Nowadays, Paladin leveling is easy. Paladins are now the weapon of choice for many roles, giving the class great flexibility.
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.
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. Go here for a build.
Holy is great for healing dungeons or PvP groups, questing will be painfully slow unless you’re working with a group. For more, 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 is otherwise much the same. No big changes to mechanics or anything. Paladins still tank, heal, and smash face with the best of them.
Battle for Azeroth brought mainly tweaks and the stat squish. Pushed a few things here, a few there, but no major changes.
Shadowlands brings the first level squish. Your fresh level 120 will be level 50, and you’ll charge through the Shadowlands to 60. Abilities have been shifted around, but not many serious changes. Once you hit 60 you will get some new 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. And yes, you can level with either, but you’ll find it a bit… slow.
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. Protection excels at that, but the damage is slow.
Like dungeons? Want to be the tank? I ran a Protection Paladin from 15 to 86 through only dungeons. The only quests done were dungeon quests. Queues to get in are very short. You will be able to tank out as many dungeons as you can stand.
Quick Paladin Leveling Guide
Here is a quick coverage of some basics, more detail is further down the page.
Paladin mechanics use mana and Holy Power. HP is very similar to the Combo Points system that Rogues use.
Basically you’ll want to save it until you have at least 3 HP and then unleash it with an appropriate ability.
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.
- Blood elf for the +crit and arcane torrent
- Tauren for the stomp, stamina, and increased crit effect.
- Zandalari Troll for the Loa and cliff jumping.
- Human for the Stun escape and stats.
- Draenei for the extra Strength
- Lightforged Draenei for the area effect damage cooldown
- Dwarf for a nice Cleanse type ability and increased crit effect.
- Dark Iron Dwarf CD boosts stats and reduces damage.
Humans might be the best alliance choice for PvP, if you have to be efficient. Tauren might be the best Horde choice, for stomp and the extra Stam. More detail here.
Note that only Ret and Prot will be covered on this page.
- 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 switching your spec 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 to the level cap!
Stats and Gear:
- Two handed weapons for Ret, with the highest DPS numbers you can find.
- Holy and Protection go for the 1 hand weapon and a shield.
- Lots of Stamina at low levels.
- Ret & Prot: Strength, then more strength. After that, stack Strength.
- Holy goes for the Int.
- Get a full set of Heirloom gear.
- more stats
Gems and Enchants:
- Skip both unless you have the gold.
- Gem for Str. (Int. if Holy.)
- Enchants can be found for cheap, at times. Go for Str & Stam (or Int for Holy)
- If you have heirlooms you can put top level (Battle for Azeroth) enchants on your level 1 gear. They will scale appropriately. Shadowlands enchants requires you to be at least level 50 to use and your heirlooms will top out at level 50.
- Potions of mana and/or healing.
- Potions and/or scrolls of Str.
- Buffing foods
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 and mining are a nice combo because you get some nice XP every time you mine a node or pluck a flower.
See below for more Profession info.
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. Ok, it sucks. Good luck.
See our Protection Paladin page for builds.
Leveling as Retribution
Retribution Paladins are the Righteous 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.
As a Paladin your choice of race is restricted somewhat. If you want to look good then clearly your only choice is a Dwarf.
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. Humans get that extra DPS trinket effect (their escape) so have an edge in PvP.
Note that the Allied Races: Lightforged, Dark Iron, and Zandalari will all require an achievement, on your higher level character, for you to use them. After you earn that achievement, head to the embassy in Stormwind or Orgrimmar and follow the quest chain there to unlock the race. Your new Allied character will start at level 10.
When you start your new character you will be at level 1 and will have the choice of starting in your own racial zone or the new Exile’s Reach zone. Exile’s is a starter zone for people brand new to the game, though it’s also fine for experienced types. It will teach you some of the “how to” about getting around and using your abilities. Allied races will skip both zones.
At level 10 you will be able to choose which area you want to level in. Just talk to Chromie in your capital city (Stormwind or Orgrimmar) or check the mission board (near the front gates to the city.)
Paladin Races for the Alliance
Draenei: You have arms that put humans to shame, so you certainly look the part.
Dwarves: Short, blocky, make excellent door stops.
- Stone Form is a nice PvP talent, and occasionally useful elsewhere. It washes away bleeds, various magical effects, and adds a 10% damage reduction for a few seconds. That last can be pretty useful for tanking, too.
- Might adds 2% to your critical damage (not crit rating.)
- Explorer – Dwarves are good with Archeology.
