The Paladin Leveling Guide for Mists of Pandaria

This page has been updated for Mists of Pandaria, patch 5.4

Once upon a time Paladin’s were Allliance only and were among the slowest levelers in the game, bringing up the rear in comparison to even other healing classes such as druids, priests, shamans, etc.  Things have changed. Nowadays, Paladin leveling is easy. Paladins are now the weapon of choice for many roles, giving the class great flexibility.

  • Retribution Paladin Leveling spec Retribution is the best leveling choice. Go here for the build and glyphs
  • Protection Paladin leveling spec Protection is a fine dungeon tank, but questing is a bit slow. Ok, It’s lot slow. Go here for a build.
  • Holy Paladin Holy is great for healing dungeons or PvP groups, questing will be painfully slow. This spec is not recommended for leveling, though if you still want to check it out then see our Holy Paladin page.

Note that this page is about leveling your Pally. If you’re looking for the end-game raid and PvP info then look in the “Other Paladin Guides” section, below

Paladin Leveling Guide: Contents

This page

 Paladin in Mists of Pandaria Shrine

Other Paladin Guides

With the 4.0 series of patches the Paladin’s mechanics changed somewhat with the introduction of Holy Power and their spells and talents were streamlined, like all of the other classes.

In Mists of Pandaria they’re doing just fine, thank you, despite a massive overhaul of talents and abilities. 

As a leveling Paladin you’ll excel as a healer, tank, and even deal out solid straight up damage. While this page will focus on Retribution and Questing, any flavor of Paladin has a solid place in certain areas. Protection and Holy in the dungeons, for example.

Paladins are quite capable of area effect grinding. With some decent gear, and some attention paid to heals and bubbles, Pallies can round up several mobs and kill them reliably. Especially Protection. One of my Pallies has leveled through Mists as Prot., tanking everything she could find.

All in all Paladins are in fine shape.


Quick Paladin Leveling Guide

A quick coverage of some basics, more detail is below. Patch notes for Paladins are here.


Race doesn’t matter much while leveling, and even in the end-game, though obviously the Tauren are the best in all things Paladin. ;) Pick what you like. Humans might be the best alliance choice, if you have to be efficient. Tauren might be the best Horde choice, for stomp and the extra Stam.

Pandaren’s cannot be Paladins.

Which spec?Blood Elf Retribution Paladin, Leveling in Pandaria

  • Retribution is our recommended leveling spec. You have heals, toughness, and damage.
  • Protection is a great tanking spec., and can work well outside of the dungeons. Damage is weak, but you can round up a large group of mobs and burn them down, which is fun.
  • Holy only if you’re healing teams all the way or are dual speccing with Prot or Ret. Damage is weak enough to be annoying. See our Holy PvE page for info on healing and rotations.
  • Click here to get leveled even faster, all the way through Mists of Pandaria.

Stats and Gear:

  • Two handed weapons for Ret, with the highest DPS numbers you can find.
  • Lots of Stamina at low levels.
  • Strength, then more strength. After that, stack Strength. Haste is nice, too.
  • Any Hit rating you can get is good.
  • PvP Resilience is  72%, but it still appears on pre level 90 gear. No need to stack it.
  • PvP Power won’t be seen until level 90.
  • more stats

Gems and Enchants:

  • Skip both unless you have the gold.
  • Gem for Str. (Int. if Holy, Mastery if Prot.)
  • Enchants can be found for cheap, at times. Go for Str & Stam (or Int & Spirit for Holy)


  • Potions of mana and/or healing.
  • Potions and/or scrolls of Str.
  • Buffing foods


Too expensive and time consuming to bother with when leveling and it’s often cheaper just to buy the gear off the Auction House (esp. compard to leveling the whole profession.) If you must level one up then Blacksmithing and/or Alchemy might be good choices.

Our recommendation is to pick two of the gathering professions while leveling: Herbalism, skinning, or mining. Work them hard, send stacks to your banker to sell, and you’ll keep yourself in a pretty decent amount of gold. Depending on your server and gold-flow, Mining + Blacksmithing might be worthwhile if you need the gear. Herbalism & Alchemy will keep you in useful potions, Herbalism and Inscription will keep you in glyphs.

Herbalism also has a killer Haste cooldown (lifeblood) and Haste is one of your best stats.

See below for more info.

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Paladin-retribution Retribution Paladin Leveling Spec

Your forte is damage and still more damage. View the abilities below and you’ll see that a good offense negates the need for much defense (of which you have plenty, anyway.)

Retribution Paladin Leveling Build

From this talent set you get better movement, a stun, more healing, faster cooldowns, and more damage. You may find yourself wanting a different talent for certain situations. Fortunately, one of the changes in Mists of Pandaria is that talents are easy to change. Click on a row with a learned talent and follow the instructions in the pop-up box. Then pick your new talent. You will need to use a dust or powder or tome (depending on level) to do this, you can find the stuff at a reagents vendor or Inscription Supply Vendor.

