The Complete Retribution Paladin Guide: Talents

The Complete Retribution Paladin Guide: Talents
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Examining Retribution Paladin Talents

In the first part of the Complete Retribution Paladin Guide we took a look at the basics - what the class is good at and how it works mechanically. Now it is time to start considering how the class evolves as it levels.

Talent trees are a major game mechanic in World of Warcraft, and they’re responsible for determining the abilities your character earns over time. Characters with different specifications have noticeable advantages if different areas.

However, not all talents are equally worthwhile. In this article I’ll take a look at each Retribution Paladin talent and provide a rating to indicate how good or bad it is.

Eye for an Eye (3 out of 5)

Effect: All magic attacks against you have a 20%/40% chance to cause 30% of the damage taken back to the attacker as well.
  • Ranks: 2

Although very handy in some situations, this passive ability isn’t consistently useful enough to recommend it as a must-have talent. It is, however, a good Retribution Paladin talent for situations where you need to spend a talent point to obtain the next tier of talents.

Crusade (5 out of 5)

  • Crusade

    Effect:Increases the damage of your Crusader’s Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Templar’s Verdict by 10/20/30% and the damage and healing of your Holy Shock by 30%.

  • Ranks: 3

This is absolutely a bread-and-butter ability for Retribution Paladins. Crusader’s Strike, Templar’s Verdict and Holy Shock are core abilities that Retribution Paladins use in every single fight. This talent makes these core abilities better in all situations. Your first three talent points should be used to max out this talent.

Improved Judgement (5 out of 5)

  • Improved Judgement

    Effect: Increases the range of Judgement by 10/20 yards.

  • Ranks: 2

Another extremely useful low-tier talent for Retribution Paladins, Improved Judgement doesn’t increase damage output but does give you the ability to pull creatures to you safely. This is also useful for smiting opponents that are low on health and trying to run away.

Guardian’s Favor (1 out of 5)

  • Guardian’s Favor

    Effect: Reduces the cooldown of your Hand of Protection by 1/2 minutes and increase the duration of your Hand of Freedom by 2/4 seconds.

  • Ranks: 2

This talent is generally not a good choice for Retribution Paladins. You’re a damage dealer, and you primary focus is always going to be damage. Sure, you can off-tank as well, and this makes off-tanking a tiny bit better and increases your ability to come through in “oh-snap!” situations. But these benefits simply don’t vibe with the strengths of Retribution Paladins. As a result, I can’t recommend this talent for any build.

Rule of Law (5 out of 5)

  • Rule of Law

    Effect: Increases the critical effect chance of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Word of Glory by 5%/10%/15%.

  • Ranks: 3

Another bread-and-butter Retribution Paladin talent, the use of Rule of Law is obvious. More crits mean more damage, and more damage means you are better fulfilling your primary role as a damage-dealing class. There is no reason to not take this talent.

Pursuit of Justice (4 out of 5)

  • Pursuit of Justice

    Effect: You have a 50/100% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power when struck by a Stun, Fear or Immobilze effect. In addition, this talent increases your movement and mounted movement speed by 8%/15%. This effect does not stack.

  • Ranks: 2

Having more holy power is always nice, and obtaining it when you are stunned or feared is particularly good if you like to play in dungeons or raid frequently, as these effects are very common in those situations. The movement speed bonus is a nice extra.

Communion (4 out of 5)

  • Communion

    Effect: Your auras increase your party and raid’s damage dealt by 3% and your damage by an additional 2%. In addition, your Judgement causes Replenishment. Replenishment grants up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 1% of the maximum mana per 10 second. Lasts for 15 seconds.

  • Ranks: 1

A handy talent, communion results in a minor overall damage increase for both yourself and your party. It also gives your Judgement, an ability you’ll be using very frequently, a slight boost to your party or raid’s mana regeneration. Although this isn’t the sort of effect that will make or break raids, it’s nice to have, and this talent requires a investment of just one measly talent point.

Art of War (5 out of 5)

  • Art of War

    Effect: Your autoattacks have a 7%/14%/20% chance to make your next Exorcism instant, free and cause 100% additional damage.

