How Much DPS for Ret Paladins in 5-Mans?

How much DPS should I be putting out in 5-man heroics?  I can’t tell you how many times I see this questions asked.  The easy answer is to just lay out some numbers.  The harder, and more accurate numbers are going to come from measurement of gear and skill.  By the way, how’s that new skill-measuring tool coming along?

All joking aside, it’s hard to tell you what numbers you should be putting out.  I’ve seen exceptionally geared Ret Paladins put out awful numbers, and I’ve seen barely-geared 85s crunching out high DPS numbers. 

Part of this is attributed to our still-random Holy Power generation, and part of this is just pure skill and ability.

However, after a good two months of analyzing data and testing from my own experience, I have come up with a set of DPS numbers for you to aim for.   I have broken this down into overall DPS and boss DPS.  Use this as a measuring tool for your current DPS numbers.  Some of you will be higher, and some will be lower…but either way, you are looking at generalized averages for gear level in combination with skill/ability, for Cataclysm 5-man heroics.


  • ilvl 333 – 10,000 to 12,000 DPS
  • ilvl 346 – 12,000 to 14,000 DPS
  • ilvl 350+ – 14,500+ DPS

Overall DPS

  • ilvl 333 – 7,000 to 8,000 DPS
  • ilvl 346 – 8,500 to 10,000 DPS
  • ilvl 350+ – 11,000+ DPS

For my personal averages since Cataclysm was released, here are my numbers:


  • ilvl 333 – 10,500 DPS
  • ilvl 346 – 12,000 DPS
  • ilvl 350+ – 16,000+ DPS (After Patch 4.0.6)

*I have hit as high as 21k on some boss fights, and others as low as 12k…much depends on how much running around is required.

Overall DPS

  • ilvl 333 – 8,000 DPS
  • ilvl 346 – 9,500 DPS
  • ilvl 350+ – 13,000+ DPS (After Patch 4.0.6)


  1. Raedos says:

    Dam I thought the numbers would be higher lol, Im in the same boat as you. I run raids as Holy all the time and never get to run Ret, actually scratch that I ran ret once on atremedes, and i was doing 18k dps in our 10 man.

    I am mostly heroic geared, no raid epics and I pull 18k ish on some movement fights, on stand still fights ive seen myself pull up to 30k+ to around an average of 24k on stand stills, I dont see how my guilds keeps putting me off when I pull more dps than Rdps on fights where you cant even hit the boss for extented periods of time as a Mdps.

    Ive found that after being just below cap for hit and expertise, I put everything into mastery and I get to the point where my mastery is actually my top damage dealer, its quite impressive. I have pretty much forsaken all other stats for mastery (except str) and it seems to output way more dps than any other setup.

  2. Faril says:

    I’ve looked everywhere for such a review.
    Thank u !

    With ilvl 341 i hit 9.5k – 10k overall and still have some pvp en tank items.
    So still some improvement and didnt do any raid yet.

    Cant wait to do some 13k average !!

  3. Pyrisilla - Jubei'thos says:

    just stack mastery.. mastery accounts for 12.5% of my dmg on raid bosses.
    12% from CS, 12% from TV.. i got 1.8k mastery rating.
    i did halfus with 2 drakes down at 30k dps
    i did argaloth at 22k dps
    because im MS healer after cata killed almost all ret pallies, i havent been to much ret raiding.
    but above numbers show mastery is very strong esp at higher values.
    ilvl333-ilvl349 my dps still sucks, its really at around 350+ that u see a big difference

  4. Wuson says:

    Current item level 351.
    In BH i start with 20-22k, then overall 17k ish, compare to 4.0.3. 13k very happy with the change.

  5. Ffont says:

    Thanks Khor! This is information that is very hard to find anywhere else. Happily, if I am paying attention I seem to be able to get similar numbers. I do find it hard to be competitive in AoE situations, but perhaps that is to be expected?

  6. HolyShoteR-Warsong says:

    my ilvl is 359 i’m the second best geared paladin on my realm , my DPS is about 12k to 24k depending on each boss , i’m happy with patch 4.0.6 but i still miss some extra holy power generating skill to help with a more dynamic skill rotation.

