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Starting at level 10, a Paladin can begin spending talent points to gain new abilities and spells, strengthen existing abilities, and specialize how he/she functions. See the entry on Talents for more information about the Talent system. Paladin Talents have undergone significant changes with the 1.9 patch. As of patch 2.1.0 some of these talents have changed, eg. Improved Sanctity Aura and need to be updated. Patch 2.2 increased Greater Blessing buffs from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, as well as regular Blessings from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Patch 2.3 will bring the long overdue Retribution Tree revamp.
Paladin talent trees
Paladins train in three schools: Holy, Protection, and Retribution. Which talent trees the Paladin spends points in determines the Paladin's role in parties and raids. Holy Paladins will mainly be expected to be main healers. Protection Paladins are going to be at least off-tanks, if not a main tank. Retribution Paladins will be DPS "Holy Warriors".
The noticeable thing about Paladin talent trees is that none of the 41 point talents are as potent as many other classes 41 point talents. This reinforces that Paladins are meant to become talent hybrids, spending points in different schools. Example: Holy Shock is a very useful healing tool in a tight spot (especially combined with Divine Favor), but could also be used offensively to gain aggro, especially with Righteous Fury active.
Currently, patch 2.3 is set to modify key talents in the Protection and Retribution trees such as Weapon Expertise (Protection) being renamed Combat Expertise and will also increase Stamina by up to 10% when maxed out. Pursuit of Justice will be changed to a three-rank talent that increases movement speed by up to 15% and reduces the chances that the Paladin will be hit by spells by up to 3%.
|Divine Strength||none||5||Increases your total strength by 2%-10%|
|Divine Intellect||none||5||Increases your total intellect by 2%-10%|
|Spiritual Focus||5 Holy||5||Gives your Holy Light and Flash of Light spells a 14%-70% chance not to lose casting time when you take damage.|
|Improved Seal of Righteousness||5 Holy||5||Increases the damage dealt by your Seal of Righteousness by 3%-15%.|
|Healing Light||10 Holy||3||Increases the amount healed by your Holy Light and Flash of Light by 4%-12%.|
|Aura Mastery||10 Holy||1||Increases the radius of your Auras to 40 yds.|
|Improved Lay on Hands||10 Holy||2||Gives the target of the Lay on Hands spell a 15%-30% bonus to their armor for 2 min. In addition, the cooldown of your Lay on Hands spell is reduced by 10-20 min.|
|Unyielding Faith||10 Holy||2||Gives you a 5%-10% chance to resist Fear and Disorient effects.|
|Illumination||15 Holy||5||After getting a critical effect from your Flash of Light, Holy Shock or Holy Light spell, gives a 20%-100% chance to gain mana equal to the base cost of the spell.|
|Improved Blessing of Wisdom||15 Holy||2||Increases the effect of your Blessing of Wisdom by 10%-20%.|
|Pure of Heart||20 Holy||3||Increases your resistance to Curse and Disease effects by 5-15%.|
|Divine Favor|| 20 Holy|
|1||Instant Cast 2 min Cooldown When activated: Gives your next Flash of Light, Holy Light, or Holy Shock a 100% critical effect chance.|
|Sanctified Light||20 Holy||3||Increases the critical strike chance of your Holy Light spell by 2-6%.|
|Purifying Power||25 Holy||2||Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse and Consecration spells by 5% and increases the critical strike chance of your Exorcism and Holy Wrath spells by 10%.|
|Holy Power||25 Holy||5||Increases the critical effect chance of your Holy spells by 1-5%.|
|Light's Grace||30 Holy||3||Gives your Holy Light spell a 33-100% chance to reduce the cast time of your next Holy Light spell by 0.5 sec. This effect lasts 15 sec.|
|Holy Shock|| 30 Holy|
1 Divine Favor
|1||Blasts the target with Holy energy, causing 205 to 219 Holy damage, or 205 to 219 healing to an ally.|
|Blessed Life||30 Holy||3||All attacks against you have a 4-10% chance to cause half damage.|
|Holy Guidance||35 Holy||5||Increases your spell damage and healing by 7-35% of your total intellect.|
|Divine Illumination||40 Holy||1||Reduces the mana cost of all spells by 50% for 15 sec.|
The Holy tree contains talents focused on healing and caster-related buffs. Common raid oriented Holy builds will invest at least 20 points into the tree.
