Retribution is Weak, not Broken

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!


  1. Humanaggro says:

    Hi Khor and thanks for the many interesting and usefull posts that you make!

    Now to what you are saying here in this post. I have heard a lot of players saying that ret pallies are now really bad compared to other classes, however, when I run HC’s or Baradin Hold I’m always in the top of the DPS charts. Our guild which is a casual 10 man raiding guild just ran through Baradin hold and I was second on the DPS chart with around 12k DPS. Our guild is not the best of course but still. Looking at my gear and the gear that other guildies that I beat in DPS have, there is a small difference but still a difference. I have full 346 gear except one trinket and I only have one 359 item, whereas many of the ppl I beat who are rogues, DK’s, droods have full 346 gear with 2-4 359 pieces.

    To conclude, I think that at least I am doing quite good compared to other classes. But, I don’t know if the reason is that my guildies really suck, however I do not believe so.

    What do you guys think?

  2. Rolanor says:

    I find in my 25man guild with 2 ret paladins,on a stand-still dps fight like baradin hold, we both sit around 17.5k dps in 1/3 to 1/2 epic gear and 346’s. This puts us in 4th-7th place on meters, depending on those lucky multiple HoL and exo procs. All of our top dps and the classes that beat us are, not suprisingly, unholy DKs and rogues, anywhere from 18-21k dps. To fix this, they could do 1 of 2 things, imo: 1)Iron out the rotation to follow-it-or-fail standards (how DKs USED to be), 2) give us some breathing room on our attacks (How ret used to be). A buff to DS and an inclusion in our rotation would help. The incoming mastery change will help. What is causing our dps to underperform is the weakness of consecretion, holy wrath and judge right now, none of which push out more than 14k dmg on crits. Holy Wrath isn’t really a good AoE spell, as it will only do a certain amount of damage split among multiple targets, it will only ever do so much dmg. I love the way ret is now, it just needs a buff to our secondary abilities, or this god-send mastery change that will happen soon. If blizz could lower the CD of CS to 4 seconds on its own and let the haste reduce it from there, that would get rid of a lot of the wait between attacks, and the need to use 2 spell fillers.

  3. Logan says:

    Our rotation is really clunky , to say the least, at this point. More often than not I find myself literally starving for HP. And without the lucky proc I feel like ultimatively it is not up to me to decide or my skil for that matter if I am about to do under par, average, solid or tremendeous dps. A playstyle that doesn’t make too much sense imho. I understand they (devs) wanted to make a shift from genuinelly low skill cap that was required out of retadins in WotLK but I am afraid they made a shift in the wrong direction or just took it too far because once again, there is no real way to differentiate a skillful player from a non skillful one simply because of the immense rng factor involved. We desperately need another ability that guarantees HP generation or some means of generating it faster because as things stand now, not even our HP dump (TV) is hitting hard enough to justify the obscene downtime between the 3HP generation. Also @ posts above mine and BH, thought I’d mention Argaloth is a demon. In conclusion, they can take two routes.. a) buffing each and every one of our spells and abilities or the fix could in reality be done via much more simple means and that is b) provide us with the means of generating much needed HP much much faster and not leave us stranded for a few seconds each rotation cycle. I think the DS idea sounds good were it off shared cd with CS and brought a 100% for a point of HP. Thats my 2 copper on it anyway.

  4. Douglaar says:

    I agree that retri DPS feels a bit weak atm, i’m only 1-2 359 bits at the moment, but with the 4.0.6 changes I feel the tweaks may be just what we need.

    Meta is a big loss at the moment and the other changes to CS and Mastery will be interesting to see, I think they will go some way to balancing out the low patches DPS wise.

    I’d personally maybe like to see the chance to proc HP up to maybe 80 or even 100% on Judgement and Holy Wrath to make it a better use of downtime between CS’s. If I knew I was gauranteed one more HP from a judge or HW I would be more likely to cast them as the DPS loss in CS delay would be made up for by a more predictable pattern of HP generation.
    At the moment it feels like my CS give a more or less 100% HP chance and the others much much lower.

  5. Judicius says:

    I’m confused. I’m hitting numbers along the lines you are talking about but the only time I’m waiting for CS is when everything else is also on CD.

    Am I gimping my DPS?


