heroic Presence buff aura.

Go forth and gear up.

Q: What major glyphs should I use?
A: Glyph of Judgement, Glyph of Consecration, Glyph of Seal of Vengeance, and Glyph of Exorcism are your choices. My recommendation is the following:

1. Glyph of Judgement
2. Glyph of Consecration
3. Glyph of Seal of Vengeance if you are not expertise dodge-capped (26 skill), Glyph of Exorcism if you are

If you can get any significant amount of Expertise out of the Glyph of SoV, I recommend using it.

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 hit if available for the slot and you're not hit capped. Otherwise, enchant for AP. Want it broken down by armor slot? Here ya go -
Head: Arcanum of Torment
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Axe
Back: Major Agility
Chest: Powerful Stats
Wrists: Greater Assault
Hands: Precision if not hit capped, Crusher if you are
Legs: Icescale Leg Armor
Feet: Icewalker if not hit capped, Greater Assault if you are
Please note, profession-only gear enhancements are not in the scope of this FAQ. Research your particular professions benefits and adjust your gear accordingly.

Q: What about my weapon, how should I enchant that?
A: Berserking.

Q: How should I socket my gear?
A: Meta = Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. Make sure you fulfill your meta requirements. Gem to the melee hit cap if necessary (~263 hit rating for general raiding), then stack pure strength 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).

Back to top


III. Miscellaneous Questions


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 and Ignis the Furnace Master in Ulduar as good test subjects), 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 can help.

Q: How'd you get so smart, Baelor?
A: By frequenting forums and think-tanks like Elitist Jerks, Maintankadin, and Retpaladin.com.

Back to top

Change Log
12/29/09 - Altered rotation section to account for 3.3 changes and tier 10 set bonus.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The 3.2 Ret FAQ

Hello, interwebs.

I have a new version of the Ret FAQ for you. Before we get into it, some caveats:
1. No, this post does not mean I'm posting on a regular basis again.
2. No, I will not be posting on a regular basis in the future.
3. This update to the FAQ was done because it might be published in other places and because I haven't seen anything phenomenal come about to replace it yet.
4. I wanted to see if the HTML coding for in-post bookmarking and tagging was done correctly.
5. I want some community input to make sure I didn't screw anything up.

Without further adieu, the 3.2 Ret FAQ...

---------------------------------------

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 PvE 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.

What follows is up to date as of 9/1/09. To find out what I've changed since the original posting, please refer to the change log at the end of this post.

To jump to a specific section or question, click the appropriate link below.

I. Talents and Skills
How should I spec?
What seal should I use?
What Judgement should I use?
What's my skill rotation?
What blessings do I want?

II. Gear, Enchants, and Glyphs
What stats should I gear for?
What major glyphs should I use?
What minor glyphs should I use?
What enchants should I get?
How should I enchant my weapon?
How should I socket my gear?
Should I stack spell power/intellect?
Should I use weapon A or weapon B?

III. Miscellaneous Questions
I'm running out of mana, what should I do?
What consumables should I use for raiding?
Is sword/board retribution viable?
Are there tools out there to help me make gear choices?
How'd you get so smart, Josh?

----------------------

I. Talents and Skills
Q: How should I spec?
A: For PvE, anything resembling 5/5/52 is a good start. Here's some specs to choose from:
5/11/55
5/10/56
11/5/55
I personally run with 5/12/54. Please note that my spec examples have Improved Blessing of Might - Vindication is also a valid choice to provide the group with an AP debuff. Communicate with your raid team to cover the buff/debuff that isn't currently accounted for.

Q: What seal should I use?
A: For PvE in raids, Seal of Vengeance or Seal of Corruption, depending on your faction. Use Seal of Command or Seal of Righteousness in times when the mobs you're attacking won't live long enough for the seal's DoT debuff to stack up to 5 or in AoE situations.

Q: What Judgement should I use?
A: If you're the only paladin, it's a judgment call (hardy har har). Caster-heavy groups get JoWisdom and healing-intense fights get JoLight, choose based on the group composition and encounter. When in doubt, Wisdom it out.

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 skill priority system, keeping everything on cooldown as much as possible. Here's your priorities, with conditionals in parentheses:

Crusader Strike > (Hammer of Wrath) > Judgement > Divine Storm > Consecration > Exorcism > (Holy Wrath)

Crusader Strike in 3.2 is your highest DPS and DPM move, as it is relatively inexpensive, has a short cooldown, and procs both your seal and Righteous Vengeance. Use it liberally. Judgement is a big source of damage and returns mana through JotW, so keep that high in your priorities as well. For AoE situations, this priority ranking changes, the above is for single target stationary DPS. For multi-target, emphasize Divine Storm and Consecration while using Seal of Righteousness or Command. For movement intense fights, drop Consecration behind Exorcism.

Please note that these aren't hard and fast rules. Pick which skills you use when intelligently and don't just blindly hit whatever's higher on this list. Your goal is to use as many of these abilities as you can in the time allowed (the boss's life span).

Q: What blessings do I want?
A: Might > Kings > Wisdom > Sanctuary

Back to top

II. Gear, Enchants, and Glyphs
Q: What stats should I gear for?
A: For raiding, you want to aim to stack hit to about 263 hit rating (which will yield 8% hit, the most needed for hitting a raid-level boss) and lots of strength. Past that, stack to about 214 expertise rating (which will yield 26 skill, or 6.5% dodge reduction) and then crit, haste, and armor penetration can come as they may. In list format:

1. Hit (to 8%, or ~263 rating)
2. Strength
3. Expertise (to 6.5%, or ~214 rating before racials - get to 26 expertise skill)
4. Crit
5. Agility
6. Haste
7. Armor Penetration
8. Attack Power

Please note that while haste is still ranked fairly low, it is by no means useless. Haste, crit, and agility are about equal, crit just barely edges out haste. Don't shun the haste gear. Also, the value of Armor Penetration scales upward as you stack it - the more you've got, the better it is.
Also note, if you are Alliance and always run with a Draenei, you can get away with 230 hit rating, as you will have the Heroic Presence buff aura.

Go forth and gear up.

Q: What major glyphs should I use?
A: Glyph of Judgement, Glyph of Consecration, Glyph of Seal of Vengeance, and Glyph of Exorcism are your choices. My recommendation is the following:

1. Glyph of Judgement
2. Glyph of Consecration
3. Glyph of Seal of Vengeance if you are not expertise dodge-capped (26 skill), Glyph of Exorcism if you are

If can get any significant amount of Expertise out of the Glyph of SoV, I recommend using it.

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 hit if available for the slot and you're not hit capped. Otherwise, enchant for AP. Want it broken down by armor slot? Here ya go -
Head: Arcanum of Torment
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Axe
Back: Major Agility
Chest: Powerful Stats
Wrists: Greater Assault
Hands: Precision if not hit capped, Crusher if you are
Legs: Icescale Leg Armor
Feet: Icewalker if not hit capped, Greater Assault if you are
Please note, profession-only gear enhancements are not in the scope of this FAQ. Research your particular professions benefits and adjust your gear accordingly.

Q: What about my weapon, how should I enchant that?
A: Berserking.

