(I would first start by appologizing for my poor English skills as it is not my mother tongue, but my thoughts will enventually be more understood than in French).
That said, I can see a lot of buzz going on in different class-forums regarding holy paladins.
As I were not given any beta-testing ability, I would still like to express my point-of-view, from an "outside" look.
As a PVE holy paladin, regarding TBC, I was quite frustrated regarding several parts of my gameplay, and I am happy to see that most of them have found a work-around in wotlk:
-concern #1 : My healing arsenal was quite limited, this was especially obvious in 5-men instances where, in some situations, I was frankly unable to maintain a whole group alive, which is quite frustrating.
This came to a point where I did not set foot in several instances where I knew I would suffer some much that it were not fun at all.
As I can understand, this aspect has been taken into account (as reported by several blue posts).
This should be covered by a wise use of our new spell abilities, even though this looks a bit unclear to me at that point.
As said by many, a brand new group heal spell would be appreciated, and would address our #1 problem at the moment. I love paladins beeing a bit different from other healing classes. I have funny ideas regarding the way this could be addressed, but I would'nt want to be flamed here [for example, a super judgment of light that would instantly provide health / mana to the raid).
-concern #2 : Mana control. As it is mainly based on crits, it is not completly possible to handle the way we regenerate our mana. We became specialists at using downranking and potion-CDs since we had control over that part and it could be wisely mastered.
Regarding class interactions, we could only rely on SPs as druids innervs are not effective on us and our wisdom judgements.
=> as I can understand, this is not possible anymore. A counterpart for that seems to be divine plea, which seems quite nice as it appears to replace the combination of potions (which now have a one-use restriction per fight), downranking (which is not possible any more). Therefore, this spell appears to be the sole effective way to control our mana regen during a fight, it will have to be very carefully adjusted to our constraints. But this sounds very pleasant.
-concern #3 : poor gameplay.
Before TBC, we used to move to provide aura-protection to our group,
we had to maintain judgements which provided regen to 35+ players,
we had enough resistance to be in the core of the fight.
In TBC, we were frankly kept away from that:
- auras had less interest as they were not bringing fundamental uplifting to the group, except for concentration aura in certain situations,
- judgements were mostly impossible to set as their range was not compatible with our placement,
- we kept spamming FoL and HL, keeping an eye on aggro and activated BoP when we could.
Our gameplay was just boring (no flame intended), and this is a real concern.
=> as I can see, new healing spells, judgements are back into action. This is very pleasant too.
=> glyphs have been introduced, and this is also a very nice thing, as they have the ability to modify the ways spells behave which is really funny. Note that a glyph that would turn one of our healing spells or judgements into a group healing spell would make its designer a living deity!
=> Auras seem to have been a bit left aside as they are now valid for the whole raid, which makes their impact on gameplay less interesting.
concern #4 : pexxing
It was really painful pexxing from level 70 to 80, and quite boring.
Holy pallies are quite bad at DPS, and their mana pool/regen is quite not sufficient for that (with green-quality items on).
It took me a lot time drinking between 2 mobs, and I spent a real huge amount on money buying water.
OK we can ask mages. But heck, I love being independent on that pexxing part.
=> I can see we have alot more offensive spells. and divine plea to help us regen between two mobs. Hope this will solve the problem. This looks very nice.
=> as an alchemist / cooker, I have always wondered why it were not possible to create fast mana-regen food one could eat while not in combat. This would first have helped me save a lot of money, and sped up my pexxing-speed. Were this point addressed, this would be a real help for cooking casters.
That said, it appears clear that many aspects of our TBC frustrations have been addressed.
Judgments are back into action, new healing mechanics will break the monotony.
We can have more proactive control over our mana-regen.
As I can read, there is the Pvp vs PVE duality that is a real pain to balance (sigh).
Our main concern (quick group healing) really seems quite unclearly addressed. More feedback on that would be really pleasant. A nice workaround to that problem could be addressed through glyphs imho, as they have the ability to modify the way spells behave.
(thank you for your time reading this, and please, to not flame/flood).
Edit : I just forgot to send encouragements to ppl@blizzard who are actively rushing and fixing remaining issues. With a bit of experience in program validation compaigns, one knows how things accelerate and how stress climbs high the few days before going live. And a special thought to the support team for their patience