A typical 20 talent point investment should include Divine Intellect(5/5), Spiritual Focus(5/5), Healing Light(3/3), Imp Lay on Hands(2/2) and Illumination(5/5)
And for the 21 point talent selection, Divine Favor.
Raiding holy paladins will want to invest at least 20 points into the holy tree. Pick up Divine Favor along with Sanctified Light and Holy Power(5/5) as synergy talents that will benefit Illumination to a much greater extent.
At this point, the investment of 1 talent point in Holy Shock is simply a luxury and not really needed for a quality Holy talent build, although it does make 5-man tanking a lot simpler when you can make all the pulls.
|Improved Devotion Aura||none||5||Increases the armor bonus of your Devotion Aura by 8-40%|
|Redoubt||none||5||Damaging melee and ranged attacks have a 10% chance to increase your chance to block by 30%. Lasts 10 sec or 5 blocks.|
|Precision||5 Protection||3||Increases your chance to hit with melee weapons by 1-3%.|
|Guardian's Favor||5 Protection||2||Reduces the cooldown of your Blessing of Protection by 60-120 sec and increases the duration of your blessing of freedom by 3-6 sec.|
|Toughness||5 Protection||5||Increases your armor value from items by 2-10%|
|Blessing of Kings||10 Protection||1||Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing all stats by 10%.|
|Improved Righteous Fury||10 Protection||3||While Righteous Fury is active, all damage taken is reduced by 2-6% and increases the amount of threat generated by your Righteous Fury spell by 16-50%|
|Shield Specialization||10 Protection||3||Increases the amount of damage absorbed by your shield by 10-30%.|
|Anticipation||10 Protection||5||Increases your defense skill by 4-20.|
|Stoicism||15 Protection||2||Increases your resistance to Stun effects by an additional 5-10% and reduces the chance your spells will be dispelled by an additional 15-30%|
|Improved Hammer of Justice||15 Protection||3||Decreases the cooldown of your Hammer of Justice by 5-15 seconds.|
|Improved Concentration Aura||15 Protection||3||Increases the effect of your Concentration Aura by 5-15% and reduces the duration of silence and interrupt effects on group members by 10-30%.|
|Spell Warding||20 Protection||2||All spell damage taken is reduced by 2-4%|
|Blessing of Sanctuary||20 Protection||1||Places a blessing on the friendly target, reducing damage taken from all sources by up to 7 for 5 min. In addition, when the target blocks a melee attack the attacker will take 14 holy damage. Players may only have one blessing per paladin at a time.|
|Reckoning||20 Protection||5||Gives you a 2-10% chance after being hit by any damaging attack that the next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec will generate an additional attack.|
|Sacred Duty||25 Protection||2||Increases your total Stamina by 3-6%, reduced the cooldown of your Divine Shield spell by 30-60 sec and reduces the attack speed penalty by 50-100%|
|One-Handed Weapon Specialization||25 Protection||5||Increases all damage you deal when a one-handed melee weapon is equipped by 1-5%|
|Holy Shield|| 30 Protection|
1 Blessing of Sanctuary
|1||Increases chance to block by 30% for 10 sec and deals 59 holy damage for each attack blocked while active. Each block expends a charge, 4 charges.|
|Improved Holy Shield|| 30 Protection|
1 Holy Shield
|2||Increases damage caused by your Holy Shield 10-20% and increases the number of charges of your Holy Shield by 2-4.|
|Ardent Defender||30 Protection||5||When you have less than 20% health, all damage taken is reduced by 10-50%|
|Weapon Expertise||35 Protection||5||Increases your weapon skill with all weapons by 2-10.|
|Avenger's Shield|| 40 Protection|
1 Holy Shield
|1||Hurls a holy shield at the enemy, dealing 270-330 Holy damage, dazing them and then jumping to nearby enemies. Affects 3 total targets. Lasts 6 sec.|
The Protection tree contains talents focused on defense, damage mitigation, damage return and one-handed weapons.
