The Paladin Leveling Guide for Mists of Pandaria
This page has been updated for Warlords of Draenor
Even if you’re insta-boosting to 90 you still have ten levels to go and will find the following page useful.
Once upon a time Paladin’s were Alliance 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 is the best leveling choice. Go here for the build and glyphs
- Protection is a fine dungeon tank, but questing is a bit slow. Ok, It’s lot slow. Go here for a build.
- 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
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.
Warlords of Draenor strips away some abilities in the interests of “cleaning things up,” but will otherwise be much the same.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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. compared 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.
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 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.
- Long 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 fine, but Law gives you more flexibility with your movement.
- 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.
- Selfless Healer is nice for the free heals, at lower levels. It scales badly at very high levels.
- Unbreakable reduces the cooldown on Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Lay on Hands by 50%. Depending on how often you use those abilities this may be your “go to” talent. If you only rarely, or never, use them then grab Clemency instead.
- 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.
- Light’s Hammer smashes into the ground and damages all nearby enemies, which is nice for fighting groups. That it also heals allies is a plus.
- 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.
- Execution Sentence is a cool ability, it’s just that, while leveling, most mobs won’t last long enough for it to be useful. For mobs (or players) that will last at least 10 seconds, then it’s a pretty good single target choice.
- Final Verdict for a big smash. Replaces your Templar’s Verdict. Also improves your next Divine Storm.
Major Glyphs handle all the interesting power changes, minors are pretty much just cosmetic, though a few might be useful in some way.
Some glyphs are automatically learned as you level, just like your other abilities. You still have to instal these glyphs, but you won’t have to buy them. These glyphs are:
- At level 25, Glyphs of: Harsh Words, Flash of Light, Alabaster Shield, Dazing Shield, Avenging Wrath, Templar’s Verdict
- At level 50, Glyphs of: Denounce, Divine Storm, Word of Glory
- At level 75, Glyphs of: Light of Dawn, Final Wrath, Double Jeopardy
- Glyph of Templar’s Verdict – (this is automatically learned) more damage reduction, up most of the time since you’ll be TVing as much as possible.
- Glyph of Immediate Truth – more upfront damage, which is nice since most things that you attack won’t wast long.
- Glyph of Judgment – 10 yards greater range.
- Immediate Truth – More up-front damage, since your fights will usually be short
- Glyph of Double Jeopardy – adds damage to your second Judgment, used on a second opponent.
- Divine Storm – Heals you for a small amount.
- Glyph of Harsh Words – Use your Word of Glory as a ranged attack.
- Glyph of Mass Exorcism – nice for a 0 range area attack. If you’re often fighting groups then this is a good choice.
- Glyph of Consecrator – Your Consecration moves with you, which will have occasional use.
- Righteous retreat - Faster hearthing while bubbled.
- Mounted King – Casts Blessing of Kings on you when you mount your charger. A good way to make sure that buff is always up.
- Fire from the Heavens – Certain crits bring fire down from the sky, doing zero damage, but looking great.
These are your abilities as Retribution.
Damage and more damage. That’s what you’re all about.
Abilities slain in Warlords of Draenor are marked as ** and also crossed out.
- 10 – Sword of Light (P) – Increases 2-handed damage.
- 10 – Templar’s Verdict – Uses 3 HP to smash the opposition.
- 14 – Flash of Light – Heals you or a target
- 20 – Hammer of the Righteous – A light strike that hits all nearby targets for small damage
- 24 – Seal of Truth – Additional damage to your current enemy.
- ** 28 – Judgments of the Bold
- 34 – Divine Storm – Uses 3 HP and damages all enemies in the immediate area.
- 34 – Supplication – For a short time after killing an enemy your Next Flash of Light will be much more effective.
- 42 – Seal of Righteousness – Does a small amount of damage to all targets in the area. Nice for tanking.
- 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
- 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.
- 72 – Avenging Wrath – 20 seconds of improved you every 2 min.
- ** 75 – ** Guardian of Ancient Kings – Now is Protection only.
- 80 – Mastery: Hand of Light (P) – Many of your attacks, and your Multistrikes, deal additional damage.
- 80 – Absolve – Your Hand of Sacrifice cleans the target of all harmful magical effects.
- 80 – Sanctity Aura – 3% Versatility to all your team members.
- ** 81 – Inquisition
- 90 – Righteous Vengeance – 5% more Mastery
92+ – The Perks
Perks are not new abilities, they’re enhancements to existing abilities and so will add no additional buttons to your bars. Also, each perk is learned randomly from the list of available perks, so you will not get them in any particular order. By level 100 you will have learned them all.
All perks are passive.
- Empowered Divine Storm – Abilities that use Holy Power (eg: Templar’s Verdict) have a chance to make your next DS free and more powerful.
- Empowered Hammer of Wrath can now be used on targets with 35% or lower health (the original ability is 20%.)
- Enhanced Hand of Sacrifice – faster cooldown of Hand of Sacrifice.
- Improved Forbearance – Reduced Forbearance duration.
