Last week I unveiled my retribution guide for the upcoming launch of Mists of Pandaria. I covered an exhausting number of topics, but I found that a couple items might be better as a separate post -- races and professions.
For anyone starting a new paladin in Mists after hearing how awesome it is on the beta, or for anyone looking to change your races or professions, this article is for you. Let's dive right in, shall we?
Choose the right race
Generally, my advice for selecting which race you want your paladin to be is to pick one you will be able to watch running around and hitting things. If you don't like the look of your character, you probably won't like playing it regardless of how awesome the class or spec may be.
With that out of the way, there are some really good DPS options out there if you're a member of the Alliance. And if you're Horde -- well, at least you can look good.
Dwarf Stoneform reduces damage taken by 10% for 8 seconds and removes all poison, disease, and bleed effects. Mace Specialization gives you 1% expertise as long as you're wielding a mace, freeing up itemization for more DPS stats. Also, beards.
Human Diplomacy grants a 10% increase to reputation gains, a nice bonus for Mists' plethora of factions. Mace and Sword Specialization grant 1% expertise when wielding those respective weapons. Every Man for Himself is a free PvP trinket, releasing you from all sorts of maladies (fears, stuns, disorients, etc).
Draenei Heroic Presence grants 1% free hit rating all of the time. Gift of the Naaru is a small HoT that heals for 20% of your total health, which is only semi-useful since we can already heal ourselves.
Blood elf Arcane Torrent is an AoE silence that also gives back a small chunk (6%, which is about 35% of a chunk) of mana. The fabulous hair racial is also quite useful, though it will cause your barber shop expenditures to increase dramatically.
Tauren War Stomp is a brief AoE stun with a short cast time. Endurance provides 5% more baseline health, which proves to be of very little consequence after all is said and done.
Professions with smart benefits
Blizzard has done their best to make sure that most professions reward roughly the same perks for leveling them up. That said, there are inevitably going to be some that stick out as providing more benefit than the others, though this effect seems to be less prominent in Mists than it has in other expansions.
Alchemy These concoction experts get a few perks for their chosen profession. Zen Alchemist Stone will do nicely as a starter trinket, as other alchemist stones have done in the past. Alchemist's Flask should provide a steady 320 strength when you don't have a raid flask active (although the tooltip looks a bit wonky right now), and Mixology should give you a similar amount of strength for when you do.
Blacksmithing As before, the blacksmithing perk is the combination of Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves, providing two brand new gem sockets in which you would shove two Bolds and gain 320 strength.
Enchanting The enchanter will be able to enchant his or her own rings. For retribution, the enchant we are concerned about is Enchant Ring - Greater Strength. The combined bonuses give 320 strength.
Engineering I like to think of engineering as the mullet of professions -- business out front, party in the back. Engineering's fun toys can have their uses as long as they don't backfire, but the most lasting and reliable perk from engineering for Mists are Synapse Springs, Mark II, which will increase your strength by 1920 for 10 seconds every minute, or an additional 320 strength on the average.
Also, engineers are able to make Reinforced Retinal Armor, goggles that are the equivalent of a starter helm for the first tier of content.
Inscription Scribes not only produce our shoulder enchant, Greater Tiger Fang Inscription, but they get a nicer one of their own, Secret Tiger Fang Inscription. As with most of other professions, the stat profit here is 320 strength.
Jewelcrafting Jewelcrafters will be able to put two Bold Serpent's Eyes in their gear, replacing Bold Primordial Rubies for a net gain of 320 strength.
Leatherworking Again, leatherworkers appear to have a slight edge on the rest, as it was at the start of Cataclysm. Fur Lining - Strength gives 500 strength to bracers, replacing Enchant Bracers - Exceptional Strength for a 330 net bonus to strength.
Tailoring Aside from producing some quality rugs that look an awful lot like pandaren, tailors gain access to Swordguard Embroidery, a cloak enchant that provides 4000 attack power over 15 seconds. According to my napkin math, given that the embroidery would be replacing Enchant Cloak - Superior Critical Strike, this would be in the ballpark of a 312 strength increase.
Historically, gathering professions have always taken a backseat to crafting professions in terms of perks. Whatever the reason for this disparity may be, if it's primary DPS stats you're looking for, stick to the crafting professions.
Skinning I guess peeling the skin off dead animals (and animal-like creatures) makes you more likely to strike critically? Regardless, Master of Anatomy will grant you 480 crit rating.
Herbalism Those that pick flowers gain the ability Lifeblood, which provides 2,880 haste for 20 seconds every 2 minutes, averaging out to 480 haste, as well as a small HoT.
Mining This noble gathering profession makes one more hardy -- Toughness increases the player's stamina by 480.
From what few stat weights we've seen thus far, it is very possible that Skinning and Herbalism could become competitive simply because of how weakly strength seems to be scaling. Similarly, blacksmithing and jewelcrafting could be worth more DPS simply because you can socket in extra crit, haste, or mastery gems, gems that have twice the budgeting for secondary stats than do primary stat gems. Time will tell if this holds out.
My own paladin is an engineer/miner at the moment, though I really want to drop mining to pick up another crafting profession at some point in the near future. In the past, I have been one of those people who likes to squeeze as much out of my setup as I can, even though I may not play on a super-competitive level.
For the beginning of the expansion, however, I think the benefit of being able to dig up some Ghost Iron and Trillium and post it for huge profits on the auction house will outweigh the DPS contribution of 320 additional strength, at least for my purposes.
What about you, readers? Any big plans for changing your character, or are you planning on leveling a paladin from scratch?
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.