Q: How should I socket my gear?
A: Meta = Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. Make sure you fulfill your meta requirements.
Gem to the melee hit cap if necessary (~263 hit rating for general raiding), then stack pure strength 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).

Back to top

III. Miscellaneous Questions
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 and Ignis the Furnace Master in Ulduar as good test subjects), 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 can help.

Q: How'd you get so smart, Josh?
A: By frequenting forums and think-tanks like Elitist Jerks, Maintankadin, and Retpaladin.com.

Back to top

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stick A Fork In Me

If you haven't noticed, I haven't been updating very much. This isn't because I don't like you, or because I stopped playing - neither of which are true. It's simply because I haven't been keeping up with the times. I don't lead PUG raids very much anymore, nor do I raid 25-mans with my guild, nor do I get to instance much at all. And I'm not a PvP fanatic, so I haven't arena'ed a lick. I've been logging in sporadically, leveling a hunter alt or trying/failing to get a guild PUG raid going. I'm most often found online when there's a scheduled 10-man raid I'm going to, which is once a month or so, on average. (In a related note, has anyone seen Siha? She hasn't posted in over a month, I'm starting to get worried.)

That said, I can't fill the purpose of this blog anymore. I originally used the blog as a platform to lobby for the fair and ethical treatment of retribution raiders. With each successive patch and update, Blizzard brought retribution damage and contribution in line with other DPS'ers, making the need for a ret-lobbyist disappear. Then I began gearing it toward educating the masses about how to raid as retribution, so as to minimize the teeming masses of retnoobs that sully my/our good names. My increased responsibility at work combined with the master's program I'm in killed my ability to raid regularly and my ability to keep up with the latest theorycraft on EJ and elsewhere. Since I'm not raiding and I'm not scouring the forums, I'm just another uninformed ret paladin now. I can't educate or theorycraft with the authority I used to. I can't fulfill this blog's purpose to the standards that I've set for myself.

So, here we are, at the crossroads. Do I try to reinvent the blog into a "this is what I've been doing" sort of blog? Or do I try to scour the forums once more and become an armchair ret theorycrafter (since raiding regularly is out of the question)? Or, the third option, do I stop posting regularly and just bow out of the blogging scene, like several others have done recently.

I've never been one to like the personal chronicle-type blogs, and I don't have the time or the inclination to theorycraft without practicing what I preach, so option three is what needs to happen. Fear not, gentle readers, I have places to send you for your retribution needs:

  • Ferraro knows her shiznit, and she is an internal tester for Blizzard, so she doesn't just think things, she knows things. she may or may not be real. Either way, good guides on Paladin Schmaladin.
  • Suicidal Zebra is always spot-on when he analyzes a change or a trend in the paladin world. Give him some lovin'.
  • Retpaladin.com has several knowledgable paladins on staff, among them Slayton (of Vis Maior fame) and the aforementioned Ferraro.
  • Hofflerand is one of those Retpaladin.com folks that has spun off his own blog. He blogs about PvP tactics, from beginner to advanced. He is everything that I am not.
There is a very good chance that I will continue to revise the Ret FAQ and post it after each major patch revision, so this blog is not dead and buried. I feel an obligation to keep the FAQ up to date since I've set it up in a way that it only needs minimal maitenance and it remains useful. I'm going to leave it up in its full form, without cleaning out the archives and without altering it in any way. You shouldn't expect me to post anything terribly informational or helpful in between patches, though.

I hope that this blog has been useful in your adventures as a paladin in Azeroth. Good luck, safe travels, and Light be with you.

-Josh
Cathmor, Malfurion-US
formerly Baelor, Runetotem-US

EDIT 6/1/09: Ferraro may not actually be who she has been claiming to be, but the guides on Paladin Schmaladin are still good and accurate. I stand by my linkage.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cathmor IRL


Is that hot or is that hot? I'd like to reiterate that my girlfriend is some sort of fantastic. If I ever get someone with a digital camera into my apartment, I'll post better quality photos. For now, ones snapped with the camera in my phone will have to do.

Just looking at it makes me want to buy an Argent Dawn tabard t-shirt. Is that weird? It sounds weird. Too bad I don't think anyone has produced 'em.

For those that are wondering, the items Cathmor is fashionably displaying are the Vengeful Gladiator's Vindication complete set, along with the season 3 belt/boots and a Tabard of the Protector. I would have gone with the Lightbringer set, but the red accents in the arena set go better with the Sulfuras and his red hair.

This was all made possible by the great folks over at Figureprints. Consider this a ringing endorsement! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go stare longingly at his Sulfuras and wish for a life-size version.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Figureprint Is Here!

It's purty. And pretty gorram accurate, too. I'll post picture(s) as soon as I get my hands on a digital camera.

My girlfriend is friggen awesome.

Oh, and I might be going to Ulduar-10 on Thursday night. If I do, and I don't tank, I'll post my impressions of the zone from a ret P.O.V. for all to read.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hanala Balena Norey!

Jengo mango jadango flango sebulba!

Q'apla!

(No this has no real meaning. I was winding down my evening by reading random Dark Legacy comics and this one, which happens to be one of my favorites, came up. I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet browsing.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Still Alive

Travel Log, Week 2

The Ulduar campaign is still on hold. My participation in the Argent Tournament as a Champion of Stormwind and my other commitments have monopolized my time. My hope is that I will be dispatched to the Storm Peaks as part of a supplemental brigade next month.

My hunter has achieved level 31. He's got a bear for a pet, a wolf mount, and can Feign Death. A war with the centaur awaits in Desolace. I am accepting suggestions for the bear's name.

Across the way, the blogstorm has eaten Megs. The list of prominent bloggers that have fallen to this menace is ever growing. I fear that I might be next.

A pile of to-do's awaits me, back into the abyss. Good travels, and Light be with you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Do Not Adjust Your Monitor

... it's not that I don't want to post, or that I have nothing to post, it's just that, well, I can't. I've got a ton of "stuff" to do at work - there's a company-wide training program being launched that I'm the pointman for, and I'm participating in the first class of the training, and I've got my master's stuff on the side.

It's not you, it's me.

Plus, I haven't so much as sniffed the air in Storm Peaks this week, so I can't speak to Ulduar raiding at all. I'm hoping to fit some quality time with the Titans in in May.

On another note, the comments for my FAQ seem to have bugged out. So, I'm going to break protocol and reply here to the last few.
@Firespirit
I figured you'd find that!

@Hanover
If you're getting parried, you're "doing it wrong." Get behind the boss, he can't parry you there. If you're referring to fights where positioning isn't as negotiable (Heigan, for example), then just suck it up and get parried.

Strength grants bushels more DPS gains than equal amounts of expertise. Whatever expertise you gain naturally is fine, don't enchant or gem for it. If you go over 6.5% dodge reduction naturally, actively seek to shed expertise in favor of any other DPS stat(s), you'll likely see a total damage boost.

@Siha
The meta in question for JC's is the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond. 21 crit > 21 agi and the meta req doesn't matter to a JC b/c he/she has access to prismatic gems. For a non-JC, however, using an extra blue/purple/green gem to make sure you have 2 blues for the CSD req would lose more DPS than would be gained from having 21 crit instead of 21 agi.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The 3.1 Ret FAQ

The following is an update from my 3.0 FAQ. Without any ado, the 3.1 FAQ!

