Inspired by a post at Tree Heals go Woosh. There are quite a few links there for different classes etc. This looks to be a topic where I can forge ahead without regard to wordcount, so obviously I’m in.
Do you feel that your class is better (in that it is more fun to play, more effective, etc.) now than it was at the end of Wrath? Do you feel that your class is better now than it was at the beginning of Cataclysm?
I’ll be absolutely honest here: I was still levelling what would be my very first ever maxed character when Cata hit. I remember slaughtering spawning elementals in Netherstorm, and I remember eventually hitting 80 just before the new areas were released.
Here’s the thing, though… that character had been levelled the whole way as Ret, but the cata release broke it. Badly.
Rng was piled on rng, and the ret rotation consisted of long periods of doing nothing while waiting for Divine Purpose or mastery to proc. DP was adding one Holy Power at random, but could overcap on HP. Mastery effectively did what DP does now – randomly proc a free HP attack. Divine Storm was our only AoE, and it cost HP. Judgement was only worth using for the mana regen – its damage was a joke. Consecration was a good way to OOM yourself and get kicked for breaking CC at the same time. Inquisition was short-duration and, with only DS, Judgement and Exorcism doing holy damage, wasn’t worth the HP to use. Rebuke was talented-only.
So, in the period between the prerelease and hitting 85, I respecced Prot. If you want a prot writeup, though, there’s one here.
4.0.6 brought huge changes to paladins, with a rework of mastery and a change to the way DP worked. However, I was still too turned off by the ruining of my character to think of changing back. Besides, pallies were still hitting like preschoolers and t11 was notoriously melee-unfriendly. In the end I wouldn’t touch retribution until patch 4.2, when I levelled a whole new character.
Retribution as it stands at the moment is almost unrecognisable as the broken, pitiful wreck that the cata release reduced it to. My ret pally is undoubtedly my favourite character to play, and between keeping up Inq, dealing with procs, using rotational abilities and occasionally resorting to Cons – still ridiculously expensive – I never run out of things to do. Burst is very powerful in DS, and pally burst is absolutely unmatched. Hitting the OMG-button has never been so satisfying.
How much have you enjoyed or found uses for your class’ level 81, 83, and 85 abilities? Given the chance, what would you have changed about them?
I touched on how Inquisition was a bit of a failure in the beginning. Right now I’d say that Inq uptime is a big part of paladin interactivity, and I really like how it adds depth to our HP choices.
I’ll leave Holy Radiance to whoever decides to blog about how OP holy pallies are. It was neat to use on my Prot pally for fights like Chimaeron or even Cho’Gall, but with its present cast time it’s useless to anything but a healer.
The angry yellow man makes for a neat buildup to burst, or, more often, an ingredient as I forget to use it before for the buff. It started the expansion with a bad habit of going after the wrong targets or simply derping aimlessly, but changes to hunter pet stances seem to have brought it back in line.
Did you switch mains during Cataclysm? If so, why did you make that choice?
I did. Initially I switched my paladin to prot, as explained above. For unrelated reasons I switched to a disc priest during t12, and that’s more or less officially my raiding main at the moment. The guild I moved to needed healers.
What were your class’/spec’s strengths throughout Cataclysm? What were its weaknesses?
Retribution was honestly pretty weak throughout cata, and I’d say its strength was the community of paladins that stood by it. At the moment I’d say our strength is we’ve been worked over to the point where everything falls into place really well.
Weaknesses… well… the biggest was cascading Rng failures.
Did you enjoy the addition of the mastery stat? What did you like about it, or, what would you change?
In its initial form, no. Actually, make that a hell no with cheese and chives. At the moment, though, it’s fairly inoffensive and contributes heavily to the importance of Inquisition, meaning it’s a big part of the complexity that makes Ret dps interesting right now.
How, if at all, did Cataclysm’s revamp of the talent trees affect your class? Did you feel that these were changes for the better or for worse?
As a new player, I really wasn’t sure about a lot of my choices in the old talent trees. That said, grabbing low-hanging fruit in off-trees was kinda cool. Overall though I like that there aren’t any real dead ends in the current tree.
Did your class experience any significant changes or additions to its lore during this expansion? If so, how did you feel about those changes?
Sunwalkers! I haven’t played a fresh Sunwalker paladin, but having played a priest I’m going to say it was more of a lore nonsplosion.
Is your class easier or harder for a fresh 85 to learn now than it was at the end of Wrath? Is this a good or a bad thing?
I’d say that the Wrath ret model was much, much simpler. Much. On the plus side, it’s actually not as bad as Arms, Assassination or Enhancement, so adding a little depth was called for.
What aspects of your class’ gameplay do you think the designers really got right in this expansion? What aspects were clear misses?
I’ll be absolutely clear here: the designers who worked on Ret at the release could not find their backsides with both hands. A class that you could simulate by rolling d20s and adding whatever number you rolled to your damage is a recipe for frustration.
Overall, do you enjoy the playstyle of your class more now, at the end of Cataclysm, than you did prior to patch 4.0 at the end of Wrath? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I’ve come full circle this expansion, and Ret as it stands now is not the simple, ticking engine of Wrath, but is instead almost a geological event, forces drawing together from disparate sources to build something deeper, greater, more impressive than that engine could ever have dreamed to power.