Putting the Retribution in Ret

83 Blood Elf Paladin
12120
TLDR: Retribution needs an interesting, active ability that delivers on the idea of avenging past wrongs. Two potential ideas are discussed: (a) A buff called Biding One's Time that stacks when stunned or slowed, stacks that would be released with an active ability called Tooth for an Eye that disarms or increases casting speed depending on target spec. (b) An active ability called Delayed Retribution--hit it once and it gives you a buff called Rumination that keeps track of all the damage you take over the next 10 seconds. Hit Delayed Retribution again to release a percentage of that damage to the nearest target.

Yesterday, GC brought up an interesting issue: ret paladins tend to love the idea of abilities that tap into the concept of retribution, but past implementation of these ideas (i.e. Eye for an Eye, Ret Aura) just haven't seemed to deliver on the fantasy. Passive damage reflection never really felt impactful enough, and passive RNG is always frustrating to some degree or another. GC said he would be open to more long term ideas that addressed these problems. What I intend to do with this thread is to spark discussion about abilities that would make a ret pally feel like they're actually taking retribution. To that end, I detail a couple of my own ideas.

For the sake of full disclosure, you should probably know that I've never played ret as a main spec. I was a Holy Pally that raided up to heroic LK in wrath, with a ret offspec that was decently geared but I never really put to use. So none of these ideas are based on any sort of sagely experience playing ret. They are, however, based on my academic experience as a social psychologist. My particular area of study focuses on revenge, punishment, and justice, so I think about these kinds of things for a living. I've read dozens of articles on the subject and conducted detailed interviews with people that have exacted retribution in real life. Based on that I hope I have some idea about what motivates vengeance, as well as what makes retribution satisfying.

One thing that's absolutely clear, from what I've learned, is a passive ability just isn't going to cut it in this case. People take revenge because they want to feel powerful. They want to feel a sense of control. Being the victim of injustice makes you feel powerless and makes you doubt yourself and your abilities, and taking retribution is an effective way to correct that. Yes, you could make ret aura hit for meaningful amount of damage or tune the RNG for Eye for an Eye so a warlock thought twice about throwing out a Chaos Bolt, but neither of those solutions puts power in the hands of the paladin. An active ability, particularly one that was visceral in terms of visuals and practical effect, would make pallies feel like they were the ones in control. They would be the ones to decide when to drop the guillotine, not their enemies.

It's also hard to talk about revenge or retribution without talking about anger. Obviously, the angrier you are, the more likely you are to take revenge, but the kind of anger you're talking about makes a difference. First, there's the immediate sort of anger you might get when someone punches you in the face. If you feel that kind of anger, you're probably going to respond immediately by punching them back in the face. Another kind of anger, and one I think is more interesting, is what's called ruminative anger: anger that bubbles beneath the surface, sometimes taking months or years to build up. You get that sort of anger by sitting and thinking about all the bad things someone had done to you, and, when you do finally take retribution, it tends to be purposeful and deliberate.

Now, the former kind of anger I would associate more with a warrior, and the ability Revenge delivers well on that concept. Paladins, though, strike me as more even keeled. Sure, they can get angry too, but I think the latter kind of anger fits them better. The image in my head is someone like Fordring, brooding for years about what the scourge and Arthas had done to his family and his people, releasing all that pent up anger with one stroke when he busted Frostmourne in half. Delivering on this idea is admittedly tough to do in a fast-paced pvp or pve setting, but I think it's an important part of the fantasy. Having some sort of ability that keep track of what's been done to you over a certain period of time, and then allows you to use that to hurt your enemy in some way, might be one way to get it done.