Humans: The only proper Pally race, unless you’d rather not be Human.
- Your Every Man for Himself ability removes all stun effects (no other effects are removed,) so is something like a partial PvP trinket. This effect shares a 90 sec cooldown with other similar effects.
- The Human Spirit : You gain 2% more of all secondary stats (Haste, Critical Strike, Mastery, Versatility) from all sources.
- Your Diplomacy skill will allow for more rapid faction gain (very nice if you’re working towards any of the zillion faction in WoW.)
Lightforged Draenei– Starts at level 10.
- Your passion for killing demons ( Demonbane ) is reflected in your earning an extra 20% experience from that action. Obviously not much use once your are at max level or leveling in an area with no demons.
- You have two area effect attacks, Light’s Judgment and Light’s Reckoning . The former lets you call down a strike onto enemies close to you, with a three second delay. Reckoning causes you to unleash the Light upon dying, damaging enemies within 8 yards and healing any allies for the same amount.
- Not only do you get +10% to your Blacksmithing skill, you can summon a Forge of Light.
Dark Iron Dwarf – Starts at level 10.
- Your Fireblood removes all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects, just like your Dwarven “brethren,” but your ability increases your primary stat (Strength, Agility, Intelligence) by 600(!) (scales with level) +200 for for each additional effect removed. Lasts 8 sec. with a 2 min cooldown.
- You’re a tunnel dweller and Dungeon Delver and you’ve learned how to move 4% faster while indoors, plus your people have the Mole Machine : While out doors you can summon a Mole Machine that tunnels through the earth and can pop you up in a variety of places.
- Having spent your life working in the forges you have a Mass Production skill , giving you +5 to your blacksmithing skill and letting you work 25% faster.
Paladin Races for the Horde
Blood Elves: Blood Elves look good. A truly devastating Paladin ability. Really.
Tauren – The “gentle” giants of Paladinhood.
- War Stomp: Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yds for 2 sec. Pretty useful for any Paladin.
- Brawn: Critical strike bonus damage and healing increased by 2%. This is not crit rating, just extra damage.
- Endurance: Increases your Stamina and scales with level.
- Cultivation: Herbalism skill increased by 15 and you gather herbs faster than normal herbalists.
Zandalari Troll– Starts at level 10.
- Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown. Each embrace also lasts through death. RetPals should look at Bwonsamdi, Holy at Akunda, and Protection at Krag’wa, unless you need the damage more.
- Embrace of Akunda – Your healing abilities have a chance to heal their target for some extra points. Good for anyone with a ranged heal.
- Embrace of Bwonsamdi – Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Shadow damage and heal you for 100% of the damage done. Pretty good general ability for tanks and damage dealers.
- Embrace of Gonk – Increase movement speed by 5%.
- Embrace of Kimbul – Your damaging abilities have a chance to cause the target to bleed over 6s. This effect stacks up to 3 times. More damage is always good.
- Embrace of Krag’wa – Taking damage has a chance to grant you additional Health and 66 Armor. Good tanking ability.
- Embrace of Pa’ku – Your abilities have a chance to grant you +4% critical strike for 12 seconds. Live by the crit? This is for you. This is your default Loa.
- Regeneratin’ – Regenerate 100% of your maximum health over 6 sec, interrupted by damage. 2.5 min cooldown.
- Pterrordax Swoop – Slows your fall for two minutes. Time for some serious cliff jumpin’.
- Your also have your City of Gold ability, making you the envy of Goblins, since it lets you loot an extra 2% gold from your targets.
- Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown. Each embrace also lasts through death. RetPals should look at Bwonsamdi, Holy at Akunda, and Protection at Krag’wa, unless you need the damage more.
The various races of Paladin have their own special mounts. These will appear in your Mounts Collection.
- Zandalari Troll: Crusader’s Direhorn
- Dwarf: Summon Dawnforge Ram
- Draenei, Lightforged Draenei: Summon Exarch’s Elekk
- Tauren: Summon Sunwalker Kodo
- Blood Elf: Summon Thalassian Warhorse
- Dwarf, Human: Summon Warhorse
- Dwarf, Human: Summon Charger
- Draenei, Lightforged Draenei: Summon Great Exarch’s Elekk
- Tauren: Summon Great Sunwalker Kodo
- Blood Elf: Summon Thalassian Charger
Paladin Abilities, for All Specs
These are the abilities that all Paladins can use, including various auras and blessings that assist the group in various ways. This is opposed to, say… Rogues. Their only assist is a knife in the back.
Abilities for Retribution and Protection are just below this section.
