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I thought I’d add in a section on the various armour sets available to us at lvl 60, giving my view on what they’re best used for.
The first set you’ll start collecting in your 50’s and work on when 60, Lightforge is the basic armour set and the first paladin set you’ll obtain. While many paladins are desperate to get this set (I was myself as a new 60), the stats on it really aren’t that great. The tier 1 sets all have no “on equip” bonuses to them, just simple, raw stats. The problem with Lightforge is that it’s an extremely generic set - mixed strength, stamina, intelect and fairly useless spirit. For healing it’s mostly useless.. half the items have no intellect. Only those with some intellect are of any use for healing, and even then there are better random drops available in instances. The main use for lightforge is in combat, as the +40 AP set bonus for 4 parts is nice if you combine that with 4 parts that have high strength. Don’t get too hung up on getting this gear though… it’s easily replaced.
Added in patch 1.10, Soulforge is an upgrade from Lightforge using various quests, item hand ins and expensive purchases to obtain. While Lightforge for me was a mostly useless set, Soulforge really fixed the stats and made each item more useful - droping a lot of spirit and adding much more intellect for one. As well as fixing the raw stats, we see very useful additions in the form of +damage/healing, +crit and Mp5. I upgraded to full soulforge and loved it, though it does require a lot of money… 350g - 400g depending on the current prices of items needed. Soulforge items are useful for healing before Lawbringer, the 2-set bonus of +8 resistance is nice to include in a FR set and for combat the improved stats, added crit and spell damage make it much stronger than Lightforge was. Whether or not it’s worth the money is a matter of opinion, as the refined PvP set now offers similar stats, but the quests are fun and getting the set is a rewarding experience. For healing though, Lawbringer is better and for combat you can put together a strong set with PvP rewards and non-set drops so it depends what else is available to you.
The rank 7-10 set used to be purely melee… little intellect, it focused on strength/crit instead. Patch 1.11 changed this to be more like Soulforge with stats shifting to more of a balance between strength/stamina/intellect and dropping some of the crit for spelldamage instead. Despite being only 6 items instead of 8, this set offers more spell damage than Soulforge and the 2-set bonus offering +23 means a couple of items from this set are also now very nice for an early healing set. I’d say this is pretty much equal to Soulforge in quality… while SF requires substantial cash investment, this one needs some dedicated honor farming to reach rank 10. You can use some for healing, it’s good all-round for PvP and not bad for damage. A nice set to own, it offers a vast improvement over Lightforge.
The 3 reputation Zandalar reward items from ZG are great. All of epic quality, they have very good stats. The chest at revered is excellent for both dps and PvP, having good stength and crit combined with nice intellect and high stamina. The belt and wrist have +healing on them are are nice for healing sets, particularly with the 4 Mp5 as a 2-set bonus, but the stats on them also make them nice for dps and PvP. With the exalted neck being PvP based more than anything, this little set is interesting as it’s a bit mixed, but all the items are high quality and useful in different situations: worth getting. Also from ZG are the primalist items. These aren’t a set, they have no set bonuses, but for pure healing they are excellent with stats 100% focused for that. Any paladin putting together a healing set should look at obtaining these.
Our first full epic set, the tier 1 Lawbringer from MC is seen as our first healing set. Despite it having some strength I would agree that Lawbringer is primarily for healing, having nice +healing and Mp5, high intellect and good stamina. The strength on it makes it nice for things like PvP where you will be doing a bit of melee to defend yourself and not just healing. Personally I treat lawbringer as a healing set, and give it healing based enchants where possible (healing on gloves, shoulders and wrist, ZG enchant on legs etc.). It’s not a set to use for dps so dps enchants like agility are wasted on it. Use it for healing, both raids and PvP - that’s where this set is best. Focus on making your Lawbringer as good at healing as possible. There is one exception to this, and that’s with the helm. Having 10 FR on it to start with, I strongly advise putting a further +20 FR on it for 30 total to use in your fire resist set. It may be tempting to put the ZG enchant on it for better healing/PvP work but Judgement helm from Onyxia is easy to get and with no base FR on that, that’s what you then put the ZG enchant on. Focus on FR for the Lawbringer helm and you won’t be disappointed. Other items like gloves, belt and chest also come with FR and while you can’t put any extra FR enchants on those they make great additions to your FR set.