  1. Retribution Paladin Leveling TalentsLong Arm of the Law: You get a speed boost every time you use Judgment. This is great for getting closer or kiting mobs. The others are fin, but Law gives you more flexibility with your movement.
  2. Fist of Justice – stuns the target for 6 seconds. We like stuns. Stunned targets don’t hit back and this one has more range than Hammer of Justice.
    • Repentence puts an opponent to sleep (which has its uses) and in 5.4 “Burden of Guild” becomes Evil is a Point of View, which is better for PvP.
  3. Sacred Shield, because it uses no resources and will stop a good amount of damage. In 5.4 it uses mana and is more useful.
    • Selfless Healer is nice if you’re healing others and Eternal Flame is a nice heal, but uses your Holy Power to heal instead of crushing the enemy.
  4. Clemency, because it gives you a lot of flexibility with useful Hand spells. You won’t be getting DOTted up enough to make purity useful, and Unbreakable isn’t all that useful. It’s changed in 5.4 though,  reducing the cooldown on Divine ShieldDivine Protection, and Lay on Hands by 50%. Depending on how often you use those abilities this may be your “go to” talent.
  5. Holy Avenger – Abilities that generate Holy Power will deal 30% additional damage and healing, and generate 3 charges of Holy Power for the next 18 sec. Since it’s a cooldown it gives you control over exactly when you want to use it. Divine Purpose is also a good choice if you don’t mind random procs Vs HA’s cooldown.
  6. Holy Prism is pretty versatile. Cast it on yourself and get the healing benefit while surrounding enemies take the damage. Since it moves with you, or with the target, you don’t have to worry about being out of range. The others are better for raiding.
Retribution Glyphs- Prime glyphs are gone, majors handle all the interesting power changes, minors are pretty much just cosmetic, though a few might be useful in some way.Major glyphs:

  1. Glyph of Templar’s Verdict – more damage reduction, up most of the time since you’ll be TVing as much as possible.
  2. Glyph of Double Jeopardy – adds damage to your second Judgment, used on a second opponent.
  3. Immediate Truth – More up-front damage, since your fights will usually be short
  4. Divine Storm – Heals you for a small amount.
Minor Glyphs:
  1. Righteous retreat - Faster hearthing while bubbled.
  2. Mounted King – Casts Blessing of Kings on you when you mount your charger. A good way to make sure that buff is always up.
  3. Fire from the Heavens – Certain crits bring fire down from the sky, doing zero damage, but looking great.
Hit the Level Cap Fast
These are your abilities as Retribution. Damage and more damage.
10 Sword of Light (P) – Increases 2-handed damage, increases mana regeneration, Increases healing.
10 Templar’s Verdict – Uses 3 HP to smash the opposition.
20 Hammer of the Righteous – A light strike that hits all nearby targets for small damage, applies the weakened blows effect to all those targets.
28 Judgments of the Bold (P) – Your Judgements grant HP and your opponents take more damage for awhile.
34 Divine Storm – Uses 3 HP to damage all enemies in the immediate area.
46 Exorcism – Your ranged attack, generates a point of HP.
50 Plate Specialization – 5% more Strength if you’re all in plate (no mail armor.)
50 The Art of War (P) – Chance for more Exorcisms.
54 Emancipate – Frees you from one root or snare, instant, short cooldown.
70 Seal of Justice – Your attacks do more damage and slow the target.
75 Guardian of Ancient Kings – Your guarding helps youi smarsh the opposition down.
80 Mastery: Hand of Light (P) – Many of your attacks deal additional damage.
80 Absolve – Your Hand of Sacrifice cleans the target of all harmful magical effects.
81 Inquisition – Use up to 3 HP to power this buff. Try to keep it up at all times while fighting.


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Protection Paladin Protection Paladin Leveling Build

Protection Paladins level just fine, especially when they can round up a group and smash them all at once. This build also doubles as a tanking build if you’re running dungeons, as well as questing. While your strength is tanking it is fun to round up piles of quest mobs, burn them down, finish at full health, and then look for the next batch.

If you’re on a PvP server then you’re probably better off as Holy or Retribution.

As with Retribution change these talents as you need to for specific situations.