HP = Holy Power, CD = Cooldown
- Level 1 – Crusader Strike smacks the opponent and generates 1 HP. 1 Charge. 6 second CD. Uses Mana.
- 1 – Parry gives you a chance to parry incoming melee attacks.
- 2 – Shield of the Righteous uses your shield to whack enemies in front of you upside the head and increases your armor for 4.5 seconds. Costs 3 HP.
- 3 – Judgment drops the hammer on the target, doing Holy damage and generating 1 HP. Also causes the target to take +25% damage from your next HP using strike. At level 8 does 50% more damage.
- 4 – Flash of Light is your basic heal. 40 yard range. 22% of your mana.
- 5 – Hammer of Justice stuns the target for 6 seconds. I’m sure you can find a use for that.
- 6 – Consecration damages all enemies in the area for 12 seconds.
- 7 – Word of Glory costs 3 HP, has a 40 yard range, and heals one target. If two most injured allies (within 30 yards.) If you’re Protection then it will heal you for more, depending on your missing health.
- 9 – Hand of Reckoning is your taunt. Tells the target to pay attention to you.
- 10 – Divine Shield grants immunity to all damage and effects for 8 seconds. causes forbearance for 30 seconds and cannot be used while that forebearance is active. 5 min. CD. At 49 the CD is reduced a bit.
- 13- Redemption lets you revive a fallen ally, out of combat, to 35% Health and Mana.
- 14 – Lay on Hands heals you or an ally for 100% of your max health. 10 min cooldown. Cannot use on a target with Forbearance, and causes a 30 second forbearance on you.
- 17 – Divine Steed is a 3 second sprint, at 200% speed, and you summon your warhorse to do it. 45 second CD.
- 21 – Crusader Aura increases mounted speed for you and the entire party, by 20%, far all within 20 yards.
- 22 – Blessing of Freedom blesses you or a party/raid member with 8 seconds of freedom from movement impairing effects. Not stuns. It can be dispelled or stolen. 25 second CD.
- 24 – Turn Evil is a fear effect against demons, aberrations, and undead. They will run for up to 40 seconds and damage might break the effect. One at a time, 15 second CD.
- 27 – Plate Specialization get 5% more Str (Prot & Ret) or Int (Holy) from wearing all plate armor.
- 28 – Devotion Aura reduces damage taken by the party/raid by 3% (members within 40 yards.)
- 32 – Blessing of Protection blesses a target for 10 seconds, granting immunity to physical damage (not to magical,) and also to harmful effects. Cannot use on a target with Forbearance, and causes a 30 second forbearance on you.
- 37 – Avenging Wrath increases your damage, healing, and crit chance by 20% for 20 seconds. 3 min CD, 2 min at 43+,
- 38 – Retribution Aura gives you a buff when a nearby part member dies: Avenging Wrath for 8 seconds. At 56 it lasts for 12 seconds.
- 41 – Blessing of Sacrifice allows you take cast the blessing on an ally and you take their damage instead. Their damage is reduced by 30%, and you take 100% of the damage done to them. It ends after 12 seconds or when your health falls below 20%. At 47 the damage you take is reduced by 25%.
- 46 – Hammer of Wrath is sort of an Execute ability. Hurl a hammer, up to 30 yards, at your opponent who is below 20% health, or, at 58, on any target if your Avenging Wrath is running. Generates 1 HP.
- 52 – Concentration Aura reduces the effects or interrupt and silence effects on your party by 30%.
- 54 – Sense Undead will show nearby undead on your minimap.
The Retribution Paladin Abilities
Damage and more damage. That’s what you’re all about. You can handle small groups and burn them down quickly. Get out there and make a name for yourself.
HP = Holy Power, CD = Cooldown
- 10 – Mastery: Hand of Light (P) adds to your Holy damage.
- 10 – Templar’s Verdict – Uses 3 HP to smash the opposition.
- 11 – Crusader Strike now uses 80% less mana. At 33 has two charges.
- 12 – Cleanse Toxins removes all toxin and disease effects.
- 16 – Judgment, rank 3 now gives you 1 HP. At 29 the target will take +25% damage from your next HP using ability.
- 18 – Hand of Hindrance reduces the target’s speed by 70% for 10 seconds. 30 sec. CD.
- 19 – Blade of Justice pierces an enemy with Holy Light and generates 1 HP. 12 second CD. At 34 awards 2 HP.
- 23 – Divine Storm – Uses 3 HP and damages up to 5 enemies in the immediate area.
