More 3.2: Retribution

Another look at 3.2 today, this time Retribution. Retribution is my offspec so I’m following this with some interest but obviously not as in-depth as Protection. There are three major changes coming up for Ret.

Seals. Up till now retribution paladins have been using only one seal: Seal of Blood. Even in PvP, even in fights where supposedly the damage could kill you, it’s used and to great effect. Retribution is producing very decent damage. So good, in fact, that it’s quite viable for me to build an offspec set of gear and switch to Ret when I’m not needed as tank and do some damage.
This will change quite drastically in 3.2. Seal of Blood will be removed, Seal of Command and Seal of Vengeance changed. This would indicate Command has become the Retri seal again but not so. Due to interaction with other talents, even Seal of Righteousness is better than Seal of Command. Actually the new best Seal is Vengeance. On top of applying a DoT that stacks to 5 times, when that stack is at full Vengeance will deliver additional damage per swing and all that added up makes it the best choice.

At least, it did until the latest change seen on the PTR. Before, the Vengeance DoT was applied by all Paladin attacks. It was changed to only be applied by normal attack swings. Paladins favor slow two-handers making it take very very long before the stack is at full and thus reducing damage quite a lot. It also creates problems when switching targets. Possibly our DPS won’t decrease too much, but it feels like a nerf to a lot of people.

Crusader strike. Damage and cooldown decreased, to 4 seconds. This has been shown to be an increase in damage. Not much consequences, just a button you push more often.

Exorcism. Exorcism’s been on a rollercoaster ride of changes over the last patch. First, it would apply to everyone (as a way to make it work as well in Ulduar as it did in undead-dominated Naxxramas.) This was quickly changed and then it only worked on NPCs again, not on players. Now it’s being changed again. It will get a 1.5s cast time. In Retribution it will interact with the talent Art of War in the same way as flash of light, meaning Exorcism will be instant cast when Art of War is up (which is more or less all the time.) At the very least this adds something to keep in mind while using Exorcism.

It’s known the idea was to bring Retribution burst damage down while retaining a respectable amount of DPS. I think these changes are going to swing towards a nerf overall, though one that we won’t know the full extent of until we get some high-end Retri Paladins in T9 gear and see how it works out. I’m a bit gloomy about this, considering maybe going Holy for my offspec or keeping Ret but not really using it (maybe even going PvP-Prot for my offspec.) I’ve got a decently geared Rogue alt, so we’ll have to see how this one goes.

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