The best Lost Ark Paladin builds are split between the two things the class is good at: buffing, and dealing a semi-decent amount of damage. Unlike Lost Ark's other support, the Bard, Paladins can only heal if built for it, and even then won't be able to spam healing in the traditional MMO way. Still, the help they provide means paladins are always popular in the matchmaking queue. You'll rarely have trouble finding a group when playing one.
As a warrior advanced class, the Paladin can be specced for damage as well. He's got that big sword for a reason, after all. Even a Paladin designed with support in mind won't have trouble leveling or taking on Chaos Dungeons solo, though the same can't be said for all of Lost Ark's repeatable activities—climbing the Tower as a Paladin is a total ballache.
The Paladin's identity gauge is called the piety meter, and it fills slowly on its own during combat, ticking up further every time you land a hit. Once it's full you can activate one of two identity skills, each enhancing one of the Paladin's two sides. Sacred Executioner makes you better at DPS, increasing the range and damage of all Punish skills, which is what the sword-swinging abilities are called. Holy Aura gives a damage boost to party members within its wide range, and with the right Lost Ark engraving (opens in new tab) becomes your main source of healing.
One downside to the Paladin is how important engravings are to making one really feel useful. If a Paladin is your main, you'll probably have a decent amount of engravings simply from doing sidequests as you level up to 50, but if you choose Paladin as an alt you'll be scrounging to find the engravings you need. Even when you do, that split focus means a Paladin's never going to be the best at either thing.
One advantage of being a Paladin not related to their abilities is that playing one makes you feel more like you actually belong in the story. Lost Ark's first continent sees you being chosen by an angel, fighting alongside a cleric and a king, and becoming a knight. It's classic Paladin stuff, and even the cutscene attacks seem designed for a sword—it sure looks weird when any of the ranged characters has to use their weapon to bash someone up-close for story reasons.
The best Lost Ark Paladin build: Blessed Aura or Judgment?
As with most of the Lost Ark classes (opens in new tab), the two viable builds are based on the two class engravings unique to the Paladin. Judgment increases the damage of all your Punish skills, piety meter gain, and the duration of the Sacred Executioner identity skill by 100%, while Blessed Aura changes the effect of the Holy Aura identity skill so that it reduces damage received and heals over time.
The argument for Judgment is that, while the Paladin is decently tanky, he'll struggle with some parts of Lost Ark you're expected to solo—that damn tower in particular. And Judgment doesn't need to prevent you from being a support as well, since by making your piety meter go up faster it can help you fire off Holy Aura more often when you're partied up.
Unlike other MMOs, Lost Ark doesn't have a bunch of dedicated healers whose job is just to stand at the back and keep everyone else in the fight. That means the healers it does have need to be played that way. If you pull up to a group with a Paladin who isn't rocking Blessed Aura, everyone's going to wonder what on earth you're up to. If you want to play a DPS character with a sword, the berserker is right there.
Blessed Aura is the best choice for a Paladin build, even if it can be kind of boring. Paladins are one of the most popular classes in Lost Ark, but they're also the class a lot of players seem to bounce off. If you're not playing them the way you're expected to, you're going to have a bad time.
That said, in the Korean version of Lost Ark, there's a whole tier of "ancient relic" endgame gear that's not available in the western version, and which makes DPS Paladin viable. Until that makes its way over here, play support, and use your second skill loadout for abilities that'll help you get through solo stuff.
An angel appears, lays a smackdown on anyone around you, and departs with a blessing that gives a 20% damage reduction. Heavenly Blessings is an attack, but it's also one of two buffs you'll be rotating between. At the first tripod take Faith for a piety meter boost, then Valor at the second to add an attack power boost for nearby party members. Heavenly Blessings is useful enough you'll want it in both loadouts, but take the mana recovery boost Absolute Blessing for the third tripod in your support loadout, and Heavenly Requiem to increase radius and damage in your solo loadout.
Wrath of God
Stick your sword in the air and call down lightning like you're He-Man with Wrath of God. Wide Thunderstroke and Faith for the first two tripods give it a bigger radius and another piety boost, then Express Fury for the third tripod means it also provides an attack power boost to party members. Sound familiar? It's the exact same buff as Heavenly Blessings with the Valor tripod. The downside is that the two don't stack, so instead you'll want to rotate between these, your two main buffs. Again, it's solid enough to use in both loadouts.
A zappy shockwave that's one of the few ranged attacks in the Paladin's arsenal, Light Shock does not have a long range, however. What makes it valuable is Light's Vestige, the second tripod, which means enemies hit by it take 10% extra damage from your pals. Take Swift Fingers as the first tripod to make sure it's quick, and Powerful Shock as the third tripod to double its damage, though even then it's mostly valuable for the debuff. This skill's for your support loadout only.
