Today's topic was requested by a reader, and I must admit it took more effort that I'd have liked to assemble the piece. I'm one of those players who tries to use as few addons as possible. As an expansion progresses, I continuously shed my mods until I use almost none at all. I use them as teaching aids. If I'm having difficulty performing a particular task, I use an addon to make it easier on myself -- until I'm more comfortable with that task. "Okay, I did it with the addon," I say to myself. "Now I'll turn it off and see if I can do without it."
It's not that I don't believe in addons -- they're great! It's just that I have a hard time calling any of them essential. Still, I'll try to outline a few addons that I believe will be beneficial to your performance as a retribution paladin.
I'll get the obvious choices out of the way first. If you're a raider, the first thing you should do is check if your raid group has any mandatory addons. These probably won't be specific to your class, but your raid may have a boss mod preference so that everybody is on the same page with their raid timers, or they'll require that you use something like oRA3.
If your raid has no mod requirements, I do strongly suggest that raid groups pick up some boss mod. Even if you don't need your monitor flashing and screaming at you whenever a boss does something, boss mods add some wonderful baseline features such as proximity windows that tell you how close you are to other players. If a boss has a mechanic that will gib you if you aren't 12 yards away from somebody, can you really tell how far 12 yards is at a glance? Very unlikely.
My favorite boss mod in Wrath of the Lich King was Deus Vox Encounters, but unless I'm seriously out of the loop, the mod hasn't been updated in quite awhile and likely won't be -- though a replacement, KLE, is in beta testing at the moment.. Nowadays, I use Deadly Boss Mods, but BigWigs is also an option.
The single most powerful rotational aid addon for retribution paladins is CLCRet. When I was first starting to raid in Cataclysm, I came to the conclusion that I was really bad at the new retribution rotation -- I was still prioritizing Judgement much higher than I should have been and I was routinely forgetting Inquisition. I need an addon that would hold my hand while I cleaned my palette of Wrath of the Lich King habits. CLCRet will tell you what button you should push now and what button you will be pushing next. It takes procs and holy power into consideration and will completely walk you through retribution's priority system.
Now that CLCRet has broken me of my Wrath habits, I stare at those flashing buttons on my screen less and less. I can handle the rotation myself very easily, and I only keep it around so I know when to refresh Inquisition. However, there is another option for Inquisition: Power Auras.
Power Auras is extremely powerful, and there are endless ways you can use it. Tracking Inquisition is the most obvious one, certainly. Forgive me for committing this sin, but I'm actually going to direct you to a recent edition of the rogue column, Encrypted Text. Chase gives an explanation of how to track the rogue skill Slice and Dice in Power Auras, and Inquisition is more or less Slice and Dice in different clothing.
With the addition of Rebuke, you're going to be called on to interrupt spells. That's just how it is. You have the utility; you're going to use it. In Cataclysm raids, you'll need to interrupt a lot. Without any addon assistance, it can get downright confusing sometimes. You have one specific spell you're assigned to interrupt on Maloriak, but he has multiple spells -- you're eventually going to screw it up. There's no shame in it. That's just how it is. You're going to see the cast bar pop up on your screen, you'll react and hit Rebuke, and a moment later you'll realize you interrupted the wrong spell.
Gnosis will fix that. As Mathew McCurley pointed out in a recent Addon Spotlight, Gnosis has a whitelist/blacklist feature. If there's a spell you don't want to see a cast bar for, you can configure Gnosis to suppress it, and you will never see that cast bar. In his words:
Pretty sweet deal, and it will be absolutely invaluable when you start hitting heroic content -- if you aren't already, of course.
With the new focus on interrupting in encounters -- and in some cases, multiple interrupting or non-interrupting -- you may be responsible for one spell only. Maloriak, on heroic and non-heroic mode, is an example of a fight in which Gnosis rocks interrupters' worlds. Both Release Aberrations and Arcane Storm need to be interrupted or allowed to cast, depending on the situation. When my group does Maloriak, we have two DPSers responsible for each interrupt. Gnosis allows you to hide the cast bars for the spells that are being cast that are not the ones you are responsible for interrupting. Are you responsible for Arcane Storm? Hide Release Aberrations, and you'll never get confused.
The Light and How to Swing It teaches you the ins and outs of retribution paladins, from Ret 101 and how to gem, enchant and reforge your retadin, to essential ret pally addons.