L2Ret – 4.0 And You! – The New Paladin Goodness

Welcome Pallies!  4.0 is upon us and we are going to get a major overhaul (again!).  But fear not!  I am here to help guide you back to the top of the DPS meters.  Below is a knock-down drag-out down and dirty guide to what is changing, and how it’s going to effect us.  So let’s dig right in.

4.0 – What’s Changing?

The biggest thing that is coming with 4.0 is our resource system is getting reworked (or rather, added to).  No longer is Retribution just a FCFS rotation.  We are FCFS with combo points!  This resource system is called Holy Power.  For Ret, the primary way we are going to get it is through Crusader Strike.  Additionally, a talent in T5 – Divine Purpose – will allow a 20% chance off of most of our attacks also generate a point of Holy Power.  NO, MANA IS NOT GOING AWAY!  You will still have to manage mana as usual.  Holy Power will be IN ADDITION TO mana.

Holy Power is designed so that it powers up your attacks, primarily Templar’s Verdict.  At 3 Holy Power (the max you can have), TV does 225% weapon damage – A big amount of damage.  It also powers up Word Of Glory (instant, free heal), and Divine Storm – among others.  To that end, our rotation has changed to always give priority to our HP generating CS.  More on that in a bit.

Judgements have been consolidated to just one “judge” spell – YAY!  Back to BC type judges.

Holy Wrath has been changed to be similar to Exorcism – useable on anyone, not just undead anymore.  But only stuns undead and demons.

Mastery is implemented – more on that in a bit.

AND THANK GOD!  Blessings have been consolidated a little bit more.  Hopefully this means we will not have to fight the Pally Buff boss anymore.

New Talent Trees – Completely re-worked Talent Trees are only 31 points deep.  That means talent distribution is a little uneven, gaining 1 point for about every three levels.  This means completely new talent specs, right?  More on that in just a bit.

Finally, stats are getting reworked and simplified a bit.  No more AP, SP (except oh healer weapons), or ArmPen (it was crap anyway, right?).

First, The Talents

THIS should be your lvl 80 talent tree.

You are able to pick up everything you need in the Ret Tree.  Note:  I did put the two points in Selfless Healer, and only one in Long Arm of the Law.  I feel that LAotL is situational at best, especially in pve, and I’d rather heal.  However, you can move those points around the ret tree as suits your playstyle.

Judgement of the Pure is picked up instead of Arbiter of the Light (T1 Holy).  The explanation for that is below.


As I am sure you have probably already read, There is now Prime, Major, and Minor Glyphs.  Lets Tackle the glyphs one slot at a time.


The first slot will go to Templar’s Verdict.  A straight up 15% DPS increase to the strike that your entire rotation is built around?  YUP!  This is a MANDATORY glyph.  Do not skip it.

Slot 2 – Crusader Strike.  5% Crit increase on the button we will be hitting most often (see: Rotation), Yup!  This is a MANDATORY glyph.

Slot 3 – This one is a bit trickier.  If, and only if, you are at expertise cap, then Judgement.  Otherwise, Seal of Truth.


As of writing, the Major Glyphs for Ret pallies all seem to be centered around mana management.

Slot 1 – Hammer of Wrath.  MANDATORY.  You will be using HoW a lot more now that we have Sanctified Wrath.

Slot 2 – Ascetic Crusader – Again, the 30% mana reduction on the button we are going to be pressing most often, that’s going to translate to a whole lot of mana.  Strong Suggestion, but not mandatory.

Slot 3 – Divine Plea – 5% additional mana to a castrated talent (this button is pretty much here for Ret and Prot pallies now).

That’s pretty much it for ret glyphs in the Major Category.  I hope future patches put some more interesting stuff in here.  Not many options to wiggle around.  Holy Wrath is an option, but a VERY situational at one.  I’d stick with these three.

Stats (and Gems and Reforging)

The stat weight for an 80 paladin is as follows:

Hit (up to cap) > STR > Expertise (up to cap) > Crit > Haste > Mastery

WAIT WAIT WAIT!  You skipped Arbiter of the Light in the holy talent tree for a haste talent, and you tell me that crit > haste?  WTF is wrong with you man?

Hold the horses.  First of all, just like in the great 3.0 patch before Wrath, things are going to be wonky at 80.  These talents, these glyphs, the systems, all of this, is really designed for 85.  I’m dealing with what I’ve got here.

Notice I said for *80* paladins.  85 pallies will have a different stat weight with how the systems change.  The minute you ding 81 this will be re-worked.  FOR NOW, in complete honesty, only those at the bleeding edge will notice the difference between Arbiter of the Light and Judgements of the Pure.  *BUT*  In reality, there is.  The reason that these stat weights are changed from the 81 version is that ICC gear (in combo with JotP) Give you plenty of haste.  If you didn’t take JotP, then it would be more beneficial for you to reforge your gear into an all haste config.  But we don’t want to do that.


If you choose to go the way of Arbiter of the Light (against my advice), you will need to reforge any crit, hit, and expertise you have into Haste.  Alternatively, you can go with JotP and only take your excess hit and expertise and dump it into crit.  This way you won’t have to reforge EVERY piece of gear.


Double check your gems.  Stats are moving and changing.  Remember, STR is key here.  Dump STR on (after you are at hit cap) like no tomorrow.  Drown in your Bold Cardinals.  As you are running into battle, the light  should glint red with your fury as it bounces off of your armor.

