|In World of Warcraft, Paladins are the far most Hybrid class there is. They can Tank, Heal, and be the damage dealer of groups and Raids.|
|Paladin builds can be either Holy, Protection, or Retribution. Holy leans towards healing, Protection leans towards tanking, and Retribution leans towards melee DPS.||
Paladins are one of the four classes in the game that can be adapted to absorb damage like a sponge and keep others from harm. They are particularly famous for the ability to tank multiple (10+) mobs at the same time. Besides, Paladins are also well known for their ability to survive with their unique combination of invulnerability, plate armor and healing spells, which makes them very good for AoE farming.
PvE Tanking Build
For those who want to tank in 5-man instances or raid, investing heavily into protection tree is advised.
Most tanks include the following Protection talents in thier build: Divine Strength, Anticipation, Improved Righteous Fury, Toughness, Improved Devotion Aura, Blessing of Sanctuary, One-Handed Weapon Specialization, Sacred Duty, Holy Shield, Ardent Defender, Redoubt, Combat Expertise, Avenger's Shield, Guarded by the Light, Shield of the Templar, and Hammer of the Righteous. Spiritual Attunement is a special case, as there is often debate over how many points to place in it.
There are a few Protection tree talents were tanks differ in opinion as to thier utility: Divinity (Doesn't directly improve your tanking, but makes it easier to heal you), Reckoning (dispute over its value for generating threat, concern over parry mechanic), Divine Sacrifice (too situational), Divine Guardian (too situational), Touched by the Light (questions over the value of spell power), Judgements of the Just (some doubt it reduces incoming damage enough to be worthwile). It is necessary to take some combination of the talents to reach deeper core Protection talents.
Outside of the Protection tree, the following talents are popular Deflection, Improved Judgements, Seals of the Pure. Less popular talents include Benediction, Heart of the Crusader, Conviction, Vindication, and Crusade.
PvP Protection Build
Protection Paladins have their advantages and disadvantages in PvP. They are by no means a raw DPS spec, there still are many ways to be useful in battleground based PvP. Most of the damage of protection paladins depends on reflective damage, which allows them to win easily against rogues, warriors, other paladins, and enhancement shamans. The disadvantages is, melee players have the option to retreat; however this may benefit the paladin if he is defending a specific location. Against casters or hunters, the chance to win is reduced.
Protection paladins are effective at tanking (multiple) bosses in Alterac Valley, holding the flag in Warsong Gulch or Eye of the Storm (because of their high survivability and Hand of Freedom), or defending bases in Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley.
Protection paladin's excel at keeping allies alive, two important talents for this are Guardian's Favor, and Divine Sacrifice. Improved Hammer of Justice is also important for stunning enemies. With some of these a protection paladin and a caster(especially) can be a formidable team.
Aside from mages, paladins have the highest potential for AoE grinding, combining their incredible survivability against melee attacks with talent procs that occur when they are the victim of enemy attacks. This build is mainly viable against melee targets, preferably those that do not run or use magic/ranged attacks. To make this spec viable, Holy Shield must be obtained. A shield spike, and any other item that causes damage when struck or extra weapon swings, would be very useful as well. Paladins speced this way can singlehandedly take out 5-6 mobs (easily up to 10+ at level 70 with good gear) or 2-3 elites of equal level, and often end up with full health and mana due to Seal/Judgement of Light/Wisdom.
Before level 30 and getting Blessing of Sanctuary it is much easier to level as retribution. At level 30, you can respec into protection and start AOE grind. You will need a shield, a fast weapon and a good shield spike. The goal is to get hit by a lot of mobs. Always have Blessing of Sanctuary running before you pull.
You can aggro multiple mobs with either your warhorse or with Avenger's Shield. After the mobs surround you, cast and refresh Consecration as an AOE. Apply Seal of Light to a target. Where cool down is available apply either Judgement of Wisdom or Judgement of Light depends on if you are low on health or low on mana. The new judgement system allows to use different judgements without releasing the original seal. Your blessing should return your mana while your seal should return your health. If you have a runner you can stop it by either using Judgement of Justice or Hammer of Justice.
