One set of Footsteps

Alrighty, here comes a ranty post. Though, I’m unsure if it will come across as condescending or uplifting, but I guess that it will be in the eye of the beholder.

May need to be carried.

May need to be carried.

I used the title of this post because it reminded me of the old Christian saying “When you saw only one set of footprints in the sand, that was when I was carrying you,” an obvious reference to Jesus helping us along the way in life, carrying us when we thought we couldn’t go any further, though it somewhat works here as well.

Anyway, it all started with a tweet from Orithea:

It’s funny how easy it is to drag along a subpar dps, but a horrible healer or tank sinks the ship.

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Ok… I lied

Ok, maybe I didn’t lie, but I wasn’t able to continue the romp as DPS.

No More Ret... For now.

No More Ret... For now.

I did enjoy doing my daily quests as a Retribution paladin, and I did get a few upgrades; however, I didn’t get to use it that often in group situations. More often then not, we’d be short a healer, and I’d have to step in there instead. I think that only real group experience I had was a couple of 5 mans, and a quick Patchwerk fight for the weekly. I did do pretty well on the meters, which was fun, but it’s a bit repetative, and I don’t think that I really enjoy melee dps… and I never thought that I’d feel that way.

The reason for this, is that I don’t feel like I’m able to DPS to my full potential, unless I have a good tank who can hold the mob(s) in place, plus I’m never sure which mob to truly focus on if the tank is going all willy nilly on all the mobs. Usually I’d just focus another melee dps, and attack the target they are focusing on. I just don’t feel that I contributed as much as I could have, and because of this decided to respec back to Protection.

Yes, I do still have all my ret gear though, saved up in case I get the itch again, but for now I’ll be sticking with my insta-queues and the constant vigilence required to tank or heal. I guess another factor that influenced my decision was the fact that I was fortunate enough to get the Neverending Winter shield from ICC 10. This was even while I was healing, and fortunately all the tanks already had it or couldn’t use it. I had been waiting to replace my ‘ol faithful Royal Crest of Lordaeron (which will stay in my bank forever… yes more clutter). I now look even more like an actual tank, with my fancy T9, fancy T10 shield, and emblem helmet, I was looking good.

I think the loot was somewhat of an issue. I had nearly 5 chances to get a new weapon or other piece of gear for my Ret set, over the few times I was in ICC. The Citadel Enforcer’s Claymore dropped 3 times, each time… I was healing, and the other melee dps that could use it were still using the Tyrannical Beheader, just like me, so obviously, to the winner go the spoils. Ramaladni’s Blade of Culling even dropped once, and went to the dps Deathknight in the run, cause guess what… I was healing. Even had the Bone Drake’s Enameled Boots drop as well, but yet again, I was healing, and one of hte DPS could use it over me. I guess it’s an obvious observation, that there are more DPS, and therefore more competition for gear. With Ret Paladins, Fury and Arms Warriors, and Unholy/Blood DKs all fighting for the same gear, it does get a bit more difficult for me to get my chance, especially when I am unable to actually DPS for the run, as my Healing set/skills are needed more. But, as I always say, c’est la vie.

I guess that is a bane of Pugging as well. I am unable to ever make my guild’s scheduled runs, as I can never guarantee that I’m going to be able to make it. I am more interested in helping out my wife, or being with her and the kids, than starting a run at 7:30-8:00. So, the only chances I’ve ever been in ICC are through PUGs that I happen to run across while sitting in Dalaran doing some dailies, and most of those are pretty late in the evening. I guess that’s also why I have never seen beyond Rotface and Festergut (I’ve actually taken them down though, that was a fun run too).

So to close this all up, I’m no longer Holy / Ret, I’m now Holy / Prot once again, and will likely stay that way unless I am requested to come as dps, or get the itch again. So, until then, insta-queues and Emblems of Triumph flowing from the heavens will be my game again for a while.

DPS Validation and Accountability

Well, here’s the final role specific addition to this series. It is also the one role that rew people realize as being as important as it is. The role of DPS is also the most popular role to follow, simply because of this misconception.

More often then not, though, most DPS feel that Tanks and Healers have some sort of entitlement when it comes to grouping. Simply put, they feel that because they are “must-have” roles, that they are more imporant than the lowly DPS. In some cases this is true, as if you did not have a tank, the DPS would get swarmed by mobs, and if you didn’t have a healer, those mobs would slice down the DPS with no resistance. However, without the DPS role, Tanks and Healers would never finish an instance within a single night, nor would they ever meet enrage timers. It was once joked that 2 paladins could almost do an entire instance (at level), it would just take 3 weeks to do it.

Because of this perception, a lot of DPS feel that they have to push themselves into the forefront so that they can get noticed. Hence the rise of Damage Meters, and the DPS ePeen. However, there are those who still stand in the back (figuratively or literally) and work hard as hell to keep the pain flowing, but also help out the rest of the group/raid. It is here that you can separate the real DPS from the twatmelons.

