Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Retribution Solution

Current Retribution Rotation

Retribution is in a bit of a mess at the moment. It is very close to being good, but there are two intertwined problems, one with PvP, and one with PvE. I think it might be worthwhile to take a step back, and look at the issues again.

For reference, here is a graph of what the first 20s of a Retribution rotation looks like:


The PvP Problem

To see the PvP problem, look at the area marked "PvP Burst". See how tightly compacted the abilities are. In the space of 4.5s, a Ret paladin gets two auto-swings, all three special attacks, and any assorted seal procs. This is a large amount of burst, and always occurs at the beginning of the rotation.

If you look at the rest of the rotation, you can see how spread out the abilities become. There's lots of empty Global Cooldowns or wasted space. This part of the rotation is much less bursty than those first few seconds. A lot of Ret's problems with burst in PvP would go away if those first 5 seconds looked more like the remaining 15s.

The PvE Problem

The PvE problem is a little more subtle. See the Empty GCDs in the rotation? Retribution is balanced around those GCDs remaining empty, and not contributing any damage. If those Empty GCDs contributed extra damage, the damage of the main abilities has to be lowered in order to keep the total DPS the same.

Taken too far, you end up where Death Knights are. Death Knights get a Strike every GCD, but each Strike only hits for 50% weapon damage. Which is a bit odd for a 2H weapon class, in my opinion. 2H Weapons should hit hard, but hit slowly, which is the model for Retribution Paladins.

Those Empty GCDs are also useful for tossing paladin utility spells, like re-Sealing, Flash of Light, Cleanse, or the various Hand spells. As well, against Undead, Exorcism can be used, emphasizing the Paladin's prowess against the Undead. Finally at the end of the fight, those GCDs are needed for burning down the enemy with Hammer of Wrath .

The main problem here is Consecration. If a Ret paladin can use an Empty GCD for Consecration, they've increased their DPS. Blizzard wants to avoid having to water down the main abilities, so they are trying to prevent Consecration from being used. The current tactic is to try and restrict the Ret paladin's mana, so that the paladin cannot cast Consecration without worrying about running dry.

The problem here is that there is not a lot of room to maneuver. If Retribution doesn't have enough mana for Consecration, they also have trouble being able to cast the non-damage spells, and it's very easy to lose mana from a mistake. That's hurts the flexibility of Retribution, which makes a paladin a paladin. If they have too much mana, they start casting Consecration regularly, and end up with higher DPS than they should.

A Solution

So can we kill two birds with one stone? I think we can. Here is my suggestion:

  1. Have Judgement, Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Consecration share a 3 second cooldown (in addition to their normal individual cooldown).

  2. Change Judgement as follows:
    1. Increase cooldown to 12s.
    2. Increase damage by 20%.
    3. Change Improved Judgements to increase damage by 10/20%.
    4. Increase the duration of the debuff to 30s.

  3. Change Divine Storm as follows:
    1. Increase cooldown to 12s.
    2. Make it do Holy damage once again.

  4. Remove Seal procs from specials, and tune abilities upwards as appropriate. (Not really necessary, but I may as well throw it in.)

The new Retribution rotation would look like:



Note how the problem with PvP burst goes away. Each individual ability hits like a truck, but you can't string a whole bunch of abilities together in a row. The Retribution Paladin hits bone-crushingly hard, but hits slowly, as is appropriate for a 2H class.

For PvE, there's no room to cast Consecration in the basic rotation because of the shared 3s cooldown. You'd have to kick out a Crusader Strike. That means Consecration becomes more appropriate for AoE situations, as it is meant to be. Overall dps remains roughly the same, once abilities are tuned to match the new cooldowns. However, there are still tons of Empty GCDs for the paladin to cast utility spells, Exorcism, or Hammer of Wrath. Judgements of the Wise can be tuned a little higher, giving a Retribution paladin room to breathe, without the danger of contributing additional damage.