  6. HolyShoteR-Warsong says:

    Like the other guys said i think that we need another consistent way to get holy power and also get a buff on our filler skills like judgement ,consecration and holy wrath.

    overall i think we need to chose our fillers depending on the situation
    for an example :

    on a fight with multiple targets that requires changing targets frequently (single target) we rather use judgement for a better single target damage, that of course would need a dmg boost for the judgement and a CD reduce to always use it after crusader strike (if not on 3HP)

    on a fight with adds or mobs we would use consecration (+dmg required) with the use of divine storm ( i think they should go back to the divine storm on HP thing but getting more damage making it reasonable to use for aoe since we have no HP aoe skill) and also using holy wrath for more aoe dps boost ,

    something that has been forgot is the seal of righteousness we desperately need another seal to switch betwen aoe fights and single target fights , blizz should seriously think on buffing seal of righteouseness to get us to aoe damage once again.

    that way we should get 2 different rotations , one for single target and one for aoe fights

  7. Fernando says:

    Yeah our dps is not broken is just base on luck sometimes i get like 5 HoL in a row sometimes i get 1 same qith holy power when i lucky i get 3 holy power sometimes i dont but is just base on luck till bliz fix us

  8. Mourdechai says:

    Personally, I feel that ret is fine. I don’t think a paladin was ever meant to be a true top end DPS class.

    The ret paladin brings many things to the table that other DPS classes don’t. First among these is obviously healing. I have saved many wipes in heroics and raids with Word of Glory and Lay on Hands, With talents like selfless healer being so far down in the retribution tree, it seems obvious to me that we are meant as a utility class more than a pure DPS. We have Hands spells; Our WoG practically Auto-crits when we use it on another player; selfless healer gives us up to 12% extra damage practically anytime we want it(at the expense of one GCD and the damage of a TV).

    Personally, while I would love an increase to DPS, which would be a more tangible use for the ret paladin, I am fine with the current role we are(as far as I can tell) supposed to play.

    If only more guilds could realize this role, then I think ret paladins would have a spot in every raid. They really can take stress off of the healers, while still contributing a fair amount of DPS.

  9. Varrex says:

    I think there still needs to be a change in how haste affect CS or as suggested DS be taken off the shared CD of CS I think the 100% wep damage is fine as the new mastery will bring holy damage along with it and if hits all targets it will be a vast improvement then in its current form on live. Changing judgement to add holy power would be a little op unless the CD was greatly increased…

    My Ret pally make part of our core 10 were not a hard core progression guild but we do good currently 5/12 soon to be 7/12… My roll is completely different then when it was WotLK but I can still top the charts depending on the fight but what changed is my roll isnt as taxing on the healers as some pure dps classes… We have self heals, LoH and bubble to save us along with way to lower our threat or our raid member threat at times…

    Ret seems to me to be a complete utility roll now yes we need a dps boost to be more competitive with the pure dps classes but IMO we should never be able to completely top the charts as we did in WotLK…

  10. EGOprime says:

    I, too, would like to jump to the forgone conclusion that our class is “broken,” but that is simply incorrect, as you have stated.

    Choppy was used? That is about the best word I could use to describe our current state. As others have mentioned their numbers: I pull about 14k in BH and got up to 18k on the 10m Magmaw fight, which is (by far) the most forgiving fight in BWD for rets. Do I feel good to essentially succeed with a (presently) hard class? Of course I do. It is gratifying to know, or to be validated by, the admiration of my fellow guildmates when I effectively contribute to a raid kill with it publicly known rets are having a difficult time of things.

    My concern lies with sustainability. I might pull 18k on one Magmaw encounter and 14k on the next. I won’t even dare publicly state my meter reads from the other, more movement aggressive, fights because when you have ability, but lack numbers, your ability is still questioned. I feel as though talent should top charts; taking in to consideration pure versus hybrid dps, of course. If 2 players have identical gear and identical talent, with one being a ret and one a hunter, of course the hunter will top the chart every time, NEVER would I have a problem with that (this goes for all the pure classes). But for me to play my keyboard like a piano to be 8k dps less than a hunter who is watching TV while raiding is almost sickening; and don’t get me started on druids…

    I love the retribution paladin, I will never play anything else, other than my offspec, but I have had a face full of BC memories shoved in to my mouth like a pistol. Getting booted from heroics before we even start; getting passed over by guild 10m’s because I can’t sustain my numbers in movement aggressive fights; having to defend upgrades for myself with my abhorred dps (in certain fights) means this class is un-fun to play, and why would Blizzard do that to any class…ever? Redundant question.

