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The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution in 4.0.1


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to gregg@wow.com.

A couple weeks back, I covered the changes to protection for the 4.0.1 pre-Cataclysm patch that usually goes out a month(ish) or so before release. The point of those patches is so that everyone can play with the new class features and get everything figured out before the chaos that is the actual expansion release. Now it's time to do the same sort of coverage for ret pallies. If you haven't been following the changes thus far, it's going to look odd. There are new class concepts and skill/buff consolidations.

First off, picking your spec now has a lot more meaning from the get-go. You receive most of the passive buffs that you'd have to spend 40 talent points getting in the past for free at level 10 that are responsible for making your chosen spec usable. As an example, you get Sheath of Light, Two-Handed Weapon Specialization and Judgements of the Bold. That provides your attack power-to-spellpower conversion, your weapon damage bonus and your mana regeneration. All of this just for picking the spec. In addition, you get a new attack called Templar's Verdict that we'll get into later.

First off, let's talk about the biggest change to our class in the expansion: holy power.

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Where did they go?

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to my email at gregg@wow.com.

Before we get on to business, I need another batch of screenshots for headers if anyone feels like tossing a couple my way.

A lot of abilities have been either renamed, revamped or removed in the Cataclysm beta. This is part of a consolidation process to remove a lot of buttons off of our bars. Other abilities were changed to remove durability and healing from retribution.

However, in the interest of explaining where things went, I decided it might be best to make a list of our lost and renamed abilities, for those of you who haven't been able to keep up with all of the changes.

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Overgeared tanking

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons.

With the ease of gearing up an 80 tanking paladin, you go from being poorly geared with wonderful healers keeping you alive while you take advantage of all of the various tricks of the trade to practically soloing some of the lower-end heroics. That ability to survive anything also starts to cause your mana to run out. Pulling things at the speed you used to doesn't do enough damage for Spiritual Attunement to do any good, things are dying too fast for Blessing of Sanctuary to be of any help, and every time you hit Consecration, you can physically feel your mana pool get smaller.

While you can pray that you get a druid in your party to hit you with the occasional Innervate, you want to be more self-sufficient, which can cause you to have to change around your tanking style to keep your mana pool filled so that you can actually use your abilities. We'll also take a look at some of the bad ideas on how to handle this.

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

The Light and How to Swing It: Less AoE


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon an entire flight of black dragons.

Paladins have changed a lot over the course of the game. Originally, we were intended to just be healers with some additional specs for leveling. Then we were suddenly able to tank and everything was about reflective damage with a dozen or more things hitting you at once with a DPS spec that was usually relegated to the PvP scene instead of in raids. Finally, we've reached a point where all three specs are pretty viable in both PvE and PvP content. That isn't to say that they're the most phenomenal things to ever appear for those particular parts of the game but that we can still be competitive no matter which spec we choose.

The problem with our class is a lack of tools. While our melee components were slowly built out of what was intended to be a healing support class, we've still got a lot of vestiges of the old days tacked to us. Sure, we had a fairly large overhaul in how a lot of our mechanics worked at the start of Wrath of the Lich King, but that isn't to say we're perfect yet. In fact, we need a few more tools in order to make it in Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Paladin, Cataclysm

The Light and How to Swing It: 3.2.2 means re-balancing... again


While I'm not one to whine about incoming nerfs and changes for any of the classes I play, it sometimes gets a little annoying to see the developers tweaking things here and there trying to get the balance just right. Ghostcrawler recently said that in comparison to other classes, "... paladins (all 3 kinds) have been a bigger headache to balance this expansion, usually in the favor of the paladin." While we might not always think this is the case, there are several times since the moment 3.0.2 hit to start the expansion off where things just felt too easy. From ret pallies in substandard gear out performing all other classes to holy pallies being able to chain cast Holy Light with little regard for mana, the class has been a little off at times.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

World of Warcraft PTR Patch 3.2.2 Paladin changes


In unsurprisingly quick fashion, the Patch 3.2.2 notes went up along with the PTR today, barely two weeks after Patch 3.2 went live. We already knew that this minor patch was on its way, with the special re-tooling of the Onyxia encounter to celebrate the World of Warcraft's fifth Anniversary. What do Paladins get in this minor patch? Expectedly not much, but still more balance fixes brought about by -- wait for it -- Arenas. Alright, admittedly, not everything is caused by Arenas, but the biggest changes are. Let's go through the ones aren't borne from Arenas:

Righteous Fury: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.
First of all, Righteous Fury isn't a talent but a baseline ability, so the patch notes just might be worded weirdly (wouldn't be the first time). Second, the nerf is probably just to bring Paladin tanking threat more in line with other tanks' threat generation. With only a week or so in to Patch 3.2, I'm not certain it was too palpable, but the changes to block value and Judgements must've pushed Protection DPS and consequently TPS a little above the threshold.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 Paladin Guide


WoW.com has covered patch 3.2 extensively. Everything from the surprising changes to flying mounts, to the latest and greatest loot, and all the changes in between. In our patch 3.2 class, raiding, and PvP guides we take a look at exactly what changes and how the changes will affect your playing.

