Trying (and not doubt failing, since I am a 10 year MMO player and 30+ year computer gamer) to put myself into the shoes of a new player and leveling a dwarf paladin from 1 to 8 left me distinctly unimpressed. Paladins are about as interactive as Farmville. Paladin powers are as bad as hunter’s 1-10—when hunters have no pets.
Level 1 starts a paladin with auto attack and…heal! Not needed at all 1-5 when the mobs aren’t agro, I have no AE attacks and we still have the massive HP and mana regen power. Level 2 got me devotion aura—something I have cast once so far, as I haven’t died. It was cast out of combat at that.
As a quick side note, I dinged 2 before I even completed my first wolf quest and had 0 copper. I couldn’t have trained had I gone back to the trainer. 3 and 4 came on nearly as quickly—in a way that I think would have left me slightly disoriented and thinking the effort to level was too easy. Adding to the out of control feeling I had was that some quests were auto-accepting. I had no clue if I still needed to read the quest text, or what the heck was going on. I know I ran out of coin at least 2 more times before 8th.
Level 4 got me 2 powers, Judgment—which I don’t recall here at work—and—the 50% shield wall type ability. Judgment, 1-8, looks like a second button to push in combat, but you would be wrong. You can, and should start your attack with judgment, but that turns on auto attack. Most 1-6 mobs are dead before the 8 second cool down is up, so there isn’t even a second button to push (or decision to be made) in combat.
Here, economically I am barely making it. There are very few small bag drops for the Alliance, and I certainly don’t have the coin to spend before on some extra bag space. Once I learned blacksmithing and was running around with quest items, it wasn’t unusual for me to leave the in with 5—or fewer!-- open bag spots.
The culmination of Anvilmar used to be a big, dangerous confusing cave with a named troll in the back. The mobs, at least for non-peak use conditions, are closely packed, social and, IIRC, have some casters mixed in. Getting the book at 5th or 6th was a non-trivial task—and the first real hurtle a player had to cross.
Now that the cave is non-agro, its just a big, confusing, boring cave that has no risk it. You find Waldo, bonk him on his head, while his non-aggro guards watch, and you leave. While the whole confusing/dangerous cave is problematical (and the comments can equally apply to the orc/troll starting cave, and maybe even the first night elf cave quests) the big, confusing, boring cave is even worse.
By 8th level I finally learned a second ability I might be able to use in combat—the paladin stun. Only to find its on a one minute cool down. I think, after training 8th, I would have strongly considered walking away. I have 2 ways to start auto-attacking, and if the fight goes long I might be able to hit one of those buttons again. Once every 4 or 5 fights I can hit an extra button for a stun.
Sid Meier said that a good game is a series of interesting decisions. The first 8 levels of being a paladin misses making almost any decisions at all.