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 focus 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. Different Paladins very rarely end up using the same build, although there are often similarities between builds. 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 :) .
Note: Since Patch 2.0 Reckoning build no longer fucntions as the talent reckoning got completely changed. Now it is more for tanking purposes, which was probaly its original purpose instead of a 2-hander clothy killer.
Tankadin, 2.0 (0/44/7
Since Patch 2.0 Paladins have been given one important tool to tank: Rightoues Defense (basically a taunt), Spiritual Attunement (Rank 1: 8% mana gained from each heal. Rank 2: 10%), and Concecration (As of patch 2.0 this spell can be learned instead of diving into the holy tree).
Important to do is getting Imp. Righteous Fury (for more holy threat), Holy Shield which adds 30% chance to bloke and increases even more threat. Ardant Defender, at 20% and less you receive 50% less damage. Might seem useless, but helps your healers when they can't heal for some reason. Also added Benediction for less mana from using Seals and Judgements, and Imp. Judgement to quickly switch Judgements ona target. (i.e. last secong give Judgement of Rightousness so mob does not run away).
Paladins excel in multiple mob tanking. Open up with Avenger's Shield run in (if possible) and Concecrate, Holy Shield and be ready to practically never loose agro. Also helps to add a spike to your shield for that extra damage as well as Blessing of Sanctuary. Also good for PvP when running up to clothies and wailing at them, wondering why they are dealing less damage (this goes especially for rogues).
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.
PvP Hybrid DPS/Survival (0/28/23)
The Paladin is a tough class to find a good mix of survival and DPS with. If you go for survival, people tend to ignore you, realizing that you can't do much damage if they don't hit you. If you go for all out crusader striking DPS, you tend to die far faster than a paladin should. This build attempts to find a middle ground. It forgoes Seal of Command, instead using Seal of Righteousness. The idea is to use a 2.6 or faster two hander. Why 2.6? This is the absolute slowest speed you can have and still get off 4 extra swings with reckoning. In addition, Seal of Righteousness will proc with every swing of reckoning, making for one heck of a reckonbomb.
Note: As of Patch 2.0 Paladins have been given the capacity to DPS, instead or previously it being a joke to even consider a Paladin able to DPS, in the most part thanks to Crusader Strike, which is the 41 Ret Point.
Retribution Paladin (0/8/43)
Since Patch 2.0 Paladins can now do DPS, which is what this class has been wanting. This spec is heavily in-debt to Judgements and Seals, since Fanatism adds +15% crit to all Judgements. Sanctity Aura helps with Holy Damage.
The idea is, more or less, to go in from afar and use Repentance, Judgement of Crusader, Crusader Strike, Seal of Command, Hammer of Justice, Judgement of Command, Crusader Strike. This should devesate an opponent or mob wether it be PvP or PvE.
Also since most Raids are skeptical of Paladins make sure to have Imp. Santity Aura for the +6% healing done, Sanctified Crusader for the +3% to crit the Judged opponent from all sources. Also conserving mana is an issue, but not as tremendous as before thanks to the new passive ability Spiritual Attunement. Don't forget to also use Righteous Defense to ward of any mobs off the healers have drawn. We're made of plate so we can take more punishment than them, until a proper tank comes along to deal with it. This buld should hold its own in PvP and PvE a like. Just don't forget to heal ;)
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.