If your health is dropping faster than it can be replenished, you can bubble up and heal. In case of emergency, do not forget to use mana pots or Lay on Hands.
Leveling as Protection
It is not advised to start a paladin off in the Protection tree. However, once the Paladin can cast and judge the Seal of Light at level 30, it is truly possible to level as a Protection paladin by AoE grinding and enjoy it.
Before level 30, put all the points in Retribution tree. Once you are ready for leveling by AOE grinding at level 30 to 40, respec at any class trainer and put all your point into Protection:
At level 30: 5/5 Divinity, 5/5 Divine Strength, 5/5 Anticipation, 3/3 Improved Righteous Fury, 2/5 Toughness, 1/1 Blessing of Sanctuary
Level 31-35: 5/5 Reckoning
Level 36-37: 2/2 Sacred Duty
Level 38-39: 2/3 One-Handed Weapon Specialization
Level 40: 1/1 Holy Shield
As you may see, this comes up to the core AoE farming talent. You can spend the remaining talent points as you like. Here is an example build at level 60. The talents are listed in the suggested order taken.
Level 30: Divinity - 5/5
Level 30: Divine Strength - 5/5
Level 30: Anticipation - 5/5
Level 30: Improved Righteous Fury - 3/3
Level 30: Toughness - 2/5
Level 30: Blessing of Sanctuary - 1/1
Levels 31-35: Reckoning - 5/5
Levels 36-37: Sacred Duty - 2/2
Levels 38-39: One-Handed Weapon Specialization - 2/3
Level 40: Holy Shield - 1/1
Level 41: One-Handed Weapon Specialization - 3/3
Levels 42-44: Ardent Defender 3/3
Levels 45-47: Combat Expertise - 3/3
Levels 48-50: Redoubt - 3/3
Levels 51-52: Guarded by the Light - 2/2
Levels 53-54: Toughness - 4/5
Level 55: Avenger's Shield - 1/1
Levels 56-57: Shield of the Templar - 3/3
Levels 58-59: Toughness - 5/5
Level 60: Hammer of the Righteous - 1/1
Races that can be paladin
With good healing gear, paladins of any spec can provide reasonable healing. However, for those who are dedicated to becoming a main healer in PvE and PvP, you need to go deeper into the Holy tree. There is also a special type of Holy paladin, the shockadins, who are capable of doing a good amount of Holy damage in PvP. However, with the excellent performance of retribution paladins in PvP now, few people would spec shockadin builds anymore.
PvE Healing Build
Paladin healers, or healadins, are well-known for mana-efficiency. Illumination is the major reason for this and no good healing specs can do without it. Otherwise, the talent points of the paladin healers are not as tight as those of the paladin tanks or DPS, so you can easily find a lot of viable healing builds out there. Nevertheless, the majority of people would agree that these are the core talents of PvE healadins: Spiritual Focus, Divine Intellect, Healing Light, Illumination, Sanctified Light, Holy Power, Light's Grace, Holy Guidance, Divine Illumination, Divine Favor, Holy Shock, Infusion of Light, Judgements of the Pure and Beacon of Light. Other optional but good-to-have talents include Improved Blessing of Wisdom, Improved Lay on Hands, and Aura Mastery.
The rest of the points can go to other useful talents in the Holy tree, as well as Protection or Retribution trees as you see fit, though it is common for healadins to focus the remaining points on one of the trees. In the Retribution tree the primary talents to pick up are Benediction to reduce mana cost of Holy Shock and Hand spells, and Sanctified Seals and Sanctity of Battle to increase critical chance (for the additional healing and mana returned from Illumination). In the Protection tree, the common talents are Divinity to increase healing, Divine Sacrifice coupled with Divine Guardian to provide a party and raid wide damage reduction cooldown, and Improved Devotion Aura to provide an alternative to the Restoration Druid 6% raid wide healing buff.