- 28 – Art of War gives your auto-attacks an 8% chance to reset the CD of Blade of Justice. At level 48 it becomes 12%.
- 26 – Shield of Vengeance has a 2 minute CD and absorbs 30% of your total health in damage for 15 seconds. Then it explodes, doing that same damage to all nearby enemies, split evenly among them.
- 27 – Rebuke interrupts spellcasting and silences that school of magic (eg: Fire) for 4 seconds.
- 39 – Wake of Ashes blasts all enemies in front of you, up to 12 yards away, with radiant power. It slows them by 50% for 5 seconds and stuns demons and undead for 5 sec. 45 sec. CD.
Protection Paladin Abilities
You’ll note that your abilities are generally designed around survival. You will stay up while all others go down and leave a nice pile of bodies while exiting at full health.
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.
Abilities such as Avenger’s Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Wrath, and Consecration just add to your ability to make large piles of dead enemies.
P = Passive ability
- Level 1 – Blessed Hammer spirals out in the immediate area, doing damage to any targets it hits, and also reducing the damage they do to you. Generates 1 HP.
- 3 – Judgment drops the hammer, harder than the other specs, doing Holy damage to the target. 12 sec. CD. At 16 you get 1 HP, at 29 your target takes +25% damage from your next HP using ability.
- 10 – Avenger’s Shield – Throws your shield at up to 3 enemies, doing light damage and, at 44, interrupting and silencing non-player casting for 3 seconds. Great for starting to round up your group of “soon to be slain” mobs.
- 10 – Mastery: Divine Bulwark increases your chance to block by 8%, increases your attack power by 8%, and at 19+ reduces damage by 3% while inside your Consecration area.
- 10 – Righteous Fury increases your threat generation making you a more effective tank.
- 11 – Crusader Strike 2 drops the mana cost by 80%.
- 12 – Cleanse Toxins removes all poison and disease effects from you or your (friendly) target.
- 14 – Hammer of the Righteous – Hammer the current target for light damage, and while you are standing in your Consectration are also hits all other targets, with a blast of light, within 8 yards. Great for making sure your group is paying attention to you, especially if you’re tanking. At 33 this has two charges.
- 18 – Consecration rank 2 lets you take 5% less damage while standing in the area.
- 19 – Mastery: Divine Bulwark rank 2 gives you some damage reduction while standing inside your Consecration area.
- 23 – Consecration rank 3 reduces the CD by 50%.
- 26 – Divine Protection reduces incoming damage by 20% for 8 seconds. 1 minute CD.
- 27 – Grand Crusader gives you a 15% chance to reset the CD on your Avenger’s Shield whenever you either avoid a melee attack or use your Shield of the Righteous.
- 27 – Rebuke interrupts spellcasting and silences that school of magic (eg: Fire) for 4 seconds.
- 34 – Word of Glory, rank 2, becomes more powerful as your health gets lower.
- 39 – Guardian of Ancient Kings reduces all damage you take by 50% for 8 seconds. 5 min CD.
- 42 – Ardent Defender reduces all damage you take by 20% for 8 seconds and, while active, any hit that would kill you drops you to 20% health instead. 2 min. CD.
- 48 – Riposte gives you +Parry rating equal to your Crit rating.
- 49 – Shining Light gives you a free Word of Glory after 5 Shield of the Righteous strikes.
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.)
Need to switch up? No sweat. Want to do these fights as Retribution, then tank that large group as Protection? You can change specs anytime you are out of combat.
To change the actual talents you need to be in a “rested XP” area, such as an Inn or the big city. Otherwise you can use a Tome of the Quiet Mind (up to level 59.) At level 60 you will need a tome of the still mind, which will give you one minute to change whichever talents you wish.
The talent picks assume you are mainly solo leveling in the open world (questing.) If you do a lot of dungeons and/or PvP then you will want different picks in some cases.
CD = Cooldown, our picks are checked: , the “Z” marks are Zygor’s picks.
Tier 1, Level 15
- Zeal uses your Judgement to fill you with Holy Zeal, speeding up your next three auto-attacks by 30% and slightly increasing their damage. If you fight groups often then this is the pick as it buffs your Divine Storm.
- Righteous Verdict causes your Templar’s Verdict to cause your next TV to do +15% damage if used within 6 seconds. Also, that TV will refresh the buff. Great if you’re mostly fighting one on one, or tougher mobs (rares, elites, etc.)
- Execution Sentence drops the hammer on the target, doing damage after 8 seconds of falling, and adds to that damage 20% of the damage you have done with you other abilities in that 8 seconds. Decent choice if your targets tend to last longer than that 8 seconds.
