- Author: Nevermore
- Date: January 31, 2024
- Updated: February 2, 2024
- Expansion: Cataclysm
Professions are a crucial part of your World of Warcraft character, with the potential to give you a large boost to your damage, healing, or survivability, while also allowing you to generate some gold. This section will cover some of your best options for professions as a Retribution Paladin.
It is important to understand that as the expansion unfolds, some of the professions that were stronger during the early phases of the expansion will grow considerably weaker as the expansion reaches its final stage while others grow more potent. This is mainly due to better Gems becoming available as the expansion progresses, with two professions being directly impacted as stronger gems become available. As a clear example, Jewelcrafting offers higher bonuses early on thanks to the Prismatic Gems while its bonuses significantly drop once Epic Gems become available when compared to the other professions. Blacksmithing works the opposite way, growing stronger as the expansion unfolds and Epic Gems become available, with the two additional sockets it offers granting higher bonuses.
The best professions are the ones that offer the highest possible damage output. Players looking to min-max their character for raids will likely want to pick the two highest-performance professions. Alt characters, or players less concerned with min-maxing may want to opt for something that offers more opportunities for gold-making
Click a profession’s bar to see detailed discussion and explanation
There is no surprise that Engineering is the best profession when it comes to PvE, given all the cool gadgets you gain access to. Possibly the biggest buff that engineering received is the fact that your special enchantments now take the form of Tinkers. Those specific Tinker enchantments can be added on top of existing enchantments from other professions, allowing you to benefit from a secondary effect on 3 different gear slots (Gloves/Belt/Boots).
The most notable of these are the burst-oriented Synapse Springs which grant a huge +480 Strength bonus that gives us a damage boost every minute! This bonus translates to +960 Attack Power. Other Tinker enhancements such as Grounded Plasma Shield and Nitro Boosts are also very valuable, however, the latter is considered a wildcard since they can malfunction. When Nitro Boosts malfunction, they deal 80% of your Health over 8 seconds. The upside of such situations is that nearly all classes have a form of damage mitigation that can remove or reduce the damage inflicted by the DoT effect, with Retribution Paladins being able to completely remove the debuff with Divine Shield.
Additionally, Engineers also have other cool devices in their arsenal such as bombs, mounts, vendor bots such as Jeeves, and many more interesting toys to play with. They can also create special helmets that can be enhanced with Cogwheels, a unique form of gem, to grant them an advantage in the early gearing stages.
Tailoring is one of the few professions that players tend to underestimate, especially on melee characters. However, Tailoring has one of the highest Attack Power buffs from the entire Profession roster, showcasing a performance even better than Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing. This is all thanks to the Swordguard Embroidery which received a massive boost in Cataclysm. As it currently stands, its bonus grants even more Attack Power than the Synapse Springs, enhancing the player with +1000 Attack Power.
Apart from this bonus, Tailoring grants access to multiple recipes that can be sold on the Auction House for profit. Examples of such items are the Powerful Ghostly Spellthread, Illusionary Bag, and multiple craftable Cloth BoE items that can be sold as early gear.
Jewelcrafting is an extremely potent profession for most classes/specs, and that includes the Retribution Paladins. Not only do you gain access to powerful, Jewelcrafter-unique gems, but you also get to sell gems to others, granting you a steady income (albeit one dependent on your server’s economy).
The main benefit of Jewelcrafting is the Jewelcrafter-unique gems, Chimera’s Eye, which are more powerful than regular gems, but are limited to 3 equipped at a time. The main ones you’ll be crafting as a Retribution Paladin are Bold Chimera’s Eye, which grants +81 Strength when compared to Blue Gems (Bold Inferno Ruby) and +51 Strength when compared to Epic Gems (Bold Queen’s Garnet).
While comparing those bonuses to the Tailoring bonus or the Engineering bonus, Jewelcrafting is far weaker. However, the true benefit of it is the consistent bonus as opposed to the proc effect granted by the two other professions. Additionally, its strength also lies in its gold generation capacity, with Prospecting and craftable gems being one of the best gold generation tools besides Alchemy, Enchanting, Herbalism, and Mining.
You should keep in mind that Prospecting can’t generate high amounts of gold without Mining, as you will lose substantial gold by purchasing ores from the Auction House!
Lastly, Jewelcrafting is a stronger profession in terms of unique bonuses early on in the expansion until the release of the Epic gems, as other professions such as Enchanting and Blacksmithing simply outperform it in terms of raw stat bonuses.
Blacksmithing grants you access to two additional gear slot sockets (Gloves and Bracers), allowing you to add 2 more gems to your gear set. This roughly translates into a +100 Strength by using Bold Queen’s Garnet. This bonus is lower at the beginning of the expansion as you will only have access to Bold Inferno Ruby, amounting up to +80 Strength. While Blacksmithing fails to provide a stronger bonus early on compared to other professions, it makes up in allowing you to create powerful Plate Armor that you can use as a Retribution Paladin.
You will gain access to some powerful early gear for PvE, however, it will become obsolete once the expansion progresses into the next phase and new crafting recipes become available. The only drawback is that the new recipes will be available only as lootable items from raids, meaning that you will have to compete for them.
Blacksmithing also gives you access to crafting trading goods materials such as different types of rods for Enchanters, as well as tools such as keys that can be used to open lockboxes, chests, and doors. While its crafted gear can be sold at the Auction House for profit, you won’t manage to generate a profit without having Mining on an Alt character since raw materials tend to be expensive.
The following professions are considered viable but offer a lesser benefit compared to the best professions, so they’re not recommended. If you’re not focused on making your character 100% optimal, you can use any of these professions just fine.
