Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ask Coriel: Seal of Command vs Seal of Blood

Larry writes:
What's your opinion on SoB versus SoC as it pertains to Retribution Paladins (especially in PvP)?

Both scale based on AP and both can crit, so they are both potentially good Retribution Seals. Now, SoB does 35% of weapon damage every hit, and SoC does 70% of weapon damage at 7 ppm. If I assume a 3.6 attack speed weapon, you get 16 attacks (rounding down) in one minute. On average 7 of those will proc SoC. If you're doing 800 damage a swing (white, non-crit), you'll do 12,800 damage. With SoC 12,800 + 3,920 = 16,720 damage in one minute, without crits and ignoring all other variables such as miss, parry, glancing, etc... If you use SoB, you get 12,800 + 4,480 = 17,280 damage in one minute.

Theoretically SoB does slightly more damage than SoC at the cost of dealing a percentage of that damage to you. SoB is also significantly cheaper in terms of mana than SoC, and in a PvP environment is (in my opinion) more reliable, though the self-damaging component is more of a negative. Another thing I'm taking into consideration is how often Vengeance can be proc'd. It's essentially 9 extra attacks a minute that can stack Vengeance. Obviously, the usefulness of this changes depending on your crit rate, but I assume most Retribution Paladins are sitting in the vicinity of 30% crit.

Now, in PvE extra crits for Vengeance isn't that great - you get 3, and it's staying up until the mob is dead. The extra procs might get you to 3 marginally faster, but as the fights are much longer and more likely to be consecutive, it's not a huge deal. However, in PvP, where you might only be fighting one or maybe two people, getting to 15% is more important. Obviously, there's times in AV where there's plentiful targets, but I think the extra attacks are worth it.

Finally, the Judgment damage. It's higher on SoB in general, but you take a decent amount of damage, and with SoC it's fairly low unless the target is stunned. Which means if you start an encounter by Repentancing a target, then you can unload a lot of damage in a few seconds, but after that, it's barely worth Judging.

For now, I'm using SoB. My Judgments are higher and the damage is more consistent. The possibility of huge bursts of damage is nice with SoC, but anyone who's been fighting and had a string of non-procs knows that frustration, especially at 3.6 attack speed.

The final consideration, which is more of a PvE thing - is down-ranking the Seals, as the Seals themselves worth off of a percentage of weapon damage; only the Judgment portion suffers from lowering the rank of the spell.

I think you are fairly correct in your assessment of SoB versus SoC for PvE. However, I'm not sure that the extra chances to crit are really worth using SoB over SoC in PvP. Sources of crits include:

1. White attacks
2. Crusader strikes
3. Seal procs
4. Judgements

You only affect one category of these by using SoB, and you give up burst damage, and you take more incoming damage. In my PvP experience, burst damage is what kills people. Not to mention that it's far more likely that people can be stunned for extra JoC damage.

As Vengeance lasts for 30s now, I think there are enough opportunities to refresh it, that using SoC over SoB will not hurt you. However, I have not really played in a high-resilience environment, so that may change things.

As for PvE, SoB is outright better than SoC. As you noted, it does more damage, and is more consistent. Additionally, the self-inflicted damage actually ends up having synergy with Spiritual Attunement, giving you mana back from splash healing, which increases your longevity. As well, SoB allows you to use the weapon with the highest DPS, as opposed to using the weapon with the highest damage range. That makes you a bit more flexible when it comes to gearing up.

Imo, SoB is a very good Seal. It is different enough from SoC that there are situations where SoC is better than SoB and vice versa. Really, Blizzard should remove Seal of Vengeance and give all paladins Seal of Blood.


  1. I find Seal of Vengeance useful in tanking, when I want to stack a DOT across an aggro drop. Really, just give both seals to both factions and be done with it.

  2. SoV is very much a PvE tanking Seal, while SoB is more of a DPS Seal, possibly for both PvE and PvP - depending on how you rank SoC's usefulness.

  3. Seal of Vengeance WOULD be useful if it weren't the ridiculous frequency at which it falls off your mob. That it is not a guaranteed hit, I understand. But that melee swings with Vengeance up don't at least renew the stack as it currently stands means we end up losing SoV at least twice every boss fight, which is too frequent in such an aggro-dependent situation.

