Last week, our trek into ICC resulted in our healers screaming “Take it off heroic!” as the tanks were tossed aside like ragdolls in a blender.
Heroic Lootship was the only encounter where we got 277 purples, normal Put gibbed our main tank merely seconds into the encounter, and apparently the Blood Princes were not the real Blood Princes and were just imitating… because they would NOT stand up.
Well, after many hotfixes and addon updates, we marched into ICC last night and successfully stomped out 10/12 heroic bosses, ending at heroic Sindragosa who is still quite mean. Even with my 76k health, I got insta-gibbed by a 35k melee hit and a 55k Frost Breath back-to-back.
Speaking of which…
Yesterday I stayed home from work, sick. Figuring rest is for the weak, I dove into the Prot changes headfirst… and came out not too worse for wear. If you’re mainspec Ret, the Prot rotation/priority system isn’t too difficult to grasp.
If you’re like me and have a strong prot offspec, I highly recommend taking a look at Rhidach’s 4.0.1 guide here. I really needed it, seeing as I was supposed to be tanking ICC-25 later that night!
Now that we’re on the topic of 4.0.1 guides, I believe I’ve finished compiling updated info for my Ret 101 page! Check it out here or click the link at the top!
If you’ve been following all the hub-bub in the Ret community (more hub, less bub), you would have noticed that while there’s a solid base of talent choices, rotation priorities, and stat weights, a good deal of our spec is still in the process of being “crunched.”
For example, the night after 4.0.1 hit, I had about a half of a post written up, woeing our broken DPS and highlighting my initial, fairly negative thoughts, as well as some updated glyph choices and theorycrafted stat weights, interrupted by a discussion of a particularly epic episode of Stargate SG-1 that was accompanied by the following image:
Well, the devs saw the state of our DPS and tossed us some bigger numbers on some of our attacks.
Frankly, spitting out post after post of updates and quasi-new information doesn’t really appeal to me. I love reading others’ work and gathering up what I can, absorbing it like some well-groomed sponge, like the one you bought with the wavy design but just can’t bring yourself to use because it’s so modern and pretty… yeah.
To reiterate, I love reading other people’s thoughts on the updates and changes, but for me it’s getting a bit old to be writing “OMG THEY CHANGED THIS,” then the next day “OMG THEY REMOVED THAT, LOL”
I suspect you’re thinking,
“I know you intended that to be hyperbole, but it’s not too far off from your actual writing style,”
to which I’d reply
Therefore, instead of churning out post after post of the same stuff, I’ll just be updating my “Retribution 101” page, the link of which should be visible at the top there. I might throw up a post every once in a while that says “Oh, by the way, I put in some new values,” or some such nonsense, but trying to be all hip and creative with the same drivel is too much like being a writer for one of those inane sitcoms that poisons our primetime television.
I’m not sure Charlie Sheen has ever been funny. And that squirrelly guy they paired him up with gives me the creeps, like he’s up to something.
Our guild does weekly “drunk runs,” with rules and everything. Usually they’re retro runs, one Naxx raid here, one Sunwell raid there; good times to be had all around. I dipped into a TK drunk run they were doing after FINALLY completing the quest chain to get my Master’s Key for Karazhan (I’ve been doing a lot of random, old world stuff lately; don’t ask).
One of our other ret paladins, Valenus (sorry buddy, no witness protection program here!) came in late as well, having been kicked out of at least one bar for reasons unstated but fairly obvious. To my surprise, though extremely inebriated, he managed to pose this question on our guild forums:
This is probably a silly question, but here goes:
I noticed you aren’t grabbing Selfless Healer in either your 80 or 85 build. Without being on the ptr or beta I can only guess, but a damage increasing cooldown doesn’t seem like a bad choice. I would think that for you not to grab it the damage increase would have to be less then what you would gain just by hitting TV, but it seems like stacking a Selfless Healer proc with AW and perhaps a Bloodlust would make up for one lost TV, especially if you work it in with BL so you could pop Zealotry and Crusader Strike your way to another 3 stack pretty much instantly. The only problem I see is where we would get the two points for it (Maybe out of Judgments of the Pure at 85?).
If I’m way off target here, don’t be afraid to let me know. I’m sure this has been debated somewhere, but you offered to answer questions so I don’t regret being lazy : ).
