So you rolled a paladin…

So you rolled a paladin.  Maybe you’re tired of being squishy.  Maybe you think you’ll get a chance to tank or do DPS as a change of pace on occasion (ahahaha…).  Maybe, like me, you just wanted the cheap and shiny mount.

…seriously, that’s why I rolled paladin first.  I wanted a free horse at 40.


Moving on.

So now you’re level 10 and staring at your talent trees.  What now?

Paladin Specs – The Basics
Ask yourself several questions.
-What do I want to do with this character?
-Do I mostly want to heal? Do I mostly want to DPS?  Do I want to tank?
-Do I want to PvP, or focus on PvE?
-Am I going to be soloing, duoing, or instancing my way to 80?
-How crazy am I?

Holy is, obviously, your healing tree.  Like most healing specs, this is not recommended for leveling if you’re going to be spending a good amount of time soloing.  I leveled holy.  It also took me 5 minutes to kill anything.  While they’ve improved things since the days of yore, questing as holy is slow(er), especially to begin with.  Holy Shock later on makes things better, but I still don’t suggest this spec for the impatient sort.  To steal from my priest guide: If you want to level primarily through instance groups or with a friend, holy is great. Learning as you go is a great way to get a handle on healing and you probably won’t lack for groups!

This is your tanking tree.  Tankadins are great in AoE situations, and AoE grinding while you level is a method that some find entertaining.  You’re durable, gearing up is no longer as much as a pain as it used to be, and you should be able to find groups.  I say ‘should’ because there seems to be a superfluous number of tanks on some servers.  Regardless, this is probably one of the more group and solo friendly builds.

Ret is the DPS tree.  For many people it is their leveling spec of choice, and in a group it is not only excellent DPS but a welcomed addition to mana regeneration and buffs at higher levels.  If you plan on doing a lot of soloing, or just love beating things in the face with a large weapon, this might be the spec for you.  In hurts in PvP.  A lot. 

Leveling Specs:
Holy  There’s a a few talents in here that are good for soloing that you’ll want to drop at 80.

Prot:  I haven’t been prot since pre-3.0 BC, and my favorite tankadin is ret as I’m writing this, so this is my best guess as to a decent prot leveling spec.  It’s a few points shy of completion, but by that point, your guess as to where they go is as good as mine.

Ret:  This is basically my GMs build with some alternate points in prot.

Spell/Attack Rotations:
Holy: Auto attack.
…what, you wanted more than that?  Fine.  Seal of Righteous, judge Wisdom on CD. Consecration on lager groups helps, as does ret aura.  At 40 you get Holy Shock, which when used every CD hurts the mobs a good bit.  Don’t forget your Hammer of Wrath when they’re low.

Ret: Seal of Command + Judgment (of Light, usually), Crusader Strike (level 50+), Divine Storm (level 60+), Consecrate, Hammer of Wrath when able.
So yes, lower level ret pallying is Judgment and Consecrate on CD and nap.

Prot: When talking about an attack rotation in this case, I’m thinking of soloing, not tanking.  Anyway.  Toss on ret aura, and use Blessing of Sanctuary once you have it.  Improved RF is handy to have up thanks to the damage mitigation.  Use Seal of Light and Judge Wisdom for longevity, or use Righteousness/Vengeance and judge Light if you’re not worried about your mana.  Judgement + Holy Shield + Consecrate (on groups) + Hammer of Wrath on low health mobs.  At higher levels, chucking your Captain America Shield into the rotation helps as well.

is looking for: int, spellpower, and crit.  Mp5 is fine if it’s on there, really.
Prot is looking for: stm, str, and defense. Avoidance stats at higher level: parry, dodge, block. 
Ret is looking for: str, AP, crit, hit at later levels.   Grab a slower, higher-damage two handed weapon.


  1. #1 by Brent on March 11, 2009 - 3:42 pm

    “So yes, lower level ret pallying is Judgment and Consecrate on CD and nap.”

    This is why I can never level a Paladin easily. I have every other class to 60+ but them. Its just so boring and you feel like there’s no way to ‘work harder’ to kill stuff when you’ve got multiple groups.

    WTB active spell/skill/button at low level paladin-ness.

  2. #2 by Armagon on March 11, 2009 - 5:18 pm

    I levelled mine as Prot with a Holy Priest via Refer-A-Friend. 3x EXP makes up a looot for slow killing :) (stuck at 61 atm)

  3. #3 by preecher on March 11, 2009 - 9:32 pm

    i am worried about the boring auto-attack of levelling a paldin. i have levelled a mage to 80 and a warrior/priest to 70+ but so far, levelling this paladin is like watching paint dry. i dont know much about paladins so…which spec would you say is more interactive levelling from 20-60? ret? prot?

  4. #4 by pitrelli on March 12, 2009 - 7:07 am

    I am relatively new to paladins and am level 33 atm so this post is very helpful indeed :)

    As for paladins being boring, i dont buy into that – sure the 10-20 is probablly the most soul destroying in the game but I am pleased with my pala so far.

    Im retribution but find Im a better tank than paladins my level, hell i even heal if need be. Bottom line is I can fit into a group if they are struggling. Big difference from a Rogue who you need to be on your toes and quick reactions but I like the laidback style.