  • Ranks: 3

Another must-have talent in this Retribution Paladin talent guide, spending points on Art of War will result in a major boost in your DPS numbers. You don’t realize how good it is until the first time you use it and take out a fifth of an Elite mob’s health in one shot. Although expensive in terms of talent points, maxing this talent out is a must for all Retribution Paladins

Long Arm of the Law (3 out of 5)

  • Long Arm of the Law

    Effect: Your Judgement has a 50%/100% chance to increase your movement speed by 45% for 4 seconds when used on targets at or further than 15 yards from you.

  • Ranks: 2

Effectively the charge ability that Paladins never receive, Long Arm of the Law is perfect for closing distances with targets. This is really more useful in solo player than group play, as you won’t be running into mobs of opponents head-first in most groups (that’s the tanks job!).

Divine Storm (3 out of 5)

Divine Storm

Effect: An instant attack that causes weapon damage to all enemies within 8 yards. The Divine Storm heals up to 3 party or raid members totaling 25% of the damage caused. Consumes all Holy Power to increase damage dealt. 1 Holy Power: 22% Weapon Damage, 2 Holy Power: 74% Weapon Damage, 3 Holy Power: 150% Weapon Damage.

Ranks: 1

All talent guides, including this Retribution Paladin talent guide, often end up talking about an AOE ability if they focus on a class that does damage. And, well, here we are.

Divine Storm may as well be called “Generic Trash Mob Killing Ability” because that’s exactly what it’s useful for - and not much else. Against small numbers of strong opponents you’re clearly better off using your typical Crusader Strike into Templar’s Verdict combo, but Divine Storm can be handy if you play a lot of instances or raids and you need another tool for taking care of trash.

Rebuke (3 out of 5)

  • Rebuke

    Effect: Interrupts Spellcasting and prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 4 seconds

  • Ranks: 1

Rebuke is obviously tailored for taking out spellcasters. Its inclusion as a talent may be a bone throw specifically at PvP players, as the Paladin has traditionally lacked an interrupt ability useful against spellcasting classes. Rebuke can be useful against mobs as well, however, although in a limited number of circumstances.

Sanctity of Battle (5 out of 5)

  • Sanctity of Battle

    Effect: Haste effects lower the cooldown of your Crusader Strike

  • Ranks: 1

Yep, this is another must-have Retribution Paladin talent. You may not want to take it as soon as you have access to it, because at lower levels there isn’t a lot that effects your haste rating. As you progress up the leveling treadmill, however, this becomes essential. The normal cooldown of Crusader Strike is 4.5 seconds, but with Sanctity of Battle and enough haste (about 800+ depending on your latency) you can spam out Crusader Strike about once every 3 seconds. Nice!

Seal of Command (3 out of 5)

  • Seal of Command

    Effect: Your Seal of Righteousness, Seal of Truth and Seal of Justice now also deal 7% weapon damage each time you swing. In addition, your Seal of Righteousness now hits up to 2 additional targets.

  • Ranks: 1

Not bad, but not great. Seal of Command will increase your damage and, being a damage-dealing class, that’s good. You will probably be disappointed on the effect this ultimately has on your overall DPS numbers, however.

Sanctified Wrath (5 out of 5)

  • Sanctified Wrath

    Effect: Increases the critical strike chance of Hammer of Wrath by 20%/40%/60%, reduces the cooldown of Avenging Wrath by 20/40/60 secs and allows the use of Hammer of Wrath at all times during Avenging Wrath.

  • Ranks: 3

Alright, think about this. You know that Hammer of Wrath does a lot of damage. And you know that critical strikes with abilities that do a lot of damage end up dealing absurd damage. This talent makes that critical even more likely to happen - and it also makes it possible to use Avenging Wrath, which lasts 20 seconds, once every two minutes instead of once every three minutes.

What’s not to like? Granted, in solo play these sort of short-cooldown talents are jarring because you can use them only once every handful of fights. For PvP fights and longer dungeon and raid fights, however, this is talent will drastically increase your lethality.

This is one of the best talents discussed in the World of Warcraft Paladin talent guide.

Selfless Healer (2 out of 5)

  • Selfless Healer

    Effect: When you heal others with Word of Glory, it increases the effectiveness of the heal by 25%/50% and increases your damage done by 2%/4% per charge of Holy Power for 10 seconds.

  • Ranks: 2

This is a tricky one. At first glance this seems like it would increase your damage - with three charges of Holy Power you could have a damage boost of 12% for 10 seconds! However, the problem is you have to use Word of Glory. As a Retribution Paladin you may not have anyone to heal, and even if you do, you have to use Word of Glory instead of Templar’s Verdict.