Essentially, what we are doing here is creating a Retribution Global Cooldown. The normal Global Cooldown is the limit on how much damage can be dealt in the shortest amount of time. By basically doubling that cooldown for Ret paladin special attacks, we space out the damage, allowing the individual damage abilities to remain powerful, while still leaving room for the utility spells that make a paladin a paladin.

Finally, I don't think this would be very hard to implement. There's no new major mechanics. It's just fiddling with cooldowns and damage. This makes it far more feasible to be implemented before or just after Wrath of the Lich King.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

I realize you are trying to provide a reasonable solution for ret. In PVE this may work, however, in PVP, such a measured dps pattern would be very detrimental for two reasons.

One is that we are kitable. If by the time we catch up we can do only a small fraction before the target moves away from us, will will never kill anything.

Two, we have no interrupts. If we can bear down on a healer with a hit every 3-4 sec, then the healer can just heal through our damage or take the time to just mana burn us (priest with imp takes 2 sec to cast).

It is clear that ret lacks interrupts and intercepts because we are built around burst. if we remove the burst, then we need more abilities.

On a final note, because pvp requires us to chase things, that front load that starts the dps cycle in pve can happen multiple times in pvp.

macawber said...

I like this idea a lot. Of course, I expect a lot of paladins would hate it "why is our global cooldown longer than class X's?" etc, but I think it's really well thought out and would probably work great. The implementation might be a bit harder than you've suggested though. For instance, how would you make sure that the 3 second shared cooldown only applies to Ret? Judgments and Consecrate on a longer than normal cooldown would screw up Prot's rotations pretty badly. Also, as far as I know, there aren't any other abilities that trigger a shared cooldown shorter than the cooldown of the ability itself, so that would be new programming. I'm sure they could do it if they wanted, but it might not be trivially easy.

Rohan said...

I'm pretty sure there are trinkets with shared cooldowns such that both can't be active at the same time (shared 20s cooldown) and yet each has an individual cooldown of 2 minutes. So the basic concept has been done before.

As for Prot, all it means is that a Judgement and Consecrate cannot be cast back to back. Prot has three other abilities to fill the gaps, 2 of which are on 6s cooldowns. You're right that you can't use the 96969 rotation anymore. I'm not sure how important having a perfect rotation for Protection is. As well, it might even make the Consecrate glyph usable.

Second, our global cooldown isn't longer. It's still 1.5s. The shared cooldown only applies to 4 abilities.

Dradis said...

I still can't figure out why our dev team cannot come up with this or Peregrine's solution. Someone also mentioned a "Crusader Form" similar to Shadow Form, with its own unique rule set. Lots of really really good ideas. And yet, the devs are perfectly happy just doing what they have been doing.

This discussion has me craving taco's......

NegativeZero said...

Does this damage ability to level with the spec? You can't balance all the abilities entirely around an endgame spell rotation. This would work really well from 60 onward when you would have all the abilities, might even work well after 50 with just crusader strike, but increasing the cooldown time on judgement would make getting to 50/60 a huge pain, because it's essentially the only general damage-dealer you have until then, aside from consecrate (which costs a ton), seal damage and weapon swings.

Anonymous said...

what about haste? doesnt that reduce the GCD without reducing the CD of individual abilities? would that screw up your rotation or am i just dumb (prolly the latter)

Aerophilia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
andrew said...

hmm maybe, if art of war made FoL instant all the time, we hade the mana to actually hit stuff and heal in pvp. this would work.

doing archimonde with my elemental shaman that is in a mix of ZA, T4, and mix pvp gear i can do 1100 dps and keep my self and my party alive with spot heals. in fact my moonkin can do that too. i don't know about enhance. feral doesn't use mana to dps so they have enough to heal.

now they said they want all classes to be capable of nearly the same dps. with ret they seem to have planed that mana will be the limiter. this is fine and dandy for pve. for pvp well their current plans for ret mana stink.

i'm starting to agree with rohan on some things. i think a reasonable change to start things off with is that move the stat debuff of 2/2 vindication to crusader strike. vindication will now be a 33/70% reduction in mana burn/drains. boost the strength of seals back up to their pre nerf hammer levels. seal of righteous is 1 hand usable only. command can not proc off divine storm and judgement but can still proc on crusader strike. make divine storm holy dmg again.

