Hi, Shadow here. This is just a rundown of changes to Retribution moving from 4.3 to 5.0 at level 85. There will be a few mentions of level 90 here, but mostly for 85. Enjoy!

Note: I will not be going into the math side of what's going on here. This is just to give you guys an idea of what to do now.

Major Changes

A ton of stuff has been changed. For starters, the talent system no longer has anything to do with our specialization. For specs, you pop into what used to be the talent and glyph frame. It now has a third tab for specs. Talents are mostly utility now.

Prime glyphs are gone, and most glyphs are now utility only. While some glyphs will give marginal increases to character power, most are basically "HEY THIS MAKES SOMETHING AWESOME."

A lot of abilities and spells have been mixed up. Some have a different resource cost, some are now affected by haste, and some are just plain gone from Ret.

Auras are gone. Seals have been placed on the aura bar.

Anyway, hit that Ret spec button and we'll get started.

Abilities and Spells

Active abilities

Inquisition - In addition to increasing Holy damage by 30%, it now increases critical hit chance by 10%. Duration is now 10 seconds per Holy Power, down from 12 seconds. Inquisition now has the ability to "Roll" which means if you cast it when the current duration is 1.5 seconds, the new duration will be 31.5 seconds (if you used 3 holy power on it). GLYPH OF INQUISITION IS BAD, DO NOT USE IT. See Glyph section for details.
Crusader Strike - Unchanged as far as mechanics goes. Still generates Holy Power, still costs mana, and cooldown still affected by haste.
Judgement - Now generates Holy Power regardless of T13 set bonuses. Cooldown is now affected by haste.
Exorcism - Now generates Holy Power, instant cast with a 15 second cooldown, and its cooldown is now affected by haste. Art of War has also been changed, it now has a 20% chance upon autoattacks to reset the cooldown of Exorcism, instead of giving Exorcism an instant cast.
Hammer of Wrath - Still a killshot ability. Now generates Holy Power, and its cooldown is affect by haste.
Hammer of the Righteous - In addition to Protection, Ret also has this now. It is the "AoE" version of Crusader Strike basically. It generates Holy Power (regardless of how many targets it hits, DON'T USE IT SINGLE TARGET ONLY), and it's cooldown is affected by haste. Also reduces the physical damage dealt by 10% to all targets hit for 30 seconds.
Templar's Verdict - Still our "Finisher" move. Cannot be used without 3 holy power, and only consumes 3 holy power, so the ability to be "bad" with it is now gone (I know I've mispressed it at 2hp a fair bit).
Divine Storm - If you remember back to Patch 4.0 and early Cataclysm, Divine Storm used Holy Power and was a fairly weak AoE. Well instead of sharing a cooldown with Crusader Strike and generating Holy Power if it hit 4 or more targets, it now costs 3 Holy Power (no more, no less) and does a fairly strong amount of AoE damage. This should replace Templar's Verdict in AoE situations at our finisher.
Holy Wrath - GONE, Ret no longer has this spell.
Consecration - GONE, Ret no longer has this spell.
Holy Light - GONE, Ret no longer has this spell.
Divine Light - GONE, Ret no longer has this spell.
Holy Radiance - GONE, Ret no longer has this spell.
Flash of Light - Still there. Supplication will give FoL an auto crit ability upon landing a killing blow on a non-grey level target, similar to how Crusade increased Holy Light by 300% (actually, this pretty much replaces that).
Word of Glory - Still heals. Cooldown has been removed (remember early Cataclysm when it had no cooldown?)
Emancipate - Removes one movement impairing effect (think cleanse with Acts of Sacrifice).
Cleanse - Now has an 8 second cooldown, but clears ALL poisons and diseases active on the target. No longer good for clearing movement impairing effects, see Emancipate for that.
Devotion Aura - Instead of being passive and giving armor, it now is a cooldown against magic. It has a 2 minute cooldown, 6 second duration, and while active, it grants immunity to silence and interrupt effects and reduces magic damage taken by 20% to all party/raid members in range. 40 yard range.
Divine Protection - Now by default gives 40% magical damage reduction. To return the 20% physical, 20% magical, the glyph is required. Basically the unglyphed version and glyphed version have been flip-flopped.
Hand of Salvation - No longer has the glyph. If you relied on that to prevent threat pulling right off the bat, you will have to rethink your "I don't want to pull threat." strategy. In general, it won't be an issue since tanks now like hit and expertise and theoretically will not miss their first attack anymore.
Reckoning - No longer named Hand of Reckoning (was it called that in patch 4.3? I didn't notice if it was changed earlier.) Still taunts the target.
Righteous Defense - Our AoE taunt is now gone to all specs. Poof. This only really affect Prot, but I felt it was worth a mention since this can no longer be used to annoy a tank in a 5 man. *Snicker*
Repentance - Now a talent, see talent section for details.
Blinding Light - Level 87 spell. Basically is an AoE blind.

