Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution and the battle of the bonuses

Image
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!

This PTR cycle of patch 5.2 has been pretty quiet on the retribution front, or so it seemed. The few changes we're seeing are mainly talent-centric: Regardless, I've always been a bit disappointed when we go through a patch unscathed. I suppose one could take it as a sign from the devs that they think ret is doing okay (whether this is true or not seems to be a matter of personal opinion), but it's a tad boring to not see any retribution news in with the list of changes.

Despite this lack of alteration, it seems there's still something we can get excited and/or worried over -- our tier set bonuses. Our tier 15 two-piece bonus, Exorcism putting a debuff on your target that makes it take 6% increased Holy damage from you for 6 seconds, seems to be fairly solid. With Exorcism's cooldown being 15 seconds (reduced by haste through Sanctity of Battle, of course), and Art of War giving us a 20% chance to reset Exorcism's cooldown on autoattacks, this buff should have a pretty high uptime. Personally, I don't really find it particularly appealing, but I don't hate it either. It's a two-piece bonus, it's not the star of the show.

Our four-piece bonus, however, has stolen the limelight and caused quite the stir not only within the ret paladin community, but apparently even at Blizzard as well as the blues ping-ponged between two ideas before finally (albeit momentarily) settling on one.

Read more →

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

Is it time to kill flying mounts?

Is it time to kill flying mounts
My first true WoW leveling experience was in Burning Crusade. I remember skulking through the zones on my night elf druid, riding my nightsaber from one quest hub to the next. I remember thanking Cenarius that druids could stealth, an ability that helped me avoid Horde players. Even with this gift, though, I would still get caught up in PvP every once in a while. It didn't help that during those tense moments I froze up and panicked simultaneously, randomly flailing about while the other player steadily ended my life.

Eventually I heard about flying mounts, and that once you hit level 70 and paid 5,000 gold you could grace the skies with your presence. Of course, if you're still leveling and nowhere near the requisite amount of gold, you become less concerned with getting your own mount than defending yourself against enemies that may appear out of thin air.

After a while, I was able to hit 70 and somehow managed to scrounge up the coin for my flight training. I suddenly felt safe; I could quest, I could explore without having to look over my shoulder, and if anyone tried to attack me I could just pop into bird form and put all of my weight onto my space bar. I felt a greater sense of control, one that I actually got so accustomed to having that when the Isle of Quel'Danas opened up, an area that only allowed ground-based travel, I felt refreshed.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Does your UI change the way you see the game?

Image
Out of all the MMOs that I have played in my day, none have had the robust community of addon developers that World of Warcraft has, a talented group of individuals that allow the player to create a personalized and unique window into the game world. It has always been something that I've embraced, and one of my favorite activities within the game has been to spend a few hours completely reworking my user interface. I thoroughly enjoy rearranging furniture, too -- I think there's something wrong with me.

However, for almost a year and a half I have stuck with a suite of addons called RealUI; I'm a sucker for sleek, minimal displays, so I just melted when I saw this setup in action. However, I think letting my addon creativity stagnate has had a deleterious effect on my enjoyment with the game. It used to be one of the ways I invested myself in WoW, but now I just download a package, unzip it, and start playing. It's like going to IKEA and buying a preassembled coffee table -- sometimes I enjoy hammering wooden dowels into a poorly-drilled hole with my shoe.

Do you think whatever combinations of addons you use affects the way you enjoy your gaming experience in Azeroth? Also, is UI tweaking as much a minigame as playing the auction house is?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Light and How to Swing It: Why retribution DPS is a-okay

The Light and How to Swing It Why retribution DPS is aokay
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!

Towards the tail end of Ulduar and into the beginning of Trial of the Crusader, I was in a guild that had a rogue that would consistently top the DPS charts. I would run so many heroics and PuG raids to get gear, all the while practicing what could laughably be called our "rotation" in retrospect, and I would still fall short. Over time, however, I began to notice that even though I wasn't beating him, I was beating many others. Soon the time came when I was neck-and-neck with him, always biting his heels and waiting for him to allow me an opportunity to beat him, once and for all.

