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WoW Classic Paladin Starter Build and Leveling Guide

WoW Classic Paladin Starter Build and Leveling Guide

Check out the best Leveling/Starter build for the Paladin in World of Warcraft Classic

Paladin Leveling Guide
for WoW Classic

Paladin

If you are planning on joining the World of Warcraft Classic adventure make sure to check out our other related Guides below:

And Starter builds/Leveling Guides for all other character classes:

RogueRogue Leveling Guide HunterHunter Leveling Guide
DruidDruid Leveling Guide PriestPriest Leveling Guide
MageMage Leveling Guide ShamanShaman Leveling Guide
WarriorWarrior Leveling Guide WarlockWarlock Leveling Guide
Or if you are done with the leveling process make sure to check our Best WoW Classic Builds for level 60 characters!


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Paladin Class Overview

Paladins are holy warriors of Azeroth that originate from the Order of the  Knights of the Silver Hand, an organization that was created by Uther the Lightbringer after the First War against Orcs and secured Alliance's victory in the Second War against Orcs. They are one of two classes that can wear Plate Armor and, as a hybrid class, can fulfill all of the Holy Trinity roles, Tanking, Healing, and Damage Dealing during leveling. In the End Game, Paladins are usually relegated to the role of a Healer, as this is where they excel.

Leveling a Paladin is quite a task (some experienced Players even state that Paladin is a worse leveler than a Warrior), and requires a lot of dedication... or a partner. While Paladin is one of the worse solo levelers, he is also one of the best wingmen in a duo leveling setup. If you want to progress through levels efficiently as a Paladin, pair up with a Warlock, Warrior (in fact, this two bottom tier levelers - Warrior and Paladin - complement themselves very well, and a DPS Warrior + Holy Paladin is one of the strongest leveling combos in Classic). While in a group, Paladin provides one of the strongest buffs in the game in the form of Blessings and can channel group-wide auras.

In World PvP, leveling Paladins can pull their weight and can overpower other melee classes but struggle against Ranged enemies, because they lack strong CC and catch up abilities. In the End Game, Holy Paladins are regarded as the best PvP Healers, thanks to their resilience and strong toolkit.

This guide will aid you and your Paladin on your journey to level 60; it will help you choose a Race, present you with an optimal leveling Talent build, point you towards Dungeons and Quests that award worthwhile Ranged Weapons, provide some tips & tricks, and more.

Paladin's Strengths and Weaknesses

 Pros  Cons
 Good Sustain and access to Healing Spells  Slow and painful to level solo
 Almost as versatile during leveling as a Druid. Can Tank, Heal, and Deal Damage in group content  Gear Dependant, most of Paladin's Damage comes from a Weapon
 "Free" level 40 mount  Lackluster CC toolkit and low mobility makes you vulnerable to ganks/dying from the accidental mob pulls (the bubble can save you, however)
 Great group utility spells  No mobility Cooldowns. Paladins struggle against enemies capable of Slow CC
 Can solo level-appropriate Elite Enemies  Retribution is not viable as a DPS Raiding spec
 One of the best duo-levelers in the game  
 One of the best En-Game Healers  
 Bubble + Hearthstone for the win  


Statistics Priority

  1. Strength -  Your primary statistic that provides additional Attack Power and, in turn, increases the strength of your attacks. You should look for Strength in all your Item upgrades, as it provides you with the most value.
  1. Agility - Provides you with Critical Strike and Dodge chances, highly increasing both offensive and defensive capabilities of your character. Agility gains more value after you gain access to the Vengeance Talent from the Retribution Tree.
  1. Stamina - Improves your survivability by increasing your total Health pool. This is an important statistic, but it shouldn't be prioritized over Strength and Agility. Paladin's ability to Heal slightly decreases the value of this Statistic.
  1. Intellect - Increases total Mana pool, provides Spell Critical chance and increases the rate at which you gain Weapon Skills. As a Paladin, you are a Mana-Based Class, but you don't benefit much from this statistic.
  1. Spirit - Increases your out-of-combat Health and Mana regeneration rate. Paladin has access to Healing spells, which decreases the value of this statistic, but Spirit should not be underestimated as it can cut a large portion of Paladin's downtime all the same.

