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The Light and How to Swing It: Mists beta retribution roundup

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Last time, I promised to pack as much comprehensive beta information as I could into this post, so I won't bother boring you all with the story of what exactly happened in that hotel room at BlizzCon. Instead, I'll stop wasting precious words and get right to it!

As always when discussing content in an open beta, everything is very much subject to change.

New glyphs

This is probably the most retribution-relevant thing to come out of the recent Mists of Pandaria press tour. Sure, there's all the new zones, Battlegrounds, UI updates, and Pet Battle stuff, but the uniquely paladin piece of the pie is curiously small. Sacco wrote a detailed listing of all of the new glyphs available, but when perusing the paladin glyphs, I noticed something interesting -- there are loads more healing/utility glyphs (Cleansing, Protector of the Innocent) and cosmetic glyphs (Bladed Judgment, Fire from the Heavens) than glyphs affecting damage output (Double Jeopardy, Immediate Truth).

I have to say, I like this idea. In my eyes, the problem with glyphs has always been that there are too many "mandatory" ones and not enough actual choice. For example, you could go into a raid without the glyphs for Templar's Verdict or Seal of Truth, but you are just not going to perform as well as someone with those glyphs, all else being equal.

Damage bonuses and free combat ratings are great at first but quickly become something you never swap out, and that's a huge problem when you're talking about a system that was specially designed to be increasingly interchangeable. By shifting the subject matter away from something with a mathematically based range of values and more toward something that can't be so easily quantified (because no one really knows when that shadow priest is going to almost kill himself with Shadow Word: Death), Blizzard is bringing choice back to the glyph system.

New (and old) abilities

When I said that glyphs were the most relevant thing from the press tour, you know I was kidding, right? Well, I was only sort of kidding. In his interview with Curse, Greg Street (lead systems designer) had the following to say about the state of the paladin class in the beta:

We have fixed some of the RNG in their rotations, they now have a more dependable supply of holy power, and there are fewer gaps in the rotations... I think ret and prot will be happy with how they feel in beta.

Ghostcrawler is, of course, referring to giving us Judgment (spelling finally corrected, yay!), Hammer of Wrath, Exorcism, and Hammer of the Righteous as holy power generators in addition to Crusader Strike. Divine Storm is back to being a holy power AoE finishing ability. Exorcism is now instant as a baseline. And Seal of Justice is finally getting its groove back (although some would argue it never really had a groove to begin with -- but regardless, it's getting some love). Many of our old abilities are getting some well-earned polish, and that's pretty darn exciting.

But what about the new stuff? Well ... to be frank, there isn't much. Boundless Conviction, a new level 85 passive ability, increases the amount of holy power charges we can have from the previous three to a whopping five. Finally, if you're stuck at range and all you have is Exorcism and Judgment, you won't be wasting so much holy power by sitting on a full stack. How about when you need some burst damage? Bank up 5 holy power and really put the hurt on your opponent with a TV, Exorcism, TV combo. The uses for this extra ethereal bag space are only as limited as your imagination.

In addition to Boundless Conviction at 85, we will be getting Blinding Light at 87. Remember Trial of the Champion, whenever you'd be lucky enough to get Eadric the Pure for your essentially free Emblem of Triumph? Yeah, that move. I suppose it's more of a PvP-centric ability -- but hey, maybe popping this while you AoE a big group could be fun? Forgive me for not being more gung-ho about our new level 87 spell.

Newer talents

I discussed one of the earlier implementations of the new talent system back in October, but a few things have changed since then.

Seal of Justice is now a ret-only seal, and it has been replaced on the talent tree with Burden of Guilt. I think this makes for a good change, if only because it makes its use that much more fluid than seal swapping and then trying to swat at it.

Acts of Sacrifice and Blessed Life are now glyphs, which is good because it frees up room on the talent tree for fresher ideas. Sadly, Holy Shield is gone, and Ardent Defender is a prot-only ability. I feel like Blizzard really took away some potential for game-changing play here. Maybe the devs will change their minds and let us express our inner tank from time to time.

The level 90 tier has been completely revamped with new talents. Holy Prism and Execution Sentence have some interesting targeting mechanics baked into them. The healing vs. damage aspect of these abilities is interesting, though I can already hear myself cursing out my paladin for using Execution Sentence when I'm /dancing with a feral druid. As for Holy Prism, I can see the benefits to using it on a tank for larger pulls of weaker adds. And of course, Light's Hammer brings some AoE flavoring to the mix, though one has to wonder if there will really be enough of an impetus to respec for trash, then again for a boss, then back for trash.

Of course, now that I gather this all up and write it down, Blizzard will probably change everything and force me to write another roundup post of all that new information, and so on, until finally revealing that there is no Mists of Pandaria and that I've just been having a strange dream while sitting in an idling car in my garage. It sure is cozy, though!

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.

Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Mists of Pandaria

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