  5. #5 by kyrilean on March 12, 2009 - 8:12 am

    I leveled protection because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and it was the only way to not die. I also took a mix of holy and ret gear because again I had no clue as to what I was doing. It was miserable!

    I recommend ret all the way. It’s an absolute if you’re going to spend the majority of your time solo’ing.

    A more accurate depiction of holy leveling is:

    Holy Shock (if lvl 40+)
    Auto attack
    Grab a beer
    Go to the bathroom
    Check what’s on TV
    Order a pizza
    Holy Shock (if lvl 40+)
    Grab another beer
    repeat as required…

  6. #6 by kyrilean on March 12, 2009 - 8:14 am

    Oh and “So you rolled a paladin…”

    Get out, GET OUT NOW!!! :)

  7. #7 by Ambrosyne on March 12, 2009 - 8:40 am

    I leveled a holy pally-solo-back in ’05, when leveling holy was akin to gouging yourself to death with a rusty spoon. And walking uphill to school. Both ways. BAREFOOT IN THE SNOW.

    I did it because I had no idea WTF I was doing, and didn’t know any better. Emphasis on “Holy fuck, pallys are boring to level” is probably based on old, tainted memories. You may enjoy it. But you may also like razor blades in your cheerios for all I know.

    Tanking at lower levels is more dependent on skill than spec. This was proven by my hunter pet tanking ZF. XD

  8. #8 by Ambrosyne on March 12, 2009 - 8:43 am

    Folks, I think the general consensus here is DON’T SOLO LEVEL AS HOLY.

  9. #9 by kyrilean on March 12, 2009 - 10:50 am

    As twisted as this is, you’re making me want to level another pally for the sheer hell of it!

  10. #10 by mydeathknight on March 13, 2009 - 5:53 am

    I watched a duel between a feral druid (Bear) and a prot paladin… many hours later the prot paladin won. The fight was an awesome spectacle and what PVP should be about. Both fighters needed to use everything they had, and the one with the bit of luck, better timing ended up the winner. It was so entertaining I watched their next duel, and their next one!

    After watching I rolled a Paladin…. best move I’ve made in WoW and my Paladin hit 46 with all 5 home factions exalted. Questing is the fastest way to level by far… who cares if you take a while to kill something, you will kill it, and a few of it’s friends if you group pull!! You will be able to quest above level and you will effectively have 3 lives with heals/lay on hands. Not many elites your level will out last you.

    I levelled pretty quickly myself!!

  11. #11 by thebitterfig on June 2, 2009 - 7:04 pm

    i’m solo leveling a holy paladin. of course, i started ret and stayed ret until outland then went holy. you’d have to be insane to level holy if all you could wear was cloth gear… figured i wouldn’t find anything resembling caster plate or mail from quest rewards until HFP anyhow… then all the caster plate has STRENGTH on it. yep… strength, int, stam, and spell power. STRENGTH?!?!?!

    at 70, it’s fun. not as much fun as a prot warrior (the most insanely fun spec i’ve ever played), but still a lot of fun. the fact that you do no damage is made up for by the fact that you are indestructible.

  12. #12 by Slikrx/Balthazario on June 26, 2009 - 7:29 pm

    For Ret I would suggest a *slightly* different rotation: (for PvE)


    If there are multiples, throw in a Consecration every CD
    If it’s a Boss or elite, throw in Hammer of Justice.

    Personally I use Seal of Justice, since I like attacking stunned mobs. (though I’ll usually Judge Wisdom)

    BTW, I always enjoy your posts…and I have similar cxxt-waffle formatting issues with blogspot lol

  13. #13 by Mike on July 27, 2009 - 7:46 am

    my playtime is currently at just over 4 days and my ret pallie is now lvl 66 (see clownshu on eradar). I’ve actually had a lot of fun while leveling and hasnt seem to be slow at all (most leveling guides take 7 days and I’m sure i’ll beat that) meh I do:

    BoM/Seal of command (glyphed)
    ex/JoW/CS/DS/HoW (sometimes ONLY sometimes I might have to CS twice) a kill takes about 3-4 as my CS is still on CD by time the mob is dead.

    Also I never have a mana issue from using JoW. i’m constantly moving and almost never ever drinking unless I just got done soloing an elite.

    good luck.

  14. #14 by brandon on August 16, 2009 - 6:18 pm

    as mike said, i also have no mana issues

    i am a 52 ret/prot pally (deul spec) and run with seal of wis, judge of light

    i ex to pull, judge and cs when in range, by the time my cs is off cd, i normally have then down to HoW range.

    i NEVER have to drink unless im tanking or just fought a high lvl elite ( took on a 55 elite last night as a 51 and almost got him) i almost always end the fight with 80%+ mana and hp

    as far as leveling, i leveled to 40 prot, then deul specced prot/ret prot pallys do take a lil to kill stuff but are fun to play. u dont get many fun ret abilites til your in ur 30’s (art of war FTW)

  15. #15 by brandon on August 16, 2009 - 6:21 pm

    just a side note, i was in Un’Goro crater, looting a kill, had a 55 elite dino aggro and got him to 15% then pulled an add when feared, couldnt heal self when stunned

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