2ndNin said...

I have to disagree, the ret burst is what let's them kill in pvp, lacking this ret will have major issues killing self healing classes, fundamentally:

Effective health / damage per second = time to death

On a healing class eh is a function of
Current health + healing per second

For a warrior that hps is likely in the region of 1khps, against a ret more like 2khps, meaning without a high burst to get them into a state where we can hold them low enough for the next burst to kill we are in the situation of insta kill or worthless.

RJ said...

Macawber -

There's already a bunch of class abilities that share smaller cooldowns with another, but have their own lengthier individual cooldown. The Shaman greater elemental totems, for example, each have an individual 20 minute cooldown, but also share a 5 minute cooldown so you can't have both up at the same time. The Warrior skills Shield Wall, Recklessness, and Retaliation also share a 12 second cooldown to prevent them from being up at the same time, while still having their own individual 5 minute cooldowns.

Ayeba said...

About the up-front burst: I'm not sure what's the difference between pallies and some other classes are. Rogues are in a similar boat. At the start of a fight, they've got full energy and can dump several hemos/sinister strikes/mutilates which together adds up to a lot of burst damage, possibly including an opener and a finishing move. Also similar are enhancement shammies (stormstrike, lava burst, earth shock with a very likely windfury proc during the first 3 gcds), feral kittens (similar to rogues). Warriors are slightly different, because they need to build up rage first rather than start with a full mana/energy bar.

Similary about empty gcds: When rogues or kittens are low on energy, they get empty gcds while waiting for energy to tick (or proc) back in. Warriors need to wait for rage and cooldowns, Shammies need to wait for cooldowns, and withhold some abilities if low on mana.

There're not a lot of difference between two-handers and dual wield when it comes to burst potential, if you consider burst as how much they can put out during the first 5ish seconds of a fight. Sure, two-handed weapons give spikier damage, but dual-wielding classes make up for that with more hits during the same time. And several other classes have procs. Shamans: Windfury. Warriors: Bloodsurge and Sudden Death.

Part of the real problem as I see it that in balancing retribution raid dps, you have to fight the problem that two-hander white dps is inferior to dual-wielding. Dual-wielding benefits a lot from +hit, much more than two-handers do from other stats once they've hit the roof.

Something like Flurry or simply more haste might help. Design-wise, though, they probably want to avoid such a solution, as it makes the classes even more similar to each other. Both fury warriors and enhancement shamans have that talent already, after all.

If I'm right about the reason, they could add some ability as a high-level retribution talent that increases damage while adding miss-chance, on white damage only. Then you could have retribution paladins (like many other classes) stack +hit to maximize PVE damage, but other stats for PVP.

Added you to my blogroll, by the way.

Simon said...

A fantastic post as usual, but I have to agree with this para in the first comment:

It is clear that ret lacks interrupts and intercepts because we are built around burst. if we remove the burst, then we need more abilities.

I think that paladins simply need more combat abilities, that do less damage perhaps but make the class feel more interactive (and an interrupt on a 15-20 cd!)

One thing that's probably been suggested since vanilla beta is to simply make Exorcism and Holy Wrath usable against all targets.

I imagine that these were restricted to Undead and demons to guard against PVP burst damage, but from a pure game playing perspective I'll often try and fight demons and undead with my pala since I'll simply have more buttons to press i.e. the class feels fun.

So my takeaway is that numbers aside, the class just isn't fun enough because of too much times in rotations when we're stuck with just white damage/auto-attack and nothing to press...

