Tag Archives: levelling

I love it when a plan comes together…

Recently I talked about my indecision over how to have my cake and eat it too. I have since achieved enlightenment!

This was also a Blog Azeroth shared topic from two months ago! With all my indecision, though, I had no answers for it – until now.

What I’ve Decided

  • My main will drop Alchemy just before Wrath’s release, and pick up Mining. At some point between Wrath Day and level 80, she’ll drop Mining for Inscription. She’ll have enough herbs to get Inscription to 375 or beyond, and hopefully by then I’ll be able to find time to get the mage out for a run around Northrend picking pretty flowers.
  • All my alts will retain the same tradeskills, except my rogue, who has been Engineer/Skinner until now – she’ll be Engineer/Alchemist (so I can at least make my own mana pots).

What I’ve Done So Far

  • Started stockpiling gold and tradeskill mats – cloth for First aid, herbs for Inscription, gems for Jewelcrafting (so I can get 5-10 skillpoints off Outland gems before having to start on expensive and hotly-contested Northrend mats)
  • Got my priest’s enchanting to 375 so she’s ready to be a DEbot for Northrend BoE drops.
  • Got my rogue’s Alchemy to 375.

What I Still Have To Do

  • Stockpile more gold. I hope to have at least 10K put aside by the time WotLK hits – preferably more. I have a chart labelled “Goooold!” stuck to the side of my computer, with cash milestones I can cross off – a good incentive to stop me spending money.
  • Set up my UIs and the CloneKeys app so I can comfortably dualbox my pally and mage while levelling, if I choose.
  • Sell off anything high-value I have that I don’t need, if I’m not going to need it in WotLK and it’s going to loseWeight Exercise its value. Surplus primals, for instance.
  • A week or so before Wrath Day, drop Alchemy on my paladin and skill Mining up to 375.
  • Finish my Inscription guide, including a powerlevelling guide, and make sure I have herb stockpiles to cover all my Inscription needs.

What I’d Like To Get Done

  • Get my 68 rogue and 59 shammy to 70, so they’re available to level as alts in Northrend if the fancy takes me.
  • Get my rogue’s engineering to 375 (it’s at 365 now). I’m not sure why, it just bugs me having it uncompleted.
  • Get my shammy’s skinning to 375, so she can farm for leather if I need it.
  • Stockpile honor points and arena points up to the cap on my paladin, in hopes that they’ll carry over to level 80 (which I think they probably will).
  • Likewise, stockpile as many arena and honor points as possible on my alts – particularly the mage, who’s likely to remain my primary alt.
  • Level my poor little druid, who is still sitting at level 38.

Is that it? I can’t help but feel like I’m missing items off the to-do lists. What am I forgetting?

What will I do on launch day?

Because I’m kind of twitchy about planning for things in advance, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m going to tackle the early days of Wrath of the Lich King. I didn’t do too well when TBC was released; I was burnt out on levelling from a last-minute push to get an alt to 60 (she dinged 60 literally 8 hours before TBC went on sale), and health issues made it difficult for me to concentrate or focus properly during the early days of the Burning Crusade. As a result, it took me nearly six weeks to hit 70 on Sailan, my main (although two weeks of that was a hospital stay, to be fair).

Obviously, I don’t wish to repeat that when Wrath of the Lich King is released, and as a guild leader I can’t afford to. So I’m trying to decide how best to meet my goals.

Logically, that would mean playing Sailan and no-one but Sailan until she hits 80, and then starting on the instance-and-rep-grind gearing treadmill until she’s ready to enter Naxx.

However, I also really enjoy crafting, and this is where it gets complicated:

  • Sailan is currently a jewelcrafter & alchemist.
  • Alchemy is handy, but our guild has a lot of alchemists, and I’m pretty bored with it. Even before the Potion Sickness debuff news, I’d been seriously contemplating dropping Alchemy.
  • I’ve been planning on replacing Alchemy with either Blacksmithing (if it has decent craftable epics akin to Tailoring and Leatherworking’s star performers) or Inscription. Unless Blacksmithing is insanely good, it’ll probably be Inscription.
  • My mage, Sathandra, is my gatherer (a miner/herbalist with an epic flying mount, hooray!).

