Hand Me Downs: Paladins

01 Dec

So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Paladins.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Melee Weapons
Unlike casters, a melee class actually needs to look for good weapons in order to perform well. For a Paladin, we’re looking for good damage slow speed. We don’t necessarily want to stick with the same weapon from level 1-15 (or higher), because the damage itself needs to go up, so with melee classes you may want to consider multiple HMD’s to upgrade to throughout the first 20 levels or so.

Once the LFG becomes available to you I strongly suggest you run through The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, as well as The Stockade and Blackfathom Deeps. Those dungeons have the best weapons you can find for your level. While some may not always perform as well as your HMD’s, averaged out they most likely will. Remember that you’re looking for big damage, slow speeds, and bonuses to Strength and Attack Power.

While HMD’s are excellent at making your characters more powerful, when it comes to melee classes your weapons should be upgraded whenever possible, making HMD’s have much shorter lifespans for melee classes. I don’t bother with melee HMD’s passed level 11-12, and I wouldn’t suggest that you do so either unless you can’t stand LFG and for some reason can’t find a quest with a decent reward.

Melee Weapons (1H)
Fine Scimitar: [Lvl: -] 3-7 Damage (2.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Axe: [Lvl: -] 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Studded Blackjack: [Lvl: 5] 5-11 Damage (4.4 DPS), 1.80 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed
Cleaver: [Lvl: 15] 14-27 Damage (9.2 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Double Axe: [Lvl: 19] 19-37 Damage (11.2 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Left-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed
Right-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed

I don’t generally suggest leveling with one-handed weapons starting out because of their low damage compared to two-handers, but if you want to use a shield to help you level then these are your options.

Starting out I’d shoot for the Arcane Forged Axe since it’s a vendor item compared to the Fine Scimitar being a drop. At level 5 you may want to upgrade to a Studded Blackjack or similar item for higher base damage, though it’s not necessary if you have a decent enchant on the axes. For melee classes, I suggest Fiery Weapon as your initial HMD enchant, because it deals 40 Fire damage when it procs, and that proc can crit for 60 or 80 Fire damage instead. The damage from the proc is often enough to one-shot the mobs in your starting areas, and it quickly dispatches the mobs you’ll face up to level 10 as well.

At level 10 you need to make a decision on your spec, and that determines which weapons you pursue from there on. Holy will want a one-handed weapon and a shield, though you don’t really need to upgrade your weapons as often with Holy. Protection wants a solid one-hander and shield, and Retribution demands the nastiest two-hander you can find.

Melee Weapons (2H)
Bastard Sword: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.00 Speed
Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Vile Fin Battle Axe: [Lvl: 4] 12-19 Damage (5.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
Tabar: [Lvl: 9] 21-33 Damage (8.5 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Claymore: [Lvl: 10] 23-35 Damage (9.0 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Rock Hammer: [Lvl: 16] 37-59 Damage (12.5 DPS), 3.70 Speed
Battle Axe: [Lvl: 20] 46-70 Damage (15.3 DPS), 3.80 Speed

Here’s quite a list of two-handers for you to choose from. Remember to take your racial modifiers into account when choosing your weapons. If you have a bonus when using certain types of weapons then try to stick to those weapons to maximize your performance in combat. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just going with whatever weapons look cool either.

For my melee toons I generally get a weapon that I can use at level 1 and then replace at 5, or one that I can use a level 3 and then replace at level 10-12. If you’re going to stick to two-handers then I suggest upgrading to the Vile Fine Battle Axe or Frostbit Staff at level 5 and then the Claymore at level 10. You can probably last through most of your teens with the Claymore before replacing it with a dungeon drop or quest reward that offers more base damage and a decent stat boost to make giving up the enchant worth it.

If you aren’t using LFG to level and you aren’t having any luck with good weapons from your quest rewards, then you might consider upgrading to either the Rock Hammer or the Battle Axe as HMD’s. I would strongly urge you to run dungeons at this level though as there are some excellent weapons to be found.

Enchanting Melee Weapons
As a melee Paladin, you’re mostly interested in Strength enchants. Stamina is a good option as well, especially if you’re going Protection as they seem to be taking more damage than the other low level tanks at the moment.

Protection and Retribution Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Strength: +15 Strength
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)

The best source for Strength at low levels is Crusader with a +100 Strength proc. That’s 200 Attack Power plus a heal when it procs that’s going to have you one-shotting mobs left and right. If you go with a slow weapon, then Crusader is the one you want. If you’re going with fast weapons, then you want either +15 Strength or Fiery Weapon.

