The Art of War/Maelstrom Weapon Cage Match. No, it isn’t pretty.

Hilary Duff style, I need to come clean. I’ve been leveling a paladin. I’ve been leveling a RETRIBUTION paladin. Moreover, my fatty cow, wanna-be leprechauns, and desperately-needing-dentist brethren, I’ve been leveling an ALLIANCE RETRIBUTION PALADIN. Dun dun dun. (This is the part where the shaman community revolts and flays the skin from my bones with their sharp fist thingies and wolves of doom.)

No, this is not to reroll. No, it’s not because I’ve “grown disillusioned by the utter crap that is the shaman class” like the thousand other people who have yet to realize that they’re not nearly as amazing as they think they are. Actually, what it is for is to gank my guildmates and friends since it is on my home server is a few reasons. A)I’ve only played tauren melee dps at 80, and a small part of me worries that the gigantic cow in the front of my screen is affecting my performance in some way, mainly dpsing from behind on human sized mobs that I can barely see past my fatty self. If it does seem to be better on the small side, I might consider race-changing Failam to orc when it’s released. (No, the OP racials have nothing to do with it- they’re jsut a nice benefit.) B) I’m leveling the ret to learn.

Ideally, I’d like to have every melee dps at level 80 within the next few months- ret paladin (who is pretty close) rogue, feral, and warrior are all that are left for me, I believe. I’m of the opinion that focusing on one character is a bad idea- first off, you become overly aware of that one classes problems, and take for granted their benefits. I feel playing a single character restrains a large number of people from seeing WoW as a whole, and rather they focus entirely on what makes them better without regard to class balance. (I swear, if I see another person post “It’s Our turn to be OP,” I’m going American History X and curb stomping them. Srsly.) Second, I just find it useful to understand how other classes gear /work/dps, and learning different ways, as this game is constantly changing, and class A mechanics you may have a handle on today might be entirely overhauled in Patch x.y to be more akin to class B, etc. Oh, and, Outland is fun. This post, however, is no longer about my qt baby retadin, even though she’s fabulous.

I’m not sure if it’s in the water or something, but I’ve been reading a lot of whining from a large number of people who have no idea what they’re talking about (Also known as the shaman forums) in regards to the Retribtion talent The Art of War. ( For those of you who don’t know about this talent, it’s the Retribution answer to Maelstrom Weapn- a chance on melee critical strike for them to be able to cast an instant flash of light or exorcism. To hear it said by quite a few players, it’s ridiculous- they don’t have to stack their instant cast, and it only requires a two talent point investment to reach. So, I’d like to spam purge on some of this QQ and provide a nice, neat, comparison between the two talents.

1) Maelstrom Weapon lightning bolts are our single hardest hitting on command ability. (Windfury can hit harder, but we have no control over it.) We prioritize MW5 Lightning Bolts over sex while raiding, both because it hits hard and because each second gone by not hitting it means we’re missing more potential MW procs. By comparison, instant excorcisms are a Paladins LAST priority- where we would refresh shields/totems, they’re hitting exorcism. Even consecration is more highly valued on Ret Priority than exorcism.

2) Exorcism has a 15 second cooldown. MW doesn’t have a cooldown. This means that while we might be firing off an instant lightning bolt every 5 seconds, Retribution Paladins who don’t need the instant flash of light are letting their Art of War just sit there for 10-12 seconds at a time waiting for that exorcism to be up again. I know that when I’m dpsing, I tend to have a near 100% uptime on art of war, since it does proc quite frequently- but most of that uptime is spent waiting for the cooldown  to be up, and then, when the cooldown IS up, making sure there is nothing else on my priority list that needs to be done before using it.

3) Maelstrom Weapon provides more versatility. Single target dps fight? That’s cool, I’ll use lightning bolt. Mimiron Phase 4? Chain Lightning and I are bffs. Learning Hardmode XT Deconstructor for the first time? Sure, I’ll use some instant chain heals on the melee during tantrums. OH SHIT I’M DYING? Instant Healing Wave ftw! Wait, what? Trash exists somewhere that needs to be CCed and is currently eating our wild-growth spam sapling’s face? W/e man, he’s now a frog. Instantly.

Switch to my qt femret. Single target dps fight? That’s cool, I’ll use exorcism. Mimiron phase 4? Still here, still hitting exorcism. Learning Hardmode XT for the first time? Oh shit son, I just flash of lighted myself for 3k. Pity that rogue next to me died though. These healers need to lrn2play. OH SHIT I’M DYING. Nice, instant flash of light. That almost brings me out of killsho–you cannot do that while dead? Wait, what? Trash exists somewhere that needs to be CCed and is currently eating our wild-growth spam sapling’s face? Fuck excorcism. /cast Divine Storm!

4) Maelstrom Weapon has a chance to proc off melee hits. The Art of War has a chance to proc off melee critical hits. On any target that is standing still but has a lot of resilience in pvp (not done very much, I know), you’d have a better chance of proccing MW than the Art of War.

5) That said, the Art of War does not need to stack, so you can fire off instant underwhelming abilities fairly often in pvp, while the shaman needs to stick on top of something to try and fire off a more powerful attack.

6) The Art of War provides a base damage increase to a few abilities, which is a nice benefit to taking the talent.

7) The Art of War is only a two talent point investmentm, while MW is five.

The last three, in my mind, are beneficial for The Art of War’s cause, but not enough to counteract the amazingness of Maelstrom Weapon. For Ret, the Art of War is a nice free damage bonus, much like our lava lash. For Enhance, Maelstrom Weapon is spec-defining in it’s glory. There is absolutely no reason to QQ about TAoW.