Tier 2, Level 25
- Fires of Justice reduces the CD of your Crusader Strike by 15% (about 1 second) and makes your next ability consume one less HP.
- Blade of Wrath lets your Art of War increase the damage of Blade of Justice by 25% and resets its cooldown 100% more often (to a 24% chance from your auto-attacks.)
- Empyrean Power gives your Crusader Strike a 15% chance to make your next Divine Storm free and do +25% damage. Great if you’re often fighting groups.
Tier 3, Level 30
- Fist of Justice reduces the remaining cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 2 seconds for each HP spent on your various abilities.
- Repentance forces an enemy to just stand there, for up to a minute. Damage will break the effect. Usable on Giants, dragonkin, undead, demons, and humans. 30 yard range, 15 sec. CD.
- Blinding Light blinds all enemies within 10 yards for 6 seconds. Non Holy damage will break the effect.
Tier 4, Level 35
- Unbreakable Spirit drops the CD of Divine Shield, Lay on Hands, and Shield of Vengeance by 30%. If you need these then this is your pick.
- Cavalier gives your Divine Steed 2 charges. More mobility overall ain’t bad.
- Eye for an Eye has a 1 min. CD and puts a bladed damage shield around you. You take 35% less physical damage and the barrier hits any melee attackers. Lasts 10 seconds. For those times when you pull too many or the boss is likely to squish you.
Tier 5, Level 40
- Divine Purpose causes your abilities, that use HP, to have a 15% chance to make the next HP using ability free and also deal 20% more damage/healing.
- Holy Avenger causes your HP generation to be tripled for the next 20 seconds. 3 minute CD.
- Seraphim gives you 15 seconds of +8% Haste, Crit, and Vers., and +15% Mastery. 45 second CD.
Tier 6, Level 45
- Selfless Healer reduces the cast time of your next Flash of Light by 25%, and increases its healing by 10%, when you use your HP spending abilities. Can stack up to 4 times (100% & 40%.) The best general talent here for solo leveling.
- Justicar’s Vengeance is a powerful Holy strike that costs 5 HP and heals you by an amount equal to the damage done. If your target is stunned then the damage is increased by 50%.
- Healing Hands reduces the CD of Lay on Hands by up to 60%, depending on the target’s missing health. Word of Glory’s healing is increased by up to 100%, again depending on the target’s missing health.
Tier 7, Level 50
- Sanctified Wrath causes your Avenging Wrath to last 25% longer, and during your Wrath you explode with Holy Light, damaging nearby enemies, for each HP spent.
- Crusade replaces your Avenging Wrath and lasts 25 seconds, increasing damage and Haste by 3%. Each HP spent during this time adds another 3%, to a max of 30% boost. 2 minute CD.
- Final Reckoning has passive and active effects. Passively: your attacks have a good chance to call down a bolt of light on the target for damage, and cause your next HP using ability to do 10% more damage. Actively, with a 1 min. CD: Causes a bolt of light to hit all nearby targets for 5x the damage of the passive effect, and they also take +50% damage from your HP using abilities for the best 8 seconds.
Retribution War Mode Talents
Why War Mode? For the 10% XP boost, up to 30% if you side is seriously outnumbered. The picks here assume you are soloing and they are most useful against tougher targets. They are not “the best” for PvP. Talents happen at levels 20, 30, and 40.
- Unbound Freedom modifies your Blessing of Freedom to provide +30% movement for the 8 seconds. Not quite a sprint, but nice for travelling short distances.
- Lawbringer causes your Judgment to apply Lawbringer to each target hit for 45 seconds. Target(s) will take holy damage up to 5% of their health. A nice passive damage add.
- Divine Punisher will generate 3 HP, but only if you can land two judgements on the same target. This will restrict it to tougher mobs.
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 to change the actual talents you need to be in a “rested XP” area, such as an Inn or the big city. Otherwise you can use a Tome of the Quiet Mind (up to level 59.) At level 60 you will need a tome of the still mind, which will give you one minute to change whichever talents you wish.
Our picks are checked: , CD = Cool Down, Talents in the image marked with a “Z” are Zygor’s picks.
Tier 1, Level 15
This pick really depends on what you are fighting.
- Holy Shield passively increases your block chance by 15%, lets you now block spells, and your successful blocks do a little damage to the attacker. Basically a lot more blockage, which is pretty useful since you will have a pile of mobs on you.
- Redoubt causes both your Str and Stam to increase by 2% when you use Shield of the Righteous. This can stack up to three times.
