SO YOU WANT TO PLAY A PALADIN
1. The Basics
5. Laconic Guide (TL,DR!)
What's a paladin? In short, a member of a knightly order which combines knowledge of how to call upon the Light and martial capability. That's the fundamental thing all paladins are going to have in common; if your character doesn't know how to fight, then you have a priest, not a paladin, and if your character never uses the Light, he's a warrior, not a paladin. All paladins are going to have a mixture of soldierly training and academic study under their belts. (There's a reason the paladin Relic is a book!)
Past that, things are actually pretty diverse. One of the best things about Warcraft paladins is the range of things you can do with them; the archetype isn't nearly as restricted as it is in some settings. In this guide, we'll cover some of the things you'll need to know about paladins in order to competantly play one, including how the various races feel about their paladins, the orders that give Warcraft paladins their distinctive flavor, and some suggestions for archetypes.
Naturally, you should take what you like from this and play with it; the archetypes I describe here are just that, archetypes.
All paladins have an inextricable connection with the Light; no Light, no paladin. We'll get into how individual paladins and orders might view their relationship with the Light in a moment, but first, let's get up to speed on what the Light is, generally speaking.
The Light is an energy source in the Warcraft Universe, along with other sources such as the Arcane, the Fel, and the Elements. The thing it does best is healing; of the other power sources, the only one that seems to come close is the rejuvenating power of Nature itself. The Light can be used offensively, but in comparison to other schools of magic, it has shortcomings: either you need to channel it through a weapon (essentially using the Light to bolster your own physical skills) in the way Retribution paladins do, it only works to the fullest against specific sorts of "unholy" foes (spells like Exorcism and Turn Evil), or it simply isn't as powerful as other schools (which is why DPS priests spec shadow. ) So in your RP, when you're thinking of things the Light can do, just remember that primarily it's a defensive and healing energy; you probably aren't going to incinerate someone with a ball of Light unless they're a demon or something.
Paladins tend to put a lot of philosophical baggage of one sort or another on the Light; whether that stuff is actually intrinsic to the energy is an open question, because we see a lot of people using the Light who don't follow the Three Virtues that the Church of Holy Light subscribes to at all. As best as we can tell, the Light only works for people who believe it should work for them. Whether that's a religious conviction or a conviction that it's "just energy that can be mastered by anyone," you have to actively believe you deserve to wield the Light to use it. In that sense, you can "fall" as a paladin in Warcraft, but only if you believe you truly don't deserve the power any longer.
We also know that the Light is specifically harmful against undead and demons, as mentioned above. It can be used to heal them, but the energy is so antithetical to these creatures that even healing feels like an incredible pain.