Beta: Retribution DPS

In the Beta, Retribution is a very good spec.  I will probably be a tank at 80, but for leveling, I think that I will find a big hammer and swing it.  Today I’m going to break down the new abilities in Ret that make it viable, and show you recount data from soloing Hellfire Ramparts to give you some of my first impressions of how to play a Ret Paladin while soloing.  It’s a fairly in-depth look at the core abilities you will use if you spec Retribution for PvE.


The Gear

Here’s the character sheet for my paladin.  She’s level 70, has mostly Karazhan Epic gear.  She has a piece of higher level gear here and there, but is also sporting 5 blue items, so her gear is good but not great:

Notable pieces of gear:  Gorehowl, Furious Gizmatic Goggles, Skullshatter Warboots, Shoulderplates of Everlasting Pain.


Talents & Ablilities

To understand why Retribution Paladins are doing so much more damage, we need to take a look at some key talents and abilities that are making this change possible.  I’ve picked 4 new abilities to discuss, and an old ability that has been revamped.

The Art of War: The reason to spec into this a raiding Ret Paladin is for the the extra critical damage on the three main abilities you use to damage an enemy.  The true gem in this talent is the instant cast Flash of Light you get when the three abilities crit.  While only useful in a raiding scenario under certain situations, it’s extremely useful while soloing to be able to heal yourself as an instant cast.

Sheath of Light:  With this talent, I go from no spell power to over 500; I can further increase it by just over 100 with Blessing of Might.  Not only does this increase the damage that my core abilities do, but in a pinch, I can cast Flash of Light on a target many times to help out.  My Flash of light is critting for just under 2k when I use it.  When it does crit, my target gets healed for an additional 1200 over 12 seconds.  I could also use Holy light if absolutely necessary, but it would drain my mana significantly faster.

Judgements of the Wise: This talent is an absolute necessity.  With such a small mana pool, we need a way to replenish our mana quickly and efficiently.  My judgements have an 8 second cooldown, so I can recover a third of my mana every 8 seconds.   Also, in Blizzard’s attempt to allow people to bring whoever they want to a raid, we can act like a shadow priest by restoring 10 raid members mana at a rate of .25% a second.  If you judge every time it’s up that’s 15% of a player’s mana per minute.  With a mana pool of 10K, that’s equal to 1,500 mana per minute, or 125 MP5.  It’s also important to note that judgement no longer consumes the seal, which now last for 2 minutes.

Divine Storm:  This ability is amazing.  Not only is it a 4 target Crusader Strike, but it will heal 3 people, including yourself, for 20% of the damage.  How much damage does it do?   In my current gear, it does around 1200 non-crit and up to 3k crit.  If you were to crit on all 4 targets, you would instantly do about 12k damage, which would heal up to 3 people instantly for about 2.4k.  Just for consistency’s sake, you’d heal 3 people for about 800 if nothing crit on 4 targets.

Hammer of Wrath: This isn’t a new talent, or a core ablity, but with the change to make it instant cast, it’s worth taking a look at.  It’s usable every 6 seconds, is our only real ranged ability, and is now usable at 35% and below.  It hits for about 1500, and I’ve seen it crit for over 3k damage.  This ability is going to be great on raid bosses under 35%, increasing our DPS by about 340 (assuming an average of 2k per hit)


Case Study:  Hellfire Ramparts


Here’s some data from an run I did yesterday in Hellfire Ramparts.  Even as a 70, it’s not an easy place to solo.  Well, it wasn’t an easy place to solo, until I went Ret on the beta.  With the massive amount of damage I was doing and the ability to self heal while fighting, I cleared the instance with ease.  I did get myself killed once by pulling too much, but there was no downtime for drinking, as mana was not an issue.


I haven’t quite figured out the “best” DPS sequence, but as you can see from the total damage and DPS, Ret DPS is much improved.  With 1038.9 DPS for the entirety of the instance it’s pretty clear that Retribution DPS is up.

When you take a look at the breakdown, it’s clear that core abilities a Ret Paladin will use are: Divine Storm, Seal / Judgement of Command, and Crusader Strike.  They combined for 68.5% of all of my damage.  On average, Divine Storm hit for 1607, Judgement of Command hit for 1930, Seal of Command proced for 1056, and Crusader Strike hit for 1287.    Those are fairly large numbers when you consider the short cooldown on most of those abilities.  In addition, my melee hit for 1089 on average.

The remaining data is from the 3 boss fights.  As the amount of damage to me increased with each fight, the amount of damage I put decreased, as I had to time my usage of certain abilities to make sure I stayed alive:

Watchkeeper Gargolmar


Omor the Unscarred

Vazruden and Nazan


I hope you’ve found something of use here in my report on Retribution DPS.  It really looks that it will be very fun to play, assuming that the Nerf bat doesn’t visit it any time soon. My next post of this nature will hopefully include some on level data, maybe even one of the instances in beta.

– Sam

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