WoW Paladin Guide: Basics
It’s very important for any class to set the right foot forward when they begin the game. All race and class combinations within World of Warcraft are viable but many are not for everyone. It’s up to you to pick the right combination of both Race and Class to make the perfect character both visually and play wise.
The first thing to do is consider, is the Paladin class right for you? There is a lot of great things about the Paladin class, and unlike most other classes the Paladin class really does have something for everyone. To get a better idea of what the Paladin class stands for, we’ve compiled a list that describes what the Paladin class is. Essentially though, unless you are looking for a ranged damage dealer, the Paladin can be for you. If you’re not sure, then try one out! The low levels don’t showcase everything about a class, but it’s a good way to get a basic idea of how a class will work.
- Paladins are a hybrid class and with that brings numerous options
- Paladins are good at several things so you can change and adapt to different situations. They can heal, tank or DPS. However, while they can do all these things they can not do all of them well all the time. To be truly effective at any of the things they are able to do you will need to specialize your talents and gear to that one thing, giving up much of your flexibility.
- Paladins can wear any kind of armour they choose and can equip shields. This gives them a great amount of choice and a very high survivability in plate armour later in the game (past level 40).
- Paladins once they have the ability to wear plate armour at level 40 are probably the most survivable class in the game. They can have huge armour and health numbers, and can heal them selves and bubble! Bubbling is a term for their multiple abilities to protect them selves (or others) from all incoming damage for a short period of time.
- Paladins have excellent group and raid buffs in the form of blessings that are always in demand.
- Paladins can taunt enemies off lesser armoured classes.
- Paladins can resurrect other players.
So in summary, the Paladin class is a mixed class that is generally a support class. They can heal, tank and DPS but need to specialize to do so well. This combination though makes them an exceptionally versatile and survivable class. It is not uncommon to see a Paladin fighting a MOB several levels higher than themselves and defeating. Sure it takes a while with their low DPS (unless they are retribution spec'ed), but they can and will survive.
There really is no perfect race combination for a Paladin. so it's up to you what you choose to play. If you play for the Alliance you have several choices as you can be a Dwarf, Human, or Draenai. If you choose to play for the Horde your only choice up until patch 4.0 was being a Blood Elf. Now however you can also choose to play as a Tauren. If you do not like the look of your character you are not likely to enjoy playing it so pick whichever race you like. There are however benefits for selecting certain races depending on your play style.
- Dwarf - Dwarves get bonus expertise with maces, which are a useful Paladin weapon. They also get Stoneskin which is a great tanking ability as it reduces incoming damage and removes poisons.
- Human - Humans are a great class to select as a Paladin, especially if you PvP. Humans get the "Every Man for Himself" ability which works like a PvP trinket to get them out of snares, fears, and other control removing abilities. Humans also receive a bonus to their expertise when using a sword or mace which are both viable weapons. Lastly Humans get a bonus to reputation earned which is great for any class.
- Draenei - As a Draenei you gain an extra heal, but not a great one. More importantly Draenei grant themselves and everyone in their party an extra 1% to hit through their Heroic Presence ability. 1% doesn't sound like a big deal but in end game raids it allows players to focus more on other player stats.
- Blood Elves - This was your only choice as a Horde player, so there are the most Blood Elf Paladins. Blood Elves do have a really nice PvP bonus though with their Arcane Torrent ability which provides back some mana and inflicts a silence on enemies.
- Tauren - This was introduced as a new class/race combination with Cataclysm and Patch 4.0. Taurens are a great option for Paladin tanks due to thier racial abilities that provide additional health and an AOE stun.
While professions will not make or break any character there are some nice benefits to many of the professions that make them attractive to a Paladin. Some of the ones to consider are as follows.
- Alchemy - This is a good profession for almost any class but especially a Paladin since you will be using a variety of potions and flasks in your various roles. Alchemy can also be used to make an assortment of extremely useful potions, elixirs, and flasks that can be sold for cash or used to make combat easier.
- Blacksmithing - Many players find early on that creating your own weapons and armour can be very helpful compared to trying to obtain them through quests or the Auction House. The armour created through Blacksmithing can be very useful to a Paladin. Blacksmiths can also add extra gem sockets to their bracers and gloves.
- Inscriptionist - Being an Inscriptionist gives you access to the best shoulder enchants in the game. This has the side benefit of letting you skip the long Sons of Hodir reputation grind.
- Jewelcrafting - Being a Jewelcrafter grants you access to several jewelcrafting only items and access to better jewelcrafter only gems. These gems provide additional stats which is welcome no matter your spec.
- Engineering - Engineering is useful for Paladins since it provides yet another method to pull enemies from range. Stun grenades and a large assortment of gadgets can be very helpful in stopping escaping enemies. There are also some very good goggles and other gadgets that can be helpful while leveling up.
Which profession you take is ultimately up to you. You should pick one that you enjoy and that works well with the talent build you choose. Which one is the absolute best changes from patch to patch, so don't get to worried if they change a bit over time.
Mana is the magical energy that you have to draw on to cast your spells and use your abilities and special attacks. Depending on which spec you choose to be mana will be more or less important. While all types of Paladins use mana Retribution and Protection Paladins generate it back very quickly and have small mana pools. Holy Paladins have large mana pools but do not regenerate it in the same way.
The amount of mana you have is determined by your level and your spec as of patch 5.0.4. At level 85 you will have 20,000 mana as either Protection or Retribution and 100,000 mana as Holy. At level 90 this becomes 60,000 and 300,000 respectively. The speed at which you regenerate mana is determined by the amount of spirit that you have. Intelligence is still an important stat even though after patch 5.0.4 it no longer affects you mana pool. Intelligence still affects your spell power, meaning the more intelligence you have the bigger your spells will hit or heal for.
