[WOWClassic] WotLK Retribution Paladin Guide 2023

WotLK Classic Retribution Paladin Guide 2023

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction to Retribution Paladins

2. Race Selection

3. Talents and Talent Builds

4. Stats Priority

5. Gearing and Enchanting

6. Glyphs

7. Spells and Abilities

8. Rotation and Priority

9. Buffs and AurasConsumables

10. Gems

10. Playing a Retribution Paladin in PvE

11. Playing a Retribution Paladin in PvP

12. Professions for Retribution Paladins

13. Macros

14. Common Mistakes and Tips for Improvement

15. Conclusion

Introduction to Retribution Paladins

Retribution Paladins are holy warriors that wield the power of the Light to smite their foes. They are capable of dealing significant melee damage while also providing utility and support to their party members. In WotLK, Retribution Paladins received several improvements to their abilities, making them viable and potent damage dealers in both PvE and PvP settings.

In PvE, Retribution Paladins are melee DPS classes capable of providing sustained single-target and cleave damage. They excel in boss fights and are valued for their utility, such as blessings, auras, and off-heals. In PvP, they are durable damage dealers with powerful crowd control abilities and self-sustain.

Race Selection

In WotLK, all Alliance races except Worgen and all Horde races except Goblins can be Paladins. Each race provides unique racial abilities, but the differences are not significant enough to dramatically impact your performance as a Retribution Paladin. Therefore, the best race for a Retribution Paladin mainly depends on personal preference and the faction you want to play.


1. Human: The Human's racial ability, Every Man for Himself, can remove stuns, which can be valuable in PvP. Their Sword Specialization racial also provides a small boost to damage with swords.

2. Dwarf: Stoneform removes poisons, diseases, and bleeds, providing excellent survivability in specific encounters.

3. Draenei: The Draenei's Gift of the Naaru ability can heal you or an ally, adding to your self-sustain.


Blood Elf: Arcane Torrent silences enemies and restores mana, making it useful in both PvE and PvP situations.


Paladin Retribution Talents

The Retribution section of the Paladin talent tree focuses on increasing your damage and sustaining Mana to be able to continuously use your spells and abilities.

Benediction reduces the cost of your Seals and Judgement ability. These are two of the spells you will cast the most, so the Mana cost reduction is very noticeable.

Heart of the Crusader turns an already powerful personal debuff on the mob into something that benefits the entire party by making critical strikes more likely against mobs effected by this debuff.

Seal of Command will be your go-to seal in an AoE or multi-target situation.

Pursuit of Justice gives a small chance you will completely avoid some spells as well as increasing your movement speed. One of Paladin's largest weaknesses is their lack of mobility so any added movement speed is huge.

Crusade is a flat damage increase against Humanoids, Demons, Undead, and Elementals which covers almost every mob you will encounter in Northrend.

Sanctified Retribution increases the damage of everyone effected by your auras by 3%

Vengeance increases your Physical damage and Holy damage stacking up to 3 times all the way to 15% every time you crit. This synergizes extremely well with other talents we have taken that increase the crit chance of our abilities.

Repentance incapacitates your target for 6 seconds. This is a powerful crowd control effect but can only be used against Humanoids and breaks on damage.

Fanaticism increases the crit chance of judgements by 18% and reduces all threat generated by 30%.

Crusader Strike deals 75% of your weapon damage on a short cooldown and is a key part of your damage rotation.

Divine Storm deals 110% of your weapon damage to 3 enemies and will be a primary part of not only your AoE DPS rotation but single-target as well!

Stats Priority

Understanding the importance of different stats is crucial for optimizing your Retribution Paladin's performance:

1. Strength: Your primary stat, as it directly increases your attack power and damage.

2. Hit Rating: Aim to reach the spell hit cap, which is 8% (263 hit rating) for Draenei, Humans, or Seal of the Martyr, and 9% (295 hit rating) for other races. Hit rating reduces the chance that your attacks will miss.

3. Critical Strike Rating: Critical strikes provide additional damage, and Retribution Paladins have talents that increase their critical strike damage.

4. Expertise: Reduces the chance for your attacks to be dodged or parried. Aim to cap expertise at 26 (214 expertise rating).

5. Attack Power: Increases your overall damage output.

6. Haste: Reduces the cooldown of your abilities and increases your attack speed.

7. Armor Penetration: Provides more consistent damage against heavily armored targets.

8. Agility: Adds to your attack power and critical strike chance but is less valuable than Strength.

9. Intellect: Provides additional mana and spell critical strike chance.

10. Stamina: Increases your health pool, improving survivability.

It's essential to prioritize hit rating and expertise until you reach their respective caps, as missing or having attacks parried can significantly impact your damage output.

5. Gearing and Enchanting


When gearing up your Retribution Paladin, focus on obtaining gear with Strength, Hit Rating, Critical Strike Rating, and Attack Power. Look for gear with these stats on both armor and weapons. Agility, Haste, and Armor Penetration are also beneficial but not as critical as the primary stats.

