PvE Retribution Paladin Best Races

wotlk classic pve retribution paladin best races featured image
  • Author: Pride
  • Date: September 20, 2022
  • Updated: September 20, 2022
  • Expansion: WotLK Classic

In Wrath of the Lich King, Paladins are available for only a few select races. Specifically, for the Alliance, Humans, Dwarves and Draenei can be Paladins. Meanwhile, only Blood Elves can be Horde Paladins.

Thankfully, race doesn’t matter too much for Retribution Paladins. Some races have a minor advantage, but overall, you will do okay as any race — so pick whichever race looks coolest to you, would be our advice.

Wow Horde CrestHorde

Wow Blood Elf CrestBlood Elf is the only available race for Paladins in the Horde, and thus the best race by default. The rule that being the best by default isn’t a great situation sadly applies here, as Wow Blood Elf CrestBlood Elf racials are overall pretty weak, largely being more useful in PvP than in PvE.

Barbie might not evoke images of a crusader in most people’s minds, but female Blood Elf Paladins are an incredibly common sight — a fan-favourite race-gender-class combination, undoubtedly inspired by the legendary Lady Liadrin. Their racials aren’t all that good, being better suited for PvP than PvE, but if we’re being honest for a moment here, a lot of people would pick Blood Elf for the aesthetics alone!

  • Arcane Torrent is an-use racial with a 2 minute cooldown, which silences all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds, while also restoring 6% of your total mana. The mana regeneration component is not bad, and the AoE silence / interrupt component can help in a pinch — though it will generally be more useful in dungeons than raids, as many raid enemies (including bosses) are immune to silence.
  • Magic Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Magic spells by 2%. This essentially combines all of the various Resistance-type racials out there, making it surprisingly flexible. Still, its benefit is mostly neglectable in PvE, while being alright in PvP.
  • Arcane Affinity increases your initial and maximum Enchanting skill by 15. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance

All 3 Alliance races are great picks for a Retribution Paladin. It could be argued that Wow Human Crest Human is the slightly better option, thanks to their Sword Specialization & Mace Specialization racials increasing their expertise by 3 when using swords or maces. Every Man for Himself is also surprisingly useful for a melee DPS spec, as we get hit by CC a lot more often than we’d like to. However, all 3 races offer unique benefits that are handy but not incredibly useful, so the choice here is not as impactful as it is for other classes and specs.

It’s no surprise that most people consider Human the best race for Paladins, as some of the most iconic characters in the Warcraft lore have been Human Paladins: Turalyon, Uther the Lightbringer and Tirion Fordring, just to name a few. Humans have very useful racials that will improve your performance, while also looking very cool to boot!

  • Sword Specialization & Mace Specialization increase your expertise by 3 when using swords or maces. This is lower than the 5 expertise that Dwarves get with their equivalent racial, but you have more versatility in picking different weapon types, while Dwarves are generally forced into using maces, which isn’t ideal. Having said that, the best weapons in the game tend to be axes so unfortunately this race isn’t the most impactful either, as you completely lose its great benefit when you finally get those amazing axes. On the plus side, Ret Paladins get a massive +10 expertise for free thanks to the Glyph of Seal of Vengeance, so we aren’t as desperate for expertise as some other specs are.
  • Every Man for Himself is a crowd-control removal ability just like the Undead race, but this one has universal applicability. It is useful in PvE scenarios but has much more use in a PvP encounter, where Humans are typically considered the strongest race in the game. It is particularly useful as a melee DPS spec, as you’re frequently afflicted with crowd control effects, and being able to break them on your own without requiring a dispel from the healers is undoubtedly a very useful tool.
  • Perception passively increases your stealth detection level by a small amount. Since there aren’t a lot of stealthed mobs in PvE, this benefit is largely not too useful.
  • Diplomacy increases the rate at which you gain reputation by 10%, a major boost for your reputation grind. Whilst a beneficial quality of life racial, it doesn’t impact actual gameplay.
  • The Human Spirit increases your spirit by 3%. This is unfortunately nearly useless for Retribution Paladins.

Draenei have long been intertwined with the Light; it’s no coincidence that one of the main characters in the Burning Crusade’s launch trailer was a male Draenei Paladin. Their racials unfortunately aren’t as powerful for you individually, but they’re incredibly handy for boosting your raid, with raids requiring a minimum of 5 Draenei so as to have the Heroic Presence buff on every party. As Retribution Paladins don’t need as much expertise as other melee do, they don’t benefit as much from the other races’ traits, so you could be a team player and go Draenei — though ideally you’ll want your casters or healers to take this slot.

  • Heroic Presence increases the chance to hit with spells and physical attacks by 1% for you and all party members within 30 yards. Every single DPS group will want to have at least 1 Draenei for this powerful buff, meaning your raid needs 5 Draenei in total. Those 5 Draenei will ideally be casters or healers, as they don’t gain much of a benefit from any of the other races — but it’s not the worst thing in the world for you as a Ret Paladin to go Draenei for this important buff, given our spec’s focus on buffing others anyway.
  • Gift of the Naaru places a heal-over-time effect on a single target that lasts 15 seconds, with a 3-minute cooldown. The healing effect scales with spell power, so it can do a modest amount of healing, but it generally won’t compare to our regular healing with The Art of War anyway.
  • Shadow Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
  • Gemcutting increases your initial and maximum Jewelcrafting skill by 5. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.

The iconic WoW poem “I’m a little Paladin, short and stout…” was written for the equally iconic Dwarf Paladins — an iconic race / class combination, second only to Human Paladins. Dwarves are unfortunately a slightly inferior version of Humans, as their expertise-boosting racial (despite offering more expertise than the Human equivalent) only works with maces equipped, and there aren’t a whole lot of great maces in WotLK. This isn’t a major weakness by any means though, as it allows you to pick up all of those typically undesirable maces that’d go unused — a handy little benefit.

  • Mace Specialization increases your expertise by 5 when using maces. Most of the strongest weapons you could use tend to be axes and swords, making this racial better on paper than it is in practice. Regardless, it is incredibly powerful if you’re using maces, and it allows you to pick up all of the two-handed maces that your other 2H users don’t want, which is very nifty.
  • Stoneform is an on-use spell that gives you +10% increased armor for 8 seconds and removing all poison, disease and bleed effects, on a 2-minute cooldown. This racial is neat, as it can get rid of otherwise undispellable bleed effects, but as Paladins we can already dispel poisons and diseases so it’s unfortunately not as useful as it is for our Protection brothers, as we typically don’t care for the armor buff.
  • Frost Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Frost spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
  • Find Treasure is a very cool racial from a roleplay point of view, allowing you to see treasure on the minimap. This is very fun to use while questing and leveling up, but it unfortunately has 0 relevance in raids.
  • Gun Specialization increases your critical strike chance with guns by 1%. This racial effect is entirely useless for Paladins, as we cannot use guns.


About the Author


Classic WoW is my jam, with a passion for PvP. Most know me as Baranor, the ret paladin guy, but I'm secretly a druid main, don't tell anyone. In my free time I play Switch games, particularly JRPGs. Some day I'll be making my own games and I humbly hope you play those too!
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7 months ago

neglectable = *negligible*, awesome guide!

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