Protection Talents

  1. Protection Paladin Leveling build for Mists of PandariaPursuit of Justice – You gain 15% movement speed at all times, plus an additional 5% movement speed for each current charge of Holy Power up to 3. Kindof a tough choice here, but this one is chosen because a consistent, always on, movement buff is more generally useful that an occasional Sprint, expecially since, as a tank, all the enemies are coming to you.
  2. Fist of Justice – stuns the target for 6 seconds. Stuns are great since stunned enemies take no actions and this one has more range than Hammer of Justice.
  3. Sacred Shield – Protects the target with a shield of Holy Light for 30 sec. The shield absorbs damage every 6 sec. Doesn’t use Holy Power, leaving the HP for Damage/Threat.
  4. Clemency, because it gives you a lot of flexibility with useful Hand spells. You won’t be getting DOTted up enough to make purity useful, and Unbreakable isn’t all that useful.
  5. Holy Avenger – Abilities that generate Holy Power will deal 30% additional damage and healing, and generate 3 charges of Holy Power for the next 18 sec. More damage and healing, what’s not to like?
  6. Pick for whatever you’re doing. Execution Sentence is nice Vs bosses and things that will stay put. Light’s Hammer is good vs groups, also assuming they stay in one place (which they will, most of the time.) Holy Prism is great for when there is movement.

Major Glyphs

Other useful glyphs, swap as necessary.

  • Word of Glory – If you’re using WoG then this will give you a brief damage boost after use.
  • Harsh Words – Use Word of Glory to deliver ranged damage and pick up strays.


Protection Paladin Abilities

You’ll note that your abilities are generally designed around survival. While your damage isn’t exactly going to “one shot” anything, your durability can more than make up for it and this is why you’re think master of rounding up groups and burning them down. As a tank your Righteous Fury ability (level 12) makes sure the enemies will pay attention to you, not the other guys.

Abilities such as Avenger’s Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Wrath, and Consecration just add to you ability to make large piles of dead enemies. And with the loot change in M of P you can loot them all with one click.

HP = Holy Power

Protection Spec
10 Avenger’s Shield – Throws your shield at up to 3 enemies, doing light damage and interrupting and silencing casting. Great for starting to round up your group of “soon to be slain” mobs.
10 Guarded by the Light (Passive) – More Stam, more Block, less chance to be Crit, more.
10 Vengeance (Passive) – More attackpower from the damage you take. Stamina used to factor into Vengeance, but no more. Still, when youi’re in the middle of a pile-up you’ll want that Stam.
20 Hammer of the Righteous – Hammer the current target for light damage, also hits all other targets within 8 yards, applying the weakened blows effect. Great for making sure your group is paying attention to you, especially if you’re tanking.
20 Holy Wrath – sends bolts of power to all enemies within 10 yrs, doing light damage. Also makes sure your group is paying attention to you, especially if you’re tanking.
28 Judgments of the Wise (Passive) – Judgements grant one Holy Power.
34 Consecration – Area damage for 9 seconds. Round up a pack of ‘em and Consecrate.
40 Shield of the Righteous – Use 3 HP to slam target with shield for good damage, briefly reducing incoming damage, and causing Bastion of glory.
50 Grand Crusader (Passive) – Crusader Strke and Hammer of the Righteous can refresh Avenger’s Shield CD. Then you blast it out there to whack what you’re already fighting or use it to bring more over to you.
50 Plate Specialization – 5% more Stamina is you’re wearing Plate in all armor slots.
64 Sanctuary (Passive) – Decreases incoming damage, increases armor value, increases Dodge.
70 Ardent Defender – Reduces damage for 10 seconds, an attack that would otherwise kill you now heals. You’ll probably rarely use this while questing, but it’s useful when tanking and definitely useful in PvP.
75 Guardian of Ancient Kings – Summons a guardian that reduces your incoming damage by 50% for 12 sec. Great for when things get a bit tight.
80 Mastery: Mastery: Divine Bulwark (Passive) – Increased dmg reduction of Shield of the Righteous, adds to Bastion of Glory, increases chance to block.

Click Here and Get to Level 90, Fast!
Click Here and Get to Level 90, Fast!

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Paladin Races

Draenei PaladinAs a Paladin your choice of race is restricted to Human, Dwarf, Draenei, Blood Elf, and Tauren. If you intend to raid after leveling then the Draenei might be your best choice (for the Hit buff.) For PvP Humans are #1. If you want to look good then your only choice is a Dwarf. Blood elves are left out in the cold here. ;)

That said, I’m quite happy with my Belf Pallies, and the Tauren’s War Stomp and extra Stam is nice. As far as leveling goes, none of the racials are any great use, although the Draenei add to your hit chance means a few less miss signs and that War Stomp of the Taurens is nice.

Draenei: You do have arms that put humans to shame, so you certainly look the part.

  • Their racial adds a 1% chance to hit, self only, which is nice. More hits=more damage, all the way to the end-game. In the end-game this makes gearing/reforging decisions a bit easier, especially for Retribution.
  • Their heal is nice, except that you have an assortment of your own. Still, there are times when every little bit helps.
  • Good at Jewelcrafting.

Dwarves: Short, blocky, make excellent door stops.

  • Other than their good looks Dwarves have Stoneform, which removes bleeds and such and also reduces damage, by 10%, for the duration of the effect.
  • Ranged Weapon Expertise is great for Hunters, not so much for you. You don’t believe in ranged weapons.
  • Mace expertise, on the other hand, is useful if a Mace is the best weapon available. It will also add to Holy’s Spell Hit (not that they need any.)
  • Good at Archeology

Humans: The only proper Pally race, unless you’d rather not be Human.