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 PvE 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.

What follows is up to date as of 4/14/09. To find out what I've changed since the original posting, please refer to the change log at the end of this post.

To jump to a specific section or question, click the appropriate link below.

I. Talents and Skills
How should I spec?
What seal should I use?
What Judgement should I use?
What's my skill rotation?
What blessings do I want?

II. Gear, Enchants, and Glyphs
What stats should I gear for?
What major glyphs should I use?
What minor glyphs should I use?
What enchants should I get?
How should I enchant my weapon?
How should I socket my gear?
Should I stack spell power/intellect?
Should I use weapon A or weapon B?

III. Miscellaneous Questions
I'm running out of mana, what should I do?
What consumables should I use for raiding?
Is sword/board retribution viable?
Are there tools out there to help me make gear choices?
How'd you get so smart, Josh?

----------------------

I. Talents and Skills
Q: How should I spec?
A: For PvE, anything resembling 0/5/52 is a good start. Include all those talents and you can’t go wrong. I recommend choosing from one of the following:
0/17/54
0/12/59
12/5/54
11/5/55
I personally run with 0/17/54, since I really love Divine Sacrifice and Divine Guardian. It makes me feel hybrid-y.

Q: What seal should I use?
A: For PvE in raids, Seal of the Martyr or Seal of Blood, depending on your faction. Other seals are 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, you have two options: switch to Command (if you have it) or Righteousness and play it safe; or, alternatively, heal/bandage yourself and watch your HP like a hawk. Do whichever you feel more comfortable with. Remember, dead players do zero DPS.

Q: What Judgement should I use?
A: That depends on your group. If you're the only paladin and there are mana-using DPS in the group (hunters, mages, warlocks, enhancement shaman, shadow priests, etc), use Judgement of Wisdom. If there are holy/prot paladins in your group, have one of them cover JoWisdom and use JoLight.

If you are in a paladin-heavy group with multiple rets, the ret paladin with the highest buffed AP value should use JoLight, and the rest should judge something else.

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 skill priority system, keeping everything on cooldown as much as possible. Here's your priorities, with conditionals in parentheses:

Crusader Strike > (Hammer of Wrath) > Judgement > Divine Storm > Consecration > Exorcism > (Holy Wrath)

Crusader Strike in 3.1 is your highest DPS and DPM move, as it is relatively inexpensive, has a short-ish cooldown, and procs both your seal and Righteous Vengeance. Use it liberally. Judgement is a big source of damage and returns mana through JotW, so keep that high in your priorities as well. For AoE situations, this priority ranking changes, the above is for single target stationary DPS. For multi-target, emphasize Divine Storm and Consecration. For movement intense fights, drop Consecration behind Exorcism.

Please note that these aren't hard and fast rules. Pick which skills you use when intelligently and don't just blindly hit whatever's higher on this list. Your goal is to use as many of these abilities as you can in the time allowed (the boss's life span).

Q: What blessings do I want?
A: Might > Kings > Wisdom > Sanctuary

Back to top

II. Gear, Enchants, and Glyphs
Q: What stats should I gear for?
A: For raiding, you want to aim to stack hit to about 263 hit rating (which will yield 8% hit, the most needed for hitting a raid-level boss) and lots of strength. Past that, stack to about 214 expertise rating (which will yield 26 skill, or 6.5% dodge reduction) and then crit, haste, and armor penetration can come as they may. In list format:

1. Hit (to 8%, or ~263 rating)
2. Strength
3. Expertise (to 6.5%, or ~214 rating before racials - get to 26 expertise skill)
4. Crit
5. Agility
6. Haste
7. Armor Penetration
8. Attack Power

Please note that while haste is still ranked fairly low, it is by no means useless. Haste, crit, and agility are about equal, crit just barely edges out haste. Don't shun the haste gear. Also, the value of Armor Penetration scales upward as you stack it - the more you've got, the better it is.

Go forth and gear up.

Q: What major glyphs should I use?
A: Glyph of Judgement, Glyph of Consecration, and Glyph of Exorcism. You can choose to use Glyph of Seal of Blood instead of Glyph of Cons or Glyph of Avenging Wrath instead of Glyph of Exorcism, but you’ll likely get more mileage out of Judge/Cons/Exo. To sum it up, my recommendation is the following:

1. Glyph of Judgement
2. Glyph of Consecration
3. Glyph of Exorcism

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 hit if available for the slot and you're not hit capped. Otherwise, enchant for AP. Want it broken down by armor slot? Here ya go -
Head: Arcanum of Torment
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Axe
Back: Major Agility
Chest: Powerful Stats
Wrists: Greater Assault
Hands: Precision if not hit capped, Crusher if you are
Legs: Icescale Leg Armor
Feet: Icewalker if not hit capped, Greater Assault if you are

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. Make sure you fulfill your meta requirements.
If you are naturally hit capped (~263 rating before gems): Use a Sovereign Twilight Opal to fulfill your blue requirement. Use Inscribed Monarch Topaz for your yellow requirement. Then stack Bold Scarlet Ruby at will.
If you are not hit capped (<255 rating before gems): First, use a Vivid Forest Emerald to knock out both your blue and yellow requirements and get a bit more hit. If you capped your hit with that gem, enchants, and gear, stack Bold Scarlet Ruby. If you still need more hit, use Etched Monarch Topaz or Rigid Autumn's Glow to achieve your hit cap. If at any point you achieve your hit cap and still have sockets to fill, you may now use Bold Scarlet Ruby.
The reason the number 255 is used as the reference point is that if you have any more than 255 before you start accounting for gems and socket bonuses, then you wouldn't get the full value from the 8 points of hit rating on the Vivid Forest Emerald and you'd be better off gemming strength.

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).

Back to top

III. Miscellaneous Questions
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.

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Change Log

4/14/09
Edited the stat weightings and changed "the rotation" slightly. Also changed the gem recommendations to account for the new stat weightings.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hunterific

A while back I had rolled an Orcish hunter alt. I decided to play him some this weekend. Now I'm thinking about pets and talents and such.

My ultimate plan is to be a survivalist hunter and to have a gorilla tank pet and a cat DPS pet. The gorilla I'm thinking of speccing like so, and the cat thusly. For my personal talent spec, I was thinking something like this (switching to something like this in 3.1). I don't know much about hunters and haven't really read up too carefully, but if the gorilla can keep the attention of stuff while I pew pew from a distance with my fun survival shots, and the cat can do fun fun DPS stuff while I put arrows in things, I think this'll be a good time.

Granted, this requires me a) finding time to play the character, and b) leveling him. We'll see if I actually manage to pull this off. I have wanted a high level hunter for a while...

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Elevator Pitch

Matticus asked the internet what everybody's taglines for their blogs are.

Mine's been the same since last summer: Retribution is at hand.

It gives an inkling as to what the blog is about. Which is, ya know, retribution.

A one-line description of what the blog is supposed to be about is this:
Guidance for and anecdotes from a raiding retribution paladin.

Have I stayed true to that blog credo? I think so.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

3.1's Coming, Did You Bring Your Coat?