    We are not broken. At some point along the way they tried to make changes for the greater good, I know that. But at what point do you just take the DPS tree away from Paladins to avoid even giving us the option/ability to embarrass ourselves? Its like giving us a gun in battle, but not giving us the bullets, and we have to work 10x harder to survive while other soldiers stay 20ft away from us because they want someone with a functioning gun covering their butts.

  11. Handera says:

    Who the hell complained as a paladin when Wrath went live? Ret pallys and dks were massively overpowered right out of the gate!

  12. Goibhniu says:

    Hey Khor,

    This one has nothing to do with ret’s but i noticed you said your used as a healer, could you either give me a good rotation for the holy spec or maybe even a site to go to as i have just duel specced and am having a hard time making heads or tails of it all. Oh and keep the good work up loving the info helped me out a great deal in my hour of need.


  13. Boogieknight says:

    Crusader strike needs to reduce in cooldown in my opinion. Protection got a fixed 3 second cooldown shared with Hammer of the Righteous for threat generation. Ret should just be a 3 or 3.5 second fixed cooldown much the same. Other than that I say take DS off the shared cooldown, leave the damage at 80% and make ~50% or so of the damage holy. Inquisition should up that enough to compensate for the lower damage on a single target fight. As for Zealotry and Avenging Wrath I always manage to get AW off and use it every fight, Zealotry on the other hand I either forget to use or that 3 holy power is better served saving someone’s butt with Word of Glory

  14. Pyrisilla - Jubei'thos says:

    @Mourdechai I agree with your point, among all the dps classes which other class can pull out as much utility as us?

    We got Holy Radiance to help for AoE healing, WoG for helping out healer’s stress, Lay on Hands to top tank because most druids/priest/shammy healers just cant top the massive cata HP pool.
    Not to mention we’re plated and USE Hand of Sacrifice on anyone taking high single target dmg (helping out tank taking BWD Maloriak’s adds come to mind here, along with to4w conclave’s adds, and the zephyr ultimate temp damage boost).

    Its true that we have not much chance in topping dps while in raiding guilds but if you can show them how versatile your utilities are there should be no reason they will not add you.

    Ret-pallies have many tricks up their sleeves to help out raid instead of just doing pure dps, if you want to top charts go roll a pure dps.

    Lastly, WoG is not going to reset swing timer, that should help alittle with our dps. Selfless healer + trinket proc/use + avenging wrath + inqusition = large large burst damage. (even more so with our incoming mastery change)

    What do you think Khor?

  15. Nivada says:

    What are you thoughts on “damage % increase fights”, like Al’akir were we get up to 100% damage increase? Personally I find myself scaling a lot more than other classes, and normally top on that fight. However, now with the new patch and buffs, I’m conserned that I will do a lot more damage than other classes, which will lead to other people qqing about paladins doing too much dps etc.

    What are your thoughts on this? Does something need to be done with the ret paladins ability to scale with “damage % increases”?

    Link to log:

  16. Thorr10 says:

    Def: Retribution – Punishment that is considered to be morally right and fully deserved.

    By definition, Ret Paladins are suppose to be DPS’rs. I don’t want to be helper healer trying to convince a PUG raid leader for something like 10 or 25man BH that I have some tricks up my sleeve. I might as well spec Holy and get in, no questions asked. Please no offense to anyone who likes being a Ret Pally as a utility class.

    I think a Ret Pally is different from most DPS classes in a sense it takes a lot of skill due to the mechanics, than any other class to squeeze out every bit of DPS. And if we have that skill, Ret Paladins should be close to topping out the DPS charts consistently.

    I couldn’t agree more with Khor and especially EGOprime. IMO Cata has added a lot more mechanics to boss fights as well as a lot more mechanics to the Ret Paladin. These two factors equal severe drop in DPS for us. Range DPS classes are benefiting the most. Classes that can AOE slow or stop/freeze also benefit as that abilty is in high demand. IMO we dont have any unique ability that makes us a desirable class for PUGs. The closest we have is repent and rebuke but many other classes have similar abilities as well.

