Enter Gwera, Dwarf paladin.
Gwera is not a replacement for Gweryc, nor a successor. She is instead an experiment-within-an-experiment, a spin-off of my beloved m'unter. (If I intend to keep playing her long-term, she'll very likely end up ret, not prot.)Why a paladin, instead of a druid or warrior? In my mind, paladins really are the class that most closely parallels the way I've learned to fight as Gweryc, and they pursue the same kind of stats. In fact, most of Gwera's attacks have been macroed to either function or simply look like Gweryc's abilities. To look at her attack buttons, you'd think she was a hunter. But there are a few abilites she has, useful for tanking, that have no direct analog on Gweryc, and those are the things I want to emulate.
Sadly, Righteous Fury is right out. There's nothing I can come up with, save the 2% Threat enchant, that increases my innate threat. But I've already taken something away from her: Righteous Defense.
I can make most arguments into semantic ones. Gwera's Righteous Defense has reminded me that my job is not to be a tank. My job is to stop other people from taking damage. Subtle, but very important, because my pet Cafall, now trained into Growl instead of Cower, is my Righteous Defense.
If I see a non-tank taking damage, I may not be able to peel off a boss and pick up a second target. I may not have time to reach the poor squishy before they die. But Cafall can. He has things I don't: Dash, a kind of pet-based Charge (especially if I can use Intimidation on the mob), and a taunt, Growl. I can use Cafall to quickly intercept and taunt a mob gone wrong, and then pull Cafall back to me, mob in tow. If you'll forgive the pun, that's Righteous. (Macro and add-on wizards, if you can figure out how to make this intercept work as a click-cast on a friendly target instead of the mob, I'll send you something nice next Valentine's Day.)
Something else I've learned was to be more aware of Paladin blessings. Sometimes a raid or party member gets a little click-happy with their buffing tools and forgets that I'm not your average hunter. So this has been added to the top of my main attack macro:
/cancelaura Greater Blessing of Salvation
/cancelaura Blessing of Salvation
Edit: looks like I could use the Damnation addon to achieve the same result, without adding to my macro.
Continuing on with the hallucination that I'm a paladin with a dog, I found the Retribution DPS gear ranking tool on MaxDPS.com to be very useful. I'm trying to collect a "ret set" in addition to my "prot set" of gear, for fights where I'm not tanking. To search on MaxDPS, I enter my numerical stats, check off Divine Strength (Lightning Reflexes), Improved Judgement (my attack cooldowns are naturally shorter than Judgement), Conviction (Humanoid Slaying/Savage Strikes), and Precision (Surefooted), allow the "Include Leather/Mail" option, and then I just ignore the plate mail that comes up.
The ret rotation MaxDPS suggests -- white damage, Seal of Command, Judgement of Command, Crusader Strike -- isn't too far off from what I do as dps: white damage, Immolation Trap, Wing Clip + attack procs (e.g., Romulo's Poison Vial), Raptor Strike. And the dps forecasts it gives are actually pretty accurate for Gweryc's numbers, so I have some trust that the items it's suggesting are worth looking at, so long as I'm careful about the value it places on strength over agility, which is why in-game I also lean on RatingBuster's assessment.