Either due to astonishment at the coherence of his argument in such an incoherent state, or a building sickness that was annoying the hell out of me the entire weekend, I left it unanswered until Sunday. The following is my response, lightly-edited and seasoned, of course.
A big grats to Vipis, who won the roll on the super-rare and awesome Ashes of A’lar!
First of all, the two points for Selfless Healer would come from Acts of Sacrifice (in my builds, at least). If you decide not to pick up Rebuke at 80, you could pop 2 points into SH and still be on track for the same basic setup as every other PvE Ret build. JotP is too sexy to pass up, as our haste effects stack multiplicatively, meaning good news for our CS cooldown (more on this at a later date).
Secondly, I don’t think you can compare a SH-buffed rotation and a normal rotation when one has a CD popped and the other does not. That’s, essentially, comparing apples to oranges. To keep things consistent, you have to look at either “Both Non-CD” or “Both CD” situations. In this case, I’ll look at the baseline, or non-CD, situations.
In short, Redcape (famous for his Ret spreadsheets) over at EJ has already done the math and has determined that it’s a straight DPS loss to use our HP on Word of Glory to heal others:
First, that you’re 80, and you’re me. I know, it’s a lot of awesome to handle, but try to deal with it. That means, my gear, my enchants, all that good stuff; just to establish some common variables.
Second, that you’re not in a raid, and the only buffs available to you are those that you provide yourself. Just see my Armory for possible procs and buffs. In terms of seals and blessings, I used Seal of Truth and Blessing of Might.
Third, that you’re “soft-capped” for haste, our 1230 haste rating at 80. Doing so reduces the CD on CS to 3.0 seconds. This one actually requires imagination; I don’t have this much haste, but it helps our calculations and makes things “optimal.”
Ok, let’s get to some data. The SH proc says that it increases damage done by 4% per HP spent on the WoG, the duration of which lasts 10 seconds. So, simply put, 12% increase in damage over 10 seconds. Easy.
Since I don’t know if there’s a way to smuggle Recount onto the PTR, I took my axe to a Heroic Training Dummy, opened up my Combat Log, and began my tests.
The way I see it, the following is as close to optimal as I could think of for a 10 second rotation:
CS > Judge > CS > Exo > CS > TV > CS
I was able to discern the following values for hits and crits of each attack:
Normal avg: 2,954
Crit avg: 6,026
Normal avg: 1,764
Crit avg: 3,633
Exo (with AoW, which is definitely reasonable) -
Normal avg: 6,208
Crit avg: 9,909
TV (3-HP) -
Normal avg: 6,174
Crit avg: 11,339
Now let’s go with two extremes in terms of damage values: no crits and 100% crits. That’ll give us a range with which to make a judgement (no pun intended).
No crit total over 10 seconds: 25,962
100% crit total over 10 seconds: 48,985
With the SH (12% dmg increase) buff,
Basically, the gain here is -
NOTE: THESE TOTALS DO NOT INCLUDE SEAL PROCS, MELEE HITS, OR CENSURE! Because I am a lazy bastard and did not calculate those in. But, realistically, you should get 4 melee hits, plus between 4 and 9 seal procs (depending on what our seals proc off of), and perhaps a 4 or 5-stack of Censure.
However, the thinking is that a 3-HP TV is, on average, 6k non-crit and 11k crit. Comparing the extremes, TV is the better option for that GCD and the talent points should be put somewhere where they’ll actually be used.
It’s getting late and this sinus shit is killing my cognitive functioning, so if the comprehension took a downhill turn toward the end, there’s the reason. Let me know what you think.
Not content to leave it open-ended, I revisited my work yesterday afternoon and included some missing pieces of the puzzle.
Ok, I redid the melee hits, seal procs, and Censure ticks for a 10 second interval. I only did one test, so you can imagine that possible ranges vary slightly; with my professional guessing abilities, I’d say by ±3,000 damage.
In 10 seconds, just melee-hitting the Heroic Training Dummy with Seal of Truth and Blessing of Might yielded 16,271 damage. I got a 4 stack of Censure by the end of the 10s, 4 melee hits, and 3 seal procs. Seals of Command procs like a mother, but only for about 240ish non-crit, upper 400s/lower 500s for crits.