Leveling stat priority:

Strength = Agility ⇒ Stamina ⇒ Intellect ⇒ Spirit

Note:  Items with "Of the Tiger" Suffix are great for Paladins, as they provide both Agility and Strength. "Of the Monkey" (Stamina and Agility) and "Of the Bear" (Stamina and Strength) are strong second choices and you should Need on those, while in a group, as well.

 

The Best Paladin Races

As most of you know, Paladin is an Alliance-only Class in WoW Classic (Horde got access to the Class in The Burning Crusade Expansion, with the introduction of Blood Elves, and Taurens were allowed to become Paladins in Cataclysm). Moreover, there are no Draenei (who were also added in TBC). This leaves just two Race choices for aspiring Paladins: Humans and Dwarves, both of which bring some strong Racial Traits to the table.

Note: Please remember that a good Player will make all races work well, and a bad player will not get any better thanks to a Race choice. In other words - pick your Race as you please, because after all, Fun is the most important aspect of the Game.

PaladinAlliance
Paladin Race Choice
PvE DPS/Tanking

Damage output is king in PvE. As a DPS, you want to hit enemies as hard as you can, and as a Tank you want... do exactly the same, because Damage generates Threat. Human's Weapon Specialization Racials allow you to do just that by reducing your Glancing Blow penalties. Dwarf's Stoneform is good for a Tank, but it is often not strong enough as a stand-alone defensive Cooldown and has to be used in a combination with other abilities, which makes it less than ideal in many situations.

Recommended choice: Human, but you may consider Dwarf if you really want to be a Tank (a rather bad idea, though*)

*Tanking, not picking a Dwarf. But... Paladin is still fully capable of tanking 5-Mans and early Raid Tiers, it is the later content that he struggles with. 

PvE/PvP Healing

For Healing, Human gets a very slight edge, thanks to his Spirit Racial, but the boost provided by it is rather marginal, so you might prefer Dwarf's Stoneform for increased survivability instead. All in all, both races are pretty much equal as Healers, especially in PvE.

Recommended choice: Can't go wrong with either Race

PvP DPS

Weapon Skill Racial pushes Human a tiny bit over the Dwarf because Paladins have Cleanse and the Blessing of Freedom in their Toolkit already, which makes Stoneform less impactful (but it is still very solid racial and you can't go wrong with it). Also, Human's Perception is a nice ability to have when against ever-annoying Rogues and Feral Druids.

Recommended choice: Human, but a Dwarf is as good (if not better in some cases)

Talent Build and Talent Allocation Order

Optimal Talent allocation is essential for smooth leveling. Here, we will describe the most optimal leveling spec and lead you through the Talent Trees level-by-level.

Talent allocation for a Leveling Paladin (10-59)
Retri Paladin Leveling Talent Build

You will want to start with the Retribution Tree and make your way up to the very top of it:

  1. Levels 10-14 ⇒ 5/5 Benediction - Simple and solid leveling Talent that largely increases your sustain by improving your mana efficiency.
  2. Levels 15-16 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Judgement - Another simple Talent. This one smooths the flow of your rotation by decreasing Cooldown of one of your main abilities.
  3. Levels 17-19 ⇒ 3/5 Parry.
  4. Level 20 ⇒ 1/1 Seal of Command - Strong offensive ability that lets you smite your enemies for extra Holy damage. This is the staple of your Rotation.
  5. Levels 21-22 ⇒ 2/2 Pursuit of Justice - Movement speed increasing Talent, just too solid to pass up, especially when leveling.
  6. Levels 23-27 ⇒ 5/5 Conviction.
  7. Levels 28-29 ⇒ 5/5 Parry.
  8. Level 30 ⇒ 1/1 Sanctity Aura - Strong offensive aura that synergizes with your all your offensive abilities that deal Holy Damage (and as a Paladin you have quite a lot of those).
  9. Levels 31-33 ⇒ 3/3 Two-Handed Weapon Specialization - Simple. Solid. Additional Damage.
  10. Level 34 ⇒ 1/3 Improved Seal of the Crusader - This point is spent mainly to unlock next Talent Tier, and Improved SotC is the best value.
  11. Levels 35-39 ⇒ 5/5 Vengeance - Strong offensive Talent that increases the value of Agility stat (as Agi increases your Critical Strike chance).
  12. Level 40 ⇒ 1/1 Repentance - Solid Crowd Control ability that comes in handy in Open World PvP, when you decide that fighting is not the best option, or when facing multiple Humanoid enemies.