  • Increased rep gain is nice when looking to gain faction with any of the dozens of factions available.
  • Escape is a very useful PvP ability and will sometimes finds use while leveling. This allows the use of two DPS trinkets in PvP.
  • Expertise with swords and maces is a solid stat, the only issue being that a sword or mace is the best weapon available.
  • Paladins have no use for Spirit unless they’re healers, in which case it’s very nice to have. Especially since it scales well with level.

Blood Elves: Too busy looking in the mirror and playing with their hair to be good Paladins.

  • Used to be the best Horde race for Pallies. Well, Ok, they used to be the only Horde race (pre-Cataclysm.)
  • Any Silence effect is nice in PvP, and sometimes elsewhere, and the Blood Elves have a nice Area Effect silence with their Arcane Torrent (which also recovers a small amount of mana.) This racial will be of far more use for Ret and Prot than it will for Holy, since Holy will be mostly staying out of close melee.
  • Good with Enchanting.

Tauren: Big, Fuzzy, Huggable, loveable… perfect for Holy Pallies.

  • War Stomp is a nice area effect Stun, which is useful in leveling and PvP. Tanks will also find it helpful.
  • They also have extra health, which is useful in any situation for anyone. Mooo. Extra health and an area effect stun? Sign me up. Actually, the health doesn’t scale well and isn’t worth much at high level, but it’s pretty nice while leveling.
  • Good with Herbalism.

Pandarians cannot be Paladins, in case you were wondering.

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Tradeskills for leveling

For leveling, skip the tradeskills for the simple reason that they’re very expensive to level. If you have the cash then Blacksmithing (for your weapons and plate adorned body and gem sockets) is nice, as is Mining to supply your Blacksmithing skill. If you have a ton of gold then Alchemy has lots of useful potions and Engineering has lots of useful gadgets.

A recipe for poverty? Take Blacksmithing and Engineering together.

  • Mining, Herbalism, and Skinning are your cash grinding skills. Pick any two. Gather full stacks of gatherables and sell them on the Auction House. These skills also come with buffs (as do all crafting skills:)
    • Mining provides 480 Stam at max skill in Mists of Pandaria.
    • Skinning provides 480 Crit in M of P.
    • You probably won’t need Herbalism’s LifeBloom heal, but the added Haste is nice: 2880 (!) for 20 seconds at skill 600.
  • Cooking has some foods with nice buffs.
  • First Aid is occasionally useful, for those times when you just don’t want to spend the mana on a heal, but it’s far from essential, especially in Cataclysm and beyond. It does give you something to do with all that cloth, though, and you can troll your buddies by bandaging them instead of healing them.
  • Engineering and Herbalism will give you a paid of very useful cooldowns. Lifeblood and Synapse Springs, in addition to any other benefits they might have.

The other tradeskills have some nice self only buffs or items, but little utility otherwise and a lot of expense. On the other hand, for end-game raiding, the “self-only” features have definite value and might well be demanded by your raiding buddies.

  • Blacksmithing will allow you to slot two additional gems by adding slots to your bracers and gloves. Since you will be able to socket just about any gem you will have a certain flexibility with this profession. You will also be able to make (and maybe sell) gear, in addition to items to sharpen your weapons and keys to pick locks. At skill level 400 (level 65+) you will be able to add those gem sockets, so will always have the option of being two gems ahead of the rest of the crowd.
  • Inscription might be a decent money maker on your server, but it takes a bit of work. This skill has a pretty nice shoulder enchant and will be making all of the shoulder enchants in Mists of Pandaria. You’ll be able to make everyone’s glyphs and a few other useful items, such as books, cards, staves, and more.
  • Enchanting is another very expensive skill to level, but you can disenchant items for your own use or to sell the parts. If you have enough cash this is a good way to make sure all your gear is “properly enchanted” as you level, you twink, you. ;)  You are also able to enchant your own rings (for 320 total Str/Int in M of P.)
  • Ditto Jewelcrafting. Unike Enchanting, though, you won’t see much gear with gem slots on it while you level. Combinied with Mining you can prospect for gems and might be able to find and cut enough to make it worth your while. You can make nicer gems for your own use.
  • Alchemy will let you create a number of very useful potions. Stick them on your action bar. You also get more benefit and duration from your own potions than others will. Figure a bonus of 30% and an extra hour from your flasks and elixirs.
  • Tailoring has little use, other than a nice cloak enchant (max of 4k attack power) and a flying carpet.
  • Engineering has a number of useful gadgets and the Synapse Springs widget, which adds a bunch of your best stat for ten seconds.