... 'cuz it's raining talent specs!

Are you prepared for dual-specs? Are you prepared for free respecs? I am. The patch is likely coming out this month, and I've got my specs ready to go. As always, these are my own creations based on my preferences.

Ret PvE - 0/17/54
The spec I've settled on for raiding grabs Divine Guardian/Divine Sacrifice and all the DPS talents in the ret tree. The notable omission is Seal of Command, but I've resolved to just Sacred Shield/Art of War-FoL myself and watch my health instead of wasting a talent point on a seal I hardly ever use.

Ret PvP - 0/20/51
The spec I've settled on for PvP is much like the one I want to use in PvE. It has Divine Guardian/Divine Sacrifice to protect my teammates and make my Sacred Shields stronger, and it still doesn't have Seal of Command. What it does have is Vindication, Divine Purpose, and Improved Hammer of Justice at the expense of 3% haste, 1 minute off my wings cooldown (and the armor bypass during wings), and Improved Blessing of Might. This spec might well fall flat on its face, but I'm willing to give it a shot, and as always, I'm open to counter arguments. It won't matter much for me, since I hardly ever PvP anyway. My 2nd spec for dual spec will likely be...

Prot PvE - 7/58/6 (or 0/53/18)
Since the fine devs at Blizzard decided to make Spiritual Attunement a talent that prot probably will want to invest in, most prot paladins can't do their dream spec of 0/53/18 and grab Crusade and fill out all the major talents in prot. So, I did the next best thing in my eyes. I grabbed Seals of the Pure and Reckoning. The other option is only go 1/2 into Spiritual Attunement and run with a 0/53/18 spec. This would assume that the perma-Divine Plea, 5% mana return from heals, raid/party-buffed mana/5 restoration, and possibly Blessing of Sanctuary are enough to keep prot paladin mana going.

What are you speccing at the dawning of the age of Dual Specquarius?

Time Is Money, Friend!

I want to update. I really do.

I just can't.

Right now my time is spent making money. Work is kicking my a$$ right now, and I haven't even found time to play for any extended period this week.

Anyone wanna guest post about anything ret-related? I promise imaginary cookies and my undying respect.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sometimes You Eat the Bar...

... and sometimes you kill Kel'Thuzad in 2.5 hours with minimal wiping.

Well, it took me an hour to put the raid together, but still, 2.5 hours for a PUG to clear Naxx-25? I dare say that's a fine accomplishment.

Successful PUG'ing at it's finest. We had some messy kills, but we chain-pulled the instance and I had no issues with any boss.

Not going to be able to do another one this week because of personal commitments, but I think I've started something good for the server. Epics for PUGs - a new charity, by Cathmor.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Favorite Dilbert Comic

I know it doesn't have the same effect without Scott Adams' art, but I thought of this Dilbert comic strip today and thought I'd share -

Man: (on the phone) Is this the "Help Desk"?

Dogbert: (on the phone, wearing a headset) No, that group got reengineered out of existence. I'm the new "no help whatsoever desk." My job is to make sure you never call again.

Man: Can you tell me how to make a pie chart?

Dogbert: Crush your computer into small chunks, add flour and bake one hour. While you're waiting, read the free novel we sent you. It's a Spanish story about a guy named "Manual." Repeat the process until you get the desired result.

Man: (sitting in front of oven, manual in hand) This lost a lot in the translation...

Ahhhh, Dogbert. Cheeky puppy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The 3.1 FAQ - Coming "Soon"™

I'm in the process of updating, editing, and reformatting my ret FAQ for both content (to account for the myriad of changes that 3.1 is bringing) and ease of use. One thing I'm definitely doing is adding a table of contents with hyperlinks so you can jump directly to the question you want.

If anyone has suggestions as to additions, improvements, changes, or omissions for the FAQ (current version for WoW 3.0 found here), please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me directly.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm A Triple Threat

In a VoA-25 PUG the other day, I was #2 on damage done and DPS. This did not impress me.

What impressed me was that I was #1 on healing, #2 on damage taken, and #1 on over-healing.

I didn't throw more than 1 Flash of Light during the fight, so I'm guessing that healing was attributed to my Judgement of Light.

I knew Archavon was easy, but I didn't think he was so easy that the healers can let JoLight outheal them.

I wonder if it's possible to kill Archavon with no heals aside from Judgement of Light, Divine Storm, Mark of Blood, and Vampiric Embrace (or is it Vampiric Touch? Whichever one is the heal-y one)...

Someone get me a well geared tank, a blood DK and a shadow priest. I have an experiment to run.

EDIT: Maybe a comp like this - Judgement of Light, Mark of Blood, Leader of the Pack, Healing Stream Totem, Vampiric thingy, Divine Storm, Sacred Shield, and Art of War'ed Flash of Light to keep the tanks up. Prot paladin main tank, feral druid switches to bear when the main tank gets picked up.

I think it's just crazy enough to work.

WoW Headhunter

Currently, my profession (in the real-world, not in Azeroth) is mainly in recruiting. Recruiters are commonly referred to as headhunters. They "hunt" for qualified individuals to add to the headcount at companies in need. When I was leading a guild, I also did my own recruiting.

That said, I think you'll know why I'm interested in the new website, WoW Headhunter. I took a quick jaunt through their account setup and guild search functions - if it can reach critical mass with enough guild seekers and guilds setting up on the site and actively using it, I think it might be a very, very useful resource.

On the guild-seeker side, it gives you a survey to determine your gamer-type, akin to a personality profiler. It separates gamers into the following categories:

  • Deliberate/Reckless
  • Competitive/Sociable
  • Serious/Fun
  • Veteran/Learner
Once you have that completed, you can search for guilds by faction or server (or both!). The search function will display how closely the guild's general vibe matches up with your profile. The guild's "personality" is aggregated from all guild member profiles in the WoW Headhunter database. Having your entire guild set up accounts on the site, list as members of your guild, and fill out the personality profile will help potential recruits find the best fit for their personal needs.

If a guild leader wants to register and tell me how it is from the recruitment side, I'd love to hear how it works. I don't want to set up a fake guild nor do I want to represent my current guild on the site, so I can't really give an impression from that angle.

The site has potential. If you're seeking a guild or seeking recruits, give it a try and give the site feedback! This might bloom into a useful recruiting tool.

The Mailbag: Gemming and Socket Bonuses

Tomas writes:

Hey Josh,

I was looking at your best in slot guide and noticed that Bold Scarlet Ruby was listed for the majority of gem slots... Problem is that many of the gem slots were Blue or Yellow... Thus you need to put something else in for the socket to work properly.

My response:
The only gem slot that requires a gem of that type be socketed in it is a meta slot. You can socket a red into a blue, a green into a red, and a purple into a yellow to no ill effect. The only thing that is effected by mismatching gem color to socket color is the acquisition of the socket bonus.

For example, I have a Bold Scarlet Ruby in my Spiked Titansteel Helm. The ruby is a red gem, but the socket color is blue. I still get the 16 strength bonus from the gem. However, if I were to socket, say, a Sovereign Twilight Opal (purple gem, counts for both red and blue) into that socket instead, I would gain 8 strength and 12 stamina from the gem AND 8 crit rating from the socket bonus.