At this point, it is time to switch to the Holy Tree:

  1. Levels 41-45 ⇒ 5/5 Divine Strength - 10% bonus to one of your primary stats. Solid.
  2. Levels 46-50 ⇒ 5/5 Spiritual Focus - Handy in situations when you have to heal yourself during Combat.
  3. Level 51 ⇒ 1/1 Consecration - Legendary Paladin ability and a source of much-needed AoE Damage.
  4. Levels 52-54 ⇒ 3/3 Healing Light - Picking this might feel odd, but there is not much choice, moreover, if you Heal in dungeons from time to time, this becomes a solid Talent.
  5. Level 55 ⇒ 1/2 Improved Lay on Hands.
  6. Levels 56-57 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Blessing of Wisdom.
  7. Levels 58-59 ⇒ 2/5 Illumination.
After reaching Level 60, you should visit a Class Trainer, reset your Talent Points and spec into an End-Game Build.

 

Two-Handed Weapon Progression

A lot of Paladin's Damage comes directly from his Weapon, making it the most important piece of his equipment. It goes without saying that you should aim to upgrade your Weapon as often as possible because it will speed up your leveling process and make experience grinds much more enjoyable (at least for the next few levels after getting an upgrade). Below, we present you a shortlist of Two-Handed Weapons that you should try and get during your leveling journey. 

Note1: Listed Weapons are not organized in a strict order and you don't have to go for every single one of them. The list is meant to be a raw guideline for Paladin's Weapon progression.

Note2: There are a lot more Two-Handed Weapons than those described. We have mentioned just the easy-to-get and quite essential upgrades. BoE items were excluded from the list, as there is a lot of RNG involved in getting them.

PaladinAlliance
Paladin Two-Handed Weapon Progression
Large Axe
Large Axe
  • Source: Weapon Vendors in all low-level zones. It costs 4s 36c.
  • Level Required: 3
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.80, 9-15 Damage, 4.3 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
  • Note: If you don't have the Skill required for using a Two-Handed Axe, just buy a level 3 Two-Hander that you have Skill for.

Copper Battle Axe
Copper Battle Axe
  • Source: Blacksmithing (35). People will be most likely selling these for cheap. Alternatively, you can easily craft it yourself.
  • Level Required: 8
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.20, 23-35 Damage, 9.1 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
Clymore
Clymore
  • Source: Weapon Vendors in all Alliance Capital Cities
  • Level Required: 10, get this if the Copper Battle Axe is unavailable.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.20, 23-35 Damage, 9.1 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Sword
Edge of the People's Militia
Edge of the People's Militia
  • Source: "The People's Militia" Quest available from level 9 from NPC Gryan Stoutmantle, Sentinel Hill, Westfall.
  • Level Required: It is a level 17 Quest reward that can be acquired earlier easily, when in a group.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.90, 26-39 Damage, 11.2 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Sword
Ironwood Maul
Ironwood Maul
  • Source: Weapon Vendors in Loch Modan (NPC Nillen Andemar, located on the west side of the dam; unlimited supply) and Elwynn Forest/Westfall (NPC Antonio Perelli who patrols a road from Duskwood to Westfall in Elwynn; he has a limited supply of the Item)
  • Level Required: 13
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.80 26-40 Damage, 11.8 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Mace
Miner's Revenge
Miner's Revenge
  • Source: "Oh Brother..." Deadmines Dungeon Quest available from level 15 from NPC Wilder Thistlenettle, Dwarven District, Stormwind City.
  • Level Required: It is a level 20 Dungeon Quest reward, so a 5 man group will be required. The Quest objective is located outside the instance.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.50, 36-55 Damage, 13.0 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
  • Fun Fact: This also doubles as a Pickaxe for Ore Mining.

Executioner's Sword
Executioner's Sword
  • Source: Weapon Vendors: NPC Barak Durnad - Menethil Harbor, Wetlands. NPC Antonio Perelli - Elwynn Forest/Westfall (the same NPC sells before-mentioned Ironwood Maul). 
  • Level Required: 19
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.40, 43-65 Damage, 15.9 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Sword
Verigan's Fist
Verigan's Fist
  • Source: Paladin Class Quest "The Test of Righteousness", available from Level 20. Look for NPC Daphne Stilwell near the Deadmines entrance in Westfall and pick the "The Tome of Valor" Quest from her to start the chain.
  • Level Required: This is a reward from level 22 Quest, that has stats appropriate for a level 30 Weapon.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.20, 65-99 Damage, 25.6 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Mace
Strike of the Hydra
Strike of the Hydra
  • Source: Aku'mai Boss in the Blackfathom Deeps. Entrance: Zoram Strand, Ashenvale. Drop Chance: ~20%.
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 26 to wield and the Boss is a level 28 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.30, 67-102 Damage, 25.6 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Sword
Corpsemaker
Corpsemaker
 
