I’ve spent a lot of posts recently talking about zones (and yes I’m still going to do that Twilight Highlands review at some point), factions, and other such things and not much time on the actual playing my class. The big changes specifically to Paladins in cataclysm (if you don’t count Holy Power from 4.0.3) are the new spells:
Inquisition is our new self buff. It increases all holy damage by 30%. Retribution gets a talent that extends the duration of this buff to 10 seconds per Holy Power used to trigger it. This is meant to be kept up as much as possible similar to Slice and Dice for combat rogues and is a pretty significant DPS loss if not used.. Holy Radiance is pretty much making us a moving healing stream totem, and does an AOE heal to nearby targets. I haven’t got much play testing with this spell, as I’m running ret main now, but I really haven’t heard anything too exciting about from those doing Holy main spec. Finally, Guardian of Ancient Kings is amazing. This buff has a long (5m) cooldown, but skyrockets a ret paladins DPS when used. From what I hear from the other specs, it seems it’s a better friend to ret than the other uses. Each spec gets a specific purpose, one for taking, extra heals for holy and more damage for ret. Follow me after the break for some more…
The new abilities are pretty easy to fit into our playstyle, especially if you kept playing between 4.0.3 and cataclysm. For Holy, we can actually go OOM if we aren’t careful because the cost of the spells has gone up dramatically and regen isn’t as ridiculous as it was in Wrath.
Bigger even (and more similar across dps specs) Paladins have an equally important role when dpsing than just doing DPS. This is of course crowd control and interrupting. Quite often I’m helping out the group by repentancing a target on heroics (regular dungeons didn’t need much CC). I have mixed feelings about how the need for CC. Most of the time having harder dungeons is more fun, though in some ways I miss the funpile times of Wrath heroics. I do expect, though, that after we’re geared out in shiny raid purples heroics will go back to the mad rush they were before. Of course, we’ve had repentance for a while, Rebuke though is our sparkly new interrupt. On some boss fights, ret paladins can end up having a job *other* than just dps. If you said “Woh”, you’d be right. If you’re wondering how a ret paladin can CC while smashing their face against their keyboard to dps, I’d say you haven’t played ret since 4.0.3 and especially since cataclysm. Of course, we still don’t have it as hard as a feral cat dps, but there is a lot more to pay attention to. Ret has to maintain Inq, watch for exorcism procs, watch for our Mastery procs with 3 free charges of holy power, and make sure not to hit crusader strike when we already have 3 hp and should be using TV or inq. A good ret paladin will find himself helping out with healing during some of the more hairy moments in heroics. I often use Zealotry (each CS grants 3 HP for a time) in order to get a bunch of 3 HP word of glory heals to help out a pressured healer. And my lay on hands has saved the tank at least a dozen times since cataclysm launched.
All in all, while I’m sure some will still accuse us of face-rolling, it’s a pretty interesting time to be a ret paladin. Holy has been brought down from its high perch of its wrath days, and prot… well, I don’t tank on my paladin. Maybe some comments from a prot pally?