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Filed under: Paladin

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution in 5.4

The Light and How to Swing It Retribution in 54
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!

Earlier last week we got our first glimpse of the 5.4 PTR as Wowhead and MMO-Champion mined a massive amount of data from the latest update to the test realms. With new features like virtual realms, proving grounds, and flex raids, it's easy to be overwhelmed. As for myself, the first thing I did was hit Ctrl+F and searched for "Paladin" to see what, if any, changes we were due. Truth be told, I wasn't expecting a whole lot of changes for retribution -- we seem to be in a nice place, comfortably in the middle of the pack for DPS with heaps of utility to boot. Boy, was I mistaken.

Before we get into the discussion, do remember that none of these proposed changes are finalized. The "test realms" aren't named that by chance; the developers want to see how things like this play out on a large scale, larger than their internal testing can accommodate, and sift through player feedback from the community. So while we shouldn't get too worked up over one thing or another on the PTR, it's always beneficial to react to changes, at least in a civilized and logical manner.

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

Should you play a paladin in WoW?


If you're just getting started with World of Warcraft, the range of class options available to you can be a bit daunting. Which class is the best? Which class is the most fun? Which class will you enjoy? There's no answer that's right for everyone -- and you may wind up trying a few classes before you find the perfect fit. But where to begin? Today's class run-down will cover paladins, WoW's holy warriors.

As Blizzard puts it, paladins are called "to protect the weak, to bring justice to the unjust, and to vanquish evil from the darkest corners of the world." But your paladin may have its own motivations -- indeed, within the game you're certain to meet paladins with motives less pure. In fact, one of the interesting things about the paladin class is how different various paladins are: while alliance paladins very much fall along Blizzard's class description, the blood elf paladins, who style themselves Blood Knights, haven't always been particularly good guys.

But enough of that: what you want to know is how paladins play, so read on for more.

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Filed under: Paladin, WoW Rookie

The Light and How to Swing It: How many abilities is too many?

The Light and How to Swing It How many abilities is too many
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Remember Divine Intervention?

I was talking about bygone abilities with some guildmates the other day (we need a ret/holy hybrid, by the way!) and it evolved into an interesting conversation about ability bloat in WoW. Some of them thought that they had way too many abilities on their bars with far too many keybinds to manage, and were dreading finding room for anything new that could be added in the next expansion.

Personally, I don't feel like I'm in the saturation point just yet (maybe because I'm not a prolific macro-er) but I can definitely sympathize with the sentiment. Ever since TBC, Blizzard has been heaping more and more abilities into our toolbox, and if we're not yet at a saturation point, we will soon be at one in the future. Regardless, it's interesting to look not only at what our toolbox is like now, but also what it used to be like, and then if something had to be cut down the line, where the knife may well be pointed.

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

Two great things about the contemporary ret paladin

The Light and How to Swing It These are some of my favorite things
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!

Patch 5.3 has turned out to be a great time to be a ret paladin. Well, in my opinion it's always a great time to be a ret paladin, but this new patch and the changes it brought with it really drive the point home. Granted, the only change we saw was a buff to our weapon-based damage via Sword of Light, which, while being a welcome boost to our DPS, isn't necessarily the most earth-shattering, game-changing thing in all of Azeroth. Still though, it opens some doors and allows us to be more competitive in the DPS game.

I have to admit, my inspiration for this column came from reading Matt Rossi's warrior column, The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Survival and the modern warrior. As I was reading through the piece, I found myself unconsciously caressing my keybind for Divine Shield, no doubt a realization of how blessed we paladins are when it comes to self-preservation mechanics and abilities. Some of the troubles that Matt detailed I have either sidestepped or easily handled with our generous toolbox, and his angst has given me a newfound appreciation for the veritable arsenal of useful spells at our disposal.

This week I'll be touching on a couple of our newer abilities that have proven time and time again to be so valuable and effective that I can't imagine playing a paladin without them.

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

The Light and How to Swing It: The problem with tanks

The Light and How to Swing It The problem with tanks SAT
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Last Thursday, Ghostcrawler tweeted something which caused a bit of a stir within the tanking community. In it he revealed that the devs were looking at some strict caps for Vengeance levels (30% of health for 10s, 50% for 25s) that would prevent tanks from using Vengeance to pursue unintended things like solo tanking a two-tank raid boss or standing in fire to stack really obscene amounts of attack power.

Now, this isn't another column about the virtues or not of Vengeance. That's a pretty mutilated horse at this point, and from the looks of it, the mechanic is not going anywhere any time soon. However, the brief rekindling of the Vengeance debate did once again shine some light on what is a continuing problem in WoW: what should tanks be allowed to do (in terms of damage output) and what can be done to keep players from parlaying excessive survivability into unintended advantages?

