The Paladin Leveling Guide for WoW

Paladin in Mists of Pandaria ShrineNowadays, 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 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 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

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.

Battle for Azeroth brought mainly tweaks and the stat squish. Pushed a few things here, a few there, but no major changes.

Shadowlands will bring the first level squish. Your fresh level 120 will be level 50, and you’ll charge through the Shadowlands to 60. What changes will happen are not final as of this writing.

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.

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 bank out as many dungeons as you can stand.

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.

Paladin mechanics use mana and Retribution uses Holy Power and mana. HP is very similar to the Combo Points system that Rogues use.

From the Devs: This (Holy Power) is a resource which works similarly to (a Rogue or Druid’s) combo points. Retribution 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 RetPals 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.


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 the escape and stats.
  • 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?

Note that only Ret and Prot will be covered on this page.

Blood Elf Retribution Paladin

Blood Elf Retribution Paladin

  • 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.
  • 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, Mastery if Prot.)
  • Enchants can be found for cheap, at times. Go for Str & Stam (or Int & Spirit for Holy)
  • If you have heirlooms you can put top level enchants on your level 1 gear. They will scale appropriately.


  • 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. 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.

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


Paladin Races

As a Paladin your choice of race is restricted to Human, Dwarf, Draenei, Blood Elf, and Tauren. If you want to look good then clearly your only choice is a Dwarf.

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.

Paladin Races for the Alliance

Draenei: You 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.
    • Your Heroic Presence increases your Strength and Intellect and it scales up as you level.

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 20. 

    • 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 20.

    • 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.

    • Your Arcane Torrent removes one beneficial effect from any nearby enemies (8 yards) and restores some of your Mana.
    • And your Arcane Acuity gives you a bit more crit (1%.)
    • Naturally your Arcane Affinity gives you +10% to the Enchanting skill.

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 20. 

    • Zandalari Troll PaladinYour 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.

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


Paladin Abilities

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.

    • Get Your Paladin Leveled Fast, Click Here Now.1 – Crusader Strike smacks the opponent and generates 1 HP. At 26 Retrib gets 2 charges with this.  6 second recharge.
    • 1 – Parry gives you a chance to parry incoming melee attacks.
    • 1 – Block gives you a chance to block incoming melee attacks.
    • 5 – Flash of Light is your basic heal. 40 yard range.
    • 8 – Hammer of Justice stuns the target for 6 seconds. I’m sure you can find a use for that.
    • 12 – Hand of Reckoning is your taunt. Tells the target to pay attention to you.
    • 14 – Redemption lets you revive a fallen ally, out of combat, to 35% Health and Mana.
    • 18 – Divine Shield grants immunity to all damage and effects for 8 seconds.
    • 28 – Divine Steed is a 3 second sprint, at 200% speed, and you summon your warhorse to do it. 45 second CD.
    • 38 – 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.
    • 44 – Heart of the Crusader allows you to move 20% faster while mounted. Does not add to your Divine Steed speed.
    • 48 – 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.
    • 50 – Plate Specialization get 5% more Str or Int from wearing all plate armor.
    • 55 – 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.
    • 80 – Avenging Wrath increases your damage, healing, and crit chance by 20% for 20 seconds.

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

    • 3 – Judgment drops the hammer on the target, doing Holy damage and generating 1 HP. At 42 it is improved to increase the damage of the next HP using ability by 25%.
    • 10 – Templar’s Verdict – Uses 3 HP to smash the opposition.
    • 20 – Blade of Justice pierces an enemy with Holy Light and generates 2 HP.  10.5 second CD.
    • 22 – Cleanse Toxins removes all toxin and disease effects.
    • 24 – Hand of Hindrance
    • 26 – Your Crusader Strike now has two charges.
    • 28 – Art of War gives your auto-attacks a chance to reset the CD of Blade of Justice.
    • 32 – 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.
    • 35 – Rebuke interrupts spellcasting and silences that school of magic (eg: Fire) for 4 seconds.
    • 40 – Divine Storm – Uses 3 HP and damages all enemies in the immediate area.
    • 58 – Greater Blessing of Kings absorbs some damage and refreshes that limit every 6 seconds. Lasts one hour. Cast on yourself or a party member.
    • 65 – Greater Blessing of Wisdom also lasts an hour and restores 1% of the target’s mana every 10 seconds. You can have both this and Kings up at the same time.
    • 70 – Retribution gives you a buff when a nearby part member dies: 30% reduced damage taken and +20% damage done for 10 seconds.
    • 78 – Mastery: Hand of Light (P) adds to your Holy damage.