So I have two choices. I can try and level Sathandra concurrently with Sailan (probably dualboxing) so I can keep those steady supplies of herbs, ore and gems flowing in. Or, I can sit on my hands while I’m levelling Sailan, keep the tradeskill addiction at bay, and then turn around and level Sathandra as soon as Sailan hits 80 (when I’m not instancing, anyway).

Neither is a great option, and I’ve been going back and forth on this issue for months now. I’m starting to think my best option is to save up a ridiculous amount of gold in advance and just buy Sailan’s tradeskill mats until I can start gathering on Sathandra, but that nearly bankrupted me in TBC!

Decisions, decisions…

Power Levelling? Why Yes!

I’ve been levelling an alt lately, mostly keeping a friend company while he tries out a new class. We haven’t been following any levelling guides, but we’ve still managed to belt through the levels very fast – I did nearly sixty levels in less than three weeks of real time, which is pretty good for someone not playing twelve hours a day. And it’s especially good for me, who gets bored easily and is possibly the Slowest Leveller Ever.

I’m far from a pro at speed-levelling, but here are some tips. Note that they generally assume you a) have a level 70 main, with reasonable resources, b) have friends who’ll help in your endeavours, and c) are interested in levelling fast (trying to be ready for the next expansion, or catching up to a friend’s character, or even just Skipping All These Zones I’ve Played To Death Before).

This is far from an exhaustive guide to how to level faster than previously thought possible; for that, you want to look for a levelling guide (Jame’s guide for Alliance or Horde is available free, and may be a good starting point). This is just a list of tips learnt while levelling – either things I’ve learnt the hard way, or things I’ve been taught by those wise in the ways of fast levelling.


  • In Azeroth, do instances once each, for a complete run-through of the quests, and repeat-clear a select few for excellent grinding XP
  • In Outland, do instances once each if you want to, but they’re much less attractive.
  • Don’t do drop quests.
  • Buy quest items any time you can.
  • Know quests that work together well.
  • Use time wisely.
  • Don’t burn out!

Pre-60 Instances:
Do instance quests whenever possible, as soon as the instance quests open up, and make sure you have all the quests before you go in. Instance quest XP is huge all the way to level 70; an old-world instance plus its many quests is likely to be worth an entire level, probably more. Check WoWhead, or Google for instance guides, or look at blogs like this one for instance quest checklists.

However, it’s not worth going into an instance multiple times just to do one or two quests each time.

Don’t take repeat trips into instances, unless they’re easily and quickly grindable. Two premier candidates here: The Stockades, which you can do from mid-teens through to high twenties, and Scarlet Monastery Cathedral, which you can do from level 25 through to level 40. Beg a 70 friend to AoE grind you through – your best bet is a mage (preferably frost for the added control and survivability, but fire is fine too) or a paladin with decent tanking gear.

As a guide: a 70 paladin with reasonable tanking gear can clear SM Cathedral in three pulls (the bottom, the top, and the Cathedral itself), or four if they’re feeling delicate. If they’re prot, they won’t need help; if they’re holy in tanking gear, they’ll need heals and some DPS from one of the alts they’re powering through. You can do four or five full clears of SM Cathedral an hour, which will net about a level an hour for all four alts in the party. (This is assuming a party composition of: level 70 mage or pally, lowbie healer, lowbie DPSer, fill the last two spots with any friends who need the XP.)

You can apply the same sort of farming principle to Stockades, or similar instances. What you’re really looking for, when picking an instance to farm, are: not too many caster mobs (as they’re a pain to bunch up for AoEing down), lots of mobs in close proximity, and preferably a layout that makes it easy to gather up large swathes of enemies and bring them back to your party for convenient disposal.