A satisfying skill to use, Godsent Law has you read the holy word so hard anyone who hears it gets crumped up in a ball of words. The first tripod, Shield, protects party members who happen to be in its radius, and the second, Brilliant Law, gives the same debuff as Light Shock with Light's Vestige. They don't stack, so alternate between the two skills to make sure bosses are always affected by one or the other. Grace for the third tripod adds a 70% reduction to incoming damage for party members. It's another support skill.
A big old barrier of holy light that gives a shield to anyone within it, Holy Protection is one of the support Paladin's best assets. Use it when you're beside a guardian to catch both the facetanking gunlancer and the backstabbing deathblade with it. First tripod Quick Pace adds a movement buff, but the real good stuff comes with second tripod Purify, which makes Holy Protection remove the last debuff suffered by anyone in range, and Vow of Light, which adds a small heal when it's deactivated.
A sword-swing that launches enemies upward, Executor's Sword has a combo if you hold down the key, adding a downward swing at the end. It can be used to counter bosses if you hit from the front while they do the blue glow that warns you a big attack's coming, and that makes it a Punish skill worth using in both loadouts. Quick Pace adds a move boost, Weak Point Enhancement adds destruction damage, and Executioner's Strike adds a third attack to the end of the combo.
Combining a forward thrust with a beam attack, Holy Sword is another counter worth having in both loadouts. The downside is that it's interruptible. Positioning reduces the charge-up time, Weak Point Detection increases the damage against push-immune bosses, and Condensed Energy narrows the beam while increasing damage by 120%. It's worth using in both loadouts, and solo this will be your elite-killer, especially if used after the identity skill Sacred Executioner to power it up.
A straightforward attack that, well, launches you straight forward. Charge gives you a second movement skill, and can be alternated with your dash to get around islands and run fetch quests faster. It'll also get you out of the way of area-of-effect attacks. Oh, you can hit people with it too. Take Excellent Mobility to add to its distance, and if you've got the spare points Shining Protection to give yourself a shield just in case you don't make it all the way out of an attack radius. Not worth taking to the third tripod, but useful enough for both loadouts.
That's enough to fill for your support loadout, but to round out your solo loadout you'll need a few extra. Execution of Justice lets you spin on the spot and sword anyone who comes close, while Holy Explosion gives you an area-of-effect attack. You could pick Light's Vestige as its second tripod, the same debuff as Light Shock and Godsent Law, and theoretically replace either in your support loadout.
For the last free slot, either go with Flash Thrust for an okay backstab, or Dash Slash for a sprint attack that'll give you another way to get around at a decent clip when dash and Charge are on cooldown.
The Paladin's Awakening abilities are Alithane's Light and Alithane's Judgment. Both see you leap into the air and go full anime on any poor saps beneath your holiness, but Alithane's Judgment combines that attack with a free barrier for your friends. While Alithane's Light does more stagger and might be worth switching to if you're having trouble passing a specific boss's stagger check, Alithane's Judgment is better for staying in your lane. Using an Awakening fills a big chunk of your piety meter, too, so don't be stingy with it.
When looking at accessories, the stats you want to prioritize are swiftness, then specialization. Swiftness makes you faster, but more importantly reduces cooldowns so you can keep buffs going. Specialization will help you get your identity skills firing.
The class engraving Blessed Aura is priority number one, and you'll want as much of it as you can get. Until you get a couple of levels' worth of Blessed Aura, support Paladins can feel incomplete. Unlike the Sorceress, the Paladin can run both class engravings at once if you want to be a hybrid by taking a single dip into Judgment as well.
The two combat engravings you want are Expert, which increases the value of your healing and shields, with an additional boost if you're helping someone at half-health, and Awakening, which will let you use Alithane's Judgment more often. If you find you're not tanky enough, Heavy Armor will keep you alive longer. When you're dead you're not healing anyone, after all. On your solo loadout, Spirit Absorption gives faster movement and attack speed and who doesn't want that?
The Wealth rune increases the amount your piety meter goes up when the skill you equip it on hits, so it's worth adding at least a couple of those. Protection adds a shield to mitigate damage when using skills with longer cast times, like Godsent Law and Holy Explosion. Quick Recharge adds a chance for all cooldowns to be reduced whenever the skill it's on is used, which will help get your buffs back online.
Wealth runes are most easily acquired from the stronghold merchant Tuleu, though you can also get them as rewards for collecting Giant's Hearts and Omnium Stars, and there's a chance the Tooki King on Tooki Island will drop one. Protection runes are rewards for collecting Island Souls or Omnium Stars, and can randomly drop from the field boss Adrinne on Phantomwing Island. Neither is easy to get, but unless you've got alts you might struggle the most finding Quick Recharge runes, which are exclusively found in the Tower, AKA Hell for Paladins, which has to be tackled solo and is a poor match for the class's abilities.