One of the coolest parts of playing a Blood Elf Paladin in World of Warcraft is the nickname, Belfadin. Since starting my Belfadin I've received a few different tells asking me how I liked my Belfadin. One from a new player that was watching me destroy Silver Pine forest and one from a friend. My response: "I love my Belfadin."
My Belfadin is now a ripe level of 24. I know, absolutely burning through the levels. One of the most satisfying parts of playing a Paladin is the fact that it is really tough to die. A player literally has to give up control and go AFK for a Paladin to die. The only times I've died are in situations where I was really pushing my luck, like attempting to solo a level 20 elite at level 19 or attempting to ninja mushrooms in front of level 27+ NPCs at level 22.
The "oh shit" buttons built into the class are insane and really let a paladin test the waters of any situation.
Lay on Hands - Instant full heal
Divine Intervention - Invincible for a few seconds, easily able to heal to full
Blessing of Protection - Immune to melee attacks
Blessing of Freedom - Remove any movement impairing effects
Pursuit of Justice - +15% run speed talent, which I like to use in a "stun and run" fashion with Hammer of Justice (stun)
All of this, minus Pursuit of Justice, available to the base class. It really makes me wonder what the hell Blizzard was smoking when they designed Shamans. Originally, Shamans were Horde exclusive and Paladins were Alliance exclusive. It is painfully obvious to me, after just 24 levels, why there has always been more Paladins in the game than Shamans.
With The Burning Crusade, Paladins and Shamans became available to both sides. Paladins quickly trumped the number of active Shamans on the Horde side, while Alliance Shamans remained almost non-existent. The Paladin is just a better designed class, with great features available to players REGARDLESS OF TALENT SPEC!
Paladins are better healers and should Retribution ever get the buff Blizzard has promised, better melee DPS than any Shaman could ever hope to be. Not to mention Paladins can easily spec protection and become a tank, something Shamans will never be able to do. I firmly believe this is because the underlying, base class is far superior to Shamans.
The base of Shamans are Totems and Weapon Buffs, but the best totems and buffs are not available until they are enhanced via mid-to-late level talents. PLUS, to get the REQUIRED +30 yards to range for Totems, Shamans need to spec into the Restoration a little bit. Imagine if Paladin's had to spec into talent trees to unlock any one of the "oh shit" buttons mentioned before AND THEN had to spec into ANOTHER tree to get something like Lay on Hands.
Yes, I am bitter about the way Shamans have been treated by Blizzard. The Totem mechanic has been proven to be flawed since the game launched, but Blizzard has done almost nothing to change the system. Other classes have been completely reworked and overly buffed (Warrior, Warlock), while Shamans have sat idle watching their talent trees and skills get nerfed into mediocrity.
If a flawed Totem system wasn't enough, Shaman weapon buffs have been three quarters useless since the first Shaman dinged 60. To this day, it is Windfury or go home. Sure, Flame Tongue can somewhat compete when a vastly superior, fast OffHand weapon is available instead of a slower one, but in the current WoW, a slow OffHand weapon is not that hard to find. Rockbiter and Frostbrand are NEVER used once Windfury is unlocked and only serve as a filler buff for leveling. Blizzard should just give Windfury at level one to all Shamans, so they get a feel for it before the later levels. It makes no sense to provide a BASIC CLASS MECHANIC that will not follow a class all the way max level.
Shame Blizzard, shame.