A JOAT is an acronym for Jack of All Trades.
The end to that is: Master of None.
A retribution paladin is, in my opinion, a joat. We don't do the best damage. We don't do the best healing. We don't do the best tanking.
But by God, do we help out in all three fields when needed!
To quote RetLoL (my inspiration and source of all knowledge... well, not really, but it's a good plug?) about Ret Pallies in 5-mans.
"Here your job will be firstly, to provide blessings, because likely as not you will be the only paladin in the group. So make a note of what Blessings your party wants and keep them up all the time. But be prepared to pro-actively change them mid fight – healer low on mana and using Blessing of Kings? Switch him to Blessing of Wisdom. DPSer asked for Blessing of Might but is constantly aggroing mobs? Switch her to Blessing of Salvation. DPSer got a bit carried away on the boss and pull aggro? Drop them a Blessing of Protection. This fluidity is what will give you a name as a good Retribution paladin, the ability to adapt to the situations, and do it quickly.
Another thing you will provide is wipe recovery, if a team mate dies be ready to Resurrect them – don’t expect the healer to do it “because it’s the healers job”. And of course if the shit hits the proverbial fan you also have to be fast to get that Divine Intervention up on a healer to save your repair cost… I mean… save the group from a corpse run. Yes, that’s what I said. Helping prevent wipes in the first place, with skilled use of Blessing of Protection, Righteous Defense (in none heroics only) and off healing can also get you a reputation for being a good Retribution paladin.
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Where auras are considered you are likely to have Sanctity Aura up all the time for the extra DPS, however during some boss fights you may need to swap to a Resistance aura for example, or even Concentration Aura for your healer and casters benefit. Again adaptability is the key."
In my oh so humble opinion... every player that enters an instance should have a certain awareness and adaptability of what is going on around them and to the other people in their group.
Now, sometimes having that awareness won't help anyone at all. But those times, in my opinion, are exceptionally few and far between. This is vitally true for classes who can help by changing their role slightly.
The warlock who steps in and fear yo-yo's something that is too much for the hunter to handle or when the sap breaks early or at a poor time.
The hunter who not only traps one mob, but then kites another that was eating the healer.
The tank who keeps an eye on the life of the group and turns to investigate why someone else's health is dropping so prodigiously.
The boomkin or feral kitty who pops out of form to help heal or who keeps an eye on decursing and removing poison.
The rogue who saps, then blinds the sap, then gouges the sap, then kidney shots the sap, then gouges, then kites, until the tank can pick the sap up.
And the retribution paladin that uses blessing of protection, righteous defense, healing spells, judgements, hammers of justice and wrath, repentence, divine protection and makes sure to keep everyone buffed appropriatly...
Let's face it, have YOU run with such a creature? You have if you've run with me. (shameless plug!)
Sure! 98% of my time playing is spent doing a combination of seal->judge, crusader strike, +/- exorcism if it's a demon/undead, +/- hammer of wrath if it's almost dead.
But the 2% of the time where I'm doing everything and it's brother is the time where you're thankful you have a retribution paladin versus a rogue in your group!
It's a change for me, to go from trying to be the tippytop of the DPS meter, to being content where I wind up being. Because I'm useful. I do decent DPS (400-600 instance depending) when I am able to DPS. Sometimes I'm being the catch-all for whatever is going on.
(Ooh, ooh! In Slabs, against those big pulls of skeletons? Consecration + Holy Wrath = 1500 DPS. *squee*)
It's a subtle role and a lot of people probably miss it. However, I make sure that the people I party with don't miss it because I'm a verbal attention whore. "Did you see what I did there! You are SO lucky that I'm in the group with you!"
(Just kidding! Though I have been informed that when I do blessing of protection on someone who is not the healer, I need to let them know so they can remove it to continue to cast. So I do have a little bit of 'I just bubbled you (name).' advertisement.)
Retribution paladins have a hard role to play. Our contributions to the group are subtle, especially in the heat of the moment. Can a group survive without a retribution paladin? Yes, naturally (duh!). What we bring to the table may not be needed if instead you have another CC class or a straight kick-ass DPS class.
And I hear all the talk about how retribution paladins are getting buffed in WotLK. And I'm happy for that. Yet, I think ret pallies ARE already viable. Hard to play? Yes. Easily put into one group role? No. But viable in 5-mans. Probably also a handy thing to have in 10 and 25 mans, too.
I really need to work on a healing set... not to mention just find something to swap out weapon wise when I wind up being primary healer when the real healer bites the dust! Because 0 bonus healing... not so good.