  4. Referring back to the paladin community, isn't it kind of ironic that the Horde get a seal they're not really using (as they're mostly Holydins), one the Alliance would love?

  5. the BEST way to go... is count procs. You can only get about 8 in one minute, so if you get 5 in the first 30 seconds... judging and switching to blood for the next 15-30 seconds will actually increase your damage significantly... sor works decent as well if your gear is relatively balanced. You'll notice your pvp viablity go up significantly, and those *zomgwtf wheres SOC proc?!* moments dissappear because, believe it or not, youll notice that "front loading" your procs is generally the cause for procless periods from soc.

    If you have dedicated healing... everthing changes obviously, but the tactic is still sound even then as youll cause less strain for the healer in an already strained environment(pvp)

    Also, save cs for when you get a soc proc... its all about burst and if you just hit the damn button when it refeses youll be out healed, oomed, and waiting to respawn faster that you can say pwnt.

  6. I would not mind SOV overmuch, if it allowed me to refresh it with crusader strike like a judgement.

    Imagine this.. stack to with sov at the beginning of the fight, then flip to SOC and refresh SOV stack with crusader strike.

    nice dot damage and still keep up your usual judgements. That would be sexy imo.

  7. In my oppinion SoV is the supirior seal when it comes to tanking, though the lack of applications can often tend to be quite a problem.

    Regarding SoB and SoC, and for that matter, the sharing of SoV and SoB to horde/alliance. I think blizzard should even it out.

    Giving alliances SoB and hordes SoV. For PvE purposes SoB are overpowered, due to Spiritual Attunement. And SoV for hordes pala tanks.

    But for PvP imo i would use SoC, since dealing dmg to yourself with SoB seems kinda stupid in pvp situations ;)

  8. Ive had way too many frustrating WtfwheresmySoCproc? happen to me. I gave SoB a chance. Now I dont see myself using SoC anymore.

    The damage you receive is minimal and can be mitigated by putting talents in Imp Righteous fury.

    From my personal experience in battlegrounds, Ive had way more success using SoB than SoC. The extra damage every swing (its like swinging twice every time) is more reliable to me than a "Chance" proc. Dishing out damage asap is key for a Ret paladin.

    Your Opponents are going to be dishing out the damage while you wait for SoC to proc? You might not have the chance for it to proc. Better for me to have the damage dealt while im still up and not CC'd or Stunned.

    Its just overall more reliable than SoC. People may complain that they dont want to recieve damage in return for using the seal, but I usually pop at least one heal while bubbled or while my opponent is Stunned by HoJ. That one heal usually recovers the damage done by SoB. We have gimped healing for a reason. Use it and take advantage of this wonderful seals extra reliable damage.

    Not to mention that fanaticism adds an extra 15% for SoB to crit on top of your melee crit. But that applies to SoC as well. My 5 cents.

  9. Well
    i have an experience with SoB & SoC
    I used to dps with SoB, which was recommended at that point when i dinged 70 i had this crap gear, then i started farming for my gear, Red belt of battle, Cloak of darkness, & Stormherald, between the farmtimes, i spent a lot of attention to pvp, Battlegrounds to be precise,Using SoC ofcourse,and my gear started upgradin, and all of a sudden, which i had expected, SoC took the upperhand in PvE too.
    i had 26.02% chance to crit, 1620AP unbuffed, even though i wasn't hit capped yet. I'm a blood elf and for Pve i use SoC, A lot may think i'm strange, But my dps is good, i don't have take so much stats as if you need with SoB. i only have to stack crit, hit, ap & a bit of intellect. if you match it with SoB, You need, Hit, Crit, intellect, Ap, Haste rating.
    The haste rating is the bummer,
    because you have to offer Str and/or crit for it, which lowers your dps to increase your dps. and my dps doesn't slack at al, i'm in the top 3 in my guild, and yet we're only in kara, with minimum buffs, i don't even have windfury whilst the mages have Grace of air, or how do you call that Spelldmg increase totem. Can't imagine what Burst i shall have @ Gruul which we are gonna try tommorow.

    So my judgement is:

    SoB whilst leveling up your gear, and SoC takes the upperhand at a certain grade of gear.