PvP Healing Build
In the cutthroat environment of PvP, being mana-efficient is not as important. Rather, having high survivability while providing good healing to teammates becomes the top priority. Being able to wear plate armor as well as having various self-protection abilities make paladins good candidates for PvP healers. Talents that are useful for PvP healadins include Spiritual Focus, Unyielding Faith, Pure of Heart, Holy Shock, and Blessed Life.
Beyond that foundation, PvP healing builds are split between Divine Purpose in the retribution tree, and Beacon of Light in the holy tree, which cannot both be acquired. Divine Purpose builds reward the Paladin with extra freedom from stuns and lots of extra Critical Strike chance, and can still reach high in the holy tree. Beacon of Light builds, on the other hand, favor going into the Protection tree for Improved Hammer of Justice, Guardian's Favor, and other non-healing tools.
Getting gear with spell critical strike rating improves this build's DPS, as it focuses on Holy Shock and Seal/Judgement of Righteousness for DPS while still being able to adequately support a team with healing and debuffing. Compared to Retribution builds, the DPS is relatively weak, though the ability to heal remains intact, even in raids and PvP encounters.
Many shockadins will go with a build that includes some important Retribution talents to further boost the holy damage they dish out.
Retribution paladins are excellent DPS offenders in PvE and PvP since the major retribution buffing in Patch 2.3.0 and Patch 3.0.2. The instrinsic high survivability of paladins coupled with the potential of high burst damage provided by the Retribution tree make them capable of disposing almost any classes one on one and valuable both in dealing and absorbing damage in group PvP. In PvE, besides the high damage output, they also provide various useful utilities to their party members.
PvE Retribution Build
For those who want to play as damage dealers in instances/raids, the top priorities are doing high substantial damage output and controlling threat. Talents that can provide benefits to other party members are also very helpful in raid progression, so should be emphasized as well. The core talents that help to ensure high and continuous damage output include Benediction, Improved Judgements, Conviction, Crusade, Two-Handed Weapon Specialization, Vengeance, Sanctity of Battle, Fanaticism, Crusader Strike, and Divine Strength. Fanaticism is also the one and only threat controlling talent that enables the retribution paladin to get past the threat-limited DPS threshold in the past. Heart of the Crusader and Sanctified Retribution provide solid increase for retribution paladins as well as other party members' damage output and therefore are usually maxed as well. The basic PvE retribution paladin build would look like:
PvP Retribution Build
Leveling as Retribution
Retribution (with Patch 3.0.2) has become a very powerful leveling spec, all the way to 80. When leveling as Retribution, using a two-hand weapon and dealing with one mob at a time is recommended. Below is an efficient talent build for leveling your character:
Level 10-14: 5/5 Benediction
Level 15-16: 2/2 Improved Judgement
Level 17-18: 2/2 Improved Blessing of Might
Level 19: 1/3 Heart of the Crusader
Level 20: 1/1 Seal of Command
Level 21-22: 2/2 Vindication
Level 23-24: 2/2 Pursuit of Justice
Level 25-26: 2/2 Eye for an Eye
Level 27-29: 3/3 Sanctity of Battle
Level 30-32: 3/3 Two-Handed Weapon Specialization
Level 33: 1/1 Sanctified Retribution
Level 34-35: 3/3 Heart of the Crusader
Level 36-39: 4/5 Conviction
Level 40-42: 3/3 Judgements of the Wise
Level 43: 1/1 Repentance
Level 44-45: 2/2 The Art of War
Level 46-48: 3/3 Fanaticism
Level 49: 5/5 Conviction
Level 50: 1/1 Crusader Strike
Level 51-53: 3/3 Swift Retribution
Level 54-56: 3/3 Vengeance
Level 57-59: 3/3 Righteous Vengeance
Level 60: 1/1 Divine Storm
Level 61-65: 5/5 Divine Strength (Protection Tree)
Level 66-68: 3/3 Sheath of Light
Level 69-70: 2/2 Sanctified Wrath
Level 71-73: 3/3 Crusade
Level 74-75: 2/2 Divine Purpose
Level 76-80: 5/5 Divinity (Protection Tree)