Things to think about when you're being a retribution paladin.
- You are not going to top the healing or DPS charts and you are not going to do more than tank something for two seconds before probably dying. So don't try. Just do your best to be your best. You are not a tank. You are not a healer. Let these people do their jobs and help only when needed. The tank is not going to thank you for pulling aggro from him. The healer is not going to thank you for sucking up their time and mana from damage you really shouldn't be taking.
- You are going to go through a lot of symbols of kings. Because everytime you have to cast blessing of protection on the DPS, or blessing of protection on the healer... you're going to have to rebuff their usual buff.
- Understand that you are NOT the tank. Sure, righteous defense is a GREAT tool, but keep in mind that the tank is probably (hopefully) already aware of the situation. Only use righteous defense when it's really needed. The tank has a ton of stuff on their plate, the healer is getting eaten, pop righteous defense. Ideally, you'll be standing next to the tank anyway. So the tank can hopefully pull it right off of you without having to run all over the place trying to get aggro. Let the tank know when you are doing this.
- Divine protection is also a great tool. If the healer is swamped and people are taking tons of damage everywhere, pop your shield. Heal yourself. Heal someone else. Then either continue to heal if needed or remove your shield and start DPSing again. That little bit of time where you can't take damage will allow you to heal yourself, let the healer focus on someone who is taking damage, and let you get a little bit of breathing room to help out.
- A lot of tanks will switch targets just before the target dies, to start generating threat on the next target. Some high DPS will also do this. Why is the warlock going to waste their time casting a shadowbolt that hits for 3k, when the mob may die before the bolt actually hits, and the mob only has 1k health left? Waste of time! So everyone leaves except the melee. Sometimes, this mob decides to run away. Hammer of Wrath is your friend in this instance.
- Repentence only works if no one is hitting the mob. The best time to use it is at the start of a pull when the mob isn't near the tank, or if it's an add that's wandering in from somewhere else and is running madly for the healer. This move also only works if you let the tank and DPS understand that you're doing this. It gives them only 6 seconds of wiggle room, but ask any husband... 6 seconds is more than enough!
- Hammer of Justice is saved for interrupts of heals, or stopping it from hitting the priest, or running away or anything else you want it to be for, including a temporary CC. I've done it where I repentence and then hammer - 12 seconds of time out.
- Sometimes you'll want Kings. Sometimes you'll want Wisdom. And sometimes the tank will be a crybaby and you'll need to have on Salvation. Sometimes you'll need to swap buffs for other people as well. Sometimes the hunter will be happy with Might. Sometimes they'll need Salvation because FD is on a 2 minute cooldown and they need the extra threat reduction because they're a hunter that isn't human!
- Pally Power is a must. Must. MUST. Do I need to repeat myself? It's simple. It's easy to use. It lets you figure out who what where and how frequent. It tells you when buffs are wearing off. It's a one click solution so you can free up some of your hotbar places because it's got what you need!
- Other useful things are Grid (I like to have it up on any character that can heal, it's easier for me to see the boxes than for me to see a line of health) and Decursive. Sure, Paladins have one button to hit, but instead of hitting cleanse and finding the person, or finding the person then hitting cleanse, I like the simplicity of left clicking on the highlighted little box at the bottom of my screen and cleansing whomever of whatever. Be careful though, if you have multiple alts that have decursing/debuffing/dewhatevering options, you'll wind up Abolishing Poison when you should be DeCursing on your druid, or Abolishing Disease when you shoud be Dispelling Magic on your priest. Paladins are simple. Cleanse.
(Boon will tell me that Grid and Decursive are crutches. I USED to be able to heal and decurse and dispell all without the use of add-ons. He and I are OLD SCHOOL. But just because old school worked just peachy and fine and was wonderful doesn't mean we shouldn't avail ourselves to the benefits of modern technology. And for new healers and people who have a lot of stuff on their screen and a lot of things to do... anything to help organize and highlight issues that you need to take care of is a bonus. It doesn't play FOR you (big no no!) but it issues the information you need to see in a format that's easy TO see.)
(By the way, Boon is magical. Seriously. He's the fastest cleanser in the West! And don't get me started on healing. Oy. Blizzard needs to nerf Boon.)
So... yet more rambling about non-warlock related things from me. I'll probably post something warlock related in the next few days. I'm eyeing the uses of imps in raids versus the increase in self-damage from demonology-specced-non-imps. I may have posted this before. But I'm going to post again. Because this is my blog and I can.