Pre-Raid Gear:

Helm: Savage Gladiator's Scaled Helm, Mask of the Watcher, Mask of Distant Memory

Neck: Wail of the Val'kyr, Broach of the Wailing Night

Shoulders: Spaulders of the Snow Bandit, Flamebinder Shoulderpads

Back: Shroud of Moorabi, Cloak of the Gushing Wound

Chest: Polished Regimental Hauberk, Breastplate of the Imperial Joust

Wrists: Battlemap Hide Bracers, Magroth's Meditative Cincture

Gloves: Flamebinder Gloves, Gauntlets of the Royal Watch

Waist: Sabatons of Rapid Recovery, Stonepath Sabatons

Legs: Legplates of the Northern Expedition, Heroes' Redemption Legplates

Feet: Greaves of the Lingering Vortex, Brilliant Hailstone Hauberk

Rings: Ring of Scarlet Shadows, Triumph of the Frost Wyrm

Trinkets: Darkmoon Card: Greatness, Mirror of Truth

Weapon: Edge of Ruin, Titansteel Destroyer

Ranged: Wrathful Gladiator's Longbow, Arrow of Time


Enchanting your gear is essential to maximize your performance. Here are some recommended enchantments for Retribution Paladins:

1. Helm: Arcanum of Torment

2. Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Axe

3. Back: Major Agility

4. Chest: Powerful Stats

5. Wrists: Greater Assault

6. Gloves: Crusher or Precision

7. Legs: Icescale Leg Armor

8. Feet: Icewalker

9. Weapon: Mongoose or Massacre (depending on your weapon speed)


Glyphs are another way to customize your abilities and enhance your Retribution Paladin's performance. Here are some recommended glyphs:

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Judgement: Increases the range of your Judgement by 10 yards.

Glyph of Crusader Strike: Increases the damage of your Crusader Strike by 10%.

Glyph of Seal of Command: Increases the damage dealt by Seal of Command by 10%.

Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Sense Undead: Makes your Sense Undead ability permanent.

Glyph of Lay on Hands: Reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by 5 minutes.

Glyph of Blessing of Kings: Reduces the mana cost of Blessing of Kings by 50%.

Spells and Abilities

As a Retribution Paladin, you have a variety of spells and abilities at your disposal. Understanding how to use them effectively is key to maximizing your damage output and survivability.


1. Seal of Command: Your primary seal for single-target damage. It has a chance to deal additional Holy damage on each melee swing.

2. Seal of Righteousness: Use this seal for AoE damage when facing multiple targets.

3. Seal of Vengeance/Corruption: Available with a talent, this seal deals damage over time and can be used for sustained single-target DPS.


Judgement of Command: Use with Seal of Command for burst damage and to trigger your Seal's additional damage effect.

Judgement of Righteousness: Use with Seal of Righteousness for AoE damage.

Judgement of Vengeance/Corruption: Use with Seal of Vengeance/Corruption for sustained single-target DPS.

Crusader Strike: Your primary damaging ability. Use it on cooldown for consistent damage.

Divine Storm: An AoE ability that hits multiple targets around you. Use it when facing multiple enemies.

Consecration: AoE damage over time ability. Use it when facing multiple enemies and keep it active during extended fights.

Exorcism: A ranged attack that deals Holy damage. It has a chance to be instant-cast against Undead and Demons.

Hammer of Wrath: An execute ability that deals Holy damage to targets below 20% health.

Art of War: A talent that makes your next Exorcism instant cast and increases its damage.

Hand of Reckoning: Use this ability to taunt enemies and generate threat.

Lay on Hands: A powerful self-heal. Use it when you're in danger of dying.


1. Blessing of Might: Increases attack power. Provide this to melee DPS classes and Hunters.

2. Blessing of Wisdom: Increases mana regeneration. Provide this to casters and healers.

3. Blessing of Kings: Increases all attributes. A versatile blessing for the entire group.

Rotation and Priority

In PvE, your rotation and priority will vary depending on your talents, gear, and the encounter. However, a general priority list can be followed:

Keep up the appropriate Seal (Command, Righteousness, or Vengeance/Corruption) based on the situation.

1. Use Crusader Strike on cooldown.

2.Use Judgement on cooldown, prioritizing the appropriate Judgement for your Seal.

3.Use Divine Storm when facing multiple targets.

4. Use Exorcism when it procs from Art of War or against Undead and Demons.

5.Use Consecration when facing multiple enemies and maintain its uptime.

6.Use Hammer of Wrath on targets below 20% health.

Buffs and Auras

As a Retribution Paladin, you can provide valuable buffs and auras to your party or raid members, enhancing their overall performance. Make sure to maintain these buffs throughout the encounter:


Blessing of Might: Increases attack power. Provide this to melee DPS classes and Hunters.

Blessing of Wisdom: Increases mana regeneration. Provide this to casters and healers.

Blessing of Kings: Increases all attributes. A versatile blessing for the entire group.