As a result Selfless Healer actually decreases your DPS in most situations. It might be effective if you’re duoing a lot with another class that can’t heal, but otherwise you should skip it.

Repentance (4 out of 5)

  • Repentance

    Effect: Puts an enemy target into a state of meditation, incapacitating them for up to 1 min. Any damage caused will awaken the target. Usable against Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids and Undead.

  • Ranks: 1

This is a nice crowd-control ability that adds some extra utility to Retribution Paladins. Given that it only costs one point, I recommend picking it up. Since the cooldown is 1 minute and the duration is 1 minute you could in theory keep a target incapacitated forever (assuming you never miss). Note that the incapacitation only lasts 8 seconds in PvP combat.

Divine Purpose (5 out of 5)

  • Divine Purpose

    Effect: The following attacks have a 20%/40% chance to generate Holy Power: Judgement, Exorcism, Templar’s Verdict, Divine Storm, Inquisition, Holy Wrath.

  • Ranks: 2

This talent represents a straight increase to the amount of holy power you will be receiving in combat. As Templar’s Verdict and Word of Glory both operate off holy power, this is obviously a good thing. There isn’t a reason for any Retribution Paladin to not take this talent.

Inquiry of Faith (4 out of 5)

  • Inquiry of Faith

    Effect: Increases the periodic damage done by Seal of Truth by 10%/20%/30% and the duration of your Inquisition by 150%.

  • Ranks: 3

Another nice damage increase overall, Inquiry of Faith isn’t as amazing as it could be since it is tied to abilities you may not be using all of the time depending on your situation and play-style. Still, it’s clearly better than the other talent on its tier (examined below) so most Retribution Paladins will end up taking it .

Acts of Sacrifice (3 out of 5)

  • Acts of Sacrifice

    Effect: Decreases the cooldown by 10%/20% and mana cost by 10%/20% of your Hand of Freedom, Hand of Salvation and Hand of Sacrifice.

  • Ranks: 2

This is another example of a talent that can be very useful in a limited number of circumstances, but those circumstances are so limited that there isn’t much reason to take he talent. The mana cost reduction is virtually a non-issue for many Retribution Paladins because our main damage dealing abilities have no or little mana consumption to start with. The cooldown is nice, too - but really, how often is a reduction of the cooldown of Hand of Freedom from 25 seconds to 20 seconds going to make or break your character?

Zealotry (5 out of 5)

  • Zealotry

    Effect: Your Crusader Strike generates 3 charges of Holy Power per strike for the next 20 seconds.

  • Ranks: 1

Yep, that’s right. With Zealotry you can charge your Holy Power to full with a single blow! This means that you can essentially spam Crusader Strike, followed by Templar’s Verdict, as frequently as you need to (particularly if you have added haste effects that reduce your Crusader Strike cooldown).

The cooldown of Zealotry is only 2 minutes, as well, so you’ll be able to pop this often frequently. This will have a big positive impact on the DPS you can crank out during a major boss fight.

Among all of the talents in this WoW Paladin talent guide this is one of the most impressive. Of course, it should be - it marks the end of the Retribution talent tree!


Now that you know all about WoW Retribution Paladin talents it is time to answer the magic question - what should you spend your points on?

Follow - this link - to find the current optimal build. You’ll nice that there are some points spent in other talent trees. That is because you have some points left over to spend after you max out Retribution. You won’t have the chance to do that until you’re at very high levels, however.

Optimal is, of course, an opinion. If you’d like to play around a bit, here are the talents I consider to be essential to every Retribution Paladin:

  • Crusade
  • Rule of Law
  • Art of War
  • Sanctity of Battle
  • Sanctified Wrath
  • Divine Purpose
  • Zealotry

That’s a total of 16 talent points, so you have 15 more talent points to play around with as you desire. And feel free to play around - after all, changing your talent isn’t a big deal these days.

This post is part of the series: The Complete Retribution Paladin Guide

Looking to play a Retribution Paladin in World of Warcraft? You’ll find everything you need to know here.

  1. The Complete Retribution Paladin Guide Part 1: The Basics
  2. The Complete Retribution Paladin Guide Part 2: The Best and Worst Talents
  3. The Complete Retribution Paladin Guide Part 3: Abilities and Rotations
  4. The Complete Retribution Paladin Guide Part 4: Gear