More than any other class, I think, Paladins underwent significant changes in Patch 3.2. There were changes across all three specs that palpably impact gameplay and challenge players to take a different approach to the way they play their class. I went through most of the changes in detail in an older post, and many of those initial thoughts still hold true, albeit tempered with some experience on the PTR and changes over the past weeks.

There are buffs and there are nerfs, but the main thing to keep in mind is that this is Blizzard's constant balancing act. As the game progresses, I feel that they're finally honing in to the proper vision for the class. We won't go through all the changes here, but we'll break them down according to what impacts the class in general and according to spec. Let's bathe in the Light after the break...

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

The Light and How to Swing It: Patch 3.2 and the Paladin


Ok, we've got quite a bit of information on Patch 3.2 now, and even though this major content patch isn't introducing too many new things to the class, it does shake it up a bit. Nothing too big, but it should keep everyone on their toes. But first we'll talk about one thing that isn't related to class skills or nerfs or anything like that... first I'd like to encourage everyone to get chummy with the Argent dudes. Do their mind-numbing daily quests and all that, get the Crusader title if you want... and along the way collect 100 Champion's Seals.

According to the PTR, the new Paladin-exclusive Argent Charger is available on the Tournament Grounds for a mere one hundred seals. Of course, Blizzard is also giving away Tier 9 gear for free during the testing phase, so that cost could still change. Still, here's that pony that Ghostcrawler promised all of us. It's a fitting item for an entire faction run by Paladins, right? Anyway, enjoy that pony because not everything in Patch 3.2 is as nice a ride.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: The Retribution solution


A while back I wrote a short post pointing out to the community that now is a pretty ripe time to see how Retribution can be improved. Ghostcrawler and the devs have taken an interesting direction with the Retribution tree, and although they've recently mentioned that there will no longer be big changes throughout Wrath of the Lich King, it's still a good time to examine the spec. It's come a long way since the launch of the game and 'lolret' is arguably a term now only used in spite and no longer with genuine ridicule. Ridicule and some fear and loathing, maybe, but no longer just ridicule.

Despite the statement that there'll be fewer changes to classes in the foreseeable future, Ghostcrawler did say "there will be some (changes)" in addition to "tweak(ing) numbers up and down as needed". So don't despair, Fury Warriors, you'll be swinging those two-handers once again in glory one of these days. I'm also dead certain that Paladin tweaks aren't quite done. For one thing, we know that Crusader Strike is in line for some coolification. Another is that Exorcism was quickly hotfixed not to work on player targets as precursor to what Ghostcrawler calls "a little more tweaking" to the class. So while I asked the community to share their thoughts on how to improve Retribution, it's taken me much, much longer to ruminate. Humor me for today as I go share my own thoughts on the matter.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Ghostcrawler talks some more on Retribution DPS


I'll be honest with you. Retribution DPS has made me a rather sad panda lately. It wasn't my DPS exactly, but I sat down to watch my brother-in-law farm Valkyrs in Valkyrion with his three-week old Level 80 Death Knight. He pulled about five mobs and proceeded to demolish them. With Cinderglacier and Killing Machine proccing, he hit all mobs with a Howling Blast for about 6-7k each, and topped things off with a 7k Frost Strike. It made my jaw drop. Mind you, my brother-in-law is an excellent player, so this probably isn't your average Death Knight. But then, he was only equipped in heroic gear, with his best loot being a Wraith Spear. He hadn't even hit his peak.

I know anectdotal stories like these are plenty and tangential to the issue, but if you've raided as a Retribution Paladin with equally geared and skilled players, you'll know exactly what I'm trying to say. So it was a major surprise in Patch 3.1 that the slimming down of the Retribution tree hit our DPS hard with a nerf to Fanaticism (reduced to three ranks for an 18% crit, down from 25%) and Righteous Vengeance (reduced to three ranks for 30% damage, down from 40%). Was it to balance out the fact that Exorcism could be used on any target? Certainly not. At any rate, Blizzard was aware that Retribution DPS on the PTRs wasn't where they want it to be.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Forums

The Light and How to Swing It: It's good to be the king


It's a phenomenal time to be a Paladin these days. Let's face it, no matter how we spec, we're actually wanted all throughout Northrend. As Holy, we've got spots in parties, raids, and refreshingly even Arena teams of any bracket. As Retribution, we're actually sought after in groups and -- paired with the right teammates -- can actually shine in Arenas, too. Protection Paladins are just about the best tanks in the game right now, even in raids, what with all trash being AoE'd to kingdom come.

