Well, comrades in arms, as the old Azerothian saying goes, the squeaky player gets the beta invite. I'd like to think my sobbing in coffee shops and passionate diatribes secured me a spot in the Jade Forest, where I can run around in the beautiful scenery competing with dozens of other players trying to tag one of the three quest mobs that respawns every six days, but I must admit to myself that I'm no more special than the 99,999 other players who received invites at the same time.
In short, I got into the beta. We've already been over what we expect to see when the mists part, but experiencing it firsthand is something else entirely.
The silent filler
One of the first things I noticed after rebuilding all of my macros and assigning keybinds was how disjointed the rotation felt when I was smacking the collection of wild creatures grazing around the outskirts of Dawn's Blossom. Judgment on the pull, Crusader Strike when in melee range, Hammer of Wrath under 20%, Templar's Verdict at 3 holy power ... but something was off. As it turns out, I had forgotten about Exorcism.
Perhaps I should have been paying more attention to my action bar. Perhaps I should read the warning label on that medicine bottle about consuming ibuprofen PM with alcohol. Regardless, it's a little late in the game to be pointing fingers. Jokes aside, having Exo as an instant cast on a long cooldown feels a bit like a cheat. Keeping The Art of War around is a good thing because it lets our second most powerful attack (so far) be available more often, but it also keeps a fair amount of the RNG baggage around that we have been dying to get rid of for quite some time now.
Would the current version of Exorcism, a no-cooldown spell with a cast time modified by a proc that increases the damage, removes the mana cost, and axes the cast time, be preferable to this Mists iteration? I would have to say not really, though that's not to say that the proposed version is a massive improvement to the Exorcism of yesteryear. Blizzard seems to be OK with giving us some gaps -- moments of time I'm sure the devs would coin holy breathing room, if someone pressed them for an explanation. But I digress.
For most of my pulls, I would start out with an Exorcism (to get it to come off cooldown as quickly as possible) and a Judgement, followed by a Crusader Strike, Seal of Truth hit, and auto-attack that would naturally come with finally reaching melee range of your quarry. If my unfortunate adversary was still clinging to life somehow, then and only then I would hit Templar's Verdict.
Truth be told, I really didn't need to use TV all that much, because I found that I was plowing things over with just a 390 ilevel. As such, I went from mob to mob not even realizing that I was hoarding holy power. Sure, some of that could be due to what I consider to be an extremely inconvenient holy power bar beneath the character portrait in the top left corner of the screen (or as I like to call it, the place on your screen you are looking at the least when you need to maneuver your way through a winding forest, killing dragons and looting digested food matter from talbuk dung). Thankfully, those on-screen elements are now moveable, though I didn't realize this until it was brought to my attention several hours later.
Anyway, for quick engagements such as this, Boundless Conviction really earns its keep. No longer will we needlessly refresh Inquisition or heal a rogue simply because we have nothing better to do with the holy power before it decays into lead bars. Oh, and it will probably be useful to all of you who PvP as ret and get kited around Nagrand Arena all day long. You might as well bank that holy power for when that frost mage sits down for some cake!
Same strikes, different ways
One of the highlights of my beta experience thus far has to be three-manning the Temple of the Jade Serpent with a blood death knight and a prot paladin who couldn't respec because of a bug. With the cooldown on Word of Glory removed, I made a pretty effective off-healer when needed, and the lack of a damage meter prevented me from feeling self-conscious about my damage output.
For how few trash mobs there were in the instance, I found myself happily using my shift-modifier macros to hit Hammer of the Righteous and Divine Storm whenever possible. I have to say it's nice to finally have both an AoE holy power generator and an AoE holy power finisher. Way back when Blizzard was asking for class feedback on the forums, I stated that one of my own wishes was to see Consecration turned into our multi-target Templar's Verdict. Sadly, Blizzard swiped that mana hog away from us faster than we could say, "I really don't mind if you take it away; it's a bit of a bother that's taking up far more space on my bar than it truly deserves." But it seems that Blizzard was listening after all!
Oh, and one last note about AoE and seals. As was pointed out in my last column in the comments (all of which have inexplicably disappeared in the transition to our new comment system -- totally not a conspiracy, by the way), seals are now off the GCD and act much like our current auras. Where this comes into play for our AoE DPS is that we don't have to burn a global just to switch our seals. All you need to do to save that precious 1.5 seconds is macro Seal of Righteousness into Hammer of the Righteous and Divine Storm and Seal of Truth into Crusader Strike and Templar's Verdict. Unfortunately, this is either bugged on the beta servers right now and will be fixed later, making me look like a prophet of very limited use, or wasn't meant to work this way in the first place, putting egg on my face for even mentioning it.
For you, my dear readers, I will take this risk.
The Light and How to Swing It teaches you the ins and outs of retribution paladins, from Ret 101 and how to gem, enchant and reforge your retadin, to essential ret pally addons.