  • Source: Overlord Ramtusk Boss in the Razorfen Kraul. Entrance: South part of The Barrens, close to Thousand Needles Elevators. Drop Chance ~50%. 
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 29 to wield and the Boss is a level 32 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.80, 88-132 Damage, 28.9 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
  • Note: RFK is located in The Barrens, which is a Horde Zone. Finding a group might be quite difficult, as getting to the dungeon takes a rather long time.

Bonebiter
Bonebiter
  • Source: Dungeon Quest "In the Name of the Light", Scarlet Monastery, Tirisfal Glades.  Available from level 34 from NPC Raleigh the Devout, Southshore, Hilsbarad Foothills. The Quest becomes available after completing "Down the Scarlet Path" Quest - go to the Stormwind Cathedral.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 40 Dungeon Quest that can be done in a 5 man group around level ~38 rather easily. 
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.40, 105-159 Damage, 38.8 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
Beastslayer
Beastslayer
  • Source: "The Mighty U'cha" Quest available from level 50 from NPC Torwa Pathfinder, the south-east part of Un'Goro Crater. The Quest becomes available after completing "The Apes of Un'Goro" Quest.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 55 Quest that can be done solo around level ~52 rather easily. 
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.30, 112-169 Damage, 42.6 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
Headspike
Headspike
  • Source: Atal'alarion Boss in the Temple of Atal'Hkkar (Sunken Temple). Entrance: Middle of the lake in the Swamp of Sorrows. Drop Chance ~33%.
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 46 to wield and the Boss is a level 50 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.00, 106-159 Damage, 44.2 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Polearm
Force of Magma
Force of Magma
  • Source: Bael'Gar Boss in the Blackrock Depths. Entrance: Below the Blackrock Mountain; enter the Mountain, jump on a chain and follow the path down. Drop Chance ~25%
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 51 to wield and the Boss is a level 54 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.20, 123-185 Damage, 48.1 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Mace
Ice Barbed Spear
Ice Barbed Spear
  • Source: "Hero of the Stormpike" Alterac Valley PvP Quest available from level 51 from NPC Prospector Stonehewer, located in the Hilsbrad Foothills at the AV Battleground entrance. The Quest becomes available after completing "The Battle for Alterac" Quest. 
  • Level Required: This is a reward from level 60 PvP Battleground Quest. It can be done at level 51 (minimum required for entering level 60 bracket AV). All you need to do is be a part of the Winning Team.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.60, 155-233 Damage, 53.9 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Polearm

 

Rotations

Your rotation will greatly depend on your level and will get gradually more complex as you progress through content and get access to more tools. 

Let us look at basic DPS rotations for different level ranges:

Early Levels (Below level 10-30)

At the beginning of your journey, your rotation will change rapidly as you will gain access to new abilities very quickly. You should try to implement every new ability to your rotation.

Things to remember (at all Levels):

  • Dropping Blessing of Might in favor of Blessing of Wisdom will help with your sustain problems.
  • Seal of Command works best with very slow weapons. If your current weapon has a speed of 3.4 or higher, use Seal of Righteousness instead. Other Seals can be used if a situation warrants it.
  • Remember to use Exorcism against Undead/Demon enemies.
  • Avoid pulling multiple enemies at a time.
  • Retribution Aura can be useful when fighting multiple enemies at once.
  • Use the Swing Timer Addon and avoid clipping your Auto attacks in order to maximize Damage output. 

Basic Rotation:

Seal of Command/Righteousness*  ⇒ Weapon Swing Hammer of Justice ⇒ Judgement ⇒ (Weapon Swing)n** ⇒ Judgement ⇒ finish the enemy with Weapon Swings

Depending on the Speed of your Weapon
**At this point, you are pretty much Auto Attacking until Judgement comes back up (this also enables you to regenerate some mana during Combat). 

