I'm sure other players, especially those who are highly invested in a paladin, would argue differently. Just consider, though, well-geared highly-AA'd shadowknights can solo practically any mob in the game that CAN be solo'd. That can hardly be said of paladins. And in group or raid situations, again with the exception MAYBE of some highly specialized encounters, SKs (and warriors) have it all over paladins.
Heck, I'd love to hear some reasoned arguments in favor of pallies---enlighten me...anyone?
There are all different types of players in EQ as well as play styles. I'm a casual player who enjoys the journey instead of racing to the "end game." My preferred play style is solo or with one or two friends. I'm allergic to raids and statistics about what weapon has the best whatevermabobs make my eyes blur and head spin.
When I first began EQ in 1999 I knew nothing about MMORPGs so I read the descriptions of the various races and classes. I liked the idea of playing an elf and, since there was a choice, of course I wanted to be a "high" one - not having the slightest idea what that meant; it just sounded good. lol
After reading the classes available to a High Elf I chose Paladin solely because the description was close to my RL belief system. Again, I had no earthly idea what a Paladin did really, nor the pluses/minuses of playing one. I just felt "sympatico" with the class.
Around level 26 when my Paladin was crawling along, weighted down by her heavy armor and extraneous coin and spending a small fortunes on SoWs, I created a Woodelf Druid who became my main.
Fast forward to the present. I am very satisfied with my two EQ characters and have never regretted either choice. The Druid is now level 80 and working on AAs. The Paladin is level 60 and just obtained her first Holy Steed.
I play what I enjoy and would personally never choose a race/class solely based on how "powerful" it is. Your mileage may vary.