    There are a lot of good suggestions posted, im most in favor of reducing cool down of Crusader Strike to 3 to 3.5 seconds which would increase DPS but maintain the current mechanics. Also,Im going to step a bit out of the box and I personally would like Repent as small AOE or effective on ALL mobs as a single target.

  17. Humanaggro says:

    Nivada I see that you are doing nice DPS, could you possibly link ur armory? I just want to see what gear, enchants, glyphs, etc you have. Thanks!

  18. The Fiddler says:

    EGOprime, couldn’t agree more..
    We may have been overpowered in Wotlk but we are now massively underpowered in Cata. Wheres the happy medium?
    I may only be a casual player in a reasonably good guild but i find due to the low dps im pulling im not even being considered for 10mans in our guild not to mention pug runs.. In Wotlk I spent most of my time PvPing in Bg’s and some arena as well and often enough i was at the top of the charts but im now finding im super weak in pvp as well as pve.. 1vs1 in bg’s i find i can still out play most but no longer do i find myself topping any charts, my damaged is alot lower and i can only look semi respectable if i ninja peoples kills.. By the looks of things it sounds like im not the only 1 and funnily enough, i dont see many ret pallys around anymore. Its got to the point where im completely changing to my OS holy for both PvP and PvE.
    Come on blizzard, enough is enough. I dont mind playing harder to crank out good dps but to play as hard as you can and still put out crap dps is a joke, its taken out the fun out of what i used to believe was the best and most fun class to play.
    I’ll stay with my holy os till some major changes are made.

  19. Amemyia says:

    Hi, Khor

    I’m top dps 99% of the time exception of few survival hunters.

    I can range anywhere from 9k to 18k dps. Raid bosses (if im not moving around much) Cata Raid bossses I can hold about 14k dps and peak out at 18k. ICC bosses I can hold 24k dps.

    I’ve been on your site since wrath and its been very informative.

    I cant wait till next patch!

    Keep up the good work and check me out on wow progress or wow heroes

  20. Hammerhead says:

    They should make Divine Storm generate a holy power as well. And remove the shared cooldown so we can generate holy power more easily. If you look at the tank tree, both CS and hammer of righteouss generate a holy power. I don’t see why ret can’t do that as well….

  21. Darthal says:

    Summed up perfectly. I have stopped playing ret until it has been rectified because it only frustrates me. Besides, prot is the key to fast randoms anyways.

  22. cylis says:

    There is also one thing often forgotten:

    A ret pally is not a pure DPS class…
    I fully agree our DPS is at the moment too low. However I do not think it should reach the level of a rogue or mage for example.

    We can help the healers, we can buff, we add raid damage %…

    People posting their dps does not mean anything. You have to compare apples with apples…if one pally puts out 14k where I can put out only 11k…there can be many reason to that: rotation, gear, raid composition, even luck…

    You can also not compare yourself with other classes easily: the level of gear can be different, some bosses can be great for the dps of one class and not good for another…it also depends on the skills of the other player.

    All in all, we see our DPS is too low…that is a fact. But indeed it is not broken.
    I agree there is currently a lack of fluidity in the rotation…sometimes I am just waiting…There are many ways to fix that. I just hope Blizzard will take the right move.

  23. Milos says:

    Broken is maybe a strong word, but weak is definitively not sufficient.
    It’s not just weak dmg of ret, it’s clunky mechanics, terrible HP generation, and horrifying randomness that takes away all the skill and makes of us a walking casino.
    Moreover, it’s the negative publicity that follows, and perception of ret as a joke class. We get kicked out on site from random heroics, pugs don’t want us at all (the time when chat will be full of “LUG for …, all except rets” is not far away), and most of top rets in the community (and I do not mean here ppl that make pathetic 17k if they are extremely lucky on totally standstill boss fights and are convinced they are doing great, and troll with ego-trips of usual L2P) are passed and lost their spot in raids.

    And I am sick of lame excuse story of support roles and hybrid class. Top raids DO NOT NEED our pathetic LoH or bubble or salvation to save from wipe. They have HEALERS for that. Cleanse and repentance are NOT sufficient utility to pick you instead of someone with same skills and 10k more dps. Sorry, but I don’t buy this BS support excuse.