Looking at other instances where you can do this sort of thing, Shadowfang Keep is a decent alternative to Stockades, and is more convenient for Horde players ;) Wailing Caverns is way too spread out, Blackfathom Deeps has too many casters, I can’t even remember what’s in Razorfen Downs or Kraul but no-one ever goes there anyway, Ragefire Chasm is a wee bit inaccessible for Alliance (and Horde players will outlevel it fast), everyone hates Gnomeregan (although the mobs are probably a pretty good choice for AoE farming), Uldaman’s not a bad choice but it won’t last much longer than SM anyway, and Zul Farrak mobs are way too caster-heavy and have a nasty tendency to poly the tank (thereby getting the rest of the party killed). Around the Zul’Farrak level the XP-per-hour rate starts dropping as mobs take longer to kill, so it’s not really worth “farming” somewhere like Maraudon or Sunken Temple for XP.

Don’t Do Drop Quests
Drop quests can be okay if you’re soloing, but if you’re grouping, it just takes way too long to kill the number of mobs necessary to get drops for everyone. Outside of instances, quest XP far outstrips kill XP; you’re much better off doing two kill quests in the same space of time it’d take you to do one drop quest.

The exception are those drop quests which have a near-100% drop rate, and/or lead on to a really valuable quest chain.

Buy XP
Any time you get a quest which requires items purchasable on the AH (or from vendors), do it straight away. Don’t farm for drops, just buy the items if you don’t already have them stashed on a banker alt. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Cloth handins. Five cities, three stacks of cloth per city; wool in the mid-teens (I think you can get it around level 12-14 now), silk in the late 20s (I think level 26), mageweave around level 40 and runecloth at level 50. Each type of cloth handin is worth a good half-level, and it’s a quick and easy boost to run around all the cloth quartermasters while you’re on the phone or waiting for dinner to cook. Make sure you don’t skip a cloth type, because you have to do each type to be able to do the next one, and they are worth it for XP.
  • Recipe quests. For example, on Alliance side there’s a recipe quest or two in Westfall, one in Redridge, one in Duskwood, one in Southshore. Buy the meat, hand it in; it’s XP for no work at all.
  • Ore collection quests. You can hand in bloodstone ore in Booty Bay to fix a cookpot, and there are others like it. Do it!
  • The Green Hills of Stranglethorn. Don’t farm, or wait to see if they drop while you quest in STV – just hit the AH and buy a complete set of pages. They’re really not all that pricey. One daily quest on your 70 will pay for all the pages you need (and probably cover half of your levelling buddy’s pages as well).
  • Argent Dawn handins in Light’s Hope Chapel. Available at 55, these involve handing in 30 Savage Fronds, Dark Iron Scraps, Crypt Fiend Parts, Cores of Elements or Bone Fragments. You’ll probably have to buy at least some of these, but it’s worth it; these five handins are another half a level between them, and at 55 that means something.
  • Pristine Ivory Tusks and Oshu’gun Crystal Fragments to the Consortium at Aeris’ Landing in Nagrand. Available at level 64 or 65 until you reach Friendly reputation, having 10 fragments and 3 tusk pairs in your bag when you hit Nagrand is a quick boost over over 20K xp, and they’re easily bought off the AH.

Identify Fast Streams of XP
There are certain areas in the world where you can combine multiple quests for really quick XP, where the quest progression flows really smoothly and you really don’t waste much time in transit or pointless killing at all. Some examples:
– Chillwind Camp, for Alliance; the first half-dozen Western Plaguelands quests around Andorhal and the Scourge cauldrons.
– Un’goro Crater. Just kill anything you see; odds are, you’ll have a quest for it.
– Nagrand, ditto.
– Duskwood (for Alliance); there are multiple simultaneous quest chains.
– There are plenty of others; what are your favourites?

