Just came back to the game after a lengthy break. I've pretty much exclusively played pallies since I've played WoW, and I've always done well with them. Leveling a pally on a new, fresh server to sort of get the hang of the holy power system, I guess you could say. I'm at level 73 (Jdano on Lightbringer ... tried to link, but it won't let me yet), and I'm frankly not pulling any kind of DPS I'm satisfied with. It's anywhere between 1.3k-1.7.k with some (rare) spikes up to 2k. I've looked up rotations and have even downloaded Ret FCFS helper. The add-on isn't doing much of anything for optimizing my rotation, I don't feel, so I'm just wondering if you guys can maybe tell me what's up. It seems like every time I hit up LFD, there are DPS that are hitting 3.5-4k at 73-74. I just want to figure this out before I get to 85, so any help is appreciated.
Your glyphs are probably a big part of your problem - I'd say use Exo and TV glyphs, and then get SoT at 75. Jud and CS glyphs are by far the worst DPS glyphs in our arsenal. Also, most people you're seeing in dungeons have heirlooms which provide relatively powerful stats while leveling. I haven't really paid attention to Ret DPS at that level since I leveled my DK during WotLK, but I imagine a large part of what's gimping your DPS is a simple lack of mastery, which you won't start finding on gear until you reach Cata zones.
Outside of that, its probably just down to class mechanics. Ret's damage is somewhat bursty and depends on cd usage. One of your best offensive CD's (GoAK) you don't get until 85. Not to mention Ret's damaged is balanced around our mastery (which is inactive until 80) and Inquisition uptime, which you don't get until 81. That asside, ret also isn't great on series of short pulls that make up most dungeon runs.
Long story short, don't feel too bad right now. You're hitting the area of leveling where ret is weaker because your combat ratings are being scaled back a lot but you haven't gotten some of your core abilities to make up for it yet. A lot of the classes that are doing more damage right now can do so because they have most if not all of their core abilities already like mages for example, who by the time they hit 80 have everything they need except 1 minor cd, a cc ability and heroism.