When I eventually did overtake him and saw my character's name on the top of Recount, the feeling was greater than any boss kill. You can't ever see a boss collapse and have the feeling that you did that all by yourself, that you were the sole reason for this victory, because it took a combination of other players, all supporting each other, to see that end result. The DPS race is totally different -- aside from healers keeping you alive (which, if you're properly aware of your surroundings and your threat, shouldn't be an issue) you shoulder the responsibility to push out as much damage as you can. Seeing yourself at the top is a much more personal victory because you can honestly say that you did that, that you pulled yourself up there and truly earned that spot. And from what I understand, this is not a unique experience.

I have talked to quite a few players who have expressed concern over some fairly recent SimulationCraft results that show retribution ranking near the bottom out of all available DPS specs. Even ignoring SimCraft, many more players have expressed concern over their damage output as they compare it to their fellow raiders, guildmates, and random DPSers in LFR. Despite this mounting evidence, I have asserted that retribution is in a nice place -- not great, not OP, but comfortable. Indeed, Ghostcrawler tends to feel the same way. So what's the story here? Why does it seem like everyone and their uncle think ret is doing poorly?

Read more →

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Utilizing retribution's utility spells

The Light and How to Swing It Utilizing retributions utility spells
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!

Sometimes it's easy to get yourself on a one-track mindset and put all of your effort and energy into maintaining the best DPS rotation you can to top the charts and kill those bosses dead. I often forget that I'm even playing a hybrid class as I swap around talents and glyphs to squeak out as much damage I can. Thankfully, the designers threw a number of challenges into our latest raid tier, situations where a retribution paladin's utility toolkit can not only shine, but produce truly epic moments and make the player of that classiest of classes feel truly fulfilled.

The last time I talked about utility was back in March, where I tossed some ideas around about how to introduce these spells to the newcomer or, in my case, to the utility-challenged. As with many classes, you're given a plethora of powerful abilities as you level up that work well in a wide variety of encounters, but both keeping track of these abilities and finding the best situations to use them in can be overwhelming. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to flesh out these spells and describe how one can and should use them.

Pretending to be a holy paladin

For the full experience, stare at your raid frames while on /follow with your guild's shadow priest. If you die, blame the shadow priest.

Read more →

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution talents and glyphs for Terrace of Endless Spring

The Light and How to Swing It Retribution talents and glyphs for Terrace of Endless Spring
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!

I really like Terrace of Endless Spring. In my eyes, Terrace represents a continuation of the process of experimentation the developers began in Trial of the Crusader, namely that of making raids smaller without holding any actual content back. This experiment was continued in Cataclysm in Throne of the Four Winds, but I feel it wasn't quite a success until Terrace. Shrinking raids is a tricky proposition, but the surface area of this instance is balanced out by the complexity of its encounters.

For you regular readers out there, you might have noticed I seem to have skipped right over the second half of Heart of Fear, Nightmare of Shek'zeer. Truth be told, I didn't really find these encounters interesting enough to devote an entire column to tackling them. Don't let my apparent entomophobia hold you back, though -- please do feel free to discuss Wind Lord Mel'Jarak, Amber-Shaper Un'sok, and Grand Empress Shek'zeer in the comments below!

Anywho, let's jump right into the encounters for Terrace of Endless Spring. If you're looking for some raid guides for these bosses, Icy Veins has a great set on their site.

Protectors of the Endless

Similar in many ways to Ulduar's Iron Council, the Protectors can be pulled in a different order to vary not only the difficulty, but the gear drops. As on Iron Council, you will only be attacking one target at a time, a fact that shapes the talents and glyphs we want to use in this encounter.

Read more →

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing options for retribution, part deux

The Light and How to Swing It Gearing options for retribution, part deux
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!

I know you all have been waiting for this post with bated breath ever since I unveiled the first half of the list a few weeks ago. "Wonderful," you whispered quietly to yourself as you read that article while snuggled beneath a warm blanket, "now I know where all of the best gear comes from!" Then Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring opened up and you found yourself in a haze, unsure of where you should focus your coin attacks. Well fear not, stalwart reader, for this post is here to save the day!

Okay, so gear lists are kinda boring -- truthfully, they are probably just as boring to read as they are to write. But I'm going to try something with this list in an attempt to forestall the drooping of the eyelids. As embarrassing as it may be, I am going to walk through my own gear and discuss which upgrades will provide the most bang for my elder buck by determining the relative value of each piece using some generated stat weights. My hope is that this process will make it easier for you to pick out the amazing upgrades from the mediocre upgrades and the higher-ilvl downgrades.

