Friday, September 28, 2007

Seeking Divination in Retribution Changes

So far, Blizzard has announced the following changes for the paladin class:
  • Mana cost for Exorcism, Holy Wrath, and Hammer of Wrath lowered
  • Vengeance duration increased to 30 seconds
  • Improved Seal of Crusader benefits put into base spell, talent benefits replaced with those of Sancitified Crusader
  • Sanctified Crusader renamed to Sanctified Seals, which increases chance to critically hit with all spells and melee attacks by 1/2/3% and reduces the chance your Seals will be dispelled by 33/66/100%
  • Crusader Strike cooldown reduced to 6 seconds
  • Vindication frequency and duration increased and reduces all attributes by 5/10/15%
  • Pursuit of Justice is now 3 ranks and increases movement speed by 5/10/15% and reduces the chance to be hit by spells by 1/2/3%.

These changes are interesting. First, the change to Vengeance means that a lower crit percentage will be required to maintain perma-Vengeance, and that Vengeance can be maintained even on fights which require a little running.

The Vindication, Crusader Strike, Pursuit of Justice, and Sanctified Seals changes are significant buffs to PvP Retribution paladins.

The change to Improved Seal of the Crusader is interesting. It takes the one major raid buff that Ret paladins have and puts it in reach for Holy or Prot paladins to pick up.

However, the glaring omission is threat reduction. Right now, PvE Retribution paladin DPS is limited more by threat than anything else. Without a threat reduction mechanic of some sort, these changes will not increase Ret paladin DPS.

However, these changes do open the door to a potentially more interesting possibility.

Disclaimer: This is complete speculation, and probably isn't correct.

Lets look at the breakdown of Retribution DPS. Assume that the paladin does 100 points of damage and is at the threat limit. From my experiences, the damage breaks down as follows:

- 55 points from Auto-attack
- 18 points from Crusader Strike
- 18 points from Seal of Command
- 9 points from Judgement of Command

Now, the change to Crusader Strike means that Crusader Strike damage will jump from 18 points to 30 points. But the paladin is still threat-capped at 100 points. So the new breakdown will look like:

- 55 points from Auto-attack
- 27 points from Crusader Strike
- 18 points from Seal of Command

What does this mean? It meanst that the paladin no longer needs to Judge Command.

This has two important ramifications:

1. You can use Seal of Command (Rank 1). Combined with no judging, This means Retribution DPS becomes very mana-efficient when threat-capped.

2. 100% of your damage scales with Attack Power. Retribution does not need Spell Damage anymore.

So what should Blizzard do with all that spell damage on Retribution? You could add extra Strength, but you're already threat-capped. Instead, you could replace it with straight +healing. Retribution gear would feature Str, Sta, Int, and +healing.(The fact that +healing now gives a little boost in spell damage only makes this option better.)

So now we have a mana-efficient melee character, with a decent amount of +healing, and who is expected to have to hold back DPS because of threat issues. Add to that the fact that Vengeance now lasts twice as long. This allows the paladin to break off DPS and toss a heal without Vengeance falling off, while staying near the threat cap.

Perhaps this is Blizzard's latest attempt at creating a paladin who melees and heals.

Crazy? Maybe. Reality? Probably not. Madness? Sparta. Worth trying? Definitely.


  1. "Improved Seal of Crusader benefits put into base spell, talent benefits replaced with those of Sancitified Crusader"

    - Care to rewrite that? I read it twice and in both times I got lost! I don't have a pally higher than 20 so that may be it, but I'd guess others will read your blog even without having a high level paly! :)

  2. True that pallies are ridiculously able to do everything and if these changes go through then they can do everything at once! Maybe you are happy but I sure that us mages will simply quit when a dps pally is added to the list of classes that beat us in dmg :)

    samownall Wow guides

  3. Someone, it means that the base version of SotC is improving by 15%. Sanctified Crusader (+3% crit for the raid) is being moved from deep in the Ret tree to the second tier.

  4. The idea of a Retribution Paladin that can rock until they hit their Threat Cap and then heal(efficiently) seemed crazy to me for a moment.

    But I'm see how it works out on paper and it's pretty intriguing. I'd be willing to guess that most Retribution Paladins wouldn't like the idea. But if it matters, I've been Ret since the beginning and I think it's a pretty slick way to contribute to the raid.

    @ samownall, Paladins are NEVER going to out-DPS a mage. Ignore the trolls on the WoW forums that tell you Paladins want pure DPS. All Paladins want is to do enough DPS to make our DPS + Utility worthwhile enough to be raid worthy. Which is not happening in the current game because Ret Paladin Threat can go through the roof in only a matter of seconds.

  5. Your theory would be pretty darn fun if it worked.

  6. @Samownall

    There's no other way to put it.

    You're wrong.

    Pallies cannot do everything at once. I'm personally a Tankadin. Once my target is down on HKM, I don't really add anything. Last weekend I went and trolled the forums after he had died.

    The major problem with the concept that one class can do many things and be viable at them all at the same time is wrong. The only spec with the ability to be a true hybrid is the Ele Shaman, and even they're not as viable as a Heal spec'd healer or a DPS spec'd DamageDealer.