  7. HolyShoteR-Warsong says:

    @ Ffont
    do you switch your seal to righteouseness , use consecration and holy wrath with inquisition up for divine storm? im terms of aoe dps with wings up i always get to the top 2~3 of my raid group loosing to our rogue.

  8. Blowwings says:

    hey i am all epic out and every boss fight i am pulling over 24k plus dps in heroic check out my gear

  9. Immanis says:

    Thanks for this breakdown! I’ve been looking in a few different places for info like this but haven’t found any really consistent numbers. Now that I have this I know that I’m right about where I should be with my iLvl instead of feeling like I’m slacking. I keep seeing that people are pulling 12-20k DPS on bosses but since I haven’t started raiding yet I was never able to get an idea of where I was as far as dungeons and such.

  10. Sankir says:

    Good to know my dps isn’t lacking. I haven’t been able to find anything that was this informative, it was always people giving flat numbers and not telling if it was a boss,trash, etc…

  11. Rolann says:

    My highest DPS I hit last night on BoT 10 man, It was 26.8K against Halfus.

    18-20k has been my norm with boss fights, but like you said it really matters how much moving around you have to do to keep it that high. I have had no problems with my DPS since 4.0.6 patch release.

  12. Modhean says:

    I just ran Blackrock Caverns on my level 82 hunter and got 7-10k dps on boss fights, 6k overall. This is about the same dps I get on my 330ish ilvl ret pally.

    I just thought it was interesting to compare these. It would seem from my very small amount of data that ret paladin dps is much more gear dependent than hunter dps. Any thoughts?

  13. sgcray says:

    I am arnd ilevel 343, but I am doing quite low I think. On Argoloth I have reached just 10k. And in heroics I am ranging from 7k to 9k. This is seriously low. Maybe my rotation isnt all right. I cant seem to keep inquisition up.

  14. Pyrisilla - Jubei'thos says:

    Yes I have to agree ret do scale badly at early gear lvls.. It’s around 350+ where u see the nice numbers coming.. Like khor as a fresh 85 u might want to go into holy or tank first.

  15. JayC says:

    Truly fantastic site. It has been my main source of info since I started playing WoW at Christmas. Ret probably wasn’t the best choice for my first char, at least before 4.0.6, but now with lvl 350 gear i’m finally putting out 12-13k in an average heroic. Good to know that’s in the right ballpark and enjoying the end of the ‘s*@t dps pala’ jibes.

  16. Etix says:

    Khor, I heard something about every mastery is capped on 26 points.
    Do u know something about this?

  17. Ffont says:

    @Modhean: You should be doing better. I was top DPS in a 5-man on Blackrock Caverns with iLVL in the mid 330s. My max was ~16k, my overall was ~10.5K and I feel like I should have done better, I would
    say distractions and mistakes probably made me 20% low and someone with higher skill could probably
    do even better.

    I will say that I think group composition has a lot to do with how well we do. A good healer can save you
    from constant motion and good cc and

    Khor’s summary of the lore concerning FCFS and common DPS mistakes are good reading. My DPS basically exploded thanks to his posts and reading the retribution concordance on elitist jerks.

  18. pagan says:

    I gotta ask, what are you macroing your on use trinkets and dps cooldowns to?

  19. Alexcalibur says:

    Khor, I would love to see some of your recounts. I was just in BH with another ret who was absolutely killing it DPS wise .. After the fight I noticed that TV was at the top for him. For me it was CS .. I had inquisition up the whole time so I guess I’m not using zealotry as much as I should. I also think I’m judging and casting HW too much and it’s delaying the higher hitting stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really liking ret these days .. but I still find its pretty inconsistent. Not just because of the randomness of holly power but also because of how “in the zone” I am at the time.

  20. Geddyn says:

    Alexcalibur, your top damaging abilities will vary based upon many factors. The mechanics of the fight can play into this, your gear can have a factor (2-piece tier 11 bonus, for example) and your luck with Divine Purpose procs can, as well.

    It’s possible that the Paladin you’re comparing yourself to simply got really lucky with Divine Purpose procs and was able to use Templar’s Verdict much more than you were, thus accounting for the difference between your top damaging spells.

    In regards to casting Holy Wrath, don’t do that if you have any of your other damaging spells off cooldown. Keeping Inquisition up, Crusader Strike, Templar’s Verdict, Hammer of Wrath and Judgment all take priority over it.