If you run out of mana in a fight you will only be able to use your regular attacks. You need to learn to manage your mana to always ensure you have some left. If you run short in a fight you are very likely to die.
No matter which talent build you are, spells have a cast time and a mana cost. The cast time for many of a Paladins spells are instant, meaning as soon as you use the spell they are cast. There are other spells though, such as your healing spells, that have a longer cast time in which you must remain stationary while casting the spell. Mana cost for spells in generally a percentage of your base mana pool. One important thing to note about mana cost is that you do not pay the mana cost until the spell completes casting, so if you are casting a big heal on someone and they get healed from someone else, you can simply move to cancel your cast and never have to pay the mana cost since the spell did not complete.
You can find a guide to managing your mana pool post patch 5.0.4 here: Understanding Mana Pools and Mana Efficiency in Mists of Pandaria.
Paladins have spells that are called "seals" that grant them bonuses in combat. The bonuses can be anything from additional damage to mana regeneration, with many other abilities in between. A Paladin can only have 1 seal active at a time. While active that seal provides its benefit to the Paladin.
- Seal of Righteousness - This seal grants Paladins attacks a minor cleave type ability. When you strike an enemy with a melee attack it will also deal 6% damage to all targets within 8 yards.
- Seal of Command - This seal allows your melee attacks to hit for an additional 10% damage as holy damage.
- Seal of Insight - This seal is meant as the seal for healers. If increases casting speed by 10%, increases healing done by 5%, and grants melee attacks the ability to heal you for a small amount and to restore 4% of the Paladins base mana.
- Seal of Justice - This seal inflicts an additional 16% holy damage on each hit and reduces the target's movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds. This is a great seal when you are in a crowded place and need to control enemies running, or in PVP where you want to keep your enemy in melee range.
- Seal of Truth - This seals places a stacking DOT called Censure on the target each time it is hit as well as inflictint 12% holy damage. Each stack of sensure does holy damage over time to the target and can stack up to five times.
In addition to the basic benefit a seal provides it also allows you to use Judgements which provide additional benifits.
- Judgement - This is the basic Judgement and deals holy damage.
- Judgements of the Bold - This judgement is given to retribution paladins and grants a charge of holy power and causes the target to be physically vulnerable for 30 seconds, taking 4% more damage.
- Judgements of the Wise - This judgement is given to protection paladins and grants a charge of holy power.
Blessings are character buffs that paladins can give to themselves or other players. The blessings apply very beneficial bonuses such as enhanced mana regeneration, enhanced attack power and many more. Any given player (including the Paladin) can only be under the effect of one blessing per Paladin. You can be under the effect of multiple paladin blessings though, just each one must be a different blessing and from a different Paladin.
- Blessing of Kings - This is the blessing that most people always wanted you to use before. However over time it has been decreased in power and now only provides a 5% boost to strength, agility, and intellect.
- Blessing of Might - This blessing has changed significantly with patch 5.0.4 as well. It now provides mastery instead of the attack power and mana regen that it used to provide. At level 90 it provides 3000 mastery though, which can be significant to certain classes and players.
Being a hybrid class Paladins rely on many statistics, the primary ones depend on what talent build you are working towards. If you are tanking then you are looking for Stamina and Strength. If you are going Retribution (DPS) then you need to focus on Strength. If you are healing then your primary stats will be Intellect and possibly Spirit, however many holy Paladins skip spirit unless it comes by default with gear and instead go for Critical hit so that they generate more mana return.
Strength - Increases your Attack Power thereby increasing your damage. Strength also increases the damage that you can block with your shield.
Stamina - Increases your health points. This is critical for tanking Paladins since you will take a beating.
Intellect - Increases your spell power making your spells more powerful.
Spirit - Spirit raises your mana regeneration rate. While it is noticeable at higher levels of spirit, it takes a significant number of points in this to regain mana quickly enough that you will not want to stop and drink to gain it back.
Agility - Agility increases the following: attack power with ranged weapons, armour, critical hit chance and your chance to dodge attacks. The ranged weapon bonus is meaningless to Paladins as we can not use ranged weapons. The armour bonus is also relatively small for Paladins since we can use plate armour. The main reason to boost agility is for the critical hit %.
Hit - Hit is critical for Retribution Paladins, and important for Protection Paladins. The melee hit cap at level 90 is 7.5%.
Expertise - This stat is another critical one for Retribution Paladins and important for Protection Paladins. You need 6.5% to reach the soft expertise cap or 14% to reach the hard expertise cap. The soft cap prevents your attacks from being dodged, while the hard cap prevents them from being parried as well. Retribution Paladins only need to aim for the soft cap since they should be attacking enemies from behind, where they can not be dodged anyway. Protection Paladins should aim to reach the hard cap since they will be attacking from the front.
Spell Power - Spell power affects all Paladin abilities, however it is only highly critical for Holy Paladins. It greatly affects the amount their healing spells heal a target for.
Critical Hit - This is important for both Retribution and Holy Paladins. For Retribution Paladins it increases their melee damage output. For Holy Paladins the increase in the amount healed is nice but not as important as the the mana that is returned when you cast a critical heal.
Mastery - Mastery increases your characters mastery ability which depends on what talent tree you specialized in. For Holy it increases the amount of damage your absorbtion shiled takes, for Protection it increases your block chance and increases some other defensive abilities, and for Retribution it increases the damage than several of your key abilities cause.
Holy Power is a new resource type added to Paladins in patch 4.0 for Cataclysm's release. It is very much like a Rogues combo point system. Using different abilities generates HP points which stack up to three points and then stick around until used. The points can be used to power other abilities, and the more points you currently have the more powerful the ability becomes. Once an ability that requires HP is used, all HP points are reset to zero.
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