I don’t find Fiery to be quite as appealing for Paladins as I do the other melee classes, though I can’t say for sure why that it. Lifestealing is a good backup for Crusader, as is the +15 Strength.

Holy Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: +22 Intellect
Enchant Weapon – Spell Power: +30 Spell Power
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: +29 Spell Power
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: +9 Intellect

In 3.5 the +30 SP was the go-to enchant for casters, but with the change to spell power Mighty Intellect has taken the lead. It’s also the cheapest of the three options which makes it that much more appealing. You don’t get quite as much spell power out of the deal, but you’re trading 7-8 SP for 330 mana which is more than worth it for low level casters in my opinion.

Holy and Protection will both be using shields. Prior to level 10 I’d still us a two-hander for all three Paladin specs, but that’s just me. If you want to use a shield before then, here’s your list of HMD worthy shields.

Large Round Shield: [Lvl: -] 171 Armor
Dull Heater Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Standard Issue Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Wall Shield: [Lvl: 12] 480 Armor
Reinforced Targe: [Lvl: 19] 634 Armor

If you want to start off with a shield, then the Large Round is the one you want. The Dull Heater can be purchased at level 5, or you can do what I did and spend 18 seconds farming a pair of Standard Issue Shields outside of Scarlet Monetary. (Note: The area around SM changed from 4.0.3 to 4.0.3a, so these might not be available now.)

I’ve listed a couple of options for HMD’s passed level 10 if you’re going to roll as Protection, but you’re probably better off sticking with your low level shield until you replace it with dungeon drops or quest rewards.

Protection Shield Enchants
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

The best option from a leveling perspective is to go with the biggest, nastiest shield spike you can find to slap on the most interesting-looking shield you have access to and then go stab some eyeballs out with the shield spikes while you’re smashing faces with your weapon.

If you’re worried about your health then get the Stamina enchant, but otherwise stick with the shield spikes.

Holy Shield Enchants
Enchant Shield – Vitality: Restore 4 health and mana every 5 seconds
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

Holy doesn’t really have much trouble as far as mana is concerned at low level, so this one’s a little rough. Better safe than sorry – the Vitality enchant is probably the best one overall. If you’re going to do a lot of soloing then I would suggest a shield spike. The Stamina enchant isn’t a bad option, but Paladins have the best low level survivability of every class in the game, so 70 HP isn’t really all that important.

Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Mail Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Unadorned Chain Vest: 53 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Unadorned Chain Leggings: 47 Armor
Waist: Unadorned Chain Belt: 30 Armor
Bracer: Unadorned Chain Bracers: 23 Armor
Gloves: Unadorned Chain Gloves: 33 Armor
Feet: Unadorned Chain Boots: 37 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

No surprises here, again we have the Blood Elf starting zone’s vendor items. Warriors get better Rage if their armor is a somewhat slacking (at least they used to), and Paladins have plenty of self healing at their disposal, so I wouldn’t bother replacing HMD’s on either of them until you start to find superior dungeon drops or significant quest rewards.

I still get a little chuckle at the Haliscan Jacket/Pantaloons and Tuxedo Pants beat out even the best Mail options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth.

Holy Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: +100 Mana
Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime: Restore 7 Mana every 5 seconds [ilvl 35+]

The best choice here is +6 Stats which gives you 90 Mana and 6 Spell Power, though it can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket. The +4 and +3 Stats enchants are listed for the same reason, providing both spell power and mana. Mana isn’t nearly as big of an issue for a Paladin as it is for other classes, so the stats pull ahead here for me.

Protection and Retribution Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

The +150 Health enchant can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket because it requires a minimum item level of 35 and the Haliscan is one of only two items you can wear at level 1 that meat that item level requirement. The other is an expensive gown purchased in Moonglade which is limited quantity and has a horribly long respawn time. To give you an example of how hard it is to find, I’ve been looking now for almost 5 weeks and I’ve never even seen it.

The best option for offense rather than survival is the +6 Stats which still gives you 60 Health, but also a fair amount of Attack and/or Spellpower. Like the +150 Health though, it toon can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket.

The +4 Stats enchant is pretty hard to find and you’re going to pay a pretty copper for it if you buy it on the AH, so you may want to settle for the much easier to obtain +3 Stats. The +100 Health isn’t going to help you perform any better in combat, it’s just survivability, so it’s listed last.

Holy Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Healing Power: +15 Spell Power
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: +7 Intellect
Enchant Bracer – Mana Regeneration: Restore 5 Mana every 5 seconds

I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better now than it was before 4.0. You can either have 15 SP or you can have 7 SP and 105 Mana to go with it. It’s up to you really, I just like to have that extra level of power from the 15 SP for my personal taste. If you do find mana issues, then the Mana Regeneration enchant is there to help you along.