    4.0.6 patch won’t change things much since it DOES NOT change core mechanics. We get even slower HP generation and even more randomness.
    Finally, a fine link for all “I’m doing 17k and I’m the best dps after hunters” ego-trippers (if you don’t know who’s the guy, pls continue to enjoy yours “I’m so good as ret and all others are noobs” status):

  24. cylis says:

    Some addition: My view was not 100% correct because now mages are getting also some buffing abilities (heroism, …) so please excuse my incorrect assumption.

  25. xr says:

    Current retribution dps is heavy rng dependent. With ilvl349 on single target npc in lvl 85 hc instance i can pull from 9k-19.5k. The difference between those values is just too big to accept in any way. Looking forward to see changes for ret class.

    About DS.. This skill is currently close to useless. A group of ud npc at SFK is about 5k dps using cons+ds which is pathetic but.. same group using av+zel+inq+trinket is about 23k-24k. Personally i feel strange that I have to use all cooldowns do keep hunters ms+trap aoe dmg while not even using any cd’s…

  26. Morganthar says:

    I have to say that, also agreeing on considerations about utility functions for retpallies, the truth is that a dps class needs to actuall do… DPS… or the character will be left out for a more effective one, who can do its own job.

    It’s true, we can buff… Shamans, Mages and Dudus do the same, but they can pull out effective dps.

    We are hybrid… true, but if I pick a dps tree it should work, or not exist at all. Maybe not top class, but at least decent. A skilled hybrid dps should be always more effective than an equally equipped “monkey-with-no-thumbs” pure-dps.

    I’m playing retri straight from vanilla (yeh, I suffered a lot in that period xD) and the considerations about side utilities have always been more than true, but I remember a statement from a raid leader (one of the strongest I’ve seen, to tell the truth) saying: “If I take you as DPS I need you to be able to show decent numbers… I can’t afford in a progress boss to have a low dps character doing the side-job of a healer, otherwise I’d bring another healer instead of the DPS” It’s true… our secondary abilities become useful only if any of the other classes is doing something wrong, otherwise are only a nice bonus as long as our dps is at least standard, or totally useless if it isn’t.

    Now, I’m officer of a guild, definitely not pro but with good players: even knowing I’m a more than decent one, how could I take part to a raid as a melee dps when I know that an equal skilled/equal equipped Dk or Rogue can outdps me by 4/5k in almost any fight? There are only a couple (3 if you’re lucky) spots for melee in a standard 10 men raid, and given that content now is a lot more challenging than in WOTLK, being downchart in dps can often mean a wipe-evening instead of a first kill… can we complain if we have not that much place left? 😉

  27. Hudewey says:

    Hi Khor

    Great site & info. I must agree with Morg’s last post, why would I be picked for a 10 man raid group as DPS? There are other BETTER options than my good above average playin Ret Pally. When my Rogue & DK hit 85, they’ll be much preferred unless a patch equalizes damage produced. I was told in a heroic dungeon – weak melee output. Didn’t get kicked but it’s depressing after all the work & effort to get this far & now hava underpowered pally. I’m tryin to learn holy heals so I can be a valued participant. Please get up this super site. Thanks.

  28. Hudewey says:


    Last part of post-meant to say, “please keep up this super site”. Thanks.

  29. I don’t know about most of you guys. But I’m fairly happy with RET, with the new patch coming out soon its going to make us even better. I am always doing top DPS in raids and with the redesign to mastery its going to be even better. STOP complaining about our class and work on your rotation. It honestly works if you follow the rotation correctly. Yes, it may be a little inconsistent at times, but thats why the there are changes coming soon.

    I never had an issue with people complaining abut our class on the realm. We bring good buffs, REBUKE, RESISTANCE AURA, and also we have the capability to heal ourselves. Which relieves healers from healing us at times.

    I absolutely agree that CS should be on a shorter CD, There are times that I have back to back CS which is horrible for our rotation and we are praying something procs between those CS cool downs.

    So the only thing we can do at this time is wait and see.

  30. Cilkia says:

    Do not forget, the damage increase we’ll get in 4.0.6 comes together with nerfs here and there for other classes, which, in the end hopefully will result in a more equal DPS for everyone.
    However, the improvements suggested here seem all decent to me, not making the rotation too easy but removing a bit of randomness and less “aouto-attack time”. Let’s wait for 4.0.6 and see how this all works out in total.