What do you do when one third (arguably two-thirds, a lot of this can apply to healers as well) of your players' roles revolves around the mitigation and prevention of damage, and the primary means you have of creating barriers or challenges for players is the threat of character death?

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

Ghostcrawler on Vengeance and patch 5.4

Ghostcrawler on Vengeance and patch 54
Yes, patch 5.3 isn't even out yet, and we're already looking towards patch 5.4. Thanks to Ghostcrawler, we have this to think about for the future, namely that Vengeance is getting capped at a significantly lower threshold in raids in the future. If you remember back at August of last year, Vengeance saw some significant changes that increased how fast it could ramp up in raids and also gave it a far larger maximum potential. It's been adjusted over time, but in general what GC said back last August has held true -- tank DPS in raiding really did go up. To the point where on some pulls it's not unusual to see tanks leading the DPS, sometimes by extremely large numbers.

Since this is a big change that will drastically lower tank damage output (25-man tanks with their 600,000 or more health buffed will lose roughly 300,000 AP on fights where Vengeance was capping at 100% of their health) I'm not surprise it won't be coming in 5.3 -- I am a little surprised it's happening at all, because we all knew Vengeance and tank damage would do exactly what it has done when it was changed. Still, I wait to observe if it has much practical difference since aside from AoE tanking where a multitude of hits can roll in a short window of time (that 20 second ramp up period) and the tanks can make effective use of all that AP I'm not sure it will matter. 5-mans and scenarios were not mentioned, so for now I'm assuming this is only for the raids mentioned.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Retribution cheat sheet for the Throne of Thunder

Retribution cheat sheet for the Throne of Thunder
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!

Throne of Thunder has been out for a good long while now, and many of us have been raiding its depths every week. Personally, though, I took a short break from raiding at the launch of patch 5.2, and had only seen many of these fights on LFR. It wasn't until recently that I picked the raiding game back up and joined a new group, though with them working on their second heroic boss I was a tad behind in terms of progression. So I did a bit of research and, through trial and error each week, have crafted a short list of notes for each boss, including talents, glyphs, and special abilities to look out for.

Usually my "default" talent build is something like 221223, with Mass Exorcism, Double Jeopardy, and Templar's Verdict glyphed. In my summaries below I will try to emphasize the usefulness of certain talents and glyphs, whether they deviate from this core build or not.

Also, these tips are primarily for normal mode encounters in Throne of Thunder, though some of them may be applicable to LFR and parts of heroic.

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Filed under: Paladin, Raiding, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Throne of Thunder With Protection Paladins: Being awesome

The Light and How to Swing It Breaking encounters in the Throne of Thunder with protection paladins
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

It's not a new phenomenon for protection paladins to be able to use their extensive utility toolbox to mitigate or outright circumvent fight mechanics; it's something that we've been doing since Uther first picked up a blunt object. Throne of Thunder continues that lofty tradition with all sorts of mechanics that can be ducked or dodged by crafty paladins with an excellent sense of timing and the proper addons or macros. We'll also touch on whether it's a good thing that one corner of WoW's tanks can break aspects of an encounter, and the ramifications of such possibilities.

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

Four transmog sets for today's retro-bution paladin

Four transmog sets for today's retrobution paladin WED
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!

Before we jump into our completely serious, no-nonsense discussion this week, I suppose we better touch on the one piece of retribution-related news coming from the 5.3 PTR:

Sword of Light now increases damage with two-handed melee weapons by 30%, up from 15%.

Naturally I, like many of you, got a warm fuzzy feeling reading that particular sentence. Higher overall damage from weapon-based attacks? Sign me up!

While I don't mean to bite the hand that feeds, I am concerned that this is merely a bandage meant to keep ret from lagging too far behind until 6.0 and, as such, ultimately fails to address the cause of the problem.

I'm just spitballing here, but there was talk at the tail end of Cataclysm and the very beginning of Mists that in our calculated stat weights for T14H BiS, strength was already somewhat devalued in comparison to secondary stats, especially haste, and that this could lead to ret scaling much less efficiently than other melee using similar gear.

Regardless, the buff is appreciated, but I'm more looking forward to what the next expansion has in store for our spec.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Transmogrification

The Light and How to Swing It: In defense of stamina

This looks like a 200% spike event.
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

If you have spent much time on the official forums at any point since the beginning of -- oh, say, Cataclysm -- you'd notice that there is a particularly prevalent slur that is oft flung around in tanking discussions. This slur cuts to the very core of what it means to be a tank, it is an accusation of seeking vainglory over properly gearing ourselves for survivability. Worse, it is an accusation of being behind the times on tank theorycrafting due to either apathy or incompetence. It is the Scarlet S.

Stam stacker.

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

The Light and How to Swing It: No hybrid taxation without representation!

The Light and How to Swing It
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!

