Paladins are not just Paladins. We have many names - Critadins, Waradins, Retnoobs, Clerics, Healadins, and Tankadins. The fact of the matter is that we are the most durable class and can adjust to play in any situation. Only you can decide what type of Pally you want to be!
For those of you looking to play a Healadin, Holy is the talent spec to go with. In raids, everyone who can heal, naturally heals. A Paladin fits into this natural order by staying back and healing, and thanks to their ability to wear plate, can be one of the most dangerous healers in the raid group, if they're played well enough. Perhaps reading this guide will simplify for the work you need to extort while playing your Healadin.
Plate Priest, Healadin (30/21/0)
This talent spec focuses on the talent trees, Holy and Protection. The Holy part of things gurantees that you will be far more substantial at healing during raids, and the additional buffs of armor, defense and the new blessings from the protection tree combine to create a build very good for healers who can live out during the raid, and absorb damage. for Paladins very rarely end up using the same build, although many times they are similar. After speaking with many Paladins, it has been easy for me to determine this as one of the premier builds for a Paladin, as the bonuses to Intellect, the addition of two of the most important blessings (Sanctuary and Kings), as well as the Improved Blessing of Wisdom Buff, makes this a great build for a Healadin looking to be very active during raids.
Being a hybrid class a Paladin has the option to both dps and heal, and it is important to always remember that there is a time for both. Unfortunately there are very few stats that help a paladin in both healing and dps. Getting gear with +Crti% will gimp your healing and getting gear with +Healing will gimp your dps. +Healing/Dmg gear fortunately helps us with both. This build focuses on critting your Holy Shock, Seal of Command procs, and Judgement of Command for dps while still being able to adequately support a team. The 9 points in protection can be moved to either tree as you see fit, I find Guardian's Favor to be the most useful 7 points I can spend, but personal playstyle should be able to take over once you hit your 50-59 bracket and are about to spend those points. For levelling go Seal of Command first followed by working your way to Holy Shock. Gear for this build is easy: Stamina>Intellect = Strength > Dmg/Healing. Luckily for you you can heal in a raid setting as well you sly dog :) .
Reckonbomber, Tankadin/PvP (5/34/12)
The key of this spec is the Reckoning talent, which allows you to build up a 'reckonbomb'. This is done by turning off your autoattack so the extra attacks you gain through Reckoning are saved. You can stack up to four extra attacks in this way, and unleash them all on a single target for some serious damage. Tankadins have Improved Righteous Fury and Holy Shield to contribute to a rough 110% increase in threat cause, which helps them to pick up a great amount of threat, and manage it much better than the Holy alternate tank path.
Holy Tank, Tankadin (31/20/0)
Holy tanks are very good at grabbing initial agro thanks to consecration and Holy Shock, which can act like a warrior's taunt, and immediately try and gain snap agro from someone if they manage to steal it from the Tankadin. Holy paladins, using Improved Righteous Fury can have a great chance of gaining agro with Holy Shock, allowing them to deal a great amount of threat when in order to quickly get their targets.
Holy Tank, Classic Weapon/Shield (2/31/18)
A build which is centered around the image of shield and sword wielding knights. This build relies a lot on the mobs attacking the Paladin to actually hit the Paladin. Improved Aura of Retribution, Blessing of Sanctuary, combined with Holy Shield, and Redoubt give the enemies multiple ways to inflict Holy damage back onto themselves. Combat consists of Judging either to Wisdom or Crusader depending on number of enemies and cycling through Judgements of Command on the enemy. While block with Redoubt and Holy Shield with Blessing of Sanctuary up its possible to do well over 100 points for each hit blocked. Redoubt and Holy Shield combine for a 60% chance to block nearly ensuring the damage will occur. The two points in Holy can be moved elsewhere but are presented as such with 5 points of Benediction as this is a mana using build. Concentrate on Stam/Int gear. The shield being used should bear the best shield spike the Paladin can obtain.
Retribution spec'd Paladins typically fall under the name Critadins, as they attempt to do what many think is an oxymoron: Paladin DPS.
Heavy Ret, Critadin (5/8/38)
This spec's main focus is on the Retribution Tree, although it invests in the early talents of the Holy Tree and Protection Tree to gain both a strength and armor bonus. This build is meant for Paladins who are more interested in dealing damage rather than playing a great role in a group or in PvP. While this build does have its weaknesses, it does make the Paladin have a much greater chance to be a threat on the DPS scales. This build is usually seen as a PvP build, since many raiding paladins perfer holy or protection variations.
A good Paladin will find themselves busy on any raid if they have a balanced approached to healing, cleansing, blessings, judgements and raid recovery REGARDLESS of their specialisation. Never listen to people who try to tell you how a Paladin should be.
(added 10/11/06 by AJC) Unless the player has substantial high-quality gear, raiding paladins are often discouraged from this talent focus. It is usually perceived that a paladin Holy build benefits the raid more than one with a Retribution build. This is due to improved heal effectiveness and efficiency (via the Holy Power and Holy Shock talents in the Holy tree). However, if you choose to raid with this build there are several considerations to make.
- Keep Judgement of Wisdom (or Light) up on the main mob at all times. Although Holy-spec paladins may need to re-apply these important debuffs only infrequently due to the Lasting Judgement talent, the transit time between the healing zone and the melee zone still cuts into their overall healing efficiency. If you intend to stay in melee range during most of the fight, having you maintain these Judgements is easier on the raid. Don't forget you can still judge Righteousness and Command while your JoW/JoL is up.
- Conserve your mana. If a main tank goes down or a mob is loose in the raid, your priority should immediately shift away from DPS. Either picking up a loose mob and switching to one-hand/shield (if your raid is low on warriors) or landing a few heals during a chaotic moment can help the raid get through a difficult transition.
- Be aware of your guild's raiding policy, especially regarding loot. Most sub-AQ DPS paladin gear is also desired by other classes. The DPS of these other classes may be more highly valued than your own, thereby giving them "priority" on these items. Either make clear the items you plan to get or communicate with the Warriors and Hunters beforehand.