Protection Paladin Abilities

Paladin leveling his buddy, Drop and Give me 500!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, 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.

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

    • 3 – Judgment drops the hammer, doing Holy damage to the target. At level 42 it reduces the CD of your Shield of the Righteous by 2 seconds (4 on a Crit.)
    • 10 – Avenger’s Shield – Throws your shield at up to 3 enemies, doing light damage and, at 42,  interrupting and silencing non-player casting for 3 seconds. Also increases your next Shield of the Righteous effects by 20%. Great for starting to round up your group of “soon to be slain” mobs.
    • 10 – Hammer of the Righteous – Hammer the current target for light damage, and at level 14 also hits all other targets within 8 yards. Great for making sure your group is paying attention to you, especially if you’re tanking.
    • 10 – Righteous Fury increases your threat generation making you a more effective tank.
    • 10 – Sanctuary
    • 12 – Consecration damages all enemies in the area for 12 seconds.
    • 20  – Shield of the Righteous whacks enemies in front of you upside the head and increases your armor for 4.5 seconds.
    • 22 – Cleanse Toxins removes all poison and disease effects from you or your (friendly) target.
    • 25 – 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.
    • 32 – Divine Protection reduces incoming damage by 20% for 8 seconds.
    • 35 – Rebuke interrupts spellcasting and silences that school of magic (eg: Fire) for 4 seconds.
    • 40 – Light of the Protector is an instant heal for you, increased depending on your missing health.
    • 50 – Ardent Defender reduces all damage you take by 20% for 8 seconds and replaces your Divine Protection and modifies it, so that any hit that would kill you drops you to 20% health instead. 2 min. CD.
    • 56 – 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 that. It ends after 12 seconds or when your health falls below 20%.
    • 65 – Riposte gives you a Parry rating equal to 100% of the crit rating you get from your gear.
    • 70 – Guardian of Ancient Kings reduces all damage you take by 50% for 8 seconds. 5 min CD.
    • 78 – Mastery: Divine Bulwark increases your chance to block, increases your attack power, and reduces damage while inside your Consecration area.

Click Here and Get to max level, Fast!
Click Here and Get to max level, even in Shadowlands, Fast!

Paladin Mounts

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

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



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.)

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, which will give you one minute to change whichever talents you wish.

Retribution Paladin Leveling Talents

CD = Cooldown, our picks are checked: Best talent, the “Z” marks are Zygor’s picks.

Tier 1, Level 15

    1. 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.
    2. Best talent 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.)
    3. Execution Sentence drops the hammer on the target, doing damage and increasing the Holy Damage you do to that target by 20% for 12 seconds. 45 second CD.

Tier 2, Level 30

    1. Fires of Justice reduces the CD of your Crusader Strike by 15% (about 1 second) and makes your next ability consume one less HP.
    2. Blade of Wrath lets your Art of War increase the damage of Blade of Justice by 25% and resets its cooldown 100% more often.
    3. Best talent Hammer of Wrath is sort of an Execute ability. Hurl a hammer at your opponent who is below 20% health, or if your Crusade is running. Generates 1 HP.