Passive Abilities
Boundless Conviction - We can now storm up to 5 Holy Power. We cannot however, use more than 3 at a time. This will be detailed in the Rotation section.
Heart of the Crusader - Replaces Crusader Aura. You can now have your 20% mount speed increase without your raid leader screaming at you to change your aura because you forgot.
Judgements of the Bold - This is the reason Judgement now grants 1 Holy Power. It also applies the Physical Vulnerability debuff on the target, increasing their physical damage taken by 4%. No longer affects mana regen.
Mastery, Hand of Light - Essentially the same as before. In addition to Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Templar's Verdict, two more abilities now are affected by our mastery: Hammer of the Righteous and Hammer of Wrath.
Sanctity of Battle - Big change here. Causes haste to affect the cooldown of multiple abilities. Crusader strike is still included, Divine Storm was removed from it, and the following abilities now are also included: Judgement, Hammer of Wrath, Exorcism, and Hammer of the Righteous.
Supplication - Basically replaces Crusade, but instead of Holy Light, it affects Flash of Light. 8 Seconds after landing a killing blow that grants honor or experience (non-gray targets), Flash of Light will be a critical.
Sword of Light - 10% increase to damage with 2hand melee weapons. Spellpower is now equal to 50% of attack power, and removes benefit to other sources of spellpower. Grants 6% of maximum mana every 2 seconds. Incresaes Healing done by Word of Glory and Flash of Light by 30%.
The Art of War - As mentioned above with Exorcism, autoattacks have a 20% chance of resetting the cooldown of Exorcism. No longer causes Exorcism to be an instant cast with 100% increased damage.


note: Protection and Holy glyphs will not be mentioned.

Major Glyphs
Avenging Wrath - While Avenging Wrath is active, you are healed for 1% of your maximum health every 2 seconds.
Blessed Life - While Seal of Insight is active, you have a 50% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power whenever you are affected by a Stun, Fear, or Immobilize effect. 20 Second cooldown.
Blinding Light - Knocks targets down for 3 seconds instead of blinding.
Divine Protection - Reduces magical damage reduction by 20% and adds 20% physical damage reduction.
Divine Storm - Divine Storm now heals you for 5% of your maximum health.
Divinity - Increases the cooldown of Lay oh Hands by 2 minutes but it now grants you 10% of your maximum mana.
Double Jeopardy - Judgement increases the damage of your next Judgement by 20% if used on a different target.
Flash of Light - Flash of Light increases the your next heal on the same target within 7 seconds by 10%.
Hammer of the Righteous - The physicial damage reduction debuff caused now lasts 50% longer.
Harsh Words - Word of Glory can now be used as a damaging spell when cast on an enemy. Think ranged Templar's Verdict, just not as good.
Immediate Truth - Increases instant damage done by Seal of Truth by 30%, but descreases the damage done by Censure by 50%. Situational.
Inquisition - Reduces the damage bonus of Inquisition by 15% (half) but increases the duration by 100%. THIS IS BAD, DO NOT USE. There is no shortage in Holy Power now.
Rebuke - Increases the cooldown by 5 seconds and the lockout by 2 seconds.
Templar's Verdict - You take 10% less damage for 6 seconds after dealing damage with Templar's Verdict.
Turn Evil - No change.
Word of Glory - Increases your damage by 3% per Holy Power spent after you cast Word of Glory or Eternal Flame. Lasts 6 seconds.
Protector of the Innocent - When Word of Glory is used to heal another target, it also heals you for 20% of the amount.

