Well, this got a little off topic.
Most people in this thread have covered the majority of what you need to know, however there’s a little more to it.
If you want to play ret and do end game content, you will have that option. There are many guilds running 1 or 2 rets in their core progression group.
As people have mentioned, you will likely not win any damage meters. even with full AQ40 set and Hand of Rag, full raid buffs, and ungodly luck with crits and vengeance uptime. Gear that you compete with warriors for or holy paladins for will likely go to you last.
When attempting to join a pug for a dungeon as dps, some people will respond with negative comments then continue to advertise for other dps. This is something you will have to take on the chin. There are many ret paladins out there who do not know how to play the spec correctly (inb4 “how complicated is it to white swing a mob?”) and also bring negative attitudes to the game. They have set the bar low, and jaded many people’s view of rets. What this means is you will need to bring a positive and friendly demeanour with you at all times if you wish to be invited back to pugs, or become a core member of a progression raid team.
You will need to prep for each raid with world buffs, consumables, and have all your gear enchanted. This is because ret is one of the very few classes in the game that benefit from both physical DPS buffs as well as magical DPS buffs. Having the appropriate enchants and buffs will mean grinding rep.
Now that all the doom and gloom is done, here’s what you can do as ret.
- mid-range single target dps
- mid-range aoe dps
- spam cleanse without interrupting your dps
- maintain Seal of Wisdom on a target for your caster/hunter dps mana regen
(“a holy paladin could do that” yeah they could… but they dont. and you know it.)
- additional Improved Lay on Hands armour buff for tank
(rets are better off using this than holys due to the mana dump)
- aura coverage for melee
(holy paladins will often be standing more than 30 yards away from melee, thus not providing an aura. T2 set does help, but high movement fights can cause interruptions with coverage)
- blessing of sacrifice assignment
(our health pool is also a resource we can utilise to redirect damage from the tank. maintaining the 30 second blessing is easier for a ret than a holy paladin who is usually far busier with other stuff)
If you decided to roll a paladin now, by the time you reach 60 and get geared Naxx will be just around the corner. We dont know for sure if undead mobs will help our dps compete yet, but it will be a far more enjoyable experience than any other raid we’ve had so far.