    You just have to remember we can only do one thing at once, and to do other things competitively we need to respec.

  7. I dunno. This is actually close to what I used to do as a ret paladin in vanilla-WoW 5 man dungeons. I'd get my big 2hander, use rank 1 SoComm without judging, and maintain my mana pool for times when the healer was low on mana, incapacitated, etc. But back then, I wasn't able to apply that mode of play to raids (so I didn't raid, and that was fine with me).

    The way most people set up raids is you bring as much tanking and healing as you need, and no more. And I think the problems non-holy paladins have in raids all come down to needs. If your raid can afford to have you DPSing half the time, they probably don't ever need your heals at all. It's kind of the same deal with prot paladins (which is what I am currently). It might even be a little worse for us, because the times we are tanking tend to be the times the raid has the most need for extra heals--meaning I don't think raids bring prot paladins for their healing. I think it's the same for ret paladins, and I still haven't seen any changes that make me think this situation will go away.

    So yes, they're giving ret paladins extra utility, but the problem with ret paladins currently (as I see it) isn't that they don't provide enough utility, it's that they don't fill needs. If you're in a good guild of friends, it's enough to get you in their raids, but I think we're already at that point. I still think the best hope for ret paladins is making it so that all of our utility is more directly tied into our melee abilities.

  8. With a 126 dps season2 2hand weapon, S2ret/T4Ret(or even 2PC T4Prot), a ret paladin geared for spell damage should be able to sustain 800 dps without consecrate. This is entirely theory, but I did the math as follows using the shockadin gear I have from Kara/heroics/arena -

    Assuming you have Sanct Seals, and judge Imp JoCrus :

    900 base spelldamage AFTER Jocrus,
    Season 2 2Hander,
    20% melee crit(5 base, 5 conviction, 3 jocrus, 3 sanct seals, 4 gear)
    11% spell critical(5 base, 3 jocrus, 3 sanct seals)
    200 autoattack dps - 126 from weapon, 74 from attack power.

    Assuming perma vengeance(with these low crit values it still could fall off, but for sake of simplicity), and improved SoR, your dps breaks down to:

    292 Autoattack,
    198 SoR
    180 JoR
    371 Crusader Strike.

    This is dps with crits added in(averaged)

    Totals to about 1040, but after glancings, resists, armor, whatever, 800 seems fairly reasonable. Note this is self buffed. With windfury, bshout, might/kings, TSA, unleashed rage, whathaveyou, your damage could improve greatly. I am unsure if SoR can proc off windfury hits, but I believe it can. In this case, windfury would add roughly 100 pre mitigation dps.

    A problem I can see is your JoR will be resisted a lot, itemizing spellhit for just JoR seems silly for this build.

    Popping AW/spelldmg trinket whenever they are up would likely increase your overall damage by another 5 ish percent.

    One thing to consider for alliance paladins is that this may be the only way to go. PPM abilities now adjust to the new attack speed after haste, meaning stacking haste provides less benefit with SoC. I do not think they normalized SoR damage around haste(I have no melee haste so I cant tell you). Also, applying one hit of SoV every time the stack falls off is a great dps boost for alliance paladins, as it adds 70% coefficient in 3.6 sec, plus 150 dmg. With Veng/Sanc up, this is worth more per hit than SoR, but involves some seal juggling. Successive stacks of SoV are only worth 150 damage.


  9. Oops, had a typo in my calculations -

    Crusader Strike should be 222 dps, bringing the total to 900.

    Point still stands though, just not as strongly :p

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. garm, please don't insult people.

    Also, while it is an extra chance to get a crit, Vengeance is increasing to 30s, which means you'll get more melee swings and Crusader Strikes to crit with.

  12. Recall that the original cooldown on Crusader Strike was 6 seconds, then from all the crying bumped to 10 seconds, now its being reduced back to its original...

  13. Hey, im a little confused, ive been a healadin for so long my brain has rotted, ive been gathering some decent ret gear.
    I need help with maximising by dps against a boss in kara or ZA and some of the 25 mans.

    spell rotation? i normaly start of with SotC then just rank 1 SoC with a bit of exorcism + HoW when applicable. Could i be doing better by using different seals etc.
    Also gear wise if u could look me up on the armoury "skillgannonx" Eu server and help me id love it.
    i know i need new boots and i will have the vet boots within a week, the belt and neck are temporary also.I also have Gorehowl with savagery which adds a lot more ap but i have virtually no SP dmg then. Do i need sp dmg for pve??

    cheers for any help to come

  14. skillganonx, general rotation is Judge SotC, Turn on SoC, Crusader Strike. Crusader Strike whenever it comes off cooldown, and judge Command whenever you can. Throw in Exorcisms, Consecrates and Hammer of Wraths as you can.

    Go down to Rank 1 SoC if you are running out of mana.

    You don't really need spell damage for Ret. Strength/Attack Power. crit rating, and hit rating are more important.

    Gear-wise, take a look at this post and its comments: Improving a Retribution Paladin