- Blessed Hammer replaces Hammer of the Righteous, now has 3 charges, and spirals outward hitting and weakening enemies. They take a small amount of damage and their next damage against you is reduced by somewhat more than that%. Need a bit more more offence rather than the defense of Holy Shield? Then take this. Generates 1 HP.
Tier 2, Level 30
- First Avenger causes your Avenger’s shield to do 50% more damage to the first target it hits. Also your Grand Crusader will occur 10% more often.
- Crusader’s Judgement gives your Judgment 2 charges and your Grand Crusader also grants a charge of Judgment.
- Moment of Glory has a 1.5 min CD and resets the CD of your Avenger’s Shield. Then your next three A. Shields have no CD and hit for 20% more damage. Might have some tanking applications.
Tier 3, Level 45
- Fist of Justice causes your Holy Power using abilities to reduce the remaining CD of Hammer of Justice by 2 seconds for each HP used. Need a few more stuns? This is your pick.
- Repentance forces an enemy to just stand there for a minute, contemplating it’s navel. Damage will break the effect.
- Blinding Light blinds all enemies within 10 yards, for 6 seconds. Non-Holy damage will break the effect. Need a bit of group control in the dungeon? Good pick. And the area blind effect is unique enough that other classes won’t be using one and so no worries about diminishing returns shortening it.
Tier 4, Level 60
- Unbreakable Spirit reduces the cooldowns, by 30% of your Divine Shield, Ardent Defender, and Divine Protection.
- Cavalier gives your Divine Steed 2 charges. More movement is generally useful.
- Blessing of Spellwarding replaces your Blessing of Protection and has a 3 min. CD. It grants immunity to magic damage and harmful effects for 10 seconds. Causes forbearance for 30 seconds and cannot be used on anyone with forbearance active. Fighting magic heavy bosses? It does not clear existing effects, such as DOTs, and does not stop physical attacks. So you can use it on yourself and continue to beat on the mob.
Tier 5, Level 75
- Divine Purpose gives your HP abilities a 15% chance to make your next HP ability free with 20% more damage/healing. Every once in awhile you will get consecutive procs.
- Holy Avenger triples your HP generation for 20 seconds, with a 3 min. CD. Useful for special times when you need that burst. Combines just fine with your Avenging Wrath or battle trinkets for 20 seconds of awesomeness.
- Seraphim increases your Haste, Crit, Mastery, and Versatility. It consumes charges, up to 2, of your Shield of the Righteous and the effects lasts for 8 seconds per charge. expensive to cast. DO you need the extra Armor that 2 charges of Shield will provide (for 9 total seconds) or will the increased stats (16 seconds total) be more useful? The others are better.
Tier 6, Level 90
- Hand of the protector increases the healing power of your Word of Glory as the target’s health goes down.
- Consecrated Ground causes your Consecration to cover 15% more area and slow your opponents by 50%.
- Judgment of Light causes your Judgment to provide you a small heal for the next 25 successful attacks.
Tier 7, Level 100
- Sanctified Wrath causes your Avenging Wrath to last 25% longer and your Judgment generates +1 HP. Avenging Wrath has a 3 min. CD.
- Righteous Protector causes your Shield of the Righteous to reduce the CD of your Avenging Wrath and Light of the Protector by 3 seconds. Nice for raiding, less necessary for leveling content.
- Final Stand causes all targets within 15 yards to be taunted when your Divine Shield is active. Useful during very specific situations, such as not wanting a group of mobs to run amok when your activate that shield.
Protection Paladin War Mode Talents
Why War Mode? As Protection???? For the 10% XP boost, up to 30% if you side is seriously outnumbered. The picks here assume you are soloing and they are most useful against tougher targets. They are not “the best” for PvP. But then… Protection isn’t for PvP either. Unless you want a real test of your skills.
PvP Talents happen at levels 20, 30, and 40.
- Unbound Freedom turns your Blessing of Freedom into an decent speed boost. Fighting players? The undispellable part becomes very important when dealing with classes that can steal it, since they can’t. For fighting regular quest mobs? Extra speed is always nice.
- Steed of Glory summons your Divine Steed and lets you run over (knock back) mobs and players, also makes your Divine Steed last for +2 seconds and you are immune to slows and such for that time.
- Warrior of Light gives you 30% more damage and 30% less armor from your Shield of the Righteous.
