Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bad Ret Pallies and How to Not Be One

Every one who has ever run an instance with a PuG (Pick up Group) has met that guy. He is the one who the group openly ridicules and the source of the many wipes which ultimately lead to your tank "restarting his computer" indefinitely. There is a that guy for every spec of every class. Put simply, that guy is a bad group member.

Being a bad group member does not involve having bad gear or not blowing consumables, it simply entails not doing things to help your group and doing things which harm them in the process. Below I take aim at PvE Retribution Paladins laying out the dos and don'ts of contributing to your party as a dps spec which is so hot right now.

On Helping your Tank:

Your tank, absent direct instructions to the contrary, wants only two things from you. First, do not pull agro. Everyone in your group is sufficiently impressed with your massive Paladin dps. While pulling agro amongst your friends might be a point of pride, in a pickup group it is frustrating at best. If you start moving two far up the agro table, lay a few blows on another target and/or Hand of Salvation yourself. Your tank will love you for it.

Second, keep track of your positioning. As a melee dps, you are on the front lines of the eternal struggle against the enemy of the day. The risks of you stumbling too near a roving pat or nearby bunch of mobs is always high. Whenever there is doubt, err on the side of caution and stay farther away from nearby mobs than the tank. That way, if he is not pulling them, neither will you. Along the same line, try not to stand in front of mobs. Many of Azeroth's denizens have crafted nefarious means of slaying all that stands before them. Try to see that you do not become one of their victims.

On Helping your Healer:

Though you may not be a tank, you are wearing plate and with great power comes great responsibility. You are always your healer's second line of defense right behind the tanks. If a mob makes a break for the healers time to bust out Hammer of Justice or Repentance. If your crowd control is on cooldown, throw a little bit of dps the mobs way. Generally speaking, a mob is not going to pound on your healers unless it is relatively agro free. This means you are only one massive crit away from being the mobs new best friend. Keep in mind you are only a temporary distraction, do not pile on the dps and bring the mob promptly to the real tank. Many an avoidable wipe has been caused by a Ret Pally afraid of getting hit.

The second way you can help your healer is to reduce his work load by healing yourself. The Azerothian gods gave you Art of War for a reason. Go into your interface settings and enable auto self-casting and use those massive holes in your rotation to instant cast Flash of Light yourself. Since, your instant heals no longer reset your swing timer and mana regeneration is a breeze, there really is no reason not to.

On Helping Other DPS:

The same advice about protecting your healer also applies to your fellow dps. You should be the hardiest of your damage dealing brethren so if someone other than the tank is doomed to take a blow, make sure it is you. Though it may take a bit more to pull a mob off an agro hungry dps, never forget that you are just a temporary target so keep it as easy as you can for the tank to reestablish agro.

Also, stay on top of your buffs. Paladin buffs, when combined and properly used, are fairly potent and can make a noticeable difference in your groups damage output. Give your group members the buffs they want, not the ones you think they should have and refresh them before they expire. If you find yourself frequently being asked for a rebuff, you are not doing your job.

On Helping Yourself:

One of the best way to serve yourself and your group is to not die every other pull. PvE Ret Paladins are notorious for getting cut down enemy mobs. Defy the stereotype by keeping your self bubble handy and watching your agro. The extra dps you gain by jumping most of your tanks first attacks will never equal the dps you lost by being dead for 99% of that one pull. Resurrecting you takes time and mana. Take your time, be prepared, and watch your positioning and you will see the end of many battles.

Lastly, spec for success. You are, no doubt, born and bred to be a dps juggernaut, but you are also a team member. When selecting talents keep in mind that your contribution to a group is measured not by your place on the damage meters, but by how you raised your group's damage and survivability on the whole. In the long run, you and your groups will benefit.

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