Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like how awesome tauren paladins are.
After The Shattering hit Azeroth, it was clear that the world was never going to be the same. Entire zones were torn asunder, and everyone who can take up arms to combat Deathwing has stood up to fight. The Horde recently inducted the Sunwalkers into the fold, and they're eagerly training in the way of the Light. Now players won't be stuck with blood elves when they want to play the paladin class.
If you've been on the general forums in the past few days, you've seen some of the clever names that people have come up with for their tauren paladins. Retbull (gives you wings), Skim (Light milk), and Bovinity (divine cows) were among my personal favorites. I decided to start a new tauren paladin myself, figuring I could heal my way through the low-level dungeons and try out the new starting quests and zones at the same time. It's been years since I've played a new paladin, and it was time for a refresher course.
Tossed into the fray
Blizzard has a great team that focuses on designing quests, and its ability shows itself immediately once you start your new tauren paladin. After watching the updated introduction video, you're immediately handed a mission and a mace: The former is to get killing some Bristleback Invaders, the latter is to help you accomplish the former. Your action bar has Crusader Strike already bound to button "1," and you're ready to start smashing some enemies. You make your way out onto the battlefield and get to work. Your sights focus on the first Bristleback opponent, and you hit him with a powerful Crusader Strike!
Crusader Strike, that's it
Unfortunately, this is where the story gets boring. You hit the enemy with Crusader Strike, and then you're stuck waiting through its 4.5-second cooldown before you can use it again. Your auto-attacks help, but since you're wielding such a slow mace, they are few and far between. Killing my first few mobs was slower than any other class I've played, but it wasn't so bad as to be intolerable. Luckily for us, we get some additional moves once we reach level 3, which make all of the difference in the world.
Training with dummies
Once we've learned Seal of Righteousness and Judgement from the Sunwalker trainer at camp, he gives us a special quest to test our new abilities. We apply Seal of Righteousness, which then activates Judgement, and we use it to crush a target dummy or two. This simple quest allows Blizzard to teach new paladins about the redesigned Seal and Judgement system, which is something that was previously very confusing. I was disappointed to see that the Judgement test quest was the only one of its kind for paladins, although I hope Blizzard continues to develop the idea of training players on their class abilities through quests.
No healing until later
The biggest change of paladin leveling is that we don't learn any of our healing spells until level 9, when we receive Word of Glory, and no true heals until level 14, when we obtain Holy Light. Blizzard dramatically increased life and mana regeneration for low-level characters, and you can regenerate your entire bar in just a couple of seconds when out of combat. It's such a huge increase that Blizzard actually removed water and food from the starting bags of new players, since they're not necessary anymore.
Even though we pick up holy power points from using Crusader Strike, it's simply not enough to maintain any sort of reasonable level of healing. I ended up speccing into the holy tree for Holy Shock, which proved itself useful for both dealing damage and healing other players. I waited until after level 14 to start queuing as a healer for dungeons, and it was fairly easy to use Holy Light to heal once I received it. By the time we reach level 20, we've already got Holy Light, Holy Shock, Flash of Light, and Redemption, which together make up our core healing package.
Verigan's Fist 2.0
The only other Sunwalker quest I could find came at level 20, when I was tasked with invading Shadowfang Keep and retrieving the materials required to craft a powerful weapon. I gathered the supplies from the dungeon and had myself a Mace of the Sunwalker in no time at all. This quest is the parallel to the old Verigan's Fist quest that Alliance paladins got to experience back in the day. I still remember the day I got my Verigan's. It was the first weapon that I spent the money to enchant, and everyone asked how I got my mace to sport a red glow.
Holy's DPS is weak until 31
Once you hit level 31, your new Sunwalker will get be able to put two talent points into Denounce, which reduces Exorcism's mana cost to a point where we can cast it enough times to kill several mobs. I actually had a lot of fun with using Holy Shock and Exorcism to kill mobs, and it was especially effective whenever I fought the undead, since Exorcism always crits against unholy targets. However, leveling from 10 to 30 as holy by myself was rough without Denounce, and I wouldn't recommend it. You can reach level 30 in a weekend of leveling, and so I'd suggest just waiting until level 30 to start using holy for DPS. If you want to heal dungeons, you can definitely spec into holy or even just switch to your intellect gear.
The Light and How to Swing It (Holy Edition) helps holy paladins become the powerful healers we're destined to be. Learn the ropes in Holy 101. We can help you keep a tank alive, heal a raid when necessary and beat the global cooldown. Tanking is a job, DPS is a craft -- but healing is truly an art.