Hey everyone, it is I, Slashinator, bringing you another wall of text!
Retribution has undergone fairly significant changes with the arrival of Deathwing and his cultist posse, with a totally new resource to think about, and a very important Savage Roar style buff to keep up ourselves. The good news is, it is now a lot easier to distinguish good rets from bad rets, the bad news is that its got a lot harder to be one of the aforementioned good rets now, which is (hopefully) where this guide comes in. In here I will detail everything about Cataclysm ret from talent spec and glyphs through to gearing, stats and playstyle. Credit for much of the theorycrafting used here goes to Redcape and Exemplar on Elitist Jerks.
AW = Avenging Wrath
Consec = Consecration
CS = Crusader Strike
DP = Divine Protection
DS = Divine Shield
Exo = Exorcism
GoAK = Guardian of Ancient Kings
HoW = Hammer of Wrath
HP = Holy Power
HW = Holy Wrath
Inq = Inquisition
Str = Strength
TV = Templar’s Verdict
WoG = Word of Glory
CLCRet – you NEED it
Seriously, you absolutely need to get CLCRet
if you are in any way serious about raiding as ret. The ret priority system is EXTREMELY random and clunky, and CLCRet will help you to smooth it out by telling you exactly what to press, as there is so much going on now it is very easy to mess it up or press the wrong button because you noticed the Art of War proc too late. CLCRet solves all this, and has the added bonus of stopping you staring at your buttons, leading to fewer silly deaths in fire. Get CLCRet, put it in the middle of your screen, and learn to love it. Some people go all high and mighty and say “oh I’m better without addons like that” or “only bads need an addon to help them DPS.” Ignore these people, you will out DPS them any day of the week if you are using CLCret and they aren’t. I’ve seen new ret applicants for top guilds get told off for not having CLCRet – it really is that important.
With the introduction of the new talent trees, we should in theory have more points to spend on optional talents, however sadly this isn’t really the case. Here is the spec I am using currently:
There is zero ‘wiggle room’ in the Prot and Holy trees here, all of the talents taken are flat DPS increases. The only really “controversial” points in the ret tree are Eye for an Eye, however this has been proven to be a small DPS increase on fights with blasts of direct magic damage, and none of the other talents in the ret tree will give DPS increases. ***UPDATE OMG*** I was just browsing through my recount of last night's Argaloth 10 run, and Eye for an Eye is actually pretty good. Argaloth doesn't have much raid damage, but Eye for an EyE did a total of 57k damage. Definately the best investment for spare points in the ret tree. As you can see in this screenie
, it's average damage is quite good on Argaloth, it seems to proc from Meteor Slash.
Before we move on to glyphs, a quick word on Selfless Healer: don’t take it or I’ll find out where you live. It has been worked out that a 3 HP TV is more dps than using WoG to get the buff. It is ALWAYS a loss of DPS to cast WoG instead of TV, so don’t do it unless you have to, and certainly don’t take Selfless Healer. Plus if someone is dying so fast that you need to offheal with WoG then something has clearly gone very wrong anyway. I will say though that using WoG on yourself during periods of heavy raid damage is to be encouraged, always remember you are a hybrid, and so you have the ability to heal yourself if the bad stuff hits the proverbial fan. Just don't talent for it.
Lay on Hands is a FAR better emergency heal than WoG, and you can and SHOULD have an appropriate macro to allow a fast LoH on someone if they drop very low - it has saved me many times. Infact, a good macro for cleanse and hand of protection is extremely useful too - both are powerful utility abilities which a good ret should be confident in using at the right time.
The top Prime
Glyph of Seal of Truth
Glyph of Crusader Strike
Glyph of Templar’s Verdict
Glyph of Exorcism
could in theory be used above the expertise cap, however early maths has shown that it is more dps to reforge any expertise over the cap and stick with glyph of Seal of Truth.
