It's no new revelation that tossing on Seal of Wisdom and smacking a boss around between heals is a great way to get mana back during an intense fight. This was my preferred method of mana regeneration when we were first doing fights like XT and Razorscale - just take those few moments of down time to smack the boss once or twice. At 4% max mana returned per hit, it doesn't take long to fill that bar back up.
This has been mentioned a few times as a 'secret' way to get mana back, and there's this hope that maybe GC and the team haven't figured out this little gem yet and that's why it hasn't been nerfed. I suppose it's possible, but I have a different theory.
So every class has some form of tool at their disposal to regen mana outside of replenishment or pots. Shamans have water shield, druids have innervate and the mana return of Life Bloom (yes, I know it's only there to compensate for the high cost and to keep you from rolling LB), priests have something else (this isn't a priest blog - so forgive my ignorance). My point though is that everyone has something they can use to return mana back.
This may just be our tool.
Illumination and high replenishment made it too easy. There was no decision or choice made, you simply dropped bombs like you were Schwarzkoph in Bagdahd, without a care in the world. Even the 50% debuff caused by Divine Plea could be offset by wings, or simply eaten if you timed it right (phase changes on Mimiron?). Paladins were literally a 2 button class, with very little thought into our healing.
Now with 3.2, a whole new world is forced upon us. 30% return on crits and a reduced replenishment (plus less Int overall) has pushed us more towards a FoL spam with HL thrown in for those Oh Novos! moments. This of course leads to the problem that without Lights Grace up, you're still looking at a near 2 sec cast. Casting back to back 1 sec FoLs may be better still - especially if your Holy Shock is up. Plus with BoL using all overheals, you can pop FoL with reckless abandon.
There's still the nagging problem of mana though, especially if you get into a situation where you have to rock the Holy Lights. I did some healing in ToC 25 this weekend, and I noticed the same thing I've seen before. Most, if not all, bosses have time where you can get in some melee without a huge risk to the tank. Especially if you coordinate with your other healers.
This is the 'choice' tool we've been given though. Much like a warlock who can stop DPSing for a GCD to lifetap, we can stop healing for a moment to get a few swings off. As long as the tank is topped, there isn't a lot that will instagib him, and those few seconds of melee can return a lot of mana. It's a juggling act though - you have to time it between boss abilities, interrupts, and the risk of your tank getting folded while you wind up your casting again.
Like I thought before, this isn't the end of Paladin healing, and tanking right now is just plain awesome. Ret is in a good place as well, and overall I think that the paladin class is doing well - at least in PvE. PvP is a whole other can of worms.
Oh yeah, nothing swells your epeen like being called a 'God of tanking" by some guild you joined for a PuG Naxx run. When the MT died to something (I think chain Iceblocks), tank #2 tied to I don't know what, I gathered up KT and then his four adds and managed to hold on until we could finish the fight. Of course we all know that it was a combination of several things that made it possible. 1) the dumb people were already dead, 2) with no OTs I was getting all the heals available, and 3) I'm in mostly 226 gear with some 232 stuff thrown in.
But hey, who am I to deny it? It's old school tanking all over for me. Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to run with the healers to back it up.
Get off the table Pepy!