Higher Levels (31+)

At higher levels, Seal of Command starts to outvalue Seal of Righteousness. You also get aces to more Tools that you can weave into your basic rotation if needed.

Basic Rotation:

Seal of Command ⇒ Weapon Swing Hammer of Justice ⇒ Judgement ⇒ Seal of Command ⇒ Weapon Swings (while Judddgement on Cooldown)  Judgement   Hammer of Wrath

  • Use Consecration after Vengeance procs, or when against multiple enemies (it will reset your Swing Timer, so time it after your Auto Attack).

Professions

First Aid
First Aid
As a Paladin, you have access to very powerful Healing Spells but still, you should strongly consider leveling up First Aid, as it will help with your Sustain and reduce your downtimes by quite a bit. Bandaging up after a fight instead of using a Spell to heal yourself will allow you to maintain your mana regeneration and take advantage of the 5-second rule.
Engineering + Mining
Engineering + Mining

Engineering provides various useful (and sometimes quite dangerous) gadgets from its earliest levels, but the best Engi items come into play in the End-Game. During leveling, Engineering will provide you with some much-needed utility in a form of Grenades that will be very useful as additional source of AoE Damage and CC, and will be irreplaceable in Open World PvP (well-aimed Grenade can interrupt Spellcasting, stop fleeing opponent dead in his tracks or give you a head start if you decide to leg it). It is also a source of many very powerful gadgets that will make your life easier and much more... explosive. Items like Gnomish Battle Chicken, Mind Control Cap, Goblin Rocket Helmet, Rocket Boots, and Spell Reflectors will all be a worthy addition to your toolkit during both leveling and the End-Game

Mining is necessary here as it will provide you with materials for Engineering (you can also sell Bars on the Auction House if you need some additional Gold).

Blacksmithing + Mining
Blacksmithing + Mining

Blacksmithing + Mining is the true Classic choice for Paladins, as they are one of only two classes that can equip Plate Armor. This combination will allow you to craft yourself some nice Items that will smooth out your gear progression. You will also make some additional Gold from selling Crafted Uncommon items, Rods needed by enchanters, and from charging Crafting fees from people who want to have a specific item made (this will come into play at later stages and you will most likely have to grind for some in-demand recipes).

Mining is necessary here as it will provide you with materials for Blacksmithing (you can also sell Bars on the Auction House if you need some additional Gold).

If you want to know more about all professions available in WoW Classic, please check out our WoW Classic Professions Guide.

 

Tips and Tricks for Paladin leveling

  1. As a Paladin, you have access to a "free" level 40 Mount and a cheaper level 60 Mount (350g + some expensive Trade Goods, which will still amount to something around 450-500g in total), but still, you should preserve your Gold. Ideally, you should be able to progress through levels without any Auction House purchases (if you spot a great Weapon upgrade, do not hesitate if it is cheap, however). When it comes to Skills - you should learn just the essentials from Class Trainers.
  1. You can Heal 5-man Group content while in DPS Talent specialization as long as you bring Healing Gear with you. This means that you should assemble a Healing Set and try to keep it up-to-date - doing this will make finding a Dungeon group much easier.
  1. This is a basic thing that often gets overlooked - Summoning your Class Mount will stop your natural Mana regeneration, as it is considered as a spell-cast and as such will trigger the 5-second rule. This means than sometimes it might be more beneficial for you to run between mob packs on foot instead of cutting a few seconds of travel time by using a Mount (if the distance is quite short).
  1. If you get your hand on a Cloth/Leather/Mail (at level 40+) item with appropriate stats, use it. Good equipment can be very hard to come by while leveling and even a minor upgrade can make a difference.
  1. Keep your Weapon up to Date. Try to follow the Weapon Progression route and remember that most of your Damage comes directly from your Weapon (better Weapon = faster kill times = faster leveling), and remember that Weapon Damage is more important than Weapon DPS, which means that Slow Two-Handed Weapons are the best for you.


Buying WoW Gold with real money is a hassle-free way to get all the items you need for your character.

 

END NOTE

Leveling process in the Classic World of Warcraft is different from leveling in the current game versions. This Guide should help you to prepare yourself for that legendary Vanilla Experience and allow you to progress through levels efficiently and with a good amount of fun.

We hope that you have found this guide useful and informative.  If we have missed a piece of information that is important to you, please let us know! 

Please do note that this is an early version of our guide, and we will be happy to receive constructive criticism, that will help us improve it, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.