It should be noted, of course, that stat weights fluctuate as you accumulate gear, and therefore in reality there is no single set of weights you should always go by. A good practice to get into, if you're looking to maximize your DPS any way possible, is to download SimulationCraft and generate your own weights.

Setting up

Before we jump into the list, here is a link to my gear setup at the time of this writing. Of course, you can always visit my Armory and make fun of me because my sword clashes with the rest of my transmog (I'm too lazy to find a more fitting sword). Anyway, I imported this data into the latest version of SimC and generated some stat weights using default settings and 25,000 iterations.

Read more →

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution talents and glyphs for The Dread Approach

The Light and How to Swing It Retribution talents and glyphs for The Dread Approach
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!

Mogu'shan Vaults is a visually appealing, mechanically interesting raid instance, and I've had my fair share of fun sticking my neck into the place, but for one reason or another Heart of Fear has been a refreshing change of pace. Of course, I'm sure it will be only a matter of time before I get sick of giant bipedal bugs painting the floor with my innards, but for now I'm just enjoying the ride.

At the time of this writing, the second half of Heart of Fear has yet to be opened in the Raid Finder, and my own guild has been grinding away at Blade Lord Ta'yak, so I admittedly have limited experience of the new raid. What experience I do have, however, has had me thinking and strategizing for different ways to approach these new bosses.

We decided to try out Zor'lok after sitting on Elegon for a few nights, so we were probably a bit undergeared for our first foray into evil bug central, but that made all the tinkering and readjustments all the more fun because they produced tangible results (or, in some circumstances, created new problems).

Anyway, this week I decided to go over what I have learned.

For a full description of these fights and their associated mechanics, check out these raid guides over at Icy Veins.

Imperial Vizier Zor'lok

I have to confess that this is probably my favorite encounter thus far in Mists of Pandaria. Patchwerk-type fights have their place, but for whatever reason I really like fights where it is up to each raider to account for their own survival. Alysrazor in Firelands is another favorite of mine, primarily because of her second phase with the swirling tornadoes – at least, before the speed of the fiery tornadoes was nerfed so hard that dodging them with any sort of run speed boost became harder.

As you can probably guess, my favorite part of this encounter is Attenuation, though it's really how all three separate platform mechanics combine in the end that wins me over.

Read more →

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

A solution to the LFR "problem"

A solution to the LFR problem
Our very own Olivia Grace recently sat down with Gamebreaker.tv to discuss player complaints about the obligation that many raiders out there feel to run LFR each week, a topic that has been hotly debated in, among other places, this thread on the official forums with the ghastly Zarhym naturally representing Blizzard.

In the video, Olivia raises a good point that many people may not immediately realize – the game isn't forcing you to run LFR every week, it is the social pressures of being in a competitive raiding guild, the very nature of which makes it basically mandatory to seek every advantage you can to edge out your competition. And while many players cite a myriad of issues with LFR, few offer any real, workable solutions. I have seen a couple non-workable solutions, however, so let's briefly discuss them.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution reader mailbag

The Light and How to Swing It Retribution reader mailbag
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!

When my guild first started in Mogu'shan Vaults and we were working on The Stone Guard, I was rapidly approaching what felt like a breaking point. I believe our first combination was Jade, Cobalt, and Jasper Guardians, and I was having trouble managing my rotation and cooldowns while simultaneously dodging mines and trying to wordlessly negotiate with my chained partner which of us would be moving toward the other. I vacillated between rage, frustration, and despondency, wondering if this was an accurate reflection of how the entire tier would go.

Luckily I had some good friends willing to listen to my ranting and incoherent babbling. They managed to eventually convince me to not give up, bite my lip, and give myself some time to get readjusted. I'm still not the best ret paladin in the world, but I'm having a much easier go at working through my abilities and staying out of bad stuff ... most of the time.

Anyway, my inspiration this week came from quite a number of you who had emailed me asking some of the same questions I asked myself at the start of my level 90 activities, most of which can be summed up with a single inquiry: "How can I improve?"

Balance your DPS with your survivability. Most people will correctly tell you that the most important skill you can develop, whether it's for PvP or PvE, is self-preservation. If you die, you can't do any damage; it's as simple as that. However, what use is staying alive if you're spending so much time watching the floor that you're being outclassed by Mr. Grubbs?

Read more →

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