Current as of: Patch 4.3
What the hell is Holy Power?
Holy Power is a new resource available only to the Paladin class. The default UI shows Holy Power (herein abbreviated HP) on a glyph bar beneath the standard health and mana bars:
Generally, CS and DS are referred to as our “HP generators.”
At level 85, we can use HP in the following ways, all of which are referred to as “finishers”:
- Casting Templar’s Verdict, a single-target attack,
- Casting Word of Glory, an instant heal.
- Casting Inquisition, a Holy Damage buff.
The damage or healing of each move scales off how much HP you have at the time of using the ability; that is, the more HP you possess, the harder the hit or the stronger the heal.
What’s this Mastery thing?
Mastery rating is the new “stat” added in 4.0.1. Each spec has it’s own unique Mastery, with Ret’s being Hand of Light. As the tooltip states, our Mastery adds a certain percentage of the ability’s damage as Holy damage, which reads separately in parses, specifically as “Hand of Light.”
Mastery is one of our strongest stats right now, so stack it to your heart’s content!
What about Divine Purpose?
When Divine Purpose procs, you’ll see the following graphic:
What this proc means is that you have 3 “free” Holy Power to expend. The most ideal uses during a boss encounter are to either refresh your Inquisition (if it is in danger of expiring) or to hit TV, although WoG is permissible in transitions.
Note that the buff from Divine Purpose only lasts 8 seconds, so decide quickly!
How should I spend my talent points?
The generally accepted level 85 raiding spec is 7/2/32; this build takes every damage-increasing talent we can get access to. I went 2/2 in Eye for an Eye and 1/2 Acts of Sacrifice, but realistically those two points can be thrown anywhere in the Ret tree. It should be noted, however, that Eye for an Eye provides a minor boost to DPS due to the copious amounts of magic AoE damage being spewed out by most Cataclysm bosses at this time.
What about those pesky glyphs?
Glyph of Templar’s Verdict is the obvious first choice. Grab it.
Glyph of Exorcism appears to be our second-best choice, thanks to some number-tweaking on Blizzard’s part. This will leave a DoT after each Exo cast, lasting 6 seconds and equating to 20% of the Exorcism’s damage.
Glyph of Seal of Truth frees up some itemization on gear by giving us 10 free Expertise every time we have Seal of Truth active. It’s a good idea to use this glyph at all times, reforging any Expertise you have past the soft cap into either Hit, Crit, or Mastery.
None of our major glyphs directly increase our DPS. However, some of the mana-reduction glyphs (namely Glyph of the Ascetic Crusader and Glyph of Hammer of Wrath) could result in fewer necessary Judgements and more hard-hitting abilities.
Glyph of Divine Protection has many, many uses; I would definitely recommend keeping this glyphed at all times.
Choose whatever you feel you’d benefit the most from; none of these glyphs are very spectacular. At least pick up both Glyph of Truth and Glyph of Righteousness to make seal-swapping less painful on the mana pool.
How should I gear up?
General stat ranking as of 4.2:
Strength > Hit > Expertise > Mastery > Crit ? Haste
Hit to special attacks cap (961 rating, 8%), and Expertise to soft cap (781 rating, 26 points).
As we can get a free 10 Expertise (points, not rating) from a glyph, gemming or enchanting for the soft cap is unnecessary.
Patch 4.0.1 added the ability to reforge gear, taking 40% of a secondary stat on a piece of gear and changing into something else for a nominal fee. As of 4.0.6, it’s most beneficial to reforge for Hit and Expertise, if you’re under caps.
Remember: it takes 40% of the stat you choose and turns it into your reforged stat. Therefore, the larger the excess stat, the greater chunk you’ll get from the reforging.
Crit vs. Haste
There has been some uncertainty expressed over the relative values of Crit and Haste due to a heavy reliance on the Random Number Generator for maximum DPS. Haste stacking was viable at the end of Wrath, but in Cataclysm it has lost steam. With this in mind, I’m going to recommend that you take the opportunity to experiment! Reforge your Crit to Haste, reforge your Haste to Crit, keep them balanced… go wild!
How should I gem my gear?
For your meta, use a Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond.
Occasionally, you’ll encounter a piece of gear with a great socket bonus but a blue or a yellow socket. For example, Immolation Legplates have a socket bonus of +20 Strength and would only require one hybrid gem. So, throw a Bold (+40 Strength) and a Skillful (+20 Strength / +20 Mastery) in there and you’ll end up with +80 Strength and +20 Mastery, thanks to the socket bonus.
Never gem specifically for Hit or Expertise; you can get those easily through reforging.
What about enchants?
Head: Arcanum of the Dragonmaw
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone / Lesser Inscription of Jagged Stone
Chest: Peerless Stats / Mighty Stats
Cloak: Greater Critical Strike / Critical Strike
Wrist: Major Strength / Critical Strike (Greater Expertise/Precision if below caps)
Hands: Mighty Strength / Exceptional Strength
Waist: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs: Dragonscale Leg Armor / Scorched Leg Armor
Feet: Mastery / Precision if in need of Hit
Weapon: Landslide / Avalanche
What professions should I get?
From a purely numerical standpoint, Jewelcrafting is the best raiding profession at the moment for a retribution paladin, if only because it provides one additional point of Strength for its profession bonus. However, most other professions appear to give equal bonuses (i.e. 80 Strength).
Alchemy: Adds 80 Strength to the 300 you get from our flask alone, as well as doubles its duration. Also, the Volatile Alchemist Stone is a very nice pre-raid trinket thanks to the gobs of Strength and Mastery.