I assure you, you can put a red gem into a yellow or blue socket and still benefit from that gem's effects.

Tomas' rebuttal:
Thanks for the reply, I was probably a bit unclear. What I meant was that if you put a Bold Scarlet Ruby into a non-red slot you're not going to get the socket bonus, missing out on the free stats even though the gem itself will work properly.

So what you're saying is that a paladin should forgo the socket bonus and always gem STR? Looking at your example of the Spiked Titansteel helm; is loosing 12 stamina AND 8 Crit worth the extra 8AP? In essence you're saying STR is so good you should gem STR exclusively regardless of slot color and missing slot bonuses?

My riposte:
8 strength is not 8 AP.

First, 1 point of strength is 2 points of AP.

Secondly, Divine Strength and Blessing of Kings combine to make 1 point of strength worth more than just 2 AP. 1 point of strength, after Divine Strength, is 1.15. Then after BoKings it's 1.265. So that 1 point of strength after talents and buffs is actually 2.53 AP.

So, what I'm saying is that the 20.24 AP you'll get from those extra 8 points of strength outweighs 8 crit rating and 12 stamina. You get enough stamina on your gear to survive any raid splash damage you'll encounter, so the 12 stam from another purple gem is moot, it doesn't do anything for you. The 8 crit rating pales in comparison to the 20 AP you could get instead.
Hopefully that clears up any questions regarding the current state of ret gemming. Most people are hard-pressed to find a socket bonus worth gemming for, since it'll have to be worth more to a ret paladin's DPS than 20.24 AP, which is the amount that can be expected 8 strength will add to a ret paladin's AP pool in a raid by using a Bold Scarlet Ruby instead of an Inscribed Monarch Topaz or Sovereign Twilight Opal.

Let's look at a comprehensive example. Using the Spiked Titansteel Helm, adding a Bold Scarlet Ruby would give us 40.48 AP and would not activate the socket bonus. Adding a Sovereign Twilight Opal would give us 20.24 AP and 13.2 stamina (modified by Blessing of Kings as well) and would activate the socket bonus, giving us a "free" 8 crit rating. So, the options here are:
  • 40.48 AP
  • 20.24 AP, 8 crit, and 13.2 stamina
Stamina isn't a DPS stat, so we ignore it for our purposes in this exercise. So, you're comparing +20.24 AP to +8 crit rating. The differential is heavily in the AP's favor.

"But Josh, you used a biased example! Purple gems are inferior for DPS stats because of the stamina!"

Fine, let's pretend our Spiked Titansteel Helm were the same except the socket is yellow instead of blue. So, we'll compare an Inscribed Monarch Topaz to the Bold Scarlet Ruby. The options:
  • 40.48 AP
  • 20.24 AP and 16 crit (8 from the gem, 8 from the socket bonus)
+20.24 AP for the ruby, +16 crit for the topaz. I'm still going with the ruby, since a point of AP is worth more to a ret paladin than a point of crit you're getting more AP bang for your buck. For me to consider gemming anything other than pure strength aside from meta gem activation, I need to get a return from the socket bonus that is flat-out greater than something like 16 AP better than 80% of the AP I would gain otherwise. It'll have to be one whopping socket bonus - 8 rating of any secondary stat or 6 of any primary stat is the highest socket bonus I've seen on gear to date.
EDITS: Thank you to Zebra for the clarifications in comments, the above passage has been edited in accordance with his notes.

Of course, this could all change in 3.1. Depending on how things shake out with the mana situation and the redistribution of ret damage sources, I might be recommending Etched Monarch Topaz, Accurate Monarch Topaz, or, hell, maybe even Rigid Autumn's Glow in a few weeks. As for right now, though, strength is the way to go.

Thanks for the question, Tomas!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If It At First You Don't Succeed...

... wipe, wipe again.

Last Thursday I lead a PUG Naxx-25 raid. It took a while to get things rolling and most of the DPS was iffy at best, but we were able to clear out most of the instance in one night.

The roadblock we ran into was Thaddius. For some ungodly reason, about 5-6 people in the raid either could not handle the Polarity Shift. At the first shift, I would undoubtedly have 4-6 fried, smoking husks of raiders at Thaddius's feet. I was employing my tried-and-true stock car strategy for Thaddius: group up, turn left. These fellas, however, just couldn't grasp it for one reason or another. When questioned about their inability to grasp the simple concept of "go around the fata$$ boss to the other side," I got reasons ranging from absolute silence and no acknowledgement of my question, to "sorry my comp sucks," to "that's not how my guild does it."

I don't care about your reason for sucking. I just want you to fix it or get out, you're mucking up my raid.

That's what I said in my head. What I said out loud was more along the lines of "all right, as a reminder to everyone, positives are on the LEFT, negatives are on the RIGHT, and everyone needs to stack up at max melee range. Make sure to go around Thaddius clockwise, meaning to your LEFT, when switching sides on the Polarity Shift." I didn't call anyone out publicly. We also didn't kill the boss.

On Monday, after I had taken care of work, class, dinner, and all that jazz, I logged in to finish what I had started. The only bosses I had left up were Thaddius, Sapphiron, and Kel'Thuzad. It took me 30-45 minutes to form up the raid, and then awaaaaaayyy we went, straight to Thaddius. Same strategy - group up, turn left, positive left, negative right.

On the first Polarity Shift of the first pull, 4 people got fried. 3 of them were DPS, and we hit the enrage because we were short on damage despite burning 2 Heroisms. I wasn't doing this again. Names got called.

"X, Y, Z, and Q, what happened, why'd you die?"

X, Y, and Z told me it was a connection issue - they got disconnected mid-fight (or so they claimed). Q said he flubbed it and went to the wrong side.

"We good now? Everyone know where they're going and stable?"

No objections, so we pulled again.

This time, only X and Y got fried. Thankfully, we were able to kill Thaddius without them.

I'm seriously considering imposing loot restrictions in my PUG's for people who can't grasp the fights. If you spend a fight dead for more than 33% through your own actions (i.e. aggro pull, incorrect switch on Thaddius, etc.), or cannot manage to do 1.5 times as much damage as the tank on the boss, then I'm not awarding you loot for that boss. Gevlon would be proud of this line of thinking, I bet. The sad part is I check everyone's achievements before I invite to make sure they've killed most/all the bosses in Naxx on any difficulty and do a spot check on gearing. These jokers passed my screening, and then went and got themselves cooked on Thaddius.

And now for the happier portion of my post.

Before the raid I had declared that the Key to the Focusing Iris would be looted by me so that I could lead a Malygos-25 PUG as well. We were able to 2-shot Sapphiron (the tank got Deep Breathed on the first breath during the first attempt - he claimed he was behind the block, but his death proved otherwise), and I grabbed that sucker. After a 1-shot of Kel'Thuzad which had absolutely zero complications...

... all right there were a few, as in a few special people not understanding the idea of spreading out to avoid getting Frost Blasted, and others standing in the red swirly death of the void zones...

... I handed out the loot and then proclaimed that we'd be raiding Malygos! Huzzah!

