L2Ret – The Stats and Gem Superpost

Stats can be confusing.  I get it.  But as a ret paladin, you don’t get to make some of the mistakes that others make.  Spellpower?  Nope.  ArmPen?  Hell no.  So read on to see how you can maximize your DPS.

The Stats You Should Be Concerned With

Ok, so ret paladins have 9 basic stats that we play with:


Attack Power (AP)

Armor Penetration (ArmPen)






Spell Power (SP)

Understanding How Ecnounters Work

Before we can rank the stats, we need to know how you do damage, and how encounters work.

When you attack, your damage is based off of how much Attack Power and Spell Power you have.  Yup, that’s all.  White swing, Holy Wrath, Consecrate, they are all based off of either AP, SP, or some combination there of.

So, you would think that AP and SP should be top priority, right?


When you are talented appropriately, and using Blessing of Kings (which no raid should be without), one point in Strength is worth (approximately) 2.6 AP.

Yup, people, I just identified your super stat for you.

But beyond that, you also need a healthy dose of Crit.  You see, Ret Paladins are built around Crits.  Two of our primary talents is entirely crit based (just like certain DK builds), Vengeance and Righteous Vengeance.

And, of course, we can’t forget about Hit and Expertise.  If you can’t hit anything, you can’t do any damage.

What I am trying to get at, is ret, more than any other spec, is a balancing act.  You need to fine tune your gear more than anyone, and sometimes that means giving up an upgrade because you will loose hit cap.

Ranking The Stats

Just like any other spec, there is a certain priority on how you rank the stats.  Ret’s stats are ranked as such:

Strength > Hit > Crit > AP > Agility > Expertise > Haste > ArmPen > SP

In the intrest of full disclosure, Many of the top sites, including EJ put Hit above STR in priority and Expertise just below STR, where I have put hit.  I, personally, think that is silly.  Let me explain.

Hit is a major player in your gear.  You should be at hit cap, no doubt.  If you aren’t, it’s going to devastate your DPS (mostly through lost judgements).  But, that being said, I have found that if you are close to your cap (within 50 or so points), you really stop noticing the benefits of hit (that is until you hit the cap), and you ALWAYS have a greater DPS gain with 10 points of STR vs. 10 points of Hit.

For expertise, expertise is a secondary stat on gear always.  All expertise does for Ret is Remove Dodges from the hit table.  I am running with 17 expertise (9 below cap) and I have a MUCH less than 1% dodge rate, no matter what the math says.  Sometimes theory crafting only takes you so far.

Bringing It All Together:  The Hard And Fast Rules Of Playing Ret

Alright, so we bring it all together.  When gear selecting, always use the above ranking system.  If something has equal STR, but a healthy dose of Crit instead of ArmPen, go with the Crit piece.

If you have a neck that has 110 AP and 69 STR (all other stats being equal) go with the STR piece.

Never EVER gem or enchant for Armor Pen, or Expertise.  Armor Pen is a junk stat (I don’t know why some Paladins are just riddled with these gems??!?!?!), and Expertise will come naturally with gear.  If you read EJ and forums like it, they will say get Expertise capped ASAP.  For anyone but the most cutting edged guilds, this is a mistake.  The DPS you would loose (from all of that STR and AP loss) does not account for the gain you would receive from the Expertise cap.  Remember – they get to pick and choose their gear.  You most likely don’t have that luxury.  Just let it come naturally.

You need to be hit capped.  267 is the cap without the Draenei racial, about 230 with it.  I always run with 230, because I always have a Draenei (is that the most painful word you have ever spelled, or what?  Sheesh) with me.  It’s part of my raid makeup.  But if you don’t, you need to be at, or really close to 267.  Remember what I said though, when you are really close, (within 50 points) its ok to stop gemming and enchanting for Hit.  You will get more bang for your gold by going with STR.  Plus T9 is just stacked with hit everywhere.  You will be capped in no time just by running heroics.

Don’t ever, ever, EVAR get gear with SP on it.  I only added it to the ranks because, yes, technically SP does give a minor bump to your DPS.  But it is insignificant compared to even ArmPen.  However, if you find yourself in a raid with no food (shame on you!) and all you can get your grubby mits on are some SP food from your healer, then munch on that.  It is better than NOTHING, though not by much.

Gemming and Chanting

Chants should always be Attack Power, or hit.  Cloak should be agility.  Chest – Stats.  Feet – if you ABSOLUTELY need the hit, then icewalker, otherwise go with the AP.  Know, however, that icewalker (and the hit enchant to gloves) is selling your DPS soul to the hit gods.

Meta Gems

The one and only meta you should be using:  Relentless Earthsiege Diamond.

Yes, you CAN be using chaotic skyflare.  But in order to activate that gem, you will loose aLOT of STR.