  31. Khor says:

    I’ve really been ejoying reading what you guys have to say. Really. It helps shed light on different ways of thinking.

    One thing stuck out though, from Milos: “4.0.6 patch won’t change things much since it DOES NOT change core mechanics.”

    In terms of gameplay mechanics, I think Milos is correct. But I think damage-wise, we will be putting up bigger numbers. CS buff and Mastery changes should help there.

    But the clunkiness will still be there. The RNG will still be there. More damage? Probably. Higher DPS? Probably. But still a choppy experience. We will see.

    My guess is we get an even bigger overhaul with the next major content patch (4.1).

  32. Pedey says:

    The rotations do not work smoothly when CS and DS are on the same timer, and multiple insta-cast, insta-proc abilities all proc at the same time, and you can’t clear them off the hot bar.

    I’ve played a utility ret pally since 2004. I’ve seen the rotations come and go. Never have I seen a more messed up rotation than we have now.

    Judgement is weak, but without it you don’t have mana if you pop Consecration, which is also weak. Crusader strike is weak but on a short cooldown, so while it has to be cast to generate Holy Power, it conflicts with almost everything that procs. Instant Excorsicms are great, but they conflict with Templar Verdicts, and every time you pop one of these off, you’re NOT using Crusader Strike. Using Divine Storm just makes me cry, it’s so useless now.

    It’s a mess. Fun when soloing, sure, but extremely inefficient when trying to do DPS.

    For me, it’s easy. Make attacks stronger, and cooldowns longer. Separate the CS and DS cooldowns. Making more time between attacks, and the ability to stagger attacks such as CS and DS, would allow the actual use and prioritization of the Holy Power and procs we get.

    Honestly, I don’t know who was smoking what when they designed this combat system.

  33. Pedey says:

    Oh, and bring back Seal of Command. With everyone wandering around with 100k health, a little extra RNG proc goodness isn’t going to be game breaking.

    Seal of Righteousness? Our PvP seal at L85? Seriously?


  34. Shogan says:

    I think that Ret could benefit from a similar style of mechanic that is being utilised by Prot. I do understand that these suggestions would make them very similar but what is the problem with that? IMO Prot has solid mechanics compared to Ret. It would be somewhat like Feral Druids, Bear Tanking and Kitty DPS have very similar mechanics.

    Reduce CS to a 3sec CD, coupled with DS on a shared CD but with a damage output that warrants its use when the situation requires it. I can see that given the changes to the way in which Cata mechanics opperate, the use of DS by a competent Ret may not be handle well by some less able tanks. The leeching of aggro from surrounding mobs and the nerf to AoE tanking means that a change to DS could result in an early death for us (HoJ/HW anyone?).

    Keep HoL but change it to act in a similar way to Eternal Glory. It would become a passive ability that would act as follows: Your Templar’s Verdict has a xx% chance not to comsume Holy Power.

    If HP generation is an issue then give Judgements a 100% change to grant 1 HP. Otherwise just increase the amount of damage from Mastery. Easy fix to weak DPS.

    Everything else that is going on within Ret atm still keeps the skill level rather than spammage needed to paly this spec. I do think these few changes would reduce the RNG’ness we are suffering from.

    Movement: Ret has always sucked on movement fights for as long as I can remember. Any major movements on our part result in a very noticable reduction in DPS. Granted ranged have the luxury of being just that but how do other melee classes keep it up, with diseases and bleed effects, both of which we don’t have. The ramp up time for Censure doesn’t help either because once that drops off we have to get it going again, I would have thought a change to that would have come into effect by now. Why can’t it drop off 1 stack at a time so that once we have returned to DPSing the boss we would have 2-4 stacks on them rather than 0?

    Comments about our off healing: Personally I love the ability to do this, IMO we are able to mitigate the most amount of damage out of all DPS classes/spec through Hands and Heals. If the healers are out of position or somthing has gone wrong and I am cut off, I can heal myself with out the need to hit something or take damage. My overall DPS might suffer a little but at the end of the day if I can still pull out decent number (fingers crossed for the future) and keep myself ALIVE then where is the issue. A well placed WoG means I can keep going while someone else is eating dust.