Enchanting: Enchant both rings with Strength, resulting in an additional 80 Strength.
Engineering: Harder to quantify, you gain access to Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades for a raid-level helm, Synapse Springs to gloves, and movement helpers like Nitro Boosts and Flexweave Underlay. The inclusion of Strength in the glove enchant has helped make Engineering a competitive raid profession again (remember to macro it into your abilities!)
Inscription: Lionsmane Inscription to shoulders, an 80 Strength upgrade from the exalted Therazane inscription.
Jewelcrafting: Allows three JC gems, Bold Chimera’s Eyes, to replace normal +40 Strength gems, resulting in an 81 Strength increase.
As of 4.3, the benefit of jewelcrafting has dropped significantly due to the introduction of epic gems, bringing the bonus down to a 51 Strength increase.
Leatherworking: Draconic Embossment – Strength, which gives an additional 130 Strength in place of 50 Strength.
Tailoring: Swordguard Embroidery (Rank 2) provides a chance at 1000 AP for 15 seconds.
Mining, Herbalism, and Skinning are not commonly considered raiding professions.
Is race-changing worth it?
Generally, not really. Going from Horde to Alliance, however, will net you some free combat ratings no matter which race you choose.
Humans get Mace and Sword Specializations, meaning they can free up some itemization from gear to go for some more Mastery (ideally). This IS a DPS increase, and I am super jelly. Also, Every Man for Himself can be used to break out of CC effects, though presently these are few and far between in a raid setting.
Draenei get Heroic Presence, essentially a free 120 Hit rating that you won’t have to reforge for. They also get Gift of the Naaru, a free HoT that heals for 20% of your total health (not base health, in this case).
Blood Elves get Arcane Torrent, an AoE silence. I love having it as a back-up to Rebuke, but it contributes nothing to DPS.
What about auras, seals, and blessings?
With the talent changes, we don’t have access to Aura Mastery anymore. Let’s have a quick moment of silence for raid utility.
Keep up Ret Aura by default. If your raid leader needs you to do something else, you can easily change it up.
Single-target: Seal of Truth
If you have a druid who is putting up Mark of the Wild, cast Blessing of Might.
If you don’t have a druid, cast Blessing of Kings.
If you have two or more paladins, frolic in your abundance of buffs and coordinate accordingly.
What about Judgements?
No need to worry; there’s only one Judgement now. Just hit the button.
Casting Judgement when running into melee range is a great idea thanks to three things:
The quicker we can “close the gap,” the quicker we can start pumping TVs into the boss.
What buttons do I push?
We’re back to a proc-based priority system. Ideally, we’d have a 100% uptime for Inquisition because it not only buffs our already hard-hitting Exorcism and somewhat harmful Holy Wrath, as well as the red-headed stepchild that is Consecration, but it also modifies our Hand of Light damage. This means that Inquisition uptime has become all the more vital to our DPS.
Try to refresh Inquisition as close to the wire as you can, ideally with under 3 seconds left on the buff. This may not be possible if you have to move and/or can’t generate three more HP in time (sans the RNG nature of Divine Purpose), so plan accordingly and use your best judgment.
Our priorities are as follows-
Inquisition > Crusader Strike (0-2 HP) > Templar’s Verdict (3 HP) > Exorcism (AoW) > Hammer of Wrath > Templar’s Verdict (DP) > Judgement > Holy Wrath > Consecration
For Undead or Demon enemies (because Exo auto-crits for U/D):
Inquisition > Crusader Strike (0-2 HP) > Exorcism (AoW) > Templar’s Verdict (3 HP) > Hammer of Wrath > Templar’s Verdict (DP) > Judgement > Holy Wrath > Consecration
For AoE encounters (> 4 targets), simply replace CS with DS.
What about these cooldown buttons?
The best use of Avenging Wrath and Zealotry can be found if you macro them together so that their benefits stack.
Note that Zealotry requires 3-HP to use, so keep that in mind if you want to pop this one during a Bloodlust/Heroism.
As for Guardian, I try to pop this cooldown early so it will be back up later on in the fight. However, if there is a burn phase within the encounter, I try to pop Guardian first, wait about 10 seconds to stack Ancient Power, then use Wings.
Note that the Guardian is untargetable and therefore unkillable. Like most other pets, it now behaves according to the new Assist functionality, so we’ll see how well that works. Also, his shuffle is quite amusing.
What consumables should I nom on?
Flask: Flask of Titanic Strength
Potion: Golemblood Potion
Any useful addons or macros I should know about?
clcRet. I have been vehemently opposed to using this addon for quite a while, but recently I decided to at least see how it functioned. The current iteration of it (as of 3/1/2011) has some wonky Inquisition settings, but overall it appears to be a very good learning tool. I recommend this for beginners, but discourage it for intermediate and advanced retadins.
PallyPower. I have since decided to ditch this addon, as it wasn’t allowing easy seal-switching while in combat, which can be a problem for fights like Maloriak where one needs to go between single-target and AoE rapidly. Still not a bad little piece of code, and it saves some action bar real estate, but it’s not quite my cup of tea anymore.
Power Auras. Great for seeing procs and the like. Now that Blizzard has given us two Power Aura-esque graphics for both Art of War and Hand of Light, we don’t have much for Power Auras itself to do. I still use mine, however; having a larger visual for when I get 3 HP is very handy.
(Yes, I’d say Recount is necessary; if you’re botching your rotation, your DPS will suffer, and you’ll notice a relative drop in your DPS output, shown in Recount. Try not to tunnel vision the meters, though.)