When I create posts here on Retribution Paladins, I pay very close attention to the comments players leave. I also spend a good deal of time reading threads on the WoW forums, and just as much time sorting through Elitist Jerks. While the general concensus is that Retribution DPS is too low, there are a number of players saying Retribution is broken. It’s not broken, it just is severely underperforming.
From my own personal experiences in-game, my guild is a small, causual/hardcore guild that is focusing on 10-man raids. I have been used as a healer since launch primarily because of how strong the Paladin healer class is. With the difficulties that Cataclysm healing is creating, we are finding far less healers available than in Wrath. Players are opting to go into DPS or tanking roles to avoid healing woes.
Now, from my DPS numbers I can put out, I would be one of the top DPSers were I to go Retribution in raids. But that is just for my guild only. Were I in an elite guild, pressing content and raiding hardcore, I would not even come close to putting out the required DPS. That is not because I am a horrible Ret, it’s because the design of Retribution equals a lower damage output than other classes.
So, how do we fix this problem? Let’s take a quick trip back to Wrath to start…
Retribution Paladins in Wrath Look Exquisite in Hindsight
In Wrath, we complained, and we groaned and moaned as the expansion went live. Then, around the Coliseum and ICC, Retribution Paladins started getting stronger…much stronger. Haste started scaling extremely well, gear bonuses were titanic DPS boosters, and our rotations were simple and easy to follow. The problem? Retribution was too easy. It was too easy to have little skill and still crunch out high damage totals. The simplicity of the DPS mechanics and rotations made experienced and hardcore players yearning for more.
The big differences between Wrath and Cata? Divine Storm was just as strong a single target attack as it was AoE. Judgement hit for much more damage (concerning Wrath content). Holy power was non-existent, and everything functioned off of mana…which we did run out of.
I never felt we needed a drastic change, but as they announced the differences in Retribution gameplay for Cataclysm, I embraced it with open arms. I still love the class, but I think the real problem lies in the reliance on Holy Power and it’s regeneration. You can tweak the damage of every spell, but with the exception of Crusader Strike, Holy Power generation is still left wanting.
Holy Power Generation
The problem with Holy Power, at least in my opinion, is that the ultimate goal is to use Templar’s Verdict as much as possible. With the changes in 4.0.6, Divine Purpose has been redesigned to give 3 Holy power at a reduced % for DS, Exorcism, etc. You guys know the talent. The problem is that this is still a random chance to generate HP. The only consistency comes from Crusader Strike, which is on a long enough cooldown that there are a good number of occurrences in a fight were we are literally waiting a second or two doing nothing but autoattacking, waiting for CS to come off cooldown. Why are we waiting? Because casting Holy Wrath or Consecrate resets the global cooldown, making us wait even longer for CS. That’s a DPS loss, which really adds up over the course of a 4 to 5 minute fight.
Top top this all off, Crusader Strike isn’t scaling as well with Haste as we would like, so to get CS down to a 3-second cooldown (which would tremendously help HP generation), we’d have to get unobtainable amounts of haste. The gear available right now just can’t handle that load. So we are stuck. If you get lucky and have some good RNG going your way, your DPS will soar. If not, your DPS will look putrid. Most of us are sitting in the middle, with just mediocre DPS…for Ret Paladins. Even if a great Ret Paladin gets lucky with his Holy Power generation, they may put up DPS numbers that are still 3k to 5k (even as much as 7k or 8k) DPS lower than the top DPS classes for a fight. So, even with perfect HP generation, it still would appear we are lacking.
The Divine Storm changes still irk me. I rarely find myself using this, and even when I can, it only lasts about half the fight on packs of trash because the number of mobs gets small enough to where AoE is no longer effective. I understand that in Wrath we were doing better AoE DPS than some of the true AoE damage classes…but don’t nerf our ability to the ground to even things out. Give the other classes a boost, imo.
Divine Storm being taken off Holy Power dependency was great, but the shared cooldown with Crusader Strike is awful imo. I know that Blizz wants us to choose one or the other, but to me, Divine Storm would work best in its original role as a normal part of our rotations…both single target and AoE. Maybe give it 125% weapon damage, and see if that can be the gap filler we need between Crusader Strike cooldowns where we are waiting for CS instead of popping a second filler.
Overall Damage Output
Our overall damage output is still low, even when we get great procs and HP generation, at least compared to other classes. Part of this is attributed to how our FCFS rotation lays out, and part is just low damage output from attacks like Judgement, Holy Wrath, and Consecrate. So how can we improve Retribution damage output?
There are a number of ways out there players are suggesting, and here’s mine: fall back a bit onto the Wrath mindset.
- Take Divine Storm off the shared cooldown with Crusader Strike and bump it’s damage to 125%. Not only does this make it a more viable AoE attack, but it can be used in normal rotations as well. While it won’t be a top DPS attack, it gives us a viable filler while waiting for CS.
- Strengthen Consecrate a bit more, or reduce the cooldown to give us a minor DPS increase that has a consistent flow. Mana usage could be lowered a bit to compensate the more frequent usage.
- Inquisition, Zealotry, and Avenging Wrath as separate abilities are all neat individually, but their use feels choppy. I’m not a fan of Inquisition every 30 seconds. Upping this to a 60 second duration would allow more focus on actual DPS than refreshing a buff. And I know this will get me some hate mail, but finding a way to combine AW and Zealotry really simplifies some of the unnecessary complexities of our rotation.
I’m sure Blizz has their thinking caps on and is working on ways to improve our damage. I still do not think the class is broken. Broken is the wrong word. We are just stuck using mechanics that are wishing and hoping on procs, as opposed to a more concrete method of dealing damage. What do you guys think? WHat would you do to improve our DPS? Remember nothing we say probably gets implemented, but it would be nice to hear what you guys think would improve our gameplay, and make it a better experience. No rights or wrongs here, so if you have criticsm of someone’s ideas, tuck them away and post constuctive comments!