I have recently started a Paladin (blood knight, level 16 now). Which brings me to how I ran into your blog and postings at blogspot. I don't have a lot of time to play, so it's important that my play be as effective as possible towards leveling. I did a search on paladins and came to your blog.
The reason I'm trying to level a paladin is my guild (which is a leveling guild at the moment since we don't have any players in the 70s) doesn't have a main tank anywhere to be found. However we do have a few priests that will be endgame healers. So I decided to take it upon myself to create this paladin to become a tank for the guild. I want to level quickly, but I also would like to tank instances at the proper levels as I go up to get as much practice as possible so when we do get to the outlands instances and raids I'll be in full control of what I need to be doing and effectively do my job. So now that I've explained the situation I'm in, I was hoping for some guidance from you as you seem to be the most knowledgeable paladin roller I've come across.
How should I use my talent points as I level so that I can still be effective at leveling, but maintaining the ability to tank the instances that come up as I level. This has become my biggest question.
I have 4 talent points unspent because I don't know where to put them. I didn't want to roll a warrior or druid because at heart I'm really a mage, and paladin seemed like the most fun to play as it most resembles a caster but with killer armor and really cool playability.
I just need to make sure that I can level as well as tank without having to spend a bunch of money on respeccing because I screwed it up to begin with.
Think back to when you first rolled your paladin, what advice do you wish you would have had to make it easier for you to level and become the tankadin you are today? Thank you for your time.
Most of my advice on leveling I put in my leveling guide (see sidebar on right).
I am an advocate of going into Retribution until at least 35. The points you would get in Protection would make a smaller contribution to your tanking ability than the same points in Ret would make towards your leveling ability.
Another option you have is asking higher level guild mates to help you run instances. They can clear the instances much faster which will help your leveling.
The truth of the matter is, Paladin Tanks were extremely rare until Burning Crusade. When the level cap was 60, I was Holy. It was pretty much the only option unless you were PVP all the time. I tried the PVP route but it got kind of old getting rolled by people in gear in Tier 2 while I was sporting Tier 0 or Tier 0.5.
I didn't tank an instance until I had already been 60. It was Dire Maul run (North if I remember correctly). This was pre 2.0. No Righteous Defense, no Spiritual Attunement, no Avenger's Shield. It didn't go well. The Warrior took over and I went back to Healing.
Tanking a little different from 60 to 70 than it is from 1-60. I admire you wanting to tank all the way up. You should have little trouble finding groups, and you can AoE when you are questing. But I'd give Ret strong consideration if you are going to solo much at all. Levels 20 to 60 go pretty quick these days.
What are some of the things I wish I had known back when I was leveling?
I wish I had bigger bags. (Actually I STILL wish I had bigger bags). I wish I had known more about the Auction House and made more gold leveling up. I wish I had known about WoWHead and gotten a coordinates mod to help me find stuff. I wish I had understood better the difference between a Normal server and a PVP server. I wish I had gotten my Verigan's Fist a level or two earlier than a I did. I wish I had spent more time questing in Duskwood. I wish I had known to avoid Stranglethorn Vale at all costs. I wish someone had told me not to put points in Holy at level 10.
I wish I had taken more screenshots. WoW is like going on vacation. You spend a bunch of money and have little to show for it when you are done. Take lots of pictures. I love going back through my screenshots and remembering what gear I had and what quests I was doing.
Enjoy the climb. I hope you find your Paladin as much fun as I did.