Don't be a twatmelon.

Don't be a twatmelon.

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Bullseye – Hit and Expertise

Well, my Retribution experiment has continued over the weekend. I think that the progress has come along well… so far.

First off, I’m a poor pally, I hardly ever have any gold on hand, so I usually never spend it on rediculously priced items on the AH. In addition, this is my off spec, so money would go to Holy gear anyway.

So, these changes are using onhand items only, plus a little bit of gemming/enchants off of the AH. The changes nearly brought me where I should be, and from what little testing I’ve been able to do, I believe that the gear is getting to where it should be.

Here are some of the changes:

  • Gloves: I’ve swapped out the old Valorous Redemption Gauntlets with the current T9 Tank gloves I already had.  They already had more strength, also as I had already enchanted and gemmed them to increase my Expertise & Hit, they worked well with my current set (though the +parry/+defense wasn’t much help, never can hurt).  I’m currently about 5 emblems away from grabbing the actual Ret gloves, so these are only temporary.
  • Chest: Updated the enchant to +10 to All stats over the +6 that I had.
  • Legs: Changed the ToC5 legs out for the ‘ol standby of Staggering Legplates from Utgarde Keep (Heroic). I’ve had them for a while, and thought that they’d be of use, so I held onto them.  Lucky I did, because they brought my +Hit above where I needed it to be, allowing me to do a bit of reorganization elsewhere.
  • Weapon: Swapped out the Tyrannical Beheader for the Mourning Malice 2H sword. Increased my expertise rating by 73, bringing it up to about 17 expertise. Didn’t have the cash on hand to get a better enchant, so I just threw some Greater Savagery on it, still +85 Attack Power, so not a bad enchant for the time being.
  • Relic: Pulled out the old Libram of Discord out of the bank, trying to save up Frost Emblems for my T10 helmet for my Holy set, but once I’ve got that, I’ll probably grab the Frost Emblem Libram.
  • Trinkets: Hit my bank, and found a Meterorite Whetstone that I had, as well as the good ‘ol Mirror of Truth. Not sure what to upgrade to, though the Banner of Victory looks like a good Mirror of Truth replacement, we’ll see how that goes.
  • Glyphs: Picked up Glyph of Consecration and Glyph of Seal of Vengeance to replace Glyph of Exorcism and Glyph of Crusader Strike. I didn’t seem to have any trouble with mana, so the Crusader Strike glyph was an easy change. Glyph of Exorcism, I felt, would be of good use, but after reading some of my comments from my last Ret post, Glyph of Consecration did make sense.

These changes increased my dps by nearly 1k, a wicked change. Current Melee stats are:

Damage: 1580-1906
Speed: 3.33
Power: 3413
Hit Rating: 336
Crit Chance: 27.67%
Expertise: 17

Now, with the change in Glyphs, when I’m pounding on bosses I can be sure to switch to Seal of Vengeance, and up my Expertise by 10… bringing it to 27 (I believe that’s what it did, was to busy to actually check, haha). This brings me 1 Expertise over where I need to be, maxing my Expertise to where it needs to be.

Some of that testing that I was able to do was both a little bit of beating on a test dummy, but I didn’t feel that it was really proper data. So, I planned on hitting a few heroics to see how the new spec and gear worked out. The first group I hit was Heroic Old Kingdom. Of course these were a little bit inflated due to the fact that nearly everything was Undead, so I was able to throw some Holy Wrath out and get some extra points of DPS out, but id did feel more powerful. Nice quick run (skipped two bosses, but oh well).

Next up, I hit Heroic Gundrak. Far fewer undead, so I felt that it would be a much better view of my real dps scores. Started it up, and some issues occurred, waiting on some of the DPS who didn’t enter the right door, etc. So once we got going, it was time to bring the pain. I don’t believe in damage meters, but did help me determine how well my rotations were doing. I stayed at the top of the charts, even with a Mage and Hunter in the party.  We were all gearing up, but it was still an accomplishment. I hit about 4k dps on Gal’darah, even with a few knockbacks happening.  The group tore into him pretty good, and it was a really quick fight, so I wasn’t able to truly get the feel of my rotation, but it was helpful in getting into some groove.

So, I have a feeling that I’m going to enjoy this spec as much as I did tanking.  it’s going to be interesting having to wait for dungeons, but we’ll see how it goes.  If I’m fortunate enough to hit a raid or two, I’ll give an update on the differences between the gear makeup of the other dps, and this poor fledgling Ret pally.

Later today, keep an eye out for the new Raid changes just released this morning.  Some interesting information.

The ayes have it

Though there were few votes (8 in total), I have decided to follow the advice, and have a little bit of fun.  Last night, while my wife was giving my son a bath, I hopped online and respec’d my Protection offspec to Retribution.  Sadly, as often happens when decisions are made, Trade chat is suddenly filled with “LFM Tank & Heals for ICC10” and “LFM Tanks for VoA25” *sigh* C’est la vie.  As I said during my last post, I plan to stick to this new spec for a while.

