Monday, February 16, 2009

Ask Coriel: Retribution Questions

Melissa asks:
I was looking through your new wiki (raider101) site at the ret pally rotation. I noticed you put divine storm in the #5 slot (or whoever edited) for suggested rotation.

I question this in the case of running 10 mans or heroic raids if you also equip the Venture company libram which increases your crit strike rating for 7 sec after divine storm. Does it not make more sense to judge, then use divine storm as all further attacks (for 7 sec) will have an increased crit rating? When I do this, I usually can cast crusader strike, exorcism (if possible) and sometimes another judgement while the buff is still up.

Am I misunderstanding this libram or is this just not yet noted? Does thislibram not cause spell crit and only melee crit? I just wanted to make sure my difference in rotation was plausible.

I believe the Libram is both melee and spell crit. The reason Divine Storm is lower is that all the other attacks are higher damage. As well, because Crusader Strike/Hammer of Wrath is on a short cooldown, the more you delay it, the more damage you end up losing.

Don't forget that abilities will come off cooldown after you hit DS. So you are only gaining extra crit on a couple of abilities and only at very start of the fight. That's not enough to outweigh the loss of delaying the higher damage abilities.

However, the difference between the various priority schemes is very small. My advice would be to go test rotations out on the training dummy.

My second question is on my cooldowns. I've been told by many tanks (including pally's) to NOT use Avenging Wrath at the beginning of a fight. I've been told that if I do use it, I will pull aggro off the boss and I should save it for the middle or end of a fight. What's the correct answer?

You should use Avenging Wrath very close to the start of the fight. You do need to give the tank a few seconds to build threat, but good tanks can generate threat very fast. You should be able to pop Avenging Wrath at about 10 seconds into the fight. If you can't, your tanks need to improve. Now if you have to delay, you delay, but you should try to pop AW as early as possible.

The reason you use Avenging Wrath early is so that you can use it again when it comes off cooldown in the same fight. You should be able to use AW multiple times on every fight longer than 2 minutes (which is pretty much every raid fight).

A lot of guilds will also use Heroism/Bloodlust early, so that everyone can pop their cooldowns together, while still being able to use cooldowns multiple times during the fight.


  1. Heya

    In some fights you'll be able to use cooldowns quite a number of times, so I agree whole-heartedly with Rohan - blow it early and often.

    All the tanks have assorted cooldowns that they can expend at the beginning of the fight to max out early threat - so charge on in, judge, smack the boss a couple of times, and AW. The additional advantage of an early AW is that you WILL be using it on the fight, and it ensures that you get a chance to use it. As a lot of fights progress, there is potential for dead DPS.

  2. When I was playing retribution I always used divine storm first, the reason being that it has a longer cooldown. With the libram it makes even more sense.

  3. Depending on the fight, I may pop DS more often than CS, since DS is non-directional and I may not necessarily be facing the boss at the time (like, for example, if I'm hunting down elementals on OS or the tank is chasing Archavon).

  4. Last time I checked, EJ was recommending a "prioritize, don't rotate" approach for Ret - if fighting a single target, Judgement -> CS -> DS makes most sense despite the libram (which will still grant the crit bonus on the next cycle, and avoid risking to rip threat off the tank on the opening seconds). When fighting multiples, having DS before CS may make more sense.

    No 10-man experience to back that one up, though, sorry.

  5. Your also going to want to make sure the boss is fully debuffed for maximum impact. Unless you have more then one warrior (or one specifically glpyhed), its going to take five GCDs to get a full 5 stack of sunders up (along with a minor armor debuff). If you pop AW before that, your going to lose some damage.

  6. The "prioritize, don't rotate" paradigm sounds perfectly fine for me too. Actually, it's also valid for Protection.
    Thats why i don't use 6/9 macros to automate my rotation while tanking. There is always a different situation which needs different skills at a different time. For example, while tanking single target Mobs, Judgement and ShotR will always be prioritized before HotR and Consecration, even if i mess up my 6/9 Rotation with it. There are enough Skills not to loose a GCD this way. While tanking multiple Mobs, things look different - of course.
    The same should be valid for Retribution, whether you are fighting one Mob or a Mob Pack, Undead Targets or "other" etc.

  7. I don't typically "rotate", but I've read comments that for any class your rotation is what decides your dps.

    I changed my rotation last night for Naxx and, honestly, I had practically the same dps as when I do DS directly after judging. The only major difference was when using AW.

  8. Oh, but just an FYI. On trash mobs, my dps was higher by about 400dps. It was just the bosses where my dps was the same on either rotation.

  9. @Chad

    Keep in mind that AW is boosting your holy damage, which bypasses armor anyway, so it's not affected by your specific example of sunder/expose/other armor pen. Most of the spell-related debuffs will either go up pretty quickly or be random procs.

    For packs of trash in Naxx, I prioritize DS and Consecration above Judgement and Crusader Strike because otherwise twitchy mages and 'locks tend to die. It tends to round up anything missed by thunderclaps, tank consecration ticks, and other group threat generation, and I'm easier to heal while the tanks establish solid threat than are the squishies. In those cases, I'm judging as much to keep up Replenishment, and hence overall raid speed, than I am for my own dps.

    For bosses, DS is at best third priority.

  10. Just wanted to add one thing that no one has touched on as of yet. Popping AW early and often is also what I agree with but make sure you have crit at least 3 times BEFORE popping it. 3 Stacks of Vengeance is what you're going for here. That extra 9% damage for the entire length of your wings is a nice damage boost.

  11. I alsways forund retribution a bit boring with my paladin, i was always respeccing my paladin and have settles with prot.

  12. When you have 4 piece you should really use a 10 second cooldown after Judge.

    J > DS > CS

    is higher damage than

    J > CS > DS

  13. @Esdras

    I always found prot boring which is why I went back to ret as soon as 3.0 came out. Not sure what your comment has to do with the initial post.