Outdated Content as of Patch 5.0.4
Beat all that you can beat.
Blizzard provides every class with a variety of ways and locations to play through the levels. The locations are starkly different and the virtual toolbox is stuffed to the gills with spells and abilities for players to use. Selecting the best places and directions for your character will be up to you, but you’re not alone. This guide will outline some of the options Paladins have for starting their career in the land of Azeroth. There are two facets to character progression; the location and the character. The locations will be dictated by the level of the encounters whereas the player has options for how the character will be played according to talents, spells and gear.
Early in the game players are not assaulted with an inordinate amount of spells and abilities. Heck, new Paladins start with three. Blizzard does a good job of spacing out new skills to allow time to become familiar with the mechanics before more and more are stacked onto the action bars. Regardless of the starting point, there are some straight forward battle strategies that will help in almost all situations.
Prepare for Battle
Paladins have three buff slots that should always be active when preparing to enter battle; an Aura, a Seal and a Blessing. Which type of each will depend on the adversary or conditions, but these should always be active. In addition to the Paladin’s own buff slots, there should always be at least one debuff applied to the target from Judgements. It may sound complicated but it’s not too bad. To better understand the three options, we’ll discuss them individually.
Is that AXE Body Spray an Aura?
Auras are no-cost buffs that stay active until changed (or until the character dies). All auras are defensive except for the Retribution Aura received at level 16 which dishes damage back at the attackers. The default aura should be Devotion Aura. Keep it active at all times; it provides a nice armor buff without cost. There are times to run with other Auras though too.
When leveling against mobs of similar level, I typically keep Retribution Aura up unless I find myself having to stop and heal too often (or run away bubbled!). Tanking is also a good time to keep Retribution Aura up due to the threat it causes, unless the healer is having a hard time keeping you healed – then you may switch to Devotion to cut down on the damage.
Resistance Auras are great for situations where the enemies are using fire, frost, or shadow damage. Remember that magic damage bypasses armor so Devotion Aura does not help against fire/frost/shadow damage anyway.
Be Sure to Give Thanks and Blessings
Second in duration, Blessings last for ten minutes as base abilities but can be extended later through Greater versions of each Blessing.
Seal it with a Kiss
Seals are a little more difficult to understand due to the added element of judging the seals. Seals are an active buff that provides some additional benefit during combat. The Seals can appear daunting at first, but really there are only four up to level 40 and they are fairly straight forward.
- Seal of Righteousness is for causing damage
- Seal of Justice is for stunning targets
- Seal of Light provides some health back to the Paladin
- Seal of Wisdom will replenish mana
Don’t you judge me!
Judgements are different than many other class abilities in the game. They require a Seal to be active prior to casting the Judgement which then applies an additional debuff on the target. Unlike Seals that will grant the Paladin additional benefits, Judgements grant all attacking parties benefits. Depending on the best debuff for the encounter, Paladins should apply the following Judgements.
- Judgement of Light provides a chance to give health back to the attacker
- Judgement of Wisdom has a chance to give mana back to the attacker
- Judgement of Justice gives each attack a chance to stun the target (helpful hint: most boss encounters are immune to stuns)
Time to rock and roll
The core battle spell rotation is fairly straight forward until Paladins get into later levels. The Paladin is a support class which doesn’t have that many direct damage rotations. The support nature of the class provides some great ancillary options to help out in almost any situation, but for flat out damage the choices are limited.
Battle rotation against melee centric bad guys, these work of PvP and PvE:
Verify that Devotion or Retribution Aura, Blessing of Might and Seal of Righteousness active prior to the fight. As the distance closes, use Judgement of Light that will Judge Seal of Righteousness causing instant damage and placing a debuff on the mob replenishing the Paladin’s health periodically. After level 20, Consecration will also provide a nice boost to damage especially if fighting multiple mobs. Consecration is costly in mana so practice its use against mana consumption to find a good balance.
Battle rotation against casters (both PvP and PvE):
Casters don’t stand a chance against a Paladin. If the spell type is known, then activate the appropriate resistance Aura (frost, fire or shadow), verify that blessing of Might is active and then cast Seal of Righteousness for damage of Seal of Justice to get an occasional stun on the caster. Stuns interrupt spell casting so use all stuns available. Use Judgement of Justice (if lower than level 28, use Judgement of Light) for another chance at a stun and then start swinging. When the caster tries to cast use Hammer of Justice to stun and interrupt. If the Hammer is on cool down, use Arcane Torrent if you happen to be a Blood Elf, or prepare to heal and make sure to use Cleanse for any debuffs the spell may leave on your character. If it all goes south, bubble up and heal and then get back into the fight. If the caster places a movement debuff like Frost Nova, use Hand of Freedom to free yourself and get back in contact. Paladins have few ranged options so the key is to get close and stay close to the caster wearing cloth.
Battle rotation against those that run away:
Runners can really put a monkey wrench into an encounter if not handled properly. The goal with runners is to keep the target stunned as long as possible and then have Hammer of Justice available when the target starts to turn tail and run. Runners typically try to escape when they are below 50% health so keep an eye on them when the health bar starts getting low. Many runners have a snare effect like a net or frost nova, so be ready with the Hand of Freedom so you can chase them down if needed.
Practice with the rotations, getting a feel for the length of the encounters and how often to judge seals or change seals mid-fight is paramount to playing a Paladin to the fullest. Played well, a Paladin has almost no downtime during a fight.
Key Stop-Overs while leveling up
There are only a few Paladin specific quests but they are important. The first one (outside of learning to become a Paladin at level 1) starts at level 12 for all races (that can be Paladins). Each race has a slightly different variation, but the quest starts the progress towards learning the spell to resurrect other players. It is a critical quest line and should not be skipped. Each race quest line starts with the following:
Blood Elf: “Summons from Knight-Lord Bloodvalor” starts in Ruins of Silvermoon
Draenei: “Jol” quest starts in Azure Landing
Dwarf: “Tome of Divinity” starts in Dun Morough
Human: “Tome of Divinity” starts in Goldshire
Having a “Rez button” is a class defining ability, so every Paladin is expected to have it.
Another expectation is that Paladins will ride noble steeds. Now granted at level 30 by the Paladin trainers, Summon Charger is another don’t miss spell. Riding is better than running any day, and getting the first level of riding skill for almost free is very nice too.
Special points of interest
Leveling a Paladin is fairly straight forward in all of the zones that are level appropriate. There are a few areas where Paladins will have an easier time than other classes due to the extra damage Paladins can cause against Undead and Demons. For Alliance Paladins Darkshire is an area full of Skeletons and Zombies and they are ripe for the pickings. When battling the undead, make sure to cast Exorcism every time it is available and also use this time to test out Sense Undead and Turn Evil.
On the flip side, the Horde Paladins get Exorcism just as they are ready to leave the undead area of Ghostlands. No problem though, Blood Elf Paladins will have plenty of opportunities to smack around the ghouls, skeletons, and zombies of Strangethorn Vale.
If demons are more to the liking, they can be found in Desolace and Ashenvale. Again, great locations to use the added holy damage of Exorcism and Turn Evil. Leveling up is a great time to experiment with pulling techniques and learning how many enemies can be fought at once. Use Turn Evil to see how the mechanics work and don’t forget that it’s never cowardly to bubble and run, it’s actually quite noble. At least that’s what I tell myself.