Gearing for a Ret Pally

I have a gear score of like 2500 (maybe a little less than that). As a level 80 ret pally I am a weakling. This is because I've gotten to 80 by solo questing. I am ashamed to say I have never stepped foot in a heroic dungeon or been involved in a 10 or 25 man raid. I am completely ill equipped for Cataclysm. I am at the mercy of my fellow Paladins who actually know how to play this game.

I'm willing to put in the work, I just need to know where to start. I need to get geared for heroics and raids and cataclysm, but I have no idea where to start to get the good stuff. Can anyone assist me please? Just need a point in the right direction. A plan of action so to speak.
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80 Night Elf Hunter
5120
To be honest, we are THIS close to Cataclysm, any gear you get now, will probably be void in like 2 weeks or days, the new Cataclysm gears should be more superior to any dungeon blues or ilvl 251 and below, only Wrath gears with good proc/gems/enchants can match those greens/blues, but you will probably switch most of them out by level 83.

What I suggest you to do now is, run Heroic dungeon as much as possible, get as close to the 4k JP cap as possible. So when you hit level 85, you can get 2 pieces of the blues (available at SW-Old Town, where the warrior trainers are located) and hit the level 85 dungeons (not heroic).

While leveling to 85, do a mixture of dungeons and questing (I wouldn't want to miss out all the cool zones! =D). This will ensure you get a healthy mix of gears on your way to level 85 and it would be much easier to get into dungeons and heroic dungeon.

Level and queue as DPS, learn to use your CC-Repentance and see how the tank run the instance/position the mobs etc, so in the future, if you decided you like to tank, you can do so easily.

Last but not least, get into a good guild with intention to raid asap. This will help you get gears and experience in a raid and guild-mates tend to be more forgiving if they know you are new to dungeons and raids. Level/queue instance with them if you worried about the Random LFG.

For help on gears/spec/enchant etc, visit http://elitistjerks.com/f76/.

All the best in Cataclysm!
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Thank you very much for the info, I really appreciate it. As far as heroic dungeons are concerned, are there specific ones I should start with that would be a good place to begin gearing up? Should I even bother with anything in EK or Kal? or should I start heroics in Outland and work my way up to 10 and 25's in Northrend? From my understanding Naxrammas is THE place for me to get epic gear, but I"m no where near ready to survive in there yet.
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80 Night Elf Hunter
5120
Eh, you are level 80 already right? Just open up your LFG tab (click I) and join queue. The system will check to see if your gears are ready for heroic, if you are, you would be able to queue for Northrend Heroic, otherwise go to the normal Northrend dungeons.

There is absolutely no need to go back to Outlands, since everything in those Outlands heroics are useless now. Just stick to Northrend Heroic, grind them and stock on your Justice Points.

No need to queue for specific dungeons, as I said, your main purpose now should be to get as much JP as possible. And queuing for random Heroic is the best way to get extra/more JP.

And right now, I think no one would be running any lower tier raid, except to get Achievement. And with your gears, it would hard to get into any raid group. So my advice will be, do the Weekly Raid given in Dalaran, for more JP.

JP is capped at 4000 btw.

Cheers~
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80 Night Elf Hunter
5120
Just took a look at your gears, it appears to be a mixture of Holy Ret and Prot gears. I understand you just equip everything you can get.

But my general advice to people is focus on one spec first. For you, with Cataclysm so close and you having no real experience in a group setting, it is best for you to focus on Ret gear/spec.

You can still get Holy/Prot gears if others in the group don't need them, but always look out for Ret gears first. Gem/enchant them with some affordable enchants/gems once you get Cataclysm Dungeon Blues. People tend to take you more seriously and willing to forgive any mistakes you make if they see you made the minimum effort on your gears/enchants/gems.

For Ret, at level cap, which is level 85 in a few days time, you will want to make sure you reach the Hit Cap, google this or check Elitist Jerks, then you will want Strength followed by Haste/Crit/Mastery, depending on how scaling works out in Cataclysm.

Your spec needs a little work too, unless you are on a PVP server or you PVP heavily, Arts of Sacrifice is pretty useless in a PVE setting. Follow the link I gave you on the first reply and do some Respeccing.

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Thank you so much. Usually when I ask quesitons here I get some jerk who just wants to make fun of how lame my toon is right now. I appreciate you taking the time to give real advice.
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80 Night Elf Hunter
5120
It's good that you ask questions about things you are not sure, forum's stickies are a great source of information, just pluck whatever the stickies said and go test it out, practice does makes perfect. =)

Elitist Jerks is a great place for all the theory-crafting and min/maxing issues, wowinsider: http://wow.joystiq.com/ has some great articles for paladins too.

Everyone got to start somewhere, good luck and have fun! =)
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Some other advice, not for the gear issue, but for the spec. Judgments of the Pure is an amazing talent for Ret, you should look at investing some points into it to help out with the lack of Haste.

Also, a note. Don't worry about your weapon for now, in Cataclysm, literally in the starting few quests you get a 2h sword with almost as much DPS as Shadow's Edge and the like. So you're in luck. It's in Mount Hyjal by the way.
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85 Draenei Paladin
7755
^This.

Take two points out of Eye for an Eye and 1 point out of Acts of Sacrifice and put them towards Judgments of the Pure. They count toward lowering your CS and DS cooldowns.

Cataclysm comes out in 4 days. December 7 and 8 will be spent with a crashing WoW client and a login queue of over 1000, so you'll be able to start actually playing by December 9, which is still less than a week away. Any gear you get will be obsolete as the starting cata zones are designed for players coming in with greens from zuldrak, so just save up any justice points you get until then.
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