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Leveling and Paladin Mechanics

Tauren Paladin with no sense of humorIt used to be that Retribution was the only way to go for leveling. Dungeons were hard to get to and PvP didn’t give experience. Then came the changes. Now we have the random dungeon finder tool and the battlegrounds (BGs) give excellent XP (if you win.) See our dungeon leveling guide for dungeon tips.

Leveling as Holy

You can certainly do this, but it will be painfully slow if you’re questing. Joining a dungeon team will result in fast XP and is a good way to go. The same is true with PvP, if your teams are winning. Find yourself a pocket Rogue or Warrior and stick with him, making him an indestructable killing machine that burns everything down for you. See our Holy Paladin page for builds and “How To.”

Leveling as Protection

When questing you’re halfway between Holy and Retribution. One on one with the mobs goes slowly (lack of damage.) You’ll be best off when you can be attacking several mobs at once. Round ‘em all up and smash ‘em down.

As a tank you’ll level very quickly in the dungeons, since queue times for tanks are very short. PvP can work even though your one on one damage isn’t so hot. You’re fairly hard to kill so you can make a good defender until your team shows up. See our Protection Paladin page for builds.

Leveling as Retribution

Retribution Paladins are the Rightous Crusaders who crush opponents with weapons and holy magic. This is the damage and light tanking build and the best for solo and small group leveling. You can quest with the best of them, do some light tanking, bring some nice damage (DPS) to your group, and can even toss out the occasional heal. You might not be able to handle groups as well as Protection, but you do a lot more damage and can kill fast enough to make up for it.

Not to mention what you can do to people in PvP.

Retribution is the spec we’ll use for this guide, but you’ll find a Protection build below. if you want to level as Holy then just jump to that page and grab the appropriate info.


Paladin mechanics use mana and a Holy Power system. HP’s very similar to the Combo Points sytem that Rogues use, except that the Holy Power stays with the Pally, not on the opponent.

From the Devs: This (Holy Power) is a new resource which works similarly to (a Rogue or Druid’s) combo points. Paladins will generally want to build up Holy Power until it shines through with a bright yellow glowing effect (3 “points” worth.) Once Holy Power has been built up, it can be consumed to augment existing abilities. For example, Word of Glory can be used to cast an instant-cast free heal. This gives paladins several options for how to spend their Holy Power, depending on the scenario.

Basically you’ll want to save it until you have 3 HP and then unleash it with an appropriate ability.

Seals, Auras, and Blessings

Note that Aura’s mostly died with Mists of Pandaria.

  1. Level 3, Seal of Command. Adds damage. You’ll use this until level 24, when you’ll pick up
  2. Level 24, Seal of Truth. Does more damage and adds a Damage over Time (DoT) effect to the opponent. Your Glyph of Immediate Truth pushes more of that damage to the beginning of the attack.
  3. Level 32, Seal of Insight. Use this if you’re Holy and I like to use it while tanking. It restores mana and health. In 5.4 it only restores health.
  4. Level 42, Seal of Righteousness. This is greatly changed over what is was before. It deals damage to all nearby enemies and you’ll generally use it for tanking to hold your group of mobs together (focused on you.)
  5. Level 60: Devotion Aura makes your group (and you) immune to silence/interrupts for 6 seconds and reduces all magic damage taken. Especially nice for PvP healing. 3 minutes cooldown.
  6. Level 70: Seal of Justice – Enemies are slowed when you hit them.

Blessings are your group buffs

  1. Blessing of Kings (lev 30) – Your entire party or raid gets +5% to their Str/Int/Ag.
  2. Blessing of Might (level 81) – Your entire party/raid gets a big Mastery boost, which scales with your level.

Hands of the Paladin

You can “lay a hand” on an ally, or yourself, and the target gains various benefits. Only one Hand at a time, though.

  1. Hand of Protection – (level 48) puts a protective bubble on your ally for a few seconds. They can’t be hurt, but can’t do anything either.
  2. Hand of Freedom – (level 52) Break free of movement impairing effects.
  3. Hand of purity – (level 60, talent) minor damage reduction, but is a major reduction Vs Damage over Time (DOT) effects, such as diseases or Warlock spells.In 5.4 it is improved slightly, absorbing 80% or the damage.
  4. Hand of Salvation – Only useful in dugeons, it removes the threat from a party member. For those times when someone, who is not the tank, get’s the enemy’s attention.
  5. Hand of Sacrifice – You take a portion of the damage that your ally is taking.


Gear & Notes

The Stats

Gearing a retribution paladin used to be tough at times, at any given time you’d have numerous priorities to consider, such as whether increasing your mana pool for more seals/judgements is a better idea than just boosting strength, etc. Or should you get the gear with high Strength or high Stamina? What about Spirit?

With Cataclysm the equation became easy  and Mists of Pandaria doesn’t change anything.

