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The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing options for retribution, part deux


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 with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

I know you all have been waiting for this post with bated breath ever since I unveiled the first half of the list a few weeks ago. "Wonderful," you whispered quietly to yourself as you read that article while snuggled beneath a warm blanket, "now I know where all of the best gear comes from!" Then Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring opened up and you found yourself in a haze, unsure of where you should focus your coin attacks. Well fear not, stalwart reader, for this post is here to save the day!

Okay, so gear lists are kinda boring -- truthfully, they are probably just as boring to read as they are to write. But I'm going to try something with this list in an attempt to forestall the drooping of the eyelids. As embarrassing as it may be, I am going to walk through my own gear and discuss which upgrades will provide the most bang for my elder buck by determining the relative value of each piece using some generated stat weights. My hope is that this process will make it easier for you to pick out the amazing upgrades from the mediocre upgrades and the higher-ilvl downgrades.

It should be noted, of course, that stat weights fluctuate as you accumulate gear, and therefore in reality there is no single set of weights you should always go by. A good practice to get into, if you're looking to maximize your DPS any way possible, is to download SimulationCraft and generate your own weights.

Setting up

Before we jump into the list, here is a link to my gear setup at the time of this writing. Of course, you can always visit my Armory and make fun of me because my sword clashes with the rest of my transmog (I'm too lazy to find a more fitting sword). Anyway, I imported this data into the latest version of SimC and generated some stat weights using default settings and 25,000 iterations.

The Light and How to Swing It Gearing options for retribution, part deux
Why are these numbers important aside from determining a general stat priority? I'm going to use them to determine how much theoretical DPS each piece could give me by multiplying the stats on the gear by the number shown (because the weights themselves are expressed in terms of X DPS gain per stat point), and subtracting out the values from my previous piece of gear.

Keep in mind that this isn't an exact science. This method of comparison leaves some things out, like reforging or racial stat boosts, but it should be fairly close. Hit and expertise values will be calculated as if you are below their respective caps, and all values will be rounded to the nearest whole number.

So let's walk through the calculations for a piece on our list: Garalon's Graven Carapace vs Ghost Reaver's Breastplate.

Current: 855 Str, 500 Crit, 687 Mastery
855(2.71) + 500(0.95) + 687(0.85) = 3376 DPS

Upgrade: 1063 Str, 828 Crit, 578 Hit
1063(2.71) + 828(0.95) + 578(2.17) = 4922 DPS

Δ: +1546 DPS

Hopefully that all made sense. If you have any questions, please shout out in the comments below. Otherwise, let's get crunching!

Heart of Fear

Imperial Vizier Zor'lok
Hisek's Chrysanthemum Cape – Δ: +561 DPS
Warbelt of Sealed Pods – Δ: +0 DPS (already have it, booyah!)

Blade Lord Ta'yak
Ring of the Bladed Tempest – Δ: +353 DPS
Waistplate of Overwhelming Assault – Δ: -295 DPS

Garalon's Graven Carapace - Δ: +1546 DPS
Necklace of Congealed Weakness – Δ: +14 DPS

Wind Lord Mel'jarak
Gauntlets of the Shadowy Conqueror (White Tiger Gauntlets) – Δ: +710 DPS (-1 socket)
Impaling Treads – Δ: +1000 DPS (+1 socket)

Amber-Shaper Un'sok
Leggings of the Shadowy Conqueror (White Tiger Legplates) – Δ: +825 DPS (-1 socket)
Shoulderpads of Misshapen Life – Δ: -311 DPS

Grand Empress Shek'zeer
Chest of the Shadowy Conqueror (White Tiger Battleplate) – Δ: +1054 DPS

Terrace of Endless Spring

Protector Kaolan
Bracers of Defiled Earth – Δ: +197 DPS
Shackle of Eversparks – Δ: +957 DPS

Dread Shadow Ring – Δ: +423 DPS
Patroller's Girdle of Endless Spring – Δ: +402 DPS (-1 socket)

Lei Shi
Shoulders of the Shadowy Conqueror (White Tiger Pauldrons) – Δ: +660 DPS
Patroller's Girdle of Endless Spring – Δ: +402 DPS (-1 socket)
Darkmist Vortex – See below

Sha of Fear
Helm of the Shadowy Conqueror (White Tiger Helmet) – Δ: +1239 DPS
Shin'ka, Execution of Dominion – Δ: +7179 DPS (see below)

Binds when equipped
Plated Locust Bracers (zone drop, Heart of Fear) – Δ: +0 DPS (already have them, second booyah!)
Ornate Battleplate of the Master (blacksmithing) – Δ: +1309 DPS
Bloodforged Warfists (blacksmithing) – Δ: +706 DPS

In order to determine the approximate DPS increase of Shin'ka, I used two additional numbers from SimC: 5.68 for weapon DPS and 349.48 for weapon speed.

Trinkets, such as Darkmist Vortex, aren't as simple to compare as other pieces of gear. It's pretty clear that Vortex would be a great upgrade to my Lessons of the Darkmaster, and even to my Relic of Xuen, but surprisingly it isn't the best trinket of the tier. Thanks to an unfortunately long internal cooldown of 105 seconds (source) this trinket falls behind a lower ilvl alternative, Lei Shen's Final Orders.

Finally, a note about coins. Naturally, you'll want to use your coins where you are most likely to get an upgrade, which means that you should consider the approximate amount of DPS gained as well as the number of items you could use off that boss. For example, if I were to stroll into Terrace of the Endless Spring and only had two coins to use because I've been slacking on my dailies, I would prioritize Lei Shi and Sha of Fear.

Do you guys and gals have your raid drops mapped out? Which pieces are you gunning for?

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.

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