Shadowlands’ class review puts the spotlight on PALADIN. Get to know more about this class and find out why playing a Paladin is a “divine” experience.
The Paladin class and its very clear defined design has put them in a solid place in the World of Warcraft line up. If you like having big and simple options to solve huge obstacles, then the Paladin is fit for you. Its emergency buttons like blessing of protection, lay on hands and divine shield, they can survive serious onslaught or clutch save an ally. A blessing of freedom can sometimes feel like cheating and blessing of sacrifice is a great tool for any content.
Paladin power does come at a cost. Outside of a single target stun and either repentance or blinding light from talents, they do not have too much control over their enemies. Paladins versus others, Paladins are purely worried about themselves and their allies. Unfortunately, the class is slow, relying on 3 seconds of 100% speed every 45 seconds. If you want to play a Paladin, make it an engineer and put the Northrend Nitro Boost on your belt.
Retribution is a great all-rounder with reliable DPS, multiple play styles across damage profiles and a whole ton of utility. It does not have the complex interactions of a Frost Mages’ winter chill or a huge amount of RNG like the Outlaw Rogue but it still has a dynamic pace that does feel good. Fundamentally it operates on a simple priority system- capabilities on cooldown while not overcapping on holy power. The rolling charges of crusader strike, spander buff on judgement and the cooldown resets of blade of justice– do give each of their generator abilities their own flavor and gameplay. Onto the hammer of wrath weaving into execution range makes an end of the fight so ratcheted up. Avenging wrath is one of the best examples of cooldown in WoW. This cooldown allows you to tweak up your gameplay a bit, allowing you to use hammer of wrath outside of execute range.
In terms of talents, the spec shines even more. Righteous verdict can get you into a nice rhythm of builder spender, blade of wrath provides extra procs and empyrean power. There is also execution sentence which grants you 8 second window of burst damage every minute that is based on fitting as much damage as you can onto a single target in that time. Another is final reckoning which is a great ability for 8 seconds after use, your spenders do more damage to the targets that are hit.
Tank, healer and DPS- this spec in Shadowlands can actually feel like all three at once. Their play style, now, is based around building holy power using their regular damage rotation and then spending it on either shield of the righteous (gives you extra armor) or word of glory (for healing). Prot Paladin is an unflinching wall, they take reduced damage in their consecration which they drop and they hold their ground, pump out AOE damage.
Avenger’s shield is one of the most satisfying abilities in the game. It works as an AOE interrupt that also has a cooldown reset and with the right build, it can deal substantial damage and provide mitigation. They stand out with the healing, every 5 uses of the shield provides a free word of glory. Word of glory heals the Paladin up to 250% more based on the missing health they’ve got. So if you have low health, your word of glory will be really big and with the hand of protector talent it will do the same thing to others. This means that a well geared Prot Paladin can snipe heal themselves or their allies for most of their HP, ALL while keeping mitigation up.
No danger of dying because they’ve also got ardent defender for a 20% damage reduction and to prevent death. Also they’ve got guardian of ancient kings which will half and half their damage taken. Remember that Paladins are quite hard to kill because they have the blessing of protection. They fall short on enemy control, they rely on team members to bring any form of AOE and CC which makes it feel a little limited. Prot Paladin can deal substantial damage, healing and can survive when others could not. Their weaknesses, enemy control and movement speed are very apparent but if you can work around those limitations then the spec would be incredible.
The Holy Paladin is an absolute power house. In patch 8.3, they are actually one of the few classes that has come out of Battle for Azeroth much better for the lessons they learned. They are a unique healer because of their mastery and holy power but with a flow and positional reliance, that can take a lot of getting used to. They’ve got their simple hard cast heals (flash of light, holy light) but then they’ve got holy shock which is an instant spell that can heal or damage and gives one holy power. There is crusader strike which is the same melee attack and still generates holy power. Now that holy power can be spent on word of glory (an instant single target heal) or light of dawn (a 15 yard frontal cone). Their mastery is lightbringer and this increases the effectiveness of heals the closer they are to their target. They also generate holy power from healing their beacon target directly with a cast of holy light or flash of light.
Holy Paladins have a lot of thinking to do because depending on the need they can stand and hard cast heals and priority targets. Or they can deal decent levels of damage and spot heal a dungeon or a raid with that extra holy power. Although most of the time they will be standing in melee with the DPS, weaving crusader strikes where they can. Holy Paladin is dominated by glimmer build from BFA and this build that people loved so much is still here in Shadowlands because it has been made into a talent called glimmer of light. The legendary shock barrier leaves a refreshing shield for 30 seconds on the targets of holy shock.
Overall the Paladin is an awesome class. It has its downsides but as a class, it has an extremely strong identity that persists across all three specs. And they all stand out as masters of what they do. You can never go wrong with a Paladin in any group.
2:11 Retribution Paladin
7:18 Protection Paladin
11:45 Holy Paladin
18:47 Wrap up