The thing to remember about stats while leveling is not to worry about them much. Your basic gear will be more than adequate. If you want to be more effective in PvP or the dungeons then stacking certain stats is a good idea. You can do that through gems and enchants and good gear choices. When you hit the end-game raids and such you will want to pay a lot more attention to your stats.

Your #1 Stat is:

  • Ret = Strength, by far. It provides attackpower, some crit rating, and some parry.
  • Holy – Int, by far. It provides spell power and some crit. It no longer adds to mana pool.
  • Protection = Stamina and Mastery if tanking, Str if questing.

If you’re having mana issues then just use Seal of Insight and they’ll go away.

Other stats:

  1. Hit rating is more for PvP and even more for Raiding, not so important for leveling. Basically it means that you won’t miss with your attacks. 3% is quite adequate for PvP and questing and 7.5% is good for all your melee attacks against raid bosses. Hit and Expertise use the same table and both are (eventually) needed, though less so for Holy.
  2. Expertise keeps the other guy from avoiding (dodging) your strikes. Good threat stat for Prot, since your abilities depend on hitting the opposition.
    • 3% Hit/Exp Vs same level mobs.
    • 4.5% Vs +1 level
    • 6% Vs +2 levels, such as dungeon bosses
    • 7.5 % Vs +3 level, such as Raid bosses.
  3. Haste is the “best of the rest” stat, after Hit and Expertise.
  4. Crit rating is very important for Ret, Not so much for Prot or Holy.
  5. Spell Power only appears on some trinkets and enchants and, other than Exorcism and your heals, your not casting much in the way of spells. Holy will have much greater use for this than the others.
  6. Stamina is important if you’re getting killed, otherwise you don’t need much. If you’re on a PvP server you might want more. Protection values Stam a lot more for tanking.
  7. Agility is useless to you.
  8. Spirit is great for Holy, useless otherwise.
  9. Mastery is a big snooze for Ret., the #1 secondary stat for Protection, medium value for Holy.
  10. Resilience – only appears on PvP gear and then only at mid to high levels. Very important if you PvP, useless if you don’t. It was greatly changes in 5.3 and no longer appears on high end gear. Everyone now starts at 65% Resilience, regardless of gear, so grab what you got and give it a try.
  11. PvP Power is not important for leveling, though you won’t see it until 90 anyway.


Plate is your armor (from 40+.) Know it and love it. Stick with plate. Before level 50 you might find pieces of mail armor might have better stats at any given level, and plate might be unavailable, so go ahead and use that mail piece, if it’s an upgrade. Lose it at 50.

At level 50 you get Plate Specialization which gives you a 5% bonus to your primary stat (Str for Retribution) if you have Plate in all armor slots. This will make plate superior to any other choices from level 50 onward.

Gear? See above. You’re not terribly gear dependent, but we all love the good gear. You can get better gear from instances or the Auction House or PvP honor vendors. Upgrade your weapon every few levels and the rest of your gear whenever you feel the urge.

  • Level 70: Do some PvP before 70 then buy your epic arena gear from the Arena Legacy Vendors. You will want around 1600 honor for a full set. This will keep you well geared until…
  • Level 77: Put away all heirlooms and start buying and using Cataclysm gear. The stats on that stuff are WAY better than anything else at this level. Send all your regular (level 80 capped) heirlooms to your alts.
  • Level 81: Put your level 85 heirlooms (guild stuff) back on.
  • Level 85: Buy or make the crafted PvP set or buy whatever M of P gear is on the Auction House.
  • M of P gear starts appearing on the Auction House at level 80+. This is blue gear, of item level 415+. If you see a piece and can afford it, then grab it. It’s better than any of the Cata gear you’ll find.
  • At 90 buy the Crafted Malevolent Gladiator’s set (if you can afford it,) and then start your dungeons. Or head over to the Timeless Isle and gear up there.

Mists of Pandaria green gear starts at iLevel 372 or so, which is slightly higher than much of Cata’s Firelands gear, though less than raid or PvP gear. There are vendors in the M of P zones which sell M of P level gear for not much gold.

Retribution wants two-handed weapons for everything. Save the Weapon and Shield for Protection. You want the 2-hander with the highest DPS possible, which usually means the slowest weapon you can find. You special attacks are all based off the weapon’s average damage. 2-handers with Strength and Hit/Crit rating are awesome.

Note that your Two Handed Weapon Specialization gives you more damage with 2-handers. None of your talents (or those of Protection) give you anything with one-handers, though Prot will be using the 1-handers anyway.


Gems and Enchants

Enchants can be very expensive, so skip them until you have the gold. You’ll level fast enough that you will outgrow your gear quickly and the enchants probably won’t be cost effective. Gems are a nice little boost for when you find that piece of socketed gear. You won’t see many gem slots before 60, though.

If you are going to use gems and or enchants then pick the ones that give you the stats you need, whether it’s strength, stam, or whatever. Mists of Pandaria gems and enchants will be much better than their cataclysm variants, but require high level gear (item level 417+.) If you’re gemming gear (such as leveling 86+ in your Cata raid gear) then upgrade as soon as you can.

