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:
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

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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

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).

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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, Baelor?
A: By frequenting forums and think-tanks like Elitist Jerks, Maintankadin, and

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