Ret Paladin Cataclysm Changes Afterthoughts

We now have the preliminary changes for Retribution Paladins in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.  This basic information released yesterday highlights the intentions Blizzard has for us Ret Paladins, and to be honest, I am quite optimistic.

I have been reading Paladin forums and comments on Paladin websites, and I am seeing a large quantity of unhappy Ret Pallies.  The outpouring of negativity really turns me off to that kind of content, because I really try to look past the initial “WTF?” and search for intended purpose.  The changes I see right now for Cataclysm actually bring a beacon of hope to our DPS.  Now, before you start bashing me on that, let’s take a closer look at what Blizzard has posted with their Cataclysm Paladin Notes.

Guardian of Ancient Kings

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).

All three Paladin specs get Guardian of Ancient Kings, with Retribution basically getting a 30 second pet to deal additional damage.  It is impossible to speculate what our DPS will be like in Cataclysm, but I will take any additional DPS Blizz will give me.  Not to mention, this could be a positive change in PvP, allowing us to put GoAK on ranged DPS classes, or healers to cause additional chaos.  I realize this isn’t the “closer” that everyone wants, but it definitely gives us some additional help for those ranged issues we tend to have.

Crusader Strike Changes

Crusader Strike will be a core ability for all paladins, gained at level 1. We think the paladin leveling experience is hurt by not having an instant attack. Retribution will be getting a new talent in its place that either modifies Crusader Strike or replaces it completely.

Crusader Strike will be available to all Paladins at level 1.  I am thrilled with this change, because the only ability Paladins really have for leveling early on is Judgement.  This will really speed up the leveling process.  As a tradeoff, Blizz states that it will be removed as the 51-point talent, and a new ability could possible take it’s place to either enchance it, or become a new talent all together.  Seeing as almost all 51-point talents are an active ability or spell of some kind (as opposed to passive), this would be a great change.  Another attack for our DPS rotations?  Adding a DoT, additional seal proc to Crusader Strike?  Who knows!  Whatever it is, this keeps Crusader Strike as our core DPS attack, and gives us, in theory, another strong 51-point talent to add to our arsenal.

Cleanse Gone

As stated before by Blizzard in an earlier post regarding dispelling in Cataclysm, Cleanse will become a spell attainable through the Holy Tree.  This is one of the changes I do not like, because cleansing ourselves is a huge efficiency boost to almost all aspects of Ret gameplay (Arenas and PvP anyone?).  I am hoping they put it high enough into the Holy tree that we have the option of speccing into it, even as Ret.

Blessing of Might and Blessing of Wisdom Changes

Blessing of Might will provide the benefit of Wisdom as well. If you have two paladins in your group, one will do Kings on everyone and the other will do Might on everyone. There should be much less need, and ideally no need, to provide specific buffs to specific classes.

Blessing of Wisdom is gone.  Blessing of Might will provide both attack power and mana regeneration benefits.  This is a huge change, further reducing our annoying Blessings duties.  Like the notes say, one Paladin will be buffing Kings, and the other will be blessing Might.  Awesome.

Holy Shock

Holy Shock will be a core healing spell available to all paladins.

All I can say is, will it still retain its damaging properties, or will it be changed to only be a heal?  If it is still a damaging spell in addition to healing, then that adds an interesting mechanic.

Retribution Defensive Capabilities Decreased

We want to ease off the defensive capabilities of Retribution and Holy paladins slightly. We think the powerful paladin defenses have been one of the things holding Retribution paladins back, especially in Arenas. One change we’re considering is lowering Divine Shield’s duration by a couple of seconds. Having said that, Retribution does pretty well in Battlegrounds, and Battlegrounds will be a much bigger focus in Cataclysm since they can provide the best PvP rewards. Furthermore, the healing environment of Cataclysm is going to be different such that a paladin may not be able to fully heal themselves during the duration of Divine Shield to begin with, so this may not be a problem.

To be honest, I’m not really sure what to think here.  I don’t think there could have been a more generic statement about this subject.  Divine Shield is not top on my priority list of Ret changes I was looking for.  I was hoping for a little detail on tradeoffs of protection for damaging abilities, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait for that.

Adding Difficulty to Facerolling

We feel Retribution paladins need one more mechanic which involves some risk of the player pushing the wrong button, making the rotation a bit less forgiving. In addition, we want to add to this spec more PvP utility. Right now the successes of the Retribution paladin in PvP seem to be reduced to either doing decent burst damage, or just being good at staying alive.

Now this is intruiging.  It’s a shame they’re not giving specifics here, but I am very excited they will be complicating up our DPS in some way or form.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy our FCFS rotations and the damage we put out, but if there is a chance to push even more DPS with a little skill related to mastering Ret mechanics, I’m all for it.  I hope they leave our AoE abilities alone, and if they need to tweak a DPS mechanic, let it be done in our approach to single target encounters.  Using Seal of Vengeance is nice, but the ramp up time and chance to lose the stacks with movement really hurts us.  If they can enhance the seal mechanics for boss fights, I’d be thrilled.

My Conclusion

True, this is some pretty generic stuff.  I now agree with Blizzard in that they still have a lot more to hammer out.  None of this was groundbreaking, but it does give me hope that the Cataclysm changes will be positive for Retribution Paladins.  Now, we play the waiting game. Let’s see what Blizz throws at us next.

What do you think about these Ret Paladin changes?


  1. The First Brough says:

    I personaly will miss my abilitie to bubble-hearth but most the changes listed are a pleasant inprovement in my opinion.

  2. Incrusiable says:

    well the first brough i have to say they said they might do that but they might not so dont be discouraged yet 😀

    secondly i was wondering the exact same thing about holy shock you were khore cause this could be an extremely usefull thing in pve yes but hugely in pvp and almost instant heal or a another ranged attack for when you almost have that noob of a hunter down to 0% 😀

    im happy about the shield attack wich you did not include because it is quite easy for a ret pally to make a macro to equip a shield and sword and use that ability and have all other abilities /equip there 2H and keep attacking so it will also be interesting to see about it in pvp.

  3. Heavenfall says:

    i love how none of this info was detailed lol, me and my buddies could hammer out more specifics over a pizza
    anyhoo, im liking what the future holds

  4. Capcom says:

    PvP ftl. WTB more PvE changes.

  5. RetPally says:

    Summoning a cool guardian?! I love it! Other then that, yeah not much specific so not sure what to make of it, we’ll see.

  6. rettired says:

    i wonder how this guardian well play out. could it be buffed by wings, would it to pop a forbearance, or a similar 30 sec debuff to that of lay of hands, or would it just do what it does and nothing fancy…. im hoping for the the first.


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