Where do retribution paladins stand now that 4.2 is here? Let's look at the current state of the ret pally. In future patches, this information may become outdated, so use your own Judgement when reading. Side effects may include increased raid AOE damage and an overall feeling of satisfaction. Working as intended.
Let's get down to business, shall we?
Cleave is back!
Praise the Light! Not only does Seal of Righteousness hit everything within our melee range, but now it activates from Divine Storm and has the ability to crit. All of your worries (as well as mine) about it not outdamaging Seal of Truth on more than 10 monsters are gone. As far as I can tell with my rigorous training smashing the trash in Firelands (as well as some of the crazed gnomes in Uldum), it is now worth it to use Seal of Righteousness on four mobs or more. This still doesn't give you the right to Divine Storm two things, though. (Seriously, knock it off -- you're making the rest of us look bad.)
The change to Inquiry of Faith now makes our Inquisition last 36 seconds, up from 30 seconds. This is pretty nice for people who are going to be replacing their tier 11 four-piece set bonus and are trying to cope with the loss of the extra Inquisition time. Overall, this gives us a bit more leeway with our rotation.
With the patch, Selfless Healer reduces the cooldown on our Word of Glory by 10 seconds when specced into it, effectively making our off-healing in PvP somewhat decent again (even though you can't rely on Eternal Glory procs to spam heal someone to full anymore). Selfless Healer being undispellable is just icing on the cake. Ret still has problems with survivability in PVP, but I think we can all agree Blizzard's giving Word of Glory a 20-second cooldown was one of those Come on! moments where we all cringed in disbelief. I know I did.
Daily quest Mark of the World Tree rewards
As far as new gear is concerned, let me begin with the new daily quest hub that arrived with patch 4.2. There is a plethora of new gear that can be acquired from doing the daily quests in and around Mount Hyjal.
- Fireheart Necklace This necklace is sold by Zen'Vorka in the Molten Front. You gain access to him by doing the Through the Gates of Hell quest after getting 20 Marks of the World Tree. It will take you three days after doing the first set of daily quests in Hyjal to be eligible for this quest and the prerequisites. With expertise and mastery, this necklace is perfectly itemized for ret paladins. You can always reforge the expertise if you're capped (which you probably are).
- Rickety Belt This belt is obtained through Damek Bloombeard in the Molten Front. However, you don't get access to his inventory until you complete the Additional Armaments quest. This quest requires you to get a whopping 125 Marks of the World Tree, but by the time you get to this point in the quest hub, you will be getting more than four marks a day, so it won't be that bad. With haste (yuck) and expertise, this belt's stats are less than ideal. But if you really want a new belt or are too lazy to farm rep for Belt of the Ferocious Wolf, this may be the perfect belt for you. (Despite the Belt of the Ferocious Wolf's inferior stats, it's still a very good belt. I personally wouldn't replace it with Rickety Belt because of the haste.)
- Meteorite Ring Damek also sells a ring. It's another piece that has haste on it, but if you really need a second ring, I would go ahead and pick this up. It's not bad at all coupled with Band of Bees.
- Masterwork Elementium Deathblade In case you didn't know, Damek Bloombeard also deals in blacksmithing plans. This is a great weapon due to the huge amount of mastery on it. However, it does have a swing speed of 3.50, so its damage is a little lower than I would have liked. It's not worth replacing Reclaimed Ashkandi with, though, because of its 3.80 speed and superior weapon damage -- but still something worth looking into.
- Moon Blessed Band This ring is acquired from Ayla Shadowstorm in the Molten Front. Like Damek, you don't get access to her inventory until you complete Filling the Moonwell, which requires 125 Marks of the World Tree. With hit and crit on it, this is a very good ring, and I would recommend picking it up and reforging the crit into mastery (or whatever you may need).
- Dwyer's Caber This wonderful trinket can be purchased from Varlan Highbough in the Molten Front. As with the other two vendors, you need to complete Calling the Ancients in order to get access to his goods. This is a great trinket coupled with License to Slay if you're wanting to get into Firelands -- plus it lets you throw a giant tree every 3 minutes.
Avengers of Hyjal rewards
With the release of The Firelands comes a new raid reputation. You can get this rep by killing trash and bosses inside the Firelands itself. As far as I know, it's only possible to get 5,999/6,000 reputation off of the normal monsters in the Firelands. But the Molten Lords can push you just over honored. (Mat McCurley offers a great instructional on how to do trash runs.)
- Bladed Flamewrath Cover The stats on this cloak are pretty terrible for a ret paladin, but it's the best cloak you're going to get this tier. And the big chunk of expertise is welcome for those of us replacing Heart of Rage. It can be purchased from the Avengers of Hyjal Quartermaster just inside of the Firelands after you reach friendly with the Avengers of Hyjal.
- Cinch of Flaming Ember This is a very good belt despite its blue socket. This also has a huge chunk of hit on it and is an upgrade to everything you could have gotten in the last tier of content. There is some speculation that Uncrushable Belt of Fury might be better because of the huge chunk of mastery, but I highly doubt it. You're sacrificing 72 strength, which in my eyes isn't worth all of the mastery. Strength is still king. This belt can be purchased when you reach honored with the Avengers of Hyjal.
- Essence of the Eternal Flame Don't confuse this with Essence of the Pure Flame; this is an amazing trinket for a ret paladin. It has everything you could ever need, mastery and strength; it's almost too perfect. Macro it with your Avenging Wrath and Zealotry and wreck some faces. This can be bought when you reach revered with the Avengers of Hyjal.
- Obsidian Signet of the Avengers I don't want to burst your bubble, but you won't be getting this ring for a while, even if it is best in slot. But when you do, it will be fully worth it. The stats on this are simply amazing, and it has a red socket with a +10 strength bonus. I'm going to go wish I had it some more in the corner. You'll cry tears of joy when you reach exalted with the Avengers of Hyjal.
As convoluted as the quest hub in Hyjal is, a lot of the rewards are pretty appealing to those of us who haven't had hard modes on farm. With everything having an item level of 365, it's just a step above what you would have gotten in normal tier 11 content. However, if you have been farming heroic content, then the reputation rewards may be right up your alley. (Unless you've already killed all of the bosses in the Firelands, no trash for you.) But remember, everything you get from Avengers of Hyjal rep does have a heroic version of itself and is probably best in slot, so it's still worth it to knock out the first two stages of rep in your off time.
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.