As many of you are already painfully aware, Blizzard implemented a stealth hotfix to Paladin healing earlier today. I say stealth nerf, because it was implemented on the server side, and wasn't included in the hotfix notes. It was a hotfix, because the tooltips weren't changed (clientside), and tooltips have to be done in all the languages that Blizzard supports. Neth didn't come forth with all the specifics of the changes, but here's the long and the short of the situation. It also seems that this hotfix went into play in the middle of some folks runs, as a hotfix is wont to do. Imagine being in the middle of a raid, and suddenly the mechanic you're depending on doesn't work any more. Sry:(
Some Paladins (and I'm not naming names), were using the Tower of Radience mechanics to simply spam Holy Light on the beaconed target, and then get a 3 HP Light of Dawn AoE on the raid. Now, while this wasn't a huge issue in and of itself, the problem was that Beacon of Light was transferring all of the LoD healing to the beaconed target. Since BoL still counts overhealing, this was resulting in some fairly large healing being done, for little to no mana cost. Continued use of this mechanic would quickly see Paladins stacking Haste and SP again, with no regard for regeneration or crt. This simply bypasses the intended mechanic that we use multiple spells and have to make a choice when healing.
While this mechanic may not be as viable in 5 mans, in a raid situation you can see where this would quickly get out of hand. During my first (and only so far) heroic 5 man, I regularly found myself charging my HP using this method, instead of worrying about a cool down on Holy Shock, or the more mana intensive spells. While I haven't had an opportunity to play since the fix was implemented, I am sure it will have an effect on my healing. I was counting on the free heals generated by my Holy Power, not because they were free, but because they were instant.
My proposed fix
I think Blizzard knee jerked too hard on this. Not only did they reduce the healing done by WoG, they reduced the healing done by LoD and (more importantly) removed the generation of Holy Power from ToR. While this will fix the problem, I think just removing the transfer of healing from our AoE heals would be enough. Anyone who's ever looked at a log report has seen multiple BoL healing lines, because each heal has its own corresponding spell code for BoL. By removing this aspect of the spell, you reduce the impact of free HP from ToR. Then after a week or so, you can dial it down again if you need to. I'd rather have three small nerfs trying to reach the goal, than one giant one that shoots past it.
In the end though, I don't think it will be a make/break for the class. Paladins will adjust to the change, and continue onward. I imagine that only a small percentage of Healadins were actually in heroic/raid content, the area where this really matters. I do so enjoy reading the QQ and the flames though. I will confess that while the healing was stressful in the 5man I did, it was really a lot of fun again. I was having to make decions about who to heal and when, and I actually had to watch my mana bar. DP is still fairly broken imo, but it's what we have, and judgement's are still a good source of mana return.
And hey, at least we're not praying for enough HP to up our DPS and keep our mastery fed like our Ret brothers are. Talk about a hit to DPS if you miss that narrow buff window.