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:
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

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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).

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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.

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Mister K said...

Thanks for the update Josh, always good to go over the basics once and a while just to make sure I'm not doing it wrong

Pike said...

Woot! Your guides are always so well-made. Good to see ya, even for a bit ;]

Josh said...

@Mister K
Always happy to be of help.

Thanks Pike! Glad you think so :)

Nuff said...

Nice post and I agree with the majority of it. However, I disagree (strongly) on 2 points:

1. "First step is make sure you're using Divine Plea on every cooldown."

No way no how! ONLY use Divine Plea if you will or do run out of mana. If the fight is short enough that you know you won't run out, don't waste the GCDs. If you think/know you will then by all means pop it often.

2. Rawr. Utter complete garbage. DO NOT USE THIS TOOL. It is flat out WRONG in its recommendations. Play around with it, play around with mob level you'll find fun little tidbits like it thinks you will do more dps vs an 83 boss than an 80 elite. It doesn't handle hit or exp caps well at all. It completely ignores some gear. (The holy pally module for example ignores anything with spirit on it, even if its an upgrade(!).)

Josh said...

I'll grant you #1, I didn't pay much attention to the 3rd section during my updates. I'll alter it to read "Use Divine Plea more" instead.

However, #2 I'm going to parry and say that when handled correctly it can make some fairly useful recommendations. It is what you put into it - garbage in, garbage out.
If you would prefer, however, I can mention Redcape's or Bellator's spreadsheets in addition. Unless of course you have a better suggestion.

Patrick said...


First time read, but good deal. I'm playing prot/holy, thinking about switching holy to ret. :)

Can you say a few things about the crit vs haste debate? Which do ret prefer? What's the haste cap?

Thanks in advance!

Josh said...

First off, I don't theorycraft as much as I used to, so if there's a "haste cap" for a melee class, I'm not aware of it. Stack away, my friend, haste doesn't have a point of diminishing returns for melee.

Haste vs Crit? Without a doubt, crit. Haste affects your auto-attack and your seal procs only. Crit affects all of your abilities, including Righteous Vengeance if you have 2pc t9. If you have a choice between equal amounts of crit and haste, take the crit.

Tegoelf said...

3.3 update to the FAQ or no?

Josh said...

Yep, it's up.