Devotion Aura: Increases party members' armor and provides extra protection against physical damage. Use this in most situations.

Retribution Aura: Reflects Holy damage back to attackers. Use this when you need some extra damage or against enemies that deal frequent melee attacks.

Concentration Aura: Increases party members' resistance to interrupts and silence effects. Use this when facing enemies that frequently interrupt spellcasting.


Using consumables can significantly boost your performance in raids and difficult encounters. Always have these consumables ready:

1. Flasks: Flask of Endless Rage (for increased attack power) or Flask of the North (for strength).

2. Potions: Potion of Speed (for a temporary attack speed boost) or Potion of Wild Magic (for additional spell power).

3. Food: Fish Feast (for a group) or Blackened Dragonfin (for solo) for the stamina and strength buff.


When gemming your gear, prioritize Strength gems. Use other gems like Agility or Haste to reach stat caps if needed. Some recommended gems include:

Red Socket: Bold Cardinal Ruby (Strength).

Yellow Socket: Inscribed Ametrine (Strength/Hit Rating) or Deadly Ametrine (Agility/Critical Strike Rating).

Blue Socket: Sovereign Dreadstone (Strength/Stamina) or Nightmare Tear (a hybrid gem that provides a mix of stats).

Gemming is highly dependent on your gear and stat priorities, so adjust as necessary.

Playing a Retribution Paladin in PvE and PvP


In PvE, your primary role is to deal sustained damage to the boss or enemies while providing utility to your group. Make sure to maintain your DPS rotation and apply debuffs like Judgements and Consecration for additional damage. Coordinate with your group and use your blessings and auras to enhance their performance.


In PvP, Retribution Paladins are durable damage dealers with crowd control abilities and self-sustain. Your role is to apply consistent pressure to enemy targets while disrupting their plans and supporting your team. Here are some tips for PvP:

Burst Damage: Retribution Paladins can deal significant burst damage with cooldowns like Avenging Wrath and Divine Storm. Coordinate with your teammates to capitalize on these burst windows and focus on priority targets.

Crowd Control: Your Repentance and Hammer of Justice abilities provide crowd control options. Use them to lock down key enemies or peel for your teammates.

Self-Sustain: With abilities like Word of Glory and Lay on Hands, Retribution Paladins can keep themselves alive and survive sustained engagements.

Utility: Use your Blessings and Auras to provide utility to your teammates, such as Blessing of Freedom to remove movement impairing effects or Devotion Aura to reduce damage taken.

Positioning: Positioning is crucial in PvP. Avoid getting caught in enemy crowd control, and be mindful of your positioning relative to your teammates and objectives.

Professions for Retribution Paladins

While professions don't directly impact your combat performance, they can provide valuable benefits such as stat bonuses, gear enhancements, and money-making opportunities.

Blacksmithing: Provides access to some powerful plate armor and weapon enhancements.

Enchanting: Allows you to enchant your gear with beneficial stats.

Jewelcrafting: Allows you to craft powerful gems and trinkets.

Alchemy: Provides useful consumables and flasks for raiding and PvP.

Inscription: Provides access to powerful shoulder enchants and glyphs.

Engineering: Offers a variety of useful gadgets and trinkets.

Choose professions that align with your playstyle and provide the bonuses you desire.


Using macros can streamline your gameplay and make certain abilities easier to use. Here are some useful macros for a Retribution Paladin:

Mouseover Healing Macro:

/cast [@mouseover,help][@player] Word of Glory

Self-Cast Lay on Hands Macro:

/cast [@player] Lay on Hands

Divine Shield Cancelaura Macro:

/cancelaura Divine Shield

/cast Divine Shield

Common Mistakes and Tips for Improvement

1. Not Maintaining Buffs and Auras: Always keep your Blessings and Auras active, as they provide valuable utility to your group.

2. Poor Positioning: In both PvE and PvP, positioning is crucial. Avoid standing in harmful effects and position yourself optimally to deal damage and support your team.

3. Overusing Abilities with Long Cooldowns: Abilities like Avenging Wrath and Divine Shield have long cooldowns, so use them strategically when they will have the most impact.

4. Ignoring Crowd Control: Your crowd control abilities can be game-changers in both PvE and PvP. Use them wisely to control the flow of the battle.

5. Not Prioritizing Hit Rating and Expertise: Hit rating and expertise are essential to ensuring your attacks land and reducing the chance of being dodged or parried. Prioritize reaching their respective caps.


Playing a Retribution Paladin in WotLK can be a rewarding experience, offering powerful damage output, crowd control, and utility. Focus on optimizing your gear, talents, and rotation to maximize your performance in both PvE and PvP settings. Remember to support your teammates with blessings and auras, and be prepared to adapt your strategy to different encounters.

As you progress and gain more experience, continuously seek to improve your gameplay by learning from others, studying your logs, and staying up-to-date with class changes and strategies. Embrace the challenge and enjoy the journey of being a formidable Retribution Paladin in the world of Azeroth. Good luck and may the Light guide your path!