The only problem with this assessment is that I didn’t actually weave in the rotation. So I endeavored to find out what would proc a seal and what wouldn’t. From my testing:
Judgement DOESN’T proc Seal of Truth
Crusader Strike DOES proc Seal of Truth
Melee DOES proc Seal of Truth
Templar’s Verdict DOES proc Seal of Truth
And nothing else procs Seal of Truth.
Therefore, in the rotation I described earlier, we would have 5 extra SoT procs (not counting the melee swings, since they were already accounted for). The scaling I noticed was 109 with 1 stack, 265 with 2, and 354 with 3. To be safe, let’s say it’s 150 for 1, 250 for 2, 350 for 3, 450 for 4, and 550 for 5 (non-crits).
Also, only melee hits add a stack of Censure, so that’s another annoying calculation to do. Just by eyeballing the rotation, we’ll have a 4 stack of Censure by the end of the 10 second duration (melee at 0s, 2.98s, 5.96s, and 8.94s, given my attack speed of 2.98 on the PTR).
Interestingly, it seems that Seal of Truth can’t proc off a target without at least 1 stack of Censure already up. I’ve CS’ed a dummy without Censure at least 5 times and SoT didn’t proc. Same with the first melee hit, and I’m assuming the same applies to a fresh TV. Therefore, our proc count drops by 1 in our 10s rotation (since the first CS hit occurs when the target is not affected by Censure), making it 4 SoT procs.
Doing that calculation, that’s a total of 1,100 damage (150 + 250 + 350, all from CS, and 350 from TV). Adding that to our previous total, we get 17,371 damage.
Let’s add this to our totals seen in my previous post.
With the SH buff (+ 12%),
Non-crit: 43,333 * 1.12 = 48,533
Crit: 66,356 * 1.12 = 74,319
The deltas work out to be 5,200 for non-crit and 7,963 for crit.
Therefore, we can see that the average damage increase from Selfless Healer, when used optimally with no external cooldowns, is about the same as a non-crit TV, even with a high crit rate. I suspect that, with increasing gear levels, SH will become less and less comparable to 3HP-TV damage.
I have really been postponing this, for a number of reasons. First of all, I wanted to make sure I put in the proper amount of research and thought into it. Second, the WoW community as a whole has been force-fed so much Cata news lately that I’ve held back vomit every time I’ve considered adding more to the pile. Third, I’m a lazy moocher that’s been half-heartedly following a lot of the ups and downs of build changes and have just dreaded being even half productive. Alas, the approaching patch had me concerned that I would be lost in a sea of class and talent changes, so with that in mind, let’s see what I was able to discern from the PTR.
Ignore my misguided keybinds for the moment. Here is the totality of our DPS abilities available at level 80. Aside from TV, these are not new abilities. However, when and where we use them has changed.
Our New Addiction
Holy Power. Our new resource is poised to complicate the retribution rotation… or is it? Let’s take a quick review of the UI and how shiny it is.
I faction-changed to Draenei for giggles.
Anyway, as you can see, our HP gauge is set below the mana bar, with one charge filling up the bar from left to right in the form of glowing glyphs. When fully charged, your entire character portrait glows with holy energy, although I for one would appreciate a less subtle notice that you’re at three stacks.
Tip: if you’re using the stock UI, you can go into your Interface menu, under Floating Combat Text, and enable “Energy Gains” to see a message in the middle of your screen that indicates a gain in Holy Power.
Ret’s only HP generator is Crusader Strike. More on CS’s importance later. For now, be content that its lackluster flashiness has been redeemed through exterior utility!
In and out of combat, Holy Power (which I’ve abbreviated ‘HP’ because ‘HoPo,’ as Anafielle callsit, is just silly) behaves much like Runic Power for our Death Knight half-brethren.
In combat, you could sit on a three-stack for HP as long as you keep swinging your weapon and remain fighting.
Out of combat, one charge of HP decays every 10 seconds (I know this because I counted; I would’ve had to switch to toes if it was a longer duration…)
Also, interestingly enough, you get a stack of HP from using CS on anything.
Let’s hope there are plenty of critters for us rets to charge our HP up on before pulls, and that our raidmates don’t run ahead of us and kill them. I have high hopes, I know…
Mastering the Mastery
Our new stat: Mastery. Instead of retyping the tooltip, I screenshotted it for your viewing pleasure:
Don’t worry, my dumpling paladins. I have another screenshot for you.