Patch 3.0.8 has a few changes that should boost us and balance us in some areas. One big change is how Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Avenging Wrath cannot be used within 30 seconds of each other anymore, and the removal of Forbearance from Avenging Wrath once again. This reworks the quick fix post 3.0 where Retribution Paladins were devastating opponents with wings and a bubble. It wasn't the most elegant solution and hurt Paladin tanking about as much as it toned down Retribution dominance in PvP. With Patch 3.0.8, Paladin tanks can look forward to frontloading massive threat comfortable with the thought that Divine Protection is a mere thirty seconds away. Furthermore, Divine Protection no longer has a penalty, making it nearly identical to a Warrior's Shield Wall. That's right, Tankadins get even better.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Some Paladin nerfs to go live before 3.0.3


Ghostcrawler announced on the Beta forums earlier that some aspects of the much dreaded -- yet somehow expected -- Paladin nerfs are going to be hotfixed into the game immediately, in order to enable more testing of the nerf in PvP and PvE. This comes in the midst of the Paladin community's uproar at the severe adjustments to the class, with some players calling Blizzard out on their numbers and the data from which they concluded that the spec needed such severe -- and not surgical -- tuning down.

The changes that will go live are the 20% damage reduction to Seal of Command and its Judgement, as well as the reduction of Judgements of the Wise mana return from 33% of base mana to 15%. To further illustrate that the nerfs are intended for PvP, Ghostcrawler also happily announces that Seal of Blood / the Martyr will be un-nerfed to about "95% of where the (sic) used to be" in Patch 3.0.3. He says that, "hopefully this will compensate PvE Retadins for relying less on more expensive AE abilities that risk putting them out of mana."

The statements are curious on several points. In his lengthy response to the community, Ghostcrawler shot down accusations that the spec was being nerfed because of PvP by saying, "Ret PvE dps was also too high." If that's true, it's interesting that Blizzard is un-nerfing Seal of Blood / the Martyr. Both are PvE Retribution DPS Seals, and higher damage coefficients from the spells will result directly in higher DPS. This is good news, no question about it. It's just confusing.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Forums

Paladins nerfed on the beta


MMO-Champion is showing a good run down of the recent paladin changes. We knew these were coming. While many of the changes don't seem like they're nerfing the Paladin class to the ground, the changes are definitely a nerf.

Most of the changes are centering around the Retribution tree. Some are pretty crazy, like Seal of Corruption dealing holy damage, and Divine Storm dealing physical damage. There is no indication if these changes will make it into patch 3.0.3 or arrive in a later update.

There's a couple of other changes that stick out for me.
  • Seal of Command lost about 20% of it's overall damage
  • Most other seals were reduced by around 13% to 21%
  • Judgement of the Wise grants 15% of base mana instead of 33%
  • Most other judgement effects are reduced by about 15%
  • Art of War was retooled to increase damage of Judgement, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm instead of increasing critical strike damage
In the glyph department, the Glyph of Crusader Strike now reduces the mana cost of Crusader Strike by 20%, instead of increasing the damage dealt by 20%.

And finally, Blessing of Might now increases AP by 306. It used to be 305. So it's not a total nerf...

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, News items

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Retribution Paladins


Let's face it. Retribution blows.

Blows things up, that is. Out of all the trees -- and I mean all including the other classes -- no tree got more love than Retribution in the Echoes of Doom patch. For many of us, it's been a long time coming. No other class spec has been the butt of more jokes and the target of such derision as Retribution. Not anymore. Not in Patch 3.0.2 and the days leading up to Wrath of the Lich King. Retribution deals so much pain that we've sent the rest of player base running to Ghostcrawler crying for a nerf. And we're getting nerfed. To the ground.

Don't panic. The changes are really, mostly aimed at PvP Paladins -- okay, that's me -- but will largely leave Paladin PvE damage output the same. That's excellent news. Because I've grown accustomed to the idea that quite a lot of you guys prefer PvE to PvP, we'll take a look at a PvE Retribution build that will make you the darling of your Heroic runs and more than welcome in raids. Let's bring on the pain after the jump.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Paladin changes in Beta build 8982


The nerf bat swung and we got grazed a little bit. I didn't cover the last build's changes because they were somewhat minor, and most of them were reverted in this latest build anyway except for the change to Beacon of Light's duration to one minute (and all ranks work now). That's a buff, just in case you were wondering. On the other hand, the rest of the news is not so good.

Seals were nerfed again. The coefficients for Seal of Vengeance / Corruption, Seal of Blood / of the Martyr, and Seal of Command were lowered. I don't really have much to say about this other than that I'm disappointed but confident that it's all balanced. I haven't done as extensive a test of the Beta as I probably should, so if these damage nerfs were based on hard numbers that Blizzard has gathered, then they're probably right. I have to believe that.

Melee hits no longer refresh Judgements, which means that in order for the debuff to stay on opponents, Paladins will actually have to continuously Judge them. With the change to Crusader Strike some time back removing its Judgement refresh feature, this means Judgements will be every Paladin's responsibility. This also means Blizzard is forcing Holy or healing Paladins to insert Judgements into their rotation. With Judgements eating up the GCD now, I'm not so keen on the idea.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

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