The Paladin protection tree was a bit of a lame horse, but has received a much needed boost in performance with the recent patch 2.0.1. While the talent tree itself has not been changed much, the new spot ability combined with Consecration now being a skill instead of a talent now makes it possible for a Paladin to be a good tank if specialized in the protection tree in at least the 5 man instances like Stratholme or Scholomance and (depending on your equipment) maybe even in raid instances.
A typical raiding paladin who selects talents in protection will invest 11 talent points in the protection tree, selecting Imp Devotion Aura(5/5, the new addition giving you much needed armor to tank against enemies and allowing you to have to heal a bit less), Guardian's Favor (2/2), Precision (3/3 the less you miss your target when refreshing JoL/JoW the faster you can get back to healing), and finally Blessing of Kings(1/1) since an extra 10% to everyone's stats takes the edge off of new encounters and speeds up Raid progression. While Blessing of Sanctuary, the most underrated Paladin buff of all, can be a very useful spell in raid situations, it requires to sacrifice many other useful talents, that might be a lot better if you go for the usual buff'n'heal combination.
A potent tanking raiding paladin would normally invest at least all 59 of talent points in the protection tree, giving at least enough for a 10-point talent in Holy or Retribution. The great thing is the diversity of the Protection tree, so pick anything that suits your playing style. The only thing I would ask is to try putting talents on Devotion Aura, Redoubt, and Sacred Duty so your most potent aura is powered up and you block more attacks. You can also proc Blessing of Sanctuary with Redoubt more often. Sacred Duty is incredible for any scenario. Even if you normally won't attack while bubbled, you also get a reduced cooldown! So try combos that work for different situations.
The rest of the protection tree is only usable if you plan to PvP or to tank a lot. With points spent in Redoubt, Toughness, Blessing of Sanctuary and Holy Shield you can kill most melee fighters without breaking a sweat, while Toughness, Anticipation and Reckoning combined with enough points in Retribution for Seal of Command will allow you to be a good tank in most instances. Also, try using Exorcism and Holy Wrath to do incredible aggro especially on undead enemies (be wary, for these skills burn up your mana).
The protection tree is not as designed as the warrior's against enemy spellcasters, since your damage output comes from blocking and being hit by melee damage, and your improved armor and defense will not lower spell damage at all. With Reckoning however, at close proximity to casters, higher damage output may be dealt. Improved Hammer of Justice is excellent if they're trying to cast, so not only do you interrupt them, but you can also get in heals more frequently. Also, with Sacred Duty, you can use Divine Shield while still pummeling spellcasters without slowing or stunning effecting you, and like before, more time for healing as well.
Ardent Defender is a good choice if you've spent many points in Protection. The half-dmg will go a long way versus any opponent. Once combined with a seal and judge of wisdom (while using the mana gained for Flashes of Light and Hammer of Justice, many people think JoL, but your risking if it procs or not), the paladin becomes unstoppable. Damage is halved, but healing from SoL and JoL is the same.
Avenger's Shield is also a much needed addition to paladins. It has awesome chain-reacting power that can also slow enemies. It's also an incredible aggro builder. Since it chains and hits up to 3 people, you can pull a group out without much trouble from others, and also do some good starting damage.