Minor Glyphs
Contemplation - Teaches you the ability Contemplation. Allows you a moment of peace as you kneel in quiet contemplation to ponder the nature of the Light.
Fire From the Heavens - Your Judgement and Hammer of Wrath criticals call down fire from the sky.
Luminous Charger - Paladin mounts now glow with holy light.
Seal of Blood - Seal of Truth now uses the Seal of Blood visual. This is nostalgic for veteran Ret paladins.
The Mounted King - Mounting on a paladin mount now casts Blessing of Kings on you.
Winged Vengeance - Causes Avenging Wrath to sprout "Butterfly" wings instead of the typical two wings.
Bladed Judgement - Judgement visual is now an axe or sword instead of a hammer if you have an axe or sword equipped instead of a mace.
Falling Avenger - Avenging Wrath now allows you to slowfall.
Righteous Retreat - While Divine Shield is active, Hearthstone cast is 50% faster. Any veteran paladin will know what this means... BUBBLE HEARTH!


Note: In most cases, talents should be taken for personal choice, but I will still give my reasoning for taking the talents I think are mandatory.

Level 15: Mobility Tier
Level 30: CC Tier
Level 45: Survival Tier
Level 60: Utility Tier
Level 75: Damage Tier
Level 90: Cool new abilities Tier.

Please check out the Wowhead talent calculators for a full description on the talents. I will outline some of the talents here that I think are useful, however.

First Tier (Level 15)

Long Arm of the Law is still here. Grants a mini sprint when you judge, no longer dependent on range from the target. Good for switching between targets in a fight quickly when the targets are not near each other.
Pursuit of Justice is useful, but personally, I don't think it's as useful as the mini sprint since you can get the boot enchant to cover some of the lost ground from not having it.

Second Tier (Level 30)

I mentioned above that I would explain Repentance here. It is now a level 30 talent with a 1.5 second cast time (affected by haste) and a 15 second cooldown. Other than that, it is still the same. I like to use it for the CC. It's not as good in pvp anymore.

Third Tier (Level 45)

Selfless Healer - Successful Judgements reduce the cast time and mana cost of the next Flash of Light by 35% per stack and improves it effectiveness by 35% per stack when used to heal others. Stacks up to 3 times. Think Art of War from way back in Wrath, when it caused both Exorcism and Flash of Light to be instant cast, although we only wanted to use the Art of War proc on healing when Exorcism was on cooldown. I took this talent partially for nostalgia, and partially because I like the instant cast flash while doing solo content.

Fifth Tier (Level 75)

Holy Avenger really stands out. It supplies a massive increase to burst damage when used with Avenging Wrath. The two have synergy in that Avenging Wrath allows use of Hammer of Wrath at anytime, and Holy Avenger increases the damage of Holy Power generaters (Hammer of Wrath included) by 30%. This talent basically replaces Zealotry. The reason I value this talent more than Sanctified Wrath and Divine Purpose is due to the change in Sanctity of Battle. With Haste now being our top priority for secondary stats, all of our abilities will be used more frequently, thus you will rarely have an open GCD to make full benefit of either Sanctified Wrath or Divine Purpose. You could say the same about Holy Avenger, but the difference is that Sanctified Wrath is only active during Avenging Wrath, so that whole purpose of increasing burst damage during cooldowns is dwarfed by Holy Avenger and that with Divine Purpose, some of your buttons will only be ignored during a cooldown period, leaving outside of cooldowns with a smoother rotation.

Sixth Tier (Level 90)

Holy Prism - Useful for AoE. You will need a self target macro for maximum aoe damage since the target of the spell receives healing if friendly and radiates holy damage to enemies.

Light's Hammer - Useful for AoE, think consecration, but with a healing addition.