Still I feel that playing my pala is like driving an automatic as opposed to when I'm playing with my warrior which feels like I'm at a manual car...

Simon said...

A fantastic post as usual, but I have to agree with this para in the first comment:

It is clear that ret lacks interrupts and intercepts because we are built around burst. if we remove the burst, then we need more abilities.

I think that paladins simply need more combat abilities, that do less damage perhaps but make the class feel more interactive (and an interrupt on a 15-20 cd!)

One thing that's probably been suggested since vanilla beta is to simply make Exorcism and Holy Wrath usable against all targets.

I imagine that these were restricted to Undead and demons to guard against PVP burst damage, but from a pure game playing perspective I'll often try and fight demons and undead with my pala since I'll simply have more buttons to press i.e. the class feels fun.

So my takeaway is that numbers aside, the class just isn't fun enough because of too much times in rotations when we're stuck with just white damage/auto-attack and nothing to press...

Still I feel that playing my pala is like driving an automatic as opposed to when I'm playing with my warrior which feels like I'm at the controls of a manual...

Myze said...

As a Prot Pally (on the side,) I think it would be a better idea to couple one of the Ret specific abilities to the Consecration cooldown. For example, Crusader Strike could trigger a 6-second cooldown on Consecrate and vice versa.

Additionally, to deal with the problem of Pally burst (which is that it's too extreme, not that it exists) I do like the 3 sec cooldown, but only apply it to Crusader Strike and Divine Storm. Judgment (or Judgement as Blizzard likes to call it) is simply used too far across the board to be changed just to fix Ret.

Additionally, I agree with everything you say about seals only proccing on white damage. That's how it should be, and I don't see why they don't just change it.

I also think there's something that needs to be done about the Pally class running on Auto-Pilot. Seems to me a /castrandom macro does nearly as well as timing the cooldowns yourself.

Anonymous said...

Retadins don't do any more damage then an Arms warrior w/ similar gear. The problem is that paladins have heals, and a bubble. Blizzard could fix this whole issue if they just changed the bubble so that instead of an attack speed reduction it was a percentage of damage reduction, something drastic like 70%.

SO SO SO many times have I gone against two people in the BG's, popped my bubble and murdered the first guy with in 6 seconds, healed to full and murdered the second guy. This is why people are complaining about Retadins.

Fix the bubble, problem solved. We still do good burst damage, pvp, pve. We just won't be able to roll over people any more.

Mike said...

speaking as a prot pally, the linking of judgement to consecration on a 6s cooldown could form problems when offtanking in raids given that we are already hard pressed to keep up. they closed the gap with warriors etc, but it still exists.

however post patch i have found consecration to be a much less used spell in my arsenal, given the higher mana cost. this is likely due to outgearing the nerfed heroics etc tho.. lets see how this holds up in wotlk

for the most part, excellent post.. i'm just really not a big fan of no longer procing seals on specials. this is a big deal for prot, as our ability to put SoV on multiple targets via the use of hammer of righteousness is a cornerstone of our tanking rotation right now.

one wonders how much easier this would be to balance if they would just go with a "crusader form" for ret. special rules for that form, problem solved. stop fiddling with three specs, create a form and fiddle with one.

Arkhan said...

I think it could work.

Having a reasonable and understandable pastern is something that would be a big benefit.

Anonymous said...

There's an easy way to fix the bubble problem. Make it a talent point...in holy...fairly deep in the tree. Then adjust the dps of ret, survivability of prot (even though while tanking they won't use it) to account for it. A paladin with less survivability is a paladin that can receive more dps, and maybe an interrupt. Maybe even a snare.

Rohan said...

@negativezero, It shouldn't hurt levelling. Judgement does increase from 10s-12s, but it also gets 20% more damage. Since you now get a Judgement hit at the very start of the fight, levelling should actually come out slightly ahead. In any case, it's better than the constant nerfing of Seals and Judgements we are seeing now.