Lately I've been browsing the paladin forums, usually with a stiff drink in hand. I'm not quite sure what draws me to those forums – almost every ret post is about PvP or Inquisition, but over time I've managed to find a few that validate my searching with their thought-provoking, insightful, and sometimes humorous nature. The other day, for example, I stumbled upon a post that made me scratch my beard stubble, put down my watered-down gin, and think. In it, the author briefly introduced the notion that he or she felt that players trying to heal in ret spec shouldn't be summarily votekicked for offending the linear sensibilities of the patrons of the Random Dungeon Finder.

Reading through the back and forth provided some good entertainment, and a few individuals earned my respect for being able to heal or tank effectively while also sustaining decent DPS numbers (if their stories are true, of course), but all of this got me thinking: should paladins (or hybrids in general, for that matter) be unshackled from the "one spec-one role" dictum that has dominated the thought-space of WoW players for years?

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Mastering the Troves of the Thunder King as a paladin

The Light and How to Swing It A look at 52 tanking loot
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Fortune and glory, kid. Nothing animates like the prospect of a massive pile of treasure, especially when you're racing against the clock and greedily snatching up as much as you can. The trick, in the end, is to be prepared for any obstacles thrown at you -- that is what separates the Indiana Joneses of this world from the Satipos. And if you prefer to be the former and exit the scenario with more gold than you can carry, you'll need to do your homework before you plunge into this exciting new feature from patch 5.2.

Thankfully, paladins tend to have a lot of tricks up their sleeves and with the new talent system that is doubly true. With the right preparation, we can make the most of our toolset and claw our way to the end of the loot run with a minimum of muss or fuss.

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Swap seals, not sandwiches

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!

Not being particularly captivated by anything in patch 5.2 so far, I've recently picked up a prot warrior and have carried him through some of the lower level areas. This isn't the first time I've tried leveling up a warrior; back in Wrath I had a level 80 fury warrior that was loads of fun, at least until Blizzard nerfed Titan's Grip and my poorly equipped berserker cow lost his ill-gotten mojo.

Since then I've tried to recapture that magic but there was always something that bugged me about the warrior playstyle: stance dancing. Being forced to choose between creating complicated macros or increasing my number of keybinds by some unseemly factor, I have typically opted for the hidden choice that was retiring the character. Thankfully this aspect of the warrior class seems to have been toned down a bit in Mists, so I figured I'd give our shielded brethren another go.

As paladins we don't have to deal with stances that lock us into or out of certain abilities (though many have pleaded with Blizzard to change that), but we do have something similar -- the seal system.

The Swiss Army seal

If you happened to pick up the paladin class sometime after vanilla WoW, you were fortunate enough to level up under the new seal regime. Under the old system, seals were a short-duration buff that was immediately consumed upon casting Judgement (back then they didn't skimp on the vowels!) I vaguely remember this mechanic, back when my friends first introduced me to the game. I very much disliked having to recast my seal so often, as many others did, I'm sure.

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking the first three bosses of Throne of Thunder

The Light and How to Swing It A look at 52 tanking loot
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Like jumping into a cold pool after spending too much time in the hot tub, tanking Throne of Thunder after weeks of tier 14 may be a bit of a shocking experience. (Sorry, had to.) This place is no joke -- the health and damage requirements are ratcheted up severely from the previous tier of raiding. The bosses will hit harder and the mechanics will be tighter, but on the other hand, the loot will be even shinier. Honor and glory awaits in the halls of the Thunder King.

The first quarter of the dungeon is designated as the Last Stand of the Zandalari, and you'll be seeing some old, tusked faces. Let's talk about what you'll need to do to withstand everything that the finest warriors of that dying land can throw at you.

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

Ghostcrawler and Daxxarri talk classes in patch 5.2

mage talents screenshot
With the advent of patch 5.2, World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg Street "Ghostcrawler" and Community Manager Daxxarri have been posting a series of class overviews and changes. Part one went up on Tuesday, covering death knights, druids, and hunters. Part two was posted Wednesday evening and covers mages, paladins, and priests. Part three, on rogues, shaman, and warlocks, went up yesterday evening, and part four, covering warriors and monks, was posted earlier today. For many classes, most of the changes involve PvP balancing as well as trying to improve a number of talents in some way to make them more useful and thus more attractive to players, at least situationally. If you're curious about either the philosophy of class balance design or just want to know what happened to your class this patch, make sure to check it out.

What I love about these posts is that little glimpse of insight they provide into the thought process that goes into balancing the class mechanics in a game like World of Warcraft. I'll be honest, I'm glad I'm not one of the people involved in that job. To me it seems like an endless headache to try and make sure all classes are different enough to feel unique, but similar enough such that a raid or dungeon group isn't punished for lacking one indispensable class, and I wouldn't have the patience for it. But I certainly admire and respect those who do!

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, News items, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

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