This is going to be our new proc to watch. When you get a Hand of Light proc, you better slam TV so hard it regrets being trained by you! Which, for some of us, is almost immediately after it was trained.
The sexiness of the Hand of Light proc does warrant further investigation into whether we should be reforging and stacking Mastery to our heart’s content.
While we’re talking procs, let’s look at the retooled Art of War:
I especially like the last part there. Mmmm…
When Blizzard Takes a Page from Mod Developers
Now that we have been given more things to watch (which is great for increasing the complexity of our spec), how are we to know when these things proc? Are we to watch our buff bar like some lowly… other class?
Blizzard said “Nay! Paladins are the glue that hold Azeroth together! We simply cannot abide by reducing them to nervous wrecks that evolved a second set of eyes to watch their buffs!” and spat out this recreation of one of my favorite mods, Power Auras:
Neat, eh? Let’s break it down a bit.
Hand of Light
The Hand of Light graphic is the little dealy at the top, like so:
As you can see by comparing the more recent former and the tad more dated latter, they made it a bit more vibrant (it’s either that, or my artistic ability is a little more dreadful than I thought).
When you see that little bar pop up, you will do one of two things, depending on your number of targets:
In a single-target situation, you’ll hit Templar’s Verdict.
In a multi-target situation, you’ll hit Divine Storm.
I know, I’m as weirded out as you all are about the excision of our beloved “Ret Blender” from our single-target rotation, but it’s a somewhat-necessary evil. Just wait and see what they did to it; you’ll forget all about not being able to spam it and TV at the same time. But more on that a bit later.
Art of War
The Art of War graphic is, unfortunately, a pair of glowing Ashbringers surrounding your character, like so:
Oh, the agony.
What’s interesting is that you’re going to want to use up your Hand of Light proc above everything else, and yet its graphic pales in comparison to a free Exo. Double the agony.
Let’s take a look at these graphics in action:
Of course, Hand of Light proc-ed at exactly the right moment there. Trusty ol’ procing proc.
Also notice the Long Arm of the Law proc at the beginning. Yay! This little talent will ensure that we start pretty much every pull with a Judgement, as Charge is one of the sweetest things in the game, and now we get our own little one.
Haste: Whip Out Your Calculators!
Thanks to one of our new talents, Sanctity of Battle, haste will now play a (larger) role in our DPS by reducing the cooldown on Crusader Strike.
Let me put it this way: Crusader Strike generates Holy Power, which is consumed by Templar’s Verdict, our (most likely) hardest-hitting ability.
In short, the faster you can get HP, the more DPS you will do by pumping out TVs as fast as your chubby fingers will allow. Therefore, it’s going to be a math game to decide how much haste will be enough/too much/not enough at all, and what our stat priorities will be at 85.
While I love science and some math, I’m not a total mathlete, so I’ll leave that up to the experts, whose work I’ll peruse while eating a sandwich or what-have-you and eventually distill into something we can all enjoy.
The math, not the sandwich. Only I can enjoy that.
Har har har. So let’s look at our most basic spec: 0/0/28
Obviously, we have some points to spend, but getting to this point is fairly straightforward. I foresee Repentance to be required in this new era of ‘actually using our CC abilities’ that is Cata heroics. If you disagree on my selection of talents, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments, but I really think this is our solid “core.”
From here, we need to spend 2 points to be able to get Zealotry, one of our main cooldowns. I have a feeling Eye for an Eye, Selfless Healer, and Guardian’s Favor are all PvP-oriented talents, so I picked up Rebuke for a nice, usable interrupt and put one point into Acts of Sacrifice simply by default.
From here, it’s a bit fuzzier. If this were a post about raiding at 85, the choice would be easy, but we’re looking for something in the short term. For the moment, I’m going to have to say this build seems to edge out the other one I had in mind: 3/2/31
Of course, if you don’t run with a plethora of pally tanks like I do, going into Prot to get Judgements of the Just might be a viable raid option, though you’d be sacrificing DPS to do so.
But for now, let’s just focus on the level 80 builds.
Prime, Major, and Minor… Pains
This is something I wish I had more experience with on the PTR. My paladin is not a scribe, and my DK that I transferred over who was a scribe did not have the patterns I wanted to test. Also, the glyphs on the AH were at least 5,000g a piece (for some ridiculously stupid reason). But let’s dig through Wowhead together, shall we?