    @Morganthar… excelent comment especially as an answer to those who wonder why Paragon have NO Ret DPS in their setup.

    Side Note: I miss mini blessings at times and Druids who insist that they have to buff GotW instead of Kings well… /facepalm

  35. Mourdechai says:

    To address some more things I have seen in this post:

    I definitely agree that I wish I had an actual rotation. Also that I was no longer subject to the old “P.R.O.C” acronym(Paladins Rely On Chance).

    To address the “Well, we should just take another healer” issue: It isn’t about getting more healing out there, It’s about relieving stress. even if there are three healers, they will still be stressed because of the obvious 10-15k dps(depending on gear) loss adding to the length of the fight.

    A ret paladin’s mana is practically infinite if used wisely, another healer is in danger of running out very permanently in longer boss battles. Someone brought up the fact that any other healer(except another paladin) just doesn’t have the real ability to instantly top a tank off like they had in wrath. This is a very valid point.

    That said, hopefully the next patch puts us higher in DPS(though, I feel that with our amazing utility we should still be on the lower end) and allows us to keep the utility and stress relief that we have always had.

  36. Mourdechai says:


    “I can heal myself with out the need to hit something or take damage. My overall DPS might suffer a little but at the end of the day if I can still pull out decent number (fingers crossed for the future) and keep myself ALIVE then where is the issue[,] [a] well placed WoG means I can keep going while someone else is eating dust.”

    I’m a big fan of “You can’t DPS when you are dead.”

  37. War says:

    I love this site! I have been playing much very let down by my Ret and ceased to play, so I do hope that blizz is working to heal this class. I think a lot of what made pallies so unique was the independence of playing style. We’ve been neutered, I blame those sneaky back-stabbing rogues.

  38. Raz says:

    It’s easier to break one class that is fine than to fix the broken ones.

    Sure, WoTLK may have made Paladins a little too easy, but turning our class into a proc dependent warrior without armor penetration is just insulting.

  39. Sith says:

    Its seems more like a holy rouge…I’m not sure who said or cried or decieded that ret was to easy… but other classes still enjoy there 3-4 button rotations and were not deemed faceroll. If ret was left alone like it was before 3.8 & new things like inquistion, TV, ect had been added in as special attacks only usable at 3 hp i think we would have been better off. Dmg would have probably had to be scaled down i bet, but hey it would be alot better imo.
    The only problem i really have with this new setup is it just to damn slow & random. Other than that i do fine. but for now i think i’m gonna have to shelf my pally in favor of my warrior till this gets straighted out.8/ Hopefully it will soon & not become a greater mess.

  40. Ffont says:

    First I want to thank Khor for the great articles. I read EJ as well and I find the articles here an excellent distillation of the information there.

    I’m new to playing WoW and I really like the retribution paladin class. I understand the unhappiness with the nerf (which happened before I played and I guess what you never have you never miss!), but for me one of the great things about the class is how much I can solo and have no significant downtime.

    As a noob I had one request. I am not trying to max my gear, reforge, gem etc. until I get to 85 (which will be soon!), because frankly I keep upgrading it. In 5-man randoms my DPS goes from mediocre to ok depending on the group composition, but I don’t come close to breaking 10k. So, I’m wondering if Khor could post what decent DPS numbers are at various levels. I’m embarrassed to say how poor I found my DPS to be when I first installed recount :).

    Again, thanks for the site and all the info.

  41. Khor says:

    @ Ffont – It’s actually very hard to pin specific DPS numbers to players under level 85. Once you get there, however, you really want to be aiming for 6k+ DPS starting out.

  42. Kimina says:

    My how quickly people forget the incredible DPS Buff we received in ICC not to mention the fact that everything was classified as undead and Glyph of Sense Undead increased our output tremendously.

    This expansion is weird. People just can’t seem to let go of WotLK and 10 min heroic runs. Blizzard simplified the game so much and some people refuse to take the time relearn how a few abilities work. I guess it’s easier to throw their hands up in protest to say, “well in wrath I could…”. News Flash Wrath is over.

  43. Mourdechai says:

    Even with remembering that buff, some of the guys in my guild are doing 22k overall on some of these fights, and i have gear better than or equal to some of them and i top out at 12 or 14 depending on the amount of movement involved in the fight.

