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Paladins who have specced into the protection talent tree have a unique ability to do area of effect (or AoE) attacks against attackers while surviving attacks from several enemies. Paladins can obtain experience and money very quickly this way. The only other classes that can AoE grind are frost mages, Warlocks and Hunters, but Paladins can AoE grind more safely than a mage and with less down time than Hunters (and done right with NO downtime). Information given here is also useful in power leveling other characters, though with a far larger number of mobs at a lower level.
While patch 3.0 drastically changed all the talents for classes, all the core talents for AoE grinding remain the same: Blessing of Sanctuary, Reckoning, and Holy Shield. Here are some recommended specs for AoE grinding with the new trees.
Level 36: AoE basics: 0/27/0
You may want to exchange a few points in one of the earlier talents for points in Improved Righteous Fury for more damage mitigation, but the rest of the talents are no help for AoE grinding. Improved Devotion Aura might look tempting, but remember that you'll only be using Retribution Aura for your grinding, so it is no help. You could also start at level 35 taking 1 talent from Reckoning if desired.
Level 40: 0/31/0
Holy shield is a huge boost to grinding, just spam it whenever the cooldown is up. Also, Realize that One-handed Weapon Specialization boosts ALL damage including spell damage, and it is an easy choice for moving up the tree.
Level 50: 0/41/0
By level 40, you have all the key talents for AoE grinding, and can start picking up whatever talents you prefer. If you choose to continue to climb the tree, now is a good time to go pick up Improved Righteous Fury if you don't already have it, as well as Sacred Duty for the survivability boost. The most important talent here though is Redoubt. Boosting your block = more damage for AoE paladins.
Level 51+: There are still many good talents to pick up in the Protection tree, the most useful ones being Shield of the Templar and Hammer of the Righteous. Pick up whatever suits you best now and finish the Protection tree, you should be well suited to grind on anything at this point.
You should try to get items with as much stamina, intellect, and defense as you can. Some nice items to look out for while you level are:
 : +10 stamina. Obtainable from a level 37 quest in Razorfen Downs.
 : Only +4 stamina on this weapon, however the other stats are nice too and it has an ideal speed. Although I feel that this weapon could easily be replaced with a green item with higher stamina. Horde only.
 : Great shoulders again. You can debate whether you want the agility from these or the spirit from Big Bad Pauldrons. At the end of the day, these might cost you gold to get whereas Big Bad Pauldrons have a nice droprate.
 Absolutely, hands down BEST Aoe tanking trinket you can get! It will easily double the number of mobs you can take on at once. In fact, the more hitting you, the more effective it is. If you're serious about AOE grinding, get this as soon as you can.
Shield spikes! You can't AoE grind without shield spikes. Titanium shield spikes while somewhat costly are easily available as the recipe is trainable. The materials for Thorium spikes are pretty cheap, but the recipe is rare. Ask around in trade channel - if you can't get a Thorium spike, go for a Mithril one - most blacksmiths will know it. As of patch 2.4.2, you no longer need a blacksmith to attach a shield spike; just grab one on the AH and slap it on!
|Shield Spike||Block Damage||Blacksmithing Skill|
Required to Craft
Where to Grind
Now that you have a nice little aoe paladin, you can at last start to grind. There are some good and some bad spots from grinding, so I make a list of my favorites here
30-31 Hillsbrad Foothills Dun Garok Dwarves
- Watch out for the Priests and Rifleman!
30-32 Duskwood Nightbane Vile Fang
- These guys are located in the cave centered between Tarren Mill and the town of Hillsbrad. They are great for AoE grinding, though the Ferocious Yetis do enrage at low health. Some chance of adds here, but it's still an excellent area to grind in, despite the lack of being able to use a mount.
- They run and pull others which can be good or bad!
- The pathstalkers have a ranged attack making them troublesome, after they run they attack at range. You will have to move to put them back into melee distance. The barns provide a good enclosed space to drag them into. And you can use LoS in there to keep them near.
- Also some these mobs dual wield which makes aoeing that much better.
- They are spread out making this a difficult area to grind.
- Hammerfall Grunts will Enrage, increasing damage output, and will cast Infected Wound.
35-38 Dustwallow Marsh Murlocs
37-40 Arathi Highlands Cresting Exiles Some aoe frost nova. Loc 66.30
41-43 Swamp of Sorrows Murlocs
- Note: The Marsh Inkspewers cast a debuff that lowers your chance to hit by 50%, negating Reckoning and more or less nullifying any HP/mana regen from seals/judgements. The Marsh Oracles are casters that ignore your avoidance and mitigation. There is also a lvl 50 caster roaming in here.
43-46 Feralas Woodpaws
43-48 Zul'Farrak Scarab
- If you run this instance, ask politely for lead when it is finished; when everyone has left the instance, feel free to grind the scarabs pit for some easy xp on your way out. They have low HP and a good chance of dropping uncommons, rares, and even the occasional epic.