Make Use of “Dead Time”
There’s a fair amount of timewasting we all go through in front of a computer. Keep a WoW client open in the background and do stuff that doesn’t need attention – Fed-ex/delivery/message-bearing quests are a perfect example; you only need to pay attention to WoW for fifteen seconds (to hand in the quest, pick up the next quest, and get back on the griffon) every five minutes or so, but some of these quest chains are absolute goldmines of XP for no real work at all.

Note that for optimum XP return, this sort of thing should be done when you wouldn’t otherwise be playing – while you’re cooking dinner, or on the phone, or watching a DVD.

Don’t Burn Out
Playing this “hard” can lead to fast burnout, which is worth avoiding. WoW isn’t supposed to be work, after all. Work out times at which you’re going to stop and smell the flowers, and for those select brackets, quest in the relevant zones. Perhaps you particularly like the Wastewander quests in Tanaris (though I can’t imagine why you would), or you love the quest chains in Duskwood, or some such. Pick a few brackets like this throughout the levelling curve, and make sure to play through the quests properly. This helps you learn your character as you go, and also helps provide a bit of a relaxation break from the go-go-go pace of three levels a night.

Levelling a Paladin: Introduction (Auras, Blessings, Seals & Judgements)

Most of my attention has focused on paladins at the level cap, because that’s where you really have to pay attention; that’s where the difference in a few stat points actually makes a long-term difference, rather than just being a poor gear choice you’ll replace when you level again tomorrow.

However, there’s a lot of confusion out there about how to level a paladin; what talents, what gear choices, what playstyle? So I’m going to run a short semi-regular series about how to level a paladin, whether it’s an alt or you’re new to the game. I hope it proves useful.

Okay, on with the content.

Basic Playstyle

Paladins have a number of potential playstyles: Holy paladins make great healers and can DPS in melee range. Protection paladins make great tanks and can DPS in melee range (using AoE abilities to kill a lot of mobs at once, usually). Retribution paladins make good melee DPSers – it’s a very popular PvP spec for paladins, too.

Healing and tanking are very separate issues; for the moment I’m going to look at DPSing, as that’s what you’ll do most of when you’re levelling. At its core, paladins do the following when DPSing: buff themselves and their friends (with a static Aura and medium-duration Blessing buffs), cast a Seal, run in and start hitting the mob, Judge the Seal onto the mob, cast a new Seal, repeat until death. (Yours or the mob’s. :))

“Auras? Blessings? Seals? Judging? What the hell?” Paladins have a number of spell types; let’s take a look at them here. Note that every single spell I’m discussing here is an instant-cast spell.