@anonymous, haste doesn't affect the GCDs of melee abilities. It really only affects auto-swing damage for ret paladins.

@myze, that would work for PvE, but it does nothing for PvP

I understand that burst is how we kill people. But Blizzard is consistently nerfing each individual ability to the ground because of that burst. My proposal would give us stronger individual abilities. Divine Storm becomes Holy damage once again. Judgement hits like 40% harder. We just can't string them together. Each individual ability is fine, it's the combination at the begining that hurts.

It's a bit different for Arms warriors because they can't launch the combination at the beginning of the fight, they have to build up some rage first.

Also, I do agree the bubble should be -50% damage.

Rohan said...

Additionally, to deal with the problem of Pally burst (which is that it's too extreme, not that it exists) I do like the 3 sec cooldown, but only apply it to Crusader Strike and Divine Storm.

This doesn't work. You can go Crusader Strike, Judgement, Divine Storm, and get around the cooldown.

gt said...

Now GC is saying they want Ret to be "bursty" but that seems to be causing all the issue to begin with. I like your idea Rohan.

When the devs never show us that they have a clear cut idea of what they want our class to be it is disheartening. Even as a Healadin.

Brandon said...

I like it.

Plus the -50-75% damage while under Divine Shield. Then just need something to help close the gap a little more in PvP although there is Repentance & HoJ. They just need to make these changes ability specific so that it doesn't hurt Holy or Prot, but that shouldn't be hard to do.

Did you post any of these ideas on the forums?

Kinzlayer said...

I think there are two issues that are being linked but they shouldn't be. The burst damage should not be a solution for the lack of "gap closing ability." Maybe I'm wrong and totally misunderstand some of the view points expressed here but being susceptible to kiting shouldn't mean we should get burst damage to kill them before they can kite us. Our ability should be modified in order to close the gap, even Warrior's charge and intercept doesn't guarantee that they won't be kited, just means they have a chance to catch up and smash their enemies, then it's not even a guarantee they can burst enough damage to kill before being kited again.

Kinzlayer said...

oh and Rohan, as always fantastic analysis.

Sarahn said...

Rohan, I think you're very close on this with one modification. Put CS and DS on the same 3 second cool down. Increase the cooldown of DS from 10 to 12 seconds (and buff dmg accordingly). This gives Ret a usable rotation between DS and CS.

The key here is to leave Judgment alone, this way it does not impact Prot and Holy as much.

This more closely matches Enhancement Shaman burst, They are able to use both a Shock and Storm Strike in two global cool downs, plus windfury (Seal of Command) procs. This mimics a CS/DS and Judgment burst damage.

Rohan said...

Rohan, I think you're very close on this with one modification. Put CS and DS on the same 3 second cool down. Increase the cooldown of DS from 10 to 12 seconds (and buff dmg accordingly). This gives Ret a usable rotation between DS and CS.

This doesn't work. You go DS, Judgement, CS, sneaking in Judgement in the GCD between DS and CS. Exact same combo as current situation, only in a different order.

Judgement needs to be on the same "retribution global cooldown" for this scheme to work.

Anonymous said...

The longer Global cooldown will have very little effect on prot/holy because booth consecration and judgment are on a cooldown of there own.It will just mean they can spam them together.

Sarahn said...

Rohan, I'm sold. I've been trying to find another way, since it has the risk of being too slow with more dead space. However, it will increase the trade off of using each ability, something GC has said he wants to see with the class. Now it's just a case of tuning each ability's unique cooldown and it's damage.

With this change I think there needs to be a "slow" affect (ie. hamstring) added to Judgment of Justice. This won't solve the gap closing issue, we have stuns and Hand of Freedom for that (cough), but it will help Pallies stay in range to do their slower more meaningful DPS.