There's also the idea of having justice be poetic. Poetic justice is tough to define, but you know it when you see it. Arthas being finished off with the help of all the souls he sucked into Frostmourne, for example, is easy to call poetic, but it's hard to nail down why. It might be easier to talk about what doesn't constitute poetic justice. What we call symmetric revenge, getting even with someone by doing the exact same thing they did to you, is not usually poetic. You hit me, and then I hit you back--it might be effective, but no one would find it particularly meaningful. It's this idea that makes me dislike straight damage-for-damage retributiion abilities in WoW. It's easy, and it works, but aesthetically it doesn't push the right buttons. An ideal ability, in my mind, would deliver justice in at least a somewhat poetic manner. Non-symmetric examples (i.e. You Hamstring me I disarm you, or you Frostbolt me I decrease your casting speed) might be a better sort of model to go for.

So in sum, my ideal retribution themed ability would have these three characteristics:

1. Active as opposed to passive.
2. Enacted in return for a series harmful events done to the paladin over time (damage, stuns, slows, roots, etc).
3. Leverage the idea of poetic justice.

The first two would be essential, in my mind, while the last would certainly be a nice touch. What would such an ability look like? I have detailed two ideas below that I think could do the trick. I would pay less attention to the details of the particular abilities, since they’re subject to the vagaries of balance, and more attention to the concepts that drive them. Both abilities would be Retribution specific.

1. Tooth for an Eye
Whenever you are stunned, rooted, slowed, or dazed, you gain a stack of Biding Your Time. When the buff reaches five stacks, the ability Tooth for an Eye is activated. When Tooth for an Eye is used on an enemy target, it will either disarm the target or increase the target’s casting speed by 100% for 10 seconds depending on the target’s spec. Biding Your Time persists through death when in a battleground. Being stunned, rooted, slowed or dazed by a non-player character automatically activates Tooth for an Eye, and Tooth for an Eye inflicts 50,000 damage when used on enemy NPC’s.

2. Delayed Retribution

When Delayed Retribution is activated, you begin to ruminate on the wrongs of your adversaries, keeping track of all damage taken over the next 10 seconds. When Delayed Retribution is used again, it will do 50% of that damage to the nearest enemy target. If you die while affected by Delayed Retribution, the damage accrued will go off automatically.

I particularly like Tooth for an Eye, because it captures the idea that getting someone back for all the nasty movement impairing effects I’ve had to endure. Persisting through death would allow that to work over the course of an entire BG, potentially. Yes, I may have gotten blasted by the group of three rogues that stunlocked me to death by the lumber mill, but the next horde I see is going to pay for that. Plus, it’s a little poetic. That warrior hamstrung me using that lovely axe of his, and now he doesn’t get to carry it for the next ten seconds. That warlock slowed me with her conflag, but now that next Chaos Bolt is gonna take six seconds to go off. Serves them both right.

Delayed Retribution would be my less ideal choice, but it’s still a nice active ability that makes me feel like I’m avenging what’s been happening to me, even if the retribution isn’t necessarily poetic.

What would your ideal retribution themed ability look like?
Edited by Glóredhel on 2/2/2013 12:01 PM PST
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
13805
I really like the idea of Tooth for an Eye, but lets reduce it to 3 stacks (on a 30 second cooldown) and make it a casted buff that can also be used on friendly targets. A Ret only peel that only be countered by not acting? Sounds pretty good to me, considering its cooldown.

I've had ideas about a passive that could really help our survivability while being focused down by an enemy team; getting struck with a damaging attack while below 35% health increases our damage and healing by X%, stacking up to 3 times. While the buff itself would be granted passively, utilizing that buff in a competitive way would most definitely be active. This also taps into that 'Retribution' feel that our spec is currently lacking.

It's been mentioned elsewhere on these forums, but baking the Denounce effect into Exorcism could go a long way also.
Edited by Mcbenchpress on 2/2/2013 1:14 PM PST
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
11915
02/02/2013 12:56 PMPosted by Mcbenchpress
I've had ideas about a passive that could really help our survivability while being focused down by an enemy team; getting struck with a damaging attack while below 35% health increases our damage and healing by X%, stacking up to 3 times. While the buff itself would be granted passively, utilizing that buff in a competitive way would most definitely be active. This also taps into that 'Retribution' feel that our spec is currently lacking.

