Paladin Abilities and Talents

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Holy
Paladins have a ton of skills in the Holy tree, running the gamut from simple healing abilities, such as Holy Light and Flash of Light, to resurrections, buffs, and Undead-specific damage spells. Most paladins will be investing quite a bit of their talents here, but even if you choose to go for a non-Holy build, you’re still going to constantly use the skills found here, so know them and love them. One of the most useful skills here is the easiest to gloss over: Purify and Cleanse are both great multi-use skills for removing debuffs from yourself and for teammates. Cleanse, especially, is a marvel of economy, as it can remove poison, magic, and disease effects, leaving behind only curses.

Most of the Holy talents will revolve around increasing the efficiency of your healing abilities, with the Illumination / Divine Favor combo being notable. When you max Illumination, it and Divine Favor will allow you to cast a free heal every two minutes and have that heal’s effect automatically doubled, and that’s just plain great! Improved Seal of Judgement goes well with the Improved Seal of the Crusader talent in the Retribution tree, as well as with Sanctity Aura.

Retribution
Retribution is the ability tree that will revolve around doing whole lots of damage to your enemies, and as this is an area where paladins often fall short of other melee classes, you’ll want to use these skills to make up the difference when possible. The notable talents here include Seal of the Crusader, although moreso for its Judgement form than for the Seal itself. When you Judge an enemy with Crusader, you’ll always deal a signficantly larger amount of damage when you land any Holy damage on them. If you combine this with Seal of Righteousness or Seal of Command, you should notice a significant increase in your DPS. Hammer of Justice is something you’ll want to have close at hand, as it’s your only surefire method for stunning enemies, and will thus let you interrupt spellcasting or trap an enemy as it runs. Retribution Aura is also a good choice if you don’t need the armor bonus from Devotion Aura.

The Retribution talent tree includes most of the paladin’s straightforward melee buffs, but will also let you Improve your most oft-used skills, including Seal of the Crusader. You can also allocate a single talent point to get Seal of Command, which effectively doubles your weapon damage every few swings. At high levels, Consecration can be a devastating AoE spell, and can greatly increase help your ability to draw in aggro, since it does damage to all nearby enemies.

Protection
As you might surmise from the name, Protection is the defensive branch of the paladin’s skill base. The notable skills here include Devotion Aura, which gives all party members a big boost to their armor, the resistance Auras, which are great when you’re going up against elemental spellcasters, Divine Protection/Shield, which will render you completely immune to damage for anywhere from six to ten seconds, and Blessing of Protection, which can be cast upon yourself or another party member to offer complete protection from physical damage for a short period of time. Those are the biggies, but there are plenty of other skills that you’ll need to have shortcutted, such as Blessing of Salvation and Seal of Fury, which let you manage aggro while playing in groups.

The Protection talents are somewhat less than overwhelming, as many of the Improved spells come in the form of increased duration/decreased cooldown buffs, which are generally not as preferable as direct improvements to how a skill performs. You do get a few useful melee combat buffs, as well a few unique spells, including Blessing of Sanctuary, which directly reduces the amount of damage a Blessed party member takes (combined with Aura of Retribution, this can effect some sizable DPS swings in tough fights), and Holy Shield, which can be spam-cast during tough fights to greatly reduce the amount of damage you take and dish out a bit back to your target.

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