From reading comments on this site, in addition to PMs and emails I get from players, it seems many Retribution Paladins are not quite reaching the DPS numbers they believe they should be obtaining. I am leaning towards agreeing that many Rets are underperforming, and I am going to use my own experiences to give my take on why DPS numbers are low.
Keep in mind, when viewing this Top 5 list, that Retribution Paladins are not a top DPS class. In fact, we are quite the opposite, hanging down in the lower rung of best DPS classes. It is possible for a Ret Paladin to be the top performing DPS in his or her party/raid, but as a majority, most other classes are well above us in terms of damage output.
Top 5 Reasons Retribution DPS is Low
1. You are not Hit or Expertise Capped
This is the obvious one, and should surprise no one. If you are complaining of low DPS, make sure you are hit and expertise capped. If you are not, then you may be missing, getting dodged, or getting parried more frequently than if you had your hit and expertise caps. This is always #1 in terms of gearing and stat priorities, so reach those caps!
2. Gear Level is Low
If you are hovering around an average gear level of 333 or lower, your damage output and DPS is going to reflect this. Don’t expect to be cranking out the DPS numbers a 346+ item level Paladin is putting out. There is a pretty significant difference between the 333 and 346 gear levels. Similarly, there is also a noticeable difference between the 346 and 359 gear levels.
3. Inquisition is not Being Refreshed
If you are letting Inquisition fall off, you are losing DPS. Inquisition should be refreshed anywhere from 6 seconds or under to 2 seconds past expiration. Really, you want to aim to refresh it as close to zero seconds as possible. Forgetting to re-apply it, or applying it too often (wasted Holy Power), is going to result in much lower damage totals. Inquisition should be up for most of the duration of any fight you are attempting.
4. Out of Position
This goes back to problems I saw in Wrath, and part of this I attribute to us still learning dungeon and raid fights. The best position for a Retribution Paladin to be in is behind the target. This gives our expertise rating max benefit, preventing the boss from dodging. Parries are not removed from the table, but should be minimized with expertise. Now, sometimes, getting behind a boss isn’t possible (Magmaw, Argaloth), so hit from the side as close as you can (if possible).
Also, in boss fights, Seal of Truth and the resulting Censure damage should be ticking away at all times. Letting this fall of is detrimental to DPS. How does this happen? Being out of position and away from the boss. I you are forced to run away and out of normal melee range, find someway to continue attacking. For instance, on Argaloth in Tol Barad, when the flames start spreading on the ground, try and hug the boss and get under him to continue to DPS. Running away from him towards the edge of the room is going to seriosuly cut into your damage totals.
So, stay within melee range and try to stay attacking as long as possible. Being out of position is going to be a major factor in high or low DPS totals.
5. Group and Raid Composition
So, you are doing all of the above correctly, and still can’t seem to sqeak out more DPS than you know you are capable of. This may out of your control. Blizzard has made these fights very difficult for the average player and guild, and having the perfect class set-up can often mean success or wipes. For instance, if you are for some reason without a Mage or Shaman, you are missing out on Heroism. That alone is a titanic DPS loss. If you stack 3 Hunters and 2 Rogues, you are missing on buffs from Mages, Warlocks, DKs, Warriors, etc. Certain fights are better done with specific classes, and the same holds true for the amount of damage you put out for each individual fight. If you are missing buffs because of raid composition, there isn’t much you can do…just crank out as much DPS as can!