L2 Ret – Situational Awareness


One word that sums up our class, and even our spec, is Utility.

Paladins are the kings of WoW when it comes to bringing something to the table.  In addition to that, Ret Pallies have replenishment, which is essential in raids.  We have spells that buff other party members so they can more optimally function (Yay pally power), threat dumps, and protection spells for those goofy locks that can’t stop drawing aggro, Cleanse, and of course emergency heals.

I remember back in BC, when I first started the end game.  I was in Shadow Labs (murmur, you can suck it!), and we had a non-optimal group consisting of a warrior tank, two ret pallies, a hunter, and a priest.  Keep in mind, back during these days, we were still called LOLRet’s.  In any event, this paladin rocked.  He seemed like a spaz to me at first – running to and fro trying to position himself just right, throwing spells all over the darned place.  I didn’t know how he kept up his DPS numbers while being spastic like that.

The answer is – Situational Awareness.  Paladins have so many tools, that to effectively use them all, we have to track ourselves, the parties health, the bosses health, any abilitites the bosses use, the threat meeter (yes, we should be watching that anyway), the DPS meeter (LOL, I know, but we ret’s have easily bruised egos if we are not at the top 🙂  ), decursive, AND *pant* our positioning relative to every other member, so we can get the spells off.  Its a ton of information, in a small confined space.

There are essentially three ways you can play a retribution paladin.

  1. You do one thing, and you do it well.  That can mean DPS, or you sell your soul to your party, and preform your utility spells.
  2. Faceroll the keyboard, and hope you get something right (yes, there are a fair few rets that do this out there, but that is another post).
  3. Do both things really well.

The shining difference between all three is the amount of situational awareness that the person has.

What is Situational Awareness?

Simply put, situational awareness is how acutely aware that you are just about to get your ass beat.

No, No.  I jest.  Situational awareness is the ability that the player has to maintain an understanding of what is happening around him or her AND his or her raidmates.  It ALSO means you have to know when you cant do anything.  You have to know when the Arms warrior standing next to you is going to get hit by a big old hateful from patchwerk, as well as tracking that mage on the threat meeter.  Its not easy keeping track of so many things, when you also have to DPS the boss down.

I often feel like there are two types of people who can effectively play the paladin to its optimum.

  • Crack addicted drug whores
  • ER Doctors

Of course you could subsititute the first for “hyperstimulated, caffeine shock induced nerdrager” for the first, and “Pre-School teacher” for the second.  I mean, seriously.  Anyone who can keep track of 30 yelling and screaming toddlers is a testament to Situational Awareness.  But the point remains.

Controlling the Chaos

The Blizz default UI leaves something to be desired.  They specifically designed it to be tweaked so that players can make it their own.  And Ret Pally players should definately take advantage of this.  Try to find addons that consolidate information – buffs, debuffs, health, threat all can be contained in xperl raidfraimes.  I won’t post a complete writeup on addons – that is for another post.  the point is to find something that works for you.

It is often said that a retribution paladin is the easiest class/spec to play.  I agree to an extent.  Facerollers can jump on this toon and do decent damage.  I don’t think that is truly playing, though.  I think that playing means to fully take advantage of all the benefits your class brings to the raid, that means utility AND DPS, not one or the other.

So the next time you see a pally stepping back from good ‘ole patchy, don’t panic.  They are probably saving the raid from a wipe by throwing out a threat dump or a heal or two.  And if a stellar paladin has an off day, give them a break.  Maybe they just had a mentally exhausting day (Work sucks), and are having a bit of difficulty with their normally stellar Situational Awareness.

One Response to “L2 Ret – Situational Awareness”
  1. Hatch says:

    I often feel like there are two types of people who can effectively play the paladin to its optimum.
    * Crack addicted drug whores
    * ER Doctors

    I lol’d. So right.

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