|Improved Blessing of Might||none||5||Increases the Attack Power bonus of your Blessing of Might by 4-20%|
|Benediction||none||5||Reduces the Mana cost of your Judgement and Seal spells by 3-15%|
|Improved Judgement||5 Retribution||2||Decreases the cooldown of your Judgement spell by 1-2 seconds.|
|Improved Seal of the Crusader||5 Retribution||3||Increases the Attack Power bonus of your Seal of the Crusader and the Holy damage increase of your Judgement of the Crusader by 5-15%|
|Deflection||5 Retribution||5||Increases you parry chance by 1-5%|
|Vindication||10 Retribution||3||Gives the Paladin's melee attacks a chance to reduce the target's strength and agility by 5-15% for 10 sec.|
|Conviction||10 Retribution||5||Increases your chance to get a critical strike with melee attacks by 1-5%.|
|Seal of Command||10 Retribution||1|| Fills the Paladin with the spirit of command for 30 sec, giving the Paladin a chance to deal additional Holy damage equal 70% of the damage of the attack. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time. Unleashing this Seal's energy will judge an enemy, instantly causing 45 to 49 Holy damage. 137 to 147 if the target is stunned or incapacitated.|
Rank 2: 64-70 damage. 194-210 stunned
|Pursuit of Justice||10 Retribution||2||Increases movement and mounted speed by 4-8%. Does not stack with other movement increasing effects.|
|Eye for an Eye||15 Retribution||2||All spell criticals against you will cause 15-30% of the damage taken to the caster as well. The damage dealt by Eye for an Eye will not exceed more than 50% of the Paladin's total health.|
|Improved Retribution Aura||15 Retribution||2||Increases the damage done by your Retribution Aura by 25-50%.|
|Crusade||15 Retribution||3||Increases all damage caused against Humanoids, Demons, Undead and Elementals by 1-3%|
|Two-Handed Weapon Specialization||20 Retribution||3||Increases the damage you deal with two handed melee weapons by 2-6%.|
|Sanctity Aura||20 Retribution||1||Increases the holy damage dealt by party members within 30 yrds by 10%. Players may only have one aura on them per paladin at any one time.|
|Improved Sanctity Aura|| 20 Retribution|
1 Sanctity Aura
|2||The amount of damage caused by targets affected by Sanctity Aura is increased by 1%/2%.|
|Vengeance|| 25 Retribution|
|5||Gives you a 1-5% bonus to Physical and Holy damage you deal for 15 sec after dealing a critical strike. This effect stacks up to 3 times.|
|Sanctified Judgement||25 Retribution||3||Gives your Judgement spell a 33-100% chance to return 50% of the mana cost of the judged seal.|
|Repentance||30 Retribution||1||Puts the enemy target in a state of meditation for up to 6 sec. Any damage caused will awaken the target. Only works against Humanoids.|
|Divine Purpose||30 Retribution||3||Melee and ranged critical strikes against you cause 4-10% less damage.|
|Sanctified Crusader||30 Retribution||3||In addition to the normal effect, your Judgement of the Crusader spell will also increase the critical strike chance of all attacks made against that target by an additional 1-3%.|
|Fanaticism|| 35 Retribution|
|5||Increases the critical strike chance of all Judgements capable of a critical hit by 3-15%.|
|Crusader Strike||40 Retribution||1||Instant strike that causes weapon damage plus 40% of Holy spell damage and refreshes all judgements on the target.|
The Retribution tree contains talents focused on damage output, two-handed weapons, holy damage, and damage avoidance.
For paladins interested in melee combat, a core investment of 16 points will be needed. Benediction (5/5 it is difficult to acquire melee gear with lots of AP/Crit and Int, so the 15% reduction in cost to the Seal/Judgement system will increase your damage much more than Imp Blessing of Might), Imp Judgement (2/2), Deflection (3/5), Seal of Command(1/1), and Conviction (5/5).
For those interested in being a hardcore melee paladins, 30 points can be invested in the tree. Hardcore melee paladins will have to decide whether or not to invest their last talent point in retribution for Repentance (ranged paladin stun) or Divine Favor in the holy tree for a free crit heal.
Building off of the 16 core retribution talents, DPS paladins may want to invest in a Five point combination of Pursuit of Justice(X/2 if you have an epic mount you will move at 204/208% of normal speed instead of 200% as the talent wording might lead you to believe, but mostly used for normal mounts until lvl 62 as Crusader Aura doesn't stack along with PoJ) - note this talent doesn't stack with run speed & riding skill enchants, Carrot on a Stick or Mithril Spurs; Eye for an Eye(X/2), Vindication (X/3 alright in PvP, but mostly almost all bosses in raid instances are immune), or the last two points of Deflection. Then, Two-handed weapon specialization(3/3), Sanctity Aura(1/1), and Vengeance(5/5 a synergy talent of Conviction) to bring you up to 30.