  • Gems: Ret. gems for Strength, Holy gems for Int.
  • Mastery gems for Prot.
  • Enchants: Sometimes you can find gems and enchants for very little gold, so it’s worth looking occasionally.

Go to => TopShortRaceCraftsTalentsRet BuildProtectionGearTipsLevel Faster


Paladin Leveling Tips

Unless you’re tanking, and you won’t be before level 15, use a two-handed weapon. You’ll use Crusader Strike to build up your Holy Power (which will appear on a “meter” right under your mana bar.)

With three points of Holy Power you can fire off Templar’s Verdict or World of Glory or other abilities. Three points gives a much better result than one or two.

Have a Seal and Blessing of Kings or Might up at all times.

As you level you will be better able to control groups of mobs.

Keep in mind that Protection Pallies are much better at the tanking game.

  • Don’t gimp yourself, equip a two-handed weapon. If you’re grouping and you are not the tank then turn off Rightous Fury in favor of other things that generate less threat.
  • If you’re tanking instances at lower level (and you can) then equip a shield and one handed weapon. Keep Rightous Fury up to greatly improve your threat. Seal of Righteousness is useful for handling groups.

Carrying stuff

  • Always get the biggest bags you can afford. More space means fewer tips to the vendor to dump stuff.
  • Carry a couple of potions of water breathing for those times when you’ll really want one.
  • Potions of healing are nice for those time when Word of Glory and the mana just aren’t there
  • Ditto for mana potions
  • Consumables, such as buffing foods and potions of strength, are very nice to have and will both speed up your leveling and reduce your downtime.

Questing and Misc. 

  • Make an alt (alternate character) just to sell stuff on the Auction house. Gather stuff while questing, mail the white and better stuff to the alt, then get back to work. Log into the alt when you’re done and sell the stuff.
  • Questing with a compatible partner reduces the XP per kill, but increases the kill rate more then enough to compensate, so dual up when you can. There’s also less downtime, so that speeds things up, too. Priests and Druids go very well with Paladins.
  • Daily quests (from 70+) are a nice way to get XP, gold, rep, and some items.
  • PvP, endless shopping, and other time wasting activities can be great fun, but will slow your leveling.
  • PvP in the Battlegrounds, on the other hand, gave give up some nice XP and gives you honor points which you can use to buy some nice gear at mid levels. If your team is winning then you can level very quickly in the battlegrounds.
  • Always log out in an Inn, for the Rested XP Bonus.
  • If you really want to get to 85 fast then you should grab yourself an in-game leveling guide.


Leveling Rotations and Cooldowns

The main difference between questing and dungeoning, for the purposes of this guide, and that you have to worry less about healing in the dungeons. The tank should be grabbing all the mobs and the healer will, mostly,  be keeping an eye on the tank. Both Ret and Prot can pretty much cut loose with everything they’ve got.

While questing it’s a bit harder to round up groups of mobs to burn down and you’ll generally have to handle your own healing.

Your Buffs:

This is in addition to any scrolls, potions, flasks, or 3rd party buffs you might be using.

  • Up to level 24 you’ll use Seal of Command.
  • Level 24+ it will become Seal of Truth, which will be your bread and butter seal.
  • Level 30+ you will keep Blesing of Kings up at all times.
  • At 32, if you need the mana and health use Seal of Insight, otherwise stay with Truth.
  • At 42 Seal of Righteousness is useful against groups of mobs.
  • At 81+, Blessing of Might with it’s big Mastery buff might be more valuable than Kings.
  • at 85+ Boundless Conviction allows you to store (not use at one time) up to 5 Holy Power.


Longer cooldowns and can’t easily be used repeatedly. Ret cooldowns are very strong and you can do massive damage by stacking them. Kill the opposition now and you have time to let the CDs come back up for the next fight.

  • Hammer of Wrath is an example of such, which the CD is only 6 seconds you can only use it on low health opponents or when Avenging Wrath is up, and AW has a 3 min cooldown.
  • All the tier 6 talents are in this group.
  • Avenging Wrath – increases all damage and healing for 20 seconds. 3 min cooldown.
  • Holy Avenger (if you took it) – lots more effect from Holy Power abilities.
  • Guardian of Ancient Kings, pretty much your best CD
Basic Retribution Rotation

  • You will be using only 2-hand weapons from level 10 on up to the level cap.
  • Open with Judgement, if opponent is at range, otherwise use Crusader Strike (CS)
  • At lev 10+ Templar’s Verdict (TV) becomes your big hit. Use it when you have 3 Holy Power (HP.)
  • At 14 you get Reckoning, which can be used to bring other mobs to you.
  • Judgements of the Bold (lev 28) and Divine Storm (34) will help you mash down small groups of mobs.
  • At 46 Exorcism will become your ranged opener, in addition to Judgement.
  • At 50 Art of War will give you more Exorcisms.
  • At 72 Avenging Wrath becomes available and is a pretty nice damage cooldown.
  • At 75 your Guardian of Ancient Kings will give you more damage.
  • At 81 your Inquisition will be a very useful buff, keep it up at all times.

