Of all the classes in World of Warcraft: Classic, two are limited by faction. This was a rather big deal in the game upon first release, as the options weren't even visible in the opposite faction. Many Horde players initally found themselves confused when they encountered a player who appeared to be a Warrior suddenly casting all manner of light spells and fighting with a two-handed weapon.
They had encountered a Paladin: the Alliance exclusive class with incredible versatility and self-sustainability.
What Role Does A Paladin Fulfill?
Paladins are similar to Druids in that they can do it all. Through each of their talent trees, they can Heal, DPS, or Tank with ease. They are one of only three classes that can resurrect players out of combat.
Is Paladin Leveling Easy Or Hard?
Paladins are not as quick or easy to level as Hunters or Warlocks, but they are still far better than Warriors and Rogues. This is thanks to their self-sustaining healing abilities, and if things look dire, a literal Divine Intervention from above. Similar to Warlocks, they also get their first mount for free, which can be great due to the cost one avoids paying.
In order to level quickly, most Paladins choose the Retribution talent tree that maximizes damage.
PvE Potential For Endgame
In the endgame, Paladins are mainly sought for their healing, buffs, and auras. Paladin healing is simplistic and one of the easiest to learn. While Priests learn to time their shields, and Druids have HoTs, Paladins mainly work to recover lost health.
Unfortunately, that is mainly where Paladins find their value in the endgame. Retribution, while useful for leveling, is quickly outclassed by Mage and Warlock DPS. Unlike Shamans, for example, Paladins do not offer raid-wide buffs or utilities that justify their inclusion over other classes.
Tanking in Classic is also a frustrating experience for Paladins, at least in raids. Unlike contemporary WoW, Paladins can easily run out of mana on long fights. Without the ability to cast spells, their ability to gain and hold threat vanishes, and so too do the hopes of clearing a raid. With that said, Paladins are perfectly suited for dungeons since most encounters are short.
Paladins have always been considered powerful in Classic PvP thanks to raw healing power, large one-time heals with Lay On Hands, and strong defense through plate armor. The same can be said of DPS within Retribution: their strong plate armor means that Paladins do not go down easily, and they can burst down an opponent, or pick on a weakened opponent for a quick take down.
Racial Choices To Optimize
There are only two options for Paladins in Classic: Humans and Dwarves. For PvE, Humans tend to have the upper hand because of The Human Spirit, which provides a 5% bonus to base spirit - in long fights, this translates to more mana for spell casting. They also have specialization in both Sword and Mace skills, which are good for tanking.
In PvP, Dwarves have Stoneform, which is useful not only to grant immunity from Poison, Disease, and Bleed effect, but also for granting even more armor. Ultimately it depends on if one wants to pursue PvE, or PvP in choosing a race for their Paladin.
Best Professions For The Paladin Class
Paladins have a few options for their professions. First time players in WoW: Classic may want choose dual-gathering professions while they level to sell materials at the Auction House. Skinning and Herbalism, for example, will always fill your bags with much needed crafting materials while questing.
Alternatively, Mining and Blacksmithing allow for one to be a self-sufficient character. With that said, many items can simply be purchased at the Auction House. If one goes deep into PvP for later patch releases in Classic, Engineering is a solid choice to take with mining for the utility offered in the battle grounds.
Herbalism and Alchemy offers long-term gold making potential. In the endgame, everyone is in need of consumables for PvE and for PvP, and there will always be demand for them at the Auction house. With the gold one makes from selling potions they can easily purchase gear they might need at level 60.
As Paladins can heal, DPS, and tank effectively in all but the highest levels of the game, they are often a solid choice for a class. This range of roles allows for one to switch roles and play styles at the drop of a hat and can be useful for guilds who need someone to occupy various roles at once. It is also tremendous fun running into Horde members who may simply be unfamiliar with your Classic toolkit, as they struggle to figure out how exactly to counter your class.