The Paladin Leveling Guide

Even if you’re insta-boosting for $60 you still have ten levels to go and will find the following page useful.

Paladin in Mists of Pandaria ShrineOnce 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 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. 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 question, 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

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.

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 leveled through Mists as Prot., tanking from 15 to 86. The only quests done were dungeon quests.

All in all Paladins are in fine shape.


Quick Paladin Leveling Guide

Here is a quick coverage of some basics, more detail is further down the page.


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 and stam
  • Human for 3 PvP trinkets and versatility. Best if you’re serious about PvP.
  • Draenei for the extra Strength
  • Dwarf for a nice Cleanse type ability.


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.

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 to the level cap!


These really depend a lot on just what you’re doing: Questing, tanking, etc.

  1. Long arm of the law for the movement
  2. Fist of Justice for the stun
  3. Selfless Healer or Sacred Shield, depending on preference
  4. Unbreakable Spirit for more uses of life saving abilities.
  5. Divine Purpose, for one less button to push. And it’s a pretty nice talent, too.
  6. Execution Sentence, because dropping the Hammer is a good thing.
  7. Final Verdict (Ret) or Holy Shield (tanking Prot.)
  8. Glyphs: Templar’s verdict, Immediate Truth, Judgment

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. Also get some Crit.
  • 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


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 everytime you mine a node or pluck a flower.

See below for more Profession 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.)

Legion killed off some talents, these are crossed out. Other changes will come with the next page update.

Retribution Paladin Leveling Build

Retribution leveling talents for Warlords of DraenorFrom 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.

This first talent listed, below, is our pick. Best talent

  1. Best talent 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.
  2. Best talent 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.
    • Repentance puts an opponent to sleep (which has its uses)
    • Blinding light is nice if you get in over your head and need to disorient a few mobs.
  3. Best talent Selfless Healer is nice for the free heals, at lower levels. It scales badly at very high levels.
    • Sacred Shield, because it uses no resources and will stop a good amount of damage. A better pick than Selfless Healer at high level.
    • Eternal Flame is a nice heal, but uses your Holy Power to heal instead of crushing the enemy.
  4. Best talent Unbreakable reduces 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. If you only rarely, or never, use them then grab Clemency instead.
    • Clemency, because it gives you a lot of flexibility with useful Hand spells.
    • You won’t be getting DOTted up enough, while leveling, to make purity useful. It does have value against certain PvP and a few PvE opponents.
  5. Best talent 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 Holy Avenger’s cooldown. One less button to think about.
    • Sanctified Wrath extends your Avenging Wrath and more frequent use of an ability.
  6. Best talent 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. Best if you’re always fighting multiple opponents. Use Execution Sentence for singles.
    • 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. Use Light’s Hammer for groups.
  7. Best talent Final Verdict for a big smash. Replaces your Templar’s Verdict. Also improves your next Divine Storm.
    • Seraphim is a 15 second buff to all of your secondary abilities (Multistrike, etc.)
    • Empowered Seals gives you Judgment additional effects, depending on your seal.

Retribution Glyphs

Zygor's Guide, Get Leveled FastMajor Glyphs are gone in legion and the glyph window has been removed. Now you get minor glyphs, which are pretty much only cosmetic and affect only one ability.

Minor Glyphs are all you have in Legion, such as Fire from the Heavens – Judgment 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 and Legion are 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

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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. 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.

If you’re on a PvP server then you’re probably better off as Holy or Retribution. Prot is tough enough, but (esp. at high levels) doesn’t hit hard enough.

As with Retribution change these talents as you need to for specific situations. Our picks are checked: Best talent

Protection TalentsProtection Paladin leveling talents for Warlords of Draenor

  1. Best talent 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.
    • Speed of light is a nice burst movement,
    • Long Arm gives you a boost every time that you use your Judgment.
  2. Best talent 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.
    1. Repentance puts one to sleep. The stun is generally better for most fights while leveling.
    2. Blinding light seems fairly useless, since you’ll be fighting the whole group and it’s not a stun. It’ll break with your first area attack.
  3. Best talent 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.
    • Selfless healer will give you occasional free Flash of Lights. Very nice at low level, kinda wimps out at high level.
    • Eternal Flame uses Holy Power that’s better spent on killing things. Replaces your World of Glory.
  4. Best talent 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. Best talent 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.
  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.
  7. Best talent Holy Shield improves your block and threat, which will help with your tanking.
    • Seraphim greatly improves all of your secondary stats for 15 seconds with a 30 second cooldown. Nice pick if you’re more interested in DPS than Safety.
    • Empowered Seals allows your Judgments to have added effects, depending on the seal you have active.

Major Glyphs are dead since Legion and “minor” glyphs are strictly cosmetic.

  • 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
  • Abilities removed in Warlords are crossed out.
  • New= new ability for Warlords.

