Upcoming Ret Changes: A New Hope
Early this morning, Ghostcrawler published a blog post about intended class changes in an upcoming content patch. Instead of giving definite numbers and values, he outlined the philosophies behind a lot of the design decisions they made, which I think is a lot more useful than simple numbers and values. Let’s take a look at what he has said regarding Ret.
In terms of PvE in general (boldface added for emphasis):
We’re happy with damage overall. We have very few traditional tank and spank fights (even Argaloth likes to parry melee) so it’s hard to get consistent numbers without very large data sets. Still, we see Survival hunters and Unholy DKs on top of a lot of single target fights. Arcane, Marksman, and Beastmaster damage is too low. Retribution, Shadow, and Fire and Frost mage damage might be too low, but we’re still watching them.
Some in the Ret community, myself included until fairly recently, mistakenly believed that with all of the changes to our rotation, our DPS would be competitive only with tank damage. Early simcraft data showed Ret to be near the worst off, save for every Rogue spec, but it has become clear that this is no longer the case. I have seen rogues tearing up heroics, and have seen parses where they rank in the top 3 of damage done among whom I consider to be equally-skilled players.
I have also seen my own damage and DPS to be chart-topping among melee-friendly groups… not to toot my own horn or anything. Granted, I have only put a few attempts on the first two bosses in Blackwing Descent, but from that and from the numerous heroics I’ve run, I think I can make that claim with a fair amount of confidence.
We’re not in a terrible place DPS-wise; where the Ret spec truly fails is its execution. I think this post by Bravehearth in the Paladin forums sums up my feelings quite nicely:
DPS isn’t the issue for most people, it’s all the damned RNG. Building up 3 holy power so we can hit our big signature move…oh wait, art of war procced, better hit Exorcism first because it hits harder. Alright SWEET I can now hit my signature move..no wait, Inquisition is about to fall off, better hit that. Oh awesome, a hand of light proc, I can FINALLY hit templar’s verdict again…oh damn, the boss just went under 20% so i better hit hammer of wrath first because it hits harder. Oh, now I can hit Templar’s Verdict…but wait, Zeoltry is off cooldown! This will be awesome! Crusader Strike…Templa….no wait, art of war proc, gotta hit that first…oh another art of war proc…oh hammer of wrath is off cooldown…HAND OF LIGHT PROC…wow I can hit templar’s verdict twice in a row…crusader strike…Oops, better refresh my inquisition lololol.
It’s just frustrating to play. There’s just no rythem to it. It is by far the most convoluted dps “rotation” in the game currently. (source)
There has to be a distinction between complication and convolution, as I feel our rotation is too far off the deep end as it is.
On the topic of Mastery:
Mastery is a new stat for us, and there are a few specs that don’t value it enough. In some cases (e.g. Combat rogues), the design for mastery is fine and we just need to buff the effects to make it more desirable. In others, we don’t think it’s possible to buff mastery enough in its current form. For example, the Retribution mastery, Hand of Light, is fun, but it doesn’t contribute enough damage. To make it contribute enough damage, the proc would need a very high chance, which then can cause paladins to devalue other sources of Holy Power. Instead, we are redesigning Retribution mastery to add a percentage of the damage of Templar’s Verdict, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm as Holy damage (which also plays better with Inqusition). Because Hand of Light is fun, however, we are going to change Divine Purpose as a chance to proc Hand of Light instead of a chance for extra Holy Power (which will also remove a little of the randomness from the rotation).
If you’re like me, you just breathed a very audible sigh… a good one.
To put it kindly, Hand of Light really gummed up the works, and I’ll be glad to see Divine Purpose and Hand of Light rolled into one talent.
Putting their proposal of our new Mastery into perspective, let’s look at one of the most simple versions of Mastery out there: the flat percentage increase.
Let’s imagine they made the Ret Mastery a “increases your X damage by Y% for each point of Mastery.”
If X were “Holy,” then it would just be like a perma-Inquisition. In practice, this would only buff Exorcism, Holy Wrath, and Consecration, the latter two of which are on “long” cooldowns, the former being spammable but costly. If we stacked Mastery in this situation, we’d see bursts of high DPS centered around hard-hitting Exorcisms; a high priority on Inquisition and Art of War procs with little emphasis on the actual generation of Holy Power.
If X were “physical,” then we would be gearing for Haste and Mastery over all else, trying to get that most sacred 3.0s CS cooldown and pretty much removing Inquisition from our bars.
What the proposed scheme does is roll both of these concepts into one.
- By basing the amount of damage contributed to our DPS by Mastery on our physical damage spells (TV, CS and DS), they create an emphasis on Strength and Haste (in reducing the cooldown of CS/DS and increasing TV output as a result).
- By making that additional damage Holy, they create an emphasis for keeping Inquisition rolling throughout an encounter, as I assume that damage would be modified by it.
Let’s hope this solution pans out; as I’m sure many other specs can agree, it just plain sucks having a Mastery that clashes with the rest of your rotation.
Finally, on our single CC (Repentence):
Censure will no longer break Repentance.
Why this wasn’t the case before I don’t understand, but it’s a very welcome change indeed.