  21. Pyrisilla - Jubei'thos says:

    or he used zealotry with a trinket cd.. with 2pc bonus +10% TV, gylph +10% TV dmg…
    for me Hand of Light is my top damaging ability followed by CS, TV, Melee lol..
    Hand of Light = mastery.. at 19mastery..

  22. Humanaggro says:

    Hi all!

    I know that this is absolutely off topic but since the forum is gone, I’m going to ask it here.
    Which weapon should I use in PvE ie. Raids; the 359 ilvl PvP weapon with crit and resi or the 346 ilvl PvE weapon from TB?

    Thanks for helping!

  23. Zim says:

    Hi everyone!

    We already know that we can do a lot of DPS on Halfus, but we are talking about 5-man instances.

    My DPS on 5 man instances vs boss are:
    – 21 to 24k on bosses that don’t require stop hitting nor interrupting, in case of Anhuur it drops to 12k.

    The average DPS for the instance is arround 15k, most of the instances require CC not allowing us to do the full rotation with AoE. Also we generate lots of agro (damn agro!), Hands of Salvation (gliffed) or Divine Shield should always be used whenever we exceed tank’s agro, DPS may be affected.

    I still have a long way to be full epic, actually I am using a 346 weapon, I am curious of how DPS can raise once full equiped.

    Zim (Sanguino)

  24. Palaniak says:

    For me i have constant 12k and above with the 346 lvl item gear.
    Make sure to cap you hit and expertise and enchant every single piece of your armor and weapon.
    dont forget dwarf have +5 exp wth maces and humans with swords.
    In raid im always 1st or second dps with 13k average and more way more.
    The only time my dps is around 10k is when i cancentrate to do interrupts on boss fights in raids.
    In five man dungeons it does sucks a little bit cause people are mostly well gear so now trash goes down fast and often our abilities wont proc. But at least when its boss fight time im never 2nd dps lol ret are machines and gl on tanks to keep aggro from me !! btw i use salvation on myself a lot.

  25. Xerev says:

    I must be doing something very well then. After 4.0.6, I’ve seen my personal dps increase greatly. On a boss fight in a 5 man Heroic, I easily pull 19k+, capping somtimes around 30k. I just started reading articles on this website and it’s already on my favorite tab. Keep up the excellent work

  26. Elured says:


    becuz maybe your not a really good kicker and stuff with just below the hit cap^^ in raids its all about hit and expertise cap.. with like just blue-heroics and 2-3 epics from the auctionhouse and stuff I max pulled like 33k dps on karsh,I was like WTF im gonna rock tha junk out of this retri.

    when cds are not ready I pull like 17-24k dps @ some bigger trash mobs and smaller ones not so much because when u got no cds ready and they got like no hp its hard for a pally to raise in dps with just crusader strike and crap ;D but most of the time even then I do more dps then others.I dont know why,i dont think retris are OP . in 4.1 there will be like no changes in damage for us , furys will be buffed real good and my mate already pulls dps like I do, thats a bit unfair xD. Its unbelievable when you run down a full epic retri will just blues in heroics.I think many ppl dont know how to get the max out of her character with perfect reforging and gemming.

    So if you play a retri and you know your class you can get place 1 in raids in hcs easily

  27. Elured says:

    @ Palaniak

    you doing more damage^^
    when you are place 1 with 13k in a raid something has to be wrong,I bet its your recount,your looking at overall damage and stuff and not the dps for the actual boss fight^^ switch to DPS and then give it a try

  28. cauterise says:

    Are these numbers with the pug bonus or without?

  29. Khor says:

    @ Cauterise – Without.

  30. tealke says:

    I would like to know what are good keybinds to use for your dps rotation

  31. Threnalin says:

    Guys! I decided to write because i have a big big problem… I started to play 4 months ago, i have 349 i level and vicious gladiator’s greatsword, some part of Bloodthirsty Gladiator’s Scaled, and Bloodied pyrium and my DPS is about 6-7,5k :O sbdy help me because its really anoying:(

  32. Siphillion says:

    hi guys,

    first of all thx khor for the effort you are putting into your page, i really appreciate it 😉
    now to my question.

    before 4.0.6 i used to use avenging wrath and zealotry separatly.
    now i pop gotak, build up 3 hp and then pop my makro (avenging wrath, zealotry, impatience of youth, inquisition) most of the time i use some golemblood potion aswell for 20 sec my dps explodes doing 40k+. from your experience do u reckon to bind them into one macro nowadays or split it like before?

    i do about 14-15k dps in 5man. sfk i do more obviously, like those undead making my exo. crit everytime 😉

  33. Xav says:

    Nice, It has been a while since I visited your page and I’m glad to just find this. Well done Khor.