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 (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)
10 Vengeance
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.

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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 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 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.

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 and some were restricted to certain specs. In Legion they’re pretty much dead.

  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. (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.
  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. (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.)
  5. 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.
  6. Level 70: Seal of Justice (Ret only) – Enemies are slowed when you hit them.
  7. 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

Dead in Legion.

  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 (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.
  5. Hand of Sacrifice (lev 80) – You take a portion of the damage that your ally is taking.

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Leveling Rotations and Cooldowns

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 try to team with a healer.

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. 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 (Prot only) pretty much your best CD

Build and Spend Holy Power with Retribution:

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.
  • Divine Storm (34) will help you mash down small groups of mobs. Divine Storm and Templar’s Verdict are what you will spend your HP on.
  • At 46 Exorcism will become your ranged opener, in addition to Judgement.
  • At 72 Avenging Wrath becomes available and is a pretty nice damage cooldown.

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

  • 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.

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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 Stats

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.

Other stats:

  1. Haste is the “best of the rest” stat
  2. Crit rating is very important for Ret, Not so much for Prot or Holy.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Agility is useless to you.
  6. Spirit is great for Holy, useless otherwise.
  7. Mastery is a big snooze for Ret., the #1 secondary stat for Protection, medium value for Holy.
  8. PvP Power is not important for leveling, though you won’t see it until 90 anyway.
  9. 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: Once upon a time it was recommended to by Cataclysm gear from, 77-80, as it was far superior to the usual gear found at this level (If it’s 170ish then it’s Wrath (of the Lich king) gear, 270ish and it’s Cata gear.) With the Warlords’ stat squish there is no difference between Wrath and Cata gear, so just keep gearing as normal.
  • Level 81: Put your level 80 heirlooms away. Start looking for Mists of Pandaria blue items on the AH.
  • 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. This will make life a bit easier as you leap into Draenor.
  • 90+ keep an eye out for Warlords gear on the Auction House, as you did with the earlier gear.
  • 91+ You can find item level 640 epic gear (and 630 weapons) on the Auction House, or make them. Whether you can afford it, and the associated item boosts, is a whole ‘nother story.

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 it quickly gets better.

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.

Go to => TopShortRet BuildProtection – How To – GearTips – RaceCrafts Level Faster


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.

You won’t see any gem slots after 90, until you’re 100. They are few and far between in Draenor. Draenor enchants are only available for your rings, neck items, cloaks, and weapons. You can apply them to your level 1 heirlooms, where they will scale appropriately.

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.

Go to => TopShortRet BuildProtection – How To – GearTips – RaceCrafts Level Faster


Paladin Races

Draenei PaladinAs 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.

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.

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

  • A small heal (Gift of the Naru) is always nice, even with your other heals. Also usable on others.
  • Draenei are good at gemcutting and love their bonus to their Jewelcrafting skill.
  • WoD: Your Heroic Presence now Increases your Strength, Agility, and Intellect, instead of adding Hit.

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.)
  • Resistance allows a small reduction to incoming Frost damage.
  • Explorer – Dwarves are good with Archeology.

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

  • The Human Diplomacy skill will allow for more rapid faction gain (very nice if you’re working towards any of the zillion faction in WoW)
  • the escape ability is nice for PvP, especially since it allows the use of two DPS trinkets.
  • Bonus Versatility adds +1% to your Versatility

Blood Elves:

  • Arcane Torrent is a nice spell interrupt with some PvP utility (silence only in PvP.)
  • Well ok, Blood Elves look good. A truly devastating Paladin ability. Really.
  • Acuity adds +1% to your Crit rating.
  • Belves are good with Enchanting, via their affinity.
  • Belves take slightly less Arcane damage, via their Resistance.

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.
  • Nature Resistance: Reduces Nature damage taken by 1%.
  • Cultivation: Herbalism skill increased by 15 and you gather herbs faster than normal herbalists.

Go to => TopShortRet BuildProtection – How To – GearTips – RaceCrafts Level Faster


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.

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? If you’re under 90 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.
    • 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,)

Dreanor Crafting: All of the crafting skills will make Draenor raid quality gear and the bits to upgrade those items. It’s very expensive to do so, but armor can be upgraded to 715 and weapons to 705. Stats can also be rerolled on the gear, but the items to do that are pretty cheap.

If you wait till 90+ (or boost to 90) you can level the profession in Draenor and it’ll be faster, easier, and cheaper than pre-Draenor 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.

Go to => TopShortRet BuildProtection – How To – GearTips – RaceCrafts Level 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.)

  • 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. 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.

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.
  • 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.

Zygor's Paladin Leveling GuideAnd every new expansion adds 5 – 10 more.

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!


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12 thoughts on “The Paladin Leveling Guide

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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 ?

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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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