Ret Paladin Leveling Guide

I have had several emails and comments over the past few weeks regarding leveling Retribution Paladins.  Many of these players are using my leveling guides, particularly the heirloom guides, which is great!  It encourages me to see people staying away from guides that literally take you quest by quest.  It leaves very little decision making for the player, which we all know is crucial to success in WoW.

Having someone hold your hand every step of the way in World of Warcraft just won’t net you success in the long run.  It’s great to seek advice, and use tools like this website, but ultimately, I leave the application of the information you gain here in your hands!

Leveling in WoW is very easy now, and even more so with a Ret Paladin.  Other classes that have success at leveling quickly are Hunters, Frost Mages, and Prot Warriors (at higher levels).  I still believe Ret is ultimately the fastest class to level, due to the ridiculously low down time we have thanks to our HP and mana regeneration talents and abilities.

For leveling a Ret Paladin, or any class for that matter, try starting out with these guides:

If you are choosing to level another toon before Cataclysm launches, going Ret is definitely the way to go.  You can easily smash your way through the early levels, and even tank as Ret early on, provided you stack some stamina.

Once you have made the decision to go Retribution, here are a couple more guides to help you on your way:

If you would like some proof as to how much Paladins rock, here is a quick post I made on how I solo’d Deadmines at level 26 as a Ret Paladin:

Tips and Hints for Leveling

Whether or not you level as a Ret Paladin, these tips and hints will help you no matter what class, race, or faction your choose.  I now have a very methodical way of leveling, and I literally seem to jump levels every hour or less.  Recently, I made a Gnome Warrior and got him to 72 in less than a week and a half.  A Dwarf Warrior I got to 60 in roughly a week.  And I wasn’t glued to my PC either!

To level successfully and quickly, try following these tips and hints before you create your toon:

  • Purchase as much heirloom gear as you can find (bigger stats, less gear to purchase while leveling, up to +25% XP gained)
  • Buy at least 4x  16-slot bags.
  • Before leveling your toon, look at purchasing gear up to level 15 from the AH, so your toon can grab gear from the mailbox as they level.
  • Buy all of your glyphs you will be using beforehand and bank ’em (see glyphs article above).
  • Enchant your heirloom gear (crusader to weapon, +stats to chest, ZG shoulder enchant to shoulders)
  • Purchase a [Gnomish Army Knife] for professions beforehand.
  • If you already know your professions, consider buying a few raw materials to help them on their way (ex. Copper Ore, Linen Cloth, Peacebloom, etc)
  • Enchant beginning gear with wrist: +9 stamina, boots: +7 stamina, gloves +7 strength.

For Leveling a Ret Paladin:

  • Kill everything in your path.  Packs and camps of mobs are your friend.  Don’t be afraid to take on 4-5 mobs at a time with heirloom gear on.
  • Kill packs even if they aren’t a part of your questing.  This will significantly boost your XP gain.
  • Try to take on multiple mobs every time.  Attacking solo mobs slows down leveling.  Pull them to you if you have to.
  • Level professions later, at level 80.  It will be a much faster process then.
  • Level First Aid as a profession only…cloth drops will be a plenty as you level.
  • Only loot corpses you need items from (i.e. cloth, quest drops, profession drops, coinage, etc.)
  • QUEST STACK.  Gather all quests available in a zone, complete all of them before returning.
  • Avoid traveling quests.  Specifically, avoid quests that require you to travel to Darkshore from Stormwind, and quests like that.  Huge time sinks.
  • Keep a minimum of 40 mana drinks that are the best you can get for your level.
  • Set hearthstone to your current zone’s inn.
  • Grab all Flightpaths, even ones that you pass as you travel. (i.e. Thelsamar)  These often link other FPs.
  • Log out in major cities and inns to optimize rested XP gain (doubles XP, and heirloom gear scales with this).
  • WASTE NO TIME…helping others is great, but if you can tell they are going to suck a good chunk of your time, politely decline assistance.
  • Use the in-game map to show where your quest objectives are if you get lost.

Attacks, Talents, Abilities

  • Hand of Reckoning is your mob-pulling ability.  It also works on fleeing mobs.  Yes it’s a taunt, but it’s large damage at low mana cost.  Many Paladins overlook this while leveling.
  • The Art of War and Judgements of the Wise in your Talent Tree as soon as they are available.
  • Consecrate is a mana drain, only use on packs of 3 mobs or greater.


Going from zone to zone to level seems like a simple task, but that’s not always the case.  Most of the questions I get are regarding players that have gotten stuck in a zone and can’t go farther.  There are two main reasons people get stuck…One, they haven’t completed all the quests in the zones because they often miss certain parts of the quest chain.  Two, and this is usually the main reason, they aren’t killing enough mobs between and during quests.

Completing quests is great, but if a quest tells you to kill 8 of a certain type of Worgen, and they are in a camp of 3 different types, numbering 25 total, kill them all.  Don’t settle for the original 8.  Paladins are killers, and they can do it quickly with their massive AoE damage.  Don’t just take down a few, take down the whole army!

Regardless, here is the exact questing zone path I use, regardless of race (sorry Horde, this is Alliance perspective):

  • Northshire Abbey or Coldridge Valley (to level 7)
  • Northshire Abbey if Coldridge Valley was first.
  • Elwynn Forest
  • Westfall
  • Redridge Mountains
  • Duskwood
  • Wetlands
  • Stranglethorn Vale (Rebel Camp only)
  • Southshore / Alterac Mountains
  • Arathi Highlands
  • Swamp of Sorrows (optional level filler)
  • Dustwallow Marsh
  • Stranglethorn Vale (Booty Bay)
  • Feralas
  • Tanaris
  • Hinterlands
  • Searing Gorge
  • Western Plaguelands
  • Un’Goro Crater
  • Burning Steppes
  • Eastern Plaguelands
  • Silithus
  • Hellfire Peninsula
  • Zangarmarsh
  • Terrokar Forest
  • Burning Blade Mountains
  • Howling Fjord
  • Borean Tundra
  • Grizzly Hills
  • Zul’Drak
  • Sholazar Basin

Zones that are viable if you still find yourself stuck:

  • Ashenvale (20-30)
  • Desolace (33-40)
  • Thousand Needles – Salt Flats (33-35)
  • Badlands (38-43)
  • Felwood (47-50)
  • Winterspring (54-60)
  • Nagrand (64-68)
  • Dragonblight (72-75)
  • Icecrown / Storm Peaks (77-80)

In Outlands, I am usually level 66 after Terokar, so I go straight to Blade’s Edge and skip Nagrand.  Blade’s Edge takes me to 68, then I head to Howling Fjord.  At 68, I kill all the mobs attackgn he Alliance base.  They have low HP,and come in endless waves.  I take each level in a little less than an hour.  Very fast leveling that way.

In Northrend, I do both beginning zones, allowing me to skip Dragonblight and jump straight to Grizzly Hills.  By then end of Sholazar Basin, I am usually level 80.

Other resources

Heirloom Leveling

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below or post in the Forums.

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