Templar’s Verdict – 15% more damage to something we put on the top of our priority list. Sign me up.
Judgement – 10% more damage from this mainstay ability? Again, jot my name down.
The last slot is somewhat fuzzier. We have a number of interesting choices.
Crusader Strike – 5% increased crit chance to CS… hmm, we WILL be using that ability a lot. Toughie.
Exorcism – 20% of the damage caused by Exo stays on the target and turns into a DoT, that lingers for 6 seconds. Again, appealing.
Seal of Truth – Same as Seal of Vengeance in live (+10 expertise). Somewhat mediocre in comparison to what we can also choose from.
I’m going to have to go with TV, Judge, and CS glyphs for primes. On my own testing, I didn’t seem to use Exo as much as I wanted to (meaning, my AoW proc was up seemingly 100% of the time, but I was too busy spamming TV/CS/Judge to hit it), meaning its glyph wouldn’t be worth it.
I could be wrong though, as Exo’s glyph offers a pure damage increase, whereas CS’s glyph is somewhat less reliable, being an increase to crit “chance.” We’ll have to see, but those first two I expect to see in almost every spec.
These three I thought were a LOT more straightforward.
Consecration – Increases duration and CD by 20%. Makes priority clashes easier to manage.
Hammer of Wrath – HoW’s mana cost eliminated. Kinda ‘meh,’ but there’s not much else to go on.
Seeing as two out of the three are mana-reduction glyphs, if we find we have plenty of mana to go around we could swap some out for other glyphs, although the others are pretty disappointing too.
I’m not even going to bother. The only remotely game-changing glyph is Lay on Hands, and even that is marginal. Go with what your heart or nether regions tell you.
A New Priority
Although this “work” will only be valid for the little time between 4.0.1 and Cataclysm, I have squished together what I am calling a “Proc Priority” system for both single-target and multi-target situations.
In the case of some one-on-one boss action,
3HP-TV > CS > Judge > HoW > Exo > HW > Cons
My reasoning is highlighted thusly.
“3HP-TV > CS”
I’m assuming (could be right, could be wrong) that a fully-charged Templar’s Verdict will be our ‘big boy,’ our ‘hot dog,’ our ‘grande enchilada.’ Therefore, using it and the primary means of being able to use it should be our top two abilities.
“CS > Judge”
Judgement is next because of one, though possibly two, reasons:
To keep up our Judgements of the Pure buff (we should be taking this, though whether it’s 1/3 or 3/3 has yet to be seen)
“Judge > HoW”
Hammer of Wrath does a piddly (on average) 2315 Holy damage, but with the talent Sanctified Wrath, it has an insane crit chance, to the point where crits essentially become the norm. Also, being able to spam it while your wings are up is nice as well, so HoW is staying in my top five.
“Exo > HW > Cons”
This order has to do with the number of targets. Since we’re dealing with one, Holy Wrath’s damage is not split at all, leaving it with (on average) 3294 Holy damage.
With Exorcism, we’ll only be casting that on an AoW proc (which, as I stated earlier, is up nearly all the time), and a part of that proc is that Exo’s damage is doubled, leaving it at (on average) 4942 Holy damage.
Finally, Consecration deals a steady (again, on average) 2670 Holy damage over 12 seconds to anything caught in its radius.
All of these values were taken at T10+ levels of gear with no buffs other than Ret Aura up. As stated, feel free to voice any differences of opinion below.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to define “multi” as 3+.
Remember; in such situations, switch from Seal of Truth to Seal of Righteousness (which is Cata’s Seal of Cleave, thanks to the talent Seals of Command).
3HP-DS > CS > Judge > Cons > HW > Exo > HoW
This priority is a hell of a lot more arbitrary and theoretical than the single-target priority I detailed. The important parts to recognize are that TV is being replaced with DS (as they are mutually exclusive, for the most part) and Consecration and Holy Wrath are being shoved before Exorcism and Hammer of Wrath, merely due to the AoE-nature of both spells. Just know that this priority comes with a lot of hand-waving.
Oh, and the amazing new thing about DS I mentioned earlier? They removed the target limit on it! Commence drooling!
