In an effort to reduce Retribution Paladin burst damage, the entire class has been reworked with the coming of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. In fact, many Ret Paladin abilities you were familiar with are either gone or have been drastically altered.
The main complaint against Retribution Paladins is that they could use Crusader Strike, Hammer of Justice, Judgment, Divine Storm, Crusader Strike all in succession and deal out tons of burst damage. If a players health dropped at that point, they could finish them off with a Hammer of Wrath and another Judgment, into a Divine Storm and another Crusader Strike.
In short, Retribution paladins had way too much burst damage. As a result of this, there are some major changes coming to this class in Cataclysm.
First off, Seal of Command and Seal of Blood have been removed. Players now have Seal of Justice and Seal of Righteousness as their primary seals, both of which seem to do less damage than their predecessors. As an aside, Seal of Justice now has a snaring effect, so Retribution Paladins at least finally have a legitimate way to slow down their enemies.
Additionally, now Paladins to have to generate something called Holy Power, which functions much in the same way as a Rogue’s combo points. Divine Storm and a new ability called Templar’s Verdict consume Holy Power in order to deal damage. Unfortunately, there are not many abilities produce Holy Power though, so players have to cycle through Crusader Striking for Holy Power and dropping an occasional Templar’s Verdict.
The Art of War now no longer gives Retribution Paladins an instant Flash of Light. Instead, Retribution Paladins get a free instant heal in Word of Glory. However, Word of Glory does not use mana; as you may have guessed, it also requires Holy Power.
Ret Paladins will have to choose between healing (Word of Glory) and their most powerful attack (Templar’s Verdict). Although they do have to pick between the abilities, Word of Glory is pretty solid. Three Holy Power will convert into over 6,000 HP restored instantly. Not bad for being a free heal!
Overall, the changes to Retribution Paladins are a bit of a wash. Ret Paladins got a huge boon in the snaring effect of Seal of Justice, and the class overall is a lot more polished now. The class now brings more to the table than just a huge damage burst.
However, at the same time, it lost that huge damage burst. That is what defined the class and made them wanted in PvP groups. Unless Retribution Paladins get some sort of Mortal Strike equivalent, I do not think they will see much success in 2v2 PvP. However, they will continue to do well in Battlegrounds and 5v5 Arena teams.