Maximize your DPS: Retribution Paladin Edition

(Editors note: this post is current as of 3.0.3.)


For the past two years I’ve spent my time in World of Warcraft behind the proverbial steering wheel of an orc warlock. I did the raiding thing pre-Burning Crusade, but got burned out a few months before Burning Crusade came out. Around six months after BC launched I did what every other Horde player did on a PvP server, and rolled a blood elf paladin. I got him to level 25 or so and left him sitting there for the next year while school and work kept me away from spending any significant time in WoW. About three weeks ago I got tired of never being able to find a healer and decided to level up the old pally. I leveled with a standard protection spec after level 40, and kept that spec until 3.0.2 came out, upon which I respecced to retribution to try out this wonderfully ‘OP’ spec I’d been hearing everyone complain about.

Two days ago I dinged 70. The next day 3.0.3 rolled out the promised nerfs to our wonderfully over-powered retribution tree. Not to be discouraged, I equipped my Blessed Battlegear of Undead Slaying and a nice axe I picked up from Kara a few hours after I dinged and set out to learn all I could from my helpful guild mates about my class and spec. Here’s a few helpful tips I learned that can boost you up the damage meters.

PvE Ret 101

  1. ALWAYS DPS from behind. Learn it, live it, love it. Enemies can’t dodge/parry/block when you attack them from behind, so depending on the enemy you’ll go from missing 10% of the time to missing 1% of the time. I always thought this only applied to rogues, but I was wrong. Every melee class needs to do this.
  2. Use Seal of Blood. I had been using Seal of Command while I was leveling, so I just kept on using it once I started running instances. Turns out SoB churns out a good 20 DPS more then SoC. Sure you take a little damage, but as long as you’re casting Judgement of Light and using Divine Storm you won’t even notice it.
  3. Even after the nerf, Avenging Wrath still rocks the PvE house (it just takes one more minute to use it). Preferably use it when you’re dealing with a multiple mob pull, so as to not waste any of those 20 seconds of shiny winged glory.
  4. Consecration. If you leveled as prot this was your best friend, and it still has utility in a DPS role. Generally speaking, if you’re dealing with two or more mobs that are level 68 or above it’s safe to drop a consecrate at the beginning of a fight. Recast once if there’s 3 mobs, and twice if there’s 4. Naturally, if you have a warlock or a mage lighting up the scene with AoE your fight may be significantly shortened, and you’ll have to adjust accordingly.

If you’ve played a melee class before chances a lot of this is old news to you, but if you’re like me and have been playing a caster all your life, these might just come in handy. After I started doing these things my DPS jumped up by around 100-150. The paladins that were coaching me had seen a 200 DPS jump just by switching to SoB and starting to melee from behind. Granted, that doesn’t take hit rating and other factors into account, but it’s a good representation of how much a couple simple changes to improve your DPS.

As I dig deeper into the numbers and theory of the class and spec I’ll continue to post tips like these, so check back every once in a while. If you have specific questions regarding the class or spec, sound off in the comments.

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Fred Smith

is the senior video games editor and is our resident grammar and punctuation czar. He prefers to define his career choice as “pending”. His hobbies include basketball, writing, and video games. He is employed by a regional chain hardware store as a salesman/peon.

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