    Keep the good work.

  34. Lokisan says:


    Dude get rid of that PvP gear unless you’re doing PvP. That is killing your DPS. Your iLvl means nothing for PvE if you have that much PvP equiped. Run a few heroics and get some drops then use you JP to gear up. Hope that helps 🙂

  35. Methaclese says:

    hey guys – i’d like to echo the question asked a couple of times on this thread already, which is best to use out of the pvp weapon with crit and resi and the tol barad sword? also, i’m sure i should be doing more dps than i am. when i see people put up numbers over 20k on here it utterly confuzles me. here’s me armoury page;
    i tend to average 15k on raid boss fights, obviously less when there’s lots of movement required, and on basic stand and spank fights can, OCCASIONALLY, get upto 18k.
    here’s a breakdown of my rotation for boss fights (wall of text incoming);
    my FCFS goes inquisition- templar’s verdict- hammer of wrath- crusader strike- exorcism- judgement- holy wrath- consecration.
    my basic tactic is to use crusader strike (with my first “use” trinket), then judgement, then wait for CS again, then holy wrath, then a final CS before popping inquisition. if at any point exorcism pops that replaces whichever filler is up next between CS’s. after inquisition goes up i pop avenging wrath and guardian of ancient kings where i use hammer of wrath, then any 3 abilities that become available (sticking to the FCFS) before waiting for the last second of CD on hammer of wrath then going around 2 more times before AV runs out. if i can, i try to leave 3 holy power available after the second use of HoW so that i can pop zealotry straight away. once zealotry is up i spend all 3 holy power refreshing inquisition (no matter how much time is left on it) then ONLY use crusader strike and templar’s verdict untill zealotry runs out, then it’s back to basic rotation (CS – judgement – CS – HW – CS – TV/inquisition, using exorcism when it pops to replace filler between CS’s) until avenging wrath come off CD.
    i’m pretty sure i’m doing something wrong because another ret paladin in my raid, with no epic gear, tends to only average 500-1k less dps than me :/
    many thanks for the awesome site khor, and thanks in advance to anyone who’s able to offer some advice.

  36. Genzea says:

    Ok so I’m opening myself up for all kinds of negative comments… I am fairly new to the game but I have done considerable reading and I am still left only doing 7k dps on average. My gear score is 351 and I have read of on reforging, gems, enchants, spell rotation & redid my talent tree. I’m tired of friends making excuses for me and thinking about turning my pally into a 85 bank toon. I would welcome any “helpful” suggestions about getting my dps up. I have asked in trade and the one person that was willing to help had no idea what to suggest especially since my gear was better than his. I have to be missing something huge and I’m sure I will feel like an idiot.

    Someone please help!

  37. stonedcow says:

    Anyone using clcret Haddon?

  38. Elured says:

    the Addon Clcret WILL improve you damage, believe me and btw it improves your movement and reflexes in movement boss fights. I often found myself beating even druids on dmg that are almost full 378 with my 364

  39. Ashley says:

    I started playing wow about 4 months ago.

    Currently I have an Ilvl 393 PVE gear. Most of my gear I bought from the Valor point guy with the exception of my shoulders and chest which I dropped from DS.

    I can get about 20 – 27 k dps on a training dummy.

    For reforging I always make sure I reforge my hast to CAP my hit at 8, expertise 26, and the rest i usually try to reforge to mastery and crit.

    Strength is key I buy all Strength gems. The more strength the better.

    The buffs I use are Seal or Truth and Might.

    My rotation can change depending on how many holy powers I have saved up but top priority to least are:

    Inq (always making sure this is up)
    Zea (requires 3 holy power)
    TV (which requires 1 holy power)
    CS (which generates 1 holy poer)
    HoW (which requires 1 holy power)
    Exo (when lit up it’s an instant cast)


    This works best for me, be aware exo and con use tons of mana.

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