Rolling into 4.0.1, we’ll have two big ones: Zealotry and Avenging Wrath. Let’s get the old news out of the way first.
Same old, same old. The only change to this is that, thanks to Sanctified Wrath, you can now spam HoW during AW’s duration. However, with increasing amounts of Mastery, you won’t be simply “spamming” HoW on cooldown with your wings up. Maybe, but doubtful.
The new guy. This is our pure “burn phase” cooldown. When we hit this, our cast sequence will be the following, interspersed with Judgements and whatever filler moves you need to toss in there while waiting for your CS to come off cooldown:
CS > TV > CS > TV > CS > TV, etc.
The more haste you have, the shorter the cooldown on CS you’ll have thanks to Sanctity of Battle, and the more 3HP-TVs you’ll be able to pump out during Zealotry’s duration.
This talent makes me laugh when the devs say Rets won’t be as bursty in PvP as they have been known to be before.
However, this talent also scares me and makes me think that, as a result of the previous statement, they’ll either nerf it or TV.
Because Two-Thousand Words is More Than I Planned on Writing
I believe that is the majority of what I have in terms of 4.0.1. However, I’m sure I’ll be posting about more patch and Cata-related things, now that the “finalization” stages are underway and the values of major abilities aren’t being monkeyed with, so keep an eye on your feed reader!
Warning: this post preempts any useful information on paladins (i.e. wait for another post for 4.0.1 retribution goodies) and mostly entails shiny objects and funny observations. Read at your own ‘pleasure.’
Logging in to the PTR, I found myself in Dalaran, sitting on my trusty Argent Charger. With my first priority being to stumble my way through our new “rotation,” I headed to the Orgrimmar portal.
Upon porting in, I jumped off the roof and saw something strange.
It was just floating there, being all mysterious. “What the hell?”, I pondered aloud. Shrugging it off as some graphical placeholder, I continued onward to the Valley of Honor. I remained blissfully ignorant of the half-stealthed cultists doing Light knows what to my precious dirt pile that is Orgrimmar until I came to the entrance to the Valley of Honor in the Drag, where a crowd had gathered.
Yadda yadda yadda. This guy sounds like Blizzard’s publicist, I thought.
“No, no, flames will consume the world; just wait an indeterminate amount of time while we fine-tune just how consumed the world will be!”
Shaking myself out of this reverie, I continued onward to the target dummies. Surely, this would be a nice time for quiet contemplation, just me, the Heroic Training Dummy, and his two lesser Grandmaster minions.
Son of a…. Alright, I know where no one would think twice on going.
I zone in to a veritable ghost town. Perfect. I decided to ask a guard where the target dummies were (and as you can see, he has no idea either) and instead, I saw the following option:
So they’re introducing reforging in 4.0.1? Cool! I decided to tickle my fancy and click his sub-menu:
I decided to ignore how weird it was for a Highborne to be in Thunder Bluff and pop in for a visit.
Ok, still weird. Anyway, I shot him a furtive glance and up popped a menu.
I rummaged through my bags and found this tanky thing to reforge:
So, it indeed turns out that you can only reduce secondary stats (Dodge, Hit, Parry, Expertise, etc.). I would say the same for adding stats, but as you can see…
Spirit. Huh. Anyway, moving on…
Barely doing any research into Prot’s changes, I blindly chose Mastery. I’m sure it’s a good stat for them, but I really just chose it arbitrarily.
The cost doesn’t seem too extreme, and reforging doesn’t require random materials, so it should be a pretty effective customization mechanic.
Anyway, I continued my search for the dummies and, after an embarrassing 10 minutes of flailing around, I finally found it.
There was someone on the boss level dummy, and these were nice and private. I sat here alt-tabbed for quite a while, doing some scribble-scrabble math in my handy-dandy notebook, which OF COURSE I captured on film:
Anyway, I tabbed back in because my paladin-sense was tingling and I discovered something was amiss…
Apparently, some event started where the elementals were trying to kill everything? I don’t know, I missed the memo on the backstory.
I was really close to just logging off, but something whispered in my ear “Just a few more seconds!” So I lollygagged around and, lo and behold, my sauntering was not for naught… it was, in face, quite… what I’m trying to say is something happened!
Eat it up, you traitorous Horde paladins that want to re-roll Tauren. Maybe one day I won’t shun all of you… maybe.