Basic guide for hardcore Paladin.
Stat Allocation and Item Gearing
Dump everything into attack.
Attack is the only percent based stat you get, and therefore the only stat worth dumping your points into.
- Attack: +5% damage (+500% @ 100)
- Vitality: +45 HP. (4500 hp @ 100)
- Grit: +5 armor. (500 armor @ 100)
- Vigor: +2 All Resist (200 Resist @ 100)
At level 70, I have roughly 9k HP and 15000 armor. If I were to dump all of my points into HP or grit, that's only a +50% HP boost or a measly 3% armor boost (not entirely true, since I'm using %armor increases but it's still negligible). Late game armor nets you about +100 All Resist by itself, can be boosted by 2x Resist Rings (which I use as needed to hit 100%), and any vigor item boosts.
Always gear for +vigor as needed to hit 100% resist of the mobs you're fighting. As a melee character, you can't rely on the Reverse Fate ancient item since you take too many hits for it to matter.
After you've gotten your vigor to 100%, the next priorities would be anything with flat or dynamic HP increases, and then crit+ or magic damage+.
Magic damage stunning and cleaving weapons are your bread and butter here, and magic damage %+ items are the best. This will allow you to ignore the armor penetration stat completely and do some serious damage with your aura.
Since the Paladin receives 5 ancient items, you really only have one extra slot in a hardcore playthrough unless you want to forego Blessed Gloves or Tome of Atonement.
The following ancient items are absolutely crucial to surviving on hardcore:
- Pureboots - 1 second CD long range dash and purify.
- Bracers of Justice - 3 second CD, 1 second invulnerability and x2 attack.
These three ancient items are all you really need. Bracers of Justice WILL pull everything to you, so a cleaving weapon is preferred vs trash mobs. if you can murder everything in one second, you won't take any damage at all. Pureboots is just an excellent way to get around, and save your life if you get into trouble.
Nice to haves:
- Divine Bulwark - Increases your armor by 120% at max vs purified enemies. Also, provides minor healing on kill.
- Tome of Atonement - Adds a 1250 damage (max level) magic aura around you that also purifies all enemies hit.
- Blessed Gloves - Instant heal/cleanse and 3s invulnerability on a 50s (max level) cooldown.
Honestly, you can drop blessed gloves if you're certain you won't die but the 3s invulnerability window is excellent for when Bracers are on cooldown and ♥♥♥ hits the fine. You can also drop divine bulwark late game, when you have enough armor and crit healing to support yourself. Until then, it's a great ancient item to keep around to heal through trash mobs and from adds during boss fights.
The tome of atonement is nice, but it takes 1 second to get a hit off and only applies damage every second afterwards. Most of your damage probably won't come from this skill, unless your cheesing mobs around walls. The real benefit here is that it applies purify to everything it heats, synergizing well with Divine Bulwark and your passive.
Must Have Generic Items:
- Deadly Nimble - This is a must have once you can guarantee a crit every 3s (around 20% or higher is good). The 50% dodge gain is just too important to miss out on.
Recommended Generic Items:
- Tabard of Air (situational) - Decent for fighting flying bosses. I don't generally run a concussive weapon so this could help out but as soon as you max out your pureboots it isn't really necessary anymore since you can almost keep up with anything in the air by dashing and then double jumping.
- The Barrier - This ancient item might save your life. Maybe. I'm unsure if it procs if you take 100%+ damage in one hit but it's great if you ever drop low by accident and it has a relatively short cooldown.
- The Enduring Harp - +20 (+rank) resistance. Useful if you haven't hit max resistance.
Most other ancient items have some use in your kit, so feel free to experiment.
Trash Tier Ancient Items:
- All of the damage+ ancient items. +30% is not a good use of a slot. The percentage increase isn't nearly enough.
Playing a paladin is fairly straightforward.
On hardcore, you want to be extremely careful until you at least have all of your ancient items. Prioritize maxing bracers and pureboots first.
Against trash mobs you'll pureboots in, hit bracers every time it's off cooldown and swing your cleaving weapon until everything is dead. Pureboots again to escape if necessary.
Against bosses, save your bracers for large hits (generally, most of the bosses will stop moving for a second before doing some sort of high damage laser attack. At this point, you'll want to cast bracers to make sure you take zero damage from it if you get hit, and try to get away from the boss with pureboots. Run the highest damage (and fast, devastating weapons suck) you have, usually a bashing or a non-specific type 2h.
For example, if you are hit by all the lasers because you are standing on the first boss in nightmare+ difficulty, you'll most likely die instantly. Try to position yourself away from the center of the bosses, so that you won't get hit by every single beam that pops out should you fail to cast bracers or get away.