Latest Patch Notes
Let the caterwalling, cheering, and "Blizzard caves to the QQers" commence. Sacred Shield is back to normal, with the HOT component being moved to the Holy Tree. Lay on Hands applies Forbearance now, and works like our bubbles in that regard. DI is down to a 10 minute CD, and Aura Mastery is down to six seconds.
Sacred Shield/Flash of Light
Let's cut to the big boy first and get it out of the way. Blizzard is 'this close' to getting this right I think. It's not the HoT that is saving folks. In an arena or healing situation that HOT is often overwritten. Although when you drop a 10k FoL crit on someone in an arena as holprot, that HoT does buy you some breathing room. As ret it's slightly better, as you're generally only hitting it when Art of War procs, and exorcism is on CD. The overall damage absorbed by the SS, and health applied by the HoT balances fairly well with the "well everything is on CD, now what" that occurs in ret PvP.
The real problem is the crit. A 50% additional chance to Crit while SS is up (the shield, not the buff), which in PvP is nearly always (at least every 6sec with the inner CD). Now we're looking at some real healing burst. If this part of the SS was moved to the Holy tree, you'd keep the shield/heal part of ret PvP, shield of Prot PvE, and move the healing more into the Holy tree. I think we'll probably see this in the next round of patch notes - but I'm not going to put money on it.
Lay on Hands
I'm mixed on this one. Sure, I use LoH as part of my tank CD set - and it probably saved our Tribute to Insanity run last night (more on that later) - but then again, maybe it didn't. Blizzard has already tried to increase the Holy nature of this spell by adding a damage reduction to the talent. Unfortunately, it doesn't measure up well when you stack it against 3/3 Imp Concentration Aura, or Imp BoW. The 11 min CD still means it's a once a fight shot, though still a nice bump.
So now in an attempt to remove the issue of a 'double reset' - wherein a Paladin can essentially reset a fight twice by using Divine Shield and/or Lay on Hands, LoH causes Forbearance. This is a clunky fix IMO, we saw this before with Avenger's Wrath and DS/DP/HoP. I don't think this will go live, unless we also see a CD on the LoH ability (yeah, that'll go over well).
This is also really only an issue for Paladin tanks, which pushes more healing into the Holy tree (see the pattern?). No other tank will be affected by Forbearance, unless it's one of those instances where I HoP our druid tank to drop a bleed or something.
Paladin tanks already have what is arguably the single most OP tank save ever. I love it though, and I love that so many of the saves are different yet the same.
Do I hate this change for what it will do to me in PvP? Sure. It means I can't buy those extra few seconds of time while my pocket healers get to me in WSG. Of course no other flag runner can do this - so it works out in the end. Besides, in my experience if they are tapping on me hard enough that I need LoH, odds are I'm in real trouble anyway.
The change to LoH is clunky at best, and I don't think it will go live. I'm waiting to hit the forums until I get this post out though. I think SS will get tweaked a little more before live, though I think Blizzard is on the right track with moving more of the healing to Holy, and leaving the base mitigation on us. To be honest though, even on our Tribute to Insanity run last night - I use SS on our Arcane mage more than I use it on myself now. The bump to his DPS outweighs the slight damage reduction I receive, considering the heals that are dumping my way.