Paladin Spells: Auras, Blessings, and Seals & Judgements

  • Auras: You can have one aura active at a time, and it will affect everyone in your party within a certain distance of you (normally 30 yards, 40 with a Holy talent). Auras are static and only need to be re-applied if you die or change aura. Your aura choices are:
    • Devotion Aura: You start with this at level 1; it gives everyone extra Armor. Often the “default” aura when there’s nothing better to use, because people almost always take physical damage.
    • Retribution Aura: First gained at level 16; it causes Holy damage to anyone who strikes a person with this aura. This is very popular with paladin tanks, as the damage caused by Retribution Aura adds to the threat of the person being hit.
    • Concentration Aura: Gained at level 22; helps ignore spell interruption caused by taking damage (and with a Protection talent it reduces the duration of silence and interrupt effects used against protected people, too). Very popular if you’re fighting mobs that silence you or interrupt spellcasting, particularly if you’re in a party with lots of spellcasters.
    • Resistance Auras: Shadow Resist (first gained at 28), Frost Resist (first gained at 32) and Fire Resist (first gained at 36). These give the relevant type of Resistance to protected people; they don’t stack with things like Shaman resist totems, the priest’s Shadow Protection buff, or the resists granted by the druid’s Mark of the Wild buff – so if you have a priest in your party who’s giving Prayer of Shadow Protection, for instance, don’t bother with that Shadow Resistance Aura. Otherwise, these auras are very useful for elemental damage fights, especially used in concert with resistance gear.
    • Sanctity Aura: This can be gained any time from level 30 onwards, it’s the 21-point talent in the Retribution talent tree. It increases Holy damage done by anyone affected, so it’s great for paladins and holy priests who are levelling. It’s also used in endgame raids to amplify the damage dealt by a paladin tank, to boost up their threat.
    • Crusader Aura: Gained at level 62; increases mounted speed for all affected people by 20%. It doesn’t stack with any other movement-speed increases (Riding Crop, Mithril Spurs, the Pursuit of Justice talent, etc).
  • Blessings: These are the core Paladin buffs, which generally last 10 minutes and can usually be applied to any friendly player. (Some are shorter duration and can only be applied to party members.) You can only put one Blessing on any given player. The Blessings are:
    • Blessing of Might: First gained at level 4, adds Attack Power. Good for DPS warriors, feral druids, hunters, enhancement shaman, rogues, retribution paladins.
    • Blessing of Wisdom: First gained at level 15, adds Mana Regen (mana per 5 seconds, or mp5). Good for pretty much any mana-using class, although some (like hunters, DPS and tank paladins, and enhancement shaman) would probably prefer something different unless your party has more than one paladin.
    • Blessing of Kings: Can be gained at level 20 (with 11 talent points in the Protection tree), increases all base attributes (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Intellect, Spirit) by 10%. A very popular blessing, especially good for tanks but useful for basically anyone.
    • Blessing of Salvation: Gained at level 26. Can only be placed on party members. Reduces all threat caused by the recipient by 30%. On no account should this be used on tanks (otherwise they’ll never keep agro); otherwise, useful in parties when you have DPSers who keep out-agroing the tank. Particularly popular with DPS players who don’t have any inbuilt abilities or talents to drop their threat: so, DPS warriors, enhancement shamans and the like. Note that this blessing is not much use when you’re soloing or in a small party, unless you’re taking on targets (instances, elite mobs, etc) that require proper tanking.
    • Blessing of Sanctuary: Can be gained at level 30 (with 21 talent points in the Protection tree), reduces all incoming damage by a small amount per attack, and causes a small amount of reflected Holy damage to an attacker when the blessed player blocks a melee attack. This one’s a core blessing for tanks, particularly paladin tanks, particularly paladin tanks in AoE tanking situations. (The damage reduction helps in situations with a lot of small incoming attacks, and the reflected Holy damage boosts the tank’s threat. See the tanking guide coming up later for more details.)
    • Blessing of Light: First gained at level 40. Increases the effects of Holy Light and Flash of Light used on the blessed target. This one’s good when you have a paladin healing the tank, and the tank is going to need a lot of healing. Rarely used until facing difficult instances and endgame raids.
    • Blessing of Protection: First gained at level 10. Lasts 6-10 seconds, depending on spell rank; can only be used on party members. Has a 5-minute cooldown (3 minutes with Protection talents). Protects the recipient from all physical attacks, but they can’t attack in return. Excellent to save, say, a mage or priest buddy when s/he’s getting beaten up; drop a Blessing of Protection on them, and they can still safely cast. Note that this doesn’t protect you from spell or elemental damage.
    • Blessing of Freedom: Gained at level 18. Lasts 10 seconds (14 with Protection talents). Has a 25-second cooldown. Makes the recipient immune to all movement-impairing effects. Works well for getting out of nets and the like tossed by mobs; also popular in PvP for getting away from hamstrings, wing-clips and other effects that slow you down or pin you in place.
    • Blessing of Sacrifice: First gained at level 46. Lasts 30 seconds with a 30-second cooldown. Transfers a small amount of damage per incoming attack from the blessing recipient to the paladin that cast the blessing. This one has two main uses: the first is to protect someone from damage if they’re going to take a lot of small attacks. The second, and more common use, is in PvP (and some PvE encounters) where the paladin is likely to be CCed, stunned or feared. The transfer of damage from the blessing recipient will break the paladin out of the CC/stun/fear, allowing them to act normally.
    • GREATER BLESSINGS: There are Greater variants of all the standard-length 10-minute Blessings (Wisdom, Might, Kings, Salvation and Sanctuary). These Greater blessings differ from standard Blessings in several ways:
      • They require a reagent (Symbol of Kings)
      • They last for 30 minutes rather than 10
      • They affect all the members of a class in your party/raid (within buff range)