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. Note that when you get into the 80s you won’t be hitting quite so hard, but you can still round up the big groups and work then down.
As with Retribution change these talents as you need to for specific situations. Our picks are checked:
- Pursuit 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, especially since, as a tank, all the enemies are coming to you.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Sanctified Wrath causes your Holy Wrath to do more damage and generate Holy Power.
- Divine Purpose gives your Word of Glory a chance to cause your next Word of Glory or Divine Storm to use no Holy Power, but act as if were using three. How often do you use Word of Glory? If it’s a lot then this might be a good pick.
- 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.
- Holy Shield improves your block and threat, which will help with your tanking.
- Hammer of the Righteous – HotR damage reduction duration 50% longer, for more survivability.
- Alabaster Shield – Increases damage of your next Shield of the Righteous.
- Divine Storm – heals you for 5% when using DS
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.
- Righteous retreat – 50% faster hearth speed when bubbled.
- Falling avenger – Slow fall during Avenging Wrath
- Mounted King – Mounting a Paladin mount auto-casts blessing of kings on you.
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, except at low to mid levels, 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.
- HP = Holy Power
- P = Passive ability
- ** = removed in Warlords of Draenor (also crossed out.)
- New= new ability for Warlords.
|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 (P) – More Stam, more Block, less chance to be Crit, more.|
|10||Bladed Armor (P, New) – Increases your attack Power by 100% of your armor rating.|
|10||Resolve (P, New)|
|14||Flash of Light – A heal|
|20||Hammer of the Righteous – Hammer the current target for light damage, also hits all other targets within 8 yards. Great for making sure your group is paying attention to you, especially if you’re tanking. (WoD: No longer applies Weakened Blows)|
|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.|
|24||Seal of Truth – More damage to the target, plus a DOT effect.|
|28||Judgments of the Wise (P) – 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 (P) – 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||Shining Protector (P, New) All heals you receive, including multistrikes, have a chance equal to your multistrike chance to trigger Shining Protector, healing you for an additional 30% of the triggering heal.|
|50||Plate Specialization – 5% more Stamina is you’re wearing Plate in all armor slots.|
|64||Sanctuary (P) – Decreases incoming damage, increases armor value, increases Dodge.|
|66||Hand of Salvation (Now protection only.) Temporarily remove threat from a party member.|
|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 (now is Prot only) – Summons a guardian that reduces your incoming damage by 50% for 12 sec. Great for when things get a bit tight.|
|76||Riposte (P, New) – You gain parry equal to 100% of the Crit rating of your gear.|
|80||Mastery: Mastery: Divine Bulwark (P) – Increased dmg reduction of Shield of the Righteous, adds to Bastion of Glory, increases chance to block. New – now increases your Attack Power.|
|90||Sacred Duty (P, New) – 5% nore Haste from all sources.|
|92+||They’re Perks, not Abilities. From 92-100 you will get four Perks, learned in random order, which act as enhancements to certain existing abiltities. Your perks are:|
As a Paladin your choice of race is restricted to Human, Dwarf, Draenei, Blood Elf, and Tauren. If you want to look good then clearly your only choice is a Dwarf.
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 Str ain’t bad and that War Stomp of the Taurens is nice.
Abilities that died in Warlords of Draenor are crossed out.
Draenei: You do have arms that put humans to shame, so you certainly look the part.
- Their racial adds a 1% chance to hit
- WoD: Heroic Presence has been redesigned, it now increases Strength, and Intellect (and Agility) by a small amount.
- 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. In WoD it also removes magic and curse effects.
- WoD: Might of the Mountain is a new racial passive ability that increases Critical Strike bonus damage and healing dealt by 2%.
- Ranged Weapon Expertise
- Mace expertise
- 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
- The Human Spirit is changed in Wod: It now increases your Versatility.
Blood Elves: Too busy looking in the mirror and playing with their hair to be good Paladins.
- 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.
- WoD: Arcane Acuity is a new racial passive ability that increases Critical Strike chance by 1%.
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.
- WoD: Brawn is a new racial passive ability that increases Critical Strike bonus damage and healing done by 2%.
Pandarians cannot be Paladins, in case you were wondering.
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) 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.
Warlords Note: All of the profession bonuses, such as Blacksmithing’s extra sockets, are removed.
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 no longer provides a Stam buff, but most ores are in high demand.
- Skinning no longer provides a crit buff, but the leathers sell well.
- Herbs sell as well as skins and ores.
- 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.
The other tradeskills have little utility and a lot of expense. They can be used to make gold (maybe a lot of gold,)
- Blacksmithing You will also be able to make (and maybe sell) gear, in addition to items to sharpen your weapons and keys to pick locks.
- Inscription might be a decent money maker on your server, but it takes a bit of work. This skill will be making all of the shoulder enchants in Mists of Pandaria and onward. 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.
- 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.
- Alchemy will let you create a number of very useful potions. Stick them on your action bar.
- Tailoring has little use for you other than a flying carpet.
- Ditto Leatherworking
- Engineering has a number of useful gadgets.