Execution Sentence - Useful for Single Target. You will use this during boss fights the most out of the three. The animation is pure awesome, and it should be casted immediately before going into a cooldown phase to avoid losing a Templar's Verdict, but still getting the maximum potential out of the DoT effect it gives.

Stat Priority

I do not know the EXACT value of each stat as far as number crunching goes, but I do know the general value and priority of each stat.

Hit / Expertise > Haste > Mastery > Crit

With the change to Sanctity of Battle, Haste has become very valuable and the difference between stacking Haste to stacking either Mastery or Crit is a few thousand dps at 85.

Hit and Expertise cap at 7.5% at roughly 760-770 rating each at level 85. Spell Hit is equal to the combined amount of Hit and Expertise and caps at 15%, so capping Hit and Expertise will automatically cap Spell Hit. Hit and Expertise reach 7.5% each at 2550 rating at level 90.


I'll be short, sweet, and simple here. We still follow a priority based system rather than an actual rotation.

Single Target

1. Inquisition (Preferably 3 holy power) - 10 seconds per Holy Power (It can also roll, see Abilities Section for Details)
2. Templar's Verdict (With 5 Holy Power)
3. Exorcism
4. Hammer of Wrath
5. Crusader Strike
6. Judgement
7. Templar's Verdict (With 3-4 Holy Power)

The reason Templar's Verdict is in two locations is that using it while you can still generate Holy Power is an overall DPS loss. If you can choose between Templar's Verdict or one more Holy Power, you should choose the one more Holy Power, because in the long run, that will equal out to more Templar's Verdicts. Of course if you have 5 Holy Power already, you cannot generate more and should immediately burn some of it on Templar's Verdict (or Inquisition if it needs refreshed) so that you may generate more holy power and therefore generate more Templar's Verdicts. This reason also applies for Divine Storm in the Multi Target priority below.

Multi Target

1. Inquisition (Preferably 3 holy power) (See Single Target Priority for more details on Inquisition)
2. Divine Storm (With 5 Holy Power)
3. Hammer of the Righteous (With ~4+ Targets)
4. Exorcism
5. Hammer of the Righteous (With 3 targets)
6. Hammer of Wrath
7. Judgement
8. Divine Storm (With 3-4 Holy Power)

The priority difference between 5 and 6 can be argued. The damage between the two is roughly the same, but the reason I placed Hammer of the Righteous is that it is an AoE. The less single target damage you do, the more aoe damage you do, which allow each individual target to live slightly longer possibly allowing you to get off one extra Divine Storm with more targets, thus a grand total of more damage.

Cooldown Usage

Using all cooldowns together will lead to a greater value of each cooldown.

Ideal situation for cooldown usage when all cooldowns are available: Pop Guardian, then in 5 seconds drink a strength potion, then in 5 seconds pop Wings and Holy Avenger (If you took Holy Avenger as a talent). Only use your potion with Guardian, and if Guardian is not available, just Pop Wings and Holy Avenger together.

Note: As of right now, I recommend waiting until both Avenging Wrath and Holy Avenger are both off cooldown to use either one as they have good synergy. I have not done the math to support this yet, so it is only a theory right now. I will update as soon as I have compared using them on cooldown and using them together regardless. The same applies to using Guardian a second time if the fight lasts long enough. I recommend saving guardian for 1 minute to allow Avenging Wrath to come off Cooldown, but if the fight will end before Avenging Wrath comes off cooldown, go ahead and burn your available cooldowns, otherwise they will be wasted entirely, thus a dps loss.

Note 2: Cooldowns can also now be used for AoE, especially if you took Holy Avenger. Spamming Divine Storm can lead to big numbers!


This little rundown may not be perfect, but it should get you through Ret 5.0 while at level 85. Stat and rotation priorities may change at 90, so be aware of that. I have not extensively tested Ret at 90, so I cannot say for certain what the stat priority or rotation priority is, but judging from my preliminary testing, they are the same.

If you see a mistake, feel free to let me know so that I may correct it. If you have input, by all means I am all ears!

This guide will be updated if/when mentioned subjects are changed and will be noted in an Edit section that will be added if such happens. I will likely not update this for level 90, but who knows, only time can tell.