Now is probably the best time to roll and alt. It's the end of summer with its low raid activity. Patch 3.2 sent everyone into 5-man, which is a very friendly environment for new lvl 80 characters. And once you've done a few heroics with your main, and unless you're like some of my friends with already 4+ lvl 80 and are spending your whole day running heroics with all your toons, you could be wondering what to do in WoW for the rest of your daily play-time.
So I'm going to give a few tips for those who don't know yet the paladin class and want to reroll, or just roll if it's you're first character, a paladin. Several of my tips won't apply if you're new to WoW, unless you're really good at grasping the game economy and making ingame money, you'll probably not have the gold to buy what I'm advising. But the general tips on spec and itemization should still give you good ideas to follow.
Paladin Leveling Guide (part 1, your time in Azeroth from lvl 1 to 58)
The first tip, which is common to all leveling guides you'll ever find is: maximize your damage output. Don't try to gear for survival, the game isn't that hard most of the time and you'll want to down mobs fast.
The second tip is, try to get a good leveling guide if you want to. If you're new to the game, enjoying the discovery is probably the best thing to do, and using Wowhead to search when you're stuck in a quest will be enough. If you're a bit tired of the vanilla content, or want to reach 80 much faster, then leveling guides are for you. I used Jame's Leveling Guides for my 3 last characters, from 1 to 78 (last levels are not yet in the guide but really not hard to do) both on horde and alliance side, and I strongly advise them.
Ok, now let us start with paladin stuff. You can find all the paladin skills by level on Wohead here, if I'm not direct linking a skill, go there for more info.
The first levels, 1 to 10
Your first skills until level 10 will mostly be your first damage skills. Your first seal: Seal of Righteousness. Your first judgment: Judgment of Light. Your first benediction: Blessing of Might. Keep your blessing and seal up at all times, judge each time it's up. It's up to you to chose between a 2 handed weapon or a 1 handed one, the difference is very little for now.
As for survival, you'll have your first big heal: Holy Light, and your first mini-bubble: Divine Protection. Try to not run too low on mana, always having enough for a heal, and don't hesitate to use your Divine Protection each tie you get a "link" (two or more monsters at the same time). It will greatly reduce the damage you take and most probably ensure your victory.
You will also get your first aura as soon as lvl 1: Devotion Aura. As for seals and blessings, you can only have one aura at any given time (unless you're in a group with other paladins). And as for seal and blessing, you should keep your aura up at all times.
The first paladin levels are fast and smooth, good armor, good survival tools and several passive buffing abilities ensure an easy gameplay and very little deaths, even if it's your first time playing.
The early days in Azeroth, 10 to 58
"talenting" your paladin for leveling
Now you're level 10, what is going to change ? As all wow players know, lvl 10 is the time to chose a "talent spec", a way to spend points that customize your character skills to your liking. Paladins have 3 talent trees, that I'll try to roughly summarize as Holy for healing, Protection for tanking and Retribution for damage dealing. You won't be surprised, I'm going to advise you to put your points into the Retribution tree. You'll get one point per level, don't wait put it into retribution as soon as you level-up.
I'm going to give you some talent trees for leveling from 1 to 50, you'll most probably have enough experience to chose by yourself from then. I'm not saying they're the best, they are the ones I used, with the changes done to them since I did level my paladins.
level 10 to 20: Wowhead talent tree for lvl 20 paladin
level 20 to 30: Wowhead talent tree for lvl 30 paladin
level 30 to 40: Wowhead talent tree for lvl 40 paladin
level 40 to 50: Wowhead talent tree for lvl 50 paladin
I always chose flat damage increase over critical hit chances, you can pump your critical first if you like it's mostly equivalent.
Your biggest changes of playstyle from talents will be at lvl 20 with Seal of Command, that will replace any other seal you used until then and will stay as your damage dealing one until the end. Then Judgments of the Wise at level 40-42 (3 steps talent), that will hugely reduce your downtime, from then you'll very rarely sit to drink and get some mana back. And then Crusader Strike at level 50, that will add some spice to your judage & wait routine.
the daily leveling
Not much will change up to level 40, keep up your buffs, judge, kill some monsters, use your Judgment of Justice to prevent them from fleeing if needed. New skills useful for multiple monsters encounters: Retribution aura, Consecration. New "oh shit" buttons will be added to your inventory with Lay on Hands (install full heal on a long cool down timer), and Divine Shield that is our signature move and a complete damage immunity for a short time (very usefull to flee from harm). You'll also get new seals and blessings, you can play with them and try them, but I still advise you to keep Might & Righteousness/Command for leveling.
Don't forget to get your paladin horse at lvl 20 and epic horse at lvl 40 (they're so nice at blizzard these days ;p).
And keep up a stack of the best drink you can find at the vendors at all times, that will greatly help you to refresh this mana bar that always seem to be drained until you'll get Judgments of the Wise.
the weapon that will be yours
Now as you could expect a good weapon is a very effective tool for a melee damage class. As soon as you'll get Seal of Command, you should get a good 2 handed weapon and stick to that choice (of 2 handers) for all your retribution time. Free attacks hurt much more when this is a free huge 2 handed word dealing it that a puny 1 handed one :P
If you already have a lvl 80 and can get the heirloom weapon Bloodied Arcanite Reaper, or the Repurposed Lava Dredger, this is most probably a good choice. It won't be as potent as a blue weapon when you're in a x5-x9 level range (read second part of a 10 level span). But it'll avoid you to chore to camp the auction house for good blue weapons.
If you don't have a reaper, or can't get it as you don't have a lvl 80 toon already, then please use that list: blue 2 handed weapons from lvl 1 to 58. If you can get your hand on one of these, it will probably be your best friend for 5 to 10 levels, so check up the auction house, even 10 to 20 gold isn't too much for some of them, and if you don't have the money, take-up mining and make a few dozens of gold pieces in a day of mining :P
If you're rerolling and have access to enchanting, buying blue weapons and putting a Flaming Weapon and later Crusader enchant on them is the best and most effective way to level. I've used a Burning War Axe with a crusader enchant from lvl 33 to 52 myself ... and even if it was starting to get weak after 45, the crusader enchant made for it until I was able to use a Destiny.
All in all don't be shy with your weapon, it's your best friend and best tool to level fast.
but I want to play a healer / tank ...
If it's your first character, I'd strongly advise you to wait until lvl 58 and you reach Outland to chose anything else than retribution for leveling. If it's not then dual spec at lvl 40 will be your friend. Get a protection or holy spec as your second spec and use it if you're ever asked for a group as a tank or healer. But keep your retribution spec for your solo play.
Now, once you'll reach lvl 58 and time will be to go to outland, you'll have more freedom. The main reason will be that you'll hit the Death Knights bandwagon and you'll find much more people to group & play with, I can promise you healers are in huge demand in outland and later on. But keep in mind that, if a protection spec can level-up decently once this level reached, a holy healing spec will still be a dreadful time soloing.
58 it's time to move on
Once you're 58, it'll be time to move from Azertoh to Outland through the Dark Portal that is south of the Blasted Lands. With the last patch, you can reach it by a portal in Stormwind or Orgrimmar.
And then you'll have to read part 2 of the guide, that I will hopefully not take 1 month to write.
Have fun, leveling a paladin in the retribution tree is, even if the first levels are mostly sit and hack :)
You can find the other parts of the guide here:
Paladin Leveling Guide (part2)
Paladin Leveling Guide (part3, end)
end for gearing your new paladin at lvl 80
Pre-raid gear in patch 3.2
hope you'll enjoy the whole thing ^_^