A class that is near and dear to my heart, the first class I ever played in world of Warcraft, and the class that I have the most alts of: the Paladin. Paladins are the melee/healer class of Wow. They can wear the heaviest armor in the game and have considerable talents for both healing and melee burst damage. They are also one the classes in Wow that receive a free mount (the others being warlock, death knight, and somewhat the druid).
Strengths: The paladin's biggest strength is survivability. Between plate armor and their ability to heal, paladins have arguably the most survivability of any class in the game. They also offer a "bubble" which makes them immune to damage for a period of time and only serves to increase their already considerable survivability. Specced correctly (there are a variety of ways to do this), they are also one of the most effective AOE grinding classes in tha game. This can be a very fast and efficient way to either get drops (marks, motes, whatever) or experience.
Weaknesses: the paladin has two major weaknesses: range and speed of killing. The paladin has very limited capability to pull from range or attack ranged mobs. Also, the speed and efficiency killing single mobs is severely lacking. AOE grinding improves this as generally three mobs can be killed in approximately the same time it takes to kill one. Still, single mobs will be frustrating, and/or inefficient compared to other classes.
Strengths: Paladins can be among the most valuable members in any group depending on their spec. They are the best multi-mob tank in the game, providing solid aggro generation to multiple mobs with solid mitigation. They can also be powerful single target healers with splash healing to other group members via talents and/or inscriptions. Specced for DPS they are capable of solid burst damage. They also have a wide variety of buffs to distribute which are helpful to everyone in the group
Weaknesses: Specced as holy their AOE healing is lacking. They lack mana regeneration to general aggro if they are not being directly attacked (for an off-tank role). They must be in melee range to DPS effectively. They are also relatively weak in crowd control abilities (they have a stun ability, but it is on a cooldown and may not be available when necessary).
Strengths: Again, survivability. Given their heavy armor, healing and mitigation abilities, paladins can be a very frustrating kill. They also can have strong damage reflection abilities if protection specc'd so warriors will have a tough time taking them down.
Weaknesses: Very weak against ranged damage. No ranged attack abilities to speak of, no ability to slow down or stop fleeing opponents apart from stun. Very weak against fear and CC abilities. Unfortunately for most classes in the game, paladins are a big target and although frustrating, an easy kill. The lone exception is full retribution whose burst damage makes them dangerous.
Protection: This is the Paladin tanking spec. It offers considerable buffs to stamina and armor. It also allows the paladin to be aomng the best AOE grinders in the game. From a solo or group PvE standpoint this is a very strong choice whose only weaknesses are in PvP and lack of burst damage.
Holy: This is a powerful single target healing spec. This spec also allows for some burst damage at the cost of efficiency and AOE grinding although not as effectively as protection. This is a very good spec for group PvE, given the current state of Wow, healers are in extremely high demand. Also fairly weak in PvP outside of Arena.
Retribution: Powerful burst DPS, this spec removes the slow killing weakness of the other paladin specs at the cost of true healing and tanking ability. This spec also inscreases the classes already present stun ability. While this class is capable of generating considerable aggro to fill a tanking role in an emergency, it is not a good selection as either a tank or healer.
The paladin is one of the true hybrid classes in Wow able to fill tank, healer, or DPS roles capably. If you are looking for a class to play that can contribute to a group or solo grind, this is a great class. Beware PvP servers though as the main weakness of this class is in PvP.
Mid Afternoon Quickie
8 months ago