As for the Seal procs on specials, I agree that it should be removed for Seal of Command, however for Seal of Corruption/Vengeance it should still proc off of specials. This helps Prot threat generation and DPS and helps give Holy some DPS.

The next discussion you need to have is about AP to Spell Power impacting Holy DPS scaling :)

andrew said...

no no the divine shield swing speed penalty is fine. if i'm in the arena and facing 2 arcane mages that are intent on rushing me with all their cool downs popped and trinkets used i need to survive the arcane barrage face rolling and fight through my shield.

Baristan said...

Honestly i don't think a linked-3s-CD would be a good solution.

The problem in PvP was the extreme Burstdamage. The problem is not that the Ret has 5 attacks in 4,5s, cause other classes have a similar PvP opening pattern. The problem simply was that Seals could procc of any of those attacks. So you have a pretty good chance for up to 10 attacks (5 standard + 5 proccs), and would regulary get 7-8 attacks. Even if those don't crit, you quickly get up to 7k damage, after which you can hit most classes with HoW. Add in a crit or two and you have a very good chance of killing anyone in a 6s stun.

It would have been enough to remove the seal proccs from judgements and Divine Storm at first and see how it effects burst. That way the maximum attacks in the 4,5s would be reduced to 8, with 6 being the most likely and most of the time after the openers you would not be able to use HoW instantly.

If the burst than had been still to high, mainly due to the possible high crits with AoW and RV skilled, Blizz could have changed those talents in the way they did.

The ret would still rely on burst to put pressure on his opponent in PvP and would roughly have the same chances as a mage, Moonkin, Warrior or Roque to cripple his opponent in a few seconds. But it would be much more likely that the opponents survives and can turn the tide with the right actions.

No need to cripple the Seal and Judgement damage as they did on the Betaserver.

Girard said...

While your solution works well in the vaccuum of 'Ret Only', your changes also affect the other two specs as well.

While less a factor for Holy, Protection is also keyed to the Judgement system via Judgements of the Just as well as it being a core part of our threat as well. Making our threat more spikey rather than smoothing it out by lengthening the CD would make our tanking viability plummet.

Brandon said...

andrew, The keyword in your post was "SURVIVE". You should not be able to be immune to all attacks & still spam judge, strike & storm b2b2b. That is something like a 10-15k HP swing. (immune to the 5k+ dmg most dps classes could do to you in that time if you were not shielded + the 5-10k dmg you can do during that 4.5 seconds of burst)

So how is that even remotely fair?

Josh said...

Blizz seemingly wants to go the other way. Blue post gleaned from MMO Champion:

Making sure you aren’t waiting too long for cooldowns is something else we’re looking at. For example, we could lower the cooldown and effect of Judgements just so you are hitting the button more often.

They want to lower the Judgement cooldown. So yea...

Anonymous said...

Im liking that blizzard idea ;). Considering that they're murdering the damage we're doing already (i've gone down 200 dps with the most recent changes, with more to come) I'd welcome a lower judgement cooldown to mess with.

Rohan said...

The Blizzard solution is the other path, the Death Knight solution. Smaller hits, but more of them, with fewer Empty GCDs.

Personally, I prefer the big hits style. It seems more appropriate to me for a 2H class. In some ways, the Death Knight feels like a rogue, only with a 2H sword, which seems wrong to me.

Klepsacovic said...

The big hits with time in between fits better with paladins anyway. Like you said, it's time for cleanses and heals and hands and all that. We're still a strong group class because of all our abilities that are beside our main roles of tanking, dps, or healing. Having time to throw cleanses makes us stronger.

Antonio said...

seriously
too complex

the much simpler solution is simply put DS outside the burst

rather than putting all the abilities in weird setups(like that 3 sec rule) is easier to put just DS in one of those

a example would be making DS castable like slam, making it a reactive ability(like sudden death talent from warrior) or anyhing of the like that makes it outside the burst

and once its out of the burst it can again become a really damaging ability