      So, let’s assume I’m buffing a raid, and I’m the only paladin. I cast Greater Blessing of Wisdom on the healer druid standing next to me, and all the druids in the raid (who aren’t out of range or PvP-flagged) are simultaneously buffed with Greater Blessing of Wisdom. If the raid also has a feral druid who will be DPSing, they’d prefer Blessing of Might, so I can target them and cast the standard Blessing of Might. It will overwrite the Greater Blessing of Wisdom on that druid only, although it only lasts 10 minutes so I’ll need to re-bless them singly twice more before everyone else’s Greater Blessings wear off.

  • Seals and Judgements: these are the paladin’s very short term special effects; each Seal spell has two effects depending on whether you’ve buffed yourself with it (the Seal buff) or debuffed the enemy (the Judgement debuff). Seals apply only to the paladin, and Judgements are applied to an enemy, but their effect often works on anybody attacking the Judged enemy. Yes, it’s a bit of a muddle; follow on, and I’ll explain. (Also, as with most Paladin effects, a paladin can only have one Seal active at a time, and only one Judgement debuffing a given enemy.)

    The mechanics of Seals and Judgements work like this: first of all, a Paladin will cast a Seal, which is a short term buff (30 second) that takes effect (or has a chance to take effect) every time you swing your weapon. If you want to apply the debuff half of the spell’s effects to the mob instead, you cast Judgement (a pally spell with 10 yd range and a 10-second cooldown) and it takes away your Seal and applies the debuff half of it to the mob you’re targeting instead. Using Seal of the Crusader as an example, the Seal effect adds Attack Power and makes the paladin attack 40% faster (although doing less damage with each attack); the Judgement effect gives the mob a debuff that lasts for 20 seconds and increases Holy damage the mob takes from any attacker.

    Judgement debuffs last 20 seconds, but they can be extended without having to reapply them altogether. A melee strike from the paladin will refresh the debuff applied by that paladin; a Crusader Strike attack from a Retribution paladin will refresh all Judgement debuffs on a target.

    Clear as mud? Okay, let’s take a look at the actual Seals and Judgements:

    • Seal of Righteousness: on every swing, causes an extra amount of Holy damage, increasing with your weapon damage. (2H weapons do more damage from SoR, too, to account for the fact that they swing a lot slower.)
    • Judgement of Righteousness: a direct hit of Holy damage to the enemy. Is not actually a debuff, just a damaging attack, so doesn’t overwrite any existing Judgements from this paladin.
    • Seal of the Crusader: adds Attack Power, and causes the paladin to swing 40% faster (though doing less damage with each swing).
    • Judgement of the Crusader: a debuff that increases the amount of Holy damage taken by the mob.
    • Seal of Command: has a chance on every swing to deal extra holy damage equal to 70% of the weapon’s damage. Requires 11 points in the Retribution tree.
    • Judgement of Command: a direct hit of Holy damage to the enemy (increased if the enemy is stunned). Like Judgement of Righteous, this is not actually a debuff, just a damaging attack, so doesn’t overwrite any existing Judgements from this paladin.
    • Seal of Justice: each melee attack has a chance to stun the target for 2 seconds.
    • Judgement of Justice: stops the affected target from fleeing from combat (only applies to mobs that will run from combat, obviously, and doesn’t stop player enemies from running away in PvP).
    • Seal of Light: on every swing, the paladin has a chance to regain a small amount of health.
    • Judgement of Light: a debuff causing all melee attacks against the judged enemy to have a chance to return health to the attacker.
    • Seal of Wisdom: on every swing, the paladin has a chance to regain a small amount of mana.
    • Judgement of Wisdom: a debuff causing all melee and ranged attacks (including spells and wand shots) to have a chance to return mana to the attacker.
    • Seal of Vengeance: available to Alliance paladins only, at level 64. Every swing has a chance to apply a Holy damage-over-time effect (called Holy Vengeance) to the target, which can stack up to 5 times. Once the stack hits 5 applications, further triggers of the Seal’s effect will refresh the duration of the existing stack and do a small amount of Holy damage to the enemy.
    • Judgement of Vengeance: a direct hit of Holy damage to the enemy, which increases for every stack of Holy Vengeance (so applying this Judgement before your Seal has stacked any DoTs on will actually achieve nothing at all). Is not actually a debuff, just a damaging attack, so doesn’t overwrite any existing Judgements from this paladin.
    • Seal of Blood: available to Horde paladins only, at level 64. All melee attacks deal extra Holy damage equal to 35% of weapon damage, but also cause 10% of this to the paladin as well.
    • Judgement of Blood: a large direct hit of Holy damage to the enemy, and also causes 33% of this to the paladin as well. Is not actually a debuff, just a damaging attack, so doesn’t overwrite any existing Judgements from this paladin.

Putting It In Practice: Basic Paladin DPS While Levelling

So, what do all these Seals and Judgements actually mean in practice? Well, if you look carefully you can see some synergies there. (Judgement of Wisdom is particularly helpful in raids, to extend the mana longevity of all your ranged DPSers.) However, from a levelling perspective, Judgement of the Crusader and either Seal of Righteousness or Seal of Command will be your bread and butter. A typical attack rotation will be:

  1. Run towards the enemy, firing up Seal of the Crusader (SotC) as you go.
  2. As soon as you’re within 10 yards, use Judgement to apply SotC to the enemy as the Judgement of the Crusader debuff.
  3. That Judgement doesn’t trigger the global cooldown, so immediately fire up your next Seal – either Seal of Righteousness (SoR) or Seal of Command (SoC). SoR works well if you’re using a 1H weapon and you have lots of spelldamage gear; it scales better with spelldamage than with weapon damage. SoC is the reverse, and comes into its own when you have a big, powerful 2H weapon with very high damage.
  4. Keep swinging away with your weapon, with the Seal active. The Judgement of the Crusader debuff amplifies the Holy damage that your Seal is causing, and is refreshed by every melee strike you land on the enemy.
  5. Use Judgement as soon as its cooldown is up to cause a big burst of damage to the enemy (both SoR and SoC’s Judgement effects cause direct Holy damage without wiping off your Judgement of the Crusader debuff). Recast your SoR or SoC immediately.
  6. If you’re a Retribution paladin of at least level 50, use Crusader Strike straight away and whenever its cooldown is up for more Holy direct damage. (If you’re at least level 50, though, you shouldn’t need this guide in the first place. ;))
  7. Note: if you’re fighting very weak enemies that die in a few hits, skip the initial Judgement of the Crusader and use all your Judgements on SoR or SoC; the extra Holy damage of JotC requires the mob to live for a certain amount of attacks to pay for itself, otherwise you’re better off using the first Judgement to deal an extra burst of direct damage.

What Now?

Well, that hopefully explains the “big picture” of paladin auras, blessings, seals and judgements. The next installments of the series will have a quick guide to healing and tanking, and will discuss gear choices and key talents while levelling. If there’s anything you’d particularly like to see discussed, feel free to leave a comment or let me know via the “Contact” link in the header.

A couple of corrections added, with thanks to Firelight and Adese.