Leveling and Paladin Mechanics
It 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 indestructible 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.
In Warlords there have been a few changes made to tanks in PvP, so you might now find it to be a better experience.
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. Check out Skill-Capped for a lot more Pally PvP info.
Paladin mechanics use mana and a Holy Power system. HP’s very similar to the Combo Points system that Rogues use.
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
Warlords of Draenor pushed the seals around a bit, now some are restricted to certain specs.
- Level 3, Seal of Command. Adds damage. You’ll use this until level 24, when you’ll pick up
- Level 24, Seal of Truth. (Prot and Ret only) 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.
- 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.
- Level 42, Seal of Righteousness. (Prot and Ret only) 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.)
- Level 60: Devotion Aura (Holy only) 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.
- Level 70: Seal of Justice (Ret only) – Enemies are slowed when you hit them.
- Level 80: Sanctity Aura is a new passive ability for Retribution Paladins which grants 3% Versatility to the Paladin and all allies within 100 yards.
Blessings are your group buffs
You can have one blessing up at a time and one gets does for your entire group.
- Blessing of Kings (lev 30) – Your entire party or raid gets +5% to their Str/Int/Ag.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hand of Freedom – (level 52) Break free of movement impairing effects.
- 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.
- Hand of Salvation (Prot only, lev 66) – Only useful in dungeons, it removes the threat from a party member. For those times when someone, who is not the tank, get’s the enemy’s attention.
- Hand of Sacrifice (lev 80) – You take a portion of the damage that your ally is taking.
Gear & Stats
With Warlords the Hit & Expertise stats are dead. Resilience and Reforging are also gone. You also have some new stats:
- Bonus Armor: Increases Armor and Attack Power for tanking specializations.
- Multistrike: Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to 2 additional times, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing.)
- Versatility: Increases damage, healing, and absorption done. Reduces damage taken.
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 attack power to all of your damaging abilities.
- Holy – Int, by far. It provides spell power.
- 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. The seal will also help keep your health up.
- Haste is the “best of the rest” stat
- Crit rating is very important for Ret, Not so much for Prot or Holy.
- 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.
- 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.
- Agility is useless to you.
- Spirit is great for Holy, useless otherwise.
- Mastery is a big snooze for Ret., the #1 secondary stat for Protection, medium value for Holy.
- PvP Power is not important for leveling, though you won’t see it until 90 anyway.
- Multistrike give you a chance to fire off additional, weaker, attacks and heals. It will certainly add to your overall damage & healing.
- Versatility improves what you do and makes you tougher. You will hit harder and be tougher, compared to hitting/healing more often with Multistrike.
About That Gear
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.
- Pre-70: You can get PvP gear from various vendors and decent gear from the dungeons. Also while doing the random dungeons you will get a satchell of useful items, which will, on occasion, contain something actually useful.
- 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. Look at the item level on the gear. If it’s 170ish then it’s Wrath (of the Lich king) gear, 270ish and it’s Cata gear.
- Level 81: Put your level 85 heirlooms back on. The level 80 bits can be sent elsewhere.
- 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 81+. 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.
- 90+ keep an eye out for Warlords gear on the Auction House, as you did with the earlier gear.
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, the entire set, for not much gold.
Warlords gear starts out almost as good as the Timeless Isle gear (example here,) but better gear will likely be available if you have some gold to spend.
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 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.
- Gems: Ret. gems for Strength (“Bold” gems,) Holy gems for Int. (“Brilliant” gems)
- Mastery (“Fractured”) gems for Prot.
- Enchants: Sometimes you can find gems and enchants for very little gold, so it’s worth looking occasionally.
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.)
- Crusader Strike is actually one of your weakest strikes as you level. Almost its only value in in building Holy Power, so you will have to use it often. Just realize that your other strikes usually hit a lot harder.
- See below for actual “rotations” and how to smash the enemy.
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.
- Seal of command until you hit 24, then seal of truth. You’ll use this one all the way to 100.
- Seal of Insight is nice if you need the additional health and mana. I prefer it for tanking for those reasons. Retribution probably won’t need it.
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 as Retribution, always equip a two-handed weapon. If you’re grouping and you are not the tank then turn off Rightous Fury.
- 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.
- 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 100 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 (the “Damage”) and Prot (the Tank) 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.
In PvP try to hand with a healer.
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. Ret will always use this.
- 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, but Ret should keep with Truth.
- At 81+, Blessing of Might, with it’s big Mastery buff, might be more valuable than Kings for Protection.
- 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
Build and Spend Holy Power with Retribution:
- Build HP with:
- Spend HP with:
|Basic Retribution Rotation
General rotation: Judgement and CS to 3 HP, then TV or Divine Storm. Mix in your Cooldowns as necessary, do not let them sit unused.
|Basic Protection Rotation
General rotation: AS to Judgement and CS to 3 HP, then SotR.
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 and Warlords of Draenor another 10, for a total of 100 levels.
If you’re using Dugi’s Guide you you will just cruise through all of it:
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.
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