Ahh, Judgement… the one most agree looks better than any other paladin set. So, what do we use it for? Well, let’s take healing to start with - Judgement doesn’t offer a lot more than Lawbinger for healing, with similar stamina/intellect and healing/mana regen. In fact, some Judgement items are worse than Lawbringer for pure healing. The major difference is that while Lawbringer just gives +healing, Judgement changes that into +damage/healing which makes Judgement far stronger for PvP, general combat and a more hybrid role where you might be mixing damage and healing in raids. While with lawbringer I’d enchant it 100% for healing, with Judgement I’d make a couple of changes: for example, LB shoulders get +33 healing but Judgement for me would be +18 damage/healing, to be a little more useful offensively. Judgement also offers a bit more strength than Lawbringer and the set bonuses are very powerful offensively, making Judgement an excellent all-round set. Ok for healing (though at that level, various non-set items offer better healing stats) but mostly a PvP set.
This set picks up where the 7-10 set left off, with the same core of strength/stamina/intelect with good spell damage. The difference here, aside from all the sats being of higher value, is that we get more crit added to it to make it a little more melee-based, along with some Mp5. There isn’t really a lot to say about this set… it has excellent stats, great damage potential and with good combat enchants it makes a very strong set for both PvP and DPS. The crit on it and high strength makes it great for melee, spell damage and good intellect keeps it useful for those wanting to use more magical things like holy shock. The downside here is that getting rank 12/13 is very time consuming, and requires serious dedication to honor grinding. While the 7-10 set can be obtained without too much trouble, getting past rank 11 is a LOT harder. You really need the hours to invest for this one, and can’t rest until you have it.
So we’ve had a healing set, a spell damage set and the Retribution paladins are begging for a set with some crit on it. Here it is, in the form of the rather daft looking Avenger set. This one has has a simple use: melee. Introducing agility and much higher strength it’s the dps set we’ve been waiting for. For healing, Judgement and Lawbringer are better. For this little 5-piece set, give it the best dps enchants possible. That’s all there is to say about Avenger… it provides paladins with a dps set we can obtain without rolling on “warrior items”. Just don’t go walk onto the set of Starship Troopers while wearing it, or Dina Meyer may throw a grenade your way.
For pure healing, healadins have long complained that our class sets “waste” points on things like strength when for healing that’s absolutely pointless and could be extra intellect or something instead. Well, with the introduction of Naxx tier 3 sets we finally got our our wish with the tier 3 Redemption. No mixed stats, no useless points, this set is what the raiding healadin has been wanting for ages and has awesome healing power. Loaded fullt with int/stam, healing and mana regen this set gives the core stats we need for healing and nothing more. With the stat points dedicated to this purpose we get more out of it than if like lawbrinnger it tried to be mixed with strength on it. Being in Naxx it is the hardest to obtain, and the vast majority of paladins will never get close to it. For those that do, whoever, their healing dream has come true with the perfect set.
Here’s an overview of what I see the sets best used for then…
Lightforge: Generic, temporary set to use until you get better.
Soulforge: Nice upgrade, useful for PvP and combat in small groups. Some parts nice for healing/resistance.
7-10 PvP: As a PvP set, that’s where this set is best. Also nice for small group combat and as with SF some parts are nice for healing.
Zandalar Rewards: Useful for PvP, dps and not bad for healing. Multiple uses for these 3 items.
Lawbringer: Not technically a pure healing set, but should be treated as one. Good for healing, nice for PvP. Not to be used for dps.
Judgement: Solid all-round for healing and PvP. For healing not a huge leap over Lawbringer, but for PvP it really excels.
12-13 PvP: A great combat set for either PvP or dps.
Avenger: Perfect for dps, great for PvP too. Not for healing.
Redemption: The pure healing set, dream that one day you’ll own some.