You have more options regarding Major glyphs, with none providing a DPS increase. Several impact your mana usage, with glyphs such as Ascetic Crusader (30% less mana cost on CS) and Hammer of Wrath (100% reduced mana cost) being good options for this. However there is one glyph which I consider almost essential – Glyph of Divine protection. Glyph of DP reduces the amount of physical damage reduced by DP by 20% but increase the amount of magic damage it reduces by 20% for a total of 40% magic damage redution. Given that the majority of raid damage is magic, this is a good trade off in my opinion.
I am currently using as my major glyphs:
Hammer of Wrath
Minor glyphs are universally terrible so take whatever you feel like.
Rotation / playstyle
Ret, as in Wrath of the Lich King, does not use a fixed rotation, instead favouring a priority system. Despite this, there is more of a “rotation” than there was in Wrath thanks to our new resource – Holy Power.
As a ret paladin, you have two ways of generating Holy Power. The first is by using CS. Each time you CS you gain 1 HP. The second way of generating HP is through the Divine Purpose talent. Divine Purpose makes each of your DPS abilities which AREN’T CS have a 40% chance to generate 1 HP. This is partly why our rotation feels so awkward and clunky and random – don’t worry, it’s not you being bad, it’s Blizzard having done an awful job of designing ret. Ah, mini rant over.
On a single target boss, who is NOT undead or a Demon, your priority is as follows:
Inq > HoW > Exo > TV > CS > Judgement > HW > Consecration
On an Undead or Demon your priority changes to:
Inq > Exo > HoW > TV > CS > Judgement > HW > Consecration
The reason for this slight but important tweak is Exorcism always critting against undead or Demon type mobs. Exorcism also has faster scaling than HoW, with a lower spell coefficient but with a much larger +% bonus, which causes it to actually have a better overall coefficient. Also, NEVER EVER EVER hard cast Exorcism. EVER. Only use it if you have an Art of War proc.
This is relatively simple, but our mastery can throw annoying spanners into the works. Mastery for ret gives our auto attacks a chance to grant Hand of Light, which allows our next HP using ability (so TV, Inq, WoG or Zealotry for rets) to consume no Holy Power, and to cast as if you had 3 HP. This sounds awesome, but in reality it isn’t, it’s terrible and mastery should be avoided – more on this later in the guide.
Inquisition is a new ability in Cataclysm, and a potent one for rets. It increases all holy damage by 30%, and lasts for 10 seconds for each holy power that was used to cast it. (So a 1 HP Inq lasts 10 seconds, a 3 HP Inq lasts 30 seconds) It is vital that you keep Inq up at all times, and also that you should never cast Exo or HoW unless you have it up. When there are 6 seconds left on Inq’s duration I will prioritise refreshing it above TV, don’t refresh it earlier than that though, as that is a DPS loss.
If things go abit wrong, and Inq falls off, then you should get it up again using the first HP you get. Even if you only fire off a quick 10 second one, it will keep things going and in those 10 seconds you can build more HP to refresh it for longer. CLCRet will tell you when it needs refreshing, but I have set up a timer on my UI so I can see how long is left on it, I suggest you do the same. I would also suggest tweaking the CLCRet config options to prioritise refreshing Inq at 6 seconds.
Essentially anyone who’s ever played a Feral cat druid will understand Inquisition – it’s just like Savage Roar, only fifty times easier in practice.
You will note that Consecration is on the priority list. I have removed it from my CLCRet priority queue because I find it completely obliterates my mana for an extremely minor DPS increase.
AoE DPS for ret is now utterly terrible, oh how the mighty have fallen. Sadly the days of 2 piece T10 combined with Seal of Command for facerolling massive AoE damage have long gone, and ret AoE is now utterly awful. If you do need to AoE however, the priority is pretty similar except you replace CS with DS (they share a cooldown). Holy Wrath has now been fixed to be a proper “meteor” effect, meaning it splits its damage, and so the more targets there are, the less it does.
What this means is that, with more than 3 targets to be AoEd, prioritise Consecration over HW. Remember though, times when you need to AoE in Cata are few and far between, and if you have Mages / Warlocks / SV Hunters (seriously nerf SV AoE) in your group then you might as well just single target nuke. I only use AoE if there’s loads of non elite trash running around. With a group of big elites, you will be far more effective just single targeting them down.