I like this idea, kind of like Danger Mario in the RPGs. The only possible problem is it could lead to PvE issues, as I'd certainly be asking my healers to keep me below 35% whenever possible.

I think the best way to go about this is to design something that would have as few PvE implications as possible. Perhaps something like an ability that disarms and silences a target, but only gains a charge for every 50% health lost.

Another idea would be an ability that grants extended immunity to CC effects, something like 20s, after being subjected to a certain amount of CCes within a time period.
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90 Human Paladin
7020
You know, i've never really though about it, but there really isn't much retribution taking place in the Ret spec.

Being that we're supposed to be a support class with the ability to burst, I think an ability that revolves around the idea of Retribution should have something to do the old Ret Aura. Personally, I liked the idea that when someone attacks me, they take a percent of that damage as well.

Obviously it would have to be reworked, because the old Ret Aura wasn't much to brag about, but it could work. If they aren't going to fix our sustained damage, which it appears that they aren't, then they could at least make it a risk for another player to attack us. I liked the idea of Delayed Retribution. My only concern is that it would leave us relying on yet ANOTHER CD. If they could work it out and balance it, it would be awesome, though.

I like the idea of Retribution actually meaning Retribution. The Warrior class focuses around their concept, which is rage. Why can't Paladins?
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
6480
Been tossing around similar ideas myself.

Ret is too easy to focus down in pvp. The spec needs something to make people regret or think twice about tunneling us to the floor.

My latest idea is a rework of bubble for each spec:

1.) Ret- bubble returns a % of the dmg done while bubbled to attackers in the form of a either bursts of holy dmg or a stacking dot.

2) Holy- large % of dmg received while bubbled places a hot on the pally after bubble breaks that lasts for 10ish secs.

3) Prot- i cant really think of anything for prot since bubble isnt really used by the spec and when it is bubble is used for a moment to remove debuffs. I guess turning bubble into a huge absorb shield could work. Would add to mitigation and make it so prot could use bubble and still hold threat. Or even turn bubble into a raid buff. It could make whole party, minus prot pally, immune to dmg for say 2secs. That way helps keep mobs on the tank instead of the opposite?? As i said idk about prot...
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90 Human Paladin
8385
I do like the ability of a sort of counter attack that only activates after a passive self buff hits a certain stack count. Thinking about it, I can envision a PVP variation and PVE variation.

Focused Anger (PVP) - Each time the Paladin is the victim of a CC, Paladin recieves one stack of Focused Anger for X seconds. This effect stacks up to 5 times and refreshes with CC.

Strategized Retaliation (PVP) - Requires 5 stacks of Focused Anger. Breaks all CC on the Paladin when cast. Self Buff that lasts 5 seconds. Any attack against the Paladin counters. Versus a melee/ranged attack, the enemy is Disarmed for X seconds. Versus a spell, the enemy is silenced for X seconds.

I designed it with the idea that you cast the ability as a counter. But given it requires a self buff stack that refreshes with ever CC you suffer, you can time the counter for maximum "damage".

Focused Anger (PVE) - Each time the Paladin takes damage, Paladin recieves one stack of Focused Anger for X seconds. The effect stacks up to X times and refreshes with each source of damage inflicted upon the Paladin.

Final Judgement (PVE) - Requires X stacks of Focused Anger. 30yrd Range. Instantly inflict X amount of Holy damage on the target. Doing so applies the Judgement's Gaze debuff upon the target.

Judgement's Gaze (PVE) - Target takes X% more damage for X seconds.
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90 Human Paladin
10205
I would love if they brought back ret aura but made it actually useful. Maybe it could even be a active ability or proc, either way I doubt that kind of change would break our dmg in pve as well which is a plus.

I'm also really liking everyone ideas that revolve around a vengeful CC buff, and if I might add my two copper I think it would be cool if the active use of this ability would retaliate with whatever CC was last used on the ret paladin.

Like if you used it during a deep freeze, and imminently the stun is broken and your target is now eating that deep freeze!

Oh sweet rage inducing justice!
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