Welcome back to the second part in our three-part series on Paladin DPS! Our goal, once again, is to squeeze as much DPS out of your Paladin regardless of their spec. Last time, we focused mostly on the Retribution tree, and how best to slam gigantic weapons into your opponents. This time, we're going to be looking mostly at the Holy tree, though we will be picking up some goodies from Retribution.
A quick word before we start -- I will be recommending certain talents over others. In any spec, there is usually a good amount of wiggle room for you to pick up the talents that you feel are best for you, and you should take advantage of this. While I will be focusing on the talents that provide the maximum amount of damage and mana efficiency, you may want to pick up others depending on your play style. In fact, I encourage you to break out from the "cookie cutter" builds if you need certain talents to support your play style. Customizing your character... isn't WoW great?
Let's get started with the Holy / Retribution hybrid known to some as the Shockadin!
What is a Shockadin?
A Shockadin is a Paladin who has specced into both the Holy and Retribution trees in order to get both Holy Shock and Sanctity Aura. Like the name suggests, a Shockadin relies on Holy Shock and Judgements to do damage. Since both abilities have cooldowns, this is definitely a burst-damage type of build, but since it requires many points in the Holy tree, the Shockadin is quite capable of healing effectively if needed. Therein lies the real strength of this build -- you're doing damage without sacrificing your ability to heal, able to provide a good amount of burst damage while supporting your allies. I personally like this build for PvP, as it doesn't tie me down to only one role in a battleground.
Like last time, when I talked about Retribution, I don't want to spend too much time recommending specific pieces of gear you should go after. If something is really awesome, I'll mention it, but there is quite a bit of Paladin-centric plate out there, so mostly I'm going to talk about the stats you should focus on. I recommend prioritizing your gear thusly: Spelldamage > Intellect > Spell crit / Stamina > Mana/5 > Spell Hit
Spelldamage is at the core of the Shockadin build -- although you'll often be smacking things with your weapon, your biggest source of damage comes from spells. Intellect is also crucial to maintain a significant mana pool, and with Holy Guidance, 35% of your Intellect is added to your spelldamage. Spell crit and Stamina are also important, depending on what your focus is: if you're doing more PvP, building up Stamina is the way to go. Spell Hit is not overly important as there is no Holy resistance gear in the game, but don't totally neglect this stat.
I suggest a 40/0/21 build if you only want to focus on damage dealing. While this does miss some survival / utility talents, like Blessed Life and Light's Grace, it picks up all the damage increasing / mana efficiency talents available. Here are some of the key talents in this build:
- Divine Intellect: Increases both your Intellect and your spelldamage (with talents).
- Imp. Seal of Righteousness: Increases the damage done by SoR and JoR by 15%. Since we'll be using SoR / JoR a lot in this build, this one is important.
- Divine Favor: 100% chance to crit a Holy Shock or healing spell. Don't pass this one up.
- Holy Power: +5% crit to your Holy spells. The more, the merrier.
- Holy Shock: Instant holy damage. This is the cornerstone of this build -- it's called Shockadin, not Judgeadin.
- Holy Guidance: Increases spelldamage/healing by 35% of your Intellect. With spelldamage, more is better.
- Benediction: More mana efficient Seals / Judgements means more Seals / Judgements.
- Improved Judgement: Decreases the cooldown on Judgement by 2 seconds. If you're casting Judgement every time it's up, this is a 20% increase in DPS.
- Sanctity Aura: Increases Holy damage by 10%. This is the Aura that you should be using while doing damage.
Of note is that I didn't take Conviction -- even though you will be smacking stuff, most of your damage will come through spells, and there are better ways to spend these points. Also, even though I did take Seal of Command, I will only be using it tactically (more on this later), as most of the time I'll be running Seal of Righteousness. In general, I'd say that if you make sure to grab the above talents, you can put the rest wherever works best for you.
I'd recommend running with Blessing of Wisdom and Sanctity Aura up if you're dealing damage. In a group, use the most appropriate Aura, but if you're dealing damage you should be using Sanctity. Anything that increases your Intellect helps you, so make sure you've got AI up if you've got a Mage around. Most melee-centric buffs won't help you much, but if you've got a Shaman that is willing to put Windfury totem down, you'll get SoR procs off the extra Windfury hit, which will increase your DPS. Although Judging Seal of the Crusader on a target will help your damage the most, if you're in a group consider Judging something more group-friendly, depending on the fight.
As a Shockadin, I recommend starting the fight by Judging Seal of the Crusader, casting Seal of Righteousness, then following up with a Holy Shock. Seal of Righteousness provides a steady source of holy damage, and with a good amount of spelldamage and SotC up, SoR can easily proc for 400+ holy damage. If you want, you can use the same macro I suggested in Part I to make sure SoR is always up again after using Judgement:
/cast Seal of Righteousness
Using this macro, you should have no problem keeping SoR up. With the right gear, Consecrate can dish out a good amount of damage too. It uses a 76% spelldamage coefficient, so with 800 spelldamage, it'd do about 1200 damage over 8 seconds, so don't forget to use it! If you picked up Seal of Command, you can try stunning your target then Judging SoC for some extra damage. I would still recommend using SoR / JoR unless your target is stunned, and wouldn't use SoC at all with this build. SoC procs are sporadic and based on weapon damage, unlike SoR which procs on every swing and is based on spelldamage.
My attack pattern looks like this: Judge Crusader > Seal of Righteousness > Holy Shock > Consecration (if necessary, or trying to max out damage) > Judgement of Righteousness > Holy Shock > Repeat
I generally like to use JoR and Holy Shock whenever they're up, and preferably together. If they both crit with trinkets and Avenging Wrath up, you can do 3000-5000 damage in a second, and therein lies the burst damage power of this build. Alternatively, you can try stunning your opponent, then use JoC, followed by Divine Favor + Holy Shock for a guaranteed crit. Also, since many opponents move out of the area when they see Consecration, you can also use your stun to keep them in place for close to the full length of the spell. And don't forget to finish wounded targets off with Hammer of Wrath -- it has a 40% spelldamage coefficient, so it has quite a kick.
Why take a Shockadin?
Shockadins are likely to have many of the same talents Holy Paladins do, so they are quite capable of main healing an instance with the proper gear. It's a good idea to carry around a set of healing gear for this very reason. They'll bring a good amount of damage and utility to a group, and can act as a backup healer in case things go awry. In PvP, you can switch back and forth between dealing damage and healing your allies. Cast Judgement and Holy Shock when they're up, then heal until they've cooled down. Utility is the name of the game for a Shockadin in a group -- their strength lies in being able to switch easily between several roles.
In the third and final part, I'll talk about dealing damage as a Healing or Protection Paladin -- look for it soon!