NOTE: Current Paladin leveling guide can be found on our Leveling Guide Page.
As with the Enhancement Shaman build I previously wrote, this guide is meant to be a resource to new paladins who'd like some advice on a single build to go from 1 to 70, focusing on leveling quickly. To level quickly, I'm a big fan of doing the most damage possible in the least amount of time.
Retribution Paladins (aka Retnoobs) are not the most mana efficient of paladins, nor are they excellent healers or tanks. They do great damage, actually staying a bit ahead of the curve until level 40. Paladins are HIGHLY gear dependent. Keep this in mind.
Eventually, you'll want to focus on Int and Stamina, as paladins make perfect tin-can healbots. For leveling, I focus on Str/Sta/Agi/Int, in that order. Strength gives extra attack power, stamina is your hit points, agility is for crits, and int is for your mana pool and spell crits.
Your typical combat is a bit dull, and will go like this:
Seal of the Crusader, Judge, Seal of Command, Hammer of Justice, Judge, Seal of Command, Judge, Seal of Command, Hammer of Justice, Judge.. *yawn*
Toss in some self-heals and you'll be fine. Paladins are incredibly resilient in combat. If you're low on health, judge Seal of Light; if you're low on mana, judge Seal of Wisdom.
When running zones, I almost always have Blessing of Might on myself, for extra attack power.
Full list of talents is after the break!
So here's the run-down of talents:
Tier 1 - Levels 10 - 14
Benediction - 5 points - as you're focusing on str instead of int, you want to be efficient in your core combat skills
Tier 2 - Levels 15 - 19
Improved Seal of the Crusader - 3 points - max this out early, as you'll use it a lot to increase damage done by Seal of Command
Improved Judgement - 2 points - an 8-second judgement time instead of 10. It makes a difference in longer fights.
Tier 3 - Levels 20 - 25
Seal of Command - 1 point - What a wonderful ability. It'll proc 7 times a minute, and is best used with a big 2-hander. Do the paladin quest series at level 20, find someone to help you if you can, and get a weapon that will last you for 10 levels - Verigan's Fist (http://www.thottbot.com/?i=4190). For best results, stun your opponent with Hammer of Justice, and then Judge SoCom for maximum damage.
Conviction - 5 points - Crits = damage, that is all.
It gets a little messy here, with some room for personal preference. Here's mine:
Tier 3 and 4 - Levels 26 - 30
Pursuit of Justice - 2 points - Yes, there are trinkets and enchants that out-do this for riding. But at level 25, I'm tired of watching my little dwarven legs run so slowly. 8% speed lets me run down mobs faster, and get from A to B that much quicker. This means faster leveling, so I take it.
Crusade - 3 points - If I could put in 50 points to increase all my damage 50% I probably would. 3% against your main foes is pretty good at this stage of the game.
Tier 5 - Levels 31 - 34
Sanctity Aura - 1 point - I love Sanctity Aura. Seal of Command is Holy Damage, so this adds 10% to it. 10% more damage for 1 point!! Take it and turn it on.
Two-handed Weapon Specialization - 3 points - 6% more damage from a 2-hander, which you should always be using.
Tier 6 - Levels 35 - 39
Vengeance - 5 points - 10% extra physical *AND* holy damage after a crit. Again, buffs your normal hits and your Seal of Command (SoCom) hits.
Tier 7 - Level 40
Repentance - It's an extra stun! Great for crowd control (against humanoids) or for getting another SoCom Judgement off. SoCom does more damage when judged against stunned targets. It's also ranged, to stop runners from getting friends.
Your tree should now look like this: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=qZZVf0tbcuV0o
Tier 6 - Levels 41 to 43
Sanctified Judgement - 3 points - ooh, getting mana back for doing damage? Yuh-huh!
Tier 7 - Level 44
Sanctified Crusader - 1 point - I hate having single stray points in a talent. This one is 1% extra crit for now, but you need a point to open up...
Tier 8 - Levels 45 - 49
Fanaticism - 5 points - 15% extra crit chance on my judgements? SoCom damage booster, yet again.
Tier 9 - Level 50
Crusader Strike - 1 point - Weapon damage + 40% of your holy spell damage *AND* it refreshes existing judgements. You'll add this ability in a LOT, probably modifying your combat chain to look like:
Seal of the Crusader, Judge, Crusader Strike, Seal of Command, Hammer of Justice, Judge, Seal of Command, Crusader Strike, Judge, etc etc..
So, level 50 and 20 points to go. I like to flesh out Retribution a bit and add a little Holy.
Retribution - Levels 51 - 57
Sanctified Crusader - 2 points - get that crit chance for you and friends up by another 2%
Deflection - 5 points - 5% parry is great at higher levels.
Holy - Levels 58 - 70
Divine Strength - 5 points - Should add about 30 str, depending on your gear, which means 60 AP or ~4 DPS. Small but noticeable gain.
Spiritual Focus - 5 points - reduce your interruption chance without giving up Sanctity Aura - Important because high-level mobs can kill you.
Healing Light - 2 or 3 points - Increases your main heals by 8-12%, depending on the points placed
Aura Mastery - 0 or 1 point - If you find yourself grouping with lots of people who don't like to stand near you, sacrifice a point from Healing Light to get this talent. Alternately, get a full Judgement set.
So there you have it, Paulie's Pally Retnoob Leveling Build. It's just 1 of many paths to get you to 70, but it's the one that works for me. Your tree should look like this: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=sxxhZZVfxtbcuVIot
Criticisms and comments below, keeping in mind that this build is made for 1 trip to 70, no respeccing along the way, and maximizing solo damage-giving ability. I managed to get a paladin from 1-60 in short time with this build, and he's doing quite well in Outland, thank-you.