Paladins became my favorite class for a couple reasons, mostly that captivating flashy cone of light, which I later found out is called Light of Dawn. They have extensive utility in raid environments. I also enjoy their ability to cheat mechanics in a fight and wear the strongest form of armor all at the same time.
Class : Paladin
Available Races : [A] Human, Dwarf, Draenei & [H] Blood Elf, Tauren
Role : Hybrid (Tank, Healer or DPS)
Specializations : Protection, Holy, Retribution
Gear Type : Plate
Resources : Mana
Alternate Resource : Holy Power
Useable Weapons : 2-Handed Axe, Sword, Mace & Polearm, 1-Handed Axe, Sword & Mace, and Shield
Levelling Speed : 8/10
Survivability : 9/10
Gameplay : 8/10
Utility : 10/10
Soloing Capability : 7/10
Transmog Options : 8/10
Overall : 8/10
Since Paladins are a hybrid class, they can take on whatever role you want. You can melee DPS in Ret, Heal in Holy, or Tank in Prot. You can literally experiment with all three to find out which one you prefer the most.
Levelling a paladin can be challenging at times, but very rewarding. I found Paladins to be faster than most classes because of their ability to adapt to different roles to get faster dungeon ques. However if you plan on questing, I would recommend going either Ret or Prot depending on your skill level and capabilities on staying alive. I would recommend going to Ret once you get to Pandaria regardless of what spec you want to play at max level. I have personally leveled through pandaria in all three specs, and from my experience prot is far too slow, holy is almost useless, but Ret is very squishy, though a steady stream of damage.
I struggled quite a bit while leveling as a Holy paladin. In Holy, you do almost no damage but never die; in Prot you do a lot of damage till about level 70 and you almost never die, and in Ret you don’t do much damage till 70 and you will die a lot. I was very disappointed in Ret’s durability or lack thereof. I was getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter most of the time unless I spent my Holy Power on healing myself, and since your main abilities in Ret will require use of holy power, keeping myself alive meant doing less damage; thus leveling even slower. However slow the process was in Ret, it was a hundred times faster than the other two options.
I find Paladins by far the most fun class in the game because you can cheat mechanics (which I’ll go into more detail in the utility section). But to brush upon it lightly, you can survive things that would otherwise kill any other class. The healing experience is my favorite of the three specs and my absolute favorite style in the game. You use a combination of your mana and Holy Power to AOE, single target, preventative and HoT your targets. It’s incredible. Holy Paladins are also extremely hard to kill in PvP due to their utilities if they are played properly, which makes it even more fun to see people get frustrated that I just won’t die.
Here is a video of a Ret paladin playing in PvP arenas.
The main abilities that paladins have that other classes do not are things like Divine Shield, Devotion Aura, Hand of Protection, Hand of Freedom, Hand of Salvation and Hand of Sacrifice. All but one of these abilities can be cast on your entire group, individual members or yourself. Divine Shield can only be used on you and it makes you immune to literally everything. With this shield up, you take no damage, you cannot be interrupted, stunned, or feared. You go into god-mode for 8 seconds while it is active. Devotion Aura is not only a 20% magic damage reduction for your entire raid or party, but it also protects you and your entire party from being interrupted during spell-cast. That’s right, you can prevent up to 40 people from being interrupted all at the same time, which is an extremely useful ability if you are in a large battleground group or raid. The Hand spells (Protection, freedom, sacrifice and salvation) can all be cast on you or a raid/party member. Protection grants immunity from physical attacks (ie melee attacks). Freedom removes all movement impairing effects on you or your target. Sacrifice can only be cast on someone else unless you have it glyphed. If you do not have it glyphed, it will sacrifice your health for your target’s health when they are taking damage. It essentially redirects 30% of the damage to you. If you do have it glyphed, it is a flat 30% damage reduction ability. Finally, Salvation reduces the threat of you or your target. All of these abilities have saved lives in raids, making Paladins very useful in a raid or battleground environment.
Unfortunately, as I previously mentioned with Ret being rather squishy, Holy being useless for damage and Prot doing very little damage, it is often times difficult to solo content as a Paladin. I would recommend using Ret to solo things, but be warned Ret is known to take a lot of damage. Unlike warriors or death knights, Ret seems to be significantly squishier when they take smacks to the face. Ret does seem to be heavily reliant on gear, so it is safe to assume the better gear you have, the easier it is going to be to solo an encounter. Holy also has a severe lack of AoE damaging abilities, so I would never recommend soloing anything as Holy.
My favorite part of WoW is now the Transmog feature. In case you aren’t familiar with it, it allows you to change the appearance of your current armor into something more….fancy! (Or in a paladin’s case more sparkly.) Paladins have some of the best looking plate gear in the game, however if you are interested in going for anything that isn’t gold, red, or white, think twice about paladins. Finding and obtaining gear that for a Paladin to transmog that is not those three colors is either neigh impossible or extremely difficult, expensive and time consuming to obtain. I’m still trying to make a black armor set for mine, but all the good black gear is specific to other classes.
In general, I adore Paladins, if you haven’t figured that out already. I have been raiding as a Prot paladin for almost two years, and as Holy paladin for nearly a year. The class can be deemed as somewhat easy, but to be really good at it, it will require a lot of research, dedication and time playing the class and finding all the intricate details. Personally I enjoy finding what I can and cannot die from while using Divine Shield (yes I said you get total immunity, but Blizzard wouldn’t let TOTAL immunity happen…but it does work most of the time!)
So in conclusion, if you are looking for a versatile class to learn how to play the game on, Paladin’s are your best bet. They are by far the simplest of classes to understand, but are also extremely rewarding if you are willing to dig deeper into their rotations, abilities and strengths.