Before the trolls & troll spotters jump out - hear me out:
To clarify: I mean talents, not the trees themselves- I think the tree concept works well
Playing around with different specs and different classes, looking at the talents and the average spreads for raiding / PVP is leading me to one conclusion: Talents are a broken mechanic.
The idea of talents is awesome: A whole bunch of ways to uniquely augment your character, providing cool abilities and tricks that not everyone else has, making *you* superior. \
The execution is... lacking: No matter what spec you are, there is a "best" set of talents to choose. Best, to such a degree, that they become almost compulsory (like many of the glyphs are, now).
I feel like with us priests, this is even more true - for example, with discipline, there are really only 5 points or so that are "free" to toy around with, and with that, only a very limited number of talents in which they can be used (spell dmg reduc. casting time on gheal reduc. fear % reduc / reflec. sheild / manaburn). Further, of those talents, if you want to raid, only a very few are even ... well, even make sense to grab.
This may be no fault of Blizzards at all - after all, when you're leveling up, getting a new talent point is exciting and fun - you really *do* get more powerful - but at 80, where's the magic? Perhaps its the fault of the community, but cookie cutters seem to be the way to go, and other specs get rediculed/"corrected" constantly.
I feel like talents should be *fun* gameplay choices, based on personal preference entirely, rather than what's "required" to function. Or, at the very least, they should be more dynamic - so that when you have to cookiecutter it to defeat a boss, you can, but there is no penalty to switching back to what was fun for heroics / gameplay. Dual spec was a step in the right direction, allowing us to be shadow and heals, or pvp and pve - but I feel like it isnt enough - either way I am still stuck in a position where I can spend my talents wherever I want, or I can spend them "optimally."
Is the issue that the gameplay itself determines the specs/required talents, and that's the issue? Or are the talents too far geared towards - "want to heal better? use this! (+%heals)" and not enough towards "want a cool ability that's unique to you? take this! (+pain suppression)"
Do other priests feel this way? Do you think we are more / less constricted in our specs than other classes? Have I just had way too much coffee and am making an issue out of nothing? What do you all think?