After I filled the holes in the raid voided by those that left, I formed up the raid at the Eye of Eternity. I employed my guild's 6 minute Malygos strategy and had one of my guildie's DK alts take care of spark management. I did this instead of letting the tank go whereever he pleased so that the added damage in phase 1 would off-set any failure by PUGs to shield themselves in phase 3.

I'm glad I did, because several people took beams to the face and took a tumble into the black abyss. We beat the enrage timer handily without them, though. The funniest part is the Malygos-25 kill was my first true attempt at the 25-man version. I got the heroic Denyin' the Scion and Spellweaver's Downfall achievements from the kill.

I can now say that I've successfully PUG'ed every 25-man encounter in WotLK with me at the helm. I'm a WoW-approved cat herder.

Scraptacular

So Siha has awarded me the Honest Scrap award. I always knew that my blog was scraptacular. However, I can only assume that this award is a cancer upon my house, since it's being passed around like a rampant STD. I'm not keeping it. You hear me, internet? I'm not going to contract this MTD (meme-transmitted disease). I'm passing it off before I get some on me.

Nope, not gonna participate. No means no.

Just say no to memes.

What's that you say? By acknowledging the award, I'm now participating? Sonofab*tch.

Fine. Here's what I've gotta do:

  1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.

  2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

  3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!
I get to infect others now! Listen up, people, you're almost as scraptacular as I am. In no particular order...


Now, onward to the real reason you're here - to know things about me. No, wait, the reason you're here is to read about retribution paladins... well, I'm a retribution paladin. So you're learning about a ret paladin. It's just necessarily what you thought you'd be reading. I'm going to get to the meme now, I promise.

  1. I have a BA in Sociology that I don't use. I miss Goffman and Simmel being a part of my everyday life.

  2. I have an affinity for pasta. I can eat it twice a day for a week and not get sick of it.

  3. I don't drink carbonated beverages. Soda, beer, seltzer, champagne... keep 'em away, I won't imbibe.

  4. On the other hand, wine is splendiforous. Mmmmm, crushed grape goodness...

  5. When no one is watching and I have something sword-like in arm's reach, I might start hacking and slashing at nothingness. I'm weird.

  6. I've never been west of Ohio. I have been to 4 or 5 foreign countries and traversed the Atlantic, but I've never been to California.

  7. I love roller coasters. The reason I went as far west as Ohio at all is because of Cedar Point, the roller coaster mecca of the northern United States.

  8. I have not played any other character in Warcraft higher than level 27 (EDIT: besides my paladin, of course). Unless you count my death knight, which got as high as 58, but that isn't the same, since he started at 55. My paladin is truly my only character.

  9. I drink skim milk with my breakfast every morning. Others have expressed disgust at this, and I don't understand why.

  10. Karaoke makes my skin crawl. When I find myself in a karaoke situation, I start scanning for exits and escape routes.
I throw out chain letters. But for some reason I don't refuse to do these meme things. Don't ask me why.

Monday, March 30, 2009

They're Dropping Like Flies

First Phae, now BRK. If Matticus or BBB proclaim today that they're quitting blogging, I'm going to cry foul and say this is some elaborate April Fool's hoax.

If it's true, the strongest voices of both druids and hunters in the community have fallen silent within a month of each other.

Playing WoW at a high level and blogging about it while simultaneously juggling a personal life (in real life as opposed to Azeroth) and holding down a full-time job is not without complications. I respect and admire both Phae and BRK for doing both seemingly so well for so long.

I dare say that the loss of his voice in the WoW blogging community is even more impactful than Phaelia closing down Resto4Life. No offense to Phae, but BRK had a larger readership and wider platform, catering to all hunters as opposed to mostly just one spec, and doing so across several mediums - his site, Project Lore, WoW Insider, and YouTube.

Here's hoping that BRK finds a new level of happiness in his renewed private life. The WoW blogging community got noticeably quieter today.

/target BigRedKitty
/salute

May the Light be with you, Mr. Howell.

If The PTR Went Live Today...

... I'd spec this way for PvE.

Now, for the explanation part of the program.

My ret tree has a glaring omission - Seal of Command. I don't plan on using it at all, so why use the talent point when I've got somewhere else to put the point? In any situation that I risk killing myself with recoil damage, I'm going to either use Seal of Righteousness instead or ease off a bit while using Seal of the Martyr and concentrate hard on Sacred Shield'ing and Flash of Light'ing myself. Hopefully these sorts of fights are few and far between.

Seal of Command without the glyph is lackluster, and I don't plan on keeping a glyph and a talent point on me for these occasions.

Anything else I left out of the ret tree was because the talent has little to no PvE application (Vindication, Eye for an Eye, Divine Purpose) or it's a tank talent (Deflection).

As for the prot tree, I grabbed Divine Strength (of course, never leave Ironforge without it!) and a bunch of other goodies. First up, the new talent - Divinity.

Divinity increases healing to the paladin and by the paladin by 1/2/3/4/5%. It is my understanding that this applies to the paladin in question's Judgement of Light, which means it boosts the effective heal on JoLight by 5% on everyone. JoLight also got expanded to ranged attacks too, so yippie! Divinity also double-dips - if I end up Flash of Light'ing myself, it boosts the heal itself by 5% (healing done by the paladin) and then boosts it additional 5% when it heals me up (healing done to the paladin). 10% increase to my Art of War self-Flashes, woohoo!

Now that I've got 10 points in the tree, I can grab Divine Sacrifice, bring me up to 11 points in prot. The new Divine Guardian looks juicy too, though. It boosts the effectivness of Divine Sacrifice and increases the amount absorbed by Sacred Shield, which I plan on using more often now that it plays nice with Sheath of Light. So, I need to burn another 4 points in the prot tree.

Guardian's Favor grants increased mobility (longer duration Hand of Freedom) and decreased Hand of Protection cooldown. It's a solid talent. It usually won't increase personal DPS, but it can prove it's worth by helping you save a zealous clothie with a timely HoP.

The last 2 points I tossed into Toughness for lack of a better choice. More armor and decreased snare duration sounded good to me. Others would say Improved Righteous Fury would be a good choice, but I can't see myself using Righteous Fury on any fight. The only time I'd end up using it is if it were talented and I were fighting Loatheb, and even then I'd need to wait to get a spore to buff it up. Basically, I'm too wary of aggro to try it. And Stoicism/Anticipation don't appeal to me for PvE.

That brings me up to 15, and then I can toss 2 into Divine Guardian. 0/17/54, the new 0/10/61 in my personal opinion.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gimme Gimme Gimme


My wonderful, awesome, amazing, fantastic, and super-great girlfriend ordered it for me. Have I mentioned how awesome she is?

Now where shall I display Cathmor...

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Figureprint Pining



I might get that. That just looks too hot not to order.


What do you think, fine E4AE reader? Mace in one hand - attack ready position, or mace in one hand - spell ready position? Or should I forget the ready positions and go with some sort of mace swingy position? Or a kneeling position, since Cathmor is oh-so-pious (paladin, duh!).


I'm thinking the pose above is the best.


EDIT: Here's the other one I'm seriously considering.



Holy FAQ!

The lovely Siha of Banana Shoulders has posted her version of the 3.0 FAQ to her blog, geared toward holy paladins. If you have questions about healing, I encourage you to give it a read-through.

