Something a little bit different today. In this first of an ongoing series, I will be detailing a specific class, their primary roles, and the changes that their three talent trees bring to their play style. (This is also a great way to make it through some levels with few places to go, so I don't wind up boring you with three straight Scarlet Monastery posts!)
Our first class, and the first one that I ever played, are Paladins!
Paladins are a hybrid class, and the role that they play in dungeons, raids, or battlegrounds is defined by the talent tree the player has selected. The three trees for Paladins are Protection, Holy, and Retribution, and each one is a completely different experience for the player.
Races: In the original version of the game, Paladins were an Alliance-only class, and only playable by Humans and Dwarves. When the Burning Crusade was released, this list was expanded to include Draenei and Blood Elves, giving the Horde access to Paladins for the first time.
Unique Features: Paladins use Holy Power for any of their three roles, as a shield, a healing spell, or as extra damage. They are also able to strengthen other party members with Blessings, which augment stats, and place Seals on enemies that can either damage them over time, or restore health and mana to anybody who attacks them.
The Protection tree turns the Paladin into a tank class, capable of withstanding a great deal of incoming damage, while keeping enemies focused on them, and off of the damage dealers in a dungeon or raid. They generate Holy Power by striking the enemy, and use it to cast an instant healing spell on themselves or party members, or striking the enemy with a powerful shield maneuver. They are also able to launch their shield so that it will strike a group of enemies to begin a fight, and cleave a group of enemies in front of them, to do a large amount of damage to multiple targets.
Retribution is the damage tree for Paladins, who equip power two-handed swords, axes, or maces to melee enemies. They mix in some Holy damage spells, including Exorcism and Judgements, and gather Holy Power charges in order to release a powerful strike.
Holy Paladins are healers, and have a variety of spells for different situations. They have spells with long casting times that heal a great amount of damage, or instant spells that can be the difference in a close fight. While Protection and Retribution paladins are usually in the midst of a group of enemies, Holy ones are on the outskirts healing from a distance.