Gems in General


That is your guidelines.  Anything with STR on it, preferably ONLY STR.  I don’t gem to match sockets.  It generally drops your DPS.  But if you are a stickler, find your STR gems that are combos, and use the above ranking chart.  A STR gem with Crit is good, a STR gem with SP is garbage (Yes, I know STR and SP gems don’t exist.  This is an illustrative model).

To activate your meta, one Bold Cardinal Ruby, One Sovereign Dreadstone, one Rigid King’s Amber if you are not hit capped.  If you are Hit capped, pop an Inscribed Ametrine in.

*4/5/10 Edit (Patch 3.3.3… I think)

For those of you who are starting to get into T10, and maybe some of you in T9 now, you may notice that the bonus socket, in some cases, is high as 8 str.  For T10 (and certian T9 cases), it is actually more beneficial for you to gem that slot (head, in my case) with a Nightmare Tear.  This will activate your meta without any further gems, and, with the socket bonus, actually give you 18 strength, plus 10 to every other stat.  This is much, much better than using the dreadstone, ametrine, or king’s amber, listed above *IF AND ONLY IF* you are hit capped.  If you are not hit capped, then stick to the above guidelines.

But The Hit Cap….  IT SUCKS!

LOL at you.  You are right.  Hit cap sucks.  Especially if you raided 10 mans between Naxx and Ulduar before the gear reset.  The upper tier of Naxx and lower tier of Ulduar for 10 mans had NO hit on the gear.  I literally had to hold on to iLvL 200 pieces when I had 219 pieces, just for the hit rating.

Anyway, that is not helping you.

Yes, hit rating sucks.  If you are not at hit cap do the following:

Replace AP glove enchant with hit, feel sad on the inside.

Still not at hit cap?

Replace AP feet enchant with Icewalker, cry on the inside.

Still not at hit cap?

Replace gems with Hit gems.  Know that you have sold your soul to the hit gods, and die on the inside.

Remember, when you get within 50 points of hit cap or so, then you can STOP replacing your gems.  But, DO replace those enchants.

5 Responses to “L2Ret – The Stats and Gem Superpost”
  1. Dump says:

    I feel your pain with naxx/Ulduar hit rating thing, I thought I might have to stoop to gloves-hit enchant then got lucky and got some more gear that had hit on it, wierd tho is it seems to come and go in waves…I will be hit starved gear wise then all of a sudden I have over 200 hit just through gear alone.
    Glad that I am back to cap currently and looking good for icecrown, Great Article Fire!

  2. Firespirit says:

    Hehe, thanks for the comments dump 🙂

    And I did have to get the glove hit enchant. I can’t tell you how much I died on the inside watching the AP go down.

  3. leah says:

    the reason why your dodged attacks are so low is for the same reason armor penetration is very meh stat for a ret paladin. the percentage of pure physical damage that ret pallies do is relatively small to the rest of the attacks. and spells cannot be dodged or parried (and they are also not affected by armor pen, which only affects pure physical damage 🙂 ) judgments? spell. exorcism? spell. divine storm? pretty sure its a spell. seal of vengeance/corruption dot? most definitely a spell.

    you can also satisfy your meta requirement with prismatic “plus 10 to all stats” gem.

    • Firespirit says:


      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Hope you visit and speak up more often 🙂

      You are correct spells cannot be dodged or parried. However, you would be surprised with the amount of physical spells we have.

      Judgement, and Divine Storm, though their combat text is yellow, is actually physical attacks. Therefore, they are subject to dodge and parry.

      Exo and Ven DoT are spells, so they are not subject to the expertise rules.

      However, your point stands. You are right, a large portion of our damage (namely the Vengenace DoT and Triggered Seal Damage) are all spells, so, contrary to popular belief, I don’t agree with the expertise cap statement, as posted above.

      Yes, you can use the +10 stats gems, but, unfortunately, they do not provide as much of a DPS boost as the gems I have listed out.

      • leah says:

        I see 🙂 I could have sworn I read somewhere that it was a spell. might have also been coming from healing on my pally for a while. expertise is not exactly the stat holy pallies prioritize but judgment is key part of my rotation, and I’ve never seen it dodged. I missed here and there, but no dodges from what I could see.

        10 stat gem can replace the 10strength/15 stam gem and whichever yellow gem with the rest remaining strength. this way, you lose some stamina, but gain 10 agility which provides a bit of extra crit, not to mention 10 extra strength you get from being able to gem pure strength instead of a hybrid orange gem (unless you really really need more hit). 10 strength/15 stam is much cheaper to buy though.

        P.S. you being on Larisa’s feed is pretty much a guarantee that I’ll be lurking 🙂 thank you for the warm welcome 🙂

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