I was browsing the PTR forums as usual and ended up spinning an idea into something that I think could work well to help address some of the survival issues of Ret (and Prot) in PVP. The post is here but I wanted to run it by you folks to see if I was totally off my rocker, or if this would be desirable to you.
Unless you're a Holy Paladin, Divine Shield aka Bubble is largely useless, at least in PVP. Let me say that I play as Prot with a Ret OS, and I still find tons of uses for it in PVE as prot and ret, but outside of the PVE world it's largely useless. It's an antiquated ability that's somehow hung on for 8 years and drug the class down each expansion. It's been nerfed over and over, and become easier to counter, all while still being a cornerstone that the class is "balanced" around.
The fact that Holy can heal to full inside a bubble makes it "OP" to 1300 players. Any meaningful PVP sees bubble/HoP dispel'd nearly instantly. Even if you're facing a team that can't dispel it, as a ret you can heal for MAYBE 75k (2 FoL's) before OOM inside the bubble. Bubble works great for Holy, and I'd like to leave it in for them, but it really falls short for Prot/Ret.
What I wouldn't give to have a REAL defensive CD as Ret. What I wouldn't give to be able to use an iconic ability as Prot without dropping the flag. Bubble has been holding the class back in terms of balance, as you admitted to with the "we want to move away from full immunity abilities" comments. Well, here's a way to do just that...
My suggestion is this:
Create a glyph that replaces Divine Shield as a cooldown with something remiscent of Cata's Sacred Shield.
Glyph of Divine Shielding: Passive; when an attack reduces your health below X% max health, you gain an absorb shield equal to Y% of your AP/SP, and healing received while shielded is increased by Z%, lasting for W seconds, or until the shield is consumed. Replaces Divine Shield. ICD of 90-120 sec.
This would give an actual PVP defensive for ret/prot. This would be a meaningful choice that alters a key and functional ability of the class. This would be an interesting and situationally useful Glyph (in a sea of ones that are not).
You could make it so that the max value of the shield is capped at some amount (to prevent Vengeance cheesing in PVE), but this would make for an amazing CHOICE ability for the non-Holy folks out there. Intelligent use of WOG/FoL during the shield allows for recovery after being trained. Obviously, W, X, Y, and Z are knobs you can turn to tune the strength of this, but I'd strongly request that the effect be undispellable to make it usable/functional as intended in PVP. You could even keep the "reduced damage by 50% while effect is active" penalty and Forbearance proc if you want. We just want options.
Any thoughts or feelings? Would you use this option, and if so, as what spec and in what situations?