The Mailbag: UI and Macros

Mike writes:

Hey Josh my name is mike, im a regular on your blog and I'd just like to say your posts help me a ton. I was actually curious if you ever wrote a blog about your macros or what UI you use. I currently am having trouble breaking over 3100 dps in raids and I've seen ret pallies do as much as 5k easy. If you could email me or post your macros I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank for taking the time to hear me out!

Here's the last post I did on my UI.
It's from BC, but I still use most if not all of the mods listed, and my UI looks pretty much the same.

As for macro's, I don't use anything out of the ordinary. I have /startattack macro'ed to my strikes, for example:
#showtooltip Crusader Strike
/startattack
/cast Crusader Strike

... I have mouseover functionality macro'ed to my defensive spells, for example:
#showtooltip Hand of Freedom
/cast [target=mouseover,exists] Hand of Freedom; Hand of Freedom

... and I have a self-Flash macro to bash when Art of War is up:
#showtooltip Flash of Light
/target Cathmor
/cast Flash of Light
/targetlasttarget

All the macro's I use on Cathmor fit into one of those frameworks. Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, Cleanse, Divine Intervention, Lay on Hands, Hand of Protection... just about everything.

Lastly, I use Clique to throw heals on others when needed. I have Flash of Light bound to Shift + Left Click, and Holy Light bound to Shift + Right Click. If the healers are being dodgy and the tank's going down, I use my Sacred Shield mouseover macro on 'im and throw a few Shift + Left Clicks the tank's way, hoping for some crits and a Sheath of Light HoT.

Hope that answers your question, Mike!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

If Only I Could Justify The Cost...

I want it.

(Shown above is a Figureprints.com rendering of Cathmor in his full season 3 gear, Tabard of the Protector, and Sulfuras on a marble tiled base. I can't in my head justify paying the cost for one of these... but it looks so darned good.)



EDIT: Or better yet, this one:


New Blog on the Block

Every so often I get questions about PvP. I'm one of the first to admit how much I suck at PvP. I got carried to the 1900's in Season 4. I was carried by a DK friend to 1750 in 2v2 this season. I'm by no means a skilled PvP'er, despite what anyone may say about their experiences with me. I know a lot of what needs to happen in PvP in theory, but when it comes to executing strategy and finding partners who can do so as well? I'm tucking ferrible (spelling intended). I perform at my best when you point me at a target and say "hit that guy for a while, don't worry about anything else." That doesn't make for sound PvP strategy.

However, I can recommend someone to you who knows his sh*t. Hofflerand, one of the moderators over at Retpaladin.com's forums, has started a blog of his own. And you know what? So far, so good. I skimmed the link off of Ferraro's blog, thought it might be useful to y'all. Hoff's only been blogging for a week or so and I've all ready picked up a few PvP tips and pointers. I don't plan to act on them in the near future, but it's good to know they're there. Yea, I know, I'm a paint-by-numbers PvE junkie.

You want to know how to smash stuff in PvP as ret? Go hang with the Hoff, he'll set you straight. Here's hoping he keeps on posting and streaming high quality PvP content onto the interwebs.

I'm Lost

Spoilers for the "Lost" episode aired on March 25, 2009 follow. Do not read further if you do not wish the episode to be spoiled!

----------------------------------

Okay, I've accepted the fact that the there's time travel in "Lost" now. But what I don't understand is how they justify the causation of events.

From an overhead timeline perspective, in the '70's, Ben gets shot by Sayid. Presumably, it's this event that sparks him to retrieve information on the Oceanic rat-pack and have it waiting for them when they crash-land in the 2000's. He then is all creepy and messes around with Sayid, jerking him around the world and manipulating the ever-living crap out of him. Sayid gets caught, gets on the Ajira plane, gets sent back to the '70's where he meets kid Ben and gets the bright idea to shoot the little creeper, setting us off on the whole chain of events again. Time loop!

Which came first, Sayid shooting Ben or Ben manipulating Sayid? My head hurts.

Ferraro, I need you to run this down for me - you watch, explain! I don't get it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Glyphing in 3.1: Mana Neutrality

Okay, Spiritual Attunement is a protection talent. Fine, we're over it.

Okay, we're keeping the recoil on Seal of the Martyr. We're coming to terms with that too.

Judgement of the Wise, as of the current PTR, is up to 25% base mana return. Woohoo!

Glyph of Seal of Blood, as of the current PTR, is changing to return 11% of the recoil damage seals/judgements cause as mana. Oka... wait, what?

Depending on how things pan out mana-wise before glyphs are applied, I might take this glyph as an offense to all things retributive. If, for example, ret will go bone-dry mana-wise in no time flat without both Consecration and Seal of Blood glyphs equipped, even with 25% JotW, ret mana regen is broken and the glyphs are a band-aid fix. Glyphs shouldn't be necessary for normal functionality, they should be conscientious choices that alter gameplay. If retribution can't remain somewhat mana neutral without those glyphs, the glyphs cease to be a choice and become a necessity.

That said, what a lot of posters are saying over at EJ and on the Maintankadin Off-specs board indicates that without using the new SoB glyph, ret is currently mana neutral, meaning it's possible to use all abilities and cooldowns and not go OOM (at least, not for a good long while - people are estimating that the current PTR build would lead to 11+ minutes to OOM in a 25 man).

That little rant out of the way, let's examine the contenders for your glyph slots in 3.1, shall we? In no particular order:

  • Glyph of Judgement: +10% Judgement damage

  • Glyph of Consecration: +2s Consecration damage/cooldown

  • Glyph of Exorcism: +20% Exorcism damage

  • Glyph of Seal of Blood: +11% recoil damage as mana

  • Glyph of Avenging Wrath: -3s HoW cooldown while under AW

  • Glyph of Crusader Strike: -70 mana on CS

  • Glyph of Hammer of Wrath: free HoW

My napkin math on Glyph of CS and Glyph of HoW is still relevant, even though everything I said in that post regarding Glyph of SA and Glyph of SoB is now moot. However, the changes to the Exorcism ability and its related glyph throw off all glyph debates and send them spinning into a new realm. Exorcism is now a regular part of the ret rotation, as it is usable against all targets.

Assuming that with Glyph of Cons equipped ret is, or is close to, mana neutral, all the other mana reduction/refund glyphs become next to useless. There is no need to save mana if mana isn't an issue! (Note: the reason Glyph of Cons is picked instead of Glyph of SoB is because Glyph of Cons smooths out cooldown clashes, increases Cons damage by increasing Cons up-time, and saves mana by decreasing the mana/up-time ratio.) So, we can toss Glyph of SoB, Glyph of CS, and Glyph of HoW off to the side.

Glyph of Judgement stays in. +10% damage to a ret's biggest damage source? Yes please!

The last slot comes down to Glyph of AW and Glyph of Exo. Double the amount of HoW's for 20s during the Execute period, or a flat +20% damage to Exorcism, the new ability on the rotational block? Intuitively, Glyph of Exo sounds better. If you read thru the EJ Ret thread, the math seems to support that, especially with some of the talent changes that increase Exorcism damage further.