Protection and Retribution Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

Finally we come to a class that gets some real benefit out of that +9 Strength enchant. Unless you’re in dire need of more health, the Strength enchant is the way to go. If you need survivability then the Stamina is a very solid choice as well, and if by some freak occurrence you can’t find either of those, then the +1 Agility is better than nothing.

Holy Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Healing Power: +16 Spell Power
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Casters have a lot of really good options here. The generic enchant of choice is Healing Power for +16 SP to all of your spells. Haste can help you in a few situations, though mostly in your reduced cast times.

Protection and Retribution Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Threat: +2% Threat on all attacks

I generally prefer the +15 Agility enchant for my gloves, but the Strength classes don’t get quite as much from Agility, so +7 Strength is a very solid option. Given that the two mail-wearing classes who’ll be using your HMD’s both benefit the most from strength, I’d say +7 Strength is the way to go here, or just reuse the +15 Agility Leather gloves you use on your other toons. I wouldn’t bother enchanting both a leather and mail piece with +15 Agility unless you’re just trying to burn through your enchanting mats.

Haste will give you a slight boost to your attacking speed, and will give a small benefit to your Rend damage (at least, I think bleeds benefit from Haste the same way DoT’s do – could be wrong), and the +7 Agility is a decent substitute if you can’t find the others.

I also listed the Threat enchant which I definitely recommend if you’re going to be a tank. From what I’ve seen so far in low level LFG, Paladins have the best threat generation of all the low level tanks. That 2% Threat can probably solidify that for you if you find that you’re having problems. Note that I give advice on this enchant and this situation based on my healing of tanks on my Resto Shaman twink, not from my experience tanking.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Holy Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

Casters get the shaft on boot enchants, with nothing really standing out. I lean towards the speed increase for my personal use, but you might prefer the +5 Hit. Run Speed will help you quest and level faster, while Accuracy will help you kill faster, so the choice is yours. Accuracy will help if you’re using Holy Shock offensively or when you’re using Crusader Strike for additional Holy Power.

Protection and Retribution Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

Paladins still have nothing to help them close gaps when tanking and such, so I prefer Minor Speed for them to get whatever edge I can. The +7 Agility will give you better avoidance and also help with your melee crits, so it’s a good choice as well. Hit is there if you need it, though you probably will not, and +7 Stamina is something to consider if you’re going Prot.

Paladin tanks seem to take more damage than the others right now at low level, so I strongly recommend picking up extra Stamina where you can afford it if you’re going to be a tank.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility and +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

As I’ve mentioned in the other HMD posts so far, the Stealth enchant made a surprise leap of awesomeness in 4.0.3a by switching from a lackluster enchant to the best-in-slot cloak enchant for the majority of low level play. You want it more than the others and that’s really all there is to it.

If you can’t find Stealth then the +3 Agility enchant would be my preference for Retribution while I would probably consider +70 Armor for Protection. Retribution can lay down a lot of damage in a really short time right now, especially if they store Holy Power from one fight to use at the beginning of another. For that reason you may consider Subtlety for Retribution, but you likely have enough survivability to handle pulling threat from time to time anyway if you’d rather go with one of the others.


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2 responses to “Hand Me Downs: Paladins

  1. Windpaw

    December 1, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    I’ve HandMeDown’d my Sunwalker Holy Tauradin and have been tearing through the new low level content with a vengeance. One thing I’ve noticed is that with a level appropriate group in a mish-mash of regular gear / heirlooms – I’m barely having to heal at all. At the moment I’m really only seeing 3 tanks. Blood Elf Warriors, Truid Bears and Sunwalkers. I’ve always felt the Truids are the only ones I really need to pay attention to.

    Great post btw – nicely put together.

    • Psynister

      December 1, 2010 at 5:16 PM

      Thanks for the reply, Windpaw.

      I haven’t figured out what’s causing the apparent issue just yet, but I’m seeing Paladins just constantly jumping up and down in their health bars. When we get to boss fights they’re the only tank I’ve had so far that I’ve had to literally spam my healing spells on to be sure they survive.

      Not every Paladin has been equally as hard to heal as the others, but I see all of them taking more damage than other tanks. It could be failure on the player’s part, or maybe they have crappy gear that I’m just not inspecting or something, but it’s been pretty brutal.

      While I’ve had several tanks that I’ve had to seriously focus to keep alive, the only one that’s died on me so far was a Paladin on the last boss in SFK, and after the tank died all the DPS went down except for one and he and I finished the fight with me Resto-tanking it. No idea what’s causing it, but that’s what I’ve seen so far.


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