Leveling as a Retribution Paladin is easy and loads of fun. I have had several requests for a guide on what talents to take when leveling a Paladin, so this will remedy my lack of information on the subject. The Retribution Talent Tree is very straight forward at first, and you have 5 main goals:
- Divine Storm @ Level 29
- Art of War @ Levels 31, 33, 35
- Seals of Command @ Level 39
- Divine Purpose @ Levels 49, 51
- Zealotry @ Level 69
The idea is to take the Ret Tree straight away without dipping into any of the other trees so you can obtain these top 5 talents as soon as they are available. There are a couple useful talents that will be bypassed in the process, but can be saved until later due to the increased utility of the other abilities.
When setting out upon Azeroth as a brand new Level 1 Paladin, you must battle and quest your way to Level 10 before you gain access to the Paladin Talent Trees. At Level 10 you get 1 Talent Point to spend. From this point on, every two levels, you will get one additional point to spend.
Now, the fun part. Here is Khor’s Detailed Guide to the Ret Paladin Talent Tree for Leveling. Keep in mind the path I will take through the tree has LEVELING as the primary focus, not maximized endgame DPS. However, they are pretty much the same with Patch 4.0.1 and Cataclysm Ret Talent Tree changes.
Levels 10, 11, 13
Crusade – 3/3
Increases damage of Crusader’s Strike and Templar’s Verdict by 10/20/30%. This is a no-brainer and a monstrous boost to our leveling damage.
Levels 15, 17
Improved Judgement – 2/2
Better than the other alternative at this tier, Improved Judgement helps with fleeing mobs now that Hand of Reckoning provides no damage.
Levels 19, 21, 23
Rule of Law - 3/3
Increases crit of Crusader Strike by 15% at full rank. You take this over the movement speed talent first, because at 20 you are mounted anyways, so speed is not a major concern.
Level 25, 27
Pursuit of Justice – 2/2
Movement speed increase by 15%. That’s huge for leveling purposes, and can also help with PvP while leveling.
Divine Storm - 1/1
Divine Storm is a must at 29, making it a must-have for AoE pack killing. At this point, killing mobs solo is a major time drain. Three to four mobs minimum at this point in the game.
Levels 31, 33, 35
Art of War – 3/3
Every talent on this tier could be a viable choice here, but making Exorcism instant, free, and deal an extra 100% damage is top priority after Divine Storm. Exorcism now is a viable part of your leveling arsenal, whereas it was a hinderance prior to 4.0.1.
Communion – 1/1
Mana replenishment, great for 5-mans and leveling.
Seals of Command - 1/1
Still my favorite talent of all time. Combine with AoE powerhouses Consecration and Divine Storm and you are a one-man wrecking crew. A must have as soon as it is available
Sanctity of Battle – 1/1
Haste lowers the Crusader Strike cooldown. Since Crusader Strike is our bread and butter attack, this talent is crucial to leveling and end-game content.
Rebuke - 1/1
Getting a new taste of our new and improved interrupt. Prior to Rebuke, all we had was Hammer of Justice. Now, we can silence those casters as we close in! Very useful in both PvE and PvP.
Levels 45, 47
Long Arm of the Law – 2/2
Head back up the talent tree to grab LAotL. Improved Judgement helps this become as close to a gap closer as we will get.
Levels 49, 51
Divine Purpose - 2/2
Giving the majority of our other attacks a chance to generate Holy Power. Quicker kills says the Ret Paladin.
Levels 53, 55, 57
Sanctified Wrath - 3/3
A useful talent on many fronts. While this is a better talent for end-game content, it still is very useful for leveling. Lower CD on AW, as well as the ability to use Hammer of Wrath for the duration of AW. Great for tackling high level mobs.
Levels 59, 61, 63
Inquiry of Faith - 3/3
The best benefit here will be from more than doubling Inquisitions duration.
Repentance - 1/1
Taking Repentance here is more because of lack of options. Leveling, we probably won’t need this. Dungeons while leveling…probably won’t need this. Can see use in PvP.
Acts of Sacrifice - 1/2
Taking this for lack of better options. Quicker Hand of Freedoms will be big in PvP, and may serve some utility in PvE as well for leveling purposes.
Zealotry - 1/1
The granddaddy of Ret Talents. For those intense fights and large packs needing AoE, this will keep Holy Power topped off. Perfect timing as you get ready to enter Northrend for leveling.
Levels 71, 73
Seals of the Pure - 2/2 (Protection Tree)
12% damage buff to Seal of Righteousness (our main leveling seal). ‘Nuff said.
Level 75, 77, 79
Judgements of the Pure - 3/3 (Holy Tree)
Taking this first for the 9% haste, which is constant in combat so long as Judgement is being used.
Level 81, 82
Arbiter of the Light - 2/2 (Holy Tree)
Crit % increase for Judge and Templar’s Verdict. A very nice support buff for our DPS.
Levels 83, 84
Blazing Light - 2/2 (Holy Tree)
A strong buff for Exorcism. Since it is now a normal part of our DPS rotations, this is a great talent to grab as we near 85.
Acts of Sacrifice - 2/2
Really the only option left. We could dabble in buffing our Word of Glory, but that is more suited to PvP.
Here is what the talent trees should look like at:
Hope this helps for any of you leveling a Ret Pally. Again, for me, this is my optimal route to take in the Retribution Talent Tree. It allows for faster leveling, high DPS, low downtime, and low travel time.
If you want to carve out your own path in the talent tree, by all means go ahead. There is no right or wrong here, because playstyles are unique to each person. Just have fun, and enjoy leveling your Retribution Paladin!