So, unless something drastic happens, it looks like my recommended glyph load-out will be:
  1. Glyph of Judgement

  2. Glyph of Consecration

  3. Glyph of Exorcism

Sound good to you? 'Cuz that sounds lovely to me.

EDIT: Note to self - BBCode doesn't work on blog posts.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Forgot To Title This One

Ghostcrawler wrote, in response to this forum thread entitled "Hybrids and thier dps 'tax'" (spelling not corrected):

"Why am I a hybrid if I am only there to do dps?"

Here are two situations:

1) Your guild is forming the raid. The raid leader has all the dps slots full. The mage isn't going to come. The shaman can say "Hey, if I respec to heal, can I come?"

2) Imagine a rogue and warrior compete for dps slots. Imagine the rogue beats the warrior and for purposes of this argument assume the warrior cannot possibly improve his skill or gear. If the player is really frustrated, he does have another option. He can give up his dps career and be a tank. Yeah he'll lose some good gear, but it won't take that long to get another set. He may already have some pieces.

Now flip that situation around. The warrior does better dps and nothing the rogue can do will top that. The rogue's option: reroll.

Because of situations like these, we don't think there would be many pure dps players unless they knew that it was theoretically possible for them to "win the meters." The risk of being useless would be too great.

If you are a warrior who promises never to tank, or a shaman who swears you will never ever heal, then I am sympathetic. However, to flip things around still risks the above problems, which we think are the greater of the two evils.

Again, the difference is so small that realistically, very few of your guilds will even notice it. If you have bad rogues and good warriors, the warriors will be on top of the meters. For nearly all of the people reading this thread, you have many things you can do that will improve your dps by 5% or more, such as get good gear, experiment with a better spec, or just learn to play better. If you are in the top one or two guilds on your server, then you probably will notice dps differences among the classes. However, you are probably not the ones at all worried about losing your raid spot.

Reading that post, I have a worry. I understand that "pure" classes need some incentive to stick with it otherwise they'll feel useless. However, the "hybrid" classes are usually only able to flip between two roles.

Priests can DPS or heal.

Shaman can DPS or heal.

Warriors can tank or DPS.

And so forth.

Paladins, however, can DPS, tank, or heal. In terms of the holy trinity of MMO's, paladins can do anything. Does this factor in to the DPS tuning of retribution? This is what I'm wondering. In light of the fact that paladins can do anything game-wise, is retribution tuned to do less damage than anyone else?

A penny for a developer's thoughts...

EDIT: And as uke pointed out in comments, I'm stupid - druids can do all 3, too. Sorry druids! I sometimes forget you crazy cats/trees/moonkins/owlkins can do it all. Question stands though - are ret/balance/feral DPS tuned to a lower standard because of both class's ability to tank and heal?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fat-Fingered Intervention

Let me paint you a picture.

The scene is Obsidian Sanctum earlier this year. A group of guildmates is looking to kill Sartharion with 1 drake up but they're short a healer. No one with a heal button is online, aside from those all ready in the raid.

I log in and ask in guild chat what the good word is, and they respond with their situation.

An alarm goes off in my head. DANGER DANGER, HEALING NEEDED. HULL BREACH IMMINENT. Healing is not my thing.

Someone in my brain deftly turns off the alarm.

"Sure, let me get my healing gear together, I'll help out."

The nine of them are waiting around while I haul my holy gear out of the bank and find it unenchanted and ungemmed. I also go to the trainer and find that this is the first time I'm speccing holy since 3.0 hit servers - I had never before trained Beacon of Light.

As they have been waiting for a while, I'm furiously trying to get my shiznit in order. I fly around Northrend buying rep items, log over to my bank alt to retrieve enchanting materials and buy some cheap gems, and then rush down to Obsidian Sanctum, where a jewelcrafter and enchanter are waiting for me, along with the raid.

I run up to the enchanter in a tizzy, trying to verify that I've got everything I need and holding two other conversations at the same time - one with a guildie holy paladin to figure out what holy healing is all about in WotLK, and the other with the jewelcrafter asking what cuts for the gems I have he can supply.

Somehow, in the midst of it all, I mouse over my enchanter friend and press a button.

That button just so happens to be my Divine Intervention macro.

So, now I'm lying face down on the floor of the Wyrmrest Temple, at the feet of a guildmate, with my unenchanted and ungemmed holy gear on, in a spec I had never tried, frantically trying to reset my action bars. And then a healer logs in.

I cursed. A lot.

That, my friends, is my Fat-Fingered Intervention story.

(I ended up going and failing at Sarth-10 1D at that time, so we just killed 'em regular. And I vowed "no more healing." Which I kept to last night when I let an entire batch of off-set holy gear get disenchanted in Naxx-25 rather than pick it up and stash it in the bank. I'll leave the holy healing to the more experienced and the experts, thankyouverymuch.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Recoil And Martyrdom

Seal of the Martyr and Seal of Blood cause damage to the user every time damage is dealt. It's a unique mechanic amongst player buffs - the closest thing to it is a warlock's Life Tap ability, which converts health into mana, which is then used for damage. As Judgement has emerged as the top damaging ability for a ret paladin and damage totals have grown larger in proportion to health pools, this recoil damage has become a pressing concern amongst some paladins in the greater WoW community. I have been a semi-vocal opponent of the recoil damage in recent months, viewing it as a harsh and unwieldy mechanic. However, Lore helped put things in perspective today. On Maintankadin, in response to a statement that warlocks lose less damage by holding off on Life Tap'ing when compared with ret paladins holding off on Judging, he wrote:

Warlocks can't really delay lifetap until a safe moment without losing DPS -- if they're lifetapping, it's because they need mana, which they probably intend to use to DPS. We can delay Judgement for a minor loss of DPS if needed, or even just instant FoL and delay our swing timer.

Raid damage in a lot of ways makes JoB less of a liability, because there's fewer surprises and healers are already watching the raid and topping everyone off. The only real liability it brings is that the Priest or Druid needs to keep a HoT on you.

I also think you guys are exaggerating the "zomg big self-hit" numbers. Even a 20k judge does less than 7k self-damage. There's a couple Naxx encounters where that's possible, and it might be possible with cooldowns in Ulduar gear, but as it stands currently the highest I've been able to hit without encounter buffs is around 14k, or 4620 self damage.

Also, let's be honest for a moment -- Ret DPS is really, really easy. No rage to watch, Mana is rarely a concern, no DoT's or debuffs to keep active... hell we don't even need to refresh seals anymore. All we need to do is press the prettiest button that lights up. Health management adds just a tiny bit more to pay attention to.

While I do not agree with all his premises, he makes a good point. In the situation that I'm most worried about - heavy raid damage encounters - the raid healers will be watching anyway, making that extra bit of healing I need just a matter of an extra HoT tick. If I make sure to Sacred Shield myself before raid damage happens, and Divinity is included in whatever raid spec I take, I think that the Sacred Shield absorb plus the extra oomph added to incoming heals by Divinity will make it so that I'm not too much harder to keep alive than the rogue next to me.

The concern is still with randomly timed raid damage, though. If I don't know when it's coming, I don't know when not to Judge, or when to have Sacred Shield up. That situation requires some additional thinking, and I'm having trouble coming up with a solution.