How to play a Paladin in WoW dungeons – Retribution spec

Unfortunately, WoW isn’t that friendly a place for new players any more. It’s very easy to trip over a rule that you didn’t realize was there, and then suddenly your character’s dead or your group’s shouting at you. Well, we’re here to help. If you’re struggling to figure out how to play a paladin in WoW, we’ll hopefully be able to figure out what’s going wrong for you!

I keep dying!

Use your cooldowns to save yourself.

If a monster attacks you, use Divine Shield to make yourself invulnerable and temporarily get the monster off you. This won’t work forever, but it should work for long enough for the tank to take control of it.

Don’t stand in front of the monster

Many monsters have attacks that hit anyone in front of them. As a Paladin DPS, you should always be behind the monster.

My teammates say I am a “ninja”

Don’t roll need on armor that is not plate (or mail, if you’re below level 40).

Retribution paladin characters only use plate above level 40, and mail below that. What’s more, at higher levels you’ll receive a hefty bonus when all of your armor is plate, granting you an additional 5% Strength. Cloth armor, leather armor and mail armor are all intended for players of other classes, and they will get annoyed if you roll need on those armor types.

Even if the armor is plate, it may not be suitable for you. If the armor gives a bonus to your Parry or Dodge it’s probably intended for a tank player rather than a DPS player. If the armor gives a bonus to Intellect, it’s intended for healing Paladins, not DPS paladins. Your primary stat is Strength, and you should be trying to increase that whenever possible.

Don’t roll need on weapons other than two-handed weapons with Strength.

Retribution DPS Paladins only use two-handed maces, axes, swords and some few polearms. You should also only ever roll on weapons with Strength on them – other items with Agility or Intellect on them are intended for other classes.

Don’t roll on shields or one-handed weapons – they are of no use to you.

My tank is annoyed with me or other people say I am tanking.

Make sure you’re not using Righteous Fury.

Righteous Fury is a spell you can cast which makes you much more likely to be attacked by monsters. Check your buffs at the top right of your screen to see if you’ve cast it. If you have, right-click on it to remove it. If you use Righteous Fury as a DPS Paladin, you’re making your tank’s job much harder.

Don’t attack uncontrolled enemies.

Try very hard to only attack enemies over which the tank already has control. You can use an addon (see Addons) to check whether your tank has control over a particular monster.

My teammates say my damage sucks

Make sure you have Seal of Truth and Blessing of Might up.

Seal of Truth substantially increases your damage – you should always have it active. Likewise, make sure to cast Blessing of Might – it helps you and your teammates.

Use the right abilities.

There are specific abilities that will do a lot more damage than others.

A very simple way to ensure you’re doing reasonable damage is as follows: Use Crusader Strike whenever it’s available. When it’s not available but you have 3 Holy Power, use Templar’s Verdict. When you don’t have 3 Holy Power, use Judgement. If a big flashy effect goes off and your Templar’s Verdict button starts flashing, use that.

If you are not high enough level to have some of those abilities: Ignore the abilities you don’t have yet and just use the others.

Make sure you have spent your talent points.

Talent Points are additional powers you get as you level up. To see them, press “N”.

Make sure you have spent all your talent points. It doesn’t matter too much where you have spent them in your talent “tree” until you are reasonably far advanced in the game, but do make sure you spend them!

Make sure you have glyphs.

You can find Glyphs from the bottom of your Talent window (press “N” and look for the Glyphs tab at the bottom). Most glyphs are not that important, but you need to have the following Prime glyphs – fill up as many Prime Glyph slots as you currently have:

  • Glyph of Seal of Truth
  • Glyph of Templar’s Verdict
  • Glyph of Exorcism

You buy glyphs from the Auction House. Some may be very expensive – it’s worth saving up for them, or ask your guild if someone can make one for you. (see our guide to making enough money to buy things on the Auction House)

My teammates say my gear is bad

Make sure you’re wearing all mail (up to level 40) or as much plate as possible (level 40-50), or all plate (level 50 and above) with Strength on it.

Paladins don’t get any benefit from Agility or Intellect gear – if an item has either of those stats on it, regardless of its other stats, don’t use it. You also shouldn’t use any armor except Plate, because otherwise your damage will be significantly lowered.

If you cannot find plate with Strength for a particular item type, check the Auction House

Make sure you are using a two-handed weapon.

Retribution Paladins need a two-handed weapon. If you use a one-handed weapon you will do a lot less damage.

My teammates want me to resurrect! I’m not a healer!

You should resurrect people anyway if they’re dead. You still have the ability to do it, and the faster everyone’s up, the sooner you can carry on with the dungeon.

My teammates don’t want me healing – but I have healing spells!

As a Retribution paladin, your healing spells are very weak. They’re useful for soloing, but in a group, you’re better focusing on what your class is best at – doing damage – and letting the healer do healing.

It might seem like you’re helping the healer out by healing yourself, but in actual fact, by taking yourself away from doing damage, you’re making his or her job harder.

Lay on Hands is the exception to that rule – use it on yourself or your teammates if you’re about to die.

My teammates keep saying “buff”, “bom”, “bok” or “pala buff”

They want you to cast a Paladin blessing, probably Blessing of Might. If they are saying “Bok”, they want Blessing of Kings instead. This is a reasonable thing to ask for and it’s polite and helpful to buff your party before a dungeon.