45-48 Tanaris Southsea Pirates
- Some of the pirates use ranged weapons and will need to be pulled into the houses or around them. The swashbucklers and the dock workers are all melee, however they disarm.
- Loads in and around the caves. Many enrage, but all are fairly squishy.
46-48 Feralas Frayfeather Skystormers
- 'There are multiple camps accross the south west. Some have casters in them but can easily be avoided. Enforcers Dual Wield for maximum aoe ability.'
48-50 Feralas Harpies
48-50 Blasted Lands Nethergarde Miners
48-51 Tanaris Thistleshrubs
48-51 Felwood Deadwood Village Deadwood Furbolgs
- While they have a lot of ranged/healer mobs, and a nasty -50% healing debuff, there are a lot of them in a very small area and they're quite squishy.
52-56 Felwood - Jadefire Run Jadefire Satyrs
- Usually grouped in 4s or 5s with one caster. Very squishy, and they drop Felcloth which sells fairly well on the AH. If you have a partner, watch for Jadefire Tricker that can mind control.
52-56 Felwood - Irontree Cavern Warpwood Treants
54-59 Western Plaguelands - Dalson's Tears Blighted Zombies, Rotting Cadavers and Skeletal Terrors
- Excellent for large pulls, however they have two diseases: a DoT, and a -4 Sta debuff, which are usually cast too often to dispel.
54-60 Felwood - Felpaw Village Deadwood Furbolgs
- Mostly melee with the occasional shaman. Fairly squishy, and good for Timbermaw rep if you want it.
54-58 Western Plaguelands - Northridge Lumber Camp Scarlet Lumberjacks
- Watch out for the lvl 59 Commander
57-60 Eastern Plaguelands - Northpass Tower Scourge Siege Engineers
- They're just east of the Northpass Tower, around the coords 61,22 (if you use cord-mods). They're all melee, and this spot is featured in the video below, in the Reference section, titled "AoE Paladin using the Force Reactive Disk".
- Large pulls, but low respawn rate. If you pull a knight, be sure to kill it first, as they heal.
- Some casters to avoid, but Berserkers duel-wield.
60-62 Hellfire Peninsula - Ravager Nest on path to Terokkar Ravagers
- Large clusters with fast attack speeds, will flee, perfect for AoE grinding.
- Avoid the burrowers as much as you can. Best way to do this is to stay on the rock cliffs as much as you can, and either pull with Avenger's shield or dodge around them when you pull the mobs.
- These things are amazing. You can find huge crowds of them, and when one dies others get pulled from a good ways away. You could literally have a ten or fifteen minute pull if you do this right.
65-68 Nagrand - Ancestral Grounds Fallen Orcs
- Tons of undead orcs with descent loot tables and crystals for the repeatable quest in hallaa for an easy 10k exp every 10 crystals.
68-70 Blade's Edge Mountains - Death's Door Demons
68-71 Howling Fjord - Just outside of Westguard Keep Shoveltusks. They wander around in close packs of 4-7 and only use melee. Need I say more?
70 Shadowmoon Valley Demon Hunter Supplicant
70-72 Howling Fjord - Baelgun's excavation site Inside the cave, two groups of 9 regular Dark Iron Dwarve spawn frequently.
72-74/5 Dragonblight - New Hearthglen Down on the beach there is a ship with dozens of melee mobs. Just off the ship are several smaller 6-10 pull groups which are easily grabable and not too difficult. Just watch out for the other faction doing their quests if on a PVP server, it can be a busy area.
74-76 Zul'Drak - Drakkari Warriors around several alters (which you give offerings to) Dozens of easy to kill melee warriors. Undead outside of the Argent Stand are also good since Holy Wrath can be used on the group.
Look for areas with few ranged attackers or casters. Look for dual-wielding humanoids if possible. Their faster attack rates will produce more Reckoning procs, hence more Seal of Light healing off the extra hits. Mobs that flee are also a plus, as they will continue to bring more mobs to the fight, allowing the fight to go on longer without having to repull.
- Retribution Aura
- Righteous Fury
- Blessing of Sanctuary
- Seal of Light or Seal of Wisdom
- Aggro 4-10 mobs (five or six is usually best)
- Holy Shield
With WotLK out, Paladins have received several new great buffs for AoE grinding. Blessing of Sanctuary will now restore mana when blocking, dodging or parrying. With faster hitting mobs (particularly ones that dual wield) this can often keep you full mana nearly all the time. Seal and Judgement of Light are preferable now unless mana gets very low. In addition, Holy Wrath, Avenger's Shield and Hammer of Wrath are now instant cast. Holy Wrath also stuns for a short time, perfect for those situations when you need to get in a quick heal.
With the change to casting only taking loss a maximum of 2 times from damage, self-healing has become much less labored, and has increased my personal ability to AoE grind from 10-12 mobs with little issue to being able to take nearly infinite.
Hammer of the Righteous is another new great thing, with a low cost and the ability to proc both seals and judgements, it is recommended to use as often as your mana allows.