Paladin Gear & Stats
Plate is your armor. 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 27 you get Plate Specialization which gives you a 5% bonus to your primary stat (Str for Retribution, Stam for Protection) if you have Plate in all armor slots. This will make plate superior to any other choices from level 27 onward.
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.
Best recommendation for gear? Get heirlooms. If you are new to the game then this will be too expensive. Save them for later, when you have the gold.
Heirloom Gear is what most fashionable Paladins are wearing these days, at least those who’ve been around long enough to handle the costs. You buy them with gold, for a few hundred each, and they’re good through level 30. Spend a fair amount more and the items are good to level 50. (Figure 9k gold, per item, to give the armor, ring, or trinket a level 120 cap and 13.5k for a weapon. Need more gold?)
Why bother? Because they’re better than any other gear you’re likely to find, at any level, with rare exceptions. And they scale with your level and no other gear does. With a full set you’ll be overgeared for dungeons and questing at your level. You’ll also get +25% XP.
Heirlooms live in a special storage area from which you can summon up a copy at any time. Use the copy till whenever, destroy it, and the ‘loom still exists in that area. (It’s a tab at the bottom of your mounts/pets window.) If you enchant the ‘loom and then destroy it then the enchant is lost. So mail the enchanted ones back and forth.
A change in Shadowlands is that heirloom pieces no longer give extra XP. But if you are wearing several pieces then you do get a set bonus. The bonuses mostly let your Rested XP last significantly longer. If you happen to level up in the middle of a fight, you will do a nice bit of burst damage and gain 40% to your Str/Int/Ag for 2 minutes.
To get your heirlooms go see:
- Alliance: Krom Stoutarm is in the Library of Ironforge, which is found on the north-eastern edge of the outer ring.
- Horde: Estelle Gendry lurks around the south-western side of the Rogue’s Quarter of Undercity. Note that if you are traveling in the Battle for Azeroth (BFA) zones, and Undercity has been sacked, then she is on top of the front gates of Orgrimmar.
- Guild Vendors will have several items for sale.
- PvP heirlooms in your main PvP hall in Orgrimmar or Stormwind.
Heirlooms Vs Blues: At the point when you get them, if they are at your level, blue titled gear will often be a little better than your heirlooms. The ‘looms will pull ahead in a level or two. I recommend just keeping the ‘looms and selling the other gear. If you don’t have any heirlooms then skip the above. 🙂
Is it all too easy? Probably, if you constantly have the best gear. Of course, that’ll also mean that you’ll level that much faster as you mow down the opposition.
The Auction House will also have some pieces available, for a price, that might be a solid upgrade.
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:
- Higher item level on your main gear pieces is usually better than anything else, because it will have more of your primary stat (Str for Ret, Stam for Prot, Int for Holy.)
- Ret = Strength. It provides attack power to all of your damaging abilities. Secondary stats are pretty close in value, but Mastery > Versatility > Haste and Crit.
- Protection = Stamina if tanking, Str if questing. Then Haste > Mastery = Versatility > Critical Strike
- Haste is the “best of the rest” stat
- Crit rating is very important for Ret, Not so much for Prot or Holy.
- Stamina is important if you’re getting killed too often,,, 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.
- Mastery is good for Ret .and Protection, medium value for Holy.
- Versatility adds to all damage and, at 1/2 value, to your damage reduction.
So how about some difficulty levels?
- Easy mode: Get the best gear you can, all the way. Heirlooms are great. Fully enchanted.
- Moderate: Nothing better than quest/dungeon gear. Use only what you find. No heirlooms.
- Hard: Nothing better than quest rewards. No blue or purple items. Or just don’t bother to upgrade the initial gear set you get when you create your Paladin.
- Naked?? Once upon a time a Naked Troll leveled to 60 with no gear, other than his weapon. Naturally he was a Hunter.
- Insane: Now do any of the above, moderate or harder, with War Mode on.
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 these days, 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, Prot, for Str or Stam, Holy gems for Int.
- Otherwise, gem for your best stat.
- Enchants: Sometimes you can find gems and enchants for very little gold, so it’s worth looking occasionally.
In BFA you can only enchant your rings and weapons. Earlier gear has more options and you can enchant most pieces. Top level enchants can be placed on items of any level, even your level 1 items. The leg and shoulder enchants will need to be placed by a level 85+ character, then can be mailed to your lower level alt.
- Head, Trinkets: : None.
- Neck: Mark of the Claw: Sometimes increase Crit and Haste by 16 for 6 seconds. Max item level 60.
- Back: Binding of Strength: +3 Str. Cannot be used past item level 60.
- Chest: Glorious Stats: +4 to all stats, max item level is 50.
