Friday, October 5, 2007

Retribution Paladins and STR/AP vs. Spell damage

Retribution Paladins really are a unique creature. While Ret Paladins isn't the only spec to do both melee and spell casting, it's the only one that requires on a mix of both for it's DPS. While yes, Enhancement Shamans can get a boost to their DPS via casting spells like Flame Shock, it's not a part of their tree, so it's not really considered "necessary". Hell, they even changed Enhancement Shaman's T4-6 sets to not have spell damage, and have even more +STR.

So let's take a look at the average plan and damage output for a Retribution Paladin (based upon numbers gotten from WWS for my last few Karazhan runs):
  • Puller pulls.
  • Ret paladin queues up either SotC or SoC, depending on how long the mob will last.
  • Tank gets a little hate (like 5k threat).
  • Ret paladin charges in judging whatever seal he has up, then starts the SoC > JoC > SoC cycle. In between JoCs, he uses Crusader Strike, along with (if undead or demon) Exorcism.
  • If at any point the Ret Paladin runs low on mana, he will put up SoC, and merely refresh it every 25 or so seconds, while his mana regens.
  • Once the mob reaches 19% health, he begins to mix Hammer of Wrath into his spell mix.
Now, just by looking at that, it doesn't seem like melee damage accounts for much, and it's mostly magical, right? Well, according to our WWS numbers (will link later), a Ret Paladin's white damage accounts for around 35-45% of his overall damage. Now, the remaining numbers are magical damage. With over half of a Ret Paladin's damage from spells, it seems like it would be pretty easy to stack spell damage and just go that route, right?

Well, for those who've never looked at Crusader Strike and/or Seal of Command probably don't know how it works. Both take a percent of your melee damage and use it as the base component for your damage on those spells (i.e. damage for SoC = 70% of the damage from the attack that caused it). Both CS and SoC (not JoC) account for another 20-30% of the Paladin's damage.

Now, with this information in hand, it raises an interesting question: Is there a reason to go for spell damage? If you can boost your white damage while simultaneously boosting your SoC and CS damage, accounting for, at a minimum 55% of your overall damage, is there any reason to not go for max STR/AP and AGI/Crit? With the forthcoming change to CS (from a 10 second to 6 second cooldown) I expect that average damage to go up by at least 5%. By cutting out spell damage, and not casting judgements (the only spell that relies on spell damage entirely and isn't situational) a Ret Paladin can probably extend his mana pool by a lot.

At BlizzCon, they stated they intend to remove a Ret Paladin's reliance on spell damage, or at least minimize it. When I first heard this, I imagined a huge overhaul to how Ret Paladin-ing worked. Now after giving it some thought, the only thing that really needs to be changed is the source JoC's damage. If they changed it so it's similar to SoC in that it's partially based upon the damage range of the weapon, then it would be a viable option for a STR/AP build.

Though I will be the first to admit that some of the problem is that the devs really didn't put enough gear with both STR and Spell Damage in the game. Let's look at what gear, has those stats. There's a handful of quested blues and greens for the 60-70 level range, along with the Blue Lightforge non-set. This gear doesn't really hold up and should be replaced by the end of 70. Then there's the Red Lawbringer. This would be a good option to get into Karazhan with... if it weren't for the fact that almost all of it only comes from Heroics. After that, other than PvP, there's 15 pieces of armor throughout the raid dungeons (Tier sets). Maybe if there was better accessible Ret gear things might be different.

1 comment:

Edd said...

i completely agree with you. I think that more Str/AP is more useful, if you have higher white dmg and a high crit that damage when it does crit is going to go much higher than any judgement could especially with the very limited amount of +spell damage that a ret paladin can get.