  44. Axelos says:

    Hi Khor, I’m a 85 retty who was pretty late to getting to 80 in WotLK (hit 80 in like October) and didn’t get much experience raiding and the heroics by then were really broken. Now with Cata I feel I can get a fresh start with everyone and work my way up with my guildies to hit the Raids.

    Problem is I feel like I hit a wall now at 85 and with my DPS capping at like 5.5k on average in Normals. I can’t really stay long (or afraid to) in PUG heroics with such low dps and in some guild runs we have not gotten very far. I feel like my Gear is good enough to be able to crank out 6k+ consistently but that isn’t showing when I’ve been running 85 normals.

    I follow the FCFS scale very closely and pop Inquisition whenever I can with my proc. But the numbers just don’t show and I was wondering if there’s something I’m doing wrong, should know, am missing in my gear or just need to keep practicing and reading like you say? my guy:

    Thanks, Axe

  45. Elsquare says:

    Dear fellow ret paladins,

    Was just browsing through WowHead, comparing our skills with other DPS classes. Is it just me or our skills are really broken at the moment? I have a fire mage and a ret paladin so I’ll just take this two as a mean of comparison.

    Mage, as your level increase, the skills get upgrade on it’s own (e.g at level 40 fireball does 500-600 dmg, level 85 does 800-1100 dmg, amount fictionous). This spell increase in dmg is on top of the mage’s own increase in intelligence, resulting in more spell power.

    Paladin, ret to be exact, since most of the skills are fixed at a fixed percentage of our dmg (i.e. crusader strike at 110%, DS at 80%), damage does not keep up to the level as time goes on. The only increase in dps is due to the increase of our strength only.

    Perhaps it’s just me since I’m just a noob in WoW still. Nevertheless, would appreciate if someone enlighten me if I’m wrong too.

  46. Mourdechai says:


    Our abilities are based off of a percentage of our weapon damage. our strength works like the intelligence of the mage, in your scenario.

    The most important thing to increase your damage with as a ret paladin(after being hit and expertise capped, of course) is a weapon with a high top-end number for damage.

  47. Mourdechai says:


    If the gear you logged out in most recently is the gear you wear to heroics:

    get out of that PvP gear and into some PvE gear, with gem sockets on it, and put pure strength gems in those(ignoring socket bonuses); Enchant your gear; reforge all of your mastery and haste into hit and expertise until you get capped on those( i think the heroic hit cap is lower than the raid cap, but i usually just sit at the raid cap).

    Basically a lot of your item stat weight is taken up by resilience, which is wholly useless in PvE.

    If the gear you logged out in is not what you raid in:

    you should log out in that gear so we can see what is actually wrong.

  48. Kimina says:

    @ Axelos

    Your biggest issue is gear. You have a lot of greens to replace at this point and you really should ditch those PVP shoulders. It appears you are working on reputation with the various factions which is good. I have to suggest getting rid of the Therazane agility ring. Other then the on Equip bonuses agility is a useless stat for ret pallys. Ramakahen has a suitable replacement as well as your epic neck and judging by your tabard you already know Hyjal has an epic belt.

    You also appear to be missing a Prime Glyph which should be Glyph of Seal of Truth (Glyph of Truth is different). With this glyph you will only need ~16 expertise. Your hit rating is over 6% so you should be fine for heroics.

    Another note on gear. You don’t appear to have any Justice Points gear. If you have been running random regular instances you must have a stock on these. If not, you need to run a random at least once a day.

    I would say that pulling between 5 and 6K right now is pretty good for your current gear. You just need to step those greens into PVE blues, get enough rep to grab the two epics available to you from factions and start purchasing Justice Point gear.

    Here is a link to a pretty solid gear guide. Might want to check this out. At least until they drop the patch this will be valid.

  49. Bob says:

    Everything that I’ve read says that our priorities for stats are Hit, Expertise, Haste, Crit

    I can find it now and did try to locate it but I noticed when looking at world of logs the top dps’ing pally wasn’t expertise capped and was rather stacking Haste after Hit cap? why am I confused by this?


  1. […] post-Cataclysm have been broken. Well maybe not completely broken [source], but certainly significant changes have been made to the class to make it as desirable as an STD. […]

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