Click a profession’s bar to see detailed discussion and explanation
Enchanting grants only one unique bonus to its user, the ability to enchant your rings. As a Retribution Paladin, you will use the Enchant Ring – Strength enchant which can be placed on both of your rings for a +80 Strength bonus. By comparison with the best professions, this unique bonus is rather weak, but its strength lies in its consistency rather than a limited proc effect. The unique bonus’ raw value is the same as the one granted by Leatherworking, and Inscription. The bonus only ties into the early bonus given by Blacksmithing, as Blacksmithing provides a higher bonus as the expansion progresses.
Apart from the special bonus that it provides, Enchanting is one of the most useful professions for gold generation. There are multiple ways to generate gold with Enchanting: Disenchanting, selling enchanted scrolls at the Auction House, and tips through direct services granted to players who already have the materials. Arguably, disenchanting items and selling the raw materials can be the most profitable way to generate gold, however, selling enchanted scrolls at the auction house with the materials you generate from disenchanting items is also an extremely profitable endeavor.
Alchemy, simply put, is the best generation tool among the professions. While other professions such as Jewelcrafting, Enchanting, Mining, and Herbalism grant you a great gold income, Alchemy wins the prize as the best gold generation tool. Of course, it depends on the server economy itself and whether or not you pair it with Herbalism. Without Herbalism, the gold generation strength drops significantly, as you will only gain gold from the profit made by your Flasks, Elixirs, and Potions once you cut out the cost of the raw materials bought from the Auction House.
Alchemy plays a way bigger role in the PvE community in Cataclysm Classic, as it now can be used to generate Cauldrons! Those work the same way that Warlock’s Soulwells work, with Flasks being granted to each player instead of Healthstones. Besides the community bonuses, Alchemy can also be used for various transmutations and Trinket crafting, with the trinkets being especially useful early on in the expansion. The trinkets also serve as catalysts for transmutations!
In terms of raw bonuses, Mixology remains unchanged from WotLK Classic, granting you the ability to double the duration of Elixirs and Flasks while also enhancing their particular effects. This translates into a direct +80 Strength bonus, as you will only use the Flask of Titanic Strength.
Additionally, Alchemy grants you access to your very own infinite magic flask! You can acquire the Flask of Enhancement which grants you +80 Strength, lasting for 2 hours. Another great bonus of this item is that it’s effectively the only Flask you can consume in Arenas. The only issue with this flask is that it’s not enhanced by Mixology.
As a Leatherworker you gain access to the Draconic Embossment – Strength bracer enchant, which grants an +80 Strength stat increase over the standard enchant available to everyone, Enchant Bracers – Major Strength. The unique bonus’ raw value is the same as the one granted by Leatherworking, and Inscription. The bonus only ties into the early bonus given by Blacksmithing, as Blacksmithing provides a higher bonus as the expansion progresses.
The rest of the bonuses are not noteworthy for Retribution Paladin, with the profession itself acting as a medium gold generator. Its best gold-generation tools are items that can be sold at the Auction House such as the Leg Enchantment (Dragonscale Leg Armor) and craftable gear. As a Retribution Paladin, you will mostly want to avoid using Leather or Mail items, however, they can be useful as a temporary choice if you have no other better option.
Inscription has also received major buffs with the arrival of Cataclysm Classic, developing into one of the easier professions to level thanks to its low-cost leveling requirements. With Inscription being easier to level and glyphs/scrolls being in demand, this profession turned into one of the higher gold generation tools available for the players. The only drawback of the profession is the revamped Glyph System which now stores glyphs into a personal library indefinitely, effectively cutting down a large part of the profit that scribes used to generate in WotLK Classic.
Scribes also gain a unique bonus that ties into the bonuses generated by Leatherworking, and Enchanting, allowing them to replace their shoulder enchantment with a unique one. The bonus only ties into the early bonus given by Blacksmithing, as Blacksmithing provides a higher bonus as the expansion progresses. As a Retribution Paladin, you can acquire the Lionsmane Inscription which replaces the standard Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone, providing a +80 Strength bonus when compared to the standard enchantment.
While in WotLK Classic Herbalism was purely a gathering profession with no other merit than generating large amounts of gold and materials for Inscription and Alchemy, it received a massive boost in Cataclysm. In Cataclysm Classic, Lifeblood has received a revamp that turns it from a strict Heal-over-Time spell into a combination of a direct healing effect and a staggering +480 Haste Rating bonus. While Haste Rating is not the best stat for Retribution Paladins, its GCD-reducing effects, direct improvement of Attack Speed, and empowerment of the Sanctity of Battle talent are still solid damage-enhancing effects that should not be ignored.
The following professions mostly don’t offer any worthwhile DPS-increasing benefits and are thus not considered viable for Retribution Paladin in PvE. Those professions are typically used only for gold generation, as they usually fall into the “Gathering Professions” archetype.
Click a profession’s bar to see detailed discussion and explanation
Miners gain access to the Toughness passive, which offers a +120 Stamina boost. The raw stamina buff is better suited for Tanking Specializations, with nearly all other professions offering a better stat boost.
On the other hand, Mining is essential for leveling up multiple core professions such as Engineering, Jewelcrafting, and Blacksmithing. Additionally, Mining generates a rather spectacular income if you have enough time to consistently farm nodes. If you plan on picking up Engineering, Jewelcrafting, or Blacksmithing, you can either choose to use Mining until you fully stockpile materials for either of them or simply choose Mining on an Alt if you don’t wish to bother with dropping the profession later on.
Skinners gain access to the Master of Anatomy passive, which offers a +80 Critical Strike Chance boost. This is considerably weaker to other bonuses granted by Tailoring, Engineering, Jewelcrafting, and Blacksmithing.
Skinning is generally not sustainable as a gold generation tool either, with most profit being made usually in the first weeks of each phase. Nonetheless, you may still be able to cash in some profits if you gather an abundance of materials.