- Shoulders: Tiger Fang: +5 Str and +2 Crit., max item level is 50.
- Cloak: Binding of Strength: +5 Str, Level 60 max
- Legs: Angerhide: +6 Str, +3 Crit, item level 50 max.
- Rings: Get Accord of Haste or Crit or mastery or Versatility, each adds +9.
- Weapons: Force Multiplier: Sometimes gain +28 Str and +18 Mastery, Haste, Or Crit (it picks your highest stat.) 15 seconds.
- Gloves: Super Strength: +8 Str, 50 item level max.
- Belt: Engineers can add some “enchants” to their own belts and Blacksmiths can add a gem socket.
- Boots: Greater Precision, +4 Crit; Greater Haste, +4 Haste; Panda Step, +3 Mastery and slightly faster run; all max out at item level 50.
- Wrist: Exceptional Strength: +5 Str. Max item level is 50.
Shadowlands enchants require level 50+. Your heirlooms top out at level 50, so you will be dumping them for better gear. If you find a piece that you will be keeping for awhile then go ahead and enchant them.
- Cloak: Fortified Avoidance: +20 Stam and +30 Avoidance.
- Chest: eternal Stats: +30 to all stats.
- Rings: there is a “Tenet” set of enchants, Enchant Ring – tenet of… Haste, Crit, Mastery, or Versatility. All +16 to the stat.
- Gloves: Eternal Strength: +15 Strength.
- Belt: Only if you are an Engineer.
- weapons, including off-hand weapons: Celestial Guidance sometimes increases your primary stat by 5%.
None available for head, shoulder, legs, boots, neck, bracers, off-hand items.
Tradeskills for leveling
In Short: Tradeskills do nothing for your stats, speed, etc. They’re good for gear and gold and if you just like making things. Once upon a time there were profession bonuses, such as +Crit, but that’s been gone for awhile.
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.
A recipe for poverty? Take Blacksmithing and Engineering together and work them.
- Mining, Herbalism, and Skinning are your cash grinding skills. Pick any two. Gather full stacks of gatherables and sell them on the Auction House. Note that mining and herbalism both give nice XP.
- Cooking has some foods with nice buffs.
The other tradeskills have little utility and a lot of expense. They can be used to make gold (maybe a lot of gold,)
Dreanor Crafting: Your garrison will be a great help in your Draenor crafting. Placing a follower in your level 2 crafting building will give you access to some extra stuff, such as the Blacksmithing buffs or Leatherworking tents (+10% to stats.) Note that the follower has to have the appropriate craft.
- Blacksmithing You will also be able to make (and maybe sell) gear, the stuff to boost that gear, and various other items. Your garrison follower can give you two nice buffs:
- Inscription might be a decent money maker on your server, but it takes a bit of work. This skill made all of the shoulder enchants in Mists of Pandaria, but Draenor has none. 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, though your garrison follower working there will give you access to tents that will add +10% to your stats and which are usable by any level character.
- Engineering has a number of useful gadgets, especially at 90+ (Draenor Engineering) where they’re also easier to make.
Leveling Notes 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 solid XP (if you win.) The dungeon XP was nerfed awhile back, but it ain’t bad.
As Protection or Holy your wait for any dungeon will be short. As Ret, well, it’ll be longer.
For the PvP game, check out Skill-Capped.
The main difference between questing and dungeoning, for the purposes of this guide, is that dungeons are faster XP, if you’re the tank, and you probably can’t go at a nice, leisurely pace.
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 you can take your time and do things your way.
In PvP be a team player.
Leveling Rotations and Cooldowns
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 (Prot only) 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 HotR or SotR. Mix in your CDs as necessary, do not let them sit unused.
Paladin Leveling Tips
Unless you’re tanking, and you won’t be before level 15, use a two-handed weapon. As Ret. 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.
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.
- For Protection, 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.
- 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
- 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 are a nice way to get XP, gold, rep, and some items. Also some zones will have treasure chests containing possibly interesting items and maybe very nice XP.
- 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, give up some nice XP and gives you honor points which you can use to buy some nice gear. 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.
- In Pandaria and Draenor (and elsewhere) do the treasure quests. Many of them award XP. HandyNotes is an addon which will show all of them. From Curse.
Getting your Paladin Leveled to the Cap, 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.
And every new expansion adds 5 – 10 more. Even Shadowlands, with its level squish, adds another 10. It’ll just be 50-60, not 120-130.
If you’re using Zygor’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! Zygor’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. Zygor’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!