The Priority Rotation

The rotation should look like this:

TV (THREE POWER ONLY) > CS > Judgement > Exo > HoW > HW> Cons

Lets take a look at that for just a bit.

Consecrate has moved to dead last because of its relatively low damage, and very high mana cost.  Divine storm has dropped off completely (*cry*), and is only to be used in situations where you have 3+ targets, and 3+ holy power.

Templar’s Verdict is first, but ONLY if you have 3 holy power.  Don’t even dare hit that button before 3 (unless its your mastery proc).

Crusader Strike is the go to button for holy power generation.  Every.  Single.  Time.  It is off of cooldown, you punch it.

Judgement and exo are next.  With AoW exo and judgement come pretty close to one another.  Come 85 exo will pull ahead, but only slightly.  I think, however, that pushing the judgement down this low in the priority is going to hurt our mana pool too hard, though.

HoW when you can use it, HW is only a filler to press a button when you have nothing else you can be doing.


The Ret pally Mastery is called Hand of Light.  It is a proc off of our auto attacks.  Each auto attack (wihtou extra mastery) gives us 8% chance to gain a proc HoL that will allow you to use a skill as if that skill were powered up with 3 holy power, but not consume any power at all.  Extra TV peeps?  How about a WoG heal or two?

Bottom Line

You will have to be the master of your attention now.  Ret is no longer faceroll.  Be attentive, get your UI set up (I still woefully need to do a UI post), and dig in.  We are no longer AoE power houses.  But with skill, I have no doubt we can be back at our proper place – at the top of the DPS meters laughing at the mage and warlock QQ  🙂

4 Responses to “L2Ret – 4.0 And You! – The New Paladin Goodness”
  1. vespers says:

    The Holy Wrath glyph will be much more useful in cata; right now the thing I use holy wrath for most often is in big-ass trash packs in icc on pull to keep them in the aoe instead of running after healers or whatever. In cata, most of the trash will be elementals or dragonkin rather than undead, so the glyph will let us keep that ability.

    Where are your stat weights from? The most recent I’ve seen (Exemplar on EJ) have haste>mastery, even in icc gear post-4.0 with its shit-tons of haste.

    I’m interested in what our mana is going to feel like.. I run into mana problems currently in 10s, even with judgement top of my rotation, just because of so many DS procs sucking it up and not enough replenishment. With judgement below CS (and giving, I think, less mana per hit, and all over time, yes?), and divine plea being rooted like a bitch, mana might still be an issue. That would suck.

    I assume keeping str/crit gems in +4 str socket bonuses will still be the way to go; I haven’t seen anything to suggest otherwise.

    As for talent specs; I’d take 2/2 LAotL and leave out Repentance (or Rebuke, depending) for 80, myself. However I agree Selfless Healer is the best choice of the three 2-point talents we have to choose from; the numbers I’ve seen say it is about 2/3s of the dps of using the holy power for a TV; in other words not worth using on purpose but enough not to gimp you if a heal is desperately needed.

    • Firespirit says:

      We’ll have to see how it plays out in Cata. I wasn’t invited to the beta 😦

      Thanks for posting the correction to the rankings – you are right! It was a simple type-o 🙂

      I ALWAYS run out of mana in 10 mans. In fact, it has gotten so bad that I am having to hold of on haste pots so I can see if I will need a mana pot at the end of the fight. That is why I am so horridly reluctant to drop the judgement down so far in priority. I don’t mind mana management, but dropping that low… I don’t know how in the world anyone is going to be able to keep DPSing.

      I never advocate taking socket bonuses. Yes, technically, STR/Crit gems are better. BUT, and this is a big but, it involves actually thinking about it. And it is easy to goof up, if you aren’t paying attention. So, IMO dropping all STR is much better. Just get your nightmare tear, and be done with it.

      I think LOTL is going to be one of those talents where you either love it or hate it. I am sorry, but for as long as I have been bitching and moaning for a gap closer for Ret, LOTL isn’t it. *Maybe* there is more use in PvE – but its going to depend fight to fight. If you arent moving around a lot, its going to be completely useless. With one point in there (which we have to have to progress down the tree and get Zealotry (Love the name, btw).

      As far as Repentance, that is a valid suggestion. But I feel it is a complete liability, especially going into cata where CC will be mandatory, to be without one. I would say, IF and only IF your team has enough cc, then trash that talent. But, honestly, I consider it a mandatory talent. Rebuke is more optional.

  2. vespers says:

    I wasn’t in the beta and couldn’t afford the bandwidth to down the ptr, so this is all just my informed opinion too!

    For an 85 spec there is no way I’ll leave out Repentance; in fact, I’ll make sure I have it as soon as I start levelling. However, I don’t use it much right now, and personally I figure I’ll get more use out of that point in LAotL. However I didn’t mean to criticise; that talent point really is very much a personal preference thing.

    As it turns out, by the way, I’m wrong on the socket bonuses front. Because crit is losing value for us; it used to give us Righteous Vengeance for instance.. it actually turns out that I might end up re-socketting reds in those Inscribed slots. Oh well. We’ll see what my dps is like beforehand; I’m gonna be dropping enough gold on glyphs and reforging as it is.

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