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WoWJun 12, 2015 5:00 pm CT

Lightsworn: Retribution Paladins in patch 6.2

After four months of treading the ashen corridors of Blackrock Foundry, I think I’m about ready for a change of pace. I’m just a little tired of killing wave after wave of orcs at this point, all with the same voice actors and all equally “savage.” So with the announcement of the current PVP season ending (an event that very often precedes a patch deployment) and then the leak of a June 23 launch date, it seemed like a good time to see what all the fuss was about with 6.2 now that the PTR builds have matured a bit. So just where do Retribution Paladins stand?

By Uther’s ghost, there are still more orcs to kill.

Mastery change

It would seem that the 6% nerf to our mastery has stood the test of time this past month on the PTR and is looking like it will go live. Of course, the last week or so of a PTR build sees a lot of last-minute number tweaks and Blizzard could very well make me eat my words, but I’d be quite happy to do so in this situation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the least bit pessimistic about this nerf — my opinion on the matter remains basically unchanged from when we first saw it pop up a month ago. Even so, a nerf’s a nerf, right?

Could this change our stat priority? I haven’t seen any solid numbers yet as most theorycrafters tend to hold back until a patch is essentially out, so it’s hard to say for sure. This late in the expansion, with our item budgets inflating faster than Violet Beauregarde, it’s certainly possible that another stat will outcompete mastery. As we stack mastery, the relative value of other stats like haste and crit increases because even minor gains in these neglected stats will translate to a significant bump in our output thanks to our mastery-boosted base damage. I know I certainly wouldn’t mind having a bit more variety in our enchants and gems.


Tier 18 bonuses

When the “two charge Avenging Wrath” idea first floated onto our tier 18 set, I was excited yet doubtful that such a bonus would make it to live. It seemed too good to be true; with twice the number of Avenging Wrath cooldowns at our disposal, we could have up to 50% uptime on the buff with Sanctified Wrath (33% uptime without). That’s a fairly significant amount of time to be doing 20% more damage.

As it turned out, I was somewhat correct. A two charge Avenging Wrath certainly won’t make it to live servers, but a three charge Avenging Wrath will. That’s 66% uptime on the buff with Sanctified Wrath, 50% without. I guess we all know what level 75 talent we’re taking next patch!

Interestingly, the damage benefit from our 4-piece bonus is independent of which level 75 talent we take; whether we pick up Sanctified Wrath, Divine Purpose, or (Light forbid) Holy Avenger, we will still see a total of 30 seconds of the 4-piece buff every two minutes, provided we use all three charges of Avenging Wrath expediently. Otherwise, the bonus itself seems nice if somewhat bland, though compared to Triple Wings most everything seems bland.

Edit: as seidl correctly pointed out in the comments, this is not how the charges work. They do work just like the charges on Clemency, where the second charge won’t start refreshing until the first charge is off cooldown, but I use Clemency so sparingly that I mixed things up. Whoops! This clarification changes how you should approach the set bonus with regard to your rotation, but it doesn’t change the fact that the set bonus is still pretty damn good.


Hellfire Citadel

From what I’ve seen of the new raid so far, I can say one thing with absolute certainty: I am going to get incredibly sick of the color green. So help me if the next expansion features the Burning Legion as the main antagonists.

Instead of going over a long list of complaints or criticizing content that hasn’t even been released yet, I wanted to touch on some things within Hellfire Citadel that I’m looking forward to.

Gorefiend. I can’t decide if it was seeing the stomach phase for the first time, or his tiny little feet dangling beneath him, that drew me to this encounter; all I know is that this fight looks terribly fun. The belly mechanic looks like a cross between Norushen and Siegecrafter Blackfuse from Siege of Orgrimmar, fights that emphasized personal responsibility by taking the player away from the action for a brief moment. I live for raid fights like these. Also, when Gorefiend reaches 100 energy he enters a burn phase where he takes double damage, and as a DPS I have to admit that I adore burn phases.

Kormrok. My other favorite kind of encounters are movement heavy encounters, and Kormrok fits into this category perfectly. Running from pool to pool, dodging waves, collapsing for hands, spreading out for the smash, rounding up runes — this fight is going to require a lot of attentiveness and finesse to pull off as a melee DPS. As is the case on most movement heavy encounters, our output will likely be quite abysmal. That said, my poor numbers on Hanz & Franz hasn’t stopped me from loving the Pulverize dancing on that fight.

Class trinkets. I’m not the biggest lore junkie on Blizzard Watch (I think you all know which writers to go to for that) but I do appreciate it when my class or spec has its moment in the spotlight, same as everyone else. One of the most meaningful ways this was historically done was through class-restricted legendaries such as Shadowmourne and Fangs of the Father, and the questlines associated with attaining them. Now that Blizzard’s legendary design intent has shifted to be more inclusive I feel like the game is missing that extra spark, that small glimmer of hope that just around the bend there’s going to be an amazing paladin legendary that requires an epic undertaking, testing my skills as a player and, ultimately, providing a gaming experience I’ll remember for a long time.

While we may not feel that sensation ever again, we might come close with class-specific items such as the trinkets that drop off of Archimonde in Hellfire Citadel. The paladin trinket, Libram of Vindication, actually turns out to be pretty amazing, but more than that — it’s a libram! An item slot I didn’t even know I missed, librams were mechanically nothing more than a hunk of stats and so were removed from the game, along with quivers and other relics, rather unceremoniously. Blizzard teased the return of these items as cosmetic pieces that you could customize, but as of yet nothing has come of it.

Overall I’d say I’m optimistic about Hellfire Citadel and patch 6.2. Not everything is perfect, but it doesn’t have to be — it just has to be slightly better than everything else we’ve seen thus far in Warlords!

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