Tier 3, Level 45

    1. Best talent Fist of Justice reduces the remaining cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 2 seconds for each HP spent on your various abilities.
    2. Repentance forces an enemy to just stand there, for up to a minute. Damage will break the effect.
    3. Blinding Light blinds all enemies within 10 yards for 6 seconds. Non Holy damage will break the effect.

Tier 4, Level 60

    1. Divine Judgment increases the damage of your next Judgment by 20% for each HP using ability that hits it. Stacks up to 15 times (300%.)
    2. Consecration damages all enemies in the area for 6 seconds.
    3. Best talent 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.

Tier 5, Level 75

This one really depends on what YOU are doing. Do you need the defense or a little more mobility?

    1. 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.
    2. Cavalier gives your Divine Steed 2 charges. More mobility overall ain’t bad.
    3. Best talent 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 one too many.

Tier 6, Level 90

    1. Best talent 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.
    2. Justicar’s Vengeance is a powerful Holy strike and heals you by an amount equal to the damage done. If your target is stunned then the damage is increased by 50%.
    3. Word of Glory has 2 charges and costs 3 HP. It heals your target and the two most injured allies (within 30 yards.)

Tier 7, Level 100

    1. 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.
    2. Best talent 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.
    3. Inquisition increases your damage and haste by 7% for each HP consumed, up to three. Lasts 15 seconds per HP, so 45 max.

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. Talents happen at levels 15, 40, 75, and 110.

    1. Your “break free” talent, Gladiator’s Medallion covers all situations, but has a 2 minute cooldown. The rest of these can be picked in any order.
    2. 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.
    3. Seraphim’s Blessing is nice when you get low. When that hit takes you below 40% health, your Flash of Light, cast within 5 seconds, is instant with +50% effect. CD is 15 seconds.
    4. 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.


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

Click Here and Get to max level, Fast!
Click Here and Get to max level, even in Shadowlands, Fast!


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 wanting to play with War Mode on then you’re probably better off as Holy or Retribution. Prot is tough, but (esp. at high levels) just doesn’t hit hard enough.

As with Retribution change these talents as you need to for specific situations. These picks are for tanking dungeons and questing.

Our picks are checked: Best talent, CD = Cool Down, Talents in the image marked with a “Z” are Zygor’s picks.

Protection Paladin Leveling Talents

Tier 1, Level 15

This pick really depends on what you are fighting.

    1. Best talent Holy Shield 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.
    2. Redoubt lets your Avenger’s Shield hit one more target and increases the damage that your block reduces (not your “block chance”) by 75% for 8 seconds. The least useful of this set, especially since your block chance is not increased.
    3. Best talent 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 auto-attack against you is reduced by 15%. Need more offence rather than the defense of Holy Shield? Then take this.

Tier 2, Level 30

    1. 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.
    2. Best talent Crusader’s Judgement gives your Judgment 2 charges and your Grand Crusader also grants a charge of Judgment.
    3. Bastion of Light has a 2 min CD and immediately grants 3 charges of Shield of the Righteous.

Tier 3, Level 45

    1. Best talent Fist of Justice causes your Judgment to reduce the remaining CD of Hammer of Justice by 6 seconds. Need a few more stuns? This is your pick.
    2. Repentance forces an enemy to just stand there for a minute, contemplating it’s navel. Damage will break the effect.
    3. 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.

Tier 4, Level 60

    1. Retribution Aura does slight Holy damage to all enemies, who are attacking your allies, within 60 yards. Pretty useless.
    2. Best talent Cavalier gives your Divine Steed 2 charges. More movement is generally useful.
    3. 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?

Tier 5, Level 75

    1. Unbreakable Spirit reduces the cooldowns of our Divine Shield, Ardent Defender, and Lay on Hands by 30%.
    2. Best talent Final Stand taunts all targets within 15 yards, for 8 seconds, when you use your Divine Shield. It makes sure everything is still paying attention to you, while you laugh at their damage for 8 seconds.
    3. Hand of the Protector replaces your Light of the Protector, has 1 charge, and a 15 second recharge. It throws a big heal on a friendly target. Does your group need that? If your healer can do the job, then probably not.