General rotation: Judgement and CS to 3 HP, then TV.
Mix in your CDs as necessry, do not let them sit unused.

Basic Protection Rotation

  • Before 10, open with Judgement, if opponent is at range, otherwise use Crusader Strike
  • From level 10 onward you will be using a shield and a one handed weapon.
  • From 10 onward you will be usually opening with Avenger’s Shield (AS)
  • At 14 you get Reckoning, which can be used to bring other mobs to you.
  • At 20 Hammer of the Righteous (SotR)and Holy Wrath will help you to fight groups
  • At 34 Consecration will help burn them down that much faster.
  • at 40 Shield of the Righteous is what you will spending most of your HP to use. In addition to damage it gives you some solid protection for a brief time.
  • at 50 Grand Crusader will give you more Avenger’s Shields.
  • At 75 your Guardian of Ancient Kings will help protect you from damage.

General rotation: AS to Judgement and CS to 3 HP, then SotR.
Mix in your CDs as necessry, do not let them sit unused.



Getting your Paladin Leveled Fast

As you have noticed there are thousands of quests in the World of Warcraft and a few zillion monsters to slay (not even including other players.) Keeping track of all those quests, looking up the details and figuring out where to go and what to do can become a drag. Mists of Pandaria adds another five levels to the equation.

If you’re using Dugi’s Guide you will be leveling quickly regardless of patch or expansion:

Brand new to WoW? Heirlooms from head to toe? Using Recruit a Friend? No sweat! Dugi’s has you covered and you will never again wonder where to go or what to do. You will probably never even need to look at your quest log again.

Hitting the level cap will be a snap. Dugi’s is always 100% ready for whatever updates to the game that Blizzards brings us. Grab your copy now and see how quickly you can get to max level!

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12 thoughts on “The Paladin Leveling Guide for Mists of Pandaria

  1. Martin says:

    Alguien sabe si esta guia fue traducida a español? Por favor seria de gran ayuda!

  2. Omegaprime says:

    Best guide I’ve read so far. Thanks for breaking everything down. I had heard holy was best pally build but I see the difference now and will be switching to ret.

    • Rogptor says:

      Thanks. Holy is “best” if what you want to do is heal the other guys. For leveling this means you skip the questing and stick to dungeons and battlegrounds. Even then, you need to be part of a decent group. Protection is similar and I leveled to 86 just through tanking dungeons. Prot. is useless for pvP though. :) Ret. lets you level solo, smash things in the dungeons, and kick butt in PvP. So yeah, it’s the “go to” spec for leveling.

  3. Gilbert says:

    In the article you speak of the “Aura of retribution” twice. But I cannot find it when in Retribution spec and seems to no longer exist since Mists of Pandaria. Could you check ?

  4. IceGiant says:

    This article is too damn opinionated. Practically no meat of information in here but more babble and smiley faces. I’m here to learn about my paladin not listen to your Tauren preferences, thoughts on humans and RP of elves. Which obviously shows some form of jealousy since my friend is a bad ass Belf Pally and there’s no rotation button involving “looking in mirror all day.” (Fail)

    Maybe you’re just some hetero-white-male trying to tell all women that beautiful people are stupid so you have a higher shot with them. lol! That’s the only logical explanation for such useless info added to an article.

    • Rogptor says:

      Wow, someone’s got his panties in a wad. Your Belf pally get her butt kicked or something? By the way, mine’s a Belf, tanking (mostly) the way to 90. So I suggest you hop over to the WoW forums for your info, where no one expresses opinions or snark.

  5. Gilbert says:

    I feel that Divine Purpose is more interesting. The other talent feels akward to use and really breaks the whole rotation. Divine Purpose is passive, and it lets me use Shield of the Righeous twice, or more because first use, if Divine Purpose is up, can be cast and I keep the 3 holy power, which I immediatly use again on shield of the righteous, and since it adds to the duration of the shield.. It’s kick ass as a tank.

    I get 3 holy power. While I do, Divine Purpose has each time 25 % of chance to proc. And when I use those 3 holy power on the shield, sometimes I can do it twice, and rarely, 3 times in a row (especially when having aoe situations and lots of enemies).

    Passive, easy to use and invested in shield makes the shield buff last longer.

  6. Gilebrt says:

    Very good guide thank you. I could not find on the net a guide with glyphs when leveling and once at maximum level.

    • Rogptor says:

      Thanks. Some glyphs are great at one level, but less so at a higher level. Then whether you raid or PvP will dictate new glyphs.

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