Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!
Weapons have always been my favorite piece of gear. They're iconic and powerful; they define our spec more clearly than any spell or ability. So when I stepped into Throne of Thunder and finally saw Zerat, Malakk's Soulburning Greatsword drop, I took one look at my aging Shin'ka, Execution of Dominion, a pale copy of its normal and heroic variants, and quickly tossed the axe aside. And then did the same thing to Zerat when we saw Uroe, Harbinger of Terror drop from Lei Shen. And again when a heroic Greatsword of Frozen Hells gracefully tumbled from the heavens and landed on the corpse of Horridon, nestled in whatever pockets or pouches or sacs a massive direhorn may have.
As patch 5.4 and the Siege of Orgrimmar loom on the horizon, some exciting and deadly instruments wait to be plundered. Since this will (okay, might) be the final raid of the expansion, now is a good time to reexamine our stat weights before we make any judgment calls on the bludgeons that those savages have to offer.
Initially I intended to just fire up SimCraft and churn out some stat weights using my own character as a template, but the numbers I got were concerning, so I headed to the forums at Elitist Jerks to see if anyone had encountered a similar dilemma. Lo and behold:
The EJ poster's calculated weights are on top, mine are on the bottom. These sims were done using characters at roughly 540 ilvl so your mileage may vary, though as you gear up in Siege you will likely encounter the same effects.
As you can see haste is still our strongest secondary stat after we meet our hit and expertise caps, but what's both fascinating and worrying is that crit and mastery seem to have outpaced strength when it comes to our gemming options. Since secondary stat gems have twice the budget of primary stat gems, it may be more beneficial to forgo strength-hybrid gems such as Fierce Vermilion Onyx, for secondary-hybrid gems such as Wicked Vermilion Onyx. This same logic can be applied to socket bonuses as well.
Of course, this anomaly could possibly be due to the fluid nature of our secondary stats - favoring haste to such a high degree could be overinflating the value of crit and mastery. For now it would be wise to reforge on and continue stockpiling haste like a Ferengi hoards latinum, at least until we have some direction on where to go from here from our theorycrafting overlords.
With all of that being said, let's take a look at some of our options in this next raid.
Greatsword of Pride's Fall In a weapon design that harkens back to TBC color schemes, the Greatsword of Pride's Fall is an interesting option for human paladins looking to take advantage of their Sword Specialization in order to free up some itemization. The weapon offers a nice chunk of haste, and while the base crit isn't terribly appetizing we can at least console ourselves with the fact that it isn't hit rating.
According to a sourceless MMO-Champion forum post I found, and from my own stellar intuition and deductive reasoning skills, I would hazard a guess that this sword drops off of Sha of Pride.
Gar'tok, Strength of the Faithful Visually, maces have been fairly lackluster for the duration of the expansion thus far -- the only mace that I felt came close to being interesting was Invocation of the Dawn. I'm sorry to report that Gar'tok, Strength of the Faithful is no exception. Statwise it comes equipped with mastery and expertise, the latter of which dwarves and humans can add to with their Mace Specialization.
This weapon should drop off Malkorok per that thread, which makes a bit of sense considering the blind faith Malkorok has in Garrosh's leadership.
Xal'atoh, Desecrated Image of Gorehowl I'm not really sure we need to know what Garrosh did to Gorehowl to turn it into this. With itemization that was more suited for ret during Cataclysm, the lack of haste on Xal'atoh, Desecrated Image of Gorehowl cuts deep here. It is still unclear if we will be as overloaded with hit and expertise in 5.4 as we are now, though a cursory glance at our potential trinket options seems to indicate that we might not be drowning in the stuff. Therefore, hoping for some big globs of hit and expertise on a weapon (like the aforementioned mace) might not be so heretical.
I would hope that this weapon drops off of Garrosh Hellscream, the final boss, but you never really know with Blizzard.
Britomart's Jagged Pike When the loot tables first came out on the 5.2 PTR, I nearly coated my monitor in coffee upon seeing Bo-Ris, Horror in the Night. The last time we saw a polearm near the top of the pecking order was during Icecrown Citadel when Blood Queen Lana'thel would gaze kindly upon your raid and drop Bloodfall, a polearm that, despite having agility as its main stat, was a very competitive two-hander for retribution. Personally, I tried to keep my hands clean of the whole "agility BiS" debacle near the end of Wrath, but I knew a few ret paladins who wielded that agile armament with pride.
It appears that the loot gods are kind and just, as we are being gifted yet another strength polearm in 5.4, Britomart's Jagged Pike. The stats on this fine instrument of death are very well suited for a ret paladin, almost suspiciously so.
Usually when Blizzard goes and names an item after someone, they use the naming convention "Person's Blankity Blank." Unfortunately my search of forums and blogs proved fruitless as I found no ret paladin contributor named Britomart, but it still really seemed like a reference to something so I continued digging.
Stumped, I consulted a friend much more versed in literature than I am and she mentioned that Britomart was a character in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, an early 16th century epic poem. A quick Wikipedia search yielded an interesting result (emphasis added):
And there you have it. Until now, I hadn't realized that there are few notable female paladins within World of Warcraft, the only two that I'm aware of being Lady Liadrin and Aponi Brightmane. Hopefully Blizzard takes the initiative to send a few of those types of characters the Alliance's way.
Britomart, a female knight, the personification and champion of Chastity. She is young and beautiful, and falls in love with Artegal upon first seeing his face in her father's magic mirror. Although there is no interaction between them, she falls in love with him, and travels, dressed as a knight and accompanied by her nurse, Glauce, in order to find Artegal again. Britomart carries an enchanted spear that allows her to defeat every knight she encounters, until she loses to a knight who turns out to be her beloved Artegal.
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.