So, without further ado, here is Khraden decked out in his scary spiky helmet.

The Spiky Ret Khraden.

The Spiky Ret Khraden.

I’m not totally sure about the spec that I put together, but was in a bit of a hurry, and wanted to go ahead and put together a basic spec, and fix it up later. I did try out some rotations on the training dummy in IF, and was able to attain about 2.8k dps, and that was without really optimizing my gear, including forgetting to swap out my libram, forgetting my ret trinkets, and not reglyphing yet.  So I hope to get a bit higher when I get a chance to really work on it.

Protip: Hit Exodar to use the Training Dummy, it’s so much less crowded.

Anyway, here’s the rotation that I was using, and please, don’t laugh, I’m just a beginner 😛

Divine Plea (to get the mana regen started)
Exorcism
Judgement of Light (likely to use it more than wiz, cause we often have a pally healer)
Crusader Strike
Divine Storm
Concecration (optional dependant on mana reserves)

Rince, repeat as cooldowns arise.

I decided to use Judgement of Light before Crusader Strike, simply because it places Heart of the Crusader on the target, allowing more chances for Crusader Strike, and the Divine Storm attacks to crit. It is most likely that I will swap Divine Storm and Crusader Strike for groups of mobs, so that I get more damage out at the opening of battle.

I had forgotten how cooldown dependant the Retribution Paladin was.  I would slap all my attacks out, and then wait, while all my damage dealin abilities would be on cooldown, scanning my bars for something else to use. It almost felt like I should have been throwing pebbles at the target while I waited. I’m sure that will clear up the more I try it out though.

As for glyphs, I ended up picking a few out, just from looking at the AH, but will likely be swapping Glyph of Crusader Strike out with Glyph of Seal of Vengeance, simply because I don’t appear to be having trouble with mana yet, with Divine Plea and Judgements of the Wise keeping the trickle of mana coming in. In additoin to that I have Glyph of Exorcism and Glyph of Judgement in the other two spots. It is suggested that Glyph of Concecration should be used, but I don’t totally see the benefit of 2 extra ticks of Concecration. I kept the minors that I already had, as there isn’t much to choose from, and they already included Glyph of Sense Undead.

I’m currently just below hit cap, but with the change of one piece of gear can increase my hit to surpass the hit cap, but drop my AP and Strength a bit.  Not sure if it’s worth it, but will likely try it out to see how it goes. I am also far below expertise cap, though I have another weapon that may increase that value, but again, in turn drop my strength/AP.

Unbuffed stats.

Unbuffed stats.

Needless to say, I’ve got a good bit to go to optimize this build and the gear with it.  With the availability of gear with the inception of Emblems of Triumph, I’m sure it won’t be too long before I get these straightened out. (Note that I still haven’t even equiped my ret trinkets yet.. *sigh*)

We’ll see how this little experiment goes.  If anybody has any suggestions, please throw them my way, I’d love to hear about them.

To respec, or not to respec

I’m having a bit of a crisis.. ok, not a crisis, but a bit of a conundrum.

To Ret, or not to Ret, that is the question.

To Ret, or not to Ret, that is the question.

I’ve got some decent ret gear… sitting in the bank, all kinds of fancy two-handers to choose from, and some Tier 9 level gear to top it off.

I’ve recently been debating whether or not to change out my tank spec for a little while and have some fun as a DPS spec. I have definitely enjoyed having no wait time, and really enjoy tanking, but it’s been a while since I got to look really evil in my Dragonsteel Faceplate.

I’ve also thought about the time that it would provide me. If I decided to go Ret, then I could do my Daily LFD as DPS, and only DPS, this would enact the wait time that most DPS have.  Because of this wait time, I would then have time to fart around in Sholizar (I keep forgetting to pick up an egg from the Oracles), or finishing up my Explorer and Loremaster achievements that I wanted to get before Cataclysm.

I think that it is a point of discipline. Right now, I will simply get on, hit the button and do the daily dungeon real quick (nearly no wait time), then be lost as to what to do next, and just log off, or get on an alt. The reason that I just log off is because I have nothing to look forward to, or fill in the wait time, because there is none.

I also feel it’s a bit of the OCD in me.  I want to try to get the best gear that I can get as a casual raider/dungeon runner, and do the DPS that I feel that I should be able to do. I was ret before, and it was fun, but I felt that I didn’t match up to those who had done it for a while before, much like I felt when I started tanking. If I decide this, I’d have to have the determination to keep my off spec Ret for a decent period of time to get used to the feel of the spec. This is the discipline part that I talk about. I’d likely swap specs back to Protection if asked by the guild for a run, but would need the determination to go back afterwards.

Lastly, I feel that it would be good for the blog as well. There aren’t a whole lot of Ret DPS blogs out there (at least that I haven’t found yet), and I would like to try it out. Often big Yellow numbers can be more fun to post about than big Green numbers.

What are your suggestions readers? I’m willing to change, should I?