Tier 6, Level 90

    1. Best talent Judgment of Light causes your Judgment to provide you a small heal for the next 25 successful attacks.
    2. Consecrated Ground causes your Consecration to cover 15% more area and slow your opponents by 50%.
    3. Aegis of Light has a 3 min CD for 6 seconds of 20% protection to you and those behind you. A rather weak talent for most situations while leveling.

Tier 7, Level 100

    1. Best talent Last Defender reduces the damage that you take by 3% and increases the damage you deal by 3% for each enemy within 8 years. Like to sweep up the large groups?
    2. 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.
    3. 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?


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.

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.


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 be a team player.

Your Buffs:

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

  • Level 30+ you will keep Blessing of Kings up at all times. Ret will always use this.
  • 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 12 you get Hand of Reckoning, which can be used to bring other mobs to you.
  • Divine Storm (40) will help you mash down small groups of mobs. Divine Storm and Templar’s Verdict are what you will spend your HP on.
  • At 80 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 10  Hammer of the Righteous (HotR) will help you to fight groups
  • At 12 you get Reckoning, which can be used to bring other mobs to you.
  • At 14 Consecration will help burn them down that much faster.
  • at 20 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 25 Grand Crusader will give you more Avenger’s Shields.
  • At 70 your Guardian of Ancient Kings will help protect you from damage.

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.

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

Paladin Gear & Stats

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.

Best recommendation for gear? Get heirlooms.

The Heirlooms

Heirloom Gear is what most 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 60. spend a fair amount more and the items are good to the level cap. (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.

To get your heirlooms go see:

  • AllianceKrom Stoutarm is in the Library of Ironforge, which is found on the north-eastern edge of the outer ring.
  • HordeEstelle Gendry lurks around the south-western side of the Rogue’s Quarter of Undercity. Note that if you are 110+ 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.

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. So if you want “really hard mode” …
  • Insane: Now do any of the above, moderate or harder, with War Mode on.

Your #1 Stat is:

  • Higher item level on your main gear pieces is usually better than anything else.
  • 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.
  • Holy – Int. It provides spell power.
  • Protection = Stamina if tanking, Str if questing. Then Haste > Mastery = Versatility > Critical Strike

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, you’re 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. Mastery is good  for Ret .and Protection, medium value for Holy.
  7. Versatility adds to all damage and, at 1/2 value, to your damage reduction.

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.
  • Level 120: Congratulations. Next: World quests provide a good way to gear up to gear level 420.  Also you can check our post on higher level gearing.


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 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 (“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.

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.

Heirloom enchants for Retribution and Protection:

    • Head: None.
    • Neck: Mark of the Claw: Sometimes increase Crit and Haste by 45 for 6 seconds. Max item level 265.
    • Back: Binding of Strength: +9 Str. Cannot be used past item level 265.
    • Chest: Glorious Stats: +10 to all stats, max item level is 136.
    • Shoulders: Tiger Fang: +12 Str and +4 Crit., max item level is 136.
    • Legs: Angerhide: +15 Str, +8 Crit, item level 136 max.
    • Rings: Get Accord of Haste or Crit or mastery or Versatility, each adds +60.
    • Trinkets: None.
    • Weapons: Force Multiplier: Sometimes gain +264 Str and +160 Mastery, Haste, Or Crit (it picks your highest stat.) 15 seconds.

Non-heirloom pieces

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.  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.
    • 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.

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 (level 90-100.) 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. 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.
  • 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.

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. Even Shadowlands, with its level squish, will add another 10. It’s 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!


Did you find this page useful? If so, please “like” it, share on your favorite services, and add you comments. Thanks.

Related Pages and Posts

